'Labyrinths' by W.H. Matthews (1922)

LabyrinthThe earliest structure of any kind to which we find the word labyrinth applied was a huge building situated in the North of Egypt, a land always noted for its stupendous monuments, and was probably constructed more than 2000 years before the commencement of the Christian era.

We live in an age when the use of constructional steel enables the dreams of the architect to materialise in many ways that would astonish the builders of old; nevertheless, the modern citizen, whatever his nationality, can rarely resist a feeling akin to awe when making his first acquaintance with such works as the Pyramids of Egypt. One can imagine, then, what a profound effect these massive edifices must have exerted on the minds of travellers in earlier ages.

We find, as we might expect, many wild exaggerations in individual descriptions and corresponding discrepancies between the various accounts of any particular monument, and this is to some extent the case with regard to the Egyptian Labyrinth.

A fairly detailed and circumstantial account has come down to us from the Greek writer Herodotus.

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'On Ghosts' by Mary Shelley (1824)


I look for ghosts — but none will force
Their way to me; 'tis falsely said
That there was ever intercourse
Between the living and the dead. 
- Wordsworth

What a different earth do we inhabit from that on which our forefathers dwelt! The antediluvian world, strode over by mammoths, preyed upon by the megatherion, and peopled by the offspring of the Sons of God, is a better type of the earth of Homer, Herodotus, and Plato, than the hedged-in cornfields and measured hills of the present day. The globe was then encircled by a wall which paled in the bodies of men, whilst their feathered thoughts soared over the boundary; it had a brink, and in the deep profound which it overhung, men's imaginations, eagle-winged, dived and flew, and brought home strange tales to their believing auditors. Deep caverns harboured giants; cloud-like birds cast their shadows upon the plains; while far out at sea lay islands of bliss, the fair paradise of Atlantis or El Dorado sparkling with untold jewels. Where are they now?

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'Sea-Serpents' by F. Edward Hulme (1886)

Wellcome Library - London - Sea Serpent - The Stronsa Orkney

The depths of ocean, so impressive in their mystery and vastness, have been peopled by the lovers of the marvellous in all ages with a special fauna of their own, and have been made the home of divers strange and wondrous creatures, some purely reptilian, others fish-like, or still more commonly a weird combination of the two. 

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'Writing for Television' by Rod Serling (1972)

Rod_Serling_photo_portrait_1959[The following interview is extracted from The Monster Times (November 30, 1972)] 

Rodman Serling was bom in Syracuse, New York on Christmas day in 1924. He grew up with his older brother Bob in the atmosphere of a quiet suburban town, experiencing a childhood reminiscent of that of the boys in Ray Bradbury's book Something Evil This Way Comes. Rod found something evil soon enough, though... something called prejudice, when he was barred from a non-Jewish high school fraternity. Shortly after this, he discovered the terrifying evils of World War II when he served as a parachute jumper in the Pacific, making over 40 jumps into a very real kind of hell.

In 1945, his father passed away and Rod was forced out of what he remembers as a "safe but dull job" at a small radio station in Cincinnati. For a few weeks Rod tried psychoanalysis in an effort to cope with this pile-up of personal problems. Even though he gave up the sessions, their effect on much of his writing is clearly in evidence....

Rod has several impressive distinctions to his credit. He is the most oft-decorated playwright in the business, having won six Emmys for such works as "Requiem for a Heavyweight", "Patterns", "The Comedian" and other gems from the long lost days of live television drama.

Mr. Serling was also the narrator and executive producer of The Twilight Zone, a fantastically popular series of half hour offbeat dramas. Of the 26 episodes for one of the show's seasons, Rod wrote 21 of them... 11 of them original scripts.

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'What is Genius?' by Robert W. Chambers (1917)

In_Search_of_the_UnknownI asked Robert W. Chambers, who has written more "best sellers" than any other living writer, what he thought of Flaubert's method of work.

He looked at me rather quizzically. "I think," he said, with a smile, "that Flaubert was slow. What else is there to think? Of course he was a matchless workman. But if he spent half a day in hunting for one word, he was slow, that's all. He might have gone on writing and then have come back later for that inevitable word."  

"But what do you think of Flaubert's method, as a method?" I asked. "Do you think that a writer who works with such laborious care is right?" 

"It's not a question of right or wrong," said Mr. Chambers, "it's a question of the individual writer's ability and tendency. If a man can produce novels like those of Flaubert, by writing slowly and laboriously, by all means let him write that way. But it would not be fair to establish that as the only legitimate method of writing. 

"Some authors always write slowly. With some of them it's like pulling teeth for them to get their ideas out on paper. It's the same way in painting. You may see half a dozen men drawing from the same model. One will make his sketch premier coup; another will devote an hour to his; another will work all day. They may be artists of equal ability. It is the result that counts, not the method or the time."  

"And what is it that makes a man an artist, in pigments or in words?" I asked. "Do you believe in the old saying that the poet - the creative artist - is born and not made?"  

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