A special three-part documentary series aired during the last couple of days on Channel 4 in the UK featuring Tony Robinson (of Blackadder and Time Team fame) and science journalist Becky McCall investigating a number of paranormal phenomena. The shows include:
- “Tony Robinson and the Blitz Witch“, which aired December 29, 2008, and investigated Helen Duncan, who was the last person to be imprisoned under the British Witchcraft Act.
- “Tony Robinson and the Ghosts of Glastonbury“, which aired December 30, 2008, and investigated Frederic Bligh Bond‘s supposed use of automatic writing while excavating Glastonbury Abbey. (I love how that one turned into a mini Time Team episode at the end with Tony calling in Geo Phys. Glad to see, by the way, that Time Team is returning on January 4. Whoohoo.)
Wikipedia’s Frederick Bligh Bond page led me to their Mina Crandon page, which in turn led me to the PBS companion site for the American Experience episode about Houdini and an extract (up to and including page 10) of Harry Houdini‘s booklet ““Margery” the Medium Exposed“. (The 40-page booklet has been digitized by and is available as both an HTML download and in facsimile form on disk from Lybrary.com. You can obtain a number of Houdini’s other books and booklets, all of which are interesting for their look at the history of the worlds of magic and spiritualism, if for no other reason.)
- “Tony Robinson and the Medieval Reincarnation“, which aired December 31, 2008, and investigated Arthur Guirdham and the Bath housewives who, in the 60s, claimed to be possessed by the spirits of the Cathars, a medieval French religious sect.