"Dr. Cagliostro's Cabinet of Curiosities - Investigations of the Unknown vol. III" Book Review
Written by Richelle Charkot
Published by ChronoCopia Publishing
Written Oskar Hejll
2014, 120 pages, Reference
Released on November 20th, 2014
An interest in the unexplained and a love of horror seem to go hand-in-hand. As a horror-lover, how often have you gazed lovingly at a creepy fox taxidermy that would look great in your living room? Or perhaps savagely consumed every episode of Weird or What? and found yourself yelling at the screen at all of the skeptics, or maybe believing them but secretly hoping that it the answer was due to a massive portal to another world, or something of the like?
Dr. Cagliostro's Cabinet of Curiosities is a collection that claims to be over 180 years in the working. Presented and written by Oskar Hejll, the curator of one of the largest occult museums in Europe, this book is a tour through decades and decades worth of some of the most fascinating and other-worldly items in the Cagliostro collection. Although not every person can make it to Europe to visit the museum where these items reside, this piece brings it directly into the reader's home as a coffee-table book to start an interesting conversation.
Although Dr. Cagliostro's Cabinet of Curiosities is not a horror book by any means, it is rife with oddities that will appeal to the love of dark fantasy that horror fans tend to have. The main problem with this collection, however, is its tendency to mark every subject as fact. With anything unusual that is discovered, there should be an understanding that what is being showcased is quite simply not understood. Although researchers can certainly work to decide if the item is legitimate or a mere faux quackery, there should be a modesty about it instead being blunt and narrow-minded, stating that each oddity is exactly what it appears to be and nothing other than that. This book is equipped with a diverse range of pieces being showcased, which makes it more forgivable, but for anyone who is even remotely skeptical, they may find themselves a little disengaged from the tone of the writing. If readers find themselves wanting to learn more about these particular items, it could be suggested to use this collection as a starting ground and researching from there on, so that they can form their own educated opinions instead of the exclusively one-sided view in Cabinet.
Reading this, I would love for every one of those items to be real, but the fantastical language that is used reminded me too much of every stoner I went to high school with talking about conspiracy theories. For every discoverer who dies "mysteriously," I groaned. For every 'little did you know, [insert well-respected genius' name] was an avid ghost-hunter,' I rolled my eyes. But with that being said, you can be damned sure that I would love to do a paranormal investigation with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
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