Category Archives: Excerpts

Art Taylor’s “A Voice from the Past”

Speaking about real life events, Art Taylor shared a few memorable incidents drawn upon for his stories like the one that appears in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine August 2009:

AT: “A Voice from the Past” centers on some hazing incidents very similar to the rat system at the boarding school I attended. All those* are pretty heavily fictionalized beyond those core elements, of course, but building from that foundation has helped to fuel the imagination.

*Art mentions several others in his full interview that appears in The Digest Enthusiast book four.

Criswell Predicts: Fate #4

“The “Criswell Predicts” radio broadcast had preceded his writing of articles and columns and Criswell’s “87% correct” claim had been established by the time Ray Palmer wrote his editorial in this early issue of Fate. Palmer, writing as “Robert N. Webster,” seemed most concerned with the accuracy of Criswell’s predictions and stated, ‘We’re going to ‘keep score’ on
him and see whether or not he can live up to his reputation for correctness. Incidentally, Mr. Criswell will appear in FATE each month with predictions for the coming month, or with special prognostications that may apply.’ Criswell did not appear monthly as Palmer initially stated; he actually only wrote in the four issues listed here.”
Fate #4 Winter 1949
Fate #6 July 1949
Fate #18 March 1951
Fate #37 April 1953

Excerpt from “Criswell Predicts: Fate & Spaceway” by Tom Brinkmann, TDE4 June 2016

Apollo 12: Mysterious Encounters With Flying Saucers

Saga May 1970

Excerpt from Tom Brinkmann’s “Mr. UFO: Timothy Green Beckley’s Paranormal Odyssey” from TDE3:

“Nineteen seventy seems to have been a pivotal year in Tim’s writing career, as he says of the Saga article, “I do believe it’s probably one of the most important in my career as a paranormal and UFO writer.” Tim had gone to Washington, DC to do research for the article. Throughout the 1970s, Tim was regularly writing articles for Saga UFO Report and for their “UFO Specials.” Tim also did an interview with Charles Berlitz, “Mr. Bermuda Triangle,” in Saga’s Bermuda Triangle Special Report 1977.

Diabolik #2

Diabolik #2 November 1986

“Diabolik! Dark, sinister apparition of the night! Relentless in quest for fortune; clever and cautious in technique. Always a step ahead of those whom he has set his sights on. Is he friend or foe? He might prove to be either. Or both.

“This bizarre, black-clad figure first made his appearance at Italian newsstands in November 1962, the creation, oddly enough, of two Italian sisters, Angela and Luciana Giussani.”

Excerpt from “Diabolik-al Digests” by Joe Wehrle, Jr. The Digest Enthusiast #3 January 2016

Search #91 May 1970

Search #91

Search #91

Tom Brinkmann describes the last section of Tim Beckley’s “World of the Off Beat” column from Search #91, in this excerpt from his profile piece in TDE3:

“…“Astrology and Murder” in which Tim interviewed Barbara H. Watters, a leading Washing
ton area astrologer and author of the book, The Astrologer Looks At Murder (1969). She believed ‘you can actually determine the real motives at work in criminal cases through the application of astro- logical forces.’ She had studied several high profile murder cases of which she found the infamous Lizzie Borden case of 1892 the most interesting; Watters had lived in Borden’s home town of Fall River, Massachusetts for twenty years. Lizzie Borden was never convicted of the murder of her parents for lack of evidence. Watters had done an astrological chart for Lizzie and had determined that she was guilty. Watters also came up with a motive—Lizzie had wanted to improve her station in life. As Watters stated, ‘She was born with four planets in the sign of Leo. Statistically, Leo is under-represented in the charts of murderers. But it is a proud sign which does not bear frustration with good grace.’ In her previously mentioned book, Watters also revealed the identity of Jack the Ripper.”

Famous Fantastic Mysteries Digest

Famous Fantastic Mysteries Jan. 1951 first digest-size issue

Famous Fantastic Mysteries Jan. 1951 first digest-size issue

“In 1951, the long-running pulp Famous Fantastic Mysteries published a few issues in an appealing format that was slightly larger than the usual digest size. It measured 6-1⁄4” x 8-1⁄2” (a half-inch wider than Dell/Penny Press’ current digests) and had trimmed edges, but apparently was not embraced by all of FFM’s readers and the untrimmed pulp format returned after a few issues.”

The magazine also replaced its passionate red and yellow masthead with a more modern treatment that ran for two years.

“In the May 1951 (digest) issue, a reader wrote: ‘Over the past few years there has been a tendency for some publishers to bring out their magazines in a digest-sized form, and this has been encouraged by a small, but vocal, group of snobbish fans who sneer at any ‘pulp’ magazine, and hail as ‘adult’ anything appearing in digest size. In my opinion, these fans are suffering from an inferiority complex—they want to show their fantasy magazines to their friends, but are ashamed of those which are conventional pulp size. I was prepared for all the new publishers in the field to pander to this minority group by restricting their magazines to digest size, but I never expected Popular Publications to slavishly follow this current trend. In my opinion, it is a fad which will not last long.’”

Excerpts (in quotes) from “In Defense of Digests” by Rob Imes, editor of Ditkomania, from TDE1.

The origin of “thug”


Kali, from the cover of Beyond January 1969

“Violence in American Linked to Cult of Assassins” leads off the Beyond January 1969 issue. It’s about the people who worship Kali, the goddess of evil, by Harvey Drew. Founded by Mahomed Ben Ali aka “The Old Man of the Mountains” who lived in the Atlas Mountains in North Africa.

“Kali’s followers were a recognized caste in India’s complicated social system who called themselves “Thuggees” and killed their victims bloodlessly by strangulation with a knotted cord. Until the arrival of the British they were practically licensed murderers who were simply avoided as much as possible and who were killed on sight if caught at their work.

“The British rulers of India took drastic steps to stamp out the Thuggee cult. By the beginning of the 20th century, it was assumed to have ended, to be remembered only by the use of the word “Thug” to describe a rough undesirable individual.”

Marilyn Monroe and the Indian Prophecy

beyond_12_1968_234Even 54 years after her death, any feature about Marilyn Monroe still grabs the lead. She dominates photographer George Barris’ obituary in The New York Times today, the last photo-pro to photograph Monroe, just weeks before her death in 1962.

Biographer Anthony Summers, Goddess: Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe, wrote, “Marilyn had a lifelong interest in the occult, and she often visited astrologers and psychics.” Among them, The Amazing Criswell. Tom Brinkmann highlighted a meeting between Monroe and the psychic in his article “Criswell Predicts: Fate & Spaceway” in TDE4.

It’s no surprise her star power and occult interests landed her cover stories on digests that explore the strange and unknown. The December 1968 issue of Beyond for example. The lead story: “Marilyn Monroe Ignores Indian Death Prophecy.”

Fred Grant builds his excellent article largely from an interview with an unidentified character actress, purportedly one of the few friends who knew Monroe well, and appeared in one of the star’s first movies.

“The Marilyn Monroe I knew was fresh, bright as neon, exciting—never overconfident but certainly anything but the actress with an inferiority complex that afflicted her last years. So much trash was written about her. No one, it seems, ever took the mystical side of Marilyn seriously.”

The friend maintains the star’s personal decline began when Monroe abandoned her faith in her dreams and prophecy and “turned herself over to the psychiatrists.” She granted an audience at her home with the Coloradoan Indian who urgently warned her, “You are risking your life at every moment.” But she rejected the Thunderbird brooch he offered as protection.

Recently fired from the production “Something’s Got to Give,” perhaps a prophecy in itself, Monroe called her psychiatrist the evening of her suicide. She was found at three a.m. that morning with an empty bottle that had contained Nembutal beside her body.

Beyond: Rosemary’s Baby

Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary’s Baby

Only Beyond (Oct. 1968) dared ask “Is the Film ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ Based on Grim Fact?” Steve Devlin’s article was subtitled “Study of Paramount’s Film Fantasy, Rosemary’s Baby Suggests Horrifying Reality.”

Here’s an excerpt from Tom (Bad Mags) Brinkmann’s overview of the Beyond digests from TDE3:

“In the article’s text, the question was posed, ‘CAN WE DISMISS THE SUBJECT of Rosemary’s Baby as just a gimmick for a first-class horror movie?’ The question was later answered with, ‘NOT AFTER YOU READ two obscure accounts, ignored by the newspapers of the world, which BEYOND investigated recently—accounts of two women who underwent the most horrible experience a woman can undergo.’ The article then
 gave a short synopsis of Rosemary’s Baby before relating the ‘terrifying experiences of Maria Fuentes,of Oaxaca, Mexico, and Norah Kovecs, of Szombathely, Hungary.’”