I’ve been digesting odd material since I was quite young. Jim Henson’s collaborations with Brian Froud on Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, along with his Storyteller series caught me early. By the time I was 7 I spent much of my allotted library time digging through the folklore section and breaking the spines on titles like Encounters With the Invisible World Being Ten Tales of Ghosts,Witches and the Devil Himself in New England, Myths and Legends of the Celts, and Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival. Standard childhood fare…
This singleminded focus lead my parents to get me a 3 book promotional pack from the Time Life Books series Mysteries of the Unknown one Christmas. As I remember it, one book focused on ‘Mysterious Places’, one on ‘Mysterious Creatures’ and one on UFO’s. Pouring over every detail in those books I encountered a world that went far beyond the folk tales I’d been devouring.
Here was Aleister Crowley on his wedding night at the Great Pyramid, spiritualists with ectoplasm oozing and weird lights over distant hills. My youthful mind was glowing with possibilities.
All of this was brought back when Lisa Trudeau at Red Wheel/Weiser mentioned they had a cute YouTube promotional for their Field Guide series. I can only imagine where my mind would be if the Field Guides had been around to add to my instruction.