The Oddities category contains books on a far-flung range of entertaining topics. Among them are—a 19th century book on the history of flagellation, considered racy and controversial in its time, a record of strange individuals called Very Peculiar People, and a medical text devoted to deformities and other medical rarities, often providing examples in extreme and painful detail.


Very Peculiar People

E. J. Dingwall

London: Rider and Company, 1950?

Summary: Profiles of strange people, including Emanuel Swendenborg, an arguably mad theologian and Christian mystic, Johann Jetzer, a 15th century member of the Dominican Order who claimed to be visited by ghosts, and Eusapia Palladino, a popular medium.

Flagellation and the Flagellants, The History of the Rod In All Countries from the Earliest Period to the Present Time

 The Rev. Wm. M. Cooper, B.A.

London: William Reeves, 83 Charing Cross Road, [1904?/1868]

Summary: A history of flagellation, both self imposed and as punishment. This book was controversial in its time owing to its perceived eroticism. The book includes several wood cut drawings. Wm. M. Cooper is a pseudonym, the author’s real name was James Glass Bertram.

Historic Oddities and Strange Events

Sabine Baring Gould

Published: London: Methuen & Co., 1889 [First edition.]

Summary: An eccentric collection of stories imaginatively profiling a variety of people, from Benjamin Bathurst who famously disappeared without a trace in 1809, to John Henry Maedler, a selenographer (lunar scientist).

Strange People

Frank Edwards

New York: Lyle Stuart 1961 [First edition.]

Summary: Edwards outlines a wide variety of strange events and people that seem to have nothing in common save the quality of strangeness. Be prepared for anything from the mystery of Croaton, to physical deformities.


R. T. Gould

London: Geoffrey Bles, 1928 [Our edition 1944.]

Summary: This book surveys a variety of odd events and mysterious happenings. It includes reports of such events as disturbances of coffins in vaults, and describes other unexplained events and folktales like images of sunken ships on icebergs.

Plant Autographs and Their Revelations

Sir Jagadis Chunder Rose

London: Longmans, Green 1927

Summary: A professor from Calcutta University presents his research on the similarities between plants’ lives and our own. He proposes plants possess a higher level of function than they are typically thought of as having. Can plants feel emotion? Pain? This book seeks to answer these questions.