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Ghosts of My Friends



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Has anyone here run across "Ghosts of My Friends," by Cecil Henland? It doesn't have a copyright but appears to have been published in the early part of the 20th Century. It is really a delightful concept: a book of somewhat glossy pages creased down the center of each page. Your friends would sign their names along the crease and fold the paper, creating a ghostly inkblot. Each page also had spaces for the name and date.

 

Of course, all of this is much more ghostly now, when most if not all of the people who signed the book ARE ghosts. I was just curious if other people have run across this. Also, does anyone have a suggestion of a good ink to try and reproduce this effect with? All my inks are too fast drying.

 

Steve

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Ernst Bitterman

Just having a gander at the inks forum of late, it sounds like many of the inks meant to avoid feathering would suit the purpose-- I think Private Reserve inks have come under some fire for taking WAY TOO LONG to dry.

Ravensmarch Pens & Books
It's mainly pens, just now....

Oh, good heavens. He's got a blog now, too.

 

fpn_1465330536__hwabutton.jpg

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Fascinating idea, but no, I have not seen this book before. I did a quick search and found some copies that were partly used - very neat item I think.

 

- R

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I started another thread on slow-drying inks in the Ink forum. Xfeather is awesome, although it turns out that it is the AMOUNT of ink that matters when creating ghost signatures. None of the inks works well in a fine or medium fountain pen. But they all blot nicely if applied by even a fine dip pen. I will post pictures here or there.

 

I found a note purported to be by Mark Twain online. It talks about ghost signatures and includes his own ghost signature as an example. But it is $8,000.

 

Thanks again for replying. Steve

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post-5776-1208489829_thumb.jpgpost-5776-1208489875_thumb.jpg

 

post-5776-1208489847_thumb.jpg

 

Here are pictures of the books I was describing, a ghost-autograph from 1908 (signed and dated) and one from 2008. I generally preserve the antique objects that come my way. But one copy of this book already had autographs from 1912 and 1921. I am adding five autographs from 2008. Then I will put it on my shelf and hope that someone will discover it in a few more decades and add their autographs. In a sense, I feel like I am keeping the book alive for its original purpose.

 

If you want to try your own ghost autographs, I did discover that the secret is not how fast the ink dries but how much ink in on the page. Dip pens seem to work best.

 

Steve

Edited by cercamons
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Wow! Thanks for posting the images. I may have to buy that copy I found that was half full now. Very cool.

 

- R

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  • 1 month later...

It turns out there is another book almost identical to "Ghosts" but with no author cited. It is called "Your Hidden Skeleton," and apparently inspired the album name and art for a rock album of the same name. I can only find one reference to the book, for $100 at Optos. Way too much for me.

 

"Ghosts" was written by Cecil Henland. After extensive internet research, I found out that Cecil was a woman, "a writer of children's books," founder of a nursery school system in England and the widow of Lt. Col. Arthur Jex-Blake Percival, who was killed in battle in November 1914. Nothing else, not even the names of her books. If anyone knows anything more about her or either book, I would appreciate hearing about it.

 

Thanks,

 

Steve

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Of course, all of this is much more ghostly now, when most if not all of the people who signed the book ARE ghosts.

 

:o I find that concepts like that really creep me out (for want of a better expression), the idea of history and the marks that people leave behind, I find it to be one of the reasons I am attracted to Calligraphy, historical writing paraphernalia and so on. If I look at an old object, especially writing, in a museum I get mesmerised; weapons in museums also mesmerise me thinking that they may have actually killed someone...

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 9 months later...
aussie craig
Has anyone here run across "Ghosts of My Friends," by Cecil Henland? It doesn't have a copyright but appears to have been published in the early part of the 20th Century. It is really a delightful concept: a book of somewhat glossy pages creased down the center of each page. Your friends would sign their names along the crease and fold the paper, creating a ghostly inkblot. Each page also had spaces for the name and date.

 

Of course, all of this is much more ghostly now, when most if not all of the people who signed the book ARE ghosts. I was just curious if other people have run across this. Also, does anyone have a suggestion of a good ink to try and reproduce this effect with? All my inks are too fast drying.

 

Steve

 

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aussie craig

gday steve

i have a copy of this book that has some very interesting signatures in its pages. the first date and signature is from 22 jul 1908. signatures include one of australias 5th prime minister and other millitary and political figures of the day. in regards to other books by the same author the book lists 6 others. they are: the mind of a friend, the book of butterflies, the book of the hostess, the christmas book, hand 'o' graphs and the bridge companion. i am actually trying to find a value for the copy of this book that i have. it is so unique that i have been unable to find anything about it

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My father had this book, nearly all filled out. He was born in 1903, and judging from the handwriting, I'd put him at about 10-12 years of age when it was filled out. I do not know its present whereabouts, perhaps my brother has it?

 

I remember thinking it an interesting concept when I first saw it as a child. Even more interesting now...

I'm Andy H and I approved this message.

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  • 1 month later...

I was at an auction this morning and

what should appear but a copy of "Ghosts

of My Friends!" It was even more charming

than I thought it would be -- it was about

half full and the dates were 1912 through 1918.

I was determined to have it, and got the first

bid in, but no matter what I bid there was

another bidder who went five dollars more.

I stopped at $35 as that was all I had with

me, but then another bidder jumped it and it

ended up going to that gentleman for $85.00.

I want to check Abebooks, Alibris, Ebay etc to

see what the online price is. And yes, I think

the writing in this particular copy was all done

with dip pens. Very, very cool.

pkh

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http://www.optosbooks.com/cpCommerce/images/products/fullimages/Ghosts_1958.jpg

 

I also found this to be very cool, I like the "general" in this photo. One of Amazon's used book sellers has a copy for $45 - don't know what they consider "used - acceptable" though

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00...;condition=used

"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face." ~ Ben Williams

 

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First experiment - my ink dried too fast. Thinking about trying it one name at a time.

 

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Interesting. I did this as a kid with heavy pencil, crayon or chalk, and then retraced the lighter part. We placed the first letter at the top of the page, added facial features and then added feet at the bottom to create "Name Bugs". I'd love to find a book like this. Never knew they existed until now.

Soli Deo Gloria

 

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Rocket Jones
First experiment - my ink dried too fast. Thinking about trying it one name at a time.

 

When I first saw this last year, I did some online searching and made note of Ziller dip pen inks, sold by Pendemonium. Seems that a good wet dip pen would work best.

 

"We must remember that 'good' and 'evil' are terms so wide as to take in the whole scheme of creation" -- Bram Stoker

 

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First experiment - my ink dried too fast. Thinking about trying it one name at a time.

 

When I first saw this last year, I did some online searching and made note of Ziller dip pen inks, sold by Pendemonium. Seems that a good wet dip pen would work best.

 

Used my dip pen with iron gall ink - I just wasn't quick enough with my folding, still kind of cool looking.

 

J

"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face." ~ Ben Williams

 

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  • 4 months later...
I have a copy of The Ghosts of My Friends and the first two entries are Fred and Adele Astaire. We believe the book may have belonged to Fred Astaire because his name is the first entry and his sister's is the second. The book is for sale if anyone is interested. There are 34 names filled in and 12 blank pages. The signatures start with Fred's in 1911 and the last signature was written in 1918. A few of the names are Bucks County, PA notables including the signature of John Purdy Cope who owned both the Kittatinny and Water Gap Hotels back in 1908 at the Delaware Water Gap. The Astaire family summered there for 4 years...at the time of signing they were 12 and 15 years old. There are Google pics of him and his sister rowing a boat on Lake Lenape which is at the base of Mt Minsi where the hotels are located. There are also two signed photographs of them at that age on Google where the signatures can be compared. The whole concept is very cool and the signatures make eerie looking designs.post-34491-1251685137_thumb.jpg Edited by NIGHTGALE
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