Best of the Century!
Thursday, 14 December 2017
The events in Conversations with Spirits take place in the second week of December 1917 – so, I guess, this is the centenary!
Yes, it’s exactly 100 years since Trelawney Hart and Arthur Conan Doyle made their fictional trip to the Kent coast to bear witness to the ‘physical mediumship’ of that mystical chap, that bore a striking resemblance to my older brother…
Oddly enough, when I wrote…
In Bed with Chris Needham
Thursday, 12 January 2017
“All you fogies and old people may as well switch off now!”
Today, I have spent my lunch break feverishly trying to contact a man, who for a long time now, has been a great personal hero.
That man is Chris Needham.
Chris – as you no doubt remember – was the 17-year-old star of BBC 2′s fantastic Teenage Diaries back in 1992. More specifically, Chris (never a man to shun the spotlight…
My Devil's Bush
Tuesday, 2 February 2016
If I've been quiet lately, it's simply because I've been appearing in Paul Holbrook's masterful supernatural murder mystery Domini Mortum.
Naturally enough, I play the wise and fascinating ghost hunter 'Edward Higgins'. (Like Sid James, it's contractual that I keep my own name.)
Interested? Well, of course you are...
And you can even read an excerpt here — and learn all about…
The Plot Sickens
Friday, 16 October 2015
Over the last few decades, I have taken it upon myself to watch a lot of British horror films.
Somewhat inevitably, you might think, this has led me to become a flighty, nervy sort of fellow - but, also, one that can make little sense of the modern world.
It is, after all, a world with too few cobbles, horse-drawn broughams or lunatic asylums for me to comfortably comprehend...
Out my cups
Monday, 28 September 2015
"I wouldn't mind meeting the sober version of you!"
So the wife tells me, as I voice my concerns about the long, boozeless month stretching out before me...
Naturally, I respond with a sneer. (Admittedly, it's not a very good sneer. It's one I've copied off Simon MacCorkindale during the denouement of the 1978-version of Death on the Nile. Though I've omitted the hollow laughter, the slow…
Best of the century!
Friday, 6 March 2015
This morning the Amazon reviews for Conversations with Spirits reached triple figures...
And I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that’s read the book – and, especially, to those that have taken the time to review it!
You are all exceptionally warm and generous people – and this sort of thing needs to be commended…
So, with this in mind, one of your names will be…
Sunday, 1 February 2015
On the 19th February 2008, ten-year-old Shannon Matthews disappeared from outside her school in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.
Hearing of the family’s plight, and realising that his services might be of help, psychic medium, Joe Power, got in touch with Karen Matthews — Shannon’s mother — and organised a sitting with her.
Sunday, 1 February 2015
Recovering from last week’s ‘man flu’ (the worst type of flu), I resolved — after two days sloth — not to waste any more time and, instead, take stock of my life.
But it turns out that taking stock of your life does very little to pass the time.
So, I decided that a better course for me was the route of moaning practically unceasingly and watching poor-quality television from the 1980s…
British customs explained
Sunday, 1 February 2015
The British have always found interesting ways to pass the time.
It’s not just been animal cruelty, wars and serial killing (but, yes, obviously), some things have been a tad more inventive…
Here’s a quick — slightly embarrassed — glance at some of the odder practices that form part of our national identity...
Morris Dancing is the practice of large — usually bearded…
The Man who was Shakespeare
Thursday, 29 January 2015
'Who wrote Shakespeare?' is for some a pointless tautology; for others, a question of serious literary enquiry.
Was William Shakespeare just an Elizabethan glover’s son from some provincial backwater? Can it really be the case that the foremost genius of the English language was just a middle-class boy from a small town with only a basic formal education?
(Well, actually, considering…
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Who will be the 100th reviewer?
Well, seven days from now, all reviewers - yes, even those ones that seem genuinely mystified by the pun in the book’s title - will be entered into a draw to win the last shiny, golden hardback in my possession. **
I would also like to take…
Festive facts and fancies
Wednesday, 24 December 2014
Ten festive facts to bore people down the pub with.
1. Scientists in the United States calculated that Santa would have to visit 822 homes a second to deliver all the world’s presents on Christmas Eve. He would also have to travel at 650 miles a second.
2. Before turkey was imported from the new world, the traditional Christmas meal in England was a pig’s head and mustard.
The Signalman: a ghost story for Christmas
Monday, 22 December 2014
The Signalman is a BBC television adaptation of the 1866 Charles Dickens short story 'The Signal-Man’.
It was filmed as part of the 'Ghost Story for Christmas’ series; a sequence of short films broadcast sporadically since 1971.
The series was developed in an effort to keep alive the - now mostly forgotten - British tradition of telling supernatural tales at Christmas.
First Book Award 2014
Monday, 13 October 2014
You'll remember that I've often spoken about my sincere love for you?
Mostly, when I have been holding your tiny, porcelain hand in mine - and gazing adoringly into your magnificent eyes...
Yes, well now it's time for you to do me a favour...
You see, my book has been put forward for this award thingy - and, well, the closing date for it is this Friday.
If you felt…
Of all ghosts, the ghosts of our old loves are the worst
Wednesday, 10 September 2014
It was a morning of the strange and uncanny, I tell you; full with terrible omens and evil luck*; and tempers were destined to fray…
Unfortunately, being unaware that a large section of the audience…
Conversations with Spirits - and the Great War
Monday, 4 August 2014
In the unlikely event that this news has managed to pass you by, it is 100 years since Britain joined the First World War.
As the author of a novel set during the period, I thought this might be a good time to say something on the subject.
The Great War might seem like a rather incidental character in Conversations with Spirits – it is there, it gets referenced, but it's always far off;…
Edinburgh International: First Book Award
Thursday, 12 June 2014
On the phone to a journalist from The Skinny Magazine this morning:
"So, you're a contender for the Edinburgh First Book Award. How do you feel about that?"
"Erm, what...? Am I?"
(Silky smooth, as ever...)
But, yes, apparently I am...
My darling pledglings - you made Conversations with Spirits possible…
Review in the Baker Street Journal
Friday, 4 April 2014
Founded by Edgar W. Smith in 1946, the quarterly is the world’s leading publication about Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle.
"Conversations with Spirits by E O Higgins. London: Unbound, 2013. 244 pp. £9.99.
This very funny - yet often quite touching - first novel takes place in December…
A review in the Huffington Post
Monday, 17 March 2014
A rather charming review of Conversations with Spirits in The Huffington Post by Matthew Hirtes.
Meet Trelawney Hart, 'arch-sceptic and former child prodigy'. The anti-hero of what you'll be surprised to learn is the author's debut, Conversations with Spirits, a mystery without a murder, where who dun it is less a question than how they did it.
Off the shelf
Thursday, 13 March 2014
It’s publication day!
Conversations with Spirits is now officially in the shops!*
(*As opposed to earlier in the week, when it was unofficially in the shops!)
Thank you, everyone!
And especially all those fascinating and stylish people that have taken the time to write such delightful reviews!
To celebrate this momentous occasion, I will be taking part in an Unbound-sponsored …
Enter, if you dare...
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Just answer the following question:
Harry Price, who appears in the novel, famously investigated Borley Rectory – ‘the most haunted house in England’.
In 1929, the Reverend Guy Eric Smith and his wife moved into the ill…
My Vinegar Valentines
Thursday, 13 February 2014
10 Saint Valentine's Day trifles.
- St. Valentine’s Day traces its roots to a Pagan festival - held on the ides of February - called 'Lupercalia', at which men stripped naked and smacked women's arses with whips as part of a fertility ceremony.*
- Saint Valentine is the patron saint of lovers and engaged couples. He is also the patron saint of, amongst other things, epilepsy, plague and bee keepers…
Conan Doyle and the case for the Channel Tunnel
Wednesday, 29 January 2014
- Writing 100s of books – including historical novels, science fiction, plays, poetry and considerable non-fiction.
- Becoming a medical practitioner,
- Being one of Britain’s first motorists (and competing…
Win the last signed hardback
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
For your chance to win - the last - of the signed hardbacks of Conversations with Spirits, simply answer the following question:
In 1926, self-styled psychic researcher Harry Price (who features in the book) investigated a Romanian girl that had allegedly become ‘possessed by the Devil’.
What was her name?
Answers to firstname.lastname@example.org
The winner will be picked on Saturday 14th…
A ghost story for Christmas...
Monday, 9 December 2013
To thank you all for your support over the last year, I will be giving you the chance to win a signed copy of the limited-edition hardback version of Conversations with Spirits. (Currently 'sold out' on this website.)
Since the story begins on the 14th December 1917, I will be picking a winner on the anniversary – this coming Saturday.
But I shall be asking the question on Wednesday!
Launch party speech
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Instead of a memory, I have this crib sheet. But it occurs to me that I may have actually forgotten to put things on the crib sheet. So it's not a perfect system.
Well, welcome everyone to the launch – and thank you for coming.
I was talking to my Mum on the phone about tonight, and she said, "Oh, it's a long time coming" – and I asked her what she meant.
Apparently I started writing…
Classic Horror Literature Quiz
Wednesday, 30 October 2013
Can you guess all of the answers to my quiz? Be one of the first three people to enter correctly in the comments below and you could win a copy of Conversations with Spirits.
1. Which M. R. James story features a supernatural toy?
A - The Haunted Dolls’ House
2. In which city is Jonathan Harker’s solicitor’s office located in in Bram Stoker’s Dracula?
A - Exeter
They say you should never judge a book by its cover…
Friday, 4 October 2013
But, even still…
I challenge even the most stony-hearted fellow to gaze at Mark Ecob’s cover art for Conversations with Spirits - in all its shiny, golden loveliness - and not leer hungrily at it, like a cat staring out a window at a distant bird.
When we had the cover meeting back in April, I must admit to feeling somewhat dismayed as I peered down at Mark's notes, which ran something like…
Thursday, 11 July 2013
You know, I get a lot of people asking me about my author’s shed…
They say: “Hey E O*, where did you purchase such a fine-looking author's outbuilding? Can I get one? Is it the ideal environment for your 'pottering’ needs?”
Well, let me answer those questions right now:
My shed is, of course, the 'Beeton's Premier Groundsman Garden Shed (with summer house mix)’.
Séance on a Wet Afternoon
Thursday, 9 May 2013
The amazing Bryan Forbes died yesterday. RIP.
In 1964, Forbes wrote and directed Séance on a Wet Afternoon, based on the novel by Mark McShane.
The film tells the story of an unstable psychic medium, who convinces her browbeaten husband to kidnap a child so she can help the police solve the crime.
The grief trade
Wednesday, 8 May 2013
Sylvia Browne, who has made a career of televised psychic readings, told Louwanna Miller on a 2004 episode of the show that her daughter was dead, causing Miller to breakdown in tears on the show's set.
"She's not alive, honey…
The Coming of the Fairies
Tuesday, 7 May 2013
In 1917, ten-year-old Frances Griffiths moved from her native South Africa to the Yorkshire home of her aunt and uncle, the Wrights, whilst her father fought in the Great War.
In July, Frances, and her thirteen-year-old cousin Elsie, asked to borrow the family camera, telling Elsie’s father they wanted to take a photograph of the fairies they had been playing with that morning.
Thursday, 25 April 2013
In 1888, Conan Doyle told police officials that he thought the murderer could be disguised as a midwife.
Thus, 'she’ could be seen with bloody clothes without attracting undue suspicion - and would be more easily trusted by female victims.
You complete me!
Thursday, 31 January 2013
Well, last night Conversations with Spirits hit its funding target!
Which means 2 things:
1. I’m going to get massively drunk.
2. I probably won’t be banging on about the book quite so much now…
I will, however, be popping back to the shed now and then when there’s exciting news to tell you -and, occasionally, just in order to treat the outer walls with creosote.
(I haven’t really looked…
The Hooden Horse
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
Chapter five of Conversations with Spirits closes with Trelawney and Billy heading back to their hotel via the promenade on Broadstairs seafront – and being suddenly confronted by a group of bizarrely-attired men, carrying a horse’s skull on a long pole:
Coming into the light, I saw that the creature at their lead was trailing a long black cape, festooned with brasses, rosettes and ribbons and…
Excerpt from Chapter Two
Thursday, 24 January 2013
SIBELLA, IN HER usual marmish fashion, had packed a carpet-bag for me containing some fresh linens and toilet equipment. For whatever reason, she likes to do these things, and I have realised - perhaps a little late in our association - that it is easier just to accept her foibles, than attempt to dissuade her in her actions. Not requiring the extra burden, however, it was my plan to deposit the…
A message from our sponsors
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
You’ve wisely invested in a copy of Conversations with Spirits by E O Higgins - but have you given due consideration as to just how you’ll read it?
May we suggest you invest in ‘Foot’s Adjustable Rest-Chair’?
Or, if you’d prefer - and we do - “The Library Lounge” (Patented).
“The Library Lounge” comes complete with:
Multi-use pulley system,
Letter from the front
Friday, 18 January 2013
It’s difficult for us to understand the hardships endured by soldiers serving in the trenches of the First World War. And this is obviously something to be thankful for.
But is possible to get some insight into their lives from the letters they sent home.
In 1917, Regimental Sergeant-Major James Milne was serving with the 4th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders.
On the 20th of July, Milne and his…
The Lost Weekenders
Wednesday, 16 January 2013
In an effort to enforce the 'Licensing Act of 1902', the Watch Committee of the City of Birmingham started compiling information about local drunks in order to distribute it to the 250 pub landlords managed by the Holt Brewery.
Habitual boozers were placed on the list after receiving four convictions under the ‘Inebriates Act of 1898’ – for misdemeanours that included being ‘intoxicated to the…
Broadstairs, in literature
Tuesday, 15 January 2013
Of course, it is Charles Dickens who is most commonly associated with the town – it was his favourite holiday destination:
“You cannot think how delightful and fresh the place is and how good the walks,” he once wrote.
His letters show that Dickens was nostalgic…
Preliminary séance at Borley Rectory
Friday, 11 January 2013
Transcript from The Daily Mirror, Saturday, June 15th 1929.
SÉANCE HELD IN HAUNTED HOUSE
Mysterious rappings in the Rectory of Borley
How Questions Were Asked and Answered
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
LONG MELFORD, FRIDAY.
An informal séance at the “haunted” Borley rectory as a preliminary to an orthodox one with a medium produced astonishing results.
The Beginning of Borley - Day 2
Thursday, 10 January 2013
Transcript from The Daily Mirror, Friday, June 14, 1929.
WEIRD NIGHT IN “HAUNTED” HOUSE
Shape That Moved on Lawn of Borley Rectory
Articles Flying Through Air Seen by Watchers
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Long Melford, Thursday.
There can no longer be any doubt that Borley Rectory, near here, is the scene of some remarkable incidents.
Last night Mr. Harry Price…
The Beginning of Borley
Wednesday, 9 January 2013
This ten-year-long study would later become the subject of his 1940 bestseller: ‘The Most Haunted House in England’.
Over the next few days, I will attempt to re-tell the story of Borley’s hauntings through contemporary newspaper articles, starting with the following article, which - though slightly…
The man with Sherlock Holmes' face
Monday, 7 January 2013
The original images of Sherlock Holmes - created by Sidney Paget - helped define the character’s ‘look’ as we now know it.
However, Paget was actually given the commission by accident, as The Strand Magazine thought they were hiring his better-known elder brother, Walter - who had recently illustrated Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe for them.
However, Walter was still very much involved…
Elementary Problems in the Sherlock Holmes stories
Friday, 4 January 2013
1. On the Wrong Track
In the Sherlock Holmes short story The Adventure of the Priory School, whilst investigating a countryside abduction case, Holmes and Watson come across a bicycle track.
Watson wonders which direction the bicycle was travelling in and Holmes replies that “the direction can be ascertained by the more deeply sunk impression is, of course, the hind wheel, upon which the weight…
Happy Christmas, everyone!
Monday, 24 December 2012
Apologies for sending out this Christmas round robin (do you see the quality of the work?) but I just wanted to say thank you for the pledges and support over the year!
Have yourself a very merry Christmas! You deserve it!
Getting by in World War 1
Monday, 17 December 2012
If the past is indeed a foreign country, then – if you visit - you’re going to need some help getting by.
On the off-chance you find yourself in London during the First World War, here are 15 terms and phrases that are going to be pretty much indispensable.
1. Monkey on a stick. (Colloq.) A thin man with jerky movements.
2. To gallop one’s antelope / maggot. (Low colloq.) To masturbate. Perhaps…
Give it up to the ghost
Friday, 14 December 2012
Submitted for your approval, another list of spurious ‘facts’ gleaned - without due care and attention - from the internet. This time, on the subject of ghosts.
1. Apparently a half-frozen chicken haunts the area of Pond Square in Highgate.
In 1626, Francis Bacon decided to conduct a spontaneous experiment to test the preservative qualities of ice, whilst driving home through the square. However…
Conversations with Spirits - 95 years ago this week.
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
The action (such as it is) in Conversations with Spirits, takes place 95 years ago this week.
The book begins with Trelawney’s journey from London to Broadstairs on Friday the 14th December 1917, and ends – when the mystery is finally unravelled – the following Sunday.
The news-journals that weekend were primarily concerned with the British forces’ ‘Jerusalem Operations’, - fighting that had…
Win the Digital copy of Conversations with Spirits
Thursday, 6 December 2012
Below are 25 facts about Britain. However, one of them is not correct.
Be the first to correctly identify the one made-up fact – and I will buy you the digital version of Conversations with Spirits. *
1. A pregnant woman may relieve herself wherever she wishes - including inside a policeman’s helmet.
2. It is an executable offence to allow your pet to mate with any pet of the royal house without…
Sherlock Holmes vs A. J. Raffles
Wednesday, 14 November 2012
Hornung had probably expected more in the way of entertainment from the world-famous author, but, from all accounts, Conan Doyle gave the young writer a fairly cool reception - until a chance comment finally broke the ice…
The grateful and the dead
Monday, 5 November 2012
A big 'thank you' to everyone that attended last week’s Laars Head séance.
Laars tends to spend much of the winter-time shut away from wider society – devoting his time to convening with the eternals, and then writing cook books based on his findings…
So, if you did manage to catch him on his sell-out, one-night tour, you were indeed blessed. (Though, that said, Laars is also keen to point out…
The elephant not in the room
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
I’m currently busily engaged in my two favourite pursuits of recovering from a stomach bug and organising an impromptu séance. Therefore, sad to say, I don’t have as much time for adding bits to my shed...
But, never fear, luckily I still have enough residual Catholic guilt left over to worry that I’m neglecting you, my dear patrons.
And so, I will now do the unthinkable and recycle…
Modern man, an exposé
Wednesday, 3 October 2012
The world would be a very dull place if we were all the same now, wouldn’t it?
Actually though, when you think about it, the world is a very dull place – and it is for precisely this reason.
Submitted for your approval, the 9 basic forms that the modern man can take…
The Office Man
Good humour and dignity are two things lacking in this poor wretch’s life. For he is quite prepared to stand…
He came, he saw, he conga'd...
Wednesday, 26 September 2012
I'm clearly something of a philistine.
I realised this this morning, when I listened to a piece of classical music on the radio - and, whilst I didn’t know its name, I did recognise it as the music from the Hamlet television commercials from the 1980s.
You don’t see a lot of cigar advertising on television anymore. This may be because people smoke less - or perhaps it says more about Gregor Fisher…
The Edwardians' fear of massive insects.
Friday, 14 September 2012
If the good people at TNT hadn't delivered the bonus of a massive spider to my house today (along with the table, I was having delivered), I wouldn't have stumbled upon these excellent pictures - so, thank you, TNT.*
In the article, ordinary…
Well, it's that time again...
Thursday, 13 September 2012
It's time for a quick giveaway, you lucky, lucky people.
The first person to correctly identify the man in the photograph below will win my well-thumbed copy of The World of Unknown GHOSTS (Usbourne 1977).
This all-colour anthology will tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about ghosts, spectres, phantoms and, yes, even poltergeists.
The book rarely left my side when I was a young…
A quick and timely word of thanks...
Wednesday, 12 September 2012
It strikes me that I haven't thanked you all for your support for a while, so I thought I’d best rectify this.
I can't do it personally - not because I don't want to - but because I don't have all your email addresses, etc.
But, anyway, THANK YOU SO MUCH!
You're all very charming and generous - and I really hope you enjoy the book when you read it.
If you would like a personal…
Competition with Spirits
Wednesday, 5 September 2012
Well, it’s plucking day!
Well done everyone who correctly identified the building in the above photograph as – ‘The Most Haunted House in England’ – Borley Rectory!
The connection to Conversations with Sprits being Harry Price; a character in the book - and the real-life psychic investigator at Borley.
Well done – Ian Williams!
You were plucked from literally ones of entrants from my big hat…
Thursday, 30 August 2012
It says something about the British character that we seem to actively rejoice in the ridiculous and the tawdry. It’s like some sort of endemic need for self-flagellation, that means - as a nation - we’re happy to embrace what we know to be trash.
Only in this country would a puppet meerkat in a smoking jacket saying ‘simples’ continue to be a brilliant prospect eight years on - even producing its…
Long-distance Conversations with Spirits
Friday, 24 August 2012
“I have been at work for some time building an apparatus to see if it is possible for personalities which have left this earth to communicate with us.”
When Thomas Edison uttered these words to the science correspondent of The American magazine in 1920, the journalist must have realised he’d hit on quite a big story.
At the time, Edison held an unprecedented 1093 US patents. He and his workshop…
The Edwardian world of the tomorrow
Wednesday, 22 August 2012
In the early-1900s, a few years before Conversations with Spirits is set, a German confectionary company released a series of postcards showing what the world of the future would be like.
Let’s make it happen, people...
By the year 2000, man (and horse) will have conquered the oceans. This will be achieved through a process of water wheels, personal hot-air balloons and unusually-long shoes.…
Voices of the Dead
Thursday, 9 August 2012
Last week, I went on a thoroughly British holiday. Basically, in the pursuit of some ‘fresh air’, I spent a week in provincial England standing on a hillside being rained on.
Despite this, I somehow managed to get sunburnt. (That’s Irish skin for you – I’ve been known to get sunstroke under a 100 watt bulb.)
Anyway, whilst away (this is why there have been no updates to my Unbound shed for over…
Small Medium at Large
Wednesday, 25 July 2012
Observant viewers of the Conversations with Spirits pitch video will have noticed me lisping my way through a discourse with Jack Lenox and mentioning a “very silly website I was writing about a psychic” – so I thought I should probably explain.
Sometime in the middle of last year, it occurred to me that, whilst I was writing a book about a psychic, I had actually encountered very few real-life…
Away with the fairies...
Monday, 9 July 2012
The reason that Conversations with Spirits was set in 1917, is that that was the year that Arthur Conan Doyle came out in support of the Cottingley fairy photographs.
The final years of the Great War were a heyday for so-called ‘spirit photographs’. The Spiritualist movement fed the insatiable hunger of the war bereaved, and a new breed of ‘psychic photographer’ made a good living by exploiting…
The most haunted man in England
Friday, 29 June 2012
The second chapter of Conversations with Spirits (still live on Jottify.com) is titled ‘The Redoubtable Harry Price’.
Harry Price was a real-life figure, and famous (in his lifetime, at least) as a ‘psychic investigator’.
By the 1930s, no radio broadcast or newspaper / magazine article about an alleged case of haunting was complete without a contribution from Price. He was also a talented and…