CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is OneLetterWords.com.
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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
The Book of Whispers: Being a Looking Glass

The most profound secrets lie not wholly in knowledge, said the poet.  They lurk invisible in that vitalizing spark, intangible, yet as evident as the lightning—the seeker's soul.  Solitary digging for facts can reward one with great discoveries, but true secrets are not discovered—they are shared, passed on in confidence from one to another.  The genuine seeker listens attentively.

No secret can be transcribed, save in code, lest it—by definition–cease to be.  This Book of Whispers collects and encodes more than one hundred of humankind's most cherished secrets.  To be privy to the topics alone is a supreme achievement, as each contains and nurtures the seed of its hidden truth.  As possessor and thereby guardian of this knowledge, may you summon the courage to honor its secrets and to bequeath it to one worthy.

November 30, 2016 (permalink)

"The secret to many repairs is to avoid straight lines. They aren't found in nature and they will attract the eye." —Woodworking Wisdom & Know-How
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November 15, 2016 (permalink)

"The secret is to look beyond what is said and examine what drives it." —The Fox Trilogy: Imagining the Unimaginable and Dealing with It
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May 27, 2016 (permalink)

"The secret to being hip is often just adding an -o to words," as we learn in Robin and the Seven Hoods (1964), analyzed in Funny to Us by Ploeger, Bryant, & Hsieh.
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December 24, 2015 (permalink)

"Who lists may in their mumming see traces of ancient mystery."  From Christmas in the Olden Time by Walter Scott, 1887.

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December 4, 2015 (permalink)

"The Road to Fairyland" by Ernest Thompson Seton, in St. Nicholas magazine, 1903.

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September 16, 2015 (permalink)

We hereby present the tightly-guarded secret to finishing a manuscript: "He wrote on to the conclusion."  From Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.

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August 24, 2015 (permalink)

"I shall tell you a great secret my friend.  Do not wait for the last judgement.  It takes place every day." —Albert Camus

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July 11, 2015 (permalink)

"What the secret chamber contained," from Home-Theatricals Made Easy by Frances Elizabeth Callow, 1891.
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June 29, 2015 (permalink)

"The is the secret of Hall-in-the-Wood," from The Mystery of Hall-in-the-Wood by Rosa Mulholland, 1893.
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June 25, 2015 (permalink)

The devil whispers a great secret to a cow, from Blasts From the Ram's Horn, 1902.
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June 4, 2015 (permalink)

"Yes, I know the hidden secret," from Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 1892.
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May 4, 2015 (permalink)

"There was more than one way into the Otherworld." —Lisa Tuttle, The Mysteries

Pictured above, Prof. Oddfellow knocks on a fairy door.  Pictured below, Prof. Oddfellow reveals that even a fairy window floating in space may betray subtle sounds.

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April 19, 2015 (permalink)

"Whisper the one word, dearest."  From The Cap Becomes a Coronet by Frederick Bingham, 1894.
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February 7, 2015 (permalink)

Every beginning is shrounded in a mist — a clue — in the darkness — flashing.  From Proverbial Philosophy by Martin Farquhar Tupper, 1881 (with our own erasures).
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February 2, 2015 (permalink)


From Holiday Leaflets Illustrated by Charles Eyre Pascoe, 1898.
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January 20, 2015 (permalink)

"The voices in the waves are always whispering to Florence," from the Works of Charles Dickens, Household Edition.
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December 30, 2014 (permalink)

"Anyone who has worked with groups will be aware of [the] phenomenon of a mental field and yet this may only be whispered in respectable scientific circles." —Barbara Dowds, Beyond the Frustrated Self
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December 20, 2014 (permalink)

"I could not distinguish what he said," from The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells, 1896.
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October 9, 2014 (permalink)

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September 18, 2014 (permalink)

"The golden secret is told," from The Trail of the Serpent by M. E. Braddon, 1861.
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Original Content Copyright © 2016 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.