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
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Restoring the Lost Sense

Today — February 1, 2015 (permalink)

Here's a cat ignoring the presence of an otherworldly spirit, from The Student and Schoolmate, 1872.

"He never looked behind him: he knew what was there—death in the shape of a man!"  From Montezuma's Daughter by Henry Rider Haggard, 1896.

"Before me stood the figure of a monk," from The Decameron of a Hypnotist by Ernest Richard Suffling, 1898.

"Dining under difficulties," from Sunshine and Storm in the East by Annie Brassey, 1881.

An illustration from The Comic History of Rome by Gilbert Abbott a'Beckett, illustrated by John Leech (1897).  The caption reads: "Romulus consulting the Augury."

Yesterday — January 31, 2015 (permalink)

"You must have plenty of ghosts in Greek and Latin, doctor."  From Gryll Grange by Thomas Love Peacock and illustrated by Frederick Henry Townsend, 1896.

From Captain Marryat's Novels by Frederick Marryat, 1896.

To date we've never been menaced by books.  The artist could at least have magnified bookworms to dragon-like proportions.

From Verses for Grannie by S. Middleton Fox, 1899.

Imagination and Freewill, from Cassell's Library of English Literature, edited by Henry Morley, 1875.

January 30, 2015 (permalink)

From The Ingoldsby Legends by Thomas Ingoldsby, 1866.

"Ill-fame and innocence" from The New Hyperion by Edward Strahan, 1875.

January 29, 2015 (permalink)

"His eyes rested on a form that made his blood run cold."  From The Works of Charles Dickens, Household Edition.

"A poetical ruin," from Love Lyrics and Valentine Verses by Charles Maurice Davies, 1875.

"A dignitary of the church laid low," from The Foreign Freaks of Five Friends by C. A. Jones, 1882.

January 28, 2015 (permalink)

"The crystal ball turned inky black."  From Strange Stories, April 1939.

From The Baby's Museum by Uncle Charlie, 1882.

January 27, 2015 (permalink)

"He is here now. Wicked doubter—beware!"  From The Land of the Living Dead by Neal Fyne, 1897.

"They danced in the moonlight on the sward," from Bladys of the Stewponey by Sabine Baring-Gould and illustrated by Frederick Henry Townsend, 1897.

"I was touched," from Roughing It by Mark Twain.

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