Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black by E. B. Hudspeth

As you can already see, this book is brilliant!
Though I should say books,
since it's actually two in one.

First is Black's twisted tale. Summarized below.
It's told through his journal,
and letters to and from him.
Which are so realistic, you forget they're fake!

Book One - The Life of Dr. Spencer Black
(Warning: Contains Spoilers!)

Black was born in 1851.
He reluctantly robbed graves as a boy,
with his older brother for their doctor dad.

In 1869 he started medical school,
focusing his studies on human mutations.
He also began illustrating, mostly insects.
Particularly cicadas.

(It was perfect timing reading this,
since they're due to emerge here.)

In 1870 he joined a surgical team,
performing corrective surgery on "freaks."
He also published a controversial paper.
It claimed mythological creatures were real
and that mutations weren't accidents,
just a body growing back what it once had.

He graduated and got married in 1871.
His wife bore four children from 1872 to 1884.
Three sons and a daughter, but sadly two of them died.
The death of his daughter effected Black greatly,
causing him to quit operating and focus on his theory.

He found just what he needed at a Sideshow in 1878.
It was the dead body of a boy who resembled a fawn.
Believing it could corroborate his theory,
he bought the specimen to dissect.

He attempted to publish his findings,
which stated the fawn-child proved satyrs existed,
but was denied and shunned by his medical peers.

This lead him to become a sideshow showman in 1880,
exhibiting his collected curiosities in an Anatomical Museum.
(My dream job!) But despite being successful,
he realized he couldn't sell his theory without evidence.

Thus began his Frankenstein stage.
He started by grafting together parts of dead animals and humans.
Soon he moved on to live animals, creating living creatures.
All of which he claimed were sent to him from around the world.

Tired of being berated by everyone, including his brother,
Black decided to take his show overseas in 1900.
He brought along his wife and oldest son,
whom he performed a procedure on, rendering him ageless.
Though he was well received,
an accident ended the tour and caused him to return home.

There he completed his masterwork, The Codex Extinct Animalia.
Only six copies were published before Black disappeared in 1908.

Book Two - The Codex Extinct Animalia

This contains illustrations of the creatures listed below.
And not just two or three, but MANY views of each.
All meticulously detailed and labeled.
Plus a page of info on each with fascinating facts.

The Sphinx -
Part (head) woman, part lion with wings.

The Siren -
Half (top) woman, half fish.

The Satyr -
Horned half (top) man, half goat.

The Minotaur -
Half (bottom) man, half bull.

The Ganesha -
Half (bottom) man, half elephant.

The Chimera -
Three headed lion/goat/serpent hybrid.

The Cerberus -
Three headed Hellhound.

The Pegasus -
Winged horse.

The Dragon -
Gigantic reptilian beast.

The Centaur -
Half (top) man, half horse.

The Harpy -
Half (top) woman, half bird.
She was clearly Black's favorite creature,
since he even explained her reproductive system.

Exquisite and grotesque is how Black described them.
And I agree, with a heavy emphasis on the exquisite.

For more info and to buy this beautiful book, click here!


  1. That's really interesting. It must have been fun living in those older days. We didn't know as much, so there were still frontiers to explore. Sometimes I feel that modern science takes all the fun out of things.

  2. I agree with Nightwind above, modern science has left us with no adventure! It would be fun finding things out on our own again.

    This is a fantastic post, I read through the whole thing. And great blog you've got going here! I'm now following you.

    If you wanna chat horror films, swing by my blog any time.

  3. How deliciously gruesome!