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Haunted Highways and Byways Signed by Elliott O'Donnell first edition 1914

Haunted Highways and Byways Signed by Elliott O'Donnell first edition 1914


O’DONNELL, Elliot 

Haunted Highways and Byways

London: Eveleigh Nash, 1914


8vo., maroon publisher’s cloth, with blue painted title label to the upper board, and lettered in blue along the spine; in the uncommon original printed publisher’s dust jacket; pp. [iv], v-219, [v, ads]; a little compressed to spine tips, one small nick to head, pages a touch toned in accordance with age, evenly so, just the hint of scattered spotting and offsetting to the prelims; near-fine internally, otherwise; in the seldom-found jacket which is sunned along spine, a little so too to the upper edge; nicked to extremities, some very minor loss to foot of spine; but very good, nonetheless. Provenance: Ex-Libris of S. [Hejdenfeld?] to the front paste-down. 


First edition of this very early title by the ghost hunter Elliott O’Donnell, signed ‘With all good wishes from Elliott O’Donnell’ to the half title. Includes such yarns as ‘The Garden of Shadows’, ‘The Spotted Head’ and ‘The Phantom Football Player’. 


O’Donnell was born in Clifton, Bristol, in 1872, and had his first experience of the supernatural at age 5, when he claimed to have seen ‘an elemental figure, covered with spots’. The son of an Irish Reverend, he had an eclectic early career, first working on a cattle ranch in Oregon before becoming a policeman, schoolmaster, and subsequently an actor. In 1914 he joined the British Army, and served for the duration of the war. This work, on the haunted roads of Britain, was his 13th. He began writing in 1904 with his first novel, a psychic thriller entitled For Satan’s Sake, perhaps serving as a template for his later, more popular ‘non-fiction’ works. The latter proved extremely successful, and he became somewhat of an authority on supernatural affairs, travelling extensively in order to solve various ghost problems. 


O’Donnell continued to write for the duration of the war, and published over 50 books in his lifetime. While first editions of his works are not uncommon, they are seldom found with the dust jackets, and even less so signed such, making this edition a rare, and much coveted example.

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