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Topics - Philippe Cordier

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Calendar Events / Announcements '21 I / OT - Halloween Reading
« on: October 31, 2020, 03:05:48 PM »
I had never heard of this short novel until coming across it on amazon a few weeks ago and quickly ordered a copy in time for this year's Halloween reading. I've only read a few pages so far and it's fascinating ... anyway, it's called "The Lifted Veil" and it's by George Eliot. Yes, the same George Eliot who penned "Silas Marner," "Middlemarch," and other highly esteemed English classics. Apparently her publisher attempted to dissuade her from publishing "The Lifted Veil" lest it tarnish her high literary reputation with a Gothic thriller ... It's quite a bit easier to get into than "Silas Marner" ...

I've been thinking recently about that crew of cutthroat pirates who manned "The Java Queen" under Gerard Stiles (or whatever his name might have been, I think he had bee called "Ivan Miller" or somesuch at one point). I think the ship is first mentioned in the Summer of 1970 and when David waves the green flag from the tower room window of Collinsport, it's a signal for the pirate crew to rise out of their graves and begin marauding Collinsport at the end of 1995 as a prelude to 1840 (if I have my storylines straight)!

What I'm wondering is how the DS writers came up with this idea. I've never heard of any source story where that this might have been taken from.

This has gotten me to thinking further about Gothic fiction, which I'm surveying in my spare time. I can't find any examples of the dead rising from their graves in any old Gothic novels I've read about --the Gothic genre begins with "The Castle of Otranto," and then there's "Melmouth the Wanderer," "Vathek," the Ann Radcliffe novels, and so one. But unbelievably, I can't find any examples of the dead literally rising from their grave. Now, there are ghosts, there are vampires, and there are zombies. I suppose the DS pirate crew were closest to being zombies, but I'm not sure if they were exactly that.

Anyone have any ideas or thoughts about sources / origins / early gothic fiction that presents such a scenario? "Frankenstein" is quite different, since the creature is a creation, not a resurrected person. Stories of necromancy go back to the Old Testament, but that seems possibly another sort of thing since a sorcerer of some type is involved. And vampires have been transformed into a different undead creature of the night. Maybe something called "revenants"? Or maybe Gerard Stiles in this case could be deemed a "necromancer"?

Wish I had seen this earlier or at least post this earlier. Turner Classic Movies just aired "Woman in the Window" and is now close to winding up "Scarlet Street." Joan Bennett is great as the femme fatale in both films, directed by Fritz Lang. The latter was banned in New York and elsewhere for immoral indecency.

Current Talk '21 I / Snow Globe, Gypsies, and DS Memories
« on: January 19, 2019, 06:29:51 PM »
I was very pleased to have received the Dark Shadows/MPI Snow Globe for Christmas (though I placed the order myself, so it didn't come as a surprise). I will say that at least it's glass - well, acrylic, probably - but not plastic. So it's heavy and the quality seems quite good. I've seen some snow globes recently where the globe was a soft plastic that actually gives if you pick it up by the globe. I like the Collinwood replica although it is very tiny - I should look at it more closely with a magnifying glass. I have not spotted for sure what architectural departure the model has from the real house. It's fun to see Collinwood under snowfall when you shake the globe. I have mixed feelings about the greenish tinge to the snow, though. And the music plays really, really loud. As someone commented elsewhere, I too would have preferred a mechanism music box, but it seems that digital chips are the way many are made now, at least the inexpensive ones. It was the music that brought back memories, though. When I heard "Quentin's Theme," many memories of the show came flooding back.

I've also given thought to Magda, Sandor, and the werewolf curse over the past six months, as I have worked almost obsessively nearly every moment I could on trying to find the gypsy ancestor that my DNA results revealed for the first time. Since then, I have found additional SNPs from India (the origin of the Roma people) in my DNA as well as two rare European SNPs associated with the European Roma. Surprisingly these latter two appear in Sweden and Finland, my mother's heritage, and not my father's French line, as I had expected. Since my mother had agreed some time back to having her DNA tested, I have been able to find conclusively that the Roma/Romany heritage is in her ancestry. One of my testing companies allows me to filter all my DNA matches by specific regions or nationalities (for example, Ashakenzai Jewish, Sephardic Jewish, North African, Southwestern Asia (Iran/Iraq), India, etc.). With this company I have 11 matches with Roma people, all of them in Finland (and all with 25% or greater ancestry from India). That proved conclusively that this was on my mother's side. Interestingly, she has matches with 32 Roma in Finland (called Kaale or Romany there). So a lot of DNA has been lost just between her generation and me. We also have some much weaker links with Romanichal in the U.K. What has taken the most effort, though, is the historical genealogical research since I found only one possible clue in church records around 1800 that I'm still not sure about - and it would mean Romany ancestry in a different line of my mother's family. Where the paper trail intersects with DNA matches goes back to two gypsy families living just north of the Arctic Circle in Lapland in the 1600s. It's little known that gypsies were that far north at that time (one online poster in Finland confidently - but mistakenly - stated that the gypsies didn't get that far north until the railroads went in in the 1800s). But Thesleff, one of the great researchers in the matter, shows in his maps and diagrams that the gypsies were in that area as early as the late 1500s as they made their way from Sweden to Finland over the northern shore of the Gulf of Bothnia. Others came from the South and Russia, and the family name of one of my two families translates as "Russian." According to one researcher, they had lived originally in Armenia. So all of this is very far back and distant, 400 years ago. And knowledge of their existence in my family tree would never have been known were it not for DNA testing. Though interestingly, my grandmother had written a poem about Roma travelers she had seen growing up and a couple of other stories about them had been passed down in the family.

Calendar Events / Announcements '21 I / Collinwood Snow Globe
« on: November 18, 2018, 11:58:14 AM »
Has anyone purchased the snow globe from MPI? I'm wondering how accurate the model of Collinwood is, and who may have designed it. It looks quite good.

Current Talk '18 / OT - Roma/Gypsy Heritage
« on: May 29, 2018, 01:41:31 AM »
I'm posting this because if any of my friends might appreciate this, it would be Dark Shadows friends. I've met with only the mildest (to zero) interest from family members with the exception of my mother, who isn't actually affected by it. The subject of gypsies has come up many times on this forum, but I never dreamed I would have a personal connection to the Roma people. It's in the much distant past and I wouldn't want to overstate the case, either.

My genealogy pursuits in recent years have been supplemented by genetic genealogy, i.e. DNA testing. I'm no expert but I have given presentations and co-presented to genealogy groups on some basic aspects. Some results from testing have remained puzzling and it's easy to brush them off. One of these were filtered tests of my data that showed Spanish ancestry. Confident that I have no Spanish ancestry, I didn't pursue these curious findings for several years and only took another look at these results recently. They showed Basque, Andalucia, La Mancha, and a handful of other regions of Spain near the Bay of Biscay and along the French border. In my searches for what Haplogroups and subclades (more precise subcategories) these might include, I came upon an article from 2007 from a journal of genetic research that outlined 12 subclades that define the genetic profile of the Iberian (Spanish/Portuguese) Roma.

Almost in a spirit of following a lark, I began searching my data for each of these clades/SNPs (there is only one testing company that provides this analysis). Each one I checked for, it turned out I had – but the clincher was a specific subclade originating in northern India. For someone with Nordic and French heritage, that is hard to fathom. The administrator of this Haplogroup writes that in European ancestry, this subclade is found only in those with Roma heritage. So, yes, I have a gypsy ancestor somwhere, and more specifically one from Spain.

I've learned a lot about the Roma in the past several weeks, but have also found how much of their history remains a mystery – including in France. The DNA results indicate an ancestor within the last 450 years. Sounds like a long time, but my most likely ancestor was one from Auvergne in south central France who later migrated to the northeastern France of my great-grandfather. My seventh-great grandfather, he lived in the late 1600s and early 1700s. In the late 1580s, Spain decided to rid the country of the gypsies, and many likely fled into France. Within a couple of miles from my ancestor's home in the Clermont-Theirs region was a an area that seems to have been a refuge for the Roma. It is still found on some maps, and called "Bohemia," but in the Occitan form of the local language. A canon of the church living at the time of my ancestor and in the same city was also a poet who wrote sympathetically of the "Baumians," and I believe that this was an area where gypsies were safe for a few generations.

What has this to do with me today? Well, I still have a trace of his DNA. We don't have DNA from every ancestor – by 400-500 years we have too many ancestors to still carry DNA from each one. So I have inherited something from a Roma forebear - DNA, yes, but also a sliver of a heritage I never would have expected I had.

Current Talk '16 II / Was There a Library at Collinwood?
« on: June 17, 2016, 06:08:12 PM »
Sitting area, reading room, family archives …

For a few years now I have been trying to remember a scene somewhere in DS. I'm afraid this is about as vague as you can get, but there was a brief scene at Collinwood where Barnabas was seated in a high-back arm chair reading a book in a room that appeared to be a study, den, or library on the second floor. Elisabeth came in the door directly behind the chair. That's it.

I'm wondering whether there was ever mention of a library at Collinwood. If a library was mentioned, it would likely have been much earlier in the series when Dr. Hoffman first appeared on the scene and was researching in the Collins family archives. We never got to see her in that location, though.

The room I'm thinking of was not the first floor study which we saw from time to time (one of my favorite rooms!).

I found what may have been the room I'm thinking of in a photo on a DS wiki, where it seems to be just to the left of the armchair pictured in the photo but is cut off. The location identified by the wiki is Angelique's room in 1970 PT. It is also referred to on the wiki as the 1970 PT "parlor."

Barnabas was a reader and I've often wondered if that attribute was Jonathan Frid's contribution to the character.

Quote from the wiki:
[labeled Angelique's room, but when clicked on called the 1970 PT parlor]

The East Wing parlour, or "Angelique's Room" as it came to be known in 1970 by those who understood its power, was a room in Collinwood's East Wing that was closed off and not in use by the Collins family before the year 1840 (1186). It's use prior to that time was not depicted. A warp in time existed within the room, which allowed the parlour to serve as an entrance to Parallel Time.

I was watching the Travel Channel's "Mysteries at the Museum" last night (one of my favorites). There was a segment on Max Factor's development of "Pan-cake" makeup, a big advance over the makeup used in black and white movies. Although there must have been some color movies prior to this, the movie "Vogues of 1938" (released in 1937) was the first movie where the actresses used the new "pancake" - and the makeup became a sensation with women everywhere, apparently a big improvement over previous makeup. A poster for the film was shown, and I noticed Joan Bennett on the poster.

The Smithsonian Magazine arrived at home a couple of days ago, and one of the articles immediately caught my attention -- in addition to a cover story unearthing new information on Thomas Jefferson's slaves, and an interesting article on the real Tom Sawyer, a friend of Mark Twain's. The one relevant here is called "The Great New England Vampire Panic."

I've barely had time to skim the article, which is quite lengthy and luckily is also available online.

It's also quite timely given another discussion thread here, because the article documents dozens of cases of bodies being unearthed -- and some beheaded -- in wake of local fears and beliefs that a vampire was preying on the community. These occurences took place in many areas of New England -- many of them well past 1840, interestingly enough.

The Great New England Vampire Panic
Two hundred years after the Salem witch trials, farmers became convinced that their relatives were returning from the grave to feed on the living
By Abigail Tucker, Smithsonian magazine, October 2012

Read more:

Calendar Events / Announcements '12 II / Reporting from Tarrytown
« on: July 27, 2012, 02:33:06 AM »
I thought it would be fun to start a thread that people attending the festival could report on. After some stressful moments in travel preparations (a misplaced VISA card, getting lost in finding my airport due to roads closed from recent flooding), I finally made it first to Chicago and then on to Tarrytown. I had barely checked into my room when a letter was hand-delivered warning of impending strong storms, tornadoes, and possible flooding. The hotel lobby is very comfortable and feels a little like the hall of an old castle. Visited already with Teresa who was in the lobby sipping wine with her friend. Because of the threatening storm, I didn't go out to eat but had a wonderful penne pasta (with jumbo shrimp and fresh artichoke cooked in a wine broth) here at the hotel. Tomorrow I hope to spend some solitary time at Lyndhurst, providing all goes well; and would also like to investigate Tarrytown, though that is in the opposite direction. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Professor Stokes will be here and am looking forward to seeing her, Jimbo, and others. I've also just learned that there won't be any DS events here at the hotel other than the luncheon on Sunday. One thing I enjoyed at the other festivals I've attended was how you could watch DS episodes playing in one of the banquet rooms practically all night if you wanted, but that won't be the case this time.

A film I have wanted to see for years which has never been released on VHS or DVD airs tonight for the first time on TCM. From the 1930s with Leslie Howard. The theme is time travel, and I recall that Gothick once mentioned this film as a possible inspiration for DS's 1795 storyline. I read the play which was somewhat reminiscent with a man in search of his ancestors. The play was inspired by an unfinished novel by Henry James, who was inspired in turn (I think) by H.G. Wells. Unfortunately, I'm still at work and with too much going on at the moment probably won't see much of it myself.

Calendar Events / Announcements '12 I / O.T. - "Häxan" Airing Now
« on: January 23, 2012, 06:23:51 AM »
"Häxan," a Swedish/Danish 1922 silent film, sometimes considered infamous, is airing now on TCM. The film tells the story of typical witchcraft cases in the Middle Ages.

Trivia about the film from

"The Swedish film censors required numerous cuts in the film, before authorizing its release. Among the censored scenes were the closeup of the finger being removed from the hanged man's hand, the trampling of the cross in the witch's sabbath scene, the shot of the oozing infant held over a cooking pot, a closeup of a woman's face while she is on a torture rack, closeups of several instruments of torture being employed, and a shot of a demon embracing a nude woman (all these shots have since been restored to the film)."

A co-worker of mine brought this to my attention. A journal of spirituality, Parabola, has a feature on Alexandra (Moltke) Isles's documentary "Hidden Treasures" (of the Metropolitan Museum of Art) in its Fall issue. The review can be read online at: The print issue has a two-page interview with Ms. Isles which unfortunately is not online. I tried unsuccessfully to scan and e-mail a copy to myself (something that has always worked before), but was unable to do so. I then made a photocopy of the article and interview, which I brought home, but this has since disappeared before I had the chance to read it.

Speaking of photos, I came across this website recently about various restorations of the movie "Suspiria." There are some very close, closeups of Joan Bennett if you click on the small photos halfway down the main page:

With this one, where she's holding the phone, you almost feel like you're in the same room with her - especially if you click a second time on the enlarged photo, which then expands even larger. It's like High-Definition:

Calendar Events / Announcements '11 I / Jean Simmons Movies on TCM
« on: June 29, 2011, 05:51:59 PM »
In keeping with today's (June 29) photo of Jean Simmons from the 1991 series' 1795 sequence, I wanted to mention that Turner Classic Movies has been showing Jean Simmons movies this past week. Last night was "Life at the Top," a 1965 British movie with Laurence Harvey. I've also noticed "Angel Face" with Robert Mitchum and "Black Narcissus" with Deborah Kerr. I don't know if more of her movies are on the schedule now, but several will air again in September.

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