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New book reveals the supernatural world of Solihull Edwardian author Edith Holden

SHE was the Solihull schoolteacher whose natural history journals - published almost 60 years after her death - became international bestsellers.

SHE was the Solihull schoolteacher whose natural history journals - published almost 60 years after her death - became international bestsellers.

Now a new book, compiled by Karl Jackson-Barnes, sheds fresh light on the life of Olton's own Edith Holden - the acclaimed author of The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady.

Edith's illustrated diaries described her walks around Solihull and the surrounding area, conducted while she was lived in Kineton Green Road in the first years of the 20th century.

But as the new book reveals, Edith's interests extended beyond the natural world, to the supernatural world!

In fact its exactly a 100 years since her father, the businessman and philanthropist Arthur Holden, published a book on the world of spiritualism.

The account, dating from 1913, charts the familys attempts to communicate with Edith's mother Emma, following her death from breast cancer.

At the time it was written anonymously but Karl, who lives in Scotland, was eventually able to identify Arthur as the author.

"It was like assembling a jigsaw," said the 43-year-old. "I spent the best part of eight months on this, for nine or ten hours a day. I don't know if you'd call this dedication or an obsession.

"Edith's books were a worldwide phenomenon, but I think people who have researched the family in the past have only ever touched on their interest in spiritualism.

"It was something that gave the family a great deal of comfort and of course spiritualism is still something that interests thousands of people today."

Karl says that his book includes Arthur's original journal of spirit messages, as well as a biography of the Holden family and a detailed family tree.

Delving into their past, he uncovered links to Birmingham's famous Cadbury family, the Suffragette movement, a Broadway actress and even Mahatma Gandhi.

"They had fingers in a lot of pies. One of the clergymen who came along to their seances was instrumental in the Russian Revolution!"

Messages from the Unseen - The Edwardian Afterlife Diary of Emma Holden is available from www.psychicbookclub.com or Amazon.com. A share of proceeds will go to the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

 

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