The Human Chord
As a boy, Robert Spinrobin created vast worlds in his imagination, naming and bringing things to life. In later years this inner world of childhood fades, but he retains the mystical vision of the poet. Bored and disappointed by his humdrum adult existence, and seeking an adventure of the soul, he comes across a strange advertisement in a newspaper. Attracted by the promise of adventure, he travels to the remote mountains of Wales where he is to assist Philip Skale in his enigmatic ‘experiments in sound’. Caught up in the mystical adventure he has yearned for, Robert begins to feel in touch with the greater elemental scheme of the universe.
Author biography:Algernon Blackwood (1869-1951) was born into a well-to-do Kentish family. His parents, converts to a Calvinistic sect, led an austere life, ill-suited to their dreamy and sensitive son.
During adolescence, he became fascinated by hypnotism and the supernatural and, on leaving university, studied Hindu philosophy and occultism. Later, he was to draw on these beliefs and experiences in his writing.
Sent away to Canada at the age of twenty, his attempts at making a living were wholly unsuccessful and shortly after his return to England, he began to write. The Empty House and Other Ghost Stories, published in 1906, was followed by a series of psychic detective stories, featuring John Silence, ‘physician extraordinary’. His reputation as one of the greatest exponents of supernatural fiction began to grow.
Chiefly known for his ghost stories, Blackwood wrote in many different forms within the genre. His most personal works, however, are his ‘mystical’ novels, for example The Centaur, where he explores man’s empathy with the forces of the universe.
Blackwood also wrote children’s fiction. A Prisoner in Fairyland was adapted into the play (later the musical), Starlight Express.
Later in life, Blackwood turned to writing radio plays, and in 1947 he began a new career on BBC TV telling ghost stories. He received a knighthood in 1949.