Jadoo by John Keel (1957)
I had wanted to read John Keel's Jadoo: The Astounding Story of One Man's Search into the Mysteries of Black Magic in the Orient for a very long time. Out of print, and sometimes hard to find, I finally picked up a reasonably priced copy of it. Running roughly 250 pages, it is one hell of an interesting read. Keel is known, of course, most famously for The Mothman Prophecies, and overall as a UFOlogist. But this book is before all that. Published in 1957, this was his debut, and chronicles his life traveling around the Middle East in search of unusual stories. He delves into the secrets of snake charmers and mystics. He learned the rather interesting Indian Rope Trick. He searches for a Yeti in the mountains near Tibet. He does all this by the seat of his pants, with almost no money, and encounters plenty of problems. It's a very entertaining read, and through it all, despite his overall skepticism, he finds some truly unexplainable things out there. At the same time, you can really feel what he is describing, from the squalor of certain areas, to the majesty of others. It's a look at another culture that you don't often see from our world.
In short, if you like Keel's style, his frank, and humorous approach, you will like Jadoo, and I would highly recommend tracking down a copy.
Below is a home movie that he took of the snake charmers he talks about in the book... Kind of interesting that it exists, especially since he had to sell all his equipment to have money to live on shortly after this. Would love to see more footage from the events in the book.
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