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The Road to En-Dor – a magical story recommended by Neil Gaiman


Neil Gaiman writes in The Guardian about a rather forgotten book called The Road to En-Dor by former soldier E.H. Jones (1883-1942), which Gaiman is helping to adapt into a film with the assistance of magician Penn Jillette. I’ll let Neil explain as he knows this book inside out…

The book had a red cover, and it was called The Road to En-Dor. It had a sheet that folded out attached to the back cover with glue: a sort of chart, showing objects and numbers and such, and common phrases. I did not understand what the sheet was, and so I read the book. The Road to En-Dor is an autobiographical account of life in, and escape from, a Turkish prisoner-of-war camp, Yozgad, in 1917. It was written by EH Jones, and explains how his use of a Ouija board to entertain his friends became, with the assistance of Australian officer (and amateur magician) Cedric Hill, an escape attempt, using the cupidity of their captors. Jones and Hill convinced the Turks (and many of the British officers) that they were mediums in telepathic communication, and, under the direction of a spirit guide, would be able to find hidden gold… I was 10 years old when I read The Road to En-Dor and was utterly fascinated.

The chart, Gaiman refers to, is a mind-reading code, which two people could memorise and use to covertly communicate.

Of course, Jillette is the one who speaks out of Penn and Teller.

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