Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Edmund Jackstein, Who Were You?

Ha! After some significant amount of research, I finally found a few more references to Edmund Jackstein, that 19th century writer and local celebrity. If you recall, I wrote a little about this unusual fellow in a post dated September 3rd of this year. By pure luck, one of my blog readers was a distant relative of Edmund’s, and while he had no direct knowledge, he had heard some family tales about “odd Eddie”, as he had come to be known. He also had one original copy of Edmund’s book, “On Jackstein Farm,” the only known surviving original copy of the work.

This relative, a cousin several times removed, is not a direct descendant and did not want his name mentioned, said that according to family legend, “odd Eddie” loved to wear brightly-colored clothes when he showed up at family gatherings and would annoy everyone with his obsession over word origins. Supposedly he would interrupt a conversation with, “Say, did you know that the word ‘abracadabra’ was invented by an ancient Roman named Serenusti Sammicustius?” Which is, of course, not quite correct, as Edmund had the first and last names wrong. But that’s what he would do—toss out random word facts, then intentionally change some of the facts. Apparently, he thought that was quite funny.

Additionally, in the family copy of Edmund’s book, he had gone in and marked out some of the words, with a note on the back of the book signed by him. The note said, “After my book was published, I noticed that many of the words were ceratype words, so I have changed them in this copy. I shall attempt to locate all copies sold and change them as well.” No one has any idea what a ceratype word is, and there is no definition that we know of today for that word.

As we know, Mr. Jackstein experimented with a wide variety of mind-altering chemicals. However, this distant cousin did say that Edmund taught for a few years at Dunwark College where he graduated, acquiring quite a following. He was eventually forced to resign for his refusal to grade any of his students, saying that grades inhibited true learning.

That’s all I have for now on the mysterious and strange Mr. Edmund Jackstein. As I gain more information, I will pass it on.
Please refer to my previous post:

Keep writing, friends.

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