THE MYSTERIES OF MYRA was the first film to portray occult and supernatural phenomena in an up-to-date and realistic fashion, as opposed to in fairy tale/mythological style. Its heroine, Myra Maynard, is plagued by a wide variety of metaphysical assaults by the corrupt Black Order, a secret organization which uses magic, curses and any supernatural means possible to achieve its ends. In this case their desire is to murder Myra Maynard as they did her two sisters before her in order to gain control of her inheritance. Myra is defended by Dr. Payson Alden, the movies’ first paranormal investigator, who uses scientific means to try to defeat the evil cult. Alden is played by Howard Estabrook who, after this serial, quit acting to become a well-known screenwriter.
What exists is surprisingly involving and sometimes actually still scary even today.
Paranormal-investigation and ghost-hunting pioneer Hereward Carrington was the primary consultant for the production, which includes scenes showing characters doing automatic writing, crystal gazing, and using astral bodies, and much more. MYRA was also the first film to ever depict what is now known as a “satanic cult,” (the Black Order), as inspired by Aliester Crowley’s Golden Dawn society. Yes, this really is what people have drawn from ever since.
The final episode is one of the earliest existing examples of a Frankenstein-like monster being depicted on film, 15 years before the Universal picture featuring Boris Karloff.
The transfer of the original footage is from 35mm and excellent in quality, sometimes exhibiting signs of decomposition.
These episodes have been painstakingly restored from stills and existing film footage, according to the content of the original scripts. An update to this DVD may be offered later if additional content is to be restored or re-created but you may order this DVD now, which contains all the existing restored content worked on up to this point.
Episode 1 THE DAGGER OF DREAMS The Master puts a spell on Myra, who discovers a secret chamber in the basement of her house. (Stills only)
Episode 5 THE FUMES OF FEAR Professor Haji and Dr. Alden search for the Black Order and Myra allows herself to be hypnotized to release her astral body.
Episode 12 THE ELIXIR OF YOUTH The Master gives an aging couple a magic elixir in exchange for their promise to kill Myra and Dr. Alden.
Episode 15 THE THOUGHT MONSTER The Black Order creates a monster from their combined evil thoughts which Dr. Alden then hypnotizes and turns against them.
This DVD should be purchased with a copy of the MYSTERIES OF MYRA Novel, which contains over 180 rare stills and background information on the original serial as well as the complete story.
THE MYSTERIES OF MYRA
Wharton 1916 / Story by HEREWARD CARRINGTON and CHARLES GODDARD, Novelization by EUSTACE HALE BALL The long-lost original adaptation of the screenplay created by real-life paranormal investigator and consultant Hereward Carrington and pioneer serial screenwriter Charles Goddard (author of THE PERILS OF PAULINE, THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE, and many more early chapter plays) of the most horrific and captivating serial ever made -- in fact, the only one that ever fully dealt with the supernatural. Myra Maynard's family is cursed by the devil-worshipping Black Order and she is marked for death by black magic on the eve of her eighteenth birthday. Dr. Payson Alden, the movies' first psychic detective, uses science to try and defeat the cult's evil spells, and is assisted by his friend Haji, a Hindu mystic. During the course of the 15 episodes of the serial, the clairvoyant Myra is assaulted by, among other supernatural menaces, astral demons, a fire elemental, even a "thought monster" brought to life by the malicious will of fifteen men, Levitation, crystal balls, automatic writing, mediums, witchcraft, a golden idol come to life, and many more bizarre elements which made movie history also figure into the story to make this a truly fascinating series that you will not want to miss. You will see scenes in this serial that for years people have thought first appeared in DRACULA or FRANKENSTEIN--MYRA beat them to the punch by 15 years as well as defining the "black-robed cult members performing magic rituals" movie motif which soon afterward appeared in serials such as THE MYSTERY OF 13 and THE TRAIL OF THE OCTOPUS and hasn't departed from cinema screens yet!
Finally, after 94 years, THE MYSTERIES OF MYRA is reconstructed here in its entirety. Now, with 180 original photos from the serial, dozens of pages of incredibly rare "extras" including cast biographies, behind-the-scenes and publicity photos, and promotional items, and even unpublished photos from the unreleased "Voodoo" episode, banned by W. R. Hearst as too shocking for public viewing, you will be able to experience THE MYSTERIES OF MYRA as it was originally released, with numerous photos from each chapter all present to match the action. This is a VERY special project worth far more than the asking price, due to the rarity of the groundbreaking and extremely influential material contained in it which no serial fan, classic horror aficionado, or classic cinema fan will want to miss.
Produced by the Mysteries of Myra Restoration Team: editor/designer Eric Stedman, historical consultant Terry Harbin, researcher David Sorochty, and typesetter Tracy Renee Burton, with original material from private collections, the Library of Congress, British Library, Princeton University Firestone Library, and Ithaca-Made Movies of Ithaca, New York, where the serial was originally filmed.
Heavily illustrated with over 200 ultra-rare and frequently full-page original photographs, introduction by Eric Stedman which provides observations and additional information about the restoration of the story and pictures, and about 40 pages of "extras" such as a 4-page history of the Wharton Studio, the serial's cast and production personnel, and a behind-the-scenes production photo and memorabilia album.
ORDER THE BOOK "I just received my MoM hardcover today. To be honest, I was a little nervous; publish on demand books are usually pretty badly designed and produced. But this was fantastic. A handsome book, well worth the money.I'm really glad you pursued this project. Great job."-- Larry Latham 6" x 9" 400-page bookstore-quality trade paperback With color cover and black and white interior, spine about 1" Paperback edition: $25 Same contents as above, with color wraparound dust jacket additional color images of the two existing MYRA posters and other memorabilia printed on the interior flaps. Deluxe Hardbound Library Edition: $40 ORDER THE DVD 1-DVD Set Released October 2015 English - 1:33:1 - Full Screen - Black and White with color tinting - 1916 - 3+ Episodes restored with video footage and animated stills - Digitally mastered from 35mm - Chapter selections - Suitable for all audiences