I recently stumbled on a gem of a book called The Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth. As I skimmed through it, I found it to be a rather unique book, and wanted to know more about how it came to be. Chances are you found this weblog post because you're researching it like I was.
Its origins turned out to be a little elusive, until I finally discovered that it was originally published as The Eye of Revelation in 1939 (PDF linked below) by Peter Kelder. It has been republished, often by hand a few times since, and lately it's been edited and published under the new title, since the main subject is really more of a fountain of youth than a revelation, which was more of a 1930s-style marketing idea.
I like the newer title and some of the editing that happened in later editions (for example, one editor notes that chakras are commonly related to the endocrine system, which was not commonly known in the West in 1939), but I tend to prefer primary sources for material like this, so I kept looking until I found the best original editions available.
However, although they were lovingly prepared at one point or another, none of the existing copies of the 1939 or the 1946 republishing of the 1939 edition were in a good enough shape to print a few copies, for me and a few friends I'd like to give such a book to as a gift. Since it's in the public domain (apparently nobody knows anything about the original author), I spent a day putting an improved 1939 edition together.
I went through, page by page, and cleaned everything up. One of the main things I did was make the searchable text of the PDF (instead of 2J@#$kbergs here and there) by using the tesseract open source OCR app, which generated a much better quality searchable text to go with the improved images of each page.
I also eliminated things like handwritten page numbers, highlighter markings in the scanned images, and many tiny improvements to the images, including putting everything on a clean, white background, instead of the blurry pages with small splotches here and there. I also made sure all the pages were the same size and in the center of the page. I do this kind of stuff for my day job, so I was able to put together a decent PDF within a day.
For example, here is how I found the front cover, and what I did with it:
And here are a few blotches and a highlight removed:
Likewise, the images were cleaned up in lots of tiny ways, as well as consistent page numbers:
The PDF is right here
Hopefully I will eventually find an original first edition copy, and then I can scan it in at better resolution and do this right, but in case that's not possible, this makes a decent, searchable, PDF you can download and read or even print out, and give to a few friends (here it is: The-Eye-of-Revelation-1939-by-Peter-Kelder.pdf).
If you're the editor type like me and you're looking for a decent TXT version to play with, here's this. Tesseract did a much better job than two other applications I tried for OCR. Any remaining minor scan errors should be easy to clean up, easier in this TXT version than a copy-paste from the PDF.
The individual page images embedded in the PDF are also available, for people who know how to extract'm, but along those lines, here are the images used for the five graphics, in slightly different resolution than appears in the book: Rite 1, Rite 2, Rite 3, Rite 4, Rite 5, and a larger version of the intriguing front cover image.
With a copyright long expired, it's in public domain, so if you're like me, giving it away for free, have at it.