The Mostly Lost Writings of Netta Fornario/Mac Tyler/Marie Fornario February 27, 2013Posted by Beachcombing in : Contemporary , trackback
Last month we put up an article on Netta Fornario, who died in unusual circumstances on Iona in 1929, since when a supplementary piece with more details has appeared elsewhere on the web. The most interesting thing to come out of our last post, for this author at least, was that Netta Fornario was fascinated by the green ray, aka nature spirits, aka fairies. Given these interests this blogger has been trying to hunt down the publications of Netta Fornario and to create some kind of hand list of what she wrote: he has failed miserably. The whole process has been complicated by the fact that NF wrote under the name ‘Mac Tyler’ (it would be interesting to understand what code was behind this, ‘Son of er Tyler’) and, allegedly, ‘Marie Fornario’. There is also the problem that if you look for Fornario on the net you will typically find lurid and rather speculative pieces about her death. Any obscure descriptions of fairies dancing in a grove are going to be easily lost in the ‘tide of blood’.
One easily accessible piece is her review of the Immortal Hour (an occult opera about fairies, another post another day, though if you want a scary foretaste of this brilliant piece…). NF begins her review, originally printed in a ‘booklet’ (?), by stating that she had been to see this piece twenty-three times. This, in itself, tells us something important about Netta. Her writing is smooth and enjoyable, perhaps a little self-satisfied and yet over controlled? She also appeared in the Occult Review in 1928 where she published ‘The Use of Imagination in Art, Science and Business’: this is an article we’ve not yet tracked down. Then there is nothing. There is nothing, but really nothing on the net. Yes, there are several comments to the effect that she wrote ‘many articles’ but Beach wonders. She was about thirty when she died and she doesn’t seem to be one of those very productive people, though there were some references in our last post to poems. Or perhaps better her identity does not seem to have been bound up with writing lots and lots. Of course, we’d love to be proven wrong: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com, but nor are we holding our breaths; think of it as spitting on crossed fingers. Also does anyone have the contact details for Ron Halliday who carried out an earlier investigation into Netta’s death? Ron is the author of such works as the A-Z of Paranormal Scotland.
27/2/2013: A few treasures. Invisible writes in with this record from the British Library Memories of the Deep: Four sea idylls written by M. Fornario, author Gertrude Bracey, London: Boosey & Co, 1917. Invisible also gives this quotation from a contemporary newspaper that gives you some idea of the screwed up family that Netta found herself in: Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle, Volume V, Issue 214, 8 June 1909, Page 7. The will has just been proved of Mr. Thomas Pratt Ling, of Bracondale, Dorking, tea merchant, in which he left £12,000 upon trust for his granddaughter, Marie Nora Emily Edith Fornario, provided that she shall remain under the guardianship of his son George or other person approved by his trustees and shall not forsake the English Protestant Faith, or marry a person not of that Faith, or marry a first cousin on either her father’s or her mother’s side, under penalty of losing one-half of her interest in this sum, and he also provided that the income should be paid to her in the United Kingdom, unless for a cause to be certified by medical certificate, or other cause to be approved by his trustees, she shall not be in the United Kingdom.’ Wade sends in this link from the New Society of the Golden Dawn in Bradford: We have recently spent a lot of time going through old records. In doing so we have found a lot of true facts about Occultist Netta Fornario who is usually senasationalised for her apparently strange death on the tourist island of Iona in November 1929. As we have done all the research, we lay claim to being FIRST with this new information which up until April 2010 was never before published and much of which was available only by physically going through many old archived records.’ It sounds promising and here there are some hints as to what they may have found. Wade continues: I also saw a UK Census record on Ancestry.com referencing Marie Fornario born about 1897 in Egypt but residence in London at the time of the census. Long talk given by Garreth Knight in 2006 mentions Netta as named Outer Guardian of a co-masonic lodge in 1921(?). Good link with more background information than I’ve seen elsewhere. Thanks Invisible and Wade and those who sent in contact details for Ron!