There was just one hint of strangeness, however, in a game where, having pressed your hands down hard upon a friend's head, you were supposed to be able to lift him with just four fingers. 'Now imagine that you weigh nothing at all' the book went on. 'You could float away in the wind.'
I think the authors might have been hippies.
But this was a mere prelude for the weirdness of companion volume, Strange Things to Do and Make. It would be a challenge to find an odder children's book.
In one experiment you were encouraged to see if plants had psychic powers. You had to grow two seedlings, all the while sending kindly thoughts to one and hateful sentiments to the other. The unlucky plant was supposed to wither and die.
I badgered my Dad to cut me a hazel wand so I could try my hand at dowsing...
...and I vividly remember my disappointment at being unable to attempt the various wart cures: I was already wart-free.
You could try telepathy with a set of homemade Zener cards...
...or if that wasn't racy enough, you could make your own Ouija Board...
...or hatch chickens at home (presumably to the delight of parents everywhere).
My favourite was the experiment on pyramid power. In a rare appeal to academic authority the book suggested that 'some scientists think that the space inside the pyramids might have special powers.' (This was the 1970s, remember, when recently unearthed prehistoric computer stones sent out evil mind-rays that forced all scientists to entertain weird shit.)
There were careful instructions on how to make a scale model of the Great Pyramid of Cheops complete with its very own cardboard altar, upon which you were supposed to leave a small piece of meat.
With the mini-pyramid aligned to the cardinal directions, mysterious powers would mummify the meat and preserve it from decay. Probably. From meat you could move on to preserving caterpillars and butterflies.
I tried it with a dead fly but oddly I can't remember if the experiment worked or not (it's almost as though secret forces don't want me to remember...)
Though it reads like a book from the Scarfolk public library, I can assure you the book was real (and, collectors beware, its second-hand value is rapidly escalating).
But I ask you, growing up with books like this, is it any wonder I turned out the bosky way I did?