So . . . I was reading the new issue of Tin House, The Mysterious Issue, which I happened to pick up while I was working on my manuscript in progress, House of Mystery, which I expect to complete in the next year or so. I was immediately drawn to the piece by Cheston Knapp titled
"True Enough," a fascinating trip down the rabbit hole otherwise known as The Firm Belief in UFOs, Including Ones You Never See Because UFOs Implant Memory Blocks Into Humans So We Can't Access Our Own Histories.
This got me thinking about mysteries in general: the paranormal, seances, channeling, ghosts, out of body experiences, abductions, telepathy, clairvoyance . . . you know, that whole Madame Blavatsky thing.
According to Lauren Redniss, author of Radioactive, a book I'd coincidentally just finished reading, the Pierre and Marie Curie also participated in seances with someone by the name of Eusapia Palladino. Apparently, being able to see through a hand (the discovery of x-rays and radioactivity) unleashed, at the beginning of the 20th century, "blurred the boundary between science and magic" (Redniss 52). The question everyone was asking was: "if invisible light could pass through the flesh and expose the human skeleton, was it so fantastical to believe in levitation, in telekinesis, in communication with the dead?" (52) The question is, of course, rhetorical.
The likes of Edvard Munch, Arthur Conan Doyle, Alexander Graham Bell, and many notable physicists of the time joined in on the fun. Suddenly mediums were everywhere, and the scientists were proving their legitimacy by weighing them before and after their sessions (one gained six kilos while in the process of channeling).
So, then I had to research mysteries in general. And UFO sightings. And MUFON.com, and then I made a list of things I have to do soon:
1. Rent the second season of Twin Peaks;
2. Watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind;
3. Re-read Kierkegaard;
4. Purchase The Hidden Histories of Science;
5. Continue my Roswell research;
6. Read this interview with Yeats about Madame Blavatsky;
7. See if the library has a copy of UFOs: Generals, Pilots, & Government Officials Go on the Record;
8. Track down a copy of The Coming of the Saucers by Kenneth Arnold & Ray Palmer;
9. Does Portland, OR still have a UFO museum? (There's a PO box and a specified location, but is it open by appointment only?).
And then there was the other aspect of my book, namely the HOUSE part. So . . . a second list:
1. Famous houses, such as the Fallingwater home of Frank Lloyd Wright;
2. Research writing sheds of famous writers;
3. Visit the House of Mystery, down in Southern Oregon.
4. Research famous haunted houses, other possible houses of mystery around the world.
Anyway, this should all keep me busy for the next year. If I get a chance to apply for a grant, you can bet I am heading down to the Oregon Vortex and down to Irvine, CA for the MUFON 2011 Symposium. Till then, it's back to grading ...