Thursday, June 06, 2002

"Just dig a hole..."

Many years ago, when I was a youth, my neighbor Alex Jones invited me over to his house to listen to some records that he had checked out of the local library. He had been combing through the comedy albums and found two interesting titles by a group called the Firesign Theatre: "The Case of the Giant Rat of Sumatra," and "Everything You Know is Wrong." Although the former album was more accessible to our prepubescent minds - it's just one big pun - the latter was much more interesting, and not just because the narrator was "Happy" Harry Cox. (We still titter about that.) We went on to find and listen to their entire oeuvre, but those earliest finds still have some special meaning to me.

Much of "Everything You Know is Wrong" is an ongoing news story about a meteorite that produces a deep hole in the ground and speculation that it has opened a passage to the Hollow Earth. At the time I first heard the record, I laughed at the absurdity of the story and at their comical "experts" discussing the ramifications of the hole. Now I find myself once again confronted with holes and unable to shake the feeling that Phil Proctor controls my brain!

A little over a decade ago, Alex sent me another in a series of mix tapes that we had been using in lieu of correspondence. Overrepresented were the Tom Tom Club, Danielle Dax, and Pere Ubu, suggesting that these were his present favorites. I knew of Pere Ubu, the band, from Urgh! A Music War, and so listened happily to the various tracks Alex had included. One track was "the Hollow Earth," which Alex said had reminded him of the Firesign Theatre and added that some people(?) believed that the Earth was hollow, hence both references. A few years later, I began subscribing to the "Skeptical Inquirer," and found that the Hollow Earth Theory had surfaced, died, and resurfaced several times over the past couple of centuries, and that the 60's New Age movement had included one such resurfacing. Well, that explained the brilliance and timeliness of the Firesign Theatre album, and maybe Pere Ubu - who take their name from an absurdist, surreal French drama - had had a similar introduction. Maybe.

Over a year ago, my friend Mark was testing unusual search terms to find books at Amazon, and typed in the term "anus." He was directed to a book by Hiroyuki Nishigaki titled "How to Good-bye Depression: If you constrict anus 100 times everyday. Malarkey? or Effective way?." What's the connection? Well, recently my father sent be a site called simply "Holes": a collection of 100 pictures of holes. As I looked at the various holes, a voice in my head said, "just dig a hole that's deep enough, and everybody will want to jump into it." At almost the same time, we got yet another question in the Earth Sciences queue of the Mad Scientist Network insisting on the existence of the Hollow Earth.

So, I started researching the Hollow Earth Theory as it impacted my life, and found that the source of almost all information on the topic was one Raymond Bernard who wrote a treatise on the subject back in 1964. So HE was the source of this insidious meme that now haunted me.

As I went through the pages previously linked, I was struck by the two faces of Walter Siegmeister/Raymond Bernard: half of his life and writings were devoted to solving constipation, and the other half was devoted to expanding his spirituality. This seemed to culminate in "the Hollow Earth", in which alien spirit beings are constantly commuting through a great Earthly pore far too reminiscent of a great planetary anus. I looked back at the 100 holes, and was reminded again that "they knew not their holes from an ass on the ground." I went back to Nishigaki's sites - the parallels to Bernard's works suggested something more deepseated. It was then that I was reminded of seeing Whitley Strieber's "Communion" with Alex and others when it was released as a movie. Here, the alien's were directly commuting through Strieber's anus instead of the Earth's.

So, what's with all of these fringe authors' preoccupations with alternative spirituality and continence? According to the NIH, they're exhibiting the warning signs of Schizophrenia! Certainly, the descriptions of Raymond Bernard's later paranoia surrounding the Cold War that culminated in his "disappearing" in the jungles of South America to avoid radioactive fallout would point to a chemical imbalance, but what of the others? Dr. Hulda Clark, who has also posted to the Mad Sci Net, believes that Schizophrenia, as well as every other disease known to man, is caused by parasitic worms (guess wherefrom). It's like Freudianism gone awry. Maybe all of the religious fundamentalists that are plaguing the world today are just anal retentives overdue for their weekly enemas. Maybe Graham and Kellogg were right in trying to save the world one high colonic at a time.

I'm still waiting for Phil Proctor's next instruction.

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