Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Venus Transits Sol & Introduces Prometheus

A drawing of the 1631 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius 
by Glovan Batista Passaro.

The December 7, 1631 Transit of Venus was followed on December 16th by a violent, unexpected eruption of Mt. Vesuvius beginning around 6:00 am. Vesivius have been inactive for a great deal of time, probably since 1139. During the night of December 16-17, earthquakes occurred every 1-15 minutes. At about 11:00 am on the 17th, a large mass of ash, gas, and stones flowed down all sides of Vesuvius, causing the liquefaction of the mountain. Ten minutes later, a tsunami up to 6 to 15 feet of height hit the coast. By 6:00 pm on December 17th, the decline of activity began, lasting several days. The death toll was variously reported to be 3000 to 6000 deceased individuals in Pompeii and other locations.

A Transit of Venus across the Sun takes place when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth, obscuring a small portion of the solar disk. During a transit, Venus can be seen from Earth as a small black disk moving across the face of the Sun. The duration of such transits is usually measured in hours (the transit of 2004 lasted six hours).
Crabtree watching the Transit of Venus A.D. 1639 
by Ford Madox Brown, a mural at Manchester Town Hall

The first known observation of a transit of Venus was made by Jeremiah Horrocks from his home at Carr House in Much Hoole, near Preston in England, on December 4, 1639 (November 24th under the Julian calendar then in use in England). His friend, William Crabtree, also observed this transit from Broughton, near Manchester. Horrocks and Crabtree were founding members of "Nos Keplari." Horrocks died mysteriously two years later, at the age of 22.

Charles Mason (1730-1786), astronomer, and Jeremiah Dixon, (1733-1779), surveyor and astronomer, are best known for giving their name to the Mason-Dixon line in the United States of America. But their biographies are interwoven with their viewing of two Transits of Venus in 1761 and 1769.
In 1760 the Royal Society chose Charles Mason to go to Sumatra to observe the 1761 transit of Venus, and, probably on Bird's recommendation, Mason suggested Dixon should go as his assistant. An encounter with a French frigate delayed their final sailing so that they could not reach Sumatra in time. They therefore landed at the Cape of Good Hope, where the transit was successfully observed on 6 June 1761….
Mason and Dixon eventually reached England early in 1762. In August 1763 Mason and Dixon signed an agreement with Thomas Penn and Frederick Calvert, seventh Baron Baltimore [qq.v.], hereditary proprietors of the provinces of Pennsylvania and Maryland, to go to North America to help local surveyors define the disputed boundary between the two provinces. Arriving in Philadelphia with their instruments in November, they began operations before Christmas 1763. When work for the proprietors on what was to become the famous Mason-Dixon line was complete late in 1766, they began on the Royal Society's behalf, at Dixon's suggestion, to measure a degree of the meridian on the Delmarva peninsula in Maryland and to make gravity measurements with a clock sent out by the Society, the same one that Maskelyne had had in St Helena and Dixon took to the Cape in 1761. They reported their task complete on 21 June 1768 and sailed for England on 11 September. Before leaving, they were both admitted as corresponding members of the American Society held in Philadelphia for Promoting Useful Knowledge.
In 1769 Dixon sailed to Norway with William Bayly in the Emerald to make observations of the transit of Venus on 3 June on the Royal Society's behalf. Dixon observed on Hammerfest Island, Bayly at North Cape, about sixty miles apart in case of cloudy weather. They reached England again on 30 July. Dixon returned to Durham, resuming his work as a surveyor. Among places he surveyed at this time were the park of Auckland Castle and Lanchester Common. He died [at age 55] unmarried in Cockfield, county Durham, 22 January 1779.

Mason was employed by the Royal Society during six months in 1769 on an astronomical mission at Cavan in Ireland. He observed the second transit of Venus on 3 June, partial solar eclipse of 4 June, the phenomona of Jupiter's satellites, and in August and September the famous comet which signalised the birth year of Napoleon Bonaparte....He returned to America, and died in Philadelphia in 1787. His journals were almost tossed, also found a certificate of admission into American Society of Philadelphia. Dixon was reportedly born in a coal mine, died [at 46] at Durham in 1777. ~ Oxford University Press Dictionary of National Biography

The above drawing was created, partially, in anticipation of the Transit of Venus of December 9, 1874. Bob Rickard, editor of Fortean Times, writes me: "This is an illustration from Harry Price's Poltergeist over England (1945) and is a satirical comment on the alleged teleportation of the medium Mrs. Guppy during a poltergeist haunting in London in 1871."

Transit of Venus, December 1882
Freemason John Philip Sousa's Transit of Venus was composed after the Transit of 1882 (pictured). See here for more synchromystic details related to Sousa.

After 1882, the next Transit of Venus was not until June 8, 2004. What notable events are associated with that Transit? Days before it occurred, on June 4th, Ronald Reagan, American actor, 40th President of the United States (b. 1911), and officially a Scottish Rite Mason, died. On June 8th, during the Transit, the 30th G8 summit took place on Sea Island, GeorgiaUSA.

One seemingly strange event was timed exactly for the 2004 Transit of Venus. The heart of the dauphin Louis-Charles, recognized by French royalists as Louis XVII of France, was entombed in the royal crypt of Saint-Denis Basilica outside Paris, 211 years after he perished in the French Revolution. DNA testing had verified the heart as belonging to the son of the guillotined King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette. No French government officials or members of reigning royal families attended the service.

The Year 2004 is perhaps most remembered for one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history, when the strongest earthquake in 40 years hit the entire Indian Ocean region. The massive 9.3 magnitude earthquake, epicentered just off the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, generated enormous tsunami waves that crashed into the coastal areas of a number of nations including Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. The official death toll in the affected countries is recorded as 186,983, while more than 40,000 people are listed as still missing.

Strange Eye looks at the 17 dates of the previous sixteen Transits, plus the 2012 Transit of Venus.

For 2012, this Transit will be visible in its entirety from Hawaii, Alaska, Australia, the Pacific and eastern Asia, with the beginning of the Transit visible from North America and the end visible from Europe.

Secret Sun had a few visual observations about the forthcoming Transit of Venus, posted a month before the event, here. Etemenanki has his too, and Andrew Griffin, as well.

The Transit of Venus will be seen in the USA on June 5, 2012, from about 8 PM EDT until sunset. It will continue be visible during sunrise in the UK on June 6th. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee is on June 2-5, 2012, in the United Kingdom, as noted in "Queen's Diamond Jubilee omens." 

What will truly occur in 2012? 

What you perceive as happening in the wake of this year's Transit of Venus may not be as euphonious as you have heard in various peace-filled and transformational predictions. Well-known astrologer and former psychotherapist Philip Levine of Sirius Astrological Services shared with me his balanced insights about the upcoming Transit of Venus:
It seems like no big deal that Venus is doing this. One hundred five years is a very short time in the life of planets. And this Sun-Venus conjunction is squared by Mars, so all the harmony and money and love and other Venusian things that one might expect have a fairly loud dissenting voice being thrown into the mix, because Mars squares are about hostility, conflict, aggression, and competition. Such a time would seem to be challenging in terms of finding the best mix of these opposing principles.
Venus, Mars, the Sun...thoughts of a human from a company named Sirius? I can't think of a better guide to a more reasonable way to think about this event.

But what will be the most immediate phantasmagoric space-related imagery that directly follows the 2012 Transit of Venus? Indeed, it may be the June 8th opening in the USA of Ridley Scott's Prometheus, which introduces its new mythos for our beginning, graphically. 

Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and gave it to the mortals. What will this movie give to all of us? What will the Transit of Venus presage for tomorrow?


"I do not know how to find out anything new without being offensive. To the ignorant, all things are pure: all knowledge is, or implies, the degradation of something. One who learns of metabolism, looks at a Venus, and realises she's partly rotten. However, she smiles at him, and he renews his ignorance. All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. But spots on the sun, and lumps on the planets -- and, being a person of learning, or, rather, erudition, myself, I've got to besmirch something, or nobody will believe I am -- and I replace the pure, blue sky with the wormy heavens...." 
~ Charles Fort, Lo!

Sousa's Transit of Venus

The Marine bandmaster John Philip Sousa became famous for his marches and inspired the sousaphone. Few people today realize that his Masonic links resulted in some of his most mysterious creations.

What's below the surface? How about the often forgotten gem he composed during his life, Transit of Venus?

John Philip Sousa (November 6, 1854 – March 6, 1932) was an American composer and conductor important during the turn of the centuries, from the 19th to the 20th, particularly known for American military and patriotic marches. "The March King" is especially remembered for his "Semper Fidelis" (1888) (Official March of the United States Marine Corps) and "Stars and Stripes Forever" (1896) (National March of the United States).

One year after the 1882 Transit of Venus, Sousa was commissioned to compose a processional for the unveiling of a bronze statue of American physicist Joseph Henry, who had died in 1878. Henry, who had developed the first electric motor, was also the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Henry's statue is now in front of the Smithsonian "Castle" in Washington, D.C.

A Freemason, Sousa was fascinated by what the group considered mystical qualities in otherwise natural phenomena. According to Sten Odenwald of the NASA IMAGE Science Center, this played a significant role in the selection of the time and date of the performance, April 19, 1883, at 4:00 P.M. Dr. Odenwald points out that Venus and Mars, invisible to the participants, were setting in the west. At the same time, the moon, Uranus, and Virgo were rising in the east, Saturn had crossed the meridian, and Jupiter was directly overhead. According to Masonic lore, Venus was associated with the element copper, and Joseph Henry had used large quantities of copper to build his electric motors.

The Transit of Venus March apparently "never caught on (during Sousa's lifetime), and went unplayed for more than 100 years. Sousa's copies of the music were destroyed in a flood." As reported on Halloween in 2003 in The Washington Post (see below), Library of Congress employee Loras Schissel found copies of the old sheet music for Venus "languishing in the library's files." The piece was resurrected in time for the 2004 Transit.

In 1920, Sousa wrote another work called The Transit of Venus, a 40,000-word story. It is about a group of misogynists called the Alimony Club who, as a way of temporarily escaping the society of women, embark on a sea voyage to observe the transit of Venus. The captain's niece, however, has stowed away on board and soon wins over the men.

Sousa also composed a march, "Nobles of the Mystic Shrine" (1923), dedicated to the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, also known as the Shriners.

There was a "Transit of Venus" on June 8, 2004 (see this amazing image), and there will be another one on June 6, 2012. Then, there will be none for 105 years.


The Washington Post, October 31, 2003

Dusting Off a Rarity for Venus's Celestial March

By Reilly Capps

Legendary Washington composer John Philip Sousa likely watched on Dec. 6, 1882, as the planet Venus eclipsed a small part of the sun. This rare alignment -- when the planet's orbit takes it between the Earth and the sun -- is called the "Transit of Venus."

Shortly after the astronomical phenomenon, Sousa began work on a musical march of the same name.

Sousa wrote at least four marches about the way the heavenly bodies march across the night sky. The march king was a member of the astrology-loving Masons, and he paid close attention to the movement of the heavens.

But the "Transit of Venus March" never caught on, and went unplayed for more than 100 years. Sousa's copies of the music were destroyed in a flood.

But now Venus is approaching another transit, and fans of Sousa are resurrecting the forgotten march. It will be performed at 8 tonight at the Schlesinger Concert Hall in Alexandria.

"The interesting thing about band leaders at the time is that their concept of the universe was that there was this hidden balance and all these cosmic things going on," says Sten Odenwald, an astronomer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt. Odenwald is preparing for June 8, when Venus will block out part of the sun for the first time in nearly 122 years. He has also worked with the Virginia Grand Military Band to organize the performance of "Transit of Venus."

Unlike "Stars and Stripes Forever" or "The Washington Post March," Sousa's "Transit of Venus" did not bring Sousa fame, nor did the novel Sousa wrote with the same title.

Loras Schissel, who works in the music division of the Library of Congress, found the old sheet music for "Venus" languishing in the library's files.

"It's a little three-minute gem," says Schissel, who also conducts the Virginia Grand Military Band. "It was written in a time when people were less cynical and more optimistic. It was America on the threshold of thinking that anything was possible, and Sousa captured that feeling perfectly."

Because bands today use different instruments than they did in the 1880s, Schissel had to rework the score for a modern ensemble. Last year, the Virginia band trotted the new version out for a test run. But most people, including John Philip Sousa IV, the composer's great-grandson, have never heard it performed. He will attend tonight's performance and hear it live for the first time.

The band will play the "Transit" march more frequently in the next few months as astronomers wait for the actual event. The 1882 transit was accompanied by enormous fanfare. Thomas Hardy worked it into the plot of a novel, and the event was covered by the press worldwide. Boys stood on the street corners of New York, offering a glimpse through telescopes for a dime. Odenwald believes the 2004 transit should receive much the same response.

The Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall is at 3001 N. Beauregard Rd., Alexandria.

Seattle Shooting Leaves 6 Dead: Mystery Man Shoots Self

Further Update ~ Thursday a.m., the death toll was increased to a total of six. A man walked into an arts cafe near a Seattle university and opened fire, fatally wounding four people. Then he later killed a woman during a carjacking before shooting himself. Six people are dead.

Breaking Update ~ The LA Times is reporting late on Wednesday the following:

An explosive day of violence ended Wednesday when a man believed to be the one who shot five people in a university district cafe and a woman in a downtown parking lot knelt down in the street when surrounded by police and shot himself in the head.
“We strongly believe that this is the person that committed the homicides,” Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel told reporters after the dramatic face-off in West Seattle. The shootings left four people dead and two critically injured.
A police source told the Seattle Times that the suspect has been identified as Ian Lee Stawicki, 40, of Seattle, whose family said he had mental problems that prompted them to fear something could go wrong. 

Victims identified: Drew Keriakedes, a/k/a Shmootzi the Clod, (front) & Joe Albanese, a/k/a Meshuguna Joe, (back left) of God's Favorite Beefcake. Image via God's Favorite Beefcake's Facebook.

Earlier details:
A gunman opened fire at a cafe in Seattle's University district Wednesday, May 30, 2012, killing two people and wounding three others.
"Roosevelt way shooter was seen running away from the scene northbound," police wrote. "He was armed with a gun."
One victim has life threatening injuries, and two others are seriously wounded, according to the police department's Twitter feed.
The shootings occurred at Cafe Racer on Roosevelt Way in northern Seattle about 11:00 a.m., police said.

The suspect is described as a white male, between 30 and 40 years old, with a medium build, brown hair and a goatee or beard, police said. Police are searching for the gunman, described as a man in his 30s originally said to be wearing dark clothes (literally a "man in black killer"?), that did not turn out to be accurate. Later reports told of the killer having a plaid shirt and dark pants. (Recall that John A. Keel often wrote of mystery men, besides those dressed in black and dark clothing, who were often seen wearing lumberjack checked shirts and sports plaid shirts.)

But video footage show the suspected killer in the middle of the shooting scene wearing brown pants and a bluish jacket (see above). 
During the manhunt, police responded to another fatal shooting in downtown Seattle. Police say a man shot a woman during an apparent carjacking and fled in a black SUV. The woman died at the scene.
The earlier shooting took place at Cafe Racer (
at 5828 Roosevelt Way Northeast), a restaurant and music venue north of the University of Washington.
Friends of the deceased said the men, named Joe and Drew, were both in their 40s or early 50s.  Drew was described as the “godfather of Café Racer” who was a sword swallower, fire breather and was a big presence in the burlesque community.  Both men were members of the band God’s Favorite Beefcake, which had played at the Folklife Festival on Saturday.

Police say one of the wounded has life threatening injuries and two are in critical condition.
Evan Hill, who lives above the building were the cafe shooting happened, said the cafe was an artists collective and performance space.
"Its the strangest place to think of a shooting," Hill said.

Nearby Roosevelt High School has been locked down during the manhunt. Seattle School District spokeswoman Teresa Wippel says students also are locked inside Eckstein Middle School and Greenlake Elementary.

The school is named after Theodore Roosevelt; the school's team, the Rough Riders, is named after Roosevelt's famous military regiment. It subsequently gave its name to the Roosevelt neighborhood and nearby Roosevelt Way N.E.

The location of the Cafe Racer on Roosevelt Way reminds me of the recent site (Roosevelt Avenue) of the bank hostage situation in Indiana, which only ended when the suspect killed himself.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hemingway & Gellhorn: War and Love

by Loren Coleman ©2012

As soon as the new HBO film, Philip Kaufman's Hemingway & Gellhorn began, I knew I was visually going to enjoy this experience.

Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, 1940.

To view this television movie, which did not seem like a small screen offering, is to travel back in time, in grays, sepias, and midcentury mosaics. The movie manifests itself as a sensory marvel.

Today's media are fixated on talking about the blindingly passionate nude scenes between Ernest Hemingway (played by Clive Owen) and Martha Gellhorn (played by Nicole Kidman). Sure, it happens as bombs go off all around them in her Madrid bed, during the Spanish Civil War. Yes, those are great minutes, to view, to take in for their pure energy, irony, and humor. But there was something else that captured my attention from the beginning, which almost sounds like one of the carefully placed clichés you hear throughout this film. Hemingway & Gellhorn demonstrates a remarkable appreciation of the minor minutia that enhanced the canvas capturing the lives of these two romantic figures.

What I remember seeing first was the incredible detail given to the eyes of the aged Martha Gellhorn. The whites of her eyes were bloodshot, as I've seen in aged writers I've known. I was surprised but somewhat expected that.  What I focussed on immediately after noticing the eyes themselves was what I saw when Kidman's eyelids naturally flicked closed for a microsecond, opened, and then would do it again, a few moments later. There was a reddish line of broken blood vessels at the edge of the lid, near the lashes. It wasn't ghoulishly overdone, as if someone had gone overboard with make-up on Kidman's elderly character. Instead, it appeared totally natural and set the stage for me to view and absorb this film, seriously. It was done on a subliminal level that appeared, literally, to counterbalance the supraliminal stimuli of Hemingway's usually overbearing life story.

The film was peppered with those kinds of moments for me.

Seeing Hemingway standing while typing or hearing him constantly calling Martha Gellhorn, "Gellhorn," were the glue that binds this film to an era. They lived in the 1940s, and that was the way it was then. Hemingway & Gellhorn painted that picture well. Another vivid image I literally loved and jumped out of my seat as I viewed it was the brief ones of the huge murals on the walls in Cuba. The war scenes were gritty; the drinking was heavy; the lovemaking was realistic. The concentration sequences were visually disturbing. I was shocked that even though I had seen Dachau images often, I found myself turning away from this horror when viewed through Gellhorn's eyes. These are the finely crafted seemingly small elements that added an unconscious richness to this movie that may only sink in during the coming days.

There is a scene that stands out for me. I will forever recall it as so pure, so true, and so real between this film's Gellhorn and Hemingway. It is the one where they are left sitting in the Chinese cave, after the fighters have rushed out, leaving the two alone. The interchange was intensively electric, distancing, combative, tender, and merging, so much so, that it was familiar. I've lived those moments, as a writer, with women I've loved, and Kidman, Owen, and Kaufman really got it.

I learned a great deal from the movie about Gellhorn that I never knew before. I aquired more about Hemingway's linkages and connections, which I had overlooked. The film should open the world's eyes to the greatness that lived in Martha Gellhorn. 

I was constantly startled, as I watched the film, about the lacuna in my knowledge about this amazing woman. (While I'm a minor Hemingway historian, I never grew to know Gellhorn in the way this film was able to flesh her out for me. I have researched and discussed the Hemingway family history of depression, suicide, and copycat behavior. It is something that is sometimes called the "Hemingway Curse." I've appeared in documentary programming discussing it, most significantly on the September 27, 1996, episode of NBC's Unsolved Mysteries, which dealt with Ernest's granddaughter Margaux's then-recent Santa Monica suicide. I also wrote about the so-called "curse" in my 2004 book, The Copycat Effect.) How had I missed Gellhorn? Thank you, HBO.

Of course, there is one other defining event, for me, that the movie decided, perhaps correctly, to leave out. Martha Gellhorn, who never wished to be a mere footnote to Hemingway, left this world the same way Hemingway did, up to a point. Gellhorn, 89, died by suicide from a drug overdose, on the day after Valentine's Day in 1998, in London. Valentine's Day is a hard day for passionate lovers and emotional ex-lovers. She was nearly blind and had been battling cancer. Less than 20 months previously, Margaux Hemingway had died by suicide by drug overdose, her body being found the day before the 35th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway's suicide. His impact on others was great. In life and death.

If we learn of Gellhorn's legacy by way of this movie, and understand her death differently than Hemingway's, we shall honor her new-found memory properly.

Slow down. Take the time. Watch Hemingway & Gellhorn. It is playing all Spring on HBO.

Hemingway & Gellhorn

Directed by Philip Kaufman; written by Jerry Stahl and Barbara Turner; Peter Kaufman, Trish Hoffman, James Gandolfini, Alexandra Ryan and Barbara Turner, executive producers.

Starring: Nicole Kidman (Martha Gellhorn), Clive Owen (Ernest Hemingway), David Strathairn (John Dos Passos), Rodrigo Santoro (Paco Zarra), Molly Parker (Pauline Hemingway), Parker Posey (Mary Welsh Hemingway), Santiago Cabrera (Robert Capa), Lars Ulrich (Joris Ivens), Peter Coyote (Maxwell Perkins), Joan Chen (Madam Chiang Kai-shek), Saverio Guerra (Sidney Franklin) and Tony Shalhoub (Mikhail Koltsov).

Monday, May 28, 2012

MIBs: Silencers vs Killers

by Loren Coleman ©2012

In recent postings here entitled "Synchromystic Men In Black" and "Vallée on MIB Imagery," I have examined the nature of the figurative appearance and illustrations used to display the Men in Black (MIBs). In general, they have been sinister, not comedic as shown in the currently screening film, Men in Black 3.

But there is another level of the metaphor that has evolved in the imagery, which we need to pay attention to before we leave this topic.

I want to share a short comparative display of book covers and graphic novels showing the Men in Black to display one simple point. The book covers have developed gradually from the notion of silencers to nearly merge with what we find on the more recent graphic novels. Today, we discover much more aggressive MIBs.

First, some book cover examples, followed by the more violent comic book covers. Obviously, this has much to do with the medium of the presentations, but there appears to be something else going on too.

In the contemporary graphic novels (comics), as you can see below, the Men in Black are represented as agents with guns, in violent circumstances. The transformation of the MIBs is nearly complete, from the quiet, foreboding presence to a more active element of these interactions.
It should also be added that Nick Redfern does "note in [his] The Real Men in Black and On the Trail of the Saucer Spies books - there are at least two category of MIB: government and 'something else.'"

What will the future bring in terms of the actual incidents being experienced and reported?

Hemingway Curse

What is the Hemingway Curse?

Following is an excerpt from The Copycat Effect:
The copycat effect even affects celebrity families. Learned behavior and the modeling power of the copycat effect may be a stronger link than even biological predeterminism. The so-called "Hemingway Curse" is one such example. Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway wrote literary masterpieces. His father and two siblings died by suicide, and the rumors of a Hemingway Curse has become an urban legend. 
One allegorical story is told of Hemingway's mother baking a cake for him on his 21st birthday, and putting the gun his father used to kill himself in the middle of the cake. The story was repeated in Time Magazine. But other sources note that Hemingway's father died by suicide by gunshot when Hemingway was 26, and it was Hemingway who asked for the gun his father had used from his brother. 
Hemingway, nevertheless, decided to use the same basic method, death by shotgun, and killed himself on July 2, 1961. His granddaughter actress and singer Margaux Hemingway was only 41 years old when she died by suicide near the anniversary of her grandfather's suicide 35 years earlier. She was found on July 1, 1996, having overdosed on prescription drugs. Ernest and Margaux Hemingway are both interred in the same Ketchum Cemetery at Ketchum, Idaho. 
Her sister, Mariel Hemingway was interviewed by CNN News reporter Connie Chung on January 17, 2003. When Chung asked Mariel Hemingway about the "Hemingway Curse," she responded: "I just think that it's an easy way for the media to go -- it's just such a hook, the Hemingway curse and suicide and this, that, and the other thing. That's not my life." 
The copycat effect may even play a role in the so-called "Paradise Syndrome." Reuters reporter Rachel Noeman explained the term in a 1996 news story: "They inherit celebrity names, appear to have it all and live apparently gilded lives, but what may at first seem like paradise can end in pain or even tragedy." 
Noeman was reporting on the suicide death of Amschel Rothschild, 41-year-old chairman of Rothschild Asset Management and great-great-great-grandson of Nathan Meyer Rothschild -- who established in 1804 the merchant bank in the City of London that still bears his name. He hanged himself in a Paris hotel room ten days after Margaux Hemingway, who also was 41, was found dead. 
Noeman was making the link between the two, in terms of the "Paradise Syndrome." While the modeling of a suicide on those most like the suicide victim is most often discussed in terms of people basing their suicide on that of a celebrity, descendants of celebrities may actually be the most vulnerable for the copycat effect. Amschel Rothschild’s widow Anita Rothschild repeated what is often said in the wake of such deaths, that it was “totally unexpected,” and the family was "shocked and devastated."

Robert Roper wrote in Obit Magazine in 2011 of the risk factors leading to Ernest Hemingway's suicide, putting the final act in the broader context of the famed writer's six major brain traumas (resulting in concussions?), his alcoholism, the prescription drugs, and some questionable mental health treatments (including electroconvulsive therapy).

Roper very directly talked about Hemingway's dance with suicide:
He often talked about suicide.  The times just after finishing a book were some of the worst for him.  Even in his robust roaring 20s, world-famous as an author already, he talked often about having night terrors, about feeling “contemptible,” about being afraid he was losing control – “you lie all night half funny in the head and pray and pray and pray you won’t go crazy.”  In a love letter to the woman who would become his second wife, he wrote, “I think all the time I want to die.”  A love letter!  The inner Hemingway was agonized, was ever on the cross.
Roper also extends the number of people directly related to Ernest who died by suicide:
In 1928 his father had killed himself.  Hemingway’s mother sent him the revolver that his father had used – it was a Smith & Wesson his grandfather had carried in the Civil War.  Hemingway was said to cherish the gun but to have been deeply disturbed by his mother’s gesture.
* * *
Of his five brothers and sisters, three died by their own hand, a fourth probably also.  One of his sons, Gregory, was drug-addicted and deeply troubled and died in jail.  One of his granddaughters, Margaux Hemingway, the actress, also was an addict and an early suicide.

Therefore, looking at those in Ernest Hemingway's orbit, who did die by suicide?

Ernest Hemingway: born July 21, 1899,  339 N. Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois; 61, died by suicide by W. & C. Scott & Son shotgun, July 2, 1961, Ketchum, Idaho.

Directly related to Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hall (Ernest's grandfather): attempted suicide with a Civil War-era .32 caliber pistol but lived because his son-in-law, Clarence, Ernest's father, had removed the bullets.
Clarence Edmonds Hemingway (Ernest's father): born September 4, 1871, Oak Park, Illinois; 57, died by suicide by his own father's Civil War Smith and Wesson .32 revolver, December 6, 1928, Oak Park, Illinois.
Ursula Hemingway Jepson (Ernest's sister): born April 29, 1902; died by suicide by drug overdose, October 30, 1966.
Leicester Hemingway (Ernest's brother): born April 1, 1915, Oak Park, Illinois; 67, died by suicide by a borrowed .22 pistol, September 13, 1982, Miami Beach, Florida. 
Which ones of Ernest's other siblings (Madalaine, Marceline, Carol) died by suicide? 
Margeux Hemingway (Ernest's granddaughter): born February 16, 1955, Portland, Oregon; 41, died by suicide by drug overdose of phenobarbital, July 1, 1996, Santa Monica, California.

Ernest's first wife, Hadley Richardson's father James Richardson, Jr., died by suicide in 1903.
Julius Mordecai Pincas, known as Pascin (pronounced pass-keen), Jules Pascin, or the "Prince of Montparnasse," born on March 31, 1885, in Bulgaria, was strongly identified with the Modernist movement and the artistic circles of Montparnasse - and Hemingway who features him in A Moveable Feast; died by suicide from cutting wrists and hanging, at age 45, on June 5, 1930, at Montmartre, Paris, France.
Ernest's third wife, Martha Gellhorn, died by suicide by drug overdose on February 15, 1998, in London.

There are others. I just haven't discovered or been made aware of them yet.

For a review of the 2012 movie Hemingway & Gellhorn, click here.

by Loren Coleman ©2004, 2007, 2012.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Vallée on MIB Imagery

by Loren Coleman ©2012
Jacques F. Vallée, Ph. D. is a great person to have at your side when exploring the hidden realm. 

Vallée, as you may agree, is a cornerstone figure in intellectual ufology, who has added his genius to the study of "flying saucers" and the reported "occupants." He gathers information from diverse fields, including fairylore, cryptid sightings, Fortean phenomena, religious visions, and astrophysics. His third book, Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers (Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1969) elegantly melts many of these threads of thought into a sensible and stimulating thesis on what UFOs might be.

For more background on Jacques' ufological work, see here.

Jacques wrote me the other day, after I posted my essay on this blog about the synchromystic visualizations of Men in Black in television treatments and cinema creations.

On May 25, 2012, Jacques emailed the following:

My contribution to that imagery was in 1979 with this book [Messengers of Deception: UFO Contacts and Cults (Ronin, June 1979)] cover [shown at top].
At the time, I instructed the artist to show a human walking deliberately away from a hovering saucer rather than running away or cowering in front of it.
Most readers at the time didn't like the image, too disturbing and not in line with expectations about flying saucers: the occupants shouldn't be human.
I think what was disturbing in the 'Messengers' image was the implication that some humans knew what the saucers were, and [the 'others'] were walking quietly into our world.
Warm regards,

The French scientist Claude LaCombe in the Steven Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind  was based on my friend Jacques Vallée.

Jacque Vallée (right) and J. Allen Hynek (left)

Claude LaCombe (François Truffaut)

My Boing Boing buddy David Pescovitz mentioned the following magnifique deleted scene from the film that says some things about twilight language:

David Laughlin (Bob Balaban). Name game note: Laughlin, Nevada, in the extreme southern tip of the state, has become a modern focal meeting point for ufology conferences, anomalistic gatherings, and Area 51 researchers.

See here for more from David Pescovitz on what special phrase shows up in CEIII that is, indeed, so very Vallée.

Thanks also to Patrick Huyghe of Anomalist Books for bringing the deleted scene to my attention in 2009.