Tea’s Weird Week: Parallax and Cthulhu Power Zones
Hello, friends. I’m starting this weekly blog every Friday (except when I don’t) just to throw some random weirdness at you. I’m almost constantly researching some topic that has a level of strangeness to it, so I’m going to share some flotsam and jetsam of stuff I’m reading, hearing, and links to things I’m doing.
Right now I’m hard at work on a book that is about conspiracy theory (title reveal soon, out August 2020 from Feral House) and for years I’ve been in deep researching conspiracy. One of the final topics I’m looking into is Flat Earth Theory. Flat Earthers were the subject of a really good Netflix doc titled Behind the Curve (recommended). I wanted to learn more on the legacy of the concept and found an excellent book titled Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea by Christine Garwood (Thomas Dunne Books, 2008).
My favorite chapters so far involve the birth of a Flat Earth movement in England in the mid to late 1800s started by a “travelling lecturer and quack doctor” born Samuel Birley Rowbotham, who went by the pseudonym “Parallax.” The movement was born out of a reaction against Charles Darwin and other new emerging scientific ideas.
The parallels to modern Flat Earthers is uncanny. Flat Earthers use YouTube and blogs to convey their messages, and Parallax and others (some other pseudonyms of Flat Earthers of this era were “Common Sense” and “Square”) gave talks at lecture halls and produced their own cheap pamphlets that shared their ideas. Parallax wrote a Flat Earth classic in 1865 titled Zetetic Astronomy: Earth Not a Globe! and peddled snake oil “miracle cures.”
Inspired by his teachings, others took up the “Zetetic” flat earth philosophy in England, including a Bible-literalist with an explosive Alex Jones type of demeanor named John Hampden, and Lady Elizabeth Anne Mould Blount, who founded the Universal Zetetic Society and liked to compose poetry and songs about the Flat Earth.
Speaking of names that would make good metal band names, try this one on for size: Cthulhu Power Zone, which would make for a great occult rock group, a little prog, a little psychedelic, I’m thinking something like a band I really like called Purson (check out their video for “Leaning on a Bear“).
This came from a conversation on Facebook I was tagged in with my great Fortean friends Loren Coleman, Allison Jornlin, Mike Huberty, Kevin Nelson, and others. There were apparently attempts at magick rituals at Devil’s Lake (which is a Cthulhu Power Zone, you see) here in Wisconsin in attempt to awaken Lovecraft’s ancient Deep Ones.
Occultists Michael Bertiaux and Kenneth Grant corresponded about these rituals sometime before Grant wrote his 1975 book Cults of the Shadow. Authors Daniel Harms and John Wisdom Gonce write this in their book Necronomicon Files: the Truth Behind Lovecraft’s Legend:
The impression Grant gives of Bertiaux’s activities in Cults of the Shadow makes La Couleuvre Noire sound like an American version of his New Isis Lodge– complete with beautiful priestesses copulating with scaly Mythos monsters on the shores of deserted Midwestern lakes.
When I was a kid, my grandparents took me on a couple of summer trips to a campground on Devil’s Lake in their RV. Grandma watched soap operas and read tabloids while my grandpa whittled wood and got fresh air. I think my grandpa was probably disappointed I didn’t spend more time fishing and hiking, choosing instead to bury my nose in books about monsters and mystery for the whole trip. I thought Devil’s Lake was kinda boring at that age, and my fiction books were much more interesting.
If I only knew beautiful priestesses were copulating with scaly monsters after the sun went down!
The Week in Links
I’m hosting a Riverwest Pinball Wizards tour today with my new enterprise Cream City Tours! It’s at 5pm: https://www.facebook.com/events/2479858658743880/
Milwaukee Paranormal Conference is happening Sept.13-15 (main conference is Sept.14) and tickets went on sale this week: mpc2019.brownpapertickets.com
I wrote an “Off the Cuff” column for the Shepherd Express this week on IndependenceFirst’s new gaming system. This is a great program and I’m glad I had a chance to write on it: https://shepherdexpress.com/arts-and-entertainment/off-the-cuff/gaming-for-everyone-with-independencefirst
Chicago Review Press rounded up some of their books and paired them with Netflix binge watching. They paired my book Apocalypse Any Day Now with Black Mirror. Not bad, not bad: https://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/blog/bookalike-netflix-binge-edition-2/
See you next week!