This article is excerpted from Darklore Volume 7, which is now available for sale from Amazon US and Amazon UK (collectors/investors: a Limited Edition hardcover is also available). The Darklore anthology series features the best writing and research on paranormal, Fortean and hidden history topics, by the most respected names in the field: Robert Schoch, Nick Redfern, Loren Coleman, Robert Bauval and Daniel Pinchbeck, to name just a few. Darklore's aim is to support quality researchers, so it makes sense to support Darklore. For more information on the series (including more free sample articles), visit the Darklore website.
From Operation Mindf**k to The White Room
The Strange Discordian Journey of the KLF
by J.M.R. Higgs
In the 1980s, pop stars made movies. Prince, Madonna and the Pet Shop Boys all went in front of the cameras. The KLF made a film as well, but they went about it in a very different manner. Theirs was never released, or even properly finished, and they made it before they had a string of hit singles rather than afterwards. It was called The White Room.
The White Room is a very different beast to Purple Rain or Desperately Seeking Susan. It’s a dialogue-free ambient road movie just under an hour in length, for a start. The band had experimented with ambient film before, shooting an experimental movie called Waiting on VHS on the Isle of Jura the previous year. The White Room, however, had been shot with a professional crew and cost around £250,000, money they had earned from a Doctor Who-themed novelty record they had released under the name The Timelords.
The film starts at a rave in the basement of a South London squat known as Transcentral. Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, the duo behind The KLF, leave the party and get into a 1968 Ford Galaxie American police car. In the back sits a solicitor, played by their own solicitor David Franks. He hands them a contract, which the pair sign without reading. Franks exits and Drummond and Cauty drive off.
Pretty much most of the rest of the film is them driving.
First, they drive around London at night. Then, they drive around the Sierra Nevada region of Spain. This goes on for some time. Not much happens, although they do find a dead eagle, and at one point they stop for petrol.
Eventually the pair stop and build a camp fire, an event which occurs twice in the film. At each point, the solicitor is seen in the smoke from the fire, studying the contract – a distinctly Faustian image. The solicitor discovers something in one of the contract’s clauses, and writes ‘Liberation Loophole!’ on the contract.
Events in the film now gain more momentum. Drummond is seen throwing the contract into the air, obviously delighted. He has, by this point, changed into a pair of plus-fours and is dressed not unlike an Edwardian mountaineer. Cauty then paints the car white and they drive, past a burning bush, up into the snow-peaked mountains. When the car gets stuck in the snow they abandon it and continue up on foot. Cauty has not joined Drummond in sporting the Edwardian mountaineer look, instead wearing a more sensible white parka. Eventually they reach the summit, where they find a large white building with a radio telescope. They go in.
They find themselves in a white, smoke-filled void – the White Room. They find a pair of fake moustaches on a pedestal, and put them on. Then they find the solicitor, sitting at a white table. He shows them the clause he has found in the contract. They nod. The pair then walk away, dissolving into the smoke and vanishing into the void. The End.
It was, all in all, an odd way to spend £250,000. The story of why it was made, however, is far stranger.
The Most Influential Photocopier in History?
In the mid-1960s a photocopier was state of the art technology, and having access to one was something of a privilege. The act of using an office photocopier after hours for personal projects, without the boss knowing, was therefore a far riskier and more rebellious act than it is today. This was certainly the case for Lane Caplinger, a secretary for New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison.
In 1991 Garrison was portrayed by Kevin Costner in Oliver Stone’s movie JFK, a film based on Garrison’s book On The Trail Of The Assassins. But this was 1965, a year before he became involved in Kennedy conspiracies and two years before the Summer of Love thrust hippies, psychedelic drugs and alternative lifestyles in front of an unprepared public. Things had not yet begun to ‘get weird’, in other words, and for a respected public figure like Garrison, there was little to indicate what surprises the future had in store. He would have been quite unprepared, then, for ... Read More »
Eight fascinating topics that should be in the next Dan Brown book
Dan Brown and his publishers have released a limited amount of information about his upcoming novel Inferno, most notably that it will be set in the Italian city of Florence, and that it will involve one of the great pieces of literature, the Inferno by Dante Alighieri (the first part of his Divine Comedy). Florence is a fantastic location for a novel: Dante, Michelangelo, Galileo, da Vinci and Machiavelli all hailed from the city, and as the 'birthplace of the Renaissance' under the patronage of the Medici family, it is filled with architectural and artistic treasures. But beyond some of the obvious locations, such as the great cathedral that dominates the city sky-line, the Duomo, a little detective work can unveil some other fantastic elements that would make great topics to explore in a Brownian type novel. I've done exactly that in my ebook, Inside Dan Brown's Inferno, from which I've selected just eight topics below that I think Dan Brown will likely feature in his book – if he doesn't, you'd almost have to feel that he hasn't done his homework…
Dan Brown's novels are often seen as 'giving the bird' to the Catholic Church, and in Inferno he has the opportunity to use the middle finger of one of the greatest scientists in history. If Dan Brown's main character Robert Langdon ends up at the Galileo Museum, bordering the Arno River, he could point out a number of historical treasures, including Galileo's telescope, through which the genius Florentine discovered the moons of Jupiter and the phases of Venus, both of which offered support for the (at the time) heretical Copernican theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun. But perhaps more fitting of a Dan Brown novel are the three fingers of the great man, preserved within elegant egg-shaped glass containers, that are on display in the museum. Will Galileo point the way for Langdon to solve a puzzle?
The publication date for Dan Brown's Inferno is May 14, 2013, or 5.14.13. Turn that around, and you get 3.14.15, the first five digits of pi.* Add to that the fact that a cryptic clue on Dan Brown's website is comprised of the words 'Tarty Sect' and we definitely start wondering whether Pythagoras and sacred geometry are going to feature in some way: 'Tarty Sect' could be rewritten Pie Sect, a pun suggesting the Pythagorean cult, and what's more 'Tarty Sect' is an anagram of 'Tectractys' - the symbol of the Pythagoreans, a triangle made of subsequent lines of 1 point, 2 points, 3 points and 4 points.* A number of the great Renaissance minds of Florence held Pythagoras in great esteem, so there's definitely a link worth exploiting there for Dan Brown. Additionally, the number 33, often linked to the Pythagoreans, ... Read More »
This article is excerpted from Darklore Volume 6, available for sale from Amazon US and Amazon UK. The Darklore anthology series features the best writing and research on paranormal, Fortean and hidden history topics, by the most respected names in the field: Robert Schoch, Nick Redfern, Loren Coleman, Robert Bauval and Daniel Pinchbeck, to name just a few. Darklore's aim is to support quality researchers, so it makes sense to support Darklore. For more information on the series (including more free sample articles), visit the Darklore website.
The Calderstones of Liverpool
Forgotten history hidden in the parks of Great Britain
by John Reppion
After living in the district of Toxteth for ten years, my wife and I have recently moved – along with our son and cat – back into the area of Liverpool where I grew up. We now reside in deepest Beatle country. The unremarkable childhood homes of Lennon and McCartney within easy walking distance; Harrison and Starr’s each just a short bus ride away. Strawberry Field is just around the corner, and I regularly shove a pushchair up and down Penny Lane. Indeed, much of the area is practically unchanged since long, long before the days when moptops walked the earth – a good chunk of it being made up of parks, playing fields, cemeteries and other greenspaces. One of the most impressive of these parks stands next to the institution formerly known as Quarry Bank High School which Lennon attended and named his proto-Beatles skiffle group The Quarrymen after (other Quarry Bank alumni include horror novelist Clive Barker and actor Doug Bradley, most famous for playing Pinhead in the Hellraiser films which are (increasingly loosely) based on Barker’s books). After numerous mergings with other schools the institution was eventually renamed in 1985. Calderstones Community Comprehensive School took its new name from the adjacent Calderstones Park which is in turn named after the most ancient and perhaps easily overlooked monument in the city of Liverpool: The Calderstones.
Formerly a private estate, the land which makes up the park was purchased by Liverpool Corporation in 1902 for the sum of £43,000 from shipping magnate brothers Charles and David McIver. Calderstones Park was officially opened to the public three years later in 1905.1 The 94 acre (0.38 km2) space is well kept and always busy, boasting as it does a walled garden, a children’s play area, an historic Mansion House, a café, a former boating lake turned wildlife haven, a miniature ride-on railway, and even a thousand year old Oak Tree known as “the Law Oak”. It is beneath the spreading branches of this majestic tree that crime and punishment are alleged to have been discussed in the days before court buildings. Local folklore has it that, although the Law Oak (also known as the Allerton Oak) looks for all the world as though it has been struck by lightning at some point in its long life, the damage was actually done by the explosion of a gunpowder ship in the Mersey in the 1860s.2 The fact that the park and the Law Oak are more than a mile inland rarely, if ever, get in the way of the telling of the tale. Then there’s the tennis – the park is home to the annual Liverpool International Tennis Tournament in which globally renowned players such as Martina Navratilova, John McEnroe and Martina Hingis regularly participate. Buried amongst this myriad of amusements, attractions and events – set back from the pathway which leads from the park’s heavily ornamented main gates - an unassuming, semi-derelict looking conservatory. This weather-beaten structure is known as “the vestibule” and once served as the entry point to a network of greenhouses belonging to the Harthill community allotments beyond. Though the allotments are still in use, the greenhouses are long gone. Today the padlocked vestibule is home to half a dozen curiously ornamented sandstone relics ranging in size from almost 8 feet (2.4 m) to 4 feet (1.2 metres) tall, whose history was already all but forgotten when the Law Oak was still an acorn.
The Calldwaye Stones
The oldest written record of the stones dates back to 1568 where they are marked on a map relating to a boundary dispute between the districts of Wavertree and Allerton thusly: ... Read More »