Local Points of Interest

Congregational Church and Cemetery

Stranger Creek has but a single church to which all members of the community belong. Services are held Sunday mornings at sunrise. Midnight services are held on Fridays and on the New Moon each month. Reverend Katherine Talisman is the pastor. The Church has many service and auxiliary groups that contribute to the welfare of Stranger Creek, and often hosts visiting speakers for lectures.

Near the Church is the town’s large Cemetery. Families over the years have built many fine monuments to their deceased loved ones and the Cemetery is home to many spectacular examples of funereal sculpture.

Poe Statue

Erected in 1924 by Mark Edwards, a local Poe enthusiast and scholar, the large Poe Statue graces the town square. It is a particularly popular place on full moon nights and on All Hallow’s Eve, when members of the Poe Society host readings of the late writer’s works. Mark Edward’s extensive collection of Poe texts is now housed in the Stranger Creek Library.

All Soul’s Bookstore

Wolfgang Heisendorf, a former Orthodox monk, operates this small antiquarian bookstore devoted primarily to philosophy texts. Located in the center of town, the Bookstore is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 2 to 5 p.m. and by appointment.

Café Vienna

The Café Vienna is run by longtime residents, Baron and Melinda Von Josti. Their menu features a number of excellent Central European dishes including fine Viennese-style desserts and pastries. The Café hosts periodic poetry readings presided over by the Baron, who has translated the work of a number of early 20th century Austrian poets into English.

Grave of James Thompson

The remains of the famous English poet James Thompson, author of City of Dreadful Night, are to be found in the Congregational Cemetery. Thompson did not actually die in Stranger Creek, but local enthusiast David Washington was able to secure his remains on a trip to London. They now rest in a specially-designed crypt featuring carved vignettes taken from Thompson’s master work. A reading of City of Dreadful Night is held once a year at the gravesite. Unfortunately, an attempt to secure the remains of another noted author led to Washington’s arrest in Providence, Rhode Island, where he currently remains imprisoned.

Old Stranger County Courthouse

The Old Stranger County Courthouse is an imposing Victorian structure and one of the finest examples of gothic architecture in Kansas, but it has been empty since the County seat moved from Stranger Creek to Republican River in the Spring of 1941. Fortunately, the Courthouse is carefully maintained by Dr. Douglas Oostenburg who has watched over the property since its abandonment by County officials. Featured within is the old jail, designed by a one of the College’s psychology professors in the late 19th century and notable for its curious cells and ‘truth devices.’

Berashov’s Casket Company

Stranger Creek’s sole manufacturing concern is Berashov’s Casket Company founded in 1874 by Levi Berashov and currently run by his descendents. It specializes in fine hand carved wooden caskets and ships internationally.

Stranger Creek Antiques

The graceful Countess Kristina Bareshnev, a White Russian émigré and longtime Stranger Creek resident, has an excellent collection of antiques including many fine art pieces from Europe and the Far East in her store on Main Street. Her outstanding collection features several rare Constructivist paintings and some Faberge jewelry. The large stuffed Siberian Tiger is not to be missed.

Theosophical Museum

The Stranger Creek Theosophical Museum was formed in 1913 by Arthur Olcott, a distant cousin of Colonel Olcott and noted collector of metaphysical books and manuscripts. Olcott’s personal library, numbering some 5,000 volumes, forms the core collection of the Theosophical Museum and is kept in the former Olcott mansion which is also used for meetings, social events, and occasional seances. The Museum publishes an annual journal, Stranger Creek Theosophy, and conducts a monthly lecture series.

Hearn Gardens

The mysterious Hearn Gardens were built over a period of some twenty years by Rathfield Hearn, a distant relative of the famous Victorian era writer Lafacadio Hearn. The Gardens represent the crowning achievement of gardener Chen Yet Chen whose mastery of the illusions of time and space continually lift one out of Stranger and into another realm entirely. Labyrinths, stairs that lead seemingly to nowhere, hidden grottos, buildings that appear to float on clouds – all of these make the gardens one of the most enchanting local points of interest, well worth repeated visits.

Stranger Creek Library

Stranger Creek is well known for its support of the literary arts and boasts one of the finest private libraries in Kansas. Housed in another of the city’s fine old Victorian mansions, it houses a collection of nearly 13,000 volumes which are lent to members. A large part of the collection is dedicated to preserving the works of local authors. The local librarian, Lynn Alexander, edits and publishes the monthly journal Libra which discusses featured books from the collection.

Stranger Creek Library is also the home of The Borges Society, named after the famous Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) who once gave a lecture at Linden College. The Society hosts an annual short story contest for Borgesian metaphysical narratives.

White Mountain

A few miles from Stranger Creek is the famous White Mountain. Its actual height has not been measured, since the Mountain does not stay still long enough for such calculations to be made, but it is believed to be unquestionably the highest point in Kansas and perhaps in the entire Midwest. Because of various accidents suffered by those attempting to climb the mountain, access is restricted. Interested parties should see Edward Mathisson, President of the White Mountain Climbing Society.

Witches Grove

The other natural point of interest is a densely wooded and swampy area where Stranger Creek has its source. This 7,000-acre area nature preserve has been privately owned since 1927. It is said to contain several endangered species, including Basilisks, Ourobori and Manticores.

Linden College

Linden College is a small liberal arts college founded in 1891 by the Swedish Mountain Brethren, a small reformed sect, in hope of luring more Swedes to leave the mountains and move to Kansas. Although the Brethren spoke highly of the landscape here, early reports suggesting certain features had been exaggerated put an end to emigration. The College then opened its doors to all students, and over the years it has become extremely experimental in nature, both in educational content and in the living arrangements of the students. In addition to its many literary journals, the College sponsors lectures and shows by many visiting scholars and artists.

Anti-Temperance Tavern

This aptly-named drinking spot is also known as the Tavern of Ruin. Despite leading many astray, it remains a popular refuge for those who have become tired of words and wish to enjoy the peaceful pleasures of intoxication among friends.

23 Comments

  1. H. D. Gemson said,

    It is wonderful to see someone take an interest in the hallowed traditions of our local community. I have great praise for these endeavors, but also a minor correction to convey.

    The founder of Linden College, Thorvarld Norlock, had promised Swedish emigrees to Kansas that they would speak fluent English after their arrival. Norlock died under mysterious circumstances early in the establishment of the college. His remains are kept in the college crypt. I stumbled upon this information in a book discarded from a local library, entitled A. Berri, Vikings of the Prarie: The Founding of Linden College (Leaventon, KS: Yggidrasil Press, 1918).

    Yours Faithfully,

    H.D. Gemson

  2. Dr. C. K. Chen said,

    Hearn Gardens announces:

    Evening Lites at the Hearn.
    A celebration in honor of the opening of the new Suzuki Mushroom and Fungi House. Evenings 8:00 PM – 1:00 AM (through 10/31).

    Featuring:
    Lighting of the Giant Chinese Lantern Trees // Dragon Boat Races
    Cooking classes // Fireworks // Acrobats // Dr. Lao’s Mystery Show

    Featured Speaker (10/30 @ 8:00 PM)
    Dr. John Cornwall, author of The Perfect Spore and The Spore who Came in From the Cold will speak on his new book, The Morel Majority.

    —-
    Admission: $7 Adult, $3 children (children under 5 free).
    Please remain on the lighted paths.

  3. Agneta Bergqvist said,

    For H.D. Gemson, who knows so much about Linden College I ask a question. I have won a fellowship to study this winter at Linden College. I always dreamed that I would someday travel so to come to Stranger Creek is a happy thing I look forward to. But now I am having problem and would sincerely appreciate if someone could explain what it means “experimental in nature…living arrangements” at Linden College. It is not I who have worry or even my father, but my grandmother who is my mother’s mother is the one who has a need to know what it means. She has a big worry. I thank you.

  4. Elizabeth Barton said,

    Dear Ms. Bergvist,
    I have been asked by my friend, Harold Gemstone, to respond to your query about Linden College. I work for the college, dividing my responsibilities between the admissions office and the college archives in Swenson Library. I can also speak as an alum of the college, having spent four wonderful years there.

    First, let me congratulate you on winning the Freya Fellowship. It is quite competitive and you must be an exceptional student.

    Linden College offers a number of living arrangements for its students ranging from traditional dormitories to cooperative housing. I think what you are referring to as “experimental” is Freehold Village, or what students simply call The Village. And, of course, there is also The Grove.

    The Village is a collective of different group houses. Several of these are for language study: Swede House, Ogham Cottage, Wu Tai Retreat (Chinese), Hakuenji (Japanese), and Al Azzrahad (I can’t recall what language is studied there). Then there is Selmer House, designed by the contemplative architect Jackson S. Selmer. The exterior looks like a large rectangular box, but the interior always changes because the walls consist of panels that can be moved around according to students’ whims. Not for the light hearted, many a first-year student has woken up to find that they now had a new roommate or that their closet was in the dining room. The Selmer House is one of the finest expressions of the architect’s philosophy of having buildings continually challenge “in-livers” (his term for residents) to break through dualistic notions of “personal” space. Finally, there is the Grove, adjacent to the Village. The Grove is a collection of student-built huts, tree houses, and shelters interspersed with junior faculty housing, vegetable gardens, and conceptual landscapes. Some say that the Grove forms the spiritual core of the college and the Hall of the Mountain Bretheren, which stands in its midst, would then be its heart. The hall itself it used infrequently, but its broad porch is a meeting area for Grove students. Students who register to live in The Grove may live freely in any of its structures or build their own housing for course credit (with faculty supervision).
    As a visiting student, I think that you would find the dorms quite comfortable. You can show your parents photos of the dorms on the college website. (For some reason only part of the Village appears on the website and the Grove is not yet featured there).
    For something different, you might try Parker Cottage in the Grove; it’s quite comfortable, but you really should be a jazz music fan to fully appreciate it.
    Well, if there is any further information you might desire, please do not hesitate to contact me at the college. I look forward to meeting you.
    Sincerely,
    Elizabeth Barton Class of ‘89
    Linden College Jr. Archivist and Admissions Counselor

  5. Elizabeth Barton said,

    NEWS RELEASE
    Swenson Library of Linden College is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Dr. Xavier Readle collection of early writings on pharmacopeia and items of medical history. Professor Hawysworth of Linden College, a noted expert in the history of homeopathy, purchased the collection on behalf of the college and is the process of cataloguing it. According to Hawysworth, the collection includes rare writings and several dozen medical specimens of uncertain identity. Hawysworth commented, “Dr. Readle left volumes of copious notes and several unpublished manuscripts, all in a very precise hand, but I expect that outside experts will have to be called in to assist in the identification of some items in the collection.” Hawysworth plans to exhibit the entire collection, and a few of items are now display in the library and can be seen during the library’s usual hours of operation.

  6. Rob Jenkins for Roswell Construction said,

    $5,000 REWARD

    For information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals responsible for vandalism and malicious acts at the construction site of Gentle Glen Homes a joint concern of Feldmen Realtors and Roswell Construction.

    As reported in local media, Gentle Glen Homes, adjacent to Witches Grove, has been the site of repeated acts of malicious damage. Roswell Construction has notified police of vandalism of vehicles, disappearance of construction materials, damage and removal of signage, and the appearance of boulders and other materials obstructing proposed thoroughfares, necessitating revision of construction plans. Most of the vandalism has occurred after hours despite the presence of security guards.
    Anyone with knowledge about this vandalism should contact Roswell Construction directly.
    ===
    Roswell also has employment opportunities in site security. Please apply at the construction trailer.

  7. Moses Gunnarson said,

    Folks complain that I am always the first person to say I told you so. I don’t like to smile at the misfortune of others, but I do have a memory full of things that some choose to forget. The problems faced by the construction company digging on the old Yaeder place near Witches’ Grove are a good case in point. You will remember my words from the town meeting, so I won’t repeat myself. But, let me also remind you that Stranger Creek Bank refused to finance the project as the Quick Dispatch reported. And Older Realtors would not take any part in the project either. So, I’m not the only one who opposed it. Knowing the community well, I have my suspicions who is behind the construction plans, but I shall save those for another day. Let me instead share my memories of the Yaeder family. They are still well known in these parts, but I have only told my story about them to a few people.

    For several years, my father and Jacob Yaeder had spots next to each other at the farmers’ market. My father believed that a joke that was funny once would be funny again the next time. And every weekend he asked Yaeder if the swamp near his property was the reason his vegetables smelled so bad. Yaeder would reply that the water on his property was the sweetest in the county, but dad would mutter under his breath about how if the vegetables could really smell they wouldn’t be in Yaeder’s garden in the first place. Yaeder would always laugh once or twice politely. It was a sort of ritual for them.

    The joke was old by the time I started going to the market with my dad, which must have been when I was about seven or eight. I remember Mrs. Yaeder was pregnant with their third child, but she still joined her husband to look out after her other children John and Suzanne and to talk with customers. Market and church were the two big social events for many folks back then.

    I remember when Elsie Yaeder gave birth to her second daughter Helen on the Friday before market. My father made a production of presenting Jacob Yaeder with a large watermelon. Yaeder dropped it and it seemed like an ill omen at the time.
    Since they were home schooled, not many people get to know John and Suzanne as well as I did. I only saw them at the market, but they were my constant friends there for a few years. Some Saturdays John and I went fishing after market. Perhaps my interest in story telling dates from my being one of the few sources about the Yaeders. John was an excellent fisherman, and my friends kept asking me about his secrets. I had several of my friends convinced that John hung a small green rock from his line instead of a hook. Then there were the stories about things and animals that ‘went missing’ for a while from Yaeder farm, of Yaeder’s mailbox that would reverse directions, his windmill that he was always fixing but no one ever saw move, and the fact that the Yaeders could never keep a pet dog. John told me he must have had seven or eight dogs before he gave up on them. He said they must have all run off.

    Everyone was also curious about Suzanne. Her hair was so blond it was almost green. She was also a little autistic. Usually she never spoke more than a few words, but she was very hard to stop or follow when she did launch into words.

    It was a July, I remember, and I was about eleven years old. John had asked me to go fishing the previous week and I had brought my pole to market. Instead of heading to our usual spot near the train bridge south of town, John suggested we try the swamp near his house. He said that there were large catfish there he wanted to get. So I agreed.

    After about a thirty minute walk in the woods, I asked him about where we were going and John mumbled. Like any boy at that time, I loved the outdoors, but Witches Glen was not a place I wanted to venture far into and still don’t. When I had just about made up my mind to turn back, John motioned me to be quiet and he pointed. I saw Suzanne sitting on a log not far ahead of us. She looked like she was catching her breath. Her white dress was different from the overalls she had worn to market. It seemed better for church than the woods. I was going to call out to her, when a look on John’s face warned me against it and I shut up.

    Suzanne sat on a log in front of a large oak tree, one of the bigger ones in the forest. Actually, I can’t recall seeing one that size in many years. After a while she got up and headed off down a different path. John seemed relieved to see her go.

    We waited for a bit, then headed to where she had sat down. I noticed an opening in the large oak the size of a doorway. Looking inside, I saw that the tree was entirely hallow. I could even see the sky way up within it. It would have been comfortable inside if it wasn’t for a dark smell that drove John and I quickly out. I remember feeling dizzy. John fell to the ground gagging.

    John motioned for me to leave the clearing and he led me back out of the woods. After walking away from it, we sat down and he told me how his sister had been visiting the old tree, and he had followed her there. John’s father had his Saturday chores after market and his little sister kept his mother busy. They had not seemed to notice that Suzanne had been acting strangely and I wondered at the time how John himself would have known that.

    John and I didn’t talk about what happened after that visit to the woods. Little Helen became quite sick that summer, which kept his mother and sister at home. Jacob Yaeder still came to market and brought John but even I noticed a change in both father and son. My father no longer joked with him either.

    In September, both of the Yaeder girls went missing. That part of the story is well known. At the time, there were two theories about what had happened to them. One had it that a drifter had taken them both. The other was that Suzanne had wandered off with her sister.

    The day they disappeared John came to my door. He looked like a ghost, more so because he had never been to my house before. John called me outside and told me he needed me to go with him to check the oak. He pressed a hunting knife into my hand, which I tucked into my back pocket. My father and mother had already left to join the search party at the boundaries, where someone said a drifter had been sighted. Left alone, I decided to join John.

    We ran the three miles to his farm and dashed straight into the woods, but when we neared the oak, John slowed to a slow walk then we moved forward slowly foot by foot, looking down to avoid stepping on twigs while keeping to the brush and trees.
    We spotted a blanket on the log by the oak. John picked it up and looked underneath it, but there was nothing else. We turned to the oak tree. The forest was bright as day but the light did not penetrate inside the tree. John drew out his buck knife and approached it. I would have laughed at his expression if he wasn’t so intent as he approached the tree. I remembered the knife he gave me and pulled it out.

    At the mouth of the tree, I could smell the stench from within it. The smell of roots, of rot, of something forgotten. It penetrated me through and stayed in my clothes for days afterward. John held his nose and moved inside pulling a white cloth off the wall. My sister’s dress, he said.

    Following him in there was like wading into mud. My feet felt heavy. My head groaned. Clearly there was no one in there, but John moved to the center of the tree. It was wide enough for him to stretch out his arms within it and not touch the sides. We both looked up.

    Dark resin ran inside the walls of the tree. The sky seemed far away as I looked up. The resin dripped heavily. Sticky drops began to splatter on my clothes, one after another. John turned toward me and pushed me outside.

    I landed on my side and gasping for air, I felt as if I had been holding my breath under water. Then I realized that John was still inside.

    My body ached as I pulled myself to my feet. I could only stare at the opening unable to move until I saw John stumble out, his face pale, his clothes soaking wet. “She’s gone,” he said, falling to his knees.

    I don’t remember how I managed to get John home. No one was there when we arrived and I did not go inside his house. I watched John enter and stood on from the road in front of the house. It must have been some time until Sam Miller saw me and gave me a ride home on his milk truck.

    At the time I never told anyone about the events of that day. First because I was confined to bed for a week with fever, and second because they seemed irrelevant to the what followed. A drifter was captured several days later, but Suzanne and her sister were never found. The Yaeders moved away a few weeks later, and the last that I had heard about them was the news that John had drowned in the bathtub in their new home in Wisconsin.

    The Yaeder homestead soon fell into ruin and the forest reclaimed it. In my opinion, that is the way things were supposed to be. I admit that it was a tragedy what happened, for the Yaeders and that drifter, but I cannot help but think that things happen for a reason. I share this with you now so that the construction company and any future residents of what they are calling “Gentle Glen” will know the place that they are moving into. Nature needs to be respected. Sometimes she demands that from us, other times she takes that respect outright.

  8. Rod Tyler said,

    Moses story made me think of that fellow from the Geological Survey that went down into the Grove, what was it, ten or twelve years ago, to take photographs. He shot several rolls of film, but when he got home, all but two were blacked out. He got some kindof strange disease too, if I remember. It was an eye disease. He couldn’t tell the difference between light and dark anymore – everything was just gray, like it was always twilight.

    Anyrate, he did give me copies of the two he took that day that turned out, and I will put them up here, so folks can see what some of the trees growing down there look like. The armature is pretty impressive, I think.

  9. Agneta Bergqvist said,

    Dear Ms. Barton,

    Many thanks for your kind words. I am not such a bright girl, but I work very hard and do not lose courage with there are problems with what I try to do. It is the third time I apply for the Freya Fellowship and I think they accept me because I am a nuisance that I will not go away! This time I learn all about Miss Freya and her journey and I tell them I am hoping that I will be like her, only not to die as she did. So now I am glad to come.

    My grandmother has much less worry because I show her your writing. She tells me that the dormitory is a good place for me to live and not the place with the walls that move and you never know who you wake up with. The Swede House is not good because my English will not improve so much if I live there. So what I want is to live in the dorm for my grandmother but I will build a cottage in the Grove. My hope is to study architecture and one day to make buildings that cause people friendliness and calm feelings. Is it possible I can make a building for my course when I am only a student for one term? It will be winter months that I am in Stranger Creek, but I am used to cold weather and do not mind.

    Yours,

    Agneta

  10. Dr. Douglas Oostenburg, Ph.D., D.D.S said,

    I am writing in response to Moses Gunnarson’s posting about the Yaeder incident. In his account, Gunnarson implies that a “derelict” was wrongly charged with the girls’ murder and that was not the case. My uncle P. Claudius Oostenberg worked the case as an officer of the court, functioning in the capacity of truth stenographer. He shared the details of it with me many years ago before his passing and left copious notes about the case as was his habit. These I have recently accessed and read. They leave me firmly convinced in the derelict’s guilt. Let me set the record straight on this issue and put the matter to final rest.

    The derelict was one Loeb Brow of Moundhill Missouri. Brow brought with him a criminal record to our community. His case file lists multiple charges for disorderly conduct, petty thievery, and public insobriety in Kansas and Missouri. For three years he resided without incident in Stranger Creek living at several rooming houses and working odd jobs and farm labor during the harvest.

    The trouble with Brow started when he became convinced that Jacob Yaeder had poisoned him. Brow claimed that a tonic Yaeder had distilled from mushrooms had permanently damaged his eyesight and made his ears ring. Brow brought this complaint to court and there was some sympathy for him given that Jacob Yaeder was a known bootlegger, albeit from one of our community’s oldest families. When the allegations of poisoning could not be substantiated by physician’s examination, the case was dismissed and Brow was fined for contempt of court. Brow vowed revenge on the Yaeders, but immediately left town on the heels of a suit for liable.

    That was several years before the Yaeder girls disappeared. In the weeks preceding the girls’ disappearance, residents reported the disappearance of chickens, tools, and other supplies from their outbuildings. (Perhaps some of the curiosities Gunnarson describes at the Yaeder residence should be included in this list). On a tip by local residents, the sherif and his deputy visited a hobo encampment near the railroad. According to the police report, which I have before me, in addition to individuals named as Stew, Lone Jackson, and Martins — all of whom were familiar to Sherif Colton at the time– a new hobo had moved into the camp. The hobos directed the officers to search an abandoned railroad car nearby which yielded several belongings and tins of food but not the individual in question.

    When she reported the girls disappearance, Elsie Yaeder recalled seeing a man of Brow’s description standing outside her house days earlier. Police drew a connection with the mysterious hobo suspected in the robberies. They enacted the posse, augmented with several undergraduates from the college who reinforced the residents’ contingent, and undertook a thorough search of the hobo jungle near the Boundary. Thanks to these numbers, Brow in hobo disguise was soon discovered hiding under a train car. Officers found several blood stained garments in Brow’s possession as well as a revolver, various unidentified medicines, a copy of Milton’s Paradise Lost, and a considerable sum of money.

    My uncle’s notes become more copious when Brow was turned over to him for supervision. Present as witnesses to the questioning were Sherif Colton, Mayor Hobbs, the school mistress Chastity Miller, Bailiff Horton, Edgar Mathers of the postal service, and my uncle who presided. I will not go into the details about Brow’s interrogation except to say that the most modern techniques were employed to ascertain the veracity of his account. Brow initially denied all charges. He claimed he was simply passing through town on his way back to Missouri from Colorado where he had struck it rich in a mine. However, officers of the court were suspicious of the fact that Brow had been traveling in disguise and was in possession of drugs. A process of methodical questioning ensued which is described in 48 pages of detail in my uncle’s account. This gradually revealed Brow’s murderous intent on the Yaeders. His plot to kill them; how he had become intoxicated and had entered the Yaeder home, had taken the girls, murdered them, and disposed of their bodies. Brow’s memory of the location of their bodies was imperfect although pressed on many sides about this matter. (My uncle concluded that drug use had clouded his mind). Unfortunately, Brow suffered a heart attack before other techniques could be brought to bear. My uncle’s notes conclude by noting that Brow’s body was taken for cremation except for his skull which was turned over to the college for measurement. Brow’s money went to the Yaeder’s in compensation for their loss.

    I trust that this scientific account will satisfy all skeptics. Conversely, if Moses Gunnarson is so firmly convinced that his is the truth let him come put that truth to the proper tests for its verification and I will gladly administer them.

    Cordially,
    Dr. Douglas Oostenburg, Ph.D., D.D.S

  11. Ms Elizabeth Barton said,

    Dear Ms. Bergqvist,

    It was a great pleasure to hear from you and I look forward to having you on campus. As for your query about buidling your living quarters in the Grove, there are procedures that you will need to follow when you arrive but it certainly is a possibilty for you. I have forwarded your message to Professor Smartley of the contemplative design program. He has kindly agreed to advise you on construction matters.

    In the winter months, many of the Glen residents practice the custom of bundling, something that our pilgrim forebearers did centuries ago. This is a great way for Glen residents and faculty to become better acquainted. Professor Smartley has seen your application and the attached photograph and he is eager to introduce this quaint college custom to you.

    If I can be of any additional service, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Sincerely,

    Liz Barton

  12. Quick Dispatch Editorial Team said,

    Editor’s Note:
    The following notice came to the office of the Quick Dispatch in handwritten form. We have made our best attempt to transcribe it, but without contact information we could not be certain of its contents. Space limitations further prohibited us from printing the notice in its entirety. We request the text’s author to contact the office of the Quick Dispatch to receive a considerable refund of payment submitted; and we have printed this note here in hopes of attracting the author’s attention.
    ——
    Praise be to Lord Ishtell for Prayers answered.
    In the name of those who lurk in dark spaces, those who bind Enemies for us, the hopping crawling, slithering servants of our LOrd. Zham-ho-het. Those who are thrice called and bound tightly. Those whom we invoke nightly. Those you wont escape. Those who invade drugged sleep. Who cry, who burn. The boiled ones. Grim masters. The stone-faced SILENT LORDS. Steer them to US. To bind. In their dark names we intone
    ISHTALLI LA TALLI SET TALLI HUNG TALLI
    May they smite the one who BOTHERS US. The one who are named [ the text is garbled at this point, ed.].
    May this happen immediately without delay. Crossing time like light transverses dark. Like a thought in its speed, like a spider in silence, like a snake in quickness, like a dagger in sharp death’s AGONY. [the text goes on in a similar vein for several pages – ed.] May it all fall upon them all.
    ISHTALLI LA TALLI SET TALLI HUNG TALLI
    [This verse is repeated 88 times — ed.]
    May these words be so and may THE POWERFUL ONES be witness.

  13. Steve Lugar said,

    Liz–

    I’ve just “discovered” you after all these years due to a rather elaborate typographical error. I was attempting to search Silas Creech ( the 17th C. British explorer) when I found myself embedded in Stranger Creek. (Yes, the hour was late and yes, I had been drinking, but no matter–it was clearly meant to be.)

    You will not remember me as clearly as I do you, but we shared two classes (Physics 840 and Intro to Nuclear Poetics) during your very brief graduate tenure at Harvard in the fall of 1991 . We all were stunned when you left, as you were clearly the most gifted among us. John said you’d complained that the University was too solid, and I felt this criticism to be just. Still, you were missed.

    It is impossible for me to think of you without recalling what I’ve come remember as the incident of the unfinished article. You knew I was upset after the scathing class critique of my second poem (though I now, with the perspective of age and realigned priorities, completely agree with all that was said and consequenly attempt poetry only rarely and in private). You stopped by my room and dropped off a dog-eared copy of the LInden College quarterly, Ephemera (Winter, 1984), with an article bookmarked by a long strand of blue-black hair. You told me it was written just for me and that I should read it right away–that it would not only make me feel better but could change my life, and on and on. I laughed, as I remember. I was more intent on getting you to stay awhile–though in this I failed then as always (you were forever on the way to somewhere else in those days).

    I set the journal aside until evening when I pulled it out and read until my eyes grew tired and the letters seemed to fade. The next morning, when I pulled it out to finish I found the words were gone entirely–and not only from the article you had marked, but from the whole publication. The pages weren’t blank exactly–faint photographs and other graphics could sometimes be seen at a certain angle in certain light. I remembered nothing of what I had read (and no, I had not been drinking) though I was left with the conviction that I needed to move on and this has never left me. I should have finished the article, though when I admitted as much to you, you simply laughed and said “Of course!”

    I left Harvard shortly after you did–although I finished out the term and made sure my credits earned were recorded on my transcript. This proved unnecessary as I never returned to academia, prefering to travel. It is a compulsion with me. Luckily, I have managed to earn my living (such as it is) by sometimes writing about my experiences and sometimes serving as a tour guide. I also trade in artifacts. I seem to have some natural intuition that guides me in this endeavor and has helped me to avoid the most common pitfalls.

    John claims to have had a postcard from you, but since he’s never let me see it, I question whether it exists outside of his wishful thinking. You may be interested to know that he has never married.

    As for me, I think of you often, and have always hoped (and even expected) to meet up with you when the time is right. I once found myself in the vicinity of Stranger Creek, or so I was told. But each time I asked, I was given conflicting directions–“go left at the oak, then follow the gravel road about 7 miles” (although the road dead-ended after two-and-a-half); “go right at the oak, then take the first sharp left just after the gas station” (there WAS no gas station). I know you know what I am talking about.

    Sill, I would like to see you.

    Yours,

    Steve.

  14. Normal Thompson said,

    Linden College Archaeological Recovery Field School – 2007
    Field Techniques in Archaeological Recovery: The Fate of the Enoch Falls Culture

    Archaeological Recovery 760 (ARCHREC 760), 4 credits
    Dates: June 5-June 30 (including weekends)
    Instructor: Dr. Normal Thompson

    The Department of the Recovery of Lost Cultures at Linden College invites students to participate in the Kansas Mythos Archaeological and Textual Recovery Project and Field School (KMATRPFS). The program will focus on the Talcoma-Misotte site, a newly discovered occupation in Stranger Creek Kansas.

    The Talcoma-Misotte Site

    Investigations at Talcoma-Misotte will evaluate its Utell energy levels and archaeological contents relevant to its potential importance as an ancient power center and eligibility for nomination to the National Register of Mysterious Places and Power Centers (NRMPPC). The site, in Stranger Creek valley southwest of Leavenworth, has yielded evidence of occupation during the Enoch Falls period (500 BC – 300 AD). Surveys have found tools fashioned from meteorites, bone fragments, altars, mounds, and lay-stones that were exposed in June 2004 by an earthquake. Participants will document the site and determine whether it contains intact human or inhuman remains, or evidence of worship such as mounds and sacrifice pits. Sites in the Delaware River drainage west of Stranger Creek have yielded evidence of three-legged figurines, bone and shell masks, personal ornaments, trash-filled cache pits containing skulls, ceramic pipes, a variety of ritual tools (e.g., drills and scrapers) and ground-stone tools (e.g., axes, celts, manos, metates). Comparable evidence from Talcoma-Misotte will provide insight to the fate of the Enoch-falls culture in northeastern Kansas.

    Archaeological Field Techniques

    Participants in the KMATRPFS 2007 will receive instruction in a variety of field techniques, including:

    * Shamanic remote sensing techniques
    * Necrotic collection
    * Text recovery (including unit placement, set-up, screening, and documentation such as profiling, unit/level form completion, plan mapping, photography, etc.)
    * Use of a Lay-Line Configurator (LLC; or “lay transit”) for site mapping of energy levels
    * Use of a Global Positioning Receiver (GPR)
    * Interpretation of U.S.M.S. topo-psychic maps
    * Demonstration of folkloric techniques, such as sacrifices, neural sampling, and interpretation of the ritual sediment context of the site.

    Applications are available from the course instructor.

    Send application to
    Dr. Normal Thompson
    Department of the Recovery of Lost Cultures
    Linden College
    Stranger Creek Kansas

  15. Elizabeth Barton said,

    Dear Steven,
    Well hello again Steven and to hear from you on Halloween of all days. That made me laugh and I think that perhaps only you — and the statue of John Harvard — know the reason why.
    Thank you for virtually locating me here at Stranger Creek. Someday you will have to find the real place, if you and are ready to find it. Try a little harder next time. (For some people it takes longer than others I suppose).
    I’m sorry to have left so abruptly. Power and poetics for me then meant action even at the expense of words. That was both my reason for leaving and my means for doing so. The opening at Linden College came at the right time too. My current position allows me to continue my research without the worries of teaching or publishing. The work that I have decided to have out there is all in my mother’s maiden name.
    It’s also much less expensive to live here. At school, I had a one bedroom apartment 20 minutes from the nearest T station and that ran me more than $1100 a month. Now I have a small home but with plenty of room for my humidors, collections, and a small lab — the dog kind Steven. Since coming here, I have given up all applied science to pursue the joys of theory. You were always worried about the applications, but to me the ideas have become far more elegant.
    There are more stories to tell Steven, and I will let others tell at least one for me. See Margaret Tlanek’s piece in Ephemera 23.2 (2001). These back issues are not online yet, so you will have to try inter-library loan. That is if you can stay in one place long enough to wait for it.

    Ra-ra-ra,
    Liz

  16. Normal Thompson said,

    Several of you asked me at the town council meeting last week about the archaeological methods to be employed at an excavations next summer. I have found among my files a talk I gave three years ago at the reopening of the Schliemann Museum on Linden College campus. At the time I was serving as head of the Department of the Recovery of Lost Cultures. I doubt that I would speak so boldly today were I asked to give the same talk. However, I have decided to leave it in unedited form in part because it reminds me of happier times.

    “Why Cultural Recovery and Why Now?”
    Talk for Opening of the Schliemann Museum, April 14, 2003

    Honored guests, assembled faculty and students, and members of the regent’s council, I am honored to be speaking with you today at the rededication of the Schliemann Museum. The fine weather is a good omen for the new museum and one that means that the problems in the recent past are behind us. All of us lament the loss of certain prize objects and of our colleague Henry Swithern who perished trying to save them. However, if Henry were here today, as I believe he is in spirit, he would want us to carry on his work in reflective archaeology.

    The discipline of reflective archaeology also known as cultural archaeological and textual recovery has a long history. It is fitting that this museum is named after Heinrich Schliemann, whose discoveries grace many of the exhibits. Schliemann was an early proponent of “immersive archaeology,” which involved taking a holistic approach to a recovery site. Schliemann was as much an archaeologist of dreams as he was of physical places. As you know, instructions Schliemann received in dreams told him where to dig and what he might find. When Schliemann made his famous pronouncement, “I have gazed upon the face of Agamemmnon,” he was not referring to a gold mask he had recovered at a site in Mycenae. He was speaking instead of his successful connections with the world of the dead which subsequently led him to even greater discoveries. Photographs of Schliemann’s wife show her bedecked in Trojan gold which reveal Schliemann’s experiments in trying to arouse similar spiritual connections in her. Schliemann unfortunately died before these experiments reached their fruition; had they been successful I have no doubt that his methods would be in the so-called mainstream now and even greater discoveries would be known.

    This brings me to the field of conventional archaeology which I see as akin to grave robbing, the sole difference being that the crude tools of pick and ax have been replaced with modern science. Conventional archaeologists see the dirt as a container for artifacts awaiting to be extracted, cleaned, labeled and stuck on a shelf to join a mess of unrelated items as a showcase to the archaeologist’s mastery over nature and superiority over dead cultures. In my view, such actions are the height of arrogance, which is why I left a chaired position at the University of Chicago to come to Linden College to join a faculty of like-minded, enlightened scholars. I knew immediately when I came here and saw the offerings of flowers, incense and fresh fruit to the assembled devotional objects and fetishes in the Schliemann museum that I had come to the right place. That attention to ritual context is only one factor that distinguishes this facility we are dedicating today. It is overseen by a faculty and staff who understand the power of ritual continuation and see it as their life’s work. Their respect and reverence is in sharp contrast to places’ like Chicago’s Oriental Institute that may hold very important — but now entirely dormant objects — in their halls, but refuse to give them their just due.

    The words over the door of our museum “discover the internal, recover the external, and explore the eternal” reflect the spirit of archaeo-textual recovery and are the mantra of the reflexive archaeologist, who begins his science with an archaeology of the mind, to quote James Browner. He or she “in-covers” within himself as much as he or she uncovers in the physical plane. He or she knows that without understanding the terrain and depths of the mental landscape, the archaeologist cannot hope to understand a site, which is why I am so glad that our department emphasizes meditation and requires courses in folkloric techniques and ritual.
    When the mind is understood — or at least deeply probed — the archaeologist may then turn to the external world which we know as a reflection of the mind and vice versa. In both terrains, the mental and the physical, objects and ideas are not just dumped there willy-nilly. They are instead the result of karmic energy forces, which need to be evaluated and respected during recovery. For the ancients knew the significance of lay lines and power centers and our rash disturbance of these is akin to performing a lobotomy on ourselves. This often means that if an object needs to be removed for study a suitable physical or sacrificial replacement for it has to be found and put into place; or sometimes other kinds of appeasement need to occur so that the net of meaning remains untorn. In short, the ritual sediment needs to be respected for it to be fully read. Where conventional archaeologists might seek to clean an object to make it more aesthetically pleasing, a reflexive archaeologist will analyze the sediment and usually leave it intact as the ancient ones intended, and thereby “textualize” the objects true purpose.

    In the media, conventional archaeology is famously depicted in the likes of Indiana Jones, who embodies the singular, patriarchal, orientalist, imperialist struggle of the “civilized” caucasian male against the forces of nature, primitive belief, the past, the native, the subaltern, and the feminine. Reflexive archaeology, in contrast, is always a team effort usually involving a man and woman, who literally fuse their energies to conduct their investigations into themselves so that they can then harmonize with the sites they are directed to examine and successfully “partner” with those sites.
    In my own work, I am lucky to have a wonderful partner, Lady Karyn Ocean, who is my inspiration in so many things. Lady Karyn makes the more difficult shamanic recovery while I merely probe the physical plane. Together we are trying not just to unearth objects but to recover and read the ritual “sediment” of power items that we are directed and intended to find. This is extremely challenging, but I believe it to be a rewarding and vital endeavor. The past has a message for us, but not as mute bone fragments or sherds in a glass museum case. The past’s message is told in whispers, in dreams, in that surge of energy when we touch something long buried, and in the tingling at the back of our necks or the chill we feel when we know that we have crossed a newly activated energy line on the physical or dream plane. I know that many of you share that excitement with me, which is why you have gathered here today. I know also that this rededicated facility will instill that sense of inspiration to explore in the next generations, long past the time we are able to inspire others from beyond the grave.

    Normal Thompson

  17. Brianne Postolewaite said,

    Dear Mr. Thompson,

    I want to have your baby!

    Please do not let the difference in our ages stand in the way.

    Bri

  18. Jenny Lynn said,

    I’ve posted some new Photos of the Grove – take a look!

  19. Normal Thompson said,

    Dear Ms. Postolewaite,
    Thank you for your note. I understand your comments to be in support of my research objectives and methodolgy for which I am appreciative.
    If you were inquiring to ask about the archaeology field school next summer, then you will find an application at the college website.
    Sincerely,
    Normal Thompson, Ph.D.
    Department of the Recovery of Lost Cultures
    Linden College

  20. Brianna Postolewaite said,

    Dear Mr. Thompson,

    According to Ms. Barton, I cannot take your class until I graduate high school (ONE MORE YEAR!!!) but she said that you might consider me for an internship next summer which would give me “special student” access to the Linden College Library and most of the papers you have on reserve there. I understand that as an intern my duties would be quite limited but I would be honored to serve you in any capacity at all. (I really mean that.) My two summers of working at IHOP should give me an edge over some of the other applicants (Ms. Barton mentioned fetching coffee and washing equipment).

    Until March,

    Bri

  21. Morris Popdickel for the Quick Dispatch said,

    Mystery Model to be Restored
    by Morris Popdickel

    The Minkus Model, a highly detailed reproduction of Stranger Creek, is the focus of restoration efforts headed by Dr. Chen Yet Chen of Hearn Gardens. Chen acquired the model last year from the estate of Marvin Minkus, life-long Stranger Creek resident, who died in 2004 at age 103. Minkus spent several decades in his retirement creating a detailed model of Stranger Creek in his basement. Visitors who called upon Minkus would usually find him in his “angel’s harness” suspended over the town, making minute adjustments to the town. Dr. Chen, a life-long friend of Minkus, stated “although Marvin never left his house, his knowledge of local events always surprised me. He seemed to know of things the moment they happened, if not before.” For that reason, members of the town council, the Theosophical Society, and the sherif sometimes called upon Minkus for assistance in various matters.
    Chen reported that the model rests on an electrified table of Minkus’s design. It is meticulously accurate and entirely free of dust. “When I last looked, I even saw a large number of squirrel models in Harold Gemson’s backyard,” Chen laughed. The only concession to fantasy was a train track Minkus placed to encircle the town. A variety of trains, cable cars, and other vehicles travel rapidly around the perimeter of the town when placed on the track.
    Chen has spent the last two months slowly disassembling the model and he will begin the harder task of rebuilding it after Thanksgiving when Hearn Gardens closes for its winter recess. Chen said that his effort came out of a fascination with the artistry of Minkus and out of dedication to his departed friend. The model will eventually reside in the basement of the garden’s Victorian Greenhouse.

  22. “Doorpick” (2) « baker Bloch’s Weblog said,

    […] town of Linwood, said by one account to be named for the many linden trees that grew in the area. A bit about the college and town here. […]

  23. “Doorpick” (2) « baker Blinker’s Weblog said,

    […] town of Linwood, said by one account to be named for the many linden trees that grew in the area. A bit about the college and town here. Reference to being “off the grid” is here. […]

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