Sunday, October 1, 2017

Alternaticity: a new forum for old CC members

A new forum has been created.

There is not much on there at the moment, but we are working on it, which will take a while. Some of the material from the CC forum will be posted there.


Friday, September 29, 2017

For CC forum enquirers

Although all my own material is saved, I am devastated by the loss of so much valuable information that other members had posted. Some of us are still in touch; perhaps something can be salvaged and we will be able to get going again.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and the Isle of Wight

When I visited Portsmouth and Southsea earlier this year, I thought about extending my explorations to another, nearby, seaside town - Ryde on the Isle of Wight. After walking around Southsea looking at places of interest, I didn’t have enough energy or inclination left, so I decided to leave it for another day. I had hoped to go much sooner, but I have finally made the trip.

Significant dates
Geoffrey Stavert, the author of A Study in Southsea: The Unrevealed Life of Doctor Arthur Conan Doyle, did some detective work and was reasonably confident that Conan Doyle arrived at Clarence Pier in Southsea on Saturday, June 24th 1882.

By coincidence, June 24th 2017 was a Saturday too, and I first intended to visit the island on that day; it seemed fitting that I would leave Clarence Pier on the same day and date that Conan Doyle arrived. However, it was a day when the weather was not very good and I didn’t feel like going anywhere.

I kept postponing this trip in favour of other things, until I realised that autumn was upon us. September 22nd was the day of the Autumn Equinox, so I thought that would be a good day to go.

Journey to Ryde on the Isle of Wight
I returned to Southsea, then travelled by Hovercraft over the Solent to Ryde.

I have made this journey before, but on those occasions Kipling and Doyle were not involved. I lived in Ryde for a short time when I was four years old, and I went back there just for personal reasons. This time, I was aware of some relevant associations.

Unseen influences on the Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight has a bad reputation. There are allegations of Satanism, black magic and mysterious goings on. Freemasons in business and local government are alleged to have inordinate influence on the island’s affairs. David Icke, who lives in Ryde, is one of the many people who have written about this.

I will never know why my family moved to Ryde – and some other places with interesting and sinister connections. I suspect that someone was following some kind of psychic trail.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Stella Gibbons’s Juliet: different, difficult and defiant

I didn’t expect to think of anything more to say about Stella Gibbons’s books, and I knew that as she died in 1989 there wouldn’t be any more of them.

I learned recently that two manuscripts she left to her estate have been published. I didn’t expect to like the new books - I prefer Stella Gibbons’s earlier to her later books - and I didn’t expect to find anything relevant to this blog either.

The stories contain anachronisms and anomalies, recycled and repurposed characters and other material that I recognised from her previous books, and I can’t say that I enjoying reading them for their own sake very much.

However, some of what I read in Pure Juliet (a draft that was completed in 1978 and retitled from An Alpha) resonated enough to inspire an article.

I want to concentrate on one character, the eponymous Juliet, and the most relevant aspects in this book: by coincidence, Juliet’s main interest in life is the study of coincidences.

Juliet’s personality
It seems to me that Stella Gibbons wanted to create and describe someone who was in many ways her exact opposite. She has not done too bad a job of it. Much of what she says about Juliet’s character and behaviour is familiar, and some of it could apply to INTJ girls. I can identify with a lot of it.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Benjamin Disraeli: three Napoleons and The Revolutionary Epic

I found the material for this article while looking for answers to some questions I had about Benjamin Disraeli. I wanted to know whether, despite the allegations of his enemies and detractors, he had any sincere beliefs. Did he have strong convictions about anything, or were his views changeable and just adopted from expediency?

I found that he did have some genuine and firmly-held beliefs.

The Revolutionary Epic
One thing that Disraeli definitely believed in was his own genius.
Another belief was that men are best influenced and governed by appeals to their imagination and by someone charismatic whom they could adore and obey. Someone they could hero-worship was what the people wanted. Romance was superior to reason when it came to leadership. He was right in that many people certainly do want their gods to be in human form.

These two beliefs came together in one of his attempts to make a name for himself as a creative writer.

In 1834, when he was 29 years old, he published his poem The Revolutionary Epic on this theme. It dealt with the French Revolution and the career of Napoleon Bonaparte. He considered it to be his masterpiece, the best thing he had ever done. It was going to show the world what a great genius he was, bring him fame and fortune and immortalise his name.

Or so he thought.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Some thoughts about good and bad role models

I wrote about the acceptance of responsibility a while back, as part of an exercise to start listing the attributes that in my opinion make someone a good role model.

Creating articles for this blog and making contributions to some forums has involved a lot of research. Much of the material that I have encountered recently is very disillusioning. I have seen some horrific revelations about public figures. 

These discoveries have inspired me to return to the subject of role models and associated attributes. This article continues the exercise with some ideas about bad role models and some attempts to define the qualities that make a good role model.

Bad role models
Many people are presented by the media as good examples to follow and emulate. We are given the message that we should respect these people just because of their power and position and because they are in the public eye. 

Celebrities and socialites, some talentless and lacking in achievements and with hedonistic, unwholesome or even degenerate lifestyles, are marketed as examples of success in life and good role models. After all, anyone who has millions of followers on social media must be doing something right.

They are the in crowd and we are outsiders. The suggestion is that we should admire them for their wealth, fame and glamour and envy them for and attempt to copy their lifestyles.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Benjamin Disraeli: Imperium Et Libertas, death and primroses

Benjamin Disraeli died on April 19th, 1881.

Protocol did not permit Queen Victoria to attend his funeral, but she sent two wreaths of primroses with a simple message attached: “His favourite flowers.”

She used to dispatch many bunches of primroses from Osborne House, her holiday home on the Isle of Wight, to Disraeli, for which he always thanked her effusively. Perhaps he was just being polite; perhaps he really did like primroses more than any other flower.

Queen Victoria sent primroses to Disraeli’s grave at his home in High Wycombe on each anniversary of his death until 1901, when she herself died.

Some people allege that by ‘his’, Queen Victoria meant Prince Albert’s!

Either way, because of what she wrote and sent, primroses became associated with Disraeli’s name and were featured in two legacies, Primrose Day and The Primrose League.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Benjamin Disraeli: clothes, debts and a very happy marriage

I have been looking at more information about Benjamin Disraeli’s life, personality and political career. He is still a man of mystery to me. Perhaps describing and contemplating the aspects, good and bad, that have interested and affected me the most will help me to decide what sort of man he really was and how sincere his views were.

This article describes some personal aspects that caught my attention.

Disraeli the dashing dandy
Benjamin Disraeli’s exotic appearance was a major factor in his life.
I have noticed many references in Victorian writings to coal-black eyes. This is odd; I have never seen anyone like that. Perhaps it was just a convention for describing very dark brown eyes. It is also possible that the dim lights they used enlarged people’s pupils so their eyes appeared black.

Disraeli too was described as having coal-black eyes, and he had glossy black hair too. His family was of Italian origin – just like Marie Corelli, he claimed Venetian ancestry - so perhaps this was where the dark colouring came from.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Benjamin Disraeli: reaching the dizzy heights in politics

Benjamin Disraeli reached the supreme summit of his ambitions when he entered the House of Commons as Prime Minister in February 1868.

The politician who became affectionately known as ‘Dizzy’ had first entered Parliament in 1837. He was jeered and shouted down when, as MP for Maidstone, he made his maiden speech. He sat down in defeat, saying, “I sit down now, but the time will come when you will hear me.”

His prophecy came true.

Lord Melbourne, who had condescendingly explained to Disraeli in 1834 why the likes of him could never become Prime Minister, said in 1848 after hearing that Disraeli had become Leader of the Opposition, “By God! The fellow will do it yet.”

He was right. Unfortunately, Melbourne didn’t live long enough to see his words come true.

What might be called The Politician’s Progress had been an uphill battle.

Disraeli spent around three quarters of his political career in opposition, some of it between terms as Prime Minister. He would have needed preternatural amounts of ambition, endurance, patience, persistence and determination, not to mention patronage by prominent people and emotional support, to recover from all the disappointments, setbacks, opposition and criticism, overcome all his handicaps, stay the course and reach his goal.

Was it all worth it?
Only Disraeli himself could tell us whether the game was worth the candle; all we can do is speculate.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Benjamin Disraeli: progressing in politics

Benjamin Disraeli has been called the most gifted Parliamentarian of the 19th century and a first class orator, writer and wit.

Twice Prime Minister, he played a major part in the creation of the modern Conservative Party. He also made the Tories the party most identified with the glory and power of the British Empire: he brought India and the Suez Canal under the control of the British crown.

Reading about Disraeli’s rise from relative obscurity to international renown and what he called ‘the top of the greasy pole’ makes me wonder how he did it, why he did it and which, if any, subterranean forces were at work to move him into such a high position. These articles are a record of my attempts to understand what was going on and to answer those questions.

Getting in: the political party lottery
Although Disraeli may have decided on a political career in 1826, he didn’t do much about it until 1832. This was after his return from the Grand Tour of Europe and the Orient, a tour that restored him to health.

His long term goal was to become Prime Minister.

The first step in this direction was to get into the House of Commons as a Member of Parliament.  This entailed deciding which of the three political parties to campaign for.

The Tory, or Conservative, Party was considered to be worn out at the time, a lost cause, and Disraeli didn’t want to attach himself to a falling star; he couldn’t bring himself to be a Whig (who became the Liberals), so in 1832 he decided that he would campaign as a Radical.

After making a few unsuccessful attempts to get into Parliament by standing as an Independent Radical, in 1835 Disraeli changed his political affiliations and campaigned as a Tory.

For Disraeli, the end was much more important than the means; he felt that he had to do whatever it took to reach his goal. He was in no position to have scruples. Perhaps he changed parties because he felt that time was running out; he was going nowhere with the Radicals so had not got much to lose by joining the Conservatives.

He lost a by-election in 1835. He was then offered the safe seat of Maidstone, and easily defeated his Whig opponent in the general election of 1837.

He was in! He had finally made it at the age of 32. His decision to switch parties had paid off.

The Conservatives, while still a minority in Parliament, made large gains in this election; their star was on the rise again.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Benjamin Disraeli: getting started in politics

Disraeli: a Personal History by Christopher Hibbert is just one of the many available biographies of Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister and Earl of Beaconsfield. It is the only one that I have read in full. 

I read it because I hoped to find more examples of unseen influences at work in Disraeli’s life. I finished it feeling slightly disappointed as I did not find many examples of what I was looking for.

I also felt a little disillusioned; the great statesman felt drawn to Westminster not by a vocation or calling, not by principles, ideology or any sense of public service but by self-interest, inordinate ambition and vanity. The desire for fame and the need to make his presence felt at the highest levels of society were Disraeli’s main reasons for entering politics. He decided that a political career was the best route for getting where he wanted to go. 

The immunity of Members of Parliament from being arrested for debt had something to do with it too.

With information from the book and some that I found online, I have enough relevant and inspiring material for another article or two about this fascinating man.

Paving the way for the great destiny to come
Benjamin Disraeli’s father Isaac (D’Israeli) had all of his children baptised into the Church of England, although he himself never abandoned Judaism. Benjamin was 12 years old when Isaac took this unusual step, which was fortunate for him as otherwise he would never have been able to have a political career.

Predictions of the great destiny to come
I was amused to learn that Disraeli played Parliament games with his siblings as a boy. He was Prime Minister and the others were the Opposition.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cults & causes: Alexander Herzen nailed it perfectly

This quote deserves to be publicized worldwide.

When I first came across it, I had never heard of Alexander Herzen. 

He died in 1870 but these wise words are still very relevant today. They resonate very strongly with me. They are independent confirmation of my own ideas and experiences. They are spot on.

For Herzen, one of the greatest of sins that any human being can perpetrate is to seek to transfer moral responsibility from his own shoulders to those of an unpredictable future order, and, in the name of something which may never happen, perpetrate crimes today which no one would deny to be monstrous if they were performed for some egoistic purpose, and do not seem so only because they are sanctified by faith in some remote and intangible Utopia.“

Said by Sir Isaiah Berlin of Alexander Herzen, Russian writer, novelist, philosopher, teacher and political agitator.

It is uncanny how much of the bad behavior and sinister practices to be found in cults and cult-like organizations today are covered by views expressed by Alexander Herzen over 150 years ago.

Yes, people do commit terrible crimes in the name of the cause.

Yes, it is always some glorious end in the future that justifies the cheating, lying, deprivation, cruelty, abdication of responsibilities and commitments and other crimes in the present.

Yes, people who would never do something – cheating people out of money for example – for their own personal benefit, will do it in the name of the cause, in the name of Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, in the name of freedom and democracy in the future.

And yes, very often the end never comes, so the crimes and sacrifices were all for nothing.

I have seen all this for myself.

I wonder what Alexander Herzen experienced to make him hold those views.

I wonder how much of what he condemned was committed by him and his friends in the name of socialism and revolution that would bring about a better future.

Alexander Herzen:

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Rudyard Kipling and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

While reading about the lives of Rudyard Kipling and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I noticed that they had a few elements in common in addition to having lived in Southsea.

Artistic fathers
Both men had fathers who illustrated their books.

Conan Doyle’s father Charles Altamont Doyle was one of the first artists to depict Sherlock Holmes. His drawings were used for the 1888 edition of A Study in Scarlet.

John Lockwood Kipling illustrated his son’s Jungle Books.

Here is an example of each man’s work:

Sherlock Holmes is the tall man in the middle. I much prefer Sidney Paget’s depiction of the great detective!

Bereaved wives
Both Rudyard Kipling and Conan Doyle married women they met through the women’s brothers, brothers who both died young.

Conan Doyle met fellow Southsea resident Louise Hawkins when her brother Jack became a patient of his. He took the young man into his care at his house in Elm Grove, but the patient soon died. He was only 25 years old. Dr Doyle and Louise soon became engaged and then married. Unfortunately, she too died young and Conan Doyle remarried.

Rudyard Kipling met American-born Caroline Starr Balestier when her brother Wolcott, a writer and publisher who wrote a book jointly with Kipling, introduced her to his famous friend. Wolcott died two years later at the age of 29, and Kipling proposed to Caroline soon afterwards.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Benjamin Disraeli and some more unseen influences

Benjamin Disraeli the eminent Victorian, the prime minister of what was at the time the greatest power on earth, the statesman and superb orator who was also a novelist, essayist and supreme letter writer, has been extensively studied and written about.

I can’t compete with or add anything to the coverage of many aspects of his life, his brilliant political career in particular, but in any case my main interest is in the unseen influences that I believe were operating behind the scenes.

Curses, cursing and convenient deaths
I have already written about some deaths that were very convenient for Mr Disraeli. I have just read something in a review of the biography Disraeli: a Personal History by Christopher Hibbert
that gives further support to my suspicions:

"There was a streak of icy vengefulness in his temperament; even as a young man he had written down and filed away the names of those who crossed him. 'Something usually happens to them.'"

So Disraeli had a little list! So it was not only innocent people who happened to be in his way who suffered the consequences of his feelings towards them. So in the case of his enemies, the ill-wishing was deliberate.

This discovery has made me want to do a full investigation.

In the meantime, a little research exercise has found some familiar features.  It seems to me that his unsatisfactory (to Disraeli) starting position in life, his inordinate ambition combined with his creative personality and the setbacks he experienced made him someone who might well have attracted the attention of whatever it is that operates below the surface in the lives of selected people.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Arthur Conan Doyle’s witch Helen Penclosa: Part V

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short novel The Parasite has inspired a series of articles, of which this is the last.

It is being published today to mark the 87th anniversary of Conan Doyle’s death: he died on this day, July 7th, in 1930. 

Although I had never even heard of The Parasite until a few weeks ago, many elements of the story seem very familiar. They have activated memories of things I have read in other books or experienced for myself; I have featured some of them in previous articles. Here are some connections that I have noticed:

The Parasite and John Buchan
The Parasite reminds me a little of John Buchan’s story The Gap in the Curtain, in which people are trained to use the latent powers of their minds.

The volunteers are selected for their sensitive nervous systems and inability to cope well with the normal, physical world. This partly matches what Austin Gilroy says about himself: he calls himself a highly psychic, sensitive man.

The volunteers in The Gap in the Curtain are very different from Agatha Marden, whom Helen Penclosa successfully hypnotises as a demonstration of her power to control healthy, well-balanced people.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Arthur Conan Doyle’s witch Helen Penclosa: Part IV

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Parasite has inspired a series of articles. Part III described Helen Penclosa and her activities in detail. So what more is there to say about this sinister little story? There are still a few features to be highlighted, points to be made and warnings to be repeated.

Going into reverse
One feature in this and other examples of people ignoring red flags and getting carried away by exciting visions of the future is that not only do many of them not get what they want, but it all goes horribly wrong, into reverse even, and they find themselves in a much worse situation. Their ambition, scientific curiosity, gullibility, greed, arrogance, over-estimation of their powers, strength and resistance … whatever the cause of their involvement with negative metaphysical forces, they are lead to disaster.

Austin Gilroy gets the exact opposite of what he hoped for. He foresees a glorious future for himself; he thinks that his forthcoming paper on hypnotism might even get him made a Fellow of the Royal Society.  This will make Agatha accept that the game is worth the candle!  Unfortunately, it all backfires.

Instead of achieving further academic success, he loses his professorship. Instead of feeling respect and admiration for him, Agatha feels concern because he looks so worried, worn and ill.

Friday, June 30, 2017

More Stalky and Molesworth: Defence Against the Dark Arts Part IX

After finishing the article about Rudyard Kipling’s Stalky and the Molesworth books, I found some associated works that I didn’t know existed:

Stalky & Co.  BBC TV series; made in 1982

Two more Molesworth books, written by Simon Brett and illustrated by William Rushton:

Molesworth Rites Again (1983)
How To Stay Topp (1987)

I found some reviews, and there were enough positive ones to make me decide to get them. They sounded at least worth trying. I bought a DVD of the TV series; I bought the books too as they were not in my library’s catalogue.

I wondered whether I had done the right thing, as dramatisations of books I like are usually very disappointing and tribute books are hardly ever as good as the originals.

The Stalky & Co. BBC TV series
I have always believed that books stimulate the imagination whereas films short-circuit it. However, I bought the Stalky DVD in the hope that it would add something to the stories.

I don’t know what people who have never read the book would make of it; my balanced opinion is that while it was not a complete waste of money and it was not so bad that I was outraged by the dramatisation, it is lucky that I had not expected too much.

Some of the stories are shown out of sequence, and only six of the eight have been included. I wish they had included The Impressionists instead of The Moral Persuaders, which was too painful to watch.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Arthur Conan Doyle’s witch Helen Penclosa: Part III

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s occult novella The Parasite is a goldmine of supporting material for some of my ideas. It could be used as a teaching aid by people who are interested in informing – and warning - people about some types of unseen influences.

Part I of this series of articles introduced the main characters and outlined the plot; Part II described the effects that Helen Penclosa’s occult practices have on her victims. Part III gives more information about Miss Penclosa and her evil practices.

The source of Helen Penclosa’s powers
Where do Miss Penclosa’s powers come from?

By telling us that Helen Penclosa comes from Trinidad, Conan Doyle suggests that she has been involved with practices such as Voodoo or Obeah. He never states this explicitly, but there can be no other reason for his including this information.

It is a clue; it is a trope of the time; it is similar to saying that she has spent some time in Tibet: readers of the day would infer that she acquired her occult powers in a remote, mysterious and exotic place. It is a cop-out that saves him from trying to explain the inexplicable.

Austin Gilroy thinks that a natural force is at work.

Helen Penclosa could well be a natural witch; her powers could have developed because of her unhappiness, lack of options and inability to obtain what she wants in the normal way.

If the definition of black magic as the illegitimate use of the powers of the subconscious mind for one’s own purposes is accepted, then Miss Penclosa practices black magic.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Arthur Conan Doyle’s witch Helen Penclosa: Part II

The Parasite, a short novel about hypnotism by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, contains much material of interest. Part I introduced the main characters and outlined the plot; Part II will give some more details of the effects that Helen Penclosa’s occult practices have on her victims.

Conan Doyle tells us in this chilling little story how it looks and feels to be controlled by hypnotism, suggestion and even possession by this evil witch and energy vampire.

Under the influence: Agatha Marden
As a demonstration of her power, and proof that she can make people do things that they would never do of their own free will, Helen Penclosa hypnotises Austin Gilroy's young fiancée Agatha, ordering her break off the engagement.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Arthur Conan Doyle’s witch Helen Penclosa: Part I

While doing some research for an article about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life in Southsea, I discovered that he had written a short novel about occult forces called The Parasite:

“… his dark tale of an evil woman possessed of such hypnotic powers that she is able to induce by remote control not only murder, but passionate love as well, in the mind of her chosen victim.”

From  A Study in Southsea: The Unrevealed Life of Doctor Arthur Conan Doyle by Geoffrey Stavert

Stavert’s summary made the story sound very interesting indeed: I immediately thought of psychic crime and psychological black magic.

I found The Parasite on Project Gutenberg. The novella, which was first published in 1894, is only four chapters long; the plot is simple and there are only a handful of characters. The language is rather old-fashioned and melodramatic and the story a bit contrived, but I found The Parasite worth reading as a source of inspiration for an article or two. It contains some very familiar elements and provides yet more independent confirmation of some of my ideas.

The characters in summary
The two main characters are Miss Helen Penclosa, the evil woman, and Austin Gilroy, the chosen victim.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Southsea and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I went on a day trip to Southsea recently.

The main reason for my visit was to take a look at the place where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once lived and worked.

lived in Southsea during my last few terms at primary school and my first few terms at secondary school.  I went back there once or twice as an adult, but for personal reasons only: I wanted to lay some ghosts from the past. I didn’t know about the Conan Doyle and Kipling connections at the time. I didn’t know anything about the number 33 either, which by chance is the number of the house that I lived in – and other houses I have connections with.

I have already posted pictures of Kipling's House of Desolation, which is still standing; unfortunately, what might be called Conan Doyle’s House of Success is no longer there.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Kathleen Raine, the Destroyer and the Destroyed

The poet Kathleen Raine was born on this day, June 14th, in 1908. To mark the occasion, here is another article inspired by her autobiographical books.

One thing I noticed immediately is that, unlike many other victims of the creative spirit, Kathleen Raine made attempts to understand the occult forces and unseen influences at work in her life.

She learned from experience and took some responsibility for what happened to her:

Because I suffered I supposed that he had hurt me… an instinctive reaction, stupid and unjust for most often we hurt ourselves whether by imagining non-existent wrongs or in persistence in some mistake we cannot or will not see…”

She thought about the effect that she had on the people around her and realised that, while she had suffered immensely, she had also caused much suffering to others.  She knew that she had treated her parents cruelly –  in return for what they had done to her – and she also realised that obsessively concentrating on someone can have a damaging effect:

Perhaps he felt the longing dragging at him…the sense of another’s unwanted thoughts flowing towards one constantly…”

She came to understand that what happens to people in the outer world is often a reflection of what is happening in their inner world:

“… the world continually reflects back to us our inner states…”

Everything that befalls us has its cause within ourselves… another of those seeming miracles by which a change of inner disposition is followed by a corresponding change in the outward course of events…

Our being responds only to that to which it is attuned…”

Much of what she says is independent confirmation of the validity of conclusions that I had already come to and the truth of insights that had come to me.