After interviewing Nick Herbert and being stuck with the check for lunch, I discovered that Mr. Herbert had scribbled a phone number on the back of the reciept before leaving. It was a New Jersey exchange, I recognized it almost instantly,and underneath it the letters E.C. were scrawled. Finally, a lead ! This had to be the phone number for none other than Emory Cranston, proprietor of INCUNABULA books. So, Cranston was still on Earth Prime, and accessible by phone. I went back to my motel room and dialed the number.
EC: Hello ?
JM: Hi, is this Emory Cranston ?
EC: Who wants to know ?
JM: My name is Joseph Matheny. I got your phone number from Nick Herbert. I'm a reporter investigating the Ong's Hat story, and I thought you might give me some insight into where you came across all the material in INCUNABULA. I got the catalogue from a group of Culture Hackers in San Francisco.
Is this Emory Cranston ?
EC: Who did you say you were again ?
JM: A freelance investigative reporter, doing a story on the travel cults and the Ong's Hat Institute.
EC: And who gave you this phone number ?
JM: Nick Herbert. I was trying to find out where INCUNABULA is located now.
EC: (Audible sigh on other end of line) Oh, well. At least he could have warned me. But it doesn't really matter...after all, there's no "here" here anyway, so I won't be here tommorrow. Does that answer your first question ?
JM: You mean INCUNABULA is located in "virtual space" ?
EC: As far as you're concerned, yes.
JM: Well, in the introduction to the INCUNABULA catalogue, you stated that you had uncovered "...a conspiracy so deep that no other researcher has yet become aware of it (outside of certain intelligence circles, needless to say)..." Is that still true? Why hasn't this become a more popular conspiracy theory? How did you come across this information?
EC: No, it's no longer true. Since I published the catalogue, everthing has changed. Everthing ! And look, this is no longer a "theory". I admit, when I first published, I really didn't know jack-shit about anything. Yes, I was a "conspiracy theorist", how pathetic! Let me ask you, what kind of epistemological black hole...I mean, if the conspiratoligists "know" anything it wouldn't be a "theory" anymore, would it? It'd be "fact". Who killed Kennedy? Where are the UFOs from? They don't "know", do they?
JM: You have answers to these questions ?
EC: Pal, I've got lots of answers! Alternative answers. Get it? But that's not important. You ask why "my theory" isn't better known or more "popular" ? Why aren't they discussing it at UFO conferences, eh? Why isn't it on TV? Well, there's an easy answer to that. The truth is never popular, and it's never seen on TV ! You know in your heart I'm right about this don't you? If you think about what's really important to you, you'll realize it's not popular and it's never been seen on TV (or if it has...well then I'm sorry for you). It's true, when I first came across the information...I was living in Chatsworth, in the Pine Barrens, near Ong's Hat...I was doing a catalogue...Tesla, Reich, Bioshamanics, Hollow Earth, crop circles, Mae Brussell...that sort of thing. Strange stories were circulating about the Institute out at Ong's Hat. They wouldn't talk to me. Then they disappeared. That's when I got "really" interested, and began collecting the literature. A few years later I published the catalogue to see if they'd get in touch with me. I wanted to flush them out. I wanted to know.
JM: So what happened?
EC: Let's just say I succeeded in stiring the shit beyond my wildest expectations. You know, most conspiratologists would die of shock if they suddenly received proof that their thoeries were real. You'll notice that not one UFO "expert" has ever been abducted. And not one Kennedy-Conspiracy nut has ever been assassinated. These things happen to other people, not to Conspiracy Theorists, right? Well, let's just say...that's what I mean when I say...this isn't a "theory" anymore.
JM: Do you feel endangered in anyway, being so outspoken about info that has obviously gotten some people killed? How do you deal with the danger, what precautions have you taken? Why are you talking to me for example?
EC: Why am I talking to you? There are reasons...reasons you don't really need to know. Just go ahead and do what ever you intend to do. Publish. But be careful. At this point, the cat's out of the bag, as Alice Schröedinger would say, (laughs). I doubt they...I don't think anyone would bother anymore...it's gone so far beyond that. Now, as to my state of savvy when I published the INCUNABULA catalogue...you know how conspiracy buffs like to pretend they're running a great risk...that hidden forces will try to silence them, blah blah. So buy my stuff now, before it's too late, etc., etc. Not one of them really believes it. I didn't believe it. I was extremely fortunate. The catalogue fell into the right hands...just about five minutes before it fell into the wrong hands. I was contacted. I was protected. Literally whisked away. In the nick of time. Next question, please.
EC: No no no. Read the catalogue. Think about it. Chance are you'll figure it out. You were smart enough to find this phone number, after all. That's why I'm talking to you. Next question.
JM: Ok. How many books have you sold? How many people do you think you've convinced?
EC: I'm not really running the catlogue anymore. It can't be suppressed - it's out there, it's circulating. But I'm not selling the books now. Those who need the books, get the books. I don't need the money, after all. Those who can really read the catalogue and figure out the next step...well, not everything in INCUNABULA is accurate, of course. But the clues are there. Follow the garden of forking paths. Ah, how many, you ask? I can tell you exactly. The answer is precisely 16 people have followed the thread so far. We're aware of another dozen or so who are working on it. At a certain point in their researches they'll be helped...if possible. One may blunder, you see. Some tracks lead to the Minotaur, know what I mean? And some of those dozen or so are working for the wrong people. They won't be helped.
JM: How did you obtain the more "esoteric" material, like Alternate Dimensions by "Jabir ibn Hayaan" aka Nick Herbert?
EC: Oh, Alternate Dimensions can hardly be called one of the more "esoteric" titles in the list. After all, Herbert was still a Theorist when he wrote it. The book is actually wrong on a number of points, though quite brilliant as an approach. The fact is, I tracked down Dr. Herbert when I was assembling the catalogue. I'd read his other work, and realized he must be heading in the right direction. At first he wouldn't talk to me at all. He suspected I was an agent of whatever Shadowy Forces were trying to suppress the book, and succeeding. From various angry remarks he dropped I was able to piece together the story. His manuscript and files had been stolen right out of his house, and the publishers refused to return their copies, or any of the page proofs. They were stonewalling him. So I...well, I stole it.
EC: I went to the publisher. I had a very strong intuition as to which group was blocking publication. I posed as an agent of that group. Apparently I was correct, and it seems I knew enough to convince the publisher of my bona fides, so to speak. He was so glad to hand over the book you'd've thought it was a bomb! Later he was fired. I suppose he's lucky to be alive, the schmuck. I copied the proofs and returned the originals to Dr. Herbert. He agreed to let me list it. After all, it was the only way his work was ever going to be distributed. Of course it's a moot point now. I mean, the book is seriously out-of-date and there's not going to be a revised edition.
JM: Well, it's obvious that you've been in contact with some of the travel cult members. Can you tell me who?
EC: That would be telling.
JM: Aw, come on! This is not turning out to be much of an interview.
EC: Nonsense, young man. What I'm giving you is gold, pure gold. All right, then...would it surprise you to hear that you've already met a fair number of "cult members"? The heiress in the Berkeley Hills who knows all about Tarantula venom? That Irish humorist who lives in James Joyce's Martello tower in Howth, outside Dublin? The aging psychedelic guru...the so called Persian Anarchist...the so called Satanic rock-star...the Montana cowboy-secret-agent-hacker...the cyberpunk SciFi Surrealist...
JM: No! They would've told me...
EC: Guess again.
JM: I believe you're...you're disinforming me here, Mr. Cranston.
EC: Check it out.
JM: I will.
EC: Do. Next question.
JM: Um, ok. Uh...what new information have you come across since the catlogue was published? What new developments have there been in this "science" of travel?
EC: I can't really tell you that. "Cult member" means nothing now. All the players know who the other players are. I'm not giving anything away. But...new developments on the tech end? No. Certain people could gain an edge just from a vague description...well, I can tell you a few things. A paper came out right after my catalogue, so it's not listed, but everyone knows about it by now. It's by Suhrawardi, it's called Not the Egg, the Joke, a bad pun on yoga. Eggless travel has become S.O.P. for advanced travellers. Some permanent doorways have been constructed which work even for non-initiates, sort of like The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. They're very nicely camouflaged - Fu Manchu couldn't do better. And of course they're guarded.
JM: Raiders of the Lost Ark...
EC: Eh? Oh yes...booby trapped. Definitely. It's a zero-sum game I'm afraid. Either you're on the bus or you're not on the bus. The Gateways...that's what we call them, the Gateways have to be there for those few who, shall we say, solve the catalogue without any help from any group. People that smart do exist - I have to admit I wasn't one of them! I compiled the catalogue and even I didn't "get it"! But people who are capable of such...such quantum jujitsu, are people we need. For them the Gateways aren't guarded, but protected. As for the others who might somehow locate the translational nexi...well, you know who I mean...
JM: No, who?
EC: The Tri-Lateral Commission! Read the catalogue! Figure it out! Who knows? Maybe you'll need to know, one of these days.
JM: Is the secret goverment still active in this area, and if so what do they hope to achieve?
EC: Are you implying that because a "liberal" regime has taken over from a "conservative" regime, that you people are free of "secret goverment"? Haven't you heard of the present leader's fascination with "virtual reality"? Where do you suppose power comes from, an" Invisible College" of "Illuminati"? (I use the terms metaphorically , of course.) Nothing has changed - only gotten hotter. In Baghdad...no, forget I said that. Scratch that. Dump the whole file. Next?
JM: Hmmmm, ok. Have you been to Earth2 or any of the other "worlds" and is this where you've been hiding?
EC: Well, no harm in telling you I suppose. Yes, in fact I've been spending quite a lot of time in Java2. It's not even a security thing anymore, really. Or not always. The truth is that, well, you can't possibly imagine - a whole world for a utopia, complete with flora, fauna, picturesque ruins, and maybe, oh, ten people per square continent. Fresh air! That alone is enough to...a universe next door, let's go! (was it e.e.cummings who said that?)
JM: And if that one gets too crowded?
EC: Precisely. A number of Davy Crockett types have already "moved on" where they can't see the smoke of their neighbors fires, to put it mildly. We have no idea of the extent of the Series - it may be "infinite" for all practical (or impractical) purposes.
JM: Why not just tell everbody, then?
EC: Would you want to be responsible for infecting the halls of infinity with, say the L.A. Police? Do you think the Penatgon deserves infinity? (and what if it isn't infinite?) Etcetera?
JM: Who were the occupants of Java2 , that left behind the ruins?
EC: Well, that's the biggest news of all really. We found them - or rather they've found us. They claim to be an alternative evolutionary branch of Homo Sapiens through h.Javanesis and h.Neanderthalensis. They look like they're descended from lemurs rather tha chimps, like us. A bit like the characters from Javanese shadow puppet plays. They discovered how to travel long ago, in a time we might think of as the time of Atlantis or Mu (only we would be wrong...) It's all rather Lovecraftian, inas much as they claim to be responsible for certain aspects of human culture, aspects which are uncanny, but not maleficent. Not only in Java. The Tuartha de Danaan of Ireland who vanished "underground ", and other "faery" and "hollow earth" clues...the whole idea of another physical world, not a heaven or hell, but a Magickal universe next door...anyway, we were wrong about them. Travelling in time, either fast forward or backward. They simply set out to explore the Series. They think it may be endless, and some decided to return "home" to Java2. They're a completely non-hierarchic segmentary society, like primitive hunter/gatherers, but with a highly evolved culture. A lot of Terrans have completely "converted" to their way of life, even their language. You should hear their music! The returnees brought back some of their artifacts and...well, "furniture" I guess you'd call it. Their ancestors built a city during a "High Civilization" period in their history, but they rejected hard technology for cognitive sciences long ago. Our travel techniques are crude by comparison and lacking their whole mythopoetic value sytem. We're planning soon to release certain archival material here in Earth Prime, certain bits of art and music, which we expect to act in a viral fashion to produce profound paradigm shifts. The traveller's culture is now, I beleive, our most effective "weapon".
JM: So what's your bottom line, is this all co-creative or what?
EC: A smartass question.
JM: No, really.
EC: Who can say? What about our own cosmic locale, our own provincial reality? You can't make it go away by ceasing to believe in it. "Give me a place to stand and I'll move the world" - but there is no place, no "outside" vantage point, from which to challenge consensus reality. "Magick" is notoriously difficult and vague, and terribly incremental - the utopian imagination seems futile - reforms of consciousness appear to fail, unless they implement the emergence of new ruling classes or elites. "Religion" is a perfect case in point. But was religion the cause of "civilization" - or the effect? Now, however, you see, it's a whole new game. There is an "outside" now, maybe an infinite number of outsides, places to stand with a lever in one hand - and a magic mushroom in the other. The disposessed have always believed in a millenium, a magickal resistance, a heaven on earth, a world turned upside down. This is it. Well, time's up.
JM: I had a million more questions. In fact...
EC: This phone number and address will become inoperative. Don't call us, we'll call you. And don't worry. The Reality check is in the mail. [click](JM's note: the phone was indeed disconnected the next day, and the premises it was registered to vacated with no forwarding address left)
A Catalogue of Rare Books, Manuscripts & Curiosa
Ong's Hat: Gateway to the Dimensions!
Advances in Skin Science: Quantum Tantra
» Joseph Matheny's Journal: Emory Cranston Interview
Incunabula Research Center
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