Book of the Damned Chapter XI
ONE of the damdest in our whole saturnalia of the accursed--
Because it is hopeless to try to shake off an excommunication only by
saying that we're damned by blacker things than ourselves; and that the
damned are those who admit they're of the damned. Inertia and hypnosis are
too strong for us. We say that: then we go right on admitting we're the
damned. It is only by being more nearly real that we can sweep away the
quasi-things that oppose us. Of course, as a whole, we have considerable
amorphousness, but we are thinking now of "individual" acceptances.
Wideness is an aspect of Universalness or Realness. If our syntheses
disregard fewer data than do opposing syntheses--which are often not
syntheses at all, but mere consideration of some circumstance--less widely
synthetic things fade away before us. Harmony is an aspect of the
Universal, by which we mean Realness. If we approximate more highly to
harmony among the parts of an expression and to all available
circumstances of an occurrence, the self-contradictors turn hazy. Solidity
is an aspect of realness. We pile them up, and we pile them up, or they
pass and pass and pass: things that bulk large as they march by,
supporting and solidifying one another--
And still, and for the regiments to come, hypnosis and inertia rule
One of the dam-dest of our data:
In the Scientific American, Sept. 10, 1910, Charles F. Holder
"Many years ago, a strange stone resembling a meteorite, fell into the
valley of the Yaqui, Mexico, and the sensational story went from one end
to the other of the country that a stone bearing human inscriptions had
descended to the earth."
The bewildering observation here is Mr. Holder's assertion that this
stone did fall. It seems to me that he must mean that it fell by
dislodgment from a mountain side into a valley--but we shall see that it
was such a marked stone that very unlikely would it have been unknown to
dwellers in the valley, if it had been reposing upon a mountainside above
them. It may have been carelessness: intent may have been to say that a
sensational story of a strange stone said to have fallen, etc.
This stone was reported by Major Frederick Burnham, of the British
Army. Later Major Burnham re-visited it, and Mr. Holder accompanied him,
their purpose to decipher the inscriptions upon it, if possible.
"This stone was a brown, igneous rock, its longest axis about eight
feet, and on the eastern face, which had an angle of about forty-five
degrees, was the deep-cut inscription."
Mr. Holder says that he recognized familiar Mayan symbols in the
inscription. His method was the usual method by which anything can be
"identified" as anything else: that is to pick out whatever is agreeable
and disregard the rest. He says that he has demonstrated that most of the
symbols are Mayan. One of our intermediatist pseudo-principles is that any
way of demonstrating anything is just as good a way of demonstrating
anything else. By Mr. Holder's method we could demonstrate that we're
Mayan--if that should be a source of pride to us. One of the characters
upon this stone is a circle within a circle--similar character found by
Mr. Holder in a Mayan manuscript. There are two 6's. 6's can be found in
Mayan manuscripts. A double scroll. There are dots and there are dashes.
Well, then, in turn, disregard the circle within a circle and the double
scroll and emphasize that 6's occur in this book, and that dots are
plentiful, and would be more plentiful if it were customary to use the
small "i" for the first personal pronoun--that when it comes to
dashes--that's demonstrated: we're Mayan.
I suppose the tendency is to feel that we're sneering at some valuable
archŠologic work, and that Mr. Holder did make a veritable identification.
"I submitted the photographs to the Field Museum and the Smithsonian
and one or two others, and, to my surprise, the reply was that they could
make nothing out of it."
Our indefinite acceptance, by preponderance of three or four groups of
museum-experts against one person, is that a stone bearing inscriptions
unassimilable with any known language upon this earth, is said to have
fallen from the sky. Another poor wretch of an outcast belonging here is
noted in the Scientific American, 48-261: that, of an object, or
a meteorite, that fell Feb. 16, 1883, near Brescia, Italy, a false report
was circulated that one of the fragments bore the impress of a hand.
That's all that is findable by me upon this mere gasp of a thing.
Intermediatistically, my acceptance is that, though in the course of human
history, there have been some notable approximations, there never has been
a real liar: that he could not survive in intermediateness, where
everything merges away or has its pseudo-base in something else--would be
instantly translated to the Negative Absolute. So my acceptance is that,
though curtly dismissed, there was something to base upon in this report;
that there were unusual markings upon this object. Of course that is not
to jump to the conclusion that they were cuneiform characters that looked
Altogether, I think that in some of our past expressions, we must have
been very efficient, if the experience of Mr. Symons be typical, so
indefinite are we becoming here. Just here we are interested in many
things that have been found, especially in the United States, which speak
of a civilization, or of many civilizations not indigenous to this earth.
One trouble is in trying to decide whether they fell here from the sky, or
were left behind by visitors from other worlds. We have a notion that
there have been disasters aloft, and that coins were dropped here: that
inhabitants of this earth found them or saw them fall, and then made coins
imitatively: it may be that coins were showered here by something of a
tutelary nature that undertook to advance us from the stage of barter to
the use of a medium. If coins should be identified as Roman coins, we've
had so much experience with "identifications" that we know a phantom when
we see one--but, even so, how could Roman coins have got to North
America--far in the interior of North America--or buried under the
accumulation of centuries of soil--unless they did drop from--wherever the
first Romans came from? Ignatius Donnelly, in "Atlantis," gives a list of
objects that have been found in mounds that are supposed to antedate all
European influence in America: lathe-made articles, such as traders--from
somewhere--would supply to savages--marks of the lathe said to be
unmistakable. Said to be: of course we can't accept that anything is
unmistakable. In the Rept. Smithson. Inst., 1881-619, there is an
account, by Charles C. Jones, of two silver crosses that were found in
Georgia. They are skillfully made, highly ornamented crosses, but are not
conventional crucifixes: all arms of equal length. Mr. Jones is a good
positivist--that De Sota had halted at the "precise" spot where these
crosses were found. But the spirit of negativeness that lurks in all
things said to be "precise" shows itself in that upon one of these crosses
in an inscription that has no meaning in Spanish or any other known,
"IYNKICIDU," according to Mr. Jones. He thinks that this is a name, and
that there is an aboriginal ring to it, though I should say, myself, that
he was thinking of the far-distant Incas: that the Spanish donor cut on
the cross the name of an Indian to whom it was presented. But we look at
the inscription ourselves and see that the letters said to be "C" and "D"
are turned the wrong way, and that the letter said to be "K" is not only
turned the wrong way, but is upside down.
It is difficult to accept that the remarkable, the very extensive,
copper mines in the region of Lake Superior, were ever the works of
American aborigines. Despite the astonishing extent of these mines,
nothing has ever been found to indicate that the region was ever inhabited
by permanent dwellers--"...not a vestige of a dwelling, a skeleton, or a
bone has been found." The Indians have no traditions relating to the mines
(American Antiquarian, 23-258). I think we've had visitors: that
they have come here for copper, for instance. As to other relics of
them--but we now come upon frequency of a merger that has not so often
Hair called real hair--then there are wigs. Teeth called real
teeth--then there are false teeth. Official money--counterfeit money. It's
the bane of psychic research. If there be psychic phenomena, there must be
fraudulent psychic phenomena. So desperate is the situation here that
Carrington argues that, even if Palladino be caught cheating, that is not
to say that all her phenomena are fraudulent. My own version is: that
nothing, indicates anything, in a positive sense, because, in a positive
sense, there is nothing to be indicated. Everything that is called true
must merge away indistinguishably into something called false. Both are
expressions of the same underlying quasiness, and are continuous.
Fraudulent antiquarian relics are very common, but they are not more
common than are fraudulent paintings.
W. S. Forest, "Historical Sketches of Norfolk, Virginia":
That, in Sept., 1833, when some workmen, near Norfolk, were boring for
water, a coin was drawn up from a depth of about 30 feet. It was about the
size of an English shilling, but oval--an oval disk, if not a coin. The
figures upon it were distinct, and represented "a warrior or hunter and
other characters, apparently of Roman origin."
This means of exclusion would probably be--men digging a hole--no one
else looking: one of them drops a coin into the hole--as to where he got a
strange coin, remarkable in shape even--that's disregarded. Up comes the
coin--expressions of astonishment from the evil one who had dropped it.
However, the antiquarians have missed this coin. I can find no other
mention of it.
Another coin. Also a little study in the genesis of a prophet.
In the American Antiquarian, 16-313, is copied a story by a
correspondent to the Detroit News, of a copper coin about the
size of a two-cent piece, said to have been found in a Michigan mound. The
Editor says merely that he does not endorse the find. Upon this slender
basis, he buds out, in the next number of the Antiquarian:
"The coin turns out, as we predicted, to be a fraud."
You can imagine the scorn of Elijah, or any of the old more nearly real
Or all things are tried by the only kind of jurisprudence we have in
Presumed to be innocent until convicted--but they're guilty.
The Editor's reasoning is as phantom-like as my own, or St. Paul's, or
Darwin's. The coin is condemned because it came from the same region from
which, a few years before, had come pottery that had been called
fraudulent. The pottery had been condemned because it was condemnable.
Scientific American, June 17, 1882:
That a farmer, in Cass Co., Ill., had picked up, on his farm, a bronze
coin, which was sent to Prof. F.F. Hilder, of St. Louis, who identified it
as a coin of Antiochus IV. Inscription said to be in ancient Greek
characters: translated as "King Antiochus, Epiphanes (Illustrious) the
Victorious." Sounds quite definite and convincing--but we have some more
In the American Pioneer, 2-169, are shown two faces of a
copper coin, with characters very much like those upon the Grave Creek
stone--which, with translations, we'll take up soon. This coin is said to
have been found in Connecticut, in 1843.
"Records of the Past," 12-182:
That, early in 1913, a coin, said to be a Roman coin, was reported as
discovered in an Illinois mound. It was sent to Dr. Emerson, of the Art
Institute, of Chicago. His opinion was that the coin is "of the rare
mintage of Domitius Domitianus, Emperor in Egypt." As to its discovery in
an Illinois mound, Dr. Emerson disclaims responsibility. But what strikes
me here is that a joker should not have been satisfied with an ordinary
Roman coin. Where did he get a rare coin, and why was it not missed from
some collection? I have looked over numismatic journals enough to accept
that the whereabouts of every rare coin in anyone's possession is known to
coin-collectors. Seems to me nothing left but to call this another
Proc. Amer. Phil. Soc., 12-224:
That, in July, 1871, a letter was received from Mr. Jacob W. Moffit, of
Chillicothe, Ill., enclosing a photograph of a coin, which he said had
been brought up, by him, while boring, from a depth of 120 feet.
Of course, by conventional scientific standards, such depth has some
extraordinary meaning. Paleontologists, geologists, and archŠologists
consider themselves reasonable in arguing ancient origin of the
far-buried. We only accept: depth is a pseudo-standard with us; one
earthquake could bury a coin of recent mintage 120 feet below the surface.
According to a writer in the Proceedings, the coin is uniform
in thickness, and had never been hammered out by savages--"there are other
tokens of the machine shop."
But, according to Prof. Leslie, it is an astrologic amulet. "There are
upon it the signs of Pisces and Leo."
Or, with due disregard, you can find signs of your great grandmother,
or of the Crusades, or of the Mayans, upon anything that ever came from
Chillicothe or from the five and ten cent store. Anything that looks like
a cat and a goldfish looks like Leo and Pisces; but, by due suppressions
and distortions there's nothing that can't be made to look like a cat and
a goldfish. I fear me we're turning a little irritable here. To be damned
by slumbering giants and interesting harlots and clowns who rank high in
their profession is at least supportable to our vanity; but, we find that
the anthropologists are of the slums of the divine, or of an archaic
kindergarten of intellectuality, and it is very unflattering to find a
mess of moldy infants sitting in judgment upon us.
Prof. Leslie then finds, as arbitrarily as one might find that some
joker put the Brooklyn Bridge where it is, that "the piece was placed
there as a practical joke, though not by its present owner; and is a
modern fabrication; perhaps of the sixteenth century; possibly
Hispano-American or French-American origin."
It's sheer, brutal attempt to assimilate a thing that may or may not
have fallen from the sky, with the phenomena admitted by the anthropologic
system: or with the early French or Spanish explorers of Illinois. Though
it is ridiculous in a positive sense, to give reasons, it is more
acceptable to attempt reasons more nearly real than opposing reasons. Of
course, in his favor, we note that Prof. Leslie qualifies his notions. But
his disregards are that there is nothing either French or Spanish about
this coin. A legend upon it is said to be "somewhere between Arabic and
Phoenician, without being either." Prof. Winchell (Sparks from a
Geologist's Hammer, p. 170) says of the crude designs upon this coin,
which was in his possession--scrawls of an animal and of a warrior, or of
a cat and a goldfish, whichever be convenient--that they had been neither
stamped nor engraved, but "looked as if etched with acid." That is a
method unknown in numismatics of this earth. As to the crudity of design
upon this coin, and something else--that, though the "warrior" may be, by
due disregards, either a cat or a goldfish, we have to note that his
headdress is typical of the American Indian--could be explained, of
course, but for fear that we might be instantly translated to the Positive
Absolute, which may not be absolutely desirable, we prefer to have some
flaws or negativeness in our own expressions.
Data of more than the thrice-accursed:
Tablets of stone, with ten commandments engraved upon them, in Hebrew,
said to have been found in the mounds in the United States;
Masonic emblems said to have been found in the mounds in the United
We're upon the borderline of our acceptances, and we're amorphous in
the uncertainties and mergings of our outline. Conventionally, or, with no
real reason for doing so, we exclude these things, and then, as grossly
and arbitrarily and irrationally--though our attempt is always to
approximate away from the negative states--as ever a Kepler, Newton, or
Darwin, made his selections, without which he could not have seemed to be,
at all, because every one of them is now seen to be an illusion, we accept
that other lettered things have been found in mounds in the United States.
Of course we do what we can to make the selection seem not gross and
arbitrary and irrational. Then, if we accept that inscribed things of
ancient origin have been found in the United States; that can not be
attributed to any race indigenous to the western hemisphere; that are not
in any [145/146] language ever heard of in the eastern hemisphere--there's
nothing to it but to turn non-Euclidean and try to conceive of a third
"hemisphere," or to accept that there has been intercourse between the
western hemisphere and some other world.
But there is a peculiarity to these inscribed objects. They remind me
of the records left, by Sir John Franklin, in the Arctic; but, also, of
attempts made by relief expeditions to communicate with the Franklin
expedition. The lost explorers cached their records--or concealed them
conspicuously in mounds. The relief expeditions sent up balloons, from
which messages were dropped broadcast. Our data are of things that have
been cached, and of things that seem to have been dropped--
Or a Lost Expedition--Somewhere.
Explorers from somewhere, and their inability to return--then, a long,
sentimental, persistent attempt, in the spirit of our own Arctic
relief-expeditions--at least to establish communication--
What if it may have succeeded?
We think of India--millions of natives who are ruled by a small band of
esoterics--only because they receive support and direction from--somewhere
else--or from England.
In 1838, Mr. A.B. Tomlinson, owner of the great mound at Grave Creek,
West Virginia, excavated the mound. He said that, in the presence of
witnesses, he had found a small, flat, oval stone--or disk--upon which
were engraved alphabetic characters.
Col. Whittelsey, an expert in these matters, says that the stone is now
"universally regarded by archŠologists as a fraud": that, in his opinion,
Mr. Tomlinson had been imposed upon.
Avebury, Prehistoric Times, p. 271:
"I mention it because it has been the subject of much discussion, but
it is now generally admitted to be a fraud. It is inscribed with Hebrew
characters, but the forger has copied the modern instead of the ancient
forms of the letters."
As I have said, we're as irritable here, under the oppressions of the
anthropologists as ever were the slaves in the south toward superiorities
from "poor white trash." When we finally reverse our relative positions we
shall give lowest place to the anthropologists. A Dr. Gray does at least
look at a fish before he conceives of a miraculous origin for it. We shall
have to submerge Lord Avebury far below him--if we accept that the stone
from Grave Creek is generally regarded as a fraud by eminent authorities
who did not know it from some other object--or, in general, that so
decided an opinion must be the product of either deliberate disregard or
ignorance or fatigue. The stone belongs to a class of phenomena that is
repulsive to the System. It will not assimilate with the System. Let such
an object be heard of by such a systematist as Avebury, and the mere
mention of it is as nearly certainly the stimulus to a conventional
reaction as is a charged body to an electroscope or a glass of beer to a
prohibitionist. It is of the ideals of Science to know one object from
another before expressing an opinion upon a thing, but that is not the
spirit of universal mechanics:
A thing. It is attractive or repulsive. Its conventional reaction
Because it is not the stone from Grave Creek that is in Hebrew
characters, either ancient nor modern: it is a stone from Newark, Ohio, of
which the story is told that a forger made this mistake of using modern
instead of ancient Hebrew characters. We shall see that the inscription
upon the Grave Creek stone is not in Hebrew.
Or all things are presumed to be innocent, but supposed to be
guilty--unless they assimilate.
Col. Whittelsey, (Western Reserve Historical Tracts, no. 33)
says that the Grave Creek stone was considered a fraud by Wilson, Squires,
and Davis. Then he comes to the Congress of ArchŠologists at Nancy,
France, 1875. It is hard for Col. Whittelsey to admit that, at this
meeting, which sounds important, the stone was endorsed. He reminds us of
Mr. Symons, and "the man" who "considered" that he saw something. Col.
Whittelsey's somewhat tortured expression is that the finder of the stone
"so imposed his views" upon the congress that it pronounced the stone
Also the stone was examined by Schoolcraft. He gave his opinion for
Or there's only one process, and "see-saw" is one of its aspects. Three
of four fat experts on the side against us. We find four or five plump
ones on our side. Or all that we call logic and reasoning ends up as sheer
preponderance of avoirdupois.
Then several philologists came out in favor of genuineness. Some of
them translated the inscription. Of course, as we have said, it is our
method--or the method of orthodoxy--way in which all conclusions are
reached--to have some awfully eminent, or preponderantly plump,
authorities with us whenever we can--in this case, however, we feel just a
little apprehensive in being caught in such excellently obese, but
somewhat negativized, company:
Translation by M. Jombard:
"Thy orders are laws: thou shinest in impetuous Úlan and rapid
M. Maurice Schwab:
"The chief of Emigration who reached these places (or this island) has
fixed these characters forever."
"The grave of one who was assassinated here. May God, to revenge him,
strike his murderer, cutting off the hand of his existence."
I like the first one best. I have such a vivid impression from it of
someone polishing up brass or something, and in an awful hurry. Of course
the third is more dramatic--still they're all very good. They are
perturbations of one another, I suppose.
In Tract 44, Whittelsey returns to the subject. He gives the conclusion
of Major De Helward, at the Congress of Luxembourg, 1877:
"If Professor Read and myself are right in the conclusion that the
figures are neither of the Runic, Phoenician, Canaanite, Hebrew, Lybian,
Celtic, or any other alphabet-language, its importance has been greatly
Obvious to a child; obvious to any mentality not helplessly subjected
to a system:
That just therein lies the importance of this object.
It is said that an ideal of science is find out the new--but, unless a
thing be of the old, it is "unimportant."
"It is not worth while." (Hovey.)
Then the inscribed ax, or wedge, which, according to Dr. John C. Evans,
in a communication to the American Ethnological Society, was plowed up,
near Pemberton, N.J., 1859. The characters upon this ax, or wedge, are
strikingly similar to the characters on the Grave Creek stone. Also, with
a little disregard here and a little more there, they look like tracks in
the snow by someone who's been out celebrating, or like your handwriting,
or mine, when we think there's a certain distinction in illegibility.
Method of disregard: anything's anything.
Dr. Abbott describes this object in the Report of the Smithsonian
He says he has no faith in it.
All progress is from the outrageous to the commonplace. Or
quasi-existence proceeds from rape to the crooning of lullabies. It's been
interesting to me to go over various long-established periodicals and note
controversies between attempting positivists, and then intermediatistic
issues. Bold, bad intruders of theories; ruffians with dishonorable
intentions--the alarms of Science; her attempt to preserve that which is
dearer than life itself--submission--then a fidelity like Mrs. Micawber's.
So many of these ruffians, or wandering comedians that were hated, or
scorned, pitied, embraced, conventionalized. There's not a notion in this
book that has a more frightful, or ridiculous, mien than had the notion of
human footprints in rocks, when that now respectabilized ruffian, or
clown, was first heard from. It seems bewildering to one whose interests
are not scientific that such rows should be raised over such trifles: but
the feeling of a systematist toward such an intruder is just about what
anyone's would be if a tramp from the street should come in, sit at one's
dinner table, and say he belonged there. We know what hypnosis can do: let
him insist with all his might that he does belong there, and one begins to
suspect that he may be right; that he may have higher perceptions of
what's right. The prohibitionists had this worked out very skillfully.
So the row that was raised over the stone from Grave Creek--but time
and cumulativeness, and the very factor we make so much of--or the power
of massed data. There were other reports of inscribed stones, and then,
half a century later, some mounds--or caches, as we call them--were opened
by the Rev. Mr. Gass, near the city of Davenport. (American
Antiquarian, 15-73.) Several stone tablets were found. Upon one of
them, the letters "TFTOWNS" may easily be made out. In this instance we
hear nothing of fraudulency--time, cumulativeness, the power of massed
data. The attempt to assimilate this datum is:
That the tablet was probably of Mormon origin.
Because, at Mendon, Illinois, was found a brass plate, upon which were
Because that was found "near a house once occupied by a Mormon."
In a real existence, a real meteorologist, suspecting that cinders had
come from a fire engine--would have asked a fireman.
Tablets of Davenport--there's not a record findable that it ever
occurred to any antiquarian--to ask a Mormon.
Other tablets were found. Upon one of them are two "F's" and two "8's."
Also a large tablet, twelve inches by eight to ten inches "with Roman
numerals and Arabic." It is said that the figure "8" occurs three times,
and the figure, or letter "O" seven times. "With these familiar characters
are others that resemble ancient alphabets, either Phoenecian or Hebrew."
It may be that the discovery of Australia, for instance, will turn out
to be less important than the discovery and the meaning of these tablets--
But where will you read of them in anything subsequently published;
what antiquarian has ever since tried to understand them, and their
presence, and indications of antiquity, in a land that we're told was
inhabited only by unlettered savages?
These things that are exhumed only to be buried in some other way.
Another tablet was found, at Davenport, by Mr. Charles Harrison,
president of the American Antiquarian Society. "...8 and other
hieroglyphics are upon this tablet." This time, also, fraud is not
mentioned. My own notion is that it is very unsportsmanlike ever to
mention fraud. Accept anything. Then explain it your way. Anything that
assimilates with one explanation, must have assimilable relations, to some
degree, with all other explanations, if all explanations are somewhat
continuous. Mormons are lugged in again, but the attempt is faint and
helpless--"because general circumstances make it difficult to explain the
presence of these tablets."
Altogether our phantom resistance is mere attribution to the Mormons,
without the slightest attempt to find base for the attribution. We think
of messages that were showered upon this earth, and of messages that were
cached in the mounds upon this earth. The similarity to the Franklin
situation is striking. Conceivably centuries from now, objects dropped
from relief-expedition-balloons may be found in the Arctic, and
conceivably there are still undiscovered caches left by Franklin, in the
hope that relief expeditions would find them. It would be as incongruous
to attribute these things to the Eskimos as to attribute tablets and
lettered stones to the aborigines of America. Some time I shall take up an
expression that the queer-shaped mounds upon this earth were built by
explorers from Somewhere, unable to get back, designed to attract the
attention from some other world, and that a vast sword-shaped mound has
been discovered upon the moon--Just now we think of lettered things and
their two possible significances.
A bizarre little lost soul, rescued from one of the morgues of the
American Journal of Science:
An account, sent by a correspondent, to Prof. Silliman, of something
that was found in a block of marble, taken Nov., 1829, from a quarry, near
Philadelphia (Am. J. Sci., 1-19-361). The block was cut into
slabs. By this process, it is said, was exposed an indentation in the
stone, about one-and-a-half inches by five-eighths of an inch. A geometric
indentation: in it were two definite-looking raised letters, like "I U":
only difference is that the corners of the "U" are not rounded, but are
right angles. We are told that this block of stone came from a depth of
seventy to eighty feet--or that, if acceptable, this lettering was done
long, long ago. To some persons, not sated with the commonness of the
incredible that has to be accepted, it may seem grotesque to think that an
indentation in sand could have tons of other sand piled upon it and
hardening into stone, without being pressed out--but the famous Nicaraguan
footprints were found in a quarry under eleven strata of solid rock. There
was no discussion of this datum. We only take it out for an airing.
As to lettered stones that may once upon a time have been showered upon
Europe, if we cannot accept that stones were inscribed by indigenous
inhabitants of Europe, many have been found in caves--whence they were
carried as curiosities by prehistoric men, or as ornaments, I suppose.
About the size and shape of the Grave Creek stone, or disk: "flat and oval
and about two inches wide." (Sollas.) Characters painted upon them: found
first by M. Piette in the cave of Mas d'Azil, AriÚge. According to Sollas,
they are marked in various directions with red and black lines. "But on
not a few of them, more complex characters occur, which in a few instances
simulate some of the capital letters of the Roman alphabet." In one
instance the letters "F E I" accompanied by no other markings to modify
them, are as plain as they could be. According to Sollas ("Ancient
Hunters," p. 95) M. Cartailhac has confirmed the observations of Piette,
and M. Boule has found additional examples. "They offer one of the darkest
problems of prehistoric times." (Sollas.)
As to caches in general, I should say that they are made with two
purposes: to proclaim and to conceal; or that caches documents are hidden,
or covered over, in conspicuous structures; at least, so are designed the
cairns in the Arctic.
Trans N. Y. Acad. of Sciences, 11-27:
That Mr. J.H. Hooper, Bradley Co., Tenn., having come upon a curious
stone, in some woods upon his farm, investigated. He dug. He unearthed a
long wall. Upon this wall were inscribed many alphabetic characters. "872
characters have been examined, many of them duplicates, and a few
imitations of animal forms, the moon, and other objects. Accidental
imitation of oriental alphabets are numerous."
The part that seems significant:
That these letters had been hidden under a layer of cement.
And still, in our own heterogeneity, or unwillingness, or inability, to
concentrate upon single concepts, we shall--or we shan't--accept that,
though there may have been a Lost Colony or Lost Expedition from
Somewhere, upon this earth, and extra-mundane visitors who could never get
back, there have been other extra-mundane visitors, who have gone away
again--altogether quite in analogy with the Franklin expedition and
Peary's flittings in the Arctic--
And a wreck that occurred to one group of them--
And the loot that was lost overboard--
The Chinese seals of Ireland.
Not the things with the big, wistful eyes; that lie on the ice, and
that are taught to balance objects on their noses--but inscribed stamps,
with which to make impressions.
Proc. Roy. Irish Acad., 1-381:
A paper was read by Mr. J. Huband Smith, descriptive of about a dozen
Chinese seals that had been found in Ireland. They are all alike: each a
cube with an animal seated upon it. "It is said that the inscriptions upon
them are of a very ancient class of Chinese characters."
The three points that have been made a leper and an outcast of this
datum--but only in the sense of disregard, because nowhere that I know of
is it questioned--:
Agreement among archŠologists that there were no relations, in the
remote past, between China and Ireland;
That no other objects, from ancient China--virtually, I suppose--have
ever been found in Ireland;
The great distances at which these seals have been found apart.
After Mr. Smith's investigations--if he did investigate, or do more
than record--many more Chinese seals were found in Ireland, and, with one
exception, only in Ireland. In 1852, about 60 had been found. Of all
archŠologic finds in Ireland, "none are enveloped in greater mystery." (Chambers'
Journal, 16-364.) According to the writer in Chambers' Journal,
one of these seals was found in a curiosity shop in London. When
questioned, the shopkeeper said that it had come from Ireland.
In this instance, if you don't take instinctively to our expression,
there is no orthodox explanation for your preference. It is the
astonishing scattering of them, over field and forest, that has hushed the
explainers. In the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy,
10-171, Dr. Frazer says that they "appear to have been sown broadcast over
the country in some strange way that I cannot offer solution of."
The struggle for expression of a notion that did not belong to Dr.
"The invariable story of their find is what we might expect if they had
been accidentally dropped...."
Three were found in Tipperary; six in Cork; three in Down; four in
Waterford; all the rest--one or two to a county.
But one of these Chinese seals was found in the bed of the River Boyne,
near Clonard, Meath, when workmen were raising gravel.
That one, at least, had been dropped there.