Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Jeckyll of Hyde Park & the Lady of the Lake unveiled (part 3)

At present in my world it is Monday evening. Every seven days I'm back at this or some equally 'same' place. A friend & I agreed today that it doesn't make sense.

So do we live within a Groundhog Week? Perhaps it stretches a little farther into Groundhog Month? Or maybe Groundhog Year? Did the Mayans have it right with their 52 year cyclic knowing? Surely we are indeed going round & round in circles, & perhaps living story lines that are not our own.

The first Ferris Wheel?

This chap "represents eternity and the cycles or "circle of life"." Wanna go for a ride? Oh silly me we're already on one & it's the ride of our lives.

We're now up to the same point in our story that Eve was in, when she wandered up to the tree of knowledge & noticed that something rather large & vocal had hoved into view between the apples.

I hopped onto the Ouroboros Roundabout lately but all I got was dizzy - there are as many pro-snakists as there are anti-venomists. Is the serpent good or goddess or evil or vile?

For the purpose of this tale we go with a theory that the snake's energy & symbolism been hijacked for nefarious purposes. The sync I needed to continue this serie came via line in a Matthew Delooze article last week "That force is a deceptive multidimensional energy that is symbolised in Serpentine form." We'll return to this.

So let's play with the idea that we are living within made-up stories. Of late I have been losing my awe of 'great' humans. Instead I've been seeing a pre-prepared stage of ho-hum-humans dominating dumbled-down dumb bunnies.

How does the leavened genius inherent in EVERY child get turned into an adult dough that rarely rises?

I took the death of Adrienne Shelly as a starting point on a trail that has taken me on a roller coaster ride. Yet I think perhaps we could take any occult death, do the same & still end up with a snake biting it's own tale - where does it begin & end? Or does it?

Many moons ago I looked at Frankenstein's creature's creator, Mary Shelley, simply because she & Adrienne Shelly shared a name. I wrote about it here. The twists & turns of that story went from some common threads to a whole ball of twisted & knotted yarn. Shall we see if we can untangle it & knit something useful?

Let's go back in time to 1815.

That's the year of Rock 'n' Roll when the world got all shook up. From 5th to 12 April that year, an almighty drum beat shook the earth

Mt Tambora (Spanish for drum) rocked Indonesia with one of the most explosive & deadly eruptions in history. 10,000 died from the explosion & an estimated 82,000 from starvation.

This beat of this drum ripped & rippled around the world.
"Tambora spewed sulphur-rich gases that rose to a height of 28 miles and created a giant sun filter in the northern hemisphere that caused the spring and summer of 1816 to be extremely cold across Europe and North America. Snowfalls and frost occurred in June, July and August and all but the hardiest grains were destroyed. Destruction of the corn crop caused farmers to slaughter their livestock. Soup kitchens were opened to feed the hungry. Sea ice formed in the Atlantic shipping lanes and glaciers advanced down mountain slopes to exceptionally low levels. Hundreds of thousands died of starvation as crops failed, touching off a wave of migration to the American South and Midwest."

"this eruption put more than 150 million tonnes of dust in the atmosphere which gradually spread around the globe acting as a veil"

Beneath this veil dark things were conceived, in The Year Without a Summer (also known as 1816).

That was the year that a group of heroically named wordsmiths arose & went forth to the shores of the Lake of Geneva. And during the summer that wasn't, Mary Godwin-Wollstonecraft & her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley, plus George Gordon Byron & John William Polidori birthed two of the worlds greatest monsters at Villa Diodati - "Italian: ... meaning ‘God-given’, from Latin deus ‘god’ + donatus ‘given’."

Mary's labour produced Dr Frankenstein & his creature, while Lord Byron dallied a little with with a vampiric theme, that was taken up by Polidori, eventually becoming The Vampyre, a tale that is most often seen as the predecessor of Dracula. "Polidori transformed the vampire from a character in folklore into the form that is recognized today — an aristocratic fiend who preys among high society." The formal presentation of these twins would occur a couple of years later.

Perhaps these creations were 'unearthed' & cast out from the belly of the Underworld when Mt Tambora erupted! Did they float in the ether until they reached a Garden of Eden in which to be born? What was it about the land around Lake Geneva that was so conducive to these creations? Surely it is about time that we gave thought to the lie of the land - that all that is created must be intimately connected to the place of its birth.

On the shores of Lake Geneva came this 'waking dream' to 18 year old Mary Shelley (nee Godwin Wollstonecraft) "I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world."

Lets return to the land of these monster's births. Could it be a place of highly charged energy?

Villa Diodati is nested on the shores of the crescent shaped Lake Geneva. You may have heard of Geneva, it is the seat of one or two organisations;
"Geneva is the seat of the European headquarters of the United Nations...was also the headquarters of the former League of Nations. Several agencies are headquartered at Geneva, among which the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), the World Health Organisation, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) or the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)... apart from the United Nation agencies, Geneva hosts many inter-governmental organisations such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Economic Forum (WEF), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)...It is also the place where the Geneva Conventions were signed, which chiefly concern the treatment of wartime non-combatants and prisoners of war" (made very popular in war movies).

What a little hub of humanitarian conCERN

Oh silly me I nearly left something out. Lest we forget. What a remarkable coincidence that a hop, skip & a jump away from the birthplace of the dark matter of these tales lies yet another birthing machine, the Hadron Collider, where just like Dr Frankenstein, man again plays God(win).

The big green splodge is the reasonably accurate location of the Genesis Machine otherwise known as the Hadron Collider. If you peer (closely), across the lake to the right of it, you will make out a small dot, this is the Garden of Eden where the lads were born.

"September 10, 2008 The world's largest atom smasher's first experiment went off today without a hitch, paving the way toward the recreation of post-big bang conditions." That was the date that the mother of the mother of Frankenstein's monster died.

Frank's Ma & Pa returned to England a little later in the year. In October Mary Shelley's half sister Fanny Imlay (Mary Wollstonecraft's eldest daughter), committed suicide by taking an overdose of Laudanum in the seaside town of Swansea. There is some speculation that she was somehow let down by Percy Bysshe Shelley, when they met up in the English town of Bath in Somerset. We recall that Adrienne Shelley was found hanged from a shower rail in the bath.

Women, water, birth, baptism & death.

Two months later, Harriet Shelley becomes a rusalka. Percy Bysshe Shelley's wife drowns herself & her unborn child in the Serpentine River in Hyde Park.

I'd been under the impression that it was Shelley's child she carried & that he had abandoned her for Mary Godwin Wollstonecraft but this apparently was not the case. It seems the couple had decided to live apart, although they had two children.

"By July, when Shelley and Mary eloped, Harriet's unhappy, though not impossible, situation seemed clear. With her marriage her father had settled £200 a year on her; Shelley gave her a further £100... So she was comfortably situated as far as her financial situation was concerned. Yet she was clearly unhappy... At some point she took a lover... Sometime in the late summer of 1816 Harriet took lodgings in... Knightsbridge, clearly to shield her family from a pregnancy out of wedlock. In late November or early December, having written a despondent farewell addressed to her father, her sister, and her husband, she walked the short distance from her lodgings to Hyde Park and drowned herself in the Serpentine River. At the time of her death she was just twenty-one years old."

Before we call a very great discrepancy into question take a look at this

Lake Leman & the Serpent of Hyde

I'll admit in the second image I turned the world upside down, but what think you of the uncanny resemblance of the Serpentine River to Lake Geneva (Lake Leman)? On the shores of the latter Mary Godwin Wollstonecraft played goddess & gave birth to a fantastical monster. With the Serpentine death of her lover's wife, she received the consecrated name of Shelley on 30th December 1816. This is the hallowed name that is connected with the Frankenstein legend.

It was a busy year.

Lets take another look at Percy Bysshe Shelly's first wife, Harriet. It seems she took lodgings to spare her family the shame of a pregnancy out of wedlock. ...Errr so perhaps a less dramatic & attention seeking ending might have been on the cards, you know like Mary's sister with her discreet bottle of laudanum.

Tell me please how desperately you must want to die, to walk into a freezing cold lake in the middle of an English winter.

Then please explain to me the strange significance of the lady's name, for never have I come across a woman who so decidedly bears the title of Lady of the Lake.

A little background info. "The Serpentine (also known as the Serpentine River) is a 28 acre (11 ha) recreational lake in Hyde Park, London." A woman called it into being - "In 1730 Queen Caroline, wife of George II, ordered the damming of the River Westbourne in Hyde Park as part of a general redevelopment of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens."

Harriet Shelley was born Harriet Westbrook.

Lets look to the West: "Associated with the west is the season of autumn, old age and death... In Egyptian mythology, the "western lands" are the territory the souls of the dead make a hazardous pilgrimage to in their quest for immortality."
"Verb: go west Die; become destroyed" which was" first recorded in a poem of the early 1300s: “
Women and many a willful man, As wind and water have gone west.

A brook is "a natural stream of water smaller than a river." A bourne is "A small stream; a brook". The Serpentine is the child of the Westbourne River. The words 'brook' & 'bourne' are watery twins - The Lady WestBROOK was swallowed by a serpent born from the waters that twin with her name - WestBOURNE. She was just 21 years old.

Because I keep finding knots with the past & because I am wondering big time, if we are simply on a ouroburos roundabout going nowhere except where we've been before, I'm going to play with some ideas. One of these is that famous names return to create new famous names.

If you recall the earlier Fair Phantom series, you may recall the death of the Russianly descended model, Ruslana Korshunova. Four days before her 21st birthday she leaped to her death in Water Street. It was ruled a suicide. Was it something more - a memory of a past life, an echo, a repeating pattern in time? Did Ruslana become the new Lady of the Lake?

What of the other legends of that time? Did they leave echoes & patterns?

Frankenstein, the novel, was published on the most auspicious date of 1 January, 1818 when Mary Shelley was 21. Four years later in 1822, her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley drowned in a boating incident that remains a mystery. They were living in Italy at the time. In the days before his death he claimed to have seen his Doppelganger - "the ghostly or in some cases, a physical double of a living person...Other folklore says that when a person's doppleganger is seen, the person him/herself will die shortly." Hmmm is not this the stuff of stories?

Shelley sailed away, not for a year & a day, but for the rest of his life, in a boat he had renamed 'Ariel'. The boat had originally been named Don Juan, a compliment to Lord Byron, the sire of Dracula. Lord Byron took umbrage & forced the re-writing of the name Don Juan on the mainsail. The twice named boat set sail. Somewhere along the way Shelley & his two sailing companions drowned. He was 29 years old.

"Ariel is a fictional sprite who appears in William Shakespeare's play The Tempest. Ariel is bound to serve the magician Prospero" who commands him to "shipwreck the King of Naples and his crew in a violent tempest." (wiki)

Shelley's body was in a very bad state when it washed ashore, and "in keeping with quarantine regulations, was cremated on the beach near Viareggio (which is believed to come from "the Latin Via Regis ("Kings' Road")".

What follows sounds like fiction but is fact.
"Trelawney, in his account of the recovery of Shelley's body, records that "the face and hands, and parts of the body not protected by the dress, were fleshless," and by the time that the party returned to the beach for the cremation, the body was even further decomposed. In his graphic account of the cremation, he writes of Byron being unable to face the scene, and withdrawing to the beach.
Shelley's heart was snatched from the funeral pyre by Edward Trelawney; Mary Shelley kept it for the rest of her life, and it was interred next to her grave at St. Peter's Church in Bournemouth

I cannot help but feel this reads like an heroic tale. Is there more to the 'great ones' than meets the eye. Do we recognise their stories from times past. Do the great ones come back again & again & lead their 'great lives'. Why would a man think to cut the heroic heart from a rotting corpse? Was he responding to heroic deeds of times past.

I stumbled upon this last week in reference to the death of 10 year old Louis XVII, son of Louis XVI & Marie Antoinette. "As was custom for royalty, the doctor removed the heart so that it would not be buried with the body."
While Mary Shelley kept her husbands heart, his ashes were buried in Rome & a gravestone proclaims him Cor Cordium "heart of hearts'.

Here I return to an idea that I am contemplating more & more. That the great ones of art & music & literature & science, the geniuses, royalty, villains, leaders, are the same people returning & repeating over & over again.

I propose that the great ones are not great at all. They are somehow freer to use the ability inherent within us all. They are held up to us as great & they seem to be so much better, but then have we not been trained in the 'art of being very small.' I propose that the work of the great ones is laughable compared with what each & every one of us is capable of, but as long as ooh & ahh over 'marketed greatness' we cannot access our own inspired & unlimited talents.

I propose that we know these great ones, we recognise them when they re-arrive or we let ourselves remember after they die OR we are subtley nudged into remembering at the appropriate time. Was the removal of Shelley's tell-tale heart the signal to remember his ongoing heroic greatness?

Was the sacrificial death of Harriet Westbrook the signal for the birth to greatness of Mary Shelley & her 'creation'?

What of other geat ones; How about the nobly birthed "6th Baron Byron of Rochdale", sire to the Vampire.

From wiki "Byron's notabilty rests not only on his writings but also on his life, which featured upper-class living, numerous love affairs, debts, and separation. He was notably described by Lady Caroline Lamb as "mad, bad, and dangerous to know"."

& once again of water & women
"...22-year-old Margarita Cogni ... left her husband to move into Byron's Venice house. Their fighting often caused Byron to spend the night in his gondola; when he asked her to leave the house, she threw herself into the Venetian canal."

Byron died an unpleasant death of fever & infection in Messolonghi, Greece in 1824, at the age of 36. According to wiki "It has been said that had Byron lived, he might have been declared King of Greece."

"In keeping with 'royal' tradition his heart was also removed from his body & is buried in Messolonghi."

The heroic Lord Byron on his death bed

It is interesting how many of the great ones defer to the ancient great ones of mythology.

The full title of Mary Shelley's novel is 'Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus'. One of her husbands great works is 'Prometheus Unbound'.

Lets go forward in time now.

In 1990 there came a film called Frankenstein Unbound. It starred a modern great one.
I mean no disrespect to these people I refer to, I simply wish to see what it is like to look at famed people from a different angle. The great ones are as 'dispensible' as the rest of us.
The particular great one I refer to now is Michael Hutchence. We met him in an earlier post connected with this series. In Frankenstein Unbound, Hutchence became Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Two of the great ones (actors) in this movie, John Hurt & Michael Hutchence share a birth date. Last year that date was sanctified with the death of another great one who has also appeared in this series - Heath Ledger. The date of course is January 22.
Slipping sideways on a green banana skin, we find the Incredible Hulk who found himself rather inspired, by Dr Frankenstein's monster. Bill Bixby, the man who played the Jeckyllish side of the Hulk, also partook of this notable date for birthday parties.

Of further interest in Frankenstein Unbound is the naming of the great one who plays Mary Shelley in that movie - Bridget Fonda. According to (an unsubstantiated wiki claim), she "is named after actress Margaret Sullavan's daughter Bridget Hayward, who (like far too many)committed suicide at the age of 21." Peering down an earlier track, we can just see Nathasha Richardson walking into the opening performance of her movie career in the shoes of Mary Shelley in Gothic (1986).

So what of the last great one from the Villa Diodati.

John William Polidori went on to flesh out Byron's ideas into The Vampyre in 1819. "Polidori may have been the first author in any language to cast the bestial vampire of legend into the form most familiar to modern readers: a sophisticated nobleman who exerts a sexual fascination over both male and female victims."

Two years later, Polidori was dead at the age of 25. "Many commentators, including Polidori's nephew William Michael Rossetti, assume that Polidori's death at age twenty-five was a suicide, but this remains unproven."

My last article detailed the strange route I took to reach the strange case of Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian KGB agent, who was served a very nasty cup of Polonium tea on the same day that the woman who inspired this series was murdered. How even stranger then it was for me to read of Polidori (apparently) committing suicide by drinking Prussic Acid.

What really threw me when I stumbled over Litvinenko was his non-fictional presence. Up till then the story had almost elegantly combined stories tellers with their tales. The poisoning of Litvinenko had the harsh, glaring lights of reality.

But did it?

On reflection I would have to say 'No'. If ever there was a case of overkill, it was that man's death. If you step away from the scary, modern radioactive-death-concoction scenario, what you get is the most fantastical tale I have ever heard. Look at this;

"The Guardian has been told that the amount of polonium-210 found in the Russian's body could have killed him 100 times over, and would have cost as much as £20m to acquire."

Look again at his story, it is the stuff of thrillers.

Others saw the strangeness but still bought the baloney "Ian Fleming? No; Graham Greene? No; Tom Clancy? Absolutely not. Maybe John Le Carre'? Not even him. How about Frederick Forsyth or Eric Ambler then? No. None of the above mentioned authors could have imagined such a dramatically captivating plot as the mystery death of former KGB secret agent Alexandr Litvinenko."

And the world was captivated.
What if he hadn't spoken to the media? He would still have died, but perhaps the cause might have gone undetected. This was overkill & just like the bombing of the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour, it was a show, a display for public consumption. A kind of reality tv show. It was a story brought to life & in the process it transformed Litvinenko into a great one or was he an echo from the past? This was a tale that was always going to be told.


I was going to finish it there for now, but I have one last remembering that does rather fit in here. I mentioned the Umbrella Murder, in passing last time. My Most Favourite Monster commented on it in his comment & so I looked a little further. Very briefly, we had the "murder of the Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov, who was stabbed with a poisoned umbrella while walking across London's Waterloo Bridge in 1978." It was oh so horribly intriguing & cold war-ish at the time.

Looking from a storyline best-selling view-point, we see a Bulgarian upstart fiendishly done to death with a gadget straight out of a James Bond movie. This poison innoculation took place on 7 Sept (1978) which just happens to be birthing date of fellow posionee, John William Polidori. Both men were writers of fiction.
Georgi Markov, the man made famous for his 'death by umbrella' died on September 11.