Saturday, May 4, 2019

Miscellany No. 3

Speaking of Behind the Flying Saucers by Frank Scully, there is mention of a teller of weird tales in that book. I have the Popular Library paperback edition of 1951, and there she is, on page 56. In a discussion of The Ether Ship Mystery and Its Solution by Meade Layne, Scully lists Layne's associates, Millen Cooke, John A. Hilliard, and Edward S. Schultz, all of whom contributed to the book. Scully would not have known it but Millen Cooke was an alias of Wilma Dorothy Vermilyea (1915-1995), who wrote a poem for Weird Tales, published in 1936. (Scully might have known it if he had asked Mulder, who has access to all connecting information, no matter how hidden and obscure it might be.)

I have never read Mead Layne's book, but by its title, he seems to have been holding onto an obsolete idea. I'm not sure how often these things have to be said, but there is no such thing as the ether, nor is there a dark side of the moon, nor spontaneous generation of life, nor inheritance of acquired traits. Likewise, carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound generated by nearly every living thing and essential for life on earth. It is decidedly not a pollutant. Nor can you become male or female merely by wishing for it, even if you wish really, really hard, like when you wished for a pony when you were a child. Nor is history a science, nor are there unicorns or engrams or a flat or hollow earth. All of these things and more are nonscientific, pseudoscientific, or anti-scientific. You can believe in them if you want, but they're not science, they're not true, and they're not factual. They are instead the stuff of fantasy or ignorance or even sometimes evil, which so often seems to be just a variation on fantasy (or delusion) and ignorance.

Copyright 2019 Terence E. Hanley

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