– photo by Mitch Waxman
One has always enjoyed strange interests and pastimes, even as a child. Vivid, memories of a next door neighbor (who owned a commercial vessel which was part of the Sheepshead Bay fishing fleet) displaying a captured deep sea creature- the sort whose teeth are transparent, skin is shiny black, and bearing a bioluminescent lantern protruding from its forehead- persist decades after viewing it dying in a bucket. Joy is found wandering about cemeteries and wasted heaths, or anyplace shunned by the common gentry.
from “Beyond Good and Evil” by Friedrich Nietzsche, Chapter IV. Apophthegms and Interludes
Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein.
Translation: He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby becomes a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.
– photo by Mitch Waxman
Early experience has led one to appreciate, seek, and cultivate interest in the macabre. Hidden truths, occultist fantasy, the lure of the “real”- all have carried your humble narrator to bizarre locales in search of thrills. Delight is found in jars of formaldehyde cured anatomies, displays of skeletonized life forms, and the arcana of the mortician and police scientist. One thing which bizarre experience has taught me is that there are certain things which cannot be “unseen”, which will alter your perceptions of the normal.
The original Maelstrom (described by Poe and others) is the Moskstraumen, a powerful tidal current in the Lofoten Islands off the Norwegian coast. The Maelstrom is formed by the conjunction of the strong currents that cross the straits (Moskenstraumen) between the islands and the great amplitude of the tides.
In Norwegian the most frequently used name is Moskstraumen or Moskenstraumen (current of [island] Mosken).
The fictional depictions of the Maelstrom by Edgar Allan Poe and Jules Verne describe it as a gigantic circular vortex that reaches the bottom of the ocean, when in fact it is a set of currents and crosscurrents with a rate of 18 km/hr.
– photo by Mitch Waxman
During my student years, a part time job at a photo developing company provided me with visions of horror normally reserved for the world weary gendarme. A certain police command in Brooklyn utilized our services to process evidentiary photographs and videotapes, and the horrors witnessed in these scraps of visual data imparted a real and lasting sympathy for the men and women who operate on the front lines of society. A child half consumed by zoo animals, bodies clad in the proverbial “cement overcoat” hauled from long residency in Jamaica Bay, the hapless victims of vehicular accidents. If you know a cop or ambulance driver, buy them a drink, as they have seen too much.
from The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H. P. Lovecraft
Complaints from many liberal organizations were met with long confidential discussions, and representatives were taken on trips to certain camps and prisons. As a result, these societies became surprisingly passive and reticent. Newspaper men were harder to manage, but seemed largely to cooperate with the government in the end. Only one paper – a tabloid always discounted because of its wild policy – mentioned the deep diving submarine that discharged torpedoes downward in the marine abyss just beyond Devil Reef. That item, gathered by chance in a haunt of sailors, seemed indeed rather far-fetched; since the low, black reef lay a full mile and a half out from Innsmouth Harbour.
People around the country and in the nearby towns muttered a great deal among themselves, but said very little to the outer world. They had talked about dying and half-deserted Innsmouth for nearly a century, and nothing new could be wilder or more hideous than what they had whispered and hinted at years before. Many things had taught them secretiveness, and there was no need to exert pressure on them. Besides, they really knew little; for wide salt marshes, desolate and unpeopled, kept neighbors off from Innsmouth on the landward side.
Perhaps this is why, whenever I am on Newtown Creek (which is rather frequently, after all) insistence on getting close to the open intestines of the cruel megalopolis is insisted on by your humble narrator. Miasmal, these pipeways contain the hidden and truly occult unknowable. Darkness shrouds and shelters unknowable realities in this system of engineered horror, whose construction largely dates back to a time in which a Kaiser still ruled Germany. An extensive urban mythology exists which speculates upon what might be found in this kingdom of the rat, along those weirs and subterranean grottoes fed by decay, filth, and all that which might be discarded by the sunlit world above.
Truly- who can guess, all that there is, that might be buried down here?
from “The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri“, translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Inferno, Canto III
“Through me the way into the suffering city,
Through me the way to the eternal pain,
Through me the way that runs among the lost.
Justice urged on my high artificer;
My maker was divine authority,
The highest wisdom, and the primal love.
Before me nothing but eternal things were made,
And I endure eternally.
Abandon every hope, ye who enter here.”