Mons Veritatis

Last seminar-session was very nice, heard a good and inspired paper about Ranke (ger., eng.) and “Historismus“, a special historical method, theory. Later I attended the “Stammtisch” of the faculty and met some of my former students. One is writing the final Magister-Thesis about old people that move into an institution, a home and how they deal with that change. The special focus is on the question, what do they take with them and why? It is, as the student told me, partly emotionally challenging to do interviews in such a situation. It is tough for all involved.
In the course of the conversation she mentioned that she can observe how people start to give a kind of religious value to things, how things become holy or sacred. That rung a bell in my head and I remembered Mircea Eliade (ger.), who besides other things wrote about how things get sacred. He was editor in chief for the encyclopedia of religions and had a lot of other functions in his long life. In the western German scientific community he was never fully approved or at least always handled with care because of his far right and open fascist connections in the years up to 1945. Nowadays we should be able to look at the works and we should be able to hammer off the ideological rust, the seventy year old and the 20 year old. Said encyclopedia and his collected works are buried in the library and rot away, there are as good as no references to his work in the German European Ethnography.

Eliade was an early regular at the Eranos-meetings that take place up to this date every year at the Lago Maggiore, at the foot of the Monte Veritá. The english article being a stub
I give you a short version of the later’s history. 1900 a group of pre-hippies started to cultivate saied “mountain” – actually it is a hill – and founded a sanatorium based on all the most modern “lebensreformerischen” life-reforming principles: No meat, no alcohol, new clothing, no clothing, natural energies, you name it. The incredible Gusto Graeser belonged to that group. It was all very chaotic and in the time of WWI all anarchists, political refugees and generally all anti-establishment-types dropped by and stayed for a shorter or longer time. Hermann Hesse buried himself here in the mud to feel earth’s power and to overcome some alcohol-related difficulties.
1920 the founding generation gave in because of impending banquerott and the area went from hand to hand. 1926 the obscenely rich banquier Eduard von der Heydt bought the area and conversed it into a hotel. After his death the Kanton Tessin became the possessor, which still is. For a history of the near-by Brissago-islands look here.
1933 the netherlandish spiritualist Olga Fröbe-Kapetyn started above mentioned Eranos-meetings which partly took place on the mountain of truth and which said Mircea Eliade attended, besides C.G. Jung and a lot of other free spirits.
This area really must have something about it, it attracted Europe’s unadjusted elite throughout the 20th century.

Persons, Places

Back and catching

Here we go again. Telcom-Man phoned my this afternoon from a “distributor-station” (Verteilerstation) where something broke and blanked out my connection. He did what had to be done and that was that.
I dug through the emails of one week, most of the professional stuff was of no interest, the private ones were out of date. My travels with a magyar friend will hopefully lead to some success; we used all we had, like charme, cigars and
Tokaj for collecting some signatures and we got them: If all goes well, everybody will benefit.

You had to benefit a lot to treat yourself with a holiday in the torre positano – the new catch of the week. A mini-series about built dreams seems to develop, that started with Williams-Ellis’ Portmeirion, went on with the Futuro, and could be continued with Munthe’s Villa San Michele. But the man who built the tower of Positano was not a tank-general (like W.-E.) or a philanthropic M.D. (Axel Munthe), but a kind of godfather to the futurismo, so in a way he could be seen as Futuro’s great-grandfather: I talk about Gilbert Clavel (1883-1927). Clavel, of rich bourgeois swiss origin, is only possible in the fin-de-siecle european culture that brought us Jugendstil (de, en), Lebensreform and fascism. He was born into a family of industrialists in Basel, that made its fortune with the colouring of silk. He was the middle of three brothers, all were gifted, pretty individual, not to say a little eccentric. Gilbert was struck by fate with tuberculosis in his childhood that led to a bend spine and, well monorchidism – one ball only that is – Jay wrote a very nice encounter about it (28th of November 07). No other woman was in danger to have this experience with Gilbert, he preferred men. Nevertheless he phantasizes about his lost organ and its use, in a letter from Anacapri (March 1919) he writes:

Da wir gerade von Zeugung und Geburt reden, möchte ich Dich bei dieser Gelegenheit an meinen alten Hoden erinnern, der in Kl. Hüningen in einem Einmachglas aufbewahrt wird. Ich sagte Mama, sie solle etwas Flüssigkeit (Formol oder sonst ein Mittel) auf das verlorene Ei giessen lassen, um es vor der ewigen Vertrocknung zu retten. Wenn dann später das Gold wieder im Preise sinkt, werde ich mir von Sauter eine goldene Kapsel dafür bilden lassen, damit ich mein Ei als Talisman in der Tasche tragen kann. In einer guten Stunde werde ich es auch einer schönen Frau in die Hand legen und sie raten lassen!!”

“As we talk about fathering and birth I want to remind you of my old testicle that is kept in Klein-Hueningen in a glass. I told mother she should let some liquid be poured over the lost egg (Formol or such), to preserve it from eternal drying. Later, when gold will be cheaper again, I will have Sauter [a swiss goldsmith] make a golden capsule for it, so I can have my testicle in my trouser’s pocket as a talisman. In a good hour I will put it in the hand of a nice woman and let her guess!”
I cite this text from this site.

Gilbert bought the tower for some cheap lira and started building. In fact he started drilling and blasting: What can be seen of the tower today is just one thing, there are some more rooms inside the rock the old watch-tower is standing on. The groundplan should represent a dissected testicle – “and in this basic form I petrify the most vital – without anybody’s notice – what nature stole from me”.
After Gilbert’s death the tower came in the possession of his brother René who sold it to the Principessa Hercolani in 1957 – she owns it to this day. Gilbert’s library should still be there, the general outline is not changed, it costs a lot of sweet little euros to spent a night there. So, if you are around, with six friends, and everything else is overcrowded … why not have a look at the torre positano of Gilbert Clavel?



Charles Fort was an un-orthodox american writer.
Alfred William Lawson was an un-orthox american … man. He led a colorful live and besides anything that is to be said about this man: He was original, he really worked for his fellow man, and he made a good figure in a senate’s hearing in the beginning fifties – that is more than can be said about a lot of his contemporaries that had the pity to come in such a situation! Remarkable exceptions were Bogart and Hammett (!).
I came about his studies in Lawsonomy by chance and later learned that his university is still in existence. I found this site to be the best collection of links regarding Alfred Lawson, although I have no idea what this “squidoo”-thing is about.
Lawson is clearly a mad man, but – as I see it – of the loving, caring, doing-no-harm kind. So go and learn about Lawsonomy!



So good the weekend was, the start of the week wasn’t. This Tuesday is lost. After a bad night I slept in, did not reach the set goals, was just running around to pick up things, and finally gave in around the late afternoon – nothing to expect today any more: Tomorrow is another day and a new start.
Friday was my last seminar. We had a last hour of resuming and discussion – the date (20. Juli [44]) gave a good start – and than went to a small tavern. They make good beer there, especial “Sternla” (= little star) is an interesting brew.
I am waiting for some answers from possible customers and/or employers, but nothing so far. A possible project went bang – promises are not worth a dime anymore – and that means the financial planing needs revision, to put it mildly.

Clouds roll in low, shades of gray blue white, the next downpour is imminent – Charles Fort wrote once about us humans living on the bottom of a sea-bed, looking up to the surface where the merchand-ships sail – and sometimes they loose something or they brake. Than it’s raining fish in the desert or red herring in London – aah Charley Fort was crazy but wrote interesting books and spent his time in the British Library – and not just this last point makes me sympathize with him. I know of the Fortean organisation and the Fortean Times. I actually checked some of his sources when I read his books and found his citations correct. One story of tiny coffins that were found in a cave in Scotland made my shiver. So my new catch of the week is the Charles Fort Institute.