At the round earth's imagin'd corners

At the round earths imagin'd corners, blow
Your trumpets, Angells, and arise, arise
From death, you numberlesse infinities
Of soules, and to your scattered bodies goe,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o'erthrow,
All whom warre, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despaire, law, chance, hath slaine, and you whose eyes,
Shall behold God, and never tast deaths woe.
But let them sleepe, Lord, and mee mourne a space,
For, if above all these, my sinnes abound,
'Tis late to aske abundance of thy grace,
When wee are there; here on this lowly ground,
Teach mee how to repent; for that's as good
As if thou’hadst seal'd my pardon, with thy blood.

-- John Donne

Sunday, April 10, 2011

16: The Donnetown Devil

[Excerpt from Deaduns: The Donnetown Devil and Other True Spooks of the Southeast by Rutger Frears (Barrow Press, 1989)]

In 1971 I was in the midst of my postgraduate studies at PPRU. In May of that year, the tracks appeared overnight in the fresh-laid concrete in front of the just-built Cornucopia Market. The store's owner, Marjorie Bundt, insisted on having the affected portions jackhammered and repoured, but before this was done, my contact at the Elegy got ahold of me.

I was down to the place in five minutes. (That first Cornucopia, the chain's flagship store for many years, was a stone's throw from campus. This proved convenient for generations of stoned PPRU undergrads with the munchies.)

I took photographs [facing page] and even got the construction foreman, Albie Grosser, to carve me out a three-foot square piece of the concrete.

Back on campus, in Bosch Perception Lab (in Antoniette Bourignon Hall, before it was moved to its dedicated building off the Quad), I made plaster molds of the tracks. Based on those molds, and as the artist's conception on Page 151 shows, what we were dealing with, what was causing so much mischief in its near-nightly visitations, was a very roughly humanoid creature, one which traveled, with remarkable speed and stealth, by squatting and leaping like an enormous bullfrog.

The indentations in the soft, drying concrete were left by its four-toed webbed feet (digging in as it launched itself with powerful legs), by the grotesquely cartoonish four-fingered pseudo-hands terminating its short forelimbs -- and, surprisingly, by its enormous testicles. The fact that every single set of tracks included these clearly deliniated impressions indicates a ballsack of both heroic proportions and inspiring ruggedness. I always pictured the testes bouncing like street hockey balls in a chamois purse.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

15: Deaduns

[Excerpt from Samantha Mead's Foreword to Deaduns: The Donnetown Devil and Other True Spooks of the Southeast by Rutger Frears (Barrow Press; 1989).]

The previous edition of this work engendered such a flood of letters as rarely befalls a publisher of Barrow Press' modest size. In order to forestall a second deluge, the publishers have asked me to stipulate these points:

1) "Spooks" refers to ghosts, haints, mysterious creatures, or supernatural visitations, and not to African Americans. Rutger Frears' failings did not include racism.

2) Neither Barrow Press, the estate of Rutger Frears, nor I have made or intend to make any legally actionable statements regarding the veracity of any of the accounts of alleged events to be found in this book.

3) Do not seek logical consistency between the covers of this tome. Yes, we are aware that many of Mr. Frear's statements contradict many of his other statements.

4) Yes, Rutger Frears is legally dead. This was settled in May of 1985 in a hearing attended by Mr. Frears' family, featuring testimony from James County Medical Examiner Vern Dorn. This followed on the discovery, in the Cornucopia Market frozen food section, of Mr. Frears' lungs, liver and lower jaw.