Sunday, 27 June 2010

No mere flesh and blood

Today marks the 61st anniversary of the death of Frank Smythe.

(And the interesting thing is I decided to write this entry yesterday, before finding out - just now - that it was the anniversary of his death. Serendipity!)

Smythe was a great mountaineer, one of those rare individuals who thrive on the most extreme challenges.
He was also one of the relatively few mountaineers who openly admitted to have witnessed things that transcend our usual human experience of this world.

Here is one of Smythe's experiences, as described in J. H. Brennan's oft-quoted book Time Travel: A New Perspective (p. 53).

Frank L. Smythe describes how he entered a grassy hollow near Glen Glomach in the Scottish hills and experienced a time slip. He saw a small group of weary men, women, and children stagger into an ambush laid by men wielding spears, axes and clubs. In the resultant massacre, every last member of the group was slaughtered. Smythe was so horrified he ran from the scene.

The interesting thing about this account - it happened in 1940 - is that Smythe was a mountaineer, not an historian
[unlike Arnold Toynbee whose experiences are discussed immediately previously in Brennan's book]. He had no particular interest in or knowledge of the spot where the time slip occurred. He did do some research into the area, but only afterwards, as a result of his experience. On the debit side, Smythe was never able to confirm his experience. He discovered two massacres had happened at the spot, but the clothing and weaponry did not match his vision.

The history of mankind being what it is - exceedingly prolific in blood and gore -, it is not at all surprising that not every single massacre would be properly recorded.

But even if it were... what would the confirmation of an event matching Smythe's description tell us? Is there something at that spot, near Glen Glomach - some fault, some "ley line", some source of electromagnetic activity - that would occasionally obliterate the single vision of linear time that is characteristic of our human experience?

View from the Glen Elchaig track towards Glen Glomach
© Copyright Peter Van den Bossche. Taken from here.

Be that as it may, this was not the only odd sight that Smythe witnessed.
Here is a very interesting account of what is, I suspect, all too easily dismissed as the result of oxygen deprivation or whatever.

On June 1 1933, Frank Smythe was as high as anyone had ever climbed. But it would be another 20 years before anyone would stand on the summit [of the Sagarmatha AKA Chomolungma AKA Mt. Everest]. Exhausted after two nights in the so-called "death zone" and emaciated by weeks at high altitude, he began his descent to Camp Six at 27,400ft, where fellow climber Eric Shipton, too ill to climb, lay in a tiny tent waiting for him.
As he made his way down, he began to hallucinate - he was climbing without oxygen - and he had an overpowering feeling that someone was with him. It was so strong, that when he stopped, he divided his mint cake and turned to offer half to his "companion".
Later, he noticed two dark, bulbous objects hovering above him. One had "what looked like squat, underdeveloped wings, whilst the other had a beak-like protuberance like the spout of a teakettle. They distinctly pulsated... as though they possessed some horrible quality of life."
Smythe collected himself enough to do a mental check, naming each of the peaks around him. Then he looked back. The things hadn't moved. A mist drifted in front of them, and, when it cleared, they had vanished.

(From the article "The last 1,000 ft are not for mere flesh and blood", by Simon Smythe, published in The Telegraph, April 8th, 2003.)

Oxygen deprivation?
It is a facile explanation, and in reality says nothing - certainly not about the event itself.

Frank L. Smythe died on June 27th, 1949, in New Delhi.
He was two weeks shy of his 49th birthday.

Wherever he is, I hope he is enjoying himself.

If you want to report a perceived dimensional anomaly, please do, but read this first.

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