G’day, everybody! Byron the Quokka here, on what is sure to be forever remembered as an historic occasion!
Because on this day, a new science is born. Brand-new! In fact, if you want to earn a degree in it, the only place in the whole world where you can do that is right here at Quokka University! Because we have a monopoly on the new science of…
Even as Cryptozoology is the study of animals that have to be found before they can be studied, because they may or may not exist, so is cryptogeography the study of places that may or may not exist. [Note to Board of Sages: we owe Phoebe S. an honorary doctorate in Cryptogeography, for coining the name.]
Did you ever try to go someplace and never get there–and you thought it was because you just got lost somehow? Well! Maybe the place was really there… and maybe it wasn’t. I mean, really, blimey, how do you get to Brigadoon, or Gondor, or the Seven Cities of Gold? Poor Coronado wandered all over the map and never found the place that he was looking for. How many times have you been told, “Just keep on going down Route Whatsit, and you can’t miss it”? And then you do miss it, because it isn’t there! But maybe, just maybe, it was there yesterday.
What makes lost cities lost? How do they get found again?
You can see the world’s been needing a science of Cryptogeography for quite a long time.
And as we say here at Q.U.–Ipso loquitur mannimota!
I wonder if there even are places like this anymore, that haven’t yet been torn down, paved over, and replaced by nail salons and trendy restaurants.
Memory Lane: Dead Man’s Cave
I say we need wild places, places of mystery–like Dead Man’s Cave. Places that kick the imagination into gear. But I haven’t been back to Dead Man’s Cave in a very long time; I think it might have vanished into the morning mist, like Brigadoon.
Maybe that’s the only way to keep it safe.
I don’t know if this is a proper ghost story, or what. But it’s certainly a strange story. Let me quote from Legends of Long Beach Island by David Seibold and Charles Adams III (copyright by the authors, 1985), page 16. Short but sweet:
“Our storyteller… has more. His father swears he once saw a red-roofed, white-building village propped on the horizon a short distance from Holgate [on the southern tip of Long Beach Island, NJ]. Out fishing, he looked to the east, out to sea, and unmistakeably saw the buildings–terra cotta roofs, almost Spanish in style. He knows well it couldn’t have really been there. He blinked and rubbed his eyes, but it wouldn’t go away.”
Now there’s nothing between Holgate, NJ, and Portugal but mile after mile of the Atlantic Ocean. If we believe the witness was telling the truth–and why shouldn’t we?–then how do we explain what he saw? Does Brigadoon have a sea-going counterpart? Or was this the ghost of Atlantis? Or some as-yet unexplained natural phenomenon?