Chapter no 9

House of Leaves

Hic labor ille domus et inextricabilis error – Virgil

laboriosus exitus donius – Ascensius

laboriosa ad entrandum – Nicholas Trevet X [X -“Here is the toil of

that house, and the inextricable wandering” Aeneid 6. 27. “The house difficult of exit” (Ascensius (Paris 1501)); “difficult to enter” (Trevet (Basel l490)).135 See H. J. Thomson’s “Fragments of Ancient Scholia on Virgil Preserved in Latin Glossaries” in W. M. Lindsay and H. J. Thomson’s

Ancient Lore in Medieval Latin Glossaries (London: St. Andrews

University Publications, 1921). [120-In fact all of this was quoted directly from Penelope Reed Doob’s The Idea of the Labyrinth: From Classical Antiauitv throuah the Middle Aaes (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990)

p. 21, 97, 145 and 227. A perfect example of how Zampanô likes to obscure the secondary sources he’s using in order to appear more versed in primary documents. Actually a woman by the name of Tatiana turned me onto that bit of info. She’d been one of Zampanô’s scribes and-‘luclcy for me’ she told me over the phone- still had, among other things, some of the old book lists he’d requested from the library.

I do have to say though getting over to her place was no easy accomplishment. I had trouble just walking out my door. Things are definitely deteriorating. Even reaching for the latch made me feel sick to my stomach. I also experienced this awful tightening across my chest, my temples instantly registering a rise in pulse rate. And that’s not the half of it. Unfortunately I don’t think I can do justice to how truly strange this all is, a paradox of sorts, since on one hand I’m laughing at myself, mocking the irrational nature of my anxiety, what I continue in fact to perceive as a complete absurdity-‘! mean Johnny what do you really have to be afraid of?’- while on the other hand, and at the same time mind you, finding myself absolutely terrified, if not of something in particular-there were no particulars as far as I could see-then of the reaction itself, as undeniable & unimpeachable as Zampanô’s black trunk.

I know it makes no sense but there you have it: what should have negated the other only seemed to amplify it instead.

Fortunately, or not fortunate at all, Thumper’s advice continued to echo in my head. I accepted the risk of cardiac arrest, muttered a flurry of fucks and charged out into the day, determined to meet Tatiana and retrieve the material.

Of course I was fine.

Except as I started walking down the sidewalk, I watched a truck veer from its lane, flatten a stop sign, desperately try to slow, momentarily redirect itself, and then in spite of all the brakes on that monster, all the accompanying smoke and ear puncturing shrieks, it still barreled straight into me. Suddenly I understood what it meant to be weightless, flying through the air, no longer ruled by that happy dyad of gravity & mass until I was, landing on the roof of a parked car, which turned out to be my car, a good fifteen feet away, hearing the thud but not actually feeling it. I even momentarily blacked out, but came to just in time to watch the truck, still hurtling towards me until it was actually slamming into me, causing me to think, and you’re not going to believe this-‘I can’t believe this aeshole just totaled my fucking carl Of all the cars on this street and he had to fucking trash mine!’ even as all that steel was grinding into me, instantly pulverizing my legs, my pelvis, the metal from the grill wedging forward like kitchen knives, severing me from the waist down.

People started screaming.

Though not about me.

Something to do with the truck.

It was leaking all over the place.


It had caught fire. I was going to burn.

Except it wasn’t gas.

It was milk.

Only there was no milk. There was no gas. No leak either. There weren’t even any people. Certainly none who were screaming. And there sure as hell wasn’t any truck. I was alone. My street was euipty. A tree fell on me. So heavy, it took a crane to lift it. Not even a crane could lift it.

There are no trees on my block.

This has got to stop.

I have to go.

I did go.




When I reached Tatiana’s place, she’d just gotten back from the gym and her brown legs glistened with sweat. She wore black Spandex shorts and a pink athletic halter top which was very tight but still could not conceal the ample size of her breasts. I said ‘hello’ and then explained again how I had come into possession of the old man’s papers and why in my effort to straighten them all out I needed to trace some of his references. She happily handed over the reading lists she’d compiled on his behalf and even dug up a few notes she’d made relating to the etymology of ‘lr

When she offered me a drink, I jokingly suggested a Jack and Coke. I guess she didn’t understand my sense of humor or understood it perfectly. She appeared with the drink and poured herself one as well. We spoke for another hour, ended up finishing all the Jack, and then right out of the blue she said, ‘I won’t let you fuck me.’ Time to get going, I thought, and began to stand up. Not that I’d expected anything mind you. 1But if you want, you can come on me,’ she added. I sat back down and before I could think of something to say, she had tugged off her top and stretched herself out in the middle of the floor. Her tits were round, hard and perfectly fake. As I straddled her, she unbuttoned my pants. Then she reached for some extremely aromatic oil sitting on her coffee table. She squeezed hard enough to release a thin stream. It dripped off of me, a warm rain spilling down over her toned belly and large brown nipples. Pleased with what she’d done, she settled back to watch me stroke & grind myself into my own hands.

At one point she bit down on her lower lip and it amped me up even more. When she started to caress her own breasts, small groans of pleasure rising up from her throat, I felt the come in my balls begin to boil. However only when I got ready to climax did I lose sight of her, my eyes slamming shut, something I believe now she’d been waiting for, a temporary instant of darkness, where vulnerable and blind to everything but my own pleasure, she could reach up beneath me and press the tip of an oil soaked finger against my asshole, circling, rubbing, until finally she pushed hard enough to exceed the threshold of resistance, slipping inside me and knowing exactly where to go too, heading straight for the prostate, the P spot, the LOUD button on this pumping stereophonic fuck system I never knew I had, initiating an almost unbearable scream for (and of) pleasure, endorphins spitting through my brain at an unheard of rate, as muscles in my groin (almost) painfully contracted in a handful of heart stomping spasms-not something I could say I was exactly prepared for. I exploded. A stream of white flying across her tits, strings of the stuff dripping off her nipples, collecting in pools around her neck, some of it leading as far as her face, one gob of it on her chin, another on her lower lip. She smiled, started to gently rub my semen into her black skin and then opened her mouth as if to sigh, only she didn’t sigh, no sound, not even a breath, lust her moon bright teeth, and finally her tongue licking first her upper lip before turning to her lower lip, where, smiling, her eyes focused on mine, watching me watching her, she licked up and finally swallowed my come.]


Having already discussed in Chapter V how echoes serve as an effective means to evaluate physical, emotional, and thematic distances present in The Navidson Record, it is now necessary to remark upon their descriptive limitations. In essence echoes are confined to large spaces. However, in order to consider how distances within the Navidson house are radically distorted, we must address the more complex ideation of convolution, interference, confusion, and even decentric ideas of design and construction. In other words the concept of a labyrinth.

It would be fantastic if based on footage from The Navidson Record someone were able to reconstruct a bauplan [So sorry.] [121-German for “building plan.” – Ed.] for the house. Of course this is an impossibility, not only due to the wall-shifts but also the film’s constant destruction of continuity, frequent jump cuts prohibiting any sort of accurate mapmaking. Consequently, in lieu of a schematic, the film offers instead a schismatic rendering of empty rooms, long hallways, and dead ends, perpetually promising but forever eluding the finality of an immutable layout.

Curiously enough, if we can look to history to provide us with some context, the reasons for building labyrinths have varied substantially over the ages. [122-For further insight into mazes, consider Paolo

Santarcangeli’s Livre des labyrinthes; Russ Craim’s “The Surviving Web” in Daedalus, summer 1995; Hermann Kern’s Labirinti; W H. Matthews’ Mazes and Labyrinths; Stella Pin icker’s Double-Axe; Rodney Castleden’s

The Knossos Labyrinth; Harold Sieber’s Inadequate Thread; W. W. R.

Ball’s “Mathematical Recreations and Essays”; Robinson Ferrel Smith’s

Complex Knots-No Simple Solutions; 0. B. Hardison Jr.’s Entering The Maze; and Patricia Flynn’s Jejunum and Ileum.]For example, the English hedgerow maze at Longleat was designed to amuse garden party attendants, while Amenemhet III of the XII dynasty in Egypt built for his mortuary temple a labyrinth near lake Moeris to protect his soul. Most famous of all, however, was the labyrinth Daedalus constructed for-King Minos. It served as a prison. Purportedly located on the island of Crete in the city of Knossos,-the maze was built to incarcerate the Minotaur, a creature born from an illicit encounter between the queen and a bull. As most school children learn, this monster devoured more than a dozen Athenian youths every few years before Theseus eventually slew it.


[123-At the risk of stating the obvious no woman can mate with a bull and produce a child. Recognizing this simple scientific fact, I am led to a somewhat interesting suspicion: King Minos did not build the labyrinth to imprison a monster but to conceal a deformed child- his child.

While the Minotaur has often been depicted as a creature with the body of a bull but the torso of a man-centaur like-the myth describes the Minotaur as simply having the head of a bull and the body of a man, [127- W. H. Matthews writes similar small labyrinth, with a central Theseus

Minotaur design, is to be found on the wall of the church of an Michele Maggio at Pavia. It is thought to be of tenth century construction. This is one of the few eases where the Minotaur is represented with a human head and a beast’s body as a sort of Centaur, in fact.” See his book Mazes & Labyrinths: Their History & Development (New York: Dover Publications. Inc., 1970), p. 56. Also see Fig. 40 on p. 53.] or in other word a man with a deformed face. I believe pride would not allow Minos to accept that the heir to the throne had a horrendous appearance. Consequently he dissolved the right of ascension by publicly accusing his wife Pasiphae of fornicating with a male bovine.

Having enough conscience to keep from murdering his own flesh and blood, Minos had a labyrinth constructed complicated enough to keep his son from ever-escaping but without bars to suggest a prison. (It is interesting to note how the myth states most of the Athenian youth “fed” to the Minotaur actually starved to death in the labyrinth, thus indicating their deaths had more to do with the complexity of the maze and less to do with the presumed ferocity of the Minotaur.)

I am convinced Minos’ maze really sees as a trope for repression. My published thoughts on this subject (see “Birth Defects in Knossos” Sonny Won’t Wait Flyer, Santa Cruz, 1968) [124-“Violent Prejudice in Knossos” by Zampanô in Sonny Will Wait Flyer, Santa Cruz, 1969.] [125-I have no idea why these titles and cited sources are different. It seems much too deliberate to be an error, but since I haven’t been able to find the “flyer” I don’t know for certain. I did call Ashley back, left message, even though I still don’t remember her.] inspired the playwright Taggert Chiclitz to author a play called The Minotaur for The Seattle Repertory Company. [126-The Minotaur by Taggert Chielit, put on at The Hey Zeus Theater by The Seattle Repertory Company on April 14. 1972. ] As only eight people, including the doorman, got a chance to see the production I produce here a brief summary:

Chiclitz begins his play with Minos entering the labyrinth lute one eveiing to speak to his son. As it turns out. the Minotaur is a gentle and misunderstood creature, while the so called Athenian youth are convicted criminals who were already sentenced to death back in Greece. Usually King Minos had them secretly executed and then publicly claims their deaths were caused by the terrifying Minotaur thus ensuring that the residents of Knossos will never get too close to the labyrinth. Unfortunately this time, one of the criminals had escaped into the maze, encountered Mint (as Chielitz refers to the Minotaur) and nearly murdered him. Had

Minos himself not rushed in and killed the criminal. his son would have perished. Suffice it to say Minos is furious. He has caught himself caring for his son and the resulting guilt and sorrow incenses him to no end. As the play progresses, the King slowly sees past his son’s deformities, eventually discovering an elegiac spirit, an artistic sentiment and most importantly a visionary understanding-of the world. Soon a deep paternal love grows in the King’s heart and he begins to conceive of a way to reintroduce the Minotaur buck into soeicty.f Sadly the stories the King has spread throughout the world concerning this terrifying beast prove the seeds of tragedy. Soon enough, a bruiser named-Theseus arrives (Chielitz describes him as a drunken virtually retarded, frat boy) who without a second thought hacks the Minotaur into little pieces. In one-of the play’s most moving scenes. King Minos, with tears streaming down his face, publicly commends Theseus’ courage. The crowd believes the tears are a sign of gratitude while we the audience understand they are tears of loss. The king’s heart breaks, and while he will go on to be an extremely just ruler, it is a justice forever informed by the deepest kind of agony. [128- Even in Metamorphosis, Ovid notes how Minos, in his old age, feared young men.


Qui, duni/u,t integer oeiti, terrucrat nwgnas 1/550 guoque Iwflhine gelUe3 i’une ert i,nwlidu.v, DeIni€knqut I rn tar robore julie turn Pibgue parente superbuin pirlitnuil, eredcnstjue suis insurgere ignL haut tun,n Cs!

palriis LIr rcpncaihus ausux.


(“When Minos was in golden middle age! MI nations feared the mention of his name,/ but now he’d grown so impotent. so feeble! He shied away from proud young Miletus. The forward son of Phoebus and Deione;/ Though Mines half suspected Miletus/ Had eyes upon his throne and framed a plot! To make a palace revolution, he feared to act,/ To sign the papers for his deportation.” Horace Gregory p. 258 259.) Perhaps Miletus reminded Mines of his slain son and out of guilt he cowered in the presence of his youth.]




However, even as Holloway Roberts, Jed Leeder, and Wax Hook make their way further down the stairway in Exploration #4, the purpose of that vast place still continues to elude them. Is it merely an aberration of physics? Some kind of warp in space? Or just a topiary labyrinth on a much grander scale? Perhaps it serves a funereal purpose? Conceals a secret?

Protects something? Imprisons or hides some kind of monster? Or, for that matter, imprisons or hides an innocent? As the Holloway team soon discovers, answers to these questions are not exactly forthcoming. [129- Strictly as an aside, Jacques Derrida once made a few remarks on the question of structure and centrality.]


[Note: Struck passages indicate what Zampanô tried to get rid of, but which I, with a little bit of turpentine and a good old magnifying glass managed to resurrect.]




It is too complex to adequately address here; for some, however, this mention alone may prove useful when considering the meaning of ‘play’, ‘origins’, and ‘ends’-especially when applied to the Navidson house:


Ce centre avait pour fonction non seulement d’orienter et d’équilibrer, d’organiser Ia structure-on ne peut en effet penser une structure inorganisée-mais de faire surtout que le principe d’organisation de la structure limite ce que nous pourrions appeler le jeu137 de Ia structure. Sans doute le centre d’une structure, en onentant et en organisant Ia coherence du système, permet-il le jeu des éiêments a l’iatônieur de Ia forrne totale. Et aujourd’hui encore une structure pnivée de tout centre repésente l’impensable lui-mCme.


And later on:


C’est pourquoi, pour une pensée classique de la structure, Ic centre peut être dit, paradoxalement, clans Ia structure et hors de la structure. Ii est au centre de Ia totalité et pourtant, puisque le centre ne lui appartient pas, Ia totalitè a son centre ailleurs. L.e centre n’est pas le centre.


[130-Here’s the English. The best I can do:


The function of [a] center was not only to orient, balance, and organize the structure-one cannot in fact conceive of an unorganized structure-but above all to make sure that the organizing principle of the structure would limit what we might call the play of the structure. By orienting and organizing the coherence of the system, the center of a structure permits the play of its elements inside the total form. And even today the notion of a structure lacking any center represents the unthinkable itself.


And later on:


This is why classical thought concerning structure could say that the center is, paradoxically, within the structure and outside it. The center is at the center of the totality, and yet, since the center does not belong to the totality (is not part of the totality), the totality has its center elsewhere. The center is not the center.


[131-Conversely Christian Norberg-Schulz writes: In terms of spontaneous perception, man’s space is ‘subjectively centered.’ The development of schemata, however, does not only mean that the notion of centre is established as a means of general organization, but that certain centres are ‘externalized’ as points of reference in the environment. This need is so strong that man since remote times has thought of the whole world as. being centralized. In many legends the ‘centre of the world’ is concretized as a tree or a pillar symbolizing a vertical axis mundi Mountains were also looked upon as points where sky and earth meet. The ancient Greeks placed the ‘navel’ of the world (omphalos) in Delphi, while the Romans considered their Capitol as cap Ut mund: For Islam ka’aba is still the centre of the world. Eliade points out that in most beliefs it is difficult to reach the centre. It is an ideal goal, which one can only attain after a ‘hard journey.’ To ‘reach the centre is to achieve a consecration, an initiation. To the profane and illusory existence of yesterday, there succeeds a new existence, real, lasting and powerful.’ But Eliade also points out that ‘every life, even the least eventful, can be taken as the journey through a labyrinth.” [132-What Derrida and Norberg-Schulz neglect to consider is the ordering will of gravitation or how between any two particles of matter exists an attractive force (this relationship usually represented as 0 with a value of 6.670 X 10-‘ I N-rn2! kg2). Gravity, as opposed to gravitation, applies specifically to the earth’s effect on other bodies and has had as much to say about humanity’s sense of centre as Derrida and NorbergSchulz. Gravity informs words like ‘balance’, ‘above’, ‘below’, and even ‘rest’. Thanks to the slight waver of endolymph on the ampullary crest in the semicircular duct or the rise and fall of cilia on maculae in the utricle and saccule, gravity speaks a language comprehensible long before the words describing it are ever spoken or learned. Albert Einstein’s work on this matter is also worth studying, though it is important not to forget how Navidson’s house ultimately confounds even the labyrinth of the inner ear.] [133-This gets at a Lissitzky and Escher theme which Zampanô seems to constantly suggest without ever really bringing right out into the open. At least that’s how it strikes me. Pages 30, 356 arid 441, however, kind of contradict this. Though not really.]


See Christian Norberg-Schulz’s Existence, Space & Architecture (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971), p. 18 in which he quotes from Mircea

Eliade’s Patterns in Comparative Religion, trans. R. Sheed (London: Sheed and Ward, 1958), p. 380-382.]


Something like that. From Jacques Derrida’s Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences’ in Writing and Difference translated by Alan Bass. Chicago. University of Chicago Press. 1978. p. 278-279.


See Derrida’s Lécriture et Ia dfjerence (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1967), p. 409-410.




Penelope Reed Doob avoids the tangled discussion of purpose by cleverly drawing a distinction between those who walk within a labyrinth and those who stand outside of it:


[M]aze-treaders, whose vision ahead and behind is severely constricted and

fragmented, suffer confusion, whereas maze-viewers who see the pattern

whole, from above or in a diagram, are dazzled by its complex artistry. What you see depends on where you stand,

and thus, at one and the same time,

labyrinths are single (there is one physical

structure) and double: they simultaneously incorporate order and disorder,

clarity and confusion, unity and

multiplicity, artistry and chaos. They may be perceived as a path (a linear

but circuitous passage to a goal) or as

a pattern (a complete symmetrical design) … Our perception of

labyrinths is thus intrinsically unstable:

change your perspective and the labyrinth seems to change.

[134-Penelope Reed Doob, The Idea Of The Labyrinth: from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), p.1 X]


Unfortunately the dichotomy between those who participate inside and those who view from the outside breaks down when considering the house, simply because no one ever sees that labyrinth in its entirety. Therefore comprehension of its intricacies must always be derived from within.

This not only applies to the house but to the film itself. From the outset of The Navidson Record, we are involved in a labyrinth, meandering from one celluloid cell to the next, trying to peek around the next edit in hopes of finding a solution, a centre, a sense of whole, only to discover another sequence, leading in a completely different direction, a continually devolving discourse, promising the possibility of discovery while all along dissolving into chaotic ambiguities too blurry to ever completely comprehend. [135-At least, as Daniel Hortz lamented, “By granting all involved the right to wander (e.g. daydream, free associate, phantasize [sic] etc., etc.; see Gaston Bachelard ) that which is discursive will inevitably reappropriate the heterogeneity of the disparate and thus with such an unanticipated and unreconciled gesture bring about a re-assessment of self.” Or in other words, like the house, the film itself captures us and prohibits us at the same time it frees us to wander.-and so first misleads us, inevitably, drawing us from the us, thus, only in the end to lead us, necessarily, for where else could we have really gone?, back again to the us and hence back to ourselves. See Daniel Hortz’s Understanding The Self: The Maze of You

(Boston: Garden Press, 1995), p. 261.] [129-Strictly as an aside, Jacques Derrida once made a few remarks on the question of structure and centrality.]

In order to fully appreciate the way the ambages unwind, twist only to rewind, and then open up again, whether in Navidson’s house or the film- quae itinerum ambages occursusque ac recursus inexplicabiles [136- [“Passages that wind, advance and retreat in a bewilderingly Intricate manner.” – Ed.] Pliny also wrote when describing the Egyptian maze: “sed crebisforibus inditis adfallendos occursus redeundumque in errores eosdem.” [“Doors are let Into the walls at frequent Intervals to suggest deceptively the way ahead and to force the visitor to go back upon the very same tracks that he has already followed In his wanderlngs.”-Ed.] k] -we should look to the etymological inheritance of a word like ‘labyrinth’. The Latin labor is akin to the root labi meaning to slip or slide backwards [137

-Labiis also probably cognate with “sleep.”] [134-Penelope Reed Doob, The Idea Of The Labyrinth: from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), p.1 X] though the commonly perceived meaning suggests difficulty and work. Implicit in ‘labyrinth’ is a required effort to keep from slipping or falling; in other words stopping. We cannot relax within those walls, we have to struggle past them. Hugh of Saint Victor has gone so far as to suggest that the antithesis of labyrinth- that which contains work-is Noah’s ark [138-See Chapter Six, footnote 82, Tom’s Story as well as footnote 249. – Ed.]-in other words that which contains rest.X


If the work demanded by any labyrinth means penetrating or escaping it, the question of process becomes extremely relevant. For instance, one way out of any maze is to simply keep one hand on a wall and walk in one direction. Eventually the exit will be found. Unfortunately, where the house is concerned, this approach would probably require an infinite amount of time and resources. It cannot be forgotten that the problem posed by exhaustion-a result of labor-is an inextricable part of any encounter with a sophisticated maze. In order to escape then, we have to remember we cannot ponder all paths but must decode only those necessary to get out. We must be quick and anything but exhaustive. Yet, as Seneca warned in his Epistulae morales 44, going too fast also incurs certain risks:


Quod evenht in labyrintho properantibus:

ipsa ilos velocitas inplicat. [139- [This is what happens when you

hurry through a maze: the faster you go, the worse you are entangled. – Ed.] Words worth taking to heart, especially when taking into account

Pascal’s remark, found in Paul de Man’s Allegories of Reading: “Si on lit trop vite oü trop doucement, on n’entend rien.” [If one reads too quickly or too slowly, one understands nothing. – Ed.] [135-At least, as Daniel Hortz lamented, “By granting all involved the right to wander (e.g. daydream, free associate, phantasize [sic] etc., etc.; see Gaston Bachelard ) that which is discursive will inevitably re-appropriate the heterogeneity of the disparate and thus with such an unanticipated and unreconciled gesture bring about a re-assessment of self.” Or in other words, like the house, the film itself captures us and prohibits us at the same time it frees us to wander.-and so first misleads us, inevitably, drawing us from the us, thus, only in the end to lead us, necessarily, for where else could we have really gone?, back again to the us and hence back to ourselves. See Daniel Hortz’s Understanding The Self: The Maze of You (Boston: Garden Press, 1995), p. 261.] [129-Strictly as an aside, Jacques Derrida once made a few remarks on the question of structure and centrality.]

Unfortunately, the anfractuosity of some labyrinths may actually prohibit a permanent solution. More confounding still, its complexity may exceed the imagination of even the designer. [140- “… ita Daedalus implet innumeras errore vias vixque ipse reverti ad limen potuit. ranta esifallacia tecti.” Ovid, Metamorphoses VIII. 1. 166-168. [“So Daedalus made those innumerable winding passages and was himself scarce able to find his way back to the place of entry, so deceptive was the enclosure he had built.” Horace Gregory, however, offers a slightly different translation “So Daedalus designed his winding maze;! And as one entered It, only a wary mind! Could find an exit to the world again -/ Such was the cleverness of that strange arbour.] Or in other words: shy from the sky. It cannot care, especially for what it no longer knows. Treat that place as a thing unto itself, independent of all else, and confront it on those terms. You alone must find the way. No one else can help you. Every way is different. And if you do lose yourself at least take solace in the absolute certainty that you will perish.] X Therefore anyone lost within must recognize that no one, not even a god or an Other, comprehends the entire maze and so therefore can never offer a definitive answer. Navidson’s house seems a perfect example. Due to the wall-shifts and extraordinary size, any way out remains singular and applicable only to those on that path at that particular time. All solutions then are necessarily personal.

[141- I’m not sure why but I feel like I understand this on an entirely different level. What I mean to say is that the weird encounter with Tatiana seems to have helped me somehow. As if getting off was all I needed to diminish some of this dread and panic. I guess Thumper was right. Of course the downside is that this new discovery has left me practically beside myself, by which I mean priapic.

Last night I made the rounds. I called Tatiana but she wasn’t home. Amber’s machine picked up but I didn’t leave a message. Then as the hours lengthened and a particular heaviness crept in on me, I thought about Thumper. In fact I almost went down to where she works, to that place where I could be alone with the failing light and shadow play, where I could peek in ease, unhurried, unmolested, a nation which as suddenly as it crossed my mind suddenly-and for no apparent reason either-made me feel terribly uncomfortable. I called Lude instead. He gave me Kyrie’s number. No answer. Not even a machine picked up. I called Lude back and an hour later we were losing ourselves in pints of cider at Red.

For some reason I had with me a little bit Zampanô wrote about Natasha (See Appendix F). I found it some months ago and immediately assumed she was an old love of his, which of course may still be true. Since then, however, I’ve begun to believe that Zampanô’s Natasha also lives in Tolstoy’s guerrulous pages. (Yes, amazingly enough, I finally did get around to reading War and Peace.)

Anyway, that evening, as coincidence would have it, a certain Natasha was dining on vegetables and wine. Rumor was-or so Lude confided; I’ve always loved the way Lude could ‘confide’ a rumor-her mother was famous but had been killed in a boating accident, unless you believed another rumor-which Lude also confided-that her father was the one who had been killed in a boating accident though he was not famous.

What did it matter?

Either way, Natasha was gorgeous.

Tolstoy’s prophecy brought to life.

Lude and I quarreled over who would approach her first. Truth be known I didn’t have the courage. A few pints later though, I watched Lude weave over to her table. He had every advantage. He knew her. Could say ‘hello’ and not appear obscene. I watched, my glass permanently fixed to my mouth so I could drink continuously-though breathing proved a bit tricky.

Lude was laughing, Natasha smiling, her friends working on their vegetables, their wine. But Lude stayed too long. I could see it in the way she started looking at her friends, her plate, everywhere but at him. And then Lude said something. No doubt an attempt to save the sitch. Little did I know I was the one being sacrificed, that is until he started pointing over at the counter, at me. And then suddenly she was looking over at the counter, at me. And neither one of them was smiling. I lifted the base of my glass high enough to eclipse my face and paid no mind to the stream of cider spilling from either side, foaming in my lap. When I lowered my deception I saw Natasha hand Lude back a piece of paper he had just given her. Her smile was curt. She said very little. He continued the charade, smiled quickly and departed.

“Sorry Hose,” Lude said as he sat down, unaware that the scene had turned me to stone.

“You didn’t just tell her that I wrote that for her, did you?” I finally stuttered.

“You bet. Hey, she liked it. Just not enough to dump her boyfriend.”

“I didn’t write that. A blind man wrote it,” I yelled at him, but it was too late. I finished my drink, and with my head down, got the hell out of there, leaving Lude behind to endure Natasha’s pointed inattention.

Heading east, I passed by Muse and stopped in at El Coyote where I drank tequila shots until an Australian gal started telling me about kangaroos and the Great Barrier Reef and then ordered something else, potent and green. A while ago, over a year? two years? she had seen a gathering there of very, very famous people speaking censorially of things most perverse. She told me this with great glee, her breasts bouncing around like giant pacmen. Who cared. Fine by me. Did she want to hear about Natasha? Or at least what a blind man wrote?

When I finally walked outside, I had no idea where I was, orange lights burning like sunspots, initiating weird riots in my head, while in the ink beyond a chorus of coyotes howled, or was that the traffic? and no sense of time either. We stumbled together to a corner and that’s when the car pulled over, a white car? VW Rabbit? maybe/maybe not? I strained to see what this was all about, my Australian gal giggling, both pacmen going crazy, she lived right around here somewhere but wasn’t that funny, she couldn’t remember e
actly where, and me not caring, just squinting, staring at the white? car as the window rolled down and a lovely face appeared, tired perhaps, uncertain too, but bright nonetheless with a wry smile on those sweet lips-Natasha leaning out of her car, ‘I guess love fades pretty fast, huh?’ [142-________________] winking at me then, even as I shook my head, as if that kind of emphatic shaking could actually prove something, like just how possible it is to fall so suddenly so hard, though for it to ever mean anything you have to remember, and I would remember, I would definitely remember, which I kept telling myself as that white? car, her car?, aped off, bye-bye Natasha, whoever you are, wondering then if I would ever see her again, sensing I wouldn’t, hoping senses were wrong but still not knowing; Love At First Sight having been written by a blind man, albeit sly, passionate too?, the blind man of all blind men, me,-don’t know why I just wrote that-though I would still love her despite being unblind, even if I had all of a sudden started dreaming then of someone I’d never met before, or had known all along, no, not even Thumper-wow, am I wandering-maybe Natasha after all, so vague, so familiar, so strange, but who really and why? though at least this much I could safely assume to be true, comforting really, a wild ode mentioned at New West hotel over wine infusions, light, lit, lofted on very entertaining moods, yawning in return, open nights, inviting everyone’s song, with me losing myself in such a dream, over and over again too, until that Australian gal shook my arm, shook it hard-

“Hey, where are you?”

“Lost” I muttered and started to laugh and then she laughed and I don’t remember the rest. I don’t remember her door, all those stairs to the second story, the clatter we made making our way down the hail, never turning on the lights, the hall lights or her room lights, falling onto the futon on her floor. I can’t even remember how all our clothes came off, I couldn’t get her bra off, she finally had to do that, her white bra, ahh the clasp was in front and I’d been struggling with the back, which was when she let the pacmen out and ate me alive.

Yeah I know, the dots here don’t really connect. After all, how does one go from a piece of poetry to a heart wrenching beauty to the details of a drunken one night stand? I mean even if you could connect those dots, which I don’t think you can, what kind of picture would you really draw?

There was something about her pussy. I do remember that. In fact it was amazing how hairy it was, thick coils of black hair, covering her, hiding her, though when fingered & licked still parting so readily for the feel of her, the taste of her, as she continued to sit on top of me, just straddling my mouth, and all the time easing slightly back, pushing slightly forward, even when her legs began to tremble, still wanting me to keep exploring her like that, with my fingers and my lips and my tongue, the layers of her warmth, the sweet folds of her darkness, over and over and over again.

The rest I’m sure I don’t remember though I know it went on like that for a while.




Up in the sky-high, Off to the side-eye, All of us now sigh, Right down the drain-ae.




Just a ditty. I guess.

Later, I don’t even know how much later, she said we’d been great and she felt great even though I didn’t. I didn’t even know where I was, who she was, or how we’d done what she said we’d done. I had to get out, but fuck the sun hurt my eyes, it split my head open, I dropped her number before I reached the corner, then spent a quarter of an hour looking for my car. Something was beginning to make me feel panicky and bad again. Maybe it was to have been that lost, to lose sense, even a little bit about some event, and was I losing more than I knew, larger events? greater sense? In fact all I had to hold onto at that moment as I cautiously pointed the old car to that place I had the gall to still call a home-never again-was her face, that wxy smile, Natasha’s, seen but unknown, found in a restaurant, lost on a Street corner, gone in a wind of traffic-as in ‘to wind something up.’ I looked at my hands. I was holding onto the steering wheel so tightly, all my knuckles were shiny points of white, and my blinker was on, CLICK-click CLICK-click CLICK-click, so certain, so plain, so clear, and yet for all its mechanical conviction, blinking me in the wrong direction.]


As with previous explorations, Exploration #4 can also be considered a personal journey. While some portions of the house, like the Great Hall for instance, seem to offer a communal experience, many inter-communicating passageways encountered by individual members, even with only a glance, will never be re-encountered by anyone else again. Therefore, in spite of, as well as in light of, future investigations, Holloway’s descent remains singular.

When his team finally does reach the bottom of the stairway, they have already spent three nights in that hideous darkness, their sleeping bags and tents successfully insulating their bodies from the cold, but nothing protecting their hearts from what Jed refers to as “the heaviness” which always seemed to him to be crouching, ready to spring, just a few feet away. While everyone enjoys some sense of elation upon reaching the last step, in truth they have only brought to a conclusion an already experienced aspect of the house. None of them are at all prepared for the consequences of the now unfamiliar.

On the morning of the fourth day, the three men agree to explore a new series of rooms. As Holloway says, “We’ve come a long way. Let’s see if there’s anything down here.” Wax and Jed do not object, and soon enough, they are all wending their way through the maze.

As usual, Holloway orders numerous stops to procure wall samples. Jed has become quite handy with his chisel and hammer, cutting out small amounts of the black-ashen substance which he deposits into one of the many sample jars Reston equipped him with. As had been the case even on the stairway, Holloway personally takes responsibility for marking their path. He constantly tacks neon arrows to the wall, sprays neon paint on corners, and metes out plenty of fishing line wherever the path becomes



especially complicated and twisted. [Aside from the practical aspect of

fishing line-a readily available and cheap way to map progress through that complicated maze-there are of course obvious mythological resonances. Minos’ daughter Ariadne, supplied Theseus with a thread which he used to escape the labyrinth. Thread has repeatedly served as a metaphor for an umbilical cord, for life, and for destiny. The Greek Fates (called Moerae) or the Roman Fates (called Fata or Parcae) spun the thread of life and also cut it off. Curiously in Orphic cults, thread symbolized semen.]

Oddly enough, however, the farther Holloway goes the more infrequently he stops to take samples or mark their path. Obviously deaf to Seneca’s words.

Jed is the first to voice some concern over how quickly their team leader is moving: “You know where you’re going, Holloway?” But Holloway just scowls and keeps pushing forward, in what appears to be a determined effort to find something, something different, something defining, or at least some kind of indication of an outside-ness to that place. At one point Holloway even succeeds in scratching, stabbing, and ultimately kicking a hole in a wall, only to discover another windowless room with a doorway leading to another hallway spawning yet another endless series of empty rooms and passageways, all with walls potentially hiding and thus hinting at a possible exterior, though invariably winding up as just another border to another interior. As Gerard Eysenck famously described it: “Insides and inness never inside out.” [143-Gerard Eysenck’s “Break Through (not a) Breakthrough: Heuristic Hallways In The Holloway Venture.” Proceedings from The Navidson Record Semiotic Conference Tentatively Entitled Three

Blind Mice and the Rest As Well. American Federation of Architects. June 8, 1993. Reprinted in Fisker and Weinberg, 1996.]

This desire for exteriority is no doubt further amplified by the utter blankness found within. Nothing there provides a reason to linger. In part because not one object, let alone fixture or other manner of finish work has ever been discovered there. [144-footnote text boxes not included]

Back in 1771, Sir Joshua Reynolds in his Discourses On Art argued against the importance of the particular, calling into question, for example, “minute attention to the discriminations of Drapery… the cloathing is neither Woollen, nor linen, nor silk, satin or velvet: it is drapery: it is nothing more.” [145-See Joshua Reynolds’ Discourses on Art (1771) (New York: Collier, 1961).] Such global appraisal seems perfectly suited for Navidson’s house which despite its corridors and rooms of various sizes is nothing more than corridors and rooms, even if sometimes, as John Updike once observed in the course of translating the labyrinth: “The galleries seem straight but curve furtively.”

Of course rooms, corridors, and the occasional spiral staircase are themselves subject to patterns of arrangement. In some cases particular patterns. However, considering the constant shifts, the seemingly endless redefinition of route, even the absurd way the first hallway leads away from the living room only to return, through a series of lefts, back to where the living room should be but clearly is not; describes a layout in no way reminiscent of any modern floorplans let alone historical experiments in design. [146-For example, there is nothing about the house that even remotely resembles 20th century works whether in the style of Post-

Modern, Late-Modern, Brutalism, Neo-Expressionism, Wrightian, The New

Formalism, Miesian, the International Style, Streamline Moderne, Art Deco, the Pueblo Style, the Spanish Colonial, to name but a few, with examples such as the Western Savings and Loan Association in

Superstition, Arizona, Animal Crackers in Highland Park, Illinois, Pacific

Design Center in Los Angeles, or Mineries Condominium in Venice,

Wurster Hall in Berkeley, Katselas House in Pittsburgh, Dulles International

Airport, Greene House in Norman Oklahoma, Chicago Harold Washington

Library, the Watts Towers in South Central, Barcelona National Theatre,

New Town of Seaside Florida, Tugendhat House, Rue de Laeken in

Brussels, Richmond Riverside in Richmond Surrey, the staircase hail in the Athens, Georgia News Building, the Tsukuba Center Building in Ibaraki, the Digital 1-louse, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, the interior of the Judge Institute of Management Studies in Cam- – bridge, Maison a Bordeaux, TGV Railway Station in Lyon-Satolas, the postmodernism of the Wexner Center for Visual Arts in Columbus, Ohio, Palazzo Hotel in Fukuoka, National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, Pyramid at the Louvre, New Building at Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, Palace of Abraxas at Marne-LaVallée, Piazza d’ltalie in New Orleans, AT&T Building in New York, the modernism of Carré d’Art, Lloyds Building in London, the Boston John F. Kennedy Library complex, Nave of Vuokseeniska Church in Finland, head office of the Enso-Gutzeit Company, Administrative Center of Silynatsalo, the Eaines House, the Baker dormitory at MIT. inside the TWA terminal at Kennedy Airport, The National Theatre in London, Hull House Association

Uptown Center in Chicago, Hektoen Laboratory also in Chicago,

Fitzpatrick House in the Hollywood Hills, Graduate Center at Harvard

University, Pan-Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles, General Motors Testing

Laboratory in Phoenix Arizona, Bullock’s Wilshire Department Store in

Los Angeles, Casino Building in New York, Hotel Franciscan in

Albuquerque New Mexico, La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe, or Santa Barbara

County Courthouse, the Neff or Sherwood House in California, Exterior of the Secondary Modern School, Maisons Jaoul, Notre-Dame-du-i4aut near

Belfort, The Unite d’Habitation in Marseilles, The Farnsworth House in

Piano, Iflinois, The Alumni Memorial Hall at illinois institute of Technology, Guggenheim Museum in New York, or nothing of the traditionalism of Lawn Road Flats in Hampstead, the Zimbabwe House and Battersea Power Station in London, Choir of the Angelican cathedral in Liverpool or Memorial to the Missing of the Somme near Aras, Viceroy’s house in New Delhi, Gledstone Hall in Yorkshire, Finsbury Circus facade,

Castle Drogo near Drewsteignton Devon, Casa del Fascio in Como, Villa

Mairea in Noormarkku, Central Station in Milan, the New York City

World’s Fair Interior of the Finnish Pavilion, lobby of the Stockholm

Concert House, Stockholm City Library, Woodland Crematorium, Police

Headquarters in Copenhagen. Helsinki railway station, Villa HvittrAsk near

Helsinki, Grundtvig Church in Copenhagen, Villa Savoye in Poissy, 25 rue

Vavrn in Paris, 62 rue Des Belles Feuilles also in Paris, Notre-Dame du

Raincy, 25 bis, rue Franklin, Paris again, Chateau of Voisins, Rochefort-enYvelines, New Chancellery in Berlin. The Festival House near Dresden. the Schr&ler House, Utrecht, The Bauhaus in Dessau, or the expressionism of the Fagus Factory near Hildesheim. Amsterdam’s Scheepvarthuis, Rheinhalle in Düsseldorf, the Chilehaus in Hamburg, Einstein Tower in

Berlin, Schocken Department Store in Sutigart, Auditorium of the Grosses

Schauspielhaus in Berlin, The Glass Pavilion in Cologne, Bresau’s

Centennial Hall, l.G.-Farben Dye Factory, Höchst, the Völker schlach Memorial in Leipzig. Haus Wiegand in Berlin, AEG Turbine Factory also in Berlin, the Stuttgart Railway Station, Leipziger Platz facade and the National Bank of Germany in Berlin, the American Radiator Building in

New York, the Nebraska State Capitol, the )etl’erson Memorial in

Washington, D.C., Villa Vizcaya in Miami, Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, or Fallingwater, Administration Building at the S.C. Johnson Wax Factory, plan for the Tokyo Imperial Hotel or Taliesin East. the Robie

House, the Winslow House, Warren Hickox House, or History Faculty

Building in Cambridge, the Pompidou Center in Paris, the David B. Gamble House, The Seagram Building in New York, the Portland public service buiding, or the Art Nouveau of the cathedral of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the Assembly building at Chandigarh in India, Casa Milá in

Barcelona, the Majolikahaus and the Secession building in Vienna, the Greek Theatre at Park GüeII, Case Batilo, and Casa Vicens in Barcelona, and the staircase of the Tassel House in Brussels, Central Rotunda at the international Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Turin, Palazzo Castiglioni in Milan, the Elvira Photographic Studio in Munich, the Stoclet House in

Brussels. The Imperial and Royal Post Office Savings Bank in Vienna,

Darmstadt Artist’s Colony, Library Facade of Glasgow School of Art, Paris

Metro station entrance, Castel Beranger also in Paris, Maison du Peuple in

Brussels, the Exchange in Amsterdam, the staircase of the Van Eetvelde

House and Hotel Solvay in Brussels, or anything of the Bungaloid style, the

Mission Style, the Western Slick Style or the Prairie Style, whether the

Crocker House in Pasadena, the Town and Gown Club in Berkeley, or the Goodrich House in Tucson, or any evidence of 19th century modes, whether stylistically enunciated as Jacobethan Revival, Late Gothic, NeoClassical Revival, Georgian Revival, Second Renaissance Revival, Beaux-

Arts Classicism, Chateauesque, Richardsonian Romanesque, the Shingle

Style, Eastlake Style, Queen Anne Style, Stick Style, Second Empire, High

Victorian Ltalianate, High Victorian Gothic, the Octagon Mode, the

Renaissance Revival, the Italian Villa Style, Romanesque Revival, Early Gothic Revival, Egyptian Revival, Greek Revival, such as University Club in Portland Oregon, Calvary Episcopal in Pittsburgh, the Minneapolis institute of Arts, Germantown Cricket Club in Penn. sylvania, All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C., Detroit Public Library or the

Racquet and Tennis Club in New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Riverside County Courthouse in California, the Kimball House in Chicago, the Gresham House in Galveston, Texas. Cheney Building in Hartford Connecticut, Pioneer Building in Seattle, House House in Austin, Texas,

Bookstaver House in Middletown Rhodes Island, Double House on

Twenty- First Street in San Francisco, Brownlee House in Bonham, Texas,

Los Angeles Heritage Society, Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay, Cram House in

Middletown Rhode Island, House of San Luis Obispo, City Hall in

Philadelphia, Gallatin House in Sacramento, Bla- – gen Block and Marks

House in Portland, Iangworthy House in Dubuque, Iowa, Cedar Point in

Swansboro, North Carolina, Haughwout Building in New York City,

Farmers’ and Mechanics’ Bank in Philadelphia, Calvert Station in Baltimore, Jarrad [louse in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Old Stone Church in Cleveland, Church of Assumption in St. Paul, Minnesota, Rotch House in New Bedford, Massachusetts. St. James in Willming. ton, North Carolina,

Philadelphia’s Moyamensing Prison, Medical College of Virginia in

Richmond, Lyle-Hunnicutt House in Athens, Georgia, Montgomery County Courthouse in Dayton. Ohio, which is not to exclude the non-presence of other 19th century examples such as the Pennsylvania station, exterior and concourse, Villard Houses in New York. the Boston Public Library, Court of Honor at the Chicago World’s Fair, the St. Louis Wainwright Building, the Buffalo’s Guaranty Building, Watts Sherman House in Newport Rhode Island, Boston Trinity Church, Ames Gate Lodge in North Easton, the

Philadelphia Provident Life and Trust Company, Pennsylvania Academy of

Fine Arts. Nott Memorial Library in Schenectady, New York, saloon in the

Breakers, Boston City Hall, or Greek and gothic presence in the New York

City Trinity Church, Philadelphia Girard College for Orphans. the

Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Institute, Boston Tremont House,

Philadelphia Merchant’s Exchange, Ohio State Capitol, The Singer’s Hall in

Bavaria, Washington, D.C. Treasury Building, the Palais de Justice in

Brussels. Empress Josephine’s bedroom at Château of Malmaison, the

Academy of Science in Athens, the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, Moscow Historical Museum, the New Admiralty in St. Petersburg. the grand staircase of the Paris Opéra, the St. Petersburg Exchange, Thorwaldsen Museum, Senate Square in Helsinki, Florence Cathedral, Milan’s Galleria Vittono Emanuele II, Palazzo di Giustizia in Rome, Conova Mausoleum near Possagno, Padua’s Caffé Pedrocehi, the Parliament House in Vienna, the Dresden Opera House, Befreiungshalle near Keiheim, Walhalla across the Danube, Feldherrnhalle in Munich, Berlin National Galerie or Bauakademie or the staircase in the Altes Museum or Schauspielhaus, nor the gothic revival of the campanile of Wesminster cathedral, New Scottland

Yard, Standen in Sussex. the house at Cragside in Northumberland or

Newnham College in Cambridge, or Leyswood in Sussex, the Crystal

Palace or the Law Courts in London, the chapel at Keble college, Albert

Memorial in Kensington Gardens, or the Saloon of the Reform Club,

Elmes’ St. George’s Hall in Liverpool, Taylorian Institution at the

Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, Edinburgh Royal College of Physicians, British Museum in London, Devon Luscombe Castle, Cumberland Terrace in Regent’s Park, the Paris Grand Palais or Gare du Quai d’Orsay or the staircase at the Nouvelle Sorbonne or the Opéra or St-Augustin or Fontaine StMichel or Parc des ButtesChaumont, the Marseilles Cathedral, the Paris Bibliothèque Nationale, the Salle de Harlay in the Palais de Justice, or the reading room at the Bibliothéque Ste-Genevieve, Gare du Nord, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, St-Vincent de Paul, Church of the Madeleine, rue de Rivoli, the arc du Carrousel, nor anything like 18th century classicism of the Washington, D.C. Supreme Court Chamber, the staircase vestibule in the D.C. capitol and the capitol itself, Baltimore Roman Catholic Cathedral, bank of Pennsylvania, the University of Virginia Jefferson Library, Monticello near Charlottesville, First Baptist Meeting House in Providence Rhode Island, Drayton Hall in Charleston, King’s Chapel in Boston, or examples of the Jeffersonian Classicism or the Adam Style, such as Pavilion VII at the University of Virginia, Estouteville in Albemarle

County, Clay Hill in Harrodsburg Kentucky, Nickels-Sortwell House in

Wiscasset, Maine, Ware-Sibley House in Augusta, Georgia, or the

Congregational Church in Talimadge Ohio. or the Dalton House in

Newburyport, Massachusetts, Sheremetev Palace near Moscow, Cameron

Gallery in Tsarskow Seine, the Catherine Hall in the St. Petersburg Tauride

Palace, Leningrad Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen Amalienborg Palace,

Lazienki Palace near Warsaw, the mock Gothic castle of Lowenburg at Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, mosque in the garden of Schwetzingen near Mannheim, Villa Hamilton near Dessau, Milan’s Palazzo Serbelloni, the Sale delle Muse in the Vatican, the Boston Massachusetts State House, Paris BarriCre de Ia Villette, the Director’s house at the saltworks of Arc-et-Senans near Besancon, Paris Pantheon, or La Solitude in Stuttgart, Rue de Ia PCpiniCre, Château at Montmusard near

Dijon, the breakfast room of Sir John Soane’s Museum, or the French Neo-

Classicism of the Hameau at Versailles, the staircase of the theatre at Bordeaux, the anatomy theatre in the Paris School of Surgery, chambers for the mausoleum of the Prince of Wales, entrance and colonnade of the Hotel de Salm, Syon House in Middlesex, Versailles St. Symphorien, or Petit Trianon, or London Lin coIn’s Inn Fields, the Consols Office in the Bank of

England. the plan of Fonthill Abbey, the Cupola Room at Heaton Hall. the

Dublin Four Courts, the Somerset House in London, the Casino at Marino

House in Dublin, the Pagoda at Kcw Gardens. Stowe House portico at

Buckinghamshire, drawing room at 20 St. James’ Square, Middlesex Syon

House, Marble Hall at Kedleston, Temple of Ancient Virtue in the Stowe Elysian Fields, staircase at 44 Berkeley Square. Holkham Hall in Norfolk, the cupola room in Kensington Palace, Tempietto Diruto at Villa Albani Rome, entrance front to S. Maria del Pnorato also in Rome, Ancient Mausoleum from Prima Pane di Archiierturt’ e Prospelilve, or the Baroque expansion indicated by the cascade of steps at Born Jesus do Monte near Braga, or royal palace at Queluz. the Royal Library at the University of

Coimbra, the palace-convent of Mafra near Lisbon, Salamanca Plaza Mayor, cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, cathedral at Murcia, Granada cathedral, the transparente in Toledo cathedral, octagonal pavilion at Orleans House, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Radclifre Library in Oxford, the

Wieskirche, chapel of WOrzburg Residenz, or Stepney St. George-in-theEast, St. George’s. Bloomsbury London, Oxfordshire Blenheim Palace, the mirror room of the Amlienburg in Munich, the Yorkshire Mausoleum at Castle Howard, Chatsworth Derbyshire, the painted hall at the Greenwich Royal Hospital, Rome’s interior dome of S. Carlo alle quattro Fontane, or the Salon de Ia Guerre in Versailles. St. Paul’s Cathedral, Piazza S. Pietro, Wren’s Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, the abbey church at Ottobeuren, or the German rococo of the Zwingei Walipavillon Dresden. St. John Nepomuk in Munich. the high altar at the abbey church of Weltenburg, the staircase at the Residenz WUrzburg or the church at Vierzehnheiligen, the monastery of Melk in Austria, staircase at Pornmersfelden, the upper Belvedere, Imperial Library of the Hofburg, Karlskirche in Vienna, the Ancestral Hall at Schloss Frain in Moravia, or French rococo like the Salon de Ia Princesse at Hotel de Soubise in Paris. not even just the interior chapel at Versailles, domed oval saloon at Vaux-le-Vicomte, Paris HOtel Lambert. S. Agata in Catania. the Syracuse cathedral, the ballroom at the Palazzo Gangi in Palermo. the majolica cloister at S. Chiara or the Piazza del GesO in Naples, or even the uncompleted Palazzo Donn’Anna. or the interior of the Gesuiti in Venice, the plan of the University Genoa, the Royal Palace at Stupinigi, the Superga near Turin, or the staircase at the Palazzo Madama, or the dome of S. Lorenzo in Turin, or the interior of the dome of the Cappella della SS. Sin- done, or the Trevi Fountain or the facade of S. Maria Maggiore or the Spanish steps or the frescoes on the nave vault of S. lgnazio in Rome, or also in Rome the exterior of S. Maria in Via Lata, Pietro da Cortona’s SS, Luca e Martina, Villa Sacchetti del Pigneto, Piazza

Navona, Fontana del Moro, S. Ivo dell Sapienza, facade of the Oratory of the Congregration of St. Philip Neri, chapel ceiling at the Collegio di Propa ganda Fide or the S. Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Scala Regia in the Vatican. S. Andrea al Quirinale, nor even elements of the Renaissance as evinced by the Great Hall at the Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. Longleat, Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. the Gate of Honour at Gonville and Calus College in Cambridge. Burghley House in Northamptonshire, Meat Hall in Haarlem, the House Ten Bosch at Maarssen, the Mauritshuis at the Hague, the Antwerp town hall, the arcaded loggia of the Belvedere in Prgaue, Wawel

Cathedral in Cracow, the town hail at Augsburg, Schloss Johannesburg,

Aschaffenburg, the court facade of the Ottheinrichsbau of the Schloss at

Heidelberg, the Jesuit church of St. Michael in Munich, court of Altes Schloss in Stuttgart. Escorial, the Portal of Pardon, Granada, palace courtyard for Charles V at Aihambra, Granada, the Royal Hospital at Santiago de Compostela. the Queen’s House in Greenwich, the Bourbon chapel at St-Denis, chateau pf Maisons-Lafittern the church of the College of the Sorbonne, the Palazzo Corner della Ca’Grande in Venice, or the Francois I gallery at Fontainebleau, Place des Vosges in Paris, gateway of the chateau at Anet. the Petit Chateau at Chantilly, the Chateau de Chambord. Square Court of the Louvre, Courtyard of the Chateau of Ancyle-Franc, the Medici Chapel. the open staircase at Blois, the interior of II Redentore in Venice, or Villa Rotonda near Vjcenza, Palazza Chiericatj, Villa Barbaro, S. Maria. Vicoforte di Mondovi, Palazzo Farnese, Caprarola, the Strada Nuova in Genoa, the hemicycle of Villa Giulia, Villa Garzoni,

Pontecasale, library of S. Marco in Venice. the Loggetta at the base of the Campanile, Cappella Pellegrini in Verona. Rome’s S. Maria Degli Angeli. the giant order of the Rome Capitol, staircase of the Laurentian Library in Florence. or Mantua’s Palazzo Ducale or Palazzo del Te, or Palazzo Farnese or Palazzo Massimi or Villa Farnesina or Villa Madama in Rome. or S. Maria della Consolazione in Todi. Belvedere Court, S. Pietro in Montorio, or Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome, S. Maria della Grazie in Milan, Cappella del Perdono, Palazzo Ducale, Urbino, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi in Florence, the Pienxa Piazza. Rimini Tempio Malatestiano, Mantua’s S. Andrea, Florence’s S. Spirito or Pazzi Chapel. to say nothing of the lack of even a gothic signature, whether like the church of Sta Maria de VitOria at Batalha, the Cristo Monastery at Tomar, the palace of Beilver near Palma de

Mallorca, cathedral at Palma de Mallorca, the Seville cathedral, a’ d’Oro in Venice, Siena’s Palazzo Pubblico, Venice’s Piazzetta. the Doges’ Palace

Facade. or the nave of the Milan Cathedral, Orvieto cathedral, or the Florence cathedral, or the upper church of S. Francesco at Assisi. cathedral and castle of the Teutonic Order at Marienwerder Poland, the town hall at Louvain. St. Barbara in Kuttenberg, the Vladislav Hall in the Hradcany

Castle in Prague. St Lorenz in Nuremberg, the Starsbourg cathedral, the

Uim cathedral, Vienna Cathedral, interior of the Aarchen cathedral, the Prague cathedral, the choir vaulting of the church of the Holy Cross, choir of Cologne cathedral, Oxford New College, or Harlech Castle in Gwynnedd North Wales, Stokesay Castle in Shropshire, the Great Hall of Penhurst Place in Kent, the King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster, the vaulting of Henry VII chapel at Westminster, St Stephen’s chapel, interior at Gloucester cathedral, or the interior octagon at Ely cathedral, the north porch of St. Mary Redcliffe in Bristol, the Exeter cathedral, vault at the Wells cathedral, Westminster Abbey, St Hugh’s choir vaults in Lincoln cathedral, Palacio del Infan- tado at Guadalajara, the Canterbury cathedral, Rouen’s Palais de Justice, the house of Jacques Coeur at Bourges, Bristol cathedral, Albi cathedral’s Flaniboyant south porch, the church of St-Maclou in Rouen, the Paris

SainteChapelle, the church of StUrbain, S6es cathedral, Notre-Dame, Amiens cathedral, Reims cathedral, Laon cathedral, Soissons cathedral, or the nave of Noyan cathedral, or even the ambulatory of St. Denis, nor for that matter elements of the Carolingian and Romanesque such as the Pisa baptistery or cathedral or the cathedral at Lucca, or the Leaning Tower of Pisa, S. Miniato al Monte or the baptistery in Florence, S. Ambrogio in

Milan, the campanile and baptistery of the Parma cathedral, Salamanca’s

Old Cathedral, the cloister of Sto Domingo de Silos, fortified walls of

Avila, kitchen at Fontevrault Abbey, Angers, church and monastery at

Loarre, St-Gilles-du-Gard in Provence, cathedral of Autun, Poitiers’ NotreDame-la-Grande, abbey church of La Madeleine in Vézelay, Angouléme’s cathedral, abbey church at Cluny, cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, StSerin in Toulouse, Portico de Ia Gloria, Santiago de Compostela, Conques Ste-Foy, the staircase of the chapter-house in Beverley, the intenor of the chapter-house in Bristol, the Durham cathedral, St John’s Chapel, White Tower, Tower of London, Winchester cathedral, Lincoln cathedral, the abbey church of NoUe-Dame. Jumiêges, Florence’s S. Miniato al Monte, Dijon St-Bénigne, ambulatory of St-Philibert in Tournus, St. Mark’s cathedral in Venice, St. Basil’s cathedral in Moscow, abbey church of Maria Laach, cathedral of Trier, Basilica of S. Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, the dome of the Palatine chapel, interior of cathedral, Speyer, St. Michael in Hildesheim, the Great Mosque at COrdoba, S. Maria Naranco, All Staints,

Earls Barton, St Lawrence, Bradford-on-Avon, church at Corvey on the

Weser, the gateway at the monastery of Lorsch, plan for the monastery at St Gall, interior of the oratory in Germigny-des-Prós, or at the very least not even remnants of early Christian and Byzantine architectural conceits, whether the Cathedral of S. Front, Périgueux, cathedral of Monreale Sicily, interior of the Palatine Chapel in Palermo, the church of Transfiguration, Kizhi, Hagia Sophia in Kiev, hillside churches in Mistra Greece,

Katholikon, Hosios Lukas, or church of Theotokos, mosaic of Christ Pantocrator in the dome of the church of Domition, Daphni, S. Vitale or S. Apollinare in Classe in Ravenna, Constantinople’s Hagia Sophia, Ravenna’s interior of the Mausoleum of Galls Placidia, Rome’s S. Stefano Rotondo or S. Maria Maggiore or S. Clemente, or Milan’s S. Lorenzo, or even the plan of Old St Peter’s, nor the slightest trace of classical foundations whether Greek, Hellenistic, or Roman. as might be exemplified by the Temple of Jupiter, Diocletian’s palace at Spalato, the gateway to the market at Miletus, Algeria’s Timgad with its Arch of Trajan, apartment housing in Ostia.

Trajan’s Market in Rome, also in Rome, the Baths of Diocletian, the

Basilica of Max. entius, Baths of Caracalla, the Temple of Venus, near the

Golden House of Nero, Hadrian’s Mausoleum, the Mausoleum of Caccilia

Metella on the Via Appia, the Canopus of Hadrian’s villa, the interior of the Pantheon, Hadrian’s villa at Tivoli, or the Piazza d’Oro with peristyle court and pavilions, or the Flavian Palace, the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii, plan of the Villa Jovis at Capri, Arch of Tiberius at Orange, France, Trajan’s column in Rome, the Imperial Forum, Temple of Mars Ultor. Forum

Augustum, Forum of Nerva, the Forum Romanum with the arch of Septimius Severus, the Arch of Titus and the Temple of Castor and Pollux, or in Spain the aqueduct at Segovia, or back in Rome the theatre of Marcellus, the Colosseum, the sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia, Praeneste with its axonometric reconstruction, the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli. the Forum Boarium in Rome. the Maison Carrée at Nimes, or the House of the

Vettli in Pompeii, the walls of Herculaneum, the terrace of Naxian Lions on Delos, the Tower of the Winds in Athens, the Stoa of Attalus in the agora of

Athens, the plan for the city of Pergamum or city center of Miletus or the

Bouleutenon in Miletus, or the Temple of Apollo at Didyma. Temple of

Athena Polias at Priene, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the theatre at

Epidaurus, the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens as well as the Temple of Olympian Zeus, or the tholos at Delphi, or the Temple of Apollo at Bassae, or the Erechtheion on the Acropolis, the Porpylaea on the Acropolis, the Parthenon with its Panathenaic frieze. Athen’s acropolis, the temple of Aphaia at Aegina. the Temple of Olympian Zeus at Acragas, the Temple of Hera or Poseidon or Neptune at Paestum, the Temple of Apollo at Corinth, the shrine of Anubis at the Temple of l-latshepsut, Deir al Bahani, or the Lion Gate at Mycenae, or the palace at Mycenae, the palace of Tiryns, the Palace of Minos, Knossos, Crete-which seems like a good place to end though it cannot end there, especially when there is still the Great Zimbabwe Enclosure, the Giza pyramids of Mykerinos, Cheops and

Chefren, to say nothing of Ireland’s New Grange passage grave, France’s

Essé gallery grave, Malta’s Ggantija temple complex, Scotland’s Skara

Brae’s settlement, the Lascaux cave, the Laussel pre-historic rock-cut Venus, or the notion of the Terra Armata hut which is also a good place to end though of course it cannot end there either- [147-Of course, ills impossible to consider any sort of construction, whet her of homes, factories, shops, stores, department stores, market halls, conservatories, exhibition buildings, railway stations, warehouses, and office buildings, exchanges, and banks, hotels, prisons, hospitals, museums, libraries, theatres, churches, bridges, airports, town halls, law courts, ministries, and public offices, Houses of parliament, monuments, parks, even towns, and cities, public works etc., etc., without paying heed to such names as Thomas Hall Beeby, Ricardo Bofill, John Simpson, Steven Holl, Leon Krier, Richard

Neutra, Andres Duany, and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Ramon Fortet, Daniel

Libeskind, Quinlan Terry, Allan Greenberg, Jane B. Drew, Robin Sefert,

Frank Gehry, Jean Willerval, Arat Isozaki, Kisho Kurokawa, Gisue and Mojgan Hariri, John Outram, Zaha Hadid, Peter Eisenmann, Richard

Meier, John Hejduk, Aldo Ross!, Herman Hertzberger, Louis E. Fry Si:,

LouisE. Fry Jr., LouisE. Fry III, Santiago Calatrava, I. 1W. Pei, Recardo

Scofidio, Harry G. Robinson III, Terry Farrell, Bernard Tschumi, Charles F

McAfee,_____ Eva Vecsei, the Coop Himmelb!au, Cheryl L. McAfee, Charles Eames, Simon Rodia, Ray Eames, Ricardo Bofihl, Donald L Stuhl,

M. David Lee, Michael Graves, Elizabeth Diller, Charles Moore, Bruno

Taut, Robert Traynham Coles, Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson, Hans

Hollein, Rem Koolhaas, John S. Chase, Harvey B. Gantt, Robert Venturi,

James Stirling, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Rienzo Piano, Alvar Aalto,

Lou Switzer, Roberta Washington, .1 Max Bond Jr., Robert Keirnard, Luigi

Nervi, Jorn Utzon, Eero Saarinen, Buckminster Fuller, Louis Kahn, Roderick Lincoln Knox, Paul Rudolph, James M. Whitley, William N Whitley, R. Joyce Whitley, Paul G Devrouax, Charles Duke, Marshall E.

Purnel!, Robert P Madison, Sir Leslie Martin, Harry L Overstreet, Sir

Denys Lasdun, Sir Basil Spence, Peter Smithson, James Gowan, Gordon

MattaClark, Howard F Sims, Harold K Varner, Roger W Margerum, Harry

Simmons Jr., Wendelli Campbell, Susan M. Campbell, Jwnes Stirling, Oscar Niemeyer, Norma Merrick Skiarek, U Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, William .1 Stanley, Ivenue LoveStanley, Vernon A. Williams, Leslie A. Williams, Cornelius Henderson, Paul Revere Williams, Boris Mikhailovich lofan, Vladimir Alekssevich Shchuko, VG. Gelfreikh, Ilya Golosov. Konstantin Me!nikov, Moses McKissack, – William S. Pittman, John A.

Lankford, El Lissitzky, Aleksandr, and Viktor Vesnin, Serge Chermayeff

Charles Holden, Sir John Burnet, Edwin Rickards, H. V Lanchester,

Wilhelm Kreis, Giles Gilbert Scott, Frederick Gibberd, Sir Edwin Lutyens,

Giovanni Muzio, Angiolo Mazzoni, Giuseppe Pagano, 0. Frezzotti,

Marcello Piacentini, Plo Piacentini, Antonio Sant’Elia, Cesare Bazzani,

Povi Baumann, Kay Fisker, G. B. Hagen, Edvard Thomsen, Carl Petersen,

Lars Sonck, Sigfrid Ericson, Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren, Kaare

Klint, Peder Vilhelm JensenKlint, Lars Israel Wahiman, Ragnar Ostberg,

Martin Nyrop, Roger-Henri Expert, Paul Tournon, André Lurcat, Robert

Mallet-Stevens, Pierre Chareau, Henri Sauvage, Tony Gamier, Francois

Hennebique, Auguste Perret, René Sergent, Arthur Davis, C’harlesFrédéric Mewés, Walter Johnnes Kruger, Albert Speer, Heinrich Tessenow,

Emil Fahrenkamp, Gerrit Rietveld, Willem Marinus Dudok, JJ.P Oud, Adolf

Loos, László MoholyNagy, Theo van Doesburg, Hannes Meyer, Walter

Gropius, Johan van der Mey, Michel de Klerk, Fritz HOger, Otto Bartning,

Dominikus Böhm, Eric Mendelsohn, Bruno Taut, Max Berg, Hans Poelzig,

Bruno Schmitz, Peter Behrens, Paul Bonatz, Fritz Schumacher, Theodor

Fischer, Alfred Messel, Ludwig Hoffman, William Lescase, George Howe, Albert Kahn, William Van Alen, Paul Gmelin, Stephen F Voorhees, Andrew

C Mackenzie, Ralph Thomas Walker, John Mead Howells, Washington

Roebling, Raymond Hood, Cass Gilbert, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue,

James Gamble Rogers, Ralph Adams Cram, John F Staub, Diego Suarez,

Burrall Hoffmann, Paul Chalfin, John Russell Pope, Henry Bacon, John

Bakewell, Arthur Brown, Horace Trumbauer, Henry Mather Greene, John

Lyman Silsbee, Francesc Berenguer y Mestres, Luis Domènech y Montaner,

Antoni Gaudi i Cornet, Raimond D ‘Aronco, Giuseppe Sommaruga, Otto

Wagner, Henri van de Velde, Theodor Lipps, August Endell, Ernst Ludwig

Haus, CF.A. Voysey, Charles Harrison Townsend, Herman Muthesius,

Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Charles Plumet, Jules Lavirotte, Frantz

Jourdain, Georges Chedanne, Xavier Schoellkopf Hector Guimard, Henrik

Pet rus Berlage, Paul Hankar, Victor Horta, Paul Sédille, Jules Saulnier,

Cass Gilbert, John Smithmeyer, Paul PeIz, Stanford White, William

Rutherford Mead, Charles Atwood, Charles Follen McKim, Louis Henry

Sullivan, Daniel Burnham, John Root, William Le Baron Jenney, Frank

Furness, Henry Van Brunt, William Ware, John Sturgis, Charles Brigham,

Edward Potter, Peter B. Wright, _____ Richard Morris Hunt, Arthur

Gilman, Gridley Bryant, Alfred B. Mullet, James Renwick, Richard Upjohn,

Thomas Ustick Walter, Thomas Cole, Isaiah Rogers, Alexander Jackson

Davis, Ithiel Town, Robert Mills, William Strickland, Benjamin Latrobe,

Petrus Josephus Hubertus Cuypers, Joseph Poelaert, Ernst Ziller,

Theophilus Eduard Hansen, Hans Christian Hansen, Vladimir Ossipovich

Sherwood, Konstantin Andreevich Thon, Osip Beauvais, Afanasy Grigoryev,

Dornenico Gilardi, Vasili Petrovich Stasov, Auguste Ricard de Montferrand,

Karl Ivanovich Rossi, Adrian Dmitrievich Zakharov, Thomas de Thomon,

Andrei Nikforovich Voronikhin, Antonio Corazzi, Johan Albrecht

EhrenstrOm, Bertel Thorwaidsen, Carl Ludwig Engel, Christian Heinrich Grosch, Goulieb Birkner Bindesboll, Christian Frederick Hansen, Emilio de Fabris, Camillo Boito, Pietro Estense Selvatico, Guglielmo Calderini, Gaetano Koch, Marion Crawford, Giuseppe Men goni, Giuseppe Valadier,

Raffaello Stern, Braccio Nuovo, Alessandro Antonelli, Carlo Amati,

Antonio Niccolini, Pietro Bianchi, Giuseppe Jappelli, Antonio Selva, Eduard Riedel, Georg von Dollmann, Julius Raschdorf Paul Wallot, Got ifried Semper, Fredrich von Gartner, Leo von Klenze, Karl Fredrich Schinkel, Heinrich Hübsch, John Francis Bentley, Philip Webb, Basil Champneys, Richard Norman Shaw, Owen Jones, Sir Joseph Paxton,

George Edmund Street, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, E. M. Barry, Sir

Charles Barry, Charles Robert Cockerell, Robert Smirke, William Wilkins,

Sir John Soane, Richard Payne Knight, Hwnphry Repton, John Nash,

Gustave Effel, Ferdinand Dutert, I CA. Alphan4 Victor Ballard, JeanLouise-Charles Gamier, Joseph AugusteEmile Vaudremer, Leon Vaudoyer,

Louis-Joseph Duc, Pierre-FrancoisHenri Labrousie, JacqueIgnace Hittorff

A.F T Chaigrin, Charles Percier, Francois-Léonard Fontaine, Benjamin

Lairobe, George Hadfleld, Etienne Hallet, William Thornton, Charles

Bullfinch, Thomas Jefferson, Peter Harrison, Charles Cameron, Mat vei

Feodorovich Kazakow, Giacomo Quarenghi, Ivan Yegorovich Starov, Vasili

Ivanovich Bazhenov, Fredrik Magnus Piper, Carl August Ehrensvärd,

Louis-Joseph Le Lorrain, Jakub Kubicki, Christian Piotr Aigner, Dominik Merlini, Friedrich Gilly, Heinrich Jussow, PierreMichel d’Ixnard, Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorf Giuseppe Piermarini, Michelangelo Simonetti, Pietro

Camporese, ClaudeNicolas Ledoux, Etienne-Louis Boullée, Charles de

Wailly, Marie- Joseph Peyre, Victor Louis, Pierre Rousseau,

JacquesGermain Soufflot, Jacques Gabriel, John Wood, George Dance,

James Wyatt, James Gandon, William Chambers, Robert Adam, William

Kent, Carlo Marchionni, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Niccolô Nasoni,

Mateus Vicente de Oliveira, Johann Friedrich Ludwig, RodrIguez Tizón

Ventura, Francois Hurtado Izquierdo, Leonardo de Figueroa, James Gibbs,

Carlo Fontana, Thomas Archer, Nicholas Hawksmoor, John Vanbrugh,

William Talman, Christopher Wren, Mauhäus Daniel Pöppelmann, Joseph

Schmuzer, Peter Thum, Dominikus Zimmermanm, Cosmas Damian Asam,

Egid Quinn, Baithasar Newnann, Jakob Prandtauer, Johann San tini

Aichel, Lucas von Hildebrandt, Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Enlach,

Johann Bernhard Fischer von Enlach, Emmanuel Héré de Corny, Germain

Boffrand, Jules HardouinMansart, Louis Le Vau, GB. Vaccarini, Andrea

Palma, Andrea Giganti, Tommaso Napoli, Ferdinando Fuga, Domenico

Antonio Vaccaro, Cosimo Fanzago, Carlo Francesco Dotti, Francesco

Maria Ricchino, Galeazzo Alessi, Bartolommeo Bianco, Turin Guarino

Cluarini, Filippo Juvarra, Bernardo Vittone, Nicola Salvi, Carlo Fan tana,

Alessandro Specchi, Andrea Pozzo, Pietro do Cortona, Francesco

Borromini, Giovanni Battista Montano, Gianlorenzo Bernini, Inigo Jones,

Robert Smy:hson, Jacob van Campen, Bonfaz Wolmut, Alevisio Novi, Jakob Wolf Alberlin Tretsch, Konrad Krebs, Alonso de Avarrubias, Enrique Egas, Jacques Lemercier, Solomon de Brosse, Francois Mansart, Philibert de l’Orme, Pierre Lescot, Gilles le Breton, Pirro Ligorio, Andrea Palladio, Martini Bassi, Galeazzo Alessi Domenico Fontana, Giacomo Barozzi da

Vignola, Jacopo Tatti Sansovino, Michele Sanmicheli, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Giulio Romano, BaIdassare Peruzzi, Raffaello Sanzio, Antonia da San gallo the Younger, Antonia da Sangallo the Elder, Donato Bramante, Filarete, Leonardo do Vinci, Leon BattLcta Alberti, Filippo Brunelleschi,

Simon of Cologne, Juan Guas, Juan Gil de HontanOn, Arnolfo di Cambio,

Lorenzo Maitani, Benedikt Ried, Konrad Heinzelmann, Nicolaus Eseler,

Jorg Ganghofer, Ulrich von Ensingen, Wentzel Roriczer, Heinrich von

Brunsberg, Hans von Burghausen, Peter Parler, Diogo Arruda, Diogo

Boytac, William Wynford, Robert Janyns, Henry Yevele, Henry de Reynes,

William the Englishman, William of Sens, Jean de Loubinère, Bishop

Bernardde Castanet (P), Jean d’Orbais, Abbot Suger (F), Nicola Pisano, Pedro Petriz, Gunzo, Apollodorus of Damascus, Severus, Celer, Daedalus- though here the names of the authors of buildings have begun to fade into the names of Patrons (F), whether Bishops, Kings, Emperors, Dynasties, eventually myth, and finally time- [148-See Exhibit One.]


Sebastiano Pérouse de Montcbs, however, has written a sizable examination on the changes within the house; positing that they in fact follow Andrea Palladio’s structural derivations.

By way of a quick summary, Palladian grammar seeks to organize space through a series of strict rules. As Palladio proved, it was possible to use his system to generate a number of layouts such as Villa Badoer, Villa Emo, Villa Ragona, Villa Poiana, and of course Villa Zeno. In essence there are only eight steps:


1. Grid definition

2. Exterior-wall definition

3. Room layout

4. Interior-wall realignment

5. Principal entrances-porticos and exterior wall inflections

6. Exterior ornamentation-columns

7. Windows and Doors

8. Termination [149-For an exemplary look at Palladian grammar in action, see William J. Mitchell’s The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation, and Cognition [Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press,

1994), p. 152-181. As well as Andrea Palladio’s The Four Books of Architecture (1570) trans. Isaac Ware (New York: Dover, 1965).]


Pérouse de Montclos relies on these steps to delineate how Navidson’s house was (1.0) first established (2.0) mited (3.0) sub-divided and (4.0) so on. He attempts to convince the reader that the constant refiguration of doorways and walls represents a kind of geological loop the process of working out all possible forms, most likely ad infinitum, but never settling because, as he states i his conclusion, “unoccupied space will never cease to change simply because nothing forbids it to do so. The continuous internal alterations only prove that such a house is necessarily uninhabited.” [150-

Sebastiano Pérouse de Montclos’ Palladian Grammar and Metaphysical Appropriations: Navidson’s Villa Malcontenta (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice

Hall, 1996), p. 2,865. Also see Aristides Quine’s Concatenating Corbusier

(New York: American Elsevier, 1996) in which Quine applies Corbusier’s Five Points to the Navidson house thereby proving, in his mind, the limitations and hence irrelevance of Palladian grammar. While these conclusions are somewhat questionable, they are not without merit. In particular, Quine’s treatment of the Villa Savoye and the Domino House deserves special attention. Finally consider Gisele Urbanati Rowan Lell’s far more controversial piece “Polypod Or Polylith?: The Navidson Creation

As Mechanistic/ Linguistic Model” in Abaku Banner Catalogue, v. 198, January 1996, p. 515-597, in which she treats the “house-shifts” as evidence of polylithic dynamics and hence structure. For a point of reference see Greenfield and Schneider’s “Building a Tree Structure. The Development of Hierarchical Complexity and Interrupted Strategies in Children’s Construction Activity” in Developmental Psychology, 13, 1977, p. 299313.]


Thus, as well as prompting formal inquiries into the ever elusive internal shape of the house and the rules governing those shifts, Sebastiano Pérouse de Montclos also broaches a much more commonly discussed matter: the question of occupation. Though few will ever agree on the meaning of the configurations or the absence of style in that place, no one has yet to disagree that the labyrinth is still a house. [151-Which also happens to maintain a curious set of constants. Consider –


Temperature: 32F ±8.

Light: absent.

Silence: complete *

Air Movement (i.e. breezes, drafts etc.): none

True North: DNE


* With the exception of the ‘growl’.]


Therefore the question soon arises whether or not it is someone’s house Though if so whose? Whose was it or even whose is it? Thus giving voice to another suspicion: could the owner still be there? Questions which echo the snippet of gospel Navidson alludes to in his letter to Karen [152-See Chapter XVII.] -St. John, chapter 14-where Jesus says:


In my Father’s house are many rooms: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you…


Something to be taken literally as well as ironically. [153-Also not to be forgotten is the terror Jacob feels when he encounters the territories of the divine: “How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” (Genesis 28:17)]


It is not surprising then that when Holloway’s earn finally begins the long trek back, they discover the staircase is much farther away than they had anticipated, LS if in their absence the distances had stretched. They are forced to camp for a fourth night thus necessitating strict rationing of food, water, and light (i.e. batteries). On the morning of the fifth day, they reach the stairs and begin the long climb up. Aside from the fact that the diameter of the Spiral Staircase is now more than seven hundred and fifty feet wide, the ascent moves fairly quickly.

During the walk down, Holloway had prudently decided to leave provisions along the way, thus lightening their load and at the same time allocating needed supplies for their return. Though Holloway had initially estimated they would need no more than eight hours to reach the first of these caches, it ends up taking them nearly twelve hours. At last at their destination, hey quickly set up camp and collapse in their tents. Oddly enough, despite their exhaustion, all of them find it very difficult to fall asleep.

On the sixth day, they still make an early start. [‘he knowledge that they are heading back keeps Wax and Jed’s spirits elevated. Holloway, however, remains uncharacteristically sallow, revealing what critic Melisa fao Janis calls “a sign of [his] deepening, atrabilious obsession with the unpresent.” [154-Melisa Tao Janis’ “Hollow Newel Ruminations” in The Anti-Present

Trunk, ed. by Philippa Frake (Oxford: Phaidon, 1995), P. 293.]

Nevertheless, the climb still proceeds smoothly, intil Holloway discovers the remains of one of their foot long neon markers barely clinging to the wall. It has been badly mauled, half of the fabric torn away by some unimaginable claw. Even worse their next cache has been gutted. Only traces of the plastic water jug remain along with a few scattered pieces of PowerBars. Fuel for the campfire stove has completely disappeared.

“That’s nice,” Wax murmurs. “Holy shit!” Jed hisses.

Emily O’Shaugnessy points out in The Chicago ntropy Journal the importance of this discovery: “Here Lt last are the first signs-evidenced ironically enough by he expurgation of a neon sign and the team’s proviions -of the house’s powerful ability to exorcise any Lnd all things from its midst.” [F-Emily O’Shaugnessy, “Metaphysical Emetic” in Chicago Entropy Journal, (Memphis, Tennessee, v. 182, n. 17, May, 1996.]


Holloway Roberts is not nearly as analytical. He responds as a hunter and the image that fills the frame is a weapon. Kneeling beside his pack, we watch as he pulls out his Weatherby 300 magnum and carefully inspects both the bolt and the scope mounts before loading five 180 grain Nosier Partition(r) rounds in the magazine. As he chambers a sixth round, a glimmer of joy flickers across Holloway’s features, as if finally something about that place has begun to make sense.

Fueled by the discovery, Holloway insists on exploring at least some of the immediate hallways branching off the staircase. Soon enough he is stalking doorways, leading the dancing moon of Jed’s flashlight with the barrel of his rifle, and always listening. Corners, however, only reveal more corners, and Jed’s light only targets ashen walls, though soon enough they all begin to detect that inimitable growl, [155-In describing the Egyptian labyrinth, Pliny noted how “when the doors open there is a terrifying rumble of thunder within.”] X like calving glaciers, far off in the distance, which at least in the mind’s eye, inhabits a thin line where rooms and passageways must finally concede to become a horizon.

“The growl almost always comes like the rustle of a high mountain wind on the trees,” Navidson explained later. “You hear it first in the distance, a gentle rumble, slowly growing louder as it descends, until finally it’s all around you, sweeping over you, and then past you, until it’s gone, a mile away, two miles away, impossible to follow.” [156-The Last Interview.]


Esther Newhost in her essay “Music as Place in The Navidson Record” provides an interesting interpretation of this sound: “Goethe once remarked in a letter to Johann Peter Eckermann March 23, 1829]: ‘I call architecture frozen music.” [157-Ich die Baukunsi elne ersiarrie Musik nenne.] The unfreezing of form in the Navidson house releases that music.

Unfortunately, since it contains all the harmonies of time and change, only the immortal may savor it. Mortals cannot help but fear those curmurring walls. After all do they not still sing the song of our end?” [158-Esther

Newhost’s “Music as Place in The Navidson Record” in The Many Wall

Fugue, ed. Eugenio Rosch & Joshua Scholfield (Farnborough: Greg

International, 1994), p. 47.]

For Holloway, it is impossible to merely accept the growl as a quality of that place anymore. Upon seeing the torn marker and their lost water, he seems to transfigure the eerie sound into an utterance made by some definitive creature, thus providing him with something concrete to pursue. Holloway almost seems drunk as he rushes after the sound, failing to lay own any fishing line or hang neon markers, rarely even topping to rest.

Jed and Wax do not draw the same conclusion as Holloway. They realize, and quite accurately too, that even though they are traveling farther and farther away from the staircase, they are not getting any closer to the source of the growl. They insist on turning around. Holloway first promises to investigate just a little while longer, then resorts to goading, calling them anything from “fucking pussies” and “cowards” to “jack- holes” and “come-guzzling shit-eating cunts.” Suffice it to say this last comment does not steel Wax and Jed’s resolve to hunt the great beast.

They both stop.

Enough is enough. They are tired and more than a little concerned. Their bodies ache from the constant cold. Their nerves have been eviscerated by the constant darkness. ‘hey are low on battery power (i.e. light), neon markers, and fishing line. Furthermore, the destroyed cache of supplies could indicate their other caches are in jeopardy. I that proves to be the case, they will not have enough water to even make it back within radio range of Navidson.

“We’re heading home now,” Jed snaps.

“Fuck you,” Holloway barks. “I give the orders ere, and I say no one’s going anywhere yet.” Which considering the circumstances are pretty bizarre words be hearing in such regions of dark.

“Look dude,” Wax tries, doing his best to lure Holloway over to their side of sense. “Let’s just check in o we can resupply and, you know… uh … get more guns.”

“I will not abort this mission” Holloway responds sharply, jabbing an angry finger at the twenty-six year Id from Aspen, Colorado.

Easily as much attention has been given to Holloway’s use of the word

“abort” as to Navidson’s use of le word “outpost.” The implication in “abort” is the failure to attain a goal-the prey not killed, the peak not limbed. As if there could have been a final objective in that place. Initially Holloway’s only goal was to reach ie bottom of the staircase (which he achieved). Whether it was the growl or the expurgating qualities of e house or something entirely else, Holloway decided redefine that goal mid-way. Jed and Wax, however, understand that to begin hunting some elusive presence now is just the same as suicide. Without another word, they both turn around and start heading back to the stairs.

Holloway refuses to follow them. For a while, he rants and raves, screaming profanities at a blue streak, until finally and abruptly, he just storms off by himself, vanishing into the blackness. It is another peculiar event which is over almost before it starts. A sudden enfilade of “fuck you’s” and “shit-heads” followed by silence. [159-This is not the first time individuals exposed to total darkness in an unknown space have suffered adverse psychological effects, Consider what happened to an explorer entering the Sarawak Chamber discovered in the Multi mountains In Borneo. This chamber measures 2,300ft long, 1 ,300ft wide, averages a height of 230ft, and is large enough to contain over 17 football fields. When first entering the chamber, the party of explorers kept close to a wall assuming incorrectly that they were following a long, winding passageway. It was only when they chose to return by striking straight out into that blackness-expecting to run into the opposite wall-that they discovered the monstrous size of that cavern: “So the trio marched Out into the dark expanse, maintaining a compass course through a maze of blocks and boulders until they reached a level, sandy plain, the signature of an underground chamber. The sudden awareness of the immensity of the black void caused one of the cavers to suffer an acute attack of agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces. None of the three would later reveal who panicked, since silence on such matters is an unwritten law among cavers.” Planet

Earth: Underground Worlds p. 26-27.

Of course, Holloway’s reactions exceed a perfectly understandable case of agoraphobia.]


Back on the staircase, Jed and Wax wait for Holloway to cool off and return. When several hours pass and there is still no sign of him, they make a brief foray into the area, calling out his name, doing everything in their power to locate him and bring him back. Not only do they not find him, they do not come across a single neon marker or even a shred of fishing line. Holloway has run off blind.

We watch as Jed and Wax make camp and try to force themselves to sleep for a few hours. Perhaps they hope time will magically reunite the team. But the morning of the seventh day only brings more of the same. No sign of Holloway, a terrifying shortage of supplies, and a very ugly decision to make.

Hank Leblarnard has devoted several pages on the guilt both men suffered when they decided to head back without Holloway. [160-Hank Leblarnard’s Griefs Explorations (Atlanta: More Blue Publications, 1994).] Nupart Jhunisdakazcriddle also analyzes the tragic nature of their action, pointing out that in the end, “Holloway chose his course. Jed and Wax waited for him and even made a noble effort to find him. At 5:02 A.M., as the Hi 8 testifies, their only option was to return without him.” [161-

Nupart Jhunisdakazcriddle’s Killing Badly, Dying Wise (London: Apophrades Press, 1996), p. 92.]


As Jed and Wax resume their climb back up the spiral Staircase, they discover every neon marker they ,ft behind has been torn apart. Furthermore the higher they get, the more the markers have been devoured. Around this time, Jed also begins to notice how more than a few of his buttons have vanished. Strips of velcro have fallen off his parka, shoe laces have shredded forcing him to bind his boots together with duck tape. Amazingly enough, even his pack frame has “crumbled”-the word Jed uses.

“It’s kind of scary” Wax mutters in the middle of a long ramble. “Like you stop thinking about something and it vanishes. You forget you have pocket zippers and pow they’re gone. Don’t take nothing for granted ere.”

Jed keeps wondering aloud: “Where the hell is [Holloway]?” and silence keeps trying to mean an answer.

An hour later, Jed and Wax reach another cache, laced out of the way against the wall at the far end of a air, near the entrance to some unexplored corridor. Nothing remains of the food and fuel but the jug of rater is perfectly intact. Wax is back for a second chug, ‘hen the crack of a rifle drops him to the floor, blood immediately gushing from his left armpit.

“Oh my god! Oh my god!” Wax screams. “My arm-Oh god Jed help me, I’m bleeding!” Jed immediately crouches next to Wax’s side and applies pressure to e wound. Moments later, Holloway emerges from the ark corridor with his rifle in hand. He seems just as shocked by the sight of these two as he is by the sight of the stairs.

“How the hell did I get here?” he blurts out incoherently. “I thought it was that, that thing. Fuck. It was that thing. I’m sure of it. That awful fucking… fuck.”

“Don’t stand there. Help him!” Jed yells. This seems to snap Holloway out of his trance-at least for a little while. He helps Jed peal off Wax’s jacket and treat the wound. Fortunately they are not unprepared. Jed as a medical supply kit loaded with gauze, ace bandages, disinfectant, ointments, and some painkillers. He forces two pills into Wax’s mouth but the ensuing cut shows that only some of Wax’s agony has subsided.

Jed starts to tell Holloway what they will have to do in order to carry Wax the remainder of the way up.

“Are you crazy?” Holloway suddenly shouts. “I can’t go back now. I just shot someone.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Jed tries to say as calmly as possible. “It was an accident.”

Holloway sits down. “It doesn’t matter. I’ll go to jail. I’ll lose everything. I have to think.”

“Are you kidding me? He’ll die if you don’t help me carry him!”

“I can’t go to prison,” Holloway mumbles, more to himself now than to either Wax or Jed. “I just can’t.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Jed says, starting to raise his voice. “You’re not gonna go to jail. But if you sit there and let Wax die, for that they’ll lock you up for life. And I’ll make sure they throw away the fucking key. Now get up and help me.”

Holloway does struggle to his feet, but instead of giving Jed a hand, he just walks away, disappearing once again into that impenetrable curtain of black, leaving Jed to carry and care for Wax by himself. For whatever reason, departure suddenly became Holloway’s only choice. Une solution politique honorable. [162-“An honorable political solution’-and as usual, pretentious as all fuck. Why French? Why not English? It also doesn’t make much sense. Nothing about Holloway’s choice or Jed’s request seems even remotely political.]

Jed does not get very far with Wax before two bullets smash into a nearby wall. Holloway’s helmet light reveals that he is standing on the opposite side of the stairway.

Jed instantly turns off his flashlight and with Wax on his back scrambles up a few stairs. Then by rapidly clicking his flashlight on and off, he discovers a narrow hallway branching off the stairway into unseen depths.

Unfortunately another shot instantly answers this fractionary bit of vision, the bang echoing over and over again through the pitch.

As we can see Jed does succeed in dragging Wax into this new corridor, the next Hi 8 clip capturing him with his flashlight back on, moving through a series of tiny rooms. Occasionally we hear the faint crack of a rifle shot in the distance, causing Jed to push ahead even faster, darting through as many chambers as possible, until his breath rasps painfully in and out of his lungs and he is forced to put his friend down, unable for the moment to go any farther.

Jed just slides to the floor, turns off his light, and starts to sob.




At 3:31 A.M. the camera blips on again. Jed has moved Wax to another room. Realizing the camcorder may be his only chance to provide an explanation for what happened, Jed now speaks directly into it, reiterating the events leading up to Holloway’s break with reality and how exhausted, pursued, and ultimately lost, Jed – has still somehow managed to carry, drag, and push Wax to a relatively safe place. Unfortunately, he no longer has any idea where they are:

“So much for my sense of direction. I’ve spent the last hour looking for a way back to the staircase. No luck. The radio is useless. If help doesn’t come soon, he’ll die. I’ll die.”

Barely caught in the frame, we can just make out Jed’s fist rapping incessantly against the floor, which as it turns out, has the exact same timbre as those knocks heard back in the living room. Alan P. Winnett, however, remarks on one notable difference:


Curiously enough, despite the similarity of intonation and pitch, the pattern does not even remotely resemble the three short – three long- three short SOS signal heard by the Navidson & Carlos Avital has suggested the house itself not only carried the signal an incredible distance but interpreted it as well. Maria Hulbert disagrees, positing that the rhythm of the knocking hardly matters: “By the eighth day, the absence of any word from Holloway’s team was already a distress signal in and of itself.” [163- Alan P. Winnett’s Heaven’s Door (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996), p. 452. Also see Carlos Avital’s widely read though somewhat prolix pamphlet Acoustic Intervention (Boston: Berklee College of Music, 1994) as A’eil as Maria Hulbert’s “Knock Knock, Who Cares?” in The Phenomenology of Coincidence in The Navidson Record (Minneapolis:

University of Minnesota Press, 1996).]


Regardless of its meaning and the reasons behind its transfiguration, Jed only produces this strange tattoo for a short time before returning to the needs of his badly wounded friend. [164-Once, in the dining hail of a certain boarding school-it was my second and nothing fancy-I met a ghost. I’d been talking with two friends, but due to all the seven o’clock din, the place being packed with fellow gorgers, it was almost impossible to hear much of what anyone said, unless you shouted, and we weren’t shouting because our conversation had to be kept secret. Not that what we said offered a whole lot of anything new. Not even variation.


That was all. One word to pretty much sum up the whole of all we cared about. Week in, week out. Where to meet them. What to say to them. How not to need them. That was unattractive. Girls could never know you needed them, which was why our conversation had to be kept secret, because that’s all it was about: needing them.

Back then, I was living life like a ghost, though not the ghost I’m about to tell you about. I was all numb & stupid and dazed too I guess, a pretty spooky silentiary for matters I knew by heart but could never quite translate for anyone I knew let alone myself. I constantly craved the comforts of feminine attention, even though the thought of actually getting a girlfriend, one who was into me and wanted to be with me, seemed about as real as any dozen of the myths I’d been reading about in class.

At least the same guy who explained my attachment to junk, The Counselor For Disaffected You-I mean Youth-, helped me see how influenced I remained by my past.

Unfortunately it was a lesson delivered tongue in cheek, as he ultimately believed I’d made most of my past up just to impress him.

About one thing he was right, my mother wasn’t actually dead yet. Telling everyone she was though made my life far less complicated. I don’t think anyone at the boarding school, including my friends, teachers, certainly not my counselor, ever found out the truth, which was fine with me. That’s the way I liked it.

My arms, however, were another story. It’s kinda funny, but despite my current professional occupation, I don’t have any tattoos. Just the scars, the biggest ones of course being the ones you know about, this strange seething melt running from the inside of both elbows all the way up to the end of both wrists, where-I might as well tell you-a skillet of sizzling corn oil unloaded its lasting wrath on my efforts to keep it from the kitchen floor. ‘You tried to catch it all,’ my mother had often said of that afternoon when I was only four. See, not nearly as dramatic as a Japanese Martial Arts Cult run by Koreans in Indiana. I mean Idaho. Just a dropped pan. That’s all.

As for the rest of the scars, there are too many to start babbling on about here, jagged half-moon reminders on my shoulders and shins, plenty stippled on my bones, a solemn white one intersecting my eyebrow, another obvious ie still evident in my broken, now discolored front tooth, a central incisor to be more precise, and some ,en deeper than all of the above, telling a tale much longer than anyone has ever heard or probably ever will hear. All of it true too, though of course scars are much harder to read. Their complex inflections do not resemble the reductive ease of any tattoo, no matter how extensive, colorful or elaborate the design. Scars are the paler pain of survival, received unwillingly and displayed in the language of injury.

My Counselor For Disaffected Youth had no idea what kept me going- though he never phrased it exactly like that. He just asked me how, in light of all my stories, I’d still managed to sustain myself. I couldn’t answer him. I know one thing though, whenever I felt particularly bad I’d instantly cling a favorite daydream, one I was willing to revisit constantly, a pretty vivid one too, of a girl, a certain girl, though one I’d yet to meet or even see, whose eyes would sparkle just like the Northern sky I would describe for her when once while sitting on a splintered deck heaving on top of the black-pitch ck of the world, I beheld all the light not of this world.

Which was when, as I was briefly revisiting this me daydream in the presence of my two friends, I heard a voice in my ear-the ghost-softly saying my name.




By the way, this is what got me on this whole thing in the first place. The knocking in the house turning this vivid recollection.




“Johnny” she said in a sigh even more gentle than a whisper.

I looked around. No one sitting at my table s saying anything even remotely like my name. Quite the contrary, their voices were pitched in me egregiously felt debate over something having do with scoring, the details which I know I’ll never call, thrown up amidst the equally loud banter of a hundred plates, glasses, knives and forks clattering here and there, and yes everywhere, serving to quickly dispel my illusion until it happened again-


For an instant then, I understood she was my ghost, a seventeen year old with gold braided hair, as wild as a will-o’-the-wisp, encountered many years ago, maybe even in another life, now encountered again, and perhaps here too to find me and restore me to some former self lost on some day no boy can ever really remember-something I write now not really even understanding though liking the sound of it just the same.

“He’s so dreamy. I just love the way he smiles when he talks, even if he doesn’t say that much.”

Which was when I realized, a moment later, that this Ghost was none other than the domed ceiling, rising above the dining hall, somehow carrying with particular vividness, from the far wall to my wall, in one magnificent arc, the confession of a girl I would never see or hear again, a confession I could not even respond to-except here, if this counts.

Sadly enough, my understanding of the rare acoustic dynamics in that hail came a fraction of a second too late, coinciding with the end of dinner, the voice vanishing as suddenly as it appeared, lost in a cumulative leaving, so that even as I continued to scan the distant edge of the dining room or the line forming to deposit trays, I could never find the girl whose expressions or even gestures might match such sentiments.

Of course, ghostly voices don’t just have to rely exclusively on domed ceilings. They don’t even have to be just voices.

I finally hooked up with Ashley. I went over to her place yesterday morning. Early. She lives in Venice. Her eyebrows look like flakes of sunlight. Her smile, I’m sure, burnt Rome to the ground. And for the life of me I didn’t know who she was or where we’d met. For a moment I wondered if she was that voice. But before she said even a word, she held my hand and led me through her house to a patio overgrown with banana trees and rubber plants. Black, decomposing leaves covered the ground but a large hammock hung above it all.

We sat down together and I wanted to talk. I wanted to ask her who she was, where we’d met, been before, but she just smiled and held my hand as we sat down on the hammock and started to swing above all those dead leaves. She kissed me once and then suddenly sneezed, a tiny beautiful sneeze, which made her smile even more and my heart started hurting because I couldn’t share her happiness, not knowing what it was, or why it was or who for that matter I was-to her. So I lay there hurting, even when she sat on top of me, covering me in the folds of her dress, and her with no underwear and me doing nothing as her hands briefly unbuttoned my jeans and pulled me out of my underwear, placing me where it was rough and dry, until she sank down without a gasp, and then it was wet, and she was wet, and we were wet, rocking together beneath a small patch of overcast sky, brightening fast, her eyes watching the day come, one hand kneading her dress, the other hand under her dress needing herself, her blonde hair covering her face, her knees tightening around my ribs, until she finally met that calendrical coming without a sound-the only sign-and then even though I had not come, she kissed me for the last time and climbed out of the hammock and went inside.

Before I left she told me our story: where we’d met-Texas-kissed, but never made love and this had confused her and haunted her and she had needed to do Lt before she got married which was in four months to man she loved who made a living manufacturing TNT exclusively for a highway construction firm up in Colorado where he frequently went on business trips and where one night, drunk, angry and disappointed he had invited a hooker back to his motel room and so on and who cared and what was I doing there anyway? I Left, considered jerking off, finally got around to Lt back at my place though in order to pop I had to think of Thumper. It didn’t help. I was still hurting, abandoned, drank three glasses of bourbon and fumed on some weed, then came here, thinking of voices, real and imagined, of ghosts, my ghost, of her, at long last, in this idiotic footnote, when she gently pushed me out her door and I said quietly “Ashley” causing her to stop pushing me and ask “yes?” her eyes bright with something she saw that I could never see though what she saw was me, and me not caring though now at least knowing the truth and telling her the truth: “I’ve never been to Texas.”]


Wax, for his part, tries to be brave, forcing a smile hr the camera, even if it is impossible to miss how pale ie looks or misunderstand the meaning of his request- ‘Jed, man, I’m so thirsty”-especially since a few seconds earlier he had swallowed a big gulp of water.


No stranger to shock, [ || “The following definition is from Medicine for

Mountaineering, 3rd edition. Edited by James A. Wilkerson, M.D. (Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1985), P. 43:


“Mild shock results from loss of ten to twenty percent of blood volume. The patient appears pale and his skin feels cool, first over the extremities and later over the trunk. As shock becomes more severe, the patient often complains of feeling cold and he is often thirsty. A rapid pulse and reduced blood pressure may be present. However, the absence of these signs does not indicate shock is not present since they may appear rather late, particularly in previously healthy young adults.

“Moderate shock results from loss of twenty to forty percent of the blood volume. The signs characteristic of mild shock are present and may become more severe. The pulse is typically fast and weak or ‘thready.’ In addition, blood flow to the kidneys is reduced as the available blood is shunted to the heart and brain and the urinary output declines. A urinary volume of less than 30 cc per hour is a late indication of moderate shock. In contrast to the dark, concentrated urine observed with dehydration, the urine is usually a light color.

“Severe shock results from loss of more than forty percent of the blood volume and is characterized by signs of reduced blood flow to the brain and heart. Reduced cerebral blood flow initially produces restlessness and agitation, which is followed by confusion, stupor and eventually coma and death. Diminished blood flow to the heart can produce abnormalities of the cardiac rhythm.”


In his essay “Critical Condition” published in Simple Themes

(University of Washington Press, 1995) Brendan Beinhorn declared that Navidson’s house, when the explorers were within it, was in a state of severe shock. “However without them, it is completely dead. Humanity serves as its life blood. Humanity’s, end would mark the house’s end.” A statement which provoked sociologist Sondra Staff to claim “Critical Condition” was “just another sheaf of Beinhorn bullshit.” (A lecture delivered at Our Lady of the Lake University of San Antonio on June 26, 1996.)] Jed immediately raises Wax’s legs to increase blood flow to the head, uses pocket heaters and a solar blanket to keep him warm, and never stops reassuring him, smiling, telling jokes, promising a hundred happy endings. A difficult task under any circumstances. Nearly impossible when those guttural cries soon find them, the walls too thin to hold any of it back, sounds too obscene to be shut out, Holloway screaming like some rabid animal, no longer a man but a creature stirred by fear, pain, and rage.

“At least he’s far off,” Jed whispers in an effort to console Wax. But the sound of distance brings little comfort to either one.




Perhaps [165-Mr. Truant refused to reveal whether the following bizarre textual layout is Zampanô’s or his own. – Ed.]








is as good a place as any to consider some of the ghosts haunting The Navidson Record. And since more than a handful of people have pointed out similarities between Navidson’s film and various commercial productions, it seems worthwhile to at least briefly examine what distinguishes documentaries from Hollywood releases. [166-In his essay

“It Makes No Difference” Film Quarterly v.8, July, 1995, p. 68, Daniel Rosenblum wrote: “In response to the suggestion that the names of the ghosts haunting Navidson’s house are none other than The Shining, Vertigo,

20021, Brazil, Lawrence of Arabia, Poltergeist, Amityville Horror, Night of the Living Dead, The Exorcist, John Carpenter’s The Thing, Labyrinth,

Raiders of the Lost Ark, Das Boot, Taxi Driver, Crime and Misdemeanors, Repulsion, Fantastic Voyage, Forbidden Planet, C’est arrive pres de chez vous, or even The Abyss, I hasten to point out that each one of the above mentioned movies ultimately resorts to some form of delusion, whether reincarnation, phobia, ascent to godhood, paranoia, desert, reverse affirmation of spiritual perdurability ibid, ibid, ibid, ibid, title, totemic assumption, submarine, absence of past, vision, psychosis, technology, ibid, serial killer or aliens. All of which The Navidson Record refuses to indulge.] [167-In her elegantly executed piece entitled “Vertical

Influence” reproduced in Origins of Faith (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996) p. 261, Candida Hayashi writes:

“For that matter, what of literary haunting? Poe’s The Fall of the House of

Usher, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting, Charles Brockden Brown’s

Wieland, Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, Stephen King’s “The Breathing

Method” in Different Seasons as well as “Tebular” in More Tales, Steve

Erickson’s Days Between Stations, John Fante’s The Road to Los Angeles, not to mention Henri Bosco’s L’Antiquaire, Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, B. Walton’s Cave of Danger, Jean Genet’s Notre-Dame des Fleurs,

Richard Farina’s Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me, John Gardner’s October Light, many stories by Lovecraft, Pynchon’s gator patrol in V, Borges’ “The Garden of Forking Paths” in Ficciones, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Lawrence Weschler’s Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, Jim Kalin’s One Worm, Sartre’s Huis Clos, or Les Mouches, Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, Lem’s Solaris, Ayn Rand’s The

Fountainhead, “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James, Nathaniel

Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” or The House of Seven Gables, or

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. C. Lewis? To say nothing of

Brodsky & Utkin, Friday Kahlo’s “Blue House” in Coyoacan, Diego

Rivera’s “Nocturnal Landscape: Paisaje Nocturno” (1947), Rachel

Whiteread’s House or Charles Ray’s Ink Box, Bill Viola’s Room for St. John of the Cross or more words by Robert Venturi, Aldo van Eyck, James Joyce,

Paolo Portoghesi, Herman Melville, Otto Friedrich Bollnow (Mensch und

Raum, 1963), and Maurice Merleau-Ponty (The Phenomenology of

Perception, 1962, in which he declares “depth is the most ‘existential’ of all dimensions”)? To all of it, I have only one carefully devised response: Ptooey!”] [168-Aside from cinematic, literary, architectural, or even philosophical ghosts, history also offers a few of its own. Consider two famous expeditions where those involved confronted the unknown under circumstances of deprivation and fear only to soon find themselves caught in a squall of terrible violence.]




On September 20th, 1519 Ferdinand Magellan embarked from Sanlücar de Barrameda to sail around the globe. The voyage would once and for all prove the world was round and revolutionize people’s thoughts on navigation and trade, but the journey would also be dangerous, replete with enough horror and hardship that in the end it would cost Magellan his life.

In March of 1520 when Magellan’s five vessels reached Patagonia and sailed into the Bay of St. Julian, things were far from harmonious, Fierce winter weather, a shortage of stores, not to mention the anxiety brought on by the uncertainty of the future, had caused tensions among the sailors to increase, until on or around April Fools Day, which also happened to be

Easter Day, Captain Gaspar Quesada of the Concepcion and his servant Luiz de Molino planned and executed a mutiny, resulting in the death of at least one officer and the wounding of many more. [169-While mutiny is not terribly common today, consider the 1973 Skylab mission where astronauts openly rebelled against a mission controller they felt was too imperious. The incident never resulted in violence, but it does emphasize how despite constant contact with the society at home, plenty of food, water, and warmth, and only a slight risk of getting lost, tensions among explorers can still surface and even escalate.

Holloway’s expedition had none of the amenities Skylab enjoyed. 1) There was no radio contact; 2) they had very little sense of where they were; 3) they were almost out of food and water; 4) they were operating in freezing conditions; and 5) they suffered the implicit threat of that ‘growl’.] [155-In describing the Egyptian labyrinth, Pliny noted how “when the doors open there is a terrifying rumble of thunder within.”] Unfortunately for Quesada, he never stopped to consider that a man who could marshal an expedition to circle the globe could probably marshal men to retaliate with great ferocity. This gross underestimation of his opponent cost Quesada his life.

Like a general, Magellan rallied those men still loyal to him to retake the commandeered ships. The combination of his will and his tactical acumen made his success, especially in retrospect, seem inevitable. The mutineer Mendoza of the Victoria was stabbed in the throat. The Santo Antonia was stormed, and by morning the Concepcion had surrendered. Forty-eight hours after the mutiny had begun, Magellan was again in control. He sentenced all the mutineers to death and then in an act of calculated good-will suspended the sentence, choosing instead to concentrate maritime law and his own ire on the three directly responsible for the uprising: Mendoza’s corpse was drawn and quartered, Juan de Cartagena was marooned on a barren shore and Quesada was executed.

Quesada, however was not hung, shot or even forced to walk the plank. Magellan had a better idea. Molino, Quesada’s trusty servant, was granted clemency if he agreed to execute his master. Molino accepted the duty and together both men were set in a shallop and directed back to their ship, the Trinidad, to fulfill their destiny. [171-Taken from Zampanô’s journal: “As often as I have lingered on Hudson in his shallop, I have in the late hours turned my thoughts to Quesada and Molino’s journey across those shallow waters, wondering aloud what they said, what they thought, what gods came to keep them or leave them, and what in those dark waves they finally saw of themselves? Perhaps because history has little to do with those minutes, the scene survives only in verse: The Song of Quesada and Molino by [XXXX].[172-Illegible.] I include it here in its entirety.” [175-See

Appendix E.] Then:

“Forgive me please for including this. An old man’s mind is just as likely to wander as a young man’s, but where a young man will forgive the stray, [177-For instance, youth’s peripatetic travail’s in The PXXXXXXX Poems; a perfect example why errors should be hastily exised] [178-i.e.

The Pelican Poems.] [179-See Appendix II-B. – Ed.] an old man will cut it out. Youth always tries to fill the void, an old man learns to live with it. It took me twenty years to unlearn the fortunes found in a swerve. Perhaps this is no news to you but then I have killed many men and I have both legs and I don’t think I ever quite equaled the bald gnome Error who comes from his cave with featherless ankles to feast on the mighty dead.”] [173- You got me. [176-See Appendix B.] Gnome aside, I don’t even know how to take ‘I’ve killed many men.’ Irony? A confession? As I already said ‘You got me.’] [174-For reasons entirely his own, Mr. Truant de-struck the last six lines In footnote 171. – Ed.]

Like Magellan, Holloway led an expedition into the unknown. Like Magellan, Holloway faced a mutiny. And like the captain who meted out a penalty of death, Holloway also centered the cross-hairs upon those who had spurned his leadership. However unlike Magellan, Holloway’s course was in fact doomed, thus necessitating a look at Henry Hudson’s fate.





By April of 1610, Hudson left England in his fourth attempt to find the northwest passage. He headed west across arctic waters and eventually ended up in what is known today as the Hudson Bay. Despite its innocuous sounding name, back in 1610 the bay was Hell in ice. Edgar M. Bacon in his book Henry Hudson (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1907) writes the following:

On the first of November the ship was brought to a bay or inlet far down into the south-west, and hauled aground; and there by the tenth of the month she was frozen in. Discontent was no longer expressed in whispers. The men were aware that the provisions, laid in for a limited number of months, were running to an end, and they murmured that they had not been taken back for winter quarters to Digges Island, where such stores of wild fowl had been seen, instead of beating about for months in “a labyrinth without end.

[italics added for emphasis]


This labyrinth of blue ice drifting in water cold enough to kill a man in a couple of minutes tested and finally outstripped the resolve of Hudson’s crew. Where Magellan’s men could fish or at least enjoy the cove of some habitable shore, Hudson’s men could only stare at shores of ice. [180- Though written almost two hundred years after Hudson’s doomed voyage, it is hard not to think of Coleridge’s The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, especially this fabled moment-


With sloping masts and dripping prow,

As who pursued with yell and blow

Still treads the shadow of his foe,

And forward bends his head,

The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast, And southward aye we fled.

And now there came both mist and snow, And it grew wondrous cold: And ice, mast-high, came floating by, As green as Emerald.


The land of ice, and of fearful sounds where no living thing was to be seen.


And through the drifts the snowy clifts Did send a dismal sheen:

Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken – The ice was all between.


The ice was here, the ice was there, The ice was all around:

It cracked and growled, and roared and howled, Like noises in a swound!


Till a great sea-bird called the Albatross… At length did cross an Albatross,

Through the fog it came…


This was not some feverish world concocted in a state of delirium but a very real place which Hudson had faced despite the evident terror it inflicted upon everyone, especially his crew. Nor was such terror vanquished by the modern age. Consider the diary entry made in 1915 by Reginald James, expedition physicist for Shackleton’s Endurance which was trapped and finally crushed by pack ice off the coast of Antarctica in the Weddell Sea: “A terrible night with the ship sullen dark against the sky & the noise of the pressure against her… seeming like the cries of a living creature.” See also Simon Alcazaba’s Historic Conditions (Cleveland:

Annwyl Co., Inc., 1963) as well as Jack Denton Scott’s “Journey Into

Silence” Playboy, August 1973, p. 102.]


Inevitably, whispers rose to shouts until finally shouts followed action. Hudson, along with his son and seven others, was forced into a shallow without food and water. They were never heard from again, lost in that labyrinth without end. [170-Also see The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft,

Volume XX VIII (San Francisco: The History Company, Publishers, 1886).]


Like Hudson, Holloway found himself with men who, short on reserves and faith, insisted on turning back. Like Hudson, Holloway resisted. Unlike Hudson, Holloway went willingly into that labyrinth.

Fortunately for audiences everywhere, only Hudson’s final moments continue to remain a mystery.




For one thing, Hollywood films rely on sets, actors, expensive film stock, and lush effects to recreate a story. Production value coupled with the cultural saturation of trade gossip help ensure a modicum of disbelief, thus reaffirming for the audience, that no matter how moving, riveting, or terrifying a film may be, it is still only entertainment. Documentaries, however, rely on interviews, inferior equipment, and virtually no effects to document real events. [181-Consider Stephen Mamber’s definition of cinema vérité which seems an almost exact description of how Navidson made his film:


Cinema vérité is a strict discipline only because it is in many ways to simple, so “direct.” The filmmaker attempts to eliminate as much as possible the barriers between subject and audience.. These barriers are technical (large crews, studio sets, tripod-mounted equipment, special lights, costumes and makeup), procedural (scripting, acting, directing), and structural (standard editing devices, traditional forms of melodrama, suspense, etc.). Cinema vérité is a practical working method based upon a faith of unmanipulated reality, a refusal to tamper with life as it presents itself. Any kind of cinema is a process of selection, but there is (or should be) all the difference in the world between the cinema vérité aesthetic and the methods of fictional and traditional documentary film.


Stephen Mamber, Cinema Vérité in America: Studies in Uncontrolled Documentary (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1974), p. 4.] Audiences are not allowed the safety net of disbelief and so must turn to more challenging mechanisms of interpretation which, as is sometimes the case, may lead to denial and aversion. [182-not included]


While in the past, live footage was limited to the aftermath-the oral histories given by survivors of photographs taken by pedestrian-these days of the proliferation of affordable video cameras and tapes has created more of an opportunity for someone to record a place wreck or bank robbery as it is actually taking place.

Of course, no documentary is ever entirely absolved from at least the suspicion that the mise-en-scene may have been carefully designed, actions staged, or lines written and rehearsed-much of which these days is openly carried out under the appellation of “reenactment.”

By now it is common knowledge that Flaherty recreated certain scenes in Nanook for the camera. Similar accusations have been made against shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos. For the most part, professionals in the field do their best to police, or at least critique, the latest films, well aware that to lose the public’s trust would mean the death rattle for an already besieged art form.

Currently, the greatest threat comes from the area of digital manipulation. In 1990 in The New York Times, Andy Grundberg wrote:


“In the future, readers of newspaper and magazines will probably view news pictures more as illustrations than as reportage, since they will be well aware that they can no longer distinguish between a genuine image and one that has been manipulated. Even if news photographers and editors resist the temptations of electronic manipulation, as they are likely to do, the credibility of all reproduced images will be diminished by a climate of reduced expectations. In short, photographs will not seem as real as they once did.” [184-Andy Grundberg, “Ask It No Questions: The Camera Can Lie,” The New York Times, August 12, 1990, Section 2, 1, 29. All of which reiterates in many ways what Marshall McLuhan already anticipated when he wrote: “To say ‘the camera cannot lie’ is merely to underline the multiple deceits that are now practiced in its name.”]


Also in 1990, Associated Press executive, Vincent Alabiso, acknowledged the power of digital technology and condemned its use to falsify images:


“The electronic darkroom is a highly sophisticated photo editing tool. It takes us out of a chemical darkroom where subtle printing techniques such as burning and dodging have long been accepted as journalistically sound.

Today these terms are replaced by ‘image manipulation’ and

‘enhancement.’ In a time when such broad terms could be misconstrued we need to set limits and restate some basic tenets.


“The content of photographs will NEVER be changed or manipulated in any way.”


A year later, the NPPA (National Press Photographers Association) also recognized the power of electronic imaging techniques:


“As journalists we believe the guiding principle of our profession is accuracy: therefore, we believe it is wrong to alter the content of a photograph in a way that deceives the public.

“As photojournalists, we have the responsibility to document society and to preserve its images as a matter of historical record. It is clear that the emerging electronic technologies provide new challenges to the integrity of photographic images. The technology enables the manipulation of the content of an image in such a way that the change is virtually undetectable. In light of this, we, the National Press Photographers Association, reaffirm the basis of our ethics: Accurate representation is the benchmark of our profession.” [185-See Chapter 20 in Howard Chapnick’s Truth Needs No Ally: Inside Photojournalism (University of Missouri Press, 1994.)


Then in 1992, MIT professor William J. Mitchell offered this powerful summation:


“Protagonists of the institutions of journalism, with their interest in being trusted, of the legal system, with their need for provably reliable evidence, and of science, with their foundational faith in the recording instrument, may well fight hard to maintain the hegemony of the standard photographic image-but others will see the emergence of digital imaging as a welcome opportunity to expose the aporias in photography’s construction of the visual world, to deconstruct the very ideas of photographic objectivity and closure, and to resist what has become an increasingly sclerotic pictorial tradition.” [W-William J. Mitchell’s The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth In The Post-Photographic Era (Cambridge,

Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1994), p. 8.]


Ironically, the very technology that instructs us to mistrust the image also creates the means by which to accredit it.


As author Murphy Gruner once remarked:


“Just as is true with Chandler’s Marlowe, the viewer is won over simply because the shirts are rumpled, the soles are worn, and there’s that ever present hat. These days nothing deserves our faith less than the slick and expensive. Which is how video and film technology comes to us: rumpled or slick.

“Rumpled Technology-capital M for Marlowe-hails from Good Guys, Radio Shack or Fry’s Electronics. It is cheap, available and very dangerous. One needs only to consider The George Holliday Rodney King Video to recognize the power of such low- end technology. Furthermore, as the recording time for tapes and digital disks increases, as battery life is extended, and as camera size is reduced, the larger the window will grow for capturing events as they occur.

“Slick Technology – capital S for Slick- is the opposite: expensive, cumbersome, and time consuming. But it too is also very powerful. Digital manipulation allows for the creation of almost anything the imagination can come up with, all in the safe confines of an editing suite, equipped with 24 hour catering and an on site masseuse.” [186-Murphy Gruner’s Document Detectives (New York: Pantheon, 1995), p. 37. [187-One can imagine a group of Documentary Detectives whose sole purpose is to uphold Truth & Truth [Or TNT. Truth And Truth therefore becoming another name for the nitrating of toluene or C7H5N3O6 – not to be confused with C16H10N2O2- in other words one word: trinitrotoluene. TNT [188-Which also stands for Technological Neural Transmitters (TNT) [189-Or what as Lude once pointed out also means Tits And Tail. i.e. also explosive. i.e. orgasmic. i.e. a sudden procreating pun which turns everything into something entirely else, which now as I catch up with myself, where I’ve gone and where I haven’t gone and what I better get back to, may very well have not been a pun at all but plain and simple just the bifurcation of truth, with an ampersand tossed in for unity. A sperm twixt another form of similar unity, and look there’s an echo at hand. The articulation of conflict may very well be a better thing upon which to stand-Truth & Truth ‘z all, after all, or not at all. In other words, just as Zampanô wrote it.] 196 another pun and another story altogether.] telegraphing a weird coalition of sense. On one hand transcendent and lasting and on the other violent and extremely flammable.] by guaranteeing the authenticity of all works. Their seal of approval would create a sense of public faith which could only be maintained if said Documentary Detectives were as fierce as pit bulls and as scrupulous as saints. Of course, this is more the kind of thing a novelist or playwright would deal with, and as I am pointedly not a novelist or playwright I will leave that tale to someone else.]


As Grundberg, Alabiso and Mitchell contend, this impressive ability to manipulate images must someday permanently deracinate film and video from its now sacrosanct position as “eyewitness.” The perversion of image will make The Rodney King Video inadmissible in a court of law . Incredible as it may seem, Los Angele s Mayor Bradley’s statement- “Our eyes did not deceive us. We saw what we saw and what we saw was a crime.”-will seem ludicrous. Truth will once again revert to the shady territories of the word and humanity’s abilities to judge its peculiar modalities. Nor is this a particularly original prediction Anything from Michael Crichton’s Rising Sun, to Delgado’s Card Tricks, or Lisa Mane “Slit Slit” Bader’s Confession of a Porn Star delve into the increasingly protean nature of a digital universe. In his article “True Grit”, Anthony Lane at The New Yorker claims “grittiness is the most difficult element to construct and will always elude the finest studio magician. Grit, however, does not elude Navidson.” Consider the savage scene captured on grainy 16mm film of a tourist eaten alive by lions in a wildlife preserve in Angola

(Traces of Death ) and compare it to the ridiculous and costly comedy

Eraser in which several villains are dismembered by alligators. [190- Jennifer Kale told me she’d visited Zampanô around seven times: ‘Me liked me to teach him filmic words. You know, film crit kind of stuff. Straight out of Christian Metz and the rest of that crew. He also liked me to read him some of the jokes I’d gotten on the Internet. Mostly though I just described movies I’d recently seen.’ Eraser was one of them.]




William J. Mitchell offers an alternate description of “grit” when he highlights Barthe’s observation that reality incorporates “seemingly functionless detail ‘because it is there’ to signal that ‘this is indeed an unfiltered sample of the real. [191-Roland Barthes’ “The Reality Effect,” in French Literary Theory Today ed. Tzvetan Todorov (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), p. 11-17.] [192-William J. Mitchell’s

The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth In The Post-Photographic Era, p. 27.] Kenneth Turan, however, disagrees with Lane’s conclusion: “Navidson has still relied on FIX. Don’t fool yourself into thinking any of this stuff’s true.

Grit’s just grit, and the room stretching is all care of Industrial Light &


Ella Taylor, Charles Champlin, Todd McCarthy, Annette Insdort G. 0. Pilfer, and Janet Maslin, all sidestep the issue with a sentence or two. However, even serious aficionados of documentaries or “live-footage,” despite expressing wonder over the numerous details suggesting the veracity of The Navidson Record, cannot get past the absolute physical absurdity of the house.

As Sonny Beauregard quipped: “Were it not for the fact that this is a supreme gothic tale, we’d have bought the whole thing hook-line-andsinker” [193-Sonny Beauregard’s “Worst of Times” The San Francisco Chronicle, July 4, 1995. C-7, column 2. Difficult to ignore here is the matter of that recent and most disturbing piece of work La Belle Nicoise et Le Beau Chien. As many already know, the film portrayed the murder of a little girl in such comic reality it was instantly hailed as the belle of the ball in the palace of the grotesque, receiving awards at Sundance and Cannes, earning international distribution deals, and enjoying the canonical company of David Lynch, Luis Bufluel, Hieronymus Bosch, Charles Baudelaire, and even the Marquis De Sade, until of course it was discovered that there really was such a little Lithuanian girl and she really was murdered and by none other than the wealthy filmmaker himself. It was a slickly produced snuff film sold as an art house flick. Emir Kusturica’s Underground finally replaced Nicoise as the winner of the Cannes Palm d’Or; an equally absurd and terrifying film though gratefully fictive. About Yugoslavia.

The Navidson Record looks like a gritty, shoestring documentary La Belle Nicoise et Le Beau Chien looks like a lushly executed piece of cinema. Both pieces are similar in one way: what one could believe one doubts, Nicoise because one depends upon the moral sense of the filmmaker, The Navidson Record because one depends upon the moral sense of the world. Both are assumptions neither film deserves. As Murphy Gruner might have observed: “Rumpled vs. Slick. Your choice.”]

Perhaps the best argument for the authenticity of The Navidson Record does not come from film critics, university scholars, or festival panel members but rather from the I.R.S. Even a cursory glance at Will Navidson’s tax statements or for that matter Karen’s, Tom’s or Billy Reston’s, proves the impossibility of digital manipulation. [194-The records were made public in the Phillip Newharte article “The House The I.R.S. Didn’t Build” published in Seattle Photo Zine v.12, 118, p.92-156.]




They just never had enough money.




Sonny Beauregard conservatively estimates the special effects in The Navidson Record would cost a minimum of six and a half million dollars.

Taking into account the total received for the Guggenheim Fellowship, the NEA Grant, everyone’s credit limit on Visa, Mastercard, Amex etc., etc., not to mention savings and equity, Navidson comes up five and a half million dollars short. Beauregard again: “Considering the cost of special effects these days, it is inconceivable how Navidson could have created his house”

Strangely then, the best argument for fact is the absolute unaffordability of fiction. Thus it would appear the ghost haunting The Navidson Record, continually bashing against the door, is none other than the recurring threat of its own reality. [195-Despite claiming in Chapter One that the more interesting material dwells exclusively on the interpretation of events within the film, Zampanô has still wandered into his own discussion of “the antinomies of fact or fiction, representation or artifice, document or prank” within The Navidson Record. I have no idea whether it’s on purpose or not. Sometimes I’m certain it is. Other times I’m sure it’s just one big fucking train wreck.]

[196-195 (cont.) Which, in case you didn’t realize, has everything to do with the story of Connaught B. N. S. Cape who observed four asses winnow the air … for as we know there can only be one conclusion, no matter the labor, the lasting trace, the letters or even the faith-no daytime, no starlight, not even a flashlight to the rescue-just, that’s it, so long folks, one grand kerplunk, even if Mr. Cape really did come across four donkeys winnowing the air with their hooves…

Thoughts blazing through my mind while I was walking the aisles at the Virgin Megastore, trying to remember a tune to some words, changing my mind to open the door instead, some door, I don’t know which one either except maybe one of the ones inside me, which was when I found Hailey, disturbed face, incredible body, only eighteen, smoking like a steel mill, breath like the homeless but eyes bright and pure and she had an incredible body and I said hello and on a whim invited her over to my place to listen to some of the CD’s I’d just bought, convinced she’d decline, surprised when she accepted, so over she came, and we put on the music and smoked a bowl and called Pink Dot though they didn’t arrive with our sandwiches and beer until we were already out of our clothes and under the covers and coming like judgment day (i.e. for the second time) and then we ate and drank and Hailey smiled and her face seemed less disturbed and her smile was naked and gentle and peaceful and as I felt myself drift off next to her, I wanted her to fall asleep next to me, but Hailey didn’t understand and for some reason when I woke up a little later, she was already gone, leaving neither a note nor a number.

A few days later, I heard her on KROQ’s Love Line, this time drenched in purple rain, describing to Doctor Drew and Adam Carolla how I-“this guy in a real stale studio with books and writing everywhere, evervwhere! and weird drawings all over his walls too, all in black. I couldn’t understand any of it.”-had dozed off only to start screaming and yelling terrible things in his sleep, about blood and mutilations and other crazy %&*, which had scared her and had it been wrong of her to leave even though when he’d been awake he’d seemed alright?

An ugly shiver ripped up my back then. All this time I’d believed the cavorting and drinking and sex had done away with that terrible onslaught of fear. Clearly I was wrong. I’d only pushed it off into another place. My stomach turned. Screaming things was bad enough, but the thought that I’d also frightened someone I felt only tenderness for made it far worse.

Did I scream every night? What did I say? And why in the hell couldn’t I remember any of it in the morning?

I checked to make sure my door was locked. Returned a second later to put on the chain. I need more locks. My heart started hammering. I retreated to the corner of my room but that didn’t help. Puck, fuck, fuck-wasn’t helping either. Better go to the bathroom, try some water on the face, try anything. Only I couldn’t budge. Something was approaching. I could hear it outside. I could feel the vibrations. It was about to splinter its way through the Hall door, my door, Walker in Darkness, from whose face earth and heaven long ago fled.

Then the walls crack.

All my windows shatter.

A terrible roar.

More like a howl more like a shriek.

My eardrums strain and split.

The chain snaps.

I’m desperately trying to crawl away, but it’s too late. Nothing can be done now.

That awful stench returns and with it comes a scene, filling my place, painting it all anew, but with what? And what kind of brushes are being used? What sort of paint? And why that smell?

Oh no.

How do I know this?

I cannot know this.

The floor beneath me fails into a void.

Except before I fall what’s happening now only reverts to what was supposed to have happened which in the end never happened at all. The walls have remained, the glass has held and the only thing that vanished was my own horror, subsiding in that chaotic wake always left by even the most rational things.

Here then was the darker side of whim.

I tried to relax.

I tried to forget.

I imagined some world-weary travelers camped on the side of some desolate road, in some desolate land, telling a story to allay their doubts, encircle their fears with distraction, laughter and song, a collective illusion of vision spun above their portable hearth of tinder & wood, their eyes gleaming with divine magic, born where perspective lines finally collude, or so they think. Except those stars are never born on such far away horizons as that. The light in fact comes from their own gathering and their own conversation, surrounding and sustaining the fire they have built and kept alive through the night, until inevitably, come morning, cold and dull, the songs are all sung, the stories lost or taken, soup eaten, embers dark. Not even the seeds of one pun are left to capriciously turn the mind aside and tropos is at the center of ‘trope’ and it means ‘turn.’ Though here’s a song they might of sung:


Mad woman on another tour;

Everything she is she spits on the floor.

An old man tells me she’s sicker than the rest.

God I’ve never been afraid like this.


Heart may still be the fire in hearth but I’m suddenly too cold to continue, and besides, there’s no hearth here anyway and it’s the end of June. Thursday. Almost noon. And all the buttons on my corduroy coat are gone. I don’t know why. I’m sorry Hailey. [197-Following the release of the first edition over the Internet, several responses were received by e-mail including this one:


I think Johnny was a little off here. I wanted to write and tell you about It. We actually had a pretty rad time (though his screams were really weird and definately scarred me.) He was very sweet and really gentle and kinda crude too but we still had a lot of fun. It did hurt my feelings the part about my breath. Tell him lye been brushing my teeth more and trying to quit smoking. But one part he didn’t mention. He said the nicest things about my wrists. I was sorry to hear he disappeared. Do you know what happened to him?


– Hailey. February 13, 1999.



I don’t know what to do.

The locks may have held, the chain too, but my room still stinks of gore, a flood of entrails spread from wall to wall, the hacked remains of hooves and hands, matted hair and bone, used to paint the ceiling, drench the floor. The chopping must have gone on for days to leave only this. Not even the flies settle for long. Connaught B. N. S. Cape has been murdered along with his donkeys but nobody knows by whom.

For as we know, there cannot be an escape.

I’m too far from here to know anything or anyone anymore.

I don’t even know myself.


Eventually Jed tries again to carry Wax toward what he hopes is home. He also attempts periodically to signal Navidson on the radio though never gets a response. Regrettably very little footage exists from this part of the voyage. Battery levels are running low and there is not much desire on Jed’s part to exert any energy towards memorializing what seems more and more like a trek toward his own end.

The penultimate clip finds Jed huddled next to Wax in a very small room. Wax is silent, Jed completely exhausted. It is remarkable how faced with his own death, Jed still refuses to leave his friend. He tells the camera he will go no further, even though the growl seems to be closing in around them.

In the final shot, Jed focuses the camera on the door. Something is on the other side, hammering against it, over and over again. Whatever comes for those who are never seen again has come from [198-Typo Should read “for”.] him, and Jed can do nothing but focus the camera on the hinges as the door slowly begins to give way. [No punctuation point should appear here) See also Saul Steinberg’s The Labyrinth (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960).]






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Too numerous to list here.

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