JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 401
(Extra-Earth alert! This is the third time that I have found a pamphlet illustrating a view of the earth with an extra alien-earth in the background.)
This 1929 pamphlet by Dr. (?!) Victor Segno is the poster child for the sub-category of Advanced Strangeness in the Naive Surreal Collection of our store. Segno is no stranger to dislocated and fractured ideas, and has a long history of preaching and extracting money from the preached-to. Early on in his career he spawned a not-terribly original idea called "mentalism" which involved getting your "brain waves" correct and "harmonizing" your surroundings with them, which somehow also had something to do with leadership and success. But all of that involved sending Segno a dollar for a pamphlet on brain-wave distribution. According to Segno's home-town paper, the LA Tribune, there were something like 12,000 people who were part of the runaway Segno train wreck--the Tribune couldn't understand why, and didn't much care for Segno's quacky successes.
Suffice to say that quite a bit happens between 1902 and this 1929 effort, some of which involves considerable success and tiny-empire building in Echo Park. But Segno really does break the bonds of treacly abnormalism with "Into this World and Why", which offers a curriculum of soul/ghost extra-terrestrial astrological-astro dead/reborn beings to come and re-(!!) populate humans on earth. (Wait a minute--that idea gets picked up by L. Ron Hubbard, yes? Except that when L. Ron gets a hold of this idea there are 10,000 atom bombs involved and a new added process called "the clear". But that's another story.) After kind of reading this pamphlet, I have come to determine that the best thing about it--bizarro ideas or not--is the cover.
The cover, though is magnificent. Look closely, and you'll see that there are five other earth's floating above the earth, all of which are contributing not bodies but souls, souls a-piling up like clustered grapes in places, souls being deposited back on earth for another go around in existence. Segno explains to the humble reader that the universe is divided into twelves sections, each populated with a planet that looks like earth, all of which are superior to the earth. These are soul-abodes for the dead of earth whose souls leave and travel blah blah blah along the means of an undescribed process called "radiography" of the brain waves. As you can see the humanish forms falling onto earth are empty, waiting as they were to fill up a body. Oy, vey.
And so the thing drags on for 52 pages, a length probably determined by the paper on hand. (But that wouldn't stay the case, as this pamphlet went into a self-stated 26th edition...if true, then there is no justice in publishing,) The only reasonably entertaining and proto-sci-fi idea that comes into play here is that in all of the universe it is the earth that is Hell. Earth is the place of punishment that souls are sent to until they get things right, at which time they leave for one of the other twelve earths. So it goes.
The other interesting bit on the cover is the representation of the giant mountains of Europe, which erupt above the earth's horizon. I figure that for these bumps to be so prominent that the mountains needed to be at least a hundred mile high.