Friday, April 21, 2006

What is the Goblin Universe?

John Napier (1917-1987), not the mathematician, was a primatologist. In the course of his career he taught primate biology at the University of London and served as the Director of the Primate Biology Program of the Smithsonian Institute. He did considerable research into the Bigfoot mythos, which he summarized in his 1972 book, “Bigfoot: The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality.” Although Napier wrote specifically about Bigfoot, I take his words from the opening chapter as a kind of ‘Policy Statement’ for Goblin Universe studies in general:

“…it is in the spirit of ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread’ that I am approaching the subject of Bigfoot. It is a supremely complex affair because it concerns both fact and fantasy; it deals with physical truths and hypothetical concepts; it involves the mind of man, with all its genetic and environmental influences and motivations, with its cultural idiosyncrasies, and its plain ‘ornery’ capacity for coming up with an independent idea.

“For these reasons in the succeeding pages it will become intellectually necessary from time to time to abandon the real world and, like Persephone, enter the dark regions of another world which I like to call the Goblin Universe.

“It is simple enough to apply reason to what is reasonable, but it is much more difficult to argue logically about the illogical. However, there comes a time when it is necessary to do so in order to demonstrate the illogicality of a major premise. I shall consider the evidence for the existence of Bigfoot which for a number of reasons is equivocal or poorly documented. In other circumstances I would dismiss it. The rules of logic of our world forbid the drawing of inferences from hypotheses, but this is the currency the monster establishment commonly deals in. In writing this book, I am necessarily tackling them, as well as the subject of Bigfoot, and so I shall sometimes have to resort to their logical method.

“If you see me disappearing down a mental rabbit-hole from time to time you will know where I am headed. I will be traveling unwillingly into the Goblin Universe.”

1 comment:

Dain Q. Gore said...

Are you familiar with the Goblin Universe by Ted Holiday? I have yet to find that book, but I am wondering if it is an extension of this idea of cryptozoology/paranormal research...