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The Gas Belts

Island Life

When those ominous words came up on the screen- the truth is out there- during an episode of that gone but not forgotten show, the X-Files, they could have been understood in a number of ways. From the spatial differences implied by off world alien encounters to the paranormal weirdness of the various metaphysical battles waged by the intrepid Skully and Mulder, the truth as defined by X-File parameters was definitely a fringe dweller no matter how one looked at it.

There is a kind of quirky romanticism to sasquatch hunts and UFO sightings that allows these tales to entertain and amuse. The problem is that, unlike TV fiction or cinematic hyperbole, when it comes down to getting the so-called goods, the real-life, actual video evidence comes off as amateurish and fake, which in many cases it probably is, although grabbing a camera to shoot what may be a once in a lifetime event does not always allow for the highest of production values. It was the lack of production values that first struck me when I sat down to watch the documentary Gasland. What I soon came to realize was that, in this case it was the story that was of paramount importance and its telling transcended any need for cinematic excellence.

It is another story that I’m concerned about at the moment, and I am dragging me feet and everything else in getting it told. As with many stories, the deeper one digs into it, the finds and the questions one discovers along the way require all that much more digging. To step away from the cryptic, what I have been looking into is the story behind the murals in the Vashon Theatre, and have been reading the books that Islander and artist Jack Tabor based them on. For a number of reasons they are taking on a greater significance than I had first thought, although that could all be self-serving speculation on my part.

The paintings on the wall on either side of the movie screen are based on Mr. Tabor’s interpretations of the writings of one James Churchward, a British soldier who was shown some tablets while he was stationed in India. He was instructed in their basic meaning by an Indian priest, and this lead to the writing of six books in the 1920’s and 1930’s, which attempted to explain what they were all about. The tablets basically told the tale of an Atlantis story of the Pacific- specifically they speak of the lost continent of Mu, which disappeared beneath the waves some fourteen thousand years ago, taking with it cultural and technological advances as well as a population of some 64 million people. The reason Mr. Churchward gives for this cataclysm is the unleashing of powers contained in vast gas belts that encircle the globe in subterranean caves.

Mu was supposedly the real cradle of civilization which all our now known early civilizations emerged from. There is evidence all around the Pacific rim of like imagery and iconography, as well as similarities in religion and mythology throughout the ring of fire. There is a giant rock structure that some call an ancient temple submerged in fifty to a hundred feet of water. One of the repeating images throughout the Pacific is that of the Easter Island head that appears on the mural to the right of the stage. Tabor titled this side of the mural, "Spectres of Ramaha" , with the head and it’s closed eyes representing the fact that Mu is dead.

What I find more interesting and curious is the mural on the left, which Tabor titled "The Tree of Life". This is a significant icon in the imagery of Mu, and represents Churchward’s belief through interpretation that the Garden of Eden actually existed on the lost continent of Mu, rather than in other more traditional cradles of civilization. What I find a bit odd in all of this, besides the obvious, is that Terrance Malick is now out with his latest film, the Tree of Life, which is apparently about middle-aged disillusionment and a search for deeper meaning, all of which at least one person I know can directly relate to. Add to that the increase in seismic activity around the Pacific rim, an increase in in the poking and probing of the gas belts in these United States and around the world, and that darn Mayan calendar that ends next year. It’s all very strange- I’ll let you know what I find out.