Perhaps the best way to introduce this book is to recall the first encounter I had
with Colonel Bonaventure in the Bell Mountain Wilderness. The Bell Mountain Wilderness is a large area of parks and forest preservation, 9,027 acres in all, as designated by the 96th US Congress in 1980. Located in the St. Francois Mountains of the Potosi-Frederickstown
Ranger District of Mark Twain National Forest, Bell Mountain is the seventh highest peak in Missouri, with an elevation of more than 1700 feet. There is a connection to the Ozark
Trail, and the backcountry is a popular yet uncrowded destination for sportsmen and mountain hikers to enjoy the great outdoors.
Per accident of fortune, while working as a graduate assistant at Sylvester College, I discovered the "Bell Mountain Lighted Driving Range and Par 3 Course", not far from Widgeon Ford.
As an undergraduate I played golf at L.S.U., and was there hitting a 5 iron from a bucket of balls, when I heard someone haw and ask in an almost theatrical voice, "so ... when are you going on tour"? There was a funny sound
in the voice, but it seemed he was being only kind of smart. When I looked over, I saw that the fellow looked like an actor out of a car and boating insurance commercial, one with an almost cartoon handlebar mustache.
"I don't know," I said. "Maybe in a few moons, when the game's a little more on the mark."
"Yeah, buddy, drive for show and putt for dough.
That's the ticket," he said, and returned to his practice, where he seemed to be of a low if reasonably seasoned handicap.
I hit a few more shots, working on a draw, and as I watched
one of them land in the distance, I noticed that a full moon had just appeared. It was a little strange perhaps, to have just mentioned the moon, then suddenly there it was barely floating over the trees, where
it had not been only a few moments before, and it looked so close that it was indeed a surprise.
At the time, it
seemed unusually luminous and mysterious, like an eye in the sky hovering low over the mountain driving range. It was burnt orange and created a scene where one could
practice hitting golf balls at an autumn moon that looked like the great pumpkin lantern for Halloween. Charlie Brown would have been impressed.
I kept practicing with the 5 iron,
aiming at the moon, since it was looming only yards behind the 180 marker, and almost eerie. "That's an eerie looking Harvest Moon," I said out loud.
"Yeah, a little bit", he said,
looking at it. "It could be the end of the world like that. Count Dracula, the pyramids, and Apocalypto".
After he hit another crisp shot, he was smiling like a real estate agent,
and added, "actually though that's not the Harvest Moon. That was in September. That's a sanguine moon. They call it the Hunter's Moon, the full moon after the Harvest Moon."
the time, not knowing much about astronomy, I mostly noticed that it was a peaceful evening, a little deserted but no inkling of worry or bother.
"Do you know which way the
moon goes?" the Colonel asked, being sort of jocular.
He did seem like he could be a joker, and I was not sure what he meant, so I said, "it goes up". I pointed up and said, "it
goes that way, for sure." It was a vague answer but that was about what I knew.
"It goes from east to west across the sky, up and over, around that way, along the ecliptic, and
then sets in the west.” He pointed in the direction of the west. “It always is going clockwise around the earth, when viewed from above the North pole."
"Oh, yes, interesting",
"Do you know what that means?" he asked.
"No", I answered. "what does it mean?"
"It means that the earth is not moving, of course, as you can tell, and that the sun orbits the earth. The sun, the moon, and the stars are all orbiting the earth, as the earth is stationary
After a little practice, the moon climbed up a little higher, and he pointed out a bright star underneath, that it was Jupiter. A sign of kings they say, and so there
was a conjunction of Jupiter and the full Moon in Taurus. The moon was rising only about two or three degrees ahead of Jupiter, he explained, but tomorrow it would fall behind by about 10 degrees, and also wane almost less than the slightest amount, losing
the slimmest noticeable roundness from the top.
In fact, at times it is not easy to tell any difference in such small things. He added that "most people do not even know which way
the Moon goes, or understand the phases, although they have been living on Earth their whole lives".
Jupiter was a little retrograde, he observed, and explained further what an
“orb” meant, and that with such a close orb of only a few degrees that was also a conjunction. Not quite such a mystery, not more than the almanac, between Jupiter and the moon, where the sign would continue for about twenty-four hours, as any
conjunction like that does, because the moon is slower in its rotation about the Earth than the other planets and stars.
Drinking a beer and smoking a cigar, he was enjoying his
practice, and said "vir sapiens evalescet astra, a wise man will dominate the stars, and a puff of smoke
Interpreted, this would mean that with good sense people can exercise free will, as circumstances
allow, and with confidence of some good end. That was St. Albert the Great's opinion in "Speculum Astronomiae", the Mirror of Astronomy.
"Audiens sapiens sapientior erit, et intellegens
gubernacula possidebit. A wise man shall hear and shall be wiser: and he that understandeth shall possess governments."-1
Besides his peculiarity of Latin, I wondered whether he
was not crazy or ignorant of physics when he said that the sun orbited the earth. Did he live in a cave? Was he from the "Flat Earth Society"?
I talked to him again at the "Bell Mountain Lighted Driving Range and Par 3 Course", when he was there on Tuesday's for the 7:00 pm skins game, and found that he was unbiased to anything worth knowing. His broad forehead
appeared made for thinking and seemed at times to be the seat of some impenetrable joy. I heard more of his scientific ideas and learned that he was a retired Air Force Colonel, a scholarly sort of some research and wise counsel, as occasion merited -- and
also sometimes a fully loaded conspiratologist. Among other things, he maintained that NASA had never landed any man on the Moon, nor any rover on Mars, and that all their deep space missions "were billion dollar'd Judeo-Masonic frauds", as he called them.
He quoted Aeschylus that "one who is just of his own free will shall not lack for happiness, and will never come to utter ruin". Somehow from him it did not sound
"The power is his, the regiment of stars,
He holds the world enfisted like a nut,
And laughter wreathes his face eternally."-2
But something so simple as the cause of a poor man's joy is not for
NASA that in its anti-beatific way makes fake trips to outer space at the cost of billions and billions and billions.
Low Earth orbit is one thing, the Moon another, and Colonel
Bonaventure knew more Latin and was more pregnant with intelligence than any fool I had known. He had many recollected sayings, for instance, "ab amicis honesta petamus, adhuc quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" Let us seek honesty from friends, yet who will guard
So it goes. O tempora! O mores! Civitas perfidiam non sustinere potest. O the times, the customs. The state cannot survive treason. Treason is like another scam,
yet society must go on, we may suppose, and society can only exist if the normal, if the virtuous, and the slightly deceitful flourish, and if the passionate, the headstrong, and the too-truthful are condemned to suicide or to madness."-3
Since I was playing golf for recreation only, and was a mere student instructor and graduate assistant at Sylvester College in Widgeon Ford, near Irondale and Belgrade, I asked him that he would send
along some of his ideas and research about the universe.
He agreed and was surprised to learn about Sylvester College. Since he had never heard of it, when told more about it, he
said it sounded like a good school. "I would have imagined it would be hard to miss a college campus in Widgeon Ford, but I’m not a spy, of course, and don't get around too much. It must be back in the woods, or the students are studying into obscurities,
because I haven't seen any of them, even at the 7-Eleven in Potosi."
"Is it a religious school"? he asked.
not a cloister, Sylvester College is a small Catholic school that some say has its name after Sylvester the cat of the cartoons, or because the place may seem almost lost in the woods. While it may be somewhat remote and unknown, a little woodsy and hidden,
that, however, is not why it has the name.
"Silvestris, silvestre" is Latin for "of the woods, wooded, woodsy, wild and rural", and Sylvester the cat may be famous, but the
college is named after Pope Sylvester (314-335), whose feast day from the traditional calendar is December 31st, who was also St. Sylvester from the First Council of Nicea (325) in
the days of Constantine the Great (272-337).
As all that may remain, and as St. Yves of Kermartin may intercede for advocates and orphans, with permission, the following book is
a simple redaction of ad hoc commentaries, analysis, e-mails, miscellaneous notes, papers, calculations, and conversation about geocentrism and scientific materialism, and the Colonel's remote ideas about the cosmos and the overreaching US government, and
its Judeo-Masonic conspiracy, as we have it today, that have been edited into the form of a book. The opinions expressed are sincerely entertained, and we hope the reader may find the point of view as convincing, interesting, and enlightening as I and a few