In last Thursday's News and Views from the Nefarium I spoke about the strangeness going on in Earth's polar continent, Antarctica, and the strange visitors there over the past few months. It began with the visit of Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow Kirill III, a visit followed by Secretary of State John Kerry, at the height of the American presidential election, which also occurred during an otherwise predominantly diplomatic tour. Then, as I noted in the News and Views, this was followed by the most recent visit of former Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who had to be medically evacuated (so we're told), as his "condition" had "deteriorated."
We were not, of course, informed that Mr. Aldrin even had a "condition", much less from what it had "deteriorated." Aldrin does follow a string of such medical evacuations, which similarly we're told little about after the fact.
All of this only highlights the strangeness of the southernmost continent, and of the strange list of people associated with it. As I pointed out in last Thursday's News and Views, this list of "top people" associated with Antarctica now includes the following very bizarre list: Rudolf Hess, Nazi Party Reichsleiter; Hermann Goering, Reichsmarschal and founder of the Luftwaffe, both of whom played sponsoring roles for the Nazi expedition to the continent in 1938-1939; Admiral Richard Byrd, who, incidentally, had been flown to Nazi Germany to brief the expedition on conditions it could expect, and who led the Operation Highjump in 1947. The outcome of that expedition, and Admiral Byrd's strange remarks at the end of it to the Chilean newspaper El Mercuio, need not be rehearsed again here. Then, in the past few months, we've see added to this list Patriarch Kiril III, the only Christian bishop and hierarch ever to visit the continent, followed within a few months by John Kerry, the highest-ranking political figure ever to visit there short of a head of state, and now, Buzz Aldrin, moon astronaut. Hess, Goering, Byrd, Kiril, Kerry, and Aldrin. The list could not be more bizarre. All that's missing would seem to be visits of the Queen, the Japanese Emperor, the Pope, the Dalai and Panchen Lamas, a couple ayatollahs, a Grand Rabbi, a yoga or two, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Benito Mussolini's heirs. And at this stage, I wouldn't be surprised to find any of them making a sudden "tourist visit."
But there's been more to this odd story that has been brought to my attention since Thursday's News and Views, this time by Mr. J.H., who shared the following tweet from Mr. Aldrin himself:
The words themselves are simple, yet thought-provoking:
We're ready to go to Antarctica! May be our last opportunity to tweet for a few days! We're go for departure to the launchpad!
Of course, these words can be read for what they are: nothing significant, just a retired astronaut using the rhetorical language of a thrilling departure for an exciting voyage in terms he's accustomed to.
But equally, in my penchant for high octane speculation, and given their wider context of "strange people associated with Antarctica," the words "go for departure to the launchpad" could be seen in a very different way, for they can be taken to imply that Antarctica is some sort of "launchpad." This of course conjures all the strange myths of UFOs(Nazi or otherwise), outlandish hollow earth theories, and other arcana associated with the southern continent. lest I be misunderstood, I'm not a subscriber to the Nazi-survival-and-secret-UFO-research-base-in-Antarctica theory, and certainly not a subscriber to the standard "hollow earth" theories, but the language is strange, in a continent associated with strangeness. Aldrin's choice of words only highlight, rather than diminish, the strangeness of the place, the events, and the people associated with it.
But there's more; according to this article shared by Ms. B.Z., it seems that early on in the Obama Administration, President Obama proposed extending current treaty agreements about tourism to Antarctica, and wanted to limit tourism to the continent, and hey, it's high on pretty much everyone's list as a tourist destination:
Host(ess) of the Arctic and Antarctic conferences? Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Apparently Mr. Aldrin and Secretary Kerry didn't get that email (perhaps Wikileaks did). But after all, they're not ordinary "tourists" by any stretch of the imagination. Neither are Admiral Byrd, or Patriarch Kiril(who also apparently didn't get that email).
This is another case of "you tell me," but it seems fairly clear that the high strangeness associated with the place at least since Herrn Hess and Goering set their eyes on it hasn't abated. Something is going on down there, and it's high time we're told what it is. After all, they have nothing to fear, for having lied about magic bullets, the U.S.S. Maine and a whole host of other things, who would believe them anyway?
See you on the flip side...