Who Are You? (Flash Fiction) Prosery

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He said his name was Jophar Vorin, that he was looking for his long lost brother. I showed him a map, though it only seemed to confuse him more. “Where was Sakria and Euplar?” he asked. The funny thing was… we truly believed him.

Finally the Berlin authorities took Jophar; we never heard of him again — except in our endless musings ever since. I have to say it, I think the most enlightening speculation was written by you, my dear friend: “We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time.”

Jophar Vorin

Link to prompt

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Haiku: ‘Strange Truth’

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Men of mystery
Strange unbelievable tales
Truth stranger than lies

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Haiku: ‘Relative Truths’

Inexplicable

Some things defy all logic

Relativity

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

‘The Unseen Sky’ by Milly Reynolds

When North Norfolk artist Eddie Fowler accepts an invitation from his business partner, Martin Hogg, to visit Venice, he finds that this beautiful, intimate city reawakens long-hidden memories.

He is reminded once again of Martin’s wife, Theresa, a fragile and intuitive artist, who mysteriously disappeared nearly twenty years before.

As he searches for answers to this mystery among the vast landscapes of the North Norfolk coasts and the narrow streets and canal-side cafes of Venice, Theresa’s daughter, Maria, asks him to help her with her own search to discover the secrets of her family’s history; a search that leads to discoveries neither of them expected.

A story about love and sacrifice, about secrets destined to remain hidden.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

*Venice is such a sublime city, wouldn’t it be nice to travel in style…?

‘The Second Death of Dr Finck’ Detective Jack Sallt, by Milly Reynolds

Two men are found in a beached boat, one dead, one seriously injured, stretching the resources of an already under-funded police force.

Suspended Detective Inspector Jack Sallt is reluctantly rushed back on duty to face his most perplexing and dangerous case yet, where old foes move in the shadows, threatening violence and controlling him with sensual taunts.

In the tense climax, Jack has to face his relentless enemies head on, risking not only his own life but also those of his colleagues and loved ones.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

‘Kissing The Devil’ Mike Malone Murder Mystery No.4

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Most of us have had a lot more time on our hands this year, for obvious reasons. If you fancy some easy reading, why not try Milly Reynolds ebooks. They’re relatively short and inexpensive.

In this murder mystery, Kissing The Devil, Mike Malone has to solve a very odd crime. Who exactly is the White Devil and why is he paying night-time visits to the wives of the local farmers?

Mike and DS Alan Shepherd put it all down to high spirits but once blood is spilt in the farmyard, they realise that maybe the White Devil is trying to throw them off his real goal.

Meanwhile, the ghosts from Mike’s past are getting ever closer, putting the lives of everyone close to him at risk.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Strange Folklore: The Mystery of Concealed Footwear — Under the influence! (Reblog)

 

A Very Peculiar Practice Footwear such as shoes have been part of folklore and folktales for centuries and there are many tales and rhymes that refer to them. For example Cinderella’s glass slippers, The Red Shoes, by Hans Christian Anderson, the nursery rhyme of The Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe, and I am […]

via Strange Folklore: The Mystery of Concealed Footwear — Under the influence!

What Happened to Tom Thompson? — Words and Worlds (Reblog)

There is a mystery surrounding painter Tom Thompson’s death. Last time, I shared with you a letter written by his friend to Thompson’s benefactor. Tom left here on sunday about one o’clock for a fishing trip down the lake and at three oclock his Canoe was found floating a short distance from my place with […]

via What Happened to Tom Thompson? — Words and Worlds

The Man From Taured. So Where’s Taured?

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Recently I posted a puzzle of a piece regarding the sudden, strange appearance of an individual in Prussia in 1850, a man calling himself Jophar Vorin. This man of mystery does not appear in many books but his supposed story can be gleaned online.

Just over a century later in 1954, another unusual bearded man arrived at Haneda Airport in Japan. At first sight the man appeared to be a any regular well dressed European businessman on a routine trip to the Far East.

Evidently his first language was French, though he was capable in other languages too, including the vernacular. He was even carrying several European currencies in his wallet, so nothing much seemed awry – at first.

Peculiar

It was when he was asked about his home country that things took a rather peculiar turn. Not one of the officials at the airport had ever heard of ‘Taured‘, even though he purportedly showed them a passport issued from his native land containing visa stamps, supposed proof of previous trips to Japan and elsewhere.

Unfortunately for this man, whose name is unknown, the company he was due to have a meeting with in Japan did not know of him, neither did the hotel he had supposedly reserved a room with, nor did the bank whose name was emblazoned on his checkbook.

The man seemed to be nonplussed by the situation. When he was shown a map of the world he pointed to the small Pyrenees principality which we know as Andorra, yet which he called Taured.

Detained

The perplexed officials decided to detain him, housing him in a hotel for that evening, in the hope that they could cast some light upon this strange situation.

Unfortunately the mystery only grew more complex by the following morning. The man from Taured had disappeared, despite the vigil kept outside by immigration staff all night. What is more all of his documentation also vanished from airport security.

Despite a strenuous search no sign of this man or his effects ever came to light again. It was as if it never happened. So what are we to make of it? It could be a story, a hoax, to tease or confuse. Conversely, if this odd event was factual – and there is no reason to doubt it – what are we to make of it?

If it was a hoax, for whose benefit was it to propagate the story? To me logic suggests that this is not a hoax, though the story may have grown a little in the telling.

Are we looking at an example of the existence of a multi dimensional universe? If they are limitless, then it is possible that the world he knew may have only differed in a few details, such as the name of his homeland in the Pyrenees.

And does the name of his country, Taured, which to his mind corresponded with the known land of Andorra, hold the key to solving the riddle?

A Load of Bull?

The name Taured suggest Taurus, or bull in English astrology. The Iberian lands, which could include Andorra, are still famous for bull fighting and the bull is an ancient astrological and cultural symbol.

If we accept that there are astrological ages brought about by the so called precession of the equinoxes, the age of Taurus would have been, roughly, spanning from 4000 to 2000 BC.

If there are multiple timelines there could be sensitive points at various times and locations where perhaps certain individuals can ‘cross over’, so to speak.

However, this probably doesn’t explain the fact that he knew French, or that he looked like any regular westerner of that time. A timeline diverging from a period as far back as 4000 BC would look very different from our own, one would suspect.

My idea that Taured is somehow related to the previous Taurean Age is probably just another red herring, though it is intriguing to speculate. Nevertheless, if there is an allegorical element to this story, then the name Taured may still be represent a significant clue.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Haiku: Philosopher’s Stone

ancient architecture art cosmos
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Pyramids on fire
Secrets hidden underground
Exotic matter

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Jophar Vorin — 19th Century Man of Mystery

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I have previously written a piece about the 1851 Great Exhibition in London in an astrological context. It is probably coincidental but around the same time there was one other less well publicised and rather odd occurrence in Prussia, in what is now northern Germany.

This involved the appearance of a stranger calling himself Jophar Vorin, in the small town of Lebus. He was subsequently taken for further questioning to nearby Frankfurt an der Oder.

Strange Caucasian

This strange Caucasian spoke what sounded like an obscure German dialect, but he also stated that he spoke Abramian and Laxarian, the official written and spoken languages of his country. Jophar was also nominally Christian, the name of which he gave as Ispatian.

He called the country of his origin Laxaria, in a region of the world called Sakria. However, when asked to locate his home on a map provided he could not do so. He stated that his country was hundreds of miles away, that the reason for his ‘voyage’ was to locate his long lost brother, and that he had been shipwrecked en route. Intriguingly, he described his world as having several regions, perhaps continents, namely Sakria, Aflar, Astar, Auslar, and Euplar.

It appears that the authorities in Frankfurt an der Oder took his story seriously. He was taken to the then Prussian capital of Berlin for further examination. As far as I can tell, it is not known officially what happened to him.

Parallel Universe?

So what are we to make of this highly irregular case? Many have speculated that it was simply a hoax, or even an example of the existence of parallel universes. Could they exist?

The fact that Jophar could speak a kind of broken German is interesting. Whilst Laxaria does not suggest too much to me, the name of his country or region, Sakria, may give us a clue.

In our known histories the Scythians, a people who appeared in a broad region north of the Black and Caspian Seas sometime around 2,500 years ago, were also known as Saka, or Sacae. The word Saxon may originate from this. These people were fierce warriors and metalsmiths of great skill. It was these same people who were to later move en masse to central and northern Europe, speaking a form of the Indo European language related to modern day German and other Germanic languages, like English.

Not of this World

So whilst Jophar Vorin does not appear to have been a time traveller, how can we explain his ability to communicate in a form of broken German?

The other regions of his world, which he named as Aflar, Astar, Auslar, and Euplar, have prefixes at least tenuously related to some continents of our world, namely Africa, Asia, Australasia and Europe.

One of the languages of his people he described as Abramian, which is highly suggestive of Abram, or Abraham, perhaps hinting of a link to Hebrew origins. Abram means ‘high father’ in Hebrew, whilst Abraham means ‘father of many’ nations.

Multiple Timelines

This unusual individual’s Christian name, Jophar, might have been interpreted as Joseph, which indeed some people called him at the time. However, it is even closer to Japheth, one of Noah’s sons, whose name means something like ‘wide expansion’ – highly appropriate considering much of humanity today is still believed (by some) to be descended from Japheth and his two brothers, Ham and Shem.

What is more, Noah’s ark is said to have come aground in the Mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8:4), exactly between the Black and Caspian Seas, where the Scythian (Saka, Sacae) people were to develop centuries later.

Jophar’s second name, Vorin, sounds almost Slavic, though this may be a genuine coincidence, unless you are a particular fan of Star Wars mythology.

Speculation

So whilst some speculate that here may be proof of parallel universes, the existence of multiple timelines is also an interesting concept and is of course related. Is it possible that these timelines occasionally cross over or meet, allowing some to intentionally or accidentally pass through?

If you will allow me the indulgence of speculation, perhaps Jophar’s own timeline diverged from the one we are currently on around 2,500 years ago. Maybe his country of Laxaria developed from the Saka, or Sacae and followed a divergent course to our own, yet retained a few similarities in language and custom.

If the Sacae (Scythians) were speaking a form of proto German, that may explain how he could, at least to some degree, converse with the German speaking Prussians of the mid 19th century, who were in part descended from the Scythians in our own accepted timeline.

Allegorical

The world he described had clearly developed along very different lines to our own, however, even though his religion, Ispatian as he called it, was apparently Christian.

Finally, it strikes me as highly allegorical that the reason for his voyage was to find a long lost brother. Maybe Jophar was as surprised as those who questioned him to discover he could make himself understood. But what if he had actually found his long lost brother, not a single individual, but a ‘brother’ people?

Hoax or true story? We will probably never know for sure, yet it will remain endlessly fascinating.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020