Monday, March 12, 2012

Wildwyck County: Paul Strohd, Alternative Historian

A hint at things to come in the Wildwyck series. Again, this entry is set in the modern era, but its roots go back to the 1920s...and beyond.

Throughout New England and New York there are Neolithic anomalies. The most famous of these is Mystery Hill in Salem, New Hampshire, but numerous, less-famous examples exist. Of these lesser sites, many are slab-roofed chambers of stone, some of enormous size. Mainstream archeologists explain away these constructions as Colonial-era root cellars. More controversial historians speculate that they may have served as Native American tombs. Outright crackpots call them evidence of a widespread but undocumented Irish (or Norse, Atlantean, etc.) presence in the area. There is, however, another very unusual theory.

Paul Strohd lives just outside the village limits of Rotskill, New York. A thin, severe-looking man in his mid-fifties, Strohd hardly fits the image of the crazed crank arguing his favorite theory. He is always immaculately dressed and carries himself with an almost old-fashioned grace. He conducts himself in a precise and orderly manner, never succumbing to haste when working at a task. It is for this reason that so many people have difficulty reconciling the man with his work.

Strohd maintains that these Neolithic anomalies are evidence of an undocumented culture in New York and New England, but one that even the alternative history theorists are loathe to embrace. It is Strohd’s belief that these chambers were constructed by beings from another dimension, one that shares permanent yet uncommon connections with Earth. He has written three books on this subject, Uncanny Colonists, Walking Through Walls: A Guide to the Thought Temples of New York State (both self-published), and Ancient Anomalies Explained (Shadows Gather Books, 2004).

Strohd’s theory is that, prior to the arrival of Native Americans to the region, there were several seed colonies settled by extra-dimensional visitors scattered about the Northeast. These beings, dubbed “Exonauts,” arrived on Earth as refugees of a horrendous upheaval in their home dimension. It was their hope to establish dimensional beachheads in this world that would allow others of their species to escape the chaos raging in their native world. Unfortunately, the Exonauts were unable to achieve their plan and either died out or where absorbed by the native tribes when they arrived in the region. Their stone chambers and other anomalies remained untouched as they were considered cursed by the indigenous peoples.

Despite how ludicrous Strohd’s theory sounds, there are some campfire tales that seem to confirm that these sites are home to unexplained phenomenon. White-robed figures, hooded Viking-like entities, cloaked dwarves, and even Sasquatch-esque creatures have been glimpsed in and around these stone chambers. Whether these are the spirits of the long-gone Exonauts, glimpses of their home dimension, or some other phenomenon is, of course, unknown.

Strohd engages in regular speaking tours and is quite popular amongst the New Age crowd. His speaking fees allow him to continue his research and writing while maintaining a frugal lifestyle. This coming summer, he plans to take a three-week foray into the Adirondacks in search of more Exonauts sites and is currently looking for research assistants willing to work for room and board (or in this case, a tent and MREs).

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