Goes Way Back

There just isn’t enough whimsy in this paper, or any paper for that matter, these days. I mean, there is whimsy, but that isn’t proper eccentric whimsicalness.

While reading the front page of the May 9, 1968 edition of Nouse, I was treated to a display of proper, old-school whimsy. The main front page story is an account of a one-off lecture given by a Mr Herbert W. Haydon. I have failed to find any record of Mr Haydon on the internet. However, there is a picture of him on the front page, so I’m going to assume that the whole story wasn’t just made up.

Among Herbert’s astonishing claims, apparently in front of a packed lecture hall, was the assertion that the world is less than 7000 years old and will die out at the end of these 7000 years. He also claimed that life exists on Venus, Saturn, Mars and the Moon, and that the Sun is solid.

I feel that I should point out at this point that none of these claims were backed factually, just in case you were getting a bit worried. However, undeterred by the complete absence of any remote shred of evidence for his claims, Herbert seems to have ploughed onwards. His next bizarre claims were that Venusians were “the same as us, only more human”, and that the hidden side of the moon has “green fields, crops and trees, and is populated by 15 million Venusian immigrants”.

It would have been around about this point where, if I had been writing the story, I would have collapsed into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. But the writer keeps going, utterly deadpan, as Mr Haydon outlines his plans to power cars using just “2 large horseshoe magnets, 2 armatures, a dynamo and a 20 volt battery”. Ingenious. The writer leaves it until the very end to unleash the full force of his sarcasm, in a final paragraph so good that I’m just going to repeat the whole thing: “Mr Haydon claims that he is in continual telepathic communication with the Venusians, and will receive a message from them before they come to take him away.”

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