From UFOs to African-American sci-fi to Paul Allen’s latest museum, take an unexpected trek into the unknown.
Eyes closed, I squinted into blackness, trying to picture the subsequent shape. This was only my second visit to Capitol Hill’s Museum of the Mysteries (MOM), and already things were getting inter- active. To gauge my ESP abilities, curator Charlette LeFevre (who co-directs MOM with librarian Philip Lipson) was using a deck of Zener Cards, each of which depicts one of five images: wave, square, cross, star, or circle. I guessed haphazardly as she flipped each card. At the end of the session, I emerged slightly above average in ESP terms: seven correct guesses in 25 attempts, two more hits than the norm. LeFevre seemed pleased.
“We always underline, when people peek in the door: We’re not that scary,” she assured me. “We want to stay away from what we call the glow-in-the-dark furry stuff. I always say there’s two different platforms—there’s the science and the spirituality. And we’re right on the edge of the science, peering into the unknown.”
LeFevre has a particular interest in “the Roswell of the Northwest,” a 1947 incident in which a pilot named Kenneth Arnold spotted a gaggle of “doughnut-shaped discs” above the Cascades. According to LeFevre, this event was “the case that opened up the modern UFO era.” She hopes to lead an expedition to the site of the incident, where a military plane allegedly crashed on an evidence-concealment mission. “Black lava rock and thin metal strips supposedly fell from this dougnut-shaped disc,” she said. “We plan on searching the area . . . to hopefully find fragments of the plane, and document more of the military’s involvement in this.”
Whatever your opinion of ESP and UFOs, MOM’s exploratory zeal can’t be denied. “To investigate means to scrutinize, to peel away all the perceptual, what I like to call an onion skin,” LeFevre said. “Peel all the perceptual phenomena and explanations away to get at the really raw core of the information.”
MOM holds UFO–related events on a regular basis, including a segment of their upcoming Northwest UFO/Paranormal Event, a four-day conference with two programs on “Sightings, UFOs, and Our National Security” (7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, May 29; the suggested donation is $15). The museum is located at 623 Broadway Ave. E. For more information, visit www.seattlechatclub.org or call 206-328-6499.
05/26/2004 – 06/1/2004 Neal Schindler, seattleweekly.com