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The Stone of St. Ambercroft

From the last (first) page of the diaries of Brother John of the Order of St. Ambercroft.

It is with great pleasure that I erase this text; would that I could erase the accursed knowledge. That boon is yet to be. Two years yet remain until my release from the order of of St. Ambercroft.


The complete guide to English Priories: St. Ambercroft.

The St. Ambercroft Priory is located three and one half miles from the charming village of St. Mary Mead. There is a cart track which leads from the village to the gates of priory. It is not navigable by car. The walk is marked by pleasant prospects and is recommended.

The priory has the appearance of being in ruins. It is, however, inhabited by the monks of the Order of St. Ambercroft. Visitors to the priory are not permitted.

The priory was constructed in 1437, originally being known as St. John's Priory. It was partially razed during Cromwell's rule and was uninhabited until 1854. Since then it has been continually occupied by the order of St. Ambercroft.

Although the building is in disrepair it is a fine example of ...


The Politics of Amnesia, Morris Elmann, Varinoma Quarterly, Winter 1997, p35:

"A great forgetting" is often postulated by dissident anti-establishment scholars. Thus, for example, Velikovsky postulates forgotten catastrophes in Ages in Chaos. Likewise Daniel Quinn postulates the forgetting of tribal culture as the foundation for the civilization mythos in his socio-ecological tracts. Examples could be multiplied. Certainly, in many of these instances, the postulated amnesia is convenient - it is used to explain away lack of evidence.

Amnesia is a common plot element in popular fiction. It is a staple in bad Science Fiction (there is no other kind.) The recent movie, Anastasia, will do as an example.

Why does this theme of amnesia recur? It is easy enough to invoke the Freudian analysis of childhood amnesia and there is no doubt that the re-enactment of that drama is motivating. In turn one can question whether Freud's account is also motivated by the unexamined appeal of amnesia as an explanatory device.

The amnesia myth is a play in three acts. In the first act there is a covering, the suppression of memory, usually as the by-product of a traumatic event. In the second act there is a life of pseudo-innocence, in which action is taken without apparent origin. In the third act, the past is re-covered, i.e. it is rewritten with a new cover.

These acts represent different strategies towards dealing with an unpleasant truth. The initial strategy is to attempt to radically abolish it and live as though it had never happened. This abolition carries with it the need to suppress everything surrounding the unpleasant truth. Thus amnesia. The final strategy is to replace denial by reinscription; the unpleasant truth is somehow no longer unpleasant.

Political theory may be understood in terms of the Amnesia Myth. First a crime is committed, then it is denied, and finally it is declared not to have been a crime.


From the diary of Brother John of the Order of St. Ambercroft

I foresee that I will follow the coming to life of the dead next spring. It is a morbid sight. First the coffin is disinterred. Then it is taken to a church where a religious rite is held. Once the ceremony is completed it is taken to a laboratory where embalming fluid is flushed from the body. The corpse is conveyed to a home and placed in a bed. The family gathers around expectently. Finally the life rattle occurs and the corpse rejoins the living. For a good while the newly living is racked with pain but gradually he strengthens. Finally there comes the magic moment when he rises to his feet for the first time and takes his place among the living.


From My Life and Times, William Marbury, Lord Ambercroft, Middlepiece Press, 1868.

I never begrudged George's inheriting our father's business. Indeed it was the greatest good fortune that I was forced to make my own way in the world. If it had been otherwise I might have been a cheese merchant in Horsechester. As it was I was free to follow to my own natural inclination for travel and adventure. Following my father's death I set out for the Caribbean where, quite by chance, I fell into the trade of amber mining.


Fragment from The Protocols of St. Ambercroft

The St. Ambercroft Priory was occupied continuously from the beginning of life on Earth until its final abandonment by St. Ambercroft. It remained abandoned thereafter for centuries until it was finally occupied by Christian monks who renamed as the St. John Priory.


Note from Disraeli, chancellor of the exchequer, 1858, to the PM.

If we must give this Marbury creature a title let there be as little explanation of the reasons for his ennoblement as may quiet the mob. His services to Her Majesty's government may be priceless; we need not pay for them in ridicule.


From the diary of Brother John of the Order of St. Ambercroft

Brother Samuel avers that infants crawl into the womb. It might be so. I praise God that I shall never see such a thing.


Strange Religious Sects In England, Israel Janisek, Pelham Press, 1969.

The cult of St. Ambercroft is centered around the enigmatic figure of William Marbury, Lord Ambercroft, and is housed in the so-called priory of St. Ambercroft near the village of St. Mary Mead. It is nominally Christian; however Marbury's sainthood was bestowed upon him after his death by the order that he founded. His sanctity is not recognized by any other Church.

William Marbury was an amber merchant who owned extensive amber mines in Santo Domingo. In 1854, after many years in the Caribbean, he returned to England and acquired the ruins of the Priory of St. John which he renamed Ambercroft, apparently in reference to his extensive collection of fine amber.

Marbury lived alone in Ambercroft as an eccentric hermit for the next three years when he was joined by his first disciple, Hiram Inch, a resident of the nearby village. Marbury evidently maintained his connections with Her Majesty's government for he was created Lord Ambercroft in 1858 for reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained.

Over the next few years he was joined at Ambercroft by a number of men. In 1863 he announced the formation of the Order of Ambercroft. Two years after his death in 1869 the new prior pronounced Marbury St. Ambercroft and the order forthwith renamed itself the Order of St. Ambercroft.

Marbury's connections with the government were maintained by the order until 1913. Local legend has it that mysterious men from the government visited regularly. Whether or not these legends are true it is known that the order received a government subsidy until the break in 1913.

Little is known about the ritual and practices of the order. It is known, however, that a large stone which Marbury brought back from Santo Domingo plays a prominent part in their ritual. Supposedly the order has a secret book of lore called The Protocols of St. Ambercroft which has never been made public. The British Museum purportedly has a copy; however it is not available for public inspection.

In 1868 Marbury published an autobiography, My Life and Times, which details his youth and his years in the amber trade. It is quite reticent about his latter years. It does, however, mention the discovery of the mysterious stone.


Fragment from The Protocols of St. Ambercroft

One hundred nine years after the beginning of life on Earth the order of St. Ambercroft shall cease traffic with the government of Great Britain.


From My Life and Times, William Marbury, Lord Ambercroft, Middlepiece Press, 1868.

In the summer of 1852 we opened a new mine further inland. My crew chief, Rafael, told me that we must be careful not to violate the sacred grounds of the stone people. At first I thought he spoke of some hitherto unknown savage tribe. Not so. It seemed that there was a native cult that worshipped a sacred stone. This was the first time that I heard of the stone.

I thought nothing of the matter - the islands are rife with heathen cults. Over the next year I heard strange stories of this stone. In the spring of 1854 I chanced that way and bethought to see this marvel which, according to rumor, spoke wisdom into the minds of all who touched it. When I came into its presence I immediately saw that this was no stone, but rather a rare and wondrous artifact, so cleverly made that no human hand could have crafted it.

When I touched it I found that rumor had said less than the truth. I saw immediately that its value, both worldly and spiritual, was immense. This was a treasure that the ignorant natives in nowise understood. I determined that it should be transported to England that it might thereby profit the civilized realm of Her Majesty.


Tavern conversation by William Inch, St. Mary Mead.

"Aye, the folks at the priory be strange ones, they be. I brings them their mail and such things as they buy from time to time. Can't go there by automobile. I takes Jesse's pony and a cart to get there. I been making trips there for nigh on thirty years. Dad did the same in his time and my granfer in his.

They do be strange. They's quiet folk, religious like, but they talk strange, like they was talking backwards somehow."


From Reflections On Time, Bernard Pertillion, Philosophical Press, London, 1989.

The great mystery of time is that it has a direction. The physicist's laws of motion have no preferred direction; the arrow of time might as well fly in either direction. They offer statistical thermodynamics as a simple. Disorder is ever so much more likely than order. The perception of causality is a statistical illusion induced by the dissolution of clumps of order into chaos. If one asks why there is not chaos on both sides of order they answer with equations. If one asks why we are conscious of time they do not answer at all.


The Politics of Amnesia, Morris Elmann, Varinoma Quarterly, Winter 1997, p39:

The myth of progress is essential to the bourgeois liberal. It proclaims a future in which current ills will be dissolved. The strategy is analogous to political amnesia. On one hand the crimes of the past are concealed; on the other the crimes yet to come are concealed. In this way the real crimes of the present are absolved by a millennarian past and future.


Fragment from The Protocols of St. Ambercroft.

When the boon of the stone ends the apostle may touch it no more than three more times.


From a review of Future Trauma by Wilhelm Krankheit, in the Varinoma Quarterly, Winter 1989.

Krankheit takes the Jungian and Velikoskian primal trauma one step further. He claims that just as long forgotten traumas affect the present so can future unseen traumas also affect the present, i.e., that traumas ripple backwards as well as forwards in the collective psyche. He goes further to argue that one can deduce the shape of future traumas by their effect on the present.

The first section of this work is devoted to presenting analyzing instances of future trauma as seen in our historic past. The examples presented are disquietingly plausible, particularly his analysis of the excesses of the industrial revolution.

The second section is devoted to the claim that there is an impending apocalypse in the near future. Various features of the dysfunctional present are directly established as symptoms of the future trauma.

The epilog attempts to predict the shape of the trauma. If he is right life on Earth will be destroyed in approximately a century by a spectacular miscarriage of technology. Like many prophets, his prophecies are conveniently placed outside his lifetime.


Memo to Lord Melville, 1913

As you know, the people at St. Ambercroft claim to be able to foresee the future. They have a device which they claim records history for the past 500 years and the next 200 years. Their predictions have apparently been quite useful in the past, if not for the government, then at least for those officials who have acted upon them. These recent predictions are so implausible and so horrific that no reliance whatsoever can be placed upon them. It is time to be shut of these people.


From Reflections On Time, Bernard Pertillion, Philosophical Press, London, 1989.

Perhaps the simplest reason why our consciousness of time proceeds in the direction that it does is that it would be absurd if it ran the other way. We would be continually forgetting the past (our future) and foreseeing the future (our past). Imagine such a world. The dead would rise from the grave and infants would crawl into the womb.


Copyright © by Richard Harter;
This page was last updated February 18, 1998.

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