"I am you but not you still
For man, the many, must be mortal
And I, the one, can never die.
Yet only in our unity
Can we each exist."
Report for committee investigating Website http://members.tripod.com/AlynPtdLtd/nd.
This is proving to be a difficult assignment. I cannot assess whether this man is just another charlatan or whether what he claims to have discovered is real. I present my assessment to this date
based on discussions with the author of the site and some of those close to him.
At one point he related a small tale to me of how upon arrival at a new school he was asked his Christian name. Not knowing what this term meant he had given his last name. The teacher had replied "No your Christian name.". He then gave his first name. The teacher again denied the plausibility of the name so he gave his middle name. "Thomas" she said "Thats right." and for the following year he was called Thomas. I therefore intend to call him that during my reports.
It was May, 1992 that the compulsion assumed full force. Thomas whose rationale seems much at odds with compulsion, became compelled. No other word suffices, for this was no ordinary drive, no compensation, but a force within, that in contradiction to his thoughts and way of life, made those near him fear at first that he had diametrically changed.
He does not appear to be aware of its origin, nor does he expect to be. But that which was not there before has become embedded in his life. He is committed to the decoding of Nostradamus but seems ill at ease with the external values this quest places upon him.
For example he stated to me when he first told me of his interest in Nostradamus:
"I know this has long been a common obsession. Throughout four hundred and fifty years many people have been quite fanatic on the subject, including Hitler."
" I think, however, my interest is somewhat different to most. I am not much in tune with most of Nostradamus readers. For a start I have always discounted the importance of reading the future. My compulsion came not from the desire or need to predict, not from a drive to be the first and cleverest, nor from a need to be noticed or esteemed. Yet, it is there, a change so strong it can be noticed, a drive to find the answer, a need to find the answer. Some sudden shock deep within my system, shook loose a pattern, a pattern I dont understand, cannot define, but which has shaped me and seems to set new patterns to my life."
Whenever I talk to him he appears to be rational. He seems to hold genuine doubts despite what he claims is the strength of his evidence. I have tried to gauge whether he has delusions but he seems to hold ordinary views of himself.
It is not easy to show those things that are absent in a man. But I need to try for we are of course interested in whether he sees himself as holding a special place in history. I cannot detect such a belief but disproving it is extremely difficult.
As requested I present the content of some of our discussions in which he discussed his background. I believe they will help you to reach the same conclusion even without the personal contact which is really necessary in making any assessment.
Relevant background as reconstructed from statements by Thomas.
"My birth was ordinary, but not as ordinary as most. I was not born in a hospital, but at home. This in itself is not uncommon, for each day, millions worldwide are born outside hospital. And, I was born in England, towards the end of the second world war, when home birth was quite common. This absentia from hospital was however a feature of my life up to the present time. I have never spent a day or night as an in-patient in a hospital. I do not even know my blood-group. I have both learned and taught biology but somehow, blood testing and my presence have never coincided.
"I almost spent a day in hospital once, when I was thirteen, but somehow events that built towards it, never were completed. An hour of ceiling-watching on a waiting-room trolley remains my closest hospitalised encounter.
The event which took him this close is worthy of more detailed examination more for its medical implications than anything else.
"The event I am about to tell you took place during maths but the lesson before it may have contributed to its occurrence. This preceding lesson was phys ed and it involved tumbling using a springboard for extra height. My friends and classmates sometimes called me Bounce because I performed bigger leaps than most. Fed by their interest and my own ego the height above the ground increased. These leaps I had performed before and would perform again. Big, looping tumbles I performed, exciting comments from my friends. This skill I never developed to a higher level, but here, on this day, it was an important stimulation. At the end of the session I was tired, but not unduly so.
"Maths, was now due and herein lay a problem. I was very good at maths, so this was no concern. However I was not so good at homework. If it was not sneaked in during other lessons, it sometimes would remain undone. This was the case this day. Perhaps I should not have joined my friends in outdoor games the evening before. Anyhow I hoped that with luck it wouldnt be noticed. With luck the teacher would forget to ask.
"But something went wrong, it became apparent to the teacher that the responses from his pupils in regard to the homework were somewhat lacking. Inevitably he drew his own conclusion. ,Stand all those who did not do this homework.
"It seemed half the class stood, slowly and forlornly. Caught and knowing not , but suspecting what, might follow."
" James, what is your excuse?"
"I forgot sir."
"That is no excuse sir, and what is yours? And yours?"
"A litany of lameness followed, bland unimaginative excuses, thought up on the instant, reeking of the history of schoolboys, caught unprepared, underperformed. I am sure my response was a surprise to all, an originality, a spark of truth, that although unrelated to the crime, mitigated its offence.
"And you, what is your excuse?"
In tears I stood there, the truth of my words apparent.
"Sir, I cant see."
"For ten minutes I had stood there, the numbness creeping up my arm, my numbing tongue, the black spots, white spots before my eyes blurring faces of friends. The teacher seemed a distant figure, a background voice, increasingly menacing as failure of health and homework culminated in a single point of time. For ten long minutes my whole world focussed on the coming together of these two events of dread.
"The teacher immediately sent me from the room, to sit on a wooden bench outside. From there I was taken home in the teachers car. I was of course then seen by a doctor whose assessment led to a note being issued, I was to be admitted to hospital for observation overnight. So, later that day, I was driven to the hospital where we waited, for waiting and hospitals seem synonymous. An hour passed before a doctor arrived and he immediately asked to see the admission slip.
"There is no admission slip, somewhere between home and hospital this vital slip was lost. Institutions being what they are no other slip will do. Thus a gap in my life experiences. No personal experience of hospitalisation.
"I was prone to migraines for a period of six years after this. Intense headaches. Often tension and irritability preceded or followed. Mostly these attacks were free of numbness of the side but on occasions, the blurring vision, the slight paralysis of hand and tongue were there.
I advise caution in reading this material. It is possible to make too much of these anecdotes told to me in general discussions about his life. Gathered into this report it may place an improper emphasis on their importance for the human mind draws patterns that often fail a truly objective test. The lack of hospitalisation and the migraines, are at most irrelevant side issue patterns that can be found in any life that is closely examined. My interest in these incidents has been to question whether Thomas sees himself as unusual.
There is much more than this that must be presented if he is to be understood.
Thomas was an intelligent child and he was aware of it. The title of Little Professor was a junior title bestowed on him by family friends. Although he was aware of it, it always seemed that others made far more of it than he.
By the time he was sixteen he had been to twenty schools. One of these in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, attended at age ten, stands out in his memory.
"The house into which I had moved lay on the outskirts of the town. It represented the edge of the world at which civilisation ended. Most towns go on beyond their bounds but this did not. The edge of the town, was truly the edge of my habitable world. Beyond, only endless saltbush survived no more than ankle high, drawing life from baking reddened earth. Wild horses sometimes roamed upon this plain and aborigines could infrequently be seen. Aborigines, whose mode of life, dress and voice was so different I could have no concept of anything but alien. Horses, short wiry brumbies somehow fed and watered upon this emptiness. This was the new setting into which I was thrust. The house is totally unremembered, its setting the only thing to last. Kalgoorlie, such an alien place, a place not met before, a place unwelcoming and hot.
"As a newcomer in this alien world I was presented to my new teacher. Perhaps the tenth or twelfth that I had met. When I recall her first words I wonder why she thought them appropriate."
"I hear youre bright, very bright. Well you have a shock coming. You will be second here. "
"And second I was throughout that year. Sheila, I think that was her name, outshone in arithmetic and spelling. And writing hardly was a contest for any earlier acclaim had not been based upon my untidy scribble. Sheila on this teachers rating must surely have received and deserved a different welcome on her arrival I hear youre bright, very, very bright. You are welcome here.
It has been mentioned that he could list twenty schools. Such a list is often deemed a handicap but in his case this seemed not to apply. There can be no doubt such a changing life shaped him. A wider range of experience aided by innate ability to catch up on learning he had missed meant that on the academic side, this wandering lifestyle was a benefit. It was the socialisation aspects of his life that may well have suffered.
"I made friends easily, it was often noted that it seemed Id been there longer than I really had . These friends, were however, friends of transit, friends newly met. There was no thought they would soon be left. At a later stage I would ponder whether deep emotions would escape me. I was gregarious enough and must have been a confident, strong public speaker. At fourtene I was chosen from the students of ten high schools to give a speech of thanks to Lord Farnsworth Hall musical conductor on tour in Australia, so skills I did not know I had must have been seen by others. A poorly dressed boy who had to borrow a school blazer for the occasion, whose family was not yet well off enough to regularly grant him underclothes, I cherished this selection dearly. Yet, I found it more difficult than most to share my life, to become sexually active, to establish relationships with girls. This would come at a later stage when I was well into my twenties."
There were other things which might turn out to be important that relate to his interactions with his father.
The "Little Professor title seeded within him the desire to be a scientist. Father on one of those occasions when he was at home put down such a suggestion.
"Scientist. That is beyond you, the best you can hope for is to be a teacher ".
Thus at nine, this boy resolved that he would aim to be a teacher but as noted below the father did not remain constant to the goal he had suggested.
Relationship to the father.
"There are very, very few words I remember that either my mother or father said whether to me or anyone else. Certainly no words of wisdom or anything that gave insight into how they addressed the world. The words I remember best my father said to me when I was seventeen. There was an altercation as there often was whenever he was spending days at home. "
" I dont know why this is so but all your life I have hated you."
"These words stand out and those when I won a scholarship to enter university to study science. My father was in Kalamunda, W.A., but I was in Elizabeth, South Australia living with a friends family, a poor family prepared to support my return to school. I had written a letter requesting my father to sign the Scholarship form so that I might enjoy the fruits I had won."
"You are too highly strung to take on such a course. You must give up this scholarship and join me here. I have work for you selling forest allotments. I will not sign your form."
That the son was in a position to receive such a letter told something more of his life. Things I have left out until now.
At fifteen the family had moved to Jamestown, South Australia. Thomas had stormed out of the house upon the news, a twenty mile tearful walk, where he fully felt the wrench upon the friend groups he was forming. He had actually lived three years in the same place, but still attended two different schools, primary and secondary. For the first time there were people he wanted to get to know, to love, but would never have the chance. This was a place he referred to as Huck Finn country, a river setting, where youth could forge a purpose, and a future, whilst enjoying life.
Jamestown was different. Jamestown is simply a country town, one hundred and twenty miles from Adelaide. It is a pretty town, centred by a creek. A creek that gives gum trees height and where walks amongst the thistle weeded banks and fields yield quantities of tasty mushrooms in autumn. He settled into this town and made new friends as he always had. His friends were bright, and he would enjoy their company at university in future years and in vacations would join with them in rambling the wild canyons further north. He spent more time with these families than with his own. These were upright people, strong in Christian faith.
It was on the first day of the May holidays that his father came home once more. Often this man, at this time an encyclopaedia salesman, was away for six or seven week periods and the younger members of the family were inwardly relieved whenever he departed. His homecoming therefore drew mixed emotions. There would temporarily be more money but at any time some pettiness might erupt into unaccustomed tension.
Thomas related the following account of this particular time:
"It was only an hour after his return that he accosted me. Since the age of nine I had lowered my sights from scientist to teacher upon his advice. The directive he now issued was therefore totally unexpected.The National Bank is accepting applications from people your age. You will apply. Today.
"There was of course, some upset in my mind. I objected, restating my intent and interest.
"His response was unequivocal. If you do not enter an application today then you will be on the streets tonight.
"I served a year in the bank, a gregarious hermit-like year in the one time copper mining town of Burra. Every weekend I would wander the old mine heaps, alone and contemplative, enjoying the search for malachite and the pleasure of thought. These times and my inadequacies in banking, these are the shapes this town left in my memory.
"Banking in the sixties was arithmetic based, but mathematics and accounting arithmetic draw on different strengths. My strength of logical reasoning was undermined by the need for careful repetition of neatly drawn figures placed in vertical lines. I must have one of the most untidy writing styles of any man.
"The mines served the same purpose as my angry walks from home. I could think, ponder, develop ideas. One year later I bought my first book, a paperback titled A History of Western Philosophy: From Plato to Russell.
"Again, I formed friends and found people who seemed to see in me something worth nurturing. The Anglican priest had me chanting Evensong, even allowing me to ring the churchs one monotonous bell. This priest and his wife sought to entertain me at their home, inviting me to participate in chamber music appreciation. A more unresponsive musician they were unlikely to indulge."
Thomas also discussed other aspects of this period.
"During that year one small miracle occurred my father changed his mind, my constant requests would be met. I could leave banking and return to school. My family had moved to the newly started suburb of Elizabeth, seventeen miles from the capital, Adelaide, and the nearest school was in Gawler, twelve miles away.
"There was one large impediment to such a course. No one in 1959 was permitted to return to school after they had left for a substantial time. Yet, somehow I prevailed. An interview with the headmaster gave me the unlikely prize. I would be admitted back to study for my Leaving Certificate."
After Thomas had talked at length on these matters it became apparent he was uneasy. I asked him why and he said he felt his narrative needed a counterbalance. In telling the story a villain was being created, where he felt there should be a trace and recognition of human dignity. He then told me an unusual tale.
Thomas as a youth had some long contact with his father. On occasion his father would take him on those home-absent journeys. For weeks on end they would travel but from these trips no wisdom of shared ideas was stored.
One such journey was eight weeks long from Adelaide to Darwin and back, right across Australia, 4,000 kilometres in total from south to north and north to south again.
"I remember that journey well. It was often a totally boring traverse of endless starkly beautiful, plains parted by a red dust road along which corrugated track the travellers car relentlessly shook. Endless rocks, iron baked by relentless sun beating down on arid redness. Endless rocks and endless heat, hours, days, two months of heat, and further north, constant rain and humidity. The early and latter parts of that journey were usually witheringly, searingly hot. Road-houses became the goals of life and markers of progress. Their milk, served icy cold, gave tastes that no other drink has ever matched. This is the land into which Roger, my elder brother, was thrust two years earlier to become a Jackaroo. He did not do as well at school as I and at fifteen, on a trip like the one I am talking about, Dad left him at remote Anna Creek Station. The same hot land that I once had to trudge when our car, Dads car, broke down. I was sent to fetch help and I was very, very fortunate. A vehicle that passed once a week through this remote area picked me up. I was also lucky it was only moderately hot that day. This is the same land that ten years later caused Dad to be hospitalised when he became heat-stricken. Another motorist found him, his toes blackened with heat, and he was delirious. It was another breakdown of his car and despite the number of times he came here he wasnt really a bushman. It really is rough country up there.
"I found this hostile country had its attractions, but towns like Alice Springs in the centre of the land were more than welcome. At the Alice the road turns to bitumen, a legacy from the war. Here Dad invited me, encouraged me, maybe even urged me to try my hand at selling encyclopaedias. Untried, untrained I quite willingly agreed. In my mind I could not see how less than two people in a hundred would fail to buy educational books. On the first morning I had only sold one set much to my dismay but Dad seemed quite pleased with the result. In the afternoon I could only sell one other set but he seemed even more delighted. I had another call to make after tea. Dad suggested he come along. I sold this third set with Dad watching and although he didnt say anything I gradually came to realise I was doing well.
"Seven weeks later, the dusty, water-saturated cover of the demonstration book could not be said to represent the sparkling grail the publishers had devised. I had used this stained, dusty books condition to show its strength, its ability to endure punishment. It was a silent testimony to every climate of the trip.
"A telegram awaited our arrival after the trip. It was from head office in London. It asked What method are you using to sell these Atlases? You have this month outsold our leading city, Manchester. I did not know how I would have responded but it didnt matter because Dad sent off this reply, a reply I admired at the time.
"They were sold the way we always sell. They were sold with skill."
"When I returned to Adelaide it was to Elizabeth, the familys new home. Success at selling almost diverted me from my course but a short lived romantic fantasy for the girl up the street, restored the balance. Love-sick I proved totally useless at selling, which took me far from home. Now useless at sales I returned to school.
Elizabeth would once again draw stark contrast between his family and his friends. His father, the wandering salesman started on another venture. The son, the youth saw what the father did not want to see. The forest plantation investment scheme was flawed and open to abuse. It had one other drawback from the viewpoint of the youth, he would move again; back to Western Australia. Two years after wanting so desperately not to leave he now did not want to return.
Thomas therefore started a second year of study for Leaving Honours at another school, but he would need to rely on the charity of an Irish-Australian family, the family of a new-formed friend. This was a family unlike his own; a motherly mother, a fatherly father and six children where another mouth was still welcome.
So, the profile deepens, there is enough material to see certain patterns emerge. He was right to know he was above average in intelligence and skilled in mathematics and logic. He also knew some of his own limitations.
In relating the above it is not apparent how and why he attracted the attention and help of so many around him. And was he affected by so many friends, so many helpers reaching out when he was in need? The answer seems to be yes, but not as much as they deserved. It is probable there were too many breaks, too many people for loyalty to be sustained. There are strong indicators that, despite functioning well in society, he prefers to distance himself from it. In consequence only his immediate family seems close to him. There is a legacy from the background given above. From those things missing in his early family life he knows the things he would not do. His life shows that these patterns are not being repeated. We may find an understanding of these aspects important in our future dealings.