Oahspe: A New Bible – John Ballou Newbrough

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I don’t get it. Is this astrology? Are they flying? Who can say?

Oahspe: A New Bible is one of the craziest books I’ve ever read. And I’ve only read about five percent of it.

Look, this is a bible. A Kosmon bible, at that. Even with the pictures it’s long. And when I was reading it I was at the final stages of my Minor Thesis. I didn’t have time to read any sort of Bible. I just wanted a sample, and a sample is what I’ve got.

This is a book produced by an American dentist with automatic writing in 1882. Newbrough invented a prodigal mythology bursting with manic gods, giants, lost continents, angels, divine bureaucracy, vegetarianism, levels of reality, religious syncretism, astrology, invented terms and power struggles between unknowable forces. There’s a lot of material here for an author to steal, say for a sci-fi or horror book…

The overall impression Oahspe gives me is a feeling of literary vertigo, that I’m about to read something that I have no chance of comprehending. (In fact, this book was one of my inspirations for Blue Blue City.) Oahspe what I imagine the Necromnicon to be like. It certainly is creepy and exotic enough.

Another interesting thing is that Newbrough’s split some of his pages in half, so they’re telling two stories at once. The Book of This will be on top, and The Book of That will be on the bottom. I’d like to steal this technique for a less esoteric story. Maybe for one about the effects of time dilution on heterosexual relationships. Each partner gets half a page each. One partner gets on a Very Fast Train, and the difference in the two characters’ relationship to time is represented by one narrating their tale in stretched out letters. Could be cool. Could be literary.

If you want to get your mind screwed, click on this link and check out Oahspe at the Sacred Text Archives. You miss the split screen, but you won’t miss having to pay to read it.

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