Friday, September 8, 2017

The Journal of Borderland Research

Now and then I read some old issues of Round Robin, The Journal of Borderland Research. Especially the volumes published 1959-1985 when Riley Crabb was editor and director of Borderland Sciences Research Foundation (BSRF). These old journals are a treasure trove of interesting and thought provoking information, research and theories regarding all aspects of borderland investigation. In my view these were the golden years of the journal because Riley Crabb was an accomplished esotericist, something quite rare among investigators of UFO and paranormal phenomena. When Riley Crabb´s wife, Judy, died in 1985 and he moved to New Zealand the journal continued until 1997 with various editors. But it lost its ”soul” and concentrated very much on technical aspects of borderland research.

Riley Crabb

The unique and invaluable BSRF archive was sadly neglected and housed among dust and spiders in a garage in Eureka, California. After much negotiation and discussion Swedish ufologist Clas Svahn succeeded in convincing the custodian of the archive, James Borges, that the best place for preserving the BSRF archive was at AFU in Norrköping, Sweden. In June 2016 Clas and his sons Niklas and Markus traveled to Eureka to meet James and together packed 72 large boxes of archival material, which arrived safely at AFU on July 29. This was a monumental achievement by Clas Svahn who in 2013 also succeeded in acquiring the Flying Saucer Review archive, among many others, for preservation at AFU.  He should be awarded the Nobel Prize in Borderland Research – if that ever becomes a reality.

James Borges with the BSRF archive in Eureka, California June 1, 2016

When Meade Layne created Borderland Sciences Research Association (BSRA) in 1945 he had no idea that within one year he would co-operate with a unique deep trance medium of unusual capacity – Mark Probert. Beginning in 1946 Meade Layne and his group of associates recorded many hours of conversation with the individuals channeled by Mark Probert. This was not the usual simplistic and naive messages from the spirit world, but intelligent discussions on science, philosophy, UFOs, paranormal phenomena, esotericism etc. The group behind Probert were referred to as the Inner Circle and presented themselves with names such Charles Lingford, Ramon Natalli, Theresa Vandenberg, Professor Luntz and Yada di Shi´Ite. I have advanced the theory that these names were personas, fictional characters used by a secret lodge to hide their real identity. My guess would be the Yucatan Brotherhood mentioned by Charles Leadbeater, Annie Besant, Alice Bailey and Henry T. Laurency. This ancient society was part of the ”hidden hand” behind the creation of the Theosophical Society. By creating various paranormal phenomena they tried to combat materialism by somewhat novel methods.

Mark Probert

Riley Crabb joined BSRA in 1951. With his wife Judy (Judith) Riley moved from Hawaii to California in 1957 and began working supervising of staff of scientific illustrators at the Naval Missile Center, Pt Mugu. He gave up the Civil Service career in 1959 when Meade Layne, because of health problems, asked him to become director of BSRA. Riley and Judy moved to San Diego and from July 1959 worked together as a team to keep the organization and journal going. Meade Layne had done a great pioneering work with BSRA and was very well acquainted with both Eastern and Western Mystery Traditions, having been a member of Dion Fortune´s Society of the Inner Light. But he also had some problematic sides which would complicate the situation for Riley and Judy and which they openly related to all members in several issues of Round Robin 1960-1961.

Although BSRA was a non-profit association Meade Layne insisted on selling it as a business to his successors. They finally agreed on $1,200 to be paid at the rate of $50 a month. In Round Robin, October-November 1960 Riley Crabb explained that ”… Mr Layne had no legal or moral right to sell it; nor for that matter did I have any right to buy it”. But Riley and Judy accepted these terms as they regarded BSRA as such a unique organization that it must somehow survive. Soon they also discovered that BSRA had been incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1951 but Meade Layne had never bothered to turn in any annual reports. To manage the first year they had to spend all their personal savings but they also received donations from members and survived the first hard years. BSRA was now there sole source of income. Mark Probert and his wife had severed connections with BSRA in 1954 because of different opinions on economy. They started their own organizations The Inner Circle Kethra E´da Foundation in 1955. In spite of this situation Riley Crabb wrote in 1960: ”I believe it was the overriding high purpose of the Inner Circle which gave Meade Layne and BSRA there drive from 1946 onward. That purpose, remove the veil of ignorance which clouds the minds of men, is as valid now as it was fourteen years ago; and it is my belief that the Inner Circle is still with us.” (Round Robin, vol. 16, no. 3, April-May 1960, p. 30).

Meade Layne

To my knowledge Round Robin never had more than 450 subscribers (1986). In 1959 there were 400 so in this respect there was not much change because of the new director. But Round Robin was not for the general public but a specialized journal for those who wanted to enter the Forbidden Science. It was never a love-and-light new age publication. Riley´scomments, covering several issues, on Theodore Illion´s book Darkness Over Tibet is not for the faint-hearted. As esotericist Riley Crabb was rather true than nice and could be quite severe on fake mediums and the psychic racketeers in the UFO movement. After a lecture tour in 1960 he wrote some harsh criticism of UFO contactee Wayne Aho: ”We lectured in El Paso in November 1960 after the national election. We were only a few days behind Wayne Aho on that trip. He advertised himself as a Flying Saucer lecturer but spent the first hour or so of his talk flailing away at the corrupt Democratic party and accusing Kennedy of buying his way into office. Then for variety Aho would switch to his other pet subject, his personal meetings and hours of conversation with Jesus Christ, an ideal combination for the conservative Bible belt.” (Round Robin, vol. 18, no. 1, January-February 1962, p. 32).

In 1981 I sent Riley Crabb a copy of The Knowledge of Reality by Swedish esotericist Henry T. Laurency. In a letter to me December 18, 1981 he wrote: ”Yes, we did receive the Laurency opus and thank you very much. It appears that he is an initiate of some standing in the Western Mystery Tradition and has some interesting, even startling, observations on philosophy and occult science, past and present. The Knowledge of Reality is a welcome addition to our reference library and we´ll have to try to review portions of it in upcoming journals”. Unfortunately no review was written but it is interesting that Riley Crabb noted and recognized that Laurency ”is an initiate of some standing in the Western Mystery Tradition”. As I have mentioned in other blog entries I am confident that Laurency is the ”disciple of rare capability in Sweden”, mentioned by Alice Bailey in A Treatise of White Magic.

When I mention Riley Crabb it is important not to forget his wife Judy, who wrote  many articles in Round Robin, proving her wide knowledge of psychology and esotericism. Together they were a truly unique couple and idealistic pioneers in borderland research. Here is Judy´s short article Are You Nice-minded or True-minded, published in 1961.

”Those who urge the doctrine of Love upon mankind say that Love will solve all problems and bring peace to the world. These people have nothing but love to give. But the Mystery Schools train you to look at life and ask "is Love enough?". Love alone, without wisdom and Power , is self-sacrifice. The best examples of this are the Christian martyrs. Love without wisdom and Power is useless, but also wisdom and Power without Love are barren and useless. This is the condition of the Western world today. Science has given us the wisdom and Power to conquer the world, but our magnificent weapons threaten to destroy mankind because we have not Love. No one should concentrate on just one aspect of the Logos . If he does he will learn to his sorrow that the other two aspects of the Trinity are equally necessary to a just and perfect balance.

The Trinity is in reality a three-sided Law of Love, Wisdom and Power. When a person has these three powers well balanced within himself he has health and well-being . One aspect of the three without the other two in proportion is useless. To say "Love is All" is sentimentality and the seeker after Truth cannot be sentimental. You cannot change the Law nor escape its action. Once you have acted there is no escaping the burden of the reaction.

Love alone does not have the strength nor the wisdom to get the world´s wo rk done. You cannot evade facts. There has to be discipline. There have to be arms and police forces to deal with evil. There is crime. There is suffering in the world. These facts are deplorable and you cannot evade their reality. The tendency of the spiritually-minded people who are attracted to metaphysics is to become nice-minded. This is escaping reality rather than facing it! Any true Mystery School will teach you to face the truth of life. The Master will insist that you be true-minded rather than nice-minded.”
(Round Robin, vol 17, no. 6, Sept-Oct 1961, p. 1.)