Sunday, June 29, 2014

Comment on the SITU Archive

Nothing profound here, folks. This post is just something pragmatic so as to head off possible future internet rumors and hysteria. I'm going to toss out some of the books which came to me in the huge SITU library shipment a few years ago. BUT DON'T PANIC!! The only things which will go are books which shouldn't have been there [as an anomalies library] in the first place.

Why the culling?: I'm moving to a new place in around October, and it doesn't have the luxury of an empty two-car garage. Even though the place is large, I won't have the linear feet to swallow non-essentials and random inclusions. I'm tossing a bunch of my non-anomalistic library too [so far 40 Banker Boxes of my stuff have disappeared.]

What's going to be culled?: The boxes which came to me had a lot of irrelevancies in them. There were many books merely owned by Robert Warth, for instance, which were way outside any SITU interests. Some similar things of Sanderson's were, no doubt, of interest to him sometime in his life, but hardly belonging in an anomalies archive --- ex. an ordinary textbook on microbiology. Nevertheless, I shelved almost all of that simply because I had the space --- against my better judgement at the time. Those sorts of things, and there are plenty, are now going to go.

I'm mentioning this because some of them had the SITU library stamp inside the covers somewhere. What I don't want to encourage is someone obtaining such a book, reading the stamp, and promulgating another internet rumor like the old "The SITU Library was raped clean" falsity. It wasn't and it won't be. For near-hysterical purists, there are rather long library listings which will be kept if anyone honestly thinks that anyone in the future would want to know if there was a microbiology text on the shelves.

What I will NOT, nor never, discard: Ivan's three-ring notebook files [THE Sacred Objects here]; the SITU organization minutes and other administrational materials [in case someone wants to write a history someday]; ALL of the anomalistic books, monographs, journals, and newsletters [even the stuff I believe to be pure crap]; materials which in themselves do not contain anomalistic information, but which rather closely can be seen to be of use to the anomalistic researcher [ ex. books on early civilization; lightning phenomena; animals often mistaken for crypto-forms; etc.]; I will also keep any book wherein Ivan signed his name --- just for nostalgia.

What I will toss: ordinary textbooks if there is no sign that Ivan used them by writing in marginalia or the like --- most of these things are "clean" of anything but text; journals which might have something which Ivan was involved with, but which do not directly or strongly indirectly relate to anomalies, and do not have Sanderson notations nor articles; and, you get the idea. If things seem at all "gray", I'll keep them.

So that's the boring news. I felt that I needed to make it public, however. This culling allows me to continue to protect the collection for future researchers of anomalies.

.... don't know when I'll get out another true anomalies post... chaos reigns here.



  1. The International Cryptozoology Museum (11 Avon Street, Portland, Maine 04101) - email - would be interested in obtaining books that you are culling for our archives. We are a small nonprofit, but could pay for shipping for those books on cryptozoology and natural history from the Sanderson collection, the Sanderson Foundation, and/or SITU.

    Thank you, Loren Coleman, Director, ICM

    1. Let me clarify what's being culled: books and journals which have no direct anomalistic content, and no particular close relationship to anomalies. Although one might be able to speculate that a particular book was formerly owned by Ivan Sanderson, unless he has signed it internally, one cannot even be sure of that. These things consist of materials of various ages [some early 20th century on up to say the 1980s] which merely present generic scientific or "nature" materials at the level of general knowledge of their day. The only thing that I can imagine which someone would want from them is the hopeful feeling that this book was something Ivan Sanderson once held, despite the fact that it has nothing substantially to do with Cryptozoology.

      Having said that, and in doing so expressing my belief that the culling of these materials would do nothing to hamper our understanding of either Cryptozoology, Sanderson, nor SITU, I am stating that I cannot find much incentive to go to the work of boxing things up and carrying them to the UPS for nostalgic reasons alone. If this included some sacred obligation to preserve data of some sort, I'd of course do it --- that is my duty to the archive. But I can't see anything like that here.

      To repeat at least some of the above: I'd NEVER cull anything about Cryptozoology out of the SITU archive. I'd never cull anything associated with SITUs formation and administration out of the archive. Organizational elements of the Sanderson Foundation, except when intermixed with SITU organizational matters, are not here. Ivan had other files which were not placed with SITU, and seem to be elsewhere.

      Having now said things more specifically, I am willing to be persuaded to save out some MARGINAL things which Ivan PROBABLY personally owned as related to general zoology information, which was his pre-SITU life, but am still not convinced that it's worth my efforts.

    2. Understood. Just noting we are here as an extra archival resource, if you find any marginal natural history items that makes sense of sending along. Being an archivist, I appreciate your labor/passion/mission. Do not wish to add to your burdens. I did not think you would be culling the core cryptozoology items, btw. ~ Loren

  2. Appropos of something, probably, though it's too late right now to come up with a good segue, I came across an old thread that might spark some anomalistic thoughts. In January 2011 science fiction author Charles Stross asked: "Does anyone have any really obscure, weird, and batshit insane military projects to announce?" and got over 300 responses. PSA: Gorgon Stare. The posts by "EH" are especially interesting, ;-), including one which describes some of the NSA methods later revealed by Edward Snowden. The MKULTRA/ARTICHOKE/BLUEBIRD subproject headings are more fun, though.

    In other news, I finally broke down and set up a blog, Mindspace and Minds' Basis. I have posted several of the speculative and analytical essays that have been cluttering my hard drive.

    Happy 4th of July, and I wish you a painless and lossless move, Professor.

    "Did you ever ‘move’?‥There is an old proverb that three removes are as bad as a fire."
    Poor Richard's Almanack , 1758 Preface

    1. No move near --- probably pushed back to early November. On the bright side, that gives me another month and a half to get things orderly [and consequently less risky of loss].

      Normally I consign blogsite announcements to the dump box, but you will be an exception, as you are a good fellow and the site seems likely of interest. Good fortunes.