The Book

Dear Editor,

I met Dr. Hableben during a working vacation in the Traslasierra valley, which means, literally, Beyond-the-mountains. The mountain range in question is just east of the Andes and about five hundred miles west of Buenos Aires. So much for geography. I include it in order to indicate that my encounter with him took place in a relatively remote part of the planet.

I went to the Traslasierra at the invitation of a group of families who had fled the urban chaos of Buenos Aires and wanted to start an alternative school for their children. They felt that I, as an expert of sorts in alternative education and coordinator of a teacher-training seminar in Buenos Aires, could provide some of the knowledge and impetus they would need.

During the course I gave and in various meetings with the aspiring school founders, I learned that the suggestion to found our kind of school came from "el doctor", and that he was keen to meet me. In fact he invited me, in writing, to lunch with him at his house when I was finished with the group. His letter was formal, written in a spidery hand, and in German. I don't know how he knew that I speak German and I never asked him.

He lived with his housekeeper, Mireya, an attractive young woman of obvious Indian descent, in a modest adobe house at an altitude of over five thousand feet. It took us, an Indio driver and me, three hours to reach it in a four-wheel drive pick-up mounted high over its chassis enabling us to navigate the three streams we had to cross. Dr. Hableben was tall, thin and wiry – and very old. His penetrating, wide-spread blue eyes were watery with age. We ate a vegetarian lunch under a canopy of grapevines lush with fruit, and washed it down with limpid water from the stream that rushed by a few yards from us. Mireya prepared the lunch and ate with us. She sat next to him, watching his every move and listening intently, although he spoke in German. Occasionally he absent-mindedly stroked her hand and looked at her in what I can only describe as a loving way.

I had expected that he would want to know how my course went and what I thought of the possibility of founding a school in the Traslasierra, but he never even mentioned it. Instead he spoke of the book he had been working on for years and had recently finished. He had tried to interest some publishers in Germany, but the few who answered did so with form letters – rejection slips, of which I have also had ample experience. He wanted me to translate the book into English, my native tongue, and get it published in America where, he thought, people are more open to such things. I was curious, naturally, as to what he meant by "such things".

I knew that finding a publisher for an unknown author may not be the most difficult thing in the world, but it is high on the list. I said as much. He smiled and said that it didn't matter, that the attempt, which is the important thing, must be made. He asked Mireya, in Spanish, to fetch the manuscript. She went inside the house and came back out carrying an enormous pile of papers, which she set on the table after clearing it of ants and blowing away some grape leaves. She put a stone on top of the pile so it wouldn't blow away and resumed her seat. Doctor Hableben invited me with a gesture of his hand to look at the manuscript.

The first yellowed pages were written in small but firm letters of the old Gothic script, which didn't disappear from Germany until after the Second World War. I had once made myself familiar with this oddity, so I could read it, but with some difficulty. I deciphered the first few pages, which was enough to show me that the author possessed learning, which he expressed in a philosophical style reminiscent of the nineteenth century. I leafed through the rest and noticed that toward the end the writing became spidery and shaky.

"No publisher nowadays will agree to read a handwritten manuscript," I said, trying to worm my way out of the situation. "It would have to be typed."

"Of course," the doctor said, "but when you translate it you'll type it anyway. I assume you have a word processor?"

"Well, yes, a computer, but I have very little time."

"Time is not important."

"To me it is."

"Take as long as you need."

I hefted the manuscript. "It would take years."

"Then take them."

"What's it about?" I sighed – "in synthesis".

"Why life, of course."

"Your Life?"

"My UFO life, to be more specific."

My first reaction was surprise, then skepticism, which must have shown.

"I had also been skeptical about the so-called Unidentified Flying Objects," Dr. Hableben said, "because as a scientist I knew, firstly, that there is no other human life in our solar system and, secondly, that it is not possible to overcome the barrier of the speed of light in order to reach beyond our system – until I read Professor Jung's treatise on the subject." He stopped, popped a dark blue grape into his mouth and kissed Mireya's hand, which must have been sweeter than the grape, to judge by his expression.

"Go on, please," I said. Many years ago I had read Carl Jung's little book on flying saucers, but had only a vague recollection of it.

"Jung opines that UFO's must exist because so many people have seen them down through the centuries. What he doubts is that they exist physically."

"Then they are imagined?"

"Not at all. He meant that they exist psychically. And psychic phenomena were very real to him, as they are to me." He leaned toward me and held his hand in front of my eyes. "This hand is physically real, is it not?"

"As far as I'm concerned it is, though some philosophers might not agree."

"And it also exists psychically," he continued, ignoring the philosophers. "Somewhere, the psychic equivalent of my hand exists as an idea, but ideas are also real. If such is the case, and I assure you that it is, then psychic phenomena may have their physical equivalence in another place in the cosmos. Do you follow me?"

"I think so, yes."

"My hypothesis was that it might be possible to so train the psyche, or the mind if you prefer, so that we could find and witness the physical equivalents of the UFOs."

I took a few moments to digest this, then: "Do you mean, Herr Doktor, that some extraterrestrial intelligence has been psychically projecting what we call UFOs, and that they really exist, I mean physically, somewhere else?"

"Exactly. So I decided to dedicate myself to finding the 'somewhere else'. The book is a faithful account of my experiments – successful ones, I might add – and their results."

I know it sounds nutty, but the doctor didn't come across as a nut. "Could you tell me something about those results?" I asked him.

"Yes, but first the method. I spent years perfecting a technique of concentration and meditation which finally enabled me to leave my body at night during sleep and make my way to the planet whose inhabitants have been sending us their psychic images for ages."

"Wouldn't an obvious objection be that you were dreaming?" I asked, almost apologetically.

"A special kind of conscious dreaming," he said, as though that explained it. "Of course I didn't do it alone. I reached the world of spiritual ideas, a place where few Earthlings have been, and transmitted my request to proceed to that planet. I had no idea where it was in the physical universe, you see."

"To whom did you transmit the request?"

"To a council of spiritual beings. They decided in my favor and assigned one of their number to guide me. If you must know – it isn't in the book, you see – it was an angel, perhaps my own, he wouldn't say."


The doctor laughed. "Wow indeed. He took me by the hand, as it were, and we were there in no time."

"What was it called, the planet I mean?"

"It took me some time to learn the language, although it wasn't much different from some of our own. The best translation I can make is...Earth."

This time we both smiled.

"And what kind of people -- I mean beings inhabited it?"

"You were right the first time, people, like us. The only intelligent beings in the universe are human beings."

I found later in studying the Book that this was only an assumption on his part. He had not, after all, investigated the entire universe.

"The beginning was difficult, first of all because I was only there psychically and was therefore invisible to the inhabitants. Furthermore, I had made no provision for the care of my body back on Earth – our Earth, that is – so I had to return before I starved to death or dehydrated."

"But before you came back what observations did you make?"

"Few, there was so little time and so many overwhelming impressions. As you will have guessed, they are very advanced technologically. And their airships are indeed what we call UFOs, of many shapes and sizes. I was like an aboriginal suddenly transported to a metropolis and didn't understand half the things I was seeing. I had the impression, however, that they were deeply troubled. That's all, though. I had to go."

"How did you do that? Was the angel still with you?"

"No, he had deposited me there, wished me good luck and left."

"So how then?"

"You must understand that the difficulty is not in returning, but getting there and staying. The whole time one must exert a great force of will. The moment it is relaxed you are whisked back to your body. This control of the will is something you develop through meditation – a powerful mixture of will and thought, or, I should say, thinking raised to the level of pure will. So all I had to do was relax my will and I was back in bed."

"Here, in the Traslasierra?"

"Yes, of course. Such things are only possible in places of great peace. I was extremely hungry and thirsty, for I had been gone for three days. I won't bore you with details now, it's all in the book anyway. After a certain amount of effort, I found someone trustworthy who had medical experience and was willing to stay here with my body and control the intravenous serum and feeding."

"And you went back?"

"Yes, it was easier the second time, and not so traumatic."

"Did you find out why the people there are troubled?"

"Yes, I did. They are so computerized and comfortable that they have forgotten the meaning of life. They are spiritually empty."

"No religion?"

"Plenty of religions. But only fanatics and simpletons believe in them."

"And what about the ones who send the UFOs here? "

"Naturally I wondered about them and decided to seek them out. I found them after many false starts and after having surmounted many obstacles. It's all in the book."

"Yes, of course, but who are they?"

"They are a group of individuals who have maintained a long tradition of esoteric knowledge. But they must keep their activities secret because, you see, a kind of self-imposed autocratic state has been established in order to control the total anarchy that reined until about a millennium ago. They are a kind of occult brotherhood – or sisterhood rather – there being more women than men in it." He glanced meaningfully at Mireya, who smiled at him as though she understood what he was saying in German, which seemed unlikely to me. "They long ago discovered essentially the same meditation technique I used and had found us, another human race, just as I found them. It is they and their forerunners who have been sending signs to us in the form of Unidentified Flying Objects all this time."

"UFOs are really space ships then?" I asked.

"On the Other Earth, yes," he answered patiently. "Here they are manifestations of light – round, oblong, flat, spherical – transmitted psychically to us by a complex process of projective heliography. All the rest – little green men, abductions – are figments or outright fabrications."

"But what are they trying to say by these signs?"

"That we are not alone. They are meant as encouragement to attempt contact. Once contact is made they want to warn us not to fall into the same error their civilization has."

"Too much technology?"

"Technology is inevitable, but the human spirit must not be neglected as a result."

"But why aren't they more clear, I mean just come out and say what they mean instead of signs that no one understands?"

"It's all in the book."

"Yes, but--"

"Light is the only sensible element in which they can manifest themselves at such distances; it is somewhere between the physical and the spiritual. And light, pushed to the spiritual end of the spectrum, can and does exceed the speed of lower, more physical, light. Otherwise, it is only possible to communicate in the spiritual state and for that – well, it takes two to tango." The last five words, his "joke", which seemed to please him greatly, he said in English.

"You mean that they can only communicate with someone who has mastered the meditation technique?"

"That is correct."

"And are you the only..er..Earthling with whom they can communicate?"

"Directly, yes, as far as I know. Indirectly they are communicating with us all via the signs."

"Herr Doktor," I began as respectfully as I could, "forgive my asking, but do you have any proof of all this?" I was leading up to saying what I was thinking, that even if I believed him, and I wasn't sure that I did, it would be mostly due to his strongly convincing presence. Someone reading his Gothic prose would be much less inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. But his reply, which he shot out with no hesitation, surprised me.

"Yes, I do."

I waited, not wanting to sound like a prosecuting attorney, or, worse, an editor.

Doctor Hableben turned to his companion and took her hand.

"Mireya" – he looked at the girl, smiling – "is from that Other Earth."

"But..but how...?" I stammered.

"Wait, I'll explain. It's all in the book in great detail, but I'll try to explain in synthesis. She was a member of the group that sent the signs and we communicated on a spiritual plane. She was my contact person with her group. We could have had no karmic history, having come from different worlds. Nevertheless we... well, yes, we fell in love is the only expression you will understand."

"It is a lovely expression," Mireya said in perfect German, surprising me again, for I had fallen into the trap of believing her to be the doctor's primitive and docile lover/housekeeper.

"But how did she--" I stopped and, embarrassed, directed my question to Mireya. "How did you get here?"

"I incarnated in a self-less body."

"A what body?"

"Yes," she continued in Spanish, which went better with her physical appearance. "It is not frequent, but some bodies are born without Selfs. Many of them die, but not all. You see, due to the population explosion there simply aren't enough selfs, or egos, if you prefer the Greek, to go around anymore."

I was literally speechless, if not selfless.

The doctor continued. "At birth, here in the Traslasierra. It was all arranged beforehand. She was born to a young unmarried girl whom I befriended – I knew the baby would be Mireya of course – and took responsibility for her education and upbringing".

Mireya laughed. "So you see I'm really quite a bit older than I look. I was almost fifty in the Other Earth, add thirty here and--"

"Eighty," I said, stupidly.

"Yes," Doctor Hableben said. "And I will be a hundred this year, which means I won't be around much longer. So Mireya--"

"Excuse me, Herr Doktor, a question."

"No," he said, reading my mind, "I no longer go to the Other Earth. My powers of concentration and will have deteriorated with old age. In fact, I must now terminate this conversation in order to rest. Please forgive me."

"Of course, Herr Doktor."

"It may be a final rest. In any case, it would serve no purpose to continue. Will you take the manuscript now into your care and translate it into English?"

"May I ask--?"

"Why you?"

"Yes, Why me?"

"As I said, Mireya and I had no mutual karma; ours is the first karmic relationship between humans of our two worlds. But you and I, my young friend, have a complex karmic history going back many lives. You were destined to be here today and receive the opportunity to do as I ask. You are free, however, to decide."

That explanation, his totally honest manner, and what he said about going to his final rest, were convincing. Nevertheless, I took a minute to make sure that the decision would be my own. I walked a few yards away from the table and gazed down into the valleys of the Traslasierra, a still idyllic part of our deteriorating world, not the Other, but our own, Earth. Then I went back and stood before him and told him that I would do what he had requested.

"Thank you. Now I must retire." He rose with difficulty and took my hand. "Please stay in contact with Mireya." He walked to the door of the house, where he had to stoop to enter. Mireya called the driver and put the manuscript in a strong shopping bag and handed it to me. We kissed on the right cheeks, as is the custom, and she followed Doctor Hableben into the house.

* * *

Enclosed please find the first three chapters of Dr. Hableben's book. I calculate that the translation work will take me another year. There are over a thousand pages of small writing. I would be grateful if you could advise me if you are interested in this book, which may well be the most important one since the Bible.

Yours sincerely,

Frank Thomas Smith

PS. I am doing my best to simplify the author's style without affecting the content. His legal heir (Mireya Galvez) approves.

More fiction by this author is available in an Amazon Kindle eBook: A Streetcar Named Destiny - Collected Short Fiction.