I recently read an article about a retired accountant who uses a metal coat-hanger as a dowsing rod with which he can locate the exact position of walls, windows and doorways of churches that fell down long ago and are now covered by grass and earth and forgetfulness. Sometimes he might sketch out an area where stones and bricks should be lying but when the archaeologists come to dig they find nothing there. This can be simply because he has made a mistake, but often it has turned out that he was locating a part of a building that had lain there concealed and undisturbed but was then dug up and removed many years ago. This phenomenon, of finding a memory of something that has vanished and left no trace of itself, is called by dowsers 'remanence'.

from The Emperor's Last Island by Julia Blackburn


jacky said...

The dowser's 'remanence' echoes with the idea of phantom limbs (and thus to the very idea of 'haunting'...). As kind of stranded un-objects these absent presences set up intriguing metaphysical whorls in space ... you might enjoy a little bit on this in which I was responding to the Sydney Potato Famine memorial ... http://passages.blog.com/1558040
Am enjoying travelling through Luca Antara!

jacky said...

apologies ... that needs another slash to work, thus: http://passages.blog.com/1558040/

Martin Edmond said...

Jacky - I am enjoying looking at & reading Passages but can't work out how to leave a comment there - love your trinity of churches & was wondering if you went inside the Haahi Ratana at Raetihi? it has beautiful painted murals.

jacky said...

Martin, glad you found the passageway to Passages. (For comments, you can just click the 'comment' thing at the bottom of each post and write in the box - I don't think you need to be signed in). Sadly, I didn't go inside the church at Raetihi ... I will have to go back! Ecclesiastical interiors are a world unto themselves, divine ...!