An enigma wrapped in a mystery

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Just the other day I happened to meet a very interesting man. At the time he was in Santa Monica, California with his lovely bride while visiting the western part of the United States. He told me that they were planning a visit to the Huntington Library the following day, a place renowned for its beauty in many forms including an awe inspiring botanical garden, an amazing art collection and as its name implies a library.

The Herb Garden in bloom (Wikipedia)

Not just any library because among other historic writings the Huntington Library has a copy of the Guttenberg Bible and also one of but five hundred total copies of the Edgar Allan Poe poetic book of science and cosmology entitled Eureka written in 1848. Yes this man, this visitor from far away — The Netherlands — was in California at least in part to see and read a very rare manuscript nearly 160 years old replete with very controversial ideas that some say put Edgar Allan Poe far ahead of his time. That is dedication and that is René van Slooten.

René van Slooten is trained in science but he is also a writer of some acclaim with articles published in Scientific American, The Baltimore Post-Examiner and the Los Angeles Post-Examiner to name but a few. He has been a devoted student of the life and writings of Edgar Allan Poe for more than two decades. René is particularly intrigued by Poe as a cosmologist and as the inventor of the Big Bang theory.


Poe ignored traditional scientific methodology but rather relied on intuition in writing Eureka. Yet it sets out the essential elements of the Big Bang Theory about 80 years before it emerged in the scientific community. So is Eureka science or is it art? From the studies of René van Slooten and others it would seem that what Edgar Allan Poe created with Eureka is indeed scientifically correct though emerging from a work of art. That is what René van Slooten and so many others see as compelling about the life and work of Edgar Allan Poe and that is a large part of what has brought van Slooten many thousands of miles from his native Europe to the United States of America.

Like many an American I learned of Poe as a writer of strange, dark and mysterious poems such as “The Raven” and stories such as “Fall of the House of Usher.” As a devoted student of all things Poe, van Slooten sees “Fall of the House of Usher” as containing secret encoded messages and as an allegory about America and foretelling of the Civil War.

The scientific community typically scoffs at Poe’s work as lacking a basis in science, yet they cannot deny that much of what Poe has written is nevertheless scientifically correct regardless of the methodology used. That is the world René van Slooten has been in and continues to explore and bring to the attention of our contemporary world.

Edgar Allan Poe

It truly is a worthy and fascinating gift of ever increasing enlightenment about one incredible poet, writer and cosmologist, Edgar Allan Poe studied, written and presented by a contemporary seeker of truth René van Slooten.

If you enjoy mental stimulation take a moment and learn more about Poe’s Eureka here. Read about René van Slooten here. Sometimes we are blessed with an unexpected meeting with a genuinely fascinating person and it is my most sincere pleasure to share that experience with you.

To the few who love me and whom I love — to those who feel rather than to those who think — to the dreamers and those who put faith in dreams as in the only realities — I offer this Book of Truths, not in its character of Truth-Teller, but for the Beauty that abounds in its Truth; constituting it true. To these I present the composition as an Art-Product alone: let us say as a Romance; or, if I be not urging too lofty a claim, as a Poem.

— Preface to Eureka, by Edgar Allan Poe

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For even more art, this time visual, check this out. It is always FREE to look.

Top photo: The Huntington Library (Wikipedia)