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The Cult Aloft

A Ffynche History

of

Aeronautic Adventure

Part I.  Early Awakenings

 

Cult of Ffynche visionaries have dreamt of human flight as far back as the Medieval period.

 

Crude graffiti in the church show a small squadron of winged pigs, bestraddled by choristers, generously depositing dung for the choirmaster as he works his vegetable patch.

 

Another scratched remark beneath winged figures in the pew stalls requests: 'God, lett me ryde wyth thee mine angels, and flee thys dullard serminyzer'.

Sunday: yearning for escape

Some success was achieved with wind-surfing, but the early efforts of Tiberius of Marlowe were abandoned after he caught his wife chatting with local batchelors while he was navigating the village pond one breezy April day in 1391.

Tiberius the Windsurfer

But further efforts at flight are hinted at in county assize records. In July 1437, 'Johanus Bladworp, 21 yeres, labourer' was charged with 'idlenesse and ungodlinesse near the lord’s warren and fishgarth'. 

 

Witness Goody Wunssocks is quoted: 'He did wavyth his handes all day, wyth eyes closed, hys breathe helde. He did say one time that if I turneth away, he was certainlye a flyinge hawke. Then at sunset he did fall to the ground, arms outstretched like a byrde.'

The 'Great Exertion of Johanus', Cult pioneer

In an unusual act of clemency by the standards of the age, Bladworp was sent for rehabilitation with the monks at

Colne Priory. Sadly he died shortly afterwards of 'poison by an excesse of Malmsey whylst wenchynge' — a known risk factor in religious retreats of the period.

On the bright side, he would not have survived much longer had he pursued his earlier aeronautical ambitions.  Casualty rates for medieval aviators were notoriously high. The dreadful persecution of these so-called 'witches' was only part of the problem.

Death from 'excesse' was all too common among monks

Ever the innovators, Finchingfield folk had cast aside the popular bezum as a means of attempted aerial transport, and decided, unsuccessfully, to experiment with other items of household cleaning equipment, such as the tin pail, mop and dustpan.

After all household implements had been trialled, it was thought that perhaps the original location of the borrowed object was the impediment. Barns and workshops were scoured for items that had no direct connection with housekeeping. The results were calamitous. 

 

One inquest from 1532 records that 'Geo. Fyssax did fall from the High Oake in Ffynchenfield whylst embracing an anvill'.

 

These early tales hint at the technical dialectic that underpins Ffynchian aviation theory to this day. On one side lies the powerful notion that objects may indeed fly — though only when unseen. And on the other, there remains a strong suspicion that weight itself might be an additional constraint on aerial versatility.

The turnip-masher proved no use in flight

Local experimenters struggled on for another century, and claim to have made progress  in mastery of the 'Indiscernible Levitation'. But they were inevitably appalled by the work of Isaac Newton — who is chastised in the notebooks of Tybalt Marlowe 'for his invention of gravity, which in addition to the problem of weight has nere broke my spirit'.

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