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The Cult Aloft

A Ffynche History


Aeronautic Adventure

Part VI.  Particulate Matter

The underlying implication of the Indiscernible Levitation by Proxy of Animals (ILPA) scandal took a while to sink in. Relief at thwarting unwelcome potential CIA investigations overshadowed the brilliance of the Jocktoggle-Brakewynde hypothesis and its potential contribution to modern science.


During the long celebrations following the Papal conclave, the ambassadorial representative of the Cult of Bard made a formal approach for a cultural exchange programme. (After a conclave, the High Pope is obliged to grant petitions that encourage the arts and sciences, even from old adversaries.)

Ambassador St John de Courcey-Renoir enjoyed the customary courtesies extended to high ranking dignitaries of the Cult of Bard

The fact that the Bastards were clearly up to something, and about to attempt what minutes describe as 'some poncey arty-farty putdown' was grasped by all, but a Cult Law must be obeyed. 

Ambassador St John de Courcey-Renoir was formally received, and invited to lay out the Bastards’ proposal. The sheer absurdity of the idea confirmed malodorous intent.


Each village was to nominate their brightest young minds in a competition to train pigeons to perform skills for which each village was renowned.

The competition would begin in January 1970, and results and demonstrations would be judged by an independent panel on Midsummer’s Day. Bardfield would teach pigeons about art history and painting, while Finchingfield must train pigeons to navigate by a map, whether by sight or on a NasoNav board.

The subsequent Cult of Ffynche inquiry reveals that things fell apart rapidly after a misleading start.

Over in Bardfield, pigeons showed little interest in the Grand Masters or Surrealism, but became quite agitated during lessons on Post-War American Expressionism, an experimental effect mistakenly interpreted as a sign of progress.


Meanwhile, in Finchingfield, pigeons were presented with dozens of vials of fungal scent and Ordnance Survey maps, but only responded with any enthusiasm to a Parish Council survey showing sites of repeated parking violations in red.

However, it had not occurred to the dimwits who devised the inter-cult 'competition' that pigeons are social creatures, and tend, while roosting at

dusk, to discuss novel experiences of their day-to-day lives.


By early April, flocks of pigeons from both villages were gathering over Finchingfield, and painting modern American art over any vehicle blocking a resident’s access.

Pigeon with a NasoNav vial

After a single day, the cultural exchange programme was unilaterally scrapped by elders of the Cult of Ffynche. (This necessary breach of

Cult Law on international relations is permitted in emergency under Provision F of the First Amendment.)

No-one knows who smuggled the large red-painted board of Bardfield’s street plan onto the roof of the rival village’s Old Bell Inn the following week. But it was five years of misery for Bardfield’s motorists before the map was discovered during gutter-cleaning and destroyed.

What’s the Pointillism? Too far gone for T-Cut

Jackson Pollocked

Oral history transfer in the dove family is rivalled only by species of the Corvidae. So even after half a century, motorists visiting the two villages today are strongly advised:

  • Never to block resident access

  • Obey all yellow lines

  • Always comply with speed limits. 


Such activities trigger ancient pigeon-lore and associated avian bowel movements.


A second Celebration of Relief began as soon as the local pigeon population so mysteriously relocated to Bardfield. Charlie 'Boffer' Spatchcock  was awarded the 1970 science medallion for studies in 'cartographic avian espionage'. This is a field of expertise so practical as to be automatically disdained by the effete leadership of the Cult of Bard. They have still not figured out the likely culprit behind the fallow artistic period known locally as the 'Five Years in Guano'.


In a moving speech, Boffer called on the young people of Finchingfield to keep up their spirits despite the disastrous engagement with the Cult of Bard. They should rededicate themselves to the archive research behind the revolutionary Jocktoggle-Brakewynde theorem.

Rarely had Boffer spoken so wisely. His words have propelled Cult theoretical work to its highest achievement - the

successful prediction of CERN’s recent results threatening the Standard Model of particle physics.


As early as 1971, the newly formed 'Ffysics for Ffynchers' club began to uncover the uncanny ability of Cult science to anticipate the work of mainstream experimenters, typically by many decades.

Thelonius Marlowe demonstrates his muon-powered prophylactic device to enthusiastic young Ffyffississists in 1971. The Jocktoggle-Brakewynde heroes sit at the front of class

One story from the archives stands out. As far back as 1868, a young genius Isaiah Netherworp had begun to ponder what he called 'un-observations' -- the groundwork for Netherworp’s Special Theory of Indiscernibility


As a child, the prodigy became fascinated with the subject material that was to occupy him for a lifetime, namely, the precise location of pigs. 


The headstrong boy, already uncontrollable at age four, was taken on by his maternal grandmother. But even she was bullied into clearing out the lean-to storage room at the end of her cottage, to make room for Emperor, the first of Isiah’s pet boars.

The pig is behind the right-hand door. Probably

Isaiah’s obsessive behaviour was for many years considered evidence for a medical syndrome. If the child heard the slightest sound from the animal, he would repeatedly ask in a sing-song voice: 'Where’s the pig now?' (All parents will sympathise with the Netherworp family’s exasperation.)

An adult’s assurance that the pig was in its pen was not enough. Isaiah would have to take his notebook, write down the time from the mantelpiece clock, press his ear to the party wall to judge the creature’s location, go outside, open the door to the shed, and note the pig’s exact position as compared to his aural estimate.

On most occasions, the pig was not where Isiah predicted. Emperor should have been in the far corner, but when Isiah opened the door, the old boar was right in front of him. When the snorting or scratching seemed to come from the ceiling, the beast would be revealed lying awkwardly on the floor.

The notebooks detail manic phases of research in Isiah’s teenage years -- with the young lad opening and shutting the door dozens of times a minute, and the creature appearing in a different position each time.


Isaiah’s family eventually bequeathed his notebooks to the Cult of Ffynche, and they are now housed in the Worp Annexe of the Zimmerman Institute.

Careful analysis carried out by Zimmerman Institute students suggests that Isiah was more of a practical researcher than a theoretician over his seven decades of study. Only two pages in more than 25 million records contain anything but pig locations.

A few of the Isiah Notebooks in the 1872 gallery

The two key passages uncovered in 1973 read as follows:

A) The pig is only where it is because I open the door. Before I open the door, it’s possibly where it is, but in other places too.

(Year 1901, Book 781, line 48)


B) Mr Shrubwringer and Mr Ironstain came unexpectedly for tea. I talked about my pigs. They were drunk and pretended to be German. 

(Year 1927, Book 596, line 17)

Motorcycle surveillance committee

The baffling reference to two Continental strangers visiting the reclusive Isiah took another five years of archival research. Clues eventually emerged in an unexpected place, the records of the Cult’s motorcycle surveillance committee. The 'pedal cyclist' addendum to the annual report had been misfiled, and had remained sealed for half a century.

The report states that two men with heavy Germanic accents had arrived in the village on a cycling tour in the last week of June 1927. Their earnest conversations in the Lion Inn, and runic scribbling in chalk on the darts scoreboard had aroused fears of a rival Cult recruitment initiative.

The report includes surveillance photographs, and carries interviews with anonymised witnesses. One states: 'Couldn’t make much out, but they seemed to just drink and argue, and kept moving the beer mats and tankards around, pointing at them and just shouting: "Es ist da" and "Nein, es ist da". It carried on all through lunchtime. They didn’t seem to agree where anything was at any time'.


The informant continued: 'I told them we had a bloke in the village a bit like them, always wondering where his pig was. That’s when they both shot out to find poor old Isiah. They came back later and they’d both calmed down. The one with the tache played a few fiddle tunes. Haven’t seen them since.'


The case was closed, and would have been completely forgotten were it not for the young Ffyssics enthusiasts. The surveillance material laid out below has a significance no-one could have guessed at a century ago.

Case 27/6a: Germanic cyclist

Case 27/6a: Runic scribbling on darts scoreboard

CMS case 2071: “The one with the tache”

The official announcement of the new Cult research was finally made in 2007, with a striking photograph of the young Isiah:

Before Schrodinger’s Cat there was Netherworp’s Pig

Did Shrodinger plagiarise Netherworp’s sole but visionary theoretical insight? And if so, why the dark twist about poisons and radioactivity? And why cats that had to be half dead and only half alive long before the box was even opened? Isiah would never have killed one of his pigs. He loved them.


The casual reader might think we are left only with uncertainties and probabilities in the place of principles and hard facts. But work on Isiah’s notebooks, begun back in the 1970s, has yielded fresh evidence of weaknesses in mainstream theory.

By 2007, a total of 2.8 billion pig positions had been entered into the Marlowtosh Mainframe by eager Zimmerman students. Analyses by leading Ffyffississists are ongoing.

When the apparently random un-observations were measured over time, a pattern emerged. Isaiah’s pigs had a distinct positional bias for the food bucket and a central support post, probably for scratching their posterior flanks.

Data-punching the Marlowtosh in 1974

Overall, these positional patterns represented energy 'basins' into which the pig might be held until the next energetic excitement. These energy stable-points conformed to a symmetrical 'universe' of pig states. For every comfortable position, there was an equally distressing one on the opposing side of the pen.

Every comfortable 'energy basin' is matched by a distressing one

But there were exceptions to symmetry. On a handful of occasions, Isaiah aurally determined the pig to be tangled up somehow in the rafters, but on opening the door to find it awkwardly crumpled and moaning on the floor.


This violation of standard symmetry strongly suggests to Cult scientists that the Indiscernible Levitation involves a novel energy state whose properties lie somewhere in the complex theoretical gap between the Copenhagen School and their doubters.

The Cult of Ffynche cultural ambassador reported the findings to CERN scientists the year that Netherworp’s Pig was finally revealed to the wider public, and our experts have been in close communication ever since.


Of course, it is far too early to claim that pig positional studies have played a central role in the discovery of a new family of subatomic particles. 

Nevertheless, the Cult has already been offered the hope by the International Scientific Nomenclature Committee that one day we shall speak as much about the Worptrino as we do today about the Quark, the Meson and the cheeky Lepton.


Optimists are already speaking of the Worptrino as the answer to the mystery of the 'dark matter' claimed to hold galaxies together, and the 'dark energy' that seems to be blasting whole galaxies apart.


Recent papers published in Cult Philosophic Review speculate on the latest research coming out of the notebook data queries. In the short intervals when Isiah introduced a piglet for training before putting an ageing pig into retirement, a clear, though temporary pattern-distortion emerges.

Each animal circles closer around their own bucket, and simultaneously increases the distance away from the other. These effects coincide with an increase in the number of the transgressional levitational events.

Isiah’s first rule of symmetry: A pig is never where you think it is -- even if you’re holding it

Is this the interaction of Worptrino and Antiworptrino? The dark energy forcing the pigs apart, while dark matter pulls them towards their buckets? CERN scientists are working on this new interpretation of broken symmetry as we write.


These exciting new developments are already subjects for possible commercial exploitation, as announced recently by the Cult Moolah Committee.

Applications already submitted to the Patent Office include the following:


  • A Worptrino-Orgone device for making bathwater swirl down the drain the other way.

  • Athletic antigravity jive-dancing lessons for the over-80s.

  • An Antiworptrino safe-distance ray-gun for removing dark matter from U-bends. (Preliminary orders are very promising, especially from solitary single elderly men preparing for unexpected guests.)

  • A machine to assist a user to be on the beach in Tenerife at the same time as watching the telly back home. (A deluxe model prevents sand on living-room carpets or between users’ toes).

  • A detector to measure the balance of Uncertainty regarding the likelihood of beer mats at the moment one might come in handy.​​

  • A Webcam to know where your pig is. Or isn’t.

Anti-gravity dance: easier on the joints

The 'swirly-whirly' worptrino plughole inverter

The MarloweProbe beermat uncertainty predictor

The Tenerifitron: Early problems are being ironed out

Dark matter extractor: Helping a client unblock her sink

Dark energy: Is it driving pigs apart?

It is time to bring this humble celebration of the glorious history of the Cult of Fynche Air Force to a close. [Thank heavens! -- Ed]


Future generations must narrate CoFAF’s onward path of pioneering bravery and endless archival burrowings in the service of humanity.


May our spirits lift, and our farm animals too. As revered Cult forebear and part-time medieval dairyman Tiberius Marlowe wrote: 'Our universe flies by like a shimmering multiversalitude of whoops-a-daisy.'


Per cervisia ad nubes

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