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Article: The Flying Dutchman – Willem Johan Barbieri

Poetry by Mo Blake, Rob Leiper, Leconte de Lisle, Ian Smith, H-J Hoyles, Alison Black, and Alun Robert

Fiction by Paul Murgatroyd, David McVey, Peter Van Belle, Robin Fuller, Rebecca Pyle, and J.S. Le Fanu

PDF – 6,0 MB 386 downloads

Due to a mixup with the illustrations, the original cover does not correspond to the article in the magazine. Above is the corrected version with the correct cover (picture on the right).

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In 1857 Justinus Kerner started collecting his Kleksographien (Klecks is the German word for blot) and writing short poems describing what he saw in them. The book was posthumously printed in 1890. In 1896 a book was published in the USA called Gobolinks or Shadow-Pictures for Young and Old. This had the same set-up as Kerner’s book: ink-blots with added poems. The phenomenon used in these books is called pareidolia, where a person interprets random marks as recognizable patterns. (Both books are available at Internet Archive). Psychiatrists, among them Alfred Binet and Hermann Rorschach suggested such inkblots could be used to study the subconscious of their subjects. 


Could the klecksography also serve as a metaphor for life? Both are things we try to make sense of. Our subconscious does this all the time, but can do little to affect it. Yet through our creative works our subconscious expresses these interpretations with beautiful, moving, or terrifying results. Is the reader then like a patient in front of a Rorschach or TAT? TATs (Thematic Apperception Tests) are a set of ambiguous pictures the subject has to make a story about.