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A Man of Yet a Few More Words - by Swan Morrison

The Crystal

I and my old friend Jon sat down at his kitchen table. He poured some tea.

‘Well?’ he enquired in a tone expectant of disappointment.

I removed the sparkling, multi-faceted quartz crystal from my pocket and placed it on the table. ‘It works,’ I said.

Jon looked puzzled. ‘What do you mean?’

I picked up the Crystal again and rotated it with my fingers. The refracted sunlight danced rainbows across the table. ‘You told me this stone contained Chi energy,’ I recalled, ‘drawn from the Altar Stone at Stonehenge.’

‘In accordance with the Ancient Wisdom,’ Jon confirmed, emphasising his extensive understanding of New Age knowledge.

‘I suspended it in the petrol tank of my car,’ I revealed, ‘to see if its energy would increase fuel economy.’

‘What happened?’ Jon appeared anxious.

‘I drove for nearly eight hundred miles, and the fuel gauge never moved. I then drained the petrol tank and drove another five hundred miles with nothing to power the car but the Crystal.’

The blood drained from Jon’s face. ‘Are you sure?’

‘Certain. Eventually, the car started to lose power, but, fortunately, I was passing Avebury at the time, and so I recharged the Crystal for a couple of hours on one of the Cove Stones. I must have driven about six hundred miles since then.’

Jon was silent.

‘Congratulations,’ I said in an attempt to lighten his unexpectedly depressed mood.

‘What for?’ responded Jon, absentmindedly, distracted by his thoughts.

‘It pains me to say it,’ I confessed, ‘but you’ve got here the only piece of New Age pseudo-science that has ever been proven to work. I doubt if even Richard Dawkins, himself, could dispute it.’


It was a week later when Jon unexpectedly arrived at my flat.

‘What are you doing about your crystal?’ I asked as I poured him a glass of wine.

‘That’s why I’ve come to see you,’ he said. ‘I’ve destroyed it.’

‘Destroyed it?’

‘I smashed it to splinters with a hammer and then threw the shards into the sea.’

I poured myself another glass of wine as I took-in his words. ‘W-Why?’ I stammered in shocked surprise.

‘It would have annihilated the New Age Movement,’ he replied.

‘I don’t understand,’ I confessed. ‘Finally, you wouldn’t have people like me cynically criticising your beliefs and practices.’

‘New Age spiritualities make us feel good,’ Jon explained. ‘We know that none of our mystical assertions can be proven. Criticism from people like you helps to cement and consolidate our sense of being special, different and privileged to arcane knowledge.’ Jon reached for the wine bottle and poured himself a second glass. ‘Also, the mystics that lead us are kind and empathetic people, but they’re daft as brushes and have no grasp of science, maths or logical thinking. Goodness knows what chaos they’d cause if they had access to genuine sources of power that could cause actual effects in the real world.’

‘I hadn’t thought of that,’ I admitted. ‘But why would that lead to the end of the New Age Movement?’

‘Because they’d take it all away from us.’ He shook his head in despair.

‘Who are they?’

‘While what we do is ineffectual and a bit silly, everyone leaves us alone to get on with it. We can realise our callings as Masters of Secret Knowledge. If crystals produced power that could be harnessed, or religious rituals produced real effects, then scientists, the military and the government would take it all over. They’d study it, develop it, and bring it into the mainstream of technology.’ Tears formed in Jon’s eyes. ‘Believers would be left with nothing!’

Jon stared silently into space, tears rolling down his cheeks, as he contemplated the disintegration of this central pillar of his existence: the destruction of the very framework for emotional security and sanity which supported him and so many others.

I pondered on the acute accuracy of his analysis. ‘You may well be right,’ I concluded, ‘but why are you sharing this with me?’

‘You and I are the only ones who know about the Crystal,’ he said. ‘I’ve come to ask if you’ll keep all you know about it secret, including that I destroyed it.’

I thought about the wisdom of Jon’s words. I was deeply moved, and gave my word that I would tell no one about the Crystal. It was the least I could do to support my old friend and the mental wellbeing of countless New Age believers.

And, after all, I had lied about the Crystal powering my car.