Speaking of Egypt and time travel and being rather long lived myself, I have long been fascinated by the notion of time capsules and in particular the one hidden in London’s ‘Cleopatra’s needle’ on the Victoria embankment. The needle itself is obvious but few people know about the time capsule. It was placed there by the occultist Joseph Bonomi (see below) just before his death in an early attempt at Cryonics.
Amongst the collection of typically odd time capsule items (including photographs of the good looking English women of the day, a box of hairpins (why?), tobacco pipes, a set of weights, a baby’s bottle (why?!!), some toys, a razor, coins, a picture of Queen Victoria, a history of the strange tale of the monument, a translation of its inscriptions, a map of London and various daily newspapers), Bonomi included a vial of his blood and possibly and rather gruesomely, a piece of his flesh in a cigar box together with magical instructions written on vellum. It didn’t save him – in fact, the reputed curse of the needle may have precipitated his untimely end almost immediately afterwards but he firmly believed that beings would exist in the future who would be able to re-incarnate him from his tissue. This may seem ludicrous but many people who are not blessed with longevity are still doing this sort of thing. You can visit the Cryonics society here.
I like the needle – it is one of those London features that we pass many times without noticing. I recently visited its twin in New York’s Central Park. When people talk about the special relationship between the USA and the UK, they rarely realise that if this exists, it is entirely because of the symbiosis between these two monuments. There is a third – erected in Paris in order to foster further harmony – but in fact it does not match – which perhaps explains the odd, slightly antagonistic relationship between our countries and France. Of course all three were plundered from Alexandria where they had been buried in the sand for thousands of years. The story of their transport is remarkable – the plaque on the London needle records the names of the six men whose lives the curse claimed on its journey here. Bonomi’s Clerkenwell colleague the psychic engineer Samuel Warner may also have been involved in the journey and the amazing mysterious means of movement of theses giant objects.
There is no prescribed date for the unlocking of the casket in the London needle. How will we decide when it is time? Perhaps we won’t be here at all. I would be interested to know it there is a similar casket in its New York counterpart. Do let me know if you know. And if you too are interested in time capsules, there is an entire society devoted to them at the Crypt of Civilisation.