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Invisibility: Mastering the Art of Vanishing (1982)

by Steve Richards

How to Disappear Completely and Never be Found (1986)

by Doug Richmond

The most absurd (and absurdly entertaining) books on the market today are the so-called "New Age" books, which, like the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, urge people to believe impossible things. The most absurd of this genre are those that purport to teach people not only how to believe, but to do, impossible things.

I'll tell you what I believe: I believe there could not exist a doctrine absurd or silly enough to prevent New Agers from swallowing it whole -- and buying expensive books about it.

The most entertaining thing about reading books like Richards' is seeing how an author goes about filling up a book without ever really addressing the book's central question. Sample this excerpt:

If you have absolute privacy, and I do mean absolute privacy, you might want to do some chanting along with the staring and the de-focusing. . . .

The mantra to use here is RA-MA. It is the name of a Hindu god, and it is the name of an Egyptian god, and it is also the name of the city where the School of the Prophets was founded in ancient Palestine. H. Spencer Lewis says that the syllable RA represents the positive, masculine energy in the universe, and that MA represents the negative, feminine potency. Together, they represent the creative power that brought the universe into existence out of the cloud in the beginning. By chanting these syllables together, we bring some of that creative power into the present day, and once again call into existence that cloud out of which the Cosmos was formed.

Each syllable should be drawn out, thus: RAHHHHHHHHHMAHHHHHHHHH and should be repeated fifteen or twenty times per session. As you chant the mantra, bear in mind that you are trying to bring together the dual sex potencies in the universe and produce a manifestation thereby.

At this point I may as well be honest with you and tell you that all of this will not fall into place the very first time you do it. I have had people tell me that they tried fifty times or more before they started getting results. Anything worth doing is worth doing repeatedly. But the cloud can be formed, and has been formed hundreds of times by the Wise.

Now the biggest problem that you will have is not producing the cloud, but recognizing that you are producing the cloud. Sometimes you will be concentrating and you will see what appear to be heat waves, radiating from the spot where you are staring. If you see this, congratulations! This is not it!

What kind of people are foolish enough to believe they can become invisible? I don't know, but I'll bet there are a lot of them: New Age books sell in the millions. That makes ME want to disappear. Unfortunately, however, though i agree with the author's contention that there are lots of methods to effect one's disappearance, I'm sane enough to realize that the only methods that work involve disguises and fake documents.

Which brings us to Richmond's helpful handbook for the disgruntled, How To Disappear Completely and Never be Found. The title alone will be enough to entice those inclined to such a course of action.

I've come to the conclusion that perhaps it is the men who don't disappear who should be pitied. They are the grouchy, embittered, ulcer-ridden men one sees every day . . .

[T]he disappearees in our midst -- and they are legion! -- who constitute a minority group in every sense of the word, are refreshing in that they aren't hollering for handouts, howling about discrimination, or complaining about their lack of opportunity. And though in modern society the problems of an adult with no "paper background" are manifold and pressing, these people go calmly about overcoming their problems unaided, alone and with a complete absence of bitching.

And I believe it can be truly said that they are the only group that has come anywhere near to beating the system.

I salute them!