Sword Swallowing

Andrew Collins. The Seventh Sword: The Search to Find the Seven Swords of Meonia. Arrow, 1992.
Today with the controversy raging around Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and its imminent release as a major motion picture in 2006, it's worth noting that such mixtures of fact and fiction are far from new. Former ufologist Andrew Collins has been a long-time exponent of the psychic adventure quest, and his book The Seventh Sword is probably the most accessible to a general audience.

At its best this is an exciting psychic adventure story revolving around Andrew Collins and his helpers Graham Phillips, Alan Beard, Terry Shotton and a family in North Wales. They use dreams, séances, intuitions and automatic writing mixed with large dollops of luck, to find the first Meonia Sword at the Knights Pool, Worcestershire in 1979. This quickly leads to the discovery of the Meonia Stone (or Green Stone) not far away. They believe the stone is like a psychic microchip that contains a vast library of knowledge.

Andrew and Graham smoke their Benson and Marlboro cigarettes, frown over Ordnance Survey maps, drive yellow Ford Cortinas and Austin Maxis, and indulge in fry-ups. This ‘designer’ materialism makes a stark contrast with the psychic visions that lead Andrew to five more Meonia Swords over the next twelve years.

At its worst The Seventh Sword is no more than a hall of mirrors, that turns Andrew Collins into the Indiana Jones of the British counties. The swords are discovered to be Victorian copies, but Andrew explains that the originals were probably replaced by ‘some quasi-Masonic occult fraternity’. The stone is associated with the Pharaoh Akhenaten, the Knights Templar, the legend of the Philosopher’s Stone, Mary Queen of Scots, Freemasons you name it!

They are so set on their quest that they resort to vandalism, trespassing and even stealing. There is also the shadowy threat of a rival occult group blocking their quest. After Part One, with Graham Phillips disappearing from the story, and new visionaries appearing, the adventure peters out, and the book degenerates into a mess of historical reinterpretation.

At the end The Seventh Sword remains undiscovered, and readers are invited to search for it themselves. What puzzles me is what good are all these (reproduction) swords and the Meonia Stone? They are invaluable if you like rushing round the countryside in the dead of night on the pretext of psychic whims, re-writing history, or even believing you can influence current events through these discoveries. The evidence is as flimsy as a lap dancer’s G-string. For materialists and cynics, just buy a metal detector and some proper history or archaeological books, and you’ll probably find more treasure than all the psychic quests put together. -- Nigel Watson, fro Magonia Supplement 61, May 2006.

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