"How do I look from the back?"
A short phrase that forever altered my preconceptions of The Secret.
Not long ago, Alex Sweeny, a member of "Shhh The Secret Podcast's" facebook group posted an intriguing find from pg 128 of the Secret: the taboo 'back of the book.' Of course he was met with the bullheaded response (or silence) of 7,000 reality television fans informing him that the back of the book was written pre-Secret and can't possibly contain clues.
This is true. The majority of the Field Guide to the Fair People was indeed produced pre-Secret and most likely contains no clues. However, three elements of the back of the book certainly were not prefab:
Delightful photographs and drawings of the Fair People
Inane captions to accompany them
A handy chart documenting the origins of the fair people and where they ended up in the new world. Quite in line with not only the book itself, but the theme of the puzzles.
What many failed to recognize with their knee-jerk dismissal of Alex's back of the book insight was that one of the largest unsolved mysteries of The Secret to date suddenly had a viable explanation.
While Alex applied his finding to San Francisco and New York as the destinations of the fair folk in question, I propose that his finding was more important for one of the solved puzzles: Cleveland.
For years, many have conjectured on possible reasons that the Cleveland Casque was in the opposite side of the planter from where Brian and Andy ended up after counting stones. Theories range from "we count backwards because of [______]" to "the entire verse is out of order since [______]." But to this day no one has a successfully filled in those blanks with objective reasoning.
A theory that Chris Woodford, Fenix and I have been leisurely working on posits that if, (for example), one were to recognize Cleveland as the Greek Puzzle, turn to the chart on pages 221-222 and cross reference the Fair People of Greek origin, then one could possibly find tips relating to the Cleveland Puzzle in their respective sections of the book.
And find a tip Alex did.
Mira Chimera is one of the Fair People of Greek origin. Her image is captioned, "Under the spell of the Mira Chimera, we wonder things like 'how do I look from the back?'"
With this in mind, were one to approach the planter in the Greek Cultural Garden, they would recognize the names Socrates, Pindar and Apelles on the planter and then realize this is where we're intended to count our stones. Obviously, this alone would fail to yield a casque.
They would then ponder on this phrase and maybe realize that they are to wonder how the identified point in the planter looks from the back. They can then head to the back, recognize a viable 7 steps, and hop on up. Voila! We're now on top of the casque.
In the image to the right, Brian and Andy have made it to the back of the planter due to an unfortunate wedding, 7 steps and hopping, but having also counted stones from this side, are actually at the opposite end of the planter.
An added bonus--almost certainly related--Mira Chimera is one of the few fair folk with a subtitle. Her full title is "Mira Chimera (On the Wall)"... On the Wall!? How astute!
But wait, there's more! The piece that Alex latched on to was that the chart also says that most of the Mira Chimera ended up in California. San Francisco's Image 1 has long been believed to be flipped as implied by the backwards Gh in the typeface of Ghiradelli. Perhaps Mira is the confirmation we needed to actually commit our efforts to seeing how the Image 1 elements interact from the back (or when reversed) as well...
It's not yet clear to me if there is a consistent method to finding these clues, but here's a handful of early ponderings:
The Tupperwearwolves of Dutch origin featuring this suspicious mushroom stem on a familiar checkered background that seems to hint at a fairly established clue from i9;
Irvin sporting New York and San Fran Giants jerseys could simply be linking the two cities to the two verses containing the word 'giant,' or could it be more? Coming abruptly to many a wall possibly hinting at a feature for one or both puzzles?;
Or an idiosyncrasy oft discussed with my friend Scott: this bizarre 24" ruler with 22.5" circled. Many already think 22 steps or more when they read v10. What's more 'or more' than 22.5?