About Those Flying Stegosauruses


Yes, I know about the podcast Tanis, and no, I do not know what it is about and nor do I intend to listen to find out. Because of the podcast, I had to double-check whether Where is Tanis? was written by someone else or not.

So far, Jack Parson does appear to be the author.

Now, for the second person in my most recent bit of research: Edgar Rice Burroughs. Aside from being in the U.S. Army, stationed in Arizona, and later owning part of a small mining operation in Idaho, there seems to be no direct connection between him and Parsons.

Nor is there a direct connection to Dr. W. H. Ballou, save for what Ryan Harvey, writes in Edgar Rice Burrough’s Pellucidar Saga: Tarzan at the Earth’s Core:

“The dyor, [is] a Stegosaurus that can glide through the air by flattening its backplates. This isn’t entirely Burroughs’s whacked-out creation: Dr. W. H. Ballou floated the idea in a Utah newspaper article in 1920. Burroughs clipped unusual news stories for ideas, and he probably pulled this from his dinosaur file one day and went with it.”

Pellucidar is a fictional Hollow Earth invented by Burroughs.

So, let’s look once again at Parsons and other people that spent time at his mansion in Pasadena.

Enter sci-fi writer Robert A. Heinlein, who lived at Parsons home for a time. It is Heinlein who connects us to Burroughs.

He did not complete the first draft of The Number of the Beast, as Alan Brown points out in Long-Lost Treasure: The Pursuit of the Pankera vs. The Number of the Beast by Robert A. Heinlein:

“No one knows exactly why Heinlein abandoned the original version of his book, although that version draws heavily on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs and E. E. “Doc” Smith, and there may have been difficulties in gaining the rights to use those settings.”

A lesser-known science fiction writer Smith lived in Idaho as a child and young man. Following his retirement as a chemical engineer, he split his time between Florida and Seaside, Oregon.

It is Seaside that my Uncle Orville first retired to before he and Aunt Francis moved to Salem. It gets even stranger.

In several interviews, Charles Manson said many of his ideas came from Robert Heinlein’s 1961 novel Stranger In A Strange Land. Mansion even claimed to be a combination of the characters Valentine Michael Smith and Jubal Harshaw.

Jubal means father of all, a role Manson assumed. He also named his son Valentine Michael.

Manson also found influence in Dianetics and something called the Process, founded by Robert and Maryanne DeGrimston in London in 1963 as an offshoot of Scientology.

Rabbit hole my ass…

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