Towards the end of the 20th century, people around the world grew tired with the grey, concrete realities of society and began seeking an alternative, more meaningful existence built on a closer harmony between mankind and nature, and between all races and creeds.
Author Carl Borgen was one of them. A disillusioned kid from Canada, he rebelled in his teens and proceeded to travel across Asia, following a free-spirited hippie trail on the hunt for happiness, adventures, and the answers to life.
His new book, Temporarily Insane, charts this journey and how, in Goa, it brought him and his associates into contact with exactly the alternative mythos that they had all been searching for: The Bock Saga.
Best described as a creation myth related in encyclopaedic detail, the Bock Saga was revealed to the world by Ior Bock, a Finnish mystic who claimed that his family had been tasked millennia before with guarding the secrets it contained until the time was right.
Being the last in his line, he finally divulged this story in 1984, telling of a hitherto unknown progenitor civilisation, the ‘Aser’, that arose in what was then the North Pole and who seeded the planet, gifting the arts of language and universal knowledge to their descendants.
This people were said to have lived in the ‘Paradise Time’, an era when humans lived in total harmony with the natural world, before their light was extinguished by a coming ice age.
What most captured Carl and his friends was the promise from Bock that a second Paradise Time could arise if only the priceless artefacts of the Aser could be uncovered from the frozen wastes in which they were still buried.
In his native Finland, Bock’s wild and colourful claims were met with scorn by politicians and academics—possibly because of political sensitivities with their neighbouring country, Sweden—but the young hippies who heard that story from this new-age sage knew then and there that they had finally found their purpose.
So, in 1987, an unlikely group of rag-tag heroes descended upon the Bock family estate and began excavations at the nearby Temple of Lemminkäinen. A sediment-filled cave located under a hill 30km east of Helsinki, it supposedly marks the entrance to a fabled treasure chamber that would make Tutankhamun’s gold-laden tomb look like the last stall at a car boot sale.
While the author chose not to follow his friends, dubbed the “Temple Twelve”, on their quest, he has since become their chronicler and the leading historian for the Bock Saga.
In Temporarily Insane, he details their decades’ long odyssey to clear the temple and locate the Bock treasures so the world can be reborn.
And what a unique, crazy and utterly compelling story this is. From the singular presence of Ior Bock and the somewhat unorthodox archaeological methods employed by the Temple Twelve (read, dynamite and drug smuggling to purchase excavation equipment) to the Bock Saga itself, this is one of those rare real-life stories that beats even the most fantastic fiction.
What really makes Temporarily Insane shine is the author’s stance. He is still in love with the saga and what it represents, but he is no uncritical devotee. Borgen is the first to recognise that there are many reasons to be sceptical and frames this story with unflinching honesty.
He does not shy away from the media furore that followed Ior Bock, undoubtedly a magnetic if divisive individual, nor his sad fate, attacked on two occasions with the first leaving him wheelchair-bound and the second resulting in his murder, in 2010.
I was gripped by the unfolding events and how he was able to amass a following that would willingly sacrifice years of their lives to a pursuit that, at best, is a long shot to ultimately pay off.
I was also completely engrossed in the vivid presentation of the hippie trail and the care-free lives that Carl and friends ended up living, and how the Temple Twelve continued to pursue that idealised lifestyle—while raising young children—despite the many challenges and setbacks they encountered.
There’s no conclusion to the story, in the sense that the group, which has seen old members exit and new members join over the years, is yet to strike prehistoric gold.
But this is one of those books where the journey is far more entertaining than the destination, and if you’re like me, you’ll soon find yourself swept up in the madness.
Personally, I’d love for these merry misfits to get the last laugh. They’re underdogs that have resisted all attempts to shut them down and their goal is worthy, if very left-field.
Reading the book, you get the sense of being a silent companion on their dig, which I imagine would be like watching Time Team if the crew had all dropped acid.
You also come away with a good understanding of the Bock Saga, which is subtly woven into the wider narrative. Interest in this alternative creation myth continues to grow and, for those who want to learn more, you can read author Carl Borgen’s first book, The Bock Saga: An Introduction.
Most likely, this book will appeal most to those with a strong interest in new age prophecy, secret history, Norse sagas and true adventures.
But the story is so unusual and well-told that it will appeal to anyone who wants a book that will take them firmly off the beaten path.
The Temple Twelve may or may not succeed in restoring Eden, but in the interim we can all have a glimpse of Paradise Time.
Carl Borgen is one of the world’s leading experts on The Bock Saga and the first person to put Ior Bock’s story into written form. He is the author of The Bock Saga: An Introduction and new title, Temporarily Insane, which details the 35-year hunt for the Bock treasures, out now in hardcover, paperback and eBook formats priced £19.99, £12.75 and £4.99 respectively. Further information about The Bock Saga can be found at www.carlborgen.com and www.bocksaga.info.
Q&A INTERVIEW WITH CARL BORGEN
Historian and author Carl Borgen explains more about the Bock Saga, why it worth studying, and what we might discover if the Bock treasures are finally discovered.
Q. How would you describe, in essence, the Bock Saga?
A. The Bock Saga is the story of mankind as passed down through the generations of the Bock family, the Finnish family of Ior Bock whom, according to him, were the keepers of an ancient oral tradition that sheds light on the heathen culture of Finland and its history.
It begins with the first two people dwelling on this earth and ends with the untimely and tragic death of Ior Bock in 2010. It covers a huge time span and an enormous number of events have taken place since then. The Bock Saga narrates this all in great detail. It is, in short, an enormous story.
Q. Why should more people be aware of the Bock Saga?
A. The Bock Saga is, apart from being an interesting story, a trip for the mind. We are accustomed to think in certain patterns about the world around us, and our lives within that we are not fully conscious of. Getting to know the Bock Saga makes us aware of different possibilities of the past and, therefore, the present times. Many big and small problems the world faces could have been prevented if mankind would have a different mindset, especially the man-made ones. The Bock Saga makes many cultural events in our current lives comprehensible and logic. Getting to know the Bock Saga involves many ‘Aha!’ moments.
Q. The Bock Saga talks of a ‘root’ language and alphabet. Can you explain more about this, and its significance?
A. The Root language was the first language spoken, by the first people on the planet. It differs from our modern languages in that each sound has a meaning. This gives the Bock Saga a structure, not unlike numbers, which give structure to physics. It also ensures that the Bock Saga was transferred from one generation to the next without changes. To use an analogy, Einstein told his son ‘E=MC2’. This son told the same to Einstein’s grandson, and so on rather than something else. If there would be a mistake somewhere in the transfer of the Bock Saga it would have been noticed, because the sounds would be out of harmony with their meanings. If you would add words from Star Wars, as an example, you would find it would stand out as gibberish in the Root language and therefore cannot be part of the Bock Saga.
The alphabet is called the ‘Alfarnas-Beten’, the rhyme of the All-father, and tells a story by itself. It contains how people in Paradise Time procreated in harmony with nature and each other. The study of the Bock Saga is mostly the study of the alphabet. The Root is basically the Swedish language in the dialect spoken in southern Finland. All other languages are derived from it. The originals meanings of the sound are to be found in all other languages.
Q. You have praised the Bock Saga as “encyclopaedic” in its detail. Can you provide some examples of this?
A. The first part of the Bock Saga mainly describes the complicated organisation of the procreation system in the Paradise Time. It started with the first two people who were human and tells how and why the people populated the planet and lived happily ever after. That is until this period ended with the coming of the ice age.
The encyclopaedic feel to the Bock Saga is because of the way the global organisation they lived by was encoded in the Root language. What Ior Bock often did was to just explain words and their meaning within the Root language. One way of telling the Bock Saga would be to just go over the Swedish dictionary and explain all words within this sound system.
You can study the Bock Saga your whole life. It is not the kind of book that you read and then you know it. Just like all great works of philosophy, you can study it over and over and keep learning while doing it.
Q. Ior Bock claimed to have been passing down the Bock Saga to the world as a family duty. Why do you think that it is credible that he was being genuine rather than, perhaps, being dismissed as a fantasist?
A. I and many others have had this thought. The fact is that Ior’s job in daily life was to be a storyteller. But, the Bock Saga is just too large and too well-constructed to be made up by one person. I knew Ior to be a person who did not have a very structural and mathematic mind. The Bock Saga is huge and has countless facets, but does not contradict itself anywhere. That is remarkable for any story and certainly for a person like Ior Bock to make up.
Other candidates suggested to have made up the Bock Saga were Ior’s mother and aunt, who told him the story. That would be a practical joke of galactic size: to have your son sit two hours a day and listen to a made-up story for 20 years and make sure his life after you die is ruined! It is very unlikely. It is said, by the way, that Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, the creator of Pippi Longstocking, was a regular at their home. Ior’s mother was, it is claimed, the model after whom Pippi was sculpted.
The most probably option is that Ior just spoke the truth and everything is as it seems.
Q. The search for the Bock treasure has been impeded by a lack of funding. Do you think this could be addressed by making the site a tourist attraction, and why do you think people would pay to see it?
A. Well, there were many discussions within the Temple Twelve about it. My personal point of view as an old hippie is that it is a waste of time focusing on making enough money to open the treasure house. I think that when there is enough interest, and when the larger audience wants to open it, there will be funds from somewhere.
I think it should be free to visit and not limited to people who can afford it. It should be a gift to everyone. If they do find this temple with the said treasures then what will most likely happen is that the place will be closed down for at least 20 years for the archaeologists to research it. It will be labelled as a ‘national treasure’, similar to the Dead Sea Scrolls that were only available to chosen scientists. It is very uncertain if everyone will get the chance to see the treasure afterwards. I personally think I have only one chance to see it: the day that the golden door will be opened. If you want to see it, too, then make sure you are there that day!
Q. What originally drew you to the Bock Saga, and what has held your interest ever since?
A. In the beginning, 1986, I was not open to it. I thought it was another guru-style thing where you had to follow somebody’s crazy thoughts. I suspected it was something religious, which usually means all kinds of taboos and stuff that you cannot eat.
My friends at the time really went for the Bock Saga and told me about it over the years. I realised I had been wrong, but still didn’t want to commit my life to it. Their commitment was directed mainly at opening the treasures in the temple. For me, the treasure was the Bock Saga itself. Apart from that, I had other thing to do in my life. I had a great burden of a family saga myself and that was more than enough! It was only when we sat down to record the Bock Saga that I fully understood its greatness and its value. It is much more than a nice captive story like The Lord of the Rings.
Q. The Bock Saga speaks of an unparalleled treasure trove waiting to be discovered. Can you give us an idea of what we may, one day, uncover?
A. There has been much speculation on the actual size of the storehouse. One theory goes as follows: if every Lemminkäinen of every generation had a room and if, according to Ior Bock, there were more generations than people in modern-day Finland (circa 1987AD)—which was about five million—there must be more than five million rooms in the storehouse. If each room is an average of 2m wide, there would be a path of 10 million metres, or 10,000km, on the inside of the conical cavity. The path with all the rooms would spiral down, and even though each consecutive spiral would be larger and hold more rooms than the one above, there would still be a massive number of spirals indeed.
Each room would contain the accumulated majestic gifts of the people from all over the planet to the All-father and his family. Think of the treasures of Tutankhamun, but for each generation. That is about five million times the treasure of Tutankhamun.
If this is true, it would be the most fabulous treasure trove in the history of mankind and, according to the Bock Saga, it is all still there, since nobody has removed any of it since the storehouse was closed in the year 987AD.
Q. You have another two books coming out next year about the Bock Saga. Can you tell us more about them?
A. These are novels. The Squatters Gang is about a 1980s group of (sub) urban kids who try to find their way in life. What they don’t know is that they are manipulated by the gods of the Bock Saga. Because these gods are only human themselves, in contrast to most other gods, they make mistakes too. They actually don’t know very much about how to handle the situation and how to save the planet and the human race from itself.
The other novel is The End Of Paradise, which is set in the Paradise Time of the Bock Saga. In this period actually not much happened except at the end, when an ice age starts and the shifting of the Earth’s axis brings on disaster and destruction to the harmony and order. It is kind of a fairy tale/fantasy novel with dragons and elves. But, in Bock Saga style, no laws of nature are broken and the dragons are people who drag-on, the elves are the eleven brothers of the All-father and so on. It is a story about normal people of that time in extraordinary times trying to do their best. They succeed and fail, like we would do.