THE AVALONIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD
‘The Reverend Boris Gestetner’s Journey to the Holy Land’, plus Templates for the re-creation of original photocopy-art
Story: Bruce Garrard, Artwork: Matthew Sleigh
32 pages, A5 booklet
Published 1991 (or purportedly 2525)
The Avalonian Book of the Dead is a mystical text that was found imprinted, as the result of psychoradioactive forces, on the inside of a brown paper wrapper. The paper had been used to parcel up the Legendary Holy Grail. The strange glyphs and jumbled text, which appear to bear a relationship to 20th century English, have fascinated scholars and antiquarians for centuries. The original is now preserved in a vacuum-sealed hyper-frame at the Avalonian National Museum of Theological Artefacts, which recently celebrated its 529th anniversary with a special exhibition featuring large-scale facsimile≤ of the eleven imprinted sections, or “pages”, of the Book itself.
The Book is called the ‘Book of the Dead’ because of its apparent similarity in theme and overall structure to the Egyptian and Tibetan Books of the Dead. Interpretations vary widely, however; some commentators believe it to be the rules for a highly complex board game, and at least one has suggested that it is a blueprint for Creation that malfunctioned, and had to be replaced by a better model.
There have also been arguments concerning the origins of the Book, some claiming it to be a 23rd century forgery, created to raise flagging interest in the ‘New Age Jerusalem’ of Glastonbury which relied for its income on pilgrims and tourists. The first stories of miracles connected with the Book date from a time of economic crisis when the 10th generation hippies, who then inhabited the town, were to have their Hereditary Unemployment Benefit cut off.
This theory may contain some truth, but it does not reduce the interest of the Book itself to the general reader. The authenticity of the Reverend Boris Gestetner, founder of the Museum in 1986 and according to legend the discoverer of the Avalonian Book of the Dead, can be verified. His name appears in the Court Rolls for Shepton Mallet in the year 1991, when he was arraigned before the Justices for not paying his Poll Tax. It is said that his journey to the East, and his subsequent life devoted entirely to contemplative prayer, were both motivated partly by his desire to avoid the infamous Community Charge.
The text that accompanies the Book is the story of the Book’s discovery. The account was preserved by the immortalist Edgar Bone, who was killed in a tragic teleportation accident at the age of 602. His effects included the present manuscript, which has been specially edited for inclusion in this volume. It is presented simply as the Reverend Boris Gestetner’s own words.
William B. Gestetner, Glastonbury, Avalonia, 23rd September 2525.