While I was growing up, I knew Charles A. Marcoux simply as Uncle Charlie. His first wife, Margaret Marie Halstead (or simply, Aunt Marie), was my father's half-sister. They moved to Arizona before I was born, which in the 60's and 70's may as well have been the dark side of the moon given that my family lived in Flint, Michigan. Contact was limited to the occasional letter or card, and the traditional Christmas morning phone call. My parents made two trips out to Arizona to visit with them; the first in 1962, before I was born, and again in 1971 when I was six years old. That was the only time I ever met my Uncle Charlie. He was recovering from a recent stroke and didn't get around much. My memories of him were that he was kind, if somewhat unsure how to have a conversation with a young boy. After he left my aunt in the late 1970's, we lost all contact with him. My aunt received a phone call from Uncle Charlies second wife sometime in the early 1980's informing her that he was dead, but we never had anything but rumors as to the how and where. That's where things sat for over three decades.
In early 2014, I was reading a book by John Michael Greer called The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies. The book mentioned Palmer and Shaver, which set off a bunch of itching in the back of my brain. I grilled my parents, did some searching on the Internet, and discovered a great deal of information on ol' Uncle Charlie that I never had the slightest idea was out there. I decided to start this blog mostly as a repository of what I dig up.
A couple things to make clear: First, this is not some dispassionate Wikipedia-style summary. Charles A. Marcoux was family, and this blog is intended to be my personal view of Uncle Charlie. As such, it will contain facts, rumors, opinions and observations on his work and his life. For example, I am not a doctor, but reading Uncle Charlie's own words reminds me a great deal of some of the case histories I studied in my Freshman Abnormal Psych class. People these days who report seeing visions and hearing voices in their head are assumed to be suffering from some form of mental illness. (I have often said that if modern psychiatry has existed several thousand years ago, the world's three main religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, would not exist.)
On the other hand, I remember Uncle Charlie as a kind, cheerful, energetic person who would talk anyone's ear off who would listen. When I met him, I was only six, so about 99.9% of what he said in my hearing was merely verbal noise. Besides, I was way more interested in my books and stickers and puzzles and all the other things that occupied a six-year-old in the "pre-digital" age. But everyone I've contacted since starting this little quest describes him in much the same way; an intelligent, well-spoken person with passionately held beliefs. A person who never knew a stranger, who was kind, who was loving to his family. Not generally what one would expect people to say about some crazed lunatic chasing little green men down old mine shafts.
Which brings me to my second point: From where I sit, Palmer, the mysterious person known only as "L", possibly Shaver, and others, were involved in an intentional hoax that started as a way to boost sales of the pulp sci-fi magazines that they had direct financial interests in. Like a number of other hoaxes (the above-mentioned book by Greer has several examples), it seems to have taken on a life of it's own, sweeping up the gullible and mentally ill, and seems to still be alive and well on the internet. It also resulted in at least one premature death; Uncle Charlie died from a heart attack brought on by bee stings while preparing to explore the Blowing Cavern in Cushman, Arkansas. His is likely not the only one. While researching Uncle Charlie's life, I've encountered a number of stories of people who vanished while searching caves for an entrance to Shaver's secret underworld. Those people were not done in by bug-eyed aliens or lizard people. If they were lucky, they died a relatively quick death after a fall or by drowning. More likely, they died slowly and painfully from starvation or thirst, after being injured or becoming lost, in a suffocating blackness that has to be experienced to be appreciated. Caves are no place for delusional amateurs.
If anyone has any information on Uncle Charlie, or can make introductions to those who do, please contact me. I am especially interested in tracking down Uncle Charlie's journals and drawings before they disappear for good.
[Update: I am now in contact with Uncle Charlie's second wife who is in possession of his work. She is putting together a "care package" for me as I type this. Further updates when I here from her.]