Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Carolines, the condensed version

Before he was thirty years of age, Townsend would be introduced to an informal, but powerful, network of wealthy industrialists. These "influential connections" were dubbed the Carolines in DEFYING GRAVITY.  The name was taken from the private yacht (the second longest in the world at that time) used for the research expedition that brought LTJG Townsend into William Stephenson's circle.  Eldridge Johnson's boat was so luxurious that it even had a wood-paneled library graced with Lewis Carroll's original manuscript of Through the Looking Glass (under glass, of course).

Alliances formed at that time would weave through and influence Townsend's life for years to come. A fellow "Caroline operative" in the German army was assigned to make sure that the research scientist (the one Townsend parachuted into Germany to meet) arrived in one piece.  When the mission failed and Townsend was captured, it was still another Caroline, future guided missile expert Robert Sarbacher, who came to Townsend's rescue.  We know what we know about this early Caroline lineage from Mr. Twigsnapper who was recruited by Townsend himself..

But the organization seemed to fade away after the war  The inherent high strangeness of Townsend Brown's career often makes it difficult to sort out the agendas and players at work. As friend, Nate Cull, says:

Trying to guess at Caroline add-ons is like looking for an extra clown in the clown bus. They've all got big noses and are sitting there honking. Which one's the really weird one?

Linda calls this influence "Nassau," because that was how her parents referred to Sir William when he came calling at the lab. The Nassau theme was reiterated with a mysterious souvenir postcard that she received, out of the blue, in 2004.  It seems that Nassau, or at least one or two current day, semi-anonymous representatives of the confederation, have an interest in seeing that the Townsend Brown story gets uncovered and reported.

They have been immensely helpful in getting the right documents to us at just the right time. Thank you, Semi-Anonymous Nassauns.

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