Blog Jack London

Charmian Kittredge London

Unlike Upton and Mary Craig Sinclair, Jack London and his wife convey a general skepticism, even cynicism, about the paranormal. Jack’s experiences of an astrologer deadbeat dad and a flakey spiritualist medium mother seem to have left him an embittered cynic who tried to find humor in his personal history. But while he was a professed skeptic, two of his novels turned out to be weirdly prophetic. The Scarlet Plague is set in the 2010s, although published in 1908, and describes a catastrophic global pandemic. The Iron Heel, published in 1912, describes the arrival of a totalitarian communist dictatorship in the USA, predicting all the details of what Leninism and Stalinism would inflict on Russia– but he foresaw these events occurring in America and not Russia and died in 1916 before history proved him both right and wrong in his dystopian visions of the 20th and 21st centuries. Here is what his widow Charmian wrote about him in 1921: from pages 284-285, The Book of Jack London, Volume Two:

In logic he bowed to no one. His supple mind that never stiffened from disuse was of a clarity that allowed of no master. He but grasped and applied the conclusions of Master-minds, used them in the mosaic of his own. Yet here is a curious thing: In his dreams, at widely-spaced intervals, appeared the Man who would contest Jack’s self-mastership; to whom he  would eventually bend a vanquished intelligence. He never met such an one in the flesh, yet that entity stalked through more than the hallucinations of sleep. It was long ago that he first told me of this ominous figure in his consciousness. The last manifestation was within a very few years of his death. The man, imperial, inexorable with destiny, yet strangely human, descended, alone, a vast cascade of stairways, and Jack, at the foot, looked up and waited as imperially for the meeting that was to be his unknown fate. But the Nemesis, in that form at least, never overtook him. Was it Death? Or may it have been a reflection of his most exalted self that he came face to face with at these times?