Aspects of Mel’s Hole: Artists Respond to a Paranormal Land Event Occurring in RadiospaceDoug Harvey, Margaret Wertheim, Christine Wertheim, Judith E. Vida Spence, Reverend Ethan Acres, David B, Brian Tucker, Mike McGee, Paul Laffoley
In 1997 radio host Art Bell first introduced his listeners to Mel Waters, a man from Eastern Washington who claimed to have discovered an ancient and apparently bottomless pit on his property. The story of the hole was remarkable enough, but the subsequent events took an almost surreal bent – Mel was threatened into silence by the US military, exiled into cushy Wombat Restoration service in Australia, and tipped off to a second bottomless pit in Nevada. As the story unfolded over the course of several years, it garnered many followers, not just among connoisseurs of paranormal research, but among artists and writers as well. After Mel’s last official appearance on Bell’s show in early 2002, LA Weekly art critic Doug Harvey began approaching artists to participate in a curatorial project centered on this contemporary mythological lacuna. The response was overwhelming, and on the 10- year anniversary of the disclosure of Mel’s Hole, Cal State Fullerton’s Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana presented the exhibition Aspects of Mel’s Hole: Artists Respond to a Paranormal Land Event Occurring in Radiospace. The catalog includes contributions from Georganne Deen, Jeffrey Vallance, Marnie Weber, Paul Laffoley, The Center for Land Use Interpretation, and many others. It also includes short essays exploring the cultural, philosophical, psychological, and scientific implications of Mel’s Hole, and contributions from Harvey, Margaret Wertheim and Christine Wertheim of the Institute for Figuring, psychoanalyst/art collector Judy Spence, and others.