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from people intrigued by the quotes from the Principia with which we had decorated the heads of several chapters. Many, who had already heard of the Principia or seen copies, asked if Shea and I had written it, or if we had copies available. Others wrote to ask if it were real, or just something we had invented the way H.P. Lovecraft invented the Necronomicon. We answered according to our moods, sometimes telling the truth, sometimes spreading the most Godawful lies and myths we could devise fnord.

Why not? We felt that this book was a true Classic (literatus immortalis) and, since the alleged intelligentsia had not yet discovered it, the best way to keep its legend alive was to encourage the mythology and the controversy about it. Increasingly, people wrote to ask me if Timothy Leary had written it, and I almost always told them he had, except on Fridays when I am more whimsical, in which case I told them it had been transmitted by a canine intelligence – vast, cool, and unsympathic – from the Dog Star, Sirius.

Now, at last, the truth can be told.

Actually, the Principia is the work of a time-travelling anthropologist from the 23rd Century. He is currently passing among us as a computer specialist, bon vivant and philosopher named Gregory Hill. He has also translated several volumes of Etruscan erotic poetry, under another pen-name, and in the 18th Century was the mysterious Man in Black who gave Jefferson the design for the Great Seal of the United States.

I have it on good authority that he is one of the most accomplished time-travelers in the galaxy and has visited Earth many times in the past, using such cover-identities as Zeno of Elias, Emperor Norton, Count Cagliostro, Guilliame of Aquaitaine, etc. Whenever I question him about this, he grows very evasive and attempts to persuade me that he is actually just another 20th Century Earthman and that all my ideas about his extraterrestrial and extratemporal origin