#36 – Barry Fell’s Opinion Sought – 1986

Written by Virginia Hourigan

I arrived home with seventeen rolls of print film, all but one containing thirty-six shots. I spent hundreds of hours finding a shop to print them adequately, sorting out the best views, obtaining duplicates, cataloging and numbering them and putting them into an album for display – not to mention hundreds of dollars I could ill afford by then. I went back to work at my part-time typesetting job. I began practicing to get back my skills on my instrument, to be ready for professional jobs as a musician. And I wondered where to go from there with the pictures.

One of the first things I did was to write a letter to Barry Fell in San Diego, in the hope of arousing his interest in translating some of the stones. Jack had said he had offered to pay Fell’s expenses to come and look at them and that Fell had responded that he was too busy, but Jack couldn’t find the letter, he said, and I wasn’t too sure this was the truth. However, Fell had never heard of me, and even if he’d been turned off by Jack he might take another look. I sent him a dozen or so photos to pique his interest.

Pretty soon a blistering letter arrived from Fell. He was irate because, he said, he’d told Jack the stones were fakes and now I was saying Jack was telling people something else. He said he was appointing me to a committee charged with finding out where these fakes were coming from. This was slightly flattering, but I didn’t care to waste my time on a committee whose decision was known in advance, so I telephoned him to tell him so. I wanted to say that if someone were faking these stones it couldn’t be Jack – he hadn’t the skill.

Fell wasn’t listening. As soon as he found out who was calling he launched into a tirade lasting a good twenty minutes. I managed to get a word in to promise that everyone would know his opinion of the stones, but this just enraged him all the more. It was too late for that, he said, and he would see to it that these fraud artists were caught and punished. He sounded as if he thought I was one. Finally he announced that I was a very rude person and slammed down the phone.

The next day his friend, Wayne Kenaston, called to pour some oil on the troubled waters.

“It sounds to me as if Barry’s doing the same thing he blames the archaeological “establishment” for doing – dismissing the evidence without even looking at it,” he said.

“It does look that way, doesn’t it?” I agreed.

“Well, please don’t ask for your pictures back. Not now, anyway. I’ll handle Barry. And if you ever come to San Diego please let me know. I’d really like to see your pictures.”

“Okay, I will.” So that was that.