Once the design of the equipment was complete, Dixon moved his laboratory and his family into an abandoned air hanger previously used to assemble and mobilize general infantry units during the Great War. Despite Dixon’s genius, the machinery required to complete the translation was large, metallic; full of switches and hundreds of whining gears. And what noise it made: Dixon could feel the workings of the machinery within his body as the large gears tore at each other; the smaller, more intricate parts—pieces Dixon pored over with his soldering gun for weeks at a time—pierced the air like the shrieks of cats skinned alive.
They were secluded enough that the ruckus caused by the lab had no witnesses other than Dixon and his wife.
Dixon’s wife Maribel was the first test subject. A fellow physicist, Maribel was, one might say, distinguished—intelligent eyes, her blonde hair slowly giving itself over to a polite gray, the smile lines around her mouth both generous and unobtrusive. But she was sick, slowly dying of a cancer that would surely grow only more painful the longer her life wore on. Edward could sense in her a kind of dimming. He knew the Ghost-World was her only hope to survive the year.
It was a harrowing procedure. The telephone was then the Ghost-World’s only known entry point. Dixon knew Maribel’s body would first be decomposed into its individual molecules by the machinery, which then translated Maribel’s body into corresponding bolts of energy that traveled through some copper wiring to a telephone receiver.
It was a risk, Maribel knew, going first. But what was love if not our first and most important risk? She had loved Edward until now. Her molecules refused to unknow him; her energy, she was sure, would remember to love him.
When Maribel entered the machine, feet first, and slowly slipped inside up to her neck, Dixon begged her to stop. But she was resolute. For her, there would be no Ghost-World —only this one, without the burden of her body to weigh her down.
A message from the Ghost-World : be brave. Imagine a room full of shoes, how much potential that is.
Or the room of car keys, the room of overstuffed messenger bags. The room of travel-sized soaps.
Everything piles up by category, discrete lists of things that take me to you.
To find you I’ll need a fifth dimension, beyond space and time. I won’t name it—what this is, how I get to you. How I was found again, rescued again, restored again.
The Ghost-World hasn’t missed me. But I miss you.
I tell you this is what physics is:
our bodies in collision
In the Ghost-World we are just our voices,
particles and nothing else.
The way our imagined kiss
made the memory of our faces sweat
dreamed sordid private lives.
I tell you the Ghost-World
we can have no future here.
In the real world
the engine is idling
I tell you fire changes things
becomes alive. Your foot on the gas
Over the next two decades, Edward Dixon devoted himself to locating Maribel in the Ghost-World in order to return her to our plane of existence, the physical world. The world of physical love.
There is no map of the Ghost-World . Since Dixon’s experiments became part of the public record upon his court-ruled death in 1974, cartographers have puzzled themselves over the location of the Ghost-World, its topography. No map withstands the Ghost-World’s dizzying contradictions. And so, those who are lost there remain lost.
Among his papers and notes are several shredded documents carefully reconstructed by the graduate staff of this department to the best of their ability. Puzzling, these documents seem to be transcripts of a voice unlike Dixon’s. Philip Harwood, Dixon’s primary biographer, has theorized these documents are “automatic writings” resulting from the extensive drug and alcohol use of Dixon’s later years. Scholars of Dixon’s papers have not yet explained the significance of these writings, although they number upward of 10,000 documents.
Edward Dixon’s air hanger and physiotranslator (as it became known) were destroyed by fire around the time the scientist himself disappeared. Fire marshals agree it was arson but no suspect was ever named and the investigation was left unsolved.
There are many mysteries surrounding the Dixon experiments and we have yet to draw any significant conclusions regarding the Ghost-World, about Maribel Dixon, and about the fateful machine that possibly turned human flesh into dynmanic, non-corporeal energy.
Edward Dixon’s body was never discovered and his death was ruled a suicide by the New York courts at the petition of his brother Michael Dixon.
To be shapeless
is what you’ve given me
I can’t describe the form of your voice, its energy
or the timbre of our love, which has its own noise
I am in the dark
I am part of the dark
And yet, explain to me how it is
that only now
our voices have their own hands
their own needs
and make bodies out of sound
the complete body
has four hands, my love—
I am in your dark
I am waiting for you in this dark
nd my voice has opened itself like a glove
If I asked you
I am where
where I haven’t seen
or a mirror
in as long
No matter how long
I will hear
to find me
I will not be found.
where is my body?
There is no riddle
You have no need for body,