Quadrant Coffee House and Used Book Store-Back Stairs

This is the first installment of a three-part series. Installment two will be posted tomorrow.

The date on the foundation stone of the old residence the Quadrant Coffee House and Used Book Store is 1927.

That was the year “Lucky Lindy,” flew solo across the Atlantic. There is an entire section on Lindberg and the history of powered flight. It’s located at the rear of the store—in some shelves under the back stairs. The lighting is good, it’s very quiet and there is usually an old chair nearby. Go alone on a rainy afternoon when the store is almost deserted and the rain and wind are buffeting the old leaded glass windows on the second floor landing. Read about the earliest days of travel through the sky and listen to the beautiful, indifferent sounds of nature. Let the quiet instruct and comfort you. And you may wish to give thought to how much as changed since those days and about the changes that are coming.

And 1927 was the same year T. Kilgore completed his book explaining his theory of levitation. Today it would be considered an attempt at anti-gravity propulsion theory—which most believers in UFOs agree is the only way these craft could achieve the speed and execute the maneuvers, that have been described in the UFO literature.

In 2002 Marvin Arthurs, MUFON regional director then living in Allentown PA, was browsing in his favorite used book store, The Liquid Mountain, when store owner and long-time friend Carl Pratt asked him to help unload some books at the back door.

Once in the alley behind the store and away from others who might overhear, Carl told Marvin about a recent unusual event. About a month previous he received a call from a man identifying himself as a buyer of rare and unusual books for an anonymous wealthy employer. He asked Carl if he had any copies of Kilgore’s book, On Levitation: Theoretical Constructs and Practical Applications.”

Carl did.  In fact Carl had 48 copies. Several years before his conversation with Marvin Carl had bought at auction, the inventory of a small publisher—a Long Island company called Harbor Lights that went out of business during the Second World War. Among a truckload of outdated high school textbooks and hundreds of titles having to do with the occult, the supernatural and the just plain strange, was the unopened carton of Kilgore’s book.

The caller expressed great interest in the books saying he had been hoping for a purchase on this scale and did Carl have any other copies? He asked Carl to put a hold on the box—he would be there the next day to buy it. The caller never asked the price.

When Carl arrived at the store the following morning the shop had been broken into—the carton of books was gone. The police report called the break-in, “…obviously the work of experts…[and]…”highly professional.” There were no clues.

Even more curious was, a few days after the break-in, Carl was talking to another used book store owner who said he also had an inquiry about Kilgore’s book. Calls to other used books store owners turned up the same thing—every used bookstore Carl called reported the same event. Only one store owner—out of many Carl called—had a copy which he sold to the caller as a routine transaction the same day. The buyer was described as a rather humorless woman in her 50s.

From what Carl could gather there were at least 3—possibly 5—callers searching for copies of this book. He passed along the information to police who thanked him. Carl heard nothing more.

The name T. Kilgore seemed vaguely familiar to Marvin but otherwise he had never heard of him. Routine “Google” queries turned up nothing.

A few weeks after his conversation with Carl, Marvin went to a standing lunch date at a favorite restaurant—known for its intricate French desserts—with a long-time friend, fellow UFO enthusiast and lover of French desserts—retired university instructor—Professor Ben Stone.  An expert in Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Stone was writing a biography of Nikola Tesla.

“T. Kilgore?” Stone responded incredulously, “the guy who wrote a book on levitation?”

“Yeah,” Marvin returned with a start. After weeks of frustrated searching he was amazed to find himself sitting across the table from someone he knew personally who knew who Kilgore was.

“I can’t believe somebody I know, knows who this guy was. I couldn’t find anything on him,” Marvin said, delighted at the coincidence.

This ends the first installment. Come back tomorrow for installment two.

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