From the Neue Weimarer Zeitung, 9 June 1999:

Travel Across Centuries?

Discovery of Letters By Goethe Reveal Remarkable Meeting

Just in time for the 250th birthday celebration of its most illustrious citizen, the city of Weimar released astonishing news concerning some letters apparently written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832). The letters in question, it is claimed, have recently been found and were addressed to Frau Charlotte von Stein, Goethe’s longtime friend and confidante whom he often likened to a divine, inspiring muse. She was the recipient of some 1500 letters by the poet. As a Weimar City Council official confirms, the ominous documents were discovered by a local cabinet maker who had been commissioned to undertake a routine restoration of all the furniture said to have belonged to Goethe. The pieces which can normally be seen at the Goethe Museum on Linden Strasse were sent to Breuer and Son’s for an overhaul. It was one of the firm’s employees who deserves the praise and minor fame for literally uncovering the priceless letters. Herr Ludwig Mahler decided to examine not only the wooden structure, but also the fabric upholstery of a large armchair said to have been Goethe’s favorite. Mahler found a carefully concealed, sewn-up leather pocket which contained some 20 or so letters, most of them in Goethe’s handwriting, and several pages so decidedly different from the rest that they evoked the strongest curiosity. Our readers will find it hard to believe, but Goethe’s letters to Frau von Stein tell of his meetings with a visitor from our own century. Strict examination of the paper, ink, lettering style etc. of some of the pages clearly reveal them to be from around 1960 - 70. Moreover, the authenticity of the leather pouch as well as of the letters written by Goethe outrule any possibility of forgery. Who then was this mysterious visitor? According to Goethe’s first letter, he came not only from almost 200 years into the future, but also from the distant shores of America. His name was Loren Eiseley, professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, and well-known author of such books as The Immense Journey and The Night Country. Dr. Eiseley shares with Goethe the rare distinction of being both a poet and a scientist. Without involving ourselves in the heated controversy about the credibility of such a meeting, we want to share with our readership a few of these fascinating documents. Read them with an open mind, suspending disbelief. Anybody wishing to obtain copies of the complete set of documents should contact the editors of this paper.
Go to Goethe's Letter I; Letter II
Go to Eiseley's First Journal Entry; Second Journal Entry
Back to Main Page