The letter I received addressed to a dead man


Yesterday, the stack of Comment Forms was piled high in the In tray. I’d gotten through most of them, responding to those who had provided contact details, scanning and sending those that were for the attention of other departments. Office things, menial things. Today, I arrived to find another thick stack, and I warred silently with myself, whether I, in good conscience, could ignore it, and let it fall instead to somebody else. No, I found myself thinking, this has become my domain, this corner. I will at least look over the new arrivals, and decide what I can handle.

It wasn’t a pile of individual complaints, people’s whinges about the cost of leaving their luggage, or the number of girls taking selfies with the art. No, it was a single comment form, stapled backwards and upside-down to a three-page essay with the main body of the form itself bearing the cryptic header “Please Heed This, sirs.”

What followed was incomprehensible gibberish, mostly, interspersed with such odd phrases as “i whish for notes on petinence” (penitence? pertinence?) and “I remain your humble servant.” The entire diatribe was scrawled in smudgy pencil in a sloppy, but decisive hand. The contact details are undecipherable. 

Perhaps oddest of all, though, is that the letter, for that’s all it can really be called, is addressed to, that is, it speaks in second person to, Anthony Caro, an English sculptor best known for his abstract compositions of wood and steel. 

The salutation reads “My dear most Beloved Sir Antony (sic) Caro.” 

Anthony Caro, as you might have surmised from the title of this post, is dead. 

I thought, perhaps, the writer did not know this, as he passed away in October of 2013. But some of the language made me wonder. It mentions an interview conducted not long before the artist departed this world, and then goes on to say “sucsh a shame”. The writer expresses deep regret, though it is unclear for what, but speaks with superlative praise for Caro’s work. 

I turned the last sheet over, and there, another surprise: Alongside the words “To Sir Anthony Caro Knight of the Garter” is a strange, arcane glyph: 


I thought at first it might refer to one of Caro’s pieces:


 But then I realised where I’d seen something like it before…


This is a selection of seals or sigils belonging to the demons listed in the Ars Goetia.

I must say there is more than a passing resemblance.

And so I can only ask… Is someone trying to contact the dead through Comment and Enquiry forms?

And, to what department do I send this form?

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