December 17, 2017

Death Merchant #70: The Greenland Mystery

Arctic Ambush

At a top-secret weather station, American scientists have made a shocking discovery - a mysterious city of extraterrestrial origins buried deep beneath the polar ice cap. Already the Soviet supersub Lenin is bound for Greenland with a strike force of elite commandos. Fortunately the CIA has dispatched their own deadly emissary to protect the defenseless post.

Richard Camellion has prepared a surprise reception for the unwelcome visitors. Now, in the Arctic wilderness, the Death Merchant and a cutthroat band of mercenaries are poised for an explosive showdown that will convince the advancing commies that Hell itself has frozen over!


In The Greenland Mystery, the final numbered book in the Death Merchant series, author Joseph Rosenberger goes for the high weirdness angle, imagining the American government has discovered an ancient alien city buried beneath the Arctic ice cap. However, the US fears that a Soviet force of Spetsnaz will attack Camp Victory and take control of the frozen city.

The book opens with Richard Camellion and Wayne Baylesson driving to the Connecticut home of Dr. Ernst Schwengel, the leader of a group of scientists set to travel to Greenland. Camellion gets directions over the phone from Evelyn Schwengel and senses something is wrong (the Death Merchant is adept at noticing even the slightest change in a person's voice). As soon as the front door of the house is opened, Camellion and Baylesson race in with their pistols booming.
The next five shots came one right after the other, each one so close it almost bumped into the one preceding it. To the left of Wayne Baylesson, Josef Sofinov triggered his BRNO CZ semiautomatic pistol and sent a 9mm FMJ projectile at the CIA man a tenth of a second ahead of Wayne's firing at him and the Death Merchant's sending a 10mm bullet at Davyatkin and another big TC-HXC at Yevgenni Ogoidikova. ... Josef Sofinov let out a strangled cry of pain, dropped his BRNO pistol and went down from the impact of Baylesson's 9mm projectile. Baylesson was also using TC-HXC's, and the hole in the Russian's chest was so large that one could have shoved a penlight into it.
After the Russians have been killed, Baylesson calls the police. (Why??) Camellion explains to the cops that he and Baylesson were simply making a social call on their friends and ended up shooting it out with the six invaders. Camellion says one of the bad guys got away through the back door. When a cop asks if they pursued him, the DM replies, "In the darkness? Don't be ridiculous. That would have been as silly as an octopus trying to make love to bagpipes."

We then jump ahead 16 days, with everyone settled in at Camp Victory, where the unrelenting wind is blowing snow and ice chips around the various buildings. Camellion, Mad Mike Quinlan, and a few others descend down a shaft to the alien city:
"I see it, but I don't believe it," Mike Quinlan said to the Death Merchant, who was also experiencing a creeping eeriness from the biofeedback of his senses, from the impulses his eyes were conveying to his brain. Even unreality had to contain elements of reality, no matter how jumbled.

The elevator had taken them down to a tremendous cavern, or what could be described as a massive bubble within the ice sheet (which, at this location in Greenland, was estimated to be 1,230 feet thick). ...

But it was what the ice contained at the north end, in the east side and under the "floor," that was truly mind-boggling. It was difficult for the men to see clearly through the ice; yet they could recognize the weird Cyclopean structures whose architecture was beyond human imagination, a city that could not possibly have been built by human concepts and human engineering. There appeared to be enormous aggregations of gargantuan blocks cut at angles defying all known principles of geometric laws. There were slablike constructions reminiscent of piles of nightmarish rectangular wedges. Between some of these impossibilities were multitudinous towers, some round, some square, and some topped with truncated cones. Others were crowned with what resembled pyramids turned upside down, so that they rested on points. ... Networks of oddly angled pinnacles stretched between many of the solid objects, ending at times in titanic globes from which projected, in all directions, hundreds of shaftlike rods, forcing one to think of gigantic pufferfish or colossal porcupines with hundred-foot-long quills. All the febrile structures were knitted together by twisting bridges that crossed and recrossed each other without any discernible pattern being in evidence. ...

There was something else. Every man could feel it: a subtle hint that something was very wrong, that what they were seeing was a monstrous perversion of truth, a mockery of reality. The Death Merchant was suddenly weighed down by the impression that here, waiting, was pure Evil—But it's only evil because we don't understand the technology that built the city, if it is a "city"!
The scientists determine that the metal used to construct the buildings is more than one million years old. There were also five rounded pedestals, upon which informational discs had been placed.

Rosenberger has returned to the theme of pole-shifting, which he has used a few earlier books. He happily goes on for pages explaining the process of shifting poles—and the subsequent destruction of life on Earth—tens of thousands of years ago and the myths that the few survivors passed on to future generations. He has Schwengel explain the information found on the discs:
"In a nutshell, they give clear evidence that the Earth had turned over numerous times on its physical axis—a roll-over, a flip-flop of the planet. In other words, the north and the south poles had changed their locations."

"I'm not speaking of the magnetic pole," continued Schwengel, his voice breaking the astonished silence of the others. "We all know that the north geomagnetic pole is located here in Greenland, in the northern part of Hayes Peninsula. I do mean the physical poles. The last roll-over was 11,500 years ago, in 9550 B.C."

This time, not even Lawrence Bok snickered. As an archaeologist, he was very familiar with ancient history and with the numerous world legends of a great catastrophe that had happened in the distant past, one in which there had been fire and flood followed by incredible cold. Doctors Ashcroft, Steiner, and Steinfeld were also aware of the legends. For that matter, so was Ernst Schwengel, as well as Richard Camellion and Michael Quinlan, both of whom were highly educated.

"I recall reading an article in Scientific American about astronomers from Potsdam University who deciphered writings found in the ruins of Tiahuanaco," Isadore Steinfeld said thoughtfully. "Unless those astronomers are wrong, the sixty-mile thick shell of the earth shifted once more seven thousand years after the previous roll-over."

"The disks gave the story," confirmed Schwengel. "It was eleven thousand five hundred years ago that the South Pole moved around and the North Pole shifted south. Then, it was the Sudan Basin in Africa that became the new North Pole."

Doctor Steinfeld interjected, "The Talmud states that this was the time when the Pleiades set below the horizon and when the Holy Land was moved into a region of terrible cold."

"Yes, and the Holy Land remained there for five thousand years," said Schwengel, "until the earth rolled over again, six thousand five hundred years ago. It was then that the biblical Deluge occurred. During this shift, the equatorial pivot points were off the coast of mid-Chile and in mid-China, near the Yangtze, north of Vietnam."

"I must admit, there is evidence all over the world for such destruction on a global scale," offered Ashcroft, a worried look on his face. "For example, the sudden end of the Laurentian Basin ice cap in Canada, about 11,500 years ago, and the sudden end of all work in the prehistoric city of Tiahuanaco, Peru, 9,550 years before Christ, or—I'm sorry to say—11,500 years ago. To that damning evidence we can add the computable age of the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps. Both are around 6,500 years old."

Lawrence Bok gave a long, shuddering sigh. "Let's not forget the legends from primitive man in Tierra del Fuego, at the southern tip of South America. This legend tells of the day when the sun set in the wrong direction."

Or the Piri Reis map, showing the North Pole in the Sudan Basin! thought the Death Merchant. Even if modern science continues to ignore it . . .

"There is also quite a bit of evidence in Australia," offered Dr. Bok. "There's the Pejark Marsh which shows a very quick extinction of civilization eleven thousand five hundred years ago. There is also the geological datings in the Murrumbidgee River Basin system in Australia, revealing the end of an ice cap there about eleven thousand five hundred years ago."

Mad Mike Quinlan, having taken another drink of brandy, capped the bottle and said, "I think the evidence in Alaska and in Arctic Siberia should be more than enough. There is ample proof in these regions that civilization was completely wiped out in less than a day. Why the Bereovka mammoth was frozen solid so quickly in mud that he didn't even have time to swallow the buttercups in his mouth!"

Dr. Ed Steiger stepped closer to Ernst Schwengel, who was shifting from one foot to the other. "Ernst, the cause of the shifts! Did the disks reveal any information about the 'trigger' that affects the shifting of the earth's physical axis?"

Cut in Ashcroft with a nervous little laugh, "Well, it's been 6,500 years since the last shift, and since it was only 5,000 years between roll-overs, it seems to me we're overdue for the next one."

Ernst Schwengel hesitated, after which he said, "The disks gave the date for the next flip-over—during October of the year 2000."

"My God! That's only twelve years from now!" exclaimed Steinfeld. [The Greenland Mystery was published in early 1988.]

"As to the cause of the shift," said Schwengel, "it has to do with the two molten layers inside the planet, the most important of which is the thin molten one about sixty miles thick and between sixty and 120 miles below the surface. The thick, deep molten layer, starting at 1,800 miles down at the bottom of the mantle and extending 1,300 miles deeper, is the inner layer. Both are liquid; however, the inner electromagnetism of the earth makes these layers act as if they were near solid, or plastic. As long as the electro-magnetism does not 'flux,' order is kept and the earth rotates on its axis in a normal manner.

"The growing ice caps—Antarctica and Greenland—are not centered on the earth's axis; and, because they rotate around the poles, are trying to swing to the equator. The only way they could do it would be to pull the whole sixty-mile shell around with them. They can't, but only as long as the shallow molten layer stays plastic. But after so many thousand years the electromagnetic orderliness is disrupted, and the molten layer is free to act like pure liquid, which it was all the time anyway. It then serves as a lubricant for the ice caps to pull the shell of the earth around the inside.

"The shift takes place, triggered by neutral matter escaping from the 860-mile-radius center into the 1,300-mile thick inner layer and on up to the sixty-mile thick outer molten layer. The electromagnetism is disrupted between the two layers, and finally the ice caps are permitted to pull the shell of the earth around the liquid interior. It takes only one-fourth to one-half a day for the poles to move toward the equator.

"The planet rolls over, literally. On the surface of the planet unbelievable destruction takes place. There are giant earthquakes. Entire mountain chains rise and fall. New volcanos are born instantly and the oceans leave their beds. The atmosphere and the oceans don't shift with the shell; they keep rotating west to east, and at the equator that speed becomes 1,000 miles per hour. So, while the shell shifts with the poles going toward the equator, the winds and the water go eastward, blowing across the face of the planet with supersonic speeds, inundating entire continents with water more than three miles deep."

Even the Death Merchant didn't like to think about it. Five days after the roll-over in the year 2000, the Arctic Ocean Era will be ended, and the new Stone Age will have begun. The Bay of Bengal basin, just east of India, is now the "new" North Pole. The Pacific Ocean, just west of Peru, is now the "new" South Pole. Greenland and Antarctica are now rotating in the Torrid Zone, their ice caps dissolving madly in the tropical heat. Massive walls of water and ice will surge toward the oceans, taking everything—from mountains to plains—in gushing, heaving paths. In less than thirty years, the ice caps will be gone and the oceans will have risen 200 feet. For generations the Torrid Zone will be shrouded in a thick fog from the enormous amounts of moisture poured into the atmosphere by the melting ice caps.

New ice caps will form in the new polar areas while Greenland and Antarctica will begin to bloom with tropical foliage. Ha! Australia will be the "new unexplored" continent . . . with only a handful of survivors.

After this tumble, we will join Noah, Adam and Eve . . . Atlantis, Mu, and Olympus—and Christ will join Osiris, Zeus, and Vishnu. Thousands of years later there will be new myths and new legends about "the Motherland" that sank beneath the sea. There will be a "new" Adam and Eve story and more superstition about the Creator of the universe.
Oddly, none of the discs contain any information on the identity of the builders or how or when the city was constructed. Eventually, the men discuss religion.
Edward Steiger fingered his Adolf Hitler mustache with a gloved finger. "I have always been of the opinion that the holy books of the world's religions are altered accounts of historical events, that their 'religious truths' are based on myths that originated from genuine facts twisted and dimmed by time."

Right on, Doctor! Osiris, the ancient Egyptian "god," was a man who lived during one of the earth's roll-overs. "Adam and Eve" are only the most recent myths of how man was "created"! Eve was actually a generation after Adam—and was his daughter . . .

"That's logical," agreed Schwengel. "A hundred years after the next axis-change, man will have degenerated into an ignorant savage, and the true story of the cataclysm, handed down verbally from generation to generation, will be cloaked in myth and religious superstition. Once more, man will have been 'punished by God' for his sins and there will be new myths of how man was created." ...

"I think both of you are overestimating the power of religion," intoned Norman Ashcroft.

"And I think you are overestimating the intelligence of the human race," Quinlan replied. "Look at modern America or Europe. Millions believe in reincarnation, out-of-body experiences, witches, UFOs, magic and so-called PSI powers—all of it in the face of hard proof that such things do not exist."

"I tend to agree with you, Quinlan, and you, Ernst," said Bok. "We carry in us a cargo of instincts and drives which will never yield completely to rationality. Human beings at heart are superstitious tribal savages living in a world of scientific magic. Proof is all around us. It's like an incredible mass schizophrenia, a dual reality in which ordinary people can read of space probes, medical break-throughs and other scientific 'miracles,' and yet press a button on television and hear fundamentalist crackpots rave about heaven and hell. The pity is that millions believe such nonsense."

The Death Merchant said, "Gentlemen, it isn't that man is so stupid. The reason is that he is so afraid and unable to face his own mortality. He needs God to exist. He needs the supernatural. He needs Satan. He has to believe that death is not the end. He must believe in immortality. That there is some kind of eternal existence after death is the bedrock psychological need of the human species, and no proof will penetrate or demolish this belief. Death must not be the end, at all costs."
When Rosenberger switches to the Russians' POV, I was surprised to read:
Colonel Alexander Zorkvinov landed at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, he quickly saw that the Canadians lived as well as the Americans, even though their "dollar" was less in purchasing power than the American dollar. ... Zorkvinov took a cab from the airport and checked in at the Valhalla Inn on Highway 427, Exit Burnhamthorpe. Later in the dark afternoon, he went to Hertz, rented a car—a Turbo-ZX Datsun—and drove to Don Mills, a suburb northeast of the heart of Toronto.
The Burnhamthorpe exit on the 427 is only a few kilometers from where I live! I often shop at a grocery store there. (If there was a Valhalla Inn, it no longer exists. But Vahalla Inn Road is right off the highway.)

Camellion and Quinlan discuss how the "vodka-drinking lice" (aka the Russians) might gain control of the camp. They will likely not use missiles because they do not want to destroy the base or the alien city. Quinlan vows that if the Spetsnaz attack, "we'll paint the ice red with their blood".

Mad Mike is also a recurring character in the series, as are his top four Omegas. Each of them is a different nationality and I really wonder if Rosenberger's portrayals are meant as satire because each one is such a broad stereotype. Alexander Pratt, the Englishman, begins every third sentence with "I say ..." and refers to those around him as "chaps". Karl Wilheim "Willy" Bruckner's German-accented dialogue is presented like this: "Ja, he has der answer to der problem!" and "Vel, Camellion, ve are ready to kill der arschfickeren." There is also a Frenchman and a former member of the Spanish Air Force. Also, the group's "details man" is Marcello Salamo, who is only 42 inches tall, "as ugly as a gargoyle and as mentally sharp as a Japanese businessman".

Before the attack on the ice, however, we need a diversion (to fill some pages), so Camellion and Baylesson go to Halifax planning to kidnap and question a GRU sleeper agent about the possible Soviet attack. On the night they sneak up on the warehouse, there happens to be a big meeting of enemy agents (what a coincidence!). So we get another shootout—but the chance to nab the GRU agent is missed.

Camellion believes the Spetsnaz will come over the ice to attack, so they burn some "hide-in holes" in the shape of a V in the ice with Thermite. When the 90 Russians unknowingly march into the "killzone", the slaughter begins and "gallons of pig farmer blood" seeps into the ice. The Death Merchant captures two Russian colonels and forces them them to contact the Lenin, a nearby nuclear submarine, and report a victory over the Americans and let them know when "they" (actually Camellion and his men) will be returning. The Death Merchant plans to get aboard the sub and dismantle it so it sinks. He knows that fighting the sub's crew of 155 men would be "an exercise in stupidity".

And that's what happens. Camellion, Mad Mike, and the Omegas go about their wet work perfunctorily and Rosenberger does not include as many gun battles (and thus has less descriptions of the ensuing gore) as he usually does, so the finale of The Greenland Mystery is somewhat dull. Also as usual, Rosenberger does not bother returning to the various loose threads he spun out earlier in the book, so it's as if the apocalyptic pole-shift discussed earlier in the book was never actually mentioned.


In a footnote on page 152, Rosenberger refers to Super Death Merchant #1, Apocalypse, which I will be reading next.

"Jerking and jumping like a kitten spanking sunbeams, the corpse began to sag."

"He had never liked anyone with crooked teeth—why didn't the Zhusekik go to a dentist?"

"Everything had worked as slick as goose grease on a puppy's nuts."

"He had such strange sky-blue eyes, as though they had a life of their own, removed from the rest of his body that carried them."

"Even if the .50 caliber bullets had not been Geco-BAT, they were so large that a single round could take off an arm or a leg as easily as a cleaver chops a head of lettuce in two."

"Looking as frustrated as a pickpocket trying to steal a bowling ball ..."

"During the short time [Baylesson] had known the man with the strange blue eyes, he had come to realize that Camellion had the instincts and the intelligence of a born hunter. ... Baylesson had also sensed that Richard Camellion had little need for people. He wasn't selfish or overly introspective, only coldly logical: people were either obstacles to be removed or were a means toward some end. Baylesson often compared him to a Pope—condemned to a solitary pilgrimage. No, not condemned. He was a man who had chosen to make such a lonely journey."

"Bolar had never mentioned it to anyone, but Richard Camellion always made him feel slightly uneasy, as though he might be riding on a lunatic express with a laughing idiot at the throttle."

"All time is really one, Camellion had remarked to Quinlan. We are dying every second and being reborn every second, renewed bioelectrically in order to remain in this continuum. That's why 'death' is really so very easy. All that happens at death—at a specific micro-moment—is that certain features of the individual will not be reborn, or renewed. There will be no next moment. There will be no millisecond anticipation of the 'future,' nor a concern for the past. One is locked in the eternal Present—for a 'time' . . . depending . . ."

* * *

Pole Shift: Predictions and Prophecies of the Ultimate Disaster—a book that treats pole-shifting as if it was real—was published in 1980. Author John White actually cites two of Rosenberger's articles, a 1972 article for Search and a 1973 article for Fate, as though they were scientific papers! In 2013, White wrote:
In the early 1970s, when I was working in California as Director of Education for the Institute of Noetic Sciences, there was a widespread rumor that the West Coast was going to experience a terrible earthquake and a large portion of it would "fall into the ocean." This rumor owed much to the psychic readings of Edgar Cayce, "the sleeping prophet." In the 1930s, Cayce had predicted vast changes in the geography of our planet. He called them "earth changes." There would be terrible earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the rise and fall of land masses, he said. They would begin in the second half of this century and increase in intensity, culminating at the end of the century in what Cayce described as "the shifting of the poles."

Over the years these predictions had permeated the psychic community and set up the expectation of terrible global destruction. ... I listened with interest to their warnings because part of the Institute's mission was to apply psychic functioning to planetary problems. ...

[I]n 1973, I began to investigate the subject. During six years of research, I gathered a large amount of data supporting the two principal questions I had asked myself: Have there been previous pole shifts? Might there be one in the near future? The evidence came from three sources: ancient prophecies, contemporary psychics, and scientifically-oriented researchers.

It pointed toward this conclusion: Yes, Earth had experienced pole shifts before and would again in the near future—at the end of the century. ...

The year 2000 came and went without the predicted disasters. Today, more than a decade later, it is more than obvious the predictions and prophecies were just plain wrong.

Does that mean there was no value to what I reported? Not at all.
Well ... okay. Way back when I started reading this book, I found this article in the New York Post:
Scientists believe a massive object that could change our understanding of history is hidden beneath the Antarctic ice.

The huge and mysterious "anomaly" is thought to be lurking beneath the frozen wastes of an area called Wilkes Land. The area is 151 miles across and has a minimum depth of about 2,700 feet.

Some researchers believe it is the remains of a truly massive asteroid more than twice the size of the Chicxulub space rock that wiped out the dinosaurs. ...

However, the wilder minds of the internet have come up with their own theories, with some conspiracy theorists claiming it could be a massive UFO base or a portal to a mysterious underworld called the Hollow Earth.
A video made by "Secure Team 10" can be viewed here. (I wonder if some members of that group have read any of Rosenberger's work.)