Monday, January 12, 2009

65. The missing years

In the course of researching the life of Krishna Venta/Francis Pencovic, I eventually found myself in a figurative drought insofar as all the secondary source materials I’d collected were concerned. Specifically, I had questions they simply couldn’t answer. (Historian Robert Wilde defines secondary sources as, “Material created by somebody removed from the event being studied - who was either not at the event, or was working later. For instance, all historical textbooks are secondary sources”). So, as previously stated, I began collecting all the primary source documents ( I could lay my hands on in regard to Venta/Pencovic.

Obtaining these primary source documents often proved time consuming and costly, especially in the instances when I had to hire someone in a specific locale to go and collect this or that document for me.

In the midst of all this collecting, though, I began to notice great gaps in Pencovic's/Venta's biography (i.e., time periods for which documentation was seemingly just non-existent). This was especially true of his childhood and youth; it was as if the man had been born, abducted by aliens, and then returned to earth when he was nineteen years old. (At that time in my search, Pencovic’s appearance on paper at age nineteen was the earliest documentation concerning his existence I could locate outside of his birth record.)

The absence of documentation regarding his formative years played on the Carl Kolchak in me, and, as H.P. Lovecraft (ghost writing for Harry Houdini) had written years before, it was a case of "Mystery attracts mystery."

Consequently, especially since it seemed as though the adult Pencovic/Venta had worked to create confusion regarding the early years of his life, I grew obsessed with knowing where he had been during what I came to term the "missing years." And I would actually find myself awake on occasion, sometimes deep in the night, thinking, "The guy couldn’t have just vanished for those years. He had to have been somewhere. But where?"

Then, my mind would wander to thoughts of, “Could he have committed a crime during that period that landed him in prison or in reform school? Could imprisonment explain his absence on paper during those years?” After all, it was as if the man had simply up and vanished into the void.

I knew I would never be able to write a complete biography of Venta until I knew the answer to the riddle of just where he had been during this period for which there was simply no accounting. Thus, I swore to myself that it would be my mission to know just where Francis Pencovic/Krishna Venta had been during the first eighteen years of his life and why they were so enigmatic.

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