Please come and see my Pink Pagoda. All the people and all the officials avert there eyes from it. They say that is impossible that such a thing could be there, and therefore it cannot be there. But it is there. See it for yourself (or see plates IV, IX, XXXIII, LXX especially). And it is pretty (see plates XIX, XXIV, V, LIV). But best, come see it as it really is.

At one point in R. A. Lafferty‘s story "Nor Limestone Islands", a Miss Phosphor McCabe requests zoning permission to build a structure on her plot of land: a thirty-acre pagoda, four hundred feet high and built of three hundred thousand tons of pink limestone. It will be, she asserts, real pretty, and a tourist attraction to boot. This being a Lafferty story, Miss Phosphor has an entirely sensible plan for obtaining a three hundred thousand ton limestone pagoda: she will ask her friends on the Grecian flying island to touch down and cut off a chunk. Baldasare Forestiere didn’t have any such floating friends, which is why he carved his underground gardens the old-fashioned way. There are a surprising number of these fairy castles and visionary landscapes dotting the globe. The reasons for crafting them vary. Howard Finster’s Paradise Gardens and Benedictine monk Joseph Zoettl’s Ave Maria Grotto were created as expressions of deeply-felt religious belief; Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers (1, 2) or eccentric millionaire Edward James’ surrealist masterpiece Las Pozas seem to have been created as consciously artistic endeavors. Some, Alex Jordan’s House on the Rock, were commercial ventures; others, like the Winchester Mystery House, are sad legacies of madness. But to me the most wonderful are those that seem to stem from the British tradition of follies, the ones that suggest someone just thought to him- or herself that it would be swell to live in a bizarro junk castle or a bottle house. Why shouldn’t one live in a home made entirely from paper products? As Miss Phosphor wrote:

Please come and see my Pink Pagoda. All the people and all the officials avert there eyes from it. They say that is impossible that such a thing could be there, and therefore it cannot be there. But it is there. See it for yourself (or see plates IV, IX, XXXIII, LXX especially). And it is pretty (see plates XIX, XXIV, V, LIV). But best, come see it as it really is.