Simon Parkin, “Return of the Chess Cheat”

“Accounts vary as to how exactly a chess game between King Canute the Great and one of his most trusted Viking chieftains, Earl Ulf, went down, in 1026, but certainly cheating was involved, and for at least one party the match proved fatal. In their 1851 book “The Chess Player,” the German chess masters Bernhard Horwitz and Josef Kling tell a version of the story in which the king made a “false move” and lost one of his knights. Canute “would not have this,” they write, and insisted that he be allowed a redo, at which suggestion Ullf “waxed angry” and overturned the board. (The match took place at a banquet; he may have been emboldened by mead.) Things escalated. The king accused Ulf of cowardice, prompting the earl to remind Canute of the assistance he had rendered him at Helge River, when, he gibed, “the Swedes beat you like a dog.” Ulf turned on his heel and retired for the night. It was to be his last: Canute had him killed in church the next day.”

From The New Yorker, 4/17/15

William Faulkner, “Uncle Willy”

“The sister got there from Texas that night and we would walk past the house and see the ladies on the front porch or going in and out, and now and then Reverend Schultz kind of bulging out from among them like he would out of Mr. Miller’s Bible class, and we would crawl up behind the hedge and hear them through the window, hear Uncle Willy crying and cussing and fighting to get out of the bed and the ladies saying, ‘Now, Mr. Christian, Uncle Willy,’ and ‘Now Bubber,’ too, since his sister was there, and Unce Willy crying and praying and cussing. And then it was Friday and he gave up. We could hear them holding him in the bed; I reckon this was his last go-round, because none of them had time to talk now; and then we heard him, his voice weak but clear and his breath going in and out.

‘Wait,’ he said. ‘Wait! I will ask it one more time. Won’t you please quit? Won’t you please go away? Won’t you please go to hell and just let me come on at my own gait?’

‘No, Mr. Christian,” Mrs. Merridew said. ‘We are doing this to save you.’

For a minute we didn’t hear anything. Then we heard Uncle Willy lay back in the bed, kind of flop back.

‘All right,’ he said. ‘All right.’

It was like one of those sheep they would sacrifice back in the Bible. It was like it had climbed up onto the altar itself and flopped onto its back with its throat held up and said: ‘All right. Come on and get it over with. Cut my damn throat and go away and let me lay quiet in the fire.’”

Lawrence Wright, “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief”

The second part of the document, labeled “Course II,” included the statements that have come to be called Affirmations, although Hubbard refers to them as incantations. He had recently gotten a new recorder for dictation, called a Sound-Scriber. It may be that he recorded this portion and played it back to himself as a means of self-hypnosis. This section begins with the command, “You are asleep.”

In this lesson, Hubbard tells himself, he will learn several important things:

You have no urge to talk about your navy life. You do not like to talk of it. You never illustrate your point with bogus stories. It is not necessary for you to lie to be amusing and witty.

You like to have your intimate friends approve of and love you for what you are. This desire to be loved does not amount to a psychosis.

You can sing beautifuly.

Nothing can intervene between you and your Guardian. She cannot be displaced because she is too powerful. She does not control you. She advises you.

You will never forget these incantations. They are holy and now become an integral part of your nature.

Material things are yours for the asking. Men are your slaves.

You are not sleepy or tired ever…Your Guardian alone can talk to you as you sleep but she may not hypnotize you. Only you can hypnotize yourself.

The desires of other people have no hypnotic effect on you.

Nothing, no one opposes your writing…You can carry on a wild social life and still write one hundred thousand words a month or more…Your writing has a deep hypnotic effect on people.

You will make fortunes writing.

Your psychology is advanced and true and wonderful. It hypnotizes people. It predicts their emotions, for you are their ruler.

You will live to be 200 years old.

You will always look young.

You have no doubts about God.

You are not a coward.

Your eyes are getting progressively better. They became bad when you used them as an excuse to escape the naval academy. You have not reason to keep them bad.

Your stomach trouble you used as an excuse to keep the Navy from punishing you. You are free of the Navy.

Your hip is a pose. You have a sound hip. It never hurts. Your shoulder never hurts.

Your foot was an alibi. The injury is no longer needed.

Testosterone blends easily with your own hormones…You have no fear of what any woman may think of your bed conduct. You know you are a master. You know they will be thrilled. You can come many times without weariness…Many women are not capable of pleasure in sex and anything adverse they say or do has no effect whatever upon your pleasure.

You have no fear if they conceive. What if they do? You do not care. Pour it into them and let fate decide.

You can tell all the romantic tales you wish…But you know which ones were lies…You have enough real experience to make anecdotes forever. Stick to your true adventures.

Money will flood in upon you.

Self pity and conceit are not wrong. Your mother was in error.

Masturbation does not injure or make insane. Your parents were in error. Everyone masturbates.

The most thrilling thing in your life is your love and consciousness of your Guardian.

She has copper red hair, long braids, a lovely Venusian face, a white gown belted with jade squares. She wears gold slippers.

You can talk with her and audibly hear her voice above all others.

You can do automatic writing whenever you wish. You do not care what comes out on the paper when your Guardian dictates.