"Mutatis Mutandis"

Art & written research by Philip George


Dear sir,

I am sending you this email as, after some investigation, I found your website and thought you would be somebody who might be able to help shed some light on a very strange and unexplained account.

In the autumn of 2008 my close friend's 19 year-old son went traveling across mainland Europe.  He sent her regular emails telling her of his travels and often attached photographs of various sights of note.

In January of 2009, he sent an email to his mother saying that he was currently in Kyrgyzstan, and had bought a small box of assorted items from a woman who was having a house clearance sale on her front steps, following the recent and unexpected passing of her daughter. He had bought the items, as they had included some books which he thought might be helpful with his university studies. Although most of the books were in Russian, he had a good grasp of the language.

However, he was rather excited about a small, exquisitely decorated box among the items, which he at first assumed was some sort of antique paperweight. On closer inspection it appeared to be a type of musical box, as he said he could hear a very faint melody coming from within. Assuming it to be broken, he said that he had tried to prise the box open with various tools in order to fix the mechanism. He was unsuccessful but said that he would take it to a watch repair shop in town where he had bought a watch battery the week before.

Two weeks passed before my friend heard anything more from her son, and she became a little worried. She then received a strange and very short email from him saying only that he had not been outside of the room where he had been staying for the last fortnight because he had felt unwell and that the constant rain and barking of dogs had kept him awake every night.

That was the last time my friend heard from her son. A month later, despite many difficult calls in broken English to the local authorities, she could obtain no useful information about her son, and she was told only that he had left one night without settling his bill.

Three weeks after that, she decided to travel to where he had been staying but the owner of the guest house told her that her son had simply 'gone away' (although he had taken none of his belongings - these were stored in a bin-liner in the back office). The authorities filed a missing person report and said they would 'do what they could'.

She brought the few remaining clothes, together with his rucksack, home with her. By this time, as you can imagine, she was in a terrible state, but even as of today she has received no further word on the whereabouts of her son and, nearly a year later, can only cling to the hope that he is still alive somewhere.

Although she did not find the musical box he had mentioned amongst his belongings, she did find two strange items. A rather old photo, and what can only be described as an associated illustration [which I attach scans of herewith]. 



On the back of the photo is scribbled the following:

"The Coil of Deceit"

(Mutatis Mutandis).

I can find no reference to ‘Coil of Deceit’ anywhere on the Internet, but have discovered that ‘Mutatis Mutandis’ is a Latin phrase meaning "by changing those things which need to be changed”.

Any help you may be able to supply on this subject would be most gratefully received.  Please feel free to post this information on your website if you feel it would be helpful.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Philip George,

London, UK

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