The human mind is far more malleable than most will ever know and certain events, such as a Parsons Eclipse, can impart knowledge or engender a radical shift in thinking.
Although historically seen as omens or portents, the science of eclipses - no matter how improbable the astronomic geometry that allows for three celestial bodies to interact so serendipitously - has long since advanced to the point that, while they remain majestic purely as spectacles, their patterns and occurrences can be predicted with near-perfect accuracy by anyone suitably erudite and so inclined. A Parsons Eclipse, on the other hand, has no such patterns and obeys no such laws, appearing as variants of both solar and lunar eclipses. There are, however, no partial Parsons Eclipses - they always cover either the sun or moon - and where they occur, generally over small towns and other similarly sized settlements, they are visible only to a tiny, tiny fraction of the people who should be able to witness them.
Neither I, nor anyone whose work is known to me, has been able to discern the pattern, mechanism or nature of the intelligence - if any exists - behind how a Parsons Eclipse selects, or is directed to select, those to whom they appear. Marked not only by the apparent design behind the controlled manner of their appearance but by being haloed with a uniquely bruising violet corona, witnesses also experience many of the same effects as they would under a normal eclipse (were normal eclipses able to skip to their totality and pass completely in a matter of minutes). The sky grows darker as the light is blocked out, albeit to just a few people at a time, and there is an appreciable drop in temperature. Given that people are not, generally, prone to staring at the sun, when a Parsons Eclipse happens during the day these are often the first indications that people notice and, if they are slow to act, some will miss what they have been chosen to see.
To witness a Parsons Eclipse is, quite plainly, a gnostic experience. Everyone who has spoken about witnessing one has also testified to information previously unknown to them - sometimes even things that could be shown to be quite literally unknowable - being impressed directly into their minds and memories. The type of information, its usefulness, even the amount of data that a Parsons Eclipse imparts runs and encompasses an extremely broad gamut. The vast majority of this information, without context and apparently delivered absent a specific and specialised need, is often fundamentally and functionally useless. Some people have received information which can be applied to everyday life; the rules and vocabulary of another modern language being a rare, perhaps even unique, but obviously useful example, however, many more people have spoken of coming away from their encounter with, for example a selection of recipes from a late 19th century Russian cookbook or the weights of the childhood pets of various deceased world leaders.
Due to their bizarre nature and the paucity of the available witnesses these eclipses were identified by a variety of different names, usually attributed by those who had only second-hand experience of them, before becoming more widely known as Parsons Eclipses. They came by their name, and much of their notoriety, because of the life and work of Parsons Emerson, a ‘reformed’ conman and unlikely prophet, who saw the then-unnamed phenomena and received knowledge of when and where subsequent eclipses would occur. Compelled by what he had seen - Emerson would later occasionally question whether the eclipses which came to bear his name offered knowledge or something more insidious - he followed the sometimes less-than precise map that that first eclipse placed into his mind; travelling to the locations indicated and accruing more and more information that he should not have had access to, to information that he was not meant to know.
After a couple of years, Emerson had gathered to his side a small following of acolytes who travelled with him, each hoping to receive the benediction of a Parsons Eclipse. This coterie might have grown larger if not for the apparent caprice of the Eclipses - at least in terms of whom they appeared to - since, although Emerson knew when and where these particular Eclipses would take place, he did not know who would be able to witness them nor what information, knowledge or wisdom would be imparted. As a result, a number of people followed him for a short while before leaving, disheartened and disillusioned when they had neither seen nor learnt anything new. Even Emerson himself experienced similar frustrations, at one point travelling to four Eclipses in a row which, while they were seen by and affected others in his group, did not appear to him personally.
Still more left out of fear, realising that an encounter with a Parsons Eclipse could be either a blessing or a terrible caution, afraid of the damage that bearing witness to one could cause. Emerson himself eventually suffered a psychotic break, first becoming delusional in his attribution of everyday events to the effect of the Parsons Eclipses and later becoming unable to disentangle his identity from raw data that he was no longer able to process or even to compartmentalise. By 1984 he had become almost entirely non-responsive and was admitted to a care facility in California, passing away in the spring of 1990 at the age of 57 as a result of a stroke, by which time his group had long since disbanded. While the degree and duration of Emerson’s exposure clearly outstripped that of even his most loyal and ardent followers, several people both from within his circle and outside it talked about receiving knowledge that proved damaging, dangerous or deleterious to their mental health.
The most extreme example, apart from Emerson himself, might be that of Bram Adeline. Never part of the Parsons Pilgrimages, Adeline was living in Grants, New Mexico when, in 1985, he was one of three people who saw a Parsons Eclipse. While the others walked away relative unscathed, one now able to recall the exact number of residents of every Gmina in the Lublin Voivodeship in Poland on December 14th 1978 and the other left with a mathematical proof that addressed a problem not yet set, Adeline received a list of people to assassinate, a very specific set of instructions on how to carry out the killings and the requisite knowledge to be successful. Panicked by both the nature of what he had been tasked with and the prickle of alien, otherly compulsion that he felt taking hold at the edges of his sanity, he wrote a detailed account of his experience and what the Parsons Eclipse had demanded of him before taking his own life and, in that act, saving those of eight others.