Kindness to all is the golden key to happiness.
October 25, 2016 9:49 PM   Subscribe

One evening in 1972 a group of young people from Catalina High School were talking about dreams. One told of a dream where he was led through a fantasyland by a Wizard who was all dressed in black and performed magic. In the dreams he saw faries and elves dancing in the moonlight. Three others said they'd had the same dream. Another friend said he was pretty sure their dream was an actual place, so they set out to find it. What they found was sadly overgrown with weeds and badly in need of repair, and the aging Wizard (George Phar Legler).

"Valley of the Moon, Tucson's Picture in the Third Dimension and Mental Health Center."

Valley of the Moon was built to be a place of mental and spiritual relaxation for adults and as a life-size canvas for storytelling to children. George’s favorite saying was “Kindness to all is the golden key to happiness,” and he endeavored to teach that philosophy through magical adventures in his enchanted land. George dedicated his life to increasing happiness, and it was his firm opinion that if children were taught to be kind and friendly before their seventh birthday, they would be happier adults.

Life Goes On A Child's Tour of Fairyland (Life Magazine, June 29, 1953)

Valley of the Moon: Magical piece of Tucson history

A wizard’s magical home (Tucson Citizen, Jul 11, 2002)

Tucson Historic Preservation Society

Trouble in Wonderland (Tucson Weekly, April 24, 2008)

Happiness, enchantment happen at historic Valley of the Moon (Arizona Daily Star, January 27, 2016)

Atlas Obscura

SPACES Art Environments- Valley Of The Moon Archive

Early Valley Of The Moon Pamphlet

Valley of the Moon booklet, 1981
(Source of opening paragraph)

George Phar Legler: On A Cloudy Day, 1975
posted by MrVisible (6 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, that gave me chills. The opening description of the teens comparing dreams, only to find out that it was a real place is straight out of Creepypasta but with an uplifting ending.

Adults should protect and nurture their personal sense of whimsy, the world is a better place because some of us have managed to do just this.
posted by Wetterschneider at 6:18 AM on October 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

I have a vague memory of a similar place that (used to be?) in Iowa. I think in second or third grade we went on a field trip to a woodsy park filled with little gnome statues and tiny houses randomly plopped down. We were encouraged to just walk around and explore. Totally unstructured time in a fairy woods.
posted by Malla at 10:49 AM on October 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

I've been there! Geez... it's probably been almost 20 years, but it's pretty neat...
posted by ph00dz at 1:00 PM on October 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

What a sweet story! Thanks so much for posting this.
posted by jasper411 at 5:40 PM on October 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Tucson os a magical city and Valley of the Moon is pretty cool. Or at least, it was, last time I went.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 7:59 PM on October 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is fantastic.

I'm pretty sure that if turn-of-the-century spiritualists had gained real social and political power, I'd find their beliefs just as creepy and frightening as mainstream religions. But, in the world we live in, they're charming.

I'm curious where the name comes from. Looks like wikipedia knows about 8 places called Valley of the Moon, or Valle de la Luna. Having been to two of them, I was surprised to learn of a third. I'd love to know where the phrase originated. The Jack London novel seems plausible, but google ngrams shows it's much older.
posted by eotvos at 4:25 PM on October 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

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