I was about to start a new thread on the subject of "Red Rackham's Treasure: East or West?" when I thought of searching the forum and came across the above debate.
It's fascinating, but returning to the original issue: why does Calculus' pendulum point westwards when the shortest route from the island to the treasure would have been eastwards?
Surely Herge would have known the difference between east and west?
There is the humour between Haddock the sceptic and Calculus the believer, but I think that Herge is suggesting that the latter is right all along! In the last page, after the treasure is found, Calculus does point out "Just as I always said: more to the west!"
There is also evidence that Herge took the issue of dowsing seriously. In his book, "Radiesthésie et Téléradiesthésie, Phénomènes Hyperphysiques", dowser Victor Mertens includes a letter written to him in 1939 by Herge who had requested his help in finding a ring that had been mislaid in his house in Boitsfort. On a plan of the house, Mertens had marked a cross showing where the ring was. X marks the spot!
Sadly it seems that the X marked the location of the loo! and Herge concluded that the "person in question would have, while cleaning, dropped her ring into a bucket... and that bucket was emptied into the W.C." (The person's name is not specified by either Herge or Mertens, but it is assumed to have been Herge's wife Germaine.)
Nevertheless, Herge does state in his letter that Mertens did help "reconstruct the crime" and that it "further strengthened my trust in your methods."
There are other examples of Herge taking the matter of psychic energies quite seriously, such as in "Tibet" where Tintin strongly believes in a telepathic call for help from Tchang.
So the question remains: why does Calculus keep stressing "west" instead of "east"?
(For French readers, Victor Mertens' book is available as an ebook from eBook Esotérique
. Here is a link to extracts from the book
, and Herge's letter can be found on page 45.)