Rodney Dale (Co-Author, The Manna-Machine)
1.2 – The Evidence (4.20.10)
Rodney A.M. Dale (born 1933) is an English author, editor, publisher, and a co-founder and former member of Cambridge Consultants. He has also written principally on non-fiction topics (biography, technology, computing, jazz, illustration, and folklore), as well as three novels, a number of poems, and pantomimes.
In parallel with his work at Cambridge Consultants, Dale developed his career as an author, writing a series of articles on new technology for The Engineer as well as the first biography of artist–illustrator Louis Wain. Louis Wain: The Man Who Drew Cats (1968; republished in 1991 and 2000) renewed national interest in Wain and led to an exhibition of his works, which Dale helped to organise, at the Victoria & Albert Museum (London) in December 1972.
In 1976 Dale left Cambridge Consultants to become a full-time writer, both of books and commercial literature. Among books written during this period were The Manna Machine (1978) and The Kaballah Decoded (1978), both co-authored with the multitalented linguist George Sassoon. He also wrote The World of Jazz (1980) and The Sinclair Story (1985), a biography of the entrepreneur Sir Clive Sinclair.
In the mid-1970s Dale began collecting apocryphal anecdotes, which at the time were sometimes termed “whale-tumour stories,” now more commonly known as contemporary or urban legends. This resulted in publication of The Tumour in the Whale: A Collection of Modern Myths (1978), the first popular compilation of and commentary on contemporary or urban legends and which American folklorist Jan Brunvand has described as “a landmark work.”
In 1976 Dale coined the word “foaf” (for “friend of a friend”) to describe apocryphal narratives involving someone at some distance from the teller. He used this word in The Tumour in the Whale to signify that an anecdote in question “has been reported from several quarters, that its provenance is shady, [and] that it is almost certainly a whale-tumour story.” As the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research (ISCLR) has since noted, “Dale pointed out that contemporary legends always seemed to be about someone just two or three steps from the teller – a boyfriend’s cousin, a co-worker’s aunt, or a neighbor of the teller’s mechanic”; in recognition of this concept, the ISCLR in 1985 named its quarterly newsletter FoafTale News. Brunvand holds that “international students of urban legends have accepted FOAF with enthusiasm as a shorthand reference to the claimed source of stories.” “Foaf” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2009. Dale continued his work on contemporary legends with the publications of It’s True … It Happened to a Friend: A Collection of Urban Legends (1984) and The Wordsworth Book of Urban Legend: Tall Tales for Our Times (2005).
With colleagues, Dale in 1984 created Business Literature Services Ltd. (now known as Flag Communication Ltd), a publishing house devoted to business-related writing, and singlehandedly established Fern House Publishing in 1990. In addition, between 1992 and 1994 Dale served as series editor and writer for eight Discoveries & Inventions books for the British Library. He has also written three novels: About Time (1995), The Secret World of Zoë Golding (2010), and The New Life of Hannah Brooks (2013). He also from time to time performs a one-man show called “Hello, Mrs Fish” (title unashamedly based on “Goodbye, Mr. Chips”!). 
The machine was reproduced by George who was an engineer, who followed the directions given in The Ancient of Days and he claimed it created a food source of algae. This explains how the Israelis survived their forty year journey in the Sinai Desert. It is said by Sassoon and Dale that a nuclear reactor used to power the manna machine was stored within the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was supposed to have powered the machine to run continuously, producing manna for six days and on the seventh day the machine would be taken apart for cleaning so it could run the following week. This is where the Sabbath, the holy day of rest, is thought to have originated. This knowledge was preserved within the Jewish Kabbalah that the authors claim to have correctly decoded and to support this claim their translation is explained by Sassoon and Dale in a companion work titled “The Kabbalah Decoded; A new Translation of the Ancient of Days Texts of the Zohar.”