Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"They're still out there"

This article first caught my attention at the Rigorous Intuition discussion forum last year. It is an article from 20 September 2008 about a UFO encounter 34 years previously by a Canadian farmer. It also appears the farmer has had some sightings in the sky in more recent years. This is the last article I had saved to drafts. I wanted to put something here in case it takes me days and days to feel better, and this was convenient as it was 99 percent ready to go. The article is from the STAR PHOENIX newspaper in Saskatoon.

"It was 34 years ago this month when Edwin Fuhr encountered five dome-shaped objects hovering about a half-metre above his canola field.

The passage of time has done nothing to quell the 70-year-old Langenburg man's conviction that we are not alone in the universe. In fact, Fuhr believes his visitors are still keeping watch--from a distance.

"They're out there, there's no question," he said in an interview.

About five or six years ago, in the northeast part of the sky, four or five lights did something strange.

"They followed you," Fuhr said. saying that they looked like stars but "a star doesn't move or change colors."

In 1988, he moved from the farm, about 10 kilometres north of Langenburg, into town. The urban lights tend to wash out the night sky, but every so often in the northeast, the lights show up and follow along, Fuhr said.

"I'm pretty sure they're the same ones (that were in the field in 1974). That's the direction they took off in '74," he said.

Many UFO sightings on the Praries occur in fall, when farmers are harvesting before the frost hits. That's when reports of crop circles tend crop up.

Going to inspect the landing area the day following his encounter, Fuhr found five rings of depressed canola swirled in a counter-clockwise direction. More circles were found in the area later that month, according to the media and public reports from the time.

Over the next while, the site was visited by the RCMP, scientists, UFO researchers from across North America and even the FBI. Sniffer dogs used by the police refused to enter the circles, according to Fuhr.

"Something was there and I doubt it was a hoax. There's no indication anything had been wheeled in or out and Mr. Fuhr seemed genuinely scared," RCMP Const. Ron Morier was quoted in a Star Phoenix story of Sept. 19, 1974.

On Sept 27, 1974, another newspaper article referred to the Martensville police constable and his wife witnessing a UFO over Saskatoon. It hung above the Nutana neighborhood briefly before taking off. The officer, Albert Goddue, describing it as being dome-shaped.

"No one will ever convince me it was any type of conventional aircraft. It was nothing I have ever seen in the sky before," Goddue was quoted as saying.

Not everyone remains a believer after a close encounter. On Sept. 19, 1963, an 11-year-old schoolboy and three friends were playing in a Saskatoon schoolyard when they saw a bright oval object hover and drop something. They claim a figure stood up three metres tall, made a moaning sound, held out his hands, and floated towards them.

The 11-year-old told investigators the figure was a man dressed in clothes "like a monk," which were white like a crayon.

The accounts are recorded in two books, Passport to Magonia: On UFOs, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds, by Jacques Vallee and The Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings, by John Keel.

The children ran off and became so hysterical that he had to be hospitalized.

"Sometimes I could see right through him," the 11-year-old said.

Now 56, he refuses to believe it ever happened.

"It was just overzealous kids with good imaginations," he said in an interview Friday, the 45th anniversary of the event. "I don't want to discuss it.

The man said he went through a "tough time" in school after the supposed sighting was made public. Since then he has moved from Saskatoon and no longer associates with the other three children who were with him that day. He has been married 35 years and neither his wife nor any of his immediate family know anything of the incident, he said, asking his name be kept out of the newspaper.

"It's in the past and that's where it should stay," he said. "I don't need the headache."

Fuhr was 36 when he saw the saucers around 10 a.m. Initially, he noticed one metallic object in a depression on the land. He walked to within 15 feet of the object.

"I saw the grass was moving and I looked up and saw this thing spinning at one hell of a speed," he said on Thursday.

There was no sound, no smell, no windows to peer into, said Fuhr. whose joints ached as he walked backwards to the swather, keeping his eye on the saucer.

Then he noticed four more off to the side, arranged in a "half-moon" formation. He estimates the two largest ones were 30 feet in diameter with the rest slightly smaller. They hovered about 15 minutes before taking off, one-by-one, with a gust of vapour.

A few weeks after the incident, a scientist from the National Research Council (NRC) in Ottawa suggested the rings were caused by mushrooms. Allen McNamara, he of the NRC's upper atmosphere research section, also theorized the glow from the saucers may have been caused by the fungi.

The crop circles were exactly the same as "fairy rings" produced by underground mushroom filaments, he was quoted as saying. When asked by reporters about the canola pressed in a circular motion, McNamara guessed it was caused by wind.

Fuhr has never been provided an explanation that would convince him he was imagining things.

"Imagination doesn't leave marks in the ground does it?" he said, noting the landing site was tested as recently as four years ago and is still emitting radioactive waves.

For the first year, nothing would grow where the circles were and "the ground was hard, like cement."

Though he no longer works the land, it remains in the family, farmed by a nephew. Fuhr has never asked him whether he's encountered anything strange."

This ends the article from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix from September of last year. Hopefully this will be a LINK to the original story. So many things fascinated me about this article. The mention of crop circles and depressions in the ground was one. I am well aware that the crop circles, depressions in the ground and "fairy rings" go back quite a few years before crop circles really hit the news in the late 80s and early 90s, but it still interested me to see references to them in the article

I also think it is so funny how science always has an "explanation" for events such as these no matter how many "rings" they have to run around to promulgate their hypotheses. I think the radioactivity at the site is also very intriguing. Another item of great interest to me is how some people who have had odd encounters "shut down" after awhile and insist the event never happened, like the boy from the encounter in 1963. I would just absolutely love to know if Mr. Fuhr's nephew has had any strange encounters! Perhaps the area this farm is on could be a "window" area of paranormal activity. Finally, I thought this was a very well-written article that really got my imagination going, and I hope others who might see it here enjoy it too! The second image is of Mr. Fuhr in his canola field after his original 1974 sighting. The first and third images don't have anything to do directly with the story. The third image is of the 1996 "Julia Set" crop circle formation found in the United Kingdom. Oh!-One more thing-I would love to know if Mr. Fuhr or any of the other "experiencers" have had episodes of "missing time." Peace and best to anyone stopping by!

Monday, September 28, 2009

In The News...

June 1974: A terrible blast occurred at a chemical processing plant in Flixborough, Lincolnshire. In fact, the explosion at the Nypro facility was the largest post WWII accidental explosions. Huge tanks of cyclohexane, used in the production of nylon, ignited, killing 28 and injuring 36. There was a well known local ballad, sung to the tune of the 'Lincolnshire Poacher' that joked about a massive explosion at the facility. It was written in 1966-eight years before the tragedy.FT5:5

This same month and year a 52 year-old woman from the Phillipines was kept afloat by a turtle until she could be rescued after her boat caught fire and sank. 600 miles (965km) south of Manila. The woman had a lifejacket and had been floating for 12 hours when a huge life-saving turtle with a head "as big as a dogs." suddenly appeared beneath the woman. There is more to this strange story. The woman also said there was another much smaller turtle that climbed onto her back and bit her each time she got sleepy, and felt like sliding off the other huge turtle. The navy ship that rescued her 36 hours later thought she was holding onto an oil drum.FT:8:4

November 1985: The African continent is rich in folklore and imagination. One of the ways this is shown is that many African societies believe in supernatural attack. The men and women who hold these beliefs don't think they could be in danger only during special times of the year or on special occasions, but at any time and in any place. A rumor had begun to spread in Enugu, about 300 miles (480km) east of Lagos, Nigeria, that an evil female spirit was going to come to the city's schools to avenge the killing of her daughter. The spirit, which was said to dwell in the rivers was described as a mermaid in English language reports. However, it is believed this was a translation mix-up and that the spirit was not at all like the traditional Western ideas of a mermaid. A girl from the Idaw River primary school screamed that she could see the spirit/mermaid. Chaos ensued. Sadly, the spirit may have got exactly what it wanted. According to one student, a teacher tried to challenge the spirit, who insisted that she had come for the children. When a stampede erupted after this nine of the children were trampled to death.FT46:4

May 1993: A hoaxer that fooled many people made news this month. Police in Bennington, Vermont, found a lost "boy" who claimed to be 12 years-old. The "boy" said he had come from Alabama and been abandoned in Maine. Many kind-hearted people wanted to adopt him-or send money to help with his case. However, a visit to the hospital showed the "young boy" to be a woman of 23 years of age named Birdie Joe Hoaks (fascinating last name for a hoaxer I say:-) She had already profited from this scheme in 6 other states and was sent to jail-the article doesn't mention how long the sentence was.FT70:18

November 1996: Erhard Vonner, a German taxidermist learned that it isn't always wise to take your work home with you. Vonner's wife and 2 children were missing. Police investigating the matter found the perfectly stuffed, preserved (and of course quite dead)bodies of his wife and children in Vonner's basement.FT96:9

October 2003: Seven-year-old Jean Luc Archer was run over by a BMW in Manchester, England. He was trapped by his pelvis, after he ran into the road on Halloween. 30 year-old Lisa Hodgkinson witnessed the accident and tried to lift the car's back wheel off him but failed. Then she tried pushing the car forward and extra adrenaline flooded her system that gave her almost super-human strength. Lisa only weighs about 133lb (60kg) at 5 ft 7 ins (1.7m) tall, but somehow managed to get the 1.5 ton vehicle shifted off the boy. All this while the driver was still in his seat and so traumatized, he still had his foot on the brake! Lisa then gave the boy mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until the ambulance arrived. Jean Luc had a damaged pelvis, lungs, two broken arms, a torn ear and was initially only given a 30 percent chance of survival. The young boy was unconscious for 4 days. However, in one of those wonderful "miracle" stories, Jean Luc was able to go home after 3 weeks. Apparently Lisa Hodgkinson is great to have around during emergencies. She received an award for reviving a truck driver on the M62 in July 2002. The boy's mother Maggie said: "He wouldn't be here if it weren't for Lisa. He calls her Wonder Woman and that's what she is."FT181:13
The second image is of the Flixborough facility after the 1974 explosion and the third image is of Lisa Hodgkinson and Jean Luc Archer in 2003.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pachinko Brain!

Sorry for the weird post title! (and the weird spacing-a blog friend actually told me how to fix this, but every time I try it seems to make it worse-so I will just leave well enough alone and not add any more pictures!) The way my mind has been working lately reminded me of this Japanese Pachinko game we used to have when I was a young 'un. It seems as if all sorts of concepts are flying around there at light speed (for someone with such a small brain) and that I just can't get them to stop.

During my life, epsecially since my late teens to early 20s, I have often found myself not only wondering about questions that I know deep in my soul may not have any answers, but may in fact be ultimately unanswerable. Sometimes I even get a bit aggravated with myself for not just letting some of these questions go-and go for good. I continually become entranced with thinking about things like this: Is human 3-D (or 4-D-time included as a dimension) the highest level of 'knowing' in the physical universe?-or are there beings (physical ones) who surpass us? Speaking of our 3 or 4-D, seemingly solid (although modern physics tells us that the solidity of objects in the universe is an illusion-as it turns many of our other ideas about reality on their collective heads) human reality--I wonder is this the only reality there is? At least on this question, even though the skeptic part of my being still gives me hell over it at times-I can answer this with a definite NO!

I feel that the levels (or dimensions) of reality may be as infinite as I feel the extent of our physical universe is-infinite. Isn't our universe 13-17 billion light-years across and finite in time also, you ask? It is kind of ironic that the man who coined the term "Big Bang" did so to make a kind of joke out of it. His name was Sir Fred Hoyle and he didn't believe in the "Big Bang" (now a TV show someone told me). Hoyle believed in the "Steady State" theory. This theory posits that the universe in infinite in space and eternal in time. The rate of "new" matter that has to be created in such a universe is amazingly small. The metaphysical questions that come to mind with the Steady State theory do not seem any worse -to me anyway-than the ones that come to mind with the Big Bang theory. I will give a link at the end of the article for both theories.

As usual I am digressing too much for the point I wanted to make. Regarding the other levels or dimensions of reality; even though my mind accepts what I consider the overwhelming evidence that they exist from hearing and studying reports from thousands of sources over the course of my life, my only problem is this: I haven't had a paranormal experience myself [unless a disappearing grocery list and a few odd dreams-one of which may have been 100 percent precognitive, but was of something so mundane it makes me smile to think of it. There is also the feeling I have which is quite strong at times that I have lived on good 'ole Planet Earth before. I'm keeping my "reincarnation" options wide open on this subject.] Two things get in the way of saying anything more definite: 1) Information gets around the world/universe in some pretty strange ways-could I simply be 'tuning in' to information permanently recorded in the holographic/matrix structure of the universe? 2) Saying something like "I have lived another life before" is also kind of difficult to talk about for me. I get hung up on the "I" part of it-because I don't know what it means to be an "I" except when I look out at the world with my baby blues-it seems that a world is out there and being reflected back to only me (which is another illusion, of course, the things we "see" are not "out there" in front of us-at least as far as the picture processing goes:-)that's all in our brains).

The world is reflected somehow back to me and an entity/being named Devin gets to process what information it can, and which is probably an incredibly small part of a huge total sum of "data bits or bytes" that are "out there." Perhaps a quote from horror fiction author H.P. Lovecraft would be good here: "the most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents." I guess I need to finally stop going in three directions at once about my belief in other levels or dimensions of reality. My belief in these "other" worlds seems to be based in the "mind" level of my being instead of the "soul" level of being/knowing-which as beautiful or terrifying as reading about these reports of encounters with the Other-big O there -it is still READING about them instead of directly experiencing them.

Speaking of taking in the world through our sense organs, there is a disease of the eyes called "macular degeneration" that in some cases has some very interesting side effects. WTF? am I on about now? Your're about to "see" -get it -hey I'm on a roll! Macular degeneration damages the central part of the retina, known as the 'macula.' This disease has side effects that involve all tasks in "straight ahead" visual tasks, such as reading, writing, driving a car, etetera. In some cases people with this terrible affliction have hallucinations (or maybe as I am going to suggest from ideas from another researcher-something else). Charles Bonnet was an 18th century Swiss philosopher who was the first person to describe visual hallucinations in psychologically normal people. Bonnet had noticed his grandfather who had cataracts, was pointing our things he could 'see' like birds and buildings, but no one else could see them. Charles Bonnet Syndrome was thought to be a very rare condition as recently as the 1980s. Research then showed that it was actually fairly common in elderly and visually impaired people. The factor that had kept this knowledge from the light of day is that folks were scared to mention what they were seeing, especially to their doctors, as they were afraid of being tagged as insane.

HERE's WHY: not all of the 'hallucinations' are tame in nature. They can last from a few seconds all the way to several hours and can be of a very wide variety of things-known and unknown to the person experiencing them. Flowers, people, animals, inanimate objects (pretty much the whole gamut of 'normal' things) but still things that shouldn't be there. Then there is this: Some of these people see montsters, angels, transparent figures floating about from room to room. A small percentage of cases are where the visually imapaired person 'sees' deceased people who had been known to them. Most of the images seen are life-size but there are also reports of miniature people and objects! The hallucinated objects can seem to float in the air, but more often they merge with the physical surroundings, for instance an 'imaginary' person can be seen fitting perfectly into the contours of a real chair. There are cases where a person's whole surroundings can become altered, and rooms, even streets can alter their shape. This can make it very difficult for the impaired person to get around. There is one extreme case of a man meaning to walk down a flight of stairs, and had a very life-like vision of being on the top of a mountain.

No one knows what causes people to experience these hallucinations. There is much in the data of sufferers that is easy to think about i.e.,when writing words on a page or looking at someone they can completely disappear and then reappear. However, as this quote from Fortean/paranormal researcher and author Paul Deveraux in the July 2004 issue of the Fortean Times shows-might there be other strange things going on?: "I could buy the idea that patches of light in the central visual region could be related to pathological conditions in the macula, and could cause people and writing to apparently disappear intermittently, but faces at the window, and people dressed in various costumes walking towards churches or driving vehicles or holding street parties seem more of a push...I couldn't help but wonder, with these macular degeneration visions, whether we are dealing with hallucinations, spirits, or some sublte level of perception lying somewhere between the two. Although the actual mechanics are currently unknown, the basic official theory explaining the visions associated with visual impairment like macular degeneration is that the brain, on receiving incomplete visual data through the eyes "fills in" the missing elements as best it can-a kind of "best fit" process."

"In fact, there is evidence that it is only input of a constant visual stream through our eyes that prevents the brain making up its own imagery in any case. This has been demonstrated in sensory deprivation experiments in which subjects who are placed in total blackout conditions for long periods experience hallucinatory imagery to lighten their Stygian darkness. All of us experience this in another form, and to a lesser degree, when we dream. If this explanation is true, then a whole host of other issues are implied. If animated figures in costumes, shades of the dead, processions leading to physically real churches, whole landscapes and entire complex scenes can be rendered in intricate detail by the brain struggling to "fill in" gaps in sensory data, what then is "reality"? Could what we take to be concrete materiality be a kind of hallucination sustained by cultured conditioning? Are paranormal phenomena simply glitches in that illusion? Are the different, spirit-based worldviews held by tribal societies simply other forms of hallucination no less "real" than our own? Is the Hindu doctrine of apparent reality being but the "Veil of Maya," of illusion correct? Whatever the answers to such questions, one thing is certain-we do not see with our eyes alone." (emphasis added)

Spatial metaphors and actual reality: I constantly talk about realms, levels and dimensions. In my musings on the nature of reality I have found it impossible to think of another way of saying "where" these places/and or entities from the Otherworld or Otherworlds come from. One word I have run across in the literature but haven't ever used much is "frequency." Maybe this has been somehwhat of a mistake due to my need to put these places/entities on some sort of map, even if the map simply states "Terra Incognita." For here is one very important thing about frequencies-different frequencies can occupy the same exact space. Tuning into a radio station is a great way to look at this-if I become the "Anti-Devin' or a "Seinfeldian" "Opposite World Devin" and decide to tune into Rush Limpdick-oooops Limbaugh-I can turn the AM dial one way. If I stay myself in this little thought experiment I could choose to listen to Diane Rehm or Amy Goodman instead. But as effing miserable as these two ladies might feel about sharing "Frequency" space with a Nazi scumbag like Limbaugh (as to the "Nazi" part there is a part of me that questions whether the "erectionally-challenged" Rush really believes the crapola he spews or not-he may just have found an easy way to make a cool 40 million a year!) Sorry for digressing once again-rather stupid for someone like me to use a political metaphor for this.

Here is the deal-as much as Diane or Amy may hate sharing frequency space with Rush-they do not have much to worry about because they are on a different frequency (in more ways than one) than Rush and indeed from each other. Yet no matter-with their speed-their cycles-per-second or Kilohertz/Megahertz they can all occupy the same space. We make the choice of who to listen to by turning the dial and tuning the station that is broadcasting their "program" on their "frequency." I have always been fascinated by many things in this way of thinking-and I think it is my (maybe obtuse?) need to think in spatial terms that didn't allow me to think about different frequencies of reality more. Another interesting fact about frequecies is that you can pack an infinite number of them in a finite space. Here is something else I wonder: Assuming there are an infinite number-or we could just say a very large number-1 quintillion or 1x10 to the 15th power-of "frequencies" of reality, why are us humans usually turned to only one? Do (good and evil) spiritual practice "open" up "windows" into other realities? What about hallucinogenic drugs? or extreme types of experinence like the Near Death Experience (NDE)?

Here are some quotes about spatiality from Patrick Harpur's Daimonic Reality: "But in order to talk about these models at all, we are forced to fall back on spatial metaphors, to talk about realms or domains, worlds or realities, oceanic repositories or storehouses of images. These invite such prepositions as "below" or "behind"--they "underlie" consciousness or "lie behind" our world--because the preferred metaphorical dimension of soul is depth...The non-spatiality of the Otherworld is repeated by multi-spatiality, it is, so to speak, everywhere and nowhere--and this is what the compelling theories of UFO origins support."

Here is some more from the same book as Harpur closes our "The Otherworld" chapter: "Students of the daimonic-Spiritualists, ufologists and so on-excitedly invoke subatomic physics as evidence that other dimensions, other worlds are possible and real. They are encouraged to believe that one day their own favorite daimons will be acceptable to Science. But the subatomic realm is not a literal world of facts from which they can derive support for the literal reality of their own. It is simply another metaphor for the Soul of the World. It is not even an especially good one: daimons prefer to appear as persons, not as impersonal quirky little particles. The subatomic Otherworld has its own elegance and a certain stark beauty, as the physicists are keen on emphaszing, but it is gray and meaningless compared to the world William Blake saw in a grain of sand. Indeed, while special instruments, such as the microscope and the telescope, extend then quantitative range of perception beyond ordinary sensory limits, they do not increase its qualitative depth. They produce an ersatz vision, a shadow of that true imaginative vision which alone reveals meaning." A last question and I think this is quite enough for one night: Does the new physics or reports of the paranormal suggest that reality is primarily metaphorical not literal or factual?

If I add much to this article I will probably start a new one-I might be adding links to this though as the days progress. There were some ideas from Rigorous Intuition and other places that I wanted to add, but perhaps that should be in a new article after giving people a chance to look at this one. I am not really sure where I am even going with this yet-somehow it just "feels right" to talk about this stuff right now, I don't know why. The so-called joke I deleted was a bad one about an "Orgasm" by the "big-O" statement. Pay me no mind, that one was too bad for even yours truly to leave up:-) The first image is of a painting called Anima Mundi which means "world-soul." The next image is of a 1970s era "Pachinko" game. Peace and be well to anyone stopping by!

Steady State Links HERE and HERE

Big Bang link HERE

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Winchester House-A California Must-See!

Three miles from the middle of San Jose, California at 525 Winchester Boulevard is California Historical Landmark Number 868. It is right in the middle of Silicon Valley now, but the scenery was very different when Sarah Winchester first moved here in 1884. The landscape then, was open farmland where a partially built 8-room farmhouse stood. This was exactly what Mrs. Winchester was in the market for. She bought the property and began the project that would keep her busy the rest of her life, building what was to become the Winchester Mystery House. Sarah had been widowed in 1881 and she had lost her 6 month old daughter, Annie, in 1866. Her husband had been William Witt Winchester, second president of the Winchester Rifle Company. William Winchester had died young from tuberculosis. Both Annie and William were buried in a Connecticut graveyard. Mrs. Winchester had journeyed to California because of the advice of a psychic who had told her: " a home for yourself and for the spirits who have fallen from this terrible weapon, too. You must never stop building the house. If you continue building, you will live forever. But if you stop, then you will die too."

The Winchester Rifle Company had made a fortune and Sarah inherited 20.5 million on her husband's death and the equivalent of 1,000 dollars a day, which was untaxed until 1913 from company sales. This is about the equivalent of 21,000 dollars a day in 2008 dollars. The firearms were also responsible for the deaths of many native Americans, Civil War soldiers and many other types of people from all walks of life. The psychic said that it was the very numerous spirits of all these dead people that needed to be appeased. She told Sarah that the only way to quiet the spirits of the many dead by Winchester rifles was to move west, find an unfinished house and build 'rooms' for the spirits. Sarah Winchester took this advice to heart and found the house and never stopped building onto it for the rest of her life. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week over the next 28 years, the building never stopped. It is estimated the continual building cost 5.5 million dollars in 1922 dollars which would be the equivalent of 70 million in 2008 dollars-in other words-quite a house! Thus stands the 6 acre, 160 room monstrosity today. It has 47 fireplaces, 10,000 windowpanes, 17 chimneys (with evidence of two others), two basements and three elevators.

Spirits-not architects planned the Winchester house. Every midnight Sarah Winchester would go to a small blue room in the center of the building, and using an ouija board she would converse with the "good" spirits. These spirits would advise her about what needed to be done next to keep the evil spirits away. The next morning Mrs. Winchester would tell the foreman about the necessary changes. No plans were ever drawn up-only an explanatory sketch when needed. The spirits had some wild ideas about house building! The Winchester place is a mind-bending maze of almost psychedelic proportions. There are windows in the floor, a set of stairs runs up to a blank ceiling and doors open out into nothing-a sheer drop into empty space. In one room a cupboard opens onto a space about a half-inch deep, and another door opens onto the entire rear of the house. There are windows with walls directly behind them. There are stairs that go up and down all to end up on the floor you started on. There are also dozens of secret passages. All in all these are just a small fraction of the massive house's oddities. The whole building was designed to be a huge ghost trap. Every deceitful nook and cranny was designed to frustrate spirits-even the fact that all the pillars in the house are inverted, something that is supposed to confuse the spirits.

The house was in a constant state of flux over the years. At one point, over 600 rooms were constructed, leaving the 160 that exist today. Some knowledge got lost to the ages over the years. For instance, it is not known which ones, if any of the current rooms were in the original farmhouse. The wine cellar was intentionally forgot about; more or less. Mrs. Winchester kept a superb cellar, but one day she noticed a black handprint on the wall. She thought the handprint the work of evil spirits and ordered the wine cellar to be boarded up, along with its racks upon racks of fine wines, and its location was later forgotten! The house was a massive 7 stories tall at its height, but the tower containing the highest 3 was toppled by the Great 1906 Earthquake. The earthquake itself was an event Mrs. Winchester typically had her own ideas about. Sarah Winchester believed the earthquake was the spirits' retribution because she had gotten too close to completing the front of the house. Sarah immediately decided to have an entire section boarded up-including an enormously expensive ballroom-and moved to the rear of the house for the rest of her life.

No one entered that part of the house until her death in 1922, and the quake damage remains. The Winchester house is full of occult symbolism, as one might expect. The number thirteen plays a large role in the furnishings and architecture of the house. Spider webs are a common decorative theme, and perhaps that should come as no surprise, given the "trapping" nature of the house itself. A crescent hedge had great significance for Mrs. Winchester during her life but she never told anyone why. Interestingly, the hedge points directly to the room she died in and she never slept in the same bedroom twice in a row to confuse the spirits. Even though tourists have to endure the "touristy" stuff-like an acne faced kid droning some tour information he or she learned by rote, the Winchester house is said to have a very strange atmosphere by many who visit. Its atmosphere is said to be strangely oppressive, even on bright, blue-sky days. If you are ever going to visit the northern California area-DO NOT miss visiting this fascinating and very historical place! Winchester House Link

In The News...

April 1976: Sam Leach, described as a "mysterious California inventor" convinced two companies based in California that he had the answer to the energy crisis. He claimed to have invented a suitcase-sized contraption that could produce combustible hydrogen from tap water "without any continuous outside energy source." Once it became known that these companies had bought application rights for vehicles and homes for a million dollars (maybe more), stock prices soared, according to Newsweek, which also added that the invention could solve society's need for a clean energy supply for homes, transportation and industry. Sam Leach said that when a current is passed through the water to split it into oxygen and hydrogen; the oxygen is absorbed by an undisclosed metal, leaving hydrogen. Every high school chemistry student knows about electrolysis, but Leach's claim that once started, the process continued to run on its own was greeted with much skepticism. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) got involved and stopped stock trading for the two companies pending an investigation of stock manipulation and what it called "other violations." Nothing more was ever said about Mr. Leach's mysterious invention. Did he really have something there, and Big Oil along with other vested interests shut it down? Or was Mr. Leach just another fraud? Fortean Times 16:15

April 1986: This month was already an extremely busy one at news desks around the world including the Fortean Times magazine when a real "meltdown" happened. The magazine, which ran an intermittent series called "Diary of a Mad Planet" was running out of superlatives to describe disasters (especially weather related) for the years 1985-1986. The staff were trying to think of ever new synonyms for hottest, wettest, longest, driest etcetera as disaster was piled onto catastrophe making thousands homeless almost every day. Some of the largest scale tragedies were caused by "reversals"-regions that had been parched by drought would suddenly be devastated by flooding. This period in time brought a prolonged winter with record cold from China to Bangladesh and many terrible hailstorms. The record for the largest hailstone had been broken several times when finally one fell on China that "took the cake." This hailstone weighed in at a massive 60kg (132lb) and fell in Guangdong. The day before reactor number 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant melted down (26 April 1986), the Augustine volcano in Alaska began erupting. Two weeks prior to that the Pavlov volcano in the same region and Mt. St. Helens in Washington state woke up also. All of this was happening as Halley's Comet passed its closest point to Earth (perehelion) and then left for another 76 years. Fortean Times collected many omens and stories about Europe's high anxiety; including radioactive clouds and of governments putting iodine in milk distribution. The most interesting of these were the association of Chernobyl-the Russian name for the bitter herb "wormwood" that had once grown in the region and "the star called Wormwood" mentioned in Revelations: 8:10-11 as a poisoning of the waters unleashed by the Apocalyptic "Third Angel." Chernobog, in Ukrainian tradition, was a chthonian Lord of Death, described as "a black sun beneath the earth." FT 47:26-33

December 1986: Two men-Mario Furlan and Dr. Wolfgang Abel-who were accused of the horrific series of 'Ludwig' murders between 1977 and 1984-began their trial in Verona, Italy this month. They had chosen their signature after a 19th century German playright, Otto Ludwig, who preached that sinners should be killed with clubs. Their 15 victims included prostitutes, clients of a porn cinema, drug addicts and several priests-who were all selected for "degeneracy," and their deaths were like something out of one of those awful early 1980s slasher films. A gypsy was burned alive in his caravan and one priest had a spike with a crucifix for a handle driven into his skull. Most of the other victims were burned alive or bludgeoned to death with hammers or axes. The men were finally arrested in March 1984 trying to set fire to a crowded disco in Mantua, Italy. The men were wearing clown outfits when they were caught. FT 39:28, 48:31

April 1996: 39 year old Pat Dolan wasn't kidding when he said he was the luckiest man alive. The Yorkshireman was speaking from Wakefield's Pindersfield Hospital and was recovering from a paragliding accident over Italy's Dolomite mountains where he fell over a mile (1.6km) and had hit the ground at an estimated 100mph (160km/h). Three of his vertebra were crushed and his right leg and heel fractured. He had managed to land and fall over into a 'recovery' position before he blacked out and was rescued.FT 89:16

'Ludwig' murders link

Monday, September 21, 2009

Imagination & Visionaries Part Six

The police found Norton guilty of exhibiting obscene pictures at the Kashmir Cafe in 1957 and, after numerous appeals, a number of her paintings were destroyed in 1960 by the authorities. This action among others made Rosaleen Norton by far the most persecuted artist and intellectual in Australian society. A large part of this was due to Norton having the courage to be so outspoken about her sexual, religious and aesthetic preferences. However, the continual legal wrangling and lurid gossip finally took their toll on both Norton and Greenlees. Norton retreated from the public eye in the 1960s and Greenlees was institutionalized because of mental health problems brought on by the never ending harassment.

In 1974, the Rt. Rev. Marcus Loane, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney set up a Commission of Inquiry into occult practices. This was reportedly only the second such inquiry held in a Protestant country since the Middle Ages. The Commisssion reported, amongst other sensational claims, that occultism and Satanism were the "most sinister" of modern "crazes" and that "occultism may provide pornography with a religious base to work from." They even recommended that legislation be passed to prohibit ouija boards, tarot cards and similar devices or instruments of the occult. This report spurred the popular press to even more dramatic headlines.

However, Rosaleen Norton continued to live a quieter and more private life. She also remained defiant and courageous to the very end, and continued to work on her art and magickal practices until cancer took her on 5 December 1979. She died at the Roman Catholic Sacred Heart Hospice in Sydney still worshipping Pan. Shortly before she died she is reported to have said, "I came into the world bravely; I'll go out bravely."

This last section will be about just a few things about Norton's religious beliefs and a final quote from the major source for this article. Pan was the major god that Rosaleen worshiped. Pan was the Greek god of shepherds and flocks, of hunting, mountain wilds, and rustic music. Pan was also associated with fertility and theatrical criticism and his season is spring. His name originates from the word paein meaning "to pasture," and he is a companion of the nymphs. Rosaleen Norton's religious beliefs were syncretic. Even though Pan was the major deity in her belief system, she also held such gods as Jupiter, Hecate, Neptune and Baphomet in high regard. In Norton's belief system Pan was celebrated for his creative (generative) powers. Her first magical ritual was "in honour of the horned god, whose pipes are a symbol of magic and mystery, and whose horns and hooves stand for natural energies and fleetfooted freedom; And this rite was also my oath of allegiance and my confirmation as a witch."

Norton believed these gods to have their own reality and not simply as representations of psychological forces to be acted upon. They appeared to the magician when they chose to do so-NOT at the whim of the magician. Norton's readings in the occult included the works of Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune and Eliphas Levi. In her autobiographical articles, Norton remarked that the "onset of adolescence often awakens the religious urge as well as the sexual urge, and this was so with me." It is not known whether Norton practiced Aleister Crowley's system of sexual magick. He did have the most comprehensive and explicit guide to the relationships between sexual practice and magical ritual. Norton "practiced what she preached" and her belief system was fully integrated into her daily life. She wrote: "As for 'Do I feel frightened of the things I see?' No! Never! Most of them are as familiar a part of my world as the teapot is. And as necessary to me."

Jack Sargeant is the author of "The Witch of Kings Cross" which appeared in Fortean Times August 2007 issue #224 which is the source of most of the information of this small series along with wikipedia. Jack Sargeant asks at the end of his fantastic article about Rosaleen Norton and her fascinating (and many times very difficult) life: "What seems remarkable now is the apparent lack of support Norton received during her trials, even when the state took it upon itself to destroy her artwork. There was no outcry from museums or artists, suggesting that the country's artistic and intellectual communities were either paralyzed by cowardice or simply indifferent to Norton's fate. Such a lack of action remains shocking to this day." The art shown is more of Rosaleen Norton's work.

Rosaleen Norton Link

Gavin Greenlees Link

Sir Eugene Aynsley Goossens Link
Greek god Pan Link

Imagination & Visionaries Part Five

Rosaleen journeyed to Melbourne in 1949 with her lover, the poet Gavin Greenlees, to set up an exhibition at the university there. Four of the artworks included in the exhibition were seized by the police and prosecuted on charges of obscenity. She was prosecuted with the Crown prosecution alleging that such works could 'deprave and corrupt the morals of those who saw them' and the police alleged that they were inspired by works of medieval demonology. The charges against her were dismissed and the charge of four pounds and four shillings awarded against the police department. In 1952 a beautifully produced leather-bound limited edition book of her paintings, with each one complemented by a poem by Gavin Greenlees (15 April 1930-5 December 1983), was published by Walter Glover. The book should have been a success-produced in a numbered edition of 500. However, in 1953 the work was seized by the authorities. Two pictures in it had been judged to be obscene. The volume was subsequently allowed to be sold with the censor's ink covering parts of the offending pictures. The book was not only banned by American customs, but copies of the book were confiscated and burned by the U.S. Customs Department.

The tabloid press had a field day with headlines such as the "most blatant example of obscenity yet published in Australia." Now Rosaleen Norton was the subject of increasingly lurid stories by the yellow press with headlines referring to her as "the witch of Kings Cross." Dark stories of witchcraft, "black masses," sexual magical rites and Satanism began to regularly appear in Australian newspapers and magazines, and "Roie Norton" soon became a household name. Gavin Greenlees became quite involved in one particular incident. Thieves tried to sell pictures of Norton and Greenlees in flagrante delicto to the press. Obviously the pix weren't published but news that they simply existed at all shocked conservative Australia. Finally, in April 1957, Norton and Greenlees would be found guilty of assisting in the production of obscene photographs and fined. On 5 March 1956, Sir Eugene Aynsley Goossens, who was the ABC director of music, conductor of the Sydney Symphony and head of the NSW State Conservatory of Music was arriving in Australia from a trip to his native England. Goossens was a friend of Norton and Greenlees. He was stopped at Sydney airport and accused of importing prohibited imports, including pornographic photos and ceremonial masks and other "paraphenalia" for use in certain "rituals."

Due to the public scandals, Goossens lost his jobs and was forced to return to England within two months where he died in 1962. It has never been completely explained as to the motive the authorities had for searching the famed conductor and his luggage. It is believed by many that the authorities stole letters from Goossens to Norton which talked about sex magick from when they had illegally searched Norton's home. In 1957 Walter Glover was declared bankrupt and the copyrights to the artwork which had been assigned to him were taken over by the Official Receiver in Bankruptcy. The copyrights to Norton's artwork were finally returned to him in 1981. He managed to re-publish the book without difficulty in the more liberal political atmosphere of 1982. Rosaleen Norton had died in 1979 and didn't live to see her work published without being violated and to receive the respect it deserved. Sadly, Norton's life provided so much grist for the mill for the yellow press (and more respectable publications) her artwork was mostly ignored by galleries and critics of her day. Luckily the more Bohemian and cutting-edge bars and coffee shops of Kings Cross would often exhibit her work and she would sell paintings now and then through these places.

Norton was occasionally employed to paint murals in cafes and clubs. Throughout the 1960s, Norton was famed as the head of an active coven in Kings Cross, and she was regularly featured in the popular press. Friends who know her from this time recall her with fondness and invariably refer to how kind she was, quite the opposite from the disturbed "demon" or "sex maniac" painted by the press. Two more works of Rosaleen Norton's are shown in this article. The top image shows the god Pan. This was the major god she worshipped. To be continued...

Imagination & Visionaries Part Four

In Sydney's Kings Cross neighborhood you will see large brass plaques in the pavement. Kings Cross is an area long noted for its Bohemian atmosphere and denizens. The plaques celebrate this areas sometimes ridiculed and steamy past and are also an attempt to generate interest from tourism in the area. Between the "touristy" El Alamein Fountain and rows of strip clubs on Darlinghurst Road, among the names of famous drag queens and local community campaigners is a plaque that says "Rosalee Norton," and a second one that says "born in a thunderstorm with pointed ears...genius or crank?" Who knows what percentage of passersby will wonder about this plaque and the woman who inspired it? I hope that it is more than I imagine it would be, for I feel Rosaleen Norton's life story is both fascinating and instructive.

Rosaleen Miriam Norton (2 October 1917-5 December 1979) was an Australian artist, occultist and witch sometimes referred to as "the witch of Kings Cross." She was born in New Zealand, and the seven-year old Rosaleen emigrated with her family to Australia in 1925. Rosaleen knew from a very young age that she was different from other children. The young girl chose to sleep in a tent in the garden. Out here she enjoyed being in the prescence of an orb spider. The spider's prescence had the extra benefit of scaring her family away so she had the privacy to begin to look at nature's wonders and enjoy her love of the night. Even at her young age, she was "aware of a world wherein moved vast, mysterious powers, the sense of gay daemonic prescences and hauntingly familiar atmospheres, elusive yet powerful and compelling, when everything around me seemed to change focus like patterns in a kaleidoscope."

Her feelings and intuitions led to a series of visions and intuitions she experienced as a child, including the awesome otherness of a dragon. Rosaleen felt a deep awareness of greater dimensions beyond the material world. These other sides to being and reality would have a profound influence on her artwork and her magical philosophy later in life. As a young girl, poor Rosaleen had a foreshadowing of the scandals and problems with authority figures that would befall her later in life. At school, she had drawn a picture inspired by Saint Saen's Danse Macabre that scared the wits out of her teachers at Chatswood Girls Grammar. They saw the young girl as an immoral influence on the other pupils and she was expelled. Rosaleen was able to get a place at East Sydney Technical College because of her artistic talents. Even there two teachers tried to have her expelled, but the head of the school threw in his support for her. When Rosaleen began her college life she was in a vastly different world than that of the suburbs where she left her family. She stayed at a hotel near Circular Quay that was then-ahem-charmingly known as "Buggery Barn." She fit right in among this milieu of "artists, writers, musicians and drunks."

Soon after this she moved two more times finally landing in a run-down neighborhood near Kings Cross. Rosaleen was definitely a night owl, bisexual, artist and occultist by then. She enjoyed the camaraderie of the Cross's nocturnal inhabitants, and she spent most of her life living in or close to the area which is the unofficial heart of the city. She supported herself as a pavement artist and an artist's model to make a very low income as a student. Norman Lindsey, whose paintings evoked an eroticism and mysticism that would become so imbued in her own work, was the artist she modelled for. Later on, Rosaleen did discern a major difference between her own and Lindsey's work: "His is a Daylight world and the satirical element is used as a foil rather than admitted as another form of beauty. The vision of Rosaleen Norton is one of Night; she dislikes any of the sterotypes of beauty and finds the 'Daylight' world in general does not make good subject matter." Norton wrote this last bit about herself anonymously. Lindsey described her in condescending terms as a "grubby little girl with great skill who will not discipline herself." Despite what other people and the moralistic, conservative Australian press said about her, Norton continued to study art and pursued a personal study of trance states and the unconscious.

According to her autobiographical articles in the Australian Post she described entering a "deep trance state lasting for five days...what some Buddhist schools call the "Trance of Annihilation." Norton was also reported to have taken certain hallucinogenic drugs or plants to undergo her psychic journeys and achieved visionary states. She also devoted time to reading C.G. Jung, Eastern philosophy, Theosophy and after that texts which had concentrated more directly on magical workings and rituals. Through her intense study of these areas and numerous personal observations, Norton was able to present her experiences within a metaphysical framework instead of a purely psychological one. The magical realms or planes of existence she encountered helped her to produce her artwork. Often her artwork portrayed entities she witnessed in these altered states of consciousness. In addition, some of her paintings showed her own image alongside these beings depicted in a state of meditation, psychically crossing over into another plane of being. The first image is of Rosaleen Norton with one of her paintings and the second one is also another of her works. To be continued...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

In The News...

Here are some more entries of strange, paranormal, silly and sometimes just plain frightening news from the past in the superb Fortean Times magazine's "Tales From The Vault", "Sidelines" and "Strange Deaths" sections.

January 1976: Peter Watts, a 15 year-old boy from Colwyn Bay, Wales left his home on the morning of the 18th. Little did his friends and family know that he would not be seen alive again. He had left a note saying he was going to a friends house to study for an exam. Soon after 1:30 that afternoon, he was found dying in the underpass near Euston Square tube station in London. A taxi-driver found him lying on the road with a severely fractured skull and rushed him to a nearby University College Hospital, where he died. Peter's father said he knew no one in London. His skull injury, cracked ribs and fractured shoulder were all consistent, in the coroner's view, with a fall from a great height rather than from an assault or self-injury. The police could find no positive witness who might have seen the boy travel by train to Chester and then London, arriving at Euston station, at that time a notorious cruising area for 'rent boys.' More curious was the fact that forensic examination revealed that the boy and his clothes were "impeccably clean" as though he had just been bathed. Even his wound had no sign of the grit expected if he had fallen on his head from the overpass above. The mystery death of 'the Super-Clean boy' was one of the first strange deaths I (Bob Rickard) investigated and I'm not sure it was ever resolved. In 1978, FT reader, Paul Pinn tried and failed to find out anything further. FT21:13, FT40:40

November 1984: 'Operation Congo' left the United Kingdom around the middle of the month for Africa to search for the 'living dinosaur' called Mokele Mbembe. Comprising Bill Gibbon (team leader), Mark Rothermel, Jonathan Peacock and Jonathan Walls, the expedition failed to get any significant sponsorship (apart from the moral support of FT); survived the nightmare of gaining visas, equipment being held hostage to bribes, and a recalcitrant guide; and barely got back in one piece. Alas, no pix of Mokele Mbembe either. Bill went on to make several more attempts to film the mystery beast at Lake Tele, had a religious conversion and became a Christian broadcaster in Canada. Mark Rothermel, a bodybuilder and 'survival expert', was later jailed for six years for helping a gang dispose of the body of a crook who had been strangled and decapitated. The last we heard of him was when he and 40 other mercenaries escaped from a Brazzaville police station during a gun battle. FT45:4 Also this month two bird-hunters at Iceland's Lake Kleifarvvatn saw a pair of unidentified animals "bigger than horses" emerge from the lake to play on its shore. "They moved like dogs and swam like seals," they said, and the creatures left hoof prints with two large lobes. As far as we know, this mystery was never resolved, despite the prospect of large unidentified animals living just 20 miles (32km) south of Reykjavik. FT43:25

May 1996: "Porn star crucified" is one of those strange headlines that delight us when we stumble upon them. This event happened in the Phillipine village of San Fernando where, each year, local Catholics volunteer to be nailed to a cross, usually fulfilling a promise in return for divine favors. They are closely watched by support teams and usually brought down after a few hours. This year, a Japanese man, Shinichiro Kaneko, asked to take part, in the hope his suffering would persuade God to cure his critically ill brother. Mr. Kaneko turned out not to be a Christian and had no sick brother. He was a porn actor whose specialty was sadomasochistic porn films. When this was found out there was widespread anger among devout Filipinos. His video production company said they could not see what the fuss was about as, in Japan, foreigners often join in public Shinto ceremonies. FT90:20

Finally, Gerald Naud, 35, was ordered by a judge in Edmonton, Canada, to stop asking women to kick him in the testicles. He was jailed for 13 months, ironically for "sexual assault." Metro, 17 August 2004. FT193:10

Imagination & Visionaries Part Three

Bernadette, a poor peasant girl, was a good Catholic and when the "Lady" appeared she instantly took out her rosary and knelt before her. The "Lady" nodded approval and took up her own rosary that hung over her right arm. Bernadette found her own arm was paralyzed when she lifted her hand to her forehead to begin her rosary, and could only start after the Lady or BVM had crossed herself. As Patrick Harpur points out in Daimonic Reality, the effect of being paralyzed completely or only a part of the body is a frequent effect of "daimonic" or otherwordly experiences: "There are several elements in classic BVM visions which show continuity with earlier pagan traditions and overlap with other non-Christian visions. Apparitions of the Virgin often take place in association with water-curiously, there is frequently rain about-and more particularly with springs. During her ninth visit at the grotto, Bernadette was told by the Lady to "drink from the fountain and bathe in it." There was no such thing; but, undaunted, the girl began to scratch at the ground, and sure enough, a pool formed, later overflowing to become the famous healing waters of Lourdes."

A bit later in Daimonic Reality Harpur talks about some elemental themes to these sightings: "In this respect the BVM shows an affinity with the classical nymphs who haunt, or better perhaps, represent the spirit of a spring or stream. Tribal societies acknowledge such nature spirits, and they live on, Christianized, in the shrines which are dedicated to the Virgin Mary at sacred springs and holy wells all over Catholic Europe. Similarly, pagan cultures have always held that certain trees are sacred, inhabited by a female numen and so we might expect Christian versions, Virgin Marys, to appear in connection with particular trees." The most famous BVM or Marian encounter in history took place near a tree. The date was 13 May 1917 and the place was Cova da Iria near Fatima, Portugal. From Daimonic Reality: ...three children were tending sheep...when a brilliant flash of light appeared out of a clear blue sky. Fearing a storm, they began to gather up their sheep and head for shelter when a second flash of light rooted them to the spot. Above the branches of a small holm oak tree there appeared "the most beautiful lady they had ever seen." She was "all in white," more brilliant than the sun, shedding rays of light." The BVM in this case told them to return every month to the same spot. The fame of Fatima grew and on 13 August there were 18,000 people at the site. A clap of thunder was followed by a bright flash of light. A white mist then began forming around the tree. It stayed for a few minutes, then rose and vanished. The clouds in the sky turned crimson red, and then changed to pink, yellow and blue, "colored light like a rainbow on the ground; clouds around the sun relflecting different colors on the people."

Richard Grossinger in Waiting for the Martian Express, describes some more of the events: "The witnesses saw 'falling flowers,' the famous phenomenon of 'angel hair' so consistently reported after the passage of a UFO, and sometimes interpreted as an ionization effect. One man, Manuel Pedro Marto, reported seeing clearly a luminous globe spinning through the clouds..." At subsequent visitations through October 13, the crowd gradually swelled to seventy thousand; there were flashes of light, a sudden end to heavy rain, rainbow-colored disks that doused the throng in lights, sweet aromas, spontaneous healings, the manifestation of a "Lady" who introduced herself as the Angel of Peace, then the delivery of a communique to be read in 1960. Vallee adds: "A man whose word I trust received an interesting report from one of the Pope's secretaries, who introduced the highest men in the Church into the prescence of John XXIII for the opening of the secret part of the Fatima prophecy in 1960. Although the solemn event took place behind closed doors, the secretary had the opportunity to see the cardinals as the left the Pope's office; they had a look of deep horror on their faces. He got up from behind his desk and tried to speak to one of them whom he knew intimately, but the prelate gently pushed him aside and walked on with the expression of someone who has seen a ghost." To be continued...

Imagination & Visionaries Part Two

And one thing is common to all humanity-memories do die out. There may be some clue as to how and why visionary experiences take on new forms as specific images as the group memory fades. However, the basic event-be it psychic or transcendent continues to happen. We could talk about some specific visionary experiences that were reported as objective and try to find any links or commonalities between them. There is a huge question in the background here and this is whether or not any visionary experience is truly transcendent. What we mean by transcendent here is that if the experience leads us to a greater reality than our mundane world. I would like to point out here that our "mundane" world can really be very interesting and even magical at times. I would like to bring in a quote here-don't know who said it, but I think it sort of shows that within each of us (to some a much greater degree than others) the awestruck child lying in a meadow looking up in wonder at the stars and that child "dies" a bit day by day in many of us. Here is the quote: "Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss in life is what dies inside us while we live."

The least structured and one of the most variable visionary experiences is a supposed direct contact (usually from) God. The most amazing of these reports is where the boundaries of the self are peeled away like an onion and the hardened exoskeleton of the ego and personality are stripped away. The experience of being entered or transformed by the Holy Ghost, of satori, nirvana, or being overwhelmed by the blinding light of the shekhina, is literally beyond the mere vessel of language to describe. However, there are more accounts of religious encounters where the percipient keeps hold of his or her identity. The famous encounter of Ezekiel could have been in his own psyche, a true manisfestation of the Godhead, a "sundog" or even a "flying saucer" and its beings. Whatever happened to Exekiel, he derived meaning from the experience. There is nothing else recorded in Judaism, Christianity and Islam like Ezekiel's experience. The further visions of Ezekiel did not include reports of anything so wondrous as his first one. What the Lord supposedly communicated to Ezekiel withstood intellectual and ethical tests (although unsettling) and was original.

The Lord put an extreme emphasis on individual moral responsiblility and observance. There was no point during all of this that Ezekiel was overwhelmed by his experiences. Looking over Ezekiel's encounter we can't say if he was really relaying the word of God, or if he was mad as a hatter. If Ezekiel was "projecting" his feelings about the moral desolation of Babylonian Israel, as viewed from the prism of an altered state of consciousness, his perceptions were coherent and stood up to the theological world of his time. He was not ranting and raving like a street-corner preacher. There is also the possibility that he put his fierce and uncompromising views of Israel in visionary language because that was the only politically acceptable way to do it. I would be more than a bit remiss if I didn't mention visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM)-and even more fascinating to me-is that she doesn't always identify herself as the Virgin or anyone else for that matter. The popularity and the success of the cults and those involved in the sightings of the BVM are far more popular than the cults which spring up around UFO contactees, mediums and channels.

There were 230 alleged visions of the BVM between 1928 and 1975; this number also represents only those the Roman Catholic Church acknowledged, not necessarily endorsed. Overall the Roman Church endorses very few BVM sightings. Each sighting or encounter of this type is unique but there are some archetypal details that stay the same over hundreds of years of reported sightings. It is interesting that in many of the BVM encounters, they could as easily be taken for a sighting of Mabh or Maeve, Queen of Fairies, or some of the contactee experiences in the UFO literature. Here is a bit from the experience of Bernadette Soubirous in a French grotto in 1858 (Lourdes): "...suddenly I heard a great noise like the sound of a storm...I was frightened and stood straight up. I had lost all power of speech and thought when, turning my head toward the grotto, I saw at one of the openings of the rock a rosebush, one only, moving as if it were windy. Almost at the same time there came out of the interior of the grotto a golden-colored cloud, and soon after a Lady, young and beautiful...the like of whom I had never seen, came and placed herself at the entrance of the opening of the rosebush. She looked at me immediately, smiled at me and signed to me to advance, as if she had been my mother. All fear had left me but I seemed to know no longer where I was. I rubbed my eyes, I shut them, I opened them, but the Lady was still there..making me understand that I was not mistaken." To be continued...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Imagination & Visionaries Part One

To try to follow up a bit on the last series of articles on this blog, I thought it would be good to do a bit on Imagination, and women and men who have encountered it with a capital "I." It might be good also, to narrow down what exactly a true visionary is all about. Some would include people like Nero, Napoleon, Hitler, Chairman Mao and others like them as 'visionaries'-in other words not people we would normally associate with the Universal Good. Some would also include Plato, Archimedes, Wittgenstein, Einstein, Cantor, Beethoven, Dostoevsky, and many, many other people of letters, philosophy, music, art and mathematics on this list. However, how many of these people were famous for continually having visions such as William Blake did? William Blake witnessed angels sitting in a tree once and his father beat him for it, showing that encounters with the numinous are not always rewarded. Or how many of these people could envision an entire symphony in their heads at one time like Mozart? The idea I am trying to express is that there is a very blurred boundary between radically original thought, inspiration and the visionary experience. William Blake would be the greatest example of one man who had all three types of experience.

At the other extreme of visionary experience is the set of experiences which are simply psychotic fantasies and hallucinations. There are people in institutions who claim to be the 'real' Queen of England or channeling a superior interstellar race (or "making bank" off the same claim or similar like J.Z. Knight of "Ramtha" fame. There is a long list of serial killers who claim to have been directed by God or a higher power. Perhaps we need to draw a line between people who have mental problems and psychotic episodes who are harmless and full-blown psychotics like Hitler, Stalin, LBJ and Richard Nixon to name a few! The psychopaths and sociopaths among us can have truly horrible effects on our lives but by far most of the people who suffer from extreme mental illness live a "pinched reality as ghosts" to paraphrase Richard Grossinger.

Cultural analysts have tried to work out the demarcation zones between visionary madness and visionary genius with equal intensity, although with less forensically certifiable results. Forteans and people who study the paranormal naturally want to observe the ambiguities and uniqueness of the latter. Forteans and paranormal researchers must always be on guard for people with malice, gullibility, chicanery, egoism-and so on and so forth in their sources hearts, whether primary or secondary. The difficulty of analyzing any one visionary experience is that literally anyone can have one. A person can be entranced by UFOs, the voice of God, glimpses of fairies or the Good Folk, and even encounters with a "Blue Lady" or Bloody Mary. This does not mean that their experiences show some great truth and it certainly doesn't mean they are "nutcases" either. However, a fundamental relationship of this maxim always follows: when reliable witnesses, upright citizens and "trained observers" testify to experiencing apparently strange, bizarre and wholly "other" phenomena, their sober, sane and valuable lives are equally no automatic indicator of the truth of what they report. But if enough people undergo sufficiently similar experiences of a strange nature, the stories, or the creatures in them, acquire a kind of objectivity through repetition.

This is how the archetypes of UFOs, pixies, fairies, the Blessed Virgin Mary encounters, Bigfoot (feet:), angels, ghosts, sea monsters, cryptids, gray aliens and so on come to be. Inevitably these stories-myths and folklore by any other name-in due course begin to mold and "speak" the unique language of the experiences themselves. A woman's "angel" could easily become Billy Meier's "Semjase" in other words one person's hallucination is another person's alien. Ghosts and hauntings may very well in some cases involve visionary type experiences but that field of study has other and enormous possibilities (one of which is the nature of the human 'soul' after death.) For the time being maybe we should keep to two aspects of visions: what appears in them, and their observable objectivity or "realness."

How can we separate the observer from the observed? Of course, modern physics tells us that YOU CAN'T-there is no conceivable way to ever separate the observer from the observed. This isn't a maybe of modern physics-it is a law. This law has limiting factors such as the wavelength of light that we will never get around. In other words the more we look at the world/universe, the more it appears to be a seamless whole. The funny thing is that materialist science chooses to ignore the deep philosophical implications of their own discoveries. Before recorded history word of mouth or storytelling was the only way to transmit a lot of information. This relied heavily on memory. If the information was forgotten or remembered wrong that was that. To be continued...

In The News...

I got the inspiration to do little posts here and there from a section in the Fortean Times magazine called "Tales From The Vault"-it is a section at the end of the magazine that goes 10 years back, then 20 and finally 30 from the month of the new issue. This is just a small section in the magazine-less than a page really-with Fortean/paranormal newsclips. These won't be done here in any particular order (of course {:-)>}. They are just odds and ends for people to enjoy-hopefully!

March 1975: An actor named Neville Davies had been very enthused about playing King Richard III in an amateur production. Later he was happy to be photographed next to "King Richard's Well" at Bosworth Field, the location of Richard's fatal battle in 1485. On viewing the picture later, Neville was surprised to see a faint figure in medieval dress standing behind his right shoulder. Historians of the Richard III society identified the figure as a known portrait of the king, but Neville swears the film was new and certainly not double-exposed. A professional photographer attempt to print off the negative -on which the figure was visible-then produced a photograph in which the figure was missing. No easy answers to this one! FT10:9

December 1984: Devon, England was visited by two mysterious incidents this month. In the first, Bill Taylor, who was cycling to work saw "two huge beams of light, like searchlights, which formed a perfect cross, centered on the Moon." The arms faded over ten minutes time leaving a normal Moon. Later Mr. Taylor found a colleague who had also seen it. The crew at Fortean Times thought that perhaps it was a variation of a "moonshow" or "moondog," but couldn't find a similar case in any of their massive files of strange aerial phenomena. FT45:21 Then on Christmas Eve, Mrs. Christine Middlehurst, 36, ran screaming from her home in Newton Abbot. Neighbors noticed she was smoking-and not with a cigarette! They took her indoors and placed her in a bath of lukewarm water. To their shock and horror, Christine's skin "floated off." "It was the most terrible thing I'd ever seen," said another neighbor who had come to their aid. At first Christine's partner had come downstairs to find her aflame. He threw water over her and yelled for help. The gentleman was burned on his hands and body as he tried to put out his lover's rather unfortunate self-ignition. Mrs. Middlehurst recovered from about 50 percent of her burns. She could give no information or clues as to what had caused her body to combust. A detective who looked into the case said the house was "virtually untouched." FT44:21

January 1997: The 20th of this month saw a magnificent apparition descend upon the inhabitants of a small village in Uttar Pradesh in northern India. Some of the villagers thought it might be a bomb (perhaps launched from somewhere in Pakistan maybe given the history between the two nations). However, most who were salt-of-the-earth type people whose families had lived in the village for generations upon generations thought that it was a "flying fire temple" (agni mandir), like the ones their mythologies told of in ancient times. These used to ferry their gods around the heavens in those days. A pale creature emerged from the object. "He was dressed in red, priest-like clothes." We offered him milk, which he accepted," a shopkeeper told reporters later. The villagers couldn't understand anything the being said, but, taking the visit as an auspicious sign and blessing upon their village, some 200 of them took up sticks and made a defensive ring around the deflated balloon, to keep away the thousands of villagers who had come to take in the spectacle. The "fire temple" was in fact Solo Spirit, piloted by millionaire stockbroker Steve Fossett, who had taken off from the United States six days earlier in an attempt to circumnavigate the globe! FT98:12

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Richard Grossinger & Waiting for the Martian Express

Here is a bit from Richard Grossinger's "Waiting for the Martian Express: Cosmic Visitors, Earth Warriors, Luminous Dreams" published in 1989 that some folks might enjoy. From the chapter "The Homeless," What is remarkable about our time is not how much but how little we know...Science seeks the source of matter in equations generated by stars and the remains of stars. Observations are turned into integers and signs whose own origin is as obsure as that of the stars, and different. We have no sense of the context of these numbers, how they bind us, what abstract formality they promote. In our knee-jerk advocacy of a quantitative universe we are not even aware of the problem. E= MC^2, for sure, but in relation to what?; formed out of symbols and languages how?

The proposal within physics to explain the universe is delusionary; the assorted mobs and cartels could care less, for they rule the universe of meaning, of the shaman and the wild pig.

We do not understand the extinction of the dinosaurs, the Bermuda Triangle, the origins of AIDS, the assassination of John Kennedy (or its weird parallels to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln), or the fireball that blasted Siberia in 1908. We think we know why the space shuttle exploded and who shot down the KAL jet. At a meeting of the American Anthropological Association it was declared, irrefutedly, that Carlos Castenada had invented the shaman Don Juan.

We do not know Pol Pot, Khomeini, Gorbachev. We do not even know Ronald Reagan, though we poured the collective presidency into his being...We do not fathom how Nazis could have prevailed in an advanced nation in a civilized century. Yet slaughterhouses of sentient beings are everywhere. The Earth has become a mechanized flesh and blood factory.

Cocaine? Crack? Child pornography? Yin/Yang? Shadow. Light. Who are we kidding? For every act of science unveiling the universe, a compensatory intuition drives us deeper into mystery.

As sexuality becomes explicit, something else becomes obscure. This is axiomatic. Fucking and masturbation occur on stage, bondage and orgies in suburbia. Businessmen and -women do not even drop their personae as they pleasure themselves and each other ritually. Desire is now business; business desire...The compulsive religion of the moral majority, the strategies of corporate merger represent the same "looking out for number one" grab at ego rapture.

But the mystery, the impalpable allure that was once a sexual escapade is now the stuff of life itself. When the fantasy of desire is charmed to the surface, the mystery of eros sinks to the heart...It is our hearts that are closed as we go about our businessses. Something beyond desire now haunts the world. Why else would we return to Nazi Germany for redemption?; why continue to clone the Bomb?; why run no one against no one in elections? Why make it a pretense of progress and elightenment in this misasma?

The homeless are no surprise. They are not withdrawn from reality; they have simply retreated to where no more harm can be done, no more tricks can be played. By their prescence they establish ideology. They are our scientists, but their specialty is not substance. What passes them on the street is a clutter of hungers, petty jobs, fake resolutions. By making themselves powerless and brief, they cast the spell of cornucopia back over the masses.

Theirs is not a sophisticated desire or sly strategy of sensuality; it is a pure hunger, the sense that the cauldron is empty. They would rather sit and let the rain of futility gradually work in their bones.

Some become angry, hard and throw themselves at the walkers; they are waiting for Godot too, less patiently. Others are as soft as a feather, and there is no excuse not to give them some of the coins we find ourselves carrying-the make-believe integers that turn to gold in their hands.

I know the ego doesn't survive. If it did, this would be a demonish eternity, for us as for the street people. I know the ego doesn't survive, though at times I think I want that more than anything. I fear death openly. But I see in the beggar's face that consciousness is no meager thing. We share a pinched, luminous reality as ghosts.

Consciousness will not be obliterated, for consciousness is the universe. The part of me I know the least, will go on. These images of a winter's night will not be kept in the holograph's heart--the rain on the beggars along storefront walls, the feeling of unexplored depths, the now-acrid, now-sweet obscurity in me, that even my attempt to locate and feel radiates as petals of deeper, more devious obscurities--a memory of childhood, a fragment of a tune I can't place, the cold that wants warm, the tug toward home, all together, all making me up this one moment--that will be dashed on rocks harsher than either atoms or stars, because atoms and stars are abstractions that transform nothing.

My hope is their hope--that this will all be made into a robe of the finest light. (Don't be fooled into assuming they have given up hope or that the rest of us have escaped their fate).

I don't need angels or stories of eternity, and I don't expect the timeless void of transcendence or a merger with a superconsciousness. I want the obscurity that nothing will touch in the rain."

Richard Grossinger I had almost forgotten about this little gem of a book in the intervening twenty years-was very happy to have found it again! Flowers by Alex Robinson:)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Simply the Best!

"Better than all the rest":) I know how about if I give it a rest! I just got done reading Jeff's new article at Rigorous Intuition, and I think it was beautiful and thought-provoking to say the least. Who else can talk about Joe Stalin, Jane Goodall, HP Lovecraft, Betelegeuse (the star not the movie:), The Beatles, the Kennedys, Barack Obama, Pee Wee Herman, George W. Bush, Heinrich Himmler, Adolph Eichmann, Walter Evans-Wentz and Barry Manilow at the same time? Here is just a small sample of Jeff's latest article and it is by no means even close to being what the article is about in its totality. The rise of fascism in Europe (and elsewhere;) has been on my mind a lot lately and then I read this from Jeff's article: "During a period of pauperization, the people with a little who have been told all their lives that they have a lot and now risk losing even that are thus most inclined to learn the Horst Wessel song...And Glenn Beck is mobilizing the Freikorps." Believe me-there is something in Jeff's latest article for everyone-no kidding! I may work on an article for this blog tonight but I will put it below this. I am not sure I have time now. This will be my future shout-out post for other people I am way behind on thanking for their hard work also. I hope everyone will read the articles I link to in this post. Not because my opinion is important or anything like that-just to say thanks to friends in blogland for a job well done. Alex Robinson and Autumnforest are next up! Link to Jeff's article HERE.

For a wonderful new take on "Mothman" -along with an enormous host of other paranormal goodies check out Autumnforest's "Ghost Hunting Theories" Her Mothman -An Interdimensional Rebel? HERE

More interdimensional and other type fun from "family" (and I don't mean the Manson Family:) member and long-time friend Michael at Gosporn HERE Just checked links. If you want to read Michael's article just click on "Gosporn" where it says the blog doesn't exist and you will get to the right page!

And yet one more for today. An incident (a very good one) happened to my mom and I today that just goes to show how stupid racist thought or any kind of bigotry is. I was going to do a "lone" short post about it today-but saw Cruel Virgin's article HERE and thought I would just tell it here with a link to CV's article because I think she is on the money with things I have been noticing lately! We went to a discount book store with three bags of used books. I don't know how long we were in there but it had to have been at least 45 minutes to an hour. We were given about $3.75 for all three bags-o well you can try -eh?:) My mom realized she didn't have her car keys. She frantically searched in her handbag and then checked her door. Well it was unlocked. I was thinking this was a good thing because we had all the books in the trunk before we went in the store and I thought perhaps she had just dropped the keys in there. I had her open the trunk with the inside switch. Once again disappointment reigned-especially after what I thought was going to be a very lucky day for us (it did turn out lucky) we never-at least in the time she has been running me around on errands-have left the doors unlocked. Of course- no keys in the trunk after "getting lucky" so to speak. My mom had me stay with the car and the few books we had been able to purchase and ran back inside the bookstore thinking she mislaid the keys at the checkout. All this time I was getting more nervous-My dad's back has been out for about four days now. I knew he couldn't drive to get us out of the mess and indeed can barely walk (please say a prayer or think a get well thought for him!)

I could tell my mom wasn't having any luck with the keys in the store as we were parked very close and she would have been right back had she left them at the checkout. It may have only been five to ten minutes since we got outside the store-obviously wasn't timing it. All of a sudden a four-by-four truck pulled up close to me- still searching rather stupidly in the trunk-like the keys were going to turn up in the spare tire space-maybe I was thinking the "Good Folk" or the "Pixies" were having another go at me-only this time with my beautiful stylin' mother! The man in the truck was not white-caucasian-that is all that's important to say for this article. He looked at me and held his hand out the window and asked, "Did you lose something?" Well turns out this gentleman-who happened to NOT BE WHITE/CAUCASIAN had seen the keys glinting in the sun near mom's car. Instead of just leaving the keys to fate or turning them into one of the stores at the strip mall he obviously must have circled around for a time-I do not know how long. I was so happy at the turn of events I could only say "Thank you so very much! You have just made two people very happy!." I shook his hand and he drove off and waved. Before the truck pulled up I was thinking we were going to be more than a few hours in a bit of a bind on what was an important day to get some things done. I also realized that had I seen the keys-sure I would have stopped and turned them into the nearest store-but I know I wouldn't have circled around the parking lot waiting for the owners to return. This gentleman's going above and beyond has made me realize that there are still very kind people out there who care about their fellow human beings. Because of his example now I will also go out of my way the next time the opportunity comes up to do something nice for someone.

Wouldn't you know it? Mom was heading towards good ole US 60 and we saw a car that had these bumper stickers: the words "Confederate Heritage" with a Confederate Flag. "Socialism is Slavery" with an image of President Obama. A decal that had a white arm and hand with "43" on it -handing a baton-presumably dropped (didn't get a real good look at this one) by a black arm and hand with "44" on it. An image of President James Madison with his famous "If tyranny ever comes to this country, it will be from within" on it. With this one I instantly thought "Where the fig were these people when ahem "43" got the "UN" Patriot -Act passed that essentially eviscerates our Constitution the next time a "National Emergency" comes around. I guess it is OK if WHITE people are strangling what is left of this nation and its laws-but back to the end of the bus should anyone else give it a shot! The whole issue with the color of our president's skin and not (oh how they try though!) his politics is so out of hand I am really in disbelief-but my disbelief is very stupid-should have expected it! Sadly-on this 8th anniversary of that horrible day-I am thinking if we can't get along like decent human beings to each other-ya know what I think? Instead of having a shooting war this time that each state should have a referendum on staying in the union. Screw that majority of states has to approve stuff and voted on in congress blah blah blah-the states that want out are free to get out-immediately. I do know only one thing perhaps-the world would be a much much better place if there were more "Non-White" guy (or gal!) with the keys in it!

Sorry to go on and on about such a simple event. I am just so angry at the outright racial hatred I see right now it makes me sick to my stomach. PS-and no I am not voting for Obama the next time 'round, assuming there is one. I just thought that maybe we had advanced a bit beyond 1863 by now. Hope to have everyone I communicate with in blogland here or in yet a third shout out post. I am not going in a particular order or anything. Love you all and have a wonderful weekend! There may be a new post below this from a book I "re-found" today during the "Mom and Devin Adventure Show" not sure yet. All the best!