EXPLORING THE OUTER EDGES OF SOCIETY AND MIND

The End Times Terror of Four Blood Moons! (Super Wolf Blood Moon Redux)

Posted in > BLACK CADILLAC REVIEW by David on January 15, 2019

bloodmoon_nuclear

Dispensationalist Christian ideology has given birth to some incredible charts covering the various world ages culminating in the Tribulation and Rapture of the church. A consecutive series of Blood Moons in 2014-2015 coinciding with key holidays on the Jewish calendar lead to the publication of a number of dubious prophecies, including Evangelical firebrand John Hagee’s bit of amped up apocalyptic Christian Zionism, Four Blood Moons – the celestial event also blessed us with an astounding array of imagery associated with the eclipses.

watchmen1
Now for your education and enjoyment as we approach a rare Super Wolf Blood Moon on January 21st, 2019 – here is a carefully curated selection of some of the best Dispensationalist images invoking the paranoiac wonder and end times terror of…

FOUR BLOOD MOONS!*

(Click on the thumb nails to enlarge) 

Four-Blood-Moons

All images copyright their respective creators.

Special thanks to Maja D’Aoust, whose mention of this terrifying tetrad provided the original inspiration for a version of this post back in 2015!

*Note: While the end times panic contained in these images is a bit out of date – a simple substitution of the term ‘Super Wolf Blood Moon’ for ‘Four Blood Moons’ in the images can help to stoke at least a sense of the frenzied terror these eager evangelists hope to induce. 

Advertisements

Films for a New Age – Experiments with Uri Geller (1973)

Posted in > BLACK CADILLAC REVIEW by David on December 29, 2018

In the course of research I ran across this lovely advertisement from the Institute of Noetic Science offering universities and scientific research organizations the opportunity to rent the film created during the Stanford Research Institute experiments involving Uri Geller:

Screen Shot 2018-12-29 at 4.42.51 AM.png

Noetic News – The Newsletter of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Vol. 1, Issue 1, November 1973 (1)

Just imagine (or remember) – there was a time when you had to be associated in some way with a university or research center, send a $100 deposit, wait for IONS to get your deposit, wait for IONS to process the request, wait for the film to come, arrange for a projector and room to watch the film and then send it back to IONS – rather than simply typing Uri Geller into a search engine and watching the footage at will:

 

Experiments with Uri Geller (Stanford Research Institute, 1973)

Now imagine what would happen if the ‘Geller Effect’ hadn’t been defused and tempered through a multi-decade campaign of organized skepticism:

“From the very beginning of Mr. Uri Geller’s appearance in Europe and the United States, strange phenomena have been reported by various individuals who witnessed Mr. Geller’s live demonstrations, or saw him on television, or listened to him on the radio. These reports stated that, on following Uri Geller’s instructions, they too were able to bend metal objects simply by stroking them and willing them to bend, without applying any physical force whatsoever. Other reports referred to clocks and watches, which have not been going for many years, starting to “tick” once again without the direct physical intervention of Uri Geller.

The reports also stated that in many instances the metal objects or watches reacted without being touched or stroked, and at a time subsequent to the broadcast or demonstration. It would appear that Uri Geller triggered off an inherent latent psychokinetic ability, on a hitherto unprecedented scale, in the population group that either saw him or listened to him. It is to this phenomenon that one refers as “The Uri Geller Effect.”

At the moment it is not possible to be certain whether the Uri Geller Effect is due to the psychic ability of Mr. Uri Geller alone or to the arousal of latent psychic powers within the individual who experiences the Uri Geller Effect.”(2)

(1) http://www.ebdir.net/enlighten/ions_newsletter_vol_1_no_1_11_1973_h.pdf
(2) The Uri Geller Effect, E. Alan Price, M.D. (South African Institute for Parapsychology, Johannesburg) https://www.urigeller.com/scientific-paranormal/the-geller-papers/the-uri-geller-effect/

Note: Link to the video for Experiments with Uri Geller courtesy of James Iandoli (Engaging the Phenomenon)

 

 

Anomalous Americana —  Contemporary tales of strange happenings in the lives of everyday individuals

Posted in > BLACK CADILLAC REVIEW by David on December 6, 2018
1_GMOgQAOHaPlmpYUAuUIXRQ

Lexington, GA – Photo: Dominique Joyner

The following selection of items is gathered from the outer edges of contemporary culture. These curated flowers of human experience represent areas that are often unseen or passed over by those who stick to the main roads of the vast American continent — but I think you will find that if you approach them with an open mind they provide a deeper understanding of the joy that can be found in ‘liminal analytics,’ a term used to describe the fine art of exploring the ‘unattended, invisible, and overlooked.’

Erase from your mind history channel dramatizations, inept experts parading through graveyards, television psychics emoting around an asserted haunting, and return to the simple act of storytelling that has always been the center of Fortean investigation. Even the most powerful myths existed first as stories, experiences recounted in a shared word between friends, family and strangers.

With the rise of communication technology it’s easy to miss the importance of mundane encounters. Stories act as a well of meaning where we can sink a whisper of some local memory, shadows playing past events, personal recollections gathered while investigating the borderland between real and imagined. We encounter them every day, meaningful, coordinated incidents measuring a slow rhythm in time, subtle glimpses of a possibility that strange, structured narratives underlie our common lives.

Spending time at Liminal Analytics office, stories seep from the walls louder than karaoke at the local bar down the street. The other night while walking through the alley out back I heard hints of a passionate and unnerving country version of Purple Rain emerging from that bar, proof we’re face to face with the regularity of everyday anomalies here.

In honor of those local memories at the root of any anomaly, here are a few personal recollections from folks I’ve met while traveling the margins of Georgia — stories straight from the mouths of their tellers, ungarnished, translucent tales of strange happenings in the lives of everyday individuals…

1-1RPMmgL_ERxZPbfBpNU9Yg

The Circle That David Drew — A Story of Synchronicity (Source: C. Barts, Walton County, GA) –

C. Barts was given the secret of talking out fire from a woman his wife knew so he could heal one of his kids. He lead our office in Pleading the Blood as a protection against malicious spiritual influences when I worked at a charismatic food ministry — and he shared with me this memory while we were talking about just how weird the world really is:

“Growing up, my best friend David, and I had a mutual friend named Brandon. All three of us went to school together, played baseball on the same teams, and went off together on the weekends. We were what most would call pretty tight. We had each others’ back.

As with most friendships at school, David and I went one way and Brandon went another. He and his family eventually moved out of the school district to the other side of the county. While it wasn’t that far, as kids it seemed forever away. All three of us kept in touch as much as possible, but that eventually faded away until communication was almost nonexistent.”

“It had been a little over a year since we had last heard from Brandon. One evening David and I had been out with some friends, and I ended up at his house to crash for the night. At around midnight the phone rings awakening us both from our sleep.

I hear David say,”Hello?”

“Hey man, what’s up? It’s been a long time”.

There was a pause and then he said “Well hang on one second let me get something to write your number on and I will call you back tomorrow”.

I hear some papers shuffling on the night stand in between the two beds as David pulls a high school football program from the pile, the kind with pictures of the players and cheerleaders, and about a million ads from local businesses.

He flips open a page in the dark, writes down a phone number, writes Brandon’s name above it, draws a circle around it and says, “Got it, I will call you tomorrow. Bye.”

The next morning came on fairly uneventful. Around mid-morning David and I were just sitting in the living room watching television when the phone rings.

This time his mom answers from the other room. We here bits and pieces of the conversation and hear more than a few times “Oh, my gosh.”

She hangs up the phone and walks in where we are parked on the couch. She looks pale. With tears in her eyes she whispers, “You’re not going to believe it, but early this morning Brandon was shot and killed by his step father…” and tells us of the proposed funeral arrangements.

We were sitting there in shock when suddenly David bolts up to his room. He emerges with the football program he’d grabbed the night before when Brandon had called. He looks at his mom and says, “He just called me last night…” while shuffling pages looking for his number.

Suddenly a look of terror overcomes David’s face as the book falls to the floor. I say, “David what is it?” and his only reply is “Holy crap!”

I pick up the book and begin to look for the number myself. What I find I can’t believe. There was Brandon’s name and phone number written on an ad page for the very funeral home where his body would lay in rest. The circle that David drew around Brandon’s info also included the exact location, out of many in the county, of the funeral home his service was held at.

All we could do was stare at one another in disbelief.”

Born With A Veil — Apparitional Encounters, Seership and Healing in the Life of a Local Spirit Doctor (Source: Preston, Walton County, GA) –

“I believe in the unknown, because to me not to believe in the unknown is to not believe in God. I can’t see him ‘neither, but I know he’s there and I can see him working.

1-f7jIzQmdKMuaECwy4i7nfwNow some people are afraid of ghosts, they don’t like to talk about them none. I tell them, now I believe in the Lord too strong to be worried about any of that.

I believe in ghosts because my daddy believed in them. He was born with a veil over his face, they say that folks born like that can see things, he used to heal kids with the thrush.

One time we was at the bus stop, and he tell me “Look over there…”

Pointing to a man standing across the street at the other bus stop, he was standing with his back turned to us so you couldn’t see his face. My daddy said “That’s a ghost…”

And I said “Now how in the world can that be a ghost? That’s a man standing there solid as me.”

He said, “Nah, that’s a ghost. You ain’t never gonna see his face, watch…”

So we did, we sat there until our bus come, whole time the man just stands there with his back to us. My daddy he said “Now wait, we’ll let this one pass, we’re going to sit here until his bus come.”

So we did, we sat there until his bus come, still that man never did turn or move. My daddy say “Now watch…”

The lights inside the bus was bright, you know, and I watched, but I never seen him get on the bus. When it drove away, he was gone. Now I tell you I ain’t seen him get on, but he was gone when it left.

We had an apartment in Atlanta, it was up on the second floor. There was a balcony off the back, you know, but no stairs coming up to it. One night I hear something kick at the balcony door and it bust open, and I hear someone screaming “Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh!” real loud, you know. I run out there on the balcony and I’m looking down all over the alley, but I ain’t seen nobody. We was two stories up, now if somebody been there I’d a seen ‘em.

My daddy he come out and said “Boy, just leave it alone. It’s just a ghost, it don’t mean no harm.”

He moved in one place, and they weren’t so peaceful, they threw him out. He seen something there one time, and after that he just left the place and wouldn’t go back in. My sisters had to go get the furniture and all the stuff, he tell them “I ain’t gonna go back, no matter what. They can have the furniture and all the rest, I ain’t messin’ with that.”

When he was a boy they used to bring kids over with the thrush to see him, he blow three times in their mouths and they was supposed to get healed. He told me that it used to work back then. They said peoples born with a veil could do things like that.

I ain’t seen nothin’ like that since he passed. Not that strong, but sometimes you see those things out of the corner of your eye, you see it, feel someone pass, but you look again and there ain’t nothin’ there.”

1-QX07UzZnrH9L77FjL7K0cQ

He’s the seventh son of a seventh son — Traditional Healing in Oglethorpe County Georgia (Source: Walter McCannon, Oglethorpe County, GA — 2015)

Walter McCannon’s great-great-grandfather, Daniel Webster Paul, was born the 7th son of a 7th son.

Although he died in 1932, people in Oglethorpe County Georgia still remember the miracles that occurred when ‘Doc’ Paul laid hands and prayed.

“They took armchairs like this and they tied sheets between four chairs and laid the baby there, they couldn’t handle it. Every time they’d handled it it would go black and blue. So my grandmother…his grandmother found out about it, she said he was like four or five years old. She said I’m going down there, he’s the seventh son of a seventh son, and said I believe the Lord will take care of this baby. She went and got him as a little bitty boy, and made him sit there and play with the baby, just touching him and all. From that moment when he left from that moment on they could handle the baby and from then on they always knowed, they called him Grandpa Doc, his name was Daniel Webster Paul.

That’s how he got his name Doc.

And I’ve heard my grandfather talk about cutting metal with a chisel, and it flew back on his sister and burnt her arm. And his momma was pretty strict back then, and said “Adam what you done done to Ophelia?” He said, “well I done cut a piece of hot metal and done burned her arm, I’m going to Grandpa Doc’s.” And she said “That’s the thing to do” and he said that’s was the last thing his ma said about that.

And said that when he got there, he would sit there and rub, Aunt Ophelia told me this now, sit there and he said rub and said “If the Lord Jesus was here he’d touch your arm and he’d take all this pain and all out.” And he sat there and rubbed it and next thing you know it, and she showed me, she said you see a scar, and there wasn’t no scar or nothing. Took the fire out of that thing.

There was a guy with warts on his feet, she would talk about that he couldn’t walk and he’d come to school with rags tied on his feet…and all. And she convinced, as a little girl, convinced that school teacher to let the school out one day to go to her Grandpa Doc’s store. He run that old store, and he went over there and he rubbed his feet and everything and lo and behold it cured it right up. There’s just story after story…

Continue your explorations into the back-roads and by-ways of the American Spirit with:

Weeds, Herbs, and Hog Fat: Ed Craft (1913–1996), ‘folk doctoring’ in Sulphur Springs, Texas —  https://davidmetcalfe.wordpress.com/2018/11/08/weeds-herbs-and-hog-fat-ed-craft-1913-1996-folk-doctoring-in-sulphur-springs-texas/

1-B731rPtiX2NUWi4WgX4X2A

Weeds, Herbs, and Hog Fat: Ed Craft (1913–1996), ‘folk doctoring’ in Sulphur Springs, Texas

Posted in > BLACK CADILLAC REVIEW by David on November 8, 2018

Warren Robert ‘Hank’ Vine of Sulphur Springs, Texas provides this beautiful memory of his uncle, Edward Craft — an isolated and marginalized figure in the local history of Sulphur Springs who was at one time known to family members as an effective herbalist and healer:

1-z48Hi745mTuV_bFIehH_Lw“I was often told growing up that I would be like my uncle Ed. He passed away in my early teens, I knew him fairly well, but not exceedingly well. By the time I was old enough to actually get out and about and go visit him and stuff like that, and I was pretty much the only one that did visit him ever.

He was pretty senile. Couldn’t really carry on the most lucid conversations. In hindsight I wish I would have spent more time with him and taken more notes, because he was reputed, or my grandmother always described him as being a folk doctor, one the family would go to when they had illnesses. I wish somebody was alive I could actually get the correct details on this from.

Although it may be in some of my mother’s notes — they’re such exhaustive notes I don’t know if I could find it. It would take a year to find it. He had some incident when he was a child, like he was 6 or 7, where he fell gravely gravely ill, after it he was partially deaf, I want to say blind in one eye. I could be lying to you on that. I want to say blind in one eye. I know later in life as an old man he was nearly completely blind, but, after the near death experience for lack of a better word apparently he had a degree of insight, an understanding of herbs and poultices and what not.

I don’t think mama put down a whole lot of information in regard to his ‘quote unquote’ healing practices. No one referred to him as a witch or a wizard or anything of that nature. Ed used what my grandma would call, ‘niggra medicine’ or ‘widow healing’. I never gave it a lot of thought growing up.

1-7aGmTwPJoX7QXq3mLSndhgI can always remember my grandmother talking about her brother Ed, her little brother Ed, or Eddie as she would call him a lot of times, could heal anything. Animals were sick, he could take care of them, you know when one of the family got sick, Ed would figure out something, he’d go to the woods, he come back with some weeds, herbs, mix it with some hog fat, make it alright type thing.

I can remember those stories, those are all stories that are passed down and how accurate, i don’t know. The genuine article is never labeled as hoodoo or magic or anything like that. It’s a subtle and unspoken undercurrent to the fabric of peoples lives, often times I don’t think those who carry on the traditions even think of them as a magical, it’s simply what grandma and grandpa did.

He hated having his picture made, never came to Christmas, never anything, was a complete recluse, and other than my mother and I very few of the family went to visit. I think everything he had probably got dozed when the house he had was bulldozed. I don’t think anything got taken out of the house.

1-udeSEa6ukDyfh6YUaWYeNgI would say later in life he was, how would you say, ostracized by the family, I think in hindsight. My grandmother would speak of him, about when he was a child, but I cannot recall – at least in my memory – my grandmother going to visit him. I do not recall him ever being at a family function, Christmas, birthdays, Thanksgiving anything of that nature.

As I can remember, when I got up old enough to kind of get around, sneak around and drive, I wasn’t old enough to drive, but I was still driving. I would take you know thanksgiving dinner, christmas dinner over to him. Generally my mother and I were the only ones to go and visit him.”

By the way folks – turns out Hank’s family was right – he did turn out a bit like his uncle! For more on Hank Vine and his relationship the Santa Muerte (Saint Death) devotional tradition check out:

Photography of Faith – Santa Muerte in Sulphur Springs, Texas

10 Años Enalteciendo a Nuestra Santa Muerte – Reflections on the 2017 anniversary celebration for Santa Muerte Internacional from Hank Vine

Originally published on Medium. 

 

I Come to the Garden Alone – Pentecostal Reflections on Trance Mediumship & Spiritualist Practice

Posted in > BLACK CADILLAC REVIEW, > SOUND by David on October 7, 2018

Voice excerpt from Don Basham’s sermon ‘Occultism: The House of Satan’

hymns_44

” I come to the garden alone
while the dew is still on the roses,
and the voice I hear falling on my ear
the Son of God discloses.

And he walks with me, and he talks with me,
and he tells me I am his own;
and the joy we share as we tarry there,
none other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of his voice,
is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
and the melody that he gave to me
within my heart is ringing. (Refrain)

I’d stay in the garden with him
though the night around me be falling,
but he bids me go; thru the voice of woe
his voice to me is calling. “

Image_Rough_Edit_10_2018_131

Physical medium Sylvia Howarth creates spirit art, Reeth, England, 2013. (Photograph: Shannon Taggart, SEANCE – Fulgur Press, 2019)

Something as old as the ground she is rooted in – Hank Vine on life and Saint Death in Mexico City

Posted in > BLACK CADILLAC REVIEW by David on May 11, 2018

My good friend from Sulphur Springs, Texas — Hank Vine is in Ecatepec — sub-metro Mexico DF — he writes:

1*UiqBa_fh-T07CPBwzkGHwwPenche camiones —

The hybridization of taxi and micro-bus. There are countless ways to face unexpected danger at any given moment here, one in particular is the transit trucks, they are a hail as needed service.

Meaning there is a constant flow of people coming and going, on and off, businessmen, grandmothers, goth punk kids, and a steady flow of folks selling candy or ice cream or whatever.

It is a hard sell, they shove it in your hands as they pass. Then if you don’t want chiclets at that moment you hand it back and usually do not make eye contact.

Some folks are just trying to hustle to put food one the table, but there is without question a segment of these “vendors” who are genuinely dangerous folks.

Its the static. The kid high as fuck on glue begging a few pesos with an apparently funny story about a failed bathroom visit.

The dude with a bag of bitesize chocolates — 5 for 10 pesos. You have to be a quick judge of a person when they step on the penche camion as much as be prepared for an impact from the rear as we attempt to rejoin traffic.

As I write – Looking at a wreck

Taxi bus collision.

We all say a prayer for the person on the stretcher, and run the next three red lights.

Cathedral Chimes

All this is in real time

Waiting at this light, really sketchy looking cat gets on. He is pushing chiclets. Tattoo of flaca on his right forearm.

Two kids. One maybe 16, the other 10. Hustling mentos candies. Hard sale. Desperate. That is the penche camion.

1*GBFCxrO_zg4fdABjhFAR7gBeing in an epicenter of femicide, I see the sense of “awareness of surroundings” on the faces of women, young and old. It is not fear, or even resignment to an unacceptable and unavoidable fact of life ( that life in general, and here female life in particular, ain’t worth much) — it is determination and pure fucking grit etched in the faces of women I pass on the street.

There is a collective spirit that pulses in the backstreets and under yellow tarps as the aromas of street food, fruit, raw meat, bizarre offbrand cigs and weed and a thousand other unidentifiable scents all mingle into a sweet stench that is the scent of that unexplainable something.

The DF is as deadly as it is beautiful, with that, as untold numbers before me have already stated — the average working class person faces a daily life not unlike the worst parts of Dallas or Chicago or Minneapolis, the difference is in how folks deal with the situation.

Here, folks are smart/cynical enough that no one trusts the cops or expects any help from them, so the only leaves divine protection which makes for a very crowded playing field.

We took a trip to Tepito to get a crown for the statue in Dallas. While watching all the antics of the self appointed traffic cop for the corner, a camione that had the correct placards for where we needed to go pulls up.

We hop on like any other time, it is crowded as hell, so I stay standing.. The driver turns and comments on my Santa Muerte garb. I smile and say thanks, he is not the first driver to have SM garb and statues.

But this took a different turn. He offered me the most honored yet dangerous seat on the bus — by the front door, basically on the dash. I was humbled and shocked.

I introduced myself, took a good long look at this cat, he was no angel, but he is the flesh and blood example of that spirit that persists here.

It is something that I think is present in any environment where the common people are desperate as fuck, SM is in the States, but aside from a handful of folks who are really in touch with her gritty real world, blood on her robes aspects, they are just shadow boxing.

The driver, I will call him “chilango” went about his route like any other driver, we chatted as best we could. I helped a half dozen elderly folks on and off at stops, a few people mistakenly gave me the bus fare when all I was doing was offering a supporting hand as we went lurching back into traffic.

After about ten minutes we are at a light and stopped, he hands me a small multicolored bracelet, I gaze on it admiringly, when I go to hand it back, he motioned no, and I understood it was a gift.

In return I managed to detatch the first SM medallion I had purchased. There is so much left unsaid, without smelling it, tasting it, seeing it in the eyes of a stray dog, it is difficult if not impossible to convey.

1*5QsD17P2xqoQbHacUQ_JZQI do believe that same spirit is in the States, but it is feral, and still very wild, it is going to take the right folks with the strongest hearts and the weakest egos going into the streets, walking the homeless camps, really fucking doing something, not reading what bullshit I am posting on Facebook and taking my words for any value.

My words are shit, everyones words are shit. If there are true diehard devotees in the North of the border English speakers, they will go to their knees and they will go to the streets.

Here la Santisima is in the streets, not in a store — yet business is one extremely important, if not dominant, aspect of what I understand as Santa Muerte.

Mexico City is a very crowded marketplace for saints looking to make a sale. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting an image of San Judas. Flaca, she’s a lot harder to find in terms of stores and whatnot. But I pass as many people sporting SM items as I do San Judas.

I honestly am not sure how or why Santa Muerte manifested in the time and place she did, but I am certain that the entrepreneurial spirit is somehow connected. Tepito has been a market area since precolumbian times, SM is something as old as the ground she is rooted in here.

There is something to be read — if only I could translate it.

Hank Vine
Ecatepec de Morelos, Los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
May 11th, 2018

Encountering the Super Natural — An experiential review

Posted in > BLACK CADILLAC REVIEW by David on February 19, 2018

“The correspondences started with a painting and a book cover. Like so many of the hundreds of thousands of readers Whitley and Anne (Strieber) heard from after Communion hit the bookstores, I recognized the face on the cover. It was those eyes, I had seen them before.”

— Jeffrey Kripal in The Super Natural: A New Vision of the Unexplained(Tarcher/Penguin, 2016)

When I was seven years old my father was transferred to a job in Arizona. Our move from Chicago coincided with the 1987 release of Whitley Strieber’s Communion: A True Story and the subsequent promotional campaign — in airports, on hotel televisions, in grocery store book racks and in each book store we visited — at every turn we were faced with displays, posters and references to the book’s iconic cover. What I did not appreciate until nearly two decades later was the extent to which this saturation had affected me.

The Key

“…the human Hermes encounters a code and reads it out with the ‘clicks’ of a particular key. Unsurprisingly, but importantly, one of Whitley’s most beautiful books is called The Key.”

— Jeffrey Kripal in The Supernatural: A New View of the Unexplained, p. 113

Around 2012 I was at a book store and saw Whitley Strieber’s book The Key: A True Encounter — noticing that it was published by Tarcher/Penguin set me wondering if Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation and at the time lead editor-in-chief for Tarcher/Penguin, had been a part of its publication and picked it up to see what it was about. Although I’d briefly skimmed Communion, I wasn’t very familiar with Strieber’s work beyond the popular media narrative of his experiences so it came as a shock to see a foreword written by Jeffrey Kripal, an innovative scholar in the field of religious studies!

Kripal’s research has given a fresh and exciting depth to the interdisciplinary study of anomalous experience. In 2011 I wrote a blog post about a few key figures that were helping to solidify a more mature voice for this area of research in the popular domain — Mitch Horowitz with his work Occult America, Joanna Ebenstein through her development of Morbid Anatomy Library, Erik Davis with his work exploring the interstice of technology and mysticism, and Jeffery Kripal. In mentioning Kripal I noted that not only did his work offer a poignant rethinking of this area — but his role in facilitating conferences and seminars with select scholars and researchers has been a powerful driver in bringing cohesion to a truly interdisciplinary focus.

To see that he was interested in Strieber, who I only knew as a well publicized abductee, didn’t fit with my preconceived ideas of his work. I knew that Kripal had included him in some of his recent work, but I had yet to read any of that and this was my first introduction to a thoughtful look at Strieber’s experiences.

Of course, I immediately bought the book and went home to figure out what the hell a serious scholar was doing with a popular author that talked about abductions. Reading the introduction I was even more confused — the Strieber that Kripal was describing was not the Strieber of my assumed familiarity, the two were in stark contrast. And the book itself was more like what I was used to reading in 19th century trance channeled texts, not at all what I’d expected from an author I only knew in relation to his popular novels and the media’s coverage of his reported experiences with abduction phenomena.

The Trickster and the Paranormal

When struck with this kind of contradiction I often call George Hansen, author of Trickster and the Paranormal, to reset the contextual framework and deconstruct whatever illusory mental structures have emerged around a topic. This time around our conversation added to my surprise — George didn’t dismiss Strieber — in fact he confirmed Strieber as an experiencer and mentioned that most researchers had long kept their distance, almost out of a fear for the reality of what he was recounting in his work — he also reminded me that Strieber was a perfect example of the marginalization and liminality that is explored in Trickster and the Paranormal.

This didn’t help my confusion. Aware that I was completely wrong in my assumptions I picked up a copy of Communion and dove in. More surprises — what came from the reading was not the same book that existed in my memory.

Without having fully read it and having only seen it in the context of the media’s coverage of it, the Communion that was a part of my life up to that point was not the same Communion that I was now reading. This wasn’t a book about alien abductions — this was a book about an ineffable experience and an attempt to understand it in light of a complex comparative methodology that blends scholarship, experiment and experience into a seamless whole.

Strieber was now even more confounding and without enough information to usefully think through my questions I decided to put it down and forget about it until something new came to light. 2012 was also the year that Dr. Andrew Chesnut published his book on Santa Muerte, which lead to a panel presentation at the Morbid Anatomy Library and our collaboration on a long term digital research project to track the development of Santa Muerte’s devotional tradition. This collaboration determined the main focus of my research for the next few years and assured that my questions about Strieber would remain unanswered for the time being.

Owls

“In that night, the owl, bringer of death and wisdom, will potentially reign as silent mistress of our souls. Like the old song, but perhaps with a somewhat different tone, she will have the whole world in her hands…so the owl, flying through the mystery of the experience, brings with the danger of her talons and her tearing beak also the revelatory reflection in her fearsome eyes…If this owl should ever take flight in our general night, we will find ourselves face-to-face with a truly remarkable predator, who will educate us if we face her, but steal us away if we run.”

— Whitley Strieber in The Super Natural: A New Vision of the Unexplained

Move forward to 2016 — I’m living in rural Georgia, it’s a windy night and I’m sitting in a 200-year-old barn doing some research on the computer.

Since moving to this area access to the web has been a constant challenge, for awhile leading me to become disconnected with much of what I had been doing before arriving on the property. Even brief opportunities to access the web were a precious gift.

The exact sequence of events eludes my memory, but within a matter of minutes I encountered an article from Mike Clelland about his new book The Messengers, detailing owl synchronicities; I emailed a colleague of mine about the book; a banner ad pops up for The Super Natural, an upcoming collaboration between Whitley Strieber and Jeffrey Kripal which features an owl eye on the cover; and the forest outside erupts with a loud chorus of screech owls calling to each other in the darkness.

Laughter and chills wash over me — that was a good one! The atmospherics of that eerie coincidental series couldn’t have been better suited to the subject matter and I was delighted sitting there in the matrix of these experiential elements while considering Clelland’s work. What better tool for accessing the subject matter than an experience which mirrors it?

Working in digital communications I’ve grown used to targeted banner ads and the odd chains of coincidence that can accumulate around our digital selves as we’re presented with algorithmically enhanced marketing and as our search habits begin to formulate associations that build conceptual connections which can seem like synchronicities. What was so wonderful in this situation was the added atmosphere of the owls outside connecting with the potential artificial elements of the experience and bringing in that slight moment of doubt as to the reason for the coinciding events.

Shortly after this I posted something about the upcoming publication of The Super Natural, tagging Mitch Horowitz with appreciation for his role in facilitating the book’s release — leaving unrecognized that by doing so, like any hypnotic subject that acquiesces to the hypnotist’s first request, I’d placed myself squarely within the book’s circle of enchantment.

In the weeks that followed I found myself wondering what this collaboration was going to be about. What topics will they cover? What pathways of inquiry are going to be opened? Why am I again faced with a desire to reassess my assumptions about Whitley Strieber? And what’s the deal with the owls?

Critical Mass

“Once the thread is in hand, our own mythology will tell us where it leads, for it will be the same thread that the maiden Ariadne handed to Theseus when he stood before the maze of the Minotaur, young and strong and mad with courage.

And we will all go down the labyrinth, to meet whatever awaits us there.”

— Whitley Strieber, Communion: A True Story (Avon Books, 1987)

With the book still in pre-publication I went about reading whatever I could in preparation for its release — grabbing thrift store copies of Strieber’s work as I found them, watching interviews, revisiting Kripal’s work, and listening to podcasts. Normally this would be overkill, however Kripal’s methodology in these areas offers surprising results and it was expedient to have some background in order to fully follow where this was all going to lead. When I saw that there was a recent episode of Strieber’s Dreamland podcast featuring Mike Clelland I was thrilled to have an opportunity to follow up on the previous evening’s coincidental experience — and then things got stranger.

Once I was able to download the podcast I put it on in the background and settled in for an evening of listening and painting. I don’t remember what lead to me getting up, but I was walking through the room to refill my coffee or something when Clelland started discussing the anomaly researcher Mac Tonnies and Tonnies’ influence on his own research. Suddenly an odd feeling came over me, the room began to feel less solid as I became more focused on the podcast and the voices seemed to surround my mind. Clelland and Strieber began talking about Tonnies early death in 2009 and how Clelland had started his blog in 2009, suddenly…I don’t even know how to describe what happened in my awareness, but it was as if time folded in on itself.

2009 was when I also started a blog, called The Eyeless Owl. Mac Tonnies was one of my inspirations for this through a few conversations that we had via Twitter over our mutual love of asemic scripts. His multifaceted interests and careful approach to high strangeness lead me to feel more comfortable in dealing with these topics publicly and our brief conversations introduced me to some resources I’d missed. After his passing I contributed a short essay and a few drawings to a memorial blog site for him, and the drawings were later incorporated by documentary film maker Siok Siok Tan in her crowd-sourced film, Twittamentary, which was an early look at the impact Twitter was having on our concept of friendship and interaction.

Suddenly as I stood there in 2016 listening to Clelland and Strieber’s conversation strings of memory started to become entangled, coalescing into a mass with its own ideational gravity — the beginning of my public writing/researching/multi-media’ing, this new strange obsession with Strieber’s work, the odd coincidence from days before with Clelland’s book, the banner ad for The Super Natural, incidents and encounters throughout my life, and of course…the owls — all of it aligned and opened to further revelation — suddenly I was in a book store in Arizona in 1987 staring at a display for Communion — I was sitting on the couch watching television and Strieber was on a talk show — I was out in the desert as a kid collecting bones from owl pellets — a string of associations stretching from the present moment through all of these past memories and it was threaded through this book and this author who I had never had any interest in!

A Mental Gateway

“Look in into my eyes,” says the hypnotist. One of the most obvious features of Communion is its astonishing cover, carefully designed by Whitley himself with the artist Ted Jacobs. The central features of that original painted cover, of course a, are the alien beings immense black eyes, at once subtly mirroring the viewer and pulling him or her in, like a two-way mirror. No iconic feature of the book played a more important role int is reception history and in the hundreds of thousands of letter that the Striebers received. Readers were hypnotized. Entranced.”

— Jeffrey Kripal, The Super Natural: A New Vision of the Unexplained, p. 222 (Tarcher/Penguin, 2016)

And that cover! It was like a gateway in my mind that I could step through and re-experience a forgotten stream of influence in my life. A perfect symbol to apply Salvador Dali’s paranoid critical methods to gain a more holistic vision of myself and the areas of research I’m involved in. Dali recommended that the artist embrace these moments without critical thought, if only for a moment, long enough to provide an opportunity to embrace a misperception in such a way that it becomes a creative inspiration or experiential landscape.

However, this was a very odd misperception — I was left reeling and unable to speak. Nothing in my description captures the feeling and mental state associated with this encounter. Up to this point I had credited my interest in the stranger areas of culture to receiving those Time Life Mysteries of the Unknown books as a kid and having been saturated with Discovery Channel documentaries and Sci-Fi/Fantasy movies in the 80’s. At no point did Communion ever come into my mind as an influence. The sudden connection of disparate memories with this book seemed to offer a key that I didn’t realize I’d been searching for — but the door it opened only offered entrance to more questions.

Owls (Redux)

“When we look at the owl through the medium of the close encounter experience, it turns out that something is being explained to us. Like the owl, our mysterious visitors come by night. Like the owl, they silent and all-seeing. And like the owl, they can reach right into our little burrows and carry us off into a transformative experience. For the awful ecstasy that the predator delivers to its prey, causing it to die to this world and be freed into the next, is very much like what the visitor does to her captive, leaving him devastated, at once killed inside and renewed inside, and living in two worlds at the same time, that of physical reality and that of a new kind of reality, the living reality of the soul, not quite physical, but also no longer theoretical.”

— Whitley Strieber, in the foreword to Mike Clelland’s Stories from the Messengers: Owls, UFOs and a Deeper Reality (Richard Dolan Press, 2018)

While the extremity of that mental flash was an isolated incident in relation to the book, the coincidences surrounding my anticipation of its publication continued. The strength of the coincidental themes were such that they stood out against a backdrop of regular coincidences. Which is to say my natural synchronistic themes, the ones that I’ve grown used to as part of my identity.

As if to match in the outer world the inner intensity of having my memories suddenly spinning into orbit around the publication of Communion, one day I walked out to my car to find a very large owl sitting in the middle of the dirt road blocking my exit.

I got into the car and waited for a bit to see if it would move on its own. It didn’t. So I got out of the car and walked up to it, figuring an owl wasn’t going to let me get too close. It didn’t move.

As I got closer I started to map the trajectory of flight it would need to launch from the ground to my face and I began to wonder if letting it sit there and foregoing my journey wasn’t the best plan. Before I could decide it flew up into a tree nearby and turned to watch me.

A few days later the radiator on my car blew out for the final time, leaving me stranded until another series of coincidences lead to me getting another car. In a life already filled with strange alignments, this was starting to seem over the top.

Entranced

One of the concepts explored in The Super Natural is the central role of trance states in the process of reading and writing. As Kripal says,

“…the reading self is also a trance-induced story. If you are absorbed in this book at this moment, you are in a mild trance state answering to the trance states that Whitley Strieber and Jeff Kripal entered in order to write these pages. You are a slightly different person reading this book, just as we were slightly different people writing it.” — p. 221

And true to that observation when I finally received the book the coincidences did not stop. I read that paragraph while sitting in a fancy waiting room next to an owl statue encased in glass. The strange thing is — in my case the trance induction started with my preparatory reading — it began with my reading the pop up ad for the publication of the book!

In an experience akin to mental hypertext the trance state encompassed the very moment I set eyes on that provocative Visitor adorning the cover of Communion — the subsequent inspirations and coincidences were merely reinforcement of that trance. Yet this trance state is no sinister mental manipulation — it is an experiential tool that provides additional access to the text itself.

Triangulations

As I was thinking through these experiences prior to writing this piece I drew a simple diagram — a dotted line, representing a certain expression of time; a dot above the line, representing the Dreamland episode with Mike Clelland in conversation with Whitley Strieber; and a two dots on the line representing when I saw the cover of Communion in my childhood and the present moment in time. These three dots form a triangle — the necessary geometry for positioning something in space.

This triangulation helped me conceptualize the strange memory cascade and its effects with some distance from my own experience. It also formed the basis for yet another coincidence as I write this piece. Revisiting The Super Natural as I write, I read:

“What set’s Whitley’s model apart is how interactive it is, how it relies on us to manifest the other species. This interactive model is advanced through multiple frames, including that of the triad or triangle in the history of mythology and the bizarre implications of quantum physics…Whitley takes this interactive model very far, suggesting, in effect, that the visitors may rely on our beliefs to appear: “Thus the corridor into our world could in a very true sense be through our own minds.” — p. 94

Add to this the moment when I was doing my preparatory reading and opened Strieber’s book The Secret School: Preparation for Contact (Walker & Collier, 1997) at random to:

“A time machine would not be a mechanism of gears and wheels, nor even one of circuits and processors. In a sense, it might be easier to create one than we realized.

Could the mind somehow enable time travel? If it is nonlocal in nature — that is to say, not confined to ordinary space-time — there might be a way as yet not understood for it to address time through the medium of faster-than-light energies.” — p. 52

And lest we loose our tripartite theme — I see that Mike Clelland has posted on Facebook while I am composing this piece, he’ll be on Coast to Coast tonight for an episode hosted by George Knapp. The topic will be the companion book to The Messengers, titled Stories From The Messengers: Accounts of Owls, UFOs and a Deeper Reality — with an introduction by…Whitley Strieber.

 A New Vision of the Unexplained

Having now had a chance to explore both The Super Natural and Whitley Strieber’s wider oeuvre these experiences no longer seem so unmooring — rather they’ve become tools in themselves for exploring memory structures, identity, and perception. This thanks to the careful approach that he himself has taken with his own experiences, further enhanced by the perspectives offered by Jeff Kripal’s analysis.

What truly excites me is that these areas of exploration are still unknown — the frontier of our own experience is a vast, uncharted territory. There is a beautiful conversation happening, but it is not happening in the stultified sub-cultures spinning out of digital enhanced identity politics — it’s happening between explorers like Whitley Strieber, Mike Clelland, Jeffrey Kripal and many others who are stepping forward to offer their experience and insight and an invitation to begin our own explorations.

To do this we must all realize, as I was forced to do, that the mediated narratives we are fed will never offer us any clue into our own natures. Any trance state offered by the advertisers and marketers is a poison best left untried.

If I relied on my mediated memories, Whitley Strieber would still be rudely relegated to a cartoonish parody. Instead I’ve found a fellow traveler whose purpose and fortitude have carried him through the pain of public humiliation and into the new dimensions of experience that his contact with the unknown has opened for him.

The real question is, are you ready to take the first step on the journey?

“We so want this precious ‘us’ to be more than sparks in flesh doomed to die with the inevitable implosion of the body. I have had a lifetime of experience that suggests that we may be more — indeed, that we have hardly even begun to touch on the complexity and enormity of what it is to be human. But I cannot give you that lifetime. I cannot give the richness of my experience to others, only describe them as best I can…” — Whitley Strieber, The Super Natural: An New Vision of the Unexplained, p. 336

Special thanks to George Hansen for taking my impromptu phone calls on obscure subjects, Mitch Horowitz for arranging a review copy of The Super Natural for me and to Diana Pasulka for furthering my appreciation of Whitley Strieber’s work.

This article was originally published at Medium.com

Points of Contact – Evangelizing with an electric touch (Selected Quotes)

Posted in > BLACK CADILLAC REVIEW by David on August 5, 2016

A small collection of anecdotal reports related to perceptions of energetic phenomenon during Charismatic healing revivals:

220px-William_M._Branham_historical_photo

Photo of William Branham taken at the Sam Houston Coliseum in 1950. (Wikipedia)

William Branham:

“Germ, diseases, which indicate the presence and working of an “oppressing” (Acts 10:38) spirit of affliction can be distinctly felt. When the afflicting spirit comes into contact with the gift it sets up such a physical commotion that it becomes visible on Brother Branham hand, and is so real it will stop his wristwatch instantly…While William Branham had received the sign in his hand at the same time power to heal was bestowed upon him.”

– Jame Morris, The Preachers, pp.78-79 (St. Martin’s Press, 1973)

“As the prophet Moses was given two gifts, signs to vindicate his ministry, so will you be given two. He said, “One of them will be that you’ll take the person that you’re praying for by the hand, with your left hand and their right,” and said, “then just stand quiet, and there’ll be a physical effect that’ll happen on your body. Then you pray. And if it leaves, the disease is gone from the people.”

– William Branham, How the Angel Came to Me, and His Commission p. 18 (Edmonton: End Time Message Tabernacle)


Oral-Roberts

Oral Roberts:

“Brother Roberts got his special hand gift when he was conducting a one-night service in Nowata, Oklahoma. While praying for a small boy who was deaf in one ear, he heard God speaking as if He were standing by his side: Son, you have been faithful up to this hour, “and now you will feel My presence in your right hand. Through My presence, you will be able to detect the presence of demons. You will know their number and name and through my power, they will be cast out.”

– Oral Roberts, My Story…(of being raised up by God to take the message of his healing power to my generation), p. 151 (Summit Book Co, 1961)

hqdefaultKenneth E. Hagin:

“He went on instruct me that when I would pray and lay hands upon the sick I was to lay one hand on each side of the body. If I felt the fire jump from hand to hand, and evil spirit or demon was present in the body causing the affliction. I should call him out in His name and the demon or demons would have to go. If the fire, or anointing, in my hand does not jump from hand to hand, it is a case of healing only…When the fire, or the anointing, leaves my hands and goes into his body, I will know he is healed.”

– Kenneth Hagin, I Believe In Visions, p. 51 (F. H. Revell Co, 1972)