Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Countdown to Hallowe'en 5: Time Release Revelations

Bardo Thodol. Image Source: Buddha Channel.

A review of a 2011 scholarly study of translated Tibetan texts recently caught my eye. The study concerns the so-called Tibetan Book of the Dead, which focuses on the liminal or intermediate state between life and death and is a seeming spiritual guide for passing from the mortal life into the immortal realm of the Underworld.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Countdown to Hallowe'en 6: Mayan Dahlias

John Sowden House (at 5121 Franklin Avenue in the Los Feliz section of L.A.): "Old Hollywood glamour comes alive in Lloyd Wright's architectural masterpiece overlooking the best of Los Angeles shopping, dining, and nightlife." Image Source: Sowden House.

2012's Hallowe'en needs a Mayan theme, and today's Meso-American palace is just what the doctor ordered. I have done several posts on haunted real estate - here, here, here and here - and this article on House Hunting (the site annually posts an October list of the top ten American haunted houses currently for sale), reminded me of the John Sowden House in Los Angeles. House Hunting:
Designed by Lloyd Wright, the son of Frank Lloyd Wright, this 'Mayan Revival' styled home was the scene of the Black Dahlia murder. You read that right: decorated with artifacts that definitely came with evil spirits and the scene of an unsolved murder. The only thing this home is lacking: a good night's sleep for the sucker that buys it. Enjoy your Mayan death house.
This grim story is possibly true.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Countdown to Hallowe'en 7: Millennial Romantic Gothic

Image Source: C0untess Bathory.

It is sometimes difficult for those who skate the surface of the Web to grasp how profoundly and rapidly the Internet is altering global cultures. The tidal wave of data and engaged masses create an exponentially-growing multimedia jumble. That hot mess is infinitely anachronistic and rudely disconnected from knowledge and context.

Today, an example of how social media have moved past the Hallowe'en themes in this post and this post, to generate a rumbling new Millennial subculture.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Countdown to Hallowe'en 8: The Last Haunt of Living Memory

Image Source: Topic Sites.

One of the topics on this blog is memory, the tricks it plays, how it can be altered and co-opted, and above all, the moment at which it gives way to history. Below the jump, see a 9 February 1956 American game show television broadcast, which featured an interview with the only living witness of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln on 14 April 1865 at Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C. (Hat tip: The Atlantic.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Countdown to Hallowe'en 9: Who Waits for the Setting Sun?

Image © Sharon Day via Ghost Hunting Theories.

I have written before (here and here) about radical anti-ageing techniques currently being researched, funded and pursued, primarily by the Baby Boomers. One of those treatments involves blood transfusions. Thank you to Dia (check out her blogs here and here) for sending a link about the new vampiric Blood Countess version of said treatment, now in development: scientists have found that 'young blood can reverse some effects of ageing.'

Monday, October 22, 2012

Autumn Magic

The Orionids peaked on 20 October 2012, but are still visible around the constellation of Orion. Image Source: © Mike Lewinski via The Examiner.

The Countdown to Hallowe'en saw me neglect Saturday's peak of the Orionid meteor shower. Therefore, special mention goes to Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar for an absolutely beautiful post today, "Sky Islands, Time Islands," on the magical quality of autumn that happily goes way beyond vampires, ghosts, ghouls and electoral campaigns. An excerpt:
In autumn, there is always one special morning of singular light and meaningful wind. Many magicians have tried to name it, usually with indirect reference -- calling it "this" wind or "that" light -- but no single name suffices. Even if you were born in another season, you feel it, but if you were born in autumn, you feel it acutely: it is the very core of your physical existence. It is raw life. This morning, after the Orionid meteor shower cleansed the heavens with star rain; this morning, as the Ch'ang Ho bells ring beneath west wind -- the wind of gates shut upon effulgent sunlight -- this morning, my October birthday morning, autumn's special life came to me again. What is it like? It is like falling in love.
Happy Birthday to the blogger at Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar, and thank you for gracing the Web with such a nice post. Read the rest here, with a day's photos from the San Bernardino Mountains.

Countdown to Hallowe'en 10: Horror's Skeleton Key

The Tarot's trumps, or Major Arcana, mapped onto a Kabbalistic Tree of Life. Image Source: Tarot Hermeneutics. (Click on the image to enlarge.)

Behind the tropes and clichés, what is horror? What purpose do horror stories serve? Horror reveals impulses in ourselves which we fear and do not understand, such as the savage motives behind murder. For example: 2006's Black Dahlia (directed by Brian De Palma) was based on the 1947 unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, and was disturbing enough that writer James Ellroy (who famously wrote a quartet of novels about post-war L.A., and included the Dahlia case for his own reasonsnow asserts that he will never again publicly discuss Short (see my blog post on this case, here); or the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974; based on the 1950s' Ed Gein case in Wisconsin, see it below); or Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986; see it here; based on real life killers Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole). In a week when the LAPD is reopening the Manson Family case to investigate 12 additional murders, the headlines remind us that reality is worse than any horror drama.

Horror additionally asks us to challenge what we understand to be real and then reaffirm it, according to our common values. A Catholic review from Jake Martin of a fictional account of a boy who kills his classmates, We Need to Talk about Kevin (2011), confirms this point:
the film is not "yet another installment in the pantheon of post-modern films intent upon assaulting the human desire to give meaning to the world." Instead, ... [Martin] says, We Need to Talk about Kevin in fact needs to be talked about, as what it is attempting to do by marrying the darkest, most nihilistic components of contemporary cinema with a redemptive message is groundbreaking."
In a third and related sense, some horror stories are actually morality tales. They show the path the protagonists must take out of darkness, once a violent act has ripped apart everything that makes reality sensible. This severe trope is often used by director David Lynch, whose forays into surreal horror involve a return back to a good piece of cherry pie and a great cup of coffee. Lynch will take his audiences to the edge and well beyond it, but he always insists on the final reassertion of sanity over insanity.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Countdown to Hallowe'en 11: Curios of a Queen

Image Source: via Quigley's Cabinet.

I have a friend who sees abandoned shoes as a symbol of death, mainly because of the Nazis' Holocaust-era photographs of discarded shoes in the concentration camps.

For a Hallowe'en countdown entry in my curios at auction series, full credit goes to Quigley's Cabinet for marking a different bloody anniversary. On 16 October 1793 at the height of the French Revolution, former Habsburg princess and French queen, Marie Antoinette, was beheaded. Above, a pair of her shoes, worn on the first celebration of Bastille Day (14 July 1790), at which royal attendance was already a sign of serious troubles. The queen originally gave the slippers to a manservant, who passed them to his descendants.