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.

Friday, October 11, 2013

All Hallows' Eve Countdown: Hollywood: Bones in the Foundations

Article about the haunting of 'Falcon Lair,' the last home of Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926) (click on page to enlarge). Motion Picture Magazine (November 1928, Vol. XXXVI, No. 4). Image Source: Media History Digital Library.

Hollywood, city of lights, art and artifice, takes its toll on the lives of those who work there. It is home to plenty of ghost stories, to a sense that there are many bones in its foundations. Perhaps ghosts reflect the price paid, and ghosts are sometimes said to be old screen legends themselves. Here, from the Media History Digital Library, see a 1928 report of the haunting of Rudolph Valentino's beautiful house, Falcon Lair, in Benedict Canyon, two years after the star's death. The house was reported haunted - possibly by Valentino himself - by subsequent inhabitants, and even sat empty for several years. Part of the Falcon Lair compound was the neighbouring property to the house on Cielo Drive in which Sharon Tate was murdered by Charles Manson's followers in August 1969.

Article about the haunting of 'Falcon Lair,' the last home of Rudolph Valentino (click on page to enlarge). Motion Picture Magazine (November 1928, Vol. XXXVI, No. 4). Image Source: Media History Digital Library.

Remainder of Motion Picture Magazine article on Valentino's haunted house (click to enlarge). Images Source: Media History Digital Library.

Falcon Lair, front and back views and a later view of the house's situation in Benedict Canyon. Image Source: My Love of Old Hollywood.

Rudolph Valentino at his home, Falcon Lair. Image Source: My Love of Old Hollywood.

Joan Crawford was famously accused by her adopted daughter, Christina, of obsessive, controlling abuse in the 1940s and early 1950s. What is less discussed in relation to this disputed depiction of the star is Christina's assertion that Crawford's house was haunted. Later inhabitants, up to 2005, also claimed that it was haunted:
Extreme punishments involving wire hangers, outbursts, a razor sharp tongue and a dark shadowy side that the public rarely witnessed. That tongue now quieted, Joan Crawford's daughter Christina tells of the dark supernatural events that were naturally drawn in and manifested themselves within her family home, despite the many exorcisms that were performed to remove the ornery and cantankerous spirits. The movie Mommy Dearest rattled the nation with tales so horrendous that even the most open-minded person questioned the possibilities of such terrifying acts against innocent children. Joan Crawford was a force to be reckoned with and her iron fist told volumes when it came to the star's personality. Not surprisingly, Joan's Brentwood, California home possessed a sea of rumors where the paranormal was concerned, and reports of haunting manifestations and exorcisms held in the home came to light in 1989 that are far too vivid to Christina even still today. Apparitions were literally everywhere you looked. Frightened by them as a child, there was no help as Christina and her brother were always shushed. Dark, cold spots in the home where no frightened child dare to cross were easily explained away to the children as active imaginations by their mother. The movie star's strange dealings with the dark side remained up until her last breath was taken when Christina claims that just before Joan's death, she spoke to a ghost at the end of her bed, taunting it in her arrogant way, to dare not ask her for God's help.
Joan eventually sold the estate and years later it was purchased by a family that shared similar experiences in the home. Distraught, they sought the help of the Reverend Rosalyn Bruyere, a family friend who by all accounts claim that there were so many spirits living in the home, including underworld connections and ritual abuse that it literally gave her goosebumps. Every family that had ever lived in the home had suffered from some sort of illness, disease, death, divorce, addiction or mental instability. Christina claims that she wouldn't be surprised if the ghost isn't Joan herself, due to the nature of her being capable of the realest evil you can imagine. The family living in the Brentwood home during the 90's allowed HBO to film a segment on Haunted Hollywood, adding their own personal experiences to the growing list of ghostly adventures. They claimed that the cottage by the pool was the center for paranormal phenomenon and that they had seen a host of ghosts and other entities parading through the house. The couple eventually moved. A new decade has brought new life to the Crawford estate, as there have been no more reports of ghostly activity until renovations on the estate began in 2005. The general overall feeling from those involved is that Joan is very angry that her wallpaper is being torn to shreds and thrown into the dumpster. Location: 426 N. Bristol Avenue, Brentwood, California. http://www.legendaryjoancrawford.com/brentwoodhome.html
The idea that Hollywood is haunted, or that people drawn to Hollywood are haunted because they are sensitive and artistic, is so common that it became the basis of a television series, Celebrity Ghost Stories. Joan Rivers's account of her haunted New York City abode is probably the most well-told story on this series and therefore convincing (see it here).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

All Hallows' Eve Countdown: Heroic Werewolves

Image Source: Symbolic Symmetry.

The further back you go, the more ambiguous the mythological treatment of werewolves or human-wolf chimeras. Quite clearly, there was a cultural conflict between the worshippers of prehistoric wolf deities and organizers of later established religions. The increasingly negative view of werewolves appears to mark points of transition from animism to institutionalized systems of human faith. This seems to have been as true for the Greeks and Romans as it was for later Christians: an archaic positive view of wolfmen was followed by newer gods inflicting lycanthropic curses.

From Symbolic Symmetry (via Ancient Worlds), here is a short description circulating online about the positive myths surrounding the Irish werewolf, or Faoladh (pronounced FuEH-luh or FWEE-luck or FWEE-luh depending on the Irish dialect):
The Irish werewolf is different from the Teutonic or European werewolf, as it is really not a "monster" at all. Unlike its continental cousins, this shapeshifter is the guardian and protector of children, wounded men and lost persons. According to some ancient sources, the Irish werewolves were even recruited by kings in time of war. Known in their native land as the faoladh or conroicht, their predatory behaviour is typical of the common wolf, not beneath the occasional nocturnal raid on local sheep or cattle herds. If attacked or surprised while in wolf form, they usually simply run off because this causes them to shift back into their more vulnerable human form. However, after changing back into a man or woman, evidence of their lupine adventure remains on their bodies. If wounded, the injury remains. If they kill a sheep or cow, the telltale bloodstains stay on their faces and hands.

The most famous of the mythical Irish werewolves are the people of Ossory (modern day Kilkenny) whose legends live on even today. Among other lingering tales, the Ossory folk were documented by none other than Giraldus Cambrensis who, in the year 1185 transcribed what was no doubt a much older, oral folktale. According to Giraldus, the Ossory werewolves worked in pairs, male and female. A chosen couple lived as wolves for seven years before returning to human form to be replaced by a matched set of two others. During their time as wolves, they fed from the herds but this was taken as their due for watching over wandering children, healing the wounded, and guiding lost strangers to safety.

Despite the fact that this is a pre-Christian folk belief, the Irish werewolves eventually gained a reputation for being under a curse from either St Natalia (St Nailè) or, naturally, St Patrick as punishment for some vague transgression committed long ago. If you read Giraldus' account of these creatures, it is easy to separate what may be the original tale from his preachy commentary at the end.
Faoladh. Image Source: Ancient Worlds.

Monday, October 7, 2013

All Hallows' Eve Countdown: Voodoo Dolls Alive

Image Source: Pixel Nitrate.

I wanted to do a post on voodoo for today's Countdown to Hallowe'en entry, and I found a very cool animated short, Sebastian's Voodoo. It was created by Joaquin Baldwin at the UCLA Animation Workshop, with music by Nick Fevola. The film dates from 2008 and has won many awards. The synopsis: "A voodoo doll must find the courage to save his friends from being pinned to death." See it below the jump.