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.

Showing posts with label Weird Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Weird Fiction. Show all posts

Friday, October 6, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: Dark Ambient and Dark Web Tales

There are new horror genres appearing online, in which the fear factor depends on blurring the line between the virtual and real. It makes the raven girl on the subway, above, oddly reassuring: at least she is honest about how gothic things are these days.

Potion Shop Sounds | Apothecary Ambience | 45 Minutes (24 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Over the past few years, ambient horror soundtracks have appeared on Youtube, which are unsettling because they add a cinematic video game quality to daily work at the desk. Some people listen to them to get to sleep, like the 6-hour Quiet Rusty Sewer Ambient Noise River.

Aaron Dykes at Truthstream Media explains the power of music - related to the frequency at which the eardrums vibrate - and particularly the discordant Locrian mode. From Bridget Mermikides: "From at least the early 18th century this tritone was described as Diabolus in Musica (the Devil in music)." The Secret Power Music Holds Over You (30 August 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Locrian Mode example. Sample Source: Wiki.

Locrian Mode example: Björk's Army of Me (1995). Sample Source: Wiki.

The new horror music is non-music, made up of cinematic sound effects tracks. There is a spectrum of how scary these recordings are; they range (at the top) from vague background noise to (lower down) demonic atmospherics.

Haunted Halloween Mansion Fireplace with Thunder, Rain and Howling Wind (24 October 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

HAUNTED FOREST Scary Sounds of Ghosts in the Darkness 2 HOURS (12 March 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Gathering Darkness - Scary Noises in a Haunted House - 2 Hours (2 May 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Amazing SCARY 3D Holophonic Sound (21 August 2013). Video Source: Youtube.

Another example of horror found in the blurring between the virtual and the real is evident in a new genre of online horror story-telling, an offshoot of creepypastas, which explores the Dark Web. The Dark Web is reputed to be a place where anything goes, outside police jurisdictions, in a No Man's Land of international anonymity. Many Darknet communities are devoted to whistle-blowing, hacking, politics, drugs, crime, and hidden news.

By contrast, the Clearnet is the main, indexed Internet with which everyone is familiar. Clearnet lists of Dark Websites from 2015 to 2017 are here, here, here, here, and here - but don't click on links in those lists or surf further without a Tor browser and a VPN. A May 2017 Motherboard report gave a link to a list of every possible site on the Dark Web, that is, 1,208,925,819,614,629,174,706,176 sites, or just over one septillion Dark Websites beyond the reach of Google. That number directly contradicts Wired's 2015 estimate that there were over a billion sites on the Clear Web and 7,000 to 30,000 Dark Websites. You can see the total number of indexed Clear Websites counted in real time at Internet Live Stats.

Interactive livestream horror. Deep Web Horror Story - Why I Left The Deep Web by TASDiablo (21 May 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Canals of Earth

A great cover for Martian Comics #5 (2016) with art by David A. Frizell is a homage to the classic film, A Voyage to the Moon (1902). Image Source: Martian Lit.

See images today from a Kickstarter campaign for a comic book about Martians' view of Earth, The Canals of Earth!
"Humans have long looked to the sky and wondered about Mars. What if someone was looking back? The Canals of Earth is the story of how Mars sees Earth, running from Martian prehistory to its space age. We begin in Martian prehistory, when Martians looked to the skies and imagined Earth as a goddess. We see some of the Martian mythology about Earth, tied to the invention of writing. We then see Martian science-fiction, in which they imagined aliens in their own image."
This comic, fifth in the series Martian Comics (2014-present; details here) is written by Julian Darius, with art by Mansjur Daman and colours by Diego Rodriguez. Darius has a doctorate in English Literature and founded the Sequart Organization, which promotes sequential artwork in graphic novels and comic books as a legitimate art form. You can still support the Canals of Earth project here until 27 April 2016.

While the imagery of the comic's cover is taken from the turn-of-the-century French film, A Voyage to the Moon (see it below), the book's title is taken from late 19th century studies that there were canals on Mars, based on observations of the Red Planet by astronomers Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835-1910), Percival Lowell (1855-1916), and Charles E. Burton (1846-1882).

First page (click to enlarge). Image Source: Martian Lit.

Martian Comics #5. Image Source: Kickstarter.

Kickstarter promo video, Martian Comics #5, The Canals of Earth!

The iconic image of the Man in the Moon from Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902). Image Source: Wiki.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Providence #6 (released 25 November 2015), art by Jacen Burrows. The cover depicts Alumni Hall at Saint Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire, USA. Image Source: Avatar Press. (Hat tip: Facts in the Case.)

The sixth issue of Alan Moore's Providence, which revives the visceral horror of H. P. Lovecraft, hits shops today. I am still recovering after reading the first five issues. It is a harrowing series, in which a post-World War I journalist is lured into a meta-historical New England underworld that is terrifying, disturbing, taboo and disgusting.

Moore often addresses questions long before they enter common consideration. Ironically, this is because of his deeply historical perspective of human nature. In 2006, the Guy Fawkes mask worn by Moore's anarchist terrorist character in his 1980s' comic series V for Vendetta became the face of global hacktivism and later, of the Occupy movement. Moore hails from Northampton and his outlook is partly shaped by that city's fateful support of Parliament against King Charles I during the English Civil War. The Gunpowder Plot in which Fawkes figured in November 1605 prefaced the Civil War (1642-1651). Late last year, Moore finished his magnum opus about Northampton. It is entitled Jerusalemhis final manuscript was sent off to his publisher with a final word count of over one million words. The editors will want him to cut it, but as he put it, "that's not going to happen." He stated the novel is, "longer than the Bible ... and with a better afterlife scenario." Moore confirmed that Jerusalem is a giant meditation on how the arcane world combines a resistance to fate and government; he deals with mathematics, the English Civil War, predestination and Cromwell; and "I realized [it] would [also] be about the development of economic policy, since Isaac Newton was put in charge of the mint." This year, in Providence, Moore has turned from politics to themes relevant in today's struggle against terrorist violence: what we fear and how we deal with it.

Saint Anselm College, Alumni Hall. Image Source: flickr.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Lovecraft's Crusaders and Saracens

Austrian illustrator and fantasy cartographer Robert Altbauer circulated these cartoons of Lovecraftian monsters tangling with Crusaders and Saracens on 20 November 2015 at ArtStation:
This is a series of illustrations that imitates the style of old medieval paintings and adds a macabre flavour by incorporating some of H.P. Lovecraft's famous monsters. The text is mostly medieval Middle High German.
See more illustrations here (Thanks to -J.).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Cultural Footprint of Jodorowsky's Dune

Image Source: Amazing Stories.

For every generation, there is a window of opportunity to create what Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky's son Brontis called, "a dreamed life." This is the Beautiful Alternative, the path not followed, the epitome of achievement not attained due to failure, impediments, lack of resources or similar circumstances. In cinema, Jodorowsky's 1970s' adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune (1965) is considered by director Richard Stanley as "the greatest movie never made." A 2013 documentary on the subject argues that, at a critical time in the 1970s, this film marked the dividing line between what really matters artistically and real world limitations. And the fact that this particular film was not made because of monetary problems, and the unwillingness of the studios to bring such a radical vision to popular audiences, changed Hollywood and the entertainment industry forever.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Hallowe'en 2014!

Henry Fuseli (1741-1825), Fairy Mab (c. 1815-1820). Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington. "Mab is the chief fairy in folklore and literature. Fuseli's source for this subject was John Milton's poem L'Allegro (around 1630). The painter claimed that he was attempting to express 'female Nature'. Fuseli emphasises the themes of sensual indulgence and sexuality, with a fairy slumped into a bowl of junket (sweetened cream) and another little spirit holding a spoon and bowl, symbolising male and female genitals."-Tate. Image Source: Madame Pickwick (Hat tip: -C.).

Happy Hallowe'en! This marks the end of the Countdown to Hallowe'en blogathon. I was too busy blogging to check all the other participants, but be sure you do so (here). I did have a chance to look at Plaid Stallions, Dark Mind of a Feminist, The Ghost Town, The Grim Gallery, Limer Wrecks, Russian Nerd, Radiator Heaven, and Wonderful, Beautiful, and Strange Finds, and I was not disappointed!

On the Internet, reddit is Creepy Central; you can look at these subreddits for Hallowe'en chills, but you may regret it.
Theodore Von Holst (1810-1844), Bertalda, Assailed by Spirits (Bertalda von Kuhleborns Geistern erschreckt) c.1830. Von Holst was Fuseli's student. This painting is taken from the novella Undine (1811) by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué. Image Source: Wiki.

Below the jump, see more creepy sights, read spooky stories and listen to ambient suspense and ambient horror music. All copyrights belong with creators and are reproduced under Fair Use for non-commercial appreciation and discussion only.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Quote of the Day: Alan Moore on Editors

Image Source: Wired.

The quote of the day comes from Alan Moore, via Rob Brezsny's advice to Aquarians for the week of 25 September 2014:
Alan Moore is the British author who wrote the graphic novels Watchmen and V for Vendetta. He is now nearing completion of Jerusalem, a novel he has been working on for six years. It will be more than a million words long, almost double the size of Tolstoy's War and Peace, and 200,000 words bigger than the Bible. "Any editor worth their salt would tell me to cut two-thirds of this book," Moore told the New Statesman, "but that’s not going to happen." Referring to the author of Moby Dick, Moore adds, "I doubt that Herman Melville had an editor. If he had, that editor would have told him to get rid of all that boring stuff about whaling: 'Cut to the chase, Herman.'" Let's make Moore and Melville your role models in the coming week, Aquarius. You have permission to sprawl, ramble, and expand. Do NOT cut to the chase.
The Guardian reported that Moore finished Jerusalem a week and a half ago. The book explores a tiny area of Northampton, where Moore grew up, through stories of his family's past. The bearded sage will undoubtedly reach universal transcendence with this work: it spans many different radical writing styles, genres and ideas. Jerusalem is now with the copy-editors.

Moore has repeatedly argued that gods, as the products of our imaginations, are real entities, produced by the magic of artistic creativity. He became a ceremonial magician on his fortieth birthday as "a logical end step to my career as a writer." That didn't happen. Wiki:
"I believe that magic is art, and that art, whether that be music, writing, sculpture, or any other form, is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words or images, to achieve changes in consciousness ... Indeed to cast a spell is simply to spell, to manipulate words, to change people's consciousness, and this is why I believe that an artist or writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world to a shaman."
See my earlier post on Moore's June 2013 interview with The Believer, on the subject of gods, art and magic, here.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, Franz

Image Source: Google via Time.

Time reports that today is the birthday of the wonderful Czech Jewish writer, Franz Kafka; Google has commemorated the 130th anniversary of Kafka's birth:
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates a man who didn’t see much to celebrate during his short life. Today, July 3, 2013, would have been the 130th birthday of literary titan and eternal pessimist Franz Kafka.

The Doodle pays homage to The Metamorphosis, one of Kafka’s best-remembered novellas. The dark piece features a traveling salesman who has the unfortunate and unexplained fate of turning into some sort of giant bug — the actual German “ungeheueren ungeziefer” ambiguously translates to “monstrous vermin.” The drawing shows a lighter take on Kafka’s absurdist work, portraying a cockroach coming home from a day at work. The Doodle even includes a nod to the plot by including a small, sepia-toned apple, referring to the apples that the poor salesman’s father threw at him when he found his son transformed into the creepy-crawler.

The Prague native and tormented soul has since been hailed as one of the greatest literary giants, especially for his contributions to existentialism. While his body of work, also including The Trial and The Castle, doesn’t make cozy bedtime reading with its overtones of alienation and grotesqueness, it’s contributed to the timeless collection of literature that forces us to question the human condition. “One of the first signs of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die,” Kafka once wrote in the Blue Octavo Notebooks. Tuberculosis granted his wish at the young age of forty.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Cthulhumas

Image Source: The Poor Mouth. For another version, go here.

The Great Old One is a really popular Christmas meme. For more, go here.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Comics Sonnets

Revival #1 (July 2012) © Image Comics.

Aw yeah! Kate Sherrod has started a new comics blog, Comics Time Sonnets, at which she posts a new sonnet review of a comic book every day. How does this girl do it? Elizabeth Barrett Browning meets rhymer demon Etrigan (only in Hell do you have to start speaking in poetry when you get promoted).

Given the way some publishers are behaving, I'm not entirely sure they deserve Sherrod's love letters to pulp culture. But then again, to her credit, she has not reviewed the usual suspects - so far.

Here is Kate's poetic review of the unsettling new Image zombie series, the rural noir, Revival. The premise of the book is that dead people in a small town have come back to life; yet they are more or less as they were when they were alive - talking, memories intact, still recognizable - but what with being undead and all, they are not quite right:

Farm noir, they say? So what's that even mean?
I'll tell you what. It's creepy on a scale
Both intimate and cosmic. There's a scene
Wherein a zombie grandma turns to flail
And kills with just a scythe sweep, doesn't care
Because her teeth keep growing back and she
Must yank them out, because she cannot bear
To be without her dentures. Which means we
Have not seen zombie horror quite like this.
The undead all remember, can still speak
And feel unholy. Meanwhile their small town
Is quarantined (but gorgeous!). Where it's weak
Is exposition dialogue. I frown
On this unsubtlety in what should be
The greatest zombie comic we may see.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Lovecraftian Heat Wave Film Night

Image Source: Tentaclii.

Heat waves, according to a 2008 Australian article in the journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, predispose "individuals [in temperate climates] to heat-related morbidity and mortality." The researchers continue:
Above a threshold of 26.7°C, we observed a positive association between ambient temperature and hospital admissions for mental and behavioral disorders. Compared with non–heat-wave periods, hospital admissions increased by 7.3% during heat waves. Specific illnesses for which admissions increased included organic illnesses, including symptomatic mental disorders; dementia; mood (affective) disorders; neurotic, stress related, and somatoform disorders; disorders of psychological development; and senility. Mortalities attributed to mental and behavioral disorders increased during heat waves in the 65- to 74-year age group and in persons with schizophrenia, schizotypal, and delusional disorders.
Similarly, Canada's Metro News, commenting on a severe Ontario heat wave this week that will push humidex temperatures over 40°C [104°F], notes that humidity hampers cognition and "[w]hen temperatures climb past the high 30s [90s°F], the brain can become stressed and chemically imbalanced, leading to anxiety, depression, and even aggression." According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadians are more likely to commit suicide in July and August than at any other time of year. For people living in or near Colorado or other western American states, ongoing heat-wave-sparked wildfires are doubly dangerous and stressful.

This may be why some of the most dramatic and cathartic story-telling is reserved for these conditions. Film noir thrillers and pulp horror stories are often set in sweltering urban heat waves (see my earlier posts on heat waves here and here).

Maybe a little dip into the watery subconscious will help. Nothing says summer heat wave like Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn. Below the jump, some B-movie adaptations of Lovecraft's works, including one about the fictitious Lovecraftian grimoire, the Necronomicon (Hat tip: Lovecraft eZine). For a post on real grimoires, see an interesting recent piece at Unsolved Mysteries in the World.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pulp Horror Nights

Web of Evil #17 (1954). Image is in the public domain. Image Source: The Digital Comic Museum.

When most people think of America after the Second World War, they think of 1950s' prosperity and the baby boom. But the post-war period also saw societies and cultures around the world - including those of the victors - digesting the horrors of war.

Two popular American genres which embodied that process were film noir and pulp fiction. Pulps had earlier roots running back through the century. The Shadow is one of the most famous of pulp heroes from the Depression, whose popularity endured into the 1950s and up to the present day, due to a fantastic radio show (listen to one episode here). By the 1940s and 1950s, pulps had evolved into comic books.

If you have ever been curious to see these rare pulp-style comics from the early Cold War era before horror themes were censored, you can see some of them for free online. Since 2010, the Digital Comic Museum has made Golden Age comics in the public domain available for downloading, here.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Farewell, Mr. Bradbury

Image Source: Getidan.

American Sci-Fi author and Midwest Surrealist, Ray Bradbury, died on 5 June 2012, aged 91. His official Website is here, which explains how and why Bradbury began to write: 
Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, Live forever! Bradbury later said, I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped.
Bradbury is perhaps most famous for his works, The Martian Chronicles (1950) - a future history of Mars colonization; The Illustrated Man (1951) - stories on the conflict between machines and human psychology; Fahrenheit 451 (1953) - a dystopian novel set in a future America where books have been outlawed; and  Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962) - a novel about two boys who encounter a dark carnival when it arrives in their town.

Here is a link to the full text online of Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury disapproved of e-versions of his works and strongly disliked the Internet and Millennial technology; fears about the negative impact of high tech on human society run through several of his works. This link is provided respectfully to introduce first-time readers to his work. Fahrenheit 451 is antithetical to the Millennial obsession with tech-data. Wiki: "Bradbury has stated that the novel is not about censorship, but a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature, which leads to a perception of knowledge as being composed of factoids, partial information devoid of context." The book was released as a graphic novel in 2009.

Bradbury's work has long been suited to the pulp medium. Between 1951 and 1954, several of Bradbury's stories were adapted by Al Feldstein for EC Comics. Bradbury noticed this starting with "Home to Stay" in Weird Fantasy #13, which plagiarized two of the writer's stories ("The Rocket Man" and "Kaleidoscope") and combined them into one story. After Bradbury settled with the company amicably, he allowed further EC Comics adaptations and was pleased with the result.

Stories reproduced in EC Comics included: "The Man Upstairs" (WF #12: "A Lesson in Anatomy"); "The Black Ferris"; "The Handler"; "The Screaming Woman"; "Let's Play Poison"; "There Will Come Soft Rains" (WF #17); "The October Game"; "The Small Assassin"; "The Long Years"; "Zero Hour" (WF #18); "King of Grey Spaces" (WF #19); "The Flying Machine"; "The Lake"; "I, Rocket" (WF #20); "The Million Year Picnic" (WF #21); "The Silent Towns" (WF #22). "Judgment Day" (WF #18) provoked controversy with the censor because it featured an African-American astronaut (read it in its entirety here). Below the jump, see some panels from the EC Comics adaptations of Bradbury's stories.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Millennial Mysteries: Corpses Found in Mayfair Flats

Last photo of Gareth Williams alive, taken by CCTV in August, 2010. Image Source: AFP/Getty via The Mirror.
Today, The Telegraph reported on a hearing held by the Westminster Coroner’s Court in London about the death of Gareth Williams, a 31-year-old code-breaker who worked for MI6. Police found him on 23 August 2010, dead in Pimlico, stuffed into a sports bag, which was padlocked shut. The story is lurid and extraordinarily creepy. The scene looks like a sex game gone wrong, and there is evidence (which may be accurate or could have been planted) that Williams was into bondage games. The bit where the sex game story falls apart is that the whole apartment was wiped of fingerprints and evidence in the week or so between when Williams died and when the police got there. A strange couple were thought to be involved and sought by the police; they were later dismissed as a "red herring." After a DNA mix-up muddying the evidence even more, it appears that the only DNA in the apartment is Williams's own, which even by Millennial virtual sexual standards is a stretch. Today, the whole event was chalked up to the "dark arts of the secret services," as though that is supposed to explain everything. The British media quickly picked up the 'dark arts' tagline: here and here. From the Telegraph:
"Gareth Williams could not have locked the bag from the inside, meaning a 'third party' must have done it, according to a lawyer representing his family. Relatives believe his death in 2010 may have been linked to his work at MI6, where he had recently qualified for 'operational deployment', and that fingerprints, DNA and other evidence was wiped from the scene in a deliberate cover up.

Police have always said they were keeping an open mind on whether the 31-year-old codebreaker was murdered or died as a result of an accident, possibly during a bizarre sex game.

But at an interim hearing ahead of the full inquest into his death, Westminster Coroner’s Court in London was told that a delay by MI6 in notifying police of his disappearance meant a post-mortem examination had been 'ineffective' and the cause of his death remained unclear.

A series of blunders, including a mix-up over DNA found at the scene, had also hampered the inquiry, Dr Fiona Wilcox, the coroner, was told."
This is the kind of story that feeds the public's hunger for conspiracy theories. Millennial paranoia is so intense that people will believe anything, as long as it comes with bits of data and a cryptic hint or two to let them rationalize the unexplained. Paranoia calms people down. It is therapeutic. It makes weird incidents make sense. Mass-media-driven conspiracy theories are, in the short term, an easy and simple way to avoid revolutions.

Friday, March 16, 2012

(Re)Turning Centuries

Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine: the birthplace of American Literature; American Literary Geography (1933). Image Source: Brain Pickings.

Decades come back into fashion cyclically. Parts of the 1890s, as well as the late 1920s-to-early-1930s, have dominated the period from 2007 to 2012. For the past five years, we got a real life revisiting of the Great Depression, with a Lovecraftian flavour.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

DCnU: Another Day, Another (Real?) Multiverse

All images in this post are from: Before It's News. Image from Another Earth (2011) © Fox Searchlight Pictures.

There have been a lot of loud complaints and a hell of a lot of kicking and screaming in the fanbase about DC Comics' September 2011 reboot, in which the famous pulp company tossed 75 years' worth of history out the window in an effort to catapult itself into the 21st century.  The open wound that is DC's handling of the Titans aside, I have written a post on how DC's shifts to new entertainment genres and new media (such as digital publishing) correspond with the transformation of the comic publisher's fictional universe.  I have asked whether those Fourth Wall and metafictional turns may lead to the discovery of new standards for heroic values in pop culture.  I've also talked about how comics stories, especially at DC, are the only forum in pop culture where quantum physicists' ideas of a multiverse have been consistently and constantly considered over several decades. 

"There may be inifinite Earths being infinitely created."

DC's characters, stories and tumultuous reboots actually contend with the problem of what it would mean to live in a mulitverse, assuming it existed. What would happen to reality?  Well, DC speculates, some of us would become superhuman, but at a terrifying price.  What would happen to people in that reality?  What would happen to values of right and wrong?  Good and evil?  No one else, not even the quantum physicists who are looking at the multiverse as a possible scientific fact, are pondering would it would mean for all of us if their wild theories aren't just theories.

"Reality may be more tenuous than imagined."

Now, some weird online stories about 'real' cases of people have surfaced (here) who claim they have shifted from one parallel universe to our world; these accounts are exactly mimicked in the storyline of an upcoming May 2012 DC title, World's Finest (with the great George Perez serving as co-artist): "Stranded on our world from a parallel reality, Huntress and Power Girl struggle to find their way back to Earth 2."  The oldest team of comic superheroes, the Justice Society of America, finds itself on the alternate Earth 2 in another new series, simply called Earth 2.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Theophanic Hibernation

Grafton (1992) cover of P. K. Dick's Valis. Image Source: Esoteric Online.

Welcome to Epiphany. It is a celebration of a Theophany, a day when god appears to man. In the Christian tradition, Epiphany marks the Theophany of the Christ child as a god who appeared in human form and was baptised. Today follows yesterday's Twelfth Day of Christmas; it is also Orthodox Christmas Eve in the Julian Calendar.

Theophanies are mysterious, tricky events that have been recorded in religious texts and myths throughout human history. They pop up a lot in Greek myths. If you want to read a modern account of an 'actual' Theophany, consider reading (if you haven't already), Philip K. Dick's semi-autobiographical novel, Valis (1981), published just before he died.  In Valis, Dick claimed to depict his encounter with god on 3 February 1974. It can be pretty hard going, but it is fascinating: he describes a human grasp of the Gnostic divine mainly in temporal terms, a "loss of forgetfulness," a recovery of our hidden memory of life across the ages. To see god is to see time as it really is, the point at which time turns into space. Dick thought it meant living in 'orthagonal time,' and consciously existing in past and present lives simultaneously: "We are not 3D subjects trapped in linear time; we are 4D objects composed of hypertime." Where it goes from there, well, you have to read it to find out.  It presents an ancient subject, revealed in modern terms. Dick was absolutely fearless when it came to facing and conveying the mad twists and turns of the human mind grasping the ungraspable; there are some excerpts online here from the appendix.

Dick's famous, cryptic journal, Exegesis, which was a theophanic basis for Valis, is being published in two parts in 2011 and 2012, at well over 2,000 pages. Volume I, which was published on 7 November 2011, is available here.  Wiki: "Editor Jonathan Lethem described the ... [new Exegesis] publications as 'absolutely stultifying, brilliant, repetitive, and contradictory. It just might contain the secret of the universe.'"  Some sample Exegesis pages are online here.

On that note, the blog will be hibernating until Candlemas, aka Groundhog Day.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Laugh of the Day: One Does Not Simply Walk into Mordor

Many thanks to Tony Morrill for tweeting the Google Maps walking directions from the Shire to Mordor and the Two Towers (complete with auto-warning). This was an internet gag that was circulating about a week ago. Sean Bean's line has also become a LOLcat type meme.

Image Source: Troll Meme Generator. Also available as an avatar!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hallowe'en Countdown 10: Haunted Hotels

Going down? Hotel Monterey (1972) in New York City.  Image Source: She Blogged By Night.

Now, here is an odd coincidence. A few days ago when I was writing this piece on haunted hotels, I kept thinking all morning of a friend of mine who is a travel writer. I wondered if he has seen any ghosts in his many travels, especially at inns and B. & B.s. Later that night, we happened to chat online.  He mentioned he was staying, at that moment, in a haunted hotel.  He described where he was (the residential part of the hotel was a converted house), and what was happening (noises, poltergeist activity in the room). The management jokingly mentioned the house was haunted.  I suggested maybe they were responsible, but he didn't think so.  He said no one else was there in the building. He said, "I can't believe I am live chatting a real haunting." I talked to him through the night to keep him company.  "Just remember, you're not alone," I said.  He said, "I know. That's the problem."