Ouija Boards

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Recently, one of my readers asked if I had heard of Tracy Twyman or the book she has been touting on podcasts, Clock Shavings. Honestly, I had not and I replied thusly but agreed to investigate a little. What I found, in the course of looking at Ms. Twyman’s blog and listening to one of her interviews, left me quite unsettled.

Listening to this interview, I heard the following declarations regarding her repeated communication with entities via the ouija board:

“I was way more impressed that it was just working . . .”

Ms. Twyman referred, on a couple of occasions to “dealing with evil . . .”

She stated at one point that she was “so busy talking to demons” that she did not have time for contact with other entities (even though she claims to have talked to Jesus once).

When discussing the suicide of her spouse (or ex-spouse, not certain from the context), Ms. Twyman was asked if she felt that her communications via the ouija board had anything to do with this man’s death. Her reply: “(it) went through my mind at the time . . .”

In addition, Ms. Twyman stated that she sometimes got contradictory information from the spirits that she communicated with. In addition to all this, my general impression of the entities that she was communicating with is that they presented themselves as sort of super-villains intent on toying with mankind.

Now, I have never used a ouija board and have no intention of ever doing so but I do know a thing or two about spirit communication, having some mediumistic tendencies, and evocation and this interview was, in my mind, a primer on how not to communicate with spirits.

One of my main concerns with the ouija board is not that people are talking to spirits. If you want to see if you can raise your dead grandfather or talk to a faery being that is your business. My concern is all those people out there who basically get onto the board, put out a call to anything in the vicinity and then wonder why they get chilling messages or even spirit interference in their lives. It is the equivalent of setting off up a beacon in the Otherworld and talking to whoever happens by. As I have noted repeatedly in this blog, most of the residents beyond the veil could care less about humans but those who are attracted to our energy can be quite beneficial, neutral, mischievous or downright malevolent.

If we look at this from the point of view of a medium, someone who is alleged to have concourse with spirits on a regular basis, basic training for this talent involves a stepped series of meditations that seek to introduce the medium to what some might call their gatekeeper. The gatekeeper is a spirit who, after long acquaintance and repeated testing, is entrusted with vetting the contacts that come to the medium and/or providing the medium with information about approaching spirits and warding off those that are not helpful.

In Harner style neo-shamanic training, one does not approach or deal with other spirits until one has developed a relationship with a power animal (Lower World) and a guiding being (Upper World) and one never travels shamanically without the accompaniment of an ally. The purpose, again, is to provide the shamanic practitioner with a vetting system for spirits and to get the practitioner to the spirits that he or she is seeking or may need for assistance.

Finally, a magician who is seeking to evoke a spirit works hard to make certain they get exactly the spirit that they are evoking. He or she will study the known characteristics of the spirit, try to find a sigil or other symbol that calls forth the presence of that spirit, make note of the sort of offering the spirit might accept and so forth. Once all the research is done, the magical worker puts together a ritual that puts out a call for that spirit, and that spirit alone unless he or she is seeking to summon forth more than one being – a tricksy proposition at most times.

The point of this rambling? In none of these traditions of spirit communication is it acceptable to simply throw the doors open and admit whoever or whatever shows up. Even in the possessory religions, since as Vodoun, where the spirits actually ‘ride’ their followers, there is a progressive induction of trance that is set in a strong cultural base that summons those spirits (the lwa) and those spirits alone and there are set methods for bringing the person out of trance if needed. The point is that the spirits do not control a spirit communication; the medium, shaman, magician etc is expected to know what they are about, to test any spirits they encounter and to be able to banish anything that does not belong. That seems a far cry from picking up the planchette and going to town, does it not?

Why is this important? Because, my good readers, like people, spirits lie. While there are many beneficial and powerful beings in the Otherworld, who are quite interested in assisting and informing humans, there are also any number of beings that hold humans in disdain or worse. Not all of these beings will resort to outright attack. Many of them will preen in the glow of the attention they are getting and will tell the person communicating with them anything to keep that person coming back. Spirits have access to knowledge that we do not and they can be quite good at pulling things out of a person’s consciousness stream, adding some information or pseudo-information and giving the person exactly what they want to hear in words that sound oh so reasonable and make the human feel just a little bit superior.

I am sure Ms. Twyman would disagree with me, vociferously, and that is her right. I am sure that she has had communications but I reserve the right to question the true nature of the spirits with which she has had concourse.


Can We Prove There Is An Afterlife?

My birthday passed recently. When I was younger, this occasion usually involved over-eating and, when I was much younger, over-indulgence in alcohol. I have mellowed considerably through the years and, rather the ‘celebrating’, I take my birthday off from work and spend some time doing things I enjoy (such as writing for this blog and catching up on paranormal media). I also spend some time reflecting and, as I get older, I confess that my thoughts sometimes veer toward what happens to us when we die.

Afterlife

Now, please don’t think that I sit around having morbid thoughts for my birthday. In my own belief system, death is not something to fear; it is simply a birth into another type of life. Neither I nor anyone can say with certainty what that life looks like but my experiences tell me that there is more to come after death.

Unfortunately, many of the skepdebunkers and members of the scientific community seem determined to paint those who believe in an afterlife as non-critical, non-scientific thinkers, at best, and raving loons, at worst. According to their viewpoint, human beings are their physical bodies and consciousness is simply an accidental byproduct of brain function. When the organism shuts down, we simply cease to exist and that is the end of it. Belief in an afterlife is the result of wooly headed silliness that we learned from religion and ought to be firmly set aside so that we can face the reality of our existence – that we have a certain span of time on this globe and then we are through. The part of the human being that will survive is whatever work they leave behind at death.

Obviously, I disagree with this assessment and my disagreement exists on a number of levels ranging from the materialist theory of consciousness to their complete and utter refusal to even consider the possibility of an afterlife. I’ve just finished reading Greg Taylor’s excellent book Stop Worrying! There Probably Is An Afterlife and I believe that Mr. Taylor makes a very good case for belief in something following death.

It is not my intentions to review the book; Mr. Taylor was obviously heavily influenced by Chris Carter’s work, Science and the Afterlife, but presents the arguments in a way that most laypeople can follow. While I admire Mr. Carter’s work, it is quite heavy reading that needs to be taken in doses.

Mr. Taylor shapes his argument around a number of different phenomenon including the so called Near Death Experiences, deathbed visions, reports of caregivers to the dying who have witnessed any number of paranormal events (lights appearing around the dying person etc), appearances of the recently deceased to their kin and friends, the extensive investigation of mediums by the Society for Psychical Research in the late 1880’s and into the 1900’s. If I do not have my books confused, I believe that Mr. Taylor also mentions the research of Dr. Ian Stevenson who has recorded and investigated many cases of apparent reincarnation.

If you are interested in any, or all, of these phenomenon then please read the book. Mr. Taylor has an engaging style that only occasionally gets bogged down (as when he gets into the discussion of quantum physics). The book contains good introductions to these topics and the notes section is extensive and will provide further reading on topics of interest.

So, can we prove that there is an afterlife? I fully agree with Mr. Taylor that, if we look at the phenomenon which he describes so meticulously throughout the book, one incident at at a time, then the skeptic might rightly be able to challenge a belief in the afterlife. If, however, we look at all of these phenomenon in toto, the sheer volume of evidence will make any reasonable person at least consider the possibility that human consciousness survives death. Again agreeing with the author, I do not think that we can make any definitive statement about what occurs after death but when:

1) more than 50% of caregivers who work with the dying report in a survey that they have witnessed paranormal events around dying patients (unexplained lights, apparitions of deceased relatives, etc);
2) patients who have been clinically dead return with stories that are remarkably similar, even across culture;
3) leading scientists of the late 19th and early 20th century conclude that communication with the dead via mediums is likely a real phenomenon and this research goes on to this day;
4) distinguished physicists, even skeptical ones, conclude that quantum physics allows for the survival of consciousness after death

then I believe that most rational people would at least be moved to continue investigation into these matters and, remember, that I have just touched the tip of the iceberg of data Mr. Taylor includes in his book.

I think the greater question might be why these matters are not taken more seriously in the scientific community. I can not, for the life of me, explain why anyone would be so dead set in their materialist and, often, atheist view of the world that they were completely dismissive of this evidence. Granted, many of these reports are anecdotal but, if biologists had not listened to anecdotal reports of the natives of Africa about a man-like being that lived in jungles, the gorilla would have remained a cryptid for much longer than it did.

In my modest opinion, scientists are not taking these reports and the in-depth research of their predecessors seriously because to do so would shake their world view – their beliefs – and cause them to have to re-think the way they view the universe. Oddly, it may well be the scientists who need a healthy dose of reality.


The Evocation of Anger

I had the misfortune recently to finally come down with some sort of upper respiratory plague. I do not get sick very often but, when I do, I do it well and I am not a believer in ‘toughing it out’ unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Instead, I took a couple of days off of work and watched some TV when I was not napping.

Of course, that television had to include some paranormal shows. I had the opportunity to watch several episodes of “Monster and Mysteries in America’ which I found campy and amusing and one of the ghost shows that I had not seen before. I am not going to name the show but, as with other paranormal investigation shows that I have watched, there was a whole lot of anger going on.

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Now, I have given my opinion of ‘provoking’ tactics in a number of other posts. My basic stance: don’t do it. If you have been called to someone’s home or business to investigate a possible haunting, it is downright idiotic to run around calling out spirits all night. If there are entities of one sort or the other in that space, how do you really suppose this is going to settle things down for the people who have invited you into their space? And, if you happen to be going into a place known for activity that happens to have been, say, a sanitarium or prison, do you really suppose that it is the height of intelligence to provoke the spirits in a place where killers and other bad actors once lived?

It might make the alleged investigator feel macho but I suspect that most of the people who use these tactics really have not thought through what they are doing. It seems to me that the only reason most of these ‘investigators’ come out more or less unscathed is that the more powerful spirits really do not want to waste the time and energy it would take to play a quick game of squash with these individual’s heads.

What I found interesting though was the number of times these tactics seemed to produce phenomenon. Setting aside my reservations about paranormal TV and faking evidence, this group seemed to be able to gather some decent EVP’s and other manifestations as they went stomping through their sites. If I were a spirit in their area. I would have ignored them or worse, given their rude tactics, but then it dawned on me the sort of ‘evidence’ they were getting. Almost all of the sound recordings and other supposed manifestations of spirit presence were as hostile as the investigators themselves were.

Now, let me digress for a moment. In magical work, when you want to call a spirit or spirits, there are a number of techniques you can use, from the fairly simple to the ritualistically complex. You have to know what you are calling, you have to have some association or connection to that spirit (usually a symbol or sigil) and you usually have to be working within a particular tradition that outlines the proper technique for evocation. When you take these three things and combine them with the magician’s ability to open portals and empower a rite, you will have a successful evocation. This branch of magic is not one that is learned in a day and it is one that requires lots of practice to be really good at it.

Evocation, however, is a technique that summons a specific spirit or class of spirits. Almost anyone, with a modicum of talent and energy can get a response from something if they have the necessary focus. Please witness all the people who have scared themselves witless using a Ouija board. Even an untrained person can send out a signal on the astral that attracts “astral trash” – parasites, low level spirits and even, in some cases, thought forms – that are looking for an energetic snack. These ‘trash’ energies will play along with people to get what they want . . . ingress to a person’s energy field. So, basically, what happens in provoking style investigations is that the person who is calling out the spirits is getting the type of spirit that likes to snack on the energy that he or she is putting out: anger. While it is possible that the investigator may get some real human spirits mixed in with the trash, it is almost impossible to tell one being from the other without scorecard.

This inability to discern the spirits is yet another reason why having an experienced magician (or a well trained and competent medium) on a paranormal investigation team is not just a convenience but a must. If you, as the investigator, can not sort the spirits and there is not some machine that will do it for you, then you have to rely on the technology that has been available in human culture for centuries. Otherwise, at best, you will tick off the local spirits and, at worst, you will actually attract the attention of new spirits who are motivated by a hunger for aggressive energy. That situation is surely not one that you want to leave your client in.


Book Review: Stalking the Herd

Stalking the Herd: Unraveling the Cattle Mutilation Mystery
Christopher O’Brien
Adventures Unlimited Press, 2014
Kindle Version

I wish that I could smile and say that this was a great book and that you should read it because it was so interesting and full of fascinating facts. To make that statement would be to lie, however. The truth is that I found this book to be extremely difficult to read – not because the subject was not interesting but because it is downright horrifying – and the author, while relying a little too heavily on quoted material at times, has obviously poured body and soul into what was obviously a long, painstaking investigation. I want to express my admiration for Mr. O’Brien; it seems to me that there are not many people who would stay with a grim investigation of this kind for as long as he has nor spend as much time in side research as he has done. “Stalking the Herd” is a dense, encyclopedic treatment of one of the great mysteries of our time (and history, dating back to the time of James I, apparently).

For those who may not be aware, a cattle mutilation is a specific type of cattle death that is characterized by the bovine being found dead, without apparent cause, while having certain portions of its anatomy – lips, eyes, anal region and reproductive organs, udders, etc – removed with surgical precision. The crime scenes are generally bloodless and it is even sometimes the case that the bovine is found drained of blood. In almost all cases the mutilators leave no trace behind. Other than the probably false accusation of an Indian (from India) man in the early 1900’s, Mr. O’Brien could find no instance of anyone ever being arrested or convicted of a mutilation. One of the things that makes these cases very strange is that the perpetrators seem to be able to come and go at will without anyone the wiser.

Those who have been reading this blog for a while know that I am seldom without a theory, usually based on magical practice, for any phenomenon but I have to say, after reading “Stalking the Herd” that I am at a loss to propose any sort of comprehensive theory for this deeply complex and outlandishly trickster driven phenomenon.

In short summary, Mr. O’Brien begins the book by examining the relationship of humans to bovines throughout history and then takes us into historic accounts of mutilation cases from the 1600’s up to the landmark “Snippy the Horse” case, the mutilation in the San Luis Valley that garnered world wide attention and marked the beginning of modern “mute” history. The chapters that follow outline the unfolding mystery throughout the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and into the present time. Once he has laid out the mystery, the author then includes sections on high strangeness cases, ‘Mutes and the Media’ and a tour of the beef industry (which will leave one wishing to become a vegetarian) and cattle related diseases. Mr. O’Brien finishes with some thoughts on theories surrounding “mutes” and the promise of another book to analyze the data he has presented to us here.

This is not the sort of book that you will sit down and read cover to cover in a couple of days. It is a book that you will read a chapter at a time and, as you read, find yourself frequently wondering just how deep the rabbit hole goes. The “mute” phenomenon is mysterious enough on its own, despite the ill informed opinions of skepdebunkers who argue otherwise, but, when one adds the frequent intrusion of episodes of high strangeness into the mix, the mystery only deepens. UFO’s, mystery helicopters, the occasional Sasquatch and more all seem determined to make the mutilation mystery one that simply can not be put to rest. In order to even begin to get a grasp on the phenomenon, one needs to be able to accept that this is not an either/or phenomenon but rather a both/and phenomenon.

Amongst the many theories put forth for “mute” episodes:

1) Government or quasi-government monitoring of environmental factors which could range from above ground nuclear test radiation tests to the advent of prion related disease in cattle and other livestock.

2) Corporate interests trying to run small ranchers out of business so that their spreads could be incorporated into the corporate whole.

3) The extra-terrestrial hypothesis that states that ET’s are targeting cattle for “unknown purposes . . . related to some kind of genetic experimentation”

4) Exotic perpetrators – anything from beings living in the hollow earth to hostile “nature spirit elementals”

5) Occult activity, specifically, dark magic rituals that require blood sacrifice.

6) Unknown animals preying on cattle.

I will let you read the book to discover the pro’s and con’s to each of these ideas. Mr. O’Brien discusses extensively why no one theory can begin to explain the wide range of “mutes”. I will say that he does a terrific job of preventing the reader from throwing his or her hands into the air, giving up and putting it all down to aliens as too many writers on this subject do. I am in accord with the author when he says that ET’s would really have no reason to raid pastures when they could get all the genetic material they need with a visit to the local slaughter house.

If you have any interest at all in the cattle mutilation phenomenon and you want to become well educated as well as having an encyclopedic reference on the subject to refer back to, then I strongly encourage you to pick up this book. I think I have made it plain that the title is not for the faint of heart and be aware that some of the graphics are not pleasant. Nevertheless, I encourage you to support this fine researcher.


Etheric Exploration: Wisconsin Drowning Mystery

I had just finished writing a piece in which I suggested that I might like to do an etheric projection on a fresh case and a case popped up for me to look at. Before I go into the projection proper, let me say that I do not think that my results represent the be all and end all solution to this mystery. As with all enigmas, I suspect that a variety of factors contribute to these tragedies and that some, but not all, of those factors are included in this blog post.

A quick word on etheric projection. As I have said on a number of occasions, the etheric realm is that “layer” of the Otherworld that is closest to the physical world in which we (usually) live. The etheric realm is the most ‘dense’ of the realms of the Otherworld and those who travel in it can actually take harm from hostile entities there so etheric projection is not a skill lightly taught in the occult, nor lightly used. The technique does, however, sometimes yield startling results as I mentioned in my previous post.

To the results of this projection . . . Riverside Park in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, had been listed as one of the places where a drowning occurred so I took that site as the locus of my investigation. After entering the necessary trance state, I moved my etheric self from my home to Riverside Park and, after taking a moment to get oriented, began to collect my impressions.

First impression: I had the impression of a river monster of some kind in the depths of the river. I could not see this beast clearly but it gave the impression of being long and eel-like although, when it became aware of my attention, it seemed to project the classic long necked plesiosaur image (ala Loch Ness). I do not think that this creature, if it lives in our reality at all, has anything to do with the drownings, but I include this to give readers an idea of the nature of the projection experience. You never really know what you will encounter until you “get out”.

Second impression: there were a large number of shadow beings in the park. I was a little worried since some of these beings can be hostile to humans and especially to humans who can interact in their realm. I stood very still and was prepared to take off but none of these beings seemed to notice me, even when they bumped into me.

Third impression: As I watched these shadow beings I felt that I was not seeing the whole picture so I took to the air (yes, one can fly in the etheric). At that point, I felt I had a better understanding of what was happening. The beings were issuing from a ‘portal’ and moving into the water. In essence, they were a part of a moving current of energy that was flowing into the water.

There were portals like this sporadically up and down the river as far as I could see (some several miles) and I had the feeling that they might have derived from much earlier times.

Thoughts

1) My theory about these tragedies centers around these ‘currents’ of energy that I noted from the air. I am given to understand from the news pieces I read that the young men who drowned tended to be inebriated. In my opinion, these energy currents were quite strong enough to draw someone who had had too much to drink to the river and even into the river. It is also my opinion that, unless the individual happened to be a very strong swimmer, once that person was entangled in one of these energetic currents, it would be very difficult to escape.

2) One of the writers asked why it only seemed to be young white men who were subject to these drownings. I can not propose a solid answer to that question except to note that I did see shadow beings as a part of these currents of energy. As I mentioned above, these beings can be actively hostile and I adopted a very quiet approach to avoid any conflict. If, for whatever reason, these beings were manifestations of energy that “had it in” for young white males, this might account for the victim selection.

3) I can not state with certainty that my theory is correct. One of the limitations to etheric projection is that it happens to be a very “real time” phenomenon. To ‘prove’ my theory, I would actually have to see one of these drownings taking place. Fortunately, this was not the case since I would have been forced to try to intervene if such a thing were occurring. Given the overwhelming number of these shadow beings present in the energy current, I suspect that things could have gotten quite nasty if I had tried to turn them from their purpose – whatever that was. I only present these observations as a possibility in this case.

Further information is needed so I will attempt a shamanic voyage to this location in the near future (time permitting, of course) to gather further information and see if I can make contact with some of the spirits of the place. More as it develops . . .


Getting out of the Box

I recently encountered this interesting addendum to a classic “UFO” case while perusing my news feeds. I found myself wondering why the site, which has a resident wizard who writes a column there, did not turn to that person when this information came up.

I have a great deal of admiration for Fortean and Paranormal field investigators. These folks spend their leisure time and hard earned money to seek out witnesses and try to document high strangeness in whatever way they can. They write up notes, record witness interviews, take videographic and photographic evidence, cast any prints etc. so that they are left with a mass of data about a sighting at the end of their field experience. If they collate enough of this data and find it unique, they will write an article or even a book and, at some point in their writing, speculate about the cause of the high strangeness they are documenting.

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What puzzles me, given the strangeness that they work with regularly, is the unwillingness of most investigators to think a little outside the box in terms of determining causation. How many times have you heard of an investigator hooking up with someone who has experience and credentials in remote viewing, for example, to get their view on a case? I, as someone who thinks that boxes are for packing household goods, would be most interested in hearing what such a person had to say. Obviously, this information might be apropos or it might be way off base but it would be something additional for the investigator to think about.

While some investigators do not consult with remote viewers or other practitioners of ‘occult’ arts’ because they feel they already know the answers (Sasquatch are unknown bipedal apes, UFO’s are the vehicles of extraterrestrials), I believe that most investigators simply never think of such things. Despite their continued exposure to high strangeness, I feel that a lot of investigators have a subconscious (or perhaps fully conscious) desire to bring some ‘legitimacy’ to their field. As a result, these investigators tend to approach their cases using mundane tools and scientific instruments and avoid any hint of the ‘woo’ (psychics, magicians, witches, medicine people, etc). Basically, they are trying to document phenomenon that tend to be ethereal and hard to pin down using the tools of scientific materialism.

While the good old who, what, where, when, why and maybe how approach is certainly a good basis for beginning an investigation and documenting people’s perception of what happened, using some of the other tools in the arcane arsenal can and should be a recourse for the investigator who finds him or herself looking at something that does not appear to be a hoax, misidentification or hysterical incident. I will give an example from my own experience.

I had an opportunity, about three years ago, to work with a paranormal investigator who also happened to be a very “out of the box” thinker. As an experiment he asked me to do a series of etheric projections to sites that he gave me and to write up reports on what I saw while I was there.

Etheric projection is somewhat like the more familiar astral projection except that it operates in the “layer” of reality that immediately overlays the physical. It is more risky than astral projection since the etheric body is more “solid” than the astral and can bring damage back to the physical if the practitioner encounters something hostile. Also, the etheric projector, in order to maintain a cohesive projection has to move somewhat like a person in the physical world. Unlike astral projection, the traveller can not simply think of a place and be there but has to actually make his or her way there. I use Google Earth and a good map program to home in on the coordinates when I do this (although I can ‘fly’ in the etheric body which makes things a little easier).

On my first projection in this series, I followed the directions to a forested hill in the midst of flat farmland. Immediately upon arriving, I felt uncomfortable and kept looking at the sky. This discomfort was such that I actually took cover under the tree canopy. As I made my way into the denser brush, I had a feeling that I had disturbed something and caught a glimpse of what I took to be a Sasquatch making its way quickly away from me and then disappearing. I stayed in the cover of the trees for a period of time, aware of nature spirits around me wondering what the heck I was doing there, and waited to see if anything further would happen. Time passed and eventually I decided to return to my body as nothing else developed. I documented my findings and sent them to the investigator, wondering what that was all about.

The investigator in question got back to me shortly thereafter. It turns out that the coordinate area was known for UFO sightings (thus the discomfort from above). The area was also known for several hairy hominid sightings so the information about the Sasquatch did not surprise him either. Interestingly, he had not received any reports from the area in some time so the information I got came from an old trail.

I would be very interested in trying a projection into a fresh investigation site. I think it would be quite interesting to drop into the middle of a fresh Missing 411 case or something like the incident described in the case that I led off with. There are no certainties in this sort of work (I have had instance where I went to a place and got very little, almost as if they were blocked off) but I suspect that, given a chance to check out a site that had received a recent incursion, I might see/encounter all sorts of interesting things. Such a project though would definitely require an investigator who was willing to think outside the box and take whatever I could produce as just another piece of the puzzle.


Book Review: Alien Animals

Alien Animals
Authors: Janet & Colin Bord
Stackpole Books, 1981

I just had the pleasure of re-reading this classic book in the field of cryptozoology. Unfortunately, this is not a tome that one will find on Kindle and I actually had to order a used paper copy for some research that I am doing. Do not be confused by the title, this book is about alien animals in the sense of a creature that is strange or out of place, not one that fell out of a spacecraft (although the authors do discuss the relationship between these sightings and UFO’s).

While this book tends to be on the encyclopedic side (how many sighting reports can we fit in one chapter), I still found the text to be engaging and quite informative. I would guess that my last reading of the book was over 15 years ago and, despite the time frame and the age of many of the reports, this is still a book that is relevant to our time. In fact, I feel that this book should be required reading for all persons getting into the investigation of Fortean phenomenon of all kinds. The Bords do not take a hard and fast stance on any of the phenomenon they discuss but allow room for many different theories to surface – such a mind set would be a nice change of pace in today’s “I have my theory and everyone else is wrong” world.

One thing that I absolutely loved about the book was Appendix 1 – A Few Hints for Monster Watchers. The appendix begins with the words “What to do when you see a . . .” and then gives instructions for encounters with water monsters, alien big cats, Phantom Black Dogs, Winged Things and BHM’s (big hairy monsters – e.g. Sasquatch). The instructions not only make a lot of sense, they are geared toward keeping the observer safe. I can think of worse guidelines to follow when faced with an ‘alien animal’. Here’s an example quote from the book:

On sighting a BHM (note from Storm: Big Hairy Monster – e.g. Sasquatch), if it has not seen you, freeze and observe its behaviour, making photographs if possible. If it has seen you, act according to its behaviour. That is, if it approaches aggressively, make your escape. If it approaches timidly, appearing curious, stay where you are and try to establish a friendly relationship (if you have the nerve!) and speak calmly to it, keeping your camera out of sight (it might annoy the BHM). Do not fire guns at it or otherwise attack it, unless absolutely necessary to preserve your life. The same applies to all alien animals.

If you happen to wander across this book in a library reference section and can not check it out, the one chapter of the book that is essential reading is Chapter 6 – Animals That Aren’t: Following Where The Evidence Leads. The Bords have done a spectacular job, in this one chapter, of summing up a host of theories about ‘alien animals’, how they manifest, why they manifest in the places that they do, where they draw energy from and more. They even discuss the seemingly taboo (except to me, of course) subject of these animals being the result of magical conjuration. While I understand that the book was intended as a semi-encyclopedic treatment of some of the world’s weirdness, I think that, with all the information packed into this one chapter, this duo could easily have written another book.

As I mentioned, these two authors were not gun shy about mentioning magic in their book. The link between Aleister Crowley and the Loch Ness Monster is mentioned and the exorcism performed at Loch Ness is referenced. The Bords talk about the efforts of some of Cornwall’s witches to summon the monster known as Morgawr and their apparent success. There is even a photo of a sky clad (sans clothes) trio of witches doing an apparent ceremony. That is something that you are almost guaranteed you will not see in a modern Fortean book! In addition, the authors seem to have had some contact with Doc Shiels, a colorful character from that period who claimed to be a wizard and who also claimed success at monster conjuration both on the Cornwall coast and at Loch Ness.

The one area where I do not agree with the Bords; however, is in the insinuation in Chapter 6 that these creatures are the result of ‘black magic’ rituals. While some of the creature encounters certainly seem to be on the hostile side and could be the result of summoning a disharmonic entity, many of these creatures seem relatively harmless (lake monsters, for example, seldom seem to do anything but disappear when they notice people). As I have noted throughout this blog, some of these beings may simply be slipping through to our world as the result of poor magical practice or due to weakening of the veil from repeated magical practice in a certain area.

Other than this small quibble, though, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to both novices in the field as well as those with more experience.


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