Short Follow Up: Alert – Cryptid Roaming Denver Suburbs

I caught this report on Phantoms and Monsters this morning after my own blog posted. The being described in this post sounds very similar to the thing that I saw snatching people off of pathways in the vision reported in my blog this morning. I think that this percipient is quite lucky that he did not become one of the missing and I will be interested to see the witness’ sketch.

In my own psychic impressions, I thought this being might be some predator out of the Faery realm (as I have often mentioned, the Faery can be entities of great power and not all of them take kindly to humans) but, in some ways, the speed and ‘shiftiness’ of the being remind me of the many skinwalker reports from the desert Southwest. The short black fur over black skin reminded me of the manwolf reports specific to people seeing the beings in their homes (this would be the ‘Anubis’ sort of manwolf).

In any event, I would not assume that this being and entities like it are harmless. Remember that some astral entities have the ability to wrap themselves in etheric substance as they come through and are therefore able to cause real physical harm. If you see something like the being described in the Phantoms and Monsters post, do exactly as this witness did, do not run (may invoke the predatory response) but move carefully and quickly away from the entity and out of its sight. Only try to record the event if you can do so safely. A spectacular video is not worth your safety.


Spirit Talk: Missing 411

Readers who have been following my blog for a while know that I have a serious interest in the Missing 411 outlined by David Paulides in his several books.

Map

Briefly, Mr. Paulides proposes that people have been going missing in U.S. national wilderness areas (and he is now getting cases from other countries) under very mysterious circumstances. Common aspects of these cases, other than people simply vanishing never to be heard from again, include:

*Victims with disabilities or very high intellects

*Canines
– the victim disappears with a dog
– dogs can’t or won’t track the victim

*Those that are found are often found near water/creeks/rivers and the missing tend to go missing in those locations

*Geographic clusters : mountains and water (see the map from Mr. Paulides’ web site above)

* Victims were often picking berries esp. huckleberries

* Victims often disappear or are found in swamps

* The missing who are found can not remember time away

* Those who are found are semi-conscious / unconscious
– missing clothes / shoes

* Victims are often found in locations previously searched on multiple occasions and “impossibly” far from where they disappeared

* Bad weather is often associated with disappearances

* The cause of death is often undetermined or head/facial trauma

Mr. Paulides details stories of people going missing from the end of climbing ropes and vanishing within a matter of seconds, with witnesses only losing sight of the victim for a moment. There are many podcast and Youtube interviews on this subject and I encourage my readers to look one up and listen to what this individual has to say. In the end, it may end up saving you from a lot of heart ache.

I worked as a volunteer in wilderness search and rescue and have a good idea of the things that can go wrong out the bush. I know that lack of preparedness and sometimes just plain bad luck can kill people in the wild but I also know that people who meet such misfortune do not simply vanish. There are traces left behind and those traces can be followed by a skilled tracker and/or tracking dogs. In these cases, it is as though the person stepped into the void, never to be seen again, and that the National Park Service, for reasons of its own, has decided that missing persons cases do not merit tracking.

Today (19 March) as I sat to meditate, I became aware of the presence of one of my spirit helpers. I had recently finished another book on missing persons (review soon to follow) and must have had the plight of these people stirring in the back of my mind. I asked the spirit to take me shamanically into one of the cluster areas described in Mr. Paulides’ work and was told in no uncertain terms that this would not happen since I was not “dressed for battle”. Given some of my experiences while “out”, in dreams and vision, I thought it best to take the spirit’s word.

Nevertheless, this helper was more than willing to discuss this phenomenon. He showed me, in a sort of mini-vision, a wooded area and then, in rapid succession, a series of events that could befall someone and make them disappear. Honestly, the “download” came so fast that I could not keep up but here are but a few of the things that could have befallen the missing. This list is not, by any means, exhaustive.

* It is well documented in Faery lore that there are entrances to the Otherworld on the face of this planet, most often located in wilderness areas. Some of the missing could have wandered through one of these portals, which are notoriously hard to see and then to escape from, and been lost to the Otherside. In some cases, victims may find their way out (or be ejected) some time later and such persons would certainly be confused and unable to recall exactly what happened to them, just as a person may lose the memory of a dream or vision.

* I was very clearly shown one of the Intruders, moving from the astral, through the etheric, gathering form and seizing someone from a trail and pulling them back to the Otherside. While the being I was looking at had a specific form, I was given to understand that, just as in our world, there are ambush predators of varying sorts that have the ability to enter our world when circumstances are right.

* The spirit tells me that some of these disappearance are human in origin. He would not say much about this other than to point out a strange dream I had a while back about secret government bases in the forest. I am not a big conspiracy buff but we can not ignore the fact that governments sometimes prey on their own people and that there are camouflage and cloaking techniques available that make people able to walk in the forest in near invisibility . . . and that is just the tech that we know about.

* Finally, I was reminded that, not only do the woods house humans who have gone feral, so to speak, but that there are human predators out there (serial killers) who are very crafty, very careful and quite willing to steal people when they can get away with it.

Mr. Paulides, in his various appearances, has recommended that people not hike alone, that they carry an emergency transponder and that they actually arm themselves before going into the woods. I think that this is all fairly good advice, though I have reservations about the use of firearms. I think it is important to note something here though.

If you are taking some or all of these precautions then you have established a mindset. You are not going into the woods unaware but are cognizant of the fact that there might be things, both Otherworldly and human, that could harm you. That awareness and your preparations take you out of any sort of unaware or victim mental status and, in my view, go a long way toward preventing an incident. All of the predators above, human or otherwise, seek to work in stealth. Your focused awareness makes you less susceptible to interference as well as increasing your enjoyment of the outdoors.


Book Review: Drawing Down The Spirits

Filan, Kenaz; Kaldera, Raven
Drawing Down the Spirits: The Traditions and Techniques of Spirit Possession
Inner Traditions/Bear & Company. Kindle Edition.
Link to Amazon Kindle version

Drawing

Drawing Down the Spirits is a fascinating book written by two practitioners of a rarely practiced art – actual possession by the deities and spirits to which they give worth. This book is not a “how to” manual; rather, it is a fairly in-depth study of the phenomenon of possession as it is manifesting in neo-pagan circles today. One of the authors is an initiated houngan (priest) of Haitian Vodou while the other is a shamanic practitioner of Norse polytheistic paganism. Both of the writers have extensive experience with possessory work in their respective traditions and they continuously cite the experience of other spirit workers who work with possession as well. Some of the referenced spirit workers are well known in pagan circles and others are not.

As someone who has experienced what the authors refer to as aspecting (having an awareness of a deity or spirit without losing control of one’s body or having missing time experience), I found the writers’ in-depth analysis of what constitutes possession quite interesting. In their view, and I would tend to agree, a trance possession occurs when an individual is overtaken by a god or spirit to such a point that that being has complete control of their body and that the person has little to no memory of the event. Such possessions are seen commonly in the Afro-Caribbean traditions, such as Filan’s Vodou, but are a relatively new phenomenon in neo-pagan circles.

Drawing Down The Spirits is, in my view, the authors’ attempt to establish that possession is actually happening in the neo-pagan world and to establish some sort of frame work in which this practice can be safely performed. The authors make the case that, even though faith is an often derided concept in neo-pagan thought, the direct contact with the gods afforded by the possessory experience can and does have a powerful effect on those who are ready for it and open to the possibility. Imagine, for just a moment, what it might be like to encounter the Norse god Odin or the Greek goddess Athena in the flesh. If you were prepared, such an encounter could literally be life changing.

The authors of this book do not pull any punches. Filan and Kaldera both acknowledge that mistakes have been made (calling a goddess known for modesty into a naked priestess, for example, or the disruption of an event at a pagan festival by a drunken lout) and this work provides a nice framework for doing a possessory ritual in public in the index. One of the things that made me quite happy was that the authors did not succumb to the often seen habit of books in the neo-pagan realm to try to cast everything in the most positive light. Both writers stress that they are working with powerful spirits who have powerful personalities and who can very clearly be angered if they are not accorded the respect that they should receive.

Filan tells the story of a disastrous public ritual in which he and a partner called the spirits of Vodou (called lwa or loa). Both he and his partner were experienced solo practitioners but had no experience doing a fet (a Vodou service to the lwa). Things went well until they called forth Damballah, the serpent lwa of creation. I will let you read the painful tale yourselves but suffice to say that the event did not go according to plan and injuries, both physical and psychic, were sustained in the process.

In addition, I was pleased to see that Filan and Kaldera did not sugar coat the actual possessory experience and made a strong case for avoiding it altogether unless one is really called to it. This practice is not something that “would be cool to do” at the next full moon ritual. As I mentioned, I have aspected deities (somewhat akin to having a back seat driver) and this experience was trying enough. A full on possession is something that should only be undertaken after skilled training and, as the authors recommend, only at the specific calling of the gods. In indigenous cultures, individuals called to shamanic work are really not given a choice and will often try hard to avoid the call until the classic shamanic illness comes on them. This attitude should be echoed in anyone who is considering being a “horse” to the gods and the authors provide extensive first hand commentary about why this should be the case.

I strongly recommend this book to both my pagan and non-pagan readers. My non-pagan readers might ask why this book would be of any interest to them. Very simple. As, I have pointed out over the course of this blog, those who are interested in the paranormal and Fortean are often amazingly blase’ about spirits. This book brings home, in a powerful way, the reality and power of the beings that some call gods and also of the lwa and other spirits. The people in this work are not doing what they do because they think that the energy of an archetype is going to come through them. Rather, they know, in the depths of their being, that these spirits are real, sentient, present beings.

You may not share their belief but, after reading this book, it is my hope that you might gain a new respect for the power of the spirit based belief system and come to the understanding that something is effecting the changes in the physical, psychic and spiritual world of these people and that the something could also be a part of a lot of the phenomenon that we study at this blog.


Thoughts on Werewolves or Bipedal Wolves?

Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while knows that I have a special place in my heart for legends of werewolves and other shape shifters. I ran across the following blog from erstwhile Fortean investigator Nick Redfern on Mysterious Universe the other day. I could not, of course, resist the desire to comment (or to use this lovely picture that Mr. Redfern included with his blog).

werewolf

I actually addressed the subject of werewolves back in 2013 in a post entitled Werewolves: A Magical Perspective. Reading through Mr. Redfern’s post, I had to admire his flexibility of thought. In the article that I cited for the magical perspective piece, he argues that werewolves and such like must be creatures of the Otherworld. In the recent article from Mysterious Universe, Mr. Redfern argues exactly the opposite – that there might be some animal, similar to a thylacine, indigenous to North America that is causing the Manwolf and werewolf sightings.

Now, certainly, Linda Godfrey, the well known writer on the Manwolf phenomenon, has posited that one explanation of these bipedal canid sightings might be a timber wolf mutation/adaptation that caused the animals to stand on their hind legs and adopt a bipedal gait. Anthropologists have great fun theorizing about why the first hominids decided that bipedalism was the way to go. If I really wanted to push this idea to its limits, I might theorize that one of the canid species of North America is developing human or near human (or, perhaps even greater than human) intelligence and has adapted bipedalism to provide greater visual and other sensory input for that growing brain. I will never say that something is impossible but I do feel that there are other and perhaps better solutions to this conundrum.

As interesting as such a theory might be, I am still bound to point out that there are sightings on the books that simply can not be explained by reference to a flesh and blood animal. While the thought of a cryptid canid roaming the woods of North America is enough to make me want to get out my hiking gear, such a cryptid would not account for witnesses who tell us that the creatures appear in their bedrooms (Manwolves in the Bedroom) or persons who have experienced a seeming shape shift in progress (The Creature of Mud Creek Road).

As with all things paranormal and Fortean, I think that we can not look to just one explanation for these events. We have to break out of the either/or mentality and instead espouse a both/and way of thinking. In the case of werewolf and Manwolf sightings, I think we can posit one or more of the following:

1) There is a cryptid canid loose in the forests of North America (and perhaps Europe, for the sake of the werewolf myth in the Old Country) that is bipedal and, at the very least, threatening, if not downright dangerous to humans.

2) There are creatures of the Otherworld coming through portals/window areas and some of those creatures either naturally appear as bipedal wolves or they have adapted that shape for the shock value. Remember that many Otherworld beings feed on energy and terror would certainly be a potent food source.

3) There is the possibility that First People, desiring to protect some of their sacred sites created these beings (thought forms) or summoned them from the Otherworld as guardians of their respective areas. Thought forms are notorious for going off on their own if not given a proper dissolution date or if the creator of the thought form dies before dissolving his or her creation.

4) There are magicians in the world capable of forming an etheric shell that could be made to resemble a wolf or Manwolf. Sighting of someone working this type of rare magic would likely result in a report of seeing a human shift into something other.

5) There are magic workers in the world as well as Faerie beings who can use the power of glamour to make a human being see whatever the worker wants them to see.

6) Finally, there is also the remote possibility that there are actually people in the world who are capable of making a real, physical transition from one form to another. As I have said many times before in these pages, I feel that the power outlay for such a transformation would require the assistance of a Major Being (god, archangel, etc.) but I could be wrong and I do not want to take this completely off the table. As Linda Godfrey says, though, I am waiting for someone to demonstrate.

I have not even listed the cases of mistaken identity, mental illness, willful deceit and what I call “I want to believe” syndrome where the person sees something mundane and translates it, in their mind, into a paranormal event. If we set aside the skepdebunker mindset, which longs for an easy, ‘reasonable’ explanation, then we are forced to admit that the issue is enormously complex and that we have to take a multifaceted approach to it. As with all things paranormal, I don’t think that we are ever going to see a Unified Field Theory. Instead, what I hope for, is more researchers who are willing to say, “well, it could be this but it could also be that and, if we think on this, we have to consider X as well . . .”

So, I say to Nick Redfern and Linda Godfrey and all the others out there researching this phenomenon and others, keep those theories coming! Half the fun of looking at the things that go bump in the night is seeing researchers think outside the box.


In Memorian: Leonard Nimoy

I do not normally stray far from the “things that go bump in the night” theme for this blog but sometimes, something occurs in the world that just has to be noted. Such an occurrence is the death of actor Leonard Nimoy.

As with most people, my first awareness of Leonard Nimoy was as Spock, the Vulcan First Officer of the Enterprise in the TV series Star Trek. I spent many childhood hours watching this series with my father and both he and I agreed that Spock should have staged a mutiny and jettisoned Kirk out the nearest waste tube.

Spock had the coolness and grit needed to run a star ship without letting his emotions run roughshod over his decision making. I find it telling that Patrick Stewart, the New Generation’s Jean-Luc Picard, played his captain with much more emotional control – to my mind a subconscious bow to Spock. I also find it telling that, when JJ Abrams decided to reboot the Star Trek movies, the one person from the original series and movies that he tapped was a very aged Leonard Nimoy.

Despite the logical and self controlled demeanor of the character, Mr. Nimoy always managed to play Spock with just the right touch of humanity. His desert dry humor (although he would never admit that he was trying to be funny), barbed observations about his frequent foil, Bones, and his willingness to occasionally allow his friendship with the other two main characters to color his decisions, all contributed to a delightfully nuanced character that really effected my sensibilities back in those days.

For those of us who are of a Fortean bent, however, Mr. Nimoy will best be remembered for his role as host of the iconic show, In Search Of . . .. As with so many people in the paranormal and Fortean community today, I had my first exposure to some of the mysteries that I still explore today in episodes of that show and Mr. Nimoy’s voice and calm, even-handed delivery, even when faced with most incredible evidence, kept the show from spinning off into the hyperbole that we see in much of today’s TV offerings on the unknown.

There are a lot of tributes going around the internet for Mr. Nimoy. I add my voice to those others who wish him well on his journey into the Otherworld. May he find comfort in whatever form the afterlife takes for him and may he know with certainty the profound effect he had on a whole generation of boys growing up during the 60’s. Some of us needed role models other than Matt Dillon (Gunsmoke) as we came of age.

Wherever you may be, Leonard Nimoy, may you live long and prosper there as well.


A Lesson In Manners

I have been reading Kenaz Filan and Raven Kaldera’s interesting book Drawing Down the Spirits.

Drawing

I will likely write a full review of the book once I have finished it – it is quite interesting reading and does serve to set the modern spectator religion paradigm on its head – but, in the mean time, I was struck by this quote from the book:

Those of us who want to world-walk for real need to get over the idea that Otherworlds exist for our own edification and amusement. They do not, any more than the denizens of foreign cities exist to help you find your way around, teach you the native arts, let you invade their homes to gawk, and politely ignore your rude and crass ignorance of their manners and customs.

Now, I have, on a number of occasions in these pages, noted that spirits should be approached with at least the level of courtesy that one would use when approaching a stranger for the first time. I have argued that these Otherworldly beings are very real and that, if offended, some of them are quite able to do damage, either psychically, psychologically or even physically. The Golden Rule is not simply a Christian platitude; it is good advice to live by, especially if one finds oneself dealing with the denizens of the Otherworld.

The authors cited above, though, make an excellent point. The Otherworld is not some froo-froo place that one goes to in imagination that is full of rainbows and sunshine and Care Bears. The Otherworld is not there for the convenience of humans, it is not there for human learning and it is certainly not there to entertain the members of our species.

Whether one is looking at the various god myths of many cultures, the Middle Eastern stories of the djinn, Celtic stories of the faerie or Japanese stories of the kami, one thing should be immediately evident to anyone who looks at these stories as anything more than colorful tales. In all these stories, the denizens of the Otherworld are as real as we are, they live in a world that overlaps (for want of a better term) with our own, they have the ability to walk into our world under certain conditions and, most importantly, they operate by a set of rules that may be quite different from the ones humans attend to.

In addition, anyone with even a passing knowledge of these tales knows that residents of the Otherworld, even the gods, can be angered and will cause endless suffering to the people who tick them off. Filan and Kaldera tell the amusing (to me) story of a group of Wiccans who ‘drew down’ the goddess Athena. They did not, apparently, do their research or they would have known that this goddess is notoriously modest. Since this group worked skyclad (naked), when the Lady appeared and descended into the skyclad priestess, she was quite offended to find herself unclothed and departed in a huff.

I would be interested to know what sort of consequences this group faced as the result of their ill planned venture. I shudder to think what might have happened if they had done something to offend a being like the Norse Odhinn. I have heard stories of his followers going blind in one eye just from having contact with him. I shudder to think what might happen if a group angered the Old One.

Before we humans can effectively work in and with the Otherworld, we have to be able to set aside any preconceptions we have about “how things should be” in that realm. There are beings of great power and beauty in the Otherworld, beings who can and will take a human in hand and teach them but that is not going to happen if the human keeps trying to shove that being into a box that the human is carrying around in their head. I have seen this time and again in certain circles where people want to be associated with a certain god, as an example, simply because their conception is that this being is ‘cool’ or because they think that, since the god has association with something they do in their lives (art or music, say), then this must be the god for them.

Sometimes this kind of thinking works out, since the person is responding to an inner impulse toward that deity, but, often, the human ends up being either frustrated (why won’t this god respond to me – as though the gods and other denizens of the Otherworld have some compulsion to respond to anyone who calls on them), delusional (they convince themselves that the god has come through and loves all the things that they love) or fearful (the god really does come through and was absolutely not what they were expecting).

The Otherworld is not a playground. The sheer number of ‘monsters’ reported running around our realm should give us pause and make us wonder why people keep seeing impossible things walking calmly through our forests, along our roads and even, at times, in our homes. I am not asserting that every monster sighting is a result of an Otherworld incursion but, if even a fraction of them are, this should give us some indicator of the diversity of life on the Otherside.

I know that not all my readers are even interested in the Old Ways or in exploring the Otherworld. Many of you are more interested in the things that go bump in the night right here on this plane. Remember, though, that often you do not know what you are dealing with when you come across one of these beings – whether we are talking ghosts, Sasquatch or Black Dogs. My counsel is, as it has always been, that a little respect goes a long way.


Supernatural?

How many times have I seen the word – supernatural – in association with the strange things I write about? A newscaster, discussing a spooky story, speaks of the “supposed supernatural occurrences” that occurred in a location. A paranormal investigator makes his or her point about a site by stating that the team tried to debunk a haunting or monster sighting and was left with only a “supernatural” explanation. A noted UFO investigator wonders if there is not a “supernatural” explanation for the sector of phenomena that he or she explores, rather than the old tried and true extraterrestrial hypothesis. I even see this term in the magical world where an author may attribute the result of a magical working to spirits or other “supernatural” causes.

Afterlife

The word supernatural derives from the Latin: super meaning above and natura meaning nature. So, if something is supernatural, it is by definition, above nature. In the 15th century, something was supernatural if it was of divine origin since only God was, in the opinion of the Church, above nature. I am here to tell you, dear readers, that the use of the term “supernatural” is, in my view, highly suspect.

In the magical traditions and, in fact, in the indigenous beliefs of people ranging from Australia to North America and even into Africa, the world that we live in is but one of what can be many realms. In the ancient ways of the Norse, there can be as many as nine worlds draped from the branches of the World Tree, Ygdrassil. The poto mitan, the central pillar of a Vodou temple, reaches into the world of Ginen and provides a passage for the Lwa to cross the Great Waters and enter our world. Harner style neo-shamanism teaches its students that there are basically three worlds which can be accessed by trance work. Students of the Kaballah access ten different spheres or worlds on their journeys on the Tree of Life. Even Christianity teaches a version of the multiple worlds – heaven, this world and hell (and purgatory if one happens to be Catholic).

The numbers may vary but almost all traditions agree that this physical realm that we live in is but one world of a number and almost all traditions teach that all of those worlds are inhabited by beings of one sort or the other. I think that the question that we have to ask ourselves is: are those other worlds and their inhabitants supernatural? That is, are these places above nature?

I would argue that the other world and the beings that live in them are not supernatural at all but that, in fact, those other worlds are a part of our universe and are, in their way, just as natural as the physical place in which we live.

Last year, around this time, I had the pleasure of walking the streets of the New Orleans French Quarter. I noted, in my journal:

As you walk the streets in the French Quarter, you can feel the layers of history accreted, one on top of the other. On the surface, you have the modern day with people dressed in jeans and sweat shirts (t has been pretty cold here) but, if you shift your gaze just a little, it is not hard to imagine the streets teeming with river men moving their wares to market nor is it difficult to see the quaint mule drawn carriages that give tours in the area morphing into 18th century carriages drawing the wealthy to their places of business. The occasional brazen daylight streetwalker becomes one of NOLA’s famous ladies of the evening, beckoning customers off the street and into one of the many busy bordellos . . .

Now, granted, I was not necessarily experiencing entry into other worlds but this idea of layers is critical to my thoughts. So often, we think of the other worlds (and I am guilty of this as well) as being ‘over there’, somewhere else, in their own little hanging globe on the Tree of Life. The actuality is that those worlds are more like layers that touch and interface with our own world even when we are not conscious of it. That interface is, in my view, critically necessary for the continued existence of this world and for the unfolding of events in this world. In other words, the interface between the worlds and the interplay of energies through the multitudinous interfaces shapes our world. The other worlds are a part of us just as we are a part of the other worlds. You have only to look at your experience of vivid dreaming with an unjaundiced eye to see that you walk in other worlds all the time.

How then, can we say that the interface with these worlds is ‘supernatural’, above nature? Strange? Sometimes. Frightening? It certainly can be, but the interface with the other worlds is as natural as the breath you are taking right now. Without that interface, our world would likely not exist and, if it did, it would be a drab and lifeless place. The other worlds and their residents work together with this realm as what I see as a symbiotic whole and what could be more natural than symbiosis?

Now, before my readers think I have made the jump into New Age lala land, let me remind you that every complex eco-system has its predators. My argument, though, is that they are not supernatural either. They simply belong to a realm that we have difficulty perceiving with the five senses.


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