Final Thoughts

After long and deep consideration, I have decided that I am going to move away from writing this blog. My decision is based on a number of factors but here are some of the primary reasons:

1) I am entering a new phase in my spiritual and magical life and I am going to need more time for study and meditation. I am already pushed to try to get content on the site while responding to the demands of a full time job, family etc. and I do not, realistically, think that I will be able to keep this schedule up with the new demands that will be placed on me.

2) I noted the other day that I have posted over 170 times. Given that my word count is usually 900 words or more, for any given blog, that means that I have written over 150,000 words here and probably closer to 200,000 or more. While I know there are some dedicated readers out there, the response to all this work has, according to readership stats, been underwhelming.

3) Finally, I will freely admit that I am disillusioned with the whole field. I am not going to write about this since anything that I put down sounds bitter and has the ring of sour grapes.

Blessings to you who have been readers of the blog, both long term and short. I will leave the content online for people’s reference and any comments etc will still be referred to me via email. Take good care, all of you, keep digging into those mysteries that interest you and be safe out there.


Hellhounds of Meridean Island

It seems that Wisconsin, Manwolf hunter Linda Godfrey’s home state, is just rife with mysterious canids. Monsters and Mysteries in America, Season 3, Episode 6, aired on 25 February 2015 and included a fascinating piece on the ‘hellhounds’ of Meridean Island in Wisconsin. I’ve done significant research on the Phantom Black Dog most commonly seen in Great Britain and found this segment, which begins around 29:00, quite fascinating.

Black Dog

I am not entirely happy with Monsters and Mysteries – too much effort, in my opinion, to overstate the case for the phenomenon that they cover and to be ‘spooky’– but the show has done a good job of trying to find fresh stories that may not have seen coverage in other paranormal shows. This hellhound case in Wisconsin is a good example. It seems to me that I might have run across it in some of my digging (I would have to go back and look through notes) but it is certainly not a site that I am familiar with.

The hellhound segment of the show featured two sets of witnesses: a couple, Shelly Touchstone and Chris Wiener, who were reportedly just looking for a secluded spot for some time away from the kids, and two young paranormal enthusiasts, Mike Bagozzi and Jeremy Stark, who actually went to check out the purported sightings at the boat landing on Meridean Island. Of course, we have no way of really evaluating these witnesses but, in the show, they appeared sincere and I found it telling that their stories had some striking resemblances: the fog, anxiety and the limits of the chase.

Both sets of witnesses stated that, before there was any manifestation of the devil dogs, a dense, cold fog enveloped them. I find this quite telling since fog and other suddenly occurring weather disturbances can be a signal that a door to the Otherworld has opened. I have personally stood on a hilltop while a puja (Buddhist offering rite) was in progress and watched storm clouds ‘bend’ around the area where the rite was occurring, leaving a rain free hole right above the area where we stood. In addition, I have seen fog and mist form, seemingly out of nowhere, during the invocation of certain deities and in the presence of what we might term the Faery. A cold, dense fog might certainly form naturally in the vicinity of a river but the timing of these fog event seems a little suspect given the subsequent events.

I also noted something that I have written about in another blog post – that feeling that something is amiss. I have stated before that often a gut feeling that something is wrong is a good sign that it is time to vacate the premises or, at least, be prepared for a paranormal action. In this case, both sets of witnesses had some intimation that all was not well before their encounter. The young couple, distracted as they might have been by having some alone time together, still alerted at some point before the event and began to feel anxious. Mike Bagozzi, one of the young would-be investigators, stated that he actually became anxious five miles before he and his team mate got to the boat landing. His anxiety was such that, according to him, he refused to turn their vehicle off, left the vehicle in drive and had cut the wheels so that they could make a hasty getaway if needed. Intuition is a tool that is much needed but often discounted in today’s paranormal investigation scene.

While Touchstone and Wiener never actually saw anything, only hearing the phenomenon, Bagozzi and Stark reported seeing an apparition of Mary Dean (the ghost who supposedly haunts the isle) as well as a ragged looking black dog with glowing red eyes that then gave chase. In both incidents, however, the human response was clear; both pairs of witnesses fled for their lives. Interestingly, once the witnesses had driven at ridiculous speeds up the dirt road that led to the boat landing and gotten back onto the paved road, the pursuit ceased as suddenly as it had begun. This seeming limitation on the hellhound’s range is something that we see repeatedly in the English stories of the Phantom Black Dogs (PBD) where the creature will materialize and walk alongside a wagon or vehicle from point A to a clearly defined point B, where it turns aside or simply vanishes.

The hellhounds of Meridean Island bear a strong resemblance to the classic PBD of English lore. Those who have seen them describe them as being “big as a bear” with glowing red eyes while the English stories tend to describe the PBD as the size of a calf, again, with glowing red or yellow eyes the size of saucers. Extensive folkloric examinations of the PBD have shown them to often be associated with water, such as the Chippewa River where Meridean Island is located. In addition, the lore of the PBD associates these interlopers from the Otherworld with death and the dead, a theme we see with the story of Mary Dean and reported hauntings throughout the Carysville, WI, area.

While Monsters and Mysteries in America would have us believe that the hapless witnesses would have been snacks for the terrible beasts if the humans had not gotten to their cars quickly enough, I doubt that this would have been the case. Even in cases where the PBD has caused harm, such as the incident at Bungay, it did not do so by eating its prey. The PBD, in those rare cases where it was the proximate cause of death, seems to just strike its victims dead and leave them. In most of the lore, however, the PBD is simply a spooky reminder that the Otherworld is only a coursing black dog away and, in some of the more sinister stories, may be a harbinger of death in the family of the percipient.


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.


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