Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Bones of a Hellhound?

I ran across this wonderful story in a web search the other day and just had to share. I am almost as fascinated by the Black Dog phenomenon as I am by shape shifters.

Now, first of all, let me say that I imagine that had the discovery of this dog’s bones occurred anywhere else in the British Isles, the archeologists would have shrugged, cataloged the find and gone on. Since the find occurred in proximity to the churches at Blythburgh and Bungay, however, the legend of Black Shuck almost had to raise its head. This is the sort of find that sends debunkers and so-called skeptics into paroxysms of delight since now they can point to a “real” cause for the “overwrought” stories of that day in 1577.

For those of you unfamiliar with giant breeds, yes, a dog that stands seven feet tall on its hind legs and weighs somewhere in the vicinity of 196 pounds is quite large. However, I have been the proud keeper of an Irish Wolfhound that was almost that big so I do not find anything at all unusual about this reported find. It is well known that the peoples of Europe were known for breeding large hounds for hunting and we see this in their modern ancestors – the Irish Wolfhound, the Scottish Deerhound, the Great Dane and the Russian Wolfhound, to name a few. This does not even take into account large breeds, like the Newfoundland, bred for other purposes.

So, the discovery of a large dog skeleton anywhere in Europe is not an exceptional find except that it happened to occur within a few miles of one of the most famous Black Dog incidents of all time. I will leave it to the reader to check out the text box summary of the story in the highlighted article. Briefly, a large ‘hellhound’ is supposed to have burst into two separate churches during a raging storm and to have killed some of the parishioners in each of the churches before disappearing back into the storm. Of course, the discovery of a large dog skeleton in a monastery not too far from where this occurred would go a long way toward ‘explaining’ this tragic occurrence.

I think not. If a hunter, a person who has been hunting since they were small and has an intimate familiarity with the local flora and fauna, is walking in the woods and reports seeing a bear then everyone assumes that there must have been a bear in the woods. If, however, that same individual claims that they saw a Sasquatch, they are mistaken, deluded, lying or all of the above. In the same manner, historians are perfectly willing to accept stories from medieval peasants about their daily lives, agriculture, local flora and fauna, etc. but, as soon as the topic strays to something which is ‘impossible’ in the modern paradigm, then the tellers of the story suddenly become superstitious people who can not tell the difference between a tale they heard next to the winter’s fires and real life.

For myself, I am inclined to believe the peasant, the individual who has lived off the land for his or her entire life and knows that land and the creatures on it. It is doubtful that the local nobility were praying in the church during that storm. Rather, it would have been the people of the village, most or all of whom derived their living from the land. Something terrible happened in those churches back in 1577 and, while the writers of the time may have exaggerated, if it had simply been a large dog that ran through those churches, perhaps driven frantic by the storm, then that is the basic story that we would have gotten.

You will note, too, that the clergyman who describes the ‘hellhound’ states explicitly that the creature killed two parishioners by wringing their necks. When have you ever seen a dog do that? Dogs and wolves kill by immobilizing their prey, often by hamstringing it, and then either opening the intestinal cavity or grabbing by the throat and shaking to either break the neck or cause exsanguination. Wringing a neck is what a farmer might do to a chicken that was going to serve as dinner. We also have the interesting detail that, when the dog exited one of the churches, it left behind scorched claw marks on the door which are supposed to be evident to this day.

I think that the people of Blythburgh and Bungay might have had the misfortune of encountering a real and dangerous paranormal phenomenon. I don’t know what, exactly, it was but there are any number of legendary creatures that might fit the bill ranging from the hounds that accompanied the Wild Hunt to the Cu Sith of Faery lore which were known to travel with the lord of Annwn. Note that both these creatures are associated with death – the Wild Hunt was said to collect the souls of the dead who had passed during that year and Annwn is the Celtic Underworld, the place to which the dead repair once they leave this mortal coil. Churchmen and monastics of the time were also known to study magic when no one was looking; it is quite possible that someone in the area summoned something that they should not have and it got loose.

Whatever the case, people died and the Phantom Black Dog got a significant blot on its reputation. I am not convinced that this was actually a PBD though since very few Black Dog stories cast the creature as a direct threat to the person. Rather, it is the PBD’s association with death that causes the fear of the witness, and, in fact, the PBD sighting does seem to be an omen of impending death for some. This is a far cry from the savagery indicated in the 1577 stories though so while I am not at all convinced that this was simply a large hound wreaking havoc in the neighborhood, neither am I convinced that this was a Phantom Black Dog episode.

The Controllers – An Alternate Hypothesis of Alien Abduction

Back in the early days of this blog (February 2013, to be exact), I happened across a piece on the Mysterious Universe blog that gave me pause. I had just gotten done writing a set of pieces on a possible astral/etheric explanation of the alien abduction phenomenon when I encountered an article that made me consider the possibility that some of the abductions might be the result of mind control experiments being performed on unsuspecting and unwilling participants. In that blog, I referred to the performers of these experiments as ‘controllers’ and discussed the comments of one “Underseer” who had made some references and observations about mind control experiments in reference to the story of “Alison” told in the blog post.

Recently, I stumbled across the horrifying The Controllers: A New Hypothesis of Alien Abduction by Martin Cannon as I was looking for research material on another subject. The essay appears to have been released in the early 90’s. While I do think that Mr. Cannon strays into the realm of the fanciful and, perhaps, even paranoid in some places in the text, overall, I think that even if we were to throw out 75% of what the author says, his hypothesis would still stand.

Westerners, and Americans in particular, have trouble believing that their governments misbehave. You have only to look at the horror and consternation that arises when the intelligence communities are caught doing ‘black bag’ work or, worse yet, being involved in assassinations or governmental overthrows to get a birds eye view of this phenomenon. There is a belief in America that our government should occupy the moral high ground and, when the CIA gets caught pulling off something like the Bay of Pigs (or trying to) or the NSA is discovered monitoring traffic that it has no business with, shock and dismay ensue.

There is a saying that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. While there are certain checks and balances inherent in most Western governments these days, when the issue of national security raises its head, all bets are off and the intelligence communities are the people tasked with gathering the information needed to be sure that borders stay secure. Given this mandate, plenty of financial resources and a penchant for developing alternative revenue streams when needed, these agencies can conceal just about anything and often do. After all, ‘national security’ is at risk, right?

The Controllers article makes, in my mind, a convincing case that the government of the United States (and other countries) has been involved in mind control experimentation of varying sorts since at least World War II with an eye toward using a person as a surveillance device, ‘programming’ people to act in a certain way given a specific cue, developing assassins from common folk (who could, again, be triggered by a certain cue), erasing the memory of a person, causing a person to have another personality which served as a spy, using sonics and microwave radiation to induce hypnotic states or to cause emotional reactions that might be used for crowd control. These are a few of the items mentioned in the article and I strongly encourage readers to look at it, even if they are not interested in the abduction phenomenon.

For those who are interested in abduction, though, and are not firmly ensconced in the “believer” camp which insists that these incidents are the result of space faring aliens taking an interest in the two legged, semi intelligent apes (their view, not mine) living on this planet, this article provides some extensive food for thought. Much, if not all, of the strangeness seen in abduction cases can be explained by the machinations of good old terra firma bound homo sapiens and their manipulations of the mind and perception. While I still believe that a significant number of these abduction scenarios involve Intruders from the Otherworld, after reading this essay, I am prepared to revise my estimates down in order to allow more room for Cannon’s hypothesis.

Again, I encourage a thorough reading of the referenced article since I can not possibly outline the complete contents of the essay in this blog. Suffice to say that Mr. Cannon’s article takes one on an extensive tour into the subject of implants and ‘stimoceivers’ – devices that can be implanted in the brain and used to stimulate certain areas of the brain as well as receive spoken instructions. Mr. Cannon then goes on to discuss the possibilities behind remote induction of hypnosis, brain wave entrainment, induced amnesia, screen memories, programming of ‘super spies’, bases for mind control research and much more. I repeat that I do not believe that every word of the article is gospel but, as I said earlier, if even 25% of this matter is true, then we have significant cause for concern. Mr. Cannon also does a very good job of relating his research back to the abduction cases, although he does have to take an extensive detour into the realm of mind control so that his hypothesis make sense.

I am not one to believe in conspiracy theories but I am also not one to turn a blind eye when a viable theory about a strange event is proposed. It makes sense that the US government (and others) would be interested in literally controlling the hearts and minds of certain individuals. We know, from materials that have leaked about projects such as MKULTRA, that such interest is fact. It is not a long step to accept that some of the information about this experimentation might be withheld in the interests of ‘national security’ and that the government needed a way to deal with the ‘disposal problem’ – what to do with the subjects of these experiments once the project was complete. If we are dealing with people who could possibly cause an individual to develop a separate identity that served as a spy, I find it plausible that these same people could cover their tracks with a ‘screen memory’ of abduction.

Movie Review: Godzilla

Please note – minor spoiler alert; read at your own risk.

I don’t believe I have ever reviewed a film in this blog but I had a chance to re-connect with one of the iconic monsters of my childhood over the weekend and simply could not resist the urge to write a little about Godzilla.

I first encountered this reptilian force of nature when I was about eleven years old. After some bad experiences with horror movies (I had terrible nightmares), I had pretty much given up on the idea that I could go with my friends to the scarefests that they enjoyed so much. I just was not willing to pay the price. One night though, my resolve weakened and I went to take in the Toho offering, Destroy All Monsters with a couple of my friends.

Despite some initial trepidation, as I waited for the monsters to appear onscreen, I went home that night, having enjoyed the movie and slept soundly. Thus began what I called the Closet rule. As long as I did not go to see a movie with a monster that would fit in my closet, I seemed to be quite alright and did not suffer night terrors as a result. Godzilla led the cast of “Destroy” and so became one of my favorite movie characters. During the course of my life I have probably seen most of the films with the big guy in them including the 1999 retelling of the tale which I actually enjoyed despite its dissection and re-assembly of the Godzilla myth and Matthew Broderick attempting to be an action hero.

Fast forward to this weekend. I do not remember how I learned about this film – the marketing for the movie has been pretty low key – but I had been aware that it was coming out for a couple of months. I was not, honestly, expecting anything really outstanding although I was hopeful that, with the advances in technology, the film makers would be able to create a convincing monster and I would enjoy another session of cheering the big guy on as he flattened Tokyo or some other city.

Watching Godzilla work is something akin to watching films of massive storms or earthquakes. You know who is going to come out on top in the end, despite the machinations of the puny humans trying to stop him. This thought was my biggest gripe about the the 1999 version of Godzilla . . . you do not kill this monster. You may get him to plunge into dormancy, you may even think that you have put him down but he will, like hurricanes and earthquakes, always come back. He is a living embodiment of the forces of destruction that work on this planet as part of the continuing cycle of life, death and regeneration.

Too say that I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. The monster creations in this movie – Godzilla himself and his opponents, the MUTO – were wonderfully done. Godzilla looked like Godzilla, a vast prehistoric creature that made T Rex look like a midget with the trademark spiny ridge down his back. The belling roar that is his trademark was lovingly re-created and, when you see the spines along his back begin to glow phosphorescent white, any follower of the Toho films knows what is about to happen. The two MUTO creatures, a flight capable male and the larger and egg laden female, were worthy adversaries and it is obvious that the creators of the film spent some time studying not only old Godzilla foes but also looking at alien creatures in movies and predatory insects. The monster fight sequences in the film were the highlights of the movie (for me, at least).

My major fuss with the film is that there was not enough monster face time. While I understand that the director was trying to inject a human element into his creation and create suspense, I feel that the movie failed on this level. There were a number of good actors tapped for Godzilla and they did a creditable job but there was entirely too much “monster appears and walks by, then disappears into smoke, as the human heroes cringe and try to take in what they are seeing”. It is obvious to me that the director did not understand (despite the ending of the film) that Godzilla was the hero of this movie, not the human protagonist and, as such, that the big guy should have gotten more screen time than the puling mortal who runs around getting himself injured in various ways throughout the movie and, in the end, really has little effect on the outcome of the story.

In the same way, I found the director’s incessant desire to cut to protagonist’s wife, stuck in a subway station in San Francisco, as the apocalyptic battle rages outside, to be nothing short of ridiculous. Yes, she is terrified. We get it. Move on. The human characters did manage to create enough connection with me that I was glad to see them survive and reunite at the end but not so much connection that I did not resent their “intrusion” into the monster scenes and battles.

In this day and age when humankind seems to think it is “all that” and that we can overcome anything with our superior technology, I think that it is good to see a movie where the humans are basically helpless and where they have to rely on nature to re-balance itself after their monumental screw ups. Despite my issue with monster “face time”, I still heartily recommend this movie, especially if you are a fan of the old Godzilla. They did the monster right and he does what he does best in this movie – making humans remember that they are not the all powerful force in the universe.

Shape Shifting: The Real Scoop

Shape shifting is one of my areas of interest and one of the under explored areas in the occult, in my opinion. If I had the time for ritual and experimentation, I would write my own book but, in the mean time, here is a little primer for those readers interested in the topic.

First of all, let us set aside the topic that always comes up when the issue of shape shifting arises: is it possible for an individual to physically assume another form. While I am loathe to say that anything is impossible, the power outlay for a transformation of this sort would be enormous, in my opinion, and would require the interference of a major Power or tapping into an energy source of almost unlimited potential such as a major ley line. So, while I will not say that physical transformation is completely impossible, I think that power issues as well as the practicalities of returning to the original form make it practically impossible.

Nevertheless, there is very clear lore, throughout the world, indicating the idea of people turning into animals and animals turning into people. How do we explain these stories? Why is this such a wide spread belief? As I have indicated, one could write a book on this subject but here are some brief thoughts:

1) The Faery and other beings of the Otherworld. The beings of the Otherworld, particularly the Faery, are known for their ability to shift shape. Some of the shape shifting legends clearly derive from encounters between humans and Otherworld entities over the course of history. The Irish legend of the Selkie comes to mind – a seal that removes its skin and becomes a lovely woman or handsome man.

2) Astral Experiences. Some of the legends of shape shifting may actually derive from dreams and/or out of body experiences. One of the easiest ways to experience another form is to learn astral projection or one of the various forms of shamanic soul travel and then decide, once you are “out”, to move in the body of an animal. This may take significant practice on the part of the dreamer or out of body traveller or it may happen spontaneously according to events in the dream/journey. In either event, in cultures where the dream time is taken seriously and such movement from one form to another is common in dreams and out of body experiences, these episodes would be shared with others and settle into the legend and myth of the tribe or clan.

3) Glamour. Magicians, throughout time, have been known for the power to cloud human minds and make them see things that are not there. Star Wars fans will recall the famous “these are not the droids you are looking for scene”; Obi-Wan Kenobi could just as easily have made those storm troopers think that they saw the droids walking off in the distance and caused them to speed off in pursuit. Likewise, a strong telepath, using magical enhancement of his or her ability, might cause other humans to think they were seeing a human turning to an animal or part animal. Reasons for doing this might range from mischief to distraction so that the mage could escape a dangerous situation. Obviously, as Obi-Wan noted, these tricks work best on the weak minded.

4) Mental Shifting. Some people have such a strong affinity with an animal that they actually seem to be able to take on aspects of the mind of that animal. We see some connection to the idea of glamour here since people in the presence of this type of “shifter” will often report perceiving changes in the shifter’s appearance. I theorize that the person’s identification with their animal is so strong that they give off strong telepathic/magical energy that actually alters people’s perception.

5) Etheric Shape Shifting. There are a number of levels to the human energetic body. The level that is closest to the physical is called, in many esoteric traditions, the etheric. Think of the etheric level as the template on which the physical hangs, sort of an energetic lattice work that allows the physical to have and maintain a certain form. Magicians through the ages have been able to work with the etheric level by learning to project the etheric body, change its shape and even shape the etheric and use it as an overlay to their physical form. Interestingly, the etheric can even be “hardened” so that it looks and appears solid. Thus, the Northern legends of warriors who fought in semi-animal form and inflicted terrible damage with both their weapons and their claws/teeth.

6) Possession. In Voudou, the faithful are sometimes possessed by their Met Tet, the Lwa “of their head”, the ‘god’ that walks most closely with them and is their patron. I see no reason why an individual with a distinct shamanic bent who worked with animal spirits on a regular basis might not actually allow the spirit of a totem or power animal to possess them. Again, given the powerful energies involved, one wonders what the perception of an outsider witnessing such an act might be. We know that those possessed by the Lwa certainly change aspect and are capable of performing actions that an ordinary humans could not.

So, the next time you read a story about a skinwalker speeding across the Arizona desert or hear of a report of a werewolf trolling a forest in England, don’t be so quick to dismiss.

Crypto Four Corners

I am running a little behind in my podcast listening so just had a chance to listen to the Beyond the Edge Radio episode (20 April) featuring J C Johnson and Chief Leonard Dan of the Crypto Four Corners group. For those of you who want to hear about a veritable cornucopia of high strangeness, you will definitely want to check out this podcast. I have not heard about so much high strangeness focussed in a specific area since reading about the Skinwalker Ranch.

The Four Corners referred to in the name of the group is the intersection of the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. The Four Corners Monument is actually located on the Dine’ (Navajo) reservation and the area that this cryptozoology group covers is mostly located on the reservation, dealing extensively with Dine’ people. Listening to the podcast, Crypto Four Corners has investigated reports of the Furry Ones (Sasquatch), skinwalkers, giant rabbit-like ‘rodents’, mini T-Rex, ‘Night Stalkers’ (gargoyle like creatures), little people, centaurs, gryphons, winged hominids and dogman/manwolf. I know, from other reports that I have seen elsewhere on the Internet that J C Johnson has also reported a sighting of a dire wolf or something similar while on a San Juan river expedition.

The sheer volume and variety of reports discussed in this show was absolutely mind boggling. Sasquatch track lines that disappeared into the thin air, centaurs stopping traffic on major roadways, gargoyles taking off and landing in corn fields and grey alien incursions in the middle of the night, resulting in extended gun fire at the intruders (I will be commenting more on that issue in my next post). Those incidents are but a few of the ones discussed on the show and I strongly urge my readers to go have a listen.

At about 40:00, though, J C Johnson makes a statement that puzzles me. He states flatly that there is no window area or portal in the area that his group covers, that he believes, in fact, that all these creatures exist physically out in the desert. Honestly, I was taken aback by this flat statement. If what Mr. Johnson suggests is true then repeated overflights of the area ought to yield some very interesting photos since he is living in the midst of a veritable Jurassic Park of Forteana.

I think that the point that Mr. Johnson might have been trying to make was that the creatures that people are seeing in the region are ‘real’ – that is, they have mass, weight and presence to the five human senses. I would be the last person on earth to argue that the Dine’ and others (such as the British tourists who had a centaur encounter) are not seeing something. Those who have read this blog for a while will know that I even make a case for some creatures of the Otherworld to take on physical form or, at least, a hard etheric shell when they are in our world. These beings are, when they are in our realm, no less real than we are.

The fact of the matter, though, is that Mr. Johnson and his team operate on a reservation where it is not at all uncommon for people to consult with medicine people for the relief of their illnesses while at the same time availing themselves of Indian Health Services. The Dine’ have a complex and beautiful ritual life full of ceremonies to keep them in balance with their land. Those ceremonies make reference to their gods and draw on the power of their myths to bring about this balancing effect. As with all good ceremony, ways are opened to the Otherworld and spirits and energies flow through freely. The singer is taught how to open those ways and how to close them down again but such ceremonies are bound to leave a residue of power on the land.

I am not insinuating that the Dine’ medicine people are inept and unable to close their own portals but I would suggest that, given the frequency of these ceremonies over the course of time, a certain mystery has been built into the land, a certain thinning of the veil between this world and the Otherworld. Also, we have to remember that not all the magic worked on the Dine’ reservation is beneficial. The Dine’ have a long history of skinwalkers, evil magicians in their midst, who gain their powers by breaking tribal taboos and who are not, I am sure, as tidy in their magical actions as the medicine people. One suspects that these rogue magicians might have left any number of doors open to the Otherworld and may, indeed, have called through some of the less savory elements seen on the reservation.

The so-called skeptics will say that the surfeit of activity on the Dine’ lands is simply the result of superstitious reinterpretation of perfectly ordinary phenomenon and that certainly could be the case in some instances. Traditional Dine’ seem to have developed some of the skinwalker mythos simply to explain non-harmonious events in their lives but the fact remains that you have many individuals on the reservation who have lived in a particular place for generations and who know the land on which they live better than any outsider ever could. If such a person told me that they saw something strange on their land, I would be very much inclined to believe them.

At about 1:27:00, Mr. Johnson talks about a case in which a set of Sasquatch tracks found in a field show a lengthening of stride and then simply disappear. Mr. Johnson conjectures that the creature simply sprouted wings and flew away. I think it far more likely that the creature simply returned to the place from whence it came and took a flying leap through a portal back into the Otherworld. I respectfully submit that my theory in no way negates the ‘reality’ of the track set and is a little more elegant explanation of the large amount of high strangeness in the Four Corners area.