Monthly Archives: April 2016

Otherworld Influence in Crime

wall-of-fire

I sometimes think that the Powers that Be place things in my path to write about for this blog.  In the past couple of weeks, I have had the pleasure of reading Audrey Brice’s Outer Darkness, a fictional book that deals with the restless spirit of a suicide victim who influences some unbalanced individuals to try to kill the heroine of the story.  I also happened to listen to the Into the Fray podcast about serial killer John Patrick Addis who, amongst other things, claimed that he sometimes saw small people running about when he was in the woods.  In different ways, both of these pieces of media got me thinking.

How many times, when you have heard of a particularly heinous crime, have you said something along the line of “that person was just nuts” or “he had to be crazy to do that”.  I fully agree that people who do terrible things often suffer from mental illness, if we think about the interesting theory that the brain is a signal receiver for consciousness, and not the source of consciousness, then is it not possible that certain influences can create situations where the brain is receiving information other than what we normally perceive in our consensual reality?

I had a friend, many moons ago, who was an exorcist.  Not the holy water splattering, cross waving type of individual who charges into a bad situation and can make it worse.  No, this person was intimately involved with the spirit world and quite capable of removing the influence of spirits that did not vibrate in harmony with the person they were influencing.  This individual also worked in the mental health field so he understood mental illness.  He told me, on more than one occasion, that he kept ‘demon traps’ (large chunks of specially programed dravite – a brown tourmaline) at the door to his office and that, on many occasions, a very disturbed client would be brought into his office, past the traps and suddenly become much calmer.  He shrugged this off as the client leaving their detritus at the door but I think that he was on to something.

Science has spent a lot of time looking at the neuro-chemical foundations of mental illness and those working in this field have made great strides in discovering what the physical roots of ‘madness’.  Part of the intensity of this quest has been the scientific desire to ‘prove’ that mental illness is simply another physical disease and not, as was thought in more ‘superstitious’ times, the result of interference from spirits of various kinds (depending on the culture we could be discussing the djinn, faery, demons, etc.).  Mental illness can therefore be treated like physical disease, using the pharmaceutical model of changing the body’s chemistry to produce a healing effect.  If, however, we take the position that the brain is a consciousness receiver, a theory that is just as relevant as the idea of brain as consciousness producer, we immediately run into my friend’s assertion that mental illness can be caused and/or exacerbated by spiritual influences.

As with most ideas that I discuss on this blog, I do not think there is any one answer.  Some mental illness is certainly the result of brain chemistry imbalance (perhaps that imbalance impedes the normal reception of consciousness?) and can be treated by careful alteration of the chemical balance in the brain to a more ‘normal’ level.  Some mental illness, such as forms of schizophrenia, may be caused by the brain’s inability to filter out the myriad sense perceptions that we normally screen to prevent ourselves from being overloaded with input on a moment to moment basis.  Interestingly, some of the input that is screened out may be psychic perception so, in some cases, the mentally imbalanced person may be perceiving things outside the realm of ‘normal’ consciousness, thus adding to the notion that they are out of touch with ‘reality’.

Finally, though, we have to consider that some forms of mental illness may be caused by spirit influence, in other words, contact with the spirit may cause the imbalance, or the brain chemistry may already be off and the contact may be exacerbate the issue.  We know that an untrained medium basically sends forth a beacon on the astral that attracts spirits and one of the medium’s tasks in life is to learn how to deal with the extra input, screen out ‘undesirables’ and organize the spiritual input in a way that they can deal with.  What if certain brain chemistry imbalances draw in beings that have no care for the best interests of humans?  I do not think it is a long step to theorize that some of the particularly heinous crimes we read about could come about as a dual process of mental illness and the influence of disharmonic entities, working in synergistic effect.

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Spirits: Talk First, Banish Later

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I was excited to see an old acquaintance of mine, Diana L Paxson, on The Paranormal Podcast discussing her book The Essential Guide to Possession, Depossession and Divine Relationships. I strongly encourage readers to give a listen to the podcast since Jim Harold does a good job of asking the questions that most people not familiar with this phenomenon might ask and bringing up the very real concerns of those encountering possession for the first time.

In the Western, Christian-dominated mindset, possession is a bad, some might even call it terrible or evil, thing. This is a classic example of the kind of cultural blindness that prevents paranormal investigators from looking at phenomenon with new eyes. If one happened to be a member of one of the African originated religions of the Caribbean or South America, one would view possession as not only acceptable but even desirable when undertaken in the proper manner i.e with proper training and initiation in controlled circumstances with other experienced practitioners to assist. The followers of these religions understand that possession is not a practice undertaken for ‘kicks’ or to ‘see what will happen’ but is a spiritual experience with deep meaning that fills their lives with significance and the presence of their honored spirits.

Ms. Paxson makes a point in this interview of not over-simplifying. Interaction with the spirit world can be very complex; in his classic work, The Secret Commonwealth, the Rev. Robert Kirk tells us that those who open to the Sight can often be frightened out of their wits since their world suddenly becomes filled with spirits. In one telling part of this fascinating book, Kirk describes a way in which a seer can temporarily open the Sight of one not born with it. The percipient in that case is completely taken aback as he or she (do not remember which) is suddenly overwhelmed by a vision of spirits coming from all directions. I’ve stood at the crossroads, in vision, when one of these hostings was going on and I can say from experience that, while a Westerner might lump all these beings under the category, faery, that would be like looking out over the African savannah and saying, “oh, look, animals!”

While Ms. Paxson’s expertise has to do with those who are ‘bothered’ by or seeking to come into relationship with the Powers (her term for the gods or god-like beings of various traditions), what she has to say about those Powers applies as well to more ‘ordinary’ spirits. If you happen to have a gift for sensing or communicating with spirits, treat any new spirit as you would a new human acquaintance. Number one rule: be polite! Think of how you would feel if someone walked into your house and started yelling at you and throwing holy water on you. Or how you would feel if you were lost in a strange city and the person you asked for directions suddenly whipped out a sage bundle, lit it and started blowing the smoke in your face.

Yes, there are spirits that need to be removed from a place or from a person but, before making this assessment, as with a human being, do you not think that a period of contact and negotiation might not be in order before ‘going off’ on a spirit or spirits? Here is just one example that you might consider:

Spirit A lives in a lovely little copse of trees on a piece of land that you have just purchased along with your new home in the country. A has lived quietly in this area for years despite having a house built not too far from its little “home”. You begin to enthusiastically shape things up and mow a little too close to A’s copse taking down some of the plants that it values as part of its home. You begin to notice flitting shadows in the house. Things go missing and then re-appear. There seems to be movement outside the house at night and you have the feeling of being watched.

Being a good co-resident of the land, you spend some time on your back patio. You make sure your personal protections are in place, just in case, but then do some light trance work to see if you can communicate with your ‘neighbor’. Perhaps in this first instance, you don’t really ‘see’ anything but you have a feeling that there is something on the land. You introduce yourself and ask if the being has anything to say to you. A is probably going to view you with some suspicion and may not reply but, again, you are a good neighbor. You pay attention to your intuition as you walk the land.

The next time you are out to mow, you have a definite feeling that you should avoid the copse of trees on the back part of the land. You listen to that inner voice and follow up later, again sitting quietly on your patio and respectfully asking if the spirit that you have been seeing lives in that copse of trees and if there is anything they want to tell you. It takes several attempts but A eventually conveys to you, in some way, that they would like you to avoid cutting a certain area of the yard. You agree to leave that section wild and the manifestations in your house stop. You follow up by occasionally leaving a small offering amongst A’s trees. A is happy and so are you and maybe, if you are so inclined, A even deigns to work with you in keeping the land healthy.

This is just one example of what might happen if we humans did not assume that everything invisible that we encounter is some sort of evil entity out to get us. I know that this type of posturing gets more viewers for TV but, in real life, a policy of communication is often the way to go, even with spirits who might be a little more difficult to manage.


Devil Dog of Route 666

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My regular readers will know that I have an abiding interest in the Phantom Black Dogs most notably found in England but also ‘native’ to the Americas. It is logical, then, to assume that I would not be able to pass up commenting on this recent episode of Into The Fray where Clint Granberry tells his harrowing story of an encounter with an unknown canid creature in Arizona.

First of all, let’s clear up some geography issues here. The incident in question actually occurred not far from the exit for the aptly named Devil Dog Road along I-40 near Williams, Arizona. I-40 travels along the path of the old Route 66 but the road that was once designated Route 666 is now US 491 and travels roughly north/south, intersecting I-40 near Gallup, NM, almost a full state away from the site of this incident.

I strongly urge readers to listen to the interview linked above since it offers a rare opportunity to hear a phantom dog witness tell the story and hear the emotion in his voice as he does do. Mr. Granberry’s testimony is very matter of fact but I had the feeling that he was really struggling with himself on a more than one occasion, trying to describe an experience that is not easy to fathom. The witness’ description of the animal as reminiscent of a hyena contained shades of the witness descriptions of the Beast of Gevaudan. The fact that the impact with this creature damaged his vehicle but that no evidence of the beast could be found in the empty desert at the crash site, coupled with his detailed description of the animal, makes for compelling listening.

Now, the skepdebunkers will happily conclude that Mr. Granberry ran into a mis-identified calf or a deer or some such and conclude that the Arizona Highway Patrol simply did not put enough energy into finding the dead animal. Certainly, this is a possibility except that the witness got a good look at this creature and was very positive that it was not any animal he was familiar with. There is also the mysterious fact that he hit this creature dead on at approximately 80 m.p.h. and that the damage to his vehicle should have been more extensive and should have included more tissue and hair than he testified was found. I believe that Mr. Granberry had a close encounter of the spooky kind on that Arizona highway.

What really interests me about this case though is the beast’s kamikaze behavior. During the interview, it was suggested that this ‘critter’ might have been a skinwalker but I seriously doubt this. Skinwalkers are actually shape shifted human beings. The stories of skinwalkers all agree that if you injure a skinwalker in its animal form, that injury will appear on the human being. Given this, it is highly unlikely that a skinwalker would actually charge a car since any injury sustained would come back wth them to their human form. Remember that no remains, of any kind, animal or human were found. Skinwalkers are famous for chasing cars and scaring the beejesus out of people, not for running into them.

The same is true of most phantom dog sightings. The creature will appear, seemingly from nowhere, and walk/run alongside or behind a person or vehicle. Very seldom does one read of such a creature actually running an intercept pattern on a vehicle. In fact, the only devil dog / hell hound sightings that I can find where the creatures actually seemed to attack or charge vehicles occurred to the east on the infamous Route 666 mentioned in the title. There are several noted instances of these ‘dogs’ charging a car and shredding tires after being ‘hit’ with no evidence of the beast once the car had come to rest.

I find it very interesting that Mr. Granberry’s incident occurred directly after passing the exit for Devil Dog Road. I was not able to unearth any stories about the origins of that name but Fortean researchers have long noted the coincidence of high strangeness and place names beginning with or containing the word devil. I think that kamikaze hell hounds fall firmly into the realm of high strangeness and the damage to the Granberry car, which took three days to fix, certainly speaks to my thoughts about creatures being able to move from another plane to our plane and take on some physical form. This ‘dog’ was dense enough to do some damage but then disappear back to wherever it came from.

While the Route 666 in the title certainly seems to be a paranormal hotspot (at least to some), the area where this incident occurred is many miles away from this ‘haunted highway’. The section of I-40 past Williams is clear of Indian country and does not run near the other vaunted hotspot in Arizona, Sedona. As much as I would like to see a pattern here, I think that this incident had more to do with the percipient than the geographic location and that is a subject I will take up in my next post.


The Dog Headed Ones

Anubis

I have theorized about the creature that Linda Godfrey calls a manwolf on a number of occasions in these pages.  In this post, I actually lay out a number of different theories about what might be responsible for these sightings.  This week, on Expanded Perspectives, Cam and Kyle talked about the upright canids in depth and even shared some of the classical historical stories of a race of dog headed beings that seemed, in the stories at least, to be quite real.  While these beings did not speak the local lingua and were deemed ‘primitive’ in that they did not cook food and seemed to survive via hunting, they were also noted as great warriors and were respected enough to be offered tribute in some of the stories.

There are a number of possible explanations for these legends, the most likely of which are that the people telling the stories were misinterpreting tales about tribes of warriors who lived apart from the people and spent their whole time training for war and surviving in harsh conditions to allow them to be ready for battle at any moment.  Think of the harsh conditions that modern day special forces troops endure and you begin to get the idea.  When you take into consideration academic papers like Kris Kershaw’s The One Eyed God: Odin and the Indo (Germanic) Mannerbunde, you will note that this is precisely how at least some Indo-European tribes initiated their warrior caste.

Despite being very aware of such academic work and accepting some of the ideas put forth by these papers, I have been conflicted intuitively.  In my Otherworld experiences, I had encountered beings that looked suspiciously like these dog headed beings from the classical legends; beings who, in fact, bore a marked resemblance to the ancient Egyptian god Anubis (actually a Greek rendering of the Egyptian name).  These beings were not humans in the homo sapiens sense but they certainly were a people.  Recently, as the result of some deep work I am doing, I have had some communication with one of these spirits and I think her words might shed light on aspects of the manwolf / dogman mystery.  Please note the material below is the result of my trance work / meditation and I make no claim to its ‘truth’ outside this realm.  

First, it was pointed out to me that the Ancient Egyptians actually had at least two canine headed gods – the one who came to be called Anubis and an older  being, more wolf like called Wepwawet in the Kemetic tongue.  Interestingly, these two gods would correspond to a couple of the types of upright canids being seen – the smooth coated, black beings that seem to pop up a lot in people’s homes and the more gray coated wolf type beings that are often confused with werewolves.

I was given to understand that these two gods were the ‘types’ for a whole group of spiritual beings who serve in the same capacity that Anubis and Wepwawet did: as guardians of specific ways through the worlds (such as those only open to the dead or shaman), as openers of those certain ways for those who pass the requisite tests, as judges of who has passed the tests, as keepers of sacred sites and as guides to both those who have died and shaman who walk in the Otherworld.

While these dog / wolf headed ones, seldom wander onto our plane; it is not beyond the realm of possibility.  In addition, my companion notes that, given their function, these canine guardians are able to project very strong psychic impressions of themselves that most humans would consider to be absolutely “real”.  She states that not all of the ‘manwolf’ incidents (she loves this term and finds it amusing) are the result of encounters with her people but that some certainly are.  She warns that humans are most likely to encounter such a being when they stray into sacred areas without the proper attention and respect.  Examples of these places would be cemeteries, First Nations mounds, intersections of what have been called ley lines, crop and stone circles and even places where unidentified aerial objects have been seen.  Her people may manifest in either their two legged guise or they may appear as overly large canids of various shades of black and gray with glowing eyes ( I see her eyes as glowing yellow or gold but there seems to be a red eyed variety as well).

My friend advises that she and her kind are not to be feared unless the human is caught in an act of desecration.  Even then, the interloper will most likely simply be run out of the area and given the scare of his or her life.  There are instances where the actions of one of these dog headed ones has resulted in human death but this is usually the result of some constitutional flaw in the human – i.e. a weak heart.  Should you encounter one of this tribe, acknowledge the being with respect and walk slowly from the area.  As with dogs and wolves, running is not advised as it kicks in the prey drive which, even with their strong intelligence, these beings find hard to quell completely.

I have found this spirit and her tribe to be good comrades in the Otherworld.  As with all spirit communication, your mileage will vary but I am putting this post up so that people will be aware that an upright canid in an area might actually be a good, or, at least, interesting sign.  My friend reminds you that not everything that looks fierce is a demon!