Review: Wood Knocks – various authors

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I have made my views on the creature known as Sasquatch plain in other articles for this blog. I have made it clear that I think that at least some of the giants people are seeing in the woods are kin to the Faery and do not belong completely to this world. In the parlance of modern paranormalists, I think Sasquatch is an inter-dimensional being that is capable of walking into our world and back out of it, pretty much at will.

That said, I greatly admire the work of the people who actually go into the woods looking for the creature and who spend their time talking to witnesses, setting camera traps and even flying drones hoping for a glimpse of the elusive ‘booger’. While I think that a lot of them just might be tilting at windmills, it is still admirable that they have the strength of their convictions and are willing to walk their talk.

The new anthology from Leprechaun Press, Wood Knocks, Volume 1: A Journal of Sasquatch Research is a collection of articles from the sorts of people who have devoted their lives to exploring the strange and especially to looking for cryptid creatures such as the Sasquatch. The anthology is an easy read, at just over 200 pages, so do not expect extensive or detailed articles, but it is packed with information that new and experienced Sasquatch aficionados will find interesting and informative.  In my view, the cover art by Sam Shearon is worth the price of the book, all by itself.

The meat of the book is quite good as well.  Whether we are talking Sasquatch amongst the First Nations people (David Weatherly) or hunting the Orang-Pendek in Sumatra (Richard Freeman) or talking about the presence of Sasquatch in Wisconsin and its surrounding areas (Linda Godfrey), the writing is, with one notable exception, crisp and there are cases in the book that I had not heard of, side by side, with some of the old standards. I enjoyed this chance to ‘touch base’ with the work of many authors that I admire and some that I did not know.  Freeman’s article on the Orang-Pendek made me think that the Sumatrans may have a genuine undiscovered species in their midst.

Having said that, there is one article in the anthology that is a confused, rambling mess and could have easily been cut from the line up with no damage to the work. As I noted above, readers will be able to discern this one quickly and will have to decide for themselves whether the tidbits of information in the article are worth the pain of reading the disjointed ramblings of someone with entirely too much research and not enough space to present it cogently.

I would have been quite happy if that article had been cut and the other writers given more space to present their research. I had the feeling, in several of the sections, that the authors had a lot more to say but were unable to do so due to the editorial pen or space limitations or both. This is a real shame since, as I mentioned, there is quite a lot of original research amongst the articles. I would have been particularly interested to see Micah Hanks spin his thoughts on abductions out further and Nick Redfern’s article on infrasound was interesting but too short.

Wood Knocks is noted as volume 1 of a journal of Sasquatch research. If this is going to be a continuing series of works then the series is off to a good start and, with some minor tweaks, I can see such a series becoming a respected reference amongst those Sasquatch researchers willing to flex their minds a bit and look at new ideas, even if they do not agree with them.

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Charlotte, NC – Finally Arrived

Charlotte

Well, as I noted some weeks back, the past weeks have been a time of deep transition for me.  After living in the Atlanta, GA, area for a couple of years, my wife landed her dream job at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.  At the same time that this was finalized, I was called to Buffalo, NY, in order to train people who will train people who will replace me, effective 30 September.  After 12 years with the bank where I have worked my day job, my position is being ‘off-shored’ (shipped to India, basically).

While I was not happy about this life event, I learend a long time ago that spirit works in very mysterious ways so, rather than wasting time being angry about the unfairness of it all, I smiled and nodded, agreed to do what was needful and put it out to my friends in other places that I wanted the doors that needed to be opened, opened, and those that neeeded to be closed, closed.  Since that time, several opportunities have arisen, some of which will result in my changing jobs inside the bank rather than leaving entirely.  I continue to discern the proper path for me.

This past Friday, though, my wife and I watched the movers drive away with our belongings and then got in the car and drove to Charlotte.  We spent the night in a hotel and then met the movers on this end.  Our belongings are here and unpacked and I am working at settling in, in my own arcane way.

I walked around the house and lit incense this morning, visualizing and affirming the removal of all energies not of our making and the transmutation of those energies to perfect and beneficial forms.  Nothing fancy as I have not felt the need for a full on banishing since I arrived, just a little house cleaning to get the spiritual cobwebs out of the corners and blow the dust off the etheric surfaces.

Our apartment faces out into a wooded area and, unlike the urban forest around us in Atlanta, this one seems to be teeming with spirit life.  I am already catching the tell tale flicker out of the corner of my eye that signals faery presence and will need to spend some time making offerings and developing a relationship with the spirits that inhabit this place.

While I had no objections to living in Atlanta, I never had the sense, as I did when I drove into Charlotte to make it my home, that I was really welcome.  Altanta is a great city but the spirit of the place is not nearly as welcoming as the one in my new base of operations.  I think that this may be a matter of my spiritual tuning (I lived in North Carolina as a very small child so may have some resonance from that time) and not much to do with Atlanta but I can not really say.

What I can say is that I had the sense, driving down the 85 into Charlotte of the way being opened for me.  I have a great feeling about this new adventure and, once I recover from the move, I am going to take advantage of my vacation to get to know this place better.  For now, though, I am going to play with and do a little obedience work with my small dog and enjoy the fact that I am done moving for a while.

Addendum 02 August 2016 0850

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Here is a little picture taken from my front porch this morning which gives you a sense of my new place.

About 0500 this morning, I was awaken by what sounded like a scream but then turned into the deep hoot of what sounded like a very large owl.  Wonderfully creepy and resonant with the vibe of this place.  More as I explore both the inner and outer realms of the area.


Re-Blog: Manwolf – Dominance Issues

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Apologies to my readers for the string of re-blogs, I have been extremely busy with business travel and moving over the last weeks.  I am making my move to Charlotte this week and hope to have some new content up soon.  In the mean time, here is a post from 2013 that I think is appropriate given the upcoming Dogman Symposium.  

I was recently re-reading Linda Godfrey’s wonderful The Michigan Dogmanand one of the things that I noted, over and over through this book, was that many of the witness sightings seemed to be transient, roadside events. As with the Dallas Werewolf testimony, the percipient was driving along a quiet stretch of road when suddenly he or she saw the creature, either running along the side of the road, feasting on road kill or chasing prey across the road. The manwolf is there and then disappears into the dense undergrowth leaving the witness dumbfounded and, often, (I think justifiably) afraid.

As I have noted throughout these blog pages, I am convinced that many of the “monsters” that people report seeing are in actuality denizens of the Otherworld who have, in some way, extended through the etheric and manifested themselves in this world. Many of these manifestations (most famously Sasquatch) manifest in an extremely physical way and it seems to me that the manwolf falls firmly into this “hard” physical manifestation category unlike its cousin the Phantom Black Dog which often seems more spectral.

Its interesting to note that when people have had interaction with the manwolf in situations other than the “drive by” reports, the scenario changes and that the manwolf has very canid behavior patterns. The manwolf that is blundered upon in the woods can be quite aggressive, beginning with a level “I don’t care if you see me” stare and progressing to chasing people and even scratching them. Interestingly, though, there have been no reported bites despite the manwolf’s formidable dentition and almost supernatural speed. Those familiar with wolf social behavior will recognize this chasing behavior immediately.

Despite their fearsome reputation, wolves very seldom fight to the death in dominance or territorial disputes. Instead, the wolf will put on an escalating series of threat displays, running from hackles up, stiff legged circling and staring into the eyes of the opponent to bared fangs and chasing and/or shoulder butting a potential usurper or intruder. The interloper’s submissive or aggressive response to these behaviors determines whether the situation escalates into a fight where blood is drawn and more serious injury may occur.

Most humans, when confronted with a manwolf, have one thought apparently: run. It seems to me that some part of the human lower brain recognizes the difference between hunter and hunted and knows that the manwolf, in this case, is the hunter and that we are very likely to become prey. One might argue that fleeing should invoke a predator’s hunting response but I theorize that the manwolf may see a human in its territory as more of an intruder and less a prey animal. In a situation of dominance or territory, it is often the case that the challenged wolf will chase his or her opponent for a distance, causing them little harm, once the interloper has begun to retreat from the scene. It seems to me that we see precisely this behavior in the manwolf.

I have to wonder though, what might happen if some brazen individual stood his ground or decided to take a shot at a manwolf engaged in these threat displays. I am not an alarmist but I do know that people disappear in the wilderness all the time. Some of those disappeared may be people who were unlucky enough to tangle with a really aggressive manwolf or humans who tried to brazen out an encounter with one of these creatures. In addition, some of the disappeared might be folks who were unlucky enough to encounter a pack of these beings. When pack dynamics come into play the whole dominance issue takes on a completely different cast and an intruder is liable to be in for a bad time unless he or she can manage to exit the area very quickly.

Best advice: if you happen upon one or more of these creatures, keep your distance. This is not a creature you want to practice your martial arts skills on unless you have no other choice. If you are caught unawares, I still maintain that cold iron is your best defense since it will dissipate the physical manifestation but you have to get close enough to use it. Not a high percentage move – in this case, discretion really is the better part of valor.


Re-Blog: Creature Of Mud Creek Road

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This is another blog that I wrote back in 2013 about a fascinating case involving a “shape shifter”.  I am on the road travelling for work this week but did not want to let Tuesday pass without an article appearing in the blog. 

As I mentioned in my last blog, I have had the opportunity to listen to some of the paranormal podcasts out there. I was looking, the other day, for an interview with veteran researcher Stan Gordon, a man who has been investigating the unexplained for over 50 years, I found a great interview with him over at Beyond the Edge Radio (you will need to dig through their archives on iTunes or other podcast software to find the show). I wanted to see what Mr. Gordon was up to these days and, during the course of the interview, he mentioned a case that I had heard of before but had not had a chance to review here.

You can find the incident report for this occurrence at Phantoms and Monsters, one of the paranormal sites I have dialed into my RSS reader. This particular set of reports came to him from the aforementioned Stan Gordon and I found the first report in the queue, entitled “The Creature of Mud Creek Road” to be particularly interesting since I have a strong interest in shape shifters.

I am not going to quote the entire report, which comes from November 2011, but I would like to note the following. As you read this, please remember that when the couple in this sighting first saw the creature, they mistook it for a naked man crawling along the side of the road.

As the couple watched in amazement, the creature began to stretch its body. The man said that at this point the animal started to stand up on its back legs while also falling over onto its front feet. The driver said that in this position, the creature seemed to be about 6-7 feet tall. The animal then fell over on all four legs. The witnesses observed that the front claws of the creature was now two feet across the center line of the highway, while the back feet remain one-two feet from the edge of the road . . .

The witnesses indicated that this creature appeared to be changing form. The driver said, “Its shape was nothing like when it was squatted”. The woman stated to me that it “shaped into another form.” She thought it was a dark brown color, and looked like a werewolf with a little back hair. She estimated that when it was leaping into the woods, she thought it stood about 9 feet tall. The woman while reluctant to say it said, “I think it was a man changing into a werewolf”. The man after the experience went onto the internet to try to figure out what he saw, and told me that the closest way he could describe the creature would be a gargoyle with no wings. The man commented, “I will never forget what we saw that night”.

This is an utterly fascinating case of what appears to be someone or something caught in the act of shape shifting and it is well worth taking a look at the link and reading the full report.

I have stated more than once in these pages that I find it highly unlikely that a person could make a physical world transformation from human to animal. The energy outlay for such an event would be such that I doubt that even a werewolf could consume the calories necessary to sustain the Change to wolf and then back to human. A physical transformation would require the complete “re-booting” of an individual’s internal organs, bones and sinew and then a change back through the whole process. I never say that anything is impossible – legend states that the gods were able to change humans from one form to another – but I think it would require the interference of a fully manifested god form to bring on such a physical transformation.

So, what did these terrified people actually see? The answer here lies, I think, in perception. Note that each witness concluded something different when faced with this strangeness. The female thought it looked like a werewolf transformation while the male leaned toward a gargoyle.

Our perception of events, especially events outside our ordinary day to day life, can be skewed by any number of factors. Even in the more mundane instance of witnessing a purse snatching, police officers know that three different witnesses may give three different descriptions of the perpetrator depending on where they were standing, what the light was like, whether the day was overcast or clear and a host of other physical and environmental factors. If we add in the witnesses biases, their perception may be even more colored, literally. If, for example, the witness notes that the perpetrator is wearing clothes associated with a local gang, he may “see” the perpetrator as being of the race associated with that gang, even if the criminal happens to be of another ethnicity altogether.

Given that our perceptions are so easy to skew, let’s add in another factor, the incursion of an Otherworld being into our physical world. Such incursions are accompanied by energy, EMF and other, more subtle forces that are going to tend to cause perceptual issues in humans. The male witness noted that the creature seemed perturbed about being observed. It may be that the creature, whatever it was, was actually exerting an influence on the witness’ minds so that they did not see its true form. Its entirely possible that the couple encountered something benign along the side of the road that adopted protective camouflage when it realized it was being observed. My astral/etheric experiences have shown me that a lot of the nasty looking creatures out there are simply parasites that are either trying to get some emotion going so they can feed or are trying to scare you off so you don’t hurt them.

Somehow, I think that, if the thing really had been a werewolf or some other shape shifting monster, this couple might never have made it home to report this strange event.


Thoughts on Relocation

Charlotte

Well, the only thing in life that is constant is change.  After living in the Atlanta area for some time now, and establishing herself in her industry, my wife has been offered her dream job in Charlotte, North Carolina, and we will be moving at the end of this month.

I will try to get far enough ahead with blog posts not to cause an interruption in my weekly schedule but circumstances with my work may prevent that.  It seems that, after 12 years of service, my day job is being outsourced to India and I am expected to train those who will replace me.  Since I am not the sort of person who leaves cohorts in a lurch, I will be travelling a good bit this month as I prepare for my departure at the end of September.  I apologize in advance if this causes me to miss a post.

While I will be sad to leave some of the colleagues that I have worked with for so long, I am viewing this outsourcing as an opportunity to explore new revenue streams.  As I mentioned when I came back to the blog after being out for a while, I have been taking my writing seriously and the energy I have poured into it is beginning to pay off.  One of my short stories was accepted for publication in the anthology Into the Abyss by Darkerwood Publishing.  I have a second anthology submission in that I should find out about soon and the publisher of that anthology will also be publishing my first novel but there is no release date for that as yet.  I am over 30,000 words into the second book of that fiction series.

I will also be looking at “day job” opportunities in the Charlotte area.  Since we happen to be moving to a financial center, I suspect that my 12 years of banking will help me find something suitable and I will, of course, be working with my spirits to find just the right thing.

In the mean time, though, I am packing the house a little at a time and getting prepared for the aforementioned travel.  I am not one who flies well; it is not a mode of travel that I prefer.  I feel that human beings are not meant to be packed into flying cigar tubes, hurled through the air at ridiculous speeds and then dumped on the ground in a place that they often have no connection to.  Such travel, in my view, disjoints the spirit and puts a person in a position of literally having to catch up with themselves both coming and going.  I find car or train travel much easier, but alas, I do not have that luxury in this instance.

So, I will focus on something more positive instead.  As we have had more time to prepare for this move than for our move to Atlanta (we moved from Columbus, GA, to Atlanta in about three weeks), we have actually been to Charlotte and set aside an apartment.  Our new place actually backs onto a greenway and, as I explored the complex, I found that shaded walkway to be quite active with land spirits.  I think that, once I am in and settled, I shall have an interesting time getting to know the curious ones of this new place and welcoming the spirits that follow me to their new home.

I have been getting indications, from, the ‘friends’ that walk with me, that they would like something more permanent to live in here in my home, so I will be looking into the construction of what some call a spirit pot but I prefer to call simply a spirit vessel.  As you might imagine, such a vessel represents a home for a spirit or spirits who follow you.  For example, one might make a spirit vessel for the guardians who protect the home so that they make the move without any disruption of their protection.

I will also, as I get my feet on the ground in Charlotte, be communing with those who walk with me to secure just the right position – a job that will provide support for my household and still allow me time to develop my writing career.  I am fortunate to have such a long time to my release so that I have time to move and get settled and I also have access to not one but two employment assistance programs, one from my wife’s new company, assisting with spousal relocation, and the other from the company where I am presently working.  I will take full advantage of those services and give them both a magical poke in the rear to put me on the track of the above-mentioned job.

So, it is a time of stress for me.  I have experienced some  of Selye’s top stressors since the beginning of the year: loss of a beloved pet, loss of a job and relocation to a new place.  I am striving to maintain my equanimity by continuing my daily meditation practice, work with my ancestors and other spirits and energy work.

May this year of change settle soon so that I may get a good view of my life and the direction it is going.

 

 

 

 


Re-Blog: Tulpas, Thoughtforms and Monsters, Oh My!

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This is a blog that I wrote back in 2013 but, given some of the rumblings about thought forms I have been hearing on-line, I thought this was a good time to re-post it.  

I am an inveterate podcast listener. The job that puts bread on the table can, at times, be very repetitive, requiring little in the way of thought, so I often spice up my day by listening to one or the other of the paranormal podcasts on the Web. The other day I was listening to an interview with the noted paranormal author, Nick Redfern and the discussion turned to the place of tulpas in monster lore. I realized, as I listened to this show, that while I had referred to these beings obliquely in some of my posts, I have not dedicated a post to this subject.

First off, a point of definition. In my view a tulpa and a thought form are the same thing. The only difference is that the term tulpa originates with the Tibetan esoteric tradition while thought form is used in the Western traditions to describe the same process. You will also sometimes see Western magicians refer to a thought form as a servitor. While some people will quibble and say that each of these concepts is a slightly different thing, I am going to throw them all into the hash together and refer to them, from here on out, as thought forms.

So what is a thought form? Pared down to basics, a thought form is a being of desire, visualization and imagination (see Magical Use of Thought Forms: A Proven System of Mental & Spiritual Empowerment by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki and J.H. Brennan). To create a thought form, the magician pulls an image from his or her inner storehouse of images (imagination), visualizes it powerfully and in Technicolor detail (visualization) and empowers it to perform a certain task or tasks according to his or her desire. Simple enough until one realizes how flabby human visualization skills have gotten since the advent of television and film. The other skill that the magician must master in order to work effectively with thought forms is the skill of placing limits on them and de-constructing them once their purpose is finished.

What can a thought form be used for? Almost anything. As I mentioned, some modern magicians refer to these creations as servitors because that is precisely what they are supposed to do – serve the will of the magician. Thought forms have been used for everything from helping a writer with inspiration for a project (no, I do not use thought forms for this purpose) to providing a soldier with actual physical protection in battle. In general, a thought form is not visible to the majority of people (some psychics can see them) but, if you read enough magical lore, you will find stories of magicians who created thought forms that were not only visible but were able to physically interact with this world. In chapter 3 of the excellent book I mentioned above, one finds the story of a Tibetan lama who, after considerable effort, managed to bring a yidam, a type of meditation deity, into physical manifestation as part of his movement toward enlightenment.

That chapter is instructive not only in telling the reader about the possibilities of thought form creation but also in bringing to the attention the knowledge that the process of thought form creation is not as easy as it sounds. In order to do this type of work, one really has to be able to make an image real in the mind and then be able to infuse it with all the force of desire, directed by magical means so that the being is limited in its scope. This is important since magical lore also tells us that a thought form created without proper limits can take on a sort of life of its own.

One of the best known stories in this regard also comes from Tibet. One of the early theosophists, Alexandra David Neel, journeyed to Tibet and, during her stay there, worked on the creation of a tulpa (thought form) in the image of a short, fat, jolly monk. After several months of meditation and practice, this tulpa manifested and was seen by David Neel and others. David Neel also reported physical contact from this thought form on a number of occasions. Eventually, though, the monk began to take on a darker aspect and David Neel was forced to learn how to take the thought form apart and re-absorb it. I suspect that this had to do with David Neel’s not having a clear desire for the thought form when she created it; the being was an experiment and so did not seem to have a distinct purpose other than to assuage her curiosity.

Now, how does the creation of these magical beings tie into the world of the paranormal? I think that an excellent example might be some of the Manwolf sightings around Native American mounds in the Wisconsin/Michigan area of the United States. Archeologists argue about what purpose the mounds served but they are agreed that these were sites of importance to the indigenous people of that period. I think it is entirely possible that some of the Manwolves reported in those areas are actually thought forms, created by ancient shaman as guardian spirits for the mounds. If such a thought form were created by a group of shaman, given the assignment to guard the mounds indefinitely and then turned loose to do that bidding, there would be no reason for the thought form to dissolve. Over time, it would take on a single minded life of its own and the only thing that would prevent it from doing its job would be a lack of energy. It would have gotten a powerful shot of energy in its creation and would have been “fed” periodically by its creators but when those people died or moved away, the thought form would have languished and dissolved unless it found alternate ways to feed itself – such as scaring the heck out of people and feeding off that energy.

As with all the theories I discuss on this blog, I do not think that thought forms constitute the universal field theory of the paranormal but, given what is known about them, they should certainly enter into the consideration of any paranormal investigator.


Orlando

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The Internet has been full of people slinging opinions around after the terrible tragedy of 50 people losing their lives at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.  Normally, I do not use this blog to get involved in such controversies.  Normally, I am content to let people believe what they want to believe and spew forth whatever vitriol they want to spew.  Normally.

There is nothing normal, though, about a madman bursting into a night club and gunning down a hundred or more people (dead and wounded).  Nor was there anything normal about the response to this shooting as I watched the social media outlets.  If I had to sum up the response, it seemed to me that it would have been “Sorry all those people died but, if you guys had listened to me about (fill in the blank) this never would have happened.”

 

What I have found particularly horrifying about this event and, in fact, the response to mass shootings in general is the high level of us vs. them, I am right and you are wrong thinking expressed in so many of the responses.  This sort of black and white, fundamentalist thinking is precisely what allows people to begin to rationalize marginalization, oppression and persecution of the “other” (whoever that may be) and, with the proper mental aberration, even murder of those who do not fall into the category of “us”.

Those 49 faces that are starting to appear in memorials?  They were fellow human beings who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  What you think about guns or immigration policy, for example, is completely irrelevant at this point.  There will be time for such discussion when cooler heads can prevail.

What is relevant, what is vital, is that we, as a country, step up and offer whatever support we can to the living victims and their family, friends, acquaintances and beyond.  What is vitally important, in my view, is that those people, people just like you and I are not left to bear their sorrow alone because everyone is so damnably busy pointing fingers or espousing their favorite cause.

This is a chance to show your fundamental humanity, folks.  Donate blood if you can, contribute to the relief funds, use social media to express your deep condolences and support of those who are left behind.  Leave the politicking behind for a little while and extend your heart and hands openly.

For all the healers out there, this is a time to ply your gift unreservedly and with all the strength you can muster.  For those who are magically inclined, there is work to be done making sure that the ways are open for those who died, that protection and healing follow those who survived and that healing spirits are everywhere available to help and console where you physically can not be.  It is so trite to say that our thoughts and prayers are with those in Orlando, but let that really be so and lets back those thoughts and prayers up with action.

I understand that tragedies of this sort prompt strong feelings in people and that many folks have opinions about how these monstrous acts could be prevented.  I certainly do.  Right now though, let’s stop being pundits for a short time and allow ourselves to be fully human, feeling the pain of those effected by this horrific act and acting with compassion and love from that empathy.  Do not harden your hearts and look at this as just another example of how you are right but allow yourself to move past your opinions to see the people who are so direly effected by this event.