Tag Archives: Mysterious Universe

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.

Advertisements

The Slenderman Meme

While I am in the throes of preparations for a major trip overseas, I felt that I would be remiss if I did not comment briefly on the craziness that has been going on around the Slenderman meme this past week or so. From the horrific stabbing in Wisconsin to a possible second attack in Ohio, interest in this internet urban legend has never been greater. Now, we are being told that the Las Vegas man who took part in the slaying of three people, two of them police officers, was known to cosplay the Slenderman. I have heard that even the normally staid Washington Post has published an article on the origin of this character.

For those who are not familiar with the Slenderman and his origins, I refer you to the excellent work of Cat Vincent, one of the contributors to The Daily Grail.

The Slenderman: Tracing the Birth and Evolution of a Modern Monster

Killing Slenderman

Both The Gralien Report and Mysterious Universe have offered extensive thoughts and commentary on this issue. I encourage interested readers to definitely check out these podcasts for some insightful commentary on this situation.

It has been my position, throughout these pages, that our western scientific materialist modality, while extremely useful, is not the be all and end all of knowledge. I have stated over and over that there are other ways of accessing knowledge and other powers of the human being that science, as we know it now, simply can not explain. That failure to ‘explain’ does not make make these powers any less real.

When dozens, or hundreds or maybe even thousands of people bend their minds toward creating something designed to scare the hell out of people . . . when the creators of that fiction begin to have nightmares about their creation . . . when the writers about this being begin to incorporate the idea of the tulpa or thought form into its ‘back story’ . . . when people start to spontaneously report seeing this being . . . then, my dear readers, something way off the reservation has occurred.

Whether the Slenderman is a powerful thought form wreaking havoc on the minds of those that pay attention to it or a creature of the Other Side that has found a convenient form and portal for entry into our world or simply the mass hallucination of a lot of overwrought minds, it is time to send this horrible thing back to wherever it came from. Cat Vincent mentions the power of laughter in his article on killing the Slenderman (cited above). I agree. The Slenderman survives because people have taken his creation so seriously. The whole purpose of the thing was to create fear.

Let’s not give in to fear. Light a candle, turn on the lights or start a bonfire. Laugh, love and generally step out of the darkness for a little while. The nasties, whatever they may be, abhor such behavior.


Paranormal Experience and the Physical Brain

I have been meaning to write about this article from Mysterious Universe for some time and am finally getting around to it. As usual, I will trust my readers to peruse the original article. The author, Martin J Clemens, brings forth some very interesting information about the the brain and the effects that electrical stimulation of the brain can have on perception. I have an issue with Mr. Clemens, though, when, while talking about a paper entitled “Induction of self awareness in dreams through frontal low current stimulation”, he states:

They used a variation of the TES procedure, called transcranial alternating current stimulation or tACS, to target areas of the frontal lobes, which are considered integral to the neuromechanics behind dreams. This, in and of itself, is extremely interesting, and it seems, at first glance, that it answers some long asked questions about dreams and how they work. It also seems to provide even more evidence for the deterministic view of biology, which says that all features of mind are the result of nothing more than the mechanical processes of the brain (the opposing view is dualism, which asserts that the self or the soul are separate from biology). It also raises a few questions about our current knowledge in these areas.

This statement is, honestly, the worst sort of debunkoskpetic hogwash since it completely fails to take into consideration arguments which could be made for the position that the brain is, in fact, a sort of receiver for consciousness and that changes to the brain will, of course, effect what the brain receives. So, far from ‘providing even more evidence’ of the deterministic view, this interesting experiment simply indicates that electrical stimulation of the brain can effect perception, specifically in dreams.

Granted, this is interesting to those involved in more scientific approaches to the paranormal since it suggests that all those EMF fluctuations detected at haunting sites and other sites of paranormal activity may be effecting the perception of the witnesses and the investigators. While I think that EMF levels are a valid route of investigation, I would point out that experiments like those mentioned in this article involve direct application of electrical stimulus to the brain i.e. there are electrodes attached to the skull or implanted in the brain, in more extreme cases. This direct application of current to the brain is a far cry from the sort of weak EMF fields detected in most paranormal sites.

I don’t think that we should completely discount the effect that EMF has in a paranormal investigation but I do think that we need to stretch our minds a bit before jumping on the EMF bandwagon. Remember, for example, that some paranormal events are accompanied by physical evidence that something untoward took place in that location. Tracking sign, photos, video, audio etc., while not proof positive, point to the idea that, at least in some cases, the witness statements and their perceptions are not the only evidence of an event.

In addition, if we want to lump all witnesses into the “perception effected by EMF” category, we have to overcome a significant problem. If I were to create a pin map of paranormal sightings, I suspect that the map would have pins stuck in places all over the country. Are the proponents of this theory of electromagnetic influence on perception seriously advocating the idea that each and every one of these witnesses happened to wander into an area of EMF activity during the course of their sighting? Honestly, I think this is a bit much for even the debunkers to swallow. As with all ‘explanations’ of things paranormal, I believe that the EMF theory certainly helps to explain some events but it is not going to be the unified theory that the the debunkoskeptics are looking for.

I’ve lived with perceptions of the world that stray outside the norm all my life and my magical training has only increased that faculty. I’ve been told that it was “just my imagination” or “just a dream” or that I am full of crap so many times that I do not share my experiences with people unless I know that they are open minded enough to cope. In my experience, people often try to put a scientific gloss on paranormal phenomenon so that they can maintain their world view that tells them that there are no things that exist outside of the senses and instruments of human kind.

In some ways, I do not blame those who want a ‘scientific’ explanation of the paranormal; my own perceptions and deep spiritual experiences are constantly setting me on my ear and I would love, sometimes, to just settle into a particular set of beliefs and say “this is it, I need nothing further”. But, referring back to my point about, if I were simply having my experiences as the result of contact with EMF fields, then someone invisible is following me around with an EMF generator and monitoring me closely enough to know when I am going into meditation or otherwise opening my other senses – at home, in the forest or even at my local grocery store.

The Powers I work with are very unlikely to allow me to settle down into set belief so I will continue on my merry way, becoming increasingly aware that this world that we see around us is really not so solid as we think it is.


Psychic Backlash: Considerations

I could not help but notice this interesting article by Nick Redfern on the Mysterious Universe website. Let’s begin with a quote from the article that sums things up:

Sometimes, when a person becomes immersed in an investigation to a very deep and significant degree, the phenomenon under the microscope appears to realize that it is being watched and responds in violent, and sometimes even deadly, fashion.

It says something about our modern day indoctrination into materialism and scientism when people make statements like this. Since the paranormal world is not a world that can easily be placed under a microscope and examined, since it can not be taken apart and broken into its constituent elements, since it consistently operates in a way that confuses we modern humans and often seems to refuse to respond to the laws of Newtonian physics, humankind is forced to draw back from it and use one of its great defense mechanisms – turning the blind eye (also known as ‘if I ignore you; you aren’t there’).

There will always, though, be those folks who are curious. People like myself who are fascinated by the unseen and/or the strange, people whose imagination is fired by the idea that there might be forms of life out there that we do not yet fully understand, people who are willing to set aside the religion of materialistic scientism for moment and see what native peoples and folklore and (gasp) magical texts have to say about a world that most people do not see. Some of these people go on, take the plunge and enter into the magical world. Others are not quite able to do that but, with varying degrees of open mind, continue to investigate. Some of the investigators actually end up out in the field, trying to look directly at the things that most people try to ignore and often do ignore with great success.

As someone who lives in a world where spirits of all kinds are just as real as the consensual reality that most people agree to, I confess to giggling when I read an article like this. I know that I should not but really . . . you stuck your nose into a serious paranormal occurrence and something happened! Shocking!! Just because something does not register on the K2 meter or refuses to come out and play even though you leave bait behind for it, does not mean that it does not exist and it can not effect this reality.

I have, of late, been doing some serious evocation work (I may write about it at some point if the being I am working with is amenable) and I have seen some things happen in my life that I can only attribute to the workings of that being. Granted, much of what has gone on has been serious internal change for me and a process of realization that was triggered by this work but I have also seen some serious, “real world” changes happening around me. While the people in the article complained of psychic backlash, I have seen things take a definitive turn for the better as the result of my interaction with this Otherworld being.

If, however, I had been fool enough to go and jam a stick into a hornet’s nest of negative activity, then I would not have been surprised at all had I gotten stung, not once, but repeatedly. I know that I sound like a one note choir sometimes, but I can not stress enough the benefit of having someone on every investigation team (or at least available to the solo practitioner for consult) who knows the ins and outs of the Otherworld. Stop for a moment and think what happens if you lock eyes with another person who does not know you. At the very least, you are going to make that person uncomfortable. If that individual has an aggressive bent, then they might just see your staring as a challenge. If this is true of every day human beings, why would it not be true of beings who live in another world and who seem to play by very different rules from ours (at times). You might not get punched in the jaw but a being of the Otherworld, even one of limited power, can certainly manipulate energies so as to make you uncomfortable or worse.

I support people who investigate these mysteries. I understand the intellectual curiosity that provokes people to dig into these areas, to try to see what it is that people are reporting first hand. I also know that dealing with Otherworld beings can be extraordinarily beneficial but the investigator, whether he or she likes it or not, has to follow the same rules as the successful evocator. The evocator spends time and effort coming to a good knowledge of the being that they seek to evoke. The investigator must ease into the investigations in the same way, trying, once natural causes have been set aside, to determine what is being dealt with and if there is any need to shield themselves (or others) from possible harmful repercussions.


Response: Right, Wrong and Reason in Esoterica

I could not help but notice this link over at Mysterious Universe the other day and had to comment since, at the very least, the post seemed ambiguous when discussing the topic of morals in the “occult”.

First of all, let’s talk a little about what that much used but little understood word means. The Abrahamic fundamentalists would have you believe that occult = evil, Satanic, opposed to their view of how the world should be run. If we look at the root of the word, however, we find that occult comes from the Latin occultus which means simply “hidden, concealed, secret”. I would point out that even in the Abrahamic religions that fuss so about the “occult”, there are hidden traditions, usually related to the mystical experience. A good example would be the Sufis of Islam. These folks are definitely Muslim but they have definite secrets that do not open out to the practitioner until the person has gained the trust of a teacher and his disciples.

I do not think that anyone in their right mind would equate a tradition that bred the likes of Rumi with evil and Satanism. In like manner, it is obvious to me that those who squawk loudest about the occult are those who are most ignorant about the traditions that they are referring to or are picking and choosing from biased information to “prove” their position.

For example, Mr. Hanks, whom I admire for his intellect and even handed approach to the paranormal, comments that Christian friends of his have encouraged him to abandon his studies since exposure to the paranormal, UFO’s and the like will inevitably lead into the occult and the destruction of his (presumed on their part) faith. I wonder if those folks would be surprised to discover that one of the foremost occultists of our time, Gareth Knight, and the groups that he has founded are so strongly Christian in tone that some modern Neo-Pagans feel uncomfortable working within them. For those interested in seeing a fictionalized portrayal of Christian occultists doing the work of the Light, I recommend the Adept series by Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris and/or Kurtz’s two fictional Templar books, The Temple and the Stone and The Temple and the Crown. Any of these fictional works will give the reader a pretty good idea of how a Christian occultist works without violating anyone’s oath of secrecy.

While most “occult” groups are not aligned to any particular religion, all of the ones that I have encountered encourage and, in fact, require the student to develop a strong system of ethics before they are introduced to the more advanced grades of the work. Note please that I say a system of ethics, not a code of morality. Ethics are not imposed, they are discovered through deep and continuous exposure to meditation and linkage through ritual and other practices with what may be thought of as the Higher Self (that portion of the human soul complex that is most attuned to the Source of All Being). The end product is an individual who is able to think through and seek guidance for ethical dilemmas rather than try to superimpose a coded system of morals (usually derived from ancient tribal mores) on complex modern situations.

Those of you familiar with the occult may be wondering about the practitioners of what has been called the Left Hand Path. While this way certainly has the external trappings that the fundamentalists fear and seems to me to be more open to abuse, it is essentially the path of isolate intelligence. Rather than seeking Union with the Divine, the LHP practitioner seeks to develop their fullest potential as a human being, developing a powerful soul complex that will survive death as something more than human. In essence, these practitioners seek to become gods and, while they tend to be iconoclastic, responsible workers of the LHP are often motivated by principles such as honor by which they guide their lives. Becoming a god or, at least, something Other requires a great deal of discipline and is not the purvey of undisciplined people.

Now, are their occult practitioners who have gone off the rails and are engaged in practices that would curdle the blood of the fundamentalists? Of course there are. Every spiritual path has its “strays” – people who take the teachings and pervert them, seeking after power and advantage for themselves. The occult, with its colorful personalities has certainly had its share of these folks and the publicity seekers among them have done a lot to feed the fears of the fundamentalists but for every Beast in occult circles there are dozens, if not hundreds of hard working, disciplined individuals working, in their own way, to move forward the course of human spiritual evolution.


Mirror, Mirror on The Wall

I found this this interesting piece on the Mysterious Universe site the other day. The article is mostly about the prevalence of mirrors in ghost stories and other horror memes and posits that mirrors give us the “willies” because they are about the only place where we can see our faces. I must confess that I found the argument in the piece rather vague but there was some interesting information provided nonetheless.

The author of the article mentions that mirrors were used in divination but does not go too deeply into the subject. This tendency to skip over magical knowledge when looking at paranormal phenomenon is one of the frustrations of my life and part of the reason that I started this blog. Make no mistake, folks, divination, done properly, is a magical discipline and this magical discipline is one that can give us some answers as to why mirrors give us the “willies”.

We can simplify what we are talking about by using the term that many magicians use for divination with a mirror: scrying. There are as many forms of scrying as there are magical types who use the practice but they all boil down to the idea of enhancing one’s psychic abilities, particularly clairvoyance, by the use of ritual gazing into a (usually) specially prepared mirror. The idea is to disconnect yourself from the daily, monkey mind and allow yourself access to your inner self, the part of you that is connected to the web of life, if you will, and able to read the strands of that web.

Information from scrying may come in many forms ranging from visions to strong intuition (“I just knew it!”) and, as with most psychic skills, some people are better at it than others. I find that the information that I get via scrying is somewhat dream-like in nature and requires a lot of interpretation so I don’t spend a lot of time mirror gazing. Other magicians, though, derive very specific and useful information from the practice and use it as others might use the runes or Tarot.

Now, if we look at the word divination, we may begin to get some hints about the “willies” effect of mirrors. Divination can be rightly understood as seeking the will of the gods in a matter. The most famous example of divination from classical times would likely be the Oracles of Delphi and Dodonna, mouthpieces of the gods Apollo and Zeus respectively. Over time though, magicians have come to realize that a number of different types of spirits may also assist in the divinatory process since their perceptions are not so limited to the physical plane. Mages have worked with everything from angels to daemons in divination, and often these spirits are contacted and visioned via, you guessed it, a mirror.

I have never heard a clear explanation of why magical types started using mirrors for this purpose but I can conjecture. In Celtic lands, the Veil between the worlds was known to be thinnest in borderland places, such as the shore of a lake or river where one stood at the border between earth and water with the sky overhead. Standing in such a place, with the water before you, it was sometimes possible to see your reflection in the water. Such reflections would have been the first mirrors and, no doubt, they were used for magical purposes even then.

Anyone who has sat next to a body of water and watched the play of wind and sun across the surface knows the trance inducing effect of such a vigil. Trance, of varying depths, is what makes scrying possible and, in fact, some scrying disciplines are still carried out with a bowl of water rather than a mirror. I imagine that some magician of the past realized that they could get much the same effect with a mirror or other reflective surface and the right sort of lighting (usually candle light) and thus scrying was born. By the law of association, if the reflective surface of water could be used to induce trance and commune with the inner self or with spirits then so, too, could the reflective surface of a mirror.

I would also note that, in some ceremonial styles of evocation, the spirit being summoned is commanded to appear in what is called a Triangle of Art and that the Triangle may actually have a mirror in it through which the spirit may manifest. So we have some evidence that, in magical thought, the mirror came to be viewed as not just a tool for opening the psychic senses but an actual portal through which beings might manifest. Thinking on this gives the “willies” phenomenon a whole new level of meaning.

Now certainly, much of what scares us about mirrors is that fear, developed from too much exposure to the media, that we will see someone or something creeping up on us from behind. But I believe that the part of us that is more attuned to the Otherside also recognizes that, under the right conditions, mirrors can act as portals and, where there are portals, there may be Intruders. We see a pale reflection of this portal opening power in the Bloody Mary urban legend.

My advice – mirrors are potential portals. Never do anything that could actually turn them into a means for accessing your area:

1) Use them for what they are designed for, in bright light when possible.
2) Do not spend a lot of time staring into them (even if you have a blemish).
3) Do not talk to your reflection in the mirror, or, if you do so for psychological purposes, do not make the talk into a mantra (repeating the same thing over and over and inducing trance).
4) If you buy a used mirror of any type, know the provenance (I would say the same of any used furniture) and be prepared to banish if you can not determine where the mirror came from.
5) Beware of mirrors given as gifts especially if the source of the gift has issues with you or might want to try to bind you to them (a lot of coercive magic such as love spells can be done with a mirror).