I will offer a story of an unusual near-death experience. Sally told me an account concerning her mother who had died 20 years ago. Her mother, named Nancy, had a stroke and was sent to the hospital. Nancy already had a bad heart, so the stroke was another very challenging health problem.
During her stay in the hospital Nancy told her daughter about a strange experience; she thought she had died in the hospital but returned to life. During that time she felt she left her body.
When Nancy left her body she did not describe the NDE as is typically told. She did not hover over her body or experience a tunnel of light. Instead she felt herself sinking into the ground. She was under the ground when she arose again above ground, but then sank back into the earth. Then she appeared in a large room.
This room looked like a waiting room that is typical everywhere, so she sat down. Nancy recalled she was missing her glasses and dentures and felt self-conscious about that. People were sitting on chairs waiting for someone or something. Occasionally a door would open, and a light would emanate from the door as someone seated would get up and pass through the doorway.
For some reason she thought her deceased daughter-in-law might be in this room. Nancy’s daughter-in-law died three years previously and she had been very fond of her. She got up to walk around looking at those seated. Then she saw her…sitting on a chair. She approached her daughter-in-law who smiled and said, “I’ll be waiting for you here.”
The mysterious waiting room disappeared and she was back in her hospital room. Nancy related this story to Sally, and both thought it strange. Unfortunately, three weeks later, while still in the hospital Nancy caught pneumonia and died.
Sally was unable to find her mother’s glasses or dentures for her funeral, so Nancy was buried without them. The spot where Nancy was buried was not the best location in the cemetery. The grass around the grave was not green and it just wasn’t an attractive spot. So the family decided to dig her up and rebury their mother in a more appealing area in the cemetery.
Shortly afterwards Sally finally came across her mother’s glasses and dentures. Then Nancy’s strange story struck her. In Nancy’s account she descended into the earth, arose from it, only to go back into the earth. That is what happened with her burial. Her coffin was taken up from the earth only to be reburied again. And she was buried without her glasses and dentures, which she described in her story as well. Events surrounding her funeral had been predicted during her NDE.
I was at the 2011 St. Charles Scarecrow Festival. It was filled with people who came to see all the scarecrows on display. The scarecrows that attracted the most attention were the mechanical scarecrows (like the Harry Potter duel pictured above). I have a brief video showing these crowd pleasers.
I tend to be something of a scarecrow fundamentalist. Scarecrows should follow certain rules! But so many scarecrows completely disregard scarecrow tradition. Creativity with scarecrows is great, but when is a scarecrow no longer a scarecrow? Instead of a scarecrow, we get a something like a Halloween yard decoration.
What are the rules for scarecrows?
RULE NUMBER ONE: I’d suggest that a scarecrow should represent the human figure to some extent, and should wear human clothing. The point of a scarecrow was to scare birds by fooling them into believing men were in the fields. Stuffed animals are NOT scarecrows!
RULE NUMBER TWO: Scarecrows should incorporate some of the material of the harvest. They could be filled with straw, or have a pumpkin or gourd as a head. Scarecrows made of plastic are NOT scarecrows, but mannequins!
RULE NUMBER THREE: Scarecrows are not mechanical! They do not move, sing, wave, belch or jump. Mechanical “scarecrows” are NOT scarecrows but robots and automatons!
At the side above is a picture of my favorite scarecrow at the festival. It is the most traditional. It is almost life-like and even has stuffed crows on its arm demonstrating its original purpose.
Below are examples of scarecrows that break the rules. There is a carrot monster, breaking rule number one: human appearance. There is a zombie scarecrow, which makes for a chilling Halloween lawn decoration, but it is not a scarecrow.
Below is a scarecrow that fits the traditional model, having a gourd head and stuffed with straw. It even wears a hat, which might be a fourth rule for scarecrows.
Finally, we have a scarecrow that successfully breaks the rules. We have a traditional scarecrow milking a plastic cow. Some rules can be bent!
Below is a brief video of the mechanical “scarecrows”.
What are UFOs? I suspect the large majority of legitimate sightings involve secret military technology. It is the simplest answer, if also the most boring. However, if some UFOs are actually extraterrestrial, can we explain them with just logic? Perhaps.
Let’s assume Einstein’s theory of relativity cannot be easily surmounted, and the speed of light is a real barrier to interstellar travel (neutrinos excluded). Even if there were a technology capable of fabricating wormholes or warp space, the energies involved to move a space ship faster then light would be staggeringly enormous. Energies equal to consuming multiple stars would be necessary to create a single rudimentary wormhole. We’ve not seen any hint of this in astronomy.
Star Trek style flying cruise ships equipped with holo-decks and lounges zooming at warp speed would not seem to be economical, if even possible. I assume even advanced civilizations have economies. How much would it cost just to send biological life into space, forget even exceeding the speed of light? Would it be worth the expense if there were cheaper and equally effective means to explore the universe?
If we are being visited by extraterrestrial intelligence, then they are probably doing what we human beings have already done. Instead of sending a manned mission to Mars, we’ve sent probes, orbiters and landers. We have rovers crossing the surface of Mars, at a fraction of the cost of a manned mission. Mechanical devices don’t need food or oxygen, are immune to cosmic radiation. Humanity even has its first interstellar mission…Voyager.
I assume the same economies would apply to other worlds. I suggest UFOs are not inhabited by biological entitles, but are craft powered by artificial intelligence. For such craft, even the speed of light would not be a barrier. Artificial intelligence would essentially be immortal. If a ship traveled at half the speed of light and took hundreds of years to visit other stars, so what? An extraterrestrial civilization would simply wait for their probes to make contact, even if it took generations.
Along with self-motivated probes, we can imagine a method to instantly communicate with these probes regardless of the distance and the speed of light. It may be possible for information to be instantaneously transmitted regardless of distance using quantum entanglement. A vessel hundreds of light years away could potentially receive and transmit information without delay. If possible, why bother sending organic life?
What about the alien abduction experience? People have reported being contacted by organic aliens. Are we sure they are biological life? Take the aliens commonly called the Greys. Greys are spindly, with oversized heads and giant eyes. How do they survive on earth without a space suit? Can they breathe our air; are they immune to our germs? The size of their eyes is impossible for a living humanoid. I submit the Greys are not living beings but robots powered by A.I. Greys are like our Mars Rovers.
It may be that we’ve never met the true aliens behind the probes, and likely never will. Or perhaps an alien civilization has evolved beyond biology into singularity, becoming an immortal civilization of artificial intelligence. Then the UFO vessels may actually be the aliens!
The grave of Lars and Eddie Schmidt in Forest Home Cemetery attracts attention. It has an evocative statue of two children dressed in the Victorian clothing of the era. Often someone will leave a small gift at this grave. When I took this picture there were some rusty pennies at the statue’s feet, left as gifts for the dead. However, there was one new penny as well, so someone must have placed it there recently. Myself, I left a dime.
Why? It is understandable to leave behind a gift for our deceased loved one we knew in life. But why leave a gift at the grave of a stranger? I suppose it’s a reaction to this statue. They are so lifelike it stirs our emotions. And the deaths of children are the most tragic and sad. All we can do to express our sympathy is to leave behind a coin.
Sometimes someone will steal these gifts left behind for the dead. I thought to myself, how long would my dime remain there before someone takes it? Will it be there for a week from now, a month, or a year? Would someone actually stoop down to remove a dime left at a grave? I understand the cemetery staff removing things to keep the place tidy; that is their job. However, for a passerby to steal from the dead is tempting fate.
Stealing in general is bad karma; only grief will eventually come from thievery. But to steal from the dead is asking for a different type of trouble outside of human justice. Items left for the dead are not meant for the living and could be considered cursed. The dead may well be aware of what transpires in the world of life, and if the dead take offense, even such a tiny act of desecration could have troublesome consequences. Don’t touch that dime!
Below are two stories about alleged grave robbery. One allegedly stole graveside vases for their scrap metal value, and another allegedly stole a valuable guitar. Don’t mess with the dead!
Many recognize what appears to be occult symbolism in our paper currency. Take a look a the back of the dollar bill and you’ll see the famed Great Seal of the United States, with its pyramid and all-seeing eye. What about our coinage? Could there be any hidden esoteric or occult symbols in our common pocket change?
The new American State quarters introduced unique designs representing each of the 50 states. The face of the quarter is of course George Washington, America’s first president and our most famous mason. The reverse designs of the state quarters are pretty ordinary. However, one design strikes me as containing possible, albeit unintentional, esoteric significance.
The New Hampshire State Quarter has a curious design. It is a portrait of a rock formation called the Old Man of the Mountain. This formation on Mt. Cannon appeared as the face of a man when viewed from the east. In 1945 the “Old Man” was made New Hampshire ’s State Emblem. As the state emblem it’s easy to see why they used it for their state quarter. Unfortunately it crumbled in 2003 and no longer exists.
With the Old Man of the Mountain, what exactly are we looking at…only a tourist attraction? The Old Man is an example of pareidolia. Pareidolia is the process of perceiving recognizable shapes in random patterns, such as seeing faces or animals in clouds. We give symbolic meaning to randomness.
But what do we really see in the formation of the Old Man of the Mountain? Only the caricature of an old man? Out of a mountain peak emerges this gigantic, monstrous face. At first glance it appears to be an old man, but the profile actually looks quite monstrous: the heavy brow, the jutting jaw, and the cragginess. It looks more troll then human.
The Old Man of the Mountain could more represent a monster rather than a man, like the trolls and mountain giants of folklore. In folklore these giant nature spirits were said to turn into stone in the sunlight. The origin of trolls in myth may well have begun as people interpreted humanoid shaped rocks, assuming they once literally walked the earth.
Trolls and the fairy folk were used to explain strange natural events. Mighty whirlwinds could be explained away as the work of nature spirits hurling trees about. Of course, nonhuman entities never existed, or could they?
The most curious thing about the Old Man of the Mountain is not that it may represent a nonhuman being, but that it is actually associated with true events surrounding nonhuman entities.
On September 19, 1961 Betty and Barney Hill had an alien abduction, the first that was widely publicized. Their story was made into a movie, The UFO Incident. Just before their abduction, they saw a UFO hovering over the Old Man of the Mountain.
Here is the incident as described in Wikipedia:
“The Hills claimed that they continued driving on the isolated road, moving very slowly through Franconia Notch in order to observe the object as it came even closer. At one point the object passed above a restaurant and signal tower on top of Cannon Mountain. It passed over the mountain and came out near the 48′ profile of the Old Man of the Mountain (New Hampshire’s State Symbol). Betty testified that it was at least one and a half times the length of the granite profile and seemed to be rotating. The couple watched as the silent, lighted craft moved erratically and bounced back and forth in the night sky.”
In New Hampshire a historical marker was erected to commemorate the Betty and Barney Hill experience.
Their alien abduction experience may have been extraterrestrial. Or it may have been something else and not a physical manifestation. Betty and Barney Hill may have had an encounter with spiritual entities that appear in many forms. They may have had something like a shared, spontaneous shamanistic experience where they made contact with genuine nonhuman entities, but not necessarily extraterrestrial.
These entities are as old as mankind and are described in myth and legend. The Old Man of the Mountain may be more then just a symbolic representation of these entities, but may be an area where these entities actually dwell.
I enjoyed the movie Contagion. It was a smart movie. Contagion is based on the concept of a worldwide pandemic. This could certainly happen in real life, and one day this movie may be considered prophetic. I will address one aspect of this film: the character Alan Krumwiede as played by Jude Law.
In the film, Alan Krumwiede is a blogger who is the first person to comprehend the virus’ significance before it becomes widely recognized. As played by Jude Law, he is an annoying gadfly, but also knowledgeable about his niche. The character is a conspiracy theorist specializing in government/big pharmacy connections.
Here is the character as described in Wikipedia:
A conspiratorially minded freelance journalist named Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) posts video blogs claiming that he has recovered from his sickness using a homeopathic cure based on forsythia. Panicked people attempting to obtain forsythia overwhelm pharmacies and also accelerate the contagion as infected and healthy people congregate. Krumwiede leaps to national attention and during a television interview accuses Dr. Cheever of informing friends and family to leave Chicago before quarantine is imposed. It is later revealed Krumwiede was never sick but was attempting to boost demand on behalf of investors in the companies producing and distributing the treatment.
The scientists in the movie are rightfully portrayed as the heroes. But the blogger is made the villain, spreading disinformation for his personal gain. Movie reviews agree the Jude Law character is the movie’s lone villain. Perhaps this was the director’s purpose, but I don’t think it is that simple.
At the beginning of the movie the blogger character recognizes the oncoming plague and tries to get the story published in the mainstream media. Rejected, he takes his story in his own hands and blogs. Yes, the character has concepts outside the mainstream, but he actually believes in them.
Later in the film, a hedge fund bankster type approaches the Jude Law character for inside information for exploiting the disease for profit. The blogger bites at this opportunity, suggesting a homeopathic cure. Nonsense, but when dollars are dangled in front of a blogger, no surprise there.
At the end of the movie, the character is arrested. But he stands by his beliefs, and afterwards he is out videoing the consequence of the plague. The blogger character would not be doing what he does if he did not believe in them. He is not just doing this for money but for a personal cause.
I am a blogger in esoterica, not far removed from the movie’s blogger character. I recognized the dynamic of the character: to discover something new that is ignored or disrespected by journalism and society. I deal with the paranormal, rejected by science but which I believe has serious but ignored truths. As a blogger, I have sympathy for the movie’s blogger character. And I like the illusion of a powerful blogger… but it’s only an illusion.
I usually don’t repeat hearsay ghost stories in my blog; I don’t trust them. When someone tells me a first-hand, personal account I’ll take it seriously as a genuine experience. The experience was real, albeit explainable in different ways and not necessarily a ghost.
However, today I’ll repeat a hearsay ghost story, acknowledging it as hearsay. The individual who told me this story said his grandmother told it to him. I’m sure, but without the story told to me directly from his now deceased grandmother, how to judge her story? Maybe grandmother was hammered on rum or floating on weed at the time. Or it could have happened exactly as told.
The individual who related this story was born in Puerto Rico, where the incident occurred. His grandparents lived in a village on a small plot of land. He said his grandmother was a pretty but wild, fearless and fiery woman. One day after a heated argument, his grandmother threatened to shoot his grandfather with her gun. His grandfather dared her and barely managed to shove the firearm out of the way as she fired at him, missing. That taught grandpa a lesson…don’t piss off grandma!
One day the grandmother’s brother died. It was a sad funeral, as they typically are. But soon afterwards curious events began to take place at the grandmother’s home. There were strange sounds late at night, like someone was rattling the pots, pans and dishes in the kitchen. Objects seemed to have been moved at night. She would get up from bed thinking someone sneaked into her home and moved things around to annoy her, but she never found anyone.
After a week of this nightly disturbance, she was determined to catch the culprit. When it started again, she grabbed her gun and ran into the kitchen, then the living room, and then outside trying to catch whoever was responsible. “Where are you!” she cried out. Then she noticed someone hiding in a bush nearby. She pointed her pistol at the dark shape in the bush demanding to see them.
Out stepped her dead brother. Shocked, she tried to shoot this person, but the trigger wouldn’t move and the gun literally flew from her hand and dropped to the ground. Startled by the sight of her dead brother, she asked him what he wanted.
He said, “You must go to mass Sunday. And, take dollar bills, five of them, and give each dollar to a different person in need. If you do this I will leave you alone.” The spirit then vanished before her eyes.
Next Sunday she went to mass, and gave dollar bills to five needy people. Thereafter, there were no more disturbances. The ghost of her brother never bothered her again.
I like this story, but it has the feel of an urban legend. I supposed it’s the ghost talking that makes me suspicious. And a ghost with a moral message! Yet, it could also be true as far as hearsay goes. Perhaps the grandmother did not hear a literal voice, but just had a “knowing”.
The actual story was probably more nuanced then what was related third-party. Which is why, when I ask about personal ghostly experiences, I ask for details. Secrets of the spirit world are often found in small seemingly unimportant details. I treat a personal ghost story like a reporter.
When I asked a friend to check out my blog post before publishing it, she was aghast I’d write about this awful photograph. She had not seen this photo before and was shocked by it, 10 years after it was originally taken. It speaks to the power of this awful picture of the Falling Man.
Photographer Richard Drew of Associated Press took this iconic photograph during 9/11 of a man falling to his death from the World Trade Center. A story about the event is below:
Mr. Drew took many photos of people falling to their death on 9/11, and there were a number of photos of this particular unknown individual tumbling down the World Trade Center. But this one specific photo, by chance, stood out from all the others. What makes this image special?
It is filled with unintentional symbolism. The photo defines existentialism. A man is plunging head first toward death, seconds away, frozen in time. He exists, only briefly, between life and death. He is positioned between the dark and light lines of the World Trade Center, suggesting this state of existence. Caught in events outside of his control, he is doomed. Yet he still has control over one aspect of his existence. He cannot avoid death, but he can choose how he will die. His diving stance suggests free will still exists even in the face of oblivion.
The photo also suggests God does not exist. The Falling Man is cast down beside the giant, impersonal face of the tower. It hints we are alone, only specks in a vast, uncaring universe. All we have is our free will and even that is meaningless. It is an image of existential despair.
The Falling Man, the Hanged Man, The Lightning Struck Tower
When I saw this photo I was reminded of cards from the tarot. Compare the Falling Man with the tarot’s Hanged Man. The Falling Man with his crossed legs and arms to his side suggests the Hanged Man. Even the names are similar. The Hanged Man is suspended between twin pillars (towers?). The tarot image is framed by the pillars, inside a square, like in the image of the Falling Man. The two are so similar it feels like synchronicity.
There is also a tarot card called the Lightning Struck Tower. In this card a force from the heavens hits a tower, like jets striking the Twin Towers. Circles in the air are debris flung into the sky as people fall from the tower. This card has its own Falling Men.
Coincidence? Synchronicity? Or the power of symbolism. With so many photos, why did this one Falling Man photograph strike a chord and become an icon of 9/11? It possesses an innate symbolism. The Jungian collective unconscious works in mysterious ways. And it repeats itself.
Or whoever created the tarot hundreds of years ago planned 9/11. That would be mother-of-all conspiracy theories.
On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, let us have hope for the future.
Below is an interesting documentary concerning the tragic Falling Man.
Knockers, Kobolds, Master Hammerlings, Brownies, Dwarves…these are working spirits. Knocking spirits. Folklore is filled with these entities that labor. The fairy Knocker was said to make knocking sounds in empty mine shafts. The Knocker’s knock often foretold of a mine cave-ins…or did they cause it? Was it the natural warning sound of the earth shifting before a collapse…or a clairaudient premonition of an impending disaster? Or subterranean spirits?
Folklore is filled with laborer spirits. They toil performing tasks for an unexplained purpose similar to the work of human beings. If the Knocker mined, the Brownie did common household tasks. If the master of the house had a good relationship with his Brownie, these fairies were said to do useful tasks simply for the offering of a small meal. At night the brownies would mow the hay, churn butter, and milk the cows.
I doubt Brownies ever really did any of this. But there may have been strange sounds, knocking sounds in the night. Objects may have been moved. Not wanting to offend whatever was making these sound and moving objects around, they would pretend noble intentions and suggest it was milking the cow. Politeness combined with a bowl of milk kept the noisy spirit from becoming too aggressive.
Spirit mowing a field
This knocking was heard often enough where it became common folklore. This knocking may not be simply imagination. Today’s knocking spirits are known as poltergeists. Poltergeists are modern folklore; excerpt there is compelling evidence this is not simply imagination. Poltergeist activity, on occasion, may be an objective reality. It starts with knocking. Then things begin to move…
What are poltergeists, these knocking spirits? Ghosts trying to communicate with us? Demons? Or as is commonly believed in parapsychology: the manifestation of telekinesis projected by a disturbed individual.
Here is a story about a factory ghost. John is a young guy who got a factory job at the place where his father worked. John worked the nightshift with a handful of other workers. During the day the facility was a busy place but the second shift was staffed by only a few.
Chatting about ghostly experiences, John told me he saw something strange at this factory. When he started working the nightshift, he was sitting at a grinding wheel working some metal, when he saw someone, out of the corner of his eye, run past him. Startled, he looked, but nobody was there. Returning to his job, a minute later the shape ran back again. Again he looked and thought he caught the sight of a blur…a dark shape.
Later that night John asked his father about this weirdness. His dad told him other employees had seen strange things too; ask them about it. Employees who worked the night shift had seen similar blurs, a shadowy shape. And there were sounds. On occasion, from nowhere would be a knock or rap. There were only a few working at night; there was nobody else around to make such noise. This rapping and knocking occurred infrequently, yet often enough that in time nobody paid much attention anymore.
The other workers told John about rumors someone once died in this factory, in an industrial accident. This supposedly happened during the time of the previous owners of this building. They guessed maybe the place was haunted by the spirit of someone who died at work.
If I died, the last place I’d want to haunt would be my workplace. Imagine being trapped in an afterlife working as you did in life, perhaps unaware you were dead. Like miners who died in mining accidents…hammering away, working…knocking. What a terrible fate.
On August 23rd an earthquake struck the state of Virginia 100 miles away from Washington DC. The quake was felt across the east coast, but did little damage. However, the earthquake did crack the Washington Monument. A few days later on August 27 hurricane Irene struck the eastern coast of the United States, flooding the area with heavy rain. I suggest a synchronicity occurred matching the damage to the monument with America’s current political state of affairs: a nation split and damaged.
Nostradamus had a possible prediction concerning these events. He had a prediction about a pillar split by earthquake and by flood. Could this have been the Washington Monument?
Century 8, quatrain 29:
At the fourth pillar which they dedicate to Saturn
split by earthquake and by flood;
under Saturn’s building an urn is found
gold carried off by Caepio and then restored.
The first line describes a fourth pillar dedicated to Saturn. In astrology Saturn ruled over matters of law, government and civilization. The monument’s cornerstone was laid with a ceremony sponsored by the Freemasons on the 4th of July. The Washington Monument could be this pillar dedicated to Saturn (law and governance).
The second line is “split by earthquake and by flood”. The Washington Monument was split, cracked by the August 23rd earthquake. It had to be closed indefinitely until repairs could be made. This line also mentions a flood. A few days later hurricane Irene arrived, flooding the area with rainwater.
The next two lines are an enigma. They have yet to happen but seem to follow the events of the first two lines. “Under Saturn’s building an urn is found.” This is not the pillar of the first line, but I suggest a government (Saturn’s) building. What is this urn, and what is its significance?
The last line speaks of Caepio, a general and statesman during the Roman Empire. Historically, Caepio was said to have plundered a fortune in gold and silver from ancient temples, so I assume this line refers to him. The stolen silver was sent to the Roman Empire, but the gold vanished (supposedly stolen by Caepio). Caepio had a disastrous military campaign and suffered greatly for his folly, being punished by the Empire. What does this mean in the modern day? As a metaphor it could represent many things, from monetary policy to the fate of politicians. Assuming the quatrain refers to America in 2011, the third and fourth lines remain to be fulfilled.
Below is a segment from a documentary about the esoteric architecture of Washington DC. This section discusses Sirius & the Washington Monument: