The Mothman Cometh

the mothman prophecies keelThe Mothman Prophecies – John Keel
Tor – 2002 (Originally published in 1975)

When I picked this book up, I expected it to be fairly similar to McCloy and Millet’s The Jersey Devil, a book describing how a strange cryptid briefly terrorized a small town; however, The Mothman Prophecies is more a descriptive synthesis of 4-5 paranormal beings and events, and it doesn’t contain a huge amount of information specifically about the Mothman apparition. The Mothman, you see, at least according to John Keel, is quite probably from another dimension, and its mothy form is likely only one of its possible manifestations.

The book describes several strange events:

  1. The Mothman appeared to several people in Point Pleasant, a small town in West Virginia.
  2. Several other people in this town saw UFOs.
  3. Strange men, dressed in black, showed up in Point Pleasant, asking strange questions to these witnesses.
  4. A few of these witnesses also received bizarre phone calls during which they would hear static, beeping, or a foreign man speaking quickly.

This stuff went on for a while, but when a bridge leading into the town collapsed, killing 48 people, the strange events seemed to stop happening.

The loss of 48 souls to a town that housed fewer than 6000 people would have been devastating, and one can sensibly attribute the cessation of paranormal activity in Point Pleasant after 1967 to its residents going into a period of mourning and spending less time looking for lights in the sky and weirdos in the streets. John Keel however, postulates that Mothman disappeared after the collapse of the bridge because his work as an ill omen was complete. Yes, Mothman has more in common with a guardian angel than he does with Bigfoot.

Most of the book is taken up with descriptions of strange lights seen in the sky. When I reviewed Whitley Strieber’s Transformation, I noted that he had given up the idea that aliens are extraterrestrial and that he now believes that “the visitors are likely trans-dimensional inhabitants of Earth”.  It is quite possible that Strieber got this idea directly from Keel. (Strieber was a member or at least attended the meetings of Keel’s New York Fortean Society.) Keel reckons that UFOs are manifestations of something that exists outside of the dimensions that constrain our reality. Whatever it is that is causing the UFO phenomenon is probably the same thing that made people believe in fairies and religious events. If you think about it, a Mothman, as imagined by Keel, is basically the same thing as a Banshee.

Strange lights in the sky and cryptids sightings are cool and all, but the really interesting parts of this book are the bits about the peculiar men who dress in black and spend their time pestering UFO witnesses. Keel wasn’t the first person to write about the Men in Black; that honour, along with the honour of being the first to write a book about Mothman, goes to Keel’s friend, Gray Barker. Originally, the MIB were assumed to be government agents trying to keep witnesses quiet about their UFO encounters, but by the time this book was published, Barker and Keel agreed that the MIB were themselves aliens. Their descriptions in this book are actually pretty cool. They’re always dark skinned (although Keel repeats several times that they’re not black), they have pointy faces and unsettling smiles, their clothes are ill fitting, they don’t understand what common household items are for, and they speak like characters from a Samuel Beckett play.

Overall, the book isn’t very convincing. I had been looking forward to reading it, and it took me quite a bit longer to get through than I had expected. Keel didn’t have enough material to write a more focused book, so he seems to have crammed in any old crap he could find. He starts to contradict himself in the latter half of the book, but he realizes that he’s doing so and attempts to make these contradictions part of his argument. (See the Paranoiacs Are Made, Not Born chapter.) The Men in Black have been so successful in their attempts to obfuscate the public’s understanding of what happened in Point Pleasant that Mothman researchers can’t really know what they know about the topic. I read a review somewhere that described the book as John Keel’s descent into paranoid madness, and if you were to accept all of its claims, I’m sure that reading this book would drive you quite mad.too.

I’m not calling John Keel a liar, but many of the links he propounds are rather tenuous, some of his descriptions are vague, and much of his reasoning is plain shoddy. He was also admittedly very selective with the material he chose to use for this book. I’m not complaining about this (I’m all for that kind of writing!); I mention it only in response to the claim that Keel was paranoid. This is sensational, speculative non-fiction filled with what-ifs; it’s use your imagination stuff. Keel wasn’t mad at all; like he rest of us, he just enjoyed a good conspiracy.

I was fairly disappointed with the cover of my copy of this book. It’s a shitty, ugly version that came out to coincide with the movie version of 2002. (Earlier editions have really cool covers.) I watched the movie there too. I’m still not sure what to think of it. It’s set in the 90s or early 2000s instead of the 60s, and it doesn’t strictly adhere to the events in the book. It also cuts out all of the MIB and UFO stuff, so it’s not quite as all over the place. It looks pretty good, and there’s definitely an atmosphere to it, but I can’t imagine it making much sense to anyone who hasn’t read the book. It’s a little more cohesive without the MIB and flying saucers, but these omissions also render it a little dull, and while it’s not tough to sit through, there’s so little explanation given that you finish the film wondering why they bothered making it.

Well, that’s that. Another Fortean classic for the archives. Some of my long time followers may have noticed that I’ve upgraded this blog with a fancy .com address. My url is now https://nocturnalrevelries.com/. Any old links to the site should still work, but due to an irritating fuck-up, I managed to delete all post likes and cut my traffic in half. Still though, the blog must go on, and I have ordered some seriously atrocious sounding books for my summer reading. Expect to see posts about perverted werewolves, Lovecraftian magick, Satanic Nazis and rock’n’roll themed horror showing up here very soon.

The Mothman Cometh

LUDOVICO MARIA SINISTRARI: PART TWO (Demon Lovers)

demoniality-liseux-version
To quickly summarize what I’ve already written about Ludovico Maria Sinistrari: he was a Franciscan Friar who wrote a book that was basically a list of all of the sins that he could imagine. I wrote a lengthy blog post explaining Sinistrari’s beliefs about sodomy, and while I believe it was an informative and insightful post, it may have seemed slightly out of place in this blog. I mean, isn’t this supposed to be a blog about Satan and the paranormal and spooky stuff? Surely sodomy isn’t very spooky? Well, no, but the chapter on Sodomy from Sinistrari’s De Delictis is one of the two sections from that book that is widely available in translation, and I don’t like half-assing things. The other, more infamous section, which we are going to look at today, fits far more comfortably within the context of this blog; it is a chapter on Demoniality. Demoniality, for those of you who don’t know, is the act of having sex with demons. Oh yeah, now we’re getting back on track.

The story of the manuscript of Demoniality is as interesting as its contents. In 1872, a French bookseller named Isidore Liseax spent a short holiday in England rummaging about in some antique booksellers. In one of these stores, he found a short manuscript titled “Dæmonialitas” and bought it for sixpence. He took it back to France, translated it, and published it 3 years later. It wasn’t until I read an essay on Sinistrari by Alexandra Nagel that I realised why this story sounded so familiar. Remember what I wrote about the opening to Bulwer Lytton’s Zanoni?

Liseux had never heard of Sinistrari, and he spent a long time trying to figure out who had written the text he’d purchased. Its author was listed as Ludovicus Maria of Ameno, but Liseux wasn’t able to find out any reliable information about such a man, and it wasn’t until he serendipitously opened a copy of the list of writers banned by the Vatican to just the right page that he discovered that this Friar of Ameno was the same person as the author of De Delictis. De Delictis had been unbanned for more than a century at this stage, and while it wasn’t widely available, Liseux managed tracked down a copy with a little persistence. Once he understood the nature of that work, he was certain that his manuscript on demoniality belonged to it. It followed the same structure as the other entries, and indeed De Delictis contained a chapter on demoniality. Liseux’s copy, however, while it started and ended the same way as the chapter in De Delictis, was largely expanded. The chapter in De Delictis is a mere 5-6 pages long, while Liseux’s manuscript was more than 80 pages. Liseux, by a stroke of extreme good luck, had found and paid next to nothing for the uncut edition of a paper on sexual intercourse with devils and spirits, the cut version of which was included in a book that was banned by the Vatican, the text of which had been written by a perverted, 17th century, Franciscan Friar. Holy quaint and curious volumes of forbidden lore!

There has been some discussion about the authenticity of the text. Why wasn’t the full text of Demoniality included in De Delictis? (Remember that De Delictis had actually only been banned for what it said about the qualifications of Judges, not for its details on sexual depravities. The lurid details in the apocryphal Demoniality pale in comparison to ‘the Doctrine of the Clitoris’ as laid out in the canonical chapter on sodomy.) Also, if you read Liseux’s introduction to his English translation of the text, several discrepancies arise. Alexandra Nagel has done an impressive job of listing and accounting for these discrepancies in her essay “Tracing the mysterious facts in Isidore Liseux’ publication of De Daemonialitate by Ludovico M. Sinistrari”, and if you’re interested in the details, her paper is better researched and more informative than what you’re going to read here. Suffice to say, the expanded version of Demoniality was probably intended to be included in a later edition of De Delictis that was never published. While I believe Nagel’s conclusion that Sinistrari was in fact the author, I wouldn’t be terribly disappointed if he wasn’t. This is a book about fucking monsters (and I use ‘fucking’ here as a verb, not an adjective). Does it really matter who wrote it?

Liseux found the manuscript in 1872, published the first French edition in 1875 and followed with an English Translation in 1879. This translation was popular enough to convince him to publish another section of De Delictis, that on sodomy, a decade later. One of the readers of Liseux’s translation of Demoniality was our old friend, Montague Summers. Summers was thoroughly impressed with the contents of the work but not the translation. In 1927, he re-translated Demoniality from the original Latin and wrote an introduction and set of notes to go with the text. I own a copy of Summer’s translation, but Liseux’s is available online. Summers spells Sinistrari’s first name ‘Lodovico’ (here and in his other works), but I haven’t seen that spelling anywhere else.

demoniality-summers-versionDemoniality (The Montague Summers Edition) – Lodovico Maria Sinistrari
Dover Occult – 1989 (This translation first published in 1927)

The book starts off explaining that demoniality is a separate offence to bestiality. Bestiality is having sex with an animal, but while demons are alive, they are not entirely corporeal and therefore don’t really count as animals. Sinistrari knows what demons are not, but it’s trickier to say what exactly they are. He distinguishes between evil demons who only fuck people to bring them into the power of Satan and a far less dangerous class of spirits who only fuck because they’re horny. These other spirits are composed of incubi and succubi. (Incubi are male spirits who fuck females, and succubi are female spirits who fuck men.) Surprisingly, most of what Sinistrari has to say is on the less malevolent, horny spirits, and the result is that this text feels more like a book on cryptozoology than a book on traditional demonology.

succubusThis succubus is a bit little. That man is a nonce.

In fact, if like me, you have an interest in books about cryptozoology/the paranormal/the Fortean, you’re very likely come across references to this text. Sinistrari’s descriptions of fuckable spirits are broad enough that they seem to fit many of my favourite monsters. Sinistrari argues, with evidence from Saint Anthony, that the gods, centaurs, fauns and nymphs of Paganism were all real entities and that the stories of them seducing humans were actually true. Montague Summers, in the introduction to his translation of Demoniality, argues that both the Jinns of Islam and the fairies and leprechauns from W.B. Yeats’ Celtic Twilight (an awesome book) fit Sinistrari’s decription perfectly. Hmmmmm, what other group of unproven creatures have been compared to fairies? I believe that our old pal, Whitley Strieber argued that his visitors had a lot in common with the fairy abductors of celtic lore. If that’s not enough for you, Strieber actually presents Sinistrari’s ideas as evidence for his visitors in Communion; in fairness, the similarities between stories of alien abductions and visits from incubbi/succubi are striking. Dmitri Bayanov presents ideas from Sinistrari’s Demoniality in his essay Historical Evidence for the Existence of Relict Hominoids. A relict hominoid is basically a Bigfoot. Let’s just take a moment to acknowledge then that Demoniality is actually a book about sexual intercourse with Satanic demons, the Great God Pan, leprechauns, genies, fairies, aliens and sasquatches. I can’t say for certain that Sinistrari specifically intended for his text to be interpreted this way, but given his reasoning and willingness to accept the authority of other writers, I really don’t think he would have had a problem with this interpretation.

priest-having-sex-with-bigfoot-an-alien-and-a-demonIt’s all good, baby!

According to Sinistrari, Incubi and Succubi are surprisingly like people. They have physical needs and desires; they eat smells (solid food would be too much for them), and they fuck each other, people and animals. These spirits are endowed with both free-will and morality, and Sinistrari even suggests that they might have their own form of organized religion and worship. They are more spirity than humans and hence also more spiritual and closer to God. The fact that they are closer to God means that it’s as bad for them to have sex with us as it is for us to have sex with animals.

This weird logic means that for a human to have sex with an incubus or succubus is actually a dignifying rather than a shameful experience. Sinistrari never openly condones sex with this class of spirits, but it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t consider it to be all that bad. In terms of sin, he puts demoniality in the category of pollution. This means its comparable to getting or giving oral sex or a single finger up the bum. You might get an extra Hail Mary as penance after confessing it, but that probably wouldn’t stop you from doing it again.

Shagging one of Lucifer’s Henchmen is a different story; doing so is only ever done to improve your relationship with the Dark Lord. Satan’s malevolent spirit-servants are incorporeal and must either create a body out of filth or possess a corpse in order to be able to fuck. Also, they feel no joy when they’re getting rode. If you shag one of these, you are going to Hell. The sexual act itself would only count as pollution, but as it also serves as a contract with Satan, it becomes a damnable offence. The problem is that most people don’t know the difference between a friendly neighbourhood succubi and a cacodaemon, and just as attempted murder is as bad as murder, attempted sex with an evil demon is just as bad as sex with an evil demon. This means that a minor fling with an amorous Incubus could potentially land a person in as much trouble as bending over for the cock of Asmodeus. Now you know the difference, I hope you’ll think to look before you leap!

Another thing to be careful of is the way that spirits can alter their form. Regardless of their true appearance, demons seem to be able to appear in whatever form is most pleasing to their lover. This shapeshifting can get their lovers even deeper into sin. If a demon was to have sex with a man whilst appearing as that man’s sister, the man would be guilty of incest as well as demoniality. If the demon was to appear as that man’s dog, the man would be guilty of bestiality. Even if you knew full well that your lover was a demon and ask you asked it to look like a corpse for 10 minutes, you’d soon be guilty of necrophilia. Basically, roleplaying counts. You’re already in trouble for fucking a spirit; don’t make it worse by getting kinky.

But wait; wasn’t Sinistrari’s main problem with sodomy that it was sexual activity that didn’t lead to procreation? How is having sex with airy spirits any worse? Surely that doesn’ lead to procreation either! Well, actually…

Haven’t you read the Bible? Remember the Nephilim from Genesis? The Nephilim were a race of giants that were created when the Sons of God (fallen angels) mated with the daughters of men. Remember Jesus Christ. Who was his Da again? Now if he Bible contains stories of Spirits mating with humans, you’d better believe it’s possible. So how do they do it? Babies come when a penis sperms into a vagina; how can a spirit be expected to do this? Well, it used to be assumed that the spirits would turn into a succubus, fuck a man, save his cum, turn back into an incubus, fuck a woman and then fill her with the cum that they had taken, but there are a few problems with this theory. The first being that the resultant baby wouldn’t actually be demonspawn; it would be a perfectly normal human baby whose parents had never met. Another problem that Sinistrari notes is the fact that sperm rapidly loses its potency once its outside the body. Semi-corporeal demons would have no way of keeping the gip warm during the interlude between extracting it and injecting it. There’s other problems here too that I’m sure you can work out, and Sinistrari concludes that demons must cum their own cum and that this cum is capable of impregnating humans.

incubusAn Incubus works his magic. Why is he standing in a circle of eggs?

Sinistrari claims that Romulus and Remus, Plato, Caesar Augustus, Merlin, and “that damnable Heresiarch yclept Martin Luther” were all the offspring of spirits. You’ll notice that with the exception of Martin ‘the Proddy’ Luther’, these were all great men. That’s because spirits are closer to God than humans. The only problem is that human/spirit offspring are the same as horse/donkey offspring; they may get the beneficial aspects of both their parents, but mules can’t reproduce. Augustus had a daughter (who died very young), and Romulus may have had a son named Aollios and a daughter named Prima (such claims have been contradicted), but as far as I know all the other lads mentioned were either infertile, gay or just didn’t fuck. As mad as Sinistrari’s claims might seem to us, there was research and twisted, but apparent, logic behind them.

What about the Nephilim though? Why is it that demonspawn used to be giants, but modern day demonspawn are regular sized? Well there are four elements, right? So there must also be four kinds of spirits: air spirits, fire spirits, water spirits and earth spirits. (As silly as this might sound, it probably made decent sense to people living in the 17th century.) The spirits that fucked the daughters of men were air and fire spirits (again this is logical; angels came from the sky), and because fire and air are the more expansive elements, their offspring, the Nephilim were giant. After the flood, the fire and air spirits didn’t want to come down to Earth anymore because it was too wet for them, and so the only spirits left to fuck humans were the smaller, more condensed, water and Earth spirits. When you follow Sinistrari’s reasoning, it becomes apparent that he was actually a very smart guy living in a very dumb age.

demoniality-title-pageThe subtitle of the work, “A treatise wherein is shown that there are in existence on earth rational creatures besides man, endowed like him with a body and soul, that are born and die like him, redeemed by our Lord Jesus-Christ, and capable of receiving salvation or damnation”, has a nice ring to it; don’t you think? It just slides off the tongue.

I have plenty more to say about Sinistrari, but I’ve already written more than 5000 words about him, and I doubt anyone is that interested. (If you ever want to chat about him, e-mail me or leave a comment!) Demoniality is genuinely one of the most interesting texts that I have come across, both for its history and content, and I’ve no doubt that I’ll be referring to it again. If you have an interest in demonology or cryptozoology, this is is a must-read. Both Demoniality and Peccatum Mutum are available online too, so you have no excuse other than being boring.

LUDOVICO MARIA SINISTRARI: PART TWO (Demon Lovers)

Transformation (The Breakthrough) – Whitley Strieber

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Avon – 1989
A few months ago, I reviewed Whitley Strieber’s Communion. I had planned to wait a year or two before reading the sequel, but I was leaving for work the other day and I needed a book for my train ride that would fit in my back pocket. Transformation was the first within reach.

Communion was garbage, and Transformation is worse. At this stage, Strieber is no longer hanging out with Budd Hopkins, and barely considers the possibility that his ‘visitors’ are from outer space. Strieber wants to be seen to be as carrying the cross of every human being who has ever claimed to have had an encounter with the paranormal, and to state that he was abducted by Martians might prevent him from being able to speak on behalf of all those loonies who believe that they have met fairies, elves, or Gods. Instead, Whitley has decided that the visitors are likely trans-dimensional inhabitants of Earth. They may not be from this planet, but nor are they not from this planet.

Strieber was 41 when Communion came out. That means that it contains roughly 40 years worth of abduction experiences. Transformation came out just one year after Communion, and Strieber had only managed to get abducted once or twice during this period. Accordingly, the aliens take a back seat in Transformation; Strieber’s philosophical side is the unwelcome visitor here. 80-85% of this book is taken up with him explaining how he came to terms with his weird experiences. (And in fairness to him, I’m sure it took a lot of effort and time to get over having his hemorrhoidy anal pouch violated by hobgoblins.)

In my review of Communion, I wrote from the perspective of Strieber to give my followers a sense of what reading that book was like. I’ll re-summon Whitley for a bit to give you some more insight into this one.

“I was petrified, but I desperately wanted to let the visitors know that I had accepted my role in their plans and that I was willing to do whatever I could to please them. These strange creatures terrified me, but I understood that this fear was necessary. As time passed, I realized that I was not so much afraid the visitors as I was afraid that they would not be happy with me. This fear had evolved into a combination of uncertainty and isolation. I resolved to do whatever I could to entice the visitors to keep me as one of their subjects. I stopped locking the doors to our cabin, and I began playing with my bum during masturbation (to make it looser for future probing). Ease of access is key when you’re dealing with these sinister, yet magnificent beings.

Once I crossed the threshold of uncertainty, I began to comprehend the visitor’s plan for me. Although the terror and discomfort were difficult to bear, they ultimately made me a stronger, more open person. Perhaps the visitors are so used to crossing boundaries that they do not understand or notice the negative aspects of fear, especially fear of the unknown. I now believe that they intentionally frightened me so that I could ultimately become less frightened. In any case, we must be willing to transcend our emotions if we hope to accompany the visitors into realms of unheralded experience…”
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Although there’s not as many alien encounters in this one, it does include a lengthy section on Strieber’s astral projections. He finds a way to allow his soul to escape from his body in a little bubble, and he uses this bubble to float around his gaff. He also finds a way to appear to people in different parts of the country. He tells of how he would think of a friend and then how that friend would immediately call him and tell him that she had just seen his disembodied head lurking in her bathroom. I’m not even taking the piss; he actually expected people to believe this twoddle.
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More like Twitley Strieber, amirite?

Oh, there’s a bit in here where Strieber claims that Aliens speak Irish. (Well in fairness, he actually says that a different lad named Leonard Keane has made that claim.) Unfortunately, the article that Striebs references was unpublished at the time, and it looks like it has remained unpublished since. (I wonder why!) I can’t find any about Keane online either. Keane’s argument is supposedly based on an abductee’s memories of alien speech. The abductee in question was hypnotized and began to spout off the different things that the aliens said to her.

Let’s break this down piece by piece.

1. This is what the abductee claims to have heard: “oh-tookurah bohututahmaw hulah duh duwa maher Duh okaht turaht nuwrlahah tutrah aw hoe hoe marikoto tutrah etrah meekohtutrah etro indra ukreeahlah”

2. Keane claims that this sounds identical to “ua-tuaisceartach beo t-utamail uile dubh dubhach mathair dubh ocaid tuartha nuair lagachar t-uchtarach athbheoite maireachtala-costas t-uachtarach eatramh meancog t-uachtarach eatramh indeachrachlach”

3. If those words were actually pronounced in Irish, they would sound something like this: “oowa-tooishkyartock byoh tootamawl illyeh duv duvock mawher duv uckad toorha noor lagacar tooacktorock awtveeohithye marrocktawllah custos tooacktarock yatriv myancug tooachtarock yatriv indyakracklock”
Compare the two phonetic versions there. Do the sounds match up?

3. The Irish words that Keane heard in the abductee’s rant translate directly as: “descendants of Northern peoples living groping all darkness mournful mother dark occasion forebode when weakness in high places revives cost of living high interval mistakes in high places interval fit for distressing”

4. I’m not sure who was responsible, Keane or Strieber, but somehow that jumble of words was put into the following order: “The living descendants of the Northern peoples are groping in universal darkness. Their mother mourns. A dark occasion forebodes when weakness in high places will revive a high cost of living; an interval of mistakes in high places; and interval fit for distressing events”

What a load  of shit…

Leonard Keane’s article was supposed to be called “Keltic Factor Red”; on the off-chance that somebody knows where I could find a copy, please let me know!  I want to thank my friend Lorcan for helping me with the Irish phonetics above. I’ll sign off with Lorcan’s message for any of the visitors that might be reading this post;

“Ná cuir aon rud suas mo hole, ET”

Transformation (The Breakthrough) – Whitley Strieber

Communion – Whitley Strieber

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Avon – 1988

Wow, what an utterly ridiculous book. Although the accounts herein are presented as fact, this book is often listed as fiction. Fiction or not, it’s not a plot driven book, and I feel that the most appropriate way to review it will be to paraphrase the entire text:

“My name is Whitley Strieber, and this book is an account of my abduction experiences. Twice in the year of 1985, I was taken from my bed by a gang of little men who then took me to a weird room in a crystal in the sky and stuck an ugly pipe into my crapper. That’s right folks. I was abducted, and the things that took me decided to jam a piece of their technology into my rectum; the alien contraption punctured my wrinkled rim and ruptured my shite-filled poobag. The dirty little bowsies were collecting a sample of my gick! [You might find it peculiar that anyone would want Whitley Strieber’s shit, but in fairness, Communion has sold 2 million copies!] Oh yeah, there was another weird lifeform in the crystal too. It looked like an insect, and it raped me. Well, I say rape, but I was actually pretty hard at the time! Can you blame me?

After this happened, I decided not to jump to any conclusions. I did however, start hanging out with Budd Hopkins, the UFO abduction expert. He recommended that I go see a hypnotherapist. I took heed of this good advice, and the hypnotherapist proved to me that I had actually been abducted a bunch of times throughout my life. He reminded me of the time that I built a rocket engine in my bedroom when I was a little kid. The aliens had told me how to make it, but afterwards they decided that I shouldn’t have that information so they burned down my parents house. How did I forget that? Silly me!

I’ve used the word ‘aliens’ a few times, but I’m not actually sure that it’s  spacemen who are abducting me. I’ve no real reason to believe that they’re from another planet. They might just be elves or fairies. Whatever though, they probed my asshole and I got the shag; I hope they come back soon!

At this point, I don’t really have much else to say, but I feel like I can probably write another 150 pages or so. I suppose I’ll just fill up space with eventless interview transcripts and a ton of mystical speculation. Fuck it, yeah, I’ll just make allusions to mythical figures and tarot cards, and my book will get really popular with brainless, new-age morons. They’ll ignore the fact that nothing in this book is remotely compelling, and they’ll all think that I’m really smart.”

That’s pretty much the entire book, although I’m not quite sure I’ve captured the arrogance of Strieber’s tone. It really surprises me that something this utterly trashy could be taken seriously by anyone.

I also watched the film version of Communion with Christopher Walken playing Strieber. I have to say that this was one of the few cases in which I far preferred the movie to the book. The film has pretty bad ratings according to what I have seen, but I thought it was as good a movie as could possibly be made of this rag. There’s something really awkward about the whole film, and the special effects are bizarrely bad. It mostly follows the book’s plot, but it gets fucking weird towards the end. The most bizarre scenes almost feel like a satire on the most bullshitty parts of the text. In fact, part of the reason that I liked the movie so much was that it felt like it was making fun of the book; you could watch the film and argue that it depicts nothing more than a dysfunctional family’s bizarre descent into hysteria.

There’s a story that Strieber saw Walken’s depiction of him and told the actor that he was playing the character too crazy. Walken allegedly responded, ‘If the shoe fits…’ I have liked Christopher Walken as an actor for a long time, but if that story is true, he is truly a king amoungst men.

The book was shit, but I enjoyed reading it. I have the sequel, Transformation, and I’m sure I’ll get around to reading that one too. If you do read the book, make sure to watch the film. I’m not sure if the film would be as enjoyable if you hadn’t read the book, but if you’ve made it this far through my review, you have all the information you need. (Although I still think it might take reading the 350 pages of the book to be able to really savour the embarrassment that the film must have caused Strieber.)

School is a nightmare at the moment, and posts will definitely be slow for the next couple of months, but I have some serious gems coming in the post that you are going to want to read about.

Communion – Whitley Strieber

Bigfoot: The Mysterious Monster – Robert and Frances Guenette

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Schick Sun – 1975
I’ve stated before that I think Bigfoot could exist. The purpose of this book is to make his existence seem more feasible, but after reading it, I feel a little more sceptical than I did beforehand. That’s not to say that it’s a bad book; some of the arguments in here are quite interesting. The issue is that it was published 40 years ago, and every day that has passed since its publication has added to the likelihood that Bigfoot is either imaginary or extinct. There are too many cameras in the world for him not to have been photographed clearly at this stage. It would be cool, but the fact that they could exist isn’t enough to convince me that they do exist.
The book is based on a film that you can easily find online, and much like The Outer Space Connection, both the book and movie cover the same material. (I’d recommend watching the film before trying to track down a copy of the book.) There’s not really much to say about the content; it’s pretty much what you’d expect. There wasn’t enough material on Bigfoot, so it includes a relatively big section on the Loch Ness monster, and there’s also a part where they tried to use a psychic’s testimony as evidence for the existence of these creatures. That bit was pretty stupid.

 

Bigfoot: The Mysterious Monster – Robert and Frances Guenette

The Jersey Devil – James F. McCloy and Ray Millet, Jr.

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The Middle Atlantic Press – 1989

This cool little book was first published in 1976. The Jersey Devil, if you were wondering, is a weird monster that has haunted the Pine Barrens of New Jersey since the 1730s. What makes the Devil a little different to other cryptids like Bigfoot or Nessie is the fact that he caused quite a hubbub in 1909 by appearing to hundreds of different people over the course of a single week. This book is largely made up of the accounts of those people who claimed to have seen the monster. The authors never really try to convince the reader of anything, and I found this rather refreshing (the last three books I’ve read were written by evangelical christians with an agenda, ughhhhhhhh). I never felt like McCloy and Miller were trying to make me believe that the Jersey Devil was real, and this enabled me to forgo the critical assessment of the accounts herein and to get lost in the sense of terror that caused the mass hysteria.

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Look at this lad! Those hind legs don’t look the sturdiest, and he looks a bit too top heavy to fly. If I met him in a dark alley, I’d kick him to death!

The coolest part of the book is the insight into the mass hysteria. Some of the sightings were definitely hoaxes or idiots, but I don’t think that all of the people who claimed to have seen this thing were lying. Once people start to believe in something, they’ll start to see evidence for it; mass hysteria has caused humans to do far sillier things than seeing monsters or ‘jabberwocks’. It’s also very easy to be smug about these things and to act like these people were all stupid and naive, but it is possible that there was something creeping around the woods of New Jersey at that time. Who knows? Maybe it’s still there.

So, what is the Jersey Devil supposed to be? Well, some claim he was the mutant thirteenth son of a weird old woman from the woods. Others claim he was a dinosaur. He is described by one person as having the head of a dog, the face of a horse, the wings of a bat and the feet of a pig. Whilst these accounts may differ in their details, they certainly agree in their conclusion; this lad was wrecked.

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Apparently this painting was stolen from a tavern in New Gretna in the 70s. I think it’s pretty cool. He looks a bit like a floaty cow.

This book is deadly anyways. It’s fun without being bullshitty, and it’s objective without being boring.  There was clearly a lot of research put into it, and it looks great; it’s full of awesome pictures and photos. My favourite part was an account of some lads trying to make a bit of cash by painting a kangaroo green and passing him off as JD. Fair play lads. Definitely worth picking this one up if you see it for cheap. There’s also an early episode of the X-Files about the Jersey Devil. I might re-watch that one when I get some free time.

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J-Dizzy looking sharp.

The Jersey Devil – James F. McCloy and Ray Millet, Jr.

Mysteries of the Unknown – Time Life (Part One)

2015-08-21 21.17.48I didn’t want to review these until I had read all of them, but that will probably never happen. This is a 33 volume collection of books on the ‘mysteries of the unknown’. Some of the books are very cool, but a lot of them are extremely lame. (I’d say about half of them are about psychics.) They contain a nice mixture of essays and articles, and they’re all full of fancy pictures. It’s a really nice set to have, and I got mine for fairly cheap. I find that they’re quite good if you read them as primers before getting stuck into more difficult/older books on the same topics. I’m going to briefly review three of them today, and I’ll do some more in a few months. 20150821_210412The full collection

Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects
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I read this one a good while ago. It’s probably the best introductory book on secret societies that I have read. That’s not saying much really, as I have only read three such books. What I am trying to say is that this is a far better introduction to secret societies than Arkon Daraul’s piece of shit. It goes into detail on the assassins, the masons, the Rosicrucians and the Golden Dawn. I thought it was pretty enjoyable.

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This is some bullshitty Golden Dawn picture from the book. The bird at the bottom has serious attitude and the lad at the top is wearing a wiggy.

Speaking of the Golden Dawn, I went to the Yeats exhibition last time I was in Dublin, and I took some pictures of his occulting stuff. Here they are:
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Sorry William, but that Angel is fucking lame.

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Another notebook and some dodgy tarot cards.

Transformations
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This one was pretty good too. It’s mostly about vampires and werewolves. It discusses the potential causes of vampirism and lycanthropy without getting too bullshitty. There was also a nice section on Vlad the Impaler, and it has lots of cool pictures, including this saucy snap of Theda Barra.
20150821_211030What a babe!

Mysterious Creatures
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This one mainly focuses on Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. I like the fact that these books give fairly objective accounts: They don’t try to disprove anything, but they don’t feel bullshitty either. I don’t believe in the Loch Ness monster at all, but I do think that Bigfoot COULD exist.
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This lad also made a brief appearance. He is wrecked.

My lovely wife and I recently celebrated our wedding anniversary in Harrison, British Columbia. Harrison is a bigfoot hotspot and home to Sasquatch Park. We didn’t see one while we were there, but it’s a really nice place. I would definitely recommend going if you get the chance.
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20150817_173920The entrance to our suite

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These were in our hotel room. They give some background information and tips on what to do if you encounter a Sasquatch.

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Spot 10 differences.

Mysteries of the Unknown – Time Life (Part One)