ᵀᴴᴱ BLUE GNAT: ᴼᵁᴿ HUMAN BELIEF ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ FLY ᴼᴺ ᵀᴴᴱ WALL

On the matter of fearing the dark and monsters, is it some definitive realisation that monsters do not exist, that allows a child to sleep soundly? We assure our children that there are no monsters to be afraid of, then we make sure the doors and windows are locked before retiring to our own beds. Where we sleep with the understanding, that there are certain things that must be done if there is a sound in the night. The truth is, what the child fears, pales in comparison to what truly exists in virtually every corner of the earth. So which of the beliefs would you call, ‘inaccurate’? The child who believes in monsters, or the adult who believes a locked door will keep their family safe? Belief will most definitively implicate the way you live your life, how you interpret the world, but ultimately, belief alone will not determine your fate.

Human belief is almost a living thing, a perspective shaped and forged throughout our lifetimes. What you thought you knew in the beginning may have changed, what you believe now may not be what you believe at the end. Could a singular anomalous experience change what you think you know about the world you inhabit?

On the 28th of August, 2019, I began correspondence with a fascinating individual identified as Blaine Thompson, The Perinormalist and ‘The Blue Gnat’. Blaine possesses a rare combination of empirically scientific integrity eternally at odds with a life’s pursuit of attaining answers to some of the oldest questions to ever haunt human contemplation. Blaine is what I call a ‘Seeker’, in this regard. An individual of a very rare and specific mindset, grounded in reality yet seeking to know what the very same reality obscures from perception. When Blaine ceased writing publicly I was fortunate enough to continue discourse with him and exchange a great many ideas and perspectives surrounding a multitude of topics pertaining to what can only be described as the unknown.

During the back and forth, we had discussed the notion that a great many individuals aren’t entirely aware of what they truly believe at all. Regarding certain aspects of the human experience, there are lots of things (i.e. superstition, religion, higher emotions, folklore etc) that many countless individuals, due to their own experience (or lack of), may or may not believe to be legitimate. So what might someone discover about themselves and the world (they believe to be) around them when they take that great introspective journey and wade through the waters of their mind’s eye in search of that unencumbered clarity?

When ‘The Blue Gnat’ agreed to embark upon such a journey, I asked if I could share the result of the experiment here. Having spoken with Blaine now for 2 years 5 months and 12 days, I can attest that the answer has not yet revealed itself, perhaps it never will. But there are more questions. Many more.

ᴼᵁᴿ HUMAN BELIEF ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ FLY ᴼᴺ ᵀᴴᴱ WALL


There’s an enigmatic third joker that exists within the deck of cards that we experience as our social web. Reprehensively, I have crossed paths with it with such a cyclicity, now, that I treat it with much less of a sense of humor than I once did. The playful tip of the hat acknowledgement of its presence, has now more given way to my seeing it maybe more as pathogen than that of a grin inducing nod toward its mischievous inherency. At this point, I have observed this specific psychology in action on multiple occasions, a truth which has been compounded by the sentimentality draped around the circumstances. The device becomes all the more effective when the observing stooge has his heart invested in the human agent. I am referring to a practice whereby lip service is given to public presentation, in which an individual claims to espouse certain ideals and values. However, if one has the chosen affordment of dealing directly with this many faced actor, and if they bask in the persona of the sycophant when the act is posed away from the stage of public proclamation, where there is no concealment, they then find out that there is a rife abundance of contradiction contained within the slanted actions of this oft cloned theatrical Montebank.

As a result of this ensnarement, what follows is that eventual reunion takes place on the public platform, where numerous others are now also gathered in conjunction along with the actor’s participation. It is in this moment that the observer, who considers themself to be a pseudo- representative of some semblance of an imagined virtue (more specifically, referring to me), feels a welling of undigestability in their throat when they see the projection of what is unmistakably a conjured front. The reaction is involuntary, as much as it is conscious, but leaves me tempted to almost think it more autonomic in its nature. The ease with which I have seen it performed is disconcerting. When one feels compelled to see life with untainted clarity, their hand is the one that becomes extended with a determined finger pointing at the large mammal in the room that is the only one possessing a large trunk for a nose. To make matters worse, our seemingly oblivious circus hand with the agaped look of awe, feels compelled to not only walk up to the magnificent creature, but to also walk about it, as well, studiously asking numerous logic based questions with exhausting simultaneity.

This precocious seer knows that the more genuine representation of the trunked performer has been revealed when the now numerous observers were not present before, unlike when they are all partaking of the same space now. Consequently, if the chosen guardian of sincerity chooses to speak up while this individual of cunning is presenting themself in full character (with now additional witnesses serving as an audience), for the audience to be considered respectful they are expected to play along, even while knowing the façade is bathed in, well, farce. Herein is where the trap becomes all the more intriguing. The ingenuity of the ploy makes the morally upright squealer, who is supposedly standing guard, instead, look like the menacing viper in the room that should be ostracized. Social convention bows to the expectation that no blunt and direct words of confrontation are in order. Yes, we know that banter is a normal thing in politics and on television, that people clashingly disagree on a regular basis, and that communal interaction regularly means cohorts discussing how they really feel about someone when said person of controversy is out of the room. It is in this way that perfunctory protocol is enabled, and the performance of life may continue on the stage while the public is gathered, with error correction being built in by the private conversations held in small groups away from the main platform. In everyday social settings, there can be an expectation of more reserve and decorum, if for no other reason, than for the sake of keeping communal order and sanity.

As a way of introducing myself, I may now say that I am the guy who came from the factory with defects. Rather contradictingly, when the crowd is gathered, it is that occasion when I feel most compelled to perform Sherlockian analysis. Does this fact mean that I rudely blurt out my opinions and ruin interaction with good company? No, it most certainly does not, as has historically been the case, and instead, I’m usually considered to be the least spoken person in the room. But, the illustration that remains is that even though I may not always overtly say what is on my mind, deep down, I’m believing that it needs to be said. As a result, a reader now somewhat becomes introduced to my life, for better or for worse, as it pertains to not only a discussion about considering the paranormal when weighed against science, but as well as in the social universe to which I am confined.

So, where did my journey really begin? Based on the specific and limited amount of writings that I have made available to the public, thus far, there may be the assumption that I have had a biased opposition to there being any seriousness with which paranormal claims should be taken. The few readers who have seen my words may feel that I am not sympathetic to belief, and that I am aligned with a resolve to relegating matters of belief to a dungeon of confinement that is constructed from stones of primitivity. The assumption may be that, philosophically, I follow the same paths as some of the brilliant science educators who have served on the public stage through media appearances with addresses to the public. I knew when I penned my first words of opinion on science and the paranormal, that these conclusions would be reached, because they had already happened to a journalistic mentor of mine before me. Because this mentor had such an adroit disposition as a thoughtful polymath, and because he was so gifted in communicating his assessment of logic towards any particular topic of his choice, it could easily be opined by the many that his commitment to a scientific understanding of our existence would preclude any of his own entertainment of any notion that involved belief of any sort. This thoughtful influence of mine was Martin Gardner, and before I become the cause for any misrepresentation of his own outlooks on science, philosophy, pseudoscience, literature, math, the paranormal, etc., I will quickly say that I do not always share the same opinions with him, nor am I anywhere near on the same intellectual par, as was Martin Gardner. I am simply calling upon his inspiration in this written submission, and I bear no endorsement from him or his laudable accomplishments. Like Gardner did in so many articles, I am only trying to put together my version of a written conglomeration in the way that he did, and I am eternally grateful that his written thoughts and example have been left behind permanently after his passing.

Gardner voiced his opinions on so many topics, while also having written a column for Scientific American for over two decades. He received mail from readers on a regular basis, some of whom challenged him on grounds of where they thought he must fall in terms of opinion, when in fact, they were challenging him on assumptions that were faulty. Some of the subjective assessments applied to him were simply not correct. There were those letter writers who wrote from a confidence that they must be certain of the platform from which he must assuredly be opining regarding his stances on certain topics. Here, on this blog, I have been given the opportunity to give a bit more of an insight as to where I, myself, am coming from, although I will try to keep it from being too overly revelatory. The main focus of this piece is still birthed in unison with a support for inquiry where finding data driven answers are as objectively formulated as they may be culled from good evidence.

If one reads the early pages in my book, “From Pieces to Poe,” they will learn about the traditional upbringing that I hail from, which is one from which I have never departed. Additionally, they will find out the mark that the passing of my grandparents left upon my life. Having to watch their suffering, and their succumbing to the ravages of cancer three years apart from one another, forever changed me and set my path before me. My questions about this marvelous cosmos that we inhabit emanated from a pain and emptiness from loss that exponentially complicated an already prior interest of an innate yearning to know. I never could have dreamed just where these aching questions would ultimately take me. I have learned more than I ever would have had I not taken the road less traveled, and yet, as one who was, in years past, so confident in the understanding that science has given humankind up to its current point in its history, I now find myself continually conceding deference to the fact that I know vastly less than what my assurance in the empirical process had ever given me in the fore. My venture is humanely driven, which is why I have made it a point to perpetually point back to the loss of my grandparents, so that it is always known that I am completely human in this enterprise. When it comes to discussion about belief, and philosophical and theological reckoning, I have always wanted to conduct myself with the most human of respect as can be shown. If this especially suited goal of mine is not achieved, then nothing else matters, and any scholastic efforts would drown from such a shortcoming of unwanted dissolution.

Therefore, the question becomes begged, why may have my writings sounded to be abrasive towards the topic of ghosts, and perhaps the entire spectrum that the paranormal covers? Well, let us hope that they may only sound abrasive, and in the words contained herein, I would very much like to dispel any notion that they have been meant to be abrasive. I will make every effort, here, to try and directly reference the questions that I have posed, as appearances can be quite deceiving, which is a very pertinent fact in my life’s game. I have spent the last twenty years of my life trying to dissect matters of asking what is true in regard to some of the biggest questions that we may all ask? Yes, some of my written words have been pointed, but certainly not because I am anti-belief, because I am against any possibility of ghosts existing, because I am not sympathetic to supernatural proposition, or because I am cynical or mean-spirited. There are few things I detest more than cynicism, as for some reason I cannot seem to share a room with it. What a reader must understand, in order to accurately grasp what I am trying to accomplish, is to understand that my efforts in writing about ghosts have been incredibly concentrated and very zoomed in. It is when one zooms out that they find that my more understanding outlook concerning the overall involves quite a bit of the traditional, mixed in with a romantic appreciation, which stems from a humble reverence for the grand pageant in which we are all a part.

But, no, what I have done in a more concentrated form, is to really make a go at splitting hairs over evidence that has been presented to the public. I have tried to hold that evidence to scientific standards, as best I know how, as well as measuring it against the application of logic when evaluating against reality as we seem to experience it on a daily basis. As a result, I’m always left asking any reader to consider this side notation of mine so that they are not left assuming that I am a debunker in my own personal nature. The term, “debunking,” can easily imply that there is a bias from the get-go, that will be allowed to carry over into investigation. I am here to adamantly say that such is not the case, and I have always intentionally bypassed any use of the term, “debunk.” I’m interested in objective answers, regardless of where they may really fall on the spectrum. What is important is not to fall for something purported to be true, when in fact, deeper research may mean finding a totally different revelation that is contrary to that which has been proposed. When dealing with evidence, I look to steer clear of bias, and to cling to sensibility. What one will also hear me saying is that if there is not enough data to satisfactorily address a noted event, to date, then we simply have to look for and/or wait for more data until the gaps can be filled in by good information, and not by that of conjecture.

Also, in stepping back from performing pointed analysis, I enjoy this whole over arching discussion about mystery as much as anyone, and within the context of my own predominant views. I have no problem delineating the contrast in that when I am looking at evidence, I am attempting to do so with the best methods that I have been able to learn from those individuals who, I feel, are the most qualified to speak to the subject based on their repertoires. But, independent of the rigor of critical assessment, once a more personal appraisal can be discussed, I can then speak with less reserve and from the heart, which often means my meekishly offering an, “I don’t know, but out of respect, I can wish,” form of a salutation. I think wishing should be allowed in a universe that is this marvelously constructed, regardless of whether one believes it to be constructed ultimately by a Designer, or by physical laws alone.

If I am willing to pardon this goodwill towards the ghost story, then why the need for such rigorous investigation in its measure? Why expend so much effort in taking the way an event is described, and then giving it a critique via unbridled reduction, when a ghostly explanation is so much more enjoyable for human nature? There was a time that one of my answers would have immediately involved that of an address about the welfare of the public. I really do not think it fair for the public to be told that things are a certain way, when, in fact, they may clearly be another, wherever cognizant reduction is applied. However, even though this retort is still a definite part of my answer, over time, I have learned that ultimately, I can only represent my own conviction as an individual, and that even an effort as noble as wanting to keep someone from being duped or misled can be met with resistance. But, in my case alone, I simply do not want to settle for false truth. I would love to see the evidence that assures me that my grandparents still exist in another realm outside of the physical one in which we reside. As much as that hope would pervade, I still am not willing to settle for contrived evidence in order to make the case, nor do I want to offend the beauty of the belief of faith, where there is already offered assurance that in the distance, there is a non-empirical hope that is supposed to be more real than we can imaginably know. And, of course, the absence of proof in the here-and-now, and in contemplations of thought experiments, do not, in and of themselves, mean that an afterlife does not exist. The twenty-first century society is incredibly educated, and it has that segment of its membership that winces at the idea of mentioning the possibility of an actual afterlife. After all, they have aptly ingested their science classes, as well as the popular promulgation of encouraged thinking that stresses the importance of enlightenment. However, what they may not necessarily know is that there is already a template for ascribing a tinge of the rational when discussing the possibility of an afterlife within the framework of a more substantive lingo, which can be discussed as a hypothetical, albeit a hypothetical only. This consideration can take place based on some speculative approaches towards a neuroscientific understanding of the brain, consciousness, and what happens when a person is technically deceased, but then revived.

I’m not meaning to sound preposterous here, as I inevitably would to someone of such respected advocacy of educational responsibility, like a Dr. Steven Novella, or by those who are of a like mind in the neuroscience and medical fields (or any other fields for that matter.) I certainly cannot say there is scientific proof of an afterlife. But, I would follow this previous sentence by including a very emphasized, “not, yet.” If a neuroscientific model such as the Orchestrated Objective Reality proposal ever proves itself as a candidate for explaining consciousness against quantum mechanics, or is in part correct, or some comparable version of it stands on its own or opens the door to a quantum understanding of the brain, then all of a sudden, we are sailing in some different waters. I’m not saying that the propositions of Orch OR automatically confirm an afterlife, for that is not the point of referencing its existence. It merely begins an attempt at putting forth a physics based explanation on how maybe consciousness could be at work in the human brain. I’m simply saying that if the model were to be true to some degree, then there could potentially be some interesting side discussions that would be resultant when stepping back and conducting a discussion regarding philosophical implications. And, furthermore, if it should ever be determined that matter really is a derivative of consciousness, as hard as that concept may be for many of us to wrap our heads around, and if near death studies were to accumulate more impressive and firmer data than what exists now, then we would already have a way in which we could fathom the reality of what we might call an, “afterlife,” within the boundaries of a more substantively based dialogue. It would be at such an introduction of these points where scoffers would accuse me of being the one sympathetic to pseudoscience here, even though I have just stated that my comments are not rooted in, as of yet, established science. However, what I have learned in my two decade endeavor of thinking about the big questions is that it is a mistake to dismiss some ideas too quickly, because what is not science today, may very well be established science once enough tomorrows have passed. I have embraced the re-realization that this universe is immensely amazing, and though I do not intend to overhype hypotheticals so as to irresponsibly or prematurely escalate them as having passed all the needed tests at this stage, I also do not intend to be so closed minded as to overlook any evidence that should warrant further study. To the contrary, I am spending my own time looking into the examples I have cited in this paragraph, because, especially in the case of the Orch OR model, I most definitely think that there is something to be found. In fact, I’m stating my public endorsement of the work proposed by Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose, as well as of those researchers who have opted to explore further into the propositions of the Orch OR model about a quantum based approach to consciousness. I thoroughly believe that the Orch OR model is in imperative need of being pursued, and that possibly it, or some variant, will help to lay necessary foundations and help to set science on a course for unlocking the amazement of consciousness in its operation.

All the same, in the way that I see reality, and in the way that I most prefer to engage it, I also see peril in buying into misinterpreted or misrepresented data. This caution label is still attached with me, even if skewed data might be more comforting to buy into if it would assure me that I could assume my deceased loved ones still exist somewhere else. In my book that I cited earlier, I spend a brief amount of time giving attention to some of the conundrums that can exist within this take on this investigative journey, because what if a piece of evidence, regardless of its merit, does give someone comfort? Do I want to take that comfort away? I really do not, as life can be hard enough as it already is. And, what I want to definitively say in my present words, if I were to get no other point across, is that I would never, ever want to be the reason that anyone decided to not believe in something. I would never want to take away a person’s trust in there being something more to our being, and I would find it to be horrific if anything I have ever written would foster any such outcome. It is just that for me, as a lone psyche, I simply cannot be satisfied with embellishment. My passion is to understand reality as it is, and not the way that I would prefer it to be.

My mother and father are in their mid-eighties now, and sometimes our conversations are interrupted by moments when the coldness of real life catches up with us, when we have to acknowledge the dreaded imposition of mortality. We are reminded to never take a single day for granted, and I try diligently not to do so. The memory of my grandparents keeps me vigilant in making sure that I do not leave anything unsaid with my parents. Nothing garners greater significance in my life than communicating to my parents that their value to me is that of the utmost. Loss teaches us not only to relish those who have departed, but to also never take for granted those who remain behind with us. Loss should encourage us to make sure that the remaining know of their personal significance within our affinities.

What enables the undergirded interaction with my parents is the tradition by which they and I have all chosen to adhere to for establishing a baseline by which we can find common footing. Martin Gardner, in some of the errant accusations that were directed at him, was judged, and understandably, by many to be an atheist. At least one individual who even knew him for years had drawn the same conclusion, but simply did so based on how Gardner broke things out rationally, as if perhaps to make himself sound like the world’s most staunch materialist. Yet, the reality was that Martin Gardner was not an atheist. Although he did leave the church, his belief in God remained with him throughout his life. Gardner called himself a philosophical theist, along with the additional tagging of calling himself a, “fideist.” In consistent form, he explained how he arrived at his decisions and belief, while also not excusing his own views from logic. Unlike Gardner, I have never left the church. Thus, I am left with having to justify a sympathetic appreciation for a more specific system of belief, and over time, for lack of any better description, I have come to refer to myself as a quantum subjectivist within the context of my own affiliated denomination. The moniker is merely a fancy way of taking conjecture from some unbridled discussions derived from the philosophical far side of quantum mechanics, while blending them with the philosophical school of subjectivism, all the while being framed against the Synoptic, Johannine, and Pauline writ. Wow, were you able to get all of that in one reading? But, how do these previous words serve as any illustration when alluding to my taking the time to speak a bit to my also having a healthy admiration for the subjective? Do I then still sound like the skeptically minded magician? Perhaps Gardner did not in some cases, nor do I, in some cases, and I really think it more satisfyingly balanced to say that I am actually glad that I do not sound to be the curmudgeon magician, all of the time.

When discussing belief, and the immense beauty that I find within it, the greatest hurdles for me have never had anything to do with the commonly cited list of logical gymnastics, crisis of doubt, theology, ontology, teleology, correspondence/coherence theory, human suffering, etc. What has served as the greatest academic impediment for me is the fact that some of my deepest remembrances have resulted from injurious misrepresentation by others over the ideals on which the faith is founded. Countless other individuals have issued the same citations in protest, but I am speaking in somewhat of a different way that is more logic based and not wrapped up in any juvenile focus over hypocrisy. My question becomes, how am I able to speak rationally to the irrational behavior by which I have been on the receiving end, delivered by some individuals who identify themselves readily with faith. These personal incidents have been highlighted and indelibly imprinted upon me by persons who claim to attribute their life foundations to faith persuasions, and yet, I could easily sit here and type in elaboration, with specific examples, as to just how calloused and ruthless they can be while giving themselves the total laterality for doing so. Remorse is not in their makeup. Since these individuals, of their own volition, have professed their religious affiliations, I always took assumption as to the code of ethics by which they would more than likely conduct themselves, even though the mini-magician in me knows better. I always engaged these specific individuals on the grounds of fairness due to my socially based grandeur, because of their public correlation with these belief systems. I expected that fairness was always the background by which they would police themselves, and that, in turn, I would also honor my respect for them through imparting fairness through my own action. In stark contrast, I came to experience an unforgettable unfairness that falls outside any rational application or thoughtful rumination having to do with any faith based set of behaviors. I was appallingly reminded of why I have always known to read persons through the eyes of magicians, because to not do so, is to always miss what is really underneath. It is this one core factor of thoughtless malfeasance which has made it so difficult for me to continue to try and execute a sensible dialogue when speaking to theological application to life. Logically speaking, these kinds of actions leave me in a, “does not compute,” mode, whereby I can no longer seem to even make an attempt at any intelligible address. After enduring these very key and life forming experiences, while always having tried to make sense of these contradictions, I have been left dumbfounded how individuals can lead such dual lives, where they can follow the rules of the streets when they so fit them, while their professed belief dangles as no more than a mere magic charm to be worn around their neck and invoked when needed. I am bewildered and left wondering if I can ever take part again in a discussion that I sentimentally miss, because of the aesthetics that it contains, but a discussion that also begs so much elucidation from the minds of the self-serving. My own mind grinds into a state of wheel lock where there has to be any consideration of professed believers defaming such a beautiful belief by retaining a theological narrative through which there is absolutely no application. More simply put, why bother proclaiming an ideology that implies standards, when their regard for most individuals should instead be considered as ambassadorship for sociopathy over that of any theistically acquainted God?

But, what is more important to note is that it is not the faith, itself, that is tarnished, in these instances, nor are the many individuals who do practice faith so nobly. I have certainly never lost my respect for the faith tradition or the individuals who represent it with such admirable devotion. No, I am simply left clueless by narcissists who identify themselves with a faith, and yet seem to represent everything that is the exacting opposite of its wonder. But, what the truly faithful know is that if there is any value to the faith, at all, then it is up to the individual to live up to its standard of fairness, regardless of whether anyone else chooses to return it in kind. It is in cases like the ones I referenced above where I am left to admit cognitively that the dream of life may always, at any time, be disrupted, the interruption though which we are awakened by that which is supposed to be good, and yet, humans are even able to find a way to stain the good with bad. But, whether faith or no, whether belief or no, whether ghosts or no, everything takes place within that context in which we must ante up to relegation in the acknowledgment of what we must recognize as the condition known as, “real life.”

Where this realistic admission has not been under appreciated by me is because of the fact that there is that part of me that has, unfortunately, seen itself forced into a jaded rationalist’s corner. In my appreciation for paradox, I know the danger of living on the only one side of the coin, which is that of the skeptical magician. There must be some sort of equilibrium brought about by temperance. The narrative on where I have found my footing for fairness extols the value of story when it is interjected into the thoughts of the pondering human mind. Story acts as a software patch through which one may choose to tend to vulnerable code. Were it not for the written illustration of Dark versus Light, perhaps I would entirely forget to pursue the Light in its stage given depiction with pre-Shakespearean performance. Does a heroic version of Dark really defeat an evil version of Dark? My hunch is that the Dark, of all varieties and persuasions, can only be trumped in the name of goodness by that of Light as consummate victor. Therefore, I choose to allow the infusion of storied goodness to keep me mindful of what it is that I do not want to become. The Dark protagonist may easily be every bit as heinous in motivation as is the Dark antagonist. Precipitously, there are more days when the Dark protagonist wins over that of the Light in my own life, for resignation always seems to carry with it a rationalized defeat that excuses anger and resentment. Ultimately, one has to ask what faith really means, because without clarity of definition, its introduced elixir as an inoculate into life may also potentially inject more dissonance into an already clouded reality.

In keeping with Gardner’s example, I try to hold myself to the logical side of any form of sought after elucidation from the world we inhabit when concerning thought based analysis. In matters of belief, while also admitting that there is no way for me to empirically document as to why I would hold any such sympathies, there is still that exposition that exists for justifying its welcome to the world in which I live. As humans, we cannot live an entirely unsubjective life. If we could, we would forego a multitude of amazing art works and songs. Hopefully, the revelation that I have sympathy towards belief allows the believer in ghosts to know that I am not trying to bash any surmising that ghosts exist, or any other form of beliefs, for that matter. I do, indeed, still have an inexpressibly high favor for the subjective. Therefore, it does lend me a consoling comfort that my parents and I can interact and share on a common plane, and the concept of theological structure gives us an anesthetic view on how to cope with a dreaded separation that physical reality says must come. I rue the processing of such a difficult predicament with which we must all deal in the human condition. I have felt enough loss to know that I do not want to have to endure it again.

But, in contrast, what about my emphasis on the objective? How did I go from being fourteen years of age, to pondering the cruelty of mortality, to pondering the meaning of life and its deepest questions, to eventually spending time, of all places, in haunted houses? There is a tradition that I am happy to have found, because it is this very inheritance that directly relates to why I typed up above that I have gained an education that I never would have otherwise procured. Magicians have offered so much more to the world than simply pleasing us with smile inducing tricks. They are quite an educated lot, and it takes a well rounded education to really represent the art in an impressive fashion. When it comes to their having spoken to matters of ghosts and investigation into the claimed existence of ghosts, they have brought with them an ever applicable skill set that must never be taken for granted. They need to be involved in this discussion so they can assist in providing some of the best reasoned offerings in the way of explaining hauntings, where they can most successfully be. Before I go into crediting some of the magicians who have been indirect teachers of mine (although a couple who are unlisted have been direct), I will first offer a little back history that best sets up their introduction. Magicians bring to the table a knowledge of human psychology, the history of the occult, the practice of role playing within an occultism setting, and then, of course, how to accomplish fakery. These aspects add to the versatility that is needed for observing a purportedly haunted environment, while seeking to not pronounce a haunting valid before it may be due any such a consecration.

Tim Prasil, professor of English at Oklahoma State University (brombonesbooks.com), has done a wonderful job at encapsulating the ensemble of the tradition onto which I stumbled years ago. I am first referring back to the Victorian Era, and as Prasil reminds us, if we start in the year 1800 and move forward, there is a line of demarcation that occurs in the world of thought on ghosts in that century. This line occurs around the year 1840. Prior to this year, there were skeptical efforts at dismissing ghosts with educated and, “scientific,” flair. John Alderson, John Ferriar, and Samuel Hibbert, were three of the intellects who proposed to have naturalistic explanations on how to explain away ghosts. And, Joseph Taylor put together a written work that reminded society that ration ought to be applied to the idea of ghosts in effort to escape the temptation to bow to superstition.

When there began to be a shift to not only a formal contemplation about the possibility of ghosts being evaluated among the educated, but to also pondering the question on scientific grounds, perhaps it makes sense that Cambridge University became a spearhead for the movement. There, the “Ghost Club,” originated, where like-minded thinkers could congregate and hold interchanges about ghosts in an academic setting, and the Society for Psychical Research also came to fruition in the midst of this Renaissance in regards to ghosts. Names such as Henry Sidgwick (economics), William Barrett and Oliver Lodge (physics), William Crookes (chemistry), Edmund Gurney, and William James (psychology), were all prominent members. I won’t recapture the full history here, as Dr. Prasil has already provided this fantastic overview in book form, but for the reader who may be interested in a more detailed account of the early efforts by the SPR should most definitely read Deborah Blum’s book entitled, “Ghost Hunters.”

In this Victorian foray, what is also interesting to note is the representation of writers accounted for in the sport of ghost chasing, along with their accompanying academicians and scientists. This inclusion captures my attention, because as much as I want to be an investigator, realistically speaking, when it comes to ghosts, I can only really regard myself as a written opinionist, and no more. Frank Podmore, the English author, wrote some critically viable appraisals of Spiritualistic sittings. Catherine Crowe, also a writer of the time, advanced the idea that ghosts could be put to the test on grounds of science. Joseph McCabe, the free-thinker writer and former priest, also took Spiritualism to task in the 1920s, and he was critical of the views held by Arthur Conan Doyle and William Crookes. Two other literary names of note, who took part in this tackling of the topic of ghosts included Charles Dickens, and the just mentioned debater of Joseph McCabe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Additional history of interest during this time, and in this paramount discussion, involved that of the exchange between Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle. And, it is with the introduction of this pair and their exchange about Spiritualism that I can now segue into the world of magicians, the afterlife, and critical thinking.

It was because of the advent and popularity of Spiritualism, and proclaimed communication with the departed in the Victorian Era, that gave magicians an important and valued voice in this esoteric part of history. Seances and medium trances were supposed to be channels of demonstrating the authenticity of spirit contact, which gave magicians tangible transpirations to monitor and to observe, and to explain. There became a wonderful cadre of colorful personalities that joined these pursuits, and history records the conclusions that they reached in their insights.

John Nevil Maskelyne, the London based magician and great of the stage, also helped to expose some of the problems native to Spiritualist practices. Hereward Carrington did the same, but Carrington also held on to some pseudoscientific predilections, and did not find himself as far along on the spectrum of stolid and committed skepticism as were some other magicians. Henry Ridgely Evans was a knowledgeable historian of magic who wrote books that helped to explain the actuals behind some of the spectacles of the Spiritualist performers. Julien Proskauer addressed the matter of Spiritualism, as well, and Joseph Rinn was an ardently skeptical magician, discouraging any falling for the assumption that any contact with the deceased had ever been demonstrated. Joseph Dunninger, who is a great influence of mine, spent a great deal of time addressing the discussion over psi based claims, and a magician here in my hometown was kind enough to impart to me an item documenting Dunninger’s magical act so I could have it as a keepsake. Dunninger passed away in 1975, and Milbourne Christopher, another influence of mine, wrote books that educate us on how to think about evaluating fantastic feats when it comes to supposedly making contact with the other side. Christopher passed away in 1984, and was a true scholar of magic, and like Dunninger, had as much authority to speak on Spiritualism’s performance art as anyone. But, as influential as these gentlemen have all been in my pursuit of what the final word is on ghosts, sometimes I think about how much I have in common with Fulton Oursler. After being the agnostic and skeptical magician for years, later in life, Oursler found room in his life for Catholicism, and he wound up writing some particular books that perhaps betrayed philosophical developments that were to come later in his life. Maybe the cautious and wary magician came full circle from his original upbringing. Some might say that I have come to sound more like Oursler than the other magicians I credit most for having been my influences, including Gardner. I’m not even sure I understand this observation myself. But, I think this admission may have more to do with the fact that going out into the field simply taught me not to take anything for granted. A couple of situations that I encountered showed me how life can easily show us just how smart we are not. We go to investigate to see how things are, and not how we assume that they ought to be.

It was the introduction to the kind of work that these gentlemen of wizardry conducted, which became the foundation for my Sherlock Holmes, “wannabe,” status, and that is still amply applied by me during the creation of this blog entry. Of course, there are other names from magic I could mention. But, in moving forward through the Victorian Era up to the middle part of the twentieth century, that is when we can pick up the setting of the stage for me to eventually run across the work of one Martin Gardner. Persi Diaconis, another magician influence of mine, writes of his days as a youth while going to the Cafeteria on 42nd Street in New York. Diaconis is a magician and a wonder with cards, he observed how Ted Serios was able to accomplish his psychic photography through trickery, and he is a math professor at Stanford University. He recalls how magicians would gather at 42nd Street on weekends and demonstrate and talk about magic, among other things. One of those magic enthusiasts was Martin Gardner, the exceptionally gifted thinker who taught me how I should reason my way through any and all areas of interest that I may have. Gardner, and Ray Smullyan, yet another magician and a mathematician who taught at Indiana University, have both served as Master Instructors for me when considering how to think my way through this great mystery we call life.

As much as I have learned from Skeptics (capital S in reference to nationally and globally known commentators), and as much as I have them to thank for my progression along this self-chosen path, I hold many views with which they would disagree, which is more than fine. We all have to work our way through the labyrinth and try to estimate reality as best we can through observation and experience. My own skepticism has been slightly altered over the past couple of years, but not in any negligent sort of way. The beauty of science is that you wait for new data, and when that data comes, if it is good and solid data, then adjustments are made accordingly. I have had my own new data come in, and I have, indeed, had some things very wrong in the past. I used to feel that anomalies were either simply a result of the way events were filtered and processed, or that they were simply statistical in nature. But, now, I am not such the skeptic that I dismiss the presence of outright anomalies. I have come to believe that the cosmos is more bizarre than I ever could have imagined, but when I type the word, “bizarre,” I do so as a synonym for its compatriot in the word of, “beauty.” Genuine anomalies are a good thing, because they mean there are additional answers that need to be pursued in order to construct a more complete understanding of our cosmos. They mean that there is more data that needs to be collected. In other words, I simply believe in going and testing, which is why I jovially call myself a perinormalist, and not a paranormalist.

In some of the modified opinions that I have changed in recent months, such tweaks have not been egregious by way of rush to judgment. Basically, I have simply come to reiterate what I said from the very start. Rather than sitting back in armchair skeptic fashion, I sincerely cling to the conviction that claims should be tested. Of course, where financial resources or brilliant minds might have to be allocated towards such study, then there may need to be ample assurance that there is valid reason for taking the time to test. Wasted resources would be a travesty, and wallowing in pseudoscience would equally be, as well. But, where there is good evidence for suggesting so, I don’t think the proper spirit of science is to dismiss something, a priori, if there may be grounds for taking a closer look. In my own microcosmic and insignificant little world, I have done everything from having a psychic to sketch my, “soulmate,” to watching ghost hunters in action, to staying the night alone in a home that is supposed to have a poltergeist, to taking part in a watch party for a haunted house that was featured on the Travel Channel, etc. I’m continually giving the paranormalist every chance to make their case. If there is anything to be found in paranormal consideration, however minuscule, then I would prefer to find it, versus skipping it in advance and reasoning that it cannot exist. But, thus far, I cannot say as I have had the pleasure of encountering a ghost.

As a result of this one main disappointing fact, it is now where we may reduce the last twenty years of my life, which comes down to a discussion about the philosophy of science. Writer, comedienne, and podcaster, Carrie Poppy, gave an informative TED Talk that is viewable on YouTube. In the presentation, she talks about how she wound up making contact with a skeptically based group that assists people with claimed haunt phenomena. Her individual case was one where there was definitely something going on at her residence, but after connecting with the right investigators, she wound up learning that she had been the victim of a carbon monoxide buildup at her home, versus that of any malevolent ghost. And, she winds up giving an affable close to her talk after speaking to how, we, the collective populus, live our lives with both objective and subjective experiences. In between, she works in a line in regard to the Resurrection by saying, “Well,…” My reaction to her caveat was to think about the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey, Jr., in which Sherlock Holmes is faced head on with the prospective case of a rising dead man. The Resurrection will obviously always serve as an inviting target for Skeptics, so for the sake of initiating a dialogue over the philosophy of science, which is something I have been doing full-on in recent months, my choosing to play the part of aggravator, for the sake of discussion, in response to Carrie’s sidebar would be as follows. Until a few months ago, I did not give a single odd of favorability to there being credible UAP footage caught on sophisticated radars and cameras. Of course, some of the Skeptics who have been mentors to me would fault me right away on making any leaping assumptions about UAP footage and the potential vulnerabilities of even high tech cameras, but I do not feel that I am leaping. When considering the collective body of evidence surrounding these UAP claims, with radar and testimony being considered along with video footage, my belief is that there is something there entirely worthy of study. And, the greater point I am making here is that we can become overconfident in how we think the universe functions, and in how, by default, we think it fundamentally is in its operation. My whole aim for ever having gone out into the field was to see how the universe really runs, because at my house, there were never any bumps in the night, there were no unexplained voices, and there were never any apparitions. I lived in an environment that I needed to escape from if I was really going to put things to the test. Here, I am hailing what I believe to be the task of good science, which is to go and to explore, and to not sit back. There is a reason I admire Professor Avi Loeb for having taken the position that he has when considering the nature of scientific inquiry. In the year 2021, there were aspects of my prior skepticism by which I became embarrassed. Although I was only trying to use logic and a reliable measuring stick for taking the stances that I did, there was also a time in my past when I emphasized imaginative problem solving, with no biased prevalence to dismissal by default. Had I sat back and missed these last two years of my own experience, I would still be stuck in a Cartesian-Newtonian version of a world only.

What would be wrong with that, especially since I am a fan of the work of both Descartes and Newton? Well, nothing, if that is where the story really ends. But, I’m convinced without doubt, that as far as science is concerned, there is so much more to be learned that is going to shake some of the very foundations on which my teachings at the University were based. There is much more to come, and regrettably, the classroom may be one of the last places to catch up because of certain attitudes that have dominated the scientific landscape. Yes, science has to be conservative by nature, because it cannot go around allowing all proposed ideas to walk through its doors if the necessary rigors have not been met. However, it also cannot thrive if it rejects important evidence, and I thoroughly believe that the indicators are there where science will come to reveal that what we would have considered stranger than fiction to actually be more real than what we ever knew.

Bias can hurt science in either direction. Science definitely suffers with the admission of any quackery within its boundaries, but it also becomes maimed if it is kept from investigating where impressive evidence begs to be given an ear. The staunch materialists and naturalists, repeatedly, have shown resistance to a more relaxed malleability of what may be deemed to be of legitimate inquiry. But, what if such resistant resolve were to cause the missing of some fascinating nugget that the universe might be willing to give up? I have held myself against materialistic and naturalistic standards while going out into the field and looking into ghost stories, because that philosophical foundation can work to help keep the inquirer honest and to tamper the influence of pre-existing assumption of any form. These philosophical underpinnings can help to prevent us from diagnosing from predisposition, even when we may not be suspecting it.

And, yet, we live in a reality where there is quantum mechanics. We live in a cosmos where we have to try and explain consciousness. We live in a reality where the proposition exists that matter could potentially be a derivative of consciousness, depending on one’s reductionistic views. There was a time when I would have been the first to resist any such of a notion that there was anything more fundamental than the physical constituents on which the matter in the universe is comprised. In the same way that Martin Gardner was considered a, Mysterian, within a group of impressive thinkers considering the question of consciousness, I too, have to wrestle with this question. What I do know is that if the Orchestrated Objective Reality proposition ever becomes a victor in neuroscientific thought someday, and that if we have to entertain consciousness in terms of quantum fields, rather than inhibiting it to computation through neuronal action alone, then the world as we know it now, changes dramatically. There could conceivably be major questions answered, while new ones would be raised, as well as the instigated spurrings of thought on why some things thought impossible before, may, in fact, not be impossible, at all.

I know that in my own personal grief over the course of time, and in knowing that some of the people I have cared about the most, some have had to be counted in the company of the kind of actor that I have alluded to in my opening paragraphs. The resentment that stems from having to relinquish this admission, on more than one occasion, makes it tempting to want to forever remain the angry magician who looks no farther than materialism and naturalism for explanation, and to cling to the posit that there is a normal explanation for everything. It is this half of me that wants to emerge as dominant when I am standing in a group of people knowing that an illusion is being performed, a happening in which I cannot bring myself to watch or to accept that is really occurring. Yes, performance and illusion I have encountered, but I have never encountered a ghost, nor the direct evidence that would definitely suggest ghosts exist, in the sense that we typically define them. But, there is one unfortunate way for me to definitely see a ghost, which is not the preferred way, nor would it be experienced in the form of the good will in which I have expressed interest by way of healthy inquiry and by way of my previously written sentences. For, if I were to relinquish myself to that phantom which drains the optimism of every soul that has looked up in wonder at a night sky while feeling a humble joy, then the one and only ghost I would ever, assuredly see, would be that of…




(Illustrated by abramsdesign)

In the year 1994, on the 16th of September, 12:12 PM, something deemed ‘unidentifiable’ was observed flying ‘very fast’ over Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa (Astronomers across the region soon reported that the “pyrotechnic display”, seen as far afield as Zambia and Botswana, had been a meteor showermg.co.za). This UFO sighting was observed by many people throughout these vast regions, with varying observations. Some claiming to have seen 2 large red/orange balls traveling silently across the sky. Others describing multicolored orbs. Or a single large orange glowing mass, as one woman stated to reporters at the time, “I just saw a glow over my chicken run. A very orange glow. It was just a big round ball.” The greatest commonality in all accounts, being the corroborating time and date, the 16th of September, 1994.

Most peculiar of all though, is that it’s said that something especially unworldly occurred on this same date, at approximately the same time, in the same region of the world. An unusual event, occurring at the Ariel private elementary school, in Ruwa, Zimbabwe. While 62 school children aged between 6 and 12 were out of the classroom, playing, eating, something strange was sighted in the clear blue morning sky by the students outside. According to many of the children who were most verbal about the event, there were 3 UFOs/UAPs observed flying above the school and surrounding areas (some claiming only 1 single silver craft). Of these dome-shaped ‘silver crafts’, one descended in a nearby field. Soon after, 2 humanoid figures exited the craft, appearing to be wearing tight-fitted black clothing, with pale faces, small or non-existent mouths and noses, with large black eyes. These figures then approached/engaged the children.

At this point the students accounts begin to diverge and vary greatly. Some students claiming that 1 being approached them (as the students grouped in astonishment/bewilderment/fear), others stating there were 2. Some saying that the figures walked, others claiming that they floated and their feet never touched the ground (one student recorded to have stated that the figures moved in a way to suggest mimicry/mockery, skipping/hopscotch movements replicating movements observed by students in such a fashion prior to their arrival). Many of the students claimed that the figures stared at them and that they were compelled to stare back.

During this time, the children believed they received warning ominous visions, regarding various environmental catastrophes. A desolate world, destroyed by pollution or nuclear holocaust. Students believed they were given information by the figures, that all regarded negative human impact on this planet. One student, ‘Emily’ claims to have seen images of environmental decline and was told telepathically that technology needs to be used more responsibly. Several students have put forward the notion (as adults) that they believe time was somehow being distorted throughout the duration of the encounter. One student remarking that she felt as though, despite wanting to, she was unable to break eye-contact with the figure staring at her. While many students agreed that the entire event felt as though it lasted about 15 minutes, fewer children witnessed the beings walk/float back to the craft and fly away. Most claiming that the being(s) along with the craft(s) vanished abruptly.

“When the spaceship had landed, all the insects and ants and stuff like that were all dead and there was a huge black mark there. My mum said there might have just been a fire there, but I don’t think there was, I think it was an alien ship. The ground was burnt and all the living things had died there.”

“It was at break time and then we saw something shiny. And we saw two people, wearing black, tight black suits, and they had big eyes. And a small, well, we didn’t actually see the nose, it was quite small. And their mouth was quite small, as well. One of them was running in slow motion, across the ship, and the other was standing beside the ship.”

“He had a long scrawny neck and huge eyes like rugby balls. He had a pale face with long black hair coming below his shoulders.”

“I could see the little man, about a meter tall, was dressed in a black, shiny suit, that he had long black hair and his eyes, which seemed lower on the cheek than our eyes, were large and elongated. The mouth was just a slit and the ears were hardly discernible.” [Adult reflecting on the childhood experience.]

“I had nightmares about it for about a year but then I stopped dreaming about it. I dreamt that, um, the same one I saw, with the dark hair, he came into my bedroom and he took me from my bed, I woke up and screamed.”

—Observations made by students/witnesses, during the many interviews that followed the event.

Students at Ariel Private school being interviewed about the UFO event, 1 year later.

The primary Ufologist and investigator involved with this occurrence was Cynthia Hind, who was the first to thoroughly investigate the site for any signs of evidence to really suggest if something out of the ordinary occurred. Hind found no scientific abnormalities, no readings of radiation or magnetism, no scorched earth, nothing to suggest any unusual event transpired there at all. Hind also spoke with 62 of the students (willing to discuss the event), documenting their claims and experiences. Dr John E. Mack, who was in Africa investigating the Abduction Phenomena throughout the continent also questioned many of the children, and examined the differences and commonalities of their claims.

Hind, drawn to the Ariel school UFO sighting, having been contacted with multiple odd events/sightings, the days prior, all following a recent meteor shower. The meteor shower, in more ways than one, acting as a potential catalyst to the events to come, legitimate or otherwise.

“Astronomers across the region soon reported that the “pyrotechnic display”, seen as far afield as Zambia and Botswana, had been a meteor shower. Hind, though, recorded receiving dozens of reports of a capsule-like fireball, trailing fire and flanked by two smaller capsules. She also received several reports of alien sightings around the same time: a young boy and his mother reported a daylight sighting; a trucker who had seen strange beings on the road at night. And then, on September 16, Hind received the report from Ariel School, which she records as Case 96, and describes as ‘one of the most exciting UFO stories of this or any year'”.

Remembering Zimbabwe’s Great Alien Invasion, 4th of September, 2014

Cynthia Hind made this remark in her record of the event, “one little girl said to me, ‘I swear by every hair on my head and the whole Bible that I am telling the truth.’ I could see the pleasure on her face when I told her that I believed her.”

In a closing statement in the article, Remembering Zimbabwe’s Great Alien Invasion, one of the students (given the false name, Sarah), claiming to be one of the last remaining witnesses to this event, still living in Zimbabwe, 2014, gave this insight:

“You want to know the real message here? The real message is that this stuff can brand you for life. It undermined Mack’s credibility, became this huge unending thing for others, and it certainly fucked me up. I mean, try telling people that you live in permanent fear of these things returning one day. Try telling them that you can actually sense when they’re back in our atmosphere. They’ll think you’re a kook. All this lot do,” she said, casting mock-angry eyes down the bar at a fellow boozer, who raised his glass and said: “True, but we love you anyway, Sê.”

Despite her patently thick skin, a look of extreme sadness entered Sarah’s eyes for a moment, as she pretended to watch her fingers pulling the label from a beer bottle.

At the time of writing this sentence, the event occurred 27 years ago. It’s easy to think the story began and ended in Zimbabwe as individuals reflect over their strange experience in quiet bars over a drink. But the story didn’t actually begin in Zimbabwe at all, and the event hasn’t ended for a few reasons. Not only are the witnesses haunted to this day, but these events continue to be recorded around the world.

You might say these Schoolyard sightings began in the 60’s in Australia, (1) the Westall High School, UFO sighting at 11:00 AM, April 6th, 1966, Victoria, Australia. But that is likely not the case at all, despite impacting in some instances hundreds of lives, the events can pass by eerily unknown or unspoken of for generations.

(2) Crestview Elementary School, 11:00AM, April 6th, 7th and 8th, 1967, Florida, USA.

(3) Broad Haven Primary School, 12:00 AM, February 4th, 1977, Cheshire, England.

(4) Ariel Primary School, 12:12 PM, September 16th, 1994, Ruwa, Zimbabwe.

Could UFO phenomena be somehow drawn to Schools?

“No Men in Black came around to bother Mr. Elmore. I was the first reporter to talk to him. When he showed me the field I was perturbed to find it was right next to the Duncan Falls Elementary School. An unusual number of sightings and Fortean events seem to be concentrated around schools and the largest percentage of witnesses consists of children between the ages of seven and eighteen.”

John A. Keel, The Mothman Prophecies, 1975

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is westallufoschool.png

“For the past 170 years, schools have been targeted by UFOs. There are more than 100 cases on record, coming from across the world. Half of the cases occur at elementary schools. Thirty percent of the cases involve landings or humanoids. They are coming for our children.”

Preston Dennett, Schoolyard UFO Encounters, 2019

Preston Dennett (Author of Schoolyard UFO Encounters) claims to have researched approximately 120 cases of UFO sightings around school grounds. Estimating that one third of these sightings involve the UFO landing in close proximity to onlookers, many of those events also involving being exiting the crafts.

Is the commonality of schoolyard sightings simply a collective of over-imaginative individuals that want to derail the tedious order of things, force the adults into a game that the children want to play? Is it a fantasy that takes hold and spreads like wildfire, consuming truth in it’s wake. Are those that make these claims the victims of mass hysteria, delusion, or some form of deception? Strangest of all, are these people not only telling a truthful account of what they observed, but what was observed, occurred, exactly as they experienced it. The question then arises, why are ‘they’ so interested in the children of our world?


(Animation by Becky Clacey)

There are an innumerable amount of items that can change the outcome of an equal amount of situations. Someone carrying an Epinephrine auto-injector might save a child’s life during an allergic reaction to a bee sting. Someone carrying a comb might be able to help you look more presentable after a moped ride to a job interview. The point is, we live in a world riddled with gadgets, devices, implements and tools that can help us in a variety of ways. However, for whatever reason, I decided to talk about 9 items from my personal arsenal of accessories, that I believe could be of use to someone else out there, whoever they happen to be. I say ‘arsenal’ but nothing listed here is definitively considered a weapon, there are often unexplored options to resort to before violence, even in self-defense. The inspiration for this topic came about recently, when speaking with an individual who after being mugged several times stopped wanting to leave his home. I wanted to share some of my suggestions with him, as I’m sharing with you now. Being prepared for the unknown isn’t about living in fear, it’s about regaining even just a little bit of control in all the chaos of uncertainty.

All advice intended for educational purposes only, I can’t definitively guarantee the outcome of the situations spoken about here, and I take no responsibility for what an individual does with the information provided.

Item 1. ᵀᴴᴱ Decoy Phone/Wallet

When venturing areas (often alone) where crime/theft is a possibility we find ourselves having to make certain gambles. We gamble with the possibility that one (or more) unsavory types given the opportunity may attempt to rob us of our valuables. This practice of burglary has been going on throughout the entirety of human civilization and it isn’t likely to cease any time soon. One option, that many wish they had of looked into, usually after being mugged, is if only they could have plucked some wallet/phone/jewellery from thin air to give their mugger, instead of losing their own valuables. Thus, the concept of decoy items. An individual needs only carry an old phone, a false wallet with possibly fake or expired cards, or even cards that trigger a response from certain authorities. You part with the decoy, you part ways with the mugger, and assuming the ruse works as intended, you keep all of your valuables.

Item 2. ᵀᴴᴱ Personal Alarm System – Pull Cord

Small relatively cheap devices (usually under $20), activated by pulling a cord triggering the mechanism, setting off an alarm (many products audible siren sounding at around 120 decibels). The possibility for use with this item is extremely underrated. The product is intended to draw attention to you so that others may come to your aid, but it has many other uses. Essentially an ear piercing grenade, this device can act as the mother of all distractions and misdirection. You see something going on that you know is wrong, perhaps a crime in the making, an assault, but you know you put yourself in danger by approaching. Pull the cord and throw, mark the location with an audible spotlight. In some instances, if an individual believes they have set off some kind of alarm/siren, it will trigger panic and pandemonium to ensue and may result in the assailant(s) retreating. Of course, there’s always the possibility that it doesn’t go as planned so weigh up the concerns before hurling 120 decibel sirens about willy-nilly. (Additional use for pull cord alarm systems – tack cord to the bottom of a door, tack speaker to the door frame. Acts as a makeshift ‘break and enter’ alarm, can be applied to hotel rooms/temporary stay, tents/camping etc.)

Item 3. ᵀᴴᴱ UV Flashlight

Have you ever wanted to know the story behind the story? Keeping an ultraviolet flashlight upon your person is like gaining an insight into what’s really been going on everywhere around you, in some instances giving you too much information. Not only can a UV light reveal what has recently been touched (along with the fingerprints), you can discover foot prints and see where spills have occurred, even after being wiped clean, otherwise invisible to the naked eye. If you find yourself in what feels like a serial killer’s home and there is a moment of opportunity when the suspicious party leaves you alone, should you turn on your UV light and observe what appears to be a blood spattered crime-scene, vacating said domicile may be a prudent decision.

Item 4. ᵀᴴᴱ Grappling Hook

Ideally the collapsible stainless steel climbing grappling hook for packing convenience. Having the grappling hook securely tied to however many ft of rope you’re prepared to carry. You might be thinking, “good god, how detached from reality is this person to suggest carrying a grappling hook around publicly,” and your concerns are entirely justified. It’s highly unlikely you’ll come across a situation where you will be able to put a grappling hook to use. But in the event that there is a need for some descent, or some bold escape, your friends, your loved ones and/or any onlookers will bear witness to someone unpacking a grappling hook and hurling it to anchor before scaling down or up the rope to safety. Forgive me, but that’s the sort of the world I want to live in, where batman-esque escapes occur because ordinary individuals happened to be carrying grappling hooks.

Item 5. ᵀᴴᴱ Cable Tie

The humble cable tie (sometimes known as zip ties) is possibly one of the most useful items in existence. In isolated areas, stranded on seldom driven country roads, faced with a multitude of mechanical hurdles, cable ties were the only thing I had in ample supply. Time after time they could be used to solve so many of the problems that would arise. A cable tie provides an extremely quick way to bond things together, using multiple cable ties of appropriate sizes can achieve extremely strong bonds. Cable ties are also sometimes used as an alternative to handcuffs. To this day, I regularly find uses for cable ties.

Item 6. ᵀᴴᴱ Most Powerful Flashlight

As it stands, the most powerful flashlights produce around about 12000 lumens. It’s said that around 1000 lumens, especially at night shined directly into a persons eyes can cause temporary blindness. An extremely powerful flashlight can disorientate an assailant providing a means to evade further confrontation. Aside from a means of self-defense, an intense beam of light can act as a long distance visual signal. 12000 lumens in the wilderness can reunite lost members of your group, even in extremely dense bush land, in some instances visual from afar, illuminating the tops of trees if the flashlight is aimed directly up.

Item 7. ᵀᴴᴱ Radio Frequency Detection Device

Often referred to as bug detectors, these devices are designed to detect most forms of radio frequency transmissions. Primarily used to detect if there are listening or monitoring devices in use, but hidden and transmitting a frequency elsewhere. They won’t work if the devices are sending information via a cable connection. Frequency detection devices can locate portable microphones and cameras, wi-fi devices, devices accessing wireless signal, mobile devices, phones/tablets. I’ve heard of individuals to have discovered their spouse/partner had planted a tracking device in their vehicle, via the use of a radio frequency detection device. Also, makes the locating of a misplaced phone more enjoyable.

Item 8. ᵀᴴᴱ Blood Capsule

Blood capsules, very cheap capsules you bite down onto, powder/liquid released from capsule mixes with saliva, produces what appears to be dark crimson blood. Usually sold as accessories to vampire costumes or in practical joke stores. Now we’re getting into unusual territory. This may come across as dishonest, deceitful and misleading, but there are certain circumstances where leading someone to believe that you are coughing up blood, may be beneficial to you or even ensure your safety. We all know that claiming to be suffering from diarrhea is the golden ticket out of any situation in this world without question, we know that. But ‘some’ would-be attackers/harassers/muggers can be bewildered/panicked at the sight of someone coughing up blood. The reaction would vary depending on assailant to assailant, many may not care in the slightest. Alternatively, an individual coughing/spitting up copious amounts of blood could also serve as an effective distraction/diversion. At the very least, it’s an escape plan for a very bad date, “would you excuse me, I was stabbed earlier and need to seek medical attention immediately”.

Item 9. ᵀᴴᴱ Unbreakable Umbrella

I did mention nothing listed would be definitively considered a weapon, and that is essentially true. For all intents and purposes, The Unbreakable Umbrella is just an umbrella, but when it comes to self-defense, an unusually durable umbrella is more than meets the eye. You likely won’t find a more civilized looking weapon, that is entirely legal to carry (as far as I’m aware) pretty much anywhere on the planet. If it comes down to it, and violence is the final resort, you might as well be equipped with a baton to strike back at your assailant(s). Also, if it happens to rain afterwards, I imagine the umbrella could be useful for that occasion also.

ᴵᴺ LIEU ᴏғ RHYME ᴏʀ REASON: ᴡʜᴇʀᴇ LOGIC ɢᴏᴇs ᴛᴏ DIE

(Animation by Dualvoidanima)

There is and always has been an ordinance of belief in effect upon this world. Anywhere and everywhere that mankind goes, his beliefs too, go with him, along with the repercussions associated with said belief. Some beliefs are more palatable than others, some can be proven with various practices, but a great many beliefs are enforced/controlled by popular opinion (or the manipulation/distortion of such). Some things, even if someone sees it with their own eyes, hears it with their own ears, they will doubt the event ever occurred at all. Believing rather, that they were deceived, that their memory is somehow erroneous, a spell of madness temporarily took hold of them, nullifying their senses. The ordinance, must not be questioned, this universe is governed by a set of rules and those rules cannot be broken. Until of course, “the universe,” chooses to behave quite altogether different, changing the rules of engagement entirely.

Our experiences with this world, this reality, go on to shape and mould us in a multitude of ways that we can barely imagine. Our imaginations, too, anchored to this very same existential experience. Somehow, somewhere, somewhen a singular event unfolds, that defies all logic and reason. A singular event that by all rights, by the laws of physics, the laws of nature as they are understood, should not be possible to have ever occurred at all. An event where the rules of logic and physics are effectively broken. What are the repercussions upon the individual(s) to witness one such event? Let alone, a lifetime of such events?

One thing is clear: strangeness, it seems, begets strangeness.

I noticed the screen of my phone illuminate before the sound of the call began, upon answering, an old familiar voice said, “surely we’re not the only ones who still remember what happened?” Flickers of memory cascaded through my mind’s eye, the dust rising over the road as the frill-neck lizard chased after me, hissing, all the way home from school. The mute little girl riding on the back of her German-shepherd, an uncannily gentle creature that would later be murdered by one of the many insidious characters of that time and place. The bizarre inkblot-like formation the spilled blood made as it pooled over the cement as they relentlessly tortured the albino boy. It all seemed like strange details in some obscure work of fiction now. “It was an unusual time, looking back, it’s sort of like trying to remember a dream,” I replied. “Or a nightmare, probably better off forgotten,” the voice said.

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

—Friedrich Nietzsche

I shuffled the deck, without looking at the cards. Splitting the deck, I turned over one of the cards. “Four of hearts,” she said, I looked down and smiled. “I wonder what’s the record for guessing cards right, this many times in a row,” I wondered aloud. My grandmother’s voice spoke from across the room, “but she isn’t guessing.”

Three people were seated at a restaurant awaiting their meal. Of the three beverages delivered to the table, one was a can of coke cola, tiny beads of liquid perspiring down the chilled aluminum can. Throughout the exchange of general chit-chat one individual’s attention was drawn to the can as it began to slowly spin 360 degrees. Immediately all three individuals looked at the can and inspected underneath the table, laughing and dumbstruck by the seemingly odd behavior of physics unfolding before them. As they slid their chairs back from the table, their eyes fixated on the can, the can then slowly slid/moved (itself?) approximately 30 cm along the table, before coming to a halt. A young waitress approached the table and asked, “am I crazy or was that coke just moving?” Another patron added, “the table must be uneven, it looked like that from over here too.” There was shock, there was laughter, there was speculation, but then the nattering, the general chit-chat returned. Years later, a doubtful anecdote, at best, a mere question mark remains. There has to be a logical explanation, even if one cannot fathom what that explanation actually is.

A maintenance electrician arrives on site, parking where he always does, every morning. He exits his vehicle and prepares himself a coffee, as he does every day. He returns to his vehicle to sit in the driver seat to consume it. While drinking his beverage, sat in his vehicle he notices a familiar face in the distance, an old work mate he had not seen in years. Making his way toward this individual, he drops his coffee and falls to his knees with the concussive blast of a high pressure explosion. As the ringing in his ears subsides and he shakes the scolding hot coffee off of his hands, he looks back to his vehicle, specifically the front driver’s seat. The windscreen shattered, piping protruding through the metal frame of the vehicle, having burst through the driver’s head rest. The electrician observed visibly shaken upon the inspection of his vehicle, quickly coming to the conclusion that this old acquaintance he intended to catch up with, had inadvertently saved his life. So the tradesman began asking, where is this person, where is he. But he is reminded that he’s in shock, and not to worry about it. Later discovering that not only was the person he thought he had seen not on site that day, he had not been on any site for years, he had died in a workplace accident several years earlier. The question mark haunts this individual still.

Tragedy, she told me, echoes through time, sending shock-waves through memory, through generations, through worlds that cascade into oblivion. It would be another two decades before she would explain just how tragic certain events truly were, but the truth, it seems, found its way into my understanding long before it needed to be spoken. Wandering the abandoned asylum as a child, what I assumed were merely conjurations of my mind, the kind of stories that unfold in thought, were events that actually transpired in that abysmal place, to relatives that I never knew. Now, a memory of a memory, there is no meaning, there is no clarity or closure, merely a question mark, contributing to an ever estranged relationship with reality itself.

I was awoken in the middle of the night by a phone call, I didn’t recognize the number or even the area code. I could hear the familiar sounds heard within the carriage of a train, moving along the tracks. I could hear unintelligible voices in the background, it didn’t sound English. Then what sounded like a female voice saying, “Kappa… Kappa… Kappa.” I replied, “Hello, who is this?” I could hear the sounds of a train a moment longer, then they hung up. This went on for months, happening one night every few weeks, usually after midnight. It became apparent to me, that the word Kappa, 河童 in Japanese meant ‘river-child’, an amphibious yōkai, a creature of folklore. That didn’t give any sense to the purpose or nature of the continual prank call. Some years later, while traveling Japan during one of the many train trips taken, I had an eerily familiar feeling, as I listened to the sounds of the train clunking over the tracks, and just as I anticipated it, I heard a woman somewhere in the carriage say what I knew would be said, “Kappa… Kappa… Kappa.” I struggled to get out of my seat, by the luggage and other passengers, looking around for anyone holding a phone. But no one was, and the passengers looked concerned and uneasy as I investigated them with a glare. So I returned to my seat and the weight of the question mark grew heavier.

The ancients knew it best, there was good, there was evil, but most of all there was the in-between, the tricksters, the deceivers. These elusive beings that left all those who crossed-paths with them scratching their heads. Forgotten by the modern world. Their will was intangible, there was no rhyme or reason, it dumbfounded mortal men that gods, fay, beings of great power would toy with the lives of so many, to achieve, seemingly nothing. Yet in their mischief, in their tricks and games, theirs was the greatest gift of all. It was always a display of triviality, a literal example of nonsense, leading us both metaphorically and literally down the garden path. Exposing us to unbelievable spectacles that many might call paranormal or supernatural, in an effort to unveil what lay before us, that consumes our existence from the moment we are born to the second that we die. The ordinance of belief, alike our reality as we understand it is not rigid, indestructible or impervious to challenge.


(Illustrated by Artwoonz)

All too often the questions are put forward, if intelligent life exists beyond our planet, why hasn’t it been discovered? If intelligent extraterrestrial life exists, why doesn’t it make contact with human life? There’s no shortage of answers to these questions, but I resort to answering these questions with another question: Why would intelligent extraterrestrial life desire to make contact with human life in the first place? Not in a snide cynical way, insinuating that human life is best to be avoided (despite living my life by that very sentiment) but for what purpose would contact serve? If human history has taught us anything, the interactions of even slightly technologically advanced cultures with native inhabitants around the world time and time again has proven extremely detrimental to the contactee and often even those making contact. After contact is made, life for the contactee will never be the same again. Many naturalists might agree that ultimately, an act of benevolence can be as misguided and troublesome as an act of cruelty, in the end. One cannot inject themselves into a system, without changing it in some way, for better or for worse.

In many instances, after a great amount of observation, the ‘human experiment’ have generally come to appreciate this understanding. As of 2013, there were approximately 100 tribes existing on planet Earth, half of which living in the Amazon rainforest that have made absolutely no contact with the outside world. While some may seek to plunder resources, others may want to share religious views, others might just want to expose these groups to technologically advanced medical procedures, educational opportunities. All of these people may be certain within themselves that their desire for contact is justified and even in the best interest of these isolated people. Only, we’ve been down that road before, we already know how it ends. Who truly benefits from the collision of worlds? For one party, their world stands still, they are at the mercy of forces they never knew existed. For the other, it’s Tuesday.

In the fictional world of Middle-earth created by J. R. R. Tolkien the world goes about, in large part oblivious to the existence of hobbits (small humanoids) and their lands called The Shire. They have some interaction with the outside world, scarce travelers, merchants etc, but unknown to most hobbits, their borders are protected by guardians, rangers known as the Dúnedain from the evils of the outside world. Without the unseen allegiance working to protect the realm, the Shire and its inhabitants would likely cease to exist.

Personally, I find a great deal of comfort in knowing there are some few truly free groups of people left, scattered around this planet, and in a just and honorable world they could be left to their own devices, oblivious to the fact that anyone is speaking/typing about them at this instant, and for generations to come. They don’t need to be regulated, controlled, informed of anything. Inevitably a dying ambition, like all ambitions in the fullness of time, but as long as such groups are protected, preserved, the world in a way retains some of its innocence, some of its freedom that has been lost elsewhere.

Is it possible, that a theoretical extraterrestrial being could ever possess that same sentiment for our species? Someone/something understanding the repercussions of contact would be cataclysmic to the human race. Just as it were to other species of other planets seen throughout the universe throughout time. In the idealized fantasy, we are given advanced technology that we didn’t earn, that we don’t possess the wisdom to control. In the idealized fantasy, we receive access to medical technology that can cure any sickness, extend our mortal lifetime possibly indefinitely, utterly selfish and futile desires that serve only the individual. In the idealized fantasy of extraterrestrial contact, we learn the secrets of the universe. Secrets we would likely fail to comprehend, but in lieu of enlightenment, there would be an understanding of inferiority, bewilderment and a loss of our humanity. We would seek to adapt to a universal existence, beyond the reaches of our solar system. No longer big fish in a small pond, but microscopic paramecium inside a seemingly infinite ocean. You might be thinking, “well, that sounds awesome”. But that feeling you get after you learn how a magic trick is performed, applied to life as we know it, could lead to unfathomable despair. For instance, if it could be proven that the universe we exist within was actually inside a part of an incredibly large being, something similar to a gargantuan tapeworm (possibly also within some other even greater gigantic being), would you get out of bed for work on Monday morning? Would you still want to produce offspring?

If intelligent extraterrestrial life exists out there, anywhere, could the greatest proof of their benevolence be leaving us to our own devices, like those dwindling tribes of the Amazon rainforest? Existing in a haze of mystery and wonder, for the most part, staying out of human comprehension. Watching our every triumph and failure, similar to how we might momentarily observe an ants nest. Granted, many humans cannot resist the urge to kick in and destroy an ants nest upon observing one.

The thought could also be entertained, however, that there is not one singular body representing the will of all intelligent life in the universe. Just like those that trespass beyond borders and make unlawful contact with indigenous people to gain access to their lands/resources, certain extraterrestrial beings might not subscribe to the naturalist ideal either. One such proposed “alien race” (or inter-dimensional being) is the archetypal green/grey alien with a diminutive figure, large head with massive almond shaped, black eyes. ‘Greys’ are often associated with abductions, “probings”, cattle-mutilation, human experimentation, most negative experiences surrounding encounters of the third kind (and beyond).

Is it possible that some governing extraterrestrial force seeks to prevent/punish encounters, trespassers in earth’s observable celestial neighborhood? Are we being purposefully kept isolated by our own version of the Dúnedain for our own protection right now? Or is my assumption regarding a theoretical benevolence entirely misguided? Of the myriad of theories put forward regarding concepts pertaining to the Ancient Alien theory (belief that prehistoric and early humans made contact with advanced beings, interpreting them as “gods”) some suggest a somewhat more nefarious agenda is at work. Such as the ‘Ancient Alien’ interpretation of the Sumerian (Ancient Mesopotamian) Gods called Anunnaki. 𒀭 An or Anu, the personification of the Sky, Heaven or Sky God (above). 𒆠 Ki, personification of Earth, the Earth Goddess. Through the union of heaven and earth, came the Anunnaki. Interpretations (such as ‘The Twelfth Planet’, 1976 by Zecharia Sitchin) suggesting that mankind was created to serve as a slave race to the “gods” to acquire resources for the Anunnaki home-world, Planet X, or Nibiru (many of Sitchin’s claims and translations are disputed). Countless conspiracy theories regarding Planet X/Nibiru/the Nibiru cataclysm have roused authoritarian platforms in the past, with suggestions of flagging or banning such topics to stifle the spread of specific conspiracies, some deem troublesome because they pertain to ‘the end of the world’.

Then of course, the idea of being a genetically engineered slave, abysmal as it may be, is still a better plight than being genetically created livestock. Could there be beings somewhere in the universe that had a hand in harboring life on this planet not to plunder resources, but to be the resource itself. As highlighted in a previous topic ᵀᴴᴱ MISSING, some 4, 432, 880 people are documented to have vanished in the last 20 years, without ever being seen again. Perhaps, the silence, the reason for the dead air, the unusual often unpleasant interactions, the elusive behavior of UFOs in lieu of contact, is because extraterrestrial life has as much to say to us, as we might have to say to cattle soon to be slaughtered for human consumption. They would rather us unaware to their existence, unaware to their agenda because blissful ignorance means business as usual.

According to Worldometers.info by the time I finish typing this sentence there are an estimated 7, 838, 425, 754 human beings upon planet earth. There have been many varying estimations proposed in various studies suggesting there is a maximum human population that planet earth can sustain. One group, Worldpopulationbalance.org claim that the current human population is actually three times greater than the sustainable amount (based on renewable resources and absorption of waste). Applied to the concept of some nefarious extraterrestrial agenda, the current state of our world could be viewed as a prime time for ‘the harvest’. How unfathomably unpleasant it would be, if despite all human achievement, advancement of any kind, and in the end, the fate of our species was actually sealed before it began. Such beings could even orchestrate a genuine disaster and appear like biblical arks at the end of days. As our various governments herd us aboard, we stagger bewildered and unknowingly, to our doom.

Alternatively, perhaps the reason contact has not occurred, is because our nearest extraterrestrial neighbors are at an identical point in their technological ability as we currently find ourselves. For the time being, simply just out of reach from one another. Maybe our nearest living off-world neighbors are closer to prehistoric man. Maybe they have a stunning, beautiful planet of their own, rich in resources that we could only dream of. The question is, just like the dwindling isolated tribes of our own world, are they better off if we refrain from contacting them also? Would we have the benevolence to guard them from afar, stay unknown to them out of respect. Or would we arrive as “gods” and plunder from them? How odd would it be if we were in fact genetically created as livestock, or to serve as slaves and somehow avoided our fate, to reach the level of advancement of our creators. Only we chose a different path, we set a standard for life better than what might have been intended for us. When we have the means to make that choice and depending on what path we take, perhaps then certain beings will see us fit to make contact with, after all.


(Animated by Hunter Preston)

In recent years, the conversation regarding inner-monologue (or lack thereof) has garnered quite a lot of attention. Some people experiencing an inner narrative, a flow of words (in their respective native language) reflecting their thoughts back to themselves. Others, thinking in a more abstract way, metaphors, images, concepts, independent from a structured use of language. I’ve always experienced a mixture of the two, obviously thinking conceptually, bypassing the “middleman”, omitting the arduous application of language is far more efficient if you want to think on your feet. But that isn’t to say that there hasn’t been a nigh constant conversation going on in my mind for almost the entirety of my waking life. When I first entered the workforce, after being shouted at for hours at a time, my inner-monologue would often imitate the voice of the person barking orders at me. I had a knack for mimicry, and like a parrot, out of boredom and compulsion, I was often compelled to respond to someone in an impersonation of their own voice. Some found this more amusing than others. But ultimately, I’ve always had some level of control over my thoughts, actions and the words I’ve chosen to say.

But what if that wasn’t the case? If control was lost? Interestingly, for a great many people, the thoughts, the voices that speak in the quiet solitude of their mind, are seemingly foreign to them, a will independent from their own. It’s in these hijackings of the mind, these intrusions of that most sacred part of the human experience that cataclysmic repercussions can unfold. Herbert Mullin, in October of 1972 was told by voices that he had to kill, and offer a “blood sacrifice” to prevent a devastating earthquake in California. Murderer, Christopher Plaskon and serial killers, David Berkowitz (Son of Sam), Anthony Edward Sowell all claimed they heard voices that contributed to their crimes. Many individuals facing prosecution will claim to have heard voices as a means to claiming ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ to attain a lesser sentence, or escape the death penalty (depending on the laws of the state/country where the crime is on trial).

As of 2017, it’s estimated that there are approximately 20 million individuals worldwide classified as schizophrenic, 75% of which, hear voices at some time during their illness (according to mentalillnesspolicy.org). It’s often said that the voices many people afflicted with schizophrenia hear are angry, erratic and make demands of an urgent nature, compelling an individual to do certain things (but this isn’t always the case). It’s difficult for people who have never experienced an auditory hallucination (or any hallucination for that matter) to grasp, but these whispering, shouting, spoken voices are indistinguishable from actual, audible speech (Schizophrenia can cause hallucinations: visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, and tactile. Along with an array of different forms of delusion).

Outside of medically diagnosed conditions, there are certain groups who believe that hearing voices is a relatively natural part of the human condition and far more common than we’re lead to believe:

If you hear voices, see visions or have similar sensory experiences – you’re not alone. The statistics vary, but somewhere between 3 and 10% of the population have experiences like these (increasing to about 75% if you include one off experiences like hearing someone call your name out loud). Despite being relatively common, many people who hear voices, see visions or have similar experiences feel alone. Fear of prejudice, discrimination, and being dismissed as ‘crazy’ can keep people silent. At a time when we are told that it is ‘time to talk’, it is important that anyone courageous enough to speak out is met with respect and empathy. People of all ages and backgrounds can hear voices at some point in their life, for many different reasons. Whilst some are distressed by their experiences, people can – and do – find ways of living with them.


ᵀᴴᴱ STORY ᴏғ ‘AB’

The year 1984 would be unlike any other year of her life, for a woman code named ‘AB’, by forensic psychiatrist, Ikechukwu Obialo Azuonye. A woman in her late thirties, a mother and housewife that had never experienced any notable irregularities in general or mental health. But in the winter of 1984, London, England, while AB was reading, she heard a voice enter her mind that wasn’t her own:

“Please don’t be afraid. I know it must be shocking for you to hear me speaking to you like this, but this is the easiest way I could think of. My friend and I used to work at the Children’s Hospital, Great Ormond Street, and we would like to help you. To help you see that we are sincere, we would like you to check out the following…”

According to Dr. Azuonye’s account, ‘A difficult case: Diagnosis made by hallucinatory voices‘ the voice gave AB three independent claims of information for her to verify that the voice was legitimate and not a conjuration of her own mind. Despite the three claims being accurate, AB immediately sought out psychiatric evaluation.

“I saw her at the psychiatric outpatients clinic, and diagnosed a functional hallucinatory psychosis. I offered general supportive counselling as well as medication with thioridazine. To her great relief, the voices inside her head disappeared after a couple of weeks of treatment, and she went off on holiday. While she was abroad, and still taking the thioridazine, the voices returned. They told her that they wanted her to return to England immediately as there was something wrong with her for which she should have immediate treatment. By this time, she was also having other beliefs of a delusional nature.”

—Dr. Ikechukwu Obialo Azuonye, 1997

Upon returning to London, AB was instructed yet again by the voice(s) to go to an address, that turned out to be the computerized tomography department of a large London hospital. Once she arrived at the location, the voice(s) told her she needed a brain scan immediately. Warning AB that not only did she have a tumour in her brain, but her brain stem was inflamed. Through Dr. Azuonye an appointment for a scan was requested, to confront AB’s delusions and put her mind at ease. Initially the request for the scan was denied, but after some negotiations an appointment was made in April of 1984.

“The initial findings led to a repeat scan,with enhancement, in May, revealing a left posterior frontal parafalcine mass, which extended through the falx [cerebri] to the right side. It had all the appearances of ameningioma.”

—Dr. Ikechukwu Obialo Azuonye, 1997

It was soon decided, by AB, her husband, and several medical professionals that an immediate operation was the best recourse of action, according to AB, the voice(s) agreed with this decision also.

“These were the notes of the operation, carried out in May 1984: “A large left frontal bone flap extending across the mid line was turned following a bifrontal skin flap incision. Meningioma about 2.5” by 1.5” in size arose from the falx and extended through to the right side. A small area of tumour appeared on the medial surface of the brain. The tumour was dissected out and removed completely along with its origins in the falx.”AB later told me that when she recovered consciousness after the operation the voices told her, “We are pleased to have helped you. Goodbye.” There were no postoperative complications. The dosage of dexamethasone was halved every four days, and then it was stopped. She was on prophylactic anticonvulsants for six months. Antipsychotic medication was discontinued immediately after the operation, and there was no return of the hallucinatory voices or the delusions which she had expressed.”

—Dr. Ikechukwu Obialo Azuonye, 1997

It’s said that AB never heard the voice(s) ever again, they never intervened with further health complications. It was never learned why they decided to contact her, who or what ‘they’ were. Naturally, the case has been highly criticized as a hoax, a coincidence, psychosomatic. Some suggesting that AB may have mentally projected her own warnings to herself, somehow subconsciously aware that something was wrong in her brain, dull aches, etc.

For a moment, just considering that some foreign voice(s) by some unknown means infiltrated someone’s mind and potentially did save a life, why would they choose to do so? Were they spirits? Were they once living humans, existing in some strange state? Were they beings of a different origin altogether? Or is it possible that AB’s ‘guardian angels’ were not only human, but very much alive. Would the strangest turn events of all, be that there are certain individuals among us, though indistinguishable from you or I, who wander carelessly through our minds, sifting through our secrets? They see things that remain unknown to most. For the most part, someone with this ability might be unscrupulous, preying on those they can with cruelty and creating chaos, motivated by destruction and self gain. But some few, would rather help you if they could.

Like a voice calling out from a car wreckage, that leads emergency services to discovering a 1 year old girl that had been unnoticed for 14 hours. Jennifer Groesbeck, the driver of the vehicle believed to have died on impact when the car landed upside down into the river. But after over half a day, dangling above freezing cold water that sent emergency service workers to the hospital with hypothermia, a voice was heard by three police officers and two firemen. A voice that led to Lily Groesbeck’s rescue.

‘Help me, we’re in here.’


(Animation from GIPHY.com)

Who were you yesterday? Are you the same person today? Who will you be in 1 year’s time? Are you your physical body, comprised of approximately 60 elements? 65% Oxygen, 18% Carbon, 10% Hydrogen, 3% Nitrogen, with a remaining 4% of an assortment of about 56 remaining elements? Are you the chemical and electrical synapses of your brains? Are you the culmination of choices you’ve made? The summation of experience and memory? Are you your virtues? Are you your vices? Are you your likes and dislikes, tastes, sense of humor, the attitude you hold toward the world you inhabit? A great many people, throughout the ages, scattered all over this world have struggled to answer the seemingly simple question, ‘who am I?’

Before getting into topics the likes of religion, spirituality, dissociative disorders/multiple personality disorders, the theoretical Noösphere, the ‘collective consciousness’, our measurable, tangible reality appears to suggest that ‘self’, is singular. Singular in the sense that it is the individual product of the living entity, specifically the individual’s physical brain and the activity therein. Singular and finite, but essentially limited to the physical brain and body (without the use of specific apparatus). In this version of interpretation of self, you are the form and proceeding thoughts and effects of a being (even if conjoined with another) throughout the course of your mortal existence. The moment such an existence ends, with the declaration of death, aside from your physical ‘remains’, existing memory/implications left behind, who you are/were, ceases to be.

So why is it then, that virtually every religion on the planet suggests otherwise? The ‘Afterlife’, The Underworld, Heaven & Hell, The Dreamtime, Reincarnation, ‘Spirits of the Ancestors’, the Immortal Soul? These notions that something ‘goes on’, some part of all beings, transcending mortality arises time and time again, across almost all cultures. The belief in Ghosts, Spirits of the deceased lingering beyond death. The concept of Angels and Demons, beings thought to exist outside or veiled beneath the reality we see before us. Near Death Experiences where individuals report observations that correlate with one another. Much rarer and even more peculiar, NDEs where an individual is pronounced dead, where no brain activity is present, yet upon returning to life, claim to have experienced certain events. (Such as the case of Pam Reynolds Lowery, “In 1991, at the age of 35, she stated that she had a near-death experience (NDE) during a brain operation performed by Robert F. Spetzler at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. Reynolds was under close medical monitoring during the entire operation. During part of the operation she had no brain-wave activity and no blood flowing in her brain, which rendered her clinically dead. She claimed to have made several observations during the procedure which later medical personnel reported to be accurate.” —Pam Reynolds Case, Wikipedia, Explained in greater detail in a book titled, Light and Death: One Doctor’s Fascinating Account of Near-Death Experiences, by Michael B. Sabom, 2011.)

Someone might suggest, that the reason this idea, regarding existence beyond death, beyond this reality keeps finding common ground is because the alternative terrifies us, as a species. We simply can’t bear the notion that our brief time in this world is all there is and the nothingness from whence we (seemingly) came is all that awaits us, in eternity after we inevitably draw our last breath. So we tell ourselves stories, stories that give a far grander view of things to come than funeral pyres and holes in the ground. But preconceived notions aside, religion and spirituality aside, the question that needs to be considered is, could consciousness exist outside of the brain?

“In [Dr. Peter] Fenwick’s view, the brain does not create or produce consciousness; rather, it filters it. As odd as this idea might seem at first, there are some analogies that bring the concept into sharper focus. For example, the eye filters and interprets only a very small sliver of the electromagnetic spectrum and the ear registers only a narrow range of sonic frequencies. Similarly, according to Fenwick, the brain filters and perceives only a tiny part of the cosmos’ intrinsic ‘consciousness.’”

—Clifford N. Lazarus, Psychologytoday.com, 26th of June, 2019

Fenwick and Lazarus referring to a ‘consciousness’ worded as being intrinsic with the cosmos, a primary attribute of reality itself, as apparent as gravity or light. This resource of ‘consciousness’ being some form of intangible self/collective existing without any basis of physical, tangible, measurable presence, but accounting for what many might refer to as the elusive aspect of humanity, some religions call, the “immortal soul”. The part that transcends all else. The brain ‘filtering’ consciousness, like the filtering of frequency required to tune in to a specific signal. The question then, is ‘where’ or even ‘when’ does this source/signal of consciousness come from? Where does it exist? Assuming it exists in any conventional sense that we can imagine.

Is it possible that consciousness (or something similar), just as it’s insinuated in so many religions (in the form of a soul or spirit), exists beyond the realm of this reality, yet is here all the same? A spiritual, intangible connection to something beyond the observable universe. Something that can be hijacked, the influence of Demons, Angels, Spirits. Something that is (by processes elaborated later) connected to avenues that provide a means of perceiving future events, premonitions, déjà vu, soul mates, fate/destiny. Is this ‘link’ the very means by which God peers into the truest, purest, rawest nature of all living things? If consciousness does/could transcend this reality/dimension, what would be its relationship with the theoretical Multiverse/Omniverse?

“With the proposition of ∞ dimensions, comes an ∞ supply of variables. The basic principals of physics required to keep the some hundred trillion atoms that make up the individual cells in our bodies from destabilization may simply not exist. By the very nature of ∞, there has to be dimensions where that is the case. But by the same principal, dimensions depicting a religious afterlife, planes described in ancient myth and legend, too have a place in the theoretical Omniverse.

In the concept of “shadow dimensions” and “mirror dimensions”, it has been suggested that fragments of a dimension, like ours for instance, can/could be taking place simultaneously in multiple dimensions or shadow/mirror dimensions. For example, the concept of a dimension consisting purely of consciousness, a virtual archive of every sentient being to have ever existed in a specific dimension. Essentially a separate realm, possibly devoid of time, containing what some would call the “immortal soul”. Theoretically, the co-existence of these two (or more) dimensions, could be part of bridging a possible dimensional shift after what we consider to be death.”

ᴛʜᴇ GREAT BEYOND …ᴀɴᴅ ʙᴇʏᴏɴᴅ

When applying the Infinite Monkey Theorem, the prospect of infinite versions of realities to the Multiverse theory:

“There are some, who believe that the Infinite Monkey Theorem is not purely limited to a hypothetical textual outcome. Throughout recent history in science-fiction literature the concept of infinite realities has been explored. The very instant the term ‘infinite’ is applied, then too, endless possibilities must also apply. Just as the endless variables have been addressed in reference to the Infinite Monkey Theorem. Which suggests there are infinite, slight variations of all things even remotely conceivable (or inconceivable! to quote Vizzini from the Princess Bride) throughout various realities or dimensions.

What this could mean, is that there is a reality exactly like this one, only 1 second behind our version of “time”. Then there is another reality, which is 1 second behind that second reality. This could go on infinitely, creating a relative constant of every moment of your (and my) existence, which actually lasts for an infinite amount of time collectively. Meaning, among other things, every second of every one of our existences is perpetually being lived in an incessant and infinite loop throughout the dimensions. That is one version of an infinite possible variations of realities.”


A, B, C, D, E all representing independent realities in a theoretical multiverse. Each of the 5 realities are identical in every single way, but one. The one variable setting these 5 versions of reality apart, is that the entropic changing of state of each universe, the passing of time, is at a slightly different juncture/stage. A, B, C, D, E representing the same point in time, merely if there was an outside omniscient being observing all 5 realities, E is ahead of D, and so on, with A unfolding the same moment last. If you subscribe to both the Multiverse theory, and apply true ‘infinity’ to such a concept, by the logic behind the Infinite Monkey Theorem there is no reason it should be impossible or even improbable that there is an infinity of realities nigh indistinguishable from this one, in some/infinite cases, why wouldn’t ‘time/progression’ alone be the only variable of change?

“What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence’ … Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.’”

—Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 1882

The concept of the Eternal Return or Eternal Recurrence unsettled Friedrich Nietzsche (as he expressed in Beyond Good and Evil, 1886). In many works surrounding the idea, the notion suggests the events of this universe unfolding, returning and unfolding again, waves of time, merely going in and out like a tide. The concept is explained in greater detail here, TIME TRAVEL ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ 2ɴᴅ ʟᴀᴡ ᴏғ THERMODYNAMICS. But what if throughout the countless realities of the multiverse every fraction of a second of your own life was playing out right now, simultaneously? In the same second your eyes drift over these words, your infant self is exiting your mother’s womb. In the same moment you contemplate that reality, in another, and countless others you die, or a mourner visits your grave site 10 years after you were buried there.

Even those infinite variables, infinite moments that seem so vast to the individual are only a microscopic, minuscule, tiny aspect of a far greater complex system of possibilities. Do these variations, these segments of our identical selves, in perpetual existences, each require an independent soul? Or do the brains that harbor our consciousness interpret it from a plane, a singular dimension? Sometimes revealing glimpses of things perceived to us as future events, yet occurring simultaneously elsewhere. Déjà vu, dreams of future happenings, ‘memories of things yet to pass’, knowing where or what something without any reason to possess such knowledge. (This train of thought could also be applied to the Mandela effect phenomenon where large groups of people claim to remember historical events differently to others. Often argued as distorted or collective erroneous memory, but many believe the phenomenon to be an indication of possible alternate realities/universes, or the merging of such.)

“I remember a vivid dream I had when I was about eight or nine years old, that I’ve managed to remember for all these years. I was wandering through a hospital, I felt drawn to a location, almost like I wasn’t in control of where I was going. Eventually I was standing at the end of a bed where an old man lie. He seemed to be the only person who noticed my presence. He looked at me with a stunned expression, for a moment, until nurses began gathering around him, placing an oxygen mask over his face. I tried to wake up, and I did, but not before seeing the old man die.

Naturally, at the time I was upset, I thought it was some sort of omen about one of my grandfathers. It wasn’t until years later when I was speaking about it with my great grandmother, she suggested that perhaps the old man was me. That I was somehow consoling my future self during my own death. It was an interesting thought, from a woman who after passing away herself, has since visited many of my family members in their dreams.”

ᴛʜᴇ DREAMING ᴅᴏᴏʀ

ᵀᴴᴱ DYATLOV PASS ɪɴᴄɪᴅᴇɴᴛ ᴏғ 1959

Гибель тургруппы Дятлова

On the 25th of January, 1959, in the early hours of the morning, a train screeched to a stop at the town of Ivdel (Ивдель), in the northern province of Sverdlovsk Oblast (Свердло́вская о́бласть). 11 Russians (aged between 21 and 38, 9 men, 2 women) disembarked, but their journey had only just begun. They set out to go even further north, by truck and on foot, their goal, a hiking/skiing expedition to Mount Otorten (Гора Отортен). On the 28th of January, after one day of hiking, Yuri Yudin (21), who suffered several minor health problems and a congenital heart defect decided he would abandon the hiking/skiing expedition, due to joint pain, and return home.

Some time between the 1st and 2nd of February, 1959, atop the northern Ural mountains, all nine remaining members of the group lost their lives. The circumstances that led to their deaths, still uncertain and a matter of debate. Even stranger, the state of the groups camp and stranger still, the state of the corpses they left behind.

Все найденные лежали на одной прямой по направлению господствующего ветра и в пределах ложбины” По заключению экспертов палатка была вспорота изнутри ножом несколькими ударами. Эксперты установили, что люди не принимали пищи в течении 6-8 часов. Так же было установлено, что все найденные люди погибли от холода и ветра.

Информация о походе гр. Дятлова

All those found were lying on one straight line in the direction of the prevailing wind and within the hollow. According to the experts, the tent was ripped open from the inside with a knife with several blows. The experts found that people did not eat for 6-8 hours. It was also found that all the people found died from cold and wind.

Все это свидетельствует о том, что момент катастрофы застал группу во время переодевания. Выход из палатки был крайне поспешным, не допускавшим ни минутного промедления. Туристы, имеющие такой опыт как участники группы Дятлова, ясно понимали, что выход из палатки в полураздетом виде, в условиях отсутствия видимости, шквального ветра и низкой температуры – означает гибель.

Информация о походе гр. Дятлова

All of this indicates that the moment of the disaster caught the group while changing clothes. The exit from the tent was extremely hasty, not allowing a moment’s delay. Tourists who had such experience as members of the Dyatlov group clearly understood that leaving the tent in a half-naked form, in the absence of visibility, gusty wind and low temperature, means death.

Следовательно, причиной вынудившей туристов покинуть палатку мог быть только страх перед немедленной смертью. Группа начала отступление вниз по склону организованно, но затем в условиях темноты и метели была разбросана на каменных грядах и люди потеряли связь друг с другом и погибли в буране.

Информация о походе гр. Дятлова

Therefore, the reason that forced the tourists to leave the tent could only be the fear of immediate death. The group began to retreat down the slope in an orderly manner, but then, in conditions of darkness and a blizzard, it was scattered on stone ridges and people lost contact with each other and died in the storm.

The unusual findings surrounding the Dyatlov Pass incident:

  • The group’s tent was ripped open from the inside. Suggesting that either the tent opening was inaccessible, and/or the group needed to flee the campsite as quickly as possible. Many suggesting the cause for this being an avalanche, or fears of an impending avalanche.
  • All nine members left camp on foot, barely dressed (some bodies discovered in their underwear), abandoned their possessions, most were wearing only socks, or one shoe. Further indicating there must have been an extreme element of urgency present when they fled from their campsite. (Possible paradoxical undressing, irrational hypothermic behavior of removing clothing in response to the burning sensation.)
  • The official cause of death for six members of the group (Rustem Vladimirovich Slobodin, Igor Alekseyevich Dyatlov, Georgiy (Yuri) Alexeyevich Krivonischenko, Yuri Nikolayevich Doroshenko, Alexander Sergeyevich Kolevatov and Zinaida Alekseevna Kolmogorova) was stated as hypothermia. But Semyon (Alexander) Alekseevich Zolotaryov cause of death was believed to be severe chest trauma. Lyudmila Alexandrovna Dubinina’s cause of death was believed to be internal bleeding from severe chest trauma. Lastly, Nikolai Vladimirovich Thibeaux-Brignolles’ cause of death determined to be a fatal skull injury. These findings could also align with the aftermath of an avalanche. (Autopsy report of Kolevatov)
  • Lyudmila Alexandrovna Dubinina was missing a fragment of her skull, her eyes, her tongue, part of her lips and facial tissue. Semyon (Alexander) Alekseevich Zolotaryov’s eyes were missing. Alexander Sergeyevich Kolevatov’s eyebrows were missing. Many would explain these findings as the work of carrion feeding on the remains.
  • Boris Vozrozhdenny stated that the force required to cause the chest injuries suffered by the bodies would have been extremely high, similar to that of a car colliding with a human. No external wounds present suggested these injuries were caused by an exposure to extreme pressure.
  • The alleged sightings of ‘bright coloured spheres’ at the time of the incident around the area.
  • Eyewitness accounts regarding the state of the bodies looking unusual; sunken eyes, grey hair, brown/yellow/grey skin. Likely due to being unfamiliar with the stages of decomposition and the conditions the remains were exposed to for periods exceeding 24 days left to the elements until their discovery after death (not all remains were discovered at once).
  • Detectable levels of radiation were present on one individual’s clothing.
  • Burns to skin and hair, some of the party were wearing burnt clothing. (Possibly due to direct exposure to an open flame in a desperate attempt to warm themselves.)

A great many theories have been put forward regarding this unusual incident that took place in the Ural mountains of ’59. Yuri Yudin, who left the expedition due to joint pain held a theory regarding an explosion had killed his friends. That they had stumbled upon a secret military testing ground:

“In 1990, the chief investigator, Lev Ivanov, said in an interview that he had been ordered by senior regional officials to close the case and classify the findings as secret. He said the officials had been worried by reports from multiple eyewitnesses, including the weather service and the military, that “bright flying spheres” had been spotted in the area in February and March 1959. “I suspected at the time and am almost sure now that these bright flying spheres had a direct connection to the group’s death,” Ivanov told Leninsky Put, a small Kazakh newspaper. He retired in Kazakhstan and has since died. The declassified files contain testimony from the leader of a group of adventurers who camped about 50 kilometers south of the skiers on the same night. He said his group saw strange orange spheres floating in the night sky in the direction of Kholat-Syakhl. Ivanov speculated that one skier might have left the tent during the night, seen a sphere and woken up the others with his cries. Ivanov said the sphere might have exploded as they ran toward the forest, killing the four who had serious injuries and cracking Slobodin’s skull. Yudin said he also thought an explosion had killed his friends. He said the level of secrecy surrounding the incident suggests that the group might have inadvertently entered a secret military testing ground. He said the radiation on the clothes supported his theory.

The St. Petersburg Times, February 19, 2008

Other theories include the flying orbs of light (UFOs) that were seen in the area, that the burns and unusual injuries, internal traumas, were inflicted by some form of extraterrestrial technology. This narrative also highlights the missing eyes, tongues, eyebrows and lips to make the comparison to the mutilations found among cattle mutilations (also heavily attributed to extraterrestrial or paranormal phenomena, yet still very common carrion feeding behavior).

With the autopsy report of Alexander Sergeyevich Kolevatov concluding a death caused through violence, some choose to interpret that as though there was a possible physical altercation. Or something or someone struck/breached the tent which sparked the chaos. This is somewhat connected to theories surrounding arguments over how many tracks left the tent, some stating there were 8 and one of the individuals was being carried by the others. No other tracks were observed, meaning no large predators or assailants were present at the campsite.

The greatest source of speculation and theories for possible out of the ordinary explanations comes from the level of secrecy and control of information regarding this event by the Russian government. Going as far as reopening a new investigation into the event again in 2019. Eventually presenting its findings yet again in July of 2020, claiming now what it stated back in 1959, an avalanche was the cause for the group to leave and low visibility and exposure to the cold sealed their fate. The deputy head of regional prosecutor’s office, Andrey Kuryakov stating, “It was a heroic struggle. There was no panic. But they had no chance to save themselves under the circumstances.”

“Yudin said the military might have found the tent before the volunteer rescuers. He said he had been asked to identify the owner of every object found at the scene and had failed to find a match for a piece of cloth that looked like it had come from a soldier’s coat, a pair of glasses, a pair of skis and a piece of a ski. Yudin also said he had seen documents that led him to believe that the criminal investigation had been opened on Feb. 6, 14 days before the search team found the tent.”

The St. Petersburg Times, February 19, 2008

(Group memorial at the Mikhailovskoe Cemetery in Yekaterinburg, Russia)

Yuri Yefimovich Yudin who left the expedition on the 28th of January, 1959 died on April 27th 2013.

GHOSTS: WHAT ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅ ᴛʜᴇ DEAD ᴡᴀɴᴛ?

(Animation from GIPHY.com)

Why do we do what we do? There is no shortage of texts, theories and hierarchies pertaining to motivation, its purpose and its connection to survival and existence. “Why did the chicken cross the road?” “To get to the other side.” Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943) breaks down human motivation laying out the elements that meet the “conditions within the individual that are essential and necessary for the maintenance of life and the nurturance of growth and well-being.” —Beata Souders, Positivepsychology.com. These needs can be simplified to three primary categories. Basic needs, psychological needs and self-fulfillment needs. The basic needs include physiological, the raw fundamental needs required to perpetuate our basic (biological) state, along with safety/security. Belonging, union, self-esteem and accomplishment. Lastly, the need for self-actualization, and achieving one’s “full potential”.

When it comes to the living, there are a great many reasons why we do the things that we do. Even the more heinous, deplorable of human actions can be explained using motivation. “Motives for murder can be condensed into four sets of ‘Ls’: Lust; Love; Loathing; and Loot.” —Peter Morrall, Murder and Society, 2006. Lust and Love, both connected to attempts at achieving psychological needs (or perversions of such): union and self-esteem. In the barbaric sense, two or more conflicting parties, whose disagreement reaches its pinnacle will lead to violence, murder/defeat being the accomplishment of ‘ending’ an enemy (the mentality that stirs before many homicides to this day. Also, according to Friedrich Nietzsche when it comes to acts of cruelty and acts of benevolence: “On the doctrine of the feeling of power. Benefiting and hurting others are ways of exercising one’s power over them”, thus a similar motivation could account toward contributing factors for significantly implicating another individuals existence. An expression of power, a sense of accomplishment, good or bad, irrelevant). Lastly, and likely most obviously, the motivation to acquire ‘Loot’ or wealth from murder is driven by the prospect of personal gain (among other variables).

Consider anything any living soul has ever said or done and with enough contemplation, you’ll soon discover a myriad of (possible) elements that may explain the motivation that led them to do whatever it is they’ve done.

But could the same be said for the (theoretical) dead?

When it comes to the basic understanding of ‘ghosts‘, many cultures share an idea regarding the incorporeal presence of what was once living, most often human (or animal), somehow lingering after death. (The Shinto Tsukumogami 付喪神 being one of the exceptions, an inanimate object believed to gain a ‘kami’ or spirit after 100 years. If the object is treated poorly by its owners, the item’s spirit will take on an insidious persona. Other exceptions might include the likes of demons, jinn (جن), ‘shadow entities’, essentially sentient beings of religion, folklore & myth that have never existed on earth in a natural mortal state).

*Haunting: “A belief in the lingering presence of an unwelcome and often malicious intruder.”

Fantazmë, прывід, φάντασμα, spøkelse, גייַסט, ուրվական,幽霊, Hayalet, Exspiravit, Ysbryd, 유령…

Mentioned above are just a few of the many ways in which human language from all over the world can express the word ‘ghost’. There are approximately 7,097 languages (according to ethnologue.com, 2018) and you would be hard-pressed to find one that did not have a means of expressing what we in the western world call ghosts.

A Compendium of Fear, C. M. Johnson, 2019

The Ghost/Phantom/Specter, stuck between the mortal world and beyond, in such a predicament either by choice, accident or punishment. Ghosts can be regarded as ‘lost souls’, blindly following the motions of life into death, glimpsed by the living as a sort of memory or echo of what once was (The Stone Tape theory). Ghosts in this light could be interpreted as something closer to a residual recording of some kind, as opposed to a truly sentient existence, that reacts to new stimuli. Though this benign, disconnected understanding is not highly popular among paranormal communities, believers or culturally. *This could be because fear, entertainment and intrigue have aided in the dispersion of widespread understanding of ghosts. A campfire story involving an echo, a ‘record’ of a ghost simply isn’t as frightening as a thinking/reacting supernatural entity.

What could possibly motivate the dead to do anything, if it is done so at all? What could the dead possibly want, if the dead were capable of wanting? Is it will alone that governs the existence of specters, if so, whose will? Could a ghost end its own existence? What purpose, if at all, does the existence of ghosts (fictional or otherwise) serve?

One popular conceptual basis for motivation for the dead has been called unfinished business. Implying motivations, desires held in life can transcend into the afterlife. Spirits of the dead lingering on earth watching over their loved ones, committing precarious deeds of chance otherwise blamed on luck, fate, guardian angels or a variety of mythological creatures. In many cultures around the world, particularly tribal cultures, the spirits of the ancestors are said to bring fortune and guidance to the living. Motivated by the love they held for the families/group in life and a desire to assist in the preservation of that group/lineage. The ghost of a murder victim believed to linger until the murderer is brought to justice. The ghost of a missing person lingering until the biological remnants are discovered, and so on, sometimes aiding in their own discovery. Almost always universally seeking a poetic, tidy ending, without any loose ends. But why (as so many clairvoyants claim) would a deceased person fret about ‘the missing ring’, or ‘the lost inheritance’ or ‘Name needs to forgive Name’? Is there really so little beyond this world that such trivial affairs concern us into the beyond? Estimations suggest that approximately 109 billion homo sapiens will have died on Planet Earth, as of year 2020. The dead well and truly outnumber the living, but the presence of ghosts, alike their actions are not commonly detected. Despite some surveys suggesting that 42% of Americans believe in ghosts (The Harris Poll, 2013).

A great deal of interest and belief in life(?) after death comes from spirits and ‘unusual activity’ affiliated with haunted areas, who or which reveal themselves, to be seemingly bound to specific locations (for seemingly indefinite periods of time, if not vanquished, smudged, exorcised, ceremonially/ritualistically cleansed such as the Tibetan Exorcising-Ghost day ‘Gutor’ ༼དགུ་གཏོར་༽ a ritual of spiritual cleansing, or simply just persuaded to leave).

Many individuals who experience hauntings of various severity suggest that the haunting within of itself, is a means of willful sentient communication. Unique and targeted towards various individuals with differing enthusiasm, depending on the (psychic/spiritual) sensitivity of the victim (or countless other factors), or ‘energy’ of the spirit(s). More often than not, the will of said apparition is perceived to be, “get out”, “you’re not welcome here”, “I hate you”, threats, insults etc. Leading many individuals and cultures alike to believe the noticeable acts of a poltergeist, be them visual apparitions or physical interactions (moving objects, banging walls) are efforts to inspire fear in the living to achieve an end result. Weaponizing fear to either scare the living into staying away, inflicting harm through psychological duress, or because they gain somehow through the ordeal/connection (emotional/psychological energy absorption, etc).

It’s often suggested that the behavior (often malevolent) and the implications of such on the living are a means of the dead perpetuating an existence by proxy. Subject A) is biologically alive, Subject B) is the common understanding of a ghost or even an imaginary entity. If subject B) implicates A) by any means whatsoever (paranormal event/erroneous hallucination) B) exists, to some degree, through A). Essentially a parasitic form of existence, riding on the coat tails of another being’s bond with reality.

According to interpretations of Tibetan Buddhist concepts, an entity that gains its existence very similar to this parasitic method, is called Tulpa (སྤྲུལ་པ་). A ‘being’ formed entirely from the mind of a living mortal, that through careful meditation, cultivation, imagination, and possibly no small amount of psychic/supernatural ability, a spiritual (ghost-like) manifestation is willed into existence. Are there an infinite supply of ghosts scratching at the inside of our imaginations, slowly being willed into reality with every second glance, with every skipped heartbeat when we hear a muffled whisper in the dark? Slowly (and literally) creating our own incorporeal assailants?

Tulpa is a concept in mysticism and the paranormal of a being or object which is created through spiritual or mental powers. It was adapted by 20th-century theosophists from Tibetan sprul-pa which means “emanation” or “manifestation”. Modern practitioners use the term to refer to a type of willed imaginary friend which practitioners consider to be sentient and relatively autonomous.”


The popularized sentiment of ghosts haunting their previous homes, territory, property, treasure is rooted in an idea that these deceased individuals desire(?) or seek to perpetuate a form of “ownership”, ‘control’ over the mortal world, into the afterlife. But the concept of ownership, proceeding mortal death (regardless of whether or not ghosts/spirits exist) is also implying that ghosts not only retain consciousness/sentience but despite the death of the mortal body, the ego remains (or attempts to sustain a part of itself).

“Physical materialism is the belief that possessions can bring release from suffering. They may bring temporary happiness but then more suffering in the endless pursuit of creating one’s environment to be just right.”

—Chögyam Trungpa, Lords of Materialism, c. 1970

Could a ghost’s desire to retain ownership over something in the physical world act as an anchor to simply linger on? I still own this place, the place exists, I haunt the place to assert my ownership, therefore I exist. Could existence, even achieving the faint echo of such, be the motivation? An eternal defiance of loss, standing on the other side of the doorway, attempting to fake it until they make it? Holding on to the memory of life, because it’s simply better than nothing, or the only other options presented to the dead?

“The underlying motivation for materialism is finding happiness based on the mistaken notion that one’s ego is inherently existent and a valid point of view. That is incorrect, and therefore the materialistic approaches have an invalid basis to begin with. The message in summary is, “Don’t try to reinforce your ego through material things.” The point of religion is to show you that your ego doesn’t really exist inherently. Ego is something you build up to make you think you exist, but it is not necessary and in the long run causes more suffering.”

—Chögyam Trungpa, Lords of Materialism, c. 1970

Is the desperate, seemingly futile motivation toward ownership, influence over the living (commonly through fear) merely attempts at retaining ego (self), because such creatures are actually holding onto the notion that ego “is something you build up to make you think you exist, but it is not necessary and in the long run causes more suffering.”—Chögyam Trungpa.

“To live is to suffer.”

―Friedrich Nietzsche

From what most are led to believe at least from the popularized sentiments of ghosts and their common demeanor, is it possible that under certain circumstances, death (like life) is suffering also?

Unfinished business, may be the desire to hold onto the memory of the individual self, to simply suffer a little longer. Before letting go of the illusion of life itself.

“All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”

―Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

A ghost may be, simply because it has but two choices:

To be, or not to be.