Earthpages.org

The Real Alternative


Leave a comment

“Power” by Jim Morrison

Originally posted on Stuff Jeff Reads:

WildernessMorrison

I love The Doors and I am a huge fan of Jim Morrison’s writing, but I have to admit that some of what was posthumously published as “poetry” is really nothing more than the scribbled thoughts of someone who was way too stoned for his own good. Much of what is in Wilderness Volume 1: The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison falls into this category. The following poem, though, is one of the better pieces in the collection.

I can make the earth stop in
its tracks. I made the
blue cars go away.

I can make myself invisible or small.
I can become gigantic & reach the
farthest things. I can change
the course of nature.
I can place myself anywhere in
space or time.
I can summon the dead.
I can perceive events on other worlds,
in my deepest inner mind,
& in the minds of others.

I…

View original 210 more words


4 Comments

The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition – 5 – Psychological reasons

Big Bad Wolf

Big Bad Wolf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Projection onto the Big Bad Wolf

Now we turn to those who dislike Catholicism mostly because of their baggage—that is, their unresolved psychological issues.

Some Christians routinely advocate angry, hateful behavior. And if they see any vice among individual Catholics they arguably project their own anger – and other shortcomings – onto Catholicism as a whole. This type of Christian is self-perceived as genuine and true while Catholics are deemed invalid.

The self-righteous Christian may try to engage others in heated messaging wars over specific points of doctrine. With these individuals, the ideal of loving within the mystical body of Christ gets twisted into something more like negative attention seeking, stemming from an unresolved personal issue.

Non-Catholic Christians certainly are not the only folks who project their personal issues onto Big Religion. All sorts of people are prone to projection. Projection is a convenient way to ignore the inside by blaming something outside.¹

For instance, individuals and groups from non-US countries often single out the US as the Big Bad Wolf, as if other nations aren’t acting in their own self interest and, perhaps, less humanely than the US.

English: Photo of graffiti: "MI5 train ps...

Photo of graffiti: “MI5 train psychic mind readers – fact!!” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Religion and Spirituality – mutually exclusive?

Some New Age believers and talk show psychics believe they have paranormal abilities or enhanced knowledge about unusual phenomena like aliens and UFOs.

These folks typically see religion and spirituality as categorically different. Religion is all bad. Spirituality, great. And there’s no overlap for these black and white thinkers.

If the perceptions of alleged psychics critical of Catholicism originate from God, it seems that their impressions, insights and intuitions would be accurate and applied to the common good. But often with alleged psychics we find arrogance, self-absorption, hypocrisy and really moronic science. Little or no attempt is made to verify their claims, even though boldly proclaimed through the media. And the possibility of analytic overlay remains unchecked. Analytic overlay is a concept used by Remote Viewers but it could apply to the general idea of psi.

Remote viewing also involves the awareness that we can incorrectly interpret incoming data. A misperception can occur when our conscious minds get in the way and our imagination or existing mindset fills in the blanks or jumps to a conclusion about a remote viewing impression. Remote viewers call this “analytic overlay” and good remote viewers take steps to minimize it.²

Some psychics seem so entrenched in their paranormal, imaginative, deluded or perhaps pretend world that they show no appreciation for Catholic mysticism. The self-important psychic knows best. And that’s all. Most mature Catholics, however, don’t flaunt or advertise their spiritual gifts for profit or self-aggrandizement. St. Paul says that any such gifts are meaningless without true, unselfish love.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.  (1 Corinthians 13: 1-4).³

Debate between Catholics and Oriental Christia...

Debate between Catholics and Oriental Christians in the 13th century, Acre 1290. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fallen Away Catholics

Another consideration is the so-called fallen away Catholic who dislikes Catholicism. “Fallen away” is a recent Catholic phrase. It’s the Church’s way of correcting itself over the old phrase, “lapsed Catholic,” which sounds a bit nastier.

Assuming fallen away Catholics did not suffer some kind of abuse in their past experience with the Church, it seems probable that some – certainly not all – began as cradle Catholics who routinely went to church, possibly coerced by their families. From their early conditioning, personality and other factors, these individuals might never have become firmly established in the Holy Spirit. Catholicism just didn’t work for them. And later in life they embrace something else that provides tangible numinous experience and communal support—for example, a non-Catholic religion or cult.

These individuals might remain happy with their newly chosen path for their entire lives. And memories of Catholicism might only serve to conjure up negative feelings of familial coercion, boredom, and so on. No wonder they’d dislike Catholicism as adults. Quite possibly they never felt the Holy within the Church. And if they once did, bad memories and new interests, together, could trump their recollection of positive Catholic spirituality.

The parable in Mark 4: 2-9 of seeds planted on a path, rocks, thorns and good soil seems to apply here:

In his teaching he said, “Listen! A farmer went out to plant his seed. He scattered the seed on the ground. Some fell on a path. Birds came and ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky places, where there wasn’t much soil. The plants came up quickly, because the soil wasn’t deep. When the sun came up, it burned the plants. They dried up because they had no roots. Other seed fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and crowded out the plants. So the plants did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It grew up and produced a crop 30, 60, or even 100 times more than the farmer planted.” Then Jesus said, “Those who have ears should listen.”

But let’s not jump to conclusions nor generalize unfairly. No doubt many who leave Catholicism continue to experience God in their lives. And many could be on an extremely healthy path, according to God’s plan. Some Catholics might stop attending Mass simply because it no longer speaks to them. Or maybe it’s something as simple as vocational demands conflicting with a desire to attend. In their heart, mind and soul, however, these individuals still see themselves as true Catholics or, at least, as God-fearing persons.

¹ Projection can be adaptive to a point. But when a person matures, it becomes necessarily to strip as many projections as possible.

² Steve Hammons, ‘Remote Viewing’ has Basis in Science, Military Intelligence.

³ A similar idea crops up in Hinduism, where the holy person follows the dictum of “action without fruit.” This means that worldly reward (preya) is not sought nor expected for one’s good deeds. However, seeking spiritual reward (sreya) is okay in Hinduism. The key is to align the personal will with God’s will.

Copyright © Michael Clark, 2014.

1 « 2 « 3 « 4 « 5 » 6


5 Comments

The Influence of Paranormal Television

Image via Tumblr

By  Bobby Elgee

There is no denying the popularity of paranormal television shows. We’ve come a long way from the days of In Search Of. And though ghost stories, Bigfoot, aliens, and other high weirdness have always made for high ratings, we are deluged with choices including “reality” shows Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State, Ghost Adventures, Ghost Lab, A Haunting, Celebrity Ghost Stories, Destination Truth, and several others, not to mention the fictional fare including Fringe, Warehouse 13, Supernatural, and others too numerous to mention.

Some people say that Ghost Hunters–a television program on the Scy Fy network featuring members of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (T.A.P.S)–started this explosion in popularity, generating spin-offs and copycat shows that feature teams of paranormal investigators visiting haunted locations. Though varying somewhat in structure and “methodology,” they generally follow the same basic format: a team of investigators–after having done some amazingly cursory historical research–interviews a few witnesses to said paranormal activity, then “investigates” the location using audio recorders, infrared cameras, sonar, gieger counters, and a host of other equipment. This specific format has been expanded from just hunting ghosts to include programs that also feature cryptozoology (Destination Truth) , ufology (UFO Hunters), in what others would lead us to believe is spiritual and psychic warfare (Paranormal State).

English: Nightshot, enhanced.

Nightshot, enhanced. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other paranormal television shows follow different schemes including featuring reenactments of famous hauntings interspersed with interviews with the people that experienced them–A Haunting–as well as a program featuring famous people sharing their own encounters with the supernatural–Celebrity Ghost Stories.

Though paranormal television has a history that extends to a time before cable, there is no denying the relatively recent increase in the popularity of such fare. In fact, the interest in supernatural phenomena has probably never been greater since the Spiritualism craze of the mid 1800′s to the early 1900′s. There may be many sociocultural reasons why this interest has risen in recent years, but certainly paranormal television has a lot to do with it.

One could argue that the biggest influence of paranormal television has had is on the hobby of ghost hunting. Though I feel that paranormal television has contributed relatively little to the actual understanding of the reasons behind paranormal phenomena, literally thousands of teams of ghost hunters have sprung up across the country as a result. Many members of these groups will state that Ghost Hunters was their single biggest influence in the decision to form or join a team of ghost hunters and a vast majority mimic their methods. Before these shows, it was difficult to find a local team of paranormal investigators. Though such respected paranormal luminaries as John Zaffis and Troy Taylor have been around for years–well before the recent craze–now one can find multiple teams of ghost hunters in every region in the country.

A handheld infrared thermometer of the type us...

A handheld infrared thermometer of the type used by some ghost hunters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Personally, I joined a ghost hunting team because of two reasons. First, I experienced some possibly paranormal activity. Second, I saw a story in a newspaper about a ghost hunting crew looking for members and joined Soul Seekers Paranormal Society. The individual who started the team I joined–albeit a ghost hunter for many years previous–specifically founded the team as a direct result of being exposed to Ghost Hunters.

Interestingly enough, paranormal television has had an even more direct impact on the group I’m currently a member of. Several people left my team, Sights Unseen Paranormal, and started their own team in response to Ghost Hunters decision to film an episode at a specific location. Though the details are tedious and certainly not worth repeating here, it’s a simple fact that if you need a ghost hunter nowadays, you don’t have to look very hard and it’s obvious that just one of these television shows has had a huge influence on many people.

Considering the number of people now involved in this hobby, and the amount of time and money spent by these teams on equipment, travel to haunted locations, and attendance at ghost tours, conferences, and workshops, it is readily apparent that paranormal television has certainly generated a significant economic impact. Consider the number of hotels that now find that advertising their haunted status is good for business, the formerly unused and derelict properties that are now open for ghost tours, and the haunted taverns where you can have a drink with a ghost. It’s pretty simple, ghosts are good for business.

English: In Quarters Number 1, paranormal inve...

In Quarters Number 1, paranormal investigators have collected electronic voice phenomena, including the recording of a little girl calling for her cat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are several interesting developments that I’ve experienced first-hand–as a paranormal investigator–that I feel are a result of paranormal television. One of these developments appeared to be an intense interest, now followed by an increasing wariness of business owners to get involved with ghost hunting teams.

Perhaps this reluctance has to do with the recent recession–business owners are becoming increasingly leery of potential negative impacts. I suspect that this wariness is also due to the amount of requests for investigations these locations receive from the large number of amateur ghost hunting teams in existence. I feel that these same dynamics may also apply to home owners.

Yet another reason that I perceive it appears to be increasingly difficult to procure investigations is that these home and business owners see these television shows and form misconceptions about what a paranormal investigation really is, and thus are hesitant to contact a team based on the stereotypes seen on television.

Ghost Hunting Stuff

Ghost Hunting Stuff (Photo credit: sethanikeem)

Of course, I could be totally wrong, and this is simply an inaccurate perception. The reasons for my perception that it is increasingly difficult to secure an investigation–specifically of businesses–could be do to a variety of reasons NOT related to paranormal television, however I do suspect that paranormal television has influenced the majority of possibility haunted businesses owners–and private homeowners–in one way or the other.

This article could go on to discuss paranormal television’s influence on ghost hunting tactics, marketing of paranormal groups, movies, the Internet, and other media, however we’ll leave it at that for now, and declare this article “under construction.”

I am more interested in what you–the reader–feels about this subject. I sincerely appreciate all input and will make sure your insightful opinions on this interesting subject appear in the form of comments to this article.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/television-articles/the-influence-of-paranormal-television-3997266.html

About the Author

Bobby Elgee is an investigator for Sights Unseen Paranormal,a team of paranormal investigators based in New England. Offering supports including metal detecting, historical research, and paranormal marketing advice for businesses, Sights Unseen Paranormal realizes that people come first and their wholistic investigations extend well beyond just attempting to capture “evidence” of paranormal activity.


Leave a comment

Elements of prophecy – reflections and new directions

The Sibyl (1891), Paul Ranson via Tumblr

Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi film Minority Report (2002) is soon to be re-imagined as a TV series by Fox.

In the original Minority Report three clairvoyants called Precogs (precognitives) spend their days in deep meditation, afloat in water. Their job is to predict murders that could take place in the future. Tom Cruise, a good and honest cop, relies on the Precogs to arrest would-be criminals just before they commit a homicide.

Minority Report puts an interesting twist on the idea of precognition because, in real life, individuals claiming to possess this ability are often treated with suspicion, even derision. But the Precogs’ abilities are highly valued and they are given a kind of eerie reverence.

True and False

As the administrator of Earthpages.org, I’ve met many complex and fascinating seekers, on and offline. Some claim that spirit beings appear or speak to them. Others believe they have seen objects, places or souls during their astral travels. Several allegedly read minds; and some say they’ve had a vision of Christ or the Holy Trinity. And like the PreCogs, others claim to foresee the future.

Dealing with alleged psychics and mind-readers is both rewarding and challenging. If psychic abilities are real, it seems there’s no guarantee they’ll be applied ethically. For instance, those who haven’t dealt with personal pain could take a compensatory turn toward self-aggrandizement.¹

Clearly, some folks do take a wrong turn in the spiritual life, and a few might be repeatedly deceived and paranoid. Interior perception is an exacting process and not everyone does it well.

Leading writers on mysticism like Evelyn Underhill say that sincere mystics strive to be humble and analytical in order to avoid deception by the imagination or by negative spiritual influences (traditionally viewed as “demons,” “tramp souls” and “ghosts”).

St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274), the eponym ...

St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274), the eponym of Thomism. Picture by Fra Angelico (c. 1395-1455). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But this is the ideal. In reality, many alleged psychics and prophets seem pretty out to lunch. They speak in such roundabout terms that their predictions could mean a thousand different things. And when flat wrong, some of them just fudge it. False prophecies are quickly swept under the rug or recast as “symbolic” predictions.

Philosophers call this the ad hoc hypothesis or possibly ex post facto reasoning. Rather than openly admitting mistakes (as an honest researcher would) sham mystics do their best to cover them up.

Christian Response

Christian theologians say that genuine prophecy is revealed or infused from a supernatural source. They also tend to believe that God is omnipotent. This means God could use weak and sinful personalities for genuine prophecy, even for a short while. According to this view, one doesn’t have to be a holy guru to be a prophet. For Christians, no one is perfect. And to claim otherwise is misguided.

In Catholicism, personal revelations are called private revelations. Private revelations occurring after the time of Christ are said to add nothing to the faith as defined by the Church. But private revelations declared authentic may have inspirational or cultural value.

Throughout the ages, there have been so-called “private” revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church. Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such “revelations”²

New Directions

Of course, many modern people question the authority of a traditional religious body that, in he past, has proved to be just as susceptible to temptation and error as anyone else. Historically, the Catholic Church has made gruesome mistakes, only to apologize hundreds of years later.

It’s also entirely possible that even the best of prophets distort their revelations through their unique personalities. That is, they interpret according to who they are at a given moment in history. According to the view, much of the Bible is laced with cultural bias and political infighting. That hardly sounds like the “Word” of God.

Guercino, The Persian Sibyl, 1647-48 via Tumblr

So where does this leave us? And by what standard do sincere seekers judge interior perceptions?

I think the answer might be found in a cross fertilization of psychology and spirituality. Einstein once said “science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”³  Perhaps we could adapt that to something like, “psychology without spirituality is superficial, spirituality without psychology is questionable.”

Only then can we move forward to a spirituality suitable for the 21st century and beyond.


¹ Many saints say that vanity and jealousy figure prominently in the spiritual life. The more we open to spiritual realities, the more vulnerable we are to temptation and deception.

² Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 67. Catholic theology looks at prophecy in its own unique way. St. Thomas Aquinas is often cited in Catholic discussions about prophecy. But we’d do well to remember that after having a direct encounter with God, toward the end of his life, Aquinas apparently said his writings were like a “house of straw.”

³ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Albert_Einstein

Copyright © Michael W. Clark 2014


1 Comment

Researcher claims ‘Sasquatch’ are advanced human-type beings with UFO connections

Photo of an unidentified animal the Bigfoot Re...

Photo of an unidentified animal the Bigfoot Research Organization claims is a “juvenile Sasquatch” “Jacobs Photos” . . Retrieved 2009-09-16 . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Steve Hammons (originally posted 9/21/14 at Transcendent TV & Media)

Activities on Earth related to extraterrestrial and/or multidimensional intelligent beings are real, and they include a surprising connection – an active and ongoing relationship with the human-type beings commonly known as “Sasquatch,” according to Jack “Kewaunee” Lapseririts, MS.

Lapseririts was the guest speaker at the Phoenix, Arizona, chapter of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) Saturday, Sept., 20, at the Arizona Historical Society Museum’s Steele Auditorium in Tempe near Arizona State University.

Lapseritis is a social scientist, holistic health consultant and researcher in anthropology. He describes himself as an outdoorsman with a strong interest in Nature and natural resources conservation. Lapseritis has lived and traveled around the world exploring different environments and conducting various types of anthropological research.

In his presentation to the Phoenix MUFON audience, Lapseritis said that for several decades, a main focus of his research and interest has been on the Sasquatch, which he claims is a real race of beings living in various regions of the world and in many areas of the US, including Arizona. Like humans, there are different types of Sasquatch, he said.

Lasperitis has written two books on this subject, “The Psychic Sasquatch and Their UFO Connection” and “The Sasquatch People and Their Interdimensional Connection.”

The foreword to “The Psychic Sasquatch” is written by Dick Robinson, cinematographer and originator of the concept of the TV series “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.” The TV series, which aired on NBC in 1977-78, was based on a 1972 novel and 1974 movie about a woodsman during the frontier era in the western US.

Lapseritis told the Phoenix MUFON audience that, not surprisingly, one of his favorite movies is “Harry and the Hendersons.” That heart-warming 1987 family film starred John Lithgow, Melinda Dillon and Don Ameche. In the movie, a Seattle family has a very close, and eventually loving, encounter with a Sasquatch. Steven Spielberg was an executive producer.

CARING AND CONCERNED CULTURE

Lapseritis explained that there is also another type of being similar to the Sasquatch, which he referred to as the “Ancient Ones.” He says one way they differ from Sasquatch is the lack of facial hair. The Ancient Ones’ faces appear quite human, Lapseritis stated. In contrast, the Sasquatch face is covered with hair, he said.

The Sasquatch and Ancient Ones are very human, Lapseritis stated. They are not primitive beasts, but are evolved beings with knowledge and abilities that in many ways are more advanced than our own, he claimed. He likened their culture to that of Native Americans. They were on Earth before modern humans, Lasperitis said.

Sasquatch can communicate using a verbal language and also have the ability to communicate telepathically, according to Lapseritis. (The ability to perceive information and communication using consciousness is consistent with other modern scientific research about extrasensory perception and telepathy.)

Lapseritis said Sasquatch are generally not hostile, but are secretive and learned long ago that humans are dangerous. As a result, they tend to avoid or be very cautious around humans.

However, Sasquatch are loving and caring, and if approached appropriately, will be very friendly with humans, he said. On certain subjects, they are very serious. They can also be tricksters and have fun, Lapseritis stated.

But, like humans, there are individual Sasquatch who may behave in ways that are problematic, according to Lapseritis. Their culture, including a “council of elders,” has ways of implementing severe consequences on individuals of their kind who commit serious offenses, he said.

Frame 352 from the film, alleged to depict a f...

Frame 352 from the film, alleged to depict a female “Bigfoot” mid-stride. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Sasquatch and Ancient Ones treasure the Earth and Nature. They are very concerned about ongoing damage to Earth’s ecosystem including our planet’s lands, rivers, lakes, oceans and atmosphere from pollution and abuse by our species of humans, Lapseritis claimed.

In fact, he warned that what the Sasquatch call a “sacred purification” is coming. Lapseririts said this is the same prediction or expectation of what the Hopi Native Americans of Arizona call the “great purification.” This may include various types of global geologic upheavals such as widespread severe earthquakes, huge tsunamis and other very significant Earth changes, he said.

Lapseririts says that the Sasquatch are now reaching out to our human species because of the need to halt the pollution and abuse of the planet and to heal the damage that has been done.

They are also warning us of the impending danger of traumatic Earth changes as well as the risk of the outbreak of global and nuclear war among human governments and groups, he said.

Parallel with these dangers, there is an ongoing and available path of transcendence and ascension for those humans who choose it, according to Lapseririts. The Sasquatch want us to take this path, he said, which includes valuing the beauty and gift of this Earth, seeking advanced human development and consciousness, and achieving a stronger connection with Nature and the Higher Intelligence.

Part of this expanded understanding is related to the surprising factor that the Sasquatch and Ancient Ones also have ongoing cooperative interactions and relationships with other species of advanced beings who are extraterrestrial and interdimensional, and are active on Earth, according to Lapseritis.

Frame 352 from the Patterson-Gimlin film, alleged by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin to show a Bigfoot – via Wikipedia

HUMAN LEARNING AND SURVIVAL

Through his decades of research, his personal evolution and his dedication to learning more about Nature, Lapseritis says that the Sasquatch have reached out to him personally, and to many other people.

He stated he has had multiple face-to-face encounters with Sasquatch that are ongoing. The Sasquatch are asking Lapseritis to communicate with his fellow humans about the dangers and opportunities that face us, he said.

As a result, he is speaking at various conferences and venues, informing audiences about his two books (and a pending third one), and trying to inform and educate people about the intriguing realities that he has learned about.

Lapseritis seems to realize it is a stretch to convince even open-minded people about some of the elements that he has written and spoken about. Yet, he claims “the truth is the truth,” and his job is to put the information out there for those who can hear it and intelligently consider it.

He also says that some of the additional anomalous phenomena that have been well-documented by other researchers are real and part of the holistic situation. These include multidimensional portals and star gates as well as several kinds of intelligent extraterrestrial cultures visiting Earth.

These “star people” are involved in discreet activities on Earth and have been for a very, very long time, Lapseritis said.

The background of the origins and development of our species of human is also more interesting than many of us know, he said. There has been intervention in the evolution of the human race by advanced beings, he claimed. In fact, Lapseritis stated that advanced beings are still very involved in helping our species survive our self-destructive behavior and our damage to this beautiful planet Earth.

There are many unconventional and mysterious moving parts involved in the current development of the human race, he explained. Many elements are secretive, some are just not widely known or understood, and others are quite obvious.

It’s up to us to become more informed about these unconventional developments and to make appropriate decisions to move forward, survive and develop into more advanced beings ourselves, Lapseritis indicated.

For more information, visit Lapseritis’ website The Sasquatch People.

About the Author

Steve Hammons is the author of two novels about a U.S. Government and military joint-service research team investigating unusual phenomena. MISSION INTO LIGHT and the sequel LIGHT’S HAND introduce readers to the ten women and men of the “Joint Reconnaissance Study Group” and their exciting adventures exploring the unknown.

Featured Image -- 23077


Leave a comment

A Case for Reincarnation

Originally posted on Shamagaia:

'2'_Dharma_Wheel,_The_Wheel_of_Life_at_Sun_Temple_Konark,_Orissa_India_February_2014

Wheel of Life: Sun Temple, Konark Orissa, India 2014

“The Journey of a thousand miles begin begins with a single step.”
Lao Tzu

A healing journey which had begun with Japanese herbal remedies from the super-market, now had me lying on a padded table in the treatment room of a certified Japanese Reiki master. He had been silently removing what I then only had the vocab to describe as, “dirty big knots of bad mojo,” from my energy meridians. Dredging me up from the depths of a sublime state of semi-consciousness, he intoned casually: “You lived a past life in Japan, about one thousand years ago.”

Later that week, after a few pints of beer down at a local bar, I decided to hazard a half-humorous retelling of the Reiki master’s claim to a group of my foreign teaching buddies: bad idea. A couple of them laughed their asses off…

View original 2,361 more words


Leave a comment

Review – Tales of the Dead (DVD)

Image courtesy Reality Entertainment

Title: Tales of the Dead!
Genre: Horror, Fantasy
Distribution: Reality Entertainment

Originally posted 2010/09/08

Just in time for Halloween. Tales of the Dead is a vivid introduction to the realm of horror as envisioned by the independent UK filmmaker, Kemal Yildirim.

Not being a huge horror fan, myself, it took me a while to get past my biases and crack open the DVD case, let alone watch this film.

On first try I just reviewed snippets to prepare myself for what I’d be in for. This allowed me to get my proverbial shields up and watch the entire film, later that evening. And yes, this definitely is a movie to be watched after dark. You might want to take it to a Halloween party. Maybe not!

Tales of the Dead is not for the weak of heart. It’s pretty shocking, contains brief nudity, and isn’t shy of presenting graphic violence.

Without serving up a spoiler, the basic story is about five friends who gather for a private Halloween party. This convincing part of the film is replete with drinking, smoking and profane language, as many of the younger crowd no doubt carry on in these days of global recession and the war on terror.

The film quickly shifts to the surreal as the revelers begin telling ghost stories and grim tales of urban horror. Several the five party guests bring short horror videos to share with their friends, which effectively leads into and unifies different shorts.

The first video, “Less is More” calls to mind several classic horror themes, aptly synthesized to make it difficult to trace a particular influence to a given scene. A bit of Edgar Allen Poe here, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle there. The plot involves a severely troubled woman who desires a mysterious surgery that she believes will cure all her problems. Her decent husband tries to understand but, as her obsession mounts, he can only take so much. A social worker suggests she try a psychiatrist, but a coincidental encounter in the night takes her entirely somewhere else.

The result? Well, let’s just say that this kind of film making is certainly not for everyone.

The second short, “Wolf Cry” is surprisingly clever at places, even if you’re not into horror, per se. We see into a young man’s incredibly delusional, amusing and horrifying imagination. This is probably the smartest segment of the DVD, sociologically speaking. Some scenes turn out to be ingeniously fresh vignettes about systemic hypocrisy and, as the sociologist Max Weber once put it, the Protestant work ethic.

“Penance,” the third short, also plays on several existing horror themes. In the DVD’s special features, Yildirim explains that he wants to pay homage to some of the great directors within the genre while still making his own cinematic statement.

And this he does.

In this short, a boozy British police inspector is called to investigate a disturbing homicide. The inspector apparently has links with the killer, and sometimes we wonder if he, himself, is the maniac.

The fourth short, “Missing” plays on the fabled Cromwell’s Curse, which in urban legend is linked to the historical Northamptonshire witch trials of 1612. This portion contains some haunting street and good library scenes, but I found it the least engaging of the lot. We hear lots of “Oh my God… did you see that?” but don’t really witness anything for ourselves.

Oh yes, it’s all fiction and archetypal fun. I forgot. But if so, a few actors running through the night in white sheets might have helped.

The final tale is told by the only woman at the Halloween party. Like her guy friends, she’s trendy and hip. But unlike her groovy pals, she doesn’t bring a video to the party. Her story is apparently real…

Special features for Tales of the Dead include “The Making of Wolf Cry” and “The Making of Penance.” These sneak peeks show how an indie horror film is actually made. They reveal the hard work, camaraderie and technology that goes into independent film making—ironically humanizing our experience of an, otherwise, totally “out there” film.

—MC

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,460 other followers