Sunday, October 30, 2011

Reptoid Conspiracy

We were driving south in the darkness toward Salt Lake City for a night of music and revelry when we heard the wail of sirens and witnessed terrified Utah residents fleeing from their homes in a bewildered panic. It was as if the bomb had dropped or the President was assassinated. Struck-dumb and wandering in a kind of confused haze, people all over the SLC landscape were converging in the street and jabbering incoherently. It was something about ‘illegal aliens and citizenship’. “It’s nothing.” I mumbled to my Pusciferian comrade. “They’re talking about rights for aliens.”
“Rights for aliens!” some middle aged ferret-looking woman screeched into my ear. “They’re here to take over!” She wailed. “Nonsense.” I said in an attempt to quell the berserker rage that was about to spill out into the street. She looked at me and I instinctively knew that she’d just lost all hope in a rational universe. Some terrible nightmare had just manifested and was stumbling around like a newly surfaced zombie or infant golem. I was heart-broken but not about to miss my date in the city so slowly I made to creep off while she was preoccupied being crazy. I remembered that Fenster once remarked that “the pathology of conspiracy theory is not imposed from without; it develops from within, when populist demagoguery makes the paranoid style relevant and attractive for an anxious group”.[1] And this lady certainly was anxious. I finally gave up and followed her into the living room of her dilapidated little apartment. A child in a diaper sat on the floor playing with an overflowing ash-tray and said she was “picking out the good ones for mommy”. A tiny balding dog was up on the kitchen sink and lapping droplets of water that seeped from the faucet. And on the couch were two jowl-faced spinsters that vaguely reminded me of the Old Hag or Crone of folklore. They slowly grinned their piecemeal jack O’ lantern smiles and turned back to watching their 1970s era tellie. Now as you know, I’m prone to paranoia. I certainly believe in the power of conspiracy to unravel even the most stoic of individuals. Political paranoia is even more likely to have me talking like a crazy person. Rogin once stated that in “political paranoia there are no accidents. Everything bad that happens is part of a plot of hidden orders and secret powers exercised on the innocent and unsuspecting.”[2] But nothing, I mean nothing was to prepare me for the inherent shock I was about to receive….

Conspiracy theory in modern times has enjoyed such a surge in popularity that it’s now an art-form. Since the assassination of JFK, the growing fears of a New World Order, and the serious distrust of World Governments, modern conspiracy has become an organic entity. Similar to the local squid monster, there are tentacles that pollute all areas of popular culture. Not even the local preachers are immune. People now distrust the clergy as much, maybe more so, than their political leaders. The question is why? What is it about conspiracy theory that attracts a multitude of followers. Studies have shown that the ‘condition’ of society is a likely candidate for an upswing in conspiratorial thinking. As society gets fed up with their leaders running the country like used car-salesmen, dissent becomes a common factor and leads to paranoia. As Veronique Campion-Vincent eloquently remarked, “Conspiracy theories can be considered a folk science or folk history, as a subculture of intellectual dissent, aiming, as do academic treatises, to provide meaningful and accurate explanations of the world’s condition.”[3] The conspiracy showcases what is wrong. Its itinerant agenda is to traverse political, social, and religious milieus and bring these various aspects of society under a common threat. In so doing, the conspiracy theory can effect all walks of life.

I was pondering the ridiculousness of supernatural flights of fancy when I glanced over to our hostess and watched her bullyingly backhand the dog off the kitchen counter. A loud yelp as a I cringed at the dingbat grinning that toothless smile. “Jesus God.” I muttered. “It’s like an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’.” “You bet it is!” The stalwart woman screamed. By this time, the entire block was full of people waving their hands excitedly and jabbering aloud about what was on the News. I stood dumb-struck and said something like, “It’s not rational. It’s absolutely absurd”, when old crony jumped up off the couch like she’d just received a sudden electric jolt and hissed, “You get, you filthy Communist! We don’t need any of your alien-loving in this house!” I backed away slowly as to not instigate some fit of elderly rage and turned back to the hostess who was now dipping into the ashtray with diaper-girl in search of an un-smoked butt. “You know, I get it.” I mused. “The logic of the conspiracy theory. Step four: Conspiracies sometimes do happen. Within the evil agent that has the means and motivation to form a conspiracy, sometimes there is the capacity for a big event. But I doubt Jim Marrs or Stanton Friedman saw this coming!” She stared up at me glossy-eyed and clearly confused. “Never mind that.” I said. “I’m late, I gotta go.” It was at this point that crony blocked the door and whispered. “It’s not safe…they’ll be everywhere now. They’ll want to stay and ask to be citizens.” She said weepily. I didn’t doubt that but I felt a pang of remorse for Obama. What a thing to experience while live on national television. I couldn’t blame him for his high-pitched terrified scream when it happened. The whole country is gonna back him on this one. And nobody will ever see the Bush dynasty as anything but foul and twisted. I mean, when George Bush Sr. and his awkward son stepped up to the Presidential podium and ripped off their human masks to an unprepared public, they’re lucky the Secret Service didn’t blaze away immediately. As it was, the punishing tackle that sent Bush Jr. flying like a Reptilian rag-doll into the press nearly escalated into a riot. The Bushs snarled and backed away into a corner as every reporter in the room fired off multiple shots of the Reptilian aliens that once were in command of the most powerful country in the Free World.

Looking back, I don’t think anybody is really surprised that the Humanoid Reptilian Alien Hypothesis turned out to be true. Icke had been spouting crazily for years that “to maintain their position of world domination down through the centuries, the Aryan lizards have created a secret society known as the Freemasons or Illuminati.”[4] And I was always a bit weary of the Bush administration. They seemed either diabolically clever or plum dumb. But now with the Reptilians securing their place into human culture, it makes me wonder just what Pike and Weishaupt were really up to. And just how many of our conspiracies and fairy-tales are actually true. Perhaps we should reevaluate all forms of folklore in order to ascertain the likelihood that all narratives of this form are based on reality. This country can’t afford many more shocks of this kind. We’ve got a real monster here and it’s gonna take time to see where all the cards now lay.    

E [1] Fenster, Mark. Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture. Univ. of Minnesota Press. 2008. pp. 50
[2] Rogin, M.P. Body and Soul Murder: JFK. In Media Spectacles. Ed. M. Garber, J. Matlock, R. Walkowitz. 1993. Routledge. New York. Pp. 14
[3] Campion-Vincent, Veronique. From Evil Others to Evil Elites: A dominant Pattern in Conspiracy Theories Today. In Rumor Mills: The Social Impact of Rumor and Legend. Ed. G. Fine, V. Campion-Vincent, C. Heath. 2005 Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick.
[4] Lewis, Tyson and Kahn, Richard. The Reptoid Hypothesis: Utopian and Dystopian Representational Motifs in David Icke’s Alien Conspiracy Theory. Utopian Studies 16.1 2005. pp.45-74

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rational Liminality and the UFO abduction experience.

 Hello everybody! Been busy getting ready to defend MS Folklore thesis but wanted to post a taste of what I'll be discussing and including in issue 2 of MagusMagazine. Give it a read.......

            In 1973, nineteen year old Calvin Parker and forty two year old Charles
            Hickson, both of Gauter, Mississippi were fishing in the Pascagoula river
            when they heard a buzzing noise behind them. Both turned and were terrified to
            see a ten-foot wide, eight-foot- high, glowing egg-shaped object with blue lights
            at its front hovering just above the ground about forty feet from the riverbank. As
            the men, frozen with fright, watched, a door appeared in the object, and three
            strange Beings floated just above the river toward them.
            The beings had legs but did not use them. They were about five feet tall, had
            bullet-shaped heads without necks, slits for mouths; and where their noses or ears
            should be, they had thin, conical objects sticking out, like carrots from a
            snowman’s head. They had no eyes, gray, wrinkled skin, round feet, and clawlike
            hands. Two of the Beings seized Hickson; when the third grabbed Parker, the
            teenager fainted with fright. Hickson claimed that when the Beings placed their
            hands under his arms, his body became numb, and that then they floated him into
            a brightly lit room in the UFO’s interior, where he was subjected to a medical
            examination with an eyelike device which, like Hickson himself, was floating in
            midair. At the end of the examination, the Beings simply left Hickson floating,
            paralyzed but for his eyes, and went to examine Parker, who, Hickson believed,
            was in another room. Twenty minutes after Hickson had first observed the UFO,
            he was floated back outside and released. He found Parker weeping and praying
            on the ground near him. Moments later, the object rose straight up and shot out of
            sight.  (Bryan 1995: 115)

            This supernatural abduction narrative is called the Pascagoula incident and is one
 of the most famous accounts of supposed extraterrestrial interaction with human beings.
 Known as a close encounter of the fourth kind, the abduction narrative is ripe with
 terrifying accounts of regular people being accosted by otherworldly Beings that subject
 their captives to torturous ordeals. According to UFO mythos, a close encounter of the
 first kind involves a UFO sighting that is reported at close range. The second type of
 encounter is when there is physical evidence of the UFO. Some of this trace evidence
 might include burned vegetation, frightened animals, and loss of electricity. An encounter
 of the third kind is characterized by ‘contact’ with an extraterrestrial Being. But the
 fourth is clearly the most disturbing because it involves an actual abduction. These
 stories of supernatural abduction have a clear structure and  fit into consistent themes.
 Typically, the episode begins with an initial capture, which is followed by a sort of
 medical examination and otherworldy journey. In many cases, interaction with the Being
 produces a theophany in the abductee. The sequence usually culminates with the return of
 the victim, but the aftermath of the ordeal lingers sometimes for years after the event.
           My own interest in UFO narratives stems largely from my fascination with the
 esoteric and arcane.  From as far back as I can remember, I’ve had a profound interest in
 all things occult and/or mysterious. In terms of the UFO abduction, I’ve always found it
 fascinating how somebody could experience something largely indefinable and have their
 world-view changed forever. I often wonder what it is about anomalous experiences that
 have the potential to spark a life-changing shift in a person’s ethos or societal niche. Also,
 popular culture has had an influence on why UFO narratives hold my interest. Television
 programs such as the X-Files and Roswell were popular when I was in high school and I
 think that their story-lines, coupled with the fact that I was at an impressionable age,
 instilled a fascination with the UFO in me. To this day, I try to draw correlations
 between the occult and UFO narratives. So as something as mysterious to me now as it
 was when I was younger, these stories of the unknown spark my imagination and inspire
 me to delve deeper into their structural nuances.
         Of all the imaginings the human mind can produce, those of the supernatural may
 hold the most proclivity for individual expression. As part of our unusual psyche, ideas of
 the paranormal or supernatural manifest in a variety of ways. Throughout human history, 
 ideas of otherwordly or inherently inhuman beings have been used to explain pervasive
 or otherwise frightening occurrences. The supernatural abduction, whether by witches,
 ghosts, or goblins, is a common staple in all civilizations and is a structural part of a
 community’s social organization.  According to Jodi Dean, “abduction stories describe
 the interventions of non-human folk in human lives. They are stories of border crossings,
 of everyday transgressions of the boundaries demarcating the limits of that define reality”
 (Dean 1998:163). The idea of abductions by fairies, for example, is a type of assault
 narrative. As described in Western European folklore, a changeling was the offspring of a
 fairy or some other supernatural entity that was put in place of a normal human child.
 People believed that the abductee could only be returned if the changeling was made to
          Nowadays, UFO abductions are perhaps the most popular supernatural assault
 tradition to saturate popular media. Due to the plethora of science fiction movies and
television programs, the appropriateness of the UFO abduction as material for academic
study can easily be questioned. Many academic disciplines dismiss the UFO narrative as
 pure science fiction.  Nevertheless, Thomas Bullard is correct when he states that “the
 question before us is not whether UFOs are folklore. They certainly are, and just as
 certainly resemble other folklore in forms and function. The coherency of abduction
 reports stands out as the most unequivocal piece of evidence that folklore scholarship
 contributes to the UFO mystery” (Bullard 1981: 48). In fact, Bullard himself conducted a
 study of 270 abduction cases and concluded that the narratives hold structural similarities
 regardless of who the abductee was or who the researcher was (Jacobs 2000). Drawing on
 Bullard’s notion that UFO abductions are folklore, in this paper I suggest that UFO
 abduction narratives can be interpreted productively by using Arnold van Gennep’s rites
of passage. I will be utilizing what I have come to call ‘rational liminality’ to show that
after the abduction sequence, an ultimate reincorporation into society is achieved by the
 abductees’ rational acceptance of his/her liminal experiences that occurred during the
 initial event.
        Arnold van Gennep was instrumental in recognizing and discussing the rites of
passage that accompany specific life stages. A French anthropologist and folklorist, van
Gennep coined the idea of rites of passage and used this schema to address various
 transitory events in a person’s life. He identified three distinct steps that make up a
 typical rite of passage. The first involves a separation from society. This separation is
 followed by a complex set of events that are liminal in nature. The term liminal refers to
 an in-between state. Something on a threshold or ethereal, the liminal is an intermediate
 phase of the event. After the separation and liminal experiences, a period of
 consummation or reincorporation into society occurs. Van Gennep utilized these three
 gradated steps to explain everything from puberty rites to secret society membership.
 In order to thoroughly examine the rites of passage apparent in UFO
 abduction narratives, I draw on various abduction  accounts....

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Types of vampires


Generally speaking, I would say that “vampires” can be divided into two main categories:
a) Human
b) Non-human
In popular parlance, we would call the humans “real vampires”, and the non-human’s “true vampires”. These are not MY terms, BTW. In no way should my usage of such terms indicate that I believe in such things as “reality” or “truth”, but I digress…
The term “real vampires” GENERALLY refers to one of two groups (or to both following groups):
a) “sanguinarians”, and
b) “psychic vampires”.
“Psychic” vampires are those who claim to feed on other people’s ” psychic energy”. Whatever…
“Sanguinarian vampires” are people (humans) who drink blood (because they think it’s cool, or admire either “true” or fictional vampires, or suffer from severe mental illness). A TINY fraction of sanguinarian vampires are cannibals, serial killers, or both.
Personally, I would add a THIRD subsection to the category of “real” (human) “vampires”, and that would be the “psychological vampire”.
The “psychological vampire” wouldn’t necessarily pretend to LOOK like a vampire, try to steal other people’s “energy”, or drink blood indirectly (through something other than fangs). A “psychological vampire” would simply adopt the MINDSET of a vampire. For example: they wouldn’t particularly care about “human affairs”. In other words… they wouldn’t really be concerned with whether or not humans are protesting Wall Street (unless, maybe that represented some sort of self-serving opportunity).
FINALLY, this brings us to the category of “true” (non-human) Vampires. I think the capital ‘v’ is appropriate. These are what are also known as “Supernatural Vampires”. These are the folks who can sprout fangs (they don’t need to shave their teeth) and suck the blood from your jugular until your body is bloodless. These are the folks who are “fairly immortal/invincible” (and tend to heal at an amazing rate)… the folks who can snap your neck in a nanosecond with one hand, or slice your throat open with a page from the Bible, or punch a hole through your rib-cage and rip out your heart (literally)… who can fly, levitate, transform into wolves and bats, etc. THESE GUYS are known as “supernatural” or “true” Vampires. They are the beasts of legend, and the stuff of romance. We fear them, EVEN THOUGH, we don’t believe in them (unless of course… YOU happen to know better).