Sunday, 30 November 2008

'Television, the drug of the nation...'

This first broadcast last year, but because I don't own a television and avoid being exposed to one wherever possible, I didn't see it. It amazes me how openly this kind of statement about the media can be made by the media, to such little effect.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Mumbai Reflections

Conspiracy theories are already circulating regarding events in India, which (to date) have claimed at least 125 lives, and 300 injured. The media has been very quick to attribute blame to 'Al-Qaeda', despite an MO greatly at odds with previous 'outrages' pulled off by that mythical entity. According to certain sources, these events bear the hallmarks of domestic terror- an opinion which has not prevented India's leadership- and the global media- from pinpointing Pakistan, and its security service, the ISI, as the culprit; presumably in an effort to rekindle the 'War on Terra', and perhaps provide President Elect Barack Obama with the excuse he needs to make good on his AIPAC-approved election promises. Many reports have stated that the principal targets appear to have been Americans, Britons and Jews (thus evoking all three heads of the Evil Empire), despite the indiscriminate nature of the slayings; and the spectre of Mossad has, predictably, been raised, as it always will be in any violent event of uncertain provenance. (See here and here.)

There are also indications of a more subtle, occult conspiracy behind the mundane politics, ultimately of non-human origin. It is well-known in research circles that events of this nature frequently reference the Goddess in one shape or another: the perennial theme of secret history; as seen very recently with the hijacking of the Sirius Star off the Gulf of Aden. From TV reports from India earlier today, I gleaned the fact that at least several of the coordinated attacks occurred in the Coloba region of Mumbai, a word which seems as though it may be related to the queen of Fortean codewords, Columbia. Giving a small degree of support to this idea, the region now referred to by that name was, in an earlier epoch, divided into two discrete islands: Colaba and Little Colaba, the latter being known in English as Old Woman's Island. (The many other examples of Columbia's significance in occult lore are contained in an article to be posted shortly at BTB, for those with a particular interest in the subject.)

Not only that, but Mumbai itself is a prime location for a goddess ritual; being that it consists of no fewer than seven islands, the (deliberate?) equivalent, perhaps, of the seven hills of Ancient Rome... or perhaps the seven sisters of the Pleaides. Indeed, the earliest known name for the city is Heptanesia, a Greek word meaning 'a cluster of seven islands.' A point made in several BTB posts is the equivalence of the goddess and the Grail; and Mumbai is a city with very strong ties to the Stuart dynasty, the mysterious keepers of the Grail of Anglo-Scottish tradition, being granted to the Stuart king Charles II at his marriage to Catherine of Braganza (after whom the borough of Queens County, New York, is thought to have been named.)

Its present name of Mumbai- used, formally, since 1996, and informally for many centuries before that by speakers of Gujarati- is combined from the local goddess Mumba, and a word meaning 'mother', 'Aai'. According to Wikipedia, Mumba was the patron of the original inhabitants of the seven islands, the salt collectors and fisherfolk; who is still deeply venerated in the city's seventeenth-century Mumba Devi Temple. Most intriguingly, Mumba is depicted inside the temple as a black stone sculpture: evoking obvious comparisons not only to the Black Madonnas of Templar-infused Catholicism and Isis, but to the origins of Islam in the pagan worship of the Kaaba at Mecca (a word related to Cybele.) Devi is a Sanskrit word, synonymous with Shakti, the female aspect of the divine.

What the above signifies is less easy to explain. It is my belief, to paraphrase John Keel, that important events are manipulated by an unknown intelligence (of extra-dimensional origin) through the external control of specific human beings. This intelligence uses the symbols of the goddess as just one of its many calling cards; and appears to demand regular regular infusions of blood as its principal food source. These two points are actually the same point: as Keel observes in The Mothman Prophecies, one of the peculiarities of the UFO/fairy phenomenon is its ability to 'ferret out' (identify and use) menstruating females, perhaps the ultimate Shakti symbol. UFOs and other anomalous phenomena are the visible expression of this energy or force; and blood and flesh- in abundance- are vital to the maintenance of this transmogrification. Blood rituals in symbolic locations, in my opinion, are the principal mechanism by which the Secret Commonwealth sustain their terrestrial presence, though by no means the only one.

Please see BTB for further updates.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

More on The Truman Syndrome...

'Psychiatric experts say they have identified a new 21st century form of delusion whose sufferers are convinced their lives are being played out as a reality television show.

The self-exposure, instant fame culture peddled by reality shows, social networking internet sites such as Facebook and – above all – the home video-sharing website YouTube has provided a "perfect storm" for vulnerable people, encouraging them to put their fantasies on a global stage, say researchers.

Joel and Ian Gold, a New York psychiatrist and Montreal academic, say they have been inundated with cases since they first expounded what they have dubbed the "Truman Syndrome" two years ago.

... The condition might seem comical - one man went to a US government building and announced he wanted his show to end - but it tended to be "absolutely debilitating" as sufferers believed they could trust no-one, said Dr Joel Gold, head of psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital in New York.

... The existence of a specific Truman Syndrome has divided experts, with critics pointing out that delusional patients have long believed that friends or relatives have been replaced by imposters.

However, the Gold brothers counter that the Truman Syndrome is different because of the "sweeping" scope of the delusion, taking in society at large.

"We're not claiming it's a new form of mental illness and we're not suggesting these people would be well if there was no YouTube," said Dr Gold.

"But we've passed a watershed moment with respect to the internet, in which you can do something very silly and without skill, and yet become famous instantly. That can be very exciting for many people but for those who are at risk of this kind of paranoia, it can be very stressful."

Critics who dismissed sufferers as narcissists were missing the point, he said. "These are not people who want to be famous. Quite the contrary, they want to be left alone."

He said they so far had evidence of between 50 and 75 cases, many provided by other psychiatrists.

Ian Gold, a professor at McGill University in Montreal, said that the ability of reality shows and the internet to transform strangers into intimates may compound psychological pressure on people who have underlying problems dealing with others.

... Other academics have suggested that culture and technology can influence delusions. A study in Austria identified a woman who believed she had become a walking webcam.

Her psychiatrists concluded that reality television may help such patients convince themselves that their experiences are plausible.'


'Nature's pre-cog system?..'

'Flash floods are expected to become Britain's most common natural disaster, leaving in their wake death and destruction - but one researcher is using lightning to try and predict where and when they will occur.

Professor Colin Price from Tel Aviv University is studying the link between lightning and subsequent flash floods.

His aim is to develop an early warning system for people in the path of a flood.
The three-year study includes scientists from five European countries, and its results are expected to be adopted by weather forecasting agencies around the world.'


Wednesday, 26 November 2008

'The woman who can remember everything...'

'"No one can imagine what it's really like," says Jill Price, 42, "not even the scientists who are studying me."

The Californian, who has an almost perfect memory, is trying to describe how it feels. She starts with a small demonstration of her ability. "When were you born?" she asks.

She hears the date and says: "Oh, that was a Wednesday. There was a cold snap in Los Angeles two days later, and my mother and I made soup."'


'The Truman Syndrome...'

'Reality TV is to blame for a rise in psychiatric problems where the sufferers become convinced their own lives are being played out in front of the cameras, experts say.

The phenomenon has been dubbed Truman syndrome, after hit movie The Truman Show, in which Jim Carrey plays the unwitting star of a lifelong reality show.

Psychiatrist Ian Gold said reality TV shows such as I'm A Celebrity..., with their ability to turn strangers into intimates, may add critically to the psychological pressure on people who already have underlying problems.

Dr Gold, a philosophy and psychology professor at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, stressed that he was not saying reality shows made healthy people delusion, but added: 'At the very least, it seems possible to me that people who would become ill are becoming ill quicker or in a different way.'

Researchers in London described a Truman syndrome patient in the British Journal of Psychiatry in August.

The 26-year-old postman 'had a sense the world was slightly unreal, as if he was the eponymous hero' in The Truman Show, the researchers wrote.

In the 1998 movie, Carrey's character Truman Burbank leads a largely uneventful life until he realises his friends and family are actors, his home town is a sound stage and every moment of his life has been broadcast on television.

His struggle to sort out reality and illusion is often horrifying for Truman syndrome patients, researchers say.

Dr Joel Gold (no relation), a psychiatrist with New York's Bellevue Hospital, said he encountered five patients with delusions related to reality TV in the space of two years. Several of them specifically mentioned The Truman Show.

One man showed up at a U.S. government building asking to be released from the reality show he was sure was being made of his life.

Another was convinced his every move was secretly being filmed for a TV contest.

A third believed that everything - the news, his psychiatrists, the drugs they prescribed - was part of a fake stage-set world in which he was the involuntary star.

Dr Gold added that while it was not unusual for psychiatrists to see delusional patients who believe their relatives have been replaced by impostors or who think figures in their lives are taking on multiple disguises, Truman delusions are more sweeping, involving not just some associates but society at large.

He said: 'The question is really: Is this just a new twist on an old paranoid or grandiose delusion ... or is there sort of a perfect storm of the culture we're in, in which fame holds such high value?'

But other researchers are not convinced of the effects of the Truman syndrome.
Psychologist Vaughan Bell of King's College London said one of his former patients believed he was in the virtual-reality universe portrayed in the 1999 sci-fi blockbuster The Matrix.'


Monday, 24 November 2008

'Riding Obama's coattails...'

'Barack Obama may have figured out a way to stimulate the economy even before taking office: by being elected. is selling commemorative Obama photos, medallions and plates.

Merchandise commemorating, celebrating and — in some instances — practically canonizing Mr. Obama is being sold by companies large and small, institutional and entrepreneurial, familiar (Time Inc.) and not so (the American Historic Society).

Consumers have already spent perhaps as much as $200 million on Obamabilia, two months before he will be inaugurated as the 44th president and another tidal wave of tchotchkes will be unleashed.

Mr. Obama “has been the best-marketed presidential candidate, with the most sophisticated branding since John F. Kennedy used television to get elected” in 1960, said Allen Adamson, managing director of the New York office of Landor Associates, a corporate and brand identity agency that is part of the WPP Group. “So it’s no surprise that once Obama was elected, people would try to cash in.”'


Friday, 21 November 2008

The Wolfen and the Visitors

In Transformation, Strieber's second abduction memoir, the author casts an eye over his earlier work for anything that might illuminate his present- highly unusual- circumstances. Common to several of the fantasy novels that preceded Communion is the same underlying theme: of 'an enormous, hidden, and frightful reality', and Strieber's attempts, through his characters, to cope with it. The first, published in 1978, was The Wolfen, in which this predatory force appears as a race of mutated, highly intelligent wolves. Set in contemporary New York, the novel introduces many ideas now familiar to fans of the later work, including the natural synergy between hunter and prey; and the plausible weave of fact and fiction which is Strieber's hallmark. (Discours de la Lycanthropie, ou de la transmutation des hommes en loups, a sixteenth-century text found in the New York Public Library by Carl Ferguson, is a real work- though its purported contents are subject to Strieber's considerable artistic licence.)

And from a Ufological perspective, it is of great note that The Wolfen anticipates the attention paid in recent years to the role of non-human intelligence in earthly relationships. Published in 2000, one of the first books to address this previously occluded subject was Eve Lorgen's The Love Bite, which- judging from the plot of his novel The Grays- Strieber has almost certainly read. Suggesting that the concept was familar to the writer many years before, the unusual chemistry between the detectives Wilson and Neff- after whom Strieber named his publishing company- manifests for the first time after a close encounter with the mysteriously advanced beasts. "You acted hypnotized," says the gruff, older Wilson, before taking his partner in his arms. It is a theme rendered even more explicit in his next novel, The Hunger, in which the vampire Miriam Blaylock forces a bond with her lover Sarah by manipulating her dreams.

Precognitive strands like these are a fascinating constant in Strieber's work. In common with many writers of speculative fiction, every year lends more reality to even the most outlandish fictional conceit. In The Wolfen, the detectives are dismayed to learn that even a bloodhound- with a nose approximately one hundred million times more sensitive than that of a man- can trace and track an individual human scent anywhere in Manhattan. Contemporary events prove that humanity- or its controllers- are working to close this gap, as technologies for 'odourprinting'- which the CIA was researching over forty years ago- are now beginning to be realised; a process which, if perfected, will present surveillance opportunities far excess of anything presently possessed in nature. The 'Unique Signature Detection Projection' is currently underway at DARPA; and according to a recent report from Monell Chemical Senses Centre in Philadelphia, such technologies could soon have a military- and later, a domestic- application. (Click here and here.)

Even the Wolfen's mutated claw, of such interest to the naturalist Carl Ferguson, is arguably no longer fictitious. Analysing a composite constructed from casts of the creatures' prints, Ferguson says: "These long, jointed toes can grasp, I think, quite well. And the claw retracts"- a description bearing comparison to the unusual features of the Sphynx Cat, the hairless, somewhat alien-looking breed developed forty years ago in Canada. (Click here.)

So far as the majority of Strieber's readership are concerned, however, the abiding value of The Wolfen is likely to lie in its relationship to the author's encounters with 'The Visitors.' And as his reference in Transformation makes clear, there is much here to interest the attentive Ufologist. For his own part, Strieber observes that 'The Wolfen were gray, hid in the cracks of life, and used their immense intelligence to hunt down human beings as their natural and proper prey.' Indeed, Ferguson could easily be describing the Visitors when he muses that, despite our advancing technology, mankind 'has never faced an alien intelligence before, have never faced a species with its own built-in technology far superior to our own.' And this parallel is sustained when, as their comprehension of the enemy grows, Wilson and Neff begin displaying the sort of hyper-alert, even paranoid, attitudes of anyone who has sought to avoid 'abduction': sleeping as little as possible, preferring the comfort of crowds. A poster for The Wolfen movie- titled simply Wolfen, and bearing little resemblance to Strieber's novel- even poses the question: 'Dieu ou Diable', restating a condundrum often asked of the aliens themselves; whilst superimposing wolfen eyes over the skyline of Manhattan, in classic Communion style. (Click here.)

The most important correspondence, however, lies in the relation of both Wolfen and Visitors to mankind: being on one hand, its prey... and on the other, its lover: matters very close to Whitley Strieber's heart, and a theme developed at length in his vampire trilogy. He ensures dreadful respect- and no little sympathy- for his wolves by writing parts of the story from their perspective, at pains to emphasise, as Miriam Blaylock states, they too 'are a part of the justice of the earth.' The depths of pleasure described in 'ripping' the throats of their victims anticipates the dark eroticism of The Hunger, and also the strange seductive quality ever-present in his encounters with The Visitors, whose proffered 'communion' is not without its fleshy, carnal aspect. (A quality aptly described by the authors of the three-volume research manual, The Universal Seduction.) Neither Wolfen nor vampire, in Strieber's imagination, takes more than it requires; and always is there a sense of compact between feeder and food... however dimly apprehended. Wilson, reflecting on this grave but immutable synergy, recalls a hunting trip embarked upon with his father in his youth. With words which could have come straight out of Communion, Strieber asks:

'When he closed his eyes he saw them, their steady, eager eyes, the cruel beauty of their faces... and he remembered the moose and the wolves. What did the spent old moose feel for the ravening timber wolf- was it love, or fear so great it mimicked love?'


Thursday, 20 November 2008

'Little girls and me, by Lewis Carroll...'

'More than a century after his death, Lewis Carroll has answered speculation about whether he was a paedophile.

A letter has emerged in which the Alice In Wonderland author discusses his fondness for children and apparently suggests that he prefers girls to boys.

But characteristically, its cryptic nature does little to resolve the questions about his sexuality which have long preoccupied the experts on his work.'


Monday, 17 November 2008

''I have a sixth sense,' says Lord Drayson...'

'Lord Drayson, the science minister, claims he has a gift "like a sixth sense" that enables him to predict some events before they have happened.

"In my life there have been some things I have known, and I don't know why," he said. "I think there is a lot we don't understand about human capability."

The multi-millionaire businessman and Labour donor also admitted he believed in God and thought faith and science were compatible.

"I think faith is a very strange thing," he said. "You don't necessarily believe in something just because you have the evidence to prove it."

Drayson, was discussing Blink, the bestselling American book about human instinct, by Malcolm Gladwell. The book identifies cases of individuals with the apparent power to foretell events, an ability Drayson believes he may share.'