The Demonic Forest

In my story the forest is infested with the mysterious forces as described in the last post about the “demonic (principle) which can manifest in men, animals and things even in whole epochs (corporal and incorporal)”.

Of course this is not a very original idea or something new but always worth to be told from a new angle.

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Is there anything we could do differently rather doing another “chilling story in the woods”?

As I have mentioned before I am strongly convinced that we should take the ideas of zones of the supernatural and places where the walls between our world and another otherworldly realm alongside our reality are thin and permeable very seriously.

The forest had always many different qualities in our culture in history. Of course the forest is one of the most positive forces known on this planet and everything should be done to protect any forest. The forest itself is not demonic but the demonic element can manifest in nature.

Therefore it is more about demonic places which could make a demonic forest. Cases have been mentioned before here about places which have a weird tendency of letting the same strange thing happen again and again. The demonic element here appears more like an invisible childlike supernatural force repeating the same trick.

The question what could be done differently, what could be told from a different angle is connected with the considerations about the “demonic forces” at certain places (the demonic principle is of course not something necessarily connected with a certain place but it seems there are notorious areas which have sort of a tendency for weirdness).

If we try to avoid stereotypes – for example the stupid killing demon attacking the wanderer – we can get closer to something which rings true to a lot of people.

If we look at most unexplained (supernatural) stories surrounding haunted forests it is more like something is teasing the victims. Even if we hear about dangerous close encounters most of the time the witness is confronted with an mysterious force neither exactly good or bad. However in the end a confrontation with the demonic element could result in a tragic ending. It’s like losing a game with an invisible player.

The mysterious beings in the forest – “The secret commonwealth” like the fairies – are described as paradoxical beings. They are not straight killers but they make people losing their wits.




It might be also a mysterious force behind the “notorious secret rituals in the woods“. Sometimes magic seems to work and perhaps somebody wants you to think that by performing magic you have supernatural powers. However we never had a clue what was really going on.

Our new angle could be something like to admit there are powers we could not reduce to something we know – the best stories or movies like Peter Weir’s “Picnic At Hanging Rock” don’t present simple solutions. They reveal a deeper truth.

“Picnic At Hanging Rock” is a story about the demonic par excellence. It’s disturbing because there isn’t some sort of massacre or any other horrible event revealed. The most frightening side of the demonic element is that we don’t get something bad we can cope with. The most unsettling idea is when we learn something happened which is beyond our understanding.

A “Demonic Forest” is in way like a “Poltergeist”. As soon as we have found a theory what’s going on the phenomenon does something which is like an unexpected twist. In Norway scientists try to understand the “Hessdalen Phenomenon” for a long time – mysterious lights appearing like Ufo’s in a valley again and again, but so far nobody really understood the phenomenon so far.

What the demonic principle can do to us is usually using our curiosity to lure us deeper and deeper into the forest. It needs our strong wish to understand. If we could not any longer understand what’s going on we are lost. Some people vanishing in the forest weren’t attacked by some entity but they lost control.

And perhaps the best trick of the demonic element is to make us believe it doesn’t exist.

The Demonic Forces

If we think of “demonic forces” or the “demonic element” or “the demonic principle” there are many phenomena applied to a mysterious force accompanying mankind from its earliest days.

First of all the demonic can’t be reduced to unclean spirits and shouldn’t be mixed up the “diabolic”.

Poets, philosophers and scientists describe the many ways the supernatural works in the world.

The most convincing and fascinating ideas come from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who was in a way obsessed with “the demonic”.

If we look what Goethe has to say on the demonic in “Poetry and Truth” we get the idea that this is a complex and contradictionary force in nature:

“While the daemonic element can manifest itself in anything corporeal or incorporeal, and indeed is shown very remarkably in animals, its primary, most amazing association is with man, constituting a power not necessarily opposed to the moral world order, but crisscrossing it to the extent that one could be called the warp and the other the woof. There are countless names for the phenomena produced by this, for all philosophies and religions have attempted in prose and poetry to solve this mystery and to settle the matter finally, and may they still remain at liberty to do so!” (Goethe on the demonic, Book Twenty Poetry and Truth (p.598, Thomas P. Saine, translator))

Goethe is particularly concerned with the demonic principle when it emerges predominantly in some individual: “But they radiate an enormous strength and an incredible power over all creatures, even over the elements, and who can say just how far such influence does extend?”

Of course this wasn’t purely an observation by Goethe: The demonic man as a character was a popular idea of romanticism in the 18th century, as for example the “Byronic Hero” ( a kind of antihero with a strong ego and driven by demonic impulses which can become very powerful).

The demonic principle becomes later more a psychological thing like the daimonic forces in Jung’s psychological theories.

However the demonic as a universal force is not a psychological phenomenon. Goethe believed in these mysterious powers. As he says it produces phenomena which have countless names. It is something interpenetrating everyday society and individual lives.
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What are theses phenomena? Fortean phenomena present the demonic par excellence, but also a hidden pattern in events and longer term developments. Daimonic traces are everywhere. It’s particular their often ambiguous nature, neither entirely bad nor good, which underlines their demonic or daimonic nature.

„It represents the mysterious power which can be manifested not only in certain personalities but in things, events or entire epochs. In Poetry and Truth the author says “[…] this demoniacal element can manifest itself in all corporeal and incorporeal things, and even expresses itself most distinctly in animals“ (Quote from: The demonism of creation Goethe’s philosophy by Noclae Rambu)

This is a fascinating description however even Goethe wasn’t able to come up with a simple definition, even the mastermind sounds sometimes contradictionary.

We can only try to get a sense for the demonic. It is important to get a better understanding not only for unexplained phenomena.

Particularly in the creative world we often see a weird mechanism at work. Projects or work of art often develop in an unexpected and illogical way. Artists experience “daimonic activity” often in a dualistic sense: on one side the source of creativity is experienced as daimonic, on the other side there are often strange obstacles and challenges along the way. The best projects sometimes don’t work out and nobody finds a good explanation why it didn’t happen or why did it go wrong. It’s like there is a weird energy involved.

Of course this is wild speculation. But it is something like a feeling you get when you experience certain patterns over a longer timespan. Its something we often think is not fair or not logical or sometimes a bad intention leads to something good and -unfortunately – the best and well-meant intentions of our actions lead to disaster.

The “demonic principle” could be helpful to understand the interrelationship between fiction and true events, fiction and reality and how fiction could also have an impact on what’s happening in real life.

Sometimes it’s the demonic principle when we get lost in the woods (both in a literal and in a metaphorical sense).



“The Transformation From Mind To Matter Has Become Possible”

No longer there is a clear boundary between inside and outside.

“Ideas have become visible, palpable…” (Fantasy, Rosemary Jackson)

The closest genre to magical realism is “The Fantastic”. The principle of tales of the fantastic is its hesitation between supernatural and realistic explanation of events. It is even more about asking the nature or reality, since it seems more grounded in ordinary reality and psychology.

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There is a well-known work about “The Fantastic” by structuralist Tzvetan Todorov who died recently called “The Fantastic: A Structural Approach To A Literary Genre”.

Even Todorov deals with fiction his analysis of the supernatural could be very helpful to better understand mysterious events in our real world.

Todorov mentions “the transition from mind to matter has become possible” as a generating principle.

Perhaps this doesn’t not only happen in literature but also in some real places like in the forest at certain times. Or in the skies: Psychologist C.G. young described the UFO phenomenon as a modern archetype in “A Modern Myth Of Things Seen In The Sky”. Jung believed in synchronicity where external events mirror inner states. However this is not about projection, it is about a different understanding of the realms of the mind and the material world. These archetypes are very real.

Visionary experiences resemble the principles of The Fantastic as described by Todorov: “The principle we have discovered may be designated as the fragility of the limit between matter and mind. This principle engenders several fundamental themes: a special causality, pan determinism, multiplication of the personality; collapse of the limit between subject and object; and lastly, the transformation of time and space…this list collects the essential elements of the basic network of fantastic themes…of the self“ (p120, The Fantastic, T. Todorov).

It is obvious that some modern theories in sciences (Quantum mechanics) sound like they would also apply to this principle. A reversed relation of mind and matter is often discussed in Quantum Mechanics.

“A fragility of the limit between matter and mind” suggests the same idea. It means a different idea of the nature of reality as we know it. There are many examples that could mean that the principle not only applies to fictional literature. In many near-death-experiences a collapse of eternal boundaries does happen. And the most frightening aspect of many tales from the forest or close encounters with UFOs is that the laws of nature do not work any longer. In a lot of accounts about phenomena of high strangeness there is a problem of consciousness and perception. We don’t trust our eyes any longer. Often we are convinced that what we have seen was real but trustworthy evidence is rare if not available.

If a transition from mind to matter has become possible it would be indeed possible that an “idea based on a true story” could also work the other way around. What we think could become a reality.

Todorov speaks of a special causality and pan determinism. We know that paranoia is never far away. Easily we tend to think that nothing happens by chance. Is personal freedom an illusion? In the works of “The Fantastic” the characters are often victims of a larger mechanism they don’t understand.

In our daily life we can only guess how things really work. Our actions are based on certain assumptions (think of “plotting” in politics – any intrigue is based on assumptions). But there isn’t much we really know or which we can be absolutely sure about.

Only if we look at events (in life, in history) from a different perspective or from long experience after a long time span we sense that there must be a mechanism or a secret pattern. On one side there are certain elites for example in the media business covertly modeling and manipulating a lot of things but there are still difficulties and obstacles which can’t be easily explained in a logical way on the other side. A lot of people feel that somebody is secretly shaping their lives.

Of course we can become the victims of our own projections, or we live in a bubble of pseudo-reality. But we can try to look through the veil. And this is what fiction often does, it makes us understand the very real invisible patterns which are guiding our lives. They are something which could be better described in fiction rather than in theories. See for example Goethe’s concept of “the demonic” as a driving force and how are we exposed to this force.





Nevertheless most of us would agree if we say that the phrase “the transition from mind to matter has become possible” is a theoretical idea. It’s hard to imagine.

However if we translate mind as “psyche” it becomes different. We know the ancient theories about ideas which become matter. The ancient philosophies suggest a different meaning of psyche as in modern days, it is the Greek term for “soul” or “spirit”, in Neoplatonism it is the animating principle of the world.

The psyche is not something which is only in our head. It is a universal consciousness, a spiritual realm. Some thinkers believe that all matter flow from a pure spiritual plane. This is philosophical thought but what we see is that the idea of a transition of mind to matter is not an invention of fiction but has a long traditional foundation.

It might be worth to mention that sightings or for example “mysterious” lights often are described like something which suddenly popped up in our reality and which can vanish in the same way, like switching from mind to matter and vice versa.

 

Magical Realism As An Expression Of A Deeper Reality

The Question is not, “is it real” or is it magic”, it is about finding magic in the mundane.

Magical realism can call on folk-lore and myth to question the true nature of reality. Forest-horror-stories are often stories of this type of magical realism, and this is also what I am aiming for in my own work.

The magical elements are as natural as the everyday world in this genre. The term was originally coined by Franz Roh for an exhibition called “Neue Sachlichkeit” in the 1920ties.

Magical Realism is often connected with South-American literature and describes books or movies with magical elements or a dreamlike-landscape.

Sometimes magical realism is used as toolbox by romantic comedy writers to set up a story – like the lightning stroke making the main character capable to understand what women think – but that’s not what magical realism is really about.

 

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The mother of all magical realism stories on TV is “Twin Peaks” with its credo “The Owls Are Not What They Seem”. Here the magical reality becomes a form of hyper realism: it feels for some folks more real as our limited everyday reality experience. “Twin Peaks” and other great series/movies/books abandon our model of physical reality. However they don’t reveal the mechanics of an alternative model of physical reality like the 5th dimension in “Interstellar”.

“Twin Peaks” interacts with the viewer in a much deeper sense. It reminds us about a daimonic reality where strong hidden forces rule our lives behind the curtain of ordinary reality. We do know about this daimonic reality but is something which became suppressed in our times.

In the best of all cases the magical elements in a magical realism story doesn’t appear like some writer’s invention or something with is kind of an appendix. Magical Realism can reveal what we usually don’t see, something which we are not supposed to see.

I had always a weird comparison in mind: Our reality is perhaps like the layers in the photoshop software: Normally we can only see the surface (the image on top of a pile of images and layers) but with certain techniques the surface (or the picture on top) becomes transparent and you can see what is beyond. If you work with layers in photoshop software you can reveal something which is normally not visible. David Lynch is doing this in his films: He scratches on the surface layer and reveals for a glimpse what lies beneath.

Unraveling the myth behind our reality is more about revelation rather than an invention of fictional ideas or mere fantasies.




I don’t think we need necessarily alternative models of physical reality to get to the hidden layers in our plane of reality. It is what a good story can do. It also happens in real life. The many cases of unexplained phenomena discussed earlier could be also sudden appearances of hidden layers.

Usually we can’t see what’s really going on. Our models are always inconsistent or tend to driven either by anthropocentric biases or scientific assumptions. Nobody can tell us the truth, but we can try to create something which feels right. Even we don’t admit it we often quietly accept a different idea of reality where our destinies are driven by mythical forces when we watch certain series or movies; there are often three levels in series like “Game Of Thrones” or “Twin Peaks”: action and relationship development, everyday events, then there is politics and undercurrents in society affecting characters and deep down there are powerful myths at work.

Perhaps we need to re-discover the magical dimension of our lives not only in TV-series but also in real life.

Indeed the most fascinating thing is that magical realism or fantastic realism has its roots not in fiction but in reality. Long before the first official UFO-sightings Charles Hoy Fort wrote his “Book Of The Damned”. Fort is quite simple the “Father Of X-Files”: he was a collector of “damned data”, of events or things which were excluded by official science: “A procession of the damned. By the damned, I mean the excluded. We shall have a procession of data that Science has excluded.” (Charles Ford, Book Of The Damned). He was motivated by criticism of the mainstream science. He saw the problem of reductionism in science very early, and his “damned data” are kind of a provocation, like the rat on the table in a clean house.

His book is a ride into a rich world full of weird phenomena. It tells us stories about raining frogs and mysterious disappearances, thunder-stones and much more. Fort didn’t invent these reports. He was looking through weather reports and piles of newspaper articles. He worked for years but wasn’t a simple believer in the fantastic. He is basically a sceptic. He simply demanded open-mindedness. Often he expresses a certain irony about the weirdness of a phenomenon and the even weirder explanations.

There may be a good reason for keeping his distance: investigating phenomena of “high strangeness” is like crawling through quicksand. It’s terribly difficult to find out what exactly has happened and the search for the truth becomes more and more complicated. This is perhaps because this phenomena happen in the realm of “magical realism”. It’s hard to say how much phenomena of “high strangeness” depend on the witness, but they seem to be strongly connected to a certain atmosphere and character (remember the fish in the coffee-filter in the legendary Twin Peaks Pilot?).

However most of all, Charles Ford wasn’t after the proof for the existence of a ghost or the “shower of jellyfish”, which happened in Bath near the Main Station on April 1871 for example. He didn’t believe in any theories or models about our physical reality. His damned data are supposed to say think twice before you believe in anything.

There seems only one idea running through his work expressed by John Michell that our whole existence is an organism. The universe is a living organism. If we think of the Universe as an organism we would indeed live in a world of magical realism.

The forest is a good place for getting a feeling for this idea, both in a literal sense and in a metaphorical sense. It is like one big organism. It is not possible to reveal that organism in a simple model of physical reality. It remains a mystery like a forest dark with an endless number of secrets. That’s what for example “Twin Peaks” is about and what make it a true “forest story”. The idea of a living universe full of consciousness as a background of the mystical aspects of our life is also rooted in ancient mythology and philosophy.

If we open our eyes and ears we may find the magical reality which the forest actually is. There is a surface, and at certain times a window open up showing us what’s behind the curtain.

Otherworldly Traps

“ROSLIN
Things. The forest is showing me…
Things…”(The Forest Dark Screenplay)

People getting lost or people losing their wits after they entered a dark place in the forest. Are there supernatural traps hidden in certain places in this world?

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In fairy tales the trap is a very prominently motive. Writers were fascinated by these folclore stories. There are famous works particularly in the period of romanticism. An example which was described earlier is the “Runenberg“.

Another well-known trap is the court of venus, “Venusberg”. These traps lure the wanderer into another realm. The man who can’t resist will finally lose everything.

These kind of “erotic traps” use temptation. Of course, this is something which works very well in a number of stories.

However it’s indeed primary a literal motive not a very realistic one.

We don’t expect a beautiful fairy queen tempting us to walk straight into a rift in time and space when we enter the woods.

Otherworldly traps are perhaps something which works in a more subtle way. Nevertheless these kind of traps could be very powerful and dangerous.

It seems that there are places in this world were people lose their orientation or get depressed. The perfect description of this kind of otherworldly trap could be found in Algernoon Blackwood’s “The Willows” where two wanderers get maddened by a supernatural force and one of them is close to committing suicide.

“The Willows” is also a fictional supernatural tale but what happens could be closer to what’s really going on. Every year a number of hikers vanish mysteriously. In most cases there are very rational explanations for what has happened with these persons, but some cases remain unsolved. There are areas which have a reputation for this like “The Bennington Triangle”. According to the Indians the woods are cursed in this territory in Vermont.

I think there are two ways to make you losing your wits. If there are forces which could look deeply into the soul of a person these forces will find the weak spot. They will hit you on the most personal level. The other way is showing you disturbing things, things which are somehow not right, something like H.P. Lovecraft’s “Color From Outer Space”.

These kind of phenomena exist. There were described for example in “Dangerous Lights”. Obviously, they act more on a psychological level. They are happen in a realm somewhere in-between the physical world and the inner-life of a person.





Getting into the mind of a person is the most efficient way how a trap could work. The purpose of the trap it to break somebody’s will. Without a strong will we are an easy prey for whatever lurks in the forest. As soon as we are depressed and disoriented we’re lost. Sometimes the victim returns but is changed forever.

Peter Weir’s famous movie “Picnic at Hanging Rock” describes the mysterious disappearance of a group of girls in the Australian outback. One of the victims returns but cannot describe what happened. The girl is changed and cannot remember anything.

The movie is based on a novel which is fiction but played around with the “based on a true story” pattern. The ending was left open for interpretation but the otherworldy quality of the “Hanging rock”, which exists, is a dominant motive. There are hints that it is the special quality or power of place itself which is responsible for the events.

This story is a very good example for a supernatural trap. It’s like a paradigm. We find similar stories surrounding other notorious place like Freetown-Fall River State Forest. In this case the forest itself seems to be the trap, like the famous woods in the Blairwitch-Movies.

Games In The Forest

Forest Horror Stories are in some way often close to the reality in a computer game or a simulation. This is because there seems not only the character’s misjudgment of the situation is leading him into dangerous territory. In the dark forest we are like Katniss Everdeen confronted with the interventions from an invisible game maker. It’s like being chosen for the hunger games without knowing it.

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Sometimes it´s surprising we accept the conceptual approach in forest horror because of course we know the story was written by an author and certain events in the forest are created by the director and his crew. This is always a problem in storytelling and drama and for badly introduced interventions which change the course of action there is even a term from the old Greeks. It’s called “deux ex machina”. Particularly if we see a so-called found coverage film it could easily look like some trick.

Of course good acting and the right use of effects and emotion could put the audience in a state where the audience doesn’t think too much about the construction of the story. However there is more about it. As said in the previous post it seems that on some level close to base reality the other world appears like a simulation (whereas it is questionable to interpret reality generally as simulation) or even a game where we have interventions of the “game maker”.

Perhaps we accept these stories because sometimes they feel true. Even in reality life is not “character-driven”. There are interventions from invisible forces from somewhere. Therefore the best writers are able to write something which rings true which make use of “cosmic interventions”. There are real cases which look like a weird constructed plot with supernatural interventions. This is an impression particularly if it comes to stories and reports of real events in the forest. Naturally its difficult to distinct between reality and “scripted reality” – every witness report gets interpreted, fictionalized or becoming a folk tale with some sort of morale in the end.

If we look at the real accounts of “forest horror” as described in “Dangerous lights” with cases in Brazil, Jacques Vallee’s investigation of the Happy Camp events in California, The Freetown Fall River Forest case or the Hoia Bacu Forest we find the same dramaturgy at the bottom of the story as in many forest horror stories. It looks like some “Elder Gods” orchestrating supernatural events which are overwhelming for the human mind. The events often go far beyond the “local old legend” encompassing some ghost roaming the woods.

A typical difference between “real accounts” from haunted woods and fictional horror is the forest as a physical attacker. What’s happening in the forest in most real stories is not so much a physical attack from the woods itself its more as something which happens somewhere in-between reality and imagination, somewhere between dream and real experience. Forest horror feels true if we understand Lovecraft’s idea of cosmic horror: “A certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present” It all happens more on an atmospheric level rather than a pure physical level in the first place, only later it could lead to physical consequences.





These forces tend to play tricks with the mind. Indeed some events and sightings sound like a part of a game or like everything is happen in a form of virtual reality. However we don’t know the mechanism of the game or the intentions of the game maker. Thus we try rituals and study magic, often we need to solve a riddle in the forest and getting lost. We don’t understand any longer what’s going on. Perhaps this is the true nature of the game: It’s all about not losing your mind in the first place. Then we might be able to understand the nature of our own role in this game and overcome its limitations. Perhaps this is the trick both in a forest horror story or in real life: don’t do what the game maker wants you to do and overcome your limitations.

Is Our Reality A Computer Simulation?

What’s really going on? This is the question at the bottom of my movie project as many others.

Space X Pioneer and Tesla founder Elon Musk said “The chance we are not living in a computer simulation is “one in billions”. He is not alone and the “Matrix”-like idea has become a legitimate scientific hypothesis.

Neil de Grasse Tyson, director of the museum’ Hayden Planetarium said: “If that’s the case, it is easy for me to imagine that everything in our lives is just a creation of some other entity for their entertainment” (Scientific American, Clara Moskowitz, April 7, 2016: Are we living in a computer simulation? ).

It seems that the simulation hypothesis is a simple explanation for the dark forest we are living in.

What if its another theory hiding just what’s really going on and making us fatalistic? What if there is a someone out there using such beliefs to oppress people?


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At first sight the computer simulation theory makes a lot of sense because it suits not only our everyday life experience but could also explain supernatural encounters and religious experience.

Many people feel they are part of a larger drama, but don’t know the director or the screenplay of their lives. They encounter the same situation and similar characters again and again.

Moreover there are repeating patterns in life as in a “Game Of Thrones” where often a similar twist does happen.

Are we trapped in some sort of “Truman Show” or even the “Hunger Games” without even knowing it?

THE VERGE asks “if we are avatars being guided by creatures in another reality” (Richard McCormick, Jun2, 2016).

Yes it feels a lot like this because we can’t see the driving forces in the universe but there is a strong perception of some (divine) intervention in many situations.

Hauntings in the forests and Ufo-Encounters often appear like paradox stage-plays or some video-clip played again and again. This is like part of a computer game or simulation.

However there are some simple questions which are often avoided. What we can actually do by ourselves is creating some very convincing cyber space which looks very real.

But what is about physical objects? Could a solid object like a wall or a tree be nothing else as some sort of cyberspace-reality? Maybe in the future, but it couldn’t be easily imagined from our experience.

What’s happen is that the advocates of simulation theory are blurring the distinction between mind and matter. It’s true that living in an online world is changing perception and virtual realities become very real. But that doesn’t change base reality. Sometimes we need to be careful not mixing up things here. If we take a walk in the forest without any mobile devices we experience base reality again. And hopefully we’re still sometimes “offline”.

What makes simulation theory very interesting is that indeed visionary encounters and supernatural events could happen in some sort of realm of reality which resembles a computer game. The reports often sound like some sort of “cinematic” experience and we ask where is the projectionist. However this applies to a level of the other world, like the celtic otherworld, which is still close to base reality.





Nick Bostrom, Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford University writes about the hypothesis that we are living in a simulation created by posthumans, who want to simulate the world of their ancestors: “the posthumans created the world we see; they are of superior intelligence; they are “omnipotent” in the sense that they can interfere in the workings of our world even in ways that violate its physical laws”, Nick Bostrom, “Are you living in a computer simulation”, Published in Philosophical Quarterly, Vol 53, No, 211). This sounds like typical alien encounters and alien intervention from outer space and gives perhaps some bizarre events some meaning.

But is it more realistic or more credible as a highly developed extraterrestrial visitor who is guiding our civilization in a subtle way?

And, there is an account of visionary experience as long as mankind exists and these accounts tell a different story. On some level the other world is abstract and can’t be encompassed with our models of the universe.

We may be indeed part of a big game but it doesn’t work the way we usually think. Archetypical images for example are often simply disturbing and cannot be explained or interpreted.

It’s no surprise that simulation theory is basically an adaption of much older theories going back to ancient times. Seeing the world as a computer simulation is in a way like Plato’s allegory of the cave. Computers didn’t exist at this time. But the philosophers knew that what we see might be a simulation but in the end its much more then simple simulations.

Tunnel In The Forest

A tunnel is a typical mythical image often seen in connection with the forest. The tunnel is also an icon for the gateway to the afterlife. In most near-death-experience the tunnel and the light are common elements of the visionary experience. The connection with the forest makes sense: “it is said the forest is a standard icon for the crossing in to the netherworld (in the hero’s journey)“.

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A tunnel has often a hypnotic energy. We cannot resist entering the tunnel. Even if the tunnel is dark we are drawn towards it. A tunnel often means change. When we leave the tunnel we enter a new world. Sometimes also things happen inside the tunnel, which change the person who entered the tunnel. Tunnels are also a typical motive in literature and folklore for magical events like time-travel: a person enters a tunnel and leaves after a short time, but much more time has passed outside the tunnel. And in some cases you never leave the tunnel. Or you enter the tunnel and when you leave you end up in a place far away.

The tunnel is in reality a gateway but its also another archetypical image for transformation. Tunnels can be metaphors for significant turning points in life. Crossing the tunnel is often connected with “Rebirth” or “Resurrection”, which is a theme in my movie project.

In that way the tunnel has a positive meaning. However can we sure if we stand in front of the tunnel? Reality close to the realm of the afterlife or the netherworld is full of deceptions. Sometimes it might be possible that the tunnel is a trap but it is hard to resist the temptation. The temptation is there because the tunnel experience seems such a common feature in visionary encounters. It’s something everybody knows.





In Near-Death-Experience the tunnel is like a standard, a fact, something which always happens. An interesting question would be if in a certain situations somebody could project the image of the tunnel into our consciousness in order to provoke an action or lure us into the realm of the otherworld.

For example in the famous story of Rip Van Winkle the protagonist is lured into a hollow which is actually a place of supernatural powers when wandering through the wilderness of the Catskill Mountains. He falls asleep and discovers shocking changes when he awakes. Furthermore when he returns its 20 years later. It’s not revealed if the hollow was really there and where Rip Van Winkle really was all the time in the short story. Sometimes a tunnel or some hole in the forest isn’t what it seems.

Forest Witchcraft

If “A forest is what exists between its trees (John Berger)”, how about people feeling these intangible force and trying to manipulate the force? Then we have a witch and the craft of mastering the supernatural powers is called witchcraft. There is a strong connection between witches, witchcraft and the forest. The witch lives in the forest. In our age of science we learned that people living in the forest where mostly outsiders not some sort of Yedi-Knight with supernatural powers. What if we are wrong?

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The biggest question however is, what do we exactly mean by “witchcraft”? The problem is that our knowledge stems mostly from the witch-craze in the Late Medieval/Early Modern Period. That means our idea of witchcraft is pretty much influenced by the weird fantasies of the holy inquisition not from people who really knew about the phenomenon of “witchcraft”. Its a mix of the paranoia of the accusers and the questionable testimonies of the poor victims of the inquisition and cracy witchhunters. Furthermore there are Old Testament laws and very different ideas in separate cultures. There isn’t a simple concept of “Witchcraft”, even there are countless book about magic, modern wicca-witchcraft and so on.

Nevertheless there might be a familiar thing about witchcraft, something a lot of people can relate to. Witchcraft is as old as mankind. It’s both kind of a sixth sense and a craft. It’s the ability to handle what can’t be understood in the rational way, but is definitely there. It’s often connected with the woods since we believe that it’s the woods where the supernatural energies are strongest. It’s also something my feature film project “The Forest Dark” is about.

If we think of the concept of “Witchcraft” as kind of a craft like “Bushcraft” it means it is about something which is there and what needs to be mastered. “Bushcraft” for example is the ability and knowledge to survive in the wilderness. It means building a makeshift-shelter, find food, hunting, making a fire, orient yourself. Without a certain training you cannot survive in the wilderness for weeks.

I suggest that “Witchcraft” and “Bushcraft” have a lot in common. It’s about survival. Witchcraft is not so much about casting a spell or invoking some demon but the ability to survive in a supernatural cosmos. Its often said the witch is somebody with a gift, born with a sixth sense and always has one foot in the other world. Such a person would need to learn to distinct between own projection, supernatural phenomena and deceptions. As long as the other world is close to our plane of reality it is a treacherous reality. It’s also called Maya. It can be dangerous, and one meaning of witchcraft could be navigating through different realms and finally try to get a deeper understanding.

The forest is a good training ground for heigthening the senses. Our reality mix more easily with the other realities. Therefore it doesn’t makes me wonder that we find the witch in the dark forest. Of course it might be also the place where we find another kind of witch. Somebody who crossed the borders and is now haunting the woods.




Nothing is certain here particularly if it comes to the ability to control these forces or the effects of magic rituals. Its astonishing that we have a whole “science” of witchcraft with “Grimoires” and very precise ideas on one side and on the other side modern scientists telling us it’s all stupid superstition. It might be a sign that there are still a lot of open questions here. The medium Dion Fortune speculated in her book “Psychic Self Defence” about subtle forces “which are the basis of both occult attack and spiritual healing”. The nature of this subtle force is closely analogous to electricity, and their nature “is something that is akin to life, though of a low type” (she thinks of something like bacteria).

It’s a plausible idea that the diviner using “Witchcraft” is somebody who controls and uses that form of “electricity”. It’s an image which makes some sense. It is also an interesting thought if we think of electricity and fields.

There are electric fields and magnetism. In an analogy we could says that the witch is somebody who is aware of the “field”,furthermore works with a kind of field and can manipulate the field (even its true nature remains unknown) and in the forest the field is strongest.

The Lantern Of Fear: Laterna Magica

Developed in the early 17th century the Laterna Magica, an early form of the slide projector, not only influenced the development of the Gothic Novel in significant ways, but had an impact on philosophical thought. Visitors of 18th century Laterna Magica shows took the “Phantasmagoria”, the ghostly effects created by the Laterna Magica, sometimes for real. In Germany the Laterna Magica was also called “Schreckenslaterne”. What if there is in some other plane of reality a “Lantern Of Fear” projecting supernatural phenomena into our world to put us into appropriate behavior?

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If we look at the Laterna Magica as a model it might be a possibility how to understand some “real” supernatural phenomena. Some apparitions and phenomena are often reported in a way as if it were recordings from another dimension. And yes, if we read reports of sightings or close encounters it is like these people have seen kind of a video clip. Apparitions are often repetitive in a way.

Perhaps we are in the same situation like the early viewers of the laterna magica spectacles or people who witnessed the first projection of motion pictures who didn’t understand the mechanism. They didn’t understand what’s really going on.

The other way around the invention of the laterna magica and all its successors – in some way IMAX is the contemporary version of the laterna magica – makes not only use of a natural phenomenon – it could be in some way a human made imitation of a secret mechanism used in another plane of reality beyond our everyday world but affecting our world:

Jacques Valleé suspected that we are like viewers in a movie theatre and that there is somewhere a projector (It’s a bit like saying that we are the actors in the “Truman Show” where the poor protagonist is confronted with effects created behind the studio set he never could understand).

This projector generates some of the Ufo phenomena and more. Valleé also raised the most interesting question: if there is somewhere a projector showing us strange things we only can interpret as supernatural – who is the projectionist?

It would be good if we could meet some day in the future the projectionist who is behind this laterna magica.

Particularly if we look into the history of the laterna magica in the 17th and 18th century some very interesting questions come up:

If we think of a show or a contemporary movie we see it as entertainment but early reports of lantern projections indicate that they were intended to scare the audience. Wikipedia mentions one of its inventors, Athanasius Kircher, a German Jesuit scholar. „According to legend Kircher secretly used the lantern at night to project the image of Death on windows of apostates to scare them back into church“ (Wikipedia: Magic Lantern).

However, there is evidence that the Magic Lantern was used for all kind of subjects. Later there were traveling lanternists called “Savoyards“, and it certainly was a more sophisticated entertainment when the Lantern Shows inspired the dark romanticism with its Gothic Novels.

Nevertheless it’s interesting to come back to Kircher – why would an educated man want to scare his audience with some fake supernatural effects? „Scare them back into church“ means to do something to people to put them back to some proper behavior.

What about our projectionist safely hidden in a different plane of reality uses his „lantern of fear“ to scare us from time to time? We can only speculate what he wants us to do, but mostly it seems it’s always about our belief system.



Traditionally it is the Gods, who are the projectionists creating any kind of wonders to control men. But the magic lantern is in some ways similar to Prometheus’ fire. We stole what belongs to the Gods. In the long way from the Jesuits using the Laterna Magica to educate their audience to modern cinema we learned to become like the Gods showing deeply impressed spectators mindblowing effects like miracles and control their belief system.

However maybe the Gods are still there and control what we should see or what we not should see – even in the movies.