The Local Gods

Walter Evan-Wentz, a student of folklore, developed some very interesting ideas about the ancient gods, religion and paranormal phenomena. Among the famous “Tibetan Book Of The Dead”, he is also well-known for his book “The Masked Gods” in his time. It’s common knowledge now that the ancient gods are continued to live under different names.

However, Jaques Valleé speaks in his book “Dimension” about an even more interesting discovery by Evan-Wentz: “Could it be, he asked, that every land has its own psychic and telluric forces, contributing to the appearance of certain spirit entities, regarded by human beings as gods and goddesses? (Jacques Vallee, “Dimensions”)”

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As I said in The Summoning I think that rituals and secret practices are often the expressions of the hidden forces at a certain place. It is an interesting thought that these gods are an expression of a psychic and telluric force rather than universal beings, which are usually imagined as celestial beings. However, if we look at ancient and even Christian tradition it makes sense. There are many saints which are special and have some sort of “local identity”.

The most interesting thought by Evan-Wentz is that not only the locals but the visitors, the new settlers, the intruder comes under influence of these gods.

Evan-Wentz writes in Masked Gods: “They had confronted here that great psychic entity which was the spirit-of-place, the heart of a new continent. It shattered them completely. But each succumbed in a different way”.

I believe that is what often also folk horror stories are about. It’s not only a potential confrontation with the locals but the visitor comes under influence of the landscape and its psychic forces. These forces find expression in paranormal phenomena but not necessarily.

Evan-Wentz reported that he heard about “shining beings”, which appeared to the Indians in California on sacred mountains which were very similar like the encounter the founder of the “Church Of Latter-Day”, Joseph Smith, had. It seems that in the new world resides a powerful psychic force, which triggers people to change in a certain way. It tends to create its own kind of belief-system. The otherworldliness of the new world is a different one as in Europe or Asia.

Sometimes it is all about atmosphere and a sort of hidden influence felt by visitors or by inhabitants. Often we can’t lay our finger on it. It’s difficult to describe what it exactly is, but we know it is there. Imagining these psychic forces as gods is a logical way to give these forces some face. In stories, it’s a challenge because if you want to stick true to otherworldy realities you might not have a Bigfoot-like monster or an ax-swinging madman as an antagonist. Therefore it’s sometimes difficult to explain the story.

Often we deal with’s what left of paranormal events a long time ago. Some supernatural-god-like force left its footprint on the landscape and the local population. Wonders and unexplainable mind-shattering events lead to weird belief-systems. Maybe the spiritual entity is already gone for a long time. But what happened is alive in a tribal memory.



If we look deeper into this, we are confronted with more mind-boggling questions: How could it be the place, the landscape? Why does it happen? My opinion is it even we not necessarily find a paranormal element either in a true story or legend or a fictional story it always tells us that there must be some sort of otherworld. It means there is an otherworld even more powerful than we think: our literal world, the landscapes, the forests, the mountains are more or less the surface on a windows-screen. The real world lies beneath. The otherworld carries our world.

And why? Maybe there is a spiritual control system. One favorite theory of Valleé and other ufologists is that men are the object of a control system engaged by invisible gods.

In the same chapter in “Dimensions” Jacques Valleé mentions a former Jesuit priest who implied in conversations with Vallee that “the “phenomenon originates with entities that manipulate our reality and our destiny for their own purposes”(Dimensions).

But what do we know? We can only develop our models or speculate what’s going on but the enormous impact both of real stories and fiction dealing with “the local gods” make us sure of the underlying truth.

The Summoning

Invocation of a demon or the elder gods, sacrifice, violent happening: the climax of forest horror stories and in folk horror is often the darkest moment in the story, and my project doesn’t make an exemption from the rule. But don’t forget: the movies weren’t there in the first place. They took inspiration from reality. The origins of rituals in the forest were discussed earlier in this place but we should look deeper into the meaning of these archaic images.
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We see still a lot of remnants from the old traditions in our days even the outcome is usually less dramatic. However, the spirit is still there. Luckily (or hopefully) we don’t see a real sacrifice in our days like the poor policeman in “Wicker Man”, but often there is an effigy, perhaps a puppet of the witch, which then is sacrificed in a huge bonfire.

One meaning of sacrifice is often that something is given to get something in return. The gods were feared in former times. But it could be also an attempt to connect with the spirit of the place. The landscape was a living thing, a certain mountain was a godlike being or a volcano was described with human characteristics.

Even today on islands like Java the scientists compete with old ritualistic traditions which tell how people should live with their volcano. There is so much empirical knowledge in this tradition that the scientists respect the religion. Here the connection between a tribal society and nature is a peaceful one.

The portrayal of violent pagan rites and the outsider from the city becoming a sacrifice in some rural hinterland in many stories seems more rooted in a deeply disturbed connection rather then “tradition”. The happening ending in violence might be more like a brutal reconnection with the power of place ending up in demonic possession.

From our modern view a “rootedness in place” is strange as Michael Newton says in his article in “The Guardian”, “Cult, human sacrifice and pagan sex: how folk horror is flowering again in Brexit Britain”. Indeed the locals are often partners in crime of the sinister supernatural forces at work.

However, we should consider this scenery very precisely. In most forest horror nearly everything is dysfunctional.The rural community in the backwoods isn’t a healthy tribal society disturbed by outsiders. We may find people who found again a connection to the wild but it’s not a good one, they found the darker side of nature or these dark forces found them. And if we are not careful we lose civilized manners deep in the forest. The wilderness takes over, the savage spirit prevails.

In these scenarios it’s not any longer a folklore tradition to please the gods, the summoning or happening ends up in pure chaos. We see acts of madness and evil. The invocation triggers the “get down and boogie side (Stephen King)” of people. The summoning is often associated with the climax because it is about revelation.




It’s the moment when the true nature of the psychic forces are revealed to which the place is charged up. It’s the critical moment when the full potential is shown which is part of human nature. We see what people are capable of doing to each other.

Of course there is already a sort of addiction to these forces long before we enter the darker realms. The secret societies or the cult is an opportunity to act out that “get down and boogie side”. So, is it more a psychological thing or is the human race like the white mice in the lab which could be manipulated easily? If we are the object in an experiment we’ll never know, but we know it doesn’t take much effort, just ringing the right bells, and “rules and rituals that are both remnants of some tribal memory” (Michael Newton, The Guardian) are taking over. The journalist is right that for example in “The Wicker Man” there is no supernatural element involved in the climax but perhaps the ritual or the summoning is itself the expression of these hidden forces: It made us do something. It succeeded over us.

Forest Folk Horror: An Ancient Subsonic Rhythm

Paul A. Green said the subtext in Nigel Kneale’s “The Stone Tape” (A BBC Play) “is the insinuation that a dark force still pulses like an ancient sub-sonic rhythm in the mix of our everyday lives”(Mcourt).

This is a very good definition for some force which is there but can’t be known exactly as what it is, but can be experienced in a certain way.

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“The Stone Tape” is a mix of horror and sci-fi offering itself theories about the nature of the supernatural phenomenon demonstrated in the play . The apparition is seen as a recording in the first place. The (ghost)house is the recording medium. The house has a sinister history. People committed suicides and there had been failed exorcisms. The scientists in the movie see the “premedieval stonework of the room (where the moments of terror happen) itself as an organic recording medium” (Paul A. Green). The ghost-hunters then try to record the voice of the ghost but fail, however the recordings are played back directly to the brain.

This is an interesting theory and the play-writer Nigel Kneale took inspiration from real speculations and theories during that time (70s), which are still around (like from Konstantin Raudive, Breakthrough).

The legendary TV-Play does a very good job to pinpoint one mechanism and fundamental problem which lies at the core of visionary experiences: Scientists fail to record unexplainable phenomena still people have very serious experiences and make convincing claims about what happened to them.

We see that very often when so-called “proof” is presented. Neither photographs nor videos or audio tapes with recordings of “ghost voices” look convincing. These things happen on another level and the human brain works in an unknown way like a receiver or antenna.

In the end of “The Stone Tape” the main characters discovers an ancient (alien) demonic force as the source of the apparition when it’s too late.




Nevertheless it seems that the concept that the old building was charged with some kind of dark force and that these force can also perform phenomena which look more like videotape-loops is not ruled out.

Wouldn’t such a concept apply very well also for our haunted forests? Isn’t the ancient soil we are living on loaded with unfathomable energies? A form of (sometimes dark) force which can generate an endless variety of phenomena, a power which can make people do things at certain times in the forest?

This is something which lies perhaps at the bottom of all folk horror. In folk horror nature (or the forest) is “no longer content to be background. It has power, agency, in folk horror” as it was said in a brilliant article by Dawn Keetley about the “Resurgence Of Folk Horror” (horrorhomeroom.com).

“Things happen because of the landscape”. Jane Bennett put it this way: “fleshy, vegetal, mineral materials are encountered not as passive stuff awaiting animation by human or divine power, but as lively forces at work around and within us” (Jane Benett, System And Things).

Of course this is what my movie project and the Forest Dark is also about: Folk horror where things happen because of the landscape. Forest Dark is a folk horror project.

And I think folk horror is a great chance not so much for “some story based on true events” but for stories revealing a deeper truth in images. It’s a genre revealing to us something which is very real.

The idea of an “ancient subsonic rhythm” might come close to what it is. It might not actually some sort of sound but more kind of a radiation which we feel in certain landscapes. And there might be a rhythm, maybe a rhythm which encompasses different timespans as we would usually apply to a rhythm.

It would be an interesting question if we have series of events in haunted places like the freetown fall river forest happen like in Stephen King’s It where the monstrous events happen nearly every 30 years.

And “sub-sonic” is great as a description for something which is there but couldn’t be heard or seen directly most of the times. This is what’s “in between the trees” in the forest.

In the movies and in horror-stories we try to extract that “ancient sub-sonic rhythm in the mix of our everyday lives”. We attempt to make it visible, to let us see what we normally shouldn’t see and face that hidden force in our lives.

Dark Entities

Feeling some bad influence? The presence of some unseen force?
If you look up “dark entities” on the web an endless row of articles pop up. Obviously we are surrounded by dark otherworldly entities. The invasion must have happened a long time ago. A lot of people have a very precise idea what a dark entity is. This is a bit surprising since these ideas sound pretty fantastic.

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Artist love to create endless variations of dark entities. Currently we are seeing the revival of a prominent shapeshifting dark being – Pennywise, Clown, Monster and much more. In some cases the dark entity is closely connected to a person like “The Horla“. ATTACHMENT is an attribute we hear very often when it comes to dark entities.

It’s interesting to ask what’s really going on when so many people seem convinced such things exists. And if it comes to potential real stories it seems again that “dark entities” are often connected to places. The ominous “Freestate Fall River Forest” was mentioned before with its sinister creatures. The mysterious orbs of lights here and at other places are sometimes harbingers of darkness.

Of course it’s such places where people get confronted with dark entities or feeling followed from some dark presence after they visited a special place. The theory is that energies are highly concentrated there “People also come into touch with the Unseen through the influence of places. Someone who is not actually psychic, but who is sufficiently sensitive to perceive the invisible forces subconsciouslly, may go to a place where they are concentrated at a high tension” (Dion Fortune).

Otherworld entities can appear in many forms. According to many writers we should be careful. Patrick Harpour (Daimonic Reality) writes that the: “Daimons draw on our psychic energy to give themselves substance” and Dion Fortune (Psychic Self Defence) has very precise ideas about different kind of entities like “thought forms” or psychic vampires. When it comes to dark entities the “tulpa” idea often is mentioned, which is kind of a energetic thought form, something which is created by our own thoughts.

It would be an interesting question if real “alien” dark entities exist in the intermediate plane and can have a certain influence in our world. The daimons from the ancient candidates are good candidates. Sometimes they don’t appear too dark or dangerous in the first place but they are powerful archetypes. For example the nordic-god Loki is a good example for a shape-shifter. Or what about Mephisto? Sometimes people invite such entities. Dark entities always are quickly answering the call.

Dark entities can be ambiguous beings. They don’t do you any good but that’s not because they are pure evil but they get their victims into a certain mode. They make them doing things. It seems also the case with some visionary encounters when the person who had that experience changed somehow. It looks like there could be some sort of “dark attachment” after certain types of encounters.

This is the moment where we should ask if “dark entities” could be also a creation of our own paranoia. Sometimes people getting talked into some sort of paranoia. Or the idea that you are followed or there is some mysterious force around you is like a powerful computer virus corrupting our thinking. One of the strongest stories which turned into the horror-classic “Night of the demon” is “Casting The Runes” by M. R. James. It’s about a curse but it is also the perfect example of a personal paranoia story. The fear of dark entities can kill you. Perhaps the truth is that we can relate much more to that feeling rather then to the demon (the cheesy demon at the end of the movie nearly ruined that film).

Deep in the forest in the middle of the night we might not see a “dark entity”. We even can’t say if these things exist or if our mind make them up, but we know that fear. That fear of something lurking in the trees, watching us, following us, getting into our thoughts. Something which becomes attached to us. This is what my movie project is also about.





Or is it some sort of awakening? Is it that these entities had been around us for a long time but then there is moment in these special corners of the forest (the ancient indian burial ground, the magical grove, the ritual site) when we become aware of them. Perhaps Dion Fortune is right: “Normally, although we move in the midst of these forces (for they sustain our universe), we are oblivious of them. Where they are concentrated, however, unless we are very dense-minded, we begin to be dimly conscious of something that is affecting us and stirring our subliminal self”. This is the moment. From now on we are under the spell.

There is one question left over: what does a dark entity want? Psychic vampirism was mentioned. Destroy us? Or perhaps use the victim in the eternal battle between good and evil which is happen behind the veil of ordinary reality? And is it possible that dark entities can become or exist as ordinary humans? Perhaps it’s the best idea to check our direct surrounding in the first place.

Under The Spell

The offender always returns to the place of the crime.
It seems the same applies to supernatural writers, researchers in search of the unknown and people who had encounters with strange phenomena. We can’t explain our passion but we know we need to do this, there isn’t much choise. We’re under the spell.

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Writers and film makers taking the supernatural seriously get often asked why they pursue difficult projects rather than doing something where you could make money more easily. Even it’s true that genre stuff is supposed to be “profitable” which usually means that it is something which could be done for low budget but has a potential for high revenues. This might be the case for some horror pics with easy-to-grasp concepts however many artists who have a real interest in the otherworld (or simply asking questions about our view of reality) suffer. They choose the hard way. But these are the most committed people, they are prepared to work hard for a long time without knowing about their chance for success.

The same applies to researchers, philosophers and scientists. A profound interest in the otherworld is certainly not the best choice to make a career. We should think that the investigation of phenomena we don’t yet understand is science at its best, but the researcher is often being caught in the middle. They aren’t trusted any longer by the “serious scientific community” and they make often many enemies among the “believers”. They get in trouble with the powerful, become blacklisted by politicians and sinister organizations. The work of a researcher like Jacques Vallée who kept a diary for over 40 years and continuosly published interesting insights about the unexplained couldn’t be praised enough. There aren’t many of them but those who are interested in the otherworld are highly committed people.

If somebody had a weird experience in the woods, had a strange encounter or was somehow involved in strange events we would expect that this person would leave the place where it happened, move into a big city or even another country. But we know that people who had encounters with the otherworld are changed. They return either to the place or become reseachers, lecturers or help other people with similar experiences. They are obsessed in their own way.

Once touched by the otherworld we’re under the spell. Its a bit like becoming involved with the demonic principle. In the same breath we are drown towards the unknown as we wan’t to escape the otherworld. But the artist is dedicated to paint that picture. It might look for outsiders that the artist of the supernatural seems to paint the same picture again and again.

This is not the case. The researcher and the artist or writer and film-maker are sitting in the same boat; it is their quest for the unknown. And like a Tibetan monk repeating the same rituals the researcher studies similar cases again and again, and the storyteller is writing many stories but the stories are all about the same theme. People who had visionary experiences return to places or remember things at certain times every year. However this isn’t about repeating the same thing, it is always about progress, about deepening our understanding, even sometimes in very small steps.

There is an interesting question how much freedom people do really have if they take the challenge seriously. However the creative process itself can be an act of freedom. It’s a chance to redeem the demons. And it can be step forward to understand. The people drawn towards the otherworld or towards the fundamental questions about our reality were always a minority. It’s astonishing that a lot of people can watch endless hours of stuff about zombies, vampires, witches and never ask for one second what’s really going on.




We can’t explain why we are into a deeper reality. Perhaps this is something which couldn’t be explained. It is indeed like the demonic principle, something which works beyond our understanding. And if we look at people who had experiences with the paranormal or some encounters we can’t tell why they were chosen. Human history is full of people who had a very different background and then become changed through visionary experience. The only thing we know is that there are no simple answers, but it appears there must kind of a link between certain artists, researchers and visionaries. It’s like they had at some point in their lives seen, felt or heard the same thing, some sort of hidden reality and they got a call to tell the world.

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.