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.

The Forest Deadlights

“They go towards it. The LIGHT FLICKERS, they are full of hope”(The Forest Dark).

Lights usually indicate hope. But sometimes lights can be the source of evil like Stephen King’s “Deadlights”. In his novel IT the deadlights are what pennywise the murderous clown actually is. “It is an orange light that mesmorizes those that are afraid. when mesmerized, IT can feed. IT wakes up every thirty years and IT feeds. It is what is behind the clown” (Urban Dictionary)

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Dangerous lights have been already mentioned here in different cases. The fictional deadlights are more then this. The unknown entity which is the “deadlights” has a mythological background in Stephen Kings universe. It stems from the macroverse , a mysterious void outside the universe, and can manifest in the form of your worst fears or it can create any kind of illusion. It destroys you literally and mentally: “Coming face to face with the deadlights drives any living being instantly insane”.

The interesting part comes with “It’s natural enemy is “The Turtle,” another ancient Macroverse dweller who, eons ago, created our Universe and possibly others. The Turtle appears in King’s series The Dark Tower…The series suggests that It, along with the Turtle, are themselves creations of a separate, omnipotent creator referred to as “the Other’” (http://stephenking.wikia.com/wiki/It_(creature)).

There is a familiarity about this concept: It might be not so much an invention but taps into the gnostic tradition. We see the good/evil and light/dark dualism and the idea of the creator god and the more evil demiurge at work in Stephen King’s mythology.

Even “deadlights” also strongly resembles some Lovecraftian creatures (IT has been here for aeons) it is a gnostic idea. A godlike creature is behind the manifestations of evil. Hope lies with a superior god but that god is far away and not engaged in human affairs. However there is the divine spark or a “good side of the force” which could help against the “deadlights”.

Thus there would be at least a theological background in the idea of the deadlights. It has to be mentioned that “Gnosis” is not one single straightforward theological concept. It’s more a collection of traditions and ideas. For a long time we knew very little about this religion which emerged in the ancient times, until a spectacular archeological discovery, the Nag Hammadi library.

We don’t know if Mr. King was inspired by these ideas or if it is some knowledge which is in some way familiar to everyone.

The most interesting aspects of deadlights is the shape-shifting quality and the manipulative power of the entity. Furthermore there is an otherworld, a realm beyond our universe where these forces come from.

If we look at some phenomena connected with supernatural events in the woods and many stories in particular, we see some similarities: often a light is reported in the first place in stories about strange encounters. Even these lights often have not a harmful character there are many examples of deadly lights, like the chupas in Brazil .

And there is one thing which is often reported in connection with strange lights: the loss of sanity. Looking into the lights is as extremely dangerous as the deadlights which flicker in Pennywise’ eyes. Furthermore there is often a masquerade: the sightings of monstrous beings, witches and phenomena appear more like a simulation rather then real things. Deadlights can manipulate reality. The historical “Happy Camp Case” comes to mind where a small town was fooled by UFO’s, unknown entities and mysterious strangers. In reports about “Haunted Forests” also often a broad variety of weird sightings appear which sound like a huge manipulation of reality. A typical case it the Freetown-Fall River State Forest.

Furthermore the aspect of “vampirism” is interesting: “When mesmerized IT can feed”. This is what we also hear in many stories about close encounters – victims were mesmerized and felt weakened for a long time.




 

Stephen Kings “Deadlights” is another example of a fictional concept with a truth behind it. There is something very real about these ideas, a reality which is also part of the Forest Dark Movie Project. The Gods hide between many masks and what else is the “Deadlights” as an ancient daimonic force mentioned in many myths, stories and contemporary events? Perhaps Pennywise walks among us right in this moment.

Places That Shine

“Dick Hallorann: Some places are like people: some shine and some don’t.” (The Shining) Dick Hallorann explains a supernatural ability and phenomena to Danny shortly after the Torrance family arrives in the Overlook Hotel. The “Shining” is a concept introduced by Stephen King in the novel. In the famous scene between Dick Hallorann and Danny the cook sounds very convincing. Perhaps the “Shining” is a very real thing.

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The “Shining” is not the same like clairvoyance. The interesting thing in the movie scene from the famous Kubrick feature film is that it revers both to places and to people. On one side the “Shining” appears like an energy but not a formless energy. It is more like some living being. On the other side it is an ability. It’s an ability to see or to receive information from another plane of existence.

As a metaphor we could say that some people are like a very strong W-lan device. But even more they have a certain understanding of the hidden nature of things.

And if there are places which “shine” there are definitely forests that shine. Some shine some don’t. And these forests are like characters; perhaps there are some very wicked people among them. The “Shining” is a very good model how some haunted forests could be seen.

If it comes to such places there is always the question why does that place shine? Often an old legend is mentioned. The Overlook hotel is supposedly built at the place of a massacre. The very real Freetown-State forest is a place of injustice against the indigenous people. This is the classic ghost house concept – some guilt or some terrible event in the past. However there are many places without such legends. It seems more that some places have a special quality, they are the places where our world connects with another realm of a different reality.

“The Shining” is a quality of a place.

People who shine not only can sense or receive disturbing images at these places, they can also work like a catalyst, especially in a forest. They could activate the energy in a forest which was always there. In the best of all cases these people could understand the real nature of a place. Things about the forest are revealed to them. Perhaps this is also another background of the stories of witches in the forest. They were the people who understood, their secret meetings with the fairies were encounters with another realm. But even more the “places that shine” could reveal some inner truth. They tell us about our true nature. And even more they can make us do things. This could also be a background for many strange stories about people who did rituals or strange things in the forest. “The Shining” is a real power which still needs to be explained.




 

Forbidden Encounters With Supernatural Beings In The Forest

The most intriguing aspect of Margaret Murray’s Witch Cult hypothesis is the strong connection between witches and fairies. In some ways the witch cult was the cult of the fairy, and the image of secret gatherings in the forest is related to the fairy cult. And here there is more as pure fantasy and speculation.

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Murray writes in the “The Witch-Cult in Western Europe, by Margaret Alice Murray, [1921], at sacred-texts.com”: “That there was a strong connexion between witches and fairies has been known to all students of fairy lore. I suggest that the cult of the fairy or primitive race survived until less than three hundred years ago, and that the people who practised it were known as witches. I have already pointed out that many of the witch-beliefs and practices coincide with those of an existing dwarf race, viz. the Lapps. The Devil and the witches entered freely into the fairy mounds, the Devil is often spoken of as a fairy man, and he consorts with the Queen of Elfhame”.

One source of Murray’s theory might be the mentioning of “Fairies In The Scottish Witch Trials”. In a guest piece for the “Modern Scot”, historian Jon Kaneko-James explores the appearance of fairies in the annals of Scottish Witch Trials: He says that fairies played an important role in the Witch trials and researched historical records. For example, a pamphlet printed in London, “detailing the 1566 interrogation of the Cunning Man John Walsh reports… and details his midnight meetings with the Fey court on various mounds and barrows in Dorset (Gibson, 2005, 26-9)”.

Here we have another kind of secret cults in the forest, but in these cases it were humans meeting supernatural beings. Of course this was forbidden.

Jon Kaneko-James draws some very interesting conclusions about the “reality” of these encounters with the fairies by investigating the historical background. He asks if “that area simply benefited from conditions of one kind or another that allowed records to survive there better than anywhere”. And the background here is the battle between Catholicism and Presbyterianism. The latter disapproved the supernatural and Presbyterianism had strong influence in the Scottish Witch Trials according to Kaneko-James.

The “secret commonwealth” of the mysteriously vanished Reverend Kirk is also connected to the political development during the time of the witch trials. The connection with humans (Witches) and supernatural beings (Fairies) is another important piece in the puzzle even we learned that the truth was always manipulated and its difficult to detect what’s really going on. However there is another real important element in the recordings:

Secret encounters and meetings with fairies enable women and men with supernatural abilities like second-sight. Furthermore there are disturbing records about a disintegration of the eternal border between the realm of the living and the realm of the dead. Kaneko-James mentions the case of Katherine Fordyce who appeared in the dreams of a neighbor after she had died. She claims that she was kidnapped by the fairies post-mortem after dying in childbirth.

Visionary encounters played an important role in the witch-craze. Here are strong parallels with the “interrogation” of contemporary alien-abductees in interviews or hypnotic regression sessions. Often the abductees gain supernatural powers like second-sight after the close encounter with aliens. The forbidden encounters with fairies in the forest and modern alien-abduction stories have a lot in common.

We could also mention the similarity between the stories about the dwarf-like monsters in the haunted Freetown State Forest and the reports about encounters with fairies in Scotland.

It’s hard to find the truth since as in historical times there are also political interests in our time and many reports get manipulated. Only one thing seems to be sure: something is going on out there and perhaps we are talking always about the same phenomenon hiding behind many masks.

Secret Cult In The Forest

The witches meet on April 30 on top of the mountain and there are whole pagan cults and secret societies gathering deep in the woods for weird rituals. True or wrong?

If there is one thing which makes it nearly impossible to distinct if it was fiction in the first place or fiction which was inspired by real events then it is secret cults in the forest.

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Today it seems that there have been some cases which look from a skeptical point-of-view like inventions of the modern time. In 1939 a British occultist named Gerald Gardner was supposedly initiated into a witch-coven and founded later the “Wicca” movement. “According to the beliefs held by coven members, the faith which they followed was the continuation of the “Witch-Cult”, a pre-Christian religion”(Wikipedia) However researchers came to the conclusion that the New Forest coven had never existed and that it was simply a fictional invention.

The ideas of that time were inspired by Margaret Murray’s “Witchcraft In Western Europe”. Murray, an anthropologist, propagated the theory “that until the 17th century there was a religion, much older than Christianity, which all over Western Europe had supporters both among ordinary people and the ruling classes” (Wikipedia). This “Cult of Dianus” was the ancient religion described in detail in the Golden Bough”.

Scientists in our days are very skeptical about the ideas of Margaret Murray and her theories which also shed a strange light on the origins on the witch-craze. It is more likely that the cultist and so called pagan activities in the woods were an invention by the witch-hunters who wanted to set up paranoia in the minds of people.

However we have many reports of some form of cults and secret meetings which took place in certain forests even in our days.

Particularly haunted forests are very likely to house secret cults. Some of the scariest stories happened in “Freetown-Fall River State Forest”, Massachusetts in the US. Brent Swancer, Mysteriousuniverserse.org describes the The Cursed Forest Of Massachusetts:

“There seem to be places in this world to which strangeness seems to gravitate. Whether it is their geography, topography, or some inexplicable, unseen forces, these locations possess what can only be described as a certain disconnect from reality as we know it. They are imbued with some sort of undercurrent of mystery, strangeness, and sometimes even terror”.

The Freetown-Fall River State Forest is a paranormal hotspot with a history of crimes and mysteries: in 1978 a teenager-cheerleader was found murdered and over the years there have been murders and other crimes with alleged satanic or cult activity. The cultist activities were mentioned in two murder trials. Nevertheless there is a lot of speculation here and once a place has a certain “reputation” there could be also imitations or wrong-leads.

A very good lead for secret activities in the woods is the European “Beltane” or Walpurgis-Night on April 30. It seems there is a history for secret meetings particularly on top of some mountains, which were called “Blocksberg” (Blocksberg was a reference not only for a certain mountain but for different mountains were the witches danced). The “Walpurgis-Night” on the “Blocksberg” became famous when it was used by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in “Faust”. It is well known that Goethe did a lot of historical research, thus the central scene with the witches deep in the forest on top of the mountain wasn’t just only a fantasy but somehow inspired by a real motive. It might not what Mrs Murray thought about a Witch-Cult but some kind of folklorist tradition.

The motives stem from the European tradition of magic. There is a deep tradition in Europe for magic, demonology and superstition and even we mostly have never seen a magic ritual we know what it is. In 1972-73 there were were headlines in newspapers about a black mass or cultist activity on the small Danish Island of Anholt. The case included interviews with an actress Hannes Smyrner who gave the theory of cultist activity some credit. However there was never some real evidence but it was the traces which triggered the rumors. People somehow remembered the concept of magic rituals. The “secret cult” is like an image we all know but we can’t remember where we have seen it or where we heard about it in the first place.

In the end we have a strange feeling about most of these cases of alleged cultist activity – they are often pure inventions but on the other hand we feel there is some sort of truth here. When H.P. Lovecraft murmurs in his stories about the unspeakable cults in the forest he sounds convincingly; like an expert, like someone who has really seen these things.

It looks like modern cultists doing some kind of “reenactment” of some old tradition which seems to exist on another plane of reality. Maybe all the cases of alleged cult activity have been sort of reenactment of something we don’t know where it ever existed.

And the most astonishing fact is that it’s not the band of teenagers or former hippies who are acting out some strange play in the woods – it’s powerful men like the politicians and leaders who meet in the “Bohemian Grove” in California every year.

 

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The case of the Freetown-Fall River State Forest becomes even more mysterious if we think of all the phenomena which were reported in this so-called Bridgewater triangle: we have alleged cult activity but also some sort of little monsters, restless Indian spirits, light orbs and – of course – big UFO sightings. This sounds like from a bad script of a B-movie: a typical case of too-many-motives. Not very believable.

However the wild mix of very different paranormal and other occult phenomena is typical not only for the Freetown-Fall River State Forest but for most of the “haunted forests of this world“. Since there is not much evidence – I would at least expect in our days a 4kvideo taken with an I-phone of the beast of the forest with so many researchers roaming these forests – the witness accounts sound not very credible at first sight. However if we look it from another angle the mix of phenomena with the alleged cults seems to be more like one piece of a kind of symbols of one big phenomena we don’t understand. It is one piece of a big jigsaw-puzzle and we still see these pieces but never the whole picture.  The haunted forest and its secret cults are kind of an archetype. The paradox of archetypes is that they are very real but obviously exist on another plane of reality which is not exactly ours but very close to our plane of existence.




 

Fire In The Air

“There are also times when, as happens to a land when the sea-dykes break, the invisible forces flow in upon us and swamp our lives” (Dion Fortune).

“Something is breaking through from another dimension into ours…” (The Forest Dark Screenplay)

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Fire is the element which means both creation and destruction and most of all transformation.

“The aim of magic is to steal the fire from the heaven” said the English artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare.

If we see fire as a form of energy it is the kind of an extreme powerful force; it is an energy both inside and outside of the body.

When we say there is fire in the air it could mean not a literal fire, but – according to some sources – an otherworldly energy, which is more like an electric field in the first moment, then the air becomes more dense and hot until finally something breaks through.

These kind of super natural events happen in stories but are also mentioned in reports about strange encounters like in “Happy Camp”, California, in a series of UFO encounters.

The best way to understand the element of fire (and its meaning in the otherworld) is the myth of Prometheus.

Fire here means also wisdom. Fire is the light of knowledge. Prometheus brought it to mankind. That’s why Prometheus was punished by the Gods.

Furthermore there is a fire of creation. In Zoroastrianism the fire of creation is “a direct creation of God” and “the material universe coalesced from the fire or energy of creation.

Fire is also the transition between the spiritual and material creations”.

This could mean that the moment of transitions are dangerous because fire signals danger.

These ancient ideas could be an interesting alternative in understanding reports of contemporary contacts with the unknown; like the car driver which ended up in a strange illuminated mist,felt an unnaturally thick and hot air, lost consciousness and missed some time and later he could not remember what happened. In some of these encounters people later said they received sudden knowledge about the world which in normally unknown to mankind.

It’s also worth to think about what it means “to play with fire”. In my story somebody plays with the fire and faces unforeseen consequences.