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).