Welcome to The Forest Dark

Do you think this is one more of these stories “based on true events”?  You might suspect this.  You and me we know this is most of the times part of the marketing campaign for the movie. Thus, in the end the story is not really true and we can relax. I am afraid my case is more complex. The Forest Dark Feature Film project didn’t start as some sort of another genre movie project “based on a true story”. It was pure fiction. But that changed.

Do you know where ideas come from? We invent them. Sure? What would you say if I would say, sometimes stories are remembered. I hear someone say, of course, something from your childhood. Some people write up their own biographies when they think they are writing fiction.

I have to admit that anything with the subject of The Forest Dark Feature Film Project was not related in any way with my personal experience before I become involved with this.

But did you ever remember anything and didn’t know where that thought came from? Maybe from a former life, a dream?

There are much weirder possibilities, possibilities I never imagined. I learned we live in a world which is super natural. Behind the thin veil of our everyday world exists an otherworld. This otherworld isn’t really separated from our realm. There are strong intelligible forces following us and watching over us. Sometimes these forces are shaping our lives and even our projects.

And when we start to question our experiences during our individual journeys we may find that we indeed live in a “forest dark”.




Moment of Transition: Night Is Coming

“Night is coming” is often associated with Revelation or apocalypse. Like the black fire it has ancient roots in biblical sources referring to the Second Coming. Night is coming is used in John 9:4, “While it is daytime, we must do the works of Him who sent Me. Night is coming, when no one can work”.

There is a long history how this idea was used in many ways. In supernatural fiction it is sometimes a time when something (an apocalyptic event) is supposed to happen. In a movie, this is also often a timelog, which makes it attractive to storytellers. It gives the whole narrative a direction. Somebody takes on the role of the prophet of doom. He is warning the rest of the world, that something is coming. Nobody is listen to him. People do not wake up until it is too late. The moment of “night is coming” is often the climax of the story.

I am convinced that there is not only a tradition in fiction which makes the warning that something is coming so strangely familiar. Furthermore it is not only an idea in theological context. Night is coming: This is real. Something will happen. We only do not know when it will happen and what exactly will happen. If it is the end of mankind we do not know. Neither do we know if it is some sort of ecological catastrophe or a final and last war.

It is some sort of inherited knowledge. Jungian psychologists think this is the archetype of apocalypse. But this is more than rather a psychological development: It is not something happen only on the inside but something will really happen on the outside.  Night is coming: This is a transition moment. Life (if there is one) will be different after this moment. If we explore all the ideas around this, it is transition in the first place. A shift from one dimension to another, not necessarily doomsday.

When we say “Night is coming” it is not always meant in a literal way. It could be darkness but darkness could also mean revelation. Afterwards we see things in a different light.

There is no proof to this, but these changing events happen on a minor scale more often as we think, also in a different and harmless way. The turn of the year is a very good example: If we think rationally it doesn’t make much sense to believe that next year will be different as the year before. Nevertheless for a lot of people the new year is like moving into a new town. There is indeed a huge tradition with mythological background around the turn of the year. Many practices have their roots in magical thinking.  A strong belief is held, that the future can be seen in the “rough nights” between Christmas and New Year. Furthermore the future can be influenced. It is like leaving one dimension and entering a new one. It might be only an emotional thing, but indeed, we often experience every new year in a different way. There are also transition moments in everyone’s individual life when reality appears in a new light. It might be a life-changing event or a long forgotten memory coming back to life.

“Night is coming” is a transition moment on a much bigger scale. It is more like something in the otherworld is changing, and this event has a huge impact in our world. Perhaps we feel the fallout of a cosmic battle between light and darkness, or is it that somewhere somebody changes the rules of the game. If we would actors like the poor guy in “The Truman Show” who doesn’t know that reality is a soundstage, this is the moment when somebody switches off the light behind the scenes and sets up a new situation. This could happen to us.

There might be certain signs as it is predicted in the books about apocalypse. Perhaps the moment of transition is not a short-time span as a full moon eclipse. It could be happen over years, maybe much longer.  What about little shifts in our everyday reality we sense somehow (but which we do not dare to talk about it)? Sometimes it is like we could swear something has happened during the night: We think this was a dream but was way too real to be only a dream.

Later, when we wake up, it feels like the world is different. It is hard to point the finger on it, but there is that certain feeling something has changed. It is like a change in weather but with an element which can’t be named. It can’t be framed what exactly it is. It is like the color of the sky is still blue but different. It is like time is running faster even the clock shows no difference and the length of the day is still the same. It is like people suddenly behaving differently for no obvious reason. They change their opinions but you don’t know why. And aren’t there periods where strange events happen more often? Don’t we see that foreboding signs more often these days?



There is no proof to this. The potential of self-deception is incredibly high. We can only trust our inner voice when we have a foreboding feeling that “night is coming”. People exploring this moments are not necessarily prophets of doom but explorers who want to take a glimpse behind the scenes. This can be a lonely business: If a person wants to explore this ongoing events which happen on another plane that ours in the first place, this person needs to put some distance to the noise of everyday life. This is why some people go deep into the woods from time to time.

 

Night Is Coming: The Forest Dark Video Installment No4 – Black Fire Tales

Some people go into the forest because they are drawn toward darkness. In certain places, they will find what they have been looking for a long time. But will they be ready for this kind of experience? Light and darkness are not what they think it is. Darkness is more than the absence of light, it is a tangible entity. It is a substance. Darkness is black fire. For scientists, black fire is dark matter.

Black Fire Tales

I will tell you something about the black fires.
It is not good to go into that forest up the mountain.
Not when you can see these damned lights in the night.
Some folks followed the lights but many of them didn’t return.
Those who made it back from the forest weren’t right in their heads.
They were talking about a black fire.
A gate was opened to another dimension for them and something was looking from there straight into their soul, so they said.
Sometimes it showed them wonderful things. But some of them never talked about what they have seen. Those people are not the same people they were before, I swear to you.
This is fire mixed with fire.
(Duncan, The Forest Dark Screenplay)



Black Fire

“Sometimes people see wildfires in Witch Mountains but the trees are not consumed. The fires are known as ghost fires or black fires” (The Forest Dark Movie Project).

What is Black Fire or a Cold Fire? It is mentioned in fiction, religious text and in sightings. It exists. Black Fire is a supernatural thing, a metaphorical thing and a physical reality. Indeed there is also a literally black fire which can be demonstrated in chemistry experiments: If a fire gets illuminated with a monochromatic light source (sodium vapour) and you put sodium ions in the fire the flames appear black.

A black flame is mentioned in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone.

Furthermore, black fire is for example mentioned by Deputy Hawk in Twin Peaks III when he explains the map to Sheriff Truman. He said that “there are two kinds of fire, similar to modern day electricity, but depending on your intention. Black fire symbolizes death and destruction, and probably the Black Lodge”


However Black Fire is not an invention by Lynch and Frost. It is an ancient idea which already occurs in connection with the Bible/Torah. In Jewish thought “Black Fire” is important.

The supernatural experience of Moses in Exodus 3:2 leads to the mention of black fire:

“There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. (Bible, New International Version)”.

The Midrash ( the biblical exegesis – interpretation – by ancient Judaic authorities) on Exodus 3:2 explains:

“From this they derived that the heavenly fire shoots out branches upwards, burns but does not consume, and is black in color; whereas fire used here below does not branch upwards and is red, and consumes but does not burn.”

Scholar and Rabbi Fern Feldman gives an excellent and very interesting insight on her website and opens up a new way of thinking about “black fire” and “darkness”:

Rabbi Fern Feldman: “It may be hard to imagine a black fire—perhaps it is counter-intuitive, or paradoxical. So what can we learn from this black fire?

The fire metaphor itself is multifold. It implies something awesome, powerful, something with the potential to give life or death”.

We learn that black fire is an ancient symbol for the sacred, the divine, the otherworld and there is ambiguity.

The Black Fire mentioned in Twin Peaks is also not always necessarily evil. As Hawk puts it it depends. The experience of black fire is more that we are able of overcome our boundaries and feel connected. “We become aware of a larger whole that includes all of it”, as Rabbi Feldman says.

 

Black Fire has an even longer tradition in Jewish History. It is said that the Torah is “black fire on white fire”.

“R. Simeon ben Lakish said: The Torah given to Moses was written with black fire upon white fire, sealed with fire, and swathed with bands of fire” and Yerushalmi Shelamim 6:1, 49d): THE FIRST THINGS CREATED – In the beginning, two thousand years before the heaven and the earth, seven things were created: the Torah written with black fire on white fire, and lying in the lap of God” etc. Source: Sefaria.org

Thus black fire is often a metaphor for something real, an expression of the divine. The gods can’t be seen in itself. One way they show their presence is through images which might occur paradoxical.

Black Fire is often seen as the fire of creation. That is why people are interested in it. Black fire is at the bottom of things. It is a hidden driving force. Black Fire might be also the Philosopher’s Secret Fire (Patrick Harpur wrote a book by the same title and describes it as something accompanying human history but which can’t be defined in a single way).

It is possible that black fire as a manifestation of something we can’t understand appears also in our days hiding behind other phenomenas like mysterious lights and many other.

In my story this is why people are drawn towards the forest dark. This is where black fire is more closely.

 

The Fields Have Eyes, The Forest Has Ears

“The Fields Have Eyes, The Forest Has Ears” is revering mostly to a drawing by Hieronymus Busch who labeled it after a proverb. That proverb “The Fields Have Eyes, The Forest Has Ears” from around 1500 AD is mostly interpreted in the same way as “the walls have ears”. It means to be careful because there is surveillance.

But there is another connection here. It could be also seen in a more literal sense. The forest exerts influence upon us. And the forest knows your deepest secrets.

Alexander Porteous mentions the proverb in his famous book “The Forest In Folklore And Mythology”: “It has been said that the forest knows all and is able to teach all, and there is a French proverb to the effect that the forest, which always listens, has the secret of every mystery, while a Latin proverb of the Middle Ages says: Aures sunt nemoris, oculi compestribus oris, and similarly the German: Das Feld hat Augen, der Wald hat Ohren”.

Therefore there is probably here a different background leading to the deeper mythological dimension of the forest.

Some forests are like a big organism. There are many folk traditions where the forest is like a deity. It is something which has to be respected. The forest can be a friend but it can be also a fierce enemy. It is more like a zone with intelligence. Sometimes there is a deity known as the “king of the forest” residing in a certain tree.

The forest’s deities were also often worshipped in a grove. Furthermore,the witches met and performed rituals in these holy groves. Oracles were spoken in the glades of the primeval woods.

Sir James George Frazer’s “The Golden Bough”, a study in magic and religion, describes an ancient sacred ritual happening deep in the forest. It lies at the core of future pagan religions and others. A priest is sacrificed by his successor. Obviously, the sacrifice is made to a deity in the forest. This exchange between supernatural powers and men is the very model for human belief systems for a long time.


There are a lot of forest customs in later centuries where we see the “quid pro quo” principle: A favour or advantage is granted in return for something. If you want something from the forest(‘s deities) you have to offer something in return.

The forest has many things in store for us: food, knowledge, even protection (you can hide in the forest from your enemies). But something has to be offered in return. If the balance is disturbed the forest can take something (for example from the village in the midst of the forest). Somebody might disappear.

The forest deities exert immense power and influence. Today, we have forgotten about the older knowledge, but these forces haven’t vanished. The forest still has ears. He knows secrets and in certain moments knowledge can be gained. It doesn’t take much time and the wanderer will feel the elder gods in the solitude of a walk in the middle of a mountain forest.

In some places,strange stories happen a lot. Villagers far away from the big cities keep the old ceremonies alive. In the so-called Bennington Triangle region, Vermont, north-eastern USA, there is a ceremony that for over 50 years nobody has mysteriously vanished. There were a number of disturbing cases of vanishings which could never be solved. The area had already a certain reputation which goes back a long way. The American natives only used it as a burial ground and believed in evil spirits. An enchanted stone was suspected to swallow everything that passed by. People not only disappeared when walking in the woods but from their homes and even from a bus.

We do not know if they do something to please the spirits of the wilderness in that ceremony.

But ceremonies always need one crucial element: The belief that somebody or something is watching you and that this entity might react.

It seems that there are still places where something in the woods is watching you – “The forest has ears”.