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.


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.


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.

Otherworldly Traps

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Games In The Forest

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

Untitled Kopie

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.