From Pictures of Life

Pictures of Life

Chapter One

He was beginning to sweat, and he knew he was reaching his climax. Momentarily, he looked out of the window and saw a full moon in the sky. The houses in the street seemed to radiate its mystery. What lives are led in those houses, he asked himself, what tales could be told?
Such thoughts seemed important to him at that moment. He was so close to completion. He pushed back his over long brown hair and gingerly scratched his beard. Then, summoning every last ounce of will, he picked up his brush and, in a flurry, carried out the strokes that would complete the picture. And as he lay back, exhausted, Peter Picasso knew he had produced his masterpiece.

Dale Crawford was not, yet, in the mood for laying back. He, too, was approaching climax, but not of the artistic kind.
Beneath him, Rachel Hollis writhed. She enjoyed her occasional night with Dale. A little rough for her usual tastes, he nonetheless had a ruggedly handsome face topped with blonde hair, and a muscular body that allowed him the strength to please her like no other man could.
She held his muscular frame tightly as she climaxed, digging her nails into his buttocks. Then, as the waves of pleasure began to fade, she released him from her grip and relaxed.
‘Thank you, Mr Crawford,’ she eventually said, catching her breath and offering one of those smiles.
Dale lay back beside her. ‘Don’t say that,’ he snapped, aware of the age difference between them. He was thirty two years of age, whilst Rachel was barely twenty. And that wasn’t the only barrier between them, for whilst Dale struggled to make a living as a taxi driver, Rachel Hollis came from the richest family in the street.
He turned to look at her, immediately putting such thoughts to the back of his mind. What else could he do as he feasted his eyes upon her. For Rachel lay back, the sheet by her waist, her breasts firm and inviting. Her long brunette hair fanned out on the pillow, and her eyes stared longingly. All Dale wanted to do at that moment was kiss those beautiful lips once more and take her.
It was at that point that there was a scream from the next room.

But had he?
This was the thought that occupied Peter Picasso at that moment. Had he painted his masterpiece? He was no longer sure. And as self doubt invaded his world, he began to sweat.
Predictably, he did this a lot. In his mid-thirties, he had been artistic for as long as he could remember. As a child, he doodled away, placing everything in his life in pictures. Indeed, his pictures were his mind; his thoughts, his hopes, his fears, his happiness?
No, not happiness. There had been little of that in his life. Orphaned at an early age, his life had been one of children’s homes and foster parents – of campuses and bedsits – with nothing to impede his artistic temperament. Or maybe his pictures were simply his neuroses given expression?
Peter Picasso thought about this a great deal. He thought about his ability and he thought about his mental health. Maybe he was just mad, and his pictures anarchy of mind which guaranteed his madness would continue. Aware of this, he had changed his name to Picasso, as this reflected the man more than his original Gainsborough.
He looked at the painting once more. At first sight, it seemed a normal painting – nothing special. It was a view of the street at night from his window. It was only when you looked deeper that you noticed each house seemed to echo the personality of the occupant. Hence, some houses were happy, others were sad. The occasional one was hardly there at all, as if ghostly.
Jack’s house was like that. And Peter wondered why …

‘Don’t go,’ said Rachel as Dale Crawford rose from his bed.
Dale looked back to her as he put on his dressing gown and scowled. ‘Don’t be selfish,’ he said, ‘you know I’ve got to go.’ But such duties were an alien world to Rachel Hollis.
In the next room, Bobby Crawford was sat up in bed, his eyes staring into space. As Dale entered the room, he wished he wouldn’t do that. It spooked him every time.
Momentarily, he sat on the bed beside his son and said: ‘Another nightmare?’
Bobby Crawford was ten years of age with mousy hair and a squint. With a slight, almost pained body, Dale wondered if he would ever grow up to be a man. But every time he thought so, he chastised himself and reminded himself of his love for his son.
Bobby yawned, turned to his father and said: ‘I was in this hole and I couldn’t get out and I thought I was going to die and it was horrible dad …’
Dale caught him in mid-stream, placed his arm around him and pulled him to his chest.
‘Well, it’s over now, Bobby. You can go back to sleep.’ And as he cuddled his son he heard the rush outside in the landing, and the slamming of the door. It’s over now, he thought – until she wanted him once more.

Why the thought came into his head, Peter Picasso had no idea. Maybe it was the product of his chaotic mind. But the thought entered his head that Jack was no longer alive. Then another thought came to him and he rushed to the picture and painted.
Soon, sated, he lay back again and observed.
Flames licked at the walls of Jack’s house, and smoke billowed into the sky; whilst outside, a yellow, flickering flame erupted, framed in a window, but as yet, unobserved.

Chapter Two

Jack Thomas was approaching the twilight of his years, but at eighty years of age, even he couldn’t have imagined how close the end was. He was not a rich man, neither had he been a particularly moral one, but he considered it had been a good life. And he would have felt cheated to go in such a way, if he had had the presence of mind to think such thoughts.
The flames, when they came, were swift and cruel. They seemed to burst into the room, preceded by a sudden rise in temperature. As they arrived, it seemed as if they were a monster, probing this way and that, searching for something else to consume. And it was almost as if they spied Jack, said ‘aha,’ and pounced.
The kiss of flame on his body prompted Jack Thomas into action. After all before this he had been simply mesmerized, watching the monster before him. But when action suggested an escape through another door, he was shocked to discover the monster had spawned a twin, which at that moment consumed his door frame.
When Jack Thomas finally did do something, he was crazed and desperate, rushing through the flames and erupting as if a fireball.

Vernie James had no idea of the drama being enacted so close to him. True, the flames had not burst from the confines of the house, and it was even still possible not to smell the burning. But even if the signs were apparent, it was doubtful that Vernie James would have noticed. For Vernie James was thinking only of the woman he had had that night.
It was typical of Vernie. A man of fifty with dyed black hair and tailor-made suits, his self-importance was evident. Not particularly tall and not particularly good looking, he nonetheless had a confidence that overrode his physical limitations. And it was a fact that women tended to be fascinated by him. Although, it must be said, not as fascinated as he was with himself.
Vernie James smiled as he exited his car, but it was a smile without mirth. Infact, it was a smile devoid of most emotions we would normally associate with a smile. When Vernie James smiled, it was a smile of conquest; another notch on his mission to raise his self-esteem, to be better than the rest. It never occurred to him that with such an attitude he couldn’t even enter the race.

It was as he was locking the car that Julia James, his wife, found herself stood at the bedroom window. Forty years of age, Julia James still retained the good looks of her youth, but a closer inspection would out the fact that age was creeping upon her swiftly. Yet whether this was due to the advance of years or the miserable existence she was forced to endure is open to debate.
Her head throbbed as she stood there, glaring. She flicked her long blonde hair out of her eyes to get a better look. This was due not only to the gloom of night, but the fact that drink often makes the eyes refuse to focus.
Images flooded into her vision – of Vernie dead, mutilated, made to cease to exist. It was a fantasy that seemed to keep her sane. But we must question if having such fantasies could be classed as sane in the first place. But we can forgive Julia James her fantasy – it is well deserved; she has lived the life and gotten the T-shirt.
She wasn’t quite sure why she took her eyes off her husband at that moment. Maybe Vernie’s intent to look across the road passed, psychically, to her. But at the same moment, two pairs of eyes noticed the flickering orange in Jack Thomas’s window. Yet, once this synchronization had ceased, actions were different. Vernie James hurried along the footpath and disappeared as quickly as possible into his house. He passed Julia on the stairs as she ran, exited the house and screamed ‘fire!’

Dale Crawford lay in bed thinking, his arms behind his head on the pillow. Rachel had invaded his thoughts briefly, but he realized she was not an important part of his life. She was a distraction, a means to let off steam, to ease his frustrations. If she never came back, he would miss what they did, but it was doubtful he could miss a selfish girl such as her.
No, principal to his thoughts was Bobby. Why had the nightmares begun again? They had seemed to ease after his mother had …
He couldn’t bring himself to think about it. It was too painful. For him and for Bobby. But time was healing now. He no longer thought of her every second of every day. And Bobby’s nightmares had stopped. But now …
It was at this point that a sound invaded his thoughts. At first he didn’t realize what it was. He had a vague idea that Julia James was in the street, screaming. Rumours had been going about that she was drinking again, but Dale hoped they were untrue; hoped she was not out there, in a drunken stupor. Then the word, ‘fire,’ entered his brain, and Dale Crawford was immediately alert.
He ran down the stairs four at a time, fastening the belt of his hastily retrieved trousers, and burst through the door. Flames could now clearly be seen leaping out of Jack Thomas’s house. A crowd had begun to gather, several people advising, ‘I’ve rung the fire brigade.’ But the thought struck him, why is no one going in to save him?
Dale Crawford realized immediately that he would have to be that person. As such, he steamed through the crowd and began to kick the door with his foot.
At that moment the flame-monster decided to vent its anger, and a window exploded in a cascade of glass and flame. A pulse of heat erupted from the house, and Dale was thrown to the ground. Immediately attempting to rise and try once more, a hand touched his shoulder and he turned.
‘Don’t do it, Dale,’ said Julia, ‘it’s madness.’
In the heat of chaos, sanity can sometimes rule. And Julia, leant over him in the glow of the fire, lighting up her face, had a calming effect upon him. He looked at the fire and realized the hopelessness of further heroism, and in the distance a siren could be heard.
Slowly, Dale Crawford stood up, dusted himself down, and was surprised to find he was holding Julia’s hand. And even more surprised to realize it felt right.
A second’s guilt invaded his thoughts then. Julia was married, and instinctively he turned to her house, hoping her husband wasn’t watching.
Vernie was stood at the bedroom window, his body highlighted by the flickering light of the fire. But he wasn’t watching Dale or Julia. He was staring, fascinated, into the flames. And it immediately occurred to Dale what a coward Vernie James was.
He felt guilty no more.

Chapter Three

Thadias Grimes attacked the carcass with a determination way beyond duty. Sixty years old, he had been a butcher most of his life, first as an apprentice, then in the merchant navy and finally with his own shop. Balding quickly and with an ever expanding girth, there was darkness about him which most people found troubling. It wasn’t that Thadias Grimes intended to be miserable. It was just that he was.
The aroma of his pies filtered to his nose and he offered a rare smile. He was pleased with his pies, and had a reputation of producing the best pies in the district. But as the light of dawn filtered through, his mood soon descended to gloom. Outside, he watched the still smoking embers of Jack Thomas’s house.

Julia James enjoyed a light breakfast that morning; if you could say she enjoyed anything these days. Her ribs ached, making movements slow and painful. As she crunched on another spoonful of cereal, she heard Vernie moving around upstairs. Her eyes seemed to glaze over as she stared upwards, her stare seeming to pierce the ceiling and burn into her husband.
He had hit her when she had returned from the fire – again. He had hit her for not being the wife she should be – again. And she had promised to do something about it – again. But she never did. She simply hit the bottle and festered.
‘What a beautiful morning,’ said Vernie as he entered the kitchen, already suited and without a care in the world.
‘Is it?’ said Julia, nonchalantly.
Vernie James stared at her for several seconds, then he lunged, grabbed Julia by the hair, pulled her to him, his mouth-washed breath heating her face. ‘There you go again,’ he snarled, ‘ruining my day.’ He took a deep breath. ‘I forgave you last night, but do you appreciate me? Do you hell.’ He slapped her across the face and she fell to the floor.
He seemed to calm down, then. He sighed. ‘Well I don’t feel like breakfast now,’ he declared. ‘The day’s ruined. I’m going to work.’

Dale Crawford’s morning was much more tranquil, but equally troubled. He was not a man for cereal. He stood over the cooker, preparing a real man’s breakfast of bacon, egg, sausage and beans. ‘Want some?’ he asked as Bobby walked in.
‘Yuk!’ replied his son. ‘I don’t want that. My teacher says it will take years off your life.’
Teachers, thought Dale. He was sure they made it their mission in life to undermine parents. ‘Well your teacher is wrong,’ he said, and emptied the frying pan onto the plate.
He always enjoyed a good breakfast, did Dale. And as he sat there, eating, he looked at his son, nibbling away at a slice of toast. Eventually, he said: ‘Bobby, is everything alright at school?’
Bobby looked up, offered his squinty smile that was so endearing to Dale. ‘Yep,’ he said. ‘Why do you ask?’
Dale wasn’t sure he wanted to say. The last thing he wanted to do was bring up last night’s nightmare. But there had to be some reason. And as his home life seemed settled, he could only believe that the problem was school.
‘Bobby,’ he finally said, ‘you’re not being bullied are you?’
‘Me?’ replied Bobby. ‘Oh, daddy, don’t be stupid. I’m a superhero and I’d whack them good if they tried.’
The answer had done nothing to ease Dale Crawford’s mind.

The carcass was finished – for now. Thadias Grimes had ample cuts, chops and joints to keep the shop in stock for the day. He felt tired after the exertion. Perhaps he was getting too old for this, he thought; or too fat.
He decided it was fresh air he needed, so he stood just outside the shop door. Taking a deep breath, he realized there would be little fresh air today. Rather, the air was tinged with the stench of fire.
He looked at the smoldering remains of the house, just two doors down from the shop.
How had it started? Accident? Suicide? By design?
A cold chill spread through him at the thought. Could it be murder? If so, could there be a motive?
Oh, yes, thought Thadias Grimes, grimly. The Old Man. Yes, Old Man Hollis was capable of ordering this – and his sons were capable of carrying it out. And Thadias was also aware of motive; and a motive that could place him next in the firing line.

The pain was going now. Julia had administered her own form of antiseptic. The strong liquid still burned her throat.
She looked in the mirror. He was clever, she thought. He never hit her face so much that it would show. And indeed, the red mark was almost gone already. But as she unbuttoned her blouse and observed the bruising on her torso, it was a different story. But perhaps something was happening to Julia James.
She knew little of metaphors. If she had, she might have seen the fire last night as something to cleanse the past; to offer avenues anew, the undergrowth of her old life being burned away.
Outside, she heard a door shut. Hurrying to the window, she was only mildly disappointed by seeing Bobby Crawford leave the house opposite, heading for school. He was Dale’s son, and she could have a great deal of time for him, if …
She turned away from the window. An element of doubt crept into her mind. It’s ridiculous, she said to herself. It just isn’t going to happen. She was older than him. The drink was ageing her fast. And she’d seen Rachel Hollis come and go. How could she possibly compete with that?
The door slammed once more. She rushed again to the window. Saw Dale Crawford standing there, muscular and handsome. Masculinity oozed from him. And as he got into his taxi and drove off, she fantasized about being in his house, satisfied – and free.

Chapter Four

It was one of those mornings when she could have slept all day. But as there was something on her mind, Rachel Hollis realized a lie-in was not on the cards. Jumping out of bed, she carried out her morning ritual, standing naked in front of the mirror.
It was difficult to say why she did this. On the one hand, it was to congratulate herself on her looks and her body, even though much of it was to do with her parents. But on the other hand, she was young. And in being young, she hid an extreme under confidence. And this was outed as she searched herself for blemishes, ripples and any other imperfection.
Satisfied she was free of such problems, she exploded. ‘Damn that man!’ she told the mirror, ‘Who the hell does he think he is?’ But she knew who he was. And that is what attracted her so much to him.
The outburst over, a touch of sanity entered her world. After all, she thought, it was hardly Dale’s fault he was left with a son to bring up on his own. However, she hardly thought the thought before she admonished herself for her weakness.
But what would she be missing by being strong? As she dressed, she remembered what it was like as he undressed her. As he took her to his bed. As he had sex with her.
She sat on her bed. Took out her mobile. Texted: ‘SORRY.’

The picture seemed to stare at him from the other side of the bedsit.
Did I really paint that? thought Peter Picasso. He raised himself, scratched his beard and his eyes moved from the picture to the window, where Jack’s house was now just a smoldering pile.
The thought entered his head that he was psychic. ‘No,’ he said to himself, ‘I can’t be. It was just coincidence.’ But still the thought nagged at him.
It was then that a new idea entered his head. After all, he had struggled long enough. He was good enough to make it as an artist – maybe even make enough to live on. But he was aware that there were hundreds of artists just as good, and the world wasn’t big enough for them all. What was needed, Peter realized, was an angle. Something to separate him from the rest. And he was more than aware that that separation came with spin or a stunt. And Peter Picasso realized he had the beginnings of a stunt.
If only the rest of the pictures he intended to draw could now come true.
‘If I am psychic,’ he said, ‘then they would, wouldn’t they?’
It was a thought that would occupy him for some time to come.

Old Man Hollis had finished his breakfast and was ready for his day. Of late, such days had become slower, not only because of his advancing years, but because he was going blind. A man who had the ability to laugh kicked out of him at an early age by an abusive father, he had made it his goal in life to be great. Unfortunately, that greatness had risen no more than being a big local businessman.
Three times married and three times divorced, personal relationships came hard for him, and this was reflected in his relationship with his two sons, Wayne and Duane. Forever trying to emulate their father, they had already left to oil the machinery of local commerce. And at that moment, he was alone in the house, with only the thumpings of Rachel, his niece, upstairs, sounding as if he had a poltergeist.
Eventually, the thump, thump, thump came closer and Rachel thundered into the room.
‘Good morning, uncle,’ she said, scouring the room for muesli, but failing.
‘What’s good about it?’ retorted the Old Man.
Rachel looked momentarily philosophical. ‘You have a point.’ Then her mobile bleeped. ‘FORGIVEN. DINNER TO-NITE?’
‘Then again,’ said Rachel, beaming, ‘it isn’t as bad as all that.’
To which the Old Man felt like saying, ‘humbug.’

‘Shouldn’t you be at school?’ asked Peter Picasso as he came out of his bedsit and noticed Bobby Crawford loitering with intent.
Bobby offered his squinty smile. ‘That’s a matter of opinion,’ he said.
Peter smiled. ‘In what way?’ he asked.
‘It depends on if I should do what I’m supposed to, or what I want to.’
Peter liked Bobby Crawford. He could see a lot of himself as a kid. And he only hoped he had a better childhood than he did. Eventually, he said, secretively, ‘do you want to see my picture?’
Realizing the importance Peter placed on his opinion, Bobby immediately said yes. And anyway, this would allow him to skive at least another ten minutes.
Upstairs, in the bedsit, Bobby scrutinized the picture with a critical eye. Eventually, he said: ‘Cool.’ Then a moment of grown-upness. ‘But isn’t it a bit weird. You know, painting something like that – as the house is burning?’
‘That’s the point, Bobby,’ said Peter Picasso. He beamed. ‘I painted it BEFORE the fire.’
To which Bobby Crawford could only say ‘double cool.’

The Old Man used a myriad of mind games to justify his existence. And as he walked down the street to do his customary grand tour of his assets, he was pleased with this frame of mind. Rachel was a classic example. His younger brother just didn’t have what it took to be a businessman, but in attempting to emulate his brother, the stresses had driven him to suicide. The Old Man, did, of course, remove from consciousness his goading of his weaker brother; the ridicule. And as such, he felt it only right to take in the little girl Rachel then was. She would have had a mother, if the Old Man hadn’t taken her as well – and discarded her just as fast. He often pondered on a DNA test, but decided better to leave things alone.
His assets were many, and not all gained through legitimate business ways. His house stood tall half way down the street, the biggest house in the area. And, of course, the ugliest. But to Old Man Hollis, it reflected perfectly how he saw himself. Of the other houses in the street, he owned nearly half of them, most rented out as bedsits. And he had twice that number in the wider area, and as well as controlling assets in a couple of dozen shops, pubs, garages and sweat shops. Yes, he thought, he had done alright for himself. But try as he might, he couldn’t think of a person he could class as a friend. Which, to him was their loss, not his.
He stood still when he came to the site of the fire. He looked the remains up and down, and to the casual pedestrian, it looked as if he smiled. Of course, it would not have been a smile. More an acceptance of grim satisfaction. After all, it was a bit of luck, the house burning down just as he was considering …
We are interrupted in our musings. Thadias Grimes has spied the Old Man. He comes out of his shop. There is anger in his demeanour. He has something to say.
‘Good morning, Thadias,’ said the Old Man as the butcher approached.
‘Don’t “good morning” me,’ he said
The Old Man sighed. Looked again at the fire. ‘A great shame,’ he lied.
Thadias shook his fist. ‘Well don’t think, for a minute, that you’re going to get my shop,’ he said.
The Old Man smiled but didn’t smile. He walked on. ‘We’ll see, Thadias,’ he said. ‘We will see.’ …

Pictures of Life

From The Y Files


The Y Files

Chapter Six
SYMPATHY OF SOULS

Yachtsman Chay Blyth once found himself in trouble in the Atlantic. He had overturned and was trapped for hours before rescue. At that very moment, his wife Maureen suddenly felt nauseous and knew he was in trouble. Parapsychologist Stanley Krippner remembers a similar feeling of knowing. As a boy he once wanted an encyclopedia. Uncle Max would buy it, he thought. But then another thought entered his head. Uncle Max was dead. Seconds later the phone rang. Uncle Max had, indeed, died.
The above are supposed cases of telepathy a word coined by researcher Frederic Myers from the Greek ‘tele,’ or distant, and ‘pathe,’ meaning feeling. Often seen as part of extrasensory perception, or ESP, this term was first used by explorer Sir Richard Burton in 1870. Indeed, ESP is a better term for such knowledge, which is said to come in two forms – telepathy or clairvoyance. The former is said to be mind to mind contact, whilst the latter suggests the mind can go walkies about the world, visualizing things not recordable by the senses. Many researchers have noted the line between these two information talents is so thin that they could simply be subtle manifestations of a single ability to perceive information.
There are many recorded instances of the ability. Zoologist Sir Alister Hardy had an interest in ESP after meeting a Mrs Wedgwood during World War One. She spoke of someone looking at engineering plans with red and blue squares. Hardy had been studying such plans that afternoon. On another occasion she saw a large pink square. Hardy had earlier been painting white cards pink.

There are many variations on the ESP trail. On 7 December 1918 British Lt David McConnel flew out from Scampton after telling his friend, Lt James Larkin that he’d be home for tea. He never returned, dying in a plane crash. But at that exact moment, Larkin saw him in his doorway. They had a short conversation before McConnel left.
Cases like this are often called crisis apparitions, involving hallucination born from extrasensory knowledge or feeling. At times they have saved lives. Typical is Dr S Weir Mitchell from 19th century Philadelphia. One evening he dozed off to be awoken by a girl at the door saying her mother was ill. He followed her through a blizzard to find her mother with pneumonia. He later found out the girl had been dead some time.
In December 1952 Norfolk midwife Gladys Wright couldn’t get patient Joyce Goodwin out of her mind. Eventually she drove to her house to find her in premature labour. In 1955 Wisconsin housewife Joyce Hurth suddenly felt chilled, believing her daughter had just been in an accident. She rang the cinema she was going to only to discover she had just been knocked down.
One of the most impressive cases of ESP involved explorer Sir Hubert Wilkins and researcher Harold Sherman over 68 nights during an Arctic expedition. As arranged, in the Arctic, Sir Hubert would spend some time each evening thinking about the day. Back in New York, Sherman tried to put down Sir Hubert’s thoughts, his impressions then given to researcher Gardner Murphy to be kept until notes could be compared. How well did this test do?
On one night Sherman thought of ping-pong balls. Sir Hubert had played ping-pong that night. On another night he thought the team had had some rare wine. Sir Hubert confirmed later it was blueberry. On another occasion Sherman thought Sir Hubert had been on an early flight to Saskatchewan but was forced to land because of bad weather at Regina. Here, he attended a party in an evening suit. Unlikely? Sir Robert’s notes later confirmed every detail to be correct. The evening suit had been leant to him.
Psychotherapist Robin Royston from Sussex collected some amazing cases in the 1990s. Consider the man who had a dream where two black leopards chased him, one jumping on his back. Men in white coats then chased them away. A month later, his wife noticed a black mole on his back which turned out to be cancer.
In 1974, US parapsychologist Rex Stanford realized another variation of ESP with his concept of Psi-Mediated Instrumental Response. Here, knowledge turns into action without the person realizing ESP may have been involved. Typical was the case of the woman who always liked to dress properly. One day she had an impulse to buy an elegant hat. The next day her daughter told her she was getting married. On another occasion she had an urge to buy a black skirt. Shortly after, her mother died.

Sceptics would argue that many of these incidences of ESP could be coincidence. For instance, the idea of chance events in a species could apply equally here to my previous words on premonition. Coincidences happen to us all. Further, in the case of the woman and her clothes, she could have had an idea that things were about to happen. As to the man with the mole, did he feel subliminal discomfort?
All these factors could apply. Similarly, body language and unrealized cold reading could apply in other cases, such as Mrs Wedgwood. But when we look away from anecdotal evidence to studies carried out in the laboratory, the coincidence hypothesis takes a knock, suggesting that something could indeed be going on here.
Scientific study of ESP began in earnest at the turn of the 20th century. Sir Oliver Lodge was an early experimenter, eventually producing two girls who seemed to be able to read each other’s minds. However, their success declined rapidly when they were not holding hands.
By the 1930s, American writer Upton Sinclair began tests with his wife in which he would sketch little drawings and try to transmit them to her. In one test he drew a volcano whilst his wife produced a beetle. Was this a miss? Both images were of a long, thin squiggle with an inverted ‘V’ at the bottom.
It was about this time that plant botanist J B Rhine got involved in providing a new methodology for research. Throughout the 1930s he worked at Duke University with Zener cards – a twenty five card pack with five sets of images. Whilst one person would turn over a card, another person would attempt to identify what it was. Over a series of many runs the degree of success could be expressed statistically. If this statistic was above chance, then it was indicative of ESP being involved.
By the 1960s it became obvious that testing could better occur if the subject was removed from normal information input, aping trances and other altered states as attributed to mediums.
Parapsychologists Stanley Krippner and Montague Ullman achieved this at their Dream Laboratory at the Maimonides Medical Centre, New York. Subjects would go there to sleep. Meanwhile, an experimenter would stare at a picture in another room. When the sleeper approached REM sleep he would be woken up and asked to describe his thoughts. The following morning he would be shown a series of pictures. Some subjects were repeatedly successful above chance in picking the right picture.
By the 1970s American researcher Charles Honorton advanced the process of testing by developing the Ganzfeld, still used in tests around the world today. Here a subject is relaxed and placed in a state of sensory deprivation – usually white noise played through headphones and half ping pong balls taped over eyes. In this state he is required to concentrate on another subject in another room, who, as in the Dream Laboratory, is looking at a number of target pictures, selecting one for particular attention. The relaxed subject then talks about the images that come into his head, which are then compared to the target picture. Again, there have been many successes against chance.
A variation on the technique of testing was carried out by physicists Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff at the Stanford Research Institute, California. Devising what they called ‘remote viewing,’ one team member would select an unopened envelope from a number of choices and then travel to the location specified. Back at the institute, a subject would attempt to identify the location. One subject – ex-policeman Pat Price – had some remarkable successes. When the target was the Hoover Tower, Price spoke of a tower-like structure. When visiting a marina, Price said he was looking at a little boat jetty or dock.
Despite the claims of sceptics, there are some remarkable cases of above chance results here. But in the world of the paranormal, they end up being quite useless – for the simple fact is, science will never accept the data unless there is a credible theory to back it up; something which does not exist in the field of ESP. But some spectacular theories have been suggested.

The problem with ESP is that it seems to conflict totally with how science sees the world as working. Early SPR member Dame Edith Lyttleton realized this when she said: ‘Telepathy does not merely bridge space, it annihilates it – space becomes an irrelevance.’
Various physical theories have been proposed for ESP over the years. Two central ideas are that information is carried on either radio-like waves or chemical messengers such as pheromones, which can best be explained as airborne hormones. However, it is unlikely that either of these ideas will ever bear fruit.
Other researchers refer to psychologist Carl Jung and his theory of a ‘collective unconscious’. To Jung, underlying the personal unconscious we have a connection of minds, through which collective images and impulses can rise into the personal conscious. This vehicle has often been used as a possible mechanism for ESP. But unfortunately, whilst it is attractive as a concept, and certainly has importance for human psychology, it holds no scientific credibility in itself.

British psychologist Sue Blackmore carried out ESP tests in Bristol in 1993 on a number of twins. In guessing tests they had a success rate well above chance. However, she answered the problem not with ESP but genetics. Sharing the same genes, she put it down to thought concordance – the twins had almost exact thought processes.
This idea is attractive, but is it viable? Consider the case of Alice Lambe, an identical twin from Illinois. One day in July 1948 some force hurled her from her chair, hurting the left side of her body. At that exact moment, her twin sister, Dianne hurt her left side in a rail accident.
In a 1997 TV programme, the Paranormal World of Paul McKenna, one twin appeared in the studio whilst another was in a different room wired up to an ECG. A loud explosion shocked the studio twin. At the same moment the second twin experienced an inexplicable increase in heart rate.
Genetics may well allow some form of ‘connection’ to pass more easily between identical twins, but the above episodes show that it is more than this. Genetics cannot explain such simultaneous action. But if we are to accept the existence of something called ESP, we must try to highlight how such a force could operate.
The physicist David Bohm theorized that the universe was holographic in nature, in that information is composed of a field that can be accessed by any part of the universe. To Bohm, this happened because the universe bent in on itself to such an extent that – at an information level – the particle and the universe were one and the same. Such an idea is presented because of the accepted ability of a subatomic particle to simultaneously affect another regardless of the distance between them.
This known annihilation of space is not applied to ESP by science for they argue that quantum effects cannot infiltrate into normal existence. But nowadays this argument is becoming unconvincing, mainly due to the discovery of microtubules.
A cell, including brain cells, have been shown to have an inner skeleton made up of the protein, tubulin. These microtubules are so small that it has been theorized that they could react at a subatomic level, thus allowing quantum properties into brain processes. It has even been theorized that microtubules could be tiny on/off switches, forming a kind of computer to process subatomic effects.

Scientists are aware of such mechanisms but still discount them because to them the individual mind is seen as the result of electrochemical action in the brain and thus unable to be affected directly by impulses from outside the brain. This thinking dates back to the early 1940s when psychologist Donald Hebb suggested the neural-connectionist hypothesis, arguing that the phenomenon of mind resulted from the interconnection of brain cells called neurones, which linked together to form neural circuits. These circuits could only be modified by sensory experience, and this was the genesis of memory.
In this hypothesis, the mind is not an energy that exists within a person – such as a soul – but a bi-product of chemical exchanges within a physical brain. Such a concept not only denies the possibility of telepathy, but also any other form of paranormal phenomena.
With this idea set in stone, scientists such as Francis Crick – co-discoverer of DNA – began looking for what he called ‘awareness neurones’ so as to produce a total chemical theory of mind. In particular is the observation that neurones oscillate in unison when a subject is thinking. Thought, in this view, is seen as emerging from the combined actions of millions of single cells.
In the above theory of consciousness, it is complexity that creates thought. If this theory can explain all the observed functions of mind, there is no need for any more esoteric explanation. However, things are not that simple.
In the US, anaesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff – a major contributor to microtubule research – became fascinated with the abilities of single-celled micro-organisms and devised experiments to see if they possess any form of cognitive ability. He found that a lifeform as simple as the single-celled paramecium can learn to negotiate a maze.
As far as we can understand, such ability requires a memory. But if memory is a matter of communication between cells, as Crick argues, how can a single-celled organism learn and remember? The only credible answer is that memory is not only in the brain – a thing a single-celled organism lacks – but in the information-storing abilities of the subatomic world, possibly filtered through to a cellular level through microtubules. Carl Jung may not have been far wrong with his collective unconscious after all.
Such theories and discoveries suggest that a real scientific theory for ESP may not be far off. But if such a possibility were ever to be proved, why do we not experience ESP more often? The Ganzfeld technique, coupled with the fact that other paranormal phenomena is more likely to occur near sleep or in trance, suggests that paranormality works best when the mind is cut off from external stimuli provided by the senses. As such, it could be our attention on the physical world that screens out the paranormal. We must begin to ask whether our senses are our only information source, or whether they are jailers, locking the wonders of paranormality out of our minds. However, despite the attractiveness of such ideas as the above, we maybe need to look at many cases of ESP in a totally new way.

A hypothesis. I am me. Or am I? I am me, but my behaviour is decided by so much more. I exist in culture. I read books, I watch films, I observe art, I listen to music, and they produce thoughts in my head and they inspire me.
They make me think, they provide emotional stimuli; they provide facts and ideas and change me. They are proof that I am more than myself. I am me, but I am also part of a community of knowledge and inspiration.
I am me. Or am I? I am me, but my behaviour is decided by so much more. I exist in society. I go about my business, but with every movement I make I observe things. I hear things. I smell things. I feel things. And these provide impulses that affect me.
They make me think, they provide emotional stimuli. And I experience people, and someone does something and I relate to it, and I change because of it. I am me, but I am also part of a community, of humanity and interaction.
They provide knowledge. And this knowledge becomes part of me and changes me. Every time I interact, I can never be the same again. Humanity – the environment – has touched me and changed me. Facts have built upon facts and I am more. I am more than just me, more than just my individuality. I am reborn every second of every day. For I have experienced life. But maybe I have done much more.
Why have I experienced this? Because I have placed my attention upon the world that is not me but becomes me. But what is this attention? It is my will to notice things; my ability to turn consciousness into a thin beam of attention and prize knowledge from the world about me. But that world goes on also beyond my attention, beyond what I consciously notice. What happens to this information?
It does not just not exist. It enters me, too. But it enters without my conscious attention. But it enters me nonetheless and it is in my mind, in my unconscious mind, entering with the same speed, the same efficiency and it revolves around my mind looking for a place.
Neurons buzz within my brain, unnoticed. But my unconscious noticed. It heard that conversation between two people passing, and it does this hundreds, maybe thousands of times a day, and the continual build-up of information swirls and the neurons burn.
On an average day, in an average city, I have paid unconscious witness to thousands of people close by but unnoticed, and the next day thousands more and the next, thousands more, until millions of conversations and actions exist in the maze of my mind – unnoticed.
And suddenly something happens. It may be so unimportant to my conscious mind, but the unconscious goes ‘Aha!’ as it remembers that unheard but noted conversation two months ago, and a thought enters consciousness and I know!
I have had a thought that I shouldn’t know. I know something of someone’s intention and it coincides with a thought in that unknown person’s head providing action that marries to my thought and I’m telepathic! Facts have built upon facts and extrasensory is not needed! It was there all along, and had emerged. But so much more.
Facts build upon facts, and scenarios are intuited upon scenarios, and a thought enters consciousness and I predict! But it was there all along, buried in the inattentive unconscious, until something happens to make it emerge. And I am paranormal. And I am paranormal because we become One.


The Y Files

From Wotdunit To the Throat

Wotdunit To the Throat

Chapter One

He was but a shadow.
At least it seemed so – flitting here, flitting there; going through life, unnoticed by innocence.
Maybe he had been innocent once – once upon a time, in a land far away – but now …
He broke into the apartment silently. It wasn’t that he knew how to break in correctly or anything like that. Rather, it was as if normal perception had been suspended. Sound had become muffled, light dimmed. Even his appreciation of movement became surreal; slow motion.
Maybe it was the chemicals pounding through his body that did this; or maybe he was entering a more supernatural, evil, reality. Not that he cared. He had intention in his mind, and nothing else mattered.
And so, too, his future victim, as he sat in his chair, unawares. Yet, was he already a victim? Was he already aware of what could soon come to pass?
That is a question for a later time. For now, we must bear witness.
Soon, our shadow approaches the chair. And as he does so, he raises the blade in readiness. Is our victim struggling, fighting, dreading?
As …
Slash.
Slash!!!
SLASH!!!!!!
We could hardly say that. Rather, it is as if the inevitable will be.
Maybe it always is. No matter what the crime, once begun, so many find it hard to react. It is an alien thing being done – something few can be prepared for – so without experience, the will totally and immediately subsumed, we become passive, pliable – dead.
As our victim now was – dead in reality and dead for all time.
Our murderer – for that is what he is – smiles. Then he takes out his suicide note, places it by the body and leaves.

‘I could kill you now – right now; throttle you, bludgeon you, SLICE you …!
‘…obliterate you.’
Quentin Freud paused. He had stored up the words for so long. He knew he would use them some day and the time had come. Yet, once spoken, he was drained.
Collapsing to the chair, he craved peace. But Carl …
Carl thought different – said: ‘Go on then – if you dare.’
If you dare. Simple words, yet so goading.
Quentin was essentially a peaceful man. Forty five years of age, he needed to be. You see, his life was like a see-saw – he craved peace, but as a forensic psychologist the chances of that were slim. Murder was his game – and yes, it WAS a game.
It had to be. For if he really thought this was his reality, he could surely go insane.
Carl’s voice pierced his thoughts. He sang:
‘Why am I waiting, oh why …’

Detective Inspector Burley knew she was on the right track. She needed to see him now; needed his advice. But he could be so elusive, secretive … infuriating. And being blonde, beautiful and what could best be described as slender, she knew she could do without Quentin Freud in her head – especially as he was slight and not exactly good looking; except, of course, for that rare but exotic smile.
And anyway, she was thirty and on the fast track. Distractions were NOT needed.
No way.
As she approached the door she was aware of voices inside. Immediately she went into stealth mode and smiled. At last, she thought, I might actually meet his nemesis.

‘Let’s face it,’ said Carl after the goading. ‘You couldn’t do it.’
‘But I want to. I want you out of my life.’
‘But it’s such fun.’
‘For you.’
‘For us both.’
Quentin considered the idea – briefly. Rejected it. ‘Not for me.’
‘Typical!’ raged Carl. ‘Nothing good in your life, is there?’
‘What is good?’
‘Something you couldn’t understand.’
‘And why is that?’
‘Because you’re the eternal pessimist.’
‘Maybe I am. But why?’
Carl sneered. ‘Oh no, not that again. I suppose you’re going to say I stole your optimism again.’
‘Well you did, didn’t you?’
‘Then finish it.’
Finish it.
Maybe that was the problem.
Yes, Carl was right. He was a pessimist, and maybe pessimists can never really finish anything, ‘cos they know it will go wrong.
Or maybe that’s an excuse for not bothering.
‘Well I can be bothered.’
Quentin Freud stood up from the chair – realized he had brought a heavy lump of wood with him. Grasping it with both hands, he raised it high above his head …

‘Quentin, what are you doing?’ asked DI Burley as she walked into the room, urgently. After all, she’d heard enough to realize trouble was brewing.
‘What?’ He dropped the wood. ‘Oh, nothing …’
Burley looked into his eyes – saw despair. She wanted to reach out to him, but his face said differently – said ‘keep out.’ And then, infuriatingly, Carl smiled from behind Quentin’s eyes.

Chapter Two

Damn him, thought DI Burley, damn him.
That smile … like his heart trying to break free.
‘There’s been another suspicious death,’ she said.
Back to the game, thought Quentin.
Agreed, thought Carl.

The drive to the scene was silent. Both Quentin and DI Burley had things to think about – things that were diverting both of them, momentarily, from the case.
Burley had a given name and there was no reason why she didn’t use it, or why others never asked her what it was. At least, that’s what she decided. Maybe it was because she was still in what can be classed as a man’s world – despite all attempts to close the gender gap. And maybe it was because a little of the masculine rubbed off in her demeanour. After all, you don’t get respect as a detective being all pert and pretty and feminine. But Quentin never asked what it was either.
Why this annoyed her so much, she didn’t know. Most of the time he was abrupt and rude; but then there were times when that smile broke out and he seemed a different person – a person she was attracted to; which was unusual in itself, him being a slight, not very good looking kind of guy. But she guessed it was the raw intelligence behind those eyes; an intelligence that was highly seductive – not that it was intentional, she was sure.
As for Quentin, as usual he was of two minds.
This was the sixth case they had been involved with and a good working relationship had been built up. Burley had even got used to his strange ways – ways that were due to that annoying personality in his head.
As Burley put it once, trying to explain to a colleague that Quentin was not mad: ‘He looks at an argument from both sides, you see. And he does that by way of an argument, or dialogue, with himself. He tells me it’s one of the oldest forms of philosophizing, going back all the way to Plato, who imagined the existence of someone called Socrates.’
Unfortunately, she never realized the joke.
But their relationship had one severe problem. Deep in his mind, Carl imagined Burley in ways other than a pure colleague, and at times the involuntary erection was hard to disguise.

Finally they arrived at the scene of the suspicious death – for suspicious death it still had to be; at least until Quentin decided to the contrary.
Entering the room, Quentin noticed its normality. That was the thing about murder – so often it intruded on the normal. That’s why, when it happens, it seems so outrageously abnormal – not belonging in the world of the victim.
So the room was normal – until the see-saw kicked in, and Quentin see – saw – the blood. Puddles of it. Which left Quentin in no doubt it was murder.
He said: ‘Well there’s no way it could have been suicide.’ He observed the neck, the death (murder) weapon by the side of the body, the incriminating slashes of the neck …
‘Not even a suicidal could inflict such a wound – and suicide through cutting one’s throat is not exactly the usual choice.’
Supposition
‘No, a certainty.’
‘What?’ asked Burley.
‘Nothing.’
‘So it’s definitely murder?’
‘I think so, yes.’
Burley pointed at the piece of paper on the table. ‘But the suicide note …’
Quentin frowned. His face hovered close to it. The forensic team had already found a sample of the victim’s handwriting – not an easy matter in an electronic world of smart phones and tablets (at least a hundred doses a day to take away the pressures of life). And it was clear the suicide note had been written by the victim – again.
For this was the second identical death – and the first, too, had featured a suicide note written by the victim.

Wotdunit To the Throat

From Age of Victimhood

Age of Victimhood

Chapter One
THE CHAMELEON BUG

In 1740 the Scottish poet James Thomson wrote: ‘Rule, Britannia, rule the waves / Britons never will be slaves.’ The words, which appeared in ‘Alfred: A Masque,’ went on to epitomise the greatness of Britain. They defined the character, the iron will, of a nation.
That will was built upon an orderliness and sense of duty rarely equalled. As author George Mikes wrote, in ‘How to be an Alien’, (1946): ‘An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one.’ As to the respect the British won, poet Alice Duer Miller wrote, in ‘The White Cliffs’ (1940): ‘I am American bred, I have seen much to hate here – much to forgive. But in a world where England is finished and dead, I do not wish to live.’
The purpose of the above is not to be patriotic, even though I may well be, but to compare the green and pleasant lands of the past with our perceptions of the present. Where, for instance, is the respect, when American writer John Updike wrote of England (‘Picked Up Pieces’, 1976): ‘A soggy little island huffing and puffing to keep up with Western Europe?’
But don’t rely on non-Britons to say it how it is. Here is English novelist Margaret Drabble, saying, in her 1989 ‘A Natural Curiosity’: ‘England is not a bad country… It’s just a mean, cold, ugly, divided, tired, clapped-out, post-imperial, post-industrial slag-heap covered in polystyrene hamburger cartons.’
Drabble made clear the mood of the time. The Union Flag had been taken over by football hooligans and neo-fascists, the idea of Britishness in terminal decline. Today its history, good or bad, is being shunned; the once great institutions ignored. It is as if belonging to a country is an embarrassment. Why is this? And accepting that it is happening, is it a good thing?

As for the first question, Britain – and, indeed, any country – can best be described as a society. Based on John Donne’s assertion that ‘no man is an island,’ a society is a coming together of people into a complex system of manners, customs, meaning from the past, and direction for the future.
The great 19th century Parliamentarian Edmund Burke described society thus: ‘Society is indeed a contract … it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.’ (‘Reflections on the Revolution in France’, 1790).
Without society there is no country, no past, and, in answer to the second question posed, no future. And it is my belief that today it is society that is increasingly becoming a thing of the past. We have glorified individuality, which is the opposite of society, and become increasingly atheist, material and compartmentalised.
The 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes was well aware of the dangers of such a state. In his ‘Leviathan’ (1651) he wrote: ‘During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man.’
This, I argue, is the state we are in today. Brits, and most of the West, are in Margaret Thatcher’s world where there is no such thing as society. We are in a world of individual indulgence, of individual choice, where the right to be is greater than your duty to others. We are individuals who think our individuality is liberating. But this book will argue that such feelings are a form of victimhood.

We believe we live in the greatest of ages, and our freedom of choice upholds the sentiment. But could it be that our certainty is based on a series of confidence tricks? Take, for instance, the idea that our way of living produces longevity.
The greatest proof of such a claim is the simple fact that people are living longer. But is this because of how we live today, or how we lived in the past? For instance, take a person in his nineties today. He would have been born in the 1920s to parents traumatised by World War One and the flu pandemic of 1919. As a youth, he would have suffered the poverty of the Depression. No sooner was that over than he was thrown into the even greater trauma of World War Two.
He lived in a world where to smoke was glamorous; where people by the million lined their stomach each morning with bread and dripping. The modern health evangelist was nowhere in sight, and counsellors were an idea not yet thought of.
Many times in his life he would suffer food poisoning, for modern packaging and food standards were yet to come. Hygiene was poor and he would live with dirt and grime about him.
The claim of longevity being the result of modern living requires us to accept that the exact opposite of the above factors are essential to keeping us alive. Yes, medical science also plays a large part. Yes, hundreds of thousands from the past died of epidemics and industrial illnesses. Yes, tens of thousands even died in child birth. But the claim that longevity is due to how we live now is nonsense. No such claim can be made until people are living into their nineties in seventy years’ time. But there are hints in the lifestyles of the long-lived as to what kept them alive so long.
In the past, the majority of people did not eat to excess. In the main, their food was natural. Their daily lives were much slower than today. In their lives they knew who they were, finding identity and meaning in their society. Luxury items were fewer and technology was at such a level that manual work was part of every life. When they went out for a walk, the air was fresher and less polluted. And when things went wrong, there was a sense of family and community which fortified them psychologically.
All these factors must surely have played a major part in the story of longevity. But the important thing about the above is that none of them are existent today. Hence, rather than modern life providing longevity, our modern ways could be going on to kill us, making us all victims of our insanity.

This book is about modern life, how it arrived, and how it is not the great life we think it to be. I suppose the seed of the book was grown in 1982 when I was subject to a congregation of events that changed my life.
Events have a habit of congregating to produce a conclusion that hits you out of the blue. They are often not seen until it is too late, leaving you to think that, in retrospect, it could have been different. But that is wishful thinking. What’s done is done, we’re told, so get on with it; learn from the past, but never regret.
I was in the RAF at the time. Newly promoted, stress was an undisclosed subject in the early 1980s, so I never noticed the signs, the irritations, the feelings of ill health, or the fact that I was drinking too much. I was doing my job, and doing it well. What else mattered? But month in month out, that monster called stress continued to build, continued to do its dastardly best, scoring up the first notch on the congregation of events that were soon to erupt.
The second wasn’t an event but a creeping process; the viruses – three of them in 6 months. I guessed I was just unlucky, but boy, did they drag me down.
The third event was innocuous enough. We’ve all done it I suppose – you know, that momentary lack of concentration that leads to a minor accident. The result of mine was simply a cracked rib. Nothing serious, nothing to worry about, nothing to cause a change in action – just a cracked rib, for God’s sake!
But a week later the fourth event occurred. Again, it was innocuous. It was just a military exercise. I’d been on dozens. Like war, they were 95% boredom, 5% action. The only real irritation was that, for possibly three days at a time, you don’t get sleep. The rib caused a bit of trouble, but I performed marvellously. But then came event number five.
This was the real stupid one. The morning the exercise finished I began two weeks leave. And rather than go to bed to catch up on sleep, I arrived home and packed my pregnant wife and two children into the car to drive two hundred miles for a fortnight of peace. The rib was aching a bit, but strapping it up eased the pain considerably. And off, into oblivion, I drove.

I made twenty miles before it happened; before it all congregated; before the months of stress, the viruses, the cracked rib, the days without sleep and the stupid decision to drive caused me to pass out at that wheel.
How I stopped the car I do not know. All I do know is that when I came round I was on the hard-shoulder, the handbrake was on, and my family was very, very frightened.
This event happened in 1982, and it has been that long since I last felt well. For when I came round, action man had become a wreck. Since that day I have become dizzy when I stand, have lived with a mild, flu-like fever, and experienced every ache and pain and minor ailment imaginable. On that fateful day I came down with M.E., more commonly known today as chronic fatigue syndrome.
But at the time it was unheard of. Rather, said the military medics, I had a mild anxiety state. Pack him off, they said, to a psychiatric unit where he can get better … or else.
Hence, six months later, when the symptoms never ceased, when every test under the sun had been done, off I was packed for week after week of group and relaxation therapy.
Was it successful?
Well, the fact that to this day I am still affected suggests not. Oh, it made me beautifully relaxed, and at times it helps me a lot. It even, I am only too pleased to say, allowed me to reassess my life – to change it into a way of life by which I can live. But cure?
Sadly not. And that realization is the first point that sent me on the road to this book. For it prompted a simple question: if the medical authorities could not cure me, did not even know what the problem was, how much else didn’t they know? Quite a lot, I soon discovered – and not just the medical profession, but everyone else.

You see, I began to read – to begin a quest for knowledge. And as my reading matter expanded to cover just about every area of thought, I found myself shocked time after time. But what shocked me? Not the brilliance of our thinkers, but their inherent stupidity – for I realised that throughout history and throughout thought, and just as incompetently today, experts pass off supposition as fact. But what really spurred me on in this quest? A further experience – an event that very few human beings are privileged to have.
About six months after coming down with chronic fatigue syndrome an event occurred so life changing that it set me on a quest for knowledge that finally led me to the conclusion that culture could be all-pervasive. I had just completed many weeks of relaxation therapy and beautifully relaxed I had caught a train home. However, about half an hour into the journey, the engine caught fire.
It wasn’t a big fire. No one was hurt, and the fire services were soon on the scene. But damage had been done and a voice came over the intercom to announce that there would be a two hour delay while the engine was changed. I, being beautifully relaxed, sat back, lit a cigarette, and began to take in the view of the countryside. However, it wasn’t long before my attention was taken by an extraordinary scene around me in the carriage.
My fellow passengers were changing.
To this day I have tried in vain to highlight the extremeness of what happened. But such experiences are beyond words, above restricted literature.
Suffice, then, to say, I could sense headaches begin, could feel the increased heart rates, could sense the cold sweats that were breaking out. I could hear raised voices, see tightening jowls; almost taste the emotional ether that was inevitably escalating as tempers frayed.
Jekyll was turning to Hyde.
As the wait progressed, a change began to set in. It took a long time coming, but eventually the tempers, the anger, began to subside. But in its place came another emotion. Some would call it unease, others, almost fear. I would call it neurosis.
To a man and woman – but not, I noted, children – psychological insecurity became evident. And why did such trauma break out? Because these poor people were going to be late. Their ordered, fast-track, hectic lives had been interrupted by cruel fate, and they were unable to cope with its effect. They were going to be late, and they could not handle it. But more than this, I realised later, prior to my relaxation therapy, I had been one of them.
What had I been doing to myself?
This, I became convinced, was the reality we live by. We don’t see the stress we put ourselves under because, whilst it is culture that defines that we should live like this, it is also culture that places blinkers upon us so we do not see. Only by coming out of society, as I did, could this reality be seen. Only by becoming detached can we see the stupidity of modern life, and the madness that lies just below the surface of our existence. And maybe it was the reason I came down with M.E. in the first place.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Myalgic Encephalomyelitis; Yuppie Flu – three names that have entered popular consciousness over recent years. Yet unless you’ve suffered, you cannot imagine what those words mean. They belong to the legion of the misunderstood, along with Hay Fever and Migraine. After all, Hay Fever means you sneeze in spring, and migraine is a headache.
Living with someone who suffered both, let me tell you they are no such thing. Hay Fever is a two month drugged up hell, complete with raging temperatures and real illness. As for Migraine, a mere headache wouldn’t normally see someone banging their head on the wall to ease the pain.
There are real problems with non-fatal illnesses. They are ill-defined among the well. People understand cancer or heart disease. They understand that they kill, and that is as bad as it gets. But non-fatal illnesses are perceived as minor irritations that people must learn to live with. And of course, this is true, but the misunderstanding entailed in this simple shrugging off can lead to additional factors which make the symptoms worse.
Typically, if a person has cancer you’d ask if they were well enough before inviting them to a barbeque. Yet the Hay Fever sufferer is expected to place herself in the most damaging location to ‘have fun’ without a second thought, and a refusal of the invitation can lead to accusations of being unsociable.
Obviously, I don’t equate this with the cancer sufferer, but simply make the point that misunderstanding among the well can lead to the Hay Fever sufferer being labelled a killjoy, if not a social pariah. And it is even worse with the M.E. sufferer.
I live almost daily with extreme tiredness, dizziness, a mild fever, aches and pains, and a dozen more embarrassing symptoms. If a virus is going round, you can guarantee I catch it and I often suffer periods of insomnia. Over the years I’ve come to terms with these symptoms, and I’m adept at hiding them from view, giving the impression that I’m quite well. But if there is one thing that an M.E. sufferer needs more than anything else it is the understanding of the medical profession. The social pariah syndrome is one thing, but to be virtually ignored by the majority of doctors causes one to laugh at the Hippocratic Oath.
Regardless of decrees by the World Health Organization and British Medical Council, most GPs I’ve had dealings with give the impression that they believe M.E. sufferers to be either depressives, hypochondriacs or malingerers. Dealing with the latter two, with practically all other minority groups there are laws against such discrimination. As for the sufferer being depressed, many are. But the depression can be seen as an effect of M.E. and the treatment they receive from the medics rather than the cause.
This discrimination highlights a major problem that has to be overcome regarding M.E., and forms a template that provides much victimhood due to attitudes in the intellectual establishment. The medical profession is incredibly arrogant. They are arrogant because they see medical treatment as a great success.
In most areas it is. But because of the arrogance their success creates, they think they know best in all areas of illness. However, come an illness that is ill-defined, such as M.E, the profession ceases to be professional. We all fear the unknown, and doctors are no exception. And when we face the unknown, we deny its existence. This is the main problem we must overcome regarding M.E. – that great psychological barrier – the psychology of the doctor himself.

There is a viable area for study that could lead to understanding of M.E., tying it into a general understanding of factors in society that lead to victimhood. Today there are believed to be two types of illness. They are the physical and the psychological. Throughout the medical profession the two are specifically delineated, with physicians and surgeons for the physical and psychiatrists for the psychological. But recent ideas suggest this separation is not as definite as it seems. Rather, a state of mind can have a dramatic effect on physical illness.
This idea goes across the board, from dermatological ailments such as psoriasis, to heart disease and cancer. The role of the mind is increasingly being seen as having an effect upon our physicality above what is termed psychosomatic, hinting that there exists a limbo-land of illness between the physical and psychological. I suggest that M.E. could find its roots in this limbo-land, being neither a physical ailment, nor psychological.
In my case, I can see a definite cause in stress. Indeed, stress was thought of as the cause until various M.E. organizations pointed out that not all sufferers are high-flyers, as indicated by the term, Yuppie Flu. But such organizations miss the point.
You do not need to be a high-flyer to take pride and insist upon perfection in what you do. And by insisting upon such perfection, you are more likely to be stressed out in your attempt to achieve it. Such a psychology remains true whether you are a business tycoon or cleaner. We can thus highlight a specific character-type who is more likely to contract M.E.
Regardless of what they do, an M.E. sufferer is more likely to be a perfectionist. However, until recently, very few of us needed to be perfectionists in the way we do today. Poverty, the inability to advance, and the non-existence of a pervasive media meant that people were very much their own expression. But throughout the 70s, 80s, 90s, and into the 21st century, the rise of affluence, the career structure for all, and an increasingly influential media has caused us all to think about image.
Today, we must all go with the flow. And to have image, we must, of course, take pride in what we do and increasingly become the perfectionist. And it has got to be significant that the rise in the number of M.E. sufferers, indeed, the very illness itself, has shadowed this need for image.
Due to the need for image modern life offers abundant opportunities for stress. But rather than being the sudden stress of facing danger, for instance, this new stress is constant, forever with us, forever affecting us. But taking what we now know about the mind’s effect upon our physical body into account, could a constant state of low-level stress ‘reprogram’ the body’s metabolism to take the stressful state as the norm? This is perhaps the most important question concerning M.E.
For if the mind can reprogram the body then a psychological state will have produced a real physical effect, which would continue to exist even after the stress has lessened. But what would be the effect of this reprogrammed state? The sufferer would always be tired. The change in breathing pattern would lead to lack of oxygen and consequent dizziness. The constant feeling of stress would lead to aches and pains. The slightly increased metabolism would lead to a slight rise in temperature. The state would cause a lowering of the immune system, resulting in more easily succumbing to the viral infections that are often thought of as the cause. They could actually be the first effect. But most importantly, the effects would be so subtle that they would not be observable during physical examination.

M.E. could well be what I call the chameleon bug. Neither physical nor psychological in an easily understood way, it is real but like the chameleon, almost invisible to examination. It camouflages itself well. But more than this, it can also be seen as a growing epidemic. When I contracted M.E. in 1982 it was virtually unheard of. Today, a conservative estimate admits to over quarter of a million sufferers in the UK alone.
The prevalence of M.E. is rising. And if it is linked to our lifestyle and need for image, then as the need increases, so will the number of M.E. sufferers. And contrary to medical statements, most sufferers do not recover. What they do is change their life to a point that the symptoms barely exist.
But in contracting M.E., they have become direct victims of the way our culture works. This is, of course, just one example of hidden victimhood in our society. There are many more ….

Age of Victimhood

From Conspiracy of Icons

Conspiracy of Icons

Chapter One
MURDER, MURDER, EVERYWHERE

On the morning of 18 June 1982 the body of Roberto Calvi, president of the Italian Banco Ambrosiano, was found, hanged under Blackfriar’s Bridge in London. A convicted embezzler whose actions had led to the collapse of the bank, he was known as ‘God’s Banker’, with the Vatican Bank its main shareholder. Many theorists claim the bank was used for laundering Mafia drugs money. Did Calvi commit suicide? Initially, this seemed to be the case. But two inquests and an inquiry suggested murder.
Conspiracy theorists are convinced Calvi was murdered. For the whole thing was just one episode of the infamous masonic P2, a secret society within the Italian establishment set up at the end of World War Two to combat the rise of communism. After the war, it was said to have been given a helping hand by the CIA. Hence, with an organisation that placed, in the same pot, the CIA, the Vatican, Mafia, Italian politics and the secret of Freemasonry, the whole thing just had to be one big conspiracy.
Whether it was or not is a different matter. But to conspiracy theorists, who cares? Conspiracies simply must exist in everything, giving the more ‘sane’ of us the impression that they are simply mad. But maybe this is a gross error – for could it be that, in understanding the nature of conspiracy theory, we could gain a real insight into normal human behaviour?

Calvi’s was not the only suspicious death that gives conspiracy theorists a buzz. On 21 February 1965, Malcolm X was shot by three assassins at a ballroom in New York. Born Malcolm Little in 1925, his Baptist minister father was killed by racists when he was six. Wanting to be a lawyer, when he was told he had no chance because of his colour, Malcolm changed his name to Malcolm X and joined the Nation of Islam.
Not radical enough for him, he eventually set up the Organisation of Afro-American Unity. Malcolm X was being TOO radical, so a conspiracy definitely happened to silence him. But who were the conspirators? The US government or the Nation of Islam?
You can play the conspiracy game with anything. Theorists had a hay-day following the suicide of British weapons expert, Dr David Kelly, who took pills and slashed a wrist after walking away from his home. He had been named as a whistleblower over Weapons of Mass Destruction following the Iraq War in 2003. The two searchers who found him said there was a lot of blood on his arm but hardly any on the ground, as if he had been moved. Neither did they mention seeing a blooded knife or pill bottle, which were both there thirty minutes later when police arrived.
Searchers claimed Dr Kelly was propped against a tree, but police testified he was on his back. Similarly, who were the three ‘detectives’ seen by the searchers, who were never seen again? The bottle of painkillers at the scene contained just one of 30 tablets, but less than one was found in Dr Kelly’s body. And why did dental records disappear from his Dentist’s surgery, only to mysteriously reappear two days later? But perhaps most important, are the above inconsistencies true, or are we just dealing with rumour and innuendo?

Female aviator Amelia Earhart centred upon popular conspiracy theory after her disappearance in July 1937, along with her navigator, Fred Noonan. Born in 1897 to a wealthy Kansas family, she became known as ‘Lady Lindy’, named after Charles Lindbergh for her flying feats, achieving the women’s altitude record and flying solo, first, across America, and then across the Atlantic. On 1 June 1937 she set off from Miami to circumnavigate the globe. But she was never seen again after taking off, later on 2 July, from New Guinea. Sensibly, it was a simple accident, but to conspiracy theorists Amelia was a US spy shot down by the Japanese. Or maybe a Bermuda Triangle-type phenomenon got her. Or maybe she’d seen some US secret and they shot her down?
One of the strangest ‘death’ conspiracies is that of famed ex-Beatle Paul McCartney – if conspiracy theorists are correct, Paul actually died in a traffic accident in 1967, the death being covered up with an impostor taking his place. An idea popularised by Detroit DJ Russ Gibb, clue-hunters used to scour The Beatles’ songs for clues. For instance, the Abbey Road album cover features a funeral procession with John in white as if an angel, Ringo in black as the undertaker, George in denims playing the gravedigger and Paul barefoot and out of step, as if a corpse.
Is there any credence to the conspiracy? Several researchers are satisfied the rumour was actually begun by The Beatles themselves, but the intention was to have Paul’s death as symbolic of a spiritual rebirth with the Maharishi.

Some victims of conspiracy can seem crazier than the conspiracies themselves. For instance, many conspiracies surrounded the life of Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. Born in 1897, he became a student of Sigmund Freud, but became increasingly neurotic and paranoid. Descending into pseudoscience, he theorised on the existence of ‘orgone’, a primordial cosmic energy that permeated all things. The cause of sexual and psychosomatic neuroses, he believed that orgasms were vital for our mental health, becoming a posthumous guru during the 60s free love period. Going on to practice in the United States, he developed his ‘orgone accumulator’, a box that a subject sat in and which gave therapeutic benefits. He was said to even use the box in cancer treatment.
However, he was becoming increasingly paranoid, being convinced he was waging a war with a deadly form of orgone energy. This energy was being aimed at us from space, and UFOs were its agent. He was soon predicting the destruction of the globe. Eventually, Reich came into conflict with the Food and Drug Administration over his box. Deeming it worthless, he was eventually imprisoned when he refused to withdraw his claims. Dying in prison in 1957, conspiriologists are convinced his death occurred after he was given a strange pill.
An equally strange character of conspiriology was Philip K Dick, one of America’s greatest SF writers, his stories turned into films such as Blade Runner, Minority Report and Total Recall. Often writing about the unreality of the world, things started going strange for him following a burglary in 1971, when his files were stolen. Working in the anti-war movement, he was convinced forces were out to get him. In 1974 he underwent an experience where he was taken over by a transcendentally rational mind that could speak many languages and had a memory going back millennia.
Most people thought he had become totally paranoid and insane, but the ‘intelligence’ convinced him he had been suffering amnesia and he was only now awake. He went on to speak of VALIS, a Vast Active Living Intelligence System, left here by Sirians from Sirius to aid evolution. This was required because Earth had become a prison-planet occupied by evil forces that manifested in reality first as the Roman Empire, and was with us still as the USA and USSR, working together to lock us in an unreality. In effect, the last 2000 years of history have been a dream to hide the existence of the good Messianic Age we should really be living.

Chapter Two – SPACED OUT

We are now well into the weird and wonderful world of conspiracy theory. Such conspiracies can be found anywhere, fuelled by the often paranoid minds of the likes of Philip K Dick. And NASA has been the centre of quite a few. For instance, they made a big mistake when officials jokingly spoke about the ‘Great Galactic Ghoul’ to explain the myriad of accidents astronauts have had. Conspiriologists answered with an alien power at work, guaranteeing we never leave the Solar system. Or maybe the US government is sabotaging space exploration themselves? But then again, to some conspiracy theorists we never did go into space.
Take the fake Moon landing pictures taken in a huge hangar, and a great big con. After all, how can a flag blow in the wind when there’s no atmosphere on the moon? The easy answer is that, with no atmosphere, there’s no friction, so knocking the flag would keep it swaying for hours. But this is no good for conspiracy theorists. And when placed alongside such picture evidence as footprints where the astronauts haven’t walked yet, and strange shadows suggesting huge lights nearby, the Moon landings simply could not have happened.

Why the big lie? In the summer of 1947, US flyer Kenneth Arnold saw a number of strange objects flying in formation over the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. On landing, he described them flying like you’d take a saucer and skim it across the water. Welcome, good reader, to the world of the UFO, the term Flying Saucer filling the media from that moment on.
Just over a week after Arnold’s seminal sighting of a UFO, and amid the world’s press hysteria concerning flying saucers, an alien craft was said to have crashed close to America’s most Top Secret air base near Roswell, New Mexico. Initially informing the public of the recovery of this alien craft, the military U-turned three days later and claimed it was simply a crashed weather balloon.
Since that time, the grandest of all conspiracy theories has arisen, claiming that the US military DID recover a spacecraft, complete with pilots, and signed a treaty with the aliens – now known as Greys – in which the US government conspires to allow the aliens to carry out experiments on animals and abduct humans for genetic experimentation in return for technology that is reverse-engineered into US weapons at the famed Area 51.
According to the theory, President Truman himself negotiated the treaty and set up a Top Secret committee of military and scientific advisors known as Majestic 12, or MJ-12, to oversee the treaty and keep knowledge of it away from the public, and show that US technology is advancing at a pace to be expected without ET’s help; hence the fake landings.

Thus we have a compact and appealing theory encompassing the central fears of conspiracy and explaining US technological advances, aerial phenomena, cattle mutilation and alien abduction. But how well does the theory stand up? Eventually a document was found supposedly signed by President Truman, forming MJ-12. The signature appears genuine, in that it is exactly the same as a known signature of the President. However, this in itself suggests the document to be a fake; no two signatures can ever be the same – there are always slight irregularities. Seeing that these two signatures share no irregularities whatsoever, the only logical answer is that the MJ-12 signature is a copy. However, does this mean there is NO cover-up concerning Roswell and later events?
It is almost certain that a cover-up does exist. Similarly, it is clear that aerial phenomena do occur and alien abductions ARE experienced by thousands of otherwise sane individuals. But the question is are such incidents the results of real aliens, or is some psychological or sociological phenomenon at work?
If we opt for the latter, researchers are now showing that hysteria and hallucination is quite easy to induce, both personally and collectively, in men and women. From electro-magnetic anomaly to sensory deprivation, from sound wave variations to mild trance induced by simple tiredness, phenomena concerning hysteria and hallucination have been recorded during experimentation. Add this to the fact that throughout history other-worldly forces have been said to have had existence, and we perhaps have an answer to the bulk of the UFO phenomenon.
Whenever other-worldly forces have been witnessed, they have always echoed mythologies existent at the time. Known as ‘cultural tracking’, this same phenomenon can be seen with present-day aliens, who have changed over the years to echo the science fiction enculturation of aliens at the time. Further, the type of phenomena experienced over the centuries has remained similar.
As a case in point, an alien abduction today involves being visited by strange little creatures, transported to a surreal location (seen as inside a spacecraft), impregnated after a medical examination, and later having the foetus taken away by the aliens. Now compare this experience to the centuries old tale of being visited by fairies, kidnapped and taken to a strange fairy kingdom, and having your child either abducted or substituted with a changeling.
Such hallucinatory phenomena have always occurred, whether appreciated as ancient gods, fairies, demons, vampires, ghosts, or, today, aliens. And in every case, the phenomena contain identical mechanisms, changed only by cultural interpretation of the mythology of the time. For instance, today an alien can have sex with you. In centuries past it was the incubus or succubus. The hallucination – most likely stemming from repressed sexual frustration – is identical throughout known history.

Is this the true reality of the UFO and ET phenomenon? If so, then we can speculate that, amid the media hysteria of flying saucery, some form of cultural hallucination could have occurred at Roswell, echoing the hysteria within America. But if this is feasible, what would the US military hierarchy think about its supposedly elite military personnel recounting strange tales born from a hallucination? The base involved housed the only atomic bomb group in the world. Can these men go around with such wild stories? Even worse, could they let the public know?
Not on your life. So they covered it up, and have arguably been covering up similar experiences from that day to this. Hence, if there is a cover-up concerning alien activity in America and other countries, it could be that it has nothing to do with alien treaties, but more to do with the embarrassment of admitting that occasionally our military can appear to go mad.

Chapter Three – EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL

Conspiracy theories come in all shapes and sizes. The fertilizer-based truck bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City on 19 April 1995 brought conspiriologists out of the closet. Killing well over a hundred people, Timothy McVeigh was executed for the atrocity in 2001.
In letters to his sister the Gulf War veteran spoke of the US government as that of the ‘Evil King’. But could it be that he worked for one of the evil militias determined to bring down the government? Or alternatively, was he just a patsy, the bombing done by US right wingers, determined to give the liberal Clinton a message to get harder? Maybe the idea that McVeigh was just a sad, disaffected American was just too boring.
Alternatively, one disturbing conspiracy theory argues that the Soviet Union spearheaded research into microwave mind control, taken up by the CIA in the 1950s with Project Pandora. By 1973 they are thought to have made a breakthrough, using pulsed microwave signals to stimulate and vibrate the inner ear, sending audio signals that ape speech.
In this way, people can be controlled, given subliminal instructions, or sent mad. The system is believed to be in use to control assassins and attack dissidents in the west, making them rant about their grievances to such an extent they seem quite mad and are ignored, allowing governments to continue their secret ways. And boy, those ways are very secret and very big!

Conspiracies are often associated with the politics of the time. When George Bush Snr spoke of his ‘New World Order’ in the 1990s, conspiriologists clapped their hands in glee. To them this confirmed the existence of a secret organisation behind history, manipulating events such as the World Wars to create a single global system.
Made up of world and religious leaders of all persuasions, international bankers and occult adepts, we are being manipulated to the point where national boundaries and cultures disappear, religions are abolished, a single language and set of laws prevail, and we have a Paradise on Earth governed by these sinister backroom boys.
This exposes the beauty of a conspiracy theory. Events seem to give the idea a touch of truth. For instance, the world wars led to the ‘bloc’ mentality, with national barriers eroded. Multi-nationals now break down those barriers further, taking away a government’s ability to run their economy. Political Correctness attacks culture, gender, et al. And with the Internet, an international language and intellect is evolving.
It all seems so simple – we really are being manipulated! But just how closely?

When the Institute for Law and Social Research sold a new computer program to the US Justice Dept they expected to make a small fortune. A system devised for spying on people, the institute was nonetheless shocked to receive nothing.
Several court cases later, their claim for damages was finally thrown out by the federal court in 1994. Journalist Danny Casolaro was intrigued by the case, and during his investigations he claimed to discover numerous mysterious deaths.
He himself died in mysterious circumstances. But not before he had created the metaphor of ‘the Octopus’, a network of local conspiracies and groups that work together whenever they have a common aim.
Since the devising of the term, conspiriologists can play happily at conspiracy theory, many having found mutual protection schemes involving everyone from Mafia to senior politicians, all working to protect each other.
As for whether such a loose organisation could exist, I would be surprised if it didn’t. Mafia runs on the Partito, where politicians are put in place by Mafia to protect them from above. In a weaker form, it naturally existed in Britain, where it was known as the ‘old school tie’. Alternatively, there is an even simpler answer. When a political or economic ‘system’ arises, you can guarantee that the powerful leaders that arise will think the same, otherwise they wouldn’t make it to the top. And people who think the same act the same, thus giving the impression of conspiracy, where in reality they are just following normal human nature.
Hence, we again find a watered-down reality behind the conspiracy theory. Yet this air of credibility allows the conspiriologist to go haywire, inventing such forces as the New World Order. But maybe it isn’t the New World Order we should worry about.

The European Union is the problem. Their Commission and Courts are wiping out self-determination, leading to the final expression of Hitler’s dream – a Fourth Reich. As I write, secret Nazis are plotting. After all, even as World War Two got underway, Nazis such as Goebbels, Goering and Funk spoke of the ‘Europe of Regions’, a single economic power. Or maybe the powers behind this Euro-conspiracy are the descendants of Christ?
This is a good one. In 800AD the Carolingian Frank king, Charlemagne, created the Holy Roman Empire, guaranteeing the ascendancy of Roman Catholicism in Europe, after usurping the Merovingian dynasty in France. The Merovingians are thought to be behind legends of the Holy Grail, which really means the Blood of Christ. This is so because they were his descendants.
Christ, having survived the Cross, had a family with Mary Magdalene and moved to the Riviera. As Catholicism is based on the Resurrection, knowledge of Christ’s survival had to be stamped out. But enter the secretive Priory of Sion, an organisation operating to reinstate the Merovingian line throughout Europe, and the real power behind the EU.

Such political conspiracies are confirmed by people such as ex-footballer, sports presenter and Green guru, David Icke. To him, democracy is a con, with leaders nevertheless ‘placed’.
Since the times of Sumer and Babylon a secret ‘Brotherhood’ has ruled the world. Evidence comes from the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, secret Jewish plans for gaining world power and usurping Gentile morality, family and government through a Jewish run financial system.
The documents are, of course, fakes, produced in Russia about 1903 to further fuel anti-Semitism. Revitalising such rubbish about sinister Jewish Cabals is just as heinous today …

Conspiracy of Icons

From A Space Opera

A Space Opera

Prologue
GENESIS

It was saucer-shaped and silver. And as it materialized out of underspace, The Traveller brought it to rest by the planet. Piloting the craft into orbit, he couldn’t but wonder at the absolute beauty of this world. Occasionally, he knew, he would find a jewel amongst the dead rocks, but even he never imagined such a magnificent world could exist.
A sunbeam caught the craft, emanating from a hydrogen-fat sun, and The Traveller felt warmth. Looking down, he perused the vast blue oceans and strained to see detail with the lush green forests which seemed to cover the lands from coast to coast. Checking his monitors, he registered an almost total lack of pollution, and this, combined with the total forest cover, told him this was a virginal world.
He smiled as he hung there between discovery and destiny.
Then, with an increasingly light heart, he nosed the craft downwards, nudging ever closer to the atmosphere. Soon, the fuselage became hot. And if any intelligent life could have been below, it would have seen the shooting star as flames seemed to engulf the craft.
The Traveller hated these moments of descent. For a while, he could not be in control of his craft; natural forces were just too powerful, even for his technologically advanced race. And it was a race that could not abide lack of control.
Eventually his fears subsided and the craft found itself in a beautiful sky. Sweeping across an ocean teeming with wildlife, he became excited as the craft skirted a coastline. Straining his eyes once more, he found movement everywhere and knew he had found an ecosystem in balance.
The Traveller felt he could ride this sky, just above the forest canopy, forever. But knew discovery was more than this. Hence, as he found a rocky clearing, he decided it was time to land.

The Primate had no understanding of technology. Hence, she had no conception of the silver craft hovering in the sky before her other than it existed and it didn’t fit her world. The Primate’s world was instinctual, and there was no room for sights such as this. Hence, she cowered behind the lush undergrowth on the periphery of the clearing.
The Primate was a young female. Just over five feet in height, she was powerful and covered in brown hair. Millions of years later, remains of her species would be discovered and she would be known as Australopithecus Africanus. But at this time she didn’t have language to describe herself.
She stared at the silver craft through fevered eyes.
Instinctively, she sniffed at the air, hoping to pick up its scent; give her an indication of whether the craft could be malevolent or benevolent. But she sensed nothing she understood from the air, other than a faint hint of ozone. But this, predictably, told her nothing.
Before her eyes the silver craft seemed to stop its revolving, and slowly – ever so slowly – it began to sink towards the earth. Finally, it came to land with a gentle hiss, and a silence descended over the clearing. The Primate didn’t know what to do during this silence, so she just stared, wondering if the craft was staring back at her.
Finally, the silence ended and an opening appeared in the side of the craft. And as the pilot emerged, she howled.

The Traveller had already analyzed the atmosphere before he landed, and knew the air was breathable. The planet was slightly larger than his home world, so he knew the gravitational pull would take time to get used to. For a while, movement would be slow and laborious, but he was prepared for that.
Almost as soon as he landed he felt the urge to get out of the craft and explore. Hence, rushing through his post-flight checks, he quickly opened the hatch.
He squinted his big, black, bug-like eyes as the brightness of day met him. Then he pushed out his short, grey, blubbery legs and emerged. Some four feet tall, The Traveller was completely grey, and he knew he had to be careful for his was a slight species, physically – almost, to many worlds, fetal.
He heard the howl almost straight away and his long, pointy ears pricked back, and slowly his grey, blubbery face turned in the direction of the noise. The Primate stiffened as The Traveller saw her. She felt an urge to run, but for some reason felt unable.
The Traveller knew well the reason for her inactivity. For to make up for physical weakness, his species had perfected psychism and mind control. And from the moment The Traveller had placed his bug-like stare upon her, she was his to command.
Slowly, laboriously, The Traveller edged towards her. And as she stood there before him, he noted her full breasts, and an urge arose within him. It had been many eons since he had tasted the pleasure of a female.
He expressed this thought and it emerged in The Primate’s mind and she fell on her back and opened her legs. The Traveller became fevered by this power, and as he approached her, his fat, blubbery member emerged from inside his body. And with an obvious arousal on his face, he mounted her.
It would be wrong to say The Primate was hurt and confused as The Traveller thrust deep inside her. These were thoughts she was incapable of having. But unease did arise in her mind. She knew it was not right, and as her mind commanded her body to struggle, she nonetheless found that her body would not be commanded. Rather, she was in the total psychic grip of the monster, and it was not until he had finished, stood up and moved away that her urges transformed into action and she scurried away, howling.
She retreated back into the undergrowth, a pain evident within her. It was a pain she didn’t understood, following an action she didn’t understand, and as she crouched there, behind a bush, she looked out with non-understanding eyes on the grey creature.

She watched The Traveller for a long time as he went about his business, looking here, looking there as he explored. Never going too far from the silver craft, he knew she was there, but totally ignored her, now his thirst had been satiated.
Eventually, an emotion akin to anger arose in The Primate, although she could not have understood it as anger. Maybe it was the first appearance of a new self-preservation; a forewarning that she must protect herself from future attack.
Whatever the thoughts in her head, it soon became apparent to The Primate that The Traveller was absent-mindedly approaching her again. Perhaps, on a new planet, it was his fatal mistake.
The attack, when it came, caught The Traveller unprepared. With huge hands raised, she dived at The Traveller and floored him with ease. And as she stood by him on her haunches, her long, powerful arms brought those hands down again and again. And as The Traveller’s pained body died, the craft lit up momentarily with a fierce light, sending its awareness of pain through space and time, before slowly becoming still.

The Primate wandered for many months. They were confusing months for her, as she didn’t understand the swelling belly she carried with her. Often her wanderings were curtailed by her growing illness, a weakness taking her over and forcing her to rest.
As she wandered, she several times came upon groups of her own kind. But every time she approached they seemed to shoo her away. She didn’t understand why, and neither did they. They simply knew that something was now different about her.
Eventually, waves of pain shot through her, centred in her abdomen, and she was forced to rest. Yet as the waves of pain consumed her, she understood that rest would be a long time away.
The head, when it emerged, puzzled her. But instinct began to take over and soon she cuddled her child to her breast. And maybe now she realized why she had been shunned by her kind … for she looked upon the face of manchild.

INVASION EARTH
Chapter One

Nicholson gave his back pack a final boost and he edged forward to make contact with the satellite. Staring out through his space helmet, he concentrated on the grab and connected his line to it. It had been a tricky manoeuvre, but he had made it.
‘Mission Control. Phase one complete.’
He waited several seconds for a reply. ‘Roger,’ said Mission Control, a tinny voice in his ear. ‘Well done.’
He wanted to wipe sweat from his brow, but knew it was impossible. Space suits stop little bits of human experience like that. So instead, he allowed himself an exultant ‘yes!’ and pretended to push a triumphal fist to the sky. Not that that was possible either. The sky was many miles below him.
It was his fifth mission with NASA and Nicholson had still not got over that initial fear of hanging, alone, so many miles above Earth. The veterans told him he never would. ‘It isn’t natural,’ they said, ‘hanging around like that in space. But, hey, we’re astronauts. The cream.’
And it was true. At the cutting edge of adventure and science, NASA was the place to be. But he still kept looking out along the dark void to the Orion craft, Fearless, his sentinel just a couple of miles away.
Nicholson was over six feet tall with a toned body, jet black hair and razor sharp mind. Sharpening his teeth as a USAF pilot flying F.16s, he had first made a name for himself flying combat missions in the Iraq War. And whilst he had enjoyed the experience, he always knew fighters were simply a stepping stone to this. Although as he turned off the booster on his back pack, he couldn’t help but hope that one day servicing the satellite would give way to the biggie. One day, he hoped, he’d make it to Mars.

‘Will someone please turn down the heat.’
Mr H sat in the Jeep, a hot African sun burning down on him. With fair skin and short blonde hair, he was not built for this kind of punishment. Twenty five years of age with thick, dark rimmed glasses, he was slight of build and what could only be classed as a nerd – which was inevitable, being Bill Gates’s fifth cousin – or so he often made out.
‘You’ll live,’ said Gee, stood by the Jeep with his hands on hips.
‘That, my friend, is a matter of opinion.’
Physically, Gee was everything that Mr H was not. Tall and dark haired and good looking, he was thirty five years of age, British, and an ex RAF helicopter pilot – although he had aimed much higher than that, making it to the British contingent of NASA, until …
‘Well if Donovan doesn’t hurry up and get here,’ said Mr H, ‘I’m leaving.’
Gee smiled as he looked at his friend. Always moaning was Mr H, always something to complain about – but that aside, he had never met a braver man.
‘He’ll be here,’ he said, as he looked once more into the hot African sky.

Nicholson’s problem was not a hot African sky, but a lack of sky and a most definite absence of heat. Although the space suit compensated for both, that urge to be in a normal environment just would not leave him.
‘It’s not a jaunt,’ said Mission Control in his ear. He cursed. What was wrong with him today?
‘Sorry,’ he said.
‘You’re behind schedule,’ Mission Control replied.
Maybe it was the routine following five missions, or maybe he just couldn’t get Mars out of his head. But Nicholson was finding himself bored. And in space, if the adrenalin of excitement didn’t pump, nonchalance and melancholy soon set in, and performance suffered, as such.
He pulled himself together; reached down; took out the spanner. Gripping it tight, he reached over and placed it on the first nut of the panel.
‘Beginning on the panel now,’ he said.
‘About time.’
At least, he thought, I’m here. Which is more than can be said about …

‘Gee.’
Nicholson was at the controls of the Lear Jet. It had been their last break before the final two weeks intensive training prior to the first Fearless mission. Beside him, Gee was almost day-dreaming. He often did that, hardly able to believe his luck at being picked for NASA. He looked sideways at Nicholson. Said: ‘What?’
‘Do you feel the buzz? You know, thinking about going up into space?’
Gee smiled. ‘How can you not feel it?’
‘You know,’ continued Nicholson, ‘If I never do anything else in my life, I’ll feel I’ve really achieved something.’
‘I know what you mean.’
A silence descended then. It was like that between Nicholson and Gee. They seemed to work so well together that words were not really needed, as if they had some kind of psychic bond. Maybe that’s what the NASA psychologists had been looking for when they married these two together as a ‘team’.
The hypnotic effect of the flight added to the silence; to the dreamy effect. The Lear Jet was a quiet machine, and flying at night in a clear sky, with only the stars above, it could easily be seen as if you were flying to heaven.
Momentarily, Nicholson looked down at the scope, making sure he had clear space to his front. He did this far more often than he needed to. Maybe it was his fighter training, where the Head-up Display gave a continual image of the scope in front of the eyes. Yes, that was it, he thought, I need to see that scope all the time when I’m flying.
Not that there could be anything on the scope this night. They were not in a commercial lane, and only military and NASA traffic flew in this region of airspace. But as Sod’s Law would have it, no matter how often Nicholson looked down at the scope, it was inevitable he would miss a contact when it came.
‘What’s that?’ said Gee as he looked absent-mindedly at the scope.
Nicholson immediately snapped his head down, saw the silver blip, alone in empty space.
‘I don’t know,’ he said, clicking the mike to transmit.
‘Flight 429 to Control,’ he said.
‘Control here.’
‘You got anything on screen?’
‘Negative, Flight 429.’
‘Strange,’ said Nicholson, feeling a slight nervousness at the unexplained contact.
‘It’s moving fast,’ said Gee, also feeling the tension.
Nicholson agreed. ‘I know. It’s flying too darn fast.’
The contact raced across the scope. Gee calculated it must be travelling at least ten thousand miles per hour.
‘That’s ridiculous,’ said Nicholson.
‘I know. But look at it.’
Seconds later, a bright, silver light appeared to port, and as the saucer-shaped craft whizzed past their front, Nicholson offered an expletive and pulled hard to starboard …

A Space Opera

From Those Little Green Men

Those Little Green Men

Chapter Two
I SAW A UFO

I saw a UFO once.
Well, it wasn’t really. Sometimes I call it my angel. That’s the thing about these damn things. You can never be sure.
It was a windy night – a wind that reflected my mood; a touch stormy. I was going to bed and just before retiring I looked out the bedroom window, and there, in the neighbour’s garden, I saw it. It was about a foot off the ground and was maybe two feet in diameter. I couldn’t identify it as physical. Rather, it was a sphere of hundreds of golden flashing lights.
It seemed to pulse, the lights sometimes declining, and at other times flashing intensely, and it was so beautiful, so magnificent, and I don’t have the slightest idea how long I watched it.
I was mesmerized, see. I had researched phenomena for over a decade, but at that moment, with evidence there in front of me, I was overwhelmed. It was the most beautiful, mesmeric thing I had ever seen, and as I stood there my mood washed away and I felt so totally, absolutely relaxed.
Eventually I closed the curtains and went to bed, and had the most restful sleep I can ever remember. I should have rushed downstairs, photographed it, analysed it, but no. I was hooked. I was truly the mystic that night, and proper research was far from my mind.
The next morning was different, however. I went to the site of my UFO – a front garden where building works were under way. At the exact location there was a pile of bricks, and stuck between two bricks was an empty crisp packet. My UFO was outed – a torn packet of crisps, its silver inside reflecting the lights from a nearby street light.
So it was all a con perpetrated by the great Cosmic Joker. It was not a UFO. It was a joke. So why did it have a real effect on me? Why did it transport me to another psychological place? Why did I feel so good?

The history of the UFO has been a history of people being affected by things that cannot be proved. Over three nights in March 1997, 39 members of the Higher Source computer cult took a ride on a flying saucer in the tail of comet Hale-Bopp and went to heaven. Going out for a final meal before splitting into groups, they took a cocktail of vodka and drugs; in order to hitch their ride. Aided by suffocation, they lay on their beds, draped purple over their bodies and died.
They knew they were going to heaven because their leader, Marshall Applewhite, had told them so – but when the authorities found their bodies in a mansion 20 miles north of San Diego, California, it looked more like hell.
Better known today as the Heaven’s Gate cult, Applewhite’s disciples were all highly intelligent computer wizards. With short cropped hair, they appeared to go around as if zombies, always polite, but seemingly devoid of emotion. The elderly, white haired Applewhite – a man with an obvious mania in the eyes – had been organizing cults since 1975, when he reached a crisis in his life. Accounts vary as to whether this was due to heart trouble or mental illness. What is clear is that he married the nurse who looked after him, and feeding from each other’s spiritual views, an apocalyptic mission developed. Known as Bo and Peep, once that flying saucer came along, they were hooked. They were inevitably going to die.

Applewhite and I have something in common. We were both suckered by a dream. We believed, and reacted according to our beliefs. My crisp packet was a joke; the most mundane of explanations for a phenomenon. But what it produced was incredible. I know it was not real. But were its effects real? Was I transformed for that brief moment? Did I sleep well that night?
My UFO was not real, but the effects it had on me were very real indeed. Which prompts a question: if something isn’t real, why should it have real effects on you? Or put it another way: if something unreal has real effects, can the unreal be real at some level of reality?
That question is at the heart of this book. As I descend into a study of the UFO phenomenon, I will heartlessly out the UFO as a process of psychology and sociology at work on the human mind. In nearly every case, I will show how UFOs and aliens could not possibly exist. They are not real. They do not exist. It is all to do with good old human incredulity and gullibility.
That said, we face the same question: if something unreal has real effects, can the unreal be real at some level of reality?
This is the question that must be answered. For whether we can deny the reality of UFOs or not, they DO have an effect on us. And in having an effect on us, we must pose the possibility that at some level, reality is created. In effect, for something to have an outcome, it must have a reality to begin with.
But what form of reality – of existence – are we talking about? Are we talking about real flying saucers with real aliens coming thousands of light years from some unknown planet to say hello? Or could we be talking about some form of intelligence and existence we haven’t even begun to suspect could exist?
This is the form of reality I think we could be approaching with the UFO. Within the phenomenon, I think we can identify a form of reality and communication no one has so far suggested – a form of reality and communication at the edges of the real and unreal, finding its roots in both the human condition and the planet. And the way to identify this reality is to begin by discounting everything about the UFO that has gone before. For in sceptically destroying the argument for their existence, we can take the discussion further and offer theories anew.

Chapter Seventeen
ALIEN ABDUCTION

Equally strange is the alien abduction. The first known classic abduction event happened to 23 year old Brazilian farmer, Antonio Vilas-Boas. On 15 October 1957 he was ploughing his field when an egg-shaped UFO landed close to his tractor.
He tried to run away but was grabbed by ‘humanoids’ dressed in tight grey overalls and helmets. Communicating in barks, Vilas-Boas was taken on board the UFO where he was washed and stripped. Blood was taken from his chin and then a beautiful, naked woman came to him and he was induced to make love to her. He recalled it felt as if he was having intercourse with an animal.
Following the abduction, Vilas-Boas was examined by Dr Olavo T Fontes. The abductee was found to have been exposed to a large dose of radiation, and two small marks were found on his chin where he claimed the needle had been inserted.
One of the most famous abduction events happened to Barney and Betty Hill as they drove home from a holiday in Canada one night in September 1961. Crossing the White Mountains on their way home in New Hampshire, they observed a pancake-shaped light in the sky. Seeming to follow their car, they became convinced they were about to be captured by aliens and increased speed. They observed nothing further that night, except they noticed they had inexplicably lost several hours. Over the following nights they both experienced strange dreams of alien beings and medical examinations. Eventually they consulted a Boston psychiatrist, Dr Benjamin Simon.
Under hypnotic regression, Dr Simon traced their dreams back to their car journey. Both Barney and Betty recounted the same story of being stopped by a spacecraft on the road, taken on-board against their will and being subjected to medical examination. They described their abductors as little men with white faces and oriental eyes.
In addition, Betty Hill sketched, under hypnosis, a star chart she had seen aboard the space craft. Researcher Marjorie Fish studied the chart and came to the conclusion that it showed the alien’s home world to be in the Zeta Reticula system, drawing her own chart to argue her case.
Betty Andreasson from Massachusetts had an equally weird experience in 1967. For ten years she was plagued by memories of four foot aliens with pear-shaped heads invading her home. Finally, helped by J Allen Hynek, she came to the attention of a UFO research group who subjected her to hypnotic regression. In a number of sessions she described how, ten years before, her house had suddenly become still. Alien beings floated effortlessly through a closed kitchen door and floated her, in a semi-trance, aboard their space craft. She remembered that the members of her family were unable to help her because they had been placed in a form of suspended animation.
Aboard the space craft she had a probe inserted in her head. A deeply religious person, the effect was profound and Andreasson – a balanced individual – became convinced she had received a special message concerning the future of mankind. Her daughter also confirmed many of the facts of the case during investigation.
Britain has had its fair share of abductions, too. West Yorkshire police officer Alan Godfrey was undertaking an early morning patrol near the Pennine town of Todmorden in November 1980. Observing a rotating object in the sky, he later noticed that he had lost a few minutes of time and one of his boots was mysteriously split, as if he had been dragged along the ground.
He was later hypnotized by doctors in Manchester. Godfrey recalled that a beam of light shot out from the UFO and knocked him unconscious. He was then floated inside the UFO where he was medically examined by small robot-like entities under the supervision of a larger ‘humanoid’ alien called Yosef. Intriguingly, a black dog was also present inside the craft. Godfrey later spoke of his conviction that the object in the sky was real, but he was undecided whether the recounted abduction was of an objective reality or pure fantasy.
Alien abduction was popularized globally in the late 1980s by the publication of horror writer Whitley Strieber’s book, ‘Communion.’ Relating his experiences of a December day in 1985, he had first seen a huge light pass his bedroom window in upstate New York. Next, a small figure about three feet tall appeared in the corner of his bedroom. It was wearing a little hood and had big eyes and a slit for a mouth. This, and other creatures he later observed, appeared to be asexual. The entity approached the bed and seemed to connect with Strieber’s mind; an experience he described as ‘terrible.’ He was then carried outside into the woods and moments later he shot up into the air. His next awareness was of being in a room whereupon he was medically examined before finding himself back in his living room with no memory of the events apart from the odd disturbing dream.
One interesting trend in abductions was set by Elsie Oakensen, who was abducted from her car in Church Stowe, Northamptonshire, England, in November 1978. Seeing flashing lights, she remembered nothing more until hypnotized, when she recounted being abducted and then rejected. Later, another abduction event had occurred on the same night, close by, this time intercepting a car containing a young woman.
Why was Elsie rejected? Was it that she was too old, and unable to take part in their supposed experiments? When researchers looked for a pattern of rejection, they found it. For instance, in 1974, a hunter was abducted from Rawlins, Wyoming, and immediately sent back. He had had a vasectomy. In 1979 an elderly pianist and a young man were abducted from a car in Brazil. The pianist was told she was of no use to them, whereas the young man underwent the full alien examination. Such evidence adds to the popular idea that abductions are about genetic manipulation of the human species.
Alternatively, what are we to make of Australian mother Maureen Puddy. She was driving to visit her son in hospital near Melbourne on 5 July 1972 when a blue light followed her for 30 miles. On the night of 25 July, she was driving on the same road when her engine died and she was dragged onto a grass verge. A voice came into her head telling her the aliens meant no harm and she was to tell the media.
Eventually going to Ufologist Judith Magee, it was confirmed that there had been other sightings that night, but on 22 February 1973 things were to get stranger. A voice came to her in her home telling her to go back to the meeting place. Magee and another researcher met her on the road at 8.30pm, Maureen claiming that a figure in a gold suit had appeared in her car. It then stood outside the car, but the researchers saw nothing. Maureen then announced that she was being abducted. Seeming to go into a trance, she recounted the event to the startled researchers. Maureen Puddy never actually left the car during the abduction event.

How do we account for such experiences as these? Several academics have researched abduction events and become convinced that some strange phenomenon is at work. Principal among them was John Mack, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, who became so interested in alien abduction that he set up the Programme for Extraordinary Experience Research, or PEER. This came out of a meeting with Budd Hopkins, which prompted his work with abductees.
Mack was convinced that the abduction is a revolutionary new way in which we can understand reality and our place in the universe; a kind of wake up call that we live in a multi-dimensional world. This was different to how he first viewed the events. When he first began interviewing abductees he was convinced he would find signs of mental instability. With some 200 cases examined, he conceded the abductees were generally rational and well balanced.
This lack of mental instability has led many researchers to endorse the extraterrestrial hypothesis, arguing that if abductees are generally well balanced, the only explanation is contact with real aliens. American psychologist Leo Sprinkle is one such researcher. Investigating over 200 abductions since 1967, he puts the phenomenon down to non-human, but essentially benevolent intelligences. Dr David Jacobs, a former professor of history at Temple University, claims he has isolated a specific medical procedure involved in abductions which suggest extraterrestrials are involved in a specific mission on Earth.
The leading researcher taking this view was New York artist Budd Hopkins, who first interested Dr Mack. He investigated abductions for many years; even performing his own regression hypnosis. Hopkins was particularly interested in claims by many young women. Abducted and impregnated, the women were later re-abducted and the developing foetus removed. Some were abducted a third time and shown the successfully growing hybrid child – an entity with super-intelligence. This form of alien eugenics, argued Hopkins, may not be beneficial for the victims.
Alternatively, researcher Philip Klass was sceptical of such claims, accusing researchers of distorting evidence. Take the famed Walton abduction. One night in November 1975 a light halted a truck containing a logging team in Arizona. One of them, Travis Walton, got out and walked away. Suddenly the light knocked him off his feet. The others drove off, panicked, but returning shortly after. Walton had disappeared. Five days later he was found. Hypnotized, he had been abducted and taken to a hangar containing several UFOs, whereupon he was probed.
Klass was convinced this episode is a hoax. As to other cases, he believed researchers were playing dangerous mind games with their patients. And this idea becomes more attractive when we consider the psychological phenomenon known as False Memory Syndrome, where it is argued that ‘memories’ can be placed in the mind of the hypnotized subject based on the predisposition of the therapist.
Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus from Seattle tested such claims in the 1990s. She attempted to implant the ‘memory’ of being lost in a shopping mall as a young child into the minds of volunteers. Most went on to ‘remember’ the event quite clearly, becoming convinced that it really happened to such an extent that in some cases Loftus was unable to erase the memory after the experiment.
In this scenario abduction events described by abductees may be based more upon the biases of the researcher than a true reality. Hence, Budd Hopkins’ conviction that abductees are being impregnated causes them to fantasize the event under hypnosis; perhaps helped by the well known psychological state of ‘phantom pregnancy’, where young women fantasize, and have the physical effects of, being pregnant. Here, we can see a space age interpretation of an age-old psychological state.
Folklore researcher Dr Thomas Bullard from the University of Indiana is not convinced that such abductions are purely the product of hypnosis. Conducting a massive statistical survey, he noted that some 40% of abductions do not involve hypnosis at all. Whilst not totally discounting abductions as the work of aliens, he prefers the idea that abductions constitute the formation of a specific folklore. Such an idea does, of course, echo ideas of researchers such as John Keel and Jacques Vallee, highlighted earlier. And great mileage can be had by considering the proposition.
If we refer back to the Men in Black visitations, they have many elements of age old folklore, the black clothes aping more Gothic garb, the old black car witnessed in many cases as a form of conveyance being similar to the black carriage often referred to as the celestial omnibus, transporting the dead to their afterlife. The apparent absurdity is also similar to ancient folklore and the almost gangster stereotype often displayed in the Men in Black shows a cultural influence based on film noir, as if Hollywood is impinging upon the new folklore.
The history of alien encounters also supports the folklore theory. Adamski’s aliens were from Venus, Mars and Jupiter. Science had no proof that aliens didn’t live on these planets at the time, and Hollywood depicted aliens as coming from these planets. As science accumulated facts against such close-by aliens, abductees began moving further afield also. During the 1950s, Hollywood depicted aliens as invaders. Hence, the Sutton family experiences the aliens as malevolent.
As the classic abduction event formulated during the 1960s, aliens formed into cultural stereotypes. In America they were akin to the Hollywood depictions of the big-brained, egg-headed scientist type as shown in the inaugural episode of Star Trek. In Europe, abductors were more likely to be tall and blonde haired, as if the folklore was latching itself to Norse mythology. Then, with the publication of Strieber’s ‘Communion’, abductors are more likely to ape his description, being known universally, today, as ‘greys’, the mythology bolstered and sustained by the ‘X’ Files.

Psychologist Dr Kenneth Ring sees the abduction as a purely psychological phenomenon. Better known for his work on the Near Death Experience, he sees the abduction event as sharing many characteristics of the phenomenon. He argues that the two experiences may represent a new phase of the evolution of the human mind.
Philosopher Michael Grosso takes an allied stance. To him, abductors are based upon a Child Archetype, and represent a form of radical self-healing with mankind putting itself through a form of extraordinary therapy, hence the symbolism of the medical examination prevalent in the event. In this way, we are birthing a new mythology to allow us to purify ourselves psychologically – becoming, as it were, better beings.
This idea is shown by a close look at some of Dr John Mack’s abductee cases. One of his subjects was Ed, who first realized his abductions in 1961, before the Hills. A female alien with whom he was forced to give sperm told him the planet would be destroyed if humanity didn’t sort itself out and form a proper balance with nature. Sheila began having spiritual dreams after her mother’s death. Eventually she realized she was being abducted, but found it hard to separate reality from fantasy.
Scott’s abductions were traumatic and involved paralysis. In 1992 the aliens extracted sperm. Scott began to realize he had been abducted since childhood. Jerry had very sexual abductions involving hybrid entities, but the experiences made him very spiritual by nature. Catherine also claimed to be abducted since childhood, the experiences also involving sexual practices. She described seeing hundreds of hybrid babies in tanks and other humans lying out on tables. She began to remember a previous incarnation as an ancient Egyptian painter, and understood that we’re interrelated and cannot live without each other.
The aliens became the protectors of Joe’s spiritual development. He had also been abducted since childhood, and with the birth of his son, Mark, he began to realize they were both living dual alien-human lives. Sara was a clever child who liked the paranormal, even claiming to levitate people; her abductions actively involved her in bringing the aliens together with man as an evolutionary whole. Eventually a hybrid form of life would evolve with greater spiritual awareness.
Paul also felt this togetherness between man and alien. The two had the same identity, and although his abductions involved painful procedures, he exists to show an example of love in order to transform human consciousness and save the planet.
Eva’s abductions were also part of a mission to provide global healing and harmony. Another abductee with reincarnated memories – she lived in the 13th century – the aliens were cleansing her body to allow more knowledge to come through, with alien and man involved in a melding of consciousness.
Dave’s abductions began on a visit to a powerful Native American site. His abductions were traumatic, but he became aware of a female alien who had been with him through many previous lives. Peter’s abductions involved a clear spirituality. He was part of a human-alien breeding program. He had become part alien himself, and was involved in creating a new race to save the planet from disaster.
Carlos is a painter, and his abductions change the energy structure of his body, allowing him to paint images that actively cause a need to protect the planet. Arthur was abducted from a small boy, and he was filled with a need to protect the ecology of the Earth. The aliens were instrumental in his growing sense of responsibility.
The sentiments birthed from such abductions ape, closely, the sentiments echoed by many cults. It seems to be a similar process going on, made sensational by media-friendly gurus such as George Adamski, but kept more sublime by the majority. And the experiences seem to echo ages-old mystical experiences, but with a specific space age folklore. The only difference seems to be that there are far more such experiences around today than in the past.

A less exotic theory comes from British psychologist Dr Susan Blackmore. She puts the abduction event down to ‘sleep paralysis.’ Often, when dreaming, our skeletal muscles become paralyzed. We are normally unaware of this paralysis, but can become mentally alert whilst the state persists. This can be quite frightening. Unable to move, yet retaining an element of the dream-like, fantasy-prone state, the mind can go into override and fantasize a frightening event.
Blackmore argues that this can prompt the abduction event as a pure fantasy, based upon modern science fiction enculturation. In times past the experience clung to previous cultural mythologies. Hence, people were visited by sexual vampires, or the incubus or succubus, having sex with the victim. The theory is attractive, especially as it has echoes of age old folklore and mythology similar to Bullard’s ideas.
Researcher Michael Persinger from the Laurentian University of Sudbury, Ontario, takes a physiological stance concerning the abduction and similar events. He argues that such fantasies can be triggered by excessive bursts of electrical activity in the temporal lobes of the brain, firing specific neuronal activity. In order to test his theory he constructed a soundproof room where a subject sits wearing cranial apparatus designed to place a magnetic field across the brain. Dr Blackmore visited this room for a Horizon programme on BBC2. In a related article in New Scientist on 19 November 1994, she described the experience thus:
‘Then it felt for all the world as though two hands had grabbed my shoulders and were bodily yanking me upright. I knew I was still lying in the reclining chair, but someone, or something, was pulling me up …’
She went on to describe emotions – anger, and then fear – and it is easy to see how such electrical activity could spark an alien encounter. As to how the activity could be caused, the ball of light phenomenon could, conceivably, include an electric field. Here, the initial UFO could therefore be reality, electrical effects prompting an unfolding fantasy. Alternatively, temporal lobe activity can also be triggered in response to a lack of oxygen, which itself can occur when exceptionally tired, such as at the point of awakening from sleep.
But in one vital respect the ideas of Blackmore and Persinger fail. While I accept that they could answer abduction events associated with being abducted from one’s bed, many abduction events happen in cars, with the driver continuing to control the vehicle. If sleep paralysis or neuronal activity was the answer to all abduction events, such drivers would inevitably crash. However, an answer may not be as distant – or extraordinary – as we suspect.
The first hint towards a possible answer to the abduction event involving drivers came after having my photograph taken. I noticed the flash left me with a vivid retinal image. Deciding to experiment with such images, I placed myself in a dark room and had someone take another photo of me. Concentrating hard on the image, it appeared colourful and with concentration I could make it appear solid.
Because of natural retinal movement, I could not hold the image in one place. Rather, this ‘solid’ light darted about the place in classic UFO fashion. Eventually learning to control the image, I could make it appear close up or far away, and could even get it to fly through the window. ET never stuck his head out and waved at me, but it became obvious that this retinal image could lie at the heart of UFO encounters.
Let us consider our future abductee driving his car. He has been driving at night for a long time. Tired, he begins to day dream, as we all do in such situations. A car passes, and its headlights dazzle. The retinal image is suddenly there, yet in a semi-fantasy state, it is seen, due to science fiction enculturation, as a UFO. (The reader may also wish to entertain the possibility that such a retinal image was responsible for the inaugural UFO event witnessed by Kenneth Arnold. Could it have been a multiple image created by a blinding sun reflecting from his windshield?)
What happens next? Could the mind invoke a fantasy that allowed the driver NOT to crash? We have all been reading a book when our concentration wanders away from the words to some other thought. When we again grasp attention, we have to go back to where the mind wandered. We had, in fact, continued to mechanically read the words whilst our fantasizing mind was otherwise occupied. It is therefore feasible to enact a fantasy whilst continuing to mechanically drive. Indeed, such a scenario adds further credence to the fantasy explanation by explaining how the abductee is inexplicably many miles on and time has been lost. The abductee had simply continued to drive on during the fantasy, covering distance and time. Indeed, the abduction event can even be seen to have become common in line with an increase in road traffic, furthering the credibility of this idea.
Science even offers a mind model to explain this duality of mind – the mechanical driver and the inner fantasizer – with the split-brain concept, where, it is argued, the brain has a dual function with the left cerebral hemisphere being responsible for logical function and the right for emotional and artistic function. There have been many experiments on the subject, where it has been shown that these two functions can become autonomous of each other, allowing the individual to perform mechanical, logical tasks (such as mechanically typing) whilst the mind becomes disconnected and prone to fantasy (essential to the writer in deciding what words to write as he types).
There are, of course, stumbling blocks to sleep paralysis and my above scenario for the driver’s abduction event. One such stumbling block is admirably shown by the abduction of Maria Ward, on 21 November 1990. Asleep in her bed, she was awoken just after 3am by an intense light outside her bedroom window. Running out onto the landing, all the lights went out. Suddenly a ray of light appeared and a voice said: ‘Follow the light. Next, she was lifted out of the house and remembers looking down on the trees before finding herself in a strange corridor. Three small aliens appeared then and took her into a room and placed her on a metal table, where she underwent an examination, during which she had the sensation that there was something wriggling about inside her like a worm.
So far we seem to have a straight forward abduction fantasy, but Maria awoke to be covered in bruises. This severe form of abduction is becoming more and more common as the abduction event evolves throughout society. It is estimated by some that one in fifty women in the UK have undergone such an event, most keeping quiet about it due to the possibility of ridicule. Few, it seems, are courageous enough to speak out. And it is the physical effects of the event that seem, at first, to cancel out the possibility of a phenomenon such as sleep paralysis being responsible. Or do they?
There are many psychological phenomena that are known to happen but remain apparently inexplicable. One such phenomenon is Stigmata. Usually associated with the manifestation of the bleeding wounds of Christ’s crucifixion, hundreds of cases have been documented, and the phenomenon is thought to be hysterical in nature. Further, the phenomenon is thought to ape cultural idiosyncrasies – hence, a Christian manifests Christ’s wounds as symbolic of their own suffering. And being culturally malleable, it is valid to argue that a space age form of stigmata can impinge upon the abduction fantasy.
From Maria Ward’s wounds to Antonio Vilas-Boas’ radiation burns stigmata could validate the abduction event as a particular cultural fantasy. And my initial idea that a subjective experience can manifest a degree of physical existence leads us to a possible explanation of the entire UFO phenomenon as a science fiction based cultural mythos. It is time to get to grips with the entire subject of the UFO and aliens in terms of such a scenario.

Those Little Green Men

From Two Treatises of Globalization


Two Treatises of Globalization

Chapter One
A Global Culture

Our soul is portrayed in stone. Throughout history man has endeavoured to understand his place in the universe by relating himself to forces beyond his control. Trapped in his individual needs and wants, he realized his puny existence is nothing without a cause to allow him to work together with other individuals to create a society and a culture.
Armed with his togetherness, man has forever felt bigger than himself. And nothing is bigger than a building. Hence, when a building is erected to signify his urges, it is more than the plan of the architect; more than the materials used; more than the sum of its parts.
A building is an amalgam of his hopes and fears; his idea of the past; a representation of the present; a form of security for the future. It is his existence, and that of the greater force, enshrined, he hopes, for all time.
In this way our soul is portrayed in stone. In prehistory it is remembered in pyramids and henges – plans of the known universe, burial chambers for men who will become gods, observatories to understand the sun and tell man when to plant his seeds.
Later, with the advent of Christianity, or Islam, or Judaism, or Hinduism, or Buddhism, or Sikhism, our soul was our temple, our church, our mosque. A church is not simply a building, but a representation of Christ on the Cross. And when we walk within we walk into the body of Christ. But more than this, in the Cathedral, God was supreme in the city. Man was telling fellow man, this is our salvation; this is the force that will keep us safe.
During the Age of Enlightenment, a new force came along to usurp God. This was reason. In the great 18th century philosophers, man’s mind began to understand the world through science, and in allowing us understanding ourselves, what need did we have for this God? Better, we thought, to devise our own laws, our own ways – and our own problems.
Soon, our genius brought on the Industrial Revolution, and the new building was the factory, standing tall above all the rest, dwarfing the churches with their stacks. Man’s soul had become choked in smog.
We have advanced from those industrial times – we think.
Eventually we cleaned up the smog and our ingenuity advanced. God was in severe decline but man still needed to portray his soul in stone. Man, even western, atheist, material man, still needed to see his soul about him. And God was replaced by manna itself. Capitalist liberal democracy was the buzz word. This infused man with purpose in a way Christianity had never done. For this offered personal fulfilment in the now rather than a disciplined wait for the hereafter. And the bank became supreme; the trade centre the tallest structure in town. This was the new soul, the new ethos, the new credo. So that when two planes smashed the global soul to rubble, we knew a clash was coming that would define a new soul – and a new world.

The destruction of the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2001 was an iconic moment like no other. In a televisual world the moment became one of global knowledge. As the towers fell, thousands died, but we were glued to the screen not to mourn or think of those shattered bodies, but to witness the destruction of a building, the assault on an idea, an arrow thrust deep into our hearts.
Osama Bin Laden realized only too well why the Twin Towers were such a prize. To some Muslims he was a latter day Robin Hood, standing up for what they believe so much. To us, he was the personification of evil. We claim to be materialist, reasonable men, but the moment’s iconography brought out language of the gods. What other term could we place on him but evil?
But Bin Laden was much more. For in assaulting the western soul he made a statement for all time. He said, look at us. We’re different from you in the west. We dress different, we think different, we ARE different. And THAT is something we just cannot understand. THAT is what the destruction of the World Trade Centre was all about.
We live in a globalized world – we think. Individuality and human rights are the buzz word – we think. Free trade and consumerism is the only way to live – we think. Democracy is the only political system worth a damn – we think.
We may be right, we may be wrong. To us it all seems self-evident. But to others it is not. To others different things seem self-evident, such as Allah is Almighty! To us, it is merely superstition, but to others it is not.
So Bin Laden destroyed our soul to tell us to rethink. He sent planes to destroy our soul to remind us we are not supreme. And in doing so, he changed the course of world history forever.

His timing was immaculate. In recent times every century has defined itself by war. As the 19th century began, Napoleon took the reins of France and plunged Europe into the Napoleonic Wars. But it was more than the destruction of Napoleon that was at stake. The Napoleonic Wars had to be fought to define what a Nation State was. The wars of the Enlightenment, it was the various philosophies of empiricism and idealism that were really being fought over. And the Nation State was the natural consequence of such philosophy.
With the 20th century, the Nation State had been philosophized into the ‘bloc mentality’. Two over-riding systems were in the air – communism and fascism, with a fledgling capitalism waiting in the wings. The result was the European Civil War, or maybe the Philosophy Wars, better known as the two World Wars, as blocs fought and bled in a race for world domination.
Thus have the last two centuries begun. And as the clutter of bloc mentalities died in the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, it was self-evident that a new reason for war would emerge. And thus the growing pains of the 21st century are with us. It could only be this way.
This was the true genius of Osama Bin Laden. He threw down the gauntlet to the world to define itself once more through war. And above all else he realized that true conflict comes through the clash of culture. This was the secret of Karl Marx, or Georg Hegel, as they formulated the philosophy of communism and the system that became fascism. To Hegel, we moved on through the clash of civilizations. To Marx we advanced through the clash of classes. Bin Laden realized we must move on through the clash of religions. Welcome to the Crusades II.
As you read that last sentence I can feel your shudder. It is the unspoken truth that no western politician will admit. We are after Al Qaeda, not Islam. In Afghanistan we were after the Taliban, not the Afghanis. In Iraq we were after Saddam, not the Iraqis. Our fight is with dictators, our need to destroy weapons of mass destruction, our right to remain safe from attack.
But to do so we will have to change the consciousness of those who will build new countries from the ashes of war. We will need to place western values of human rights and individuality. We will need to rebuild through western prowess and enterprise. And most importantly, we will need to sow the seeds of democracy into the hearts of those people.
In this last point, we can be dealing with nothing other than a clash of civilizations. Islam is some six hundred years younger than Christianity. So to understand the Islamic mind-set we must go back six hundred years to ourselves. And like Islam today, the over-riding cultural statement was that God was above all, and religion and state were one and the same thing.
This is the great leveller. Democracy is as alien to a Muslim country as it was to Medieval Christendom. It took us the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution to destroy the notion. It took us centuries of war and soul searching and could only be achieved by ourselves. And we still do not have it right. But like great evangelists and missionaries of old, we ride roughshod through the values of others deciding that we know best. We may seem to achieve this goal, but in the soul of other people there will be a festering wound.
In this sense, we are involved in a clash of civilizations, a clash of cultures, whether we like to admit it or not. But as we go blindly into a new world of 21st century conflict, we need to keep one thought uppermost in our minds. Globalization provides more than adequately for our material wants, but degrades the spiritual out of apparent existence. The spiritual is so often defined by the local, as Islam provides the spiritual for the Muslim.
The lack of the spiritual in the west is easy to identify. It is identifiable in the rise of New Age, of off-the-shelf religion, telling us clearly that it is still there to be catered for. And without it, even the western heart bleeds. So globalization needs to remember this message. The spiritual is local. And in attempting to destroy – through war, through coercion – the local spirituality of others, they will fight to retain the sense of who they are.
Perhaps we know not what we do.

Chapter Two – Techno-Consciousness

We pride ourselves in the west with knowing we are rational beings. Everything we are, everything we do, is infused with reason, for we have understood ourselves, the world, even our inner minds. But how true is this certainty?
Back in the 1950s a new type of surgical operation was attempted to fight the electric storm of epilepsy rushing through the brain. The human brain is made up of two walnut shaped hemispheres known as the cerebrum, connected by a highway of nerves. Cut this highway and could we restrict epilepsy to one side of the brain? It appears so, but in carrying out the operation, the surgeons discovered we were two separate people.
Known as the ‘split-brain concept’, we now know that the left and right cerebral hemispheres of the brain have different functions. The left brain seems to be the scientist, the rational part of who we are; the right brain is more an artist, adding emotionality and instinct to the rational you. The left brain is essential for living in a coordinated world – without it the way we do things would be very different. Hence, in a material world, the right brain emotionality is subsumed. But when we have a fit of temper, or fall in love, it is the right brain that seems to become dominant, to the point that we no longer act like ourselves.
It is easy to see how the above concept is important to humanity. But the obvious problems it posed are so acute that the idea of the two person individual is not popularly known. For instance, with a definite emotional base to the human mind, we can see where the religious impulse comes from. Equally, we can see why, in a material world, we all seem to be becoming increasingly materialist to live within in, almost cancelling the religious impulse out of the equation. But the problem is, does this make our present material society a product of our endeavour, or is the material society we stumblingly created using environmental influences to change our state of mind to how it wants us to be?

There is something very strange about Homer’s ‘Iliad’. The writer – penning his account in ancient Greece of the 7th century BC – just did not seem to think like we do. There is no evidence of what we would call self-consciousness. When an event happens, it is not so much down to human interaction, but an inevitability of supernatural forces outside, and above, human will.
Homer appeared at a time when what became known as modern, social man was forming. The world prior to Homer was pre-history, with little narrative, other than hieroglyphic forms on statues and columns. If we go back even further into social evolution, studies of tribal societies are replete with the idea of animism.
In its most basic form, animism is the belief that below the physical world is a world of spirit, interacting with the physical world. Hence, every animal, every tree, every river and mountain has a spirit of its own. Tribal society seemed to be regulated to appeasing these spirits so that we could live safely in the physical.
Homer seems to express the dying phase of this idea, with human intellect beginning to cast aside such interfering spirits and replace it with a self-conscious rational mind. On one level, we can see this as the left brain grasping for dominance over the emotional, instinctual right. On another level, we can argue that it is evidence of the evolution of consciousness.
Such a view presents a problem. For at the foundation of our understanding of who we are is the idea that our minds are stable. The above tells a different story. And the story continues.
Harold Bloom had some interesting things to say about Shakespeare. Not so much the bard himself, but our relationship to him. The plays of Shakespeare were different from anything that had gone before. Previously, drama had been a stilted affair, with actions seemingly clear cut. The Greek dramas are the template for pre-Shakespearean drama, with a clear understanding of good and evil and right action. Shakespeare introduced human personality into the equation, and actions were no longer as clear cut as they once were. In a real sense, Shakespeare began to define what it was to be human. There had been previous hints of the human – Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’ was an obvious example. But could it be that Shakespeare didn’t just define humanity, but created it?
This revolutionary idea is a simple one. Basically, until a genius such as Shakespeare told us how to be human, we didn’t behave in the way humans do now. We can easily discount the idea in isolation, but when placed in line with my above words on Homer, we seem to be on the verge of identifying evolutionary changes in our minds.
As to the importance of such a hypothesis, it is important to relate because it is becoming increasingly obvious that we are on the verge of another possible evolutionary change in consciousness.
Studies throughout the world are beginning to show that children no longer think like their grandparents. The older members of society have a mind trained to study one thing at a time over long periods and extract knowledge from the information received. Studies of computer game playing kids show they have a mind that can think simultaneously of more than one thing at a time, have a much smaller temporal attention span, and only analyse information, without grasping deeper knowledge from it. We seem to be at the point of evolving a data processing mind.
Such a change in consciousness can be seen throughout society. Take a simple enquiry with a company – any company. In the old days, clerks were hired who could do a variety of tasks and use their initiative to short-circuit the system and get things done. Today, operators can do no such thing. They do single repetitive tasks and seem unable to exercise initiative. Machines were devised to be appendages of man. With computer technology, we are quickly becoming appendages of the machine.
As well as the spiritual vacuum involved in this evolution of mind into the material, we can see a whole host of other changes. Differences in the way we see morality is a classic example. Morality requires thought, devising knowledge and wisdom from the information available. This no longer seems to go on in an adequate way. We simply do what we can do, instead of asking if we should.
But without doubt the central problem is a negation of loyalty. As the internet expands to encompass the globe, it is becoming the forum of communication, negating the need for personal relationships, and is whittling away at the concept of the Nation State. Patriotism is fast becoming a thing of the past, our main priorities seeming to be to further our technological grasp of the global. Indeed, the time is fast approaching when national borders will mean nothing at all. Only our insatiable need to process information will be king.

There are two principle problems in this which must be faced.
First of all, with encroaching globalization, local traditions, religions and ways of life are being torn to shreds, leaving us with no concept of meaning other than the acquisition of information. But perhaps most worrying is the fact that this essentially western mania for technology could well be evolving us away from a single humanity.
As the west begins to encroach more and more on other life-styles such as Islam, we need to pull back and think about the implications. Societies still untouched by the total data-processing mentality of the west still retain a hold on their right brain mentalities. In touch with their emotions, they are still aware of God. To the west, this is increasingly being seen as retention of superstitious clap-trap. The word ‘barbarian’ has even been used to explain the illogical acts of the religious. I think we really do need to ask who is the barbarian here?

Chapter Three – The New Empire

We live in a media world. Information assaults us from every angle; images pervade, washing through our consciousness like never before. It is an incessant bombardment through which we lay back, surrendered. Within this clutter of trivia, a particular form of information bombardment epitomizes the nature of what we take in – the battery of 24 hour news channels.
When a major story breaks, an amazing thing happens. In their drive to deliver the ‘news’ before everyone else, what we receive turns out not to be news at all, but rumour. Often wrong, it is later verified, confirmed or rejected. But in delivering to our screens a steady diet of rumour, can we really call it news?
Our entire media works on the same rules – even if not immediately realized. Can gossip columns be reliable and accurate truth? Take an average documentary. Again offered to us as truth, in the final analysis, it is written by a writer. Yet no one who lives and breathes can be unbiased. In all areas of information a particular writer’s attitudes will creep into the agenda. Hence, there can never be a thing called an unbiased documentary. It appears that the information and images we receive are rarely truth.
This was realized long ago by sociologists such as Jean Baudrillard. To him, media intrudes in such a way that it offers us, not a reality, but a form of Infotainment. In a real sense, we can no longer be sure what is real. Take the first Gulf War and the idea of surgical strikes, ‘proved’ by US images of laser guided bombs hitting their target. This was pure fiction. Only some 10% of bombs were ‘smart’. The reality was that B52s carpet bombed village after village out of existence to allow an unopposed assault by their tanks.
This is the true nature of our media today. It is a world of make believe, hiding facts such as the Queen uses toilet paper; sanitizing images of war so we don’t see the bodies explode. Our media can no longer be trusted to tell us what is truth and what is fiction. And as we surrender to the assault, neither can we.

This negation of truth is called advancement. It is validated by the onset of reason over superstition. In centuries past, superstition was the curse of a society. It pervaded everything, assaulting consciousness with ideas of demons, of spells, of evil all around us. The powerful used this device to mould opinion, create subservience, because only they could save us with their potion of a more powerful religion, more powerful God.
To get a social or moral message over, mythology echoed the soul. In Herakles succeeding in his Labours; in Narcissus coming a cropper for his vanity, human foibles and characteristics were enshrined in super beings. A myth took a part of the human and validated it through the supernatural. But it was a supernatural on human terms, devised and written by men who were in charge. Man was not really subservient to the gods, but to other men who thought they were gods. But have we really advanced, or is the system the same today, with superstition replaced by the bite of doctored information?
We cough a ‘fact’ here, we cough a ‘fact’ there, but are we coughing information freely and truthfully, or are we merely spouting off the perceived wisdom of the forces above us? If the latter, then information becomes a virus of subservience and we are enslaved.
And in our enslavement, information marches on, seeming to sing a variety of tunes, but in reality it sings only one. In reality, we live in an unreality of images and news which takes the information on, across the globe, and in its wake, the local cultures we used to love become stagnant, and slowly – ever so slowly – they die.

But this is clap-trap, you will say. I know the difference between fact and fiction. I have a mind of my own. I am free. I live in a democracy where choices are mine. And so you have. You can be gay. You can be any colour. You can change your gender. You can swap partner at will. You can take up any career you like. You have the choice of a varied education. You can do all these things. As long as you have mortgage, a new car, wear designer clothes, holiday twice a year, and be a fully signed up corporate man. But do anything else, such as fight for the environment, belong to a religion, or be poor, and you are marginalized.
It has to be like this, for the multi-national is king. And in creating the world of Infotainment to take you off your guard, the multi-national marches on unopposed. No matter what it makes, what it sells, there is a particular Credo, an exact ethos.
It must make profit – and it must do so by creating a culture of greed and an army of consumers. Amoral in character, this is the multi-nationals’ only purpose for existence. The Infotainment world is fuelled by the McDonalds ethic. And richer than many countries, the multi-nationals go on, buying politicians by paying for their campaigns and chomping up national economies as they advance, no country on the planet being able to say no to the financial benefits of their submission. And in their wake, local culture lies decimated.

Of course, by now, you can see this is true. But you see the only answer being a fall in your standard of living. So you’re hooked – you’ve attained your religious salvation on the altar of consumerism. Of course, you can see this is true. But a shadow of doubt remains. For to accept this you have to admit your own gullibility. And this is a hard pill to swallow. You therefore ignore. Allow it to go on. But really you are not as gullible as you think. You couldn’t have fought it even if you wanted to, for they had sealed up your mind completely.
You see nothing destroys freedom more than the idea that you have attained it. For if you are free, there is no authority to fight. You look around and see a free media, so how can a pervasive media enslave you?
It is all to do with snooker. You want a game. You place the frame and fill it with the red snooker balls. But try an experiment. Pour as many snooker balls into the frame as you can. Do so, and I can guarantee you that every time you do it you will end up with exactly the same number of balls in exactly the same geometrical shape, for the frame guarantees that you can only stack up in a particular way. Anything that is surplus will simply fall away.
The media works in the same way. The vast majority of media outlets depend on the same thing to exist. Money. Such money comes from two major endeavours. The first is sales. The second is advertising. Indeed, without the ability to advertise, they cannot exist. And to attract advertisers – i.e. businesses – they must portray a picture of the world which encourages them.
Portray a counter-picture, such as greed is bad, or business is devastating the environment, or we shouldn’t be so materialist but a Christian and the advertisers will desert you in droves.
And thus, any form of counter-consumer ethos is marginalized, guaranteeing that the only media you see is business friendly and perfectly geared to the consumerist ideal. And in this direction lies the culture-destroying reality of Info-imperialism.


Two Treatises of Globalization

From Sas Delta

Sas Delta

One
A Warrior Is Born

You’d have thought modern tech would have stopped the airframe shaking. The Hercules C180 transport. The most versatile cargo plane in the world. ‘The only replacement for a Hercules,’ they say, ‘is another one.’ But they couldn’t stop the airframe shaking. Or maybe, as I prepared for my first combat jump, it was me.
‘Buddy, buddy.’
We were coming in low; could sense the hostile land beneath us and we checked each other’s kit – tightened the straps, pulled the webbing, tapped each other on the helmet. ‘Buddy, buddy,’ we say, but guarded; they – WE – could soon be dead.
I’m a special forces soldier, the elite, the best in the world. Yet I’m just out of training and green. How can I be the best when I’m unproved? How do I know I’m not a coward?
Oh yes, I’ve faced danger under training. I’ve been shot at; been thrown out of planes; been interrogated; climbed mountains. But how do I know that when the time comes I’ll pump my M16 at someone’s gut; how do I know my knife will cross that throat?
The best in the world. Ha!
‘Go.’

The rush of wind as you leave the aircraft is orgasmic. Your hair, your clothes, your skin is a flutter as you head Earthbound at the speed of light. Then a rush of silk, a light tug and an upward lurch as the parachute opens, its mushroomed canopy a friend above, as if a textile angel. And then feet together, knees slightly bent, a kiss of earth and a gentle role. And in seconds you are crouched, your assault rifle your new friend, your saviour, your self.
Straight away comes the crackle of gunfire ahead. You wait, strain your eyes, crouch further down, wishing you were home, in bed, at peace, safe. But that bloody crackle pumps ahead. Then – it stops. Itchy fingers?
An electronic excitement in the ears. ‘The hills,’ comes the command, ‘get to the hills.’
They’re a hundred metres ahead, a darkness sticking out of the ground, monolithic, primeval, omnipotent with the darkened sky. And you rush ahead, zig-zag, crouch, wait, squelch.
Squelch?
I look down, feel sick. Not itchy fingers, but a patrol.
And I take my boot out of the Arab gut.

Finally, the comfort of the hills. Finally, you feel above the action, comforted by the rocks about you, rocks which hide, which deflect the bullets, and you want to cuddle them as you cuddled a teddy in your youth when the Bogeyman was stalking.
But you are no longer young, no longer comforted, for you’re a special forces soldier. And since the towers fell, it’s a new world, and you’re at the front, the spearhead, dicing with death. And suddenly, the action, the activity, the rush – it’s over and a spooky calm descends.

It’s cold on the hills. You know it’s cold for you can feel it, see the frosted breath. But inside you feel so warm, as if burning insects are fuelling the furnace in your gut. Your palms sweat. Your fingers are cold, but the palms sweat and your temples throb and dryness exists in the back of the throat.
Around you there is only silence, yet your heart thumps inside, fills your ears, your very mind and you know you’re with your comrades, but you don’t see them and you feel so very very alone.
And you look upon this darkened void about you, the lack of undergrowth, and the rocks seem like rocks on the moon and you think, will I choke from lack of air, and how far am I from civilization?
But civilization is nowhere to be found. Not in this place.
Not in the near future. Maybe not ever.
And certainly not in your fragile heart.

The night sticks to you as you wait, crouched, still, and eons of time seem to pass. You know your task, but first you must know you are safe. But how do you feel safe in a hell like this? How do you feel safe when the shadows flit and everyone could be a crazed tribesman about to cut you to shreds? But you stay still, crouch, and ready. And time goes by slowly but incessantly. Time goes by as you hear the ‘arrgh! to the front, to your side, but see no one.
And finally, you see a lightening sky, a rising sun, a warming of the mind as you realize you’ve survived your first night of combat unblooded. And as the patrol moves off into the mountains, you know you’ve met the enemy.
Fear.

Two – First Blood

Do they know I’m out here? Do they know back home? Do they know I’m here, in these freezing mountains, saving their freedom? Do they know I’m here, putting my life on the line for THEM!?
Do they care?
It’s a week into the mission now. We’ve no real intelligence; no real battle plan. We just keep buggering on in the hope that we’ll find something to kill. That’s how war goes, much of the time. But it doesn’t stop my feet getting cold.
It bites into you does the cold. I know, we’ve got all the equipment to keep it out, but you’re out in these conditions, in these altitudes, day after day and night after night; it creeps in through the mind. And no clothing – and no equipment – will keep it out.
Variation would help a bit, I’m sure. But for nearly a week now it’s been the same. Join the special forces and guarantee an exciting life, we were told. And we swallowed it, thinking we could break the mould of war, of 5% action and 95% boredom. But war is war and the unwritten rules hold and my feet are cold.
Do they know I’m out here? Back home?
And on we yomp – and on. Over that rise and through that valley in a never ending up and down up and down world. And so silent, so surreal, so uninviting. Of course, the 5% will come. It has to. You can’t invade a country for a week, forever on the move, forever breaking cover, without eventually being seen and intercepted. Not if it is a real army we’re fighting.
And finally that moment comes.

It’s only a small village we spy from the top of the rise. It’s about a mile ahead, down in the valley, peaceful and warm, the odd puff of smoke from some cozy and warm house. But those trucks don’t look civilian. They look military, don’t they?
The first indication of action came ten minutes later as we moved imperceptibly down the slope. Honed to notice the slightest movement ahead, the forward scout crouched instinctively and fired as the head popped up from the rock and took a shot. He was dead before his bullet whizzed harmlessly past our position.
I’d wondered how I’d perform when it came – that first firefight. I’d feared the time with the same intensity that the adrenalin pleaded for it to come. But now that it was here, and I was in the action, I don’t think I thought about it at all. Maybe all the discipline, all the shouting, all the stupidity and pettiness of our training pays off.
I went straight into an instinctive roll down that slope, controlled and headed straight for the cover of the rocks. In position, I came up to a crouch, brought the M16 to the shoulder and looked to my front. There must have been a dozen of them out there, firing and charging and rolling and crouching as they attacked.
Always aim for the biggest part of the body, we were told, then you’re guaranteed a kill, and my weapon spat, thudding its butt into my shoulder with its recoil. And I saw one fall in a fountain of blood, followed by another.

It was an intense firefight. It seemed to go on forever, but I doubt it was more than twenty seconds before they began to retreat down the slope. Controlled, always covering each other, we descended after them, hoping to catch up before they reached the cover of the buildings in the village.
Most of them we got before they reached it, and I never thought once about the morality of shooting fleeing people in the back. After all, they WERE fleeing to gain better positions to kill me. But to the village, some of them escaped.
There is always an added tension when it comes to moving into an enclosed, man-made area. The instinct of the wild plays tricks, for in so many parts of the battlefield are signs of humanity, and it confuses. But nevertheless we moved in, forever covering each other’s backs, forever spying this way and that and behind. And occasionally the light crackle of the quick burst as an enemy is spied and popped.
And then my turn. It seems no more than a pile of rubble to my front, but I hear the unmistakable sound of movement behind. With a roll, I traverse the gap between one wall and another, coming to my feet with my weapon prone. Just a few metres more and I’ll be round and ready to fire. And instinctively, so instinctively I move, see flesh and fire ….
… and cry.
The mother and child look so peaceful in their eternal, bloodied sleep.

Three – The Big Battalions

When you’re laid out on a night, trying to sleep, a pebbly ground for a mattress and a hard rock for a pillow, you tend to think a lot. It helps to forget the cold, forget the things you may be called upon to do tomorrow.
Being a special forces soldier can be no joke; the body is battered and the mind is scarred – scarred by what it sees, and scarred by what it doesn’t; by the demons that trouble you on nights like these.
The other night I remember God coming into my mind. Oh, it wasn’t a religious experience or anything like that. I didn’t go all Bible-bashing, or see angels, or feel some ecstatic delight. No, it was simply a question: who’s side, I asked myself, would he be on in this campaign?
Politicians of both sides claim to have God on their side.
It always was the case. Ever since our ancestors created gods of war to bolster morale and induce a rampant fanaticism, gods have been used to justify what we soldiers do. But none of it is really God. No, it’s just us, using God as an excuse. And I suppose if God really does exist, he’s on neither side. Rather, he’s above it all, crying.
At least, that’s what I decided. And the following day I was to have proof that God was nowhere around – or so I thought. For the next day was perhaps the most bloody battle I ever witnessed …

Sas Delta

From Towards a New Age


Towards a New Age

Chapter Fifteen
Why Are We Here?

We are well aware of the idea that life constantly evolves. But how far does this process of evolution go? Does it stop at life, or could it be argued that evolution is a property of the cosmos? For instance, if the universe began from a Big Bang, and has constantly changed from this point, does this show the property of evolution? And could a similar argument be laid down for known, and constant, change upon planet Earth?
The fundamental problem with the idea that planet Earth evolves concerns the place of life within the evolutionary process. Does life evolve separate to the planet, or is life – including mankind – part of the process of Earth’s evolutionary mechanism? To accept the latter holds severe problems for science. It not only removes us from the top of the evolutionary tree, but would suggest a form of coordinated intelligence invested in planet Earth which is guiding us along.
There are, infact, many indicators that this is, indeed, the case. One of the absolutes of evolution is the idea that evolution only evolves what is required for survival. There is no surplus. However, the massive explosion in the size of the human brain goes way ahead of our ability to use it. Our brain capacity is far greater than is required by this evolutionary law. Yet if seen as part of an evolving requirement of planet Earth, our brain size could fall into the evolutionary pattern.
French philosopher Henri Bergson would have had no problem with this idea. He believed that nature had an urge to create – a principle he called the ‘elan vital’. Such an urge would be above an individual species, placing all of nature within an evolutionary concept which could easily be seen as part of the evolution of planet Earth. British physicist Peter Russell could have placed our big brain within this format. He theorized upon a growing planetary level of consciousness called the ‘Gaiafield’ – a self-reflective consciousness of all minds, forming a social superorganism. In a way this is similar to psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s idea of a collective unconscious lying under the personal mind. But instead of being a species supermind, Russell would invest the property on a planetary level.
A big stumbling block to such ideas concerns the extent to which consciousness exists in nature. The suggestion is made that consciousness is a fundamental property of, not only nature, but the universe at large – in effect, a higher intelligence exists. Yet quantum mechanics seems to be hinting that such a consciousness may well be out there. For instance, quantum reality is probabilistic. In its natural state, a particle can be said to be in any position possible. An exact reality is only known through observation by intelligence capable of understanding it. Hence, for a reality to exist, it must be ‘created’ through observation. Hence, a form of consciousness must exist for reality to come into existence. And seeing the reality of a physical universe existed before life entered the cosmos, consciousness must be a property of that cosmos.

If such an evolving universal intelligence does exist, then it is fair to say that the investing of consciousness in life is a recent development of consciousness. As such, human consciousness can be seen to be towards the lower level of consciousness. But placed in terms of an evolving cosmos, it can equally be argued that it is our place to evolve into a more universal mind.
Such an idea was proposed by Catholic mystic, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. To him, life evolved towards an Omega Point, or completion. When life had evolved to this point, the Omega Point would move forwards. Hence, we constantly evolve in stages. The Omega Point presently lies at the creation of the ‘noosphere’, which can be described as a planetization of the mind. This would cause ‘noogenesis’, and the creation of a planetary consciousness.
To achieve such a planetary mind, life and the physical characteristics of the planet would have to work in unison. And such an idea was put forward in 1958 by theorist Alfred Redfield, who noted that the chemical composition of the atmosphere and oceans seemed to be biologically controlled. However, it wasn’t until 1979, and the publication of ‘Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth’, that James Lovelock took the idea to its ultimate expression.
Lovelock, a British biologist, formulated the Gaia Hypothesis whilst working on equipment designed to find life on Mars for NASA. Gaia, a survival of the ancient Mother Goddess, was adopted by the ancient Greeks, and was the mother of Zeus, who was allowed to rule only on her consent. Hence, it was the perfect name to give to what in effect became an Earth entity. For to Lovelock, Earth is an overall biosphere organism, where life on Earth makes a contribution to the regulation of the planet. The atmosphere and the biosphere (life) conspire in a form of symbiosis to produce a self-regulatory mechanism which makes life possible, with even the oceans and crust falling into evolutionary line.
The obvious continuation of the Gaia Hypothesis is to argue that planet Earth is conscious, and in seeing itself through our space cameras it has become aware; but of course, there is no way of testing such ideas, for to test a system, it must be tested from outside. And at present, we cannot do this.

In a philosophical sense, we can argue the validity of the hypothesis. Knowledge throughout history has been the product of culture. Within the scope of knowledge we place the hopes and aspirations of the people. This was easily identified within religious knowledge, where knowledge of deities was very much an expression of the social mood. It is not so easy to identify in science, but it is still there, for science is an expression of our belief in our superior intellect.
It does not matter whether planetary consciousness exists or not. What is important is to see if such consciousness can be seen as analogous to our history, our present, and where we see the future as going.
American historian and priest Thomas Berry understood this point. Every culture has to have a spiritual ethic in order to bring people together and make them whole. And this requirement still exists, even in an apparently secular world. And Berry realized that we need, in effect, a ‘New Story’; a form of creation myth for the planet, imbued with meaning and expression. Mythologist Joseph Campbell thought likewise. In an increasingly connected global village, a new planetary mythology would be needed, seeing the world as a whole, and above nations and their cultures. So can such a mythology be constructed to take all these points into account? Perhaps it can.

One vital point of evolution is that every lifeform has evolved the ability to communicate. To what degree of sophistication this goes on we are not sure, but there is now no doubt that purposive communication takes place.
Man also communicates – and without the need for words. We have an instinctual language we can all understand. Fear, love, hunger, happiness and the need for procreation can all be communicated through mannerisms and subliminal means. And the strange thing is, this is the only language we need for survival. The spoken word is surplus to evolution. Complex spoken language seems to be an idiosyncrasy of a species that routinely deals in abstracts which have no intrinsic survival value. Yet, if evolution has any validity, our racial drive to complex communicative skill must have some purpose.
Applying the rules of evolution, it is possible to argue that it is the evolutionary purpose of mankind to consciously understand the purpose and mechanics of communication. And this can certainly be seen in our impulses towards high technology, which is primarily geared towards communicative skills. We are presently, and increasingly, talking to ourselves, other species and the stars. We are, in effect, becoming global chatterboxes. And interestingly, communication causes abstracts, and abstract ideas require increasingly complex information-processing equipment to understand them. And nothing is more complex for this purpose than our evolved big brain. Evolution has given us the most complex information-processing equipment available, suggesting we are evolving ever more complex communicative skills for an evolutionary purpose.
If this process continues, the day is not far away when, through us, the whole planet will speak as a single voice. Indeed, all that stands between us and its realization are the dying dreams of Empire and the violence they engender. Basically, our present technological impulses are leading us to bring the planet together as a single communicative organism with man as its mouthpiece. And in increasing our communicative skills we are also realizing our interdependence with the whole ecology of planet Earth. Basically, the ecological movement is leading us back to symbiosis. Man, nature, and the planet we all inhabit are coming together, and coming together through our custodianship.

Unconsciously this coming together has been gaining ground throughout our recent history. Of course, many would argue that this is wrong. Rather, recent history has been the epitome of violent fragmentation. Even now ethnic and national minorities seem to be striving to return mankind to tribalism. However, could this be part of a process that will inevitably result in planetary consciousness? Just look a little closer at what has been happening.
In the past, despots have risen and imposed themselves upon the world with little or no opposition. Empire builders have still risen in modern history, but are increasingly unlikely to get away with it. As soon as a despot tries to export his despotism outside his own country, free nations are increasingly likely to band together to say no.
This was the reality of the two world wars, of Korea, of the Falklands, and of the original 1990 Gulf War, leading logically to the armed forces as peacekeeper in nations such as Bosnia. This is where an increasing amount of violence within modern warfare has come from – not to conquer, but to liberate – no matter how ill-defined and poorly understood those motives might have been at the time. Certainly there are still problems – we are a long way from being perfect, as Iraq and Afghanistan testify – but the principle is there and gaining ground. Increasingly, and perhaps unconsciously, our species is coming together to uphold individual and group freedoms in the species and in nature in a way not thought of in preceding centuries.
In the future, I suggest, this principle of denying despotism – of whatever kind – the facility to freely operate will grow until despots will be unable to rise to power at all. And in conjunction with a growing ecological consciousness that is teaching us that planet Earth is one and an interdependent life support system, the principle outlined could well be the first indication that we are leaving our barbaric past behind and moving towards a true planetary consciousness. But where will this leave us?

As far as we are aware, we are the only lifeform on planet Earth that has so far attempted communication beyond the planet – but to do so we had to evolve the hard way, learning to understand barbarism and the need for possessions. It was possessions that grounded our advancement in the physical and the material; it was barbarism and fragmentation that eventually led to the impulse to communicate to bring ourselves together again. And the two evolved towards the ‘physical’ need to communicate. And our advancement to the attainment of high technology communicative skills is suddenly the answer to the question posed by philosophers down the centuries – why are we here?
We are here to aid planet Earth in its attempt to become cosmically conscious – and perhaps even more than this. Man has begun to learn the value of ecological cooperation at the same time that his technology has reached the stage of seriously contemplating the idea of space travel. Already systems are on the drawing board that could transport us to the stars. Certainly it would not be travel as seen in Star Trek, but ideas concerning generation starships and the Ramscoop, not to mention the ion drive, take star travel away from science fiction and place it in the realms of scientific possibility – except for one problem. Evolution evolves only what is required. There is no surplus. And it is now becoming apparent to those who envisage star travel that nothing less than the entire resources and cooperation of mankind would be required to turn it into a real possibility.
The coming together of so many factors can be seen as the root of a new mythology for the Space Age, combining the past, present and future into a new meaning and direction for mankind. Ecological awareness, realization of the errors of our barbarism, increasing high technology communicative abilities and the realization of star travel are all coming upon us together, shaping our destiny for the future.
Perhaps we do have purpose after all; and that purpose is to aid planet Earth in becoming a conscious organism and exporting awareness to the stars. And is it not strange that this is only achievable by man coming together in cooperation with each other and nature? Basically, to export ourselves, we can only do it when we come to peace with ourselves. And if this is so, we can look forward to a true new age; and a beautiful, exciting and rewarding future.


Towards a New Age