Christopher was recently in Chicago filming an episode of a new paranormal TV series. You can read all about this experience in a new blog by following this link!
The SpiritChasers were granted an audience with MAX over the weekend, one of the 13 legendary ancient crystal skulls. Thousands of years old and believed to be one of the oldest artifacts ever discovered on earth, this encounter was truly unforgettable. Read all about their experience by clicking the BlogSpot link below!
For your consideration, here is a YouTube clip ( http://youtu.be/nT-vEPKWexg ) from a 1996 movie which has become a guilty pleasure of ours. So many great things going on in this scene, from Jo's obsession, to Bill's confession, to Melissa's impression, all enhanced by Mark Mancina's musical score "Futility". I played this particular track often during a road trip with James to the San Luis Valley a couple years back. We had just met Ed Kramer from Industrial Light & Magic, who had created the computer-generated twisters in the movie, and I was wearing the promotional Twister pin he autographed for me. Sometimes James would make us his "Twister Dinner" ( steak & eggs plus mashed potatoes and gravy ), from the scene in which the storm chasers crash Aunt Meg's.
We had this meal just before our trip, though we weren't looking for tornados, but something equally fascinating. The San Luis Valley is believed by many to be Colorado's primary paranormal hot spot. I had been there many times, always investigating claims of UFO, cryptozoological, spirit activity, even buried treasure. I went there for the first time on my honeymoon and stayed at the Great Sand Dunes Oasis in a little log cabin. Fueled by Christopher O'Brien's books about the strange phenomena reported here, James went as Fox Mulder and I as Dana Scully, the X-Files soundtracks blaring the entire way. On our next visit, after a summer peppered with severe storms and another viewing of Twister, I found that I identified with Jo and James with Bill. We were SpiritChasers, and we met Christopher on this trip, my obsession with this area at an all-time high.
During a UFO skywatch near Zapata Falls, we and our friend Brett stepped away from the group of O'Brien's devotees to have our own experience outside of the collective tribal expectation. I had seen an odd red spark shooting up out the top of a mountain, which others were soon claiming they could see. Were we really seeing this or sharing a collective vision based on the reports of others who witnessed similar phenomena? Always trying to think outside of the norm, I was granted the perception that what we were basically doing was taking. As ghosthunters we are often guilty of this, accessing a scene and taking photos and sound recordings. Though we leave the environment the same way we entered it and leave our blessings and prayers, we have taken so many fantastic peeks behind that infamous veil separating this world from the other.
I felt myself dissolving from the commotion of the skywatchers, from iPhones and GoPros, to a place in which I could enter the "house of spirit". It's an exercise I do before any investigation, exiting from the distractions of the known world and tapping into the spirit, focusing our intention. I observed that we weren't leaving or offering anything in return for this glimpse behind the veil. At other investigations we have smudged the area, brought flowers for spirits who had crossed over, left holy water or gemstones. I felt the same tinge of guilt after attending concerts, where, after being treated to an amazing performance, we dashed to the stage door for pictures and autographs with Erasure, Holy Ghost!, Laurie Anderson. Taking without offering, a severe breach of etiquette for any Native Sioux.
I wondered what in this case I could possibly offer to the great unknown, playing such a tantalizing game of hide and seek with us in the middle of the night. Standing in pitch blackness, I began to notice the sensation of fear descending upon me like a cloud. It was so dark and we were moving so far away from the safety of the group, their warmth and their humor and their noises and the missing out should something drastic happen in the skies above them. Surely there were bears around, creatures foraging for tourist discards. We heard coyotes howling earlier, bouncing off the mountainsides, duplicating their already numerous hungry calls. A collage of images flipped through my mind, from redneck serial killers to aliens to simply the black enveloping darkness of the unknown, a separate entity of its own. I focused hard at the mountain from which hundreds of hovering orbs had been seen by locals. Its silhouette imposing and regal, a true king of mystery. In that "house of spirit", I put forth a request, asking it what it would like from me. It stared down at me through crags and rugged edges and I was certain it replied, "I'll take your fear".
I realized that more than anything in that moment I was clinging to my fear the tightest, so perhaps it's what this imagined mountain king thought my most cherished, valuable possession. I held tightly to the fear of getting lost, of being eaten, killed or simply plucked from something out of the sky to be mutilated like the cows frequently found bloodless and missing organs in this area since the 70's. How could I offer my fear, to project it, walk through it, release it? I would have to approach this king with this intense feeling of dread, and by the time I was close enough to touch its jagged face I would be expected to let go of all I clung to, all the feeling the noises in the inky dark were intensifying. I was not to expect or ask for anything in return. No paranormal fireworks, no ghostly orbs, no infrared pictures of the otherworldly. I was to give.
The path that James, Brett and I were on ended a half-mile away at the base of a 25-foot waterfall. No one knew we had slipped away and no one knew where we were going. My Spidey-senses tingled at the danger of such an excursion but my companions knew to trust my intuition and agreed to join me. Brett lit the way for us and with each worrisome step into the unknown I reflected on possible scenarios should we encounter something much bigger and hungrier than us. Wind howled, gravel crunched, branches snapped, leaves rustled and odd animal calls were all made by things we couldn't see as we made our way to the end of the path.
By the time we reached the river, the only way to the end was to wade in the icy waters, climb a slippery rock shelf and follow a cavernous route which very much resembled the Canyon Of The Crescent Moon from Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade. There would be no lost temple of Petra at the end of this route, only a deafening waterfall, an angry giant which bellowed louder and louder the closer we approached. Brett was forced to hold back, unable to negotiate such an aggressive torrent. He waited by the water's edge as James and I continued onward, the beam from his flashlight quickly lost around a bend.
Bats clung to the rocks above us as we passed through the layers of mist shed by the falls. The roar of the waterfall was tremendous and it was scary only being able to hear it, to feel its concussiveness, our feeble light unable to illuminate any of its magnificent, fearsome glory. We had gone where I promised we would go, and in the presence of such a powerful force of nature, we could only kneel in a state of surrender to a larger power. Sheets of invisible water cascaded around us like the gigantic robes of the rock king, the rocks cutting into our knees, and I had never felt so tiny, so without kinetics, so without influence.
I was expected now to offer up the fear I had been carrying. The water was so cleansing after such an arduous hike, so purifying. I let its moving walls claim my uncertainty and doubt, my worrisome, pessimistic nature, all of my taking and self-sabotage. Waves of moisture and exhilaration moved about me as the thunder of the falls vibrated at my feet like a giant engine of respect and humility. I realized then that I was smiling. Half a mile away I had thought of the scariest thing I could do in that moment to prove my devotion, my worthiness, and now James and I stood under the rumbling conclusion of an invisible giant. To enter the unknown is to enter fear, and fear a primal raft to the other side.
James and I looked at each other triumphantly, breathless and wet, both understanding what the greater and ultimate meaning of a spontaneous, spooky night hike proved to ourselves and to that which observes us while we are observing it. As we walked back through the crescent cavern, the dark mouth that had swallowed our small forms, I was no longer able to distinguish the roaring and rumbling I felt outside from the pyroclastic feeling of empowerment I felt inside. Although it was still pitch black I felt completely luminous, as if we had discovered a new way of seeing, an intuitive echolocation mirrored by the bats which swooped above us.
Stepping off the last rock ledge, Brett's flashlight beam once again visible, I held onto the side of the mountain for support, leaving my hand on its cold edge for as long as I could, transmitting my gratitude, my water for its water. The following day we sat down near the Oasis for a private discussion with Christopher O'Brien, trading secrets like baseball cards, finding out about other places we might visit for more of the baffling and the bizarre. I knew that wherever we went next, we could use a new sight because we had earned it, because we were willing.
There are invisible acts of power you engage in when you think no one is watching. Whether you give something when no one is looking, say something to someone when you think no one else can hear, or stealthily lift something you have claimed as your own, there is in fact an observance taking place. You might call it God, we might call it the Creator, some have simply understood it as the Great Unknown. We engaged in something no one saw, into the realm of the unseen, an offering for Pele at the rim of Kilauea. I always remember this night, during investigations where I am stepping into the darkness alone and find that I am generating my own light. I think of a great night king I once visited whenever I enter the "house of spirit" and look at what I am clinging to the most, hoping for an audience with more staggering glory, reminding myself that I am not here to take. I am here to kneel.
Thank you for reading.
Christopher Allen Brewer, February 2015
Disclaimer: Everyone follows their own truth. The following is one of mine. A thought form is free to hold in your system, to ponder, to analyze, but if something doesn't resonate with you, simply don't invest in it. There are hundreds of ways one might go about doing something, and this is just one of the ways I go about doing mine. Also, for those in the paranormal field, regardless of how “new-agey” the practice of space-clearing sounds to the rational and the practical-minded, smudging is something that has been done by several different cultures in several different forms throughout history. Loathe as many might be to admit it, ghosthunting is indeed the study of energetics. Debunk the phenomena however you wish, but remain conscious of why and how you are doing so. The act of debunking paranormal phenomena has steadily increased throughout the years, ever since a celebrity ghosthunting team decided they needed a little extra attention and stated that orbs were “trash”. Thousands of followers quickly jumped on the bandwagon, storming into local haunts looking to erase any trace of the esoteric and otherworldly.
This is nothing new, as many 19th century mediums were found to engage in fraud during the peak of spiritualism in that age, with all manner of false table-tipping, old-school photoshopping and “ectoplasmic” paper-mache creations. In our present age, a similar peak was reached years ago, though thanks to reality television and movie studios, new generations continue to question myths modern and ancient again and again. The application of discernment is indeed necessary during any “investigation”. Potential clients want to know you’re not going to jump at shadows. They’ll you want your team to bring some air of professionalism and they’ll want to know you can identify a particle of dust or camera strap too close to your GoPro lens. Debunking can make an instant scientist out of anyone, and people do like to feel smart, though the simple act of debunking does not make a team professional. There is a fine line when coming from the age of reason and “taming the natural world”, to simply sterilizing an event of the potentially miraculous, or taking a wondrous experience away from another. You can remain a logical and shrewd investigator, but due to the energetic and spiritual nature of the paranormal field, you obviously have to be open to new parameters of our experience as humans on this plane. As scientists continue to unravel more and more of the mysteries surrounding this and external dimensions, we will continue to remain grateful for the great mystery itself, and all of the many adventures it has offered us.
Creating sacred space is simple. All truth is simple. The act of “smudging”, cleansing yourself, others, inanimate objects and your environment of unwanted energy is something that should be practiced with regularity. I am an Oglala Sioux, born in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, so my exposure to this form of energy clearing happened at a very young age. We believed everything contained a spirit, from the rocks to the wind to the water, to fire, so to us in a way, everything could be considered haunted. We burned sage, cedar and sweetgrass before any ritual, setting the space for good spirits and ancestors to join us from their plane. We smudged to remove “bad medicine” during times of illness, to bring ones body back into balance. For us, the spirit world and the astral world of our dreams lied very close together, so it was very easy for spirits to cross these planes and communicate with us. To dream of such a dark entity meant that it had crossed over and had indeed paid you a visit. As such, after any nightmare, we would smudge to cast out “bad spirits”.
We smudged during ceremony, where the smoke of our fires and the intention, requests and prayers we put into it were carried up to the Creator. We even smudged after arguments, when pieces of our spirit were violently expelled from our bodies, becoming lodged in the corners of a room. We smudged after any disempowering event. Even something as simple as a sudden sneeze or an unexpected scare, a good startle, was considered losing a piece of our spirit ( it's why many cultures still bless others after a sneeze ). And when you have an environment which remains uncleansed, with fragments of psychic energy cluttering the space, growing stagnant, becoming toxic, it's like breathing recycled air. You'll continue to process this energy, these vibrations, back through your energetic system.
If something happens with a high degree of psychic energy to it, such as a fight during the breakup of a relationship, the frequency at which heavy depression resonates, or even the psychic imprint of a death, it will remain stuck in your space and will most likely influence your mood and your thoughtforms. If you're allowing a lot of anger and frustration to build up in your home or office, you will continue to absorb these lower, unhealthy vibrations until, just as you would clean your home with name brand products, you do the same on an energetic level. Just as mold in an old building would have a negative impact on one’s health, an environment harboring a lot of dark energy can lead to illness and depression. You might have already witnessed this in cinema by watching what happened to Jack and Danny in The Shining, both of whom who were very sensitive to the energy of the building they were living in. Although this was a fictional event, there are several fictions regarding the use of sage, incense and oils. I can tell you from a Native background that contrary to popular belief, when burning sage you don't have to burn only sage which has been blessed by a medicine man from a nearby Indian reservation, or by a "Cherokee princess" who owns a white buffalo. These are myths. They make for dramatic conversation, but there are no princesses or princes in our nation. That part of our history has been “Disneyfied”. If you want to make a Native American laugh, claims of a Cherokee princess in ones heritage will often do the trick. You are responsible for your experience. You are responsible for being a channel of light. Trust your importance in this universe and you won’t need to feel someone much “higher” on the spiritual or religious ladder has to bless something for you to make it “work”.
When smudging, you also don't need to create a complicated grid aligning yourself with Jupiter or the Pleiades. You don't need to turn clockwise 12 times while pressing your third eye. You don't need to do the hokey pokey. True, some greater ceremonies require more elaborate steps, but for the simple act of "smudging", I will focus on the basics. And this is one of the reasons why:
I'll often hear something like this at the metaphysical store I manage:
"So, I light this and blow on it, and hold the feather with my right - or left hand, then turn to the west, or is it north, counter-clockwise, 7 times? And I'm fanning the smoke 12 times per room? Or is it 7 times and I chant 12 times?"
What do you think this sorely misinformed person is really generating here? Are they really going to cleanse their space doing this complicated ritual, or are they actually filling their environment with confusion and frustration? Again, the simple truth is that you can hold yourself completely still in an authentic state of grace and be a true channel for light without doing the Macarena. Intention is key and what we believe ( or don’t ) has the greatest power over us.
When preparing to create sacred space in my home, my tools will include sage, cedar, a white candle, a heat-safe bowl or dish, sweetgrass, a bell or rattle, a feather and a quartz crystal. Sage is the main ingredient when smudging, though other cultures have used palo santo wood, Nag Champa, sacred oils and even alcohol. Cedar I use to help with “deep cleaning” when I feel the presence of “bad spirits” or “bad medicine” practiced by another. Both of these I will burn in a bowl or dish I can conveniently set aside here and there when needing my hands for the bell or rattle. I use bells and rattles before, during and after a cleansing to invoke spirit, then to sonically loosen and shatter any unhealthy vibrations which have accumulated about my space. The white candle stands for purity and the light I will be bringing into my domain. Sweetgrass I will burn after I have smudged the rooms, following through with its light, sweet scent to bring positive energies into the home. Many times I have walked into invisible clouds thick with the scent of sweetgrass, or driven through them, knowing full well there was none was growing anywhere nearby, knowing that a sacred figure was present. An eagle feather was passed down to me by my grandfather, and this is what I use to fan the smoke about the rooms, about myself, my roommate, about any object I feel has picked up any negative energy. I have wrapped a quartz crystal around the handle as quartz is for directing energy and intent, for transmitting and transmuting energy.
These are tools, however, which will only work with batteries. I am the battery and my intention, will, my prayers, anything I recite as I walk through my home is what will ultimately transmute the energy. Smudging isn’t simply lighting sage and waving it about. It cannot be done unconsciously. If done in a hurry and without thinking you might have better results burning a newspaper. Try to remain positive, perhaps thinking of a happy memory, holding onto that feeling, casting waves of love from the inside out. Smudging can and is supposed to be a transformative experience, especially for those willing to go within. After all, the Latin name for sage ( salvia ) means to be saved.
I first light the white candle and after ringing the bell, shattering the silence and invoking spirit into my realm, I then call upon the Creator, my ancestors, spirit guides, guardian angels, any friendly beings in spirit who are of the light and wish to help. I call upon their help and guidance and can usually feel another stronger presence in the room. When I know they are there ( and even if I feel unconnected, I trust that every prayer is heard ), I light the sage / cedar and begin fanning the smoke about my body. I imagine white light all about me and ask that any illnesses and imbalances be cast into the light, that I be filled up with light and love for healing and balance. I might put the feather aside for a moment, taking the smoke cupped in both hands and moving it about my body as if it were water, washing any energetic impurities from my system. I might imagine the most sacred, holy place I can, placing my spirit into an Angkor Wat temple, a cave in Mount Shasta, within a circle of stones at Salisbury, a Monastery overlooking Shangri La. I focus on those sacred sites and bring their energy and purity into the present, into my now. When I feel awash with that purity, connected, aligned, centered, I can be a vessel for light, and I begin to do the same for another person or an object. I would do the same for a room, fanning the smoke in every corner, every closet, every cupboard. I voice my intent for my surroundings to be cleansed. This can be said however you feel most comfortable. If you are performing a smudging for others, have confidence in your words and their power, don’t worry about sounding silly. If I am in an area which requires silence, I simply state the blessing in my mind. If not, I can state the following aloud:
”For the highest good, I ask that any negative energy, vibrations, thoughtforms, entities, emotions, spirit parasites, any unhealing or unloving echoes from the past be removed from this space and cast unto the light. I call upon the light of all light, the holy of holies, the greatest love and the most sacred of existence to fill this room with positive energy. I call upon the energies of safety, protection, good luck, abundance, fertility, creativity, movement and miracle, to transform this space into a sacred realm where I, my animals and my guests may exist in happiness and peace.”
I ring the bell a final time and move from room to room, opening the windows and opening the doors to let the smoke out. Of all the tools I use, however, my intuition is still the best of all of them. Should it inform me that a room still feels dense with something uncomfortable, I will continue with the rattle or bell, flooding it with bright white light and being more specific with the prayer I am voicing. I have previously felt instructed to trace sacred symbols on the walls, imagining light pouring from my finger while drawing symbols such as the medicine wheel, a pentagram, pyramid, cross, ankh. I have in the past also imagined creating a grid of light around my home, made up of lines of angelic fire, tracing lines of pure light around my home that no evil can cross, a pyramidal shape focusing the energy upward while receiving blessings of safety and protection like the transmissions from a satellite or cell tower.
After the smoke has aired out, I will burn the sweetgrass in the same way I burned the sage, concentrating on positive energy, positive thoughts and memories, deep love. I end with a statement such as:
“I pour my love and gratitude into the world and I thank those in spirit who have assisted me. So be it, so be it, so be it, thank you.”
I may substitute phrases or requests based on the situation, I may use Sioux words, I may chant or use mystical sounds, anything which conveys respect and recognition of the spirit will have power ( which covers the actual act of smudging, but you may wish to read further for instruction on investment of energy for creating an authentic sacred space within ).
Again, my intuition will inform me whether or not I have been successful, whether or not the negative energy has come from the environment or generated by myself. Intuition is not something only gifted sages are allowed to use. It is simply one of the senses we were born with, though as important as it is, we often use it the least. Why? Intuition sends us uncomfortable impressions and signals, or uses that nagging little voice that tells us we are unhappy with our mate and should move on, but we are too fearful to go it alone. It’s the little voice that reminds us how unhappy we are with our job and how unappreciated we are there. It’s the voice which tells us there is no more in our particular state to offer us and we must move on. Who has time for that? Many of us constantly shut out that voice and symbolically stick our heads in the sand, thinking ignorance is bliss and we don’t have to be responsible for our experience, perhaps only God is, so that if something “bad” happens we can remain a victim and bask in all the attention that gives us. And then we reprimand ourselves with the smallest examples when shouting, “I KNEW I should have turned left!” Or, “I KNEW I should have brought that with me!”
The next time you have some solitude, look in your wallet or your purse. You can identify each of those contents. Then, close your eyes, take a moment, and do an energetic inventory of your spirit. That means you pay attention to any emotions you begin to process and trace it back to it's source. Again, it's the best exercise in the morning when you're still detaching from that astral plane, before your rational mind comes in and begins to dominate the conversation.
Do you feel anxiety today? Alright, why? Perhaps your rent is due but there's a conflict with another bill. Peel back another layer. Something to do with finances? Perhaps your mother relentlessly compares your wages to those of your brother in law and even though you have a full life without the yacht you shouldn't be as happy as you are. Or should you be? Thoughts can be like unruly children and unless we discipline ourselves to take control of our minds, we can never truly live in present time where we are most needed. None of us are even truly where – or when – we think we are. Our minds are infatuated with the past, with why you didn’t get that job or why your ‘merch didn’t sell. Your mind may be too tangled in how come your mate left you the way they did or why a business opportunity didn’t pan out. Adversely, you are often too wrapped up in the future. What am I going to feed myself or my family? Did that package arrive today? Is _____ going to call me? Has _____ emailed me? I wonder what my paycheck is going to look like?
We spend so much time in the past or the future that we’re rarely ever in the now where we need to be, where our energy is, where events need us to make them happen. We begin the day with so much life force, so much prana, yet we squander it shooting energetic arrows at past foes and sorrows or future ailments and breakdowns. Were we able to contain our minds and our energy in the present, we would truly have all of the fuel necessary to power a creative project, to meet deadlines with ease, to reach the finish line with gratitude. And should we squander all of the energy we’ve been given, we begin to “borrow” it. We take it from other people until they feel smothered. We become needy, suffocating people with our wants until we lose our friendship with them or our marriage ends. Worse, we take it right out of our cells, like living off of our fat, until illness creeps in and we have no defense. When you take no responsibility for your experience, you will become a perpetual victim. Something will always be someone else’s fault and you will use the misfortunes in your life to garner attention. If someone doesn’t snap to your defense or your misguided cause in an instant, you will brand them the enemy as they will no longer offer a battery to power your campaign.
Unfortunately when operating in such a manner you will not be able to truly grasp anything and your growth will come to a screeching halt. You can plug your tribal energy into a church, Meet Up group or any other organization you feel can give you power and which you may be able to manipulate, but then you will also evolve as slowly as everyone else. Your energy will be plugged into people who have silently agreed to energetically come to your defense in less than a second. When you agree to this tribal situation, your energy also has to pass through each and every person before returning to you. Taking on their energy, their ideas, their beliefs, you will find yourself becoming impressionable. You will stand up for things you don’t necessarily believe in, though you know there is strength in numbers and therefore power, and these people are your “family”. You will be unable to grasp new concepts until they all have. You won’t want to. You will have a new family, a new support system to soothe wounds that in fact will never heal because you honestly enjoy the endorphins they bring with their compassion, those many circuits of electric attention only Facebook and Twitter can bring.
Imagine stepping out of that dynamic and truly creating your own experiences, working hand in hand with the Creator and exploring the true power of thought. We are the battery and thought is the applicator. Had you all of your energy in present time, say, when smudging, you could honestly get by with a piece of paper with the word "sage" written on it. You could get by with nothing at all but your intention. Tools are handy, however, when they're more than studio props, but something we can pour our energy, our batteries, into. A hammer is handy to have if you want to hang a picture. A piece of paper with the word HAMMER written on it probably isn't going to do you much good. But if the nail is something as weightless as a thought, then you won't have much trouble. Until that thought holds more weight. Say, 666 is an unlucky number. “That was my total at 7-11 this morning so the devil must be nearby and is going to make bad things happen to me today”. If you’re giving way to superstition and are unwilling to recognize numerical synchronicities as a part of deep magic then yes, you'll most likely find a way to make “bad things” happen.
If you believe that someone has cursed you, then they have. This is another thing I will hear often, claims of curses coming from those who almost make it sound as if they were simply bored and are now enjoying living within this drama. For others, they simply haven’t any self-worth and in some way feel they deserve to be cursed. Additionally, if you believe you will continually draw in the wrong kind of men or women, then you will. If you believe you're just getting by, no matter what you do, perhaps coming from an impoverished family whose ideas on manifesting wealth were out of balance, then you will most likely continue to live a life where you’re barely making ends meet. We are what we eat. What we put out comes back in energetic ripples. If you're continually a "victim" to repetitive patterns in your life, then life is trying to show you something you need to learn from. If you believe in reincarnation, think about the lifetime after lifetime you've already spent attempting to grasp a simple concept. Are you really going to waste another one grappling with the same simple lesson?
You continue to draw in the same experiences because you haven't completely learned from them. Those people who have caused you harm aren't necessarily "negative", they are your teachers. They don't know it, but they have made a spiritual contract with you before incarnation to lead you to spiritual enlightenment. You both did. Enlightenment can come as easily as learning to say no. It can mean allowing someone else to do the heavy lifting if you find yourself spiritually bankrupt, having supported so many people and never directing that nurturing energy toward yourself. It can be letting go of a disempowering figure in your life because the energetic exchange you share with them is too toxic. It can be as easy as discontinuing the gossip you keep finding yourself involved with at work and instead start praying for those who are going through a difficult time.
Thought forms are very powerful, the mind is capable of so much more than we may ever know in our present incarnation and there were those in some races and cultures who were very adept at utilizing its power. Yogis, for instance, who could levitate three feet off the ground during meditation, who were “astralnauts”, able to visit other planetary bodies during their sleep and accurately report the atmospheric conditions of those planets. Tibetan masters who knew how to manifest a thought form into a being with a short life span, a tulpa. Padre Pio, a saint who was well known to bilocate, administering to the sick and the poor from his room. And yet with all of this largely unrealized power we have such a tremendous knack for pouring it into the useless or the negative. Just think of the power we give to our illnesses, the way we wear them almost like badges. Hello, my name is “INSERT DISORDER HERE”. People almost define themselves by the illnesses they carry, showing them off almost like tattoos or piercings, hauling them out during small talk with total strangers. Think of what a physical wound would look like if gone unhealed for such an amount of time. It would fester, would develop gangrene, would require the amputation or removal of said part.
And yet day after day, year after year, we carry this dead weight, never really thinking about what it means to take responsibility for a dis-ease, one of the many teachers in our lives. We lug around the pain of a break-up or divorce from 10 years ago, the way we allowed ourselves to be mistreated at a job we held for 20 years, the fact that we can’t express our true selves to family members or friends. Certainly there are chemical and mental imbalances we have been born into, things we have inherited, allergies and intolerances we cannot help, things we feel we have no control over whatsoever. Say we have suffered some abuse when we were young and forming our ideas about healthy relationships. From that point forward, every day when we first wake up, we will be transmitting negative thoughts about such an experience toward our teachers, psychically reminding any guilty parties that we are mad at them and they will not be forgiven. What do you think the energetic returns will be for such an investment? When we continue to plug into something toxic day after day, the outcome will lead to the development of an illness within our own bodies. We might choose to forgive, to release, to challenge oneself to help others through the same experiences, but we simply don’t operate that way. Our way says, “I'm sick, give me a pill, or a shot, and heal me. I'm hungry, take me through the drive through and feed me. I want something NOW so I shouldn't have to do anything more than click a few boxes or press a few buttons until I have it. This is not taking responsibility for your reality.
So, what is spirituality to you? To dispel some misinformation, spirituality is not about comfort. It's not incense and Enya, or a Nag Champa-scented something you put on your nightstand to do your healing for you. It is not Home & Garden for the soul. It’s not the sparkling amethyst choker you’re flaunting or the henna artwork. Take all the mudbaths and light all the candles you want, but know you’re simply setting the mood. The real work comes when you find yourself, a friend or a stranger in a crisis and whether or not you are approaching that situation with dignity and compassion. Creating a sacred space has to go beyond houseware to have any effect.
Spirituality is also not about ever having to be inconvenienced again. In fact, when you are asking your creator for help adhering to a more spiritual life, you will no doubt be inconvenienced an extraordinary amount of times. This happens because we need challenges in order to express what we have been taught. We need all of our buttons pressed in the deepest, most annoying ways in order to show ourselves and our author where we are at on the spiritual scale. Many would consider themselves “highly spiritual”, though this may in fact only be so up until someone cuts them off in traffic, until they’re made to wait in line, until even a vending machine refuses their bill, then they resort to the most primitive and entertaining fits seen outside of zoos and playpens. It's baffling how everyone wants and needs to be and come FIRST, whether in traffic, in a department store, in a restaurant. And it’s highly upsetting to come across so much of this entitlement from people who should know better, who should be expressing the true spiritual virtues of patience, compassion and above all humility, but it’s much easier to imagine these qualities can be found in a charm and will simply rub off on you if placed in your pocket or your purse. Again, it’s a matter of wanting an external source to do your work for you. Spirituality has to transcend the need to have everything "just so", and to move beyond stomping our feet and having a spiritual temper tantrum when it isn't.
Some people will point their fingers at another’s behavior because it draws attention away from their own disempowering choices they are making. Say one goes to church every Sunday as a devout Christian but spend the rest of the week gossiping and treating people just as bad. It’s ok, they might think, my God is a forgiving God and my soul is saved. I’ll go back next Sunday and sort it all out then with prayers, praises and donations. And then by Tuesday they will have managed to once again alienate their co-workers or cut a family member to pieces. Do you think they are really learning something there? Just as bad are others who seek spiritual alternatives to religion, who know better, guilty of judging the actions of said churchgoers yet expecting to be treated like divas, as if respect is not a reciprocative act. We are spiritual beings having a human experience and if we can’t even make it out of a post office without initiating a little grace, then we can’t expect to reach any “higher states”, no matter what our mantra that evening, no matter how much we spent on a particular crystal, no matter how we change our diet.
Your recognition of the “good” or the “bad” is built in. Act with grace and trust your intuition. When praying for a solution to a problem, most times we will receive our answer immediately, but we will doubt it, we will run it through our tribe and then discard it. I often find that the best time to grasp a solution, idea or way is just after I have woken up and left the astral realm. In this state I am still closest to the spirit and the ethereal, way before I have had my caffeine, turned pessimistic about the day and have begun doubting my abilities and fortune. I emerge from my dreamtime like a child, still full of wonder and precious possibility and I hold onto that feeling for as long as I can before anything or anyone can take it away.
How often do you find yourself in the morning doubting a certain hairdo or something in your wardrobe because of what your coworkers, family or friends might think? You are energetically tied in to these people. And even if you're not in the same room with them, or the same time zone, you are still engaged in an energetic form of communication with them constantly. Whether you're blessing them, or jealous of the summer selfies they keep posting from overseas, whether they betrayed you once and you have to keep reminding yourself of that, our thought forms can grow as toxic as anything else our bodies can expel.
Again, because we are energetically linked to others in our tribe, in our country, around the globe, we will frequently take on their thought forms as well. Thoughts which we might not necessarily believe, but are a popular trend nonetheless, so, when in Rome... It's how we act on these thoughts that make a difference. You are what you eat. You reap what you sow. Whatever you put out, comes back. We have a responsibility to ourselves and the world to remain positive.
One of my favorite observers of the human condition, performance artist Laurie Anderson, talks about a book called the Gospel Of Germs in one of her recordings. This is the story of how germs were first discovered in the early 20th century and how a big campaign was launched to convince people that they actually existed, that there were these tiny invisible animals that could kill you. In most parts of the world, France, Italy and China, the campaign was a complete failure. But, it really caught on in the United States, where people said, “tiny invisible things that can kill you? I don’t see why not!” After all, it’s a place that already believes in a lot of invisible things, and yet that which is invisible will paradoxically always have more power than the visible. I thought of that while watching Interstellar recently, pondering concepts such as love and gravity traversing and transcending time and space. When faced with the echoes of people, of ancestors, from long ago, in places old and in need of a good smudging, I think of such transcendence while stepping on invisible chords of time. I bless these people for whom they were, pray that they completed their journey back to the light, and express gratitude that I may know more because of the knowledge they continue to push forward through the ages.
I have followed the observances of Caroline Myss, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Shirley Maclaine and others who have explored energy, archetype, spirit, healing and synchronicity. I thank and honor these authors as well as the sages, elders and ancestors who have influenced my journey throughout my life experience in this and other vehicles.
Thank you for reading.
Christopher Allen Brewer, January, 2015
Goofing off at the Spirit Halloween Store with James the other day I was a little disappointed to find such a fascination with gore. As someone who enjoys exploring his own boundaries of fear, I love horror stories and movies, including gore, when it serves the story. Picking up a little doll, however, one that could animatronically sew its own mouth shut, I was a little confused as to what exactly Halloween meant to people in this age, and what children were taking away from it. I felt sorry for them, for the Halloweens I knew were full of mystery, wonder and deep awe. I vividly remember those I celebrated in my youth, where I ran through the artificial "haunted houses" our local radio stations were sponsoring, laughing, screaming, finding my way in the dim lighting, looking for the source of a particular feeling that came every October without fail. As leaves began turning the colors of autumn, gently showering me as I walked the tree-lined streets of historical districts, I could feel the ages pass beneath my feet in the crisp air, knowing very well that I shared the same path with others who were still walking, unseen, in the dimension of spirit.
It made me think of, and question, the great resource of the esoteric and occult literature available to me during my years in elementary school. I find it amazing and humorous that an elementary school library would have featured such books when you think of the overabundance of the "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!" busybodies in our day and age flipping out over everything, so apt to censor, to omit, to burn, to sterilize in our modern anti-bacterial world.
When I was little, children could still go trick-or-treating, unsupervised and at night. There were no razor blades in apples or poisoned candy ( an urban legend which gained momentum in the 80's,
only three cases of poisoned candy have ever been reported, all perpetrated by individuals within the same family ). The books I was reading during this time had been placed there for a reason, shaping me to question and investigate life and death, all of the psychospiritual which borders our human condition. I was learning all about the paranormal events which transpired somewhere
on our planet every day. I gravitated toward these books instantly, voraciously, more curious than
frightened, overstimulated with the exciting possibility that such unexplained phenomena could happen to me.
After all, the first house I'd ever lived in was an old Victorian home where a woman had hung herself in the closet of the room I slept in. My mother would hear her crying late at night, the feet of the woman visible under the doorway, blue and luminous. A heavy cellar door had slammed shut by itself on me there, catching one of my fingers, scarring and forever branding me with an awareness and interest in the great unknown. I looked forward to each of my school's book fairs with great anticipation, wondering what new book of ghost stories or tomes of the unexplained would be available. The tale of Bloody Mary was making the rounds at my school then, our version
featuring the ghost of a desperate woman whose only child had drowned. Students were continually being dared the following:
1. Go into the school bathroom alone and stand before the mirror.
2. After the person keeping watch has turned off the lights, begin turning around counter-clockwise while repeating, "BLOODY MARY, I GOT YOUR BABY", a total of thirteen times.
3. Open your eyes.
The apparition of this woman was then supposed to materialize within the mirror, snatching out at you for the child you claimed to have. I always got a chuckle out of hearing the terrified screams and stomping feet down the hallways around Halloween, knowing someone had just invoked and
allegedly seen Bloody Mary.
Even before then, I can remember visiting the mall with my mother, shopping for a witch costume and looking wide-eyed over the assortment of nightmare figures displayed in shop windows. From down a strobe-lit hallway, other disturbing figures invited me toward a haunted house that was being put on, one in which I saw people enter, but never come out. I could hear shrieks of terror and pain, sounds of thunder and howling wind, creaking trees and doors, ghostly moaning and the rattle of chains. I hid behind my mother, even after she explained to me that it was all fake. I couldn't comprehend how anyone could enjoy such a bizarre and clearly horrifying form of entertainment. The figures continued leering at me near a faux wooden castle door under which an occasional plume of sweet-smelling fog escaped. It looked like the doorway to hell, and I didn't understand how my mother thought I would find being scared to death any fun.
We exited the mall, stepping into the parking lot, kicking through mounds of dry leaves and marveling over the fall colors. Sitting in the backseat while my mother crossed items off her shopping list, I turned my head to investigate a sudden commotion I heard happening near one of the building's side entrances. A small group of people I recognized burst from the doorway, laughing, holding their chests, turning to look back at the ghouls who had just chased them out of the haunted house's exit. I understood then, smiling at the people excitedly giggling, animatedly
recapping the frightening adventure they had just shared. They looked alright, quite exhilarated in fact, and I longed to go with them, to stand among the brave individuals who dared to tread the dark places that no one else would.
This was a time of perceptible magic, an energy tangible and intoxicating. There were the
Halloween parties thrown for neighborhood children, at school and in the homes of friends, school projects which left the smells of construction paper and Elmer's glue, the black and orange, the archaic symbols, the death masks and jack o' lanterns grinning from beyond. There were giant harvest moons, deep orange as they climbed the twilight sky, prompting a storytelling which ran late and vivid into the night, the passing of legends spoken in tones hushed and intent. This was an ideal time when I could find out about my own family's history with the paranormal, when busy adults could be persuaded to speak about the ghosts they had seen or heard. Menacing shadows would play about the walls while candles flickered in autumn drafts, and the slightest noise from another room was most definitely caused by the spirit who was being discussed and votes would be taken on who would have to go into the room and investigate.
Children ran through the streets during a night in which the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its thinnest. I ran with them, hollering, laughing, tearing through front lawns
recreated as graveyards in cheap vinyl costumes and plastic masks cool on my face. Returning home, pawing through our sugary loot while Linus was still waiting for the Great Pumpkin on
television, I would think of the possibility of such a being, presiding over dark nightmare landscapes, a pumpkin king who could be invoked and reward the brave with secrets. So much of our perception was tainted, clouded by fear. Was it possible one could learn to walk in darkness with detachment, adapting a night vision not manipulated by emotion? And what of these ghosts? What were they? What did they want? Were they really stuck in some limbo? Were they really trying to communicate with the living? I thought of the legend of the Jack 'O Lantern, a man who at one time walked the earth just as I did. He met the devil one night and was able to trick him up into a tree. When he died, he was refused admission into heaven due to his many sins. At the gates of hell, the devil recognized him and did not allow him to enter either, but threw two fiery coals at him which stuck to his eyes, forever banished to roam a netherworld between light and dark, laughing with madness.
As I matured, I was taken by the same odd pull every Halloween. I would have dreams of
attempting to scramble up a wet hill I could never entirely climb, only catching quick glimpses of a luminous and festive Halloween carnival in process at the top of the mound. There was an old castle not far from my house, upon whose cemetery grounds grew a tree a man had been unjustly hung in long ago. The shadow of the hanged man was supposed to be visible every Halloween,
never appearing for me as I waited like Linus all through the night, listening to Saint Saens Danse Macabe on the radio, peering through skeleton trees at the harvest moon, projecting my consciousness out into the night and all its mysterious places, hoping true magic could still be found on this earth. On November 1st, I'd always wake up depressed, feeling the energy had dissipated, the great carnival had left town and I had missed my one yearly chance to catch up with it.
Down the hill from my house was a daycare above a small lake. During the month of October
the lake sat black and still in the night, the moon but a small luminous coin resting on its surface. The daycare was reportedly haunted by one or more children who had attended it, revisiting its rooms and playground even in death. My cousin was a teacher there, and would frequently fill me in on all the latest ghostly gossip. A child had been heard laughing when none were there, toys would roll out of the gymnasium of their own accord, kids would claim to see other children invisible to everyone else and footsteps could be heard upstairs when none were present. By that time, my ghoshunting skills had been refined over the years by the books I continued reading, gleaming techniques from Ed and Lorraine Warren, a husband-and-wife ghosthunting team who
had visited haunts all over the world. My cousin used to live, as had all of our family, in a house infested with spirits. Most of the activity took place in the back of the home, in the kitchen, dining room and utility room. There was a particular closet in a back room I had hidden myself in during a game of hide-and-seek once. As I parted the coats and made my way inside, it seemed like the closet was larger than I remembered, and I felt my way through to the back as if it were a Narnian wardrobe. Reaching out with my right hand, my fingers closed around something cold and soft. I moved my hand down its length, suddenly realizing it was an arm, and felt an old wrinkled elbow. Exploding from the closet, screaming in fear, I vowed never to enter that room alone again, and yet whenever I spent the night, I always slept on the couch near the dining room, listening and watching for any signs of activity.
The dining table chairs were always being moved about, as was anything left on the tabletop.
Lights went on and off by themselves, lawn chairs were arranged in a circle, and invisible pebbles were thrown at the windows in the back of the house, their indentations in the soft ground below the only evidence that something strange was occurring. One night I sprinkled a fine coat of flour about the dining room and kitchen, and left a sound-activated voice recorder under the dining table. The next morning, I awoke to find that the chairs and the items on the table had been moved without any trace of footprints. Playing the tape back, I could hear the objects moving, the sounds of breathing, and the chiming of a grandfather clock my cousin did not own. One afternoon at the house, well before the age of cellphones, as my mother spoke with an aunt over the phone in the
kitchen, she was shocked to find that same aunt walking up the sidewalk to the front door. She never entered, as she was still miles away in her own house, talking with my mother on her phone.
As Native Americans, all of us in our family were from a very early age instilled with a belief in a spirit domain, knowing full well that contact to and from our worlds was possible. Still, I needed to know more. What were they trying to say to us? Where do we go afterward? And so I joined my cousin one evening after the daycare had closed. I poked around the rooms, my intuition set at ten, asking the spirits of the place to reveal themselves to us. Nothing was happening, and we decided to take a break in the galley. We were just about to leave when I thought that perhaps it needed to be dark, so we turned off all the lights. Instantly, heavy footsteps were heard from upstairs, footsteps and a heavy scraping that followed us wherever we walked on the lower floor.
This same cousin joined me on opening night when the Blair Witch Project premiered at
a Denver theatre, as a new resurgence and love affair with the unknown took hold. We'd been to many fake but fun haunted houses together, including the haunted mansion rides that were
always featured at those carnivals they set up in parking lots in the summer. We traded books on ghost stories back and forth, rented horror movies we only ended up laughing at, and went to the same Halloween parties thrown by other family members every year. A year ago we took one of
our best stories and were flown to California to film an episode for a Biography Channel paranormal television program. As adults we continue to share the real-life ghost stories we have lived through and sometimes have new ones to tell. We can thank my mother for our appreciation of this holiday, who always threw the best parties and always told the scariest stories. She’d have
little boxes set up with holes in them for us to put our hands through. Inside she’d have things like cold spaghetti, or peeled grapes serving as intestines or eyeballs, while a haunted house record was playing in the background. It was an innocent, spooky sort of fun I don’t see much in our world today.
Do we look forward to this time of year as it marks the "season of rest" after a busy, mind-numbing year? Do we look forward to the thinning of the veil, hoping it can bring us closer to those dear to us who have crossed over? Are we simply satisfied that, for one time in the year, we can dress however we like, appear as whomever we wish, in a society so full of regulations and labels?
I attended a spiritual weekend retreat in the Colorado mountains a few years back. At night, we would sit around the campfire, drumming, passing around my didgeridoo, talking long into the night. Eventually, as the moon turned the shadows of trees into ominous figures, we got around to sharing ghost stories. One guy spoke about growing up in a mountainous area without electricity or running water. Sometimes at night, when fetching water, there was a certain presence, an evil in the woods that would send the hairs on the back of his neck up like the tail of a frightened cat.
I'd read about these places before, author John Keel wrote of a place which lied in a "zone of fear", a frightening area where an almost tangible aura of dread could be felt. Even in the year 2007, there are still many shadowy places in our world that are rich with energies dark and foreboding. At the retreat, I was also told about a nearby city in the four-corners area where skinwalkers had been reported, evil shapeshifters from Native American lore as well as many other cultures. In the same urban legend as the homicidal man with the hook lurking at a make-out spot, a couple's car breaks
down at night in an area known as Blue Hill. The male goes off to find assistance while his girlfriend waits in the car. He never returns, and in the morning when a policeman arrives, he escorts the young lady into his car, instructing her not to look back. When she does, she is horrified to find the skin of her boyfriend hanging from a nearby tree. The man who shared this story with me swears it to be true, saying that documentation of this incident can be found in the city's records.
In the same "I swear to God it's true!" vein, I'll share one final story with you, just as it was related to me. The sister of a fellow acquaintance of mine is in Colorado applying for a job with our wildlife division. The position she is applying for requires her to spend three months living alone in a cabin deep in the forest, monitoring tagged animals, checking lightning strikes for possible fires, and so on. During her three-month probationary period, she finds that she enjoys the isolation and the freedom she feels living with and as one with all of nature. In her spare time, she begins taking scenic photographs of the area and its animals. Before she knows it, her time is up and she returns to civilization while her performance is under review. One of the first things she does upon returning is to take her film to be developed. Later, as she walks through the parking lot going through her photographs, she has a complete mental breakdown.
Paramedics are called and she is taken to a nearby hospital. An ER technician collects her purse and the photos from the scene, which are then delivered to the woman’s brother, the very same man who recounted this story to me, as he sits in the hospital’s waiting area. He goes through the photographs, looking for anything that might have brought on his sister's attack. There are pictures of mountain sunsets, of full moons, grazing animals, flowers and insects. When he comes to the thirteenth photograph, however, it becomes apparent to him why his sister suffered the emotional trauma she did. The thirteenth photo is one of his sister, asleep on the bed of her cabin.
Hoping you find the answers you seek this season, Happy Haunting!
- Christopher Allen Brewer, October 2013
Near the entrance to my home hangs an odd bit of taxidermy. What appears to be some
sort of mutated turtle with a spiked tail climbs the wall under a framed box label for the Cortical Systematics line of Micro Pods. The Micro Pods are of course the latest organic game consoles on the market, which attach directly to the players spinal Bio Port, for the most immersive and intense form of virtual reality gaming known to man. The turtle husk was procured from a Trout Farm, whereby its organs were harvested to grow more Game Pods. Have you played?
These artifacts are of course authentic movie props from the brilliant 1999 David Cronenberg film eXistenZ, featuring Jude Law and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Have you seen it? The props were procured on eBay after my umpteenth viewing. The soundtrack, composed by Howard Shore, remains on heavy rotation throughout my playlists, all these years after its release. Like most of Cronenberg’s films, eXistenZ also touched a nerve in a very disturbing manner, coiling around my subconscious and tickling at different archetypes, as one would unconsciously poke at a wound to process the different layers of sensation.
In the movie, successful game designer Allegra Geller ( Leigh ) has just released the latest virtual reality product from Antenna Research, a game called eXistenZ. At a seminar, she is shot and escorted to safety by security guard Ted Pikul ( Law ). As her organic Game Pod took a hit during the attack, she must plug in with Pikul to ascertain whether or not the game was permanently damaged. Inside the game, they find their behavior patterns altered by their characters, and when they come across new Micro Pods to plug into their reality becomes even more distorted. As they are hunted by rival game company Cortical Systematics and their double agents, as well as terrorists from a realist resistance faction who believe these games are responsible for the total deforming of reality, they begin to lose their grasp on what is part of the game and what is actually occurring.
As a gamer I was understandably delighted by this innovative film, and hearing Robin Thicke crooning about “Blurred Lines” all summer made me think about my own experiences with the utter
distortion of reality. Back in the early 80’s, I was among the many gamers forced by concerned mothers to hand over their Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games after several players became
obsessed with their characters. Such was the extent of this hysteria that a slew of generic novels were published about the dangers inherent in this method of gaming, as well as the release of a laughable made-for-TV movie starring a young Tom Hanks. I recently finished one of those novels, Rona Jaffee’s “Mazes & Monsters”, and rewatched the CBS movie on which her bestseller was based ( it still remains one of my guilty favorites ).
In that story, Robbie Wheeling ( Hanks ) completely surrenders to his character, the Holy Man Pardieu. He is no longer able to distinguish the game world from his real one after a night of
role-playing in the Pequod Caverns ( and having once lived down the street from one of the former entrances to Cave Of The Winds, I can’t say I didn’t find this method of game play appealing ).
Robbie’s friends eventually come to his rescue when his imagined quest takes him to “The Two Towers” ( in reality the World Trade Center ), after stabbing a man he mistook for a “Gorvil”.
His friends come to visit after Robbie has healed from this traumatic ordeal and are stunned to find that he still believes he is Pardieu, ready for his next adventure. They play the game one last time until the sun begins to set and all the monsters are dead.
The movie was all the more poignant as it was based on a true story, and I often thought of the kid who disappeared while I watched the Dungeons & Dragons animated program on Saturday
mornings. How could someone forget who he was? And yet there have been many times where I’ve also forgotten who I was and what purpose I served. I knew my name and my history, but my identity would become foreign, my clothes dated, as would my hairstyle, peering into a stranger’s eyes in the mirror, nothing more than a cog, a drone. This still happens sometimes, working 9-hour days, Monday through Friday, my mind so absorbed in work and my tasks that I begin to feel insectoid, part of a collective, a character just doing his bit to keep the great wheels turning and nothing more, until my days off, when I wake up and realize I can do anything I want, and I have been asleep far too long.
In eXistenZ, as well as all videogames, virtual characters remain stuck in a game loop until they are interacted with. They might sway ever so slightly, gently bob up and down, pretending to breathe or gesture, enacting pre-programmed routines until prodded, until one approaches them and presses the “TALK” button, their responses another set of pre-programmed answers.
“HAVE YOU FOUND THE KEY?”
“PLEASE, SAY YOU’VE FOUND THE KEY!”
“WHERE IS THE KEY?”
“HAVE YOU FOUND THE KEY?”
You might push them, hit them, shoot them, and after a predictable response they will continue to keep staring dead ahead with blank expressions. I have most likely appeared to others in such a manner, sitting in my car while waiting for a traffic light, staring at the sodium content on a box of frozen food at a grocery, waiting in line at the DMV.
Some of my favorite generic virtual characters to interact with exist in many of the old Nintendo 64 videogames. These characters are obviously far less realistic than those of today, and they often have these funny 2-dimensional faces painted on their polygon heads, their low-tech arm and
leg joints similar to marionettes. The N64 backdrops are always a digitized, pixelated mess when you get too close to a wall, painting or prop, and I fell in love with all its blatant virtuality.
The synthetic skin, the way the characters moved like low-budget stop-motion puppets, all of their humble honesty in the way these poor cousins attempted to mimic humanity. I remember salivating before a monitor when an N64 demo was first released, feeling as if I finally had both feet in the future, and now, with much more sophisticated and advanced consoles at my disposal, I can simply appreciate the camp value. Perhaps I’ll be thinking the same thing further into the future when I have my spine fitted out for a Bio Port and I’m holding the first clammy, squirming,
bio-organic game pod in my hands, ready to plug in and experience a new form of reality. I see this future already being seeded with the current avatars we are shaping in RPGs, in Nintendo’s Miis
, on Xbox Live, on the Playstation Network, on Facebook, every player embracing their virtuality and the freedoms therein in the same way one might embrace a religion.
During one game, I had a couple armed guards escorting me into enemy territory. I had the difficulty setting on “HIGH”, and it took many attempts to break into this futuristic fortress.
I would go to bed at night with the feel of the game controls still in my hands, my thumb moving about phantom buttons, wondering what combination of moves would allow me access to a higher level. The guards, stuck in a loop, bobbed together like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, with their guns poised, waiting for me to act, to break their loop, to open up new sets of pre-programmed
routines. I stood close enough to examine the dull adobe skin of their faces, and I could see where the seams of their faces met their heads like cheap Halloween masks, wondering what was
beneath. How far did their virtual consciousness extend? How much virtual memory did they have? Was there such a thing as virtual souls?
I shoved one of them, his expression unchanging. I shot at him, and listened to him scream in virtual pain, but I was not an enemy, so he did not retaliate. Was he collecting data? What did he think of me pushing him about, messing with him, discharging my laser into his abdomen? I
certainly had no remorse in molesting him, giggling as he hopped backward and let out a comical yelp which no doubt the voice actor giggled over after recording it. I continued studying how he was connected, how he waited for the correct response from me, wondering what kind of a mind was behind that crude faceplate. It began to become absolutely surreal, having interacted with GUARD NUMBER 1 so often, for so many hours, that in my dream that evening I found the
walls of my astral space flooded with generic, virtual, heavily pixelated paint, GUARD NUMBER 1 swaying at my side. He was unable to move until I entered a certain code into a keypad next
to a nearby door. After that, I would have to defeat an enemy, upgrade my weapon and retrieve a key. But in my dream, he stopped doing things for me. I entered several combinations of codes but the door would not open, and I began to fear I might be stuck there myself, in some game loop, unable to breathe in a virtual environment without oxygen.
Fed up, I raised my pistol and fired a bolt of energy into the guard’s stomach. But, instead of screaming while violently jerking backward, then returning to a state of inaction, he slowly
turned his head around, black lines of anger painted over his adobe skin, staring at me with cold hostility. He suddenly configured his hand into a point and shoved it into my mouth as a sharp burst of static electricity filled my chest. I could taste burned plastic and rubber, my throat full of ozone as my moans of pain and horror became digitized to the point of sounding like a Speak
& Spell, watching as my arms, which desperately tried to hold the guard back, began to take on a synthetic, adobe shade.
When I awoke, I immediately looked about the room, focusing on the texture of my bedroom wall to verify its realism. For a few minutes I studied the surface of things, the detail, the minute pockmarks and scratches, the random blemishes. Random…It still appeared to be painted on in the dim light, and I peeked out my window in paranoia, in time to see the mailman coming up the walk. I had seen him deliver our mail so many times, the predictability of his movements, his mannerisms, nearly generic and pre-programmed. I listened to his whistle, now turned sinister, as I pondered how I would know whether or not I was stuck in a highly realistic videogame. Everyone in my neighborhood, everyone in our world, would each contain a set of pre-programmed responses to religion, to war, to territory. What loop did I currently feel stuck in, and what action could be taken to free myself from it? Most people base their concept of reality around what they can see, and touch, when most everything that matters is invisible. Most people would then never really know whether or not they were being held in a kind of Star Trek Holodeck program. Their reality would then be a series of colored force fields shaded just so, featuring enough blemishes and random indentations on surfaces, replicators providing seamless objects, unknown programmers concealing the ultimate reality.
Regardless, gaming remains one of my favorite methods of escapism. Over the years I have taken down countless robots, zombies, supervillains and monsters. I just can’t think of any other way I might find a cool temp job as a rogue sniper off-planet. Through these pixelated paradises I
have been able to wield sleek rocket launchers, force-choke alien bounty hunters, bitch slap demons back to hell and blow enemy warships to smithereens. In missile-heavy pimped-out hovercraft I detailed myself I have been able to clear the streets in my virtual neighborhood of any road ragers who made the mistake of threatening me or following too closely. Don’t we all at one time or another think about how handy intimidating little rockets coming out of our headlights might be when cut off in traffic? How we long to be able to deploy spiked chains or minibombs from the back of our cars, to have submachine guns popping out the sides, to operate hidden
pipes under our vehicle that might spray slippery oil or black fog? And at what point does the fantasy override the reality, as it did for Robbie Wheeling ( in reality James Dallas Egbert III )?
I have a passion for horror movies, for anything scary, really, and most of my favorite videogames are survival-horror. I am able to play them just before bed. I love listening to soundtracks from Poltergeist, The Shining, Silence Of The Lambs and others. I am able to fall asleep to this music. One might think such stimulation might influence my dreams in a negative manner, except I also
love nightmares. As I will write about in an upcoming blog, I was once able to visit the nightmarish township of Silent Hill after playing the videogame for a week straight, surprised as that disturbing virtual world began to interlace with my own. I even found actual buildings I had dreamt about, and knew exactly where the door was which connected my dream world with my waking one.
Still, how can I, with such stimulation, and my own catalog of brutal life experiences, come out of an ultraviolent videogame and have a refreshing nap while others are taking arms and gunning people down?
As a SpiritChaser I often talk about the nature of fear and our responses to it, how it has the incredible power to utterly distort and contaminate our reality and to make us do things. Not simply bounding over tall fences like superheroes when we feel our lives are in danger, but staying with an abusive or uncaring person for years and years, sacrificing our dignity, freedom and happiness because we are too afraid to be alone. I often ask myself uncomfortable questions so that I don’t bat an eye when others do. I can deal with unfortunate situations because they empower me to find creative solutions to them. I don’t mind running through the dark hallways of my dreams being chased by monsters representing different aspects of my psyche for I know that eventually I will turn around and ask, “WTF?”
The escapism I seek is healthy, and necessary, from the tailgaters on the highway, from oblivious consumers who bar me from products with their shopping carts, from a squabbling Congress, from
petty tyrants, from the entitled, the greedy, the insensitive, the cruel. I know they exist to teach me a myriad of things, including patience, and they are simply mirror reflections of the worst of myself. We exaggerate in them what we don’t wish to see in ourselves. Still, when I’m in the game, I have
quite good aim…
In one of performance artist Laurie Anderson’s thrilling segments from “Stories From The Nerve Bible”, she speaks about being detained at an airport during the 90’s with the “Superbowl coverage
of the Gulf War” on every monitor. She talks about the camera-outfitted, precision-perfect guided missiles able to televise the finding of their every target. They had at last made war cosmetically appealing for the MTV era. Now there are a plethora of army recruitment commercials in which eager young pyros are invited to perform battle simulations as easily as they do videogames, then go out and do it “for real”. During U2’s ZOO TV tour, Bono and The Edge were watching television together in their hotel room as a young soldier was being interviewed about the new technologies available to his unit during wartime. Simulations aside, he was asked what it was like to witness and interact with these new precision instruments of destruction, viewing the remote bombings through
electronic night scopes and missile cameras, from monitors in tanks and helicopters.
“It’s so realistic,” he commented.
Later I will find my flesh the color of dull, synthetic adobe, glowing in some apocalyptic firelight, my body gently heaving up and down as I breathe in virtual oxygen, a warm game control vibrating in someone’s hands, and I know that within an hour I will have replaced one reality for another.
Unable to distinguish which is which when I dream of them, my dream yet another version of reality like a Micro Pod inserted directly into my back, I will hear an eerie whistle. My mailman is coming, with a delivery for me. As I enter my waking life to greet him, the mutated turtle remains in suspended animation near my doorway. The mailman will have the same pre-programmed response he always has for me.
There is a man who cowers for his life in eXistenZ, while Allegra and Pikul aim their guns at him, and he desperately asks if they are still in the game. His answer is met with silence, the
silence of doubt, as they are ultimately unsure of the answer. When I hear that whistle down my street I remember what it felt like to game so much that horizons became blurred and my only purpose was to find some key. What’s more disturbing is when I lie down to sleep, the gates of my dream world opening wide to greet me, seamless in the way it transitions from the real world to the astral, and I hear that whistle at night, when there are no mailmen about, and I wonder of the myriad of realities I am stepping in and out of, which one I will awake to.
- Christopher Allen Brewer, October, 2013
“For the highest good, in the name of The Creator, I ask that…”
I held in my hands an abalone shell full of smoldering white sage and cedar. Nearby lay a braid of sweetgrass I would burn afterward. I was participating in a Native American “smudging” ritual, spiritually cleansing myself and my environment of any negative energies that had accumulated since my last ceremony. As a child I had seen this being done in my family on many different occasions for many different reasons. Perhaps someone was ill and the “bad medicine” was being removed from them. Someone may have received an Indian name, been visited by an evil spirit, or was taking part in a vision quest, sundance or powwow. I was very familiar with the smell of burning sage, having been christened Mato Cante ( Oglala Sioux for Bear Heart ) in 1991, and sweetgrass was my most favorite scent on earth. There have been occasions in the evening where I have walked or driven through inexplicable clouds of sweetgrass when I had departed loved ones or spirit guides on my mind, and I’d like to think that meant they were there with me, too.
Waving the smoke about with an eagle feather, the one handed down to me in 1991 from a long
line of powerful, proud males, I thought of a holy place, untouched and untainted by evil, a sacred place I might call out to, whose residents I might call upon. I often thought of Shamballa, Shangri La, the supposed mythical land in Tibet which is said to vibrate at a higher frequency so as to remain unseen by those at lower energies. This paradise could only be entered once one was cleansed and enlightened, devoid of any lower-vibrational emotions, thoughts or intent. I would visualize the purest and holiest place I could think of, and it often led me back to Shangri La, where I
could imagine monasteries nestled within misty mountain peaks where holy men sought enlightenment and trained themselves to do any number of things, from levitation to astral projection to complete invisibility. For hundreds of years in the snowy mountains of Tibet startled sherpas had been reporting a mysterious race of warrior guardians who could disappear at will and were believed to be protecting the entrances to Shamballa. I thought of the monks in this realm, the modern-day Jedi who meditated daily and helped the world stay in balance from their secret domain. I could imagine them lighting candles or Nag Champa about their temples just as I had, so whenever I first lit a white candle to begin my smudging session I thought of that pure light coming from that enchanted realm. I would also ring a bell, sonically dispersing and shattering any negative energy and to inform Spirit that I was ready to receive assistance.
“…anything I have taken on willingly or unwillingly, which does not belong to me, which is not for my highest good, which is not healing or loving…”
I closed my eyes, aligning my soul with my interpretation of the Divine, tapping into how it felt, how I remembered it the many times it had graced my reality with love and concern. I thought of the source, the place which I had sent many prayers, queries and thanks. It was a place I was in frequent communion with for it was from this place that my dreams were generated, preminatory or not, the ones I furiously typed into my phone as soon as I woke from them, so as not to forget them, no matter how tired I was.
“…be released from my spirit, body and mind, and cast into the light.”
The other night, for instance, I had dreamt of an old, abandoned, decrepit and decaying amusement park under a highway overpass. Forgotten and overgrown with weeds, it sat in the dark, in the shadows of highway bridges, beside, of all things, a rice processing plant. When I was first introduced to the empty industrial plant in this dream, with its enormous mounds of rice and quiet conveyor belts, it was like being shown a commercial. There was a haunting montage, beautifully-shot clips which faded into one another of several two-story high rice mounds, with an American flag waving in the wind, conveyor belts reaching toward the heavens and surreal industrial yellow plant lights turning the rice gold in the evening hues.
The processing center was restricted, and there were several No Trespassing signs about the park. To get into this area, one had to have someone drop them off at a particular spot on the highway, as there was no room to pull over. They then had to hop over a guard rail and slip down a steep embankment. No one worked in the plant at night and there was no security. The amusement park lied just beyond, black and uninviting, it’s former parking lot reduced to broken, jagged concrete slabs, a puzzle too old to be put back together once more.
“I ask to be filled up with light, for truth, clarity and healing, surrounded and enfolded by the golden universal healing white light…”
As police patrolled this area frequently, a visit to this area would have to be done with speed and stealth. I can’t remember who I had asked to drop me off, and if the person hopping the railing
with me was my old best friend or not, but it felt like her. Many times in dreams the person I started out with morphed into someone else, as would the environment I was in. Bedrooms became shops in malls, where I’d have to throw the bed covers over my naked body while people browsed about. Private bathrooms could become beverage stands, transforming just as I was in the middle of urinating, so that suddenly everyone in the mall could see me. Most times these strange people just milled about like background videogame characters, pretending to breathe, to browse, to gesture, not showing the slightest bit of surprise that a man was openly using the restroom while
they waited for their espressos and smoothies.
“I release any negative, unhealing and unloving energies, vibrations, thoughtforms, entities, spirits, parasites…”
I ran with all my might past the enchanting, mysterious rice processing plant toward the abandoned amusement park before any police cruisers overhead might spot me. As I ran I kicked up clouds of dirt and dust behind me, my dark brown hair blowing jet black in the night, dark as the crumbling asphalt ribbons I ran upon which led to an Oz after the apocalypse. I was aware of myself and my destination. I was aware of my purpose. I knew I led a paranormal investigative unit called The SpiritChasers and I was investigating a local legend, an urban myth concerning a large cache of gold hidden beneath the bowels of the amusement park and the ghosts who protected it.
Did I know of such a place in the world beyond my dream?
“I call upon my spirit guides, my allies in spirit, who are of the light and there to assist me for the highest good. I call upon my ancestors, my guardian angels, my friends, my Maker…”
A rusted metal ramp led into the park’s entrance. Many of its bolts had rusted out and the sides of the ramp, which had once gleamed in the sun, were now warped and crooked, resembling a mechanical, ulcerated tongue spitting out decay where it had once accepted happy visitors. I vaguely recalled what kind of a person that made me, not a happy visitor but an uneasy detective,
creeping up into the mouth of the unknown and intimidating, in the middle of the night so as not to be caught, in a possibly unfruitful mission to uncover secrets.
“I cast out any dark energies, anything or anyone who would willingly or unwillingly cause me pain or harm. I call upon the energies of protection, of goodwill, of peace, love, healing, luck, blessings and guidance. I surround myself and my environment with light, enfolding and surrounding all who dwell within my home.”
I tugged at one of the ramp’s sides, and it gave way with a sharp crack. Gold coins spilled from inside, but I knew there was much more to be found here. Just as I was about to cross the park entrance, I heard a distant rumbling. There was a blinged-out car approaching carrying three men from a local gang, all of whom had also heard the legend and wanted to find the gold for themselves. But suddenly, behind them, emerged a police cruiser. I ran back toward the rice plant, staying in the shadows, ducking behind one of the massive concrete pillars which held up the overpass overhead. The three gang members were arrested, and in moments the police car was gone, as was my friend, leaving only me to observe the quiet scene under the dim yellow factory lights of the plant.
“If there are any in need, and if I have any light to spare, I send my love and healing energies to the ill, the lost, the lonely, the hurting, the defeated.”
As I stood there, preparing to scamper back up the steep hill to the highway, I paused a moment and pondered turning back and going to the amusement park alone. Could I really go back myself, in the pitch-black, unarmed, with no map of the labyrinthian tunnels beneath the broken concrete in search of a treasure no one had ever found? As scary as such a proposition seemed, none one of my feelings about it replied in the negative. I could do it, I could imagine myself there, moving about in a suffocating blackness, deep below ground, deep into the unknown, and from that imagination sprung the realization that such a question should have never entered my mind.
Why would my first and most immediate reaction be one of doubt when I trusted myself, my intent, my vision?
“I send forth my gratitude, my thanks, for my home and the people who dwell within it, for the visitors who have come and gone, for the assistance I have received from Spirit, for the life I have been given and the role of Spirit within it.”
I found myself back in the park, with a man who I believed was my father, or a father figure. We entered the amusement park together and explored the first of the many broken-down attractions, which were the bumper cars. The man with me brought my attention to the rafters overhead, asking, “who’s sitting up there?” There, in the shadows, I could make out the eerie silhouette of a man crouched low, hiding in the dark. I knew it was not a man, but the ghost of one, and my adrenaline rocketed throughout my dream body. I went around to the far side and slowly proceeded up a rusted ladder, peering over the ceiling of the bumper cars to get a look at the spirit who sat there. I found it tremendously unsettling to find him in such a position, as if he was ready to pounce on one of us. Why was he hiding? Shouldn’t we be more afraid of him? Or was he behaving in such a manner to instill fear and confusion? Perhaps to blend in, perhaps to frighten
off anyone or anything that could be, I began to moan like a ghost, as low, deep, haunting, primal and terrifying as I could muster. The next thing I remembered was being shaken, violently pulled from that world to another, as my fellow spiritchasing partner James shook me back into “reality”.
“For the highest good, in the name of The Creator, I thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen.”
I realized I was in my bed, in Manitou, in America, in the “real” world. James was still shouting assurances at me as my moans faded away and the lights of the rice plant went out. “Chris, it’s OK, you’re having a bad dream, wake up, it’s OK!” I could barely see him, his concerned face a pale Na’vi blue in the moonlight. I had nearly scared myself awake but as was the case with my reoccurring
sleep paralysis I needed James to physically rescue me from that other plane. My eyes half open, I tried reasoning with the world I had just left. Many times the locations in my dreams are cobbled together from various intersections where meaningful things happened. I might be visiting my first apartment, but instead of the nearby highway I remembered there might instead be another street, one in which a big black dog would chase me home from school.
I thought of the odd overpass situated above the strange rice processing plant. Was there even such a thing? I recognized the highway bridges and knew where they were situated in reality, but why rice, of all things? Could they really be there? I had before dreamt of places I had never visited which I discovered in my waking life. Regardless, I was too tired to break down the symbology, but I typed the entire dream into my smart phone’s notepad for later decryption. I remembered the ghost sitting up in the rafters and I could still feel the sensation of fear like a thick blanket around me. For Native Americans, to dream of an evil spirit is the same thing as actually having been visited by one. Dreaming of an ancestor who has crossed into the afterlife means you have actually been visited by them. They cross through the astral plane and our dreamtime dramas as easily as entering a room, to send their greetings or to test your spirit, as it was said that the Underworld and
the Astral World were very close together. Was this a test?
The first memory that emerged was that of me standing beneath the pillar, wondering if I could go back and explore the dark amusement park alone. I wanted to say I could, I wanted to believe that I could, and some part of my dream encouraged me to think so. Do dreams continue even after we have left them, in the same way a waterfall roars when no one is there to hear it? I thought of myself leaving my hiding place by the pillar, reentering that dark park to claim the reward for my
bravery and belief in myself, moaning down dark corridors, bellowing a warning , searching for a treasure that glowed the same gold as rice under industrial yellow lights.
The following day I would smudge my home, just in case a bad spirit brought some bad medicine into my home while I was sleeping and vulnerable. It may have simply been something generated by me, as I had just finished working on Halloween playlists for my MP3 player. One was titled “SHIVERS”, and was a collection of instrumental music from horror movies and video games, from POLTERGEIST to DEAD ISLAND. I would often fall asleep to music, in order to see how the melodies
might affect my dreaming mind. In the same way I had visited the nightmarish township of Silent Hill during my dreamtime after playing the videogame for 2 weeks straight in an attempt to explore my own boundaries of fear, I had created “SHIVERS”, just to see where I might be led.
I would later discover that dreaming of mounds of rice was very positive, as it signified good fortune. I thought of those great mounds, faintly glowing gold under those factory lights. I don’t always pay too close attention to someone else’s interpretation of something. I always act on intuition and synchronicity, especially when dealing with matters of the paranormal, where one
is attempting to comprehend and define the unseen, working with various types of energies. Still, symbolically, I could see how the golden rice could imply a great fortune, were I brave enough
to face my fears.
A day or so afterward, a psychic I crossed paths with spontaneously began speaking with me about limitation. She worked in a crisis counseling center and gave me examples of how
people get stuck in these negative frames of mind and generate more negativity, drama, fear, anger. She was telling me about our first impulses and how we can restructure the mind to think
differently, as we often thought in very limited terms and often assumed we could not accomplish even the most simple tasks in a short amount of time – say, some sort of workload, or getting through our inbox by the end of our shift. Our obligations begin to pile up in enormous mounds we help exaggerate, and we lose confidence in ourselves and feel betrayed by time. I had told her nothing of my dream or my concerns, we were simply speaking about the floods I was experiencing living in Manitou Springs.
Still, she looked me directly in the eye, and told me that a great many people were in training but they didn’t know it. There were big things happening in the cosmos, on our Earth, in the sun,
and that we had passed through a photon belt and were beginning to vibrate at a higher frequency, which would greatly affect our thoughtforms. She said it would make it possible for us to do more, to advance both technologically and spiritually, but we would have to do both together, to keep the world in balance. I asked her what kinds of things we could do, and what we might be training for and she just winked at me.
When I went back to work, just as I entered my office, there was a commercial playing for a new Star Wars game on my PC monitor. I entered just in time to see a Jedi using the Force to move a vehicle aside to block an evil Sith opponent. I thought of my potential, mystical lands, and startled sherpas I might encounter one day…
“For the highest good, in the name of The Creator, I ask that…”
- Christopher Allen Brewer, September, 2013
Picking up where we left off in last week's blog, this one also first appeared in my SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE column from January, 2008.
I never know how each of these stories will conclude once I find the sacred space with which
to write them. I know only that their theme will be based on the supernatural ( for lack of a better word ) events which I believe will ultimately wake us from our subconscious slumber. Civilizations in previous ages have all witnessed their own share of miracles, usually heralding a new age. So what miracles, technology aside, are taking place in our modern world today? And are we too pessimistic to even notice them?
I write about a lot of seemingly miraculous events, I can't seem to get enough of them, but more importantly, I think that one should expect them to happen. Before our Age Of Reason, which I have faith is drawing to a close once more, people spoke with gods and angels frequently.
For some reason ( there's that word again ), most of us would believe such things simply can't happen today. Regardless of how we view God, if at all, or angels or devils or spirit guides, we are still viewing through finite human eyes and then processing information through a human mind.
Extracting our ego, in a world that was still flat not that long ago, one which made up the center of the universe, with people jailed for thinking otherwise, is still an issue. That which we deem coming from the divine will never make any sense to us, we will never recognize all of its faces, and we will run in fear from it, throwing rocks at the moon, unable to make out Magellan's passing ships until it is too late. Because the divine is without reason, and if it's not in popular media, cannot guarantee us a job, a mate, catalogs of frivolities, or even revenge, what good is it to us?
We have our own human construct of the mystic, and mystical events. Perhaps we ultimately
feel we're not good enough for miracles, and that if it doesn't, for whatever reason, happen for us, then it shouldn't happen for anyone else either. After subtracting such ego, I began to experience some profound things. I realized that some form of divinity was always attempting communion with me, however weighted down in my Age Of Reason I happened to be.
Quoting Caroline Myss, of our modern age, "we are all mystics without monasteries."
A mystic then, the following is another example of the world I have shaped through the
expectation that miracles do indeed continue to happen. We each have our own truths, whether or not they incorporate a god, and this is how I have sought mine.
I marked the page I had been reading, closed the book and looked out the passenger side window, yawning. We'd been on the road for a couple of hours and I was getting drowsy. Every few minutes, I'd gaze out toward the night sky for any sign of movement. I was reading Christopher O'Brien's The Mysterious Valley, about the unexplained paranormal activity taking place in Colorado's San Luis Valley, near the Sangre De Cristo mountain range. There had been hundreds of reports of unidentified lights in the sky, bizarre cattle mutilations, poltergeist phenomena, strange sounds, and sightings of unknown life forms. I was watching the highway for those, too, as the high beams of the truck eerily lit up the dark road before us, guiding us out into the great unknown, in
the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, as my friend Wayne and I made our way south toward The Valley.
I held up an audiocassette I'd labeled with a question mark and waved it before him. We had been listening to an audiotape of a psychic reading he had with a woman he was going to introduce me to when we got back. It sounded interesting, but I hadn't known him for very long, and had no way to authenticate the validity of the information the woman was giving. Wayne assured me that the psychic had told him things she could never have known, including the sign language he used with his former partner, the nicknames they adopted, and illnesses they bore. I'd had a couple tarot readings previously, but only for the novelty, and so far not one so-called psychic I'd ever crossed paths with had ever given me reason to believe in a sixth skill. Right now, I wanted only to listen to the compilation of dark industrial and techno music I'd made, enhancing the already sinister atmosphere and helping to keep me on my hunting toes. Staring out the window again, all I could see was the reflection of my face softly illuminated from the booklight in my lap. I looked hopeful, and my eyes were wide with excitement and wonder.
Was there truly a place, a paranormal Disneyland, where just any Joe Blow could experience
the plethora of supernatural activity said to occur there? A Native American, I was more than well aware of the existence of a spirit world, and the thin veil between that dimension and ours.
Even though all of my family had experienced strange phenomena wherever we'd ever lived, I wanted communication with something other than your average ghost.
There were supposedly portals to other places in The Valley, and I thought of the black and white lodges portrayed in the television series Twin Peaks. Could it really be as easy as that? Like slipping through a membrane, parting a curtain, stepping through a stargate? U.F.O.s weren’t anything new to me, as they had fascinated me since childhood. Hopi creation myths had spoken of the Star Ancestors, and I thought of all the Kachina dolls I'd ever seen, robotic and alien, their Native patterns resembling ancient circuitry, often technological in design. What we were heading into was high strangeness, and what was once believed to be events concerning off-planet intelligences was now suggested to be interdimensional in nature. Something was slipping through veils on their own side to our earthly plane and I was willing to release anything I knew or thought I knew. Something had the technology to mimic our aircraft, and our people, and too many of them were witnessing something to not take notice.
Born in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, with many in our poor tribe still hunting for food, we were exposed to the cattle mutilation phenomena, having found dead bovines and horses which had undergone impossibly clean and precise surgical procedures. In most cases the blood was completely removed, as were eyes, tongues, rectums, with no footprints leading to or from the animals. This baffling work was not being committed by predators, and because the surgical procedures suggested that some form of laser was being used, and because sightings of mysterious orange lights in the sky were being witnessed, many believed, and still do, that extraterrestrials were responsible.
I found my beliefs in friendly, benevolent ETs steadily evaporating, being replaced with something far darker and unsettling. Shadowy government affiliations and reverse-engineered technology,
underground bases and genetic experimentation gone awry were becoming the new myths of our age. I was deep out in the San Luis Valley, where the stories incorporated all of these things,
driving down spooky backroads , squinting up into a pitch black sky for any indication of the high strangeness Christopher O’Brien, Linda Moulton Howe and several others had for years been reporting. In the Pine Ridge of my childhood, I had once owed a horse, completely white, whom we had named Snowball. We set him and the others free when our families migrated toward Denver,
Colorado for better opportunities in life. I thought of him as I scanned the dark heavens, hoping he had not met the same bizarre fate as the countless mutilated animals found here.
The destination Wayne and I had decided on was San Luis's Greenie Mountain, where the most dramatic of U.F.O. sightings, as well as a purported crash, had occurred. Apparently the military
had picked up the craft on radar, and when private investigators radioed in with their own information from their helicopter, they were deliberately misdirected to a location several miles away while the military either shot down the craft and/or collected the remains. Had a crash actually occurred, I knew the military would have been more than thorough in picking up any debris, but I wanted at least to stand in the place where such an event had occurred, absorbing its energetic echo, getting an intuitive feel, a reaffirmation that our age was truly one of signs and wonders and how I might find the means to fight the future.
I turned the volume dial up and rolled down the windows as a remix of the X-Files theme song
blared from the speakers. To have a book in my hand, whereby I could read the outrageous claims of San Luis's residents and then looking out the window to see the Sangre De Cristos in all their mysterious, moonlit glory was like walking into a story, waking up in a dream, engaging in a call-and-response with another form of the unknown. I was near spiritually bankrupt at that point, having an Indian name but not knowing where to go from there, filling the absence of spiritual guides in my youth with those from Denver's nightlife: party people, d.j.s, bartenders, rave organizers. Because I had been moved from South Dakota early, I had also been deprived of the elders, vision quests, sweat lodge ceremonies, sundances and powwows that may have shaped me into someone else entirely. Whoever he might have been, I was looking for him now, praying for
illumination, turning away from the false light and dead ends of discotheques and underground parties, when a trail of synchronicity had led me to Wayne, a fellow adventurer who was game for anything.
He also seemed a little fed up with his own circle of circuit party snobs, and so we became fast friends, watching Laurie Anderson videos in his basement, trading ghost stories over turkey dogs on his deck, holding mini sweat lodge ceremonies in his little steam room, laughing over vegetarian meals in his kitchen. He'd also heard of the "Taos Hum", the inexplicable and untraceable low-frequency sound heard by many of the residents and visitors of New Mexico, and I had just picked up The Mysterious Valley after reading an article about recent phenomena there in a local paper.
Wayne had experienced much of the same paranormal phenomena I had, and we decided immediately that we would have to see these places for ourselves.
I tore through my closet the night before our trip. What did one wear when meeting with The
Great Mystery? Of all the archetypes in my life, the most prominent was that of the Magical Child, who through imagination makes his world into one of exciting opportunity through great improbability. In the last years of my childhood, I was refining those skills, desperately hanging on to any magical shreds as my body, my environment, and my friends, became gradually unfamiliar. I was in Ohio visiting my cousins for a month during that time, the last of those mystical Indian
summers. They lived in a haunted house near a dense forest. We'd explore this wooded area looking for our own Terabithia, with Goonies-inspired handmade treasure maps, chasing ice cream trucks, piling into their station wagon at twilight for a drive-in movie, listening late into the evening for ghosts.
Their mother was an armed guard at a local mall, and we'd often accompany her to work,
playing spies, slingshots and cheap plastic handcuffs in our back pockets, my 007 combination wrist watch / gun always poised. We posed as bellhops at a hotel, sneaking into the elevators, pressing floor buttons for guests and holding their luggage, graciously collecting tips to support further summer outings. Late at night my uncle would recount the ghostly goings-on he had experienced living in the house, pulling up the carpet to show us the blood stains of the woman who had been shot to death at the top of the stairs. He showed me the god’s eye which used to spin by itself, pointing out the exact spot where their backyard met the forest where the spirit of the woman had beckoned him to follow her. We would sit at the top of the stairs listening for the ghost of the man who had shot his wife to death in a jealous rage, the same one who had called out to my aunt as she returned home from work late one evening. From the bottom of the dark basement steps my aunt would whisper up to us, just as the man had to her, “Sherry…” “Sherry…”
As terrifying as those nights could be, we still wanted more. Perhaps we were used to growing up haunted, but our perception truly was different than that of the average person, for we had seen objects slide across tables in the dark by themselves, doors opening and closing, lights turning on and off, people crying or laughing in the night when no one should be. We each had access to a paranormal playground, though as an adult, I was forgetting how to alter my perception, to view life as a playground again. My magic child, having a game of marbles with my cells, shook a stout
finger back and forth at me. I'd forgotten how to play. Seduced by false, fast-moving currents of energy, I had nothing to show for my life investments save for a catalog of old rave fliers and a technopunk wardrobe that had quickly turned passé. More than that, I was having a hard time identifying with people. Friends weren't really friends, you just happened to look good standing
next to them, and deep inside I understood I wasn't learning anything new from them. Starving for the sacred in my late 20’s, in tattoo and piercing parlors, I was beginning to bore of myself. I didn't know what I needed, but I needed something, and I was yearning for direction and meaning. Something within me must have just decided, must have really meant it finally, to hand over my reigns to a higher power. I began asking the right questions, and began opening up to difficult
It instantly became clear that I would have to leave the unfulfilling job I held, as well as the unfulfilling relationship I was in. Neither were doing anything for me, and the city had become stagnant. I was taking night drives often, devoid of any destination but looking, and although I was more than familiar with Denver, Colorado, I found myself getting lost often. In an instant everything appeared unfamiliar, as became true with the people I'd known. It appeared there was some mysterious restructuring occurring in my life, and I knew it was high time, so I didn't resist.
I began meeting other people, older people, attracted to the wise elders I had missed, who were intelligent, easygoing, and spiritually minded. One of them did something called "light body work", kind of like a masseuse for the spirit. He was able to locate and remove negative energy blockages in the body that could lead to illness. He seemed very perceptive, and we began a sort of intuitive game where we would psychically guess things about each other's lives. The results were fascinating, and eerily accurate. I understand now that he was an earthly guide, preparing me, as life always does, for what was coming next.
I soon discovered a little metaphysical store in an old Victorian building on the outskirts of the city. Walking inside was such a wonderful escape from the torrent of my gritty reality as I was greeted with the smell of intoxicatingly rich incense, soft chimes toning in the background, walls full of images and sculpture from world religions I was unfamiliar with. Everything was devoted to spirit there, the friendly staff and its customers all resonating with a different level of consciousness I both admired, deeply respected and envied. I began purchasing crystals, candles, esoteric books and new age music, filling the empty void where my former life had been. The pace of my life was beginning to slow down, as my mind adjusted to another way of being. I was still confused, but felt more at peace, and I began to feel as if I were actually being guided to someone or something, laying the groundwork for all that was to come.
Giving up on the map, Wayne and I decided instead to use our intuitive skills. This proved difficult, as it was pitch-black and cold outside, and the road we thought would lead us to that magic mountain had abruptly ended. We found a large mound nearby, and decided to camp. The sky had
become overcast. If there were anything flying around above our heads, we'd be unable to see it.
We were still having a neat adventure though, so we planned to look for the Taos Hum in New Mexico, leaving early the next day.
I awoke on a dewy, mist-enshrouded hill in the mountains, still not knowing which one was
Greenie, a little deflated about the lack of activity the previous evening, but we'd be on our way to New Mexico, as well as more mystery, shortly. I checked my nose, neck and arms for any signs of medical procedure, only finding a couple of mosquito bites. No, I had not been abducted by aliens in the night.
"Damn," I whispered, looking around the truck for any mysterious tracks. In the valley to my left, a cowboy with a black hat was nonchalantly riding a horse with his eyes to the ground. On the right was another, with a white hat, also scanning the valley floor for something. I felt like those treasure hunters they speak about, bitten by the gold bug, no matter how deep they dug, the treasure was always three feet deeper. I wanted to stay, I was sure we'd see something if we just gave it another night, headed deeper into the woods…
I vowed to return when I had more time, and so we were off to Taos. I'd never been there, but I was by then used to the unfamiliarity of everything, including my own reflection, which I noticed was gradually changing. I began to feel a heightened perception, a sweet, nurturing energy as we crossed into New Mexico. I wondered if there were crystals underground, amplifying everything, able to alter one's perception…
I fell in love with all of the adobe, the simplicity, the wide, open landscapes and mystical mountain scenery. We found a hotel and walked around the Taos plaza. From deep within my cells crept the familiarity and the feeling of home that had been absent from my life. That night, we visited a health club set against the face of one of the mountains. I sat in one of the hot tubs, looking up at the milky way, not, with all of the city's light pollution, having seen it so clear and luminous since my childhood. I felt bathed in its light, reenergized, altered somehow, perhaps even down to the molecular level. It felt like it was aware of me, in the way one might befriend someone similar to them. I felt an odd connection, a feeling that I had found the right place to be, the right place of being.
I stepped out of the hot tub and, by way of daring myself, jumped into the "cold plunge" of icy water nearby. I quickly popped back out, sputtering, the stars above me brighter than ever, breathing in the night with an exhilaration I'd never felt before. I knew my former life was finally falling away, the heavy weight going with it, and I was beginning to know what it felt like to truly live in present time. There was a radiance to things, one I'd never noticed before, and I didn't want to go home ever again. I thought of Erasure's song "Home", partially inspired by the musing of Dorothy choosing instead to stay in Oz. My soul yearned to stay in this dream place, I was afraid of returning to nothing.
As it was, Wayne and I had been watching the Out On A Limb miniseries, in which Shirley Maclaine's spiritual journey takes her to Peru with a guide who shows her a new way of being. She experiences a number of fantastic incidents which show her how much more there is to life and
a generic god, involving synchronicity, a sixth sense, astral travel, past lives and proof of extraterrestrial contact on our planet. In the end she must return home to apply what she has learned, despite a great fear of returning to nothing except ridicule.
People had most likely always thought me odd, so I didn't care what people thought of my own personal spiritual quest, wherever that might lead me. I was going U.F.O. hunting, I was going to meet a psychic, I was going to listen for a mysterious hum in the earth. I was having more fun than my inner child ever thought possible and the experience was real and entirely rich with possibility.
I was beginning to see that which I deemed God in another light, and I realized we had never had the closest relationship to begin with. It was so cleansing to shed everything I knew of "Him", of all "His" supposed anger, wrath and judgment. My image of God had been shaped for me by others, and, letting go of those suburban myths, I felt like a deep relationship was finally possible.
Wayne and I never did hear the hum. I would hear it myself on a return trip several years later, but after returning from New Mexico he introduced me to the psychic Josie, who was unlike anything I had expected. She felt oddly familiar, as if I'd known her before. It was like meeting a long-lost aunt, and she hugged me warmly. There was a white candle on the table between us, as well as a collection of quartz crystals. She placed a cassette into a nearby player and began recording the session, beginning with a simple prayer. Because I was at a loss for words, she started by collecting information from my energy field and higher consciousness. Later, one of my spirit guides would appear with information. I was ready for carnival tricks, so I kept my body language neutral and shared no personal information with her. I didn't necessarily need to know my future, I was looking for proof of psychic ability, a glimpse of the other side of our three-dimensional world, a wave hello from a divine being.
The information she began to reveal about me was accurate. She knew I liked playing a lot of games and was interested in creating one of my own. She knew I was composing music. In my Gen-X youth these could very well have been lucky guesses judging by my appearance, until she spoke the first and last name of my first love, popping in via spirit to say hello. I had never shared this information with Wayne, and I was startled into silence. She went further, with information about a half brother I'd never met. She also gave me his first and last name, another piece of info Wayne knew nothing about. I remember how startled my mother had been when I approached her with this name.
Josie informed me about the spirit parasites I had picked up in my last unhealthy and unfulfilling relationship, and the need to be conscious of my every thought and act, as everything I sent out would return threefold. She had a lot of amazing, practical spiritual advice, even regarding health issues, diagnoses which were absolutely correct. She remained humble, but motherly, and I did feel that the information coming in was indeed from a spirit plane. She even spoke about the lights I had seen in the sky, a program about U.F.O.s on her television set when I walked in, with her asserting that she never watched television before a reading. I was stunned, as the reality, the
realization of the truth, began to seep in. All of this was real, all of this was really happening.
According to her, I would meet my twin soul in my lifetime, not too far off. She gave me three things to look for, as well as traits of the person. A twin soul was one who was created with you, agreeing to reincarnate with you again and again as a teacher and pupil. Josie believed all souls are basically without gender, able to incarnate in both male and female bodies lifetime after lifetime, informing me that I had been a woman in the life before my current one. She described her physical appearance, which matched the type of women I had always been inexplicably attracted to. She then informed me I had known my twin soul in that particular incarnation as well. He had played the piano for me in a saloon back then, as he would again play for me in my current lifetime. She said he was full of humor, and would be trying to "get the hell out of Chicago" before I met him, and that he was with someone named Michael.
She described his deep brown eyes and saw him, of all things, making grilled cheese sandwiches. She also gave me the name of a spiritual teacher I would want to look into, a woman by the name of
Caroline Myss, who was a medical intuitive, able to detect illnesses and dis-eases in a person. I thought of my old friend who had done light body work, and my first love, who had introduced me to the spiritual works of Richard Bach, both helping to pave a way to this moment. It was so much
information, almost too much, yet I breathed in all of its truth, understanding there was no going back from here.
Years later, I met someone whom I instantly suspected was the one Josie had spoken about,
entering the metaphysical store I was managing at the time. I knew we were going to be great friends the moment I saw him, knowing, from a very deep place, that I already knew him. As he was paying for his pile of books on the human energy centers of the body, I commented on his Snoopy checkbook, and he flashed me his Joe Cool tattoo. I flashed him my Star Wars tattoo. After leaving, he returned an hour later with a Star Wars calendar he had found. At lunch that day, the toy
being offered in the kid's meal of the restaurant was a Snoopy soccer ball. It was synchronicity, and I caught a flash of a new path quickly unfolding before me.
Mr. Joe Cool had actually been trying to "get the hell out of Chicago", just as he described it, after 9/11. He was afraid of being stuck there due to more possible terrorist acts while visiting a friend
named Michael. His name is James, the same one who I have been spiritchasing with all these years. His eyes are deep brown, and he does play the piano, with special attention to "The Entertainer" and other old wild west saloon hits. He's delightfully funny, refreshingly crazy, and was a stand-up comedian for years.
I still wondered about the final sign, the grilled cheese sandwiches, as if I hadn't been given enough evidence already, and the first morning I sat before my computer to email him, an internet pop-up ad appeared on the screen before me. Apparently, the image of Jesus had been sighted on a grilled cheese sandwich, as well as Mary, Mother Theresa, and other saints. The ad contained
many different kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches, each bearing a different likeness of the divine, with the final one featuring St. James.
By 2013, James has proven to be an excellent fellow adventurer, and we have gone U.F.O.
ghost hunting on numerous occasions, returned to the San Luis Valley, attended powwows and met several inspirational figures, including Caroline Myss, Linda Moulton Howe and Christopher O’Brien, not to mention the sci-fi celebrities we are granted an audience with at any number of the conventions we attend each year. He has watched me on television being interviewed about some of my synchronistic experiences, perused through the material I used in my U.F.O. lectures, witnessed dreams and signs I've had spring to fruition, and was there with me when innocent photographs we took together first revealed the presence of spirits around us. He was with me at a L.A. studio last year when we were being interviewed about similar photographs for the Biography Channel and raced about with me through Disneyland and Venice Beach as life became a playground once more.
He has become my brother, my best friend, my greatest ally. I sit in our kitchen having lunch with him, watching an old Unsolved Mysteries episode filmed in our city. It concerns an unknown life form witnessed in the woods here by many 'Springs residents. So many, in fact, that a crossing sign was erected for it on the road up to Pike's Peak, a mountain James has successfully climbed. The magical child within finds this all terribly exciting, and I look over at him, my mouth full of grilled cheese, his deep brown eyes already holding the answer to my question.
"Are you game?"
- Christopher Allen Brewer, August, 2013.
Over this past weekend James and I attended a UFO skywatch hosted by the Paranormal Research Forum in Colorado’s mysterious San Luis Valley, a high strangeness hotspot I have visited several times. My interest in paranormal phenomena is very broad, and from childhood has included any number of its manifestations, from phantoms to the cryptozoological to aliens. My interest in the San Luis Valley began after reading an article in a local newspaper which featured author and
investigator Christopher O’Brien ( The Mysterious Valley, Stalking The Tricksters ). This area includes
any number of said manifestations, and while driving deep into the unknown from Manitou last Saturday morning, I pondered why I was being pulled back, and the catalog of events that began my own journey into high strangeness.
The following story was originally featured in the June, 2005 issue of the Celebration Conscious Living Store newsletter, under the heading, "Contact With Off-Planet Intelligences - A Personal Memoir”. I later shared it on my former “SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE” blog from January 18th,
This week I offer more strange-but-true tales from the archives. These stories represent yet more
baffling reflections from the multifacetedness of the human condition. When philosophically proposing "for what purpose was I born?" and, "what is God,” you never actually expect to get an
answer, nor do you know in what form that answer might come. SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE is a showcase of my own questions, and the answers, however odd, that have come to me.
A brilliant harvest moon hung like the end of a giant orange exclamation point to the left of my father and I. What are we doing here? Night fishing? Camping? I recall only the moon in this
early memory, hovering in the blackness like a massive pumpkin. This jack-o-lantern, grinning the occult back at me from dark space, was mystifying enough to have been remembered thirty years later. Back then, in my trusting childlike wonder, I had offered no resistance to mystery, I simply smiled back at the face looking down at me, wanting to play.
"Daddy, it's smiling at us!" I exclaimed, pointing it out with a short finger. It was huge, and was either growing in size or moving closer. The memory terminates there.
My father was hosting a barbeque. Our small apartment is full of family and family friends. Amid the commotion, a single shriek from a cousin snaps me to attention. I race down the hallway toward the porch where I find her looking up at the sky. There is that light again, that
same deep orange that stirs within my soul every Halloween. This time it has structure. It has
solidified into a luminous spherical object which is silently rotating far above the courtyard. Neighbors are stepping from their balconies and front doors as if moving from the darkness of
ignorance into a light of full awareness. My father appears at my side, tall and warm, approaching a confounding situation as he always does, with humor.
"Hey, Chris, doesn't that look like R2-D2 and C-3PO?"
He is referring to the humanoid figures we can clearly distinguish from the windows of the craft.
At seven years old, this is quite an exciting proposition to hear, though I know these figures are not them. And I know that they're watching me, too. The memory terminates there.
For two nights in a row, the pair from the craft windows appeared to me again, shortly after the mass sighting. In a hypnogogic state I would hear voices, electronic in nature, instructing me to meet them at a particular location close by. This place was known to us children as the "Big Park", which was a wooden playground and basketball court, nestled up against a grassy hill at the end of a wide field.
The Big Park became the setting for further unusual encounters that continued to defy the logic of my young mind. It was the large mound of earth I remember most, similar to those which lie along the English landscape - not quite as large as salisbury, but seeming to possess a similar mystical
energy vortex. I could feel the two trying to communicate with me, parked within the mound, repairing their vehicle. They will be here for a short time only. I am needed. What would such
an advanced intelligence need from a kid? I have to decide. My mother is very strict. I am more fearful of her discipline than being swallowed up by the unknown. Apologetically, I lied my head back down upon my pillow, deciding instead to go in the daylight hours, anxious to see what was
I studied the grounds on my way to school the following day, finding nothing and feeling that I had nothing but a very vivid dream. That line of reasoning was easier to contend with, and even
though I felt a tremendous guilt in giving up, it felt better to put it out of my mind.
But that evening, a familiar hum roused me back into wakefulness. They were still there. They were almost done with what they had come to do and their invitation was still open.
"Are you coming?"
I still regret that point in my life, when fear began to dictate the course of it. What would have happened, I will always wonder, if I had gone? If I had managed to abandon my bed, creep silently down the hallway and step into a night dark with ignorance into a light of full awareness? I have heard the strange electronics from time to time but never again that pair of voices asking to meet with me. I had stayed still under the heavy hand of fear and I was left behind.
I spent a lot of time in the Big Park, lying against that earthen mound. My father bought me a model of a U.F.O. which most closely resembled the one from the barbeque incident. The top popped off and you could play with the little humanoid figures inside. I was just beginning to
cope with the feeling of abandonment. It was in this field that I believed I had discovered a remnant from the landing. The day after that last static transmission, I had raced there before school and found, lying on the ground not far from the luminous mound doorway I had dreamed of, an unidentifiable insect. It appeared to be dead or stunned, as it did not move, but I was too afraid to touch it. It was longer, and larger, than one of my small forearms. It most closely resembled a dragonfly. It was not plastic. It was not a toy. I remember most vividly its eyes, large and round and open. I've never seen anything like that since, but do recall one occasion when a giant moth appeared at the screen door of the home of one of my cousins. They thought it was a bird, flapping around the porch light, until it clung to the screen, staring through the mesh. My uncle ran outside and tried to catch it, a wing in each hand, attempting to pull it off the screen…
…which would later lead me to ponder "screen memory", a psychology term referring to a traumatic event distorted in memory into something more acceptable to the conscious mind. What
do we really see, without the distortion of fear, without the mind's slight of hand? I remember being in the rotating ship, all copper inside, smelling an unpleasant odor, surprised to find my cousin there, too. And yet I think I would have remembered something as significant as an alien abduction. I really think I would.
"So, Christophe,”, the teacher had asked, "how was your summer?" I allowed the slightest hint of a smile to escape from the corner of my mouth. I knew I couldn't share word of my adventures with anyone, and only had with Pooh, my companion of the stuffed, furry variety. I'd lost him over the course of my summer vacation but my father had found him sitting on a bench next to the mound. I was still very young, having to process information that didn't make sense, and having to deal with keeping some things a secret.
Another recollection from this mystifying period involves going to some sort of school with my little sister. I would actually accompany her to pre-school classes in the event I was out of school, so that my mother needn't worry about a babysitter had she afternoon errands. I remember the toys we played with there, the soup kitchen in the basement, the finger paint on the walls. I also
recall a room which supposedly never existed, one with what looked like stained glass on both sides. We would be instructed to walk down this hallway and stop at each set of transparent panels,
each set having its own color scheme. Sunlight would be shining through the glass as we stood there, doing something to our bodies on a cellular level. I remember dragonflies on the
My sister recalls more, such as bright white lights shining down on me through the windows of the bedroom we shared together, or those that appeared when we were outside playing together at
night. I clearly remember the friendly police helicopters which used to circle above, how we used to wave them over, then run from their spotlights, making an exciting game of hide and seek.
Were these also screen memories, were we really playing with helicopters? On one occasion, an uncle was babysitting for us when one of the great beams of light came through our window,
lighting up our living room. He never sat for us again after such an experience, and was later plagued by strange poltergeist phenomena in his new home.
My sister also remembers the barbeque, the preschool and the Big Park. As an adult, I've done my own investigation of my old neighborhood. The preschool didn't appear to contain the multi-colored inner temple of mystery room I remembered. It had been converted into a church. Looking through the microfilm of the period at a local library, I did find reference to U.F.O. sightings in our area the year the barbeque would have occurred. And the Big Park, well, it didn't seem so little anymore. The wood had been replaced with more kid-friendly materials, but the mound remains. I long to ask other children if they have shared the same adventures and invitations I did in the wee hours of night, but looking at the area now, in our modern age, I feel the energy has left. I feel that a window, a portal, was open for a brief period of time only. When we moved from that apartment complex into another home, however, the electronic sounds and the bizarre dreams continued. My mother and father still live there, and it was there I found evidence of contact with the twilight sources which continue to keep tabs on me through dreamtime and
Like finding the key to a secret garden, I found proof of my encounters in a childhood relic. I
was commenting on my mother's rare blood type, informing her that, according to a book I was reading, she may have actually descended from an off-planet source.
"Cool", she replied. She knew I had visited the preschool and our old apartment complex, and, perhaps seeing my eyes glazed over with nostalgia, brought out an old album which was full of my childhood drawings, photos, old report cards, macaroni craft and the like. I didn't know she had this, and when turning over one page in particular, my heart stopped. I remembered these, where they came from, the faded craft lying at the heart of the great book. I remembered the teacher responsible for their creation, the one who gave me the assignment, and who coincidentally moved in next door to us when we left the apartment.
"I'd like to know how you spent your summers", she addressed our class, winking back at me like starlight from the depths of consciousness, "but let's have fun with it. Who likes stained glass?" I raised my hand, remembering how it felt to stand in their light with my sister. She showed us how, by cutting shapes out of black construction paper and gluing colored tissue paper to the back, we could make our very own "stained glass". The shapes would match our summer activities, and so there were diamond kites, pointed oval footballs, colorful beach balls…and my own, which contained some unknown constellation made up of stars and other odd shapes meticulously cut out of the paper. Among my strange Indian summer scene were other celestial bodies, some type of flying craft, which were orange, solid, unknown, alien. I remember the furrowed eyebrows of other children as they searched their database of symbols for these and came up at a loss. I remember the disappointment I felt in the understanding that no other classmates had similar experiences, then something else which stirred in my soul when I realized I had been shown something they could not be.
I Pulled the two paper stained glass crafts from my mother's book, my vision blurred, watery prisms in the afternoon sun. I still have them, their playful shapes dancing about the rooms in which they are framed before the window, the little shafts of colored light wide on wooden floors, climbing up my arm in the late afternoon sun where I work at my computer, absorbed into my
pupils at sunset.
When our family moved into our new home, the orange vehicles began to invade my dreams, almost as if they were trying to locate me. I was afraid of them by then, suspicious of their motives. During the recurring dreams, I'd see them coming in the late evening from the backyard. They'd
always spot me, and from then on it was a slow-motion chase, and I would find myself trying to outrun them, attempting to get inside the house and into the basement before they arrived. Sometimes they wouldn't notice me, creating geometric points of light in the night sky, forming perfect mathematical shapes I couldn't identify. They would always appear, but they could
never catch me, and in my adult years they began to appear synchronistically, programs about them popping onto the television sets of friends I was visiting. I might walk into a hotel restaurant and find they were hosting a U.F.O. convention. Or, even more brazenly, a stranger would simply approach me out of nowhere, stating that I was a starchild, or Pleiadian. And how does one respond to such statements?
“Oh, yeah? Wow.”
By 2003, I was comfortable enough to give a lecture about them, per invitation by the owner of a metaphysical complex. My presentation concerned the influence of extraterrestrial visitations in ancient cultures and their representation in art through the centuries. I was both surprised and elated to find a close-knit circle of supportive abductees in attendance, fascinated by the pictorial evidence I had compiled. In both of my lectures, I had incorporated a slideshow and video compilation of ancient and modern day alien craft and their occupants. The slideshow was a photographic collection of renaissance paintings, cave paintings, ancient sculpture, steles, woodcuts, and scenes painted onto animal skins. All showed the same odd, spherical craft, unknown figures wearing what resembled modern day space suits, and unknown figures which looked entirely off-planet. Some of the craft, whether carved or painted, were detailed enough that cockpits, weapons, instrument panels, alien insignia and mysterious propellants could be
distinguished. I found the stories of the abductees interesting. They had, like me, seen a lot of strange things in the skies, and we traded the locations of hotspots one could still visit to view them.
One of them asked me a question I did not have an answer for, and a proposal I had never considered. She wanted to know, in my recurring U.F.O. dreams, why I had always ran away in fear, when I had apparently never been harmed, and what did I think would happen if I simply stood still and let them meet me. A week after this question was presented to me, I dreamed of again standing in my old backyard at night, watching the orange disks beginning to move through the
sky toward me. For some time, I thought they were simply a symbolic interpretation of God, but I was never afraid of God, and had always embraced various forms of spirituality and religion. Perhaps they simply stood for all of the unknown in my life, and that night, I would finally find out.
It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life, albeit my dreaming one, standing as still as possible, fighting a very visceral fear, as the craft lowered and came to a gentle landing before me. Its windows were tinted pitch black, and I intuitively felt that I was expected to
approach it. I slowly, carefully, walked around to its right side, fully expecting some grotesque creature to be there waiting for me. Instead, there was only a small doorway, almost a hatch, that opened softly as I neared it.
I fearfully craned my neck to see what was inside, and saw what looked like an old fashioned radio, full of dials and glowing meters. There was a metal armrest attached to the front, which I understood was molded specifically for me. I put my left arm into it, causing the dials on the panel to glow brightly. Clear, soft plastic tubes gently snaked from the back of the console and painlessly inserted themselves into my forearm. One the face of the unit, a word appeared, which said, "COMPASSION". The tubes warmed up where they met my flesh, for every word that appeared on the small screen. I understood this was a gauge, a probe of some sort, as several other words glowed above the dials: HONESTY, TRUST, FAITH, SELF ESTEEM, IMAGINATION.
Judging by the position on the dials, I was scoring either higher or lower depending on how I had applied each to my life. In this way, I remember fully realizing that I needed to love myself more, as well as to let my own intuition, not fear, motivate me. After the test, the tubes retracted and I stepped away from the vehicle. It closed its door and began to rise, eventually joining the other Herkimer points of light in the night sky. The following evening, I became one of those lights, giving a glorious lightshow for a crowd of amazed campers around a bonfire. Eventually, instead of one of the craft, an alien appeared to me, showing me how it could camouflage its skin, climbing trees with its long fingers, mischievously pointing at the headlight in my car I had replaced twice in the same week.
I think of the people I have known and still know, who coincidentally have family members involved in classified military projects involving air and space craft, those who bear unknown scars, those whose fathers and uncles have lost their livestock to strange mutilations. I look over the N.O.R.A.D. military installation on Cheyenne Mountain, clearly visible from my current backyard. How have I come to know these particular people and why was it that I would come to live in
such a location? When I first moved here, from the little mountain town of Manitou Springs, it didn't take long for the dreams to return. Not three blocks from my house, I found the sparkling amber lights forming new shapes above my neighborhood, majestic and perfect, spelling out another chapter of communication and higher consciousness.
From time to time, I still bump into the occasional witness of some inexplicable celestial phenomena. I love sharing stories with them, I love hearing theirs, I love laughing with them at the continual insistence by others that what we have seen was nothing more than the planet Venus, the reflection of light on flocks of birds or those from automobiles, projected onto the clouds under just the right circumstances. We laugh when their explanations include the Aurora Borealis, shooting stars, satellites, space junk, the light emitted from the compression of underground crystals, or generic bizarre weather patterns. And we nearly pee our pants when hearing the term "swamp
I think of that glowing dial, its needle straining to the right as the word BRAVERY shone next to it, already calling upon the architects of my next dream, hoping to stand under their Herkimer prisms again...
In our next blog, we head into the mysterious San Luis Valley, to finally catch up with author Chris O’Brien and high strangeness itself.
- Christopher Allen Brewer,
CHRISTOPHER ALLEN BREWER
longtime writer and researcher, Christopher has made several contributions to books, magazines and other media, always coming from a place of honesty, vulnerability and realism. A classic observer, his commentary on the human condition - and all of its mysteries - have made for some very engaging pieces, attracting thousands of readers worldwide.