Paracon 2014 – Meet the Speakers; UFOs with Damien Nott

Photo courtesy of Paracon 2014

Photo courtesy of Paracon 2014

As early as 400BC humans have been looking into the above and marvelling at the many strange sights and happenings that would light up the night sky. These happenings were usually thought of as messages from the gods, ancestors or spiritual portents – an example being Halley’s Comet, which was first spied by Chinese astronomers in 240BC.

We know now that is it merely a large ball of space debris travelling around the universe at goodness-knows how many kilometres a second, but at the time it was a UFO.

That’s right. One of the first UFO sightings was over 2000 years ago.

UFO’s have been something that have featured in pop culture and sci-fi media for decades, but they are by no means a ‘new’ thing. Scholars have even noted a similarity between some religious symbols and UFO reports, meaning that the phenomena may be more tightly entwined in human anthropology than you may think.

This – of course – is hotly contested; how can you draw the line between an angelic object (i.e. nativity star) appearing in the sky and an alien/cross dimensional aircraft being depicted in Sebastiano Mainardi’s ‘Madonna Col Bambino E San Giovannino’?

(More on that particular painting here)

We don’t know, and cannot identify the object in Mainardi’s painting any more than we can identify what is in the pictures of hundreds of people every year that capture UFO’s on film or still camera.

After all, that is the nature of UFO’s; they are unidentified flying objects… emphasis on the ‘unidentified’ 😉

One of the UFO experts speaking at Paracon this weekend is Damien Nott, who has been tracking UFO sightings and capturing them on film ever since his first experience at the age of nine.

Damien was kind enough to answer a few questions for me in the lead-up to his talk at Paracon, where he will be showcasing footage that he has captured of UFO’s seen on his travels.

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How did you first get into capturing UFO phenomena?

It all started for me when I was just 9.

On a Sunday evening just before dusk I was on my way back from my friends place to my home in Sydney’s western suburbs, when I looked up for some reason to witness a small glowing red ball keeping pace with me.

It kind of scared but also amazed me at the same time.

The object mimicked my movements for about 3 minutes and followed me through a park that ran between the back fences of homes. When I decided to run I never looked back up again and when I made it back home my mother said that “it was probably just an aeroplane”.

This is what started a life-long quest for me, even at that age I knew that I had seen something amazing. All I could read after that was anything to do with UFOs, case reports and anything on the subject to just try and help me answer the question to what I had seen. After this – and all the way until now in my adult life at the age of 35 – I have had encounters with these strange objects of various shapes and sizes.

You’ve managed to capture a large amount of objects over a variety of environments; bush, plains and urban landscapes. In fact pretty much wherever you go these unexplained objects tend to appear. What are your thoughts on this? Is it just the fact that most people aren’t looking hard enough? Or do you feel that these UFO phenomena are somehow following your travels?

There is a definite ‘high strangeness’ factor to this enigmatic phenomena […] and when you think you have the answer something happens to throw a curveball into the mix.

My thoughts are that they do seem selective on who they show themselves to on a regular basis, [and] for whatever reason that may be out of the grasp of human understanding. Although on the other hand as humans, we rarely tend to look up at the sky as we go about day to day life. So it would be conceivable that we would miss a lot of what is happening up there.

I have been with people who have seen the same UFO but it appears different to them; and on the other hand I have seen UFOs in front of others before they appear visually and on film.

I would love to see kids and adults get away from their video games and television for just five minutes a night and go out and have a look up at the stars… you never know what you may see.

Most people would automatically assume that a UFO is an extra-terrestrial spacecraft, but that may not always be the case. What kind of UFO phenomena have been sighted/are out there? Or what are some of the more common sightings that you have seen when skywatching?

UFO means just that; an unidentified [flying] object.

Over the years I have seen many people associate this with aliens and little green men which of course is just a sad stigma that the subject has picked up.

Most sightings are proven to be misidentifications of aircraft bolides and a number of atmospheric and weather phenomena such as ball lighting etc. The small percentage that remain are still unidentified and therefore deserve further scrutiny and warrant a proper scientific investigation.

Since starting up AAPI (Australian Aerial Phenomena Investigations) in 2013 we have had some great success in documenting some amazing sightings that we have had all around N.S.W. We have caught all types of objects flying through the skies some using high speed photography and some in full HD video, a number with multiple witnesses.

From glowing red white orange and yellow spheres of all sizes to metallic craft that can shapeshift and morph; we have seen a lot.

How do you attempt to catagorise what you’ve seen and form a hypothesis on whether it was a craft, a being, a light anomaly or even a tear in space?

I have categorized my sightings in terms of names given that describes their actions or looks, such as a flasher or coloured sphere.

The flasher is an object that during a nightwatch will give off a bright flash from one part of the sky and then disappear again only to give off another flash at another part of the sky.

During invisibility to the naked eye they can sometimes still be tracked with night-vision equipment moving erratically through the sky.

Other UFOs include morphing, glowing, barbell shaped objects that split in two. Then there are the old fashioned disc style objects but they are extremely rare now days. The phenomena seems to be progressing along with the human race as now we are seeing more sophisticated type light craft compared to the old days when man was seeing flying blimp-type objects up in the sky.

There is such a large amount of debate and ridicule around the subject of UFOs, especially the appearance of the beings known as ‘Greys’. Why do you feel it is seen as outlandish to believe in extraterrestrials and UFO phenomena?

I would say that the subject is ridiculed still because it is a human tendency to make light of something they don’t understand; Hollywood movies and untruths from world leaders about the validity of the subject have not helped either.

Today it seems as though the more people you speak to the more stories you hear about amazing sightings had by them, so it does seem that the general public are warming to the idea more than ever before.

Also with the advent of the internet, we know and are in touch with every sighting around the world within minutes. With all of that, it does not take a scientist to see that there is something very strange that is happening in our skies and to our people.

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If you would like a sneak look at some of Damien’s work you can swing past his Facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/damienjohnnott or visit him on Youtube; https://www.youtube.com/user/Knightoftruth79.

Post-Paracon, keep your eyes peeled for the local production ‘Beyond the Spectrum’ being made by Darcy Weir and Jose Escimillia, which will feature a number of pieces of footage of UFOs from around Australia.

Before then, however, make sure you take the chance to pick up a weekend pass to Paracon to catch all of our speakers talking on a range of matters both paranormal and spiritual. Tickets are still available from http://www.paraconaustralia.com/.

In the meantime, keep looking skyward and live long and prosper! J

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Paracon 2014 – Meet the Speakers; Legend Tripping with Jeff Belanger

Let me tell you about one of the scariest experiences of my life.

I was about 8 or 9 years old and in grade 3. It was lunchtime and the concrete veranda walkways past the years three and four classrooms were deserted except for my two schoolmates, who waited diligently outside the forbidden seniors toilets that I had snuck into.

I had been given a challenge; say Bloody Mary in the seniors toilets at lunchtime and I could sit with them at lunchtime.

Yes. This was a big thing to 8-year-old me.

So there I was, standing with my nose almost touching the polished steel of what passed as a mirror in a public school and trying to speak as softly as I could as if Bloody Mary was somehow sleeping on the other side of the mirror.

“Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…”

Nothing particularly spooky happened, other than the minor panic attack brought on by my two ‘friends’ who thought that it was funny to leap in through the doorway and make me almost wet myself. It definitely made an impression on me as a kid and – I realise now – may be the reason why I have anxiety issues in bathrooms.

How many people would you think have done this exact same thing, I wonder? How may dares and double-dares have resulted in trying to summon a spirit that will drag you down into the depths of Hell or leave you a torn, bloodied corpse, depending on what legend you hear?

This impulse to chase an Urban Legend – in this case Bloody Mary – like some kind of rite or proof of worthiness (as it was when I was 8 years old), is part of the practice of Legend Tripping.

Legend Tripping is one of the subjects that is going to be covered at Paracon this year by American researcher and author Jeff Belanger. As a former journalist, he has published dozens of books both for children and adults alike on Legend Tripping, the unexplained and the just plain weird.

His way of applying social anthropology to the paranormal field in a way that is both understandable and entertaining is what has made him one of the most recognised paranormal researchers in the field.

With 24 sleeps to go until Paracon 2014, I got the opportunity to ask Jeff Belanger about Legend Tripping, Time Travel (another subject he will be presenting at Paracon) and whether or not he’d been warned about Drop Bears…

 

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How did you first get into looking at legends and urban folklore, specifically those of a more paranormal or unexplainable nature?

It was a dark and stormy night… I was ten years old, and attending a sleepover at a friend’s 200-year-old house. He said his house was haunted, so we broke out a Ouija board and tried to make contact.

Growing up in an historic New England town gave me a life-long fascination with ghosts and the paranormal. My first passion was haunted places and the supernatural. Over time, the love of haunted places led me to paranormal investigations. I had the gear and gadgets, and I adored the history of the haunts, but the paranormal community itself left me with more to be desired. I noticed a lot of in-fighting with groups, arguments over who has the right to investigate which locations, and of course what constitutes true evidence and what is just dust floating inches from a camera lens. I had already reached the conclusion that none of us really has a clue. So I decided to strip out all of the parts of this field that annoy me, and what I was left with were great stories.

It’s the story first that draws us in. You hear something that sounds true enough that you want to check it out for yourself. That’s legend tripping. I didn’t invent the term—folklorists have been using it for decades. It’s most often associated with teenage rite of passage events like daring each other to touched an alleged cursed gravestone at midnight under a full moon. To put it simply: legend tripping is putting yourself into the story.

Every paranormal show you’ve ever seen is legend tripping first. A compelling story pulled in the investigator and begged them to ask more questions.

These stories help define a region, who we are, and they connect our cultures. Sharing these stories binds one person to another and offers a direct connection to our ancestors. Even in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and 24×7 news coverage, oral traditions are far from dead.

Now, because of my paranormal roots, I happen to believe that many of these tales are more than just stories. There must have been some kind of paranormal catalyst to birth the legend. The closer we can get the source, the closer we are to truth.

How much fact is usually involved in a legend?

There are always nuggets of truth in any legend, otherwise the legend wouldn’t exist.

If I were to tell you that I saw a yowie, the Loch Ness Monster, and the ghost of Michael Jackson dancing a jig together in front of the Sydney Opera House this morning, you’d think I was crazy. And the story is so unbelievable that you wouldn’t tell others, thus the legend would never be born.

The back story is where all paranormal research is conducted. If you follow a legend backward from person-to-person, you can learn where those elements of truth can be found.

Oral tradition and folklore is a valid and somewhat reliable form of communication. Investigators ignore it at their peril. To remove the history and legend behind unexplained phenomena is to remove the setting from the stage. The performance means nothing without the context of time and place.

The Holy Grail (speaking of legends…) of paranormal investigations is to arrive quickly after a legend is born. If a cryptozoologist receives a phone call from someone nearby who says I saw a yowie this morning and can still see its tracks, that researcher has a great chance at getting really close to the truth. Interviewing someone hours after a profound event means the story hasn’t had a chance to change or evolve much. Following and documenting tracks that are fresh are obviously more credible than prints weeks or months old.

When the stories of encounters get older, they naturally change as more people add themselves to the legend. The legend becomes a communal thing. Its roots become fuzzier, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be traced.

So what would be a typical example of Legend Tripping?

Ever hear about that haunted bridge? You know the one… you drive up to it at midnight, flash your headlights three times, and then the ghost of the woman who flung herself from the bridge years ago will appear and approach your car? Legend tripping means you drive there at midnight and try it.

You know where the bridge is, you have a car, the headlights work. Try it. I know you don’t expect the ghost to pop out, but ask yourself this: before you flash those headlights do you have a moment where you think, “Dear God, what if?”

A simpler example would be heading out to Maitland Gaol because you heard it was haunted. And you wanted to see for yourself.

On the subject of Time Travel; do you believe that time travel is possible? And is it likely to be scientific or metaphysical?

Yes, time travel is possible. Right now we’re moving forward one second at a time. We know for a fact that when you travel on a commercial airliner, time dilates slightly because of your rate of speed and distance from the gravitational influence of the earth. When you use your GPS, the software on the ground must account for the time dilation aboard the satellites in space otherwise you will be kilometers away from where you want to be.

Moving forward in time is easy. You just have to go really fast and far away from the influence of gravity. Moving backward in time is the real trick and poses the most problems with physics.

There are no laws of science that break when it comes to time travel. And many have claimed that through their consciousness they have been able to project to both the future and the past.

I believe that it’s a mistake to think of time as a linear thing. If we think of it as a sheets of paper, or perhaps bubbles of existence, then maybe those bubbles bump into each other at certain points where one time is able to temporarily observe another.

Controlling this process… now that’s the trick.

What sorts of things are usually reported when an incident may involve time travel?

I’m fascinated with what I call time slips. Over the past 20 years I have collected and documented thousands of peoples’ ghost experiences from all over the world. Every once in a while I would find a story that didn’t fit in with the others.

For example, a typical ghost encounter may go like this: I walked in to this old restaurant when I saw a woman in Victorian dress float by, then disappear into the wall.

In this example, the woman in Victorian dress is out of place. She doesn’t belong in this place at this time.

With a time slip, the experience goes more like this: I walked into the old restaurant and suddenly I noticed there were candles burning, no televisions or electric lights, everyone was dressed in Victorian era clothes, and I stood there shocked. A few seconds later, the scene disappears and the restaurant is back to its modern self with electric lights, modern clothes, etc.

In this example the witness was the thing out of place. I’ve been documenting many of these types of encounters lately.

Do you think there is any link between time travel and parallel universes?

Absolutely! If there are infinite universes or dimensions, then everything is happening at some point in the timeline somewhere else right now. If those dimensions were to bump into each other, you would most certainly experience a slip in time.

Are there any Australian legends that interest you?

Definitely. I don’t plan to leave until I see and capture a yowie. Australia also has many great haunts. I can’t wait to check out the ghosts of Maitland Gaol!

Lastly… have you been warned about drop bears during your visit?

No, but I have been warned to be on the lookout for the Yaramayhawho… not sure which would be worse to encounter!

 

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Tickets for Paracon are still on sale, and are available from http://www.paraconaustralia.com/. Hurry though, Paracon is on Saturday the 11th and Sunday the 12th of May, so don’t leave until the last minute!

Jeff will also be taking part in the Paracon After Dark event Ouija Board Experience with Robert Murch. Tickets for the event are on sale, but places are strictly limited!

Doing time in Maitland Gaol for Australia’s Biggest Paranormal Convention!

The beautiful Hunter Valley; home to some of Australia’s , historic townships, picture perfect scenery… and this year, home to Paracon 2014.

Paracon is quite possibly the most exciting weekend in the Paranormal calendar. Australia’s only Paranormal convention is being held this year in the historic – and apparently thoroughly haunted – Maitland Gaol.

Over the weekend of the 10th and 11th of May the gaol will play host to an exciting array of local and international speakers lined up by director Alex Cayas from the Ghosts of Oz.

“Paracon Australia is by far one of the most interesting projects I’ve been handed.” Alex told me earlier this week. He believes that the infamous gaol is the perfect location for Paracon to visit.

“[Paracon] grew from the same space as projects like Ghosts of Oz; It must be informative, it must be a little awe provoking, and most importantly it must be fun. The energy is very similar. “

Which quite possibly explains why the talks are being held in such ironic areas of the gaol.

Each of the talks during the weekend will be held in either the B-Wing, the Auditorium or the Chapel of the gaol itself. The Chapel and the B-Wing – ironically – being two of the gaol’s paranormal hotspots.

“[Paracon] … is a meeting place for all us paranormal people. When it was gifted to me I knew I had a responsibility to keep that energy alive and to make it of value not as the best paranormal event but instead the best in what is in an already amazing line up of paranormal and spiritual events that happen across Australia.”

The lineup of guest speakers this year ranges from our own homegrown experts speaking on UFOs, Mediumship, Yowies and Timetravel to our Ghost-Hunting New Zealand neighbors and internationally renowned researchers and investigators Dr. Ciaran O’Keefe, Ben Hansen and Jeff Belanger.

On getting Dr. O’Keefe to speak at Paracon, Alex says that he has been a pleasure to work with. Always of the belief that “it’s always no unless you ask”, Alex was thrilled when the Parapsychologist agreed to come and speak at Paracon this year.

“I strongly feel that the Aussie Paranormal scene is blooming right now. I feel my job as Paracon Australia Director is to showcase this and inspire more of it. Watch out Australia there are some awesomely spooky things to come!”

At the moment, earlybird prices for entry to Paracon have been extended until the 9th of March. A two-day pass – including entry to the gaol and admission to all talks – is only $100. Tickets won’t last long, so be sure to grab tickets before they go!

Tickets to Paracon can be purchased from http://www.paraconaustralia.com.

 

Xx tgw

 

Scratching and ghosties and mirrors… oh my!

Unbeknownst to most; I primarily dabble in writing fiction.

Lately though, I’ve been working on a horror script for about two weeks, which is a new experience in that not only is it horror (as opposed to supernatural/paranormal) but it’s a SCRIPT.

As a result I’ve been having nightmares for all but one night this last week. Not ‘oooh, scary dream’ nightmares, but ‘wake-up-in-a-cold-sweat’ nightmares.

Monday night, I can remember vaguely; we had moved into a beautiful old house that reminded me of those old plantation mansions that you find in America down south.

The entire place made my nerves sing. It felt wrong inside there. Those of you who ghost-hunt or have been investigating before would recognize the feeling; like your body becomes hyper-aware. The typical ‘fight or flight’ reaction.

Things started happening in the house. There were the usual things that I’d seen occasionally on investigations; doors opening and closing, footsteps, lights turning on and off… I could deal with that. What turned the dream into a nightmare was the scratching in the walls.

It wasn’t rats. It was people.

There were people crying in the walls, scratching to get out, and I was the only one who could hear them. At one point I think I tried to smash through the walls with a chair to no avail, but somehow – in true ‘dream’ fashion – I started prying boards free with my bare hands and it worked.

Which hurt, by the way.

When I’d pulled enough boards free I was horrified to see that there was nothing there; the walls were empty… and I was standing back in the middle of the house listening to screams and plea’s for help that made my head hurt.

Suddenly – following most dream ‘logic’ – I realized that I was in the walls.

I suppose that this would be the best time to tell you that I’m rather claustrophobic. Not horribly so, but if I’m in a spot that I can’t turn around in, I start to freak out.

What made it worse was that either side of me was the rotting carcasses of others who had been trapped in the walls and gone mad also. Their skin moldy, rotting and bleeding… their flesh-stripped hands still beating furtively at the wooden boards of the walls.

And that was only Monday!

Tuesday I think was a delayed reaction to watching The Vicious Brother’s: Grave Encounters for the first time on Monday night.

This is an amazing movie, by the way. Hilarious to begin with, from a Paranormal Investigator point of view, but it becomes scary as shit!

Paranormal Activity has got nothing on this film!

Why I didn’t have this nightmare on Monday night, I have no idea (I don’t try to understand how my brain works sometimes) but it was more terrifying than the previous night’s nightmare.

I was in a haunted location that I’d investigated before; an old hospital that we’d got some pretty far-out stuff from and will forever stick in my mind because it was the first place I’d ever investigated. I can’t say where it is, because of privacy issues, but it was one hell of a place to pop my paranormal cherry!

Anyway, I was walking through the wing where I did my solo vigil (yes, my first time in a haunted location and I spent it alone for 20 minutes!) except this time something was different. I was asking questions, and I remember asking whatever was there to show itself.

Fairly standard question for investigators, I might add. 90% of the time, we don’t really expect the spirit to oblige us… however this time it did.

Well… they did.

The entire hallway flickered and was suddenly lined with people in hospital gowns, all of them facing the walls and away from me. They flickered like the reception on a t.v. set – which I’ve always envisioned an apparition would look like (not that I’ve ever seen one yet) – and were so damn pale!

Think lots and lots of these…

What made it worse was that the only way out of this hallway was to walk past them all.

Now this hallway was perhaps 1.5-2m wide. With a person standing either side of it, I was left with very little space – and there was no way in hell that I was risking touching one of them – but I still managed to walk from one end of the hallway to the other. It was a very slow, nerve-wracking trip, but I did it.

However whatever triumph I felt was short-lived because as soon as I reached what I assumed was the exit I looked back and – as if in a Mexican wave – the ghost-patient’s heads snapped up and they looked at me with empty black eyes and no mouths!

Before the ghost-patients closest to me could look up I ran backwards through the exit doors, only to realize that I was now facing another corridor of endless ghost-patients.

See, that’s where the Grave Encounters influence came in.

Then it was just terrified running, bursting from one corridor into another. I think I looked back at one point because I remember seeing the patients crawling after me on their elbows on the roof, walls and floor.

So yeah… that was Tuesday.

Wednesday involved seeing people’s flesh melt off their faces. I don’t want to go into detail with that one. Thursday I can’t remember much other than being trapped in a dark room with something else in there making noises.

Friday was equally as terrifying as Monday and Tuesday.

On Tuesday night I was asking my brother for freaky scene ideas and he said “Looking in a mirror and not seeing your reflection.”

Yeah, creepy, right?

Well my brain decided to take it one step further on Friday; I was in a room with god knows how many mirrors. I could see myself, but I could also see this hooded, faceless (literally… faceless = no face) thing in the mirrors behind me.

I’d turn to look and there was never anyone there, but every time I looked back at the mirrors the figure was getting closer and closer.

Borrowed from http://amarabullen.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/horror-movie-research-shrooms-2007.html Watch the youtube vid… it’s well done 🙂

I looked down at one point and I saw blood and bits of limbs and organs on the concrete floor, so I figured that the Thing was probably going to rip me apart and eat me. Nerve-wracking as it is, the scary part was coming to terms with the fact that I was going to die.

There’s nothing more disturbing than accepting the fact that you’re going to die a horrible, painful death… and being perfectly okay with it.

I started smashing mirrors, one by one until there was only one left. I could see the Thing in my periphery now, and it reached out with one hand.

A hand that was five long, bloodstained and rusty, curved bits of metal.

I smashed the last mirror i.e. the last way that it could actually reach anyone (because I’d rationalized that it existed only as a reflection) just as it grabbed my shoulder. I figured that if I died I could at least stop it from getting to anyone else.

What I didn’t figure was that when the Thing grabbed me and pulled me into the mirror, I’d suddenly become the Thing and start devouring my own body before my eyes.

Which I realize now doesn’t work, because the Thing had no face – ergo no mouth – but we all know how rational ‘dream-logic’ is.

In case anyone is wondering, I taste like runny lukewarm tomato soup with chunks of stringy old beef, a dash of bin-water and particularly chubby bits – like the thighs – tasted like pork fat.

As I felt my own body travel down my throat, I had a horrible realization – between mouthfuls – that this was why the Thing stalked and tried to kill people. Until I found another person to eat, I would be the Thing… and I’d just destroyed my only way to get to people; I was trapped in a room with broken mirrors for the rest of eternity.

Thank god I woke in the daytime that morning. If I had woken at night I’d probably have started screaming and not been able to stop until the sun came up.

Needless to say, I’ve decided to use this week’s rather colourful nightmares by taking bits and pieces to use in my script. The aim is to utilize my small collection of indie-film friends and actually film it over the course of a year or so.

Loosely, the plot involves six paranormal investigators investigating an old hospital. I have two possible locations in mind, both of which have actually reported paranormal activity. The goal is to have a mix of staged and real activity recorded because… well, just because.

So now that I’ve successfully given you nightmares for tonight; what’s the scariest dream/nightmare that you’ve ever had? Do you remember them? It would be nice to know that I’m not alone with having a subconscious that likes to screw with my head!

The Hermit, The Fool and The Sun

Lately I have been undertaking a series of workshops with the wonderfully talented Andrea Kaldy that explores some of the psychic tools that exist and how they can be utilized. So far we have worked though Pendulums, Remote Viewing and – last week – Tarot Cards.

I have always had a great amount of respect for Tarot – or Gypsy – cards as a tool. Even going so far as to get my own deck and begin structured reading when I was in high school.

I never really got that far though. The cards I used to draw never really made sense with the little book that came in the box. I simply put them away, thinking that I still had much to learn… and they stayed in my sock draw for almost 5 years.

I don’t know where most of the deck is now. During the past 6 moves I have gone through the deck has been split and lost to the nether.

It was a Vampire tarot (I seem to gravitate towards the darker decks), and I still remember my favourite cards: The Magician and The Fool.

 vampire_fool vampire-magician

The Magician was a Vampire with a Native American twist. Clad in a black robe, bare-chested, and with feathers in his long red hair he had the most intense look on his face, looking at the reader with a spiderweb of suits behind him and the symbol for infinity over his head.

I also felt a strong connection with The Fool card in my Vampire deck. Nothing like my infatuation was the Magician. More a morbid fascination.

He was dressed in a motley of brown crudely-stitched leather, also naked from the waist up. The Fool was perhaps the most violent-looking card in the deck; his hands and fingers were covered in blood (he didn’t bite his enemies, he tore them apart) and he was grinning impishly at the reader as he licked his fingers with a pointed tongue.

Needless to say, my newest deck that I invested in was also a dark deck – the Alchemy 1977 England Tarot – and I have already made a connection with it.

The Hierophant seems to be ‘my’ card from this deck. When I first took it out of the box he fell out into my lap. I also drew it as first card in my first spread to ‘warm myself up’ to the deck, and also popped up when I was practicing a reading for my fiancé.

 PENTACON DIGITAL CAMERA

 It’s a beautiful card. The Hierophant is surrounded by so much learning, so many books and work, stuck at his desk with a quill with his chin in one hand gazing dreamily at a black rose. He has a pentacle over his head on the back of his chair – a symbol of knowledge and wholeness – but still would prefer to gaze at the rose, temporal and fragile.

Ironic that the card I feel most drawn to from this deck is a writer and a scholar. He has his job, with its rules and demands, but is yearning for something more aesthetic, more fulfilling… and it’s taking his time away from his work.

Hmmm… sounds familiar…

What differs so much this time around whilst learning about the tarot is that we are being taught to read intuitively, rather than structured. We throw out the little book in the box and focus on what the cards are saying to us.

This makes sense to me. After all, the cards are only supposed to be a tool that conveys the messages of the universe to us in a way in which we can understand… so how could they possibly be constrained under set definitions and ‘rules’ when each person will see what they “want” to see?

I imagine anyone looking at my decks would be a little disturbed, though there may be others that see what I see, and others that see something completely different.

This is what I love about learning to use psychic tools. It is dependant on you… the inner you. We are taught to rely on that little voice inside us called ‘intuition’ that we usually beat into submission with a blunt stick called ‘logic’.

To quote Andrea when she was instructing me on the Phasmophobia set – “Just go with it!”

Time and time again, over the last 6 months, I have sat down and listened to this little voice in my head… and it’s been shockingly accurate. Not just “Oh my goodness, how funny!” accurate, but “I need to sit down and process this for a moment” accurate.

Perhaps the best example I could think of was the cards that I drew this afternoon. I recently discovered that I was successful in applying for a job that is – perhaps – the best job in my life so far. Financial stability, small chance of retrenching, less stress, closer to home and – best of all – I would be working with two of my closest friends.

The downside of this is that I would be leaving a pretty tight-knit – and, um, unique? – group of people in the business that I currently work for. Not only that, but we are already short-staffed… and I would be making it worse. I know that my leaving would be mostly viewed with negativity.

In writing my resignation letter, signing my paperwork for my new job at the same time, I was suddenly at odds of how to go about the situation. Should I wait for tomorrow, when I am actually at work? Should I hand it in to my superior? Or to my manager? Most of all… what should I avoid? What should I NOT do? The last thing I wanted to do was to make things worse!

In a sudden fit of insight, I dug out my new deck of tarot cards for guidance. As I was shuffling them I asked “How should I conduct myself today? What will happen?”.

No sooner had I closed my mouth than a card fell out of the deck – mostly due to my crappy shuffling.

The Hermit.

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I took one look at my card and scolded my deck. Honestly I did!

“Now that’s just being cheeky!” I said, “But thankyou.”

The Hermit in my deck is a cheeky little imp holding a quill that dresses in red and sits on an inkwell embossed with a scull and crossbones. Dressing in the colour for passion, anger and – sometimes – embarrassment, whilst sitting on a poisonous inkwell seemed appropriate. I had just finished typing a letter that I did – at times – almost let my emotions slip into. I knew that this letter may cause trouble… and the cheeky smirk on his face seemed to mirror the little devil on my shoulder that had been whispering words into my ear as I typed.

When I formally drew a card (that was, I actually pulled a card from the deck) it was The Fool.

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 This very smug fellow has his back turned to all of the other people in the room. Important (the King and the Lady) and not-so-important people are all watching him out of the corner of their eyes. To them, he is below them. To him? They are not important… but they see everything that he does and would be more than willing to laugh at him should he give them a reason.

I took this as a “What not to do” card. I had important things to say and I didn’t want to blow my chances of being taken seriously. I had to be very mindful of what I said and what I did even though I would feel like making a mess of things and dancing away laughing as the place burned down around my ears.

It was at this time that I looked down in my tarot box – don’t ask me why. I was intending to draw another card from the deck when I suddenly looked at the box, and there was a card still sitting in the box, hiding from me.

It was The Sun.

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 This powerful lady has just finished what she started (probably a night filled with the feasting of blood) and is looking at the eclipse. Eclipses are usually associated with change in our lives, reminding us that no matter what happens; the sun will always rise and the day will begin anew. Whatever negativity or events are behind me will be forgotten in the light of the sun and we will emerge, changed, but ready to face the new day. It was a positive card that gave me an amount of comfort.

At the end of the day, using my tarot cards simply externalized what my internal voices had been chattering about for the last week: write my letter, ruffle some feathers, but don’t let it ruin my reputation. Act cautiously in how I conduct myself within the next two weeks and I will emerge unscathed to face a new chapter in my life.

In reality, I probably didn’t need my cards to know this. It was basically a reiteration of common sense… but then I guess that is the intention of most tarot readings. We already know the answer, but seeing it staring us in the face in our cards will bring it to the surface and help us listen to that little voice in our heads that is whispering good advice.

Until next time, I will retreat to my conclave of books and writings, whilst staring at exquisite temporal beauty in the form of black roses 🙂

 

TGW

The Luna Park Ghost train – two poems

I stumbled across these in my travels. So tragic and haunting…

The Luna Park Ghost Train
For the Seven Dead in the Luna Park Fire,
Sydney, June 9, 1979
– Galway Kinnell
Today they stand still,
the great fright machines-the doughbeater
which lifted, turned, plunged, yells
of terror in each fist, the fluted pan
which threatened to throw into space
anyone who could shut up, the octoped
which turned victims upside down and jiggled,
rotated, pummelled until enough noise
fell out; and the bright cars do not move,
which wandered overhead, teetered, plunged,
then crawled back and went on wandering;
and the Ghost Train waits, which jerked
screaming hugged and also screaming hugger
by the light of bones through the dark cellars.
Accustomed to all the cries pitched every night
across the water lights, each so like each other
it seemed one permanently terrified girl
must be screaming them all, we who live around Lavender Bay
last night sat up startled, from laughter, or lovemaking,
or the sound of Beethoven exalting both these,
as the screams suddenly pierced our worlds by right of terror.
Today the Ghost Train, charred, and laden with ashes
of seven souls and the bafflement of families,
does not have any special glory to go to.
It must merely wander into the natural world
where all are born, where all suffer, where many scream,
where the lost are not healed but gathered and used again.

Real Living Vampires – A New World

This is a piece on a good friend of mine regarding his experiences engaging with the Living Vampire Community. Living Vampires exist for the most part in two groups – the Sanguinarian (who ingest human blood) and the Psychic. It’s an interesting piece, which can be relateable to engaging any new sort of community (the Paranormal included!). What do people think? Those of you with an interest in the darker side of the human psyche may be pleasantly surprised 🙂 http://realvampirenews.com/a-new-world/