"Bad Things Happen When the Birds Gather"

I began writing Our Gods Wear Spandex on September 11, 2001. For some reason I can only ascribe to my Holy Guardian Angel, I wasn't in the WTC PATH station around 9 AM that morning. I actually had been for most of the summer, working in-house for a production studio on Lafayette Street (attn: Loren Coleman) in Lower Manhattan, doing storyboard work.

On the weekends I was also in the neighborhood, on South End Ave, to be precise, working with my friend on a spec screenplay, a project that also didn't seem to turn out too well. So the World Trade Center was a huge part of my personal psychogeography in the summer of 2001. I still picture myself coming up that escalator into the concourse, and feel the cold radiating from the concrete walls.

I slept in that Tuesday, probably working late on a job the night before. My wife was home with our new baby and woke me up to tell me that the third world war had begun, ending what had been one of the most productive and pleasant years of my adult life a bit early. 

But it could have easily been the end of my life, period.

Suddenly I realized there were omens and portents to sort through. My best friend had called me the day before to tell me that his cancer had returned, the cancer that would end his life shortly after. His name and address were highly significant in this, as it turned out.

Synchronicities began to present themselves in such a way that would not allow me to ignore them and the sudden stoppage of my freelance work and a new computer with a faster modem (we were still on dial-up) all conspired to change the way I saw the world and my place within it.

But if you really want to get down to it it all really began while I was at my grandmother's house in 1971, waiting to go to church and picked up one of the comics my uncle got at the pharmacy. Things were not going well. My parents had recently divorced and my mother's career as a musician- while setting the scene for an interesting and colorful range of experience- left us hovering over the poverty line. Worse still, I was in and out of the hospital on a regular basis. There was more besides, but let's just say that my childhood idyll was well and truly over.

That comic in question was The Witching Hour, and featured a story I ran here, about a young occultist battling to regain possession of a magical talisman he'd lost in his youth. Talk about predictive programming. But what really caught my eye was the ad screaming "The Magic of Kirby" and showcasing the covers of the premiere issues of his Fourth World titles. 

It was if my entire psyche had been primed to receive this transmission at this particular time, that my dreamy childhood world had been shattered and my awareness raised so I would be able to process this magic in the way only a fucked-up but precocious five-year old could. 

I'd soak in this magic by way of my uncle's comic collection before finally plunking down my quarter for Kamandi #30, the story about the UFO abduction and the Stargate and the foreshadowing of the plundering of the Iraqi National Museum. I don't feel like I chose that comic, I feel like it chose me.

And so it was with the other unhealthy obsession, The X-Files. That show premiered at the end of another week in which my reality consensus had been shattered due to another synchrostorm that was nearly comical, it was so blatant and intrusive. In fact, the previous Sunday had seen the literally life-changing fulfillment of a prophetic dream that was the real start of my "Synchromystic" work.

I should note that alien abduction, a topic I'm somewhat ambivalent about, is the common denominator here. I don't know what it means, but it means something.

I talked about a synchrostorm that followed my first trip to Esalen on Gordon's show (and detailed the events in greater detail on this post).

What I should mention now is that another storm recently blew into town.

I use the language of Synchronicity because it offers a baseline, a common denominator for us to start from. But I don't really believe in the word as it's understood in an academic or parapsychological sense anymore. I've come now to see it as an expression of more powerful forces, call them magical if you like.

And I do so because these synchrostorms are often, not always, but often portents of unhappy or dangerous events looming on the horizon.

In a more sophisticated and holistic society we'd have learned how to read these portents and act accordingly. We wouldn't pay any attention to people who tell us that synchronicity (however you choose to define it) and precognition are meaningless. On the contrary, they're ONLY about meaning, something Jeff Kripal articulates beautifully on the Rune Soup show

They're about living in a sentient world and multiverse (universe is too reductionist a term for my liking). They're about the drama of living in a painful world where bad things happen all too often to people we care about. We'd learn how to read instinct, how to distinguish it from emotional static, how to separate meaningful signal from random noise. 

Now, one of the reasons I'm obsessed with the pop culture icons I've covered in-depth on this blog is not only their innate qualities and artistic importance, but also their Synchromystic resonances, the tendency they all seem to have to step outside the boundaries of art and cross over into the real world.

The bizarre saga of Elizabeth Fraser and Jeff Buckley, which seems more and more like an ancient myth tearing itself from the pages of history and acting itself out in the modern world, is just one example of this. Kirby's bizarre prophecies (and those of other artists as well) is another.

But these obsessions have also bled into my own life as well. One of the strangest examples was an X-Files dream I had in 1994 that showed up in a plot in 2002 (and much more besides). But following the rather apocalyptic "season" finale of the recent X-Files miniseries, that synchrostorm reared its head. Dreams began manifesting, memories returning as unknown premonitions, the whole nine yards.

Just as we saw in "Founder's Mutation," several thousand grackles appeared in our backyard--the day after the last episode aired. They stayed for five days, seemingly waiting for me to record them, and then flew off. They were here four weeks early (they weren't due until the beginning of Spring), I couldn't find out information on any other grackle flocks in any of the local news or birdwatching sites online (some of which get ridiculous about cataloging every bird someone sees) and they've never settled here in the 23 years we've been living in this house.

Not long after I was talking with Gordon via Skype and telling him a strange story I recounted several years ago on The Hidden Experience podcast, about a screaming animal that seemed to shape-shift in front of my eyes. When I told that story to Mike I didn't know that both the scream (which sounds like a horrific woman's scream) and the shape-shifting lore were both long associated with the Fox, Nature's great Trickster. When I told the story to Gordon, I did.

That night as I was making dinner my son bolted out the door, undressed, clutching his very expensive camera (which he bought following his UFO sighting). When he came back inside he explained that there was a fox on the friggin' front porch, just hours after I recounted my admittedly bizarre fox story to Gordon. He chased it, in the freezing cold, but his fancypants camera couldn't focus in the dark.

The fox came back several nights thereafter. I heard it outside my window and recorded its faint screams in the distance. The next night something must have spooked it since it let loose its fear smell, which is like a skunk, only more noxious.

We haven't seen any foxes in this neighborhood for several years now. And one chooses that exact night to show up on my front porch.

That's not 'coincidence', people.

After several more signs and signals I emailed Gordon that I was getting nervous, because I knew from experience what this kind of activity generally presaged. As it turned out, I was all too right.

I was smart enough to document all of this, always cognizant of the danger of misreading or projecting, or slipping off into delusion altogether. Technology was my ally, which I suppose is some kind of irony. But it's always been that way. Information is my 'magic'.

We used to have oracles who could collate all of this information and advise us how to respond. Were they ever credible or accurate? More accomplished people than you or I thought so and did for a very long time. Some even staked the destiny of entire nations around the advice of an oracle. Many still do.

Maybe one day AIs will be programmed to crack these codes and become our new oracles. I actually think that's a very distinct possibility; that what the Enlightenment mind often dismisses as superstition is actually a more sophisticated kind of information-processing.  Something none of us seem to be able to do very reliably. Much to our discredit.

I'll close by saying this: Pay attention. Be aware of what is happening around you. You live in a meaningful, living, sentient world that will speak to you if you take the time to listen to it.

UPDATE: Just a few hours after posting about 9/11 and ill omens, bombings in Belgium. One is at American Airlines terminal, another in a subway. Updates at Associated Press.

NOTE: Long before I knew anything about anything I had a sense of a protective force in my life. I have a lot of stories to tell about that, which I'll try to address in future posts. But this force was so potent and present to me that my first serious writing project was about a guardian angel. It was a primitive approach to the issue but also an approach that was easily understood. More sophisticated occultists refer to this as their HGA, or Holy Guardian Angels. A hell of a lot of magic throughout the ages has been dedicated to invoking them or similar protective spirits.

But what happens when these spirits try to communicate with us but we don't understand the message? Or don't have enough information at our disposal to act upon these communications? This is a serious question, one which I believe will become extremely important as the world grows increasingly more dangerous.


  1. I don't know what they call a group of Grackles, but if they were crows that group that you filmed would probably be called a mass MURDER. ;-)

    1. Yeah, I don't think seeing a flock of crows that size would be a very good omen.

    2. or in this post's case a MULDER
      --Johnny Walsh

    3. Mmm. A flock of crows about that size recently returned to the fields behind my home, they don't make as much noise as grackles. The grackles sound a lot like a noise I've had coming through my headphones on youtube recently, only for a few seconds at a time though.

  2. Chris,

    First time commenting, but been reading for awhile. Just wanted to say that your note: "But what happens when these spirits try to communicate with us but we don't understand the message? Or don't have enough information at our disposal to act upon these communications?" This has been a great concern of mine lately (or moreso lately, probably all my life in some regard), though I haven't been able to articulate it as succinctly as you have. Awareness in these sorts of matters, for me anyway, seems to be a balance between patient (as not to force things or read into associations that aren't there) and passive (getting internally distracted). The sweet spot is difficult to find and makes me wonder if the synchrostorms that occur are less about the event and more about my frame of consciousness at that particular moment. Or rather, if the events have a certain weight and your consciousness is properly balanced, a multiplier effect occurs and more "syncs" result. So the larger the event, the less "attuned" one needs to be to notice something is amiss... Which to me seems to be manifesting in the general population of late (more than usual anyway).

    1. Very well put. I think that these kinds of things very much have a specific meaning but we don't always get to it in time. That's the fault of our culture, I think. Thanks for commenting.

    2. re: balance

      as shakespeare advised, "ripeness is all" - pay close attention and learn to follow/ride the wave of ripeness...

  3. Tell your son to adjust his camera to be aperture-centric (compute all other factors on a selected aperture), then set it to F20 or whatever the highest F-stop is for the lens. Then, set the distance either to infinity or to the longest foot/meter option. This will all but eliminate the need to focus, making use of the widest depth of field. Once this is done, he needs to turn off the auto-focus. He will now have little to worry about for focus in any situation, day or night. The drawback is the camera will require a very high (and therefore grainy) ISO setting. Set it to ISO 3200, which digitally imitates the fastest of the commercial film speeds.

    Once he has done this, all he'll need to do is point and shoot. Give it a try before the UFOs return.

    1. Wonderful advice. I'll pass that on. Cheers.

  4. As for all the other stuff, Sweet Jesus, you live on a Hellmouth or something!? Seriously. And, you've been there _23_ years, hmmm. But, yeah, there is definitely a message coming through, and it doesn't seem pretty.

    1. That's the same question Gordon asked! Things have gotten very strange around here but I come from a neighborhood where dolphins show up in fresh water rivers. Strangeness is on a sliding scale.

  5. Chris, what fun being awake and aware. It is true, the more we are aware of synchronistic events, the more we will witness. Keep digging! Shine forth brave souls. Dennis

    1. Thanks, Dennis. You know what they say- shine 'til you can't shine no more.

  6. it has long gone past the point, for me, of fighting the inevitable .. Synchs occur on an almost daily basis and I can literally have conversations with the Unseen forces around me.. The number of times I find myself saying to someone, "you know..this is not coming from me, but...." happens so frequently, I no longer question it. The other day , my phone rang... I missed the call .. Thinking it might have been a potential client and I should return the call, I did and had to leave a message for "Ray".. The next morning I receive a call from "Ray"... Apologizing that his phone had "pocket dailed" me and he had NO idea how he got my number in the first place. I asked him if he knew me at all.. He said no. He had no idea where the number came from... On a whim, I asked him what he did.. Just happened to work in my field of recruiting.. Again, on a feeling, I asked him what his full name was.. Didn't ring a bell at all. Then he exclaims, wait.. What's your name again..? I told him.. He asked, you're not so and so who worked as an HR Mgr, are you? .. Yes,.. OMG, he said, you were my very first client when I started out as a recruiter ..I actually did not go by the name I just gave you, I'm embarrassed to say I went by "xxx". What a shock! I KNEW him by this other name.. We had not spoken in over twenty years!.. Just as we were sharing our amazement at the "coincidence " ( he called it that, but I knew better) I suddenly had a Message come in.. "Ray, may I say something to you that's very personal?" ... " whatever it is that is going in in your personal life right now, please stop hiding behind a fake identity and step out into the Light" I said to him... He was silent for a moment.. And in a shocked voice said " you won't believe this ... But I have been with my partner for the last twelve years. We are out to his family and to our friends, but I have never come out to my own family. My sister is moving into our neighbourhood in the next few weeks and I have been struggling emotionally with the idea that I would have to hide from her and my five other brothers and sisters. I haven't been able to get up the courage to come out to them. What you've just said to me is incredible..." Yup! That's the way it works with me.. So Synchs..well they are as real as it can get. A random(??) pocket dial for a young man who needed an answer... There be things far beyond this physical realm that need to be paid attention to.. Thanks for the great blog, Christopher... I've learned not to ignore the Signs, no matter what shape they come in.. It's there for our taking..

  7. Timely post Chris,I play a lot at Draft Kings Fantasy Sports,and for the past few weeks now,the numbers 9 and 11 have been appearing in front of me with increasing frequency, to the point the other night,where I too,got this creepy feeling,that something bad is in the air.Because my thought pattern seemed to tie the 9 and the 11 to 911-2 the sequel,my sense is that this psy-op will be directed at this country once again,so I have not got a sense of pressure release from today's events in Belgium,which by the way,was getting ready to recognize the Palestinians and their need of a state.Love your work Chris

  8. I put this comment up yesterday at a synchronicity blog because I thought it worth sharing. I put it up again here:

    Synchronicities are not always pleasant but can also reflect on life’s tragedies. Such as a bizarre one that hit me relating to yesterday’s Belgian terrorist attacks. I have been reading a book about the history of virology, Peter Radetsky’s Invisible Invaders. So the night before the attacks the next morning in Brussels, I put the book down (I’m not yet a quarter of the way through) and go to bed. So I pick up the book again and start reading, yesterday night…

    So this is the very last sentence I read Monday night - the day before the attacks - before going to bed:
    “Researchers at the Pasteur Institute in Brussels not only found fault with d’Herelle’s 1917 announcement that the attacking agents were viruses, they also dropped an unexpected bombshell.”

    !!! The author is referring of course to a figurative bombshell. For what it’s worth, it’s from a chapter on viruses that destroy bacteria from the inside.

  9. There's a chapter I've just read in Jean Bottéro's "Mesopotamia: Writing, Reasoning, & the Gods": "Divination and the Scientific Spirit", which you should really check out. All ancient divination was predicated on unusual occurrences being rumblings and forewarnings rupturing into our plane from... elsewhere

  10. Great blog as always. I'm undecided on much of what you write, but it's been enjoyable and informative....especially your thoughts and experiences related to synchronicity.

  11. I watched Captain America Winter soldier last night. I have not watched that movie since it premiered. When I saw the character played by Garry Shandling, I commented on the fact he didn't look very healthy. This afternoon I read of his passing away. My condolences to his family and friends and thanks for all you contributed to us in this world.

  12. Chris, thanks for sharing those experiences. As far as different animals showing up randomly, the Native Americans attributed meaning to a lot of earth's creatures and used them as guides or angels holding wisdom. There is a great book called Animal Speak that holds a lot of this info. Usually I just search/google the animal (meaning of) and get some timely knowledge.

  13. I like the term synchrostorm, I commented once about being serenaded by synchs but a storm is much more fitting. The don't seem to have a beginning or an end I've found, as the synchs can connect to both the past and the present but the storms can start of like gusts of wind in everyday life and it's events. I appreciate your work, thanks.

  14. Chris...

    Inspired by this and subsequent posts concerning your "Grackle Incident" ...I included you in the following post at Tek-Gnostics...


    Cheers... - JH