Monday, April 25, 2011

My Favorite Nightmares

Self-portrait, 1985

I came to a stunning realization over the weekend; my most vivid memories are of nightmares that I had as a child. By contrast, even many significant episodes in my life are almost completely lost to me, appearing only as fragments. My memory has always been a bit impressionistic, constructed not necessarily from events but from their repercussions.

But compared to those nightmares, even this morning is invisible. I'm talking a level of lucidity that approaches holographic clarity - memories that I can inhabit, virtual-reality style. Most of them transpired during a particularly miserable period in an unhappy childhood, but there a few that came much later, though they mostly harken back to the same period.

And most remarkable of all, most of them share strands of commonality with abduction reports.

Not that I believe they were in fact "screen memories" or dissociative memories of abduction phenomena (unlike the Leprechaun event, which feels like some weird Fringe-style inter-dimensional crossover the more I think about it). In fact, I'm all too aware where they came from. The point here is the ability of the mind -- particularly the mind of a child -- to construct a reality that transcends reality. And a reality that seems to share a frontier with the world of high weirdness, something I was too young to understand at the time.

The hallucinations (such as the Leprechaun and the Chevron) mostly came later- in fact, they began after a period of powerfully vivid dreaming came to an end, when I was about 9 or 10. It was then that I went, almost inexplicably, from suffering from chronic asthma to dealing with chronic ear infections, which brought on vertigo and the high fevers (105ºF was pretty common), which switched on the DMT circuits in my brain.

So I learned not only to distrust memory but my body itself. I still do, in many ways. Quite a crash course for a budding young Gnostic. In fact when I began my adolescent pharmacratic adventures, it was remarkable how familiar it all seemed.

The Owls are Not What They Seem: In Braintree, during the storms

And accordingly, much of this came with powerful Synchronistic emanations.

One of my very worst nightmares occurred in a house that otherwise responsible and rational people believed to be haunted. So much so that a spirit medium was called in to "cleanse" the house. A family friend spent the night and mistook the entity for another houseguest, only to find out the next morning that no such person existed.

Weirder still, when she returned to her own house, it was crawling with snakes (highly unusual, if not unheard of, for the beachfront neighborhood she lived in). That story stuck with me, believe it.

I never saw or sensed anything there, at least not consciously. But according to the medium, it was a protective spirit. And adding a new layer to the mystery that will unfold as the story goes on, that haunted house was near a beach where a whale quite mysteriously beached itself in 2006. Whales aren't supposed to be anywhere near those waters.

From the Secret Sun mini-comic, 1998
The other weird commonality in many of these super-vivid nightmares was a weird kind of plasmic light show, similar to the electrical storm (for lack of a better term) in the Leprechaun hallucination. There are variations on it but it appeared indoors. An irresponsible hypnotherapist might interpret this as the lights of a spacecraft waiting outside, but something tells me there's a much deeper meaning to it.

World's End: One of the earliest ones didn't include the lightning, though. My parents are still together, but this might be a wish-dream. I'm probably about 4 or 5. We're going to World's End Park in Hingham to fly kites. But my family leaves me in the car and disappear. I'm sitting in the backseat, alone and afraid. Then the car starts by itself, is put into gear and drives, while I scream for my mother.

Bonus factoid: World's End was originally tapped to become the site of the United Nations building in 1945 before the site on the East River was chosen.

Gone Underground: in a basement apartment in Wollaston, Ma 1972

Channing St.: I'm 5 or 6 and am eating supper with my sister in my father's basement apartment on Channing Street in Wollaston (formerly Merrymount). But I'm distracted by the too-bright light in the kitchen nook and for some reason I then focus my attention on the ketchup bottle. Suddenly I'm lifted into the air in my chair and whipped around the room like an a hellish amusement park ride. My family don't seem to notice- they continue to eat their dinner.

Sync Log: In January 2007, a pod of dolphins was washed up on Wollaston Beach, less than a block away from the Channing St apartment. ‘‘Nobody I’ve talked to can ever remember a mass stranding of dolphins in Boston Harbor,’’ said Tony LaCasse, spokesman for the New England Aquarium. ‘‘These dolphins were completely out of their winter habitat.’’

Bonus Sync: This is the same neighborhood in which the first mass pagan ritual was held by Europeans in the Americas, and was therefore dubbed "Mount Dagon" by the Pilgrims. Extra Bonus Sync: the local school's sports team is called the Lincoln Wollaston Knoll Dolphins.

The Mummy: This one is similar, but here the lightning appears. I'm 5 or 6 and in a room I don't recognize. The ceilings are high and made of glass. It's dark outside. My grandmother is babysitting my sister and I. Suddenly the light storm appears, but inside the room. My sister and my nana go blank, like they were turned off. A giant enters the room - it looks like a weird combination of Frankenstein and the Mummy, but also almost like an alien. It's coming for me.

Bonus Sync: I can't find the reference, but I've since read reports of aliens matching that description in UFO literature.

The Ren: It's a beautiful morning and I'm six years old again. I'm in the hospital but I think I'm going home. I look under the bed and I see myself, hiding under the bed. He/Me has a big smile on his face, but he's scaring the shit out of me. I ask him who he is. "I'm your Ren," he replies.

Bonus Sync: I found out much later that the Ren is part of the Soul in Egyptian religion. There's no way in hell I knew that when I was six. The Ren is part of the Book of Breathings, and respiratory illness was the reason I spent a huge chunk in my childhood in the hospital.

Hole in the Wall: I'm 7 or 8 (I had this nightmare in the haunted house but it took place in Braintree). My sister and I had switched rooms for some reason. I'm in her room, and we're playing with giant Disneyland-type cartoon characters. We're very happy, but it's time for me to go to bed. I open the door to my room, but there's a man standing there in the dark. I knock on my mother's door and open it and stand by the hole my father punched in the bedroom wall before he left.

But the lightning is flashing in her room, and she screams at me when I tell her there's someone in my room. I can't hear her over the sound of the storm. Suddenly a hand comes out of the hole in the wall and grabs my arm.

The Party: My mother is having another of her parties and the noise is unbearable, per usual. But my attention is focused on the window because there's a terrible light outside in the darkened yard. I look down and there's that unbearable light. This is one of my most terrifying dreams- it actually instills a gag reflex when I think of it- and I don't know why.

I don't know if this is connected but I associate this for some unknowable reason with one terrible summer afternoon when a sudden thunderstorm came and the aftermath left the sky filled with horrible colors. Nothing looked real- the shadows were so stark and the lights were so wrong it all seemed so horribly meaningful. For some reason, I remember hiding in the basement. It was around the same time.

The Secret Sun: Braintree, again. I wake up in the middle of the night, but the Sun is out. But it looks wrong- the shadows are too deep. But there's a giant out there again, this time it looks like a robot. It's looks as if looking for something, and I realize it's looking for me. I hope I'm safe inside.

Bonus factoid: That's the first of the many dreams that gave this blog its name.

Bonus Sync: As with Channing Street, there was an extremely weird dolphin death a few years back a literal stone's throw from my old house in Braintree (right behind an apt. complex where I had a paper route, in fact), in a fresh water river, a hundred miles away from their waters. From the report: "Aquarium officials said it was highly unusual for a dolphin to stray so far from its regular habitat. They rarely even come close to Boston Harbor."

Dolphins, like whales, use the Earth's magnetic field to navigate.

A Mother and Child Reunion: With my mother in Braintree

Knock, Knock: This was the worst of them all, because it was the most plausible. It's 9 o'clock at night. My mother tells me she has to run down to Weymouth Landing to the store. I ask here to take me with her, because I'm afraid to be home alone. She gets irritated and tells me she won't be long. She leaves and I sit in the kitchen alone.

Then a knock comes at the back door but I don't see anyone there. I'm scared shitless. It comes again. I sit there terrified. Again. And then it stops.

Then all at once all of the doors and drawers in the house begin opening and closing by themselves, violently and rapidly.

Comment: This one never fails to put goosebumps on my forearms, since I'm only 99.9% convinced it didn't actually happen, and I can't remember in the context of waking up in terror like the rest of them.

Bonus Sync: This is the same back door that my mother had nightmares about (which she told me about when my first son was born), in the same exact spot I had the Leprechaun visitation. As I wrote in the Owls post:
Now, I have no reason at all to believe that my mother was an alien abductee, but there is one particular story I remember her telling me. She said that just before I was born she put my sister down for naps and then would often take one herself. But she would have this recurring nightmare that a "witch" was on the porch and was trying to come into the house while my mother was asleep on the sofa.
I've read a lot of stories like that in UFO literature.

Knock, Knock Part 2: I'm 17. I'm with my mother and stepfather in the Leprechaun room. It's late and we're worried that my sister isn't home yet. Strangely enough the light show starts up in the next room but I realize that it's a police cruiser parked in front of the house. We're in a panic. There's a knock at the front door. I go to answer it. I open the door and there's a cop on the porch. Without saying a word, he takes out his gun and shoots me in the chest.

Bonus factoid: I was doing a lot of dream work at the time, since I was taking psych in school. I remember I felt a sense of accomplishment when I had this dream. I have no idea what that means.

If you saw the Intruders film you remember the scene when the utility workers come to the abductee's front door. That was very similar to this dream but this dream dates back to 1983.

The Pilot: When I was a kid, my mother had a nightclub act. As a result the families of the performers kind of formed a big clan. We socialized, we summered together (in Gloucester, aka Innsmouth), we went on vacations together.

However, one of our group -- a 14 year old boy -- was killed three days after Christmas of 1974 by a gunshot through the chest (and suspiciously, shades of Seth Bishop years later). He was my hero, my big brother and he had a preternatural charisma and self-confidence that even adults recognized (imagine a young Jeff Buckley). This cemented the suspicions in my young mind that life was a string of miseries interrupted only by sporadic bouts of horror. Things got better later, thankfully.

In my dream, I returned to bring my wife and two-year old son to meet his family. But they had changed, they were involved in some weird, occult shit (this has no basis in reality, of course- it was one of the weird, cinematic dreams that I actually tried to work into a screenplay).

But I realized that, in their grief, they had come to believe that they could bring their son back by sacrificing another little boy, who would act as his guide back from the Underworld. The next thing I knew I was tear-assing out of the house with my son in my arms.

A woman came out of the house and pointed at me and screamed, "Stop him!!!! He has the Pilot!!!!"

SYNC LOG UPDATE 11:08 EST: Here's this week's horoscope for Cancers from The Daily Beast:

Journeying to a primal place is in your stars. Especially when the Aquarius Moon huddles Neptune and Chiron, Tuesday: You are wont to explore the nooks and crannies of your subconscious mind for the combined benefit of increased self-awareness and intellectual inspiration. Rooting around for unique observations that have universal resonance offers emotional release to you, and comic relief to others. This is particularly helpful if you’re courting the muse of the written word. By Saturday, the Moon is gaining on Mercury, facilitating communication direct from your warped and witty psyche to pen or keyboard.