Friday, February 12, 2016

The Supernatural Power That is Fame

Sometimes the strangest revelations can come from the most unlikely quarters.

Dave Stewart was one half of the 80s Synthpop hit machine Eurythmics, and has also done a lot of work as a producer and soundtrack artist, working with a number of high-profile artists and on various films and TV shows. He's not exactly a button-down kind of guy but he's not Marilyn Manson either. So you can imagine I was a bit surprised to read this the other day:
Dave Stewart — one-half of ’80s duo Eurythmics with Annie Lennox, who’s gone on to collaborate with Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan and Katy Perry — says that since 1979 his body’s been inhabited by another being, who’s written all his songs. 
“I had a huge car crash in Germany ... I had many different [operations],” Stewart told a gobsmacked Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly on “Good Day New York.” 
“I died on the operating table, I flatlined, in about 1979, and somebody else slipped into my body, which is called a walk-in ... That’s the name when that happens,” Stewart matter-of-factly told the hosts. “From then on, I’ve been somebody else. I am completely not me. I’m speaking on behalf of Dave, but I am somebody else who has written hundreds and thousands of songs.”
Now I've seen everything. Dave Stewart is claiming to be a Walk-In.

Oddly enough I watched The X-Files Walk-In bonanza, "Sein Und Zeit" the night before I read this article. There's nothing particularly synchronistic about that; me watching "Sein Und Zeit" just means it's Tuesday.

I thought the story was particularly interesting in the wake of the Super Bowl when Beyonce Knowles performed in "Sasha Fierce" mode, the alter ego she claimed to have created, or claims created her.

Beyonce introduced the world to Sasha Fierce with the album named in her alter ego's honor, but it appears that her imaginary friend was not actually created for the occasion and had in fact been lurking in the shadows all along, or at least since 2003. 

What she described sounded very much like possession. Did she create this character or summon her?

“When I see a video of myself on stage or TV I’m like, ‘Who is that girl?’.  That’s not me, I wouldn’t dare do that.” – Beyoncé Interview, September 2003. 
“I created my stage persona to protect myself, so that when I go home, I don’t have to think about what it is I do. Sasha isn’t me.” – Beyoncé, Parade Magazine, December 2006 
“I wouldn’t like Sasha if I met her offstage.”– Beyoncé, Parade Magazine, 2006. 
“I have someone else that takes over when it’s time for me to work and when I’m on stage, this alter ego that I’ve created that kind of protects me and who I really am”.– Beyoncé Press Statement, October 2008. 
“I have created an alter ego: things I do when performing I would never do normally. I reveal things about myself that I wouldn’t do in an interview.” – Beyoncé, Marie Claire interview, October 2008. 
“I have out-of-body experiences [on stage]. If I cut my leg, if I fall I don’t even feel it. I’m so fearless, I’m not aware of my face or my body.” – Beyoncé, Marie Claire interview, October 2008.
But again, we saw the allegedly-dead Sasha Fierce character alive and well, in her trademark black leather and gold, at the Super Bowl (Beyonce previously claimed to have "killed" her), whatever you might think of the mash that was unleashed during that poorly-conceived halftime spectacle.*

But as fate would have it, Beyonce wasn't the only performer who claims to be hosting another entity performing at the SuperBowl.

Chris Martin of Coldplay claims to be gloriously possessed by the demonic shade of legendary serial killer Gilles de Rais, and upon every full moon he bathes in the blood, wait.

Sorry. Working off some incorrect information there.

Oh, I feel so, so... mind-controlled! 

Lady Gaga claims to be possessed by the spirit of her dead aunt, a spirit-transference that allegedly occurred in the womb:
"Poker Face’ singer Lady Gaga thinks she’s the reincarnated spirit of her dead aunt. The 24-year-old star thinks that her creativity comes from her late aunt Joanne, who transferred her spirit into her mother Cynthia’s womb. 'My father’s sister Joanne died when she was 19 and he was 16. And when my mother was engaged to marry my father, they were staying in his house, where he grew up, and a light came into the room and touched her stomach and went away,'  
So there's that. And as we read about way back when a woman claimed that Gaga was keeping the spirit of her dead daughter captive. Hyperbole? Metaphor? Read this:
"A still-grieving mom says her late daughter inspired Lady Gaga on her path to superstardom, and wants the 'Poker Face' pop icon to give the tragic teen her due. 
"Yana Morgana is seeking the rights to release the dozen or so songs her daughter, Lina, recorded with Gaga -- then Stefani Germanotta -- before Lina committed suicide at age 19.

"And she wants the 'Paparazzi' princess to acknowledge it was Lina Morgana's dark, edgy style that helped create Lady Gaga. 'I'm doing this because I want to keep her spirit alive,' Yana, 41, told The Post. "Lady Gaga is holding Lina's soul, and I want her soul to be free."

"'Lina had that style. Gaga had a different style. She changed dramatically overnight,' Yana said. "Within a year of their collaboration, Lina jumped to her death from the roof of a 10-story hotel on Staten Island. About a month after the October 2008 suicide, Germanotta became Lady Gaga, took the music industry by storm and spawned an army of fans she dubbed her 'little monsters.'

'Tyler Schwab, Lina's ex-boyfriend, said he was stunned the first time he saw a Gaga video. It was the same style, the same look, the same music, the same voice, the same jaw line -- the way they expressed themselves,' said Schwab. 'And I was like, "Is that Lina?" It was so, so shocking. It was like looking at a ghost."
As crazy as this may all sound, it's not without precedent in the pop music world. Doors singer Jim Morrison famously claimed to be possessed by the spirit of a Native American shaman. From a interview with Doors co-founder Ray Manzarek:
What was that fateful meeting with Morrison on the beach like? 
We had graduated from film school, and there we were, with no prospects, whatsoever. ...So anyway, Jim was originally going to New York, but for some reason he didn’t. And we ended up running into one another on the beach. Talk about being guided by the better angels of your selves–or, even more so, being guided by the spirit of the dead Indian that was in Jim’s body. It was as if he was saying, “The two of you–psychedelic warriors–have to get together.” 
And of course when you're talking about the transmigration of souls and what-not, you have the famous example of Aleister Crowley, who claimed to be the reincarnation of French occultist Eliphas Levi, going so far as to catalog the reasons why he in fact was so in the 1911 release Book Four:
1. The date of Eliphas Levi's death was about six months previous to that of Aleister Crowley's birth. The reincarnating ego is supposed to take possession of the foetus at about this stage of development. 
2. Eliphas Levi had a striking personal resemblance to Aleister Crowley's father...
3. Aleister Crowley wrote a play called "The Fatal Force" at a time when he had not read any of Eliphas Levi's works. The motive of this play is a Magical Operation of a very peculiar kind. The formula which Aleister Crowley supposed to be his original idea is mentioned by Levi. We have not been able to trace it anywhere else with such exact correspondence in every detail. 
4. Aleister Crowley found a certain quarter of Paris incomprehensibly familiar and attractive to him. This was not the ordinary phenomenon of the "deja vu", it was chiefly a sense of being at home again. He discovered long after that Levi had lived in the neighbourhood for many years. 
And so on. 

So what, just crazy artist-types being crazy, right? If it's not this it's alien abduction or poltergeists or whatever. Just put them all on some pills and forget about it.

Well, as difficult as it might be for some of us to accept these are exceptional people, who just aren't like you and me. We're talking about people who distinguished themselves in a cut-throat business where 99,999 out of 100,000 people meet with total and complete failure and obscurity. They've displayed a remarkable degree of staying power, which is even more unlikely than getting your name out there in the first place. Millions of people have bought their records and been influenced by their music.

And these are just four artists here; I have no idea how many have very similar experiences who aren't open about them. I suspect there are a quite a few.

I know it's tempting for some to claim they're just "alters" or MONARCH subjects or Illuminati puppets but what that really ends up sounding like is simple sour grapes. I'm certainly no fan of either Beyonce or Lady Gaga, but I also wouldn't try to deny their extraordinary talent or diminish the fact that they've exerted an almost-unprecedented amount of control over their own careers.

Is there a spiritual dimension to their success? Is that indeed that elusive X-factor that separates the superstar from the second-string? Fame does seem to be a magical power all its own. I've seen what happens when it leaves the host. It does make you wonder.
What I can say with absolute certainty that what we are witnessing is the power of the irrational, the supernatural, and yes, the occult in the arts. The degraded occult symbolism we've seen in pop music over the past several years feels not only like intentional provocation but also very much like a counterpoint to the dominance of the hyper-rational everywhere else.

We wouldn't see so much of it were it not resonating in the culture. It moves product and it gets much sought-after clicks. And that includes all the people who claim to abhor yet can't seem to get enough of it.

In comes down to this: The more we try to push the irrational, the supernatural to the far fringes, the more we try to deny its place in our culture, the greater influence they actually have.

Why? Because they have real power.

And the irrational expresses itself best in art, which ultimately moves the human soul more than math or science will ever dare dream of. And fame itself is a power that seemingly defies the rational.

The term charisma comes from the Greek meaning "a gift from the gods," from the root word kharizesthai, meaning "to show favor to." Once again, those benighted ancients were several steps ahead of us.

So no, it's not too much of a stretch to call fame a super-natural power. It's a gift that seems to be bestowed on so very few of us and of those very few can maintain it. No one can quite figure out how or it would surely have been mass-produced by now. And attempts to do so have always fallen short.

It's certainly no accident then that so many stars have some hint of magic or the supernatural about them, if you just care to look.

*I've read a lot of interpretations of the show but I'm still going with the "militarization of women" theme we seem to be seeing, especially given the fact that the stories about the female militias formed to fight the Islamic State suddenly popped up in the media again this past week.


  1. I saw The Eurythmics live in concert at an outdoor tennis arena in South Australia, 1987. I remember being surprised at just how much of a wild guitarist Dave Stewart was. It seemed incongruous to my young mind after listening to their previous electronic pop tracks. A ‘walk-in’ would help explain the axe shredding. You almost had me at the Chris Martin claim. Nice to be reminded that The Secret Sun can deliver in the humor department also.

    1. I think a Walk-In wrote that- I stopped it just in time. The Eurythmics were one of those bands that dominated for 3 or 4 years and then just went away. The 80s were like that.

  2. Bowie and Stu Sutcliffe is one that intrigues me (look at pictures and consider the timing). Lennon at least seems to have experienced Sutcliffe as a haunting spirit, in circumstances not unlike Lady Gaga's.

    The Next Day reads to me as partly being a ritual to exorcise a powerful "alter ego."

    1. Transmigration- all the cool spirits are doing it these days. Me, I think Bowie dropped in from out of the area, but that's just me.

    2. ever see that interview where he claims the internet is an alien? if not is really worth a watch, in the beginning he talks about alter ego too...

  3. I was reading an interview with the Brazilian Grammy-winner Lenine, and he talks about "psychophoned" songs, saying that the songs are already out there and the musician is "merely the horse, the antenna". In the same interview, he describes himself as a huge fan of Stanley Kubrick.

    Here's the cover for his album "The Day We Make Contact":

    - Bruno

    1. Well, I know all about that. Real music is channeled, not written. It exists already and you act as a conduit for it. No question in my mind.

  4. About the militarization of women :

    1. Yep. Just in time for my daughter. Terrific.

    2. I've heard that thousands of Iranian women have been training as ninjas, which I though was an interesting defense idea for any nation.

  5. Dave Stewart is a quite remarkable artist, I've always gotten a sense of incongruity seeing him, even in videos. I'm a big fan of Annie Lennox and the works she's done with Stewart, and at times I've thought: "this music came out of *that* guy?"

    Be all that as it may. I have to agree, the harder we as a species try to push down the irrational, the supernatural, the mystic - the harder and faster these chaotic things rise up again, to remind us that we can't put or push them away completely.

    IMHO, we're betters off forming an approach to these supernatural whatevers, trying to learn about these...effects, for lack of a better term, than pushing away something that we clearly need.

    Myself-and any openly LGBT person can confirm- I know that pushing away and shutting down essential parts of ourselves doesn't make life easier or better.

    Learn, accept, grow. :)

    1. Stewart and Lennox performed in a previous band called The Tourists. They were very yin and yang- they complimented each other. The formula seemed to fall apart after a short while but they certainly racked up the hits. Part of that whole androgynous British Invasion era which didn't seem to have the staying power of the first.

    2. :) Yes, even I would agree that Lennox, Boy George, and the rest simply were not, could not be, the Beatles, the Stones, the Who.

      For me, I still listen more to the one-hit wonders and also-rans of the 80s than any of the really popular groups.

  6. Literary "voice" can also be seen as a "constructed personality". In performance arts, this constructed personality actually "drives" the body of the performer. Writers can be mediums but performers must be "walked in". One of the signs of a hypnotic state is the fixed sight on the hypnotized subject (sorry can not find the link for the medical article). Just look at the sight of Lady Gaga on the telephone video and compare it with Beyonce's. It's clear that Beyonce performs on a trance state. All good performers work with the eyes and sight but Beyonce is on another level completely. The music could suck less, but she is an excellent horse for her rider (to put it on voodoo terms).

    1. She's one of this whole wave of artists who started with Madonna who are very much of being in the moment. But most of her songs are not lasting outside the moment. She's a very powerful performer though and that's her ace. She commands attention.

  7. Yes... google is me friend... This is the link for the fixed gaze on hypnotic state:
    And this is the link for the medical article (PLOS open access):

  8. Hey Chris,

    This is great work, as ever. You touch on some very interesting ideas here. Personally, I think if you scratch the surface of stardom and celebrity you’ll find the irrational, supernatural and the occult. These things are often a matter of public record, but aren’t paid too much mind and relegated to the fringes of official history.

    From a very personal, subjective perspective I’ve encountered individuals who seem to be Carriers of some kind. People who have non-physical passengers with them, interacting with their auric or energetic field. Some are ‘dark’ and some are ‘light’, at least to my eyes. You could call this possession, I suppose. Some are permanently attached and some come and go, but usually returning to the same individual. Most people are unconscious of these passengers, some are semi-conscious of them, and some are all too aware. The degree of control of the passengers over their carriers can only be speculation. Some appear far more in control than others.

    So for me Walk-Ins aren’t just some New Age nonsense. I think the Muses don’t just love broken vessels, they sometimes inhabit these vessels. Sometimes to feed and desecrate and defile. And sometimes, thankfully, to create culture, compassion, wisdom and general spiritual uplift. I’d wager, at one time or another, most people have been the site of such visitations, however brief. For others these relationships can last a lifetime. I’m not saying this is how any of it actually is, only that sometimes the supernatural has to create an image, a metaphor or symbol to convey an idea. The idea is useful, even if the reality of the ‘actual’ situation is orders of sophistication beyond the useful image. I think of it like this: gods and spirits can only speak their language to us laterally; in dreams, inspiration, synchronicity, and art. But in the conscious realm they have to speak OUR language, which necessitates the creation of useful images and symbol-systems.

    With regards to fame specifically, I suspect being the object of adoration, hate or general focus of millions of people can act as a spiritual lens or aperture of some kind. Aside from the financial benefits of fame, and also its grinding pressures, I think it can create a space for liminal opportunities to manifest. I think folks like David Bowie were very skilled at weaponizing or ‘consciously directing’ this liminal power bestowed through the psychological energy focused on them. But it’s only part of the story. This is a story with many facets, operating in multiple dimensions simultaneously, which is why our images and metaphors and symbol-systems used to explore it need to be as nuanced and subtle and contextual as possible. In my opinion, one size does not fit all in the Realm of the Strange.

    The Secret Sun is always on the cutting-edge. Your blog has way more influence than most people would be able to recognize or intuit. You have gained the attention of powerful forces, both exotic and otherwise, and you are deft in the way you handle such responsibility. Keep up the lucid and probing work, Chris.


    1. Well, sometimes being on the cutting edge means "obscurity". But here's the deal- my mother was a professional musician for the first several years of my life. She began working professionally when she was 15. She could sing note for note like Barbra Streisand and play a church organ which is like working a frigging rocket panel. So I got all of this from a very early age, I saw how it worked. Took it for granted even. I played music for several years and realized how it is a force that overtakes you. It physically takes over. This is why music is always played such an important role in ecstatic worship from the Mystery religions to the Yoruba variants. But fame is something else- it's alien to me. It's a weird, almost demonic power that can really consume the host. So all these issues of possession are going to continue to be something we need to look at. Because in the case of music I know it's real.

  9. I'm not sure if it means anything, but I find the difference between walk-in and PKD's "homoplasmate" more than a little disturbing. In PKD's case, he considered himself an entirely new being, but one intimately related to his former self. Almost as if he was his own progeny - I suppose that's the esoteric meaning being of born again? But to be totally replaced by another being rather than bonded to it... it's almost like a celestial missing persons case. And in the case of a lot of missing people... well, it doesn't always turn out nicely, eh?

    1. PKDs admirers often fail to take into account how incredibly weird his beliefs were. Many just dismiss them. But again, look at the results. That is our final arbiter. His beliefs defined who he was and who he was makes him important to the world.

  10. I think the militarization of women is a good partial interpretation of the show. When I fist saw the bit where Beyonce's team and Bruno Mars' team dance toward each other my first confused thought: Are they trying to bring back heterosexuality?

    But I almost immediately thought better of it owing to the way they were dressed.

    Really, most of the show looked CGI to me. I wondered if people in the stands were really holding cards. I thought that was a bit of mocking of the gullibility of the public because you can say, "Because we did X, love wins!" and a certain percentage of feelers will fall for it. You could say, "Because we invaded Syria and ousted Assad, love has finally won."

    There's really no end to that scam.

    1. Well, the attempt to oust Assad failed so I'm sticking with the idea that it was mostly a big advertisement for Coldplay's new album. Which is almost more disturbing than some kind of Illuminati mind control. Or maybe there's no distinction. I can't tell anymore.

  11. I feel like there's a significance between these things you are saying, Chris, and the fact that Beyonce and Gaga don't actually SING, live, when they are performing, live. Or they may be singing, but not mic'd, to one degree or another.

    Batman The Killing Joke Movie Trailer

    Thought you might enjoy this fan-made trailer.

  13. Years ago, long before I had ever heard about the whole MKUltra/Monarch business, I saw Dave Stewart doing a version of Lou Reed´s Walk On The Wild Side together with Vanessa Paradis. (Her solo rendition appeared in 1990, when she was about 17 years old).

    I was totally creeped out by it.
    She looks and acts as if she is completely entranced and lost to him.
    Stewart looks horrible as always, in hindsight he almost looks like a parody of Johnny Depp.
    He is wearing mirrored glasses so that she is probably seeing only her reflection while she glazes at him without blinking.

    When I first read about illuminati mind control (tm), I was still in doubt (and I still am). But then it hit me, that I have probably seen it acted out right before my eyes in that duet.

    Here it is on Youtube:
    Watch it until the end as her reactions are getting weirder by the minute. The last 20 seconds are especially is probably also a coincidence that he is wearing some triangle with an eye in it on his leather jacket.

  14. I've performed and recorded in bands. No, I'm not the least bit famous, but I am skeptical that there's some sort of spirit possession going on, even though I'm open to the concept. I can testify that when you're on stage in front of fifty beer swillers in a downtown dive cranking madly away on your electric six that you pretty quickly start to feel like you're Walking With The King. So when I read about this stuff, I imagine it's just what I was feeling cubed.

  15. i just watched the amy winehouse documentary. fame can come with quite a price. in the film she says she didn't want fame that she didn't think she could handle it.

  16. Fun fact. . . Dave Stewart did a comic about this, and it's called "Walk-In". From the short-lived-but-very-cool Virgin Comics, which featured Deepak Chopra and Richard Branson as founders.

  17. Reminds me of a Dylan interview where he claims to have had a transfiguration
    "So when you ask some of your questions, you're asking them to a person who's long dead. You're asking them to a person that doesn't exist. But people make that mistake about me all the time. I've lived through a lot. Have you ever heard of a book called No Man Knows My History? It's about Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet. The title could refer to me

  18. Fame can most certainly be manufactured, and quite often is. Maybe not lasting fame, like Bowie. I mean, do labels even have talent scouts anymore? I doubt it. Gaga and Beyonce seem totally manufactured to me, no originality, very little musical ability required to "write" what they write. Though I agree with you about everything else, and have no doubt that many "stars" have either been possessed by walk ins, or at the very least believe they have been. I would imagine fame does funny things to a person. Makes them doubt that they are the same person that they were before fame.

    I've written and performed music for a 25 years or so, and I know the feelings you talk about. Personally, I find I sometimes have to try really hard to "lose myself" in the music. Other times, it happens without me even realizing it until after the performance is over. I've often found that is usually the difference between and "off" performance and a good one. So I can definitely relate to everything you write here....there is a lot more going on with superstar musicians than just "talent".

  19. This is my observation: You dislike the turn towards dystopia in science fiction, TV and movies, but you desire dystopia in real life.