The Nightshirt Sightings, Portents, Forebodings, Suspicions

Author Archive

The Nightshirt Guide to the Twin Peaks Rebirth

Tuesday, 27 June, 2017

“We live in a world of opposites, of extreme evil and violence opposed to goodness and peace. It’s that way here for a reason but we have a hard time grasping what the reason is. In struggling to understand the reason, we learn about balance and there’s a mysterious door right at that balance point. […]

Master Minkowski’s Wild Ducks (Zen and the Glass Block Universe)

Thursday, 4 May, 2017

Probably because I am thinking about (and trying to finish a book on) precognition and retrocausation and the glass block universe they seem to imply, I keep finding my thoughts returning to a famous Zen koan from 8th-century China. You will have heard it: Master Ma and his student Pai Chang were walking along when […]

What Was Your Original Face on Mars?—Zen and the Prophetic Sublime

Saturday, 11 February, 2017

The famous “Face on Mars,” first photographed by the Viking orbiters in 1976, was the object of much speculation in the 1980s and 1990s and continues to be. After it was identified by Richard C. Hoagland, the Face became the central icon in a narrative of ancient global destruction—perhaps nuclear war—that, some suggested, may have […]

Zen, Signs, and the Arrival of Meaning

Monday, 2 January, 2017

Even though they were widely panned when they came out and have now been mostly forgotten, I have a soft spot for M. Night Shyamalan’s films from the early 2000s—Unbreakable, Signs, and The Village. Signs, especially, I thought was a satisfying, intimate-scale sci-fi film about alien invasion, but it lost many of its viewers by […]

Altered States of Reading #6: Stories of Your (Future, Past) Life

Sunday, 27 November, 2016

Few films could better illustrate the workings of precognition than Denis Villeneuve’s excellent new film Arrival, based on a 1999 story “The Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang. If you’ve seen the trailers, it will give nothing away that it is about a first-contact situation, and the attempt of a linguist, played by Amy […]

The Time Eye: Nuts and Bolts of a Biological Future Detector

Wednesday, 21 September, 2016

Rubbing my temples and squinting, I foresee that no less a science writer than James Gleick will very shortly be publishing a book called Time Travel. Unlike his most famous book, Chaos, which was incredibly forward looking—introducing a whole generation to a really cool new concept, “the butterfly effect” (i.e., the way a butterfly flapping […]

The Ancient Art of Memory & the Modern Science of Dreaming

Sunday, 28 August, 2016

Check out my essay on dreaming and the ancient art of memory (hint: they operate on the same principles), the lead article in this month’s special issue of New Dawn magazine. You can also read the essay with its graphics by downloading a copy of Special Issue Vol 10 No 4 (PDF version) for US$5.95. […]

Stories Latent in the Landscape: Spirits, Time Slips, and “Super-Psi”

Saturday, 25 June, 2016

An alternative explanation sometimes given when mediums provide veridical information about deceased persons is “super-psi”—the idea that the medium is actually obtaining the information clairvoyantly and/or telepathically (i.e., from the heads of their sitters). Super-psi has also been used to account for cases of apparent reincarnation: A child psychically acquires information about a dead person […]

The Wyrd of the Early Earth: Cellular Pre-sense in the Primordial Soup

Sunday, 22 May, 2016

Stand brave, life-liver, bleeding out your days in the river of time. Stand brave: Time moves both ways … —Joanna Newsom, “Time, as a Symptom” The philosopher Alfred Korzybski, who influenced Phil Dick, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, and other science-fictional minds of the mid-20th Century, named “time binding” as a characteristic human activity. He was […]

Wyrd, Post-Selection, and the Quantum Trickster

Saturday, 7 May, 2016

English is blessed with a large and fascinating family of w-r words connoting twisting, turning, and turning-into (in the sense of becoming)—think writhing wriggling worms and the wrath of wraiths. (See my ancient post about “werewords” if you are curious.) My favorite of this family is Wyrd, which comes from the Old English weorthan, “to […]