The Nightshirt Sightings, Portents, Forebodings, Suspicions

Category “Forteana”

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

Altered States of Reading (5): Kirk Allen of Barsoom

Sunday, 24 April, 2016

What could any Other know of the up-and-out? What Other could look at the biting acid beauty of the stars in open space? What could they tell of the great pain, which started quietly in the marrow, like an ache, and proceeded by the fatigue and nausea of each separate nerve cell, brain cell, touchpoint […]

Psi’s Big Guns: Sleep Paralysis and Astral Time Travel

Saturday, 16 April, 2016

A year ago I wrote at length about out-of-body experiences (OOBEs) in the context of alchemy and the hermetic tradition. I confessed that I was a fence-sitter on the question of what they are—lucid dreams that just feel more real than most (i.e., corresponding to real physical environments) or actually what they feel like, some […]

Lost in Translation (or, Don’t Look for a Matrix of Meaning)

Tuesday, 15 March, 2016

I have been arguing that present experience contains associative traces of emotional events ahead of us in time; we are detecting (faintly) the future—the real future, not just some imaginatively forecast future—at all moments, mostly beneath the level of conscious awareness. But because the retrocausality implied in this model is so “hard to think” (and […]