The Modern Monster

In the past 100 years the genre of horror has seen many faces and goes by many names. We all remember the classic monster movies of the 50’s, the suspense of the 70’s and of course the gore filled slasher films of the 80’s. But what about today? And why has the direction of horror changed? The general consensus would claim its due to monetary reasons;  but, money aside, there is something deep within our American culture and the human psyche that moves us to a specific brand of horror. The origin of monsters and spirits, demons and gods, have been around since the dawn of humanity. These myths were generally told as a way to explain odd natural phenomena. These stories have gone from being told orally, to being written and now to flashing brightly on our televisions and computers.

The original monsters of the silver-screen were often deformed and generally misunderstood. These creatures often had the ability and desire to love and be loved, but humanity always seems to stomp out the goodness, turning them into empty violent shells of existence. The rejection of fellow man turning them into creatures of darkness. Within these movies, it is always the battle of humanity against the the other. A fear of something that is not like us. The best example of this can be seen in the movie Freaks, a 1932 film that was considered too shocking for the general public, and ended up never being released in theatres. In Freaks the people are real, and not imaginary creations in any way, the general genetic shortcomings causing horror and rejection. Within many of these movies the viewer can witness the emotional struggle to be accepted and connected a certain understanding between viewer and monster. The struggle to be accepted by other people is something that every human has dealt with at one time or another. These monsters could be us. Then, something dramatic happened: a cultural shift from being worried about rejection to learning how to accept oneself.

With the changes of the tide, these creatures that were once considered un-human have become accepted by society in some shape or form. This is seen by the ways we now acknowledge and help people with learnings disorders, psychiatric problems, people who are mentally challenged and new technology that is slowly but surely finding ways to surgically fix amputees and people born deformed.

It was during the 70s that brought about the popularity of the serial killer. A man or woman who has no motive other than a thirst for death and despair. Movies like Halloween and Suspiria brought about a fascination with the human who is not human, and of course, with the gore that follows along with murder. The image of the American Dream had shifted dramatically, as news coverage began to show the horrors of reality either through war or seeking out for the next best tragedy.  It created a space for something new and real. This form of televised violence is something that has survived for decades and is still taking place today. We now flood the airways with crime shows, false news media and wonderful television creations fully exploiting the violence that excites us. From these multimillion dollar industries, we find new reasons to be afraid.

So that leaves us with the horror movies that are being released today. They all generally have one thing in common: new beginnings. Whether it be buying a piece of furniture or moving into a new house, the heroine can always expect a ghost, demon or potential serial killer lurking in the shadows. This is connected to the both televised media and social media. We fill the days with videos of fights, talks about political uprising and even the zombie apocalypse. Should we be afraid? We will never get the real answer to that question. Essentially everything and anything that is new or changing is frightening in one form or another. God is dead. The government is falling apart. There are rapist everywhere. We have become a nation of suspicious people, untrusting of everyone, due to these alluring debates- which is then played out in horror.
As for now, the times of lake monsters and things that go bump in the night are mute.  Their remains exist only in satire. Instead, horror fans are left with the remaining questions of the world: issues about death, the afterlife and the primal instincts of man. While science is struggling to find some sort of answers to these questions, many of the results fall short of any scientific truth; but fear not horror fans. In reality, the concept of the monster has never really died, its image has only transformed. From Frankenstein to Henry, the films that many of us love are simply an expression of the ways in which we deal with fear. Some sleep with the TV on, others try and confront the idea head-on in a 24 hour horrorfest. We are really the monster, and the monster is us. As viewers, many of us are simply trying to understand and comprehend this reality.  Ultimately it boils down to one simple question: what does it means to be human?  What is it that separates us from the evil that exists in film? To try and find that answer we bravely travel forward as both fans and seekers, searching for some form of an explanation and constantly questioning ‘could this be me?’ So we continue watching, our eyes fastened to the screen, constantly waiting with dreadful excitement of what will happen next.

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The Night Runners

It was a moon filled night. The type of night that cast shadows among every path and on every tree. The two girls ran through the woods hand in hand, sharing laughter and whispering secrets. Emily took long strides forward, leaping over tree branches and dodging bushes like a gazelle. She was something to be seen and always had been. Now at the young and confusing age of eleven, her body was starting to fill out, pulling glances from everyone, no matter if they were sitting in a restaurant booth or roofing a house. It was as if a radiant glow spilled out of every pore in her body, a walking goddess just waiting to be worshiped.   

Then there was Becca: ‘the other one.’ The one that people would size up next to Emily. She could never compete with her best friend. She knew this ever since they met in kindergarden, sharing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches under the bright glow of fluorescent lights.   As the years passed, Emily became the central focus of underage desire. While Emily was getting phrase and compliments,  Becca always stood to the side, half in the shadows,  slowly becoming an empty shell to others and herself.

Of course she acted like she didn’t care. She was smarter, funnier, wittier and her family had much more money than Emily’s. Regardless, no matter how much she struggled to raise her self-esteem there was always that small nagging ache in her heart whenever people flocked  to her best friend. While Becca always tried to stay out of the way, Emily was always pulling her towards her, making sure they both stood side by side- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Emily would tell her in the most enthusiastic of voices, “you shouldn’t  be worried about what other people say or think. All that matters is that we are best friends. We are best friends right?” Becca would always nod in agreement “Of course, of course.”

That was how the midnight runs began.Two girls in desperate search for some kind of freedom from their boring midwestern farm life. They would both sneak out of there houses at exactly 11:45, racing to meet up at the trailhead of pinewood creek.  It’s entrance was overgrown with ferns causing the illusion that it was a magical place long forgotten.  They never said a word to one another when they met at Piinewood Creek. Some things are better said with silence, and this mute agreement suited them.

They  felt exhilarated racing through the forest,  the tingling feeling of cold sweat dripping down their faces and backs while they jumped over brush and tree branches. Nothing was straight for the girls, not even their running. They zigged and zagged through the forest, their hearts filled with such spirit. Some of the local farmers began to believe that the woods were full of real werewolves hearing only faint whisps of the girls heavy breathing. Of course, both of the girls knew differently; and they always found it incredibly humorous when they heard the local farmers speak of the werewolves that were haunting their property line. Once the girls had made plans on new and inventive ways they could frighten the farmers, but none them them ever came to fruition. Even the girls relatives feared Pinewood Creek forest preserve. Becca’s grandmother, Ruby McDonna, would always warn her about the woods. “There is a deep evil residing in the woods, people go in and most of the time never come out.” While this made for a wonderful campfire tale, it never worried the girls. Instead, it caused the opposite, turning the girls nightly run into a challenge, proof that they were strong enough to defeat whatever evil lurked in the forest.

Despite the adrenaline running through their bodies, something felt off this night. This run  felt foreboding and different.. There was a certain level of excitement. It seemed to rise up from the underbrush into the green canopies of the trees. Becca could feel the vibrations of this frenzy reaching all the way in- deep into the depths of her soul. She glanced over at emily who was running right next to her, always at the same speed, always side-by-side. Becca was unsure if Emily could sense this new experience; and in some ways, she desperately hoped that Emily was not having the same experience she was. Sometimes you want things simply for yourself. After a mile, the girls were practically gasping for air, their lungs burning from their determination to always run, never walk. It was during this short break that the girls discovered something that they had never seen before- the burnt structural remains of a house. The foundation lay on the forest floor, parts of the cement crumbling from the wear and tear of time.  Only a closed door stood  on what had once been a front porch. This new discovery  was enough to cause the girls to pause, hands on their knees gasping for breath.

“What is this? Did we get lost?” Emily asked. She gave Becca a questioning look, unsure of how to proceed with this creepy red door.

“I…don’t know” Becca stated. She finally stood up tall carefully analyzing and considering closed door. It stood closed in a lonely sort of way as if it was waiting for it’s previous owners to open it once more and come into their isolated home.

“Should we open it?” Becca asked, bushy eyebrows raised.

“I don’t know, it’s kind of freaking me out.”

“Come on, don’t be such a baby,” Becca nagged, trying to think of a way she could convince Emily to open the mysterious entryway.

“I’m not a baby! I am older than you by three months so if anything that would make you the baby!” Emily hated being called a baby or anything else that demeaned her. She looked at the door and quickly looked away afraid of what resided behind the gateway.

“Fine then, open it. Unless you’re scared.” Becca quickly began to mock her best friend, mimicking her in a weird distorted voice which drove Emily insane. The simple fact was that sometimes we should leave certain doors closed, that was what her mother had always told her anyways. As the mocking continued Emily could feel the heat rise up into her cheeks and a deep anger grow in the pit of her stomach. If Becca wanted the door opened that badly, then fine she would do it: her, the brave door opening. Emily took quick strides towards the door. A quick glance behind the door revealed that nothing  was there. Nothing to fear- it was just an ordinary door.

Emily reached for the doorknob, hands shaking from both fear and anticipation. She touched the cool silver handle, hesitating a moment before she turned it. Laughter began to echo from behind the two of them. The girls quickly darted around looking for the source of the laugh, that deep harmonious laugh.  Seeing nothing Emily turned her attention back to the door knob. This time it was a voice that came from the woods behind them.  

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Both girls about faced  again, eyes squinting in the darkness trying to make out some sort of shape or movement.

“Just a word of advice my new friends. Sometimes things are better left alone. Curiosity killed the cat you know.” They finally spotted him, casually leaning against a tree intensely watching them through dark eyes. HIs clever charm caused both girls to feel a deep tingling sensation that seemed to vibrate from their head down into their loins. He looked so beautiful, like some kind of angel dressed in black slacks and black polo shirt. An alarm seemed to go off in Becca’s head. This man was pristinely groomed for someone who happens to be lurking around in the woods late at night.

“Nothing will happen if I open this door” Emily stated bravely. “All those legends of evil and devils are simply that, legends!” Becca rolled her eyes at this; it annoyed her to see Emily trying to act smart in front of people, especially strangers.  In most cases Emily had no clue of what she was talking about. The brave statement brought a wide grin to the stranger’s face, flashing a lovely set of perfect white teeth. He pushed off from the tree and sauntered towards the two of them, observing them as if they were specimens in a lab. His eyes finally landed on Becca- his smile widened.

“My, my. Look at those eyes. I haven’t seen such green eyes in a long time. You must be very luck to have such a commodity.” This brought a true smile to Becca’s face. She suddenly liked, no, loved this stranger. It was the first compliment that she had ever received. Seeing this interaction between the two of them brought about a deep rage in Emily’s heart.  She was not pleased with this man. She was the pretty one, not Becca. Becca would never be pretty with that baby thin mousy brown hair, crooked teeth and bushy eyebrows. Emily simply couldn’t figure out  why this man was not giving her any attention or any sort of affection. The stranger tilted his head in Emily’s direction, eyes sparkling with delight. He was obvious laughing at her, even if the laughter did make a sound.

“‘well, since you are such a brave young girl, then open the door, that is it if you wish.” Emily couldn’t believe it, he was challenging her. She hated him. Becca on the other hand, was falling more and more in love with him. There was only one tiny problem- she felt comfortable around him but also uneasy. It was like a thin balance between ultimate trust and ultimate deceit, and she desperately trying to balance on that tight-rope.

Finally having enough of this nonsense Emily opened the door. It swung back with a deep creak, as if it hadn’t been opened for centuries. The three of them peered inside, looking around for whatever it was that may have resided there. They were met with their own reflections staring right back at them. The stranger walked through the doorway first, both girls following behind him. They were greeted by a large mirror which was carefully placed in the middle of the room; a mirror so pristine that flashes of moon beams were bouncing off the glassy surface.

“My, what a lovely mirror,” he stated softly. He quickly stood in front of it and began to look at his appearance. He took note that he looked quite disheveled and quickly brushed his hair to the left- adjusted his shirt and slacks. Seeing that this mirror was harmless Emily ran forward and looked into the mirror, a gasp of breath involuntarily escaping from her lungs. It was as if Narcissus himself had just found his reflection. She looked so beautiful. She began to stroke her face gently with the tips of her fingers, smiling at the image of herself.

The stranger then turned towards Becca, a mischievous look twinkling in his eyes. “‘Would you like a look little lamb?” Becca shook her head vigorously.

“No, I already know what I look like.” Her voice was full of sadness, something that she tried to hide by staring down at her sneakers, which were now covered in dirt and dead leaves.  “I see.” He gave her a quick nod and turned away from the glass, focusing his attention on her. In a few quick strides he came up close to her face, causing that uncomfortable feeling to turn into dread.

“‘Do you not think that you are pretty?” Becca could feel the deep despair rise up from her gut. No, of course she was not pretty, that was just a fact. He leaned in, cheek pressed against cheek, and whisper in her ear: “What if you could change that?” Becca pulled away and look right into the man’s eyes, trying to find something in their murky black depths. There was nothing there, just coldness. What was he playing at? Was he mocking her, trying to make her hurt more than she already did? With this he offered her a smile.

“Well, would you change it?” he asked again. She began to stare at her dirty shoes again, trying her best not to back down against this strange person.

“I guess so.” This brought a victorious smile to his face.

“Well then, don’t I have a little surprise for you.” He chuckled and quickly glanced over at Emily to make sure she was back still transfixed on her reflection.

“I can help you Becca. I can make you happy.” She didn’t know how he knew her name, but at that moment she didn’t care. She needed this warmth, this compassion.

“How?” Tears were beginning to well in her eyes. She quickly wiped them away with the sleeve of her hoodie.

“There is an old story. And remember, all old stories have some kind of gruesome trail that the hero must go through. But, in this particular belief it is said that if one is brave enough to spill the blood of an innocent, then he or she may receive any wish that you want. But of course, that is only a myth and there are always consequences.” It was almost as if Becca had been knocked out of a trance. Her right hand felt heavy. She was now holding a dagger- a blade that looked so deadly, so long and sharp. It seemed as if the weapon was simply dying for the chance to taste blood once more.

The man led Becca towards the door and begun to speak in a very quiet and sad voice. “I am very hungry Becca. It has been so long, so so long. No one comes into my woods anymore, except for you my lamb. My beautiful hero. Because of this, I will strike a deal with you if you so choose. It’s really quite simple: you help me and I will help you.”

“‘What do you mean?” The man sighed.

“Sadly I cannot take the soul of an innocent. Although, if they are released from their earthly bodies by someone they love, I am free to feed. And I am so hungry Becca. So Hungry. Really it is some kind of haunting mojo nonsense. But, never the less, it is a rule and I am a stickler for rules.” He then let out a small laugh and focused his whole attention on Becca.

‘I will give you her beauty, if you help me get her soul.” This statement caused Becca to freeze, a paleness taking to her skin. Was he really asking her to murder her best friend, the one who had always been there- sleepovers and s’mores, scary movies and swimming pools. All those memories with this one person that in a way she loved. The sentimentality didn’t last for long though. The desire to finally be the pretty one was taking over her. Becca imagined her whole life then, complete with the beautiful husband, some beautiful kids and of course beautiful dogs.

“Yes, the possibilities are endless.” He said while gently running cool fingers down Becca’s now tear stained cheeks. She looked over at Emily, simple and vain Emily. Suddenly Becca remember all those times Emily had secretly spread rumors about her. Becca had always known it was her, but yet she still stuck by as a loyal friend- the sidekick, the goon, the ugly minion that waited upon Emily.

“Why would you want to be loyal to someone who cares little to nothing about you, except to use you as a comparison to show how pretty she is.” He was right. This man was right.

Becca turned, hesitating for a moment. She looked back at the man “you promise you will do this?”

“If anything, I am always a man of my word.” He gave her a gentle reassuring nod and nudged her forward with his hands. Each step that she took towards her friend felt slow and sounded loud on the old cement floor. After what felt like an eternity, Becca was standing right behind Emily.

“Emily?”

“What is it?”

“Haven’t you been looking at that mirror for long enough?’

With that statement Emily snapped. “You’re just jealous that I have something to look at.” Becca was shocked at her words. She had had enough. Emily would never change and it was about high time that she got everything she she justly deserved. Becca was tired of being the ugly girl, the outcast. With her hand firmly grasping the handle of her dagger Becca quickly grabbed Emily by her blond ponytail and pulled her head back roughly, revealing her lovely throat.  That changed in a matter of seconds, as Becca quickly pulled the blade across that beautiful throat. It happened quickly. Blood began to pour from the open wound. Becca quickly let go of her hair and took a few steps back. Turning around Emily looked at her best friend with eyes filled with surprise. She began to try and gasp for air, which was simply causing the blood to pour down over her chest at a faster rate, dying her white hoodie a deep red.

Growing bored, the stranger finally spoke: “You must finish it.’  Without a second thought Becca violently threw Emily to the ground, the two girls grappling one another. Emily never stood a chance, she had lost too much blood and she could feel the world growing hazy around her. Using this to her advantage Becca arranged herself so that she was sitting on top of her, binding Emily’s arms underneath her legs. Tears streaked down Emily’s beautiful face, smearing the mascara that her mom never approved of her wearing.

Becca smiled down at her poor, helpless best friend. Taking a deep breath she drove the dagger right into Emily’s heart with a force so fierce that it easily broke the chest plate. Becca forced herself to stare into Emily’s dying eyes. She felt emotionless- uncaring. It was finally done. She violently pulled the knife up from Emily’s chest, causing streaks of blood to coat her face.

The man clapped from the doorway. “Beautiful. Truely beautiful. I could not have done it any better myself.”

Becca was filled with a feeling of power, something so large it was hard to keep it suppressed within herself. “Keep your promise! You said you’d make me beautiful so do it. Do it now!”

“Of course of course, but first things first.” The man walked towards the two of them, both lifeless in their own way, his eyes alight with hunger and excitement. Becca began to stand slowly and cautiously, making sure that she had hold of the dagger at all times.  After a brief moment of the two of them staring each other down, the stranger reached down to the top of Emily’s crown and with a quick sharp pull out came a vague and ethereal image. Something that looked like wispy air, somehow being both shiny and grey.

The man’s teeth seemed much sharper now, his handsome looks seeming to shift between what they once saw and some kind of beast. Always the gentleman he turned towards Becca and gently spoke:

“Excuse me, it is not proper for a lady to see a ravenous man eat. So please excuse me for one moment.”  He turned away from her and began to feast. She could hear the screaming and a loud ripping sound. Becca then realized that this man, this glorious stranger,  was the ripping apart Emily’s soul bit by bit, savoring the flavor of one as young as her. It only took seconds, but when it was done, there seemed to be some kind of relief in the air. He stood up tall and turned to face Becca once more. “Again my apologies. I was very hungry. Now then, with that aside, lets get down to business shall we?”

He looked down at Emily’s lifeless corpse and delicately reached into her eye sockets, removing first the left eye and then the right. Wet and slimy, they sat like a pair of marbles in his open hand.

“Eat them.” Becca took a step back. “What?”

“I said eat them. If you truly want to be beautiful then you will do as you’re told.” All the fun and mockery had left both his voice and his face. She knew in that instant that this was a now or never offer. Trying not to tremble, she took both of the veined eyes from his hand. She tightly shut her eyes and shoved the eyeballs into her mouth, quickly chewing the gooey mess. Swallowing them was the hard part and she could feel her mouth begin to water. She was going to vomit.

“Keep them down Becca.” Sighing, he turned back to look at himself in the mirror, analysing his face and hair. Slowly Becca opened her eyes, feeling as if this was all some sort of dream.

“I did it, so now what?” He smiled. “I am so glad you finally asked.  Come and see your transformation.”

‘No. Emily got transfixed in the mirror. I don’t want to be eaten.”

“‘Emily took her outward appearance too far. It allowed the mirror to capture her in it’s reflection. But you, you are different. There is no cowardice in you, no vanity. Well, not yet anyways.” He chuckled at his own joke.

With a heavy sigh, Becca stepped over Emily’s now deformed body and stared at her reflection in the mirror. She gasped at what she saw. She was indeed beautiful. Her hair thicker and fuller- no dead ends and a glossy shade of mahogany. Her teeth were now perfectly straight, her nose narrowed, eyebrows trimmed into a perfect shape. Even her body was thinner.

“I…I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. How did this happen?” Becca took a step back and stared at the man in amazement. He smiled at her, watching her through the mirror.

“I told you, I am always a man of my word.”

“‘Who are you? How did this happen?” Becca could feel herself falling in love with this dark and handsome man, the first man to ever take notice of her.

“Well, certain body parts when eaten affect certain features on a person. One time a man ate a full heart so that he could become brave.” He let out a loud bellowing laugh at that. “It was both disgusting and beautiful all at once. As for my name, that is my secret. We never tell.”

Finally he turned to face her.

“You seem like a good kid Becca. So let me give you some advice. Run home, tell no one about what has happened here on this night under the full moon. This will forever be between you and I.”

“Can’t I stay with you a little bit longer?” That statement seemed to stun him for a moment, not exactly sure of how to respond.

 “You are the first person to ever ask me that. Do not worry Becca, my good girl, we will absolutely meet again one day.” Becca could feel the courage and confidence swell deep within her. She strode towards him, raising herself up on her tip toes and gently gave her stranger a kiss.  

“I shall love you forever. Thank you.”

“And I you, my beautiful dark queen. Now run, run as fast as you can, before I eat you as well.’ With that being said, Becca turned and raced straight out  through the open door, pushing past her limits to get out of the woods and into her house. Once she exited the forest Becca took a quick look at the damage that she was going to have to hide. To her wonderful surprise, there was nothing there. Not a single drop of blood existed on her person. ‘It must be some kind of sign’ She thought. She knew that tomorrow was going to be a good day at school. People may ask about Emily, but she would just say she didn’t know. She would give a ‘maybe she’s sick’ excuse. The sun was beginning to cause the sky to lighten into a golden and purple sky. She had to hurry and get into her room so she could pretend to be asleep. Left open to await her arrival, she began to shimmy herself through the window, climbed into bed and pretend to sleep.  

Days, weeks and years passed with Becca keeping her beauty, but also trying not to become vain as Emily had done, and whenever she began to dote on her looks she would hear the man’s dark laughter echoing from deep within the woods.

Lets go back to sleepovers: Light as a feather, Stiff as a board.

Almost every little girl has tried light as a Feather, Stiff as a board. It is the essential sleepover game to play during the prime years of one’s childhood. But what is Light as a feather, Stiff as a board?

The game was first noted in 17th century London, during one of the terrible plague outbreaks. A naval administrator noted that with specific words, the act if properly performed, can ward off the disease:

“July 31, 1665, Pepys reported,

“He saw four little girls, very young ones,

all kneeling, each of them, upon one knee;

and one begun the first line, whispering in

the ear of the next, and the second to the

third, and the third to the fourth, and she

to the first. Then the first begun the second

line, and so round quite through, and putting

each one finger only to a boy that lay flat

upon his back on the ground, as if he was

dead; at the end of the words, they did with

their four fingers raise this boy high as they could reach.”  

The original lines of “Light as a feather, Stiff as aboard” follow as such:

French:

Voici un corps mort
Raide comme un bâton,
Froid comme le marbre
Léger comme un esprit,
Lève-toi au nom de Jésus-Christ!


English:
“Here is a dead body
Stiff as a stick,
Cold as marble
Light as a spirit,
Lift yourself, in the

name of Jesus Christ!”

While a game that is supposed to levitation an individual seems incredibly fun and exciting, science has shown us that there is a scientific explanation for how it works. The strength of lifting up an individual with the tips of your fingers is absolutely possible. While this may ruin many of our childhood memories of supernatural confrontation, it is in fact absolutely possible to lift one human being by five individuals and their fingertips.This is done through weight distribution, a common goal and the power of concentration. With these three things, lifting up someone with ease is completely possible. While this myth is easily debunked, the concept of levitation is not an easy supernatural phenomena to destroy.

Let us first bring into the equation the mediums: people who often perform seances and such. Many of these mediums have been proved to be frauds, so always be wary if a medium tells you he or she can levitation. With this aside, we will not have any further mention of mediums and their multitude of skills.

Actual, visible, trick free levitation does exist. We can witness it today. Levitation can be done with different forms of magnetism, Diamagnetism being one of the primary types of magnetism used in examples of levitation. Science aside, nearly every religion has a levitation in one form or another.

In one of the Miracles of Buddha, it is stated that Guatama Buddha walked across a stream via levitating (with legs crossed of course), so that he could convert a Brahmin to Buddhism. According to Buddhism, levitation is just a by-product of meditation. For any magicians out there, it means that supernatural powers are universal.  Levitation is gained by practicing the Dhamma (Buddha’s teachings), having several good karmic past lives, concentration, and usually a guru to help you reach the level of concentration required for meditation.

In some stories from Egypt, it is claimed that the bricks used to build the mighty pyramids were not actually done by Jewish slaves, but through a magician who could levitate the blocks from one area into another.

In Hellenism, which is the pagan religion of Ancient Greece and Rome, the testimony of Philostratus. In this testimony, upon his death, Apollonius underwent a heavenly assumption, which is where one enters heaven while still being alive. Apollonius levitated up onto Elysium: a great field that is within the afterlife. Essentially Elysium is the Heaven of the Ancient Greeks and Romans.

With Christianity, there are at least two passages that mention one form of levitation. Of course, there is the walking on water by Jesus, the almighty son. But there are also instances in the Old Testament as well as the new. Both of the examples I am going to use are in Isaiah.

Isaiah 60:8 “Who are these that fly like a cloud,

                     and live doves to their windows?”

Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,

                      and the glory of the Lord has risen

                     upon you.”

In Judaism levitation has been mentioned in many different texts, often via magic or non-magic. According to the mystics, the magic involves a direct order given to a spirit or god to carry out tasks. By doing this the spirits or gods are ignoring infinity (the omnipresent all knowing being of God).

So how is levitation examined in a way that non-spiritualist can understand. Well it is a bit difficult, but the best explanation is given by H.P. Blavatsky in her 1877 book Isis Unveiled. She claims that the Earth is a magnetic body, (remember seventh grade science where they talk about the two poles and how they are both magnetic,) charged with positive electricity. All other forms of matter like humans, plants, etc., produce negative electricity. Weight and gravity is “simply the attraction to the Earth.” With this in mind, one can levitate by aligning his or her electricity with that of the Earth because they would be repelled, much like the way two magnets are repelled.  

So how is it done? How do we levitate without strings, ropes, lifting one’s feet up to give the appearance of levitation.  

First, one has to have the right state of mind. We mentioned this some earlier, but as far as Judaism is concerned, one needs to have a complete love of God and in keeping his Commands. It is also important to note that the individual should have a clean, cleansed and purified body. Be sure that all chakras are in proper alignment.

The main belief is that the energy to levitate comes from the forehead, i.e. the third eye.  Realize that many of the items used in this explanation almost all represent something in some way. So be wary of that.

Step one: Stand on a carpet or cloth. The carpet/cloth represents the Earth. An alternative method is to stand on the belly of a woman where the woman would be the representation of Earth.

Step two: Levitate upwards without using representation of Earth, where the head is higher than the feet. This state is accomplished through the extreme love of God.

Please note: Moving upward without using representation of the Earth where the feet are higher than the head is done through extreme fear of God.   

Many a Jewish sage also claim that a form of  קפיצת הדרך. which is a type of teleportation.

All in all, with all religions and ideas pushed together, “levitation is explained by being in a state of mind where the person is abstract and spiritual in relation to the material or physical world on which he stands.” To someone who levitates, the abstract is just as real as the reality that we see all around us.


Crazy Koreshans

Koreshan State Park is a little known tourist attraction that is nestled into the woods of Estero, Florida. It looks like your average Florida park, full of flora and fauna-birds and bees. What many people don’t know is that Koreshan State Park is also a historical site, the original starting point of the Koreshan Unity.

During the 19th century there was a social movement among Americans to escape the horrors of industrialization and to find a place where they could call home. These homes often were places where individuals could practice their beliefs in religion, science and community instead of giving into the pressures of a new modern and sometimes restrictive society. This was true for Dr. Cyrus Teed. Teed began the Koreshan movement in a region of New York that was dubbed the “Burned-Over District” thanks to its fanatical fire-and-brimstone Evangelism that was plaguing the area. Teed had interested in alchemy, metaphysics and physics- the founding science behind Koreshanism.

Like many guru’s before him, the idea for Koreshanism began during what Teed calls his “illumination.” In 1869 Teed’s illumination brought a beautiful woman that told him a series of universal truths. These truths were said to be based on ancient Christian values and new scientific truths. Some scholars say this happened during a period of deep and intense meditation, while others claim it happened when he was knocked unconscious via electrical shock. Whichever the cause, Teed’s illumination sparked the birth of a Utopian society that would lead Teed and his followers on a journey from New York to Chicago and finally to Estero, Florida in 1894.

Koreshanism is built upon the belief that the Earth existed as a concave sphere- meaning that the population of the world lived inside the Earth, with the planets existing in the center of the sphere, a place science has informed us is actually full of hot magma.

Teed claimed that Estero would be his “New Jerusalem” in 1894, and made remarks that it would become the center of the Koreshan world. On an international scale his followers ranged up to 4000 people, with over 250 residents residing in Estero at one time. Sadly, it’s popularity had a very short peak ranging between 1903-1908.

The Koreshan Unity had a tri-level system of membership. The outer level was named the Patrons of Equation, a group of non-believers who worked for the United. They were allowed to marry and participate in the secular aspects of the Unity. The middle group was called the Department of Equitable Administration that allowed people to marry, but they could only have sexual intercourse for purposes of reproduction. The third inner core was called the Pre-Eminent Unity. This group was small, did not allow marriage and was celibate.  Each of these branches had three levels within them, creating a total of nine groups.

The people of Lee county were a little befuddled by their eccentric neighbors, but often visited their site to view musicals and plays. Despite the unique beliefs of the Koreshans, they were active in the arts and often hosted shows where they would invite visitors to view their performances. Occult following aside, the Koreshans truly wanted to create a Utopian society that was free of the societal pressures put on them via the industrial revolution. Florida provided that safe haven, but this was abruptly put to a halt once the unity became involved in local politics- resulting in an infamous brawl between Teed and the county sheriff.

The Koreshan Unity held a strong belief in reincarnation- therefore many of the bodies of the Koreshans were burned. Teed passed in 1908, a great tragedy in Koreshan history. The Koreshans believed that upon death a resurrection would take place causing  the Unity to place the beloved and deceased Teed in a bathtub until he rose and began his journey of immortality.  After a week of rotting in the bathtub the Lee County health office ordered the dismayed followers to bury his body. Teed was placed in a mausoleum which was buried and eventually washed out to sea during a hurricane in 1921. His body was never found.

Teed’s original vision included a world that had over 10 million followers and streets that were over 400 ft wide. This dream would never reach fruition due to his death in 1908. The Koreshan Unity did however have a bakery, printing house, general store, concrete works, power plant, and a planetary court. The grounds were landscaped and well kept. Sadly, after Teed’s death, a number of disagreements over who would take over the colony and a lack of resources led to their Utopian dream to fall into dismay and decay. The fact that they were generally celibate, or only mated for reproduction purposes, did not help the dwindling population of Koreshans.

The last follower Hedwig Michel, often named “The last Koreshan,” joined in 1940. Hedwig put a large sum of money towards the restoration of Koreshan lands and took up residency in the Planetary Court. To save the park Hedwig joined with the state of Florida to turn the lands of the Koreshan unity into the Koreshan State Historic Site in 1961. She is the only Koreshan buried within the park. She died in 1981.

Today you can visit the Koreshan Historical Site in Estero Florida, but all that truly remains is the Planetary Court. Although, there are hundreds of documents, photographs and interviews with Hedwig Michel for any curious traveler to view.

Vacation to the Astral Realm

What would you say if someone told you he or she could travel outside their body and into a livable imagination? Would you laugh? It’s funny, right? But to some this is in fact a reality. Astral projection is something that has become a trend among new-agist and teenage youth looking for more answers than consumer America can provide, and it something that everyone is able to do with a bit of practice and determination.

There is a belief that the world does not simply exist in the mere three dimensional world that we can all see right now. While the number of dimensions is currently being debated by scientist, we can all assume scientifically that there are at least ten dimensions. This is a fun coincidence since it co-insides with another number ten, which is seen in the Hermetic Tree of Life.

With this in tow, we can now look at the concept of astral projection with an understanding that there are in fact multiple dimensions that exist outside of our own current reality, and that it has been a popular belief for centuries among magicians and spiritualist alike.  Astral projection is a natural human ability where the mind can push the soul outside of the body and into the astral realm. This may sound frightening, but there is no need to be alarmed! The body and our physical existence as we know it is not harmed in any way during this process. Astral projection is claimed to be similar to like dreaming giving the Astral realm the nickname of the dream realm,  although this is debated among people, with some even believe that the two are one in the same.

Astral projection goes by another name- an OBE or out of body experience. An OBE is something that can occur when something traumatic happens to us, or just by being asleep. In an OBE one will notice themselves outside of themselves. This is an out of body experience and claimed to be one in the same as astral projection.

But, how do we get the soul outside of the body? While there are many different methods to do this, it almost always requires practice and can sometimes be quite frightening depending on which place the soul exits the body. The most common place for the soul to leave is through the solar plexus, which is a chakra location between your chest and your groin, right around the stomach area. Once the soul starts to depart from the body one will hear a loud whistling in their ears. This is sometimes compared to screaming but it is really the soul changing vibrations to enter the Astral realm. After the soul is out it is up to the traveler to have a place or person in their thoughts so that they are able to be transported to that location, or one can just float around depending on whatever is desired.

Once one has successfully performed astral projection he or she will officially be on the Astral realm. There is a saying about the multiple planes of existence: “a plane of being is not a place but a state of being.” The Astral realm is one of these places where one is in a “state of being.” The astral plane is the place where the magician, the spiritualist, the catholic woman saying prayers and the girl wishing desperately on a star all do their work. This is the realm where one can see Demons and Angels, Gods and elementals. On the Astral plane we can sometimes speak with deceased loved ones, receive guidance from our Spirit guides and sometimes heal disease.  Ever wonder why some people swear to seeing fairies? Usually from a crossover between the astral realm and the physical realm.  On this plane one can find truths about the past and the present and sometimes the future, visit people and places that are far away, as well as explore the secrets of the universe and yourself.

The average person thinks that the mind is within the body. Everyday we see ourselves as a whole package as opposed to individual parts in a box. It is difficult to deal with the idea of the soul and the spirit because these are things that we cannot touch with our three-dimensional fleshy hands. From this we generally put more emphasis on the body and everyday realities that we come face to face with, and can understand on a more basic level. From this we fall into the spell of delusion by thinking the the body is me and I am the body. For believers of the Astral realm this is simply not true. The body is a temple, because it is more like a home that one is staying in for the duration of this stay on Earth. We need to keep our homes clean and well maintained for it to be functioning at full capacity. The same is true for the body- and by this I mean more than saying you need to be able to run a mile. That is not the case. We need to keep our bodies in reasonable shape, but is also important to eat a very very healthy diet if one has any intentions of practicing magick, performing any psychic enhancements, etc. It is said that if one wants to have the power of E.S.P. he or she should eat a vegetarian diet full of greens. This is the truth with any form of practice on a spiritual level. We feel better when we are healthy, both physically and mentally. With this being said I will simply lay it out there: the soul is you, not the body. The body only serves the functions of the soul. It is something to be proud of, but it is not the real you or the real me.

We are connected to the Astral realm by what is known as a ethereal body. “The ethereal body acts as a receptor and transmitter of cosmic energy, [thus projecting] a luminous radiance around itself. This radiance or field of force is blended with the emotional and mental emanations of man and reflects both his state of health and his personal characteristics. Known as the aura, it can be seen by people with clairvoyant powers” (Wippler, 101). The ethereal body does not have a physical aspect that you can touch or see with the naked eye. Because of this fact, the ethereal body is often disregarded or thought to be a matter of fiction. It is the you that can access the Astral. There is a cord of infinite length that connects the ethereal body to the physical body. This cord can never be broken or cut. The cord may only be disconnected at the moment of death. Remember in Hercules where the three old crones are cutting hairs which is making people die? It is very similar to that.

There are many skeptics who ask the constant question, if the Astral is real then why can’t we see it or touch it? Why do we have to go through the motions of some meditation voodoo new age stuff? Let me explain. All of the realms exist on different levels of vibrations. This is vaguely confirmed by new scientific data that is revealing that the universe as a whole is vibrating. This is compared to a giant bell, with the levels of vibration slowing down since the big bang. With this in mind, we can go back the occultist belief that the Astral level exists on a plane of different vibrations. Because the average physical body cannot see these vibrations, we can not see the Astral realm with the average human eye sight. This means that different realms exists on the same physical plane, just on different scales of vibration. We see matter because matter is the lowest level of vibration. This means that in reality, there are energy planes- not physical planes. This is the same way that different waves can be in the same place at the same time. Radiowaves, microwaves, waves of light. All of these are able to co-exist in the same space because they operate on different degrees of vibration.

So how does one perform astral projection and access the Astral realm? I am giving two methods, both are adaptions that can be found in The Llewellyn Complete Book of Psychic Empowerment by Carl Llewellyn Weschcke and Joe H. Slate, Ph.D. “The Copper Penny” coming from Donald Tyson’s The Magician’s Workbook and “The Eye Blink Procedure” from Joe H. Slate, Ph.D., from Beyond Reincarnation.

The Copper Penny:

  1. Secure a copper penny and clean it thoroughly.
  2. Lie on your back with your head slightly elevated, arms at your sides and feet about six inches apart.
  3. Using your right hand, press the penny on your forehead between your eyes and slightly above.
  4. Tense and relax your body parts, starting with your left leg, then your right leg, left arm, right arm, working your way up the body to your eyes and forehead.
  5. Be aware of your consciousness separate from your body, and then imagine yourself floating gently in a boat on a slowly moving river.
  6. Focus your attention upon an imagined red spot inside your forehead beneath the penny. Concentrate on the red dot, seeing it floating in a space against a dark background like the great disk of a setting sun. Imagine it becoming larger and larger, filling all your field of vision.
  7. Feel yourself as a point of consciousness in the void, without a body. Feel yourself rising up and floating toward the great red dot and then gently pass through its center as through an open doorway. You are surrounded by warm, glowing redness.
  8. Float within this nurturing redness. Enjoy the sensation of drifting weightlessness. Hold the awareness of yourself as separate consciousness, free of the physical body.
  9. Become aware that you now are in your astral body with the red glow shining through your closed astral eyes.
  10. Open your astral eyes without opening your physical eyes and contemplate a clear blue sky surrounding you on all sides. You may or may not see things, but if you do merely note the details without reaction.
  11. Close your astral eyes and again perceive the cheerful red glow all around you. Feel your point of consciousness sink gently backwards until the red light around you again becomes a large red disk in front of your mental sight. Watch the red disk shrink to a red dot on a dark background.
  12. Feel the weight of the penny on your forehead, and remove it with your left hand and set it on the floor beside you.
  13. Gently press your palms against your face so that you feel the heels of your palms in the hollows of your closed physical eyes. Slide your hands downward, open your eyes, stretch, and get up.

Eye Blink Procedure:

  • The Setting. Select a safe, quiet area that facilitates walking among a variety of items, such as tables, chairs, sofas, appliances and plants. The typical home setting with the living room, dining room, family room, and kitchen connected provides an excellent situation. If a large area is unavailable, a single room or office with a space for walking around furnishings is sufficient. The setting should include a comfortable recliner or couch for use during astral projection. Select the specific path you will follow while walking, preferably a circular route that includes a variety of things to view.
  •  Physically Walking. Walk slowly through the path you selected, paying special attention to what you see on either side.
  • Viewing and Eye Blink. After walking through your selected area several times, stop and pick a well-defined object, such as a lamp or vase. Gaze at the object for a few seconds and then snap your eyes shut. Rather than closing them slowly, snap them as you would if blinking. Think of taking a snapshot of the item with your eyes. With your eyes closed, you will note that the afterimage of the object will remain briefly. When the image disappears, open your eyes and repeat the exercise. You will note that when you first start this process, the image may turn negative. This will change with practice.
  • Forming Mental Impressions. As you continue to practice Step 3, you will notice that the afterimage of the selected object stays with you longer. As the duration of the image increases, you will note that a mental impression of the image remains for a few moments even after the image itself fades. Developing this awareness requires practice, possibly for several minutes. Test your effectiveness by turning your head to see if the mental impression remains. When the impression of the image remains, you are ready to go on to the next step.
  • Walking and Eye Blink. Resume walking around the area you selected as your chosen path. As you continue to walk, repetitively snap you eyes shut for about a second and then open them for about a second while always facing forward. Carefully adjust your eye-blink rate and step so as not to stumble or collide with anything. Upon beginning this routine you will probably see the images with your mind’s eye as stationary. After several times around and possibly more than one session, you will notice that when your eyes are shut, the items continue to move  so that your eyes can be closed longer before the movement stops. You will know you have this mastered when the objects you envisioned are adjacent to you when you open your eyes.
  • Mental Walking. Having mastered Step 5, find a comfortable place to recline or lie down with your legs uncrossed and your hands resting at your sides. As you relax, make the entire trip mentally with your eyes closed. While mentally walking through your selected space, pay special attention to the familiar details along your pathway. Observe them from different viewpoints as you sense yourself walking among them.
  • Remote Viewing. As you remain relaxed with your eyes closed, select a familiar distant place and view it remotely. Pay particular attention to the specific details of the distant setting your are viewing. Take plenty of time for the setting to emerge in full detail.
  • Astral Projection. Having remotely viewed a distant setting, you are now ready to travel out of body. With your eyes remaining closed, mentally walk around your selected path once more. View in detail the setting as you move among its furnishings. As you continue this mental exercise, you will begin to sense yourself literally walking out-of-body through the room, maneuvering among pieces of furniture and noticing objects in even greater detail. You will then sense that you can travel out-of-body beyond the room to experience firsthand other surroundings, including the place you remotely viewed in Step 7. You are now ready to walk out the door and travel to that place. Take plenty of time to travel to that place, and once there, add to your awareness such sensations as hearing and touch. Remain in that place long enough to get a full sense of your presence there.

Remember to reflect on all Astral experiences and to always be respectful whenever in the presence of an Astral being.