Oddtober 2020: WKCR Interruption and Master Post

I began a discussion about the creepy WKCR broadcast interruption tape last October and I hate to admit that I still haven’t “solved” it.  But I have cleared up a bunch of the names in the video, and still think that I, or anyone else who reads here and takes up the mantle of transcribing the tape, can eventually determine its purpose or its creator. I’ve noticed some incoming links from other sites that analyzed  the tape and realized I never shared what I discovered since I last wrote about the case.  So this will be a master post that has all of my research and I’ll post any new findings in this entry as I find them. If anyone reads this and has information they’d like to share, please comment. I’d love to hear what you think.  Also please feel free to take any of my research and run with it.

My first entry beat down a few of the more unfounded conclusions people had regarding this tape interruption, and in the interests of completion, I’ll pull that data over into this entry.

The lore behind this tape is that in 1994-1996 – the time frame is never clear but is restricted to these years – a kid who enjoyed taping radio shows and listening to them later accidentally recorded a broadcast hijack in a radio program on WKCR radio, the station for Columbia University.  He or she rediscovered this strange recording twenty years later and shared it on 4chan. It’s not as well-known as the bizarre Max Headroom broadcast interruption, but is still discussed on paranormal sites, mystery message boards and similar.

Quick description: In the middle of a radio broadcast, the music was interrupted by a strange recording that began with the sound of breath exhaling and soft feminine moans.  It’s fairly creepy to listen to.

Initially you can hear a bit of chatter and eventually the sound of chatter increases enough in volume that you can tell names and dates of deceased people are being recited, along with names of the deceased’s family members.  Each person’s information ends with a ringing bell.  After the recording ends, there’s a brief moment before the DJ comes back to continue with the show’s format and many people, myself included, think the DJ’s voice is identical to the voice reciting names during the interruption.

Multiple attempts to contact WKCR regarding DJs who worked at the station during this time frame have gone unanswered.  In fact, the station stopped broadcasting this year and I suspect there is little to no chance any time soon of finding someone who has the time to search such records.  Similarly I cannot find anyone who claims to have heard this broadcast interruption as it happened.

My goal has always been to either find out if there is a link between all these names, or if these names could lead us to the person who performed the interruption.  I’ve never felt this was a genuine broadcast interruption.  Either the radio DJ staged this as some sort of avant garde experiment or the tape was created by the person who leaked it with the purpose of passing it off as an interrupted broadcast.  As I listened to the recording over and over (and over and over…), I picked up on some clues the performer seemed to have laid that might lead to her identity or purpose, but I still don’t have the whole of the tape deciphered.

Before I share my research, I want to emphasize that you should not get hung up on the fact that one of these names is of a student who died in the PanAm 103 flight that Libya shot down over Lockerbie.  Also, don’t put too much into the fact that one of these names belonged to a famous physicist who was the brother of the father of the Manhattan Project.  Though I have not figured out every name yet, among those I have I cannot find any links to terrorism, plane crashes, or nuclear physics.  The connection these people share – if they share any connection – I suspect will be the person behind the interruption, a belief bolstered by the fact that the speaker in the interruption specifically states her relationship to some of the people whose names she recites.

I also want to emphasize that the recording has errors in it, either by design or by accident.  If this recording was actually aired between 1994-1996, errors could be chalked up to misremembering dates. It could be deliberate, but I tend to think it wasn’t. If this recording indeed happened more than 20 years ago, it’s not like the woman on the tape could look up information on the Internet.  When you have to rely strictly on memory because Find-a-Grave and Ancestry.com weren’t invented yet, you’re gonna make some mistakes. I also am not wholly sure who the “my friend” or “our friend” portions refer to, the deceased or the name that immediately precedes such statements of relationship.

So join me under the cut and see what I’ve come up with.  And please share anything you think may help or that I’ve overlooked.

Oddtober 2020: Celador and cellar doors…

Much of what happens on OTC is the result of me falling down a rabbit hole and writing about it, and often if there isn’t a rabbit hole, I’ll dig one, just to cover all the bases. But if you’re new here, hi, sometimes when I consume media, a brain switch gets tripped and I end up worrying the piece of media like a dog with a bone, obsessively gnawing on details until I wear myself out and move on to the next little or sometimes massive obsession. It’s hard to predict what will flip the switch but when it happens I just have to roll with it until the obsession ends and I can move on to something else.  My most recent obsession is with a song, and it seems fitting to share it during Odd-tober because while it isn’t wholly Halloweenish, the more I looked into it, the creepier it was.  An Odd-session, as it were.

I have to assume that most of you have encountered the often wretched and frequently bizarre recommendations that happen when YouTube algorithms try to predict your tastes.  You listen to, say, an acoustic set from a Finnish doom metal band, and helpful YouTube suggests you follow it up with a Halsey video wherein she both spits blood and features Debbie Harry in a random but charming cameo.  It’s baffling, and I have no clue what I watched that caused YouTube to throw up the video for “Evil in Your Eye” by a band called Church of the Cosmic Skull.  Not complaining – it was a righteous recommendation, and I liked the song enough to look into the band, which led me to a solo project the guitarist and lead male vocalist, Bill Fisher, recently released.  (As an aside, this is the golden age of the solo project.  All these bands, unable to tour due to Covid-19, restless and waiting…)

I watched the video for Bill Fisher’s song, “Celador,” at three or so in the morning on Saturday and am beginning this entry three days later, having thought about it in my usual spiral of insomnia-laced (un)focus.  As soon as I realized I was going to write about Bill Fisher, I stopped opening the emails I got after joining his site. The emails are fun invitations to try and understand the mission behind the album.  I almost wish I hadn’t signed up before posting this discussion because just knowing the title of the album Fisher released has probably colored how I look at this video, though I like to think I’d have reached the same conclusions regardless.  I really hate knowing too much before diving into a rabbit hole but sometimes you get in your own way, I guess.

You may want to watch the video for “Celador” before I begin.

This particular rabbit hole led me to three small warrens, wherein I considered the reason behind the video concept, Fisher’s use of euphonia and dual meaning, and how I think this song is, in a way, an updated fairy tale.  Join me beneath the cut, and let’s gnaw this bone together.

Biblio-sentimentality: The Unlikeliest Positive Vibes

I am still working on my book about manifesto writers. I believe it will come out this year, and I encourage you to pray for my editor and publisher because I have brought my defining trait – unrestrained verbosity – to my discussions of Valerie Solanas, Arthur Bremer, Anders Behring Breivik and others.  Keeping me focused and on point is no simple task, so don’t be surprised if I ramp up with more, “Here’s something interesting I’m obsessing about but has no place in my book” entries about the people behind these manifestos, as we pare down the book by the pound rather than by the word.

As I was pulling out notes for the chapter on Ted Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber, a small piece of paper fell out.  I’d already read and made notes in the book, and I use proper bookmarks these days, so it was kind of weird that what appeared to be a cashier receipt was in my book.  It must have been between the last page and back cover because I can’t imagine how else I would have missed it.  Maybe I’d spaced while tidying up one day and put a receipt in the book?  Dumber things have happened.

A closer look at the receipt showed me that it was indeed part of the book when I purchased it.

Click to see the full size.

Turns out this was not a receipt for goods purchased.  It’s a time clock receipt for an employee at a McDonald’s located in Deer Lodge, Montana.  I blocked out the names of the manager and the employee because Deer Lodge, which is a little over an hour’s drive from Lincoln, is a small town.  Even though this time card slip is dated February 15, 1999, there’s a chance these people would still be easily identifiable. My readers as a group are really cool people but, still, best not to drag anyone into my site or the topic of Ted Kaczynski unless I know they’re sort of okay with it (or are beyond the harms of online harassment.

I mentioned Lincoln above because the mountains and gullies in Lincoln are where Ted Kaczynski retreated in 1972 and was arrested in 1996.  That is important information because the book from which this receipt fell, UNABOMBER: The Secret Life of Ted Kaczynski was written by Chris Waits, a longtime Lincoln resident and the person who knew Ted the best while he was occupying that cabin that the FBI literally hauled off for evidence.  Chris owned the land that permitted Ted access to gullies where he tested his bomb-making and engaged in the sort of monkey-wrenching that would have given Edward Abbey a hard-on, so Ted had to maintain what seemed, at the time, like a friendly relationship with Waits.

So seeing that the receipt was from Deer Lodge in 1999, when the book was published, was interesting. I began to dig through the book for more clues and I realized that this book was inscribed.  Both authors signed this book (Chris’ coauthor was Dave Shors).  In my defense, I bought this book used (because it is no longer in print) and it came to me in a flurry of books I’d ordered to help me with this project.  No lie, one day 21 books arrived in the mail.  But still, overlooking a dual author inscription is unusual for me.

Okay, this is the sort of inscription that causes an obsessive who should be writing her book to spend precious time investigating who “Chief Jay Verdi” was and why he did a good job and why that receipt ended up in his book.  I have no idea about the receipt, by the way.  Neither names on the receipt come up in regards to Jay Verdi in online searches, but I didn’t spend much time digging, to be honest.  Did Chief Verdi stop for coffee in Deer Lodge one day and find some hapless morning shift worker’s time slip and use it as a bookmark in the book inscribed to him?  Did he lend this book to a niece or cousin working at McDonald’s and they read it on their break?

Jay Verdi died in 2008, and a cursory look at people associated with him on social media shows how much he is missed.  He lived a long time in Lincoln, later moving to Helena, and was an extremely civic-minded man. He worked for FEMA, and he joined the volunteer fire fighters in Lincoln in 1972.  He was elected “chief” of the volunteer fire fighters from 1997-1999, hence his title.  There’s still a lot of information about him online, and while I can’t find any direct lines between him and the search for the Unabomber, the fact is that the Lincoln emergency services had their work cut out for them given the number of times Kaczynski sabotaged logging machinery, as well as all the time he spent refining his bombing techniques.  I don’t feel comfortable reproducing actual photos of him but there are pics of him out there, dressed as Santa and posing with dogs for Christmas, showing off an antique fire engine, and basically just being a dude who lived and worked in Lincoln.

The best story about him I found did, however, involve the Unabomber:

Unabomber file 2: Heard about the Unabomber T-shirts the Lincoln volunteer fire department and ambulance crew is selling (“Home of the Unabomber. The last best place to hide–Lincoln, Montana”)? Jay Verdi, one of the volunteers, wants to thank Illinois and Indiana fire departments for their shirt orders. “We’re over halfway there to raising the $7,200 for a new defibrillator,” he told our source.

I think Chief Jay and I would have had a lot to talk about – I love his decidedly earthy sense of humor and his willingness to do the hard work needed to have a safe community, especially in underfunded emergency services.  I don’t know how his copy of the book ended up with the McDonald’s time card tucked away along the back cover, but I suspect his book went the way of all possessions when we die.  I get the feeling this book has changed hands a couple of times before it ended up with me because the dealer I bought it from is in Kentucky. I feel lucky I have it now because Jay Verdi seemed like a righteous dude, one who had to deal with the less showy elements of cleaning up after Ted Kaczynski.  It’s a weird little piece of terrorist history, and though I seldom get rid of books, I definitely will be holding on to this one.  It has good vibes and a good story behind it, and even a little bit of mystery via that McDonald’s time slip.  Godspeed, Chief Jay.  I’m glad I’ve got your book.

Happy Halloween!

Well, I had intended to follow up yesterday’s entry about the WKCR radio broadcast hijack with some new information I found about the names uttered in the chant in the audio clip.  I have, predictably, fallen down a rabbit hole.  Like I think maybe I’ve solved the link between the names but need some more time, or I’ve hit the bottom of an empty rabbit warren and need to dig my way out, probably filled with shame at my hubris.  We’ll see.  Once I know which way it’s going, I’ll post about it.

And that’s kind of a lame way to end Oddtober 2019.  But hey, I’ve written about a lot of weird crap over the years and I seldom do revisiting compilations so I feel like maybe I’ll just link to some of my lesser seen odd/creepy/horrific entries and get back to listening to a weird audio recording that reminds me I have tinnitus every time that bell rings.

But anyway, read away and enjoy your day!

Murder/Serial Killers

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Deaths

Thirteen Girls

The Postcard Killer: The True Story of J. Frank Hickey

The Paranormal

Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us

How People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It

Aliens

Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens

The Cryptoterrestrials

Horror or Unsettling Fiction

House of Leaves

Drujika, Contessa of Blood

The Cannibal’s Guide to Ethical Living

Ruthless: An Extreme Shock Horror Collection

Necrophilia Variations

Dust

Horror Films

Only Lovers Left Alive

The Bunny Game

Places and Personal Stories

Ben Thompson’s Grave

Slave Cemeteries

The Liberty Hill Witch Grave

Baby Head Cemetery

The Mom Ghost

WKCR Broadcast Interruption, Part One

Hi, if you’re arriving at this entry via a link from others interested in this recording, I’ve done more research on the names and created a “master post” with all the data I’ve collected.  If any of this data is helpful in figuring out the intent of the speaker in the tape, please share.  This is a weird and loose collaborative effort, solving this 4chan mystery, with people building on the research others have done.  It would delight me if anything I’ve done helps figure out the link between all the names in the audio or the person behind the tape.

And if you’re here just to enjoy the weirdness, both entries are hopefully still readable for those who just want to read something fun and creepy and move on to the next unsolved mystery.

The Abductors, #1 in the Sinful Cinema Series by Doug Brunell

Book: The Abductors: Sinful Series 1

Author: Doug Brunell

Type of Book: Non-fiction, cinema review, film history

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Because the film is a huge, steaming pile of horse shit but Brunell’s love and enthusiasm for this type of grindhouse/sexploitation genre actually made me second guess my initial reaction.

Availability: Published by Chaotic Words in 2016, you can get a copy here:

Comments: Jesus Allah fuck, this is a terrible film.  I’m not going to say you in particular would hate this film because a lot of you have weird tastes or you wouldn’t be reading here in the first place. Also, if you mute it so that you are not subjected to appalling dialogue delivered by people who probably would have been better used in outright porn, there are some interesting things going on. For example:

–If you are tired of seeing buoyant, surgically enhanced breasts, the natural boobs in this film may be just what the doctor ordered.  Additionally, people tired of the PAWG trope will delight in the mostly flat, often saggy butts found on the women (and men) in The Abductors.

–How do you feel about pubic hair?  Fans of the bush will love this movie.

–Do you have strong opinions about hairy chests on men lacking even the 1970s Burt Reynolds version of muscles, who look hilarious when they get handcuffed to trees?  You are in luck.

–Do you harbor unresolved and unsettling feelings about helicopters, especially when you see them flying low over trees or landing on lakes so small you sense that they received a fine for even trying to land, let alone trying in the dead of night? Take this film to your therapist.  It could be key in your recovery.

–Have people told you that if the Olympics had a “cringe” category, your grimaces could bring home a gold medal?  Do you need practice covering up second-hand embarrassment so that you can endure your Uncle Jack’s casual sexism as he gets drunk at Christmas dinner?  Consider this film your training camp.

So it’s clear that this is a bad, bad film.  And that’s okay.  Without bad films we wouldn’t have had Mystery Science Theater 3000. The bad film has its charms, and Doug Brunell has such a keen eye and sympathetic take on the genres that bring us terrible films that if you read his books after you watch the films he discusses, you can genuinely find yourself wondering if maybe you got it all completely wrong.  To be completely frank, you probably won’t find much in Brunell’s writing that redeems this film, nor does he serve as an apologist for bad cinema (he refers to this film as being part of a “sleaze saga”). Rather, he accepts films as they are, discusses the times that spawn such films and the career arcs of the people involved. He recognizes the film’s many (many, many) flaws, but he also has such a great knowledge of genre, the specific cinematic tropes at work when older schlock was released, and the various ways filmmakers attempted to subvert those tropes, that the background he gives as he discusses the movies is the price of admission for the Sinful Cinema series.

And to be blunt, there is charm to schlock. For interior designers, it’s the Memphis Group.  For bibliophiles, it’s the “so bad it’s good” that writers like Richard Laymon and VC Andrews bring to the table. What would bad music discussions be without The Shaggs and Jandek?  When you read Brunell’s take on schlock films, you see the charm.  Whether or not the charm works on you is subjective.  But when you read Brunell’s work, objectively you see how one bad movie’s reach can extend into cinema you’d never expect from a sexploitation film.  Brunell sees how it is that the worst can be a link to the best, or maybe just a link to something that isn’t quite as bad. His knowledge and love of the topic are infectious, so much so that I actually sat through the whole of The Abductors so I would be assured I could follow his book about the film.

Quick synopsis: This film is the second in the “Ginger” trilogy but if Doug Brunell doesn’t write a book about the other two films I’ll be damned if I watch them.  So the plot is simple: White slavers are kidnapping women to sell to men who can blow $100k in 1970s money on cheerleaders taken hostage and “trained” to be excellent companions for really old men who wear Sansabelt slacks and live in a split-level home with orange shag carpet. After a convertible with three witless cheerleaders is run off the road, the three women kidnapped, a private investigator calls in Ginger, a woman who may be a spy, may be a detective, but never wears a bra, to help him.

(Honest to god, the first time we see her in street clothes, she is wearing a cropped denim vest with no buttons or zipper and no top underneath.  Later when she tries to seduce a bad man who unties her bizarre top that looks like the old Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders’ tie uniform but as imagined by Fredrick’s of Hollywood and made by a hippie who learned to crochet in rehab, she takes forever to retie it and when she does, she ties it with her boobs outside of the fabric.  She spends a lot of time topless or naked. Oh, and I remember this most clearly: the credits say “Chantilly Place” provided Cheri Caffaro, the lady who played Ginger, with all her “knits.”)

Together Jason, the private eye, and Ginger manage to track down the slavers by recruiting a pretty private eye and having her swallow a pill of some sort that allows them to track her for up to 25 miles. But before this happens, Ginger gets involved with a pudgy dude who looks like Steve Majors but isn’t (the scene where he dances with Ginger in what appears to be the courtyard of a rest home for geriatric hotel band members is cringe-gold – she’s actually got maracas). Pretty private eye gets kidnapped by slavers, Ginger watches her be relocated on a helicopter on pontoons, and is so upset she befouls a white shag carpet with like-Steve-Majors-but-isn’t and dun-dun-DUN, afterward he takes her hostage because SPOILER ALERT: he’s the head slaver.

Predictable stuff happens – all the men involved are dumb and will spill any number of beans if you show them boobs or grab their dick. Sex is had atop a pool table. An enormous henchman who “trains” the girls gets kicked in the crotch by a girl and then kicks her in the crotch in response (his name is weird and I cannot recall it now but Mr. OTC and I called him “Jablowme”). A woman gets gut punched, sexual torture is implied, but it all ends well when Ginger escapes and gets all the information she needs out of like-Steve-Majors-but-isn’t by, and I shit you not, restraining him in a shower, spraying him with water from the shower head and soaping him up.  He is utterly undone by the water spray, begging her not to spray his chest anymore.  Brunel actually manages to discuss this scene in a thoughtful manner that never would have occurred to me.

The three kidnapped girls end up really liking the men who bought them and stay with them. Ginger and Jason are nearly shot by a banker’s desk guns, but good prevails, the end.

The biggest problem with the film is that no one can act. Ginger speaks only in double entendres and they are delivered with a flat, smirking dullness. The men are all dumb or speak in gangster-ese. Every man seems like he’s dressed like a leisure-suit Harlequin, all the women have their nipples exposed at all times, and what is represented as the height of luxurious domestic decadence would need to be fumigated to qualify as a modern Motel 6.  The abducted girls only speak when they are introduced to the used car salesmen who purchased them, asking them innocent questions over dinner, wondering how they will be able to explain to the neighbors that they are sex slaves.  But the plot, oh the stupid plot, and the acting, tend to make all the excellent cheese turn into something that is merely cheesy.

Most notable is how difficult it will be for modern audiences to stomach this film.

This 90 minute film is sometimes a chore to watch. Bad acting, inexplicable costume and hair changes in the middle of a driving scene, and the idea that all women need is either a skilled lover or to be raped in order to “break” them all work to erode the average viewer’s patience, tolerance and sanity. Watching young women’s breasts be groped and twisted as they are told they are about to be tested for their sexual skills is something rarely seen in current non-pornographic, semi-mainstream or mainstream films, though it was a bit more common place in the daring ’70s.

But applying current mores to an old film should only be done when one is comparing the changes, not condemning that which is outdated for being outdated.  Brunell doesn’t do that and his refusal to condemn these films for their lack of PC content is refreshing.  He actually reproduces a couple of lines from an Amazon review that remarks that this film is an affront to all that is politically correct.  But placing the film in the context of the time when it was made, Brunell points out that while the film is sexist, even as it tries to make Ginger into a badass investigator/spy who can kick ass and suck cock and always solve the case, it is notably lacking in the casual racism that was part and parcel of the sexploitation and grindhouse film industry.

And because he has watched all three Ginger films, Brunell can sincerely explain how this film is an improvement upon the first, that Ginger has a character arc that was as important to the filmmaker as showing her boobs in every scene.  I think that’s important to know, that underneath it all, goals were set and achieved and that some people may have actually improved their acting chops. This was someone’s artistic vision – they were trying very hard to make a good movie.

The best part of Brunell’s examinations of these films is his look at the people in the films and where they ended up.  He has an interview with Jeramie Rain, who played “Jane,” one of the three abducted cheerleaders (she’s the one with the short dark hair, which naturally means she’s the one who was best suited to be a dominatrix, hilariously beating the bed next to her new owner with a double-coiled black whip). Rain is very notable for her role in The Last House on the Left, the Wes Craven film that fucked me up so badly that I will never forget Mari’s near-pre-Raphaelite death scene, her hair spreading out into the water as she dies.  Rain plays Sadie, the psychopathic moll who delights in the violence her male friends inflict on the girls they abduct.  Rain has some interesting stories about the film.

Brunell also notes that future porn actor Harry Reems, from Deep Throat, has a role in this film of the “blink and you’ll miss it variety.” Best of all, he shows the direct line from the director of this sleazy and unintentionally hilarious film to a lucrative Disney franchise. The cast info at the end of Brunell’s books never fail to surface some WTF details that show how small the entertainment world really is.

So what I am trying to say here is that this is a terrible film and you should only watch it in conjunction with Brunell’s Sinful Cinema series.  The worst film has to offer is often swallowed easier when you have someone who is knowledgeable in the genre, both sympathetic to and willing to discuss with humor the film’s many flaws, and able to write about it all in books that inevitably are better than the films that Brunell examines.  I highly recommend you check out Brunell’s work.

And yeah, this is more Odd than October, but maybe if you watch The Abductors, you’ll find the perfect Halloween costume.  Seventies banker, hot pants cheerleader, plaid-suited sex lord, or maybe you can just walk around naked like Ginger did. All you’ll need is a platinum wig!

God Entered the Body of Bob Hickman, As a Body. Same Size by Bob Hickman

Book: God Entered the Body of Bob Hickman, As a Body. Same Size: Worlds [sic] Only Holy Ghost Filled Man

Author: Bob Hickman

Type of Book: Non-fiction, possession, unusual theology

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Well, Bob thinks he is possessed by the Christian trinity, and he feels it is a very bad thing.  From his possession Bob has come to the conclusion that God treats mankind very poorly and he has tried to communicate this perspective the best he can.

Availability: You can get any number of books Bob Hickman wrote on Amazon.  Here’s the link to the one I purchased:

Bob has a bunch of books under his name on Amazon, many of them with names similar to this book.  I don’t recommend that you order any of them unless you have a special affinity for or find yourself absorbed by reading word salad.  Bob’s book is actually a bit worse than word salad because the print versions have html tags littered throughout.

I don’t know why, but reading difficult texts on e-readers doesn’t work for me.  Paper books make it easier, somehow, for me to take in extremely strange writing.  But a physical book was of no help here, especially since the writing and format degenerated as the page count increased.  I asked Mr. OTC to scan any two random pages to illustrate what I found when I opened the book.  Click on either to see what I mean.

It may be easier for those who want to know more about Bob Hickman to click some of the information links I will include at the end of this article.

Interestingly, I bought a second Bob Hickman title because it had higher ratings, seemed like it might be coherent enough to give me a better idea of what is happening to Bob, but hilariously, even though they are both self-published books on occult topics written by white men with a ballpark similarity in appearance, they are not the same person. I will set Messages from Rose by Bob Hickman, A Psychic on the Edge of the Etheric aside for another time I feel compelled to delve into occult messages from non-planetary entities.

Comments: Hopefully it is clear that I intended to read Bob’s book about being possessed by the Holy Spirit but there’s no sense in it because he’s very likely suffering from some form of mental illness that causes him to process and express reality in a manner one would need a trained mental health professional to understand.  I’ve said in the past that I often approach certain non-fiction books or manifestos from the perspective of someone who analyzes literary characters.  On a very basic level, if you’ve been trained to detect literary quirks and signs of mental illness in fictional characters, you can sometimes do the same with memoirs and similarly autobiographical writings. But such approaches only work when the non-fiction work is constructed by someone who, though possibly mentally ill or afflicted with some sort of strange personality, is no grounded to what the consensus labels reality.  Bob is not grounded to a reality I recognize and therefore I cannot dissect his words.

His book is over 100 pages of strangely punctuated stream-of-consciousness, margin to margin, in eight point font, with lots of html tags that push even the most dedicated observer of the unusual too far.  After five pages I gave up and all I can say from those five pages is that when he was a young man in Indianapolis, Bob was lonely, and in search of purpose he went to a church and was baptized. After that baptism Jesus began to appear to him to tell him to write down certain things and release them in books. The things Jesus asked Bob to do caused Bob to become isolated from his fellow man and he does his best to remain tethered to us while sincerely trying to do what the spirit in him wants him to do because he feels that doing so is the best way to alert mankind to the real horrors of what the Trinity are going to do to us.

Some think Bob is a scammer, but if he is, this is a long-term scam that has very little social or financial payoff.  Those more sympathetic to Bob think he is a paranoid schizophrenic, and they may be right. His wall of text, stream of consciousness writings don’t fall completely into what I have come to expect from unmedicated severe schizophrenics, but he comes close.  Had Bob started reaching out with his messages from Jesus in the 1980s, his missives and tracts would not have looked that different from paranoid musings I’ve received from people who had very unique ideas about the Kennedy assassination, the suppression of free energy and perpetual motion, and interesting theories about how the Bilderbergers were going to genetically mutate corn to turn us all into slaves.  Bob is able to make internal sense in what he is trying to convey, but his narrative skips from one idea to the next too quickly, so quickly even dedicated readers will not be able to keep up.  Worse, one has to have an extremely open world view to be able to give much credence to what Bob has to saw about being infested by the divine.

Being possessed by the Holy Spirit has been a decidedly negative experience for Bob.  On his Facebook group, he wrote the following:

if you didnt feel the spirit of god come into your body, you are still lost. dont feel bad. God attacks me. god is tearing my face and mouth corners all day, by moving my face in different directions, from inside me, ripping and tearing my face. god shoots into my mouth, disease. gum disease is gods best weapon against his people. take their teeth, god told me, and they will want to die. like needles being shot into mouth, coming in continuously. these needles stick in gums, and stick thru long ways, and spew out poison. filling my gums with disease. I put salt in mouth to kill this disease. God fondles me. yes thats right, God plays with, caresses, touches, squeezes, pulls on my dick, and sometimes it feels like a tube inside my dick, and electric tube, moving side to side. Jesus christ appears and laughs and tells me to go back out into the world and commit sin in front of those you witness to, to be abased. theres a warning in the bible, it promises God will betray you. it says God will make it rain on just and unjust. this means give god all and then he will throw you away like he did to satan. but this time, God has a problem. me. God attacked the wrong motherfucker this time. God wanted me to fall and look like a fool, but this time, God will be the one brought down, by a five foot tall man.

Okay, a long paragraph of this is remarkable.  An entire book with no paragraph indentation and font so small I needed reading glasses and a magnifying glass to read?  Yeah, curse these human eyes.

I felt like Bob and his possession by God Himself were in their sad way the perfect inversion of Friday’s look at the world’s sincerest and least dramatic demon exorcism. Placid, kind people drove a spirit out of a young woman I sense was a con-woman and it affirmed their faith in God.  Bob feels occupied by the Trinity and they torture him, revealing to him their nasty plans for mankind, sexually abusing him, making him sick, humiliating him and he hopes to take them down by documenting all they are doing to him and planning for us.

Interest in Bob waxes and wanes, depending on various online factors, and sometimes tricksters online make it hard to know when one is genuinely dealing with Bob, who may have a form of hypergraphia if he is indeed writing across all the platforms I’ve found. Bob is known for sending out texts to various people with the same message (which is a mantra he repeats often in speech):

God has entered into my body, like a body my same size, like me floating into you or you floating into me.

Generally people don’t respond but some have, one asking if Bob is okay.  Bob mostly does not respond to replies.  It was these messages that made people think this is a scam, that Bob is ending bizarre messages to verify if phone numbers are real and selling that data to marketers.  Those texts also caused some to think that Bob is a part of an ARG (alternate reality game).  The notion it is an ARG is also fueled by Bob’s unique van that has become a sort of game for people in his area to identify, but those who approached Bob in his truck, thinking he would give them the next clue in the game quickly realized that this is not a game. But mostly his messages disturb and freak out people and the internet is littered with people asking alarmed questions on Reddit or wondering if they being stalked.

The further you dig, the more you realize this possession really is something Bob believes in and that he really does not enjoy the experience.  He frequently does very self-destructive things, like rubbing sandpaper on his face in an attempt to alter his body so that God will no longer consider it a perfect size and leave.  He also claims God hits him and he keeps records of all of this on his YouTube channel.  By the way, if you search for Bob Hickman on YouTube, you’ll find the etheric psychic, too, so step lively.

The latest upsetting thing I’ve stumbled across is a Blogger account that leads to links of Bob’s work plastered across nation specific Blogspots. Posting as late as October of this year, across around 75 blogspots hosted in different countries, Bob is offering to sell himself for any sexual purpose because “god has the morals of an ally cat” and is a randy God, apparently. Please note that if you click on any of the language specific links, you will be taken to photos of Bob in the nude.  So don’t click at work unless your boss is cool with seeing what appears to be a naked Amish man posing seductively in an attic. In fact, just Googling his name brings up so many nudes. Surf safely, friends.

I hope no one tries to buy him.  I worry he’s trying to fuck God out of him but may be surprised that the God in his body isn’t run off that easily.  But it is undeniable that this whatever is happening to Bob has taken a disturbing left turn down an unsettling sexual road.  His YouTube account is a very mixed bag, with videos ranting about Nancy Pelosi, a short video on his stereo system, Q&A sessions with God, and descriptions about how God is essentially raping him.

Shit.  This is sort of awful beyond just being awful, you know? If you track Bob down online, be kind to him because regardless of what is genuinely happening to him, he is suffering.  I almost wish I could introduce him to the kind Rev. Conn from The Devil Called Collect.  Bob needs a decent man of the cloth in his corner.

Below are some links to a couple of interesting analysis videos about Bob. There are enough Reddit threads about Bob that you could spend many hours wading through his antics over the years. Bob is a rabbit hole so only begin to explore if you have hours of time to spend.

The Devil Called Collect by J. Stephen Conn

Book: The Devil Called Collect: The Exorcism of Jessica Leek

Author: J. Stephen Conn

Type of Book: Non-fiction

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Because it’s the sweetest, sincerest book about exorcism ever written.

Availability: Self-published in 2008 using iUniverse, you can get a copy here:

Comments: I bought this book off Amazon knowing nothing about it other than the title.  You have to admit this is an excellent title.  Isn’t that just like the Devil to call collect? And after that he leaves the toilet seat up and drinks milk straight from the carton. Of course I thought this strangely anti-climactic title masked a turgid and purple story of a young priest and an old priest milking pea soup out of some beleaguered victim of demonic possession. But that isn’t the case.  This is the least melodramatic, matter-of-fact, strangely sweet exorcism tale I’ve encountered, and I’ve encountered quite a few.  And because this book presents such a benign and relatively uneventful exorcism, I actually believe these events occurred as Rev. Conn presents them.

I mean, I think most of us understand that these sorts of cases are embellished, and if you are a heathen non-believer like me, you think such cases are embellished because there is no Satan or various demons to possess us.  There’s just mental illness and hucksters and between the two we get some amazing stories. I love those amazing stories, too.  Give me a book in the vein of the many cases Ed and Lorraine Warren pimped over the years and I’ll probably consume it in one sitting.  I love the late Warrens, but they never met a haunting or possession that they couldn’t tart up in some manner. Horror writer Ray Garton talked about what it was like to write the book, A Dark Place, about the Snedeker family’s haunting.  The story he wrote was later adapted into the film A Haunting in Connecticut, and he doesn’t mince words explaining that the Snedeker adults and the Warrens engaged in a long-con fraud.

But we know that, don’t we? I mean, some of us do.  And that most stories of hauntings and possessions are false doesn’t really deter my enjoyment of such stories unless I know that something extraordinarily awful occurred in the commission of the fraud, or if a family that was enduring something they genuinely could not explain were manipulated by exorcists or paranormal investigators.  While the Warrens were definitely manipulators to a degree, their roles in cases were generally that of conspirators or comforting shoulders to cry upon. You either made some money with them or you gave them the wretched doll you insist was trying to kill you and they kept it behind glass, relieving you psychologically until they launched a tiresome movie franchise around that evil toy.

That is not what is happening in this book.  I know nothing about J. Stephen Conn, but that he writes such a plain and earnest story about an exorcism of a young woman scores some serious points in his favor, where truth is concerned.  I believe that Rev. Conn believed everything “Jessica Leek” told him, and that he believes he helped save her from spiritual torture.  That the story doesn’t hold much water doesn’t really matter where my opinion of him stands because even if I don’t believe Jessica Leek and can poke holes in her story from miles and decades away, he did believe her.  He did his best to help and he never once reverted to movie cliches or deeply Catholic exorcism tropes.

Even though there was a backbone of cinematic exorcist movies and books at the time this story occurred, there is a refreshing innocence and a genuine desire to help found in all the religious folk in this book.  The story begins in Georgia in 1980, and the clergy involved are Methodists. It was easier for these clergy to imbue fewer “liar liar pants on fire” motives to Jessica than I would have, had I been an adult at the time. I hope I don’t sound like I am patronizing Rev. Conn and his associates.  To the contrary, honest people believe other people are honest, and good people tend to expect good behavior from others.  Feel free to do the moral math on why I am such a skeptic.  Even though this book was written 27 years after the events took place, Rev. Conn used notes he and his wife took at the time and even with decades of distance, the book he wrote was still informed by the young family man who just wanted to deliver a young woman from evil.

Not so short summary: In March, 1980, a young woman whom Rev. Conn calls “Jessica Leek” makes a collect call to him at around 2:00 a.m., early on Wednesday morning.  He accepts the charges and Jessica, in a soft voice, asks if he can help her.  She tells him she is in Atlanta, that she’d been hitch-hiking but had been left on the side of the road, and someone had given her his number as someone who could help.  But Rev. Conn was in Augusta, 145 miles away.  He advises her to call a church in Atlanta. But she can’t do that, she says, because she is:

…a witch of the fifth degree.  I’m about to be initiated into the sixth degree of our Order and all of a sudden I’m scared. Strange things are going on and I’m afraid something bad might happen to me.

Rev. Conn actually apologizes to the reader for seeming like he was trying to foist this hitch-hiking witch off on the church in Atlanta, then tells Jessica again she needed to contact the church closer to her.  She plaintively asks him if he will help her, why can’t he help her?  He explains that he’s not sure if he can, that the only person who can is Jesus Christ.  Upon hearing that name, Jessica begins to speak in a demonic voice, that says:

No, no, you can’t have her.  Just hang up the phone.  You can’t have her.  She is mine.

Of course, he doesn’t think she could possibly have produced the demonic voice, and that proves, in a way, that she’s really far more troubled than he expected, that this isn’t just a drunk girl worried about being stuck on the road for the rest of the night.  Rev. Conn asks who is speaking, wondering if she has a boyfriend there with her, but the demon in Jessica says, to effect, that they are legion.

Uh oh.

Thanatomorphose, Oddtober 2019

Film: Thanatomorphose

Director: Éric Falardeau

Type of Film: Body horror

Availability: Released in 2012, you can get a copy here:

Comments: I’ve shared more than once that I sit on the OCD spectrum.  I specifically struggle with dirt, grime and germs – basic contamination obsessions.  While the obsessive element of contamination fears will likely always be at the back of my head, the compulsive element seems better in check these days.  I can get a little tense if things get dusty or if the cats have been shedding or puking a lot, but I don’t really find myself wanting to crawl into the vents to scrub them with a tooth brush anymore. Over the years I guess age and a good pharmacological combination have helped me tamp down the worst of it but mostly I’m doing pretty good, OCD-wise.

So of course I watched a movie about a woman who, essentially, rots to death. Of course I did. My skin crawled, I felt my scalp prickle, and about half-way in, I began to mindlessly tug on the hem of the t-shirt I was wearing. Luckily the film ended before I began chewing on my hair.  It’s a bad sign when I begin to chew my hair.  It means I will be going to Target to get several bottles of Lysol, sponges with a mesh scrubber on one side, and a new pair of rubber gloves.  What I am trying to convey is that this film ended just in time for me to be able to collect myself and avoid sanitizing everything in the house for the next couple of weeks.

Also, I feel I should mention I will be spoiling the hell out of this film.

Brief synopsis: Thanatomorphose literally means the signs of decomposition the body exhibits after death. This film’s title is what happens in the film. Laura, the heroine, begins to show signs of the sort of decay commonly experienced after death.  Initially, she has a few bruises and her joints are stiff, but once she turns the corner from freshly dead to recently departed, her bodily decay begins in earnest and speeds up.  All of this is normal if one is actually dead, but Laura still breathes, still walks, and still talks, though all of that becomes harder and harder as her body continues to decay. Eventually genuine death catches up to the rot and she finally decomposes past the point of being able to remain mobile and sentient and the film ends.

This is not an allegory.  There is no subtlety.  Laura may be able to breathe, have sex, interact with others, but she’s dead.  She’s an artist  – a sculptor – but she is unable to make any headway into becoming a working artist.  She had just moved into the apartment where the first scene takes place – unpleasant sex with her boorish boyfriend Antoine – and one of the first things she does is uncover a clay sculpture she was working on, an oval, almost egg-like mound of clay, but can find no inspiration.

Antoine steps on a nail after having sex with Laura, and she takes care of his wound with competence but shows little caring.  She’s naked, sponging off the wound, pouring peroxide on Antoine’s instep, and the first signs of rot show on her body.  She has a bruise along her jaw, a large bruise on her upper arm, and one on her ass. The bruises were settled and showing brown or purple – they were not fresh. I believe they were the first signs of Laura’s death.  After Antoine leaves and she gives up on trying to work on her sculpture, she attempts to masturbate but cannot reach orgasm. This implies she probably didn’t have enjoyable sex with Antoine – which seems very likely, actually – and she’s feeling increasingly separate from her own body.

The next morning, she wakes and gets ready for work. While in the shower, she drops the soap and catches her nail on the drain, pulling it off.  The rot is beginning to accelerate.  She goes to work and comes back to a rejection letter from an art co-op. Later her friends come to visit until her landlord throws them out.  One of the friends, Julien, comes on to Laura, annoyed that she seems to prefer the brutish Antoine.  When her friends leave, Antoine again forces himself on Laura, even hitting her at one point.  He comments that her body is very cold, and he means it literally, but she doesn’t seem aware of it.  She taunts him, insinuating that she is cold because he is lousy in bed and more unpleasant sex ensues.  After they go to sleep, she wakes and vomits on him, collapsing several times as she tries to get water or go to the bathroom.

Evidently Antoine leaves her in this state because when she rises again that morning, it is undeniable what is happening. Laura is dead.  Her body is showing the sort of effects one would see in a corpse dead for around 24 hours in a hot place.  She is unsteady on her feet, and it is here that she gives into the death that she clearly wants.  She accepts no help and asks for no help.  Julien shows up at one point and is appalled by what he sees happening to her but she refuses to leave for the hospital. Instead she gives him a blowjob, and he is both upset but unwilling to make her stop.  She’s already beginning to smell, her head is bleeding from one of the falls and he ends up with her blood on his hands, yet he doesn’t make her stop.  He leaves after ejaculating and she spits it onto the floor that previously she kept spotless.

Antoine comes back and Julien returns a second time, but I won’t reveal exactly what happens to them but it really can’t be called murder because the dead cannot form intent to kill.  Laura descends into a claustrophobic nightmare, wherein she begins to document her decay, using fingers and teeth that fall off in her egg-like sculpture.  She duct tapes her limbs when tendons begin to separate from the bone. She cloaks the windows with sheets or tapes trashbags over them in an attempt to cool her apartment because the summer heat is accelerating her decay.  She puts ice in cold baths, she becomes riddled with maggots, shits out the lining of her intestines, vomits up maggoty bile, and tries to preserve the parts of herself that she cannot tape or sew back on, in jars with some sort of alcohol, taking Polaroids when she can.  At some point she attempts to masturbate again, and this time she is able to climax, thinking about harming Antoine, which may have happened or may not have happened.  I’m not sure.  But only after she accepts her death does her sex drive return.

And she does accept her death.  She’s suffered a metaphorical death in that she hates her relationship, her friends seem like assholes, her new apartment comes with a pushy landlord who considers people listening to music a party, and her art offers her no sense of accomplishment.  She’s already dead but doesn’t lie down yet.  She seems to revel in her decay, the ultimate form of self-harm – rotting to death while photographing the ruin of her body.

However, at the end, just before her body finally falls apart due to the rot, heat and continual submersion in cold water, she accidentally knocks over her sculpture and breaks it. She no longer has the physical capacity to pick it up and make it right again. I initially thought that the pain and misery of dying this way caught up with her because it was here that she showed her first real sign of anguish, screaming in torment.  She has another spell of screaming when she deals with Julien the second time, and she lets out a banshee-like wail just before the remaining components of her body give way to decay.  Her scream ends when her jaw falls off and her skin falls away, her limbs dis-articulating.

She wants this death.  She’s a calm, competent young woman.  There is nothing hysterical or irrational in her behavior. She’s had enough of her life and the world as a whole. But her death takes long enough that she engages in diversions of the sort that give the viewer a belief that perhaps if she manages to create the piece of art that shows her talent and expresses her inner loathing, she may escape this death, maybe it’s a hallucination caused by a breakdown and not really happening.  But it is happening.  And there’s no way out.  This is one of the most complete forms of self-annihilation you’ll ever see in a film, and she embraces it without equivocation.

This sense that she wanted this suffering, this end, is probably what kept me from bathing in bleach the moment the film was over.  She did not feel misery because she was rotting.  She was rotting because she was miserable. The decay was her salvation. In a way that made the film easier to stomach.

This film takes place entirely in Laura’s apartment – a living area with a kitchenette, a bathroom and a bedroom. As her decay progresses, the space seems even smaller as Laura blocks out the windows and makes makeshift dividers between rooms to filter out the light.  It wasn’t an entirely claustrophobic feeling, seeing this play out in a small apartment but it was certainly stifling and limiting, an apt description of Laura’s life.

Additionally, the actress who played Laura, Kayden Rose, was naked throughout most of the film.  Once she took off her clothes after sex with Antoine after the “party,” she never again has on clothing.

 

 

 

Kayden Rose’s body’s decay is hard to watch.

The actress herself is attractive, and she possesses a thin but decidedly “skinny fat” build, with little muscle tone.  Her continual nudity, even before the rot really set in, stopped registering as nudity.  Her body was a repository of death and maggots, and in that state the most beautiful of bodies stops possessing any erotic qualities (unless you have some very specific paraphilias). Her body was a waiting room in the ICU. It was waiting for the end, as well.

Kayden Rose also has a capacity to look gawky when her hair is swept off her forehead and she is wearing glasses, to looking beautiful when her hair is loose and wearing makeup.  Sometimes just a change in lighting could cause her to look angelic one moment and distressingly plain the next. Similarly, her naked body could in some scenes look like an Hellenic marble statue with hipster tattoos or could look strangely flabby and unkempt.

The ability to offer such differing views of her body in a film wherein her body was rotting away, is an interesting talent.  Kayden Rose carried this odd, upsetting film all on her shoulders, and to be able to change how the viewer perceives her form is remarkable.  I looked her up after the film ended but she’s only been in three other films, two short films and one segment of a larger film.  Finding out she has not done more since this film was akin to watching Morten Klode in a death metal video and finding out he’s never starred in a leading role in a film.

I guess sometimes you have to take what you are given. But it’s a shame she’s not in more recent films.

Though it really did make me physically and psychologically uncomfortable, I’m glad I watched this film.  I found it on Amazon as I was searching for a copy of yesterday’s film, Where the Dead Go to Die. I deliberately try not to know too much about a film before I watch it, but by the title I more or less knew what I was walking into. But the film was simultaneously far more disturbing and much more appealing than I anticipated.  Bodily rot will always be disturbing but for me there is something very compelling about a heroine who has just had enough and embraces her end, however slow it comes.  This film is a slow suicide with no redemption but in the end Laura had more control than she ever had before in her life and once you get past all the “suicide is bad mmmmkay?” bullshit, this is a compelling, weirdly comforting film.

Where the Dead Go to Die, a film by “Jimmy Screamerclauz”

Film: Where the Dead Go to Die

Director/Producer/Writer: James Creamer, aka “Jimmy Screamerclauz”

Type of Film: Extreme horror, animation

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: It was, in part, inspired by yesterday’s entry, Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy.

Availability: The best place you can find this film, which was made in 2012, is on Amazon:

Comments: This discussion is happening in a deliberate vacuum.  In my search to find the film, I couldn’t help but notice the very low ratings this animated movie has received. I deliberately didn’t read those reviews, which is standard operating procedure for me, but I mention the low ratings as well as my intentional ignorance about this film so hopefully my very specific perspective will make sense to those who may know more about this film and its origins than I do.  Had I not watched this film with a specific bit of information in mind, I suspect I would have panned it myself.  But that little piece of information makes a big difference in my perspective.

I follow an Instagram account called Gorrific_Extreme and it was this account that led me to Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy. In the comments on the entry about the book, jimmyscreamerclauz made the following comment:

That book is disturbing and completely fucked, but eventually inspired Where The Dead Go To Die. Also seems less crazy and far fetched in this day and age….

So yeah, I had to track down both the book and the film it inspired. And jimmyscreamerclauz is unfortunately right: given what we know now about Jeffrey Epstein, the Lolita Express, Nickelodeon and Dan Schneider, it’s harder to dismiss claims of extraordinary sexual abuse. Though it must be said, those cases are more terrestrial than the “flushed down the toilet so Walker, Texas Ranger could rape me then carried by hot air balloon to the cemetery where I was forced to dig up corpses” narratives that came out of the McMartin scandal, the inspiration for Don’t Send Me Back, Mommy. Five years ago, had a starlet complained that she was pressured to have sex, and when she refused she was raped by a producer, and it was an open secret, and that famous renowned actresses may have set her up for that rape, I would have waved it away as bullshit.

But even as I realize mankind is not as depraved as the Satanic Panic narrative wants us to believe, we still suck and do terrible things.  The McMartin case is firmly debunked by all reasonable people, but just because one thing is a manufactured drama doesn’t mean children don’t come to grave harm daily, though generally in far less fantastic ways. This film covers the more realistic harms – child abuse by parents and child porn creation – along with other, stranger and nearly impossible harms (but even those “impossible” harms show up in current Pizzagate narratives, more on that in a moment).

It’s a hard film to watch. The content is over the top, and it’s over the top in a way that is not wholly unfamiliar.  The animation reminds me a lot of the cartoon, Xavier: Renegade Angel, a sort of crude, early Second Life look.  And the content, strangely enough, reminds me a lot of old Adult Swim shows.  Remember Hand Banana, the rapist dog thing from Aqua Teen Hunger Force? How about the time Carl got auto-raped so badly with a broom that the handle poked through the top of his head? The pool full of elf blood?  And don’t forget the gross, Christian misery of Moral Orel. This film takes all of that extreme content further than we could be shown on cable television, but for those who enjoyed the random, nonsensical violence of such cartoons, Where the Dead Go to Die may seem extreme but it’s not wholly new.

I think the sort of shambling and random nature of the narratives in this film are seen as unique due to the lack of proximity to similarly random, outrageous sexual violence, and the narrative is indeed a stagger through various hells.  The film has three chapters:

–“Tainted Milk” is clearly a riff on the old Lassie films.  Labby, a black dog with glowing red eyes, tells Tommy, an unhappy kid whose parents are equally unhappy, that the baby his mother is carrying is the Anti-Christ and must be killed.  Tommy can’t bring himself to do it so Labby does it for him. This chapter is rough – all of the content is rough, really – featuring forced abortion, emasculation, murder and bestiality.  Followers of serial killer lore will also hark back to the dog that supposedly egged on David Berkowitz to shoot happy couples as they made out in parked cars.

–“Liquid Memories” features a character whose name I did not catch.  He looks a lot like Jesse Custer from Garth Ennis’ comic, The Preacher.  He likes to kill people in churches and before they die he inserts a needle into their necks to extract their final memories.  He injects himself with the memories of a dying prostitute who has crawled into the church for help, experiences her psychedelic and horrific memories, and promptly kills himself in response.

–The final chapter, “The Mask That Monsters Wear,” is the longest and most upsetting. Ralph was born to fundamentalist whack jobs who refuse to get a parasitic conjoined twin removed from his head because God has plans for all His children and that would be murder.  They torment Ralph with the notion that he is abusing his brother by wearing a ski mask that covers his head and blame him for what happened to his brother. Ralph is treated kindly by a neighborhood girl named Sophia.  She is abused and pimped out by her father, who also makes kiddie porn of her.  I am unsure of her age but she and Ralph are in grade school, and Sophia sounds like she is no older than ten.  Kindred spirits, Sophia and Ralph develop a deep friendship.  In what was strangely the most heart-wrenching scene in the film, Sophia finds out that Ralph keeps bugs that come into the house so his mother can’t kill them. Sophia tells him the bugs are worse than dead because now they are trapped in the jar habitats he keeps them in.  She takes him to a place in the woods she calls her “garden,” full of pretty flowers, and they release the bugs.  Sophia says it is the happiest day of her life.

But then Ralph is recruited into the porn movies Sophia’s father makes, and finds out his own father is also involved in Sophia’s abuse. After Ralph is forced to have sex with Sophia on tape, Sophia reveals his bugs destroyed her garden.  Ralph’s involvement in her abuse kills what is left of her spirit.  Ralph, disfigured and emotionally abused himself, runs amok and kills his parents, strangling a rabbit near a well that a voice comes out of from time to time, a voice that speaks to Ralph, Sophia and Tommy.  Ralph’s corruption is now complete.

The key for me understanding all of this and how it all links together is the book that inspired it (though clearly the film has a lot of influences and inspirations).  Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy, is an attempt to offer help to children who suffered satanic ritual abuse and mirrors the McMartin pre-school case.  I am unsure what Doris Sanford’s motives were in writing such a book – as I explain in yesterday’s entry, her books became more outrageous over time, beginning with self-help books for kids whose parents have depression and eventually including books for kids who survive prison/death camps.  Though I found the book ridiculous, I approached it with seriousness, willing to see what it brought to the table, and I approached the film it inspired from the same perspective.

The at times tenuous links in the content seem less tenuous when you look at this through the focus of Doris Sanford’s work.  James Creamer is parroting back to us what many insisted happened during the Satanic Panic.  I suspect the good, moral folk who believed in stories like McMartin, who genuinely think such atrocities happen routinely to children, would condemn this film because it’s violent and obscene. But it is no more obscene than court transcripts from the McMartin case, Michelle Remembers, or any other Satanic Panic tell-all.  Every horrible element from this film can be linked to a genuine Satanic Panic account or belief.  The Satanic Panic belief will be followed by the detail that describes it in the film:

–Unborn babies ripped from wombs/Tommy’s mother’s baby being torn from her womb

–Evil animals used to control or harm children/Laddy the dog urging these kids to do terrible things in the name of God

–Killing bunnies to frighten children/Ralph strangles a rabbit at the end to show his utter loss of innocence

–“Naked Movie Star” used as a game to make child porn/Sophia’s father making porn of her with neighbors and Ralph

–Claims sacrifices happened at the Episcopal church/the unnamed man who kills people in churches

There’s more but those are the more obvious correlations. Interestingly, though this was not a claim in any of the Satanic Panic beliefs from the 1980s through the mid-1990s, the serial killer who extracts spinal fluid for memories is a bit on the nose when one considers the Pizzagate belief that children are held in terrified captivity because terror makes their adrenal glands produce hormones that jaded celebrities remove and drink.  Sometimes the adrenal glands themselves will be removed, according to these legends, and Pizzagate and QAnon message boards are full of accusations that weird beverages consumed by famous people contain AdrenoChrome harvested from abused and forsaken children. I did a search on “adrenochrome” in the Pizzagate Voat and there were dozens of entries. (I wanted to link to the search but no matter what I did, the link would not work. If you’re curious, and if Voat is accepting new registrations, maybe make an account and read through the above search and Pizzagate as a whole because there are so many rabbit holes to fall down.)

I am unsure how far back claims that elites were drinking brain fluids from children go, but if they post-date Where the Dead Go to Die, it’s a sign that there is literally nothing so far-fetched that people will not believe it, and there is nothing so horrible someone can do that a person sufficiently plugged in to the zeitgeist cannot predict it.

In the end, this film parrots back at Satanic Panic True Believers the very things they believe, yet if they ever watched this film they would be outraged and upset. Increasingly I see this as an excellent gambit to use in argument culture – repeat back what others say and watch their reactions to hearing themselves in a different voice.

Like I said, the reason I was able to stomach this film was because I understood some of the source material.  I don’t know if those who hate this film would reconsider if they knew what I know or what anyone who has studied the Satanic Panic would know.  But it makes a difference.  It gives the at times hallucinatory and seemingly gratuitous gore a tether that leads back to the witch hunt cycles that plague mankind.  Once you have the premise behind even the most outrageous display of depravity, you find yourself unable to dismiss it out of hand and you may even find yourself taking it seriously like I did.

Seriously.

This film is a reflection of beliefs that ruined lives, and it’s also a wallow in the worst mankind can do.  It’s content that is very hard to take in and I don’t think I will watch this film again, but to be fair one reading of Michelle Remembers  tends to be enough for the average whacked-culture student.  But watching it with its inspiration in mind enabled me to see this film in a wholly different light than I would have had I just randomly stumbled across it online.

I have no idea if you want to see this film, and I can’t really recommend it because my experience with this film is very specific.  If you’re a gorehound, you may want to have a look. Similarly students of the Satanic Panic or those very interested in the current Pizzagate lore will find this film interesting  The rest of you may want to give it a pass.  But at least now you know it’s out there, and that one beleaguered woman thinks that once you look past the DIY or Die-style production and link the content to the notions that inspired it, it may not be as pointless a wallow as others seem to think.