Slenderman: Fight Fiction With Fiction

January 8, 2014

I had the great pleasure of giving a talk about Slenderman (based on my two Darklore articles, but expanding on the practical occult aspects) at the celebrated Treadwells bookshop in London on 25th November 2013ce. Now, the video of the talk is available on YouTube.

If I can clean up the audio, I’ll post the Q&A session later.

As I had a few requests for it, the transcript for the original script is below the cut – but you’l have to watch the video for my hilarious improvisations and my appalling Alan Moore impersonation!

 

(more…)

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Killing Slenderman, in Darklore 7: with footnotes!

October 23, 2012

I’m happy to announce the publication of Darklore, volume 7 by Daily Grail Publishing.

This year’s book is another stunning collection of the best of modern Forteana – and it also contains the second half of my look at the way the Slenderman meme is infiltrating the ‘real’ world.

This piece, Killing Slenderman, looks at what this could mean and what to do about it – taking on such examples of the fictional entering the quotidian as Alan Moore’s meetings with his own creation John Constantine, and Grant Morrison’s near-death experience writing The Invisibles.

As with Part One (which is still free to download as a pdf article here), I’ve put an extensive set of footnotes and links on the site – you can find that right here – just scroll down part the Part One notes.) I include a little more detail in exactly how, as a combat magician, I might deal with a Slenderman incursion.

And remember… No Wifin.

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“My gaff…”

June 3, 2012

This has been kicking around in my head for a while…

The more I think about it, the more the corporate/government interference with the internet offends me on a very specific level. Here’s why:

It’s not their home – it’s Ours.

It’s like they’re walking uninvited into someone else’s house, moving all the furniture, throwing away the things they disapprove of and making it suit themselves – all without ever asking permission or forgiveness.

It offends me on the same gut level as any other breach of hospitality norms. They take the bread and salt of the internet and leave only their shit and piss.

And I won’t be having with it.

My gaff – my rules. It’s the oldest rule of turf there has ever been.
And the consequences of breaking that rule are, necessarily, severe.

(If the reference is obscure, go here.)

 

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The Right Man/Violent Male

April 18, 2012

I was googling for links describing the Right Man syndrome (for, of all things, a post to the AV Club’s review comments on this week episode of The Good Wife), and I found 2 things – there’s still not a vast amount of stuff on this vital model of extreme male behaviour, and something I wrote on the subject for the Dark Christianity LJ is still on the first page – and I don’t have it reprinted here. So, here it is (mostly, as you can see, quoting RAW) & a few additions after.

I’ve often mentioned here the theory of the Right Man/Violent Male as a model for the behaviour of the Dominionists. This was created by AE van Vogt and later developed by Colin Wilson – but there’s not much about it online.

Here is a lengthy but excellent consideration of the model by Robert Anton Wilson, which puts the model in context.

“If, as Colin Wilson says, most of history has been the history of crime, this is because humans have the ability to retreat from existential reality into that peculiar construct which they call The “Real” Universe and I have been calling hypnosis. Any Platonic “Real” Universe is a model, an abstraction, which is comforting when we do not know what to do about the muddle of existential reality or ordinary experience. In this hypnosis, which is learned from others but then becomes self-induced, The “Real” Universe overwhelms us and large parts of existential, sensory-sensual experience are easily ignored, forgotten or repressed. The more totally we are hypnotized by The “Real” Universe, the more of existential experience we then edit out or blot out or blur into conformity with The “Real” Universe.

Concretely, the Violent Male—the extreme form of the Right Man1—edits out the suffering and pain he causes to others. That is only appearance and can be ignored. In The “Real” Universe, the victim is only one of Them—one of all the rotten bastards who have frustrated and mistreated the Right Man all his life. In existential reality, a large brutal male is beating a child; in The “Real” Universe of self-hypnosis, the Right Man is getting his just revenge on the oppressors who have abused him.

We have repeatedly employed Nietzsche’s metaphor in which existential reality is abysmal. In one dimension of meaning, this merely asserts that it is endless: the deeper you look into it, the more you see. It has the sense of infinity about it, whether or not it is topologically infinite in space-time.

The “Real” Universe—the model which has become experienced as the real universe—is, on the other hand, quite finite. It is compact and tidy, since it has been manufactured by discarding all the inconvenient parts of existential experience. This is why those self-hypnotized by a “Real” Universe of this sort can be so oblivious to the existential continuum around them. “How could a human being do something so cruel?” we sometimes ask in horror when an extreme Right Man is finally apprehended. The cruelty was “only” in the world of existential appearances; it does not exist in the edited and improved “Real” Universe of the Right Man. In The “Real” Universe, the Right Man is always Right.

The ghastly acceleration of violent, inexplicable and seemingly “pointless” crimes by Right Men in this century—and their hideous magnification into mass murders and war crimes by Right Men in governments—indicate the prevalence of this type of self-hypnosis and what Van Vogt calls “the inner horror” that accompanies it. This “inner horror” is a sense of total helplessness combined with the certainty of always being Right. It seems paradoxical, but the more totally Right a man becomes, the more helpless he also becomes. This is because being Right means “knowing” (gnosis) and “knowing” is understanding The “Real” Universe. Since The “Real” Universe is, by definition, “objective” and “outside us” and “not our creation,” we are made puny by it. We cannot act but only re-act—as The “Real” Universe pushes us, we push back. But it is bigger, so we will lose eventually. Our only defense is in being Right and fighting as dirty as possible.

This, I think, is in succinct form the philosophy of Adolph Hitler. It is the philosophy of the Marquis de Sade, and of any rapist or thug you can find in any prison in the world. Where Single Vision reigns—where The “Real” Universe is outside us and impersonal—this shadow-world of violence and horror follows in its wake.”

 

The new stuff: Found a couple of excellent pieces on the subject from blogger PHinn – here’s a shortish quote, drawing mostly from Colin Wilson’s A Criminal History of Mankind:
“The notion of ‘losing face’ suggests an interesting alternative line of thought. It is obviously connected, for example, with the cruelty of Himmler and Stalin when their absolute authority was questioned. They were both men with a touchy sense of self-esteem, so that their response to any suspected insult was vindictive rage. Another characteristic of both men was a conviction they they were always right, and a total inability to admit that they might ever be wrong.”

“Himmlers and Stalins are, fortunately, rare; but the type is surprisingly common. The credit for recognising this goes to A.E. Van Vogt who is also the author of a number of brilliant psychological studies. Van Vogt’s concept of the ‘Right Man’ or ‘violent man’ is so important to the understanding of criminality that it deserves to be considered at length…”

[...]

“In 1954, Van Vogt began work on a war novel called The Violent Man, which was set in a Chinese prison camp. The commandant of the camp is one of those savagely authoritarian figures who would instantly, and without hesitation, order the execution of anyone who challenges his authority. Van Vogt was creating the type from observation of men like Hitler and Stalin. And, as he thought about the murderous behaviour of the commandant, he found himself wondering: ‘What could motivate a man like that?’ Why is it that some men believe that anyone who contradicts them is either dishonest or downright wicked? Do they really believe, in their heart of hearts, that they are gods who are incapable of being fallible? If so are, are they in some sense insane, like a man who thinks he is Julius Caesar?”

“Looking around for examples, it struck Van Vogt that male authoritarian behaviour is far too commonplace to be regarded as insanity. [...] [For example,] marriage seems to bring out the ‘authoritarian’ personality in many males, according to Van Vogt’s observation.”

[...]

“… ‘the violent man’ or the ‘Right Man’ [...] is a man driven by a manic need for self-esteem — to feel he is a ‘somebody’. He is obsessed by the question of ‘losing face’, so will never, under any circumstances, admit that he might be in the wrong.”

 

PHinn knows what he’s talking about and is well worth reading on the subject.

For me… Colin Wilson makes a good case in Criminal History that the Right Men were the drivers of civilization – they tend to be charming when not pushed, smart and driven at what they do, and usually unconcerned by the consequences of their need to be Right – in short, excellent generals, leaders and despots. But the price of having them eventually becomes too high.

I think that time is now.

Dunno about you, but I’m seeing signs that this habit of thought is appearing more and more, especially in the intersection of politics & religion.

It’s impossible to negotiate with a Right Man – so a prevalence of them appearing in, say, the leadership of various extreme Dominionist Xtian paths makes any kind of resolution of opposing philosophies almost moot. They Are Right. Can’t argue with that. But, knowing how their rage cannot fail but descend if you insist (however politely and calmly) that they are in error… well, I leave that as an exercise for the combat philosophers in the audience. (And I know there’re a few – Hi Damien!)

The fewer of these in the world, the better. I don’t mean slotting them – I mean breaking them. Force them to show their monstrous nature whenever possible. Taunt them, tell jokes, satirize them  where they can’t help but see it. Drop these fuckers like Cain dropped Abel, like Godzilla dropped Tokyo. Break their wills, so hard and strong but oh so easily shattered.

Because they’re as Wrong as men can be.

(Colin Wilson’s books on the Right Man, Criminal History… The Killer & Written in Blood are all still available, as is van Vogt’s initial Report on the Violent Male.)

 

 

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The start of the end of the world, and I feel fine…

April 9, 2012

I suddenly realised I’ve not posted this auspicious(ish) year – at least, not here – so it’s catch-up time, folks!

Happiest bit: I was asked to join the staff at The Daily Grail. So now I’m a contributing editor at TDG, mostly so far working the media angle (my review of the semi-sucessfully realised found-footage show The River can be read there.

This means that between the DG work & some actual professional writing I’ve got going (NDA’s, and it’s not that interesting, really), I’ll have less time to produce work for some of the other venues. I DO however plan to get more of the Mason Lang’s Film Club pieces to Weaponizer as soon as I can write ‘em.

Other events recently have been less fun. Both Kirsty & I had vicious illness over Xmas – I’m only just recovered, she’s still wiped out by it. So in a sense, it did us a favour to turn down the people who were about to buy our house (they were obnoxious dicks who tried bullying my lawyers & estate agents to drop the price at the last minute). Luckily, we got a better class of buyer (not mad, which helps) who offered out original price. But… they can’t move until July, so we’re stuck in a mostly-packed house for 3 more months. At which time – Goodbye Bristol, Hello Hebden Bridge! – and not a moment too bloody soon.

And my decree absolute came valid last month. I’ve been unmarried (reasonably effectively & near-painlessly), so that’s done. Recovering from the actual marriage… that’ll take a while longer.

That’s all the news fit to rant for now… but there are Plans Afoot.

Watch out for The Tribe of the Strange. 

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Slenderman Darklore piece, free to read online

December 16, 2011

Quick pimp:

My piece on Slenderman for Darklore vol. 6 has been put on their website as a free sample, so if you want to read it Right Now, go here. (And NB there’s a page of relevant links for the piece right here on the blog.)

But I’d still recommend the actual Darklore book, as it’s packed with fine Fortean writing and is simply gorgeous.

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Out Now – Darklore vol. 6

December 12, 2011

I’m happy to announce that Darklore volume 6, the latest instalment of what has become one of the best Fortean journals around, is out now – and I’m in it. This is my first professional published work and I’m proud as hell to be there.

Here’s the good word:

Ladies and gentlemen: the sixth instalment of our anthology series covering hidden history, fringe science and general Forteana, Darklore Volume VI, is now available for sale. You can pick up your copy from any number of online retailers through a simple search. But here’s the links to Amazon:

Darklore VI Paperback

Darklore VI Limited Edition Hardcover

Darklore Volume 6
Above is the totally awesome cover (conceived by myself, and perfectly executed by Mark Foster), and below is a listing of what you’ll find within:

  • Cat Vincent examines the birth of a modern monster meme: The Slenderman.
  • Mark Foster unlocks the mystery of the ‘Trial Passages’ beside the Giza pyramids.
  • Robert Schoch evaluates the chances of our Sun wiping out modern civilisation.
  • Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince lift the veil on the esoteric foundations of The Royal Society.
  • Neil Arnold goes in search of sewer monsters.
  • Mitch Horowitz points out America’s mystical history.
  • Nigel Watson shares a case of ‘alien contact’ that he investigated.
  • John Reppion sheds some light on Liverpool’s forgotten megalithic history.
  • Martin Shough looks into the strange case of ‘double suns’.
  • Blair MacKenzie Blake discusses the mystery man of 20th century alchemy, Fulcanelli.
  • Greg Taylor points out the astronomical archetype behind depictions of gods and kings in ancient cultures.
  • Jack Hunter heads to the dark side of anthropology and finds the weirdness that doesn’t often get talked about in academic circles.

Thanks for everyone’s support of the Darklore series – it helps to fund this website, and also provides financial support for contributors so that they can continue researching and writing about the stranger side of life.

Well worth your time and money – despite my presence!

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Myth: Conceptions

November 23, 2011

(for Modern Mythology Week)

“Politics is the art of reconciling aspirations.” – Bruce Sterling, Distraction

They say that the personal is political. That’s certainly true about personal mythology.

Most people rarely, if ever, question the myths, the narrative, they are born into. They absorb this mythos from family, friends, church and state – and it becomes, to them, the very basis of their reality. The assumptions and metaphors of that mythos are not something they examine in any depth – they have little reason to, most of the time.

The problems arise when they encounter people with equally entrenched myths, which disagree with their own. These encounters are rarely without conflict.

This was always true. But it’s becoming more and more of a problem these days – the global reach of modern communications means that people from thousands of different mythos are having to deal with the fact that other beliefs and myths not only exist, but are taken as truth by people as sincere and dedicated to their mindset… and equally willing to fight for their right not only to believe in their myth, but to force others to believe it too. These encounters often, if not usually, lead to conflict. That’s when politics – usually, the politics of violence – kicks in.

But there is another way.

Some of us make the leap from one mythos to many. Doing so isn’t at all easy. You need a damn good reason to question the underlying basis of your whole reality. This often takes the form of some kind of neurological shock – coming up against something that simply doesn’t fit into the prevailing myth’s structure, or is rejected by it. Discovering one’s sexuality is at odds with the morals defined by one’s mythos is often such a shock, for example… but sometimes it can be as simple as discovering a piece of art or writing that challenges those assumptions and moves one’s soul, or meeting one of those rare folk who can speak eloquently about a different perspective without it becoming either evangelising or threat.

Once you’ve made the jump from one mythos to two, what’s to stop you jumping to three, four… ten thousand? Nothing at all.

And once at this stage, the urge to examine myths, and what they do to human consciousness, becomes a strong one. The problem there is… where do you start?

One thing that can help immeasurably is to read about how others handle their personal myths, how they expand on them, how they perceive other mythos and the influence of myth in general – which, as we’ve seen, can go unexamined so very easily. Which is why I’m very proud to be a contributor to the Modern Mythology project.

James Curcio and his band of merry mythologists have been trying to set forth a set of optional views not only on the myths which sustain us and our societies, but on the very nature of narrative itself. The first physical product of this effort – the remarkable anthology Immanence of Myth - is already being used to teach classes in mythology in American colleges – and a new collection of writing on the subject (including a little from me) is in the pipeline. One of the best parts of this is that anyone can play – if you have a perspective you want to share, the floor can be yours. That’s how I got involved… you can too.

This project is gearing up to expand greatly – but it needs help. You can lend support by spreading the word, contributing to the discussion – or by bunging a couple of quid or bucks to the fund-raising going on right now at http://www.indiegogo.com/Modern-Mythology

Do what you can. In times like these, we need all the ways to reconcile differing mythologies we can get.

(For more, follow the #myth hashtag on Twitter.)

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Catchup: Slenderman, cinema and separation

September 27, 2011

So, a few things have been happening since my last post.

My divorce/separation continues. As far as these things go, I guess it could be worse. Looks like Kirsty & I won’t be moving until January at the earliest (the wheels of legality grind exceeding slow). Many thanks to all those who have wished us well.

In the midst of all this, it seems as though I’m actually becoming a professional writer. My two-part piece on the Slenderman phenomenon has been accepted for publication by the prestigious Fortean journal Darklore. Part One should appear in Volume 6, later this year, Part 2 in the following volume. My thanks to Greg Taylor for offering me the opportunity.

This is officially my first paid piece of writing, and I’m pretty pleased at how it came out. I will of course remind you all when it’s released. (I’ll also be putting up a permanent link page on the site for all Slenderman-related stuff.)

I’m also happy to say that my long-delayed Mason Lang Film Club series at Weaponizer is now in full swing. The first piece, on The Matrix, is here and the second, covering The Thirteenth Floor, is here. The rest of these should be appearing roughly every month – the next installment discusses The Truman Show.

There’s a few other items on the horizon… one hint I can drop is that there could be some interesting developments in regard to The Tribe Of The Strange. More news hopefully soon!

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Change

June 22, 2011

So here’s why I’ve been quiet for the last few weeks…

My triad is ended. Wife-the-shaman has decided her path takes her away from Kirsty & I.

We lasted fourteen years, and it was against the odds all along the way.  And it was done for love. But now it’s over. With as little animosity as possible on all sides – but irrefutably ended.

The fallout from this is going to be complex and not really for open discussion, but the basics are:

Kirsty & I are leaving Bristol & moving to Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire. Feels like a good place to recover and start afresh. We are as in love and solid together as ever, perhaps even more so. We will miss her, of course – but it’s time to adapt and change.

This is likely to take a few months – probably not before November  - to actually happen. A lot to do before then.

 

Comments disabled. If you know me well enough, you know how to reach me.

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