Suspect believed to be Jack the Ripper, supposedly confirmed last year by DNA evidence found on apron of murder victim Polly Nichols. Kosminski was a mental case who made a habit of eating filth from the gutter (among other eccentricities), and supposedly harbored a great hatred for women. A Polish Jewish immigrant, this could explain the Ripper’s mysterious message about “Juwes” being the “Men Who Will Not be Blamed for Nothing.” Committed to the hellish Colney Hatch lunatic asylum, he died there 24th March, 1919.
Psychic medium and subject of obscure book “Telephone Between Worlds,” which was presented to me, one night, when something told me to go downstairs at my building and look for a special present. Upon seeing this photo, I realized I had had a vision of this face before. The “Walt Disney Man” I had called him then.
I was carrying a grocery sack through the aisles of one of those violent, all-male institutions that pass as a reform school.
I was headed to the lavatory, wherein the boys, unbeknownst to the teachers and principle, smoked continually behind the yawning doors of so many filthy stalls. The stall doors were opened against detection, covering the entrance. But who could not smell the smoke, or see it as it wafted out the restroom entrance.
I mention this in passing. The important point is that that I was carrying a head an an arm in the sack. This is significant.
It was either a plaster head, and a plaster death mask (ala the plaster arm and death mask of JOSEPH CAREY MERRICK, the hideously-deformed Victorian “Elephant Man,” whose death date just passed yesterday. [his death date, coincidentally, coincides with the birth date of Anton Szandor LaVey, who was born April 11th 1930, and founded the Church of Satan]), or it may have very well been the genuine article, in which case it is reminiscent of the various killings committed by famed serial murderer Ed Kemper, who I just drew for the second time (I’ve actually done artwork based on all three individuals).
Ed was born in 1948. He was famously christened the co-ed killer for his penchant for killing co-eds. When he was a tender lad of fifteen, after being sent from his abusive, alcoholic bitch of a mother to live with his grandparents (his grandmother apparently wrote children’s books), Ed got in a tussle with grandma one day, and promptly dispatched her to that Big Valley in the sky. He then killed granpa, and went and meditated under the mountain sky, after calling police and telling them he just wanted to see “what it felt like to kill grandma.”
After spending a wee bit of time at Atascadero mental asylum, and developing into a literal six ten three hundred plus pound giant, the amiable Ed against medical advice, was sent by a judge to live with his mother (same one that use to accuse Ed of trying to rape his sister before locking him in a basement hole). Ma was her ever-lovable self, and continued her verbally abusive and belittling habits post haste. Lucky for Ed, he found some new ways to release his pent-up frustrations.
We could go into the boring litany of cat-and-mouse games played by Ed at this time in furtherance of securing victims, but, suffice it to say, he dispatched five college females and one high school girl. His unique habit of beheading the victims and then sodomizing the severed craniums brings us to the next sordid part of our story.
Six victims–nary a peep of suspicion from anyone. Everything cold and icy as a trip through the city morgue.
Then, Mom drove Ed to the breaking point. I guess guys like Ed are pretty much always to the breaking point.
(Now, here it gets strange. We’ve just realized Ed committed his final murders on April 20th, which is not only the birthdate of Hitler, but also a celebration for pot smokers worldwide; also, it kicks off that “April 20th-April 30th corridor” that gives us the “Shot Heard Round the World,” the Fall of Saigon, the first LSD trip by Dr. Hoffman, the Oklahoma City Bombing [actually happened on the 19th, but what’s a single day?] the suicide of the Branch Davidian cult at Waco, Hitler’s suicide on April 30th 1945, the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, Walpurgisnacht [the high holy day, traditionally, of those who practice black witchcraft] the Virginia Tech Massacre [okay, we’re stretching the dates again here, but still, close enough] and the birth date of Adam Lanza (April 22), the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooter…and we’re positive there are things were forgetting, but we can’t be bothered at the moment to hunt them all down; and, if we did, we’re sure this little essay would stretch into volumes.)
The hulking ogre with the genius-level IQ was waiting for Mommy to come home. When she did, and retired to bed with a paperback, he passed by the door menacingly–one supposes breathing fire.
After berating him with a suspicion that he would want to stay up all night “talking” (did they often do this, one wonders) Ed assured her this was not the case. Then, he beat her to death with a claw hammer, sodomized her severed head, put it up on the mantle and used it as a dart board, and took her vocal chords, stuffing them down the garbage disposal (which just would not take them). Ed liked this last bit of irony, as “she was always bitching at me…” One is left speechless.
After this round of slaughter, Ed called up Clarnell Kemper’s good female friend, invited her over, and strangled her.
Fleeing, Ed called from a few states over to turn himself in. The rest of the story is as dully predictable as one of those episodes from a television police show. Anyway, he’s serving life at Vacaville without parole.
The special point of this essay is his predilection for sodomizing severed heads–a practice that, in 1973, was likewise depicted in the notorious cult film Bloodsucking Freaks (aka The Incredible Torture Show) by the demented dwarf porn actor Louis De Jesus (whose last role was as an Ewok in Return of the Jedi. He died shortly thereafter.) The coincidence between our own dream of carrying a severed head (as well as an arm), and then commencing to depict Ed Kemper one morning in a very poor sketch cannot be overlooked, seeing as how it coincides with so many other significant dates in this turbulent month of April, going into the “black corridor” of April 20th- April 30th.
Of course, the head is the seat of human consciousness the arm representing reach and action and physicality. Maybe. What metaphor am I to read into this?
I go into the Boys’s room, with a bunch of wet, nasty, beastly boys in towels, getting ready for a communal dip in a porcelain tub of filthy water (mental patients in the Victorian period and later were often subjected to “hydrotherapy” that was perfectly useless in alleviating their psychological sufferings)
I pull the head and the arm from the sack.
“Feels like flesh. But, it’s awfully white,” I say. “Through and through. Could just as easily be rubber. I touched a corpse once. Felt the same way.”
“No, I don’t think so,” said one of the boys, dropping his cigarette on the floor, were it dissolved in a puddle of filthy shower water. “look, you can see the veins and muscles and ligaments and all that shit.”
I don’t remember how it all ended. I don’t suppose it matters. This is not a scholarly essay, nor does it attempt to be definite or thorough in regards to Ed Kemper, April 30th, or dreams of severed heads.
Note: The last time I dreamt of carrying around a mysterious package, I went into dismal, filthy trailer, laid it down on a coffee table, and realized it looked like a package of Chinese take-out. I supposed there was a dead baby inside, but I never did get it opened before I awoke.
1. Weakness is Lost Ambition
Called to greatness, but lacking resolve, the man plummets forth like a ship afloat a churning sea.
Have you been called to greatness? Are you so much harder than a little pebble upon a beach, a tiny grain of sand? Such a tough little customer is the pebble. But so insignificant when cast among the other pebbles upon the sands of the beach.
How will such a tough little fellow manage to stand out? His resolve is permanent, inviolable; yet a vulture or some other big, lumbering bird might very well come along, peck his body and swallow him whole.
But the pebble will not be digested.
It will not, cannot be digested and used by the body of the bird, and will pass through it–unchanged, unyielding to the last. It will forever be the same little pebble, cast upon the beach.
Resolute, it has an eternal, immutable nature–a sort of pebble soul. It remains stoney and hard in the face of adversity. Truly, you must do the same. (How much greater are you than a little pebble?)
2. God Cannot Do an Unrighteous Thing
God Cannot do an unrighteous thing. That is one thing God cannot do. Therefore, everything that happens upon heaven and earth must have characteristic of righteousness.
No one could individuate a single pebble, except for a hungry bird.
Take for another instance the transmutation of fire from an element of danger to one which preserves life. Being that there is a continuum in all things–that a thing passes only from one permutation of its potentiality to another–while still maintaining its essential characteristics as that immutable self, the philosophy of fire must dictate that that which can be so readily consumed and rendered waste is still, ergo, an aspect of a more intricate whole, wherein the thing can be experienced as the spectrum of possibilities–of the “Self” ness of it.
Or, put another way, there is a peacock’s fan of variant possibilities, shadings of color, all spread out along the spectrum of existence; with nothing ever being entirely divorced from the essentialness of itself, no matter what form it be transmuted into.
Hence, the vibratory matter inherent in the leaf is still present in the leaf, even though th eleaf be burned, crushed, crumpled or scattered to the wind. The mind of man is finite, the mind of God is infinte, and each pattern or vibration of experience overlapping like a million million separate webs, leaves its own ghost in the firmament.
And this is the Philosophy of Fire–both the creative and destructive impulse in the heart of man, the desire and capacity to heal as well as kill; to create as well as destroy.
3. Two Sides of a Very Similar State
A Janus-headed monster; twin moons adrift in a black, heavy night time sky. Man is both a creator and a destroyer; Man is both a predatory beast, and his own prey. Good and evil, light and dark–both exist in the human heart (unfinished) ,,,”Robert Ponart”
One of the most remarkable mornings I ever experienced was when I woke up, after a night of drinking, at the historic Johnson House in Muncie Indiana. I have no idea if the house is still there or not–probably not. At any rate, I remember coming to on a bright morning, with the sun beaming in my eyes, and feeling utterly confused.
The couple I was with had gone to a room upstairs to do what young couples do. I had been left downstairs, on a couch, in front of a pool table. I remember there was a miniature fridge on a low-lying table, and that the room I was in lead off into the kitchen. There was a solitary beer left in there; the counter might have been a workman’s nightmare of cast-off refuse, plaster, broken bits of pipe and rubbish, this and that, what-have-yous. I can’t remember now. It was very bright, and my head was very big and confusion reigned supreme.
And silence. Silent white. Sunlight, pouring in through long, Victorian frames, through the odd, catty-cornered doorway, whose hinges and lintels, I think, were well over a century old. And I couldn’t, somehow, for some reason, figure a way out of there.
So I went down into the basement. Or some such lower level, but it was sufficiently bright I remember–although I now do not remember precisely why. I came back up the ancient, rickety stairs, and, wandering past the huge central staircase that twisted up at occult angles into bizarre orphaned hallways and hidden little nooks, and rooms that seemed to float among the ancient wooden relic like derelict afterthoughts in the mind of some penny ante novelist, I proceeded into a forgotten corner called the “Gentlemen’s Smoking Lounge.” Which might have dated from 1888.
I seem to remember, painted, scrolling woodwork, a fireplace and mantle, long since fallen cold and slumberous, and old-fashioned high backed chairs set into a circle. If I had seen a few killer automatons sitting, in quaint 1890’s costume, smoking pipes; if I heard Dr. Phibes playing a pipe organ, or the lost, forgotten warble of an ancient 78 rpm on an old crank-handled Victrola, I think I might have run from the place screaming.
Or, perhaps not. Take me back to the garden of love, sweet thing…
I wonder just how energy dissipates, collects, and/or otherwise stores itself in the cracks and crevices of such occult architecture. Could a sensitive pick up on the vibrations left behind by so many unquiet souls passing through? How much energy and power is stored in a human thought? In the interplay of emotion between two people, who often share a silent, psychic rapport or connection on some intimate level not fully understood by we the living?
Could an ancient, occult domicile, a wooden structure of arcane architecture, hold the secret to psychometrizing one self into the ticking minutes of the past? Would some souls be attracted to the places they lived and worked, relaxed, daydreamed, spent the hours of their too-short existences? What about violent death? What about murder? Does tragedy chain a spirit to a temporal locale, as surely as a dark, grief-besotted stain of time that cannot be erased, except, perhaps by the gradual forgetfulness of the occupants of said dwelling; by their removal to another place? (Apparently not, in this last instance. Hauntings occur long, long after the original family has departed, either geographically or materially from the environment. And, often, the offending specter is an unknown quantity until gradually revealing itself to the new owners of the home or domicile.)
Are they drawn to the bloodstain on the floor, the old closet where daddy and mommy locked them in once, in the dark, alone? what about the bedroom where the first made love, the old room where a favorite grandparent passed, the place where they wept tears of frustration and pain, long, long ago.
Of course, I’ve seen a ghost–more than one. The phantom I saw (It’s actually been more than one) wore a befuddled look of confusion across his seemingly-solid brow. As if he were lost in the middle of some dream in which he couldn’t find his exit. His arms folded over his chest, he eyed me as if I were some sort of alien creature, as I bent over to wash my hands at a mens’s room sink. He turned to walk out, and I followed a click behind him.
The door swung shut. I immediately swung it open–the man had walked into thin air. I looked right and I looked left; long hallways lead down to exits on the opposite sides of the building. All the other doors were locked in that particular university building a that time of night. And, he hadn’t had time to unlock one, enter, close it, and walk off–not in the seconds between him closing the restroom door and I opening it again. And, furthermore, even if he had, I would have heard the electronic keying system and the rattle of those doors.
I went back to the computer lab, where I was an attendant that night. The lab was virtually deserted, but I already knew he would not be there. He was not anywhere; but, as I felt my skin prickle over and my head reel in wonder, it felt as if he could be EVERYWHERE. Watching, with that same curious, confused expression.
But, that morning at the Johnson House, I didn’t need to SEE the ghosts visually; they crept from the corners of my mind; old Victorians smoking cigars and pipes, fat old men in tweed suits and bowler caps, with papers thrust across their laps, sipping sherry or scotch or some damn drink or whatever men found fashionable to drink at that time.
As the sun poured in, and marked the morning as a quiet, dream-like moment in time that would stay with me, as I saw, in that “Gentlemen’s Smoking Room” with the old-fashioned high backed chairs, the old fireplace and mantle, the old window and door frames from a century back…the passage of vast blocks of TIME, the most significant commodity in human existence. And, though the present had crept, like a festering malady, across the face of the past, the past was still present there, sleeping; waiting, in a “larval state.” Time travel, baby; time traveling in the theater of the mind.
I visited the Johnson House one other time after that, accompanied by a girlfriend who was quartered there temporarily. I never felt safe there; and she took me on a tour of the interminable upper floors.
In one section, what had once been a pool hall and old-fashioned diner took me back to the era of Eisenhower, James Dean, motorcycle jackets, poodle skirts, and “Reds Under the Beds.” More moments out of time, more time travel. More ghosts.
Maybe snatches of old conversation still echo at some frequency that can not be heard by the naked ear. But, the naked mind?
I never saw actually ghosts at the Johnson House.
Instead, the ghosts saw me.
Note: The daughter of the owners of the historical house, apparently, was married to Barry Goldwater.