One of the watershed moments for me in life was when I realized I had dreamed the exact images of a movie before I had ever actually seen it. Say what you want about that, but it always stuck with me through the years. I fell asleep one night, and witnessed what I can only describe as a scene of horror, hundreds of people screaming in a hell-like agony, and marching into the mouth of some hideous metal demon. The last I remember was an onlooker below them crying out in terror, just before seeing his back disappear through a set of heavy iron double doors. Later, while visiting relatives, an uncle brought a videotape of an old silent film for my other uncle, because he was an enthusiast for the Roaring Twenties. This was maybe 1988 or 89, so VHS cassettes were in use. As I was watching it, it was then that I realized that the thing I had dreamed was, in po0int of fact, the EXACT visual images from the “Moloch” machine explosion scene from the beginning of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” (1927).
Were I the Reflection Within the Mirror
Were I the reflection within the mirror,
So tastefully drawn, by time
To stand erect and aloof, contemplating the contour lines
Of a face drawn and haggard
By the ravages of age.
I could dance amidst the tick-tock
Magic of days,
Wander through the empty, labyrinthine halls
Scream at the lonely hours hissing by
In somnolent reverie; and wonder, oh wonder, Where truth ends,
And reflective illusion takes the reigns…
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NOTE: It has been pointed out to me, by a well-known true crime writer, that the word I actually was trying for was “chanteuse.” Chartreuse is a bloody color. I don’t care. I like the othe word better. This is a dictatorship, where a mad king is allowed to go unclothed before the world.
I have a Weimar-era chartreuse hanging from my wall.
She has short, curly, presumably blonde hair, a horseshoe-shaped bottom lip, with no top lip to interfere, and a pert nose. She has large, striking eyes, but the eyebrows could not be said to arch overmuch. They are thin, possibly penciled-on.
The bottom lip sags, exposing perhaps a bit much of the lower row of teeth, which are perfect and white and top pristine pink gums. The ears are not exposed; the face itself has the quality of the pan or shovel-faced feature, going down to a pert chin with a sort of sharp edge to it, nonetheless. It could not be described as a thin face, nor are the cheekbones overly high.
The eyes are large electric diamonds, radiant with energy and sudden flashes of enthusiasm. This is accentuated by the set of the mouth, the heart-shaped thin upper bow that would all but disappear if not for the ruby red lipstick so carefully applied. Inevitably, she will pop a long, thin, cigarette in a wooden filter into the corner of that mouth, with one lace-gloved hand, and intone that “Ze cabaret iz dreadfull zis evening, ja, mien liebchen? Dahlink, let us to ze biergarten prozeed!”
Her costume is obviously spangles and silk, fishnet stockings and miles of velvet; spiked leather heels and a short crop as accessory. Her loose blonde curls could be topped by a bowler or stevedore; but, most likely, it is a top hat. Her costume has a little bow tie. (She must certainly, at one edge of her mouth, have a painted beauty mark,)
Her thighs are thick and thunderous, legs long and muscled, arms too heavy; her body milk white and powerful, exuberant; a Valkyrie hailing atop a winged horse, fording a fjord, flying over the frozen, icy earth, wreathed in the glory of the rising sun.
I want her badly to live; can even hear the first few words of her heavily-accented broken English. But she exists only as a few printed brush strokes on a little canvas square, resting atop a thumbtack pegged into a dismal wall.
I was thirteen years old when I first saw the demon.
It came to me in the darkest watches of the night. Waking up from slumber, I found I couldn’t move. I knew I had been away, somehwere, in a place that was dark and grey and dead. Upon coming back from that dismal, horrifying place, I would slowly open my eyes and see the immense form, the hooded shadow that a man has described as “blacker than the black.”
When it first came to me, it was invisible. I could feel it crawl over me, and the feeling was both overpoweringly exhilarating, erotic, and terrifying. I could feel it press down upon me, could feel its weight as the bed creaked up and down heavily…
I awoke that night in a panic, and had to be rushed to the hospital emergency room.
A year or two later, I saw the demon.
I awoke and it was there. Blacker than the shadow which surrounded it, with a hood like a medieval monk. Burning red eyes, and NO FACE. Immensely long fingers, twisted tree branch-like. Curling. Someone has described the horror of having those long, twisted fingers reach out and touch you. I can attest to the fact that this is correct.
I awoke, screaming, my mother running into the room while I implored her “Can you see it? Can you see it?” I had broke the paralysis in terror. After that, I passed back into sleep.
The last horrifying time it visited me, I was in a childrens’ hospital. In my dreams, I was visiting the same grey, dead place, the same melancholy, dark world of rocky, muddy ground, dead trees, yawning caverns, and deep, filthy wet. I awoke, and the Hooded One had come again. Immense, dark, a being that could be seen through, but who was also distinctly defined–I could nearly make out the folds in his cloak. His long, claw-like pointed fingers were in my face; his eyes burned red in the darkness of his hood, but THERE WAS NO FACE.
As hideous as this phantasm was, standing beside it was a being so utterly beyond the pale of what could be considered “real” that it seemed to have escaped from some psychedelic nightmare. A twisted, starved body, like the body of a greyhound dog or even a starved old nag, and long, crooked,preying-mantis like arms that culminated in long, skinny, skeletal white fingers; like the bones of a skeletal hand. Perhaps there were four fingers.
The neck was a skinny branch. The head was huge, oversized; the mouth was a twisted, psychotic, slit-like grin stretching from one side of the huge head to another. But the eyes! They were the huge, black, almond-shaped eyes of the extraterrestrial abductor, the visitor.
I could not move; I could not scream out. I was paralyzed with fright, and could not breathe from the crushing weight of absolute spiritual terror suffocating me. Finally, I must have lost my mind, for I bolted up in bed, screaming more violently than I had ever screamed before or since.
It was almost as if, in sheer terror, I had left my body, and was outside myself, looking at myself. It was not me screaming, at this point; it was simply my body performing a motion to purge itself of some toxin.
I then fell back on the pillow, passing out. My last memory of that nigth was of a hospital attendant rushing into the room with a flashlight. “Oh, I heard this individual say, “he’s just having a nightmare.”
When I awoke the next morning, it was with a massive headache, and virtually no memory that anything unusual had even happened at all.
It took several hours before my memory was jogged, and the terrifying events of the night before started flooding back into my consciousness.
It was maybe a year later, when I was out walking with a relative, that I had my first close-encounter UFO sighting. Rounding a corner of an abandoned lot, across the street from a field and coming into the entryway of an apartment complex, my relative looked over at a strange, hovering object across the street, and asked, “Hey, what’s that?”
I turned, telling her, “it’s a helicopter.”
“Yes,” she said, “but it’s not making any noise.”
Sure enough, the huge, cigar-shaped object was hovering over the field across the street, near a huge radio antenna. Lighted brilliantly on each end, with a strobing, lightning-like blue flash on top, it went up, silently, at a 35 degree angle, before exploding into scarlet light and shooting into the stars. It moved faster thn anything I had seen before, or since. It was, quite obvioulsy, a legitimate, bona-fide UFO.
“That was someone a little off course,” I remember joking. “Like, about 35 million light years…”
Since then, I have had many, many paranormal experiences: visions of beings holding scrolls with strange symbols; episodes of missing time; bizarre, vivid, and often precognitive dreams; bodily scratches; beds that bounce as if some invisible entity were standing at the end, kicking them. And, of course, communications with SOMETHING else, via automatic writing, art, etc.
It was decades before I learned others also had similar “Night Hag” or shadow person experiences, or experiences with the “Hooded Man,” and Preying -Mantis entities. Some of these people described experiences not just similar to my own, but EXACTLY like my own, to the T. You could argue such experiences are simply hallucinations, but, then, explain why all of these people, throughout the history of the “Night Hag” phenomenon, have all had the same experience.
It has been many decades since I have seen the “Hooded Entity,” as far as I can remember. I expect to see it again some day, perhaps, I think, when I finally go to join that mysterious OTHER in the misty veil.
Upon the table in front of them, seven golden candles provided light. At first, I thought this comforting, but, soon, the evil sentence was laid down, and I swooned, and darkness and insensibility descended upon me like a cloud.
I awoke as I was being carried forth by powerful hands. What was happening to me? I felt myself fall back to insensibility again, and, when I awoke once more, I was in a dark and troubling place.
I came to, and, my eyes quickly adjusting, I reached out with one hand and found a pitcher of water and loaf of bread beside me. These I took greedily, as I was parched and famished. I then turned my attention to my dark cell.
I got up slowly and went to the wall, carefully placing my hand upon its uneven surface. The heavy masonry was pitted and cracked in several places, and I suddenly realized how I could ascertain the dimensions of my cell. I tore a fragment of cloth from the garment they had forced me to wear, and stuffed it in a chink. Then, marking that as a place to begin and end, I slowly, carefully, went around the wall, feeling the uneven surface with my hands as I went, counting out the paces.
(You may think this ridiculous, but, really, for some reason, it seemed of the uptmost importance to me.)
Finally, I came back around to the filthy bit of rag. Aw, fifty paces! And, calculating from that I came to the conclusion that I was in a prison cell that was some fifty feet wide. Elated at this, I soon resolved to cross the slimy, disgusting floor, and began to do so when, for some reason, I became entangled in the ripped portions of the garment I wore.
I fell flat on my face, and would have broken my nose I suppose, had a mysterious discovery not prevented me from doing so. For, though my miserable, aching body lie prone on the floor, my chin, nose, and forehead were suspended over…nothing. Apparently, I had stopped just short of falling into a sort of stone pit–just by sheer luck!
In a moment, I had secured a loose piece of stone, and thrown it down the pit, hearing it go down, down, trying, as best I could, to sort of sound out how deep the pit might have been. It was a short interval before I heard it crash below. Then, I heard a curious scuttling sound.
So, this was the fate the cruel monks of the Inquisition had in store for me, eh? I rolled over on my back, breathing in and out heavily in the stifling air, and soon found myself unconscious. When I awoke, the same pitcher and loaf were beside me, and I took them greedily again, being much famished and dying of thirst. I then realized they must have been drugged, for I grew drowsy.
When I again came back to hellish consciousness, I found my situation horribly changed. I was bound, head and foot, to a wooden rack, a huge sort of bandage wrapped all around me and secured to the frame. Only my left arm, up to the elbow, was free. I soon realized there was a pot of meat beside me which I could just barely reach and get to my mouth with my left hand. But now there was no pitcher.
I smiled at this through cracked lips. The meat was very spicy, and so I realized part of my new torture was to be fed spicy food, but given no water to slake my thirst.
I then heard the scuttling.
Rats–thousands of them! They must have come up from the circular pit! They were scurrying all about, and I was horrified and repulsed to see their beady eyes shining in the near darkness. I say near darkness because now there was a weird, glowing light that provided illumination to the scene! And how terrible a scene it was!
The images of devils and demons, obscure tortures, and hellish retribution–the fantasies of the deranged monks of the Inquisition, were painted on the ghastly walls, as high as the ceiling (which was, I should estimate, some forty feet), giving testimony to the deraged beliefs of the sadistic men who had formed these horrible dungeons of terror and pain. I was at first chagrined to see that I had grossly underestimated the size of my prison, and wracked my brain as to how this could have been possible. Also, I saw now that far from being a prison of stone masonry, my death cell was, indeed, formed of what seemed to be iron plates. Curious, I thought. But I did not ponder it long.
Looking above, I saw what I took to be an imge of Father Time, holding his scythe. However, in place of the traditional scythe was what appeared to be a long, sleek pendulum, like one would find in a great clock. I could not at first believe it, but, as I adjusted my eyes to the weird sight, I realized that the pendulum held by Father Time was no mere painting upon the wall, but a real and actual pendulum, swinging to and fro, and seemingly coming closer to me, closer and closer, slowly, oh so slowly…
I saw that the curved end of the thing was as thin and sharp as a razor. Slowly, oh so slowly it swept to and fro, coming down…down…down…
…Soon, it would be on top of me, and then, with one fell swing or swoop, would slice me in half, leaving me dying in a torrent of blood, in an agonizing and hideous death few men could ever imagine!
Down it came, closer and closer. I struggled against the great bandage that wrapped me in solid as a mummified body–to no avail! Closer swept the pendulum, closer and closer!
I felt my mind begin to crack. I blacked out.
When I came to, the thing was even nearer to me! The terrible rats that crawled up from the pit were crawling all over me, waiting greedily for my death, biting and scratching me with their little rodent snouts. It was then that an idea came to me.
I struggled to reach the very spicy meat that the cruel judges had left, stretching out in agony with my one arm. Finally, I got a handful of the stuff, what was left of it, and I began to rub it across the great bandage.
This greatly excited the hungry rats, who began to gnaw at the bandage as the hellish pendulum swung ever more near.
The pendulum was now so near that I could hear it swish across my chest. The rats began to nibble at my bonds, and finally, I felt them come loose! I struggled and strained, and, with a terrible wrenching, and with the razor-sharp blade of the pendulum just inches from my chest (it had actually swept a few of the rats away with one stroke), I managed to break free of my bonds and roll out of the way just in time!
A moment later, and I would have been cut in two by the pendulum, and suffered a cruel, painful death.
My suffering was not over though! No, for the demonic faces on the wall began to glow a fiery red, and the heat in the chamber became unbearable. It was as if I had died and gone to Hell! The eyes of the painted demons and skulls began to glow, and I realized there must be some sort of great, terrible furnace hidden within the walls.
But, as if this were not enough, those walls soon began to slide inward, closer and closer, meaning to push me into the pit, to fall to my death. I retreated from the walls and the terrible heat, my hands going up before my face. I turned in panic, stumbled, fell–
My face was inches above the pit. I looked down into the darkness, which I could now see more clearly due to the terrible flame of the demonic eyes in the paintings. I could not believe what I saw down there!
Oh those cruel judges! How could they? The walls grew closer and closer, the heat grew more and more intense–
It was then that I heard a shouting and commotion from somewhere above me. Oh! Merciful God, the walls began to slide back, the searing heat cooled, and I understood from the mingled voices that the army had entered Toledo. They had captured the Inquisition! I was saved! I was saved!
I was lying in bed, in a large, dirty room, with a tall, foreign-looking woman with a surgical scar.
I saw this scar when I raised her blouse. It crept from her lower belly to the top of ner pudenda. I put my mouth on her cunt, through the filmy lace covering of her sheer panties. She told me I was sweaty. I replied in kind.
I was over at this couple’s apartment. Maybe we were all high. I suppose I shouldn’t admit to something like that. We were watching an enormous, antique tube television set with a bullet hole in the center of the screen. I told them, “I like the way the cracks in the glass radiate out from the central bullet hole.” Which did not sit well with them, so I had to explain what I meant by “like.” Not “like.”
People come and go. Sisters or best friends. I stupidly sit in a corner of the room, watching people in and out the door, whose relation to the enuing scene is obscure to me.
Children playing with castoff toys, trolleys and plastic scooters bought from thrift shops. Unattended, weaing shitty diapers and ignored. Lost in a world they create through play, inured to pain.
I walked here past a park. And I must have been high, because I looked down at the Christmas display and decided it was a minaiture golf world of weird totem animals, carved, sinister clown heads, and griffons and magical animlas transforming over a deep, resonant growl. The loudspeaker, which logically should have been playing Christmas tunes, instead seemed to blast forth damaged music that sounded as if Johnny Cash were being tortured by a black metal ensemble doing rockabilly covers. Curiouser and curiouser.
I walked up the sidewalk, perpendicular to an immense hill, which, I took it, was some sort of metaphor for my struggle in life. “Walk a mile in my shoes?” I laugh to myself. I was thankful I didn’t have to try and find the apartment after dark; I could never have managed it.
Sitting on the couch, watching Japanese cartoon movies with an experimental score. Lost in the depths of my inebriation, I actually mistake this music, for a moment, for my own. I look over, the girl I was with and her boyfriend have disappeared from the front room. I can guess what they’re doing. (I had lain in bed with the tall, foreign-looking woman, surrounded by empty beer cans and other detritus, telling her that if she rolled over, she was going to have a mess on her hands. Whether or not this particualr blossom of memory transpired before or after I went looking for the errant couple…)
The children were left unattended. I guess they figure moi as the defacto sitter. Not my bag.
I went through the occult collection of rooms, finally discovering a huge bathroom. Everything was that perfect, peach-colored sunset shade of natural, peach lighting, fading down into little washes of grey. They couple were making love somewhere just out of reach. My vision screens them out.
The foreign bird is lying on top of a sink in a position one would have sworn was excruciatingly painful. She is either passed out or dead.
So I begin to make love to her. Because, I assume, she is dead.
A mirror over the sink reveals the hideous, rubber visage, the burnt-out eyes of a soulless, mad creature. I am looking at the image of myself when a phrase comes into my mind:
I’m not sure what this supposed to mean. I find an old drawing of a girl I use to know. I begin to manipulate it until her unfinished skin looks ancient, seamed; scar. The tattoo on her chest reads:
…And if there is a clue as to what, if anything, the preceding has meant, it is probably contained in that tiny phrase.