It seems that these days every superhero is getting a movie, so it was no surprise to find out that one of my all-time favourite Marvel characters, Dr Strange, will be coming to the big screen in 2016.
Marvel's master magician has been around for over 50 years now, and during that time he's influenced plenty of people (including myself) - even though most of the general public might not recognise him as easily as the likes of Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk. But, rather fittingly, many people have probably looked at an image of the Sorcerer Supreme on multiple occasions without actually seeing him. In particular, Pink Floyd fans.
Hidden on the cover of Pink Floyd's second album, A Saucerful of Secrets (1968), is an image of Dr Strange taken from Marvel's Strange Tales #158, published the year before the album was released, in 1967. Created by the late Storm Thorgerson, legendary designer of many of Pink Floyd's album images, the cover includes a barely visible Dr Strange, as well as the character Living Tribunal, who are facing off over the future of the Earth.
Not content with this sly album cover inclusion, a year later the Floyd made another reference to Dr Stephen Strange in their song 'Cymbaline', on the soundtrack to the movie More, with the lyrics "and Doctor Strange is always changing size". Here they are playing it live in 1971 (listen closely and you'll hear a tip of the hat to another famous Doctor near the end):
There was almost yet another reference to the Marvel Universe in Pink Floyd's work just a few years later. Thorgerson confirmed a few years before his passing that a photo version of the Silver Surfer was one of the images he once considered for the cover of Dark Side of the Moon (happily, he settled on the now famous light prism image, one of the most famous album covers in modern music).
Or maybe Thorgerson should have just gone with something like this instead...
- SETI has begun looking for hot aliens. Captain Kirk was waaay ahead of you SETI.
- Hundreds report UFO sighting in Cannock Chase.
- A sign from beyond the grave?
- People in Kazakhstan are falling asleep for days - and nobody knows why.
- Buddhist monk displays 'unheard of' brain activity while meditating.
- In Brazil, some inmates get therapy with hallucinogenic tea.
- How a West African shaman helped my schizophrenic son in a way Western medicine couldn’t.
- Will telepathy machines make us closer, or are there unforeseen dangers in melding minds?
- 'Chinese Stonehenge' found in the Gobi desert continues to mystify experts.
- Is the statue with a mummified medieval monk inside it a stolen relic?
- Oldest evidence of breast cancer found in 4200-year-old Egyptian skeleton.
- Magic robots of the medieval world.
- Real-life vampires exist, and researchers are studying them.
- Porpoises, whales and dolphins use sound searchlights.
- Image of the Day: John Keel chats to Jacques Vallee.
Quote of the Day:
Belief is the enemy
There once was a man named David, he loved his family so. They lived on a farm in Tennessee, in eighteen hundred eighty. One day while his daughters played nearby and his wife watched from her swing, David walked across the field and vanished without a word.
That’s the gist of the story, though I admit to having taken some artistic liberty with the wording (I’m no poet), but even my version offers pretty much the same amount of detail to the original. The man in question was David Lang, and he did indeed vanish, or so the story goes. It’s said that he took a stroll through the field next to his family home, while his wife and children watched from the yard, and after only a few steps he simply disappeared without a trace, right in front of their eyes. This, apparently, was also witnessed by two men who happened to be passing by the farm in a buggy at the time. The full version of the tale says that an exhaustive search was undertaken to find the poor vanished soul, but to no avail. David Lang was never heard from again.
If that sounds familiar to you, it might be because American journalist, satirist, and short story author Ambrose Bierce wrote an almost identical tale called ‘The Difficulty of Crossing a Field’. If you judge books by their cover, you may have overlooked that title. That’s a short story that first appeared in the San Francisco Examiner in 1888, and later appeared in some versions of Bierce’s ‘Can Such Things Be?’ collection, but it soon took on a life of its own.
Of course, with stories like this, of this age, it can be exceedingly difficult to track down who exactly said what and when. We know, because of his relative fame, that Bierce did write The Difficulty of Crossing a Field sometime in the late 19th century, which detailed the disappearance – in very much the same way – of a plantation owner named Williamson from Alabama, but was he the first to write it? Was he drawing on actual events as inspiration, changing names and locations to protect the innocent, as it were?
The tale of David Lang, which differs only in the minute details, was first published in an edition of Fate Magazine in 1953. That version was penned by novelist Stuart Palmer, who claimed that it was a true accounting, and was in fact the event on which Ambrose Bierce based his story. Palmer’s version has since been copied into several books relating to strange disappearances, such as Frank Edward’s Stranger than Science (1959). Since then, the two tales have been intertwined, confused, misattributed and just plain plagiarized many times over.
Why am I telling you all this? I’m getting to that.
Several researchers have gone to great lengths to confirm or disprove the story of David Lang, and it seems that no such man ever existed. There are no census records for a man of that name in Gallatin, Tennessee (where the story takes place) in that era, nor of his family. No newspaper articles have ever been found discussing or referring to the incident, and no correspondence of any kind has been seen. This doesn’t mean that David Lang didn’t exist, he very well could have. Records get lost all the time, even now. It also doesn’t mean the incident never happened. I just means that we can’t confirm it.
Unfortunately, we’ll never know what happened, but that hasn’t stopped people from speculating based on the little we do know. And I’m about to do the same.
There’s something you should know about Ambrose Bierce; his name is inexorably connected to the concept of strange disappearances, for more than one reason. Aside from the fact that he wrote about people vanishing into thin air on more than a few occasions – An Unfinished Race comes to mind, which features the odd disappearance of James Worson, who, while running a foot race, simply blinked out of existence right before the eyes of several other men – Bierce himself disappeared without a trace while in Mexico in 1914, never to be heard from again.
It’s a strange business, all of it, but things do get stranger.
Did you know that The Difficulty of Crossing a Field has been adapted as an opera? It has! I’ve not had a chance to experience it, but I imagine it was quite the show. It played at the Roulette Intermedium theatre in New York in 2002 and several times since then. Here’s the strange bit though…the man who wrote the adaptation and produced the show is named David Lang.
According to his website, David Lang, the current, is a Pulitzer Prize winning composer and at one time held the Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall. By all accounts he is a brilliant musician and were he named anything else, no one would ever question his involvement.
But since he is named David Lang, I can’t help but let my imagination run a little bit. What if…? And hear me out. What if, the original David Lang really did exist, and really did disappear as the story suggests? If it were true we’d have to consider where, exactly, Mr. Lang went when he disappeared.
Despite the relatively shallow depth of our knowledge in the realms of time travel and teleportation (yes, both are theoretically possible, given certain caveats), it could be said that it is conceivable that the man, David Lang, who disappeared from a field in Tennessee a hundred years ago, is also the man, David Lang, who now works to retell the story of his own mysterious demise through Ambrose Bierce’s tale The Difficulty of Crossing a Field.
OK, yes, I can already hear you pounding your keyboard, typing out a comment to tell me how deluded and credulous I am. The name David Lang is, arguably, a very common name, and yes, strange coincidences happen all the time, some stranger than this. But even if all I’ve done here is point out a strange coincidence that inspires some of you to add Ambrose Bierce to your reading list and David Lang to your playlist, then this was all worth it. For the record though, I think David Lang is actually a Time Lord.
Has your love for things that go bump in the night turned you into a lone wolf, like an old Skinwalker curse? Would you like to go UFO hunting by the pale moon light with a significant other? Is your camping tent roomy enough for a Squatching date?
If the answer to one of those questions is 'yes' then REJOICE! World renowned mentalist The amazing Kreskin has sought to remedy your perennial singlehood with the very first Supernatural Dating Society™; a place where people interested in paranormal phenomena can seek out their true soul mate, without the fear of ruining the very first date the moment you pull out your phone to show the latest stabilized version of the Patterson-Gimlin footage --yeah, like it's never happened to YOU!
From the dating society's site:
Can I really be suggesting a social dating society directed specifically to people interested in all of the forementioned areas?
Absolutely! Furthermore, these folks would like nothing more than to meet other people with whom they can discuss their thoughts, beliefs, and experiences without compromise...without fear of embarrassment. They want to speak openly to a special someone who will listen, understand their feelings, and react appropriately.
Kreskin recently gave an interview to Cosmopolitan to explain what motivated him to launch the site:
It's very, very interesting. Most people I talked to would like to meet people that they could join and visit places that seem like they're haunted. They don't want to do it by themselves. The other area, which is gigantic, is the UFO area. There are people who would like to go to sites — and listen, I don't happen to believe in alien landings, but some people do. As far as UFOs, I talk to too many pilots that have had planes tracked; they told me stories; they said, "Kreskin, if we went back and made this public, we'd probably lose our jobs because the company would say, 'You're acting crazy,'" or what have you. They want to go with someone they know feels the same way.
I myself am not a mentalist, so I don't know what Kreskin was thinking when he came up with this idea, but didn't he realize people in the paranormal scene are pathologically paranoid? I'm sure many would fear the site is just a CIA front in order to track them and/or feed them disinformation! What happens when you find someone interesting only to find out she's a woman in black??
But even if right now I'm showing MY own personal paranoia, the other problem with dating paranormal buffs is that most of us are strongly opinionated. Imagine spending the whole time during a 'romantic' dinner fighting with your date over why the CARET drones are obvious hoaxes, the ETH doesn't make any sense and Project Serpo is pure nonsense!
If you prefer not to join Kreskin's community but re still looking to find a love interest that shares your love for all things fringe, then I'd then suggest you attend events like the International UFO conference. Granted, the average age of attendees hovers around 60 years-old, but why should that be a problem? --after all, MILFs are still a thing, right?
- The Amazing Kreskin's Supernatural Dating Society
- UFO enthusiasts now have a place to date online
- Inside the Supernatural Dating Society, a Site for People Obsessed With Ghosts, Astrology, and Finding Love
[H/T to Rick MG, who I hear is looking for a Mothmamacita]
“I did not think; I investigated.”
- The mystery at the center of the Milky Way.
- Studying synchronicity.
- A father’s day 239,000 years in the making?
- Throwing stones… in space.
- Magic… Do you believe?
- Ganymede bulge indicates polar reversal.
- In pain? Cross your fingers.
- Biohacking night vision.
- Melting Antarctica.
- Searching for black holes in Sierra Negro.
- When black holes collide.
- When the march of progress went meme.
- 1950’s housewife takes a trip.
- This week’s evidence of the looming robot uprising… Bionic 3D ants.
Quote of the Day:
“We shall see what we shall see. We have the start now; the developments will follow in time.”
My reaction when my Buddhist cousin showed me the new tattoo he got made to symbolize 'Impermanence'...
- Probable carcinogenic chemical found in Monsanto weed killer. Shouldn't we re-name them Mondiablo by now?
- The genetic code of 'an entire nation' effectively deduced, claim Icelandic researchers.
- The American MDs' suicide epidemic no-one is talking about.
- Loren Coleman examines the twilight language involved in the latest Germanwings Flight 9525 tragedy.
- Could remote viewing help you become rich in the stock market? The Paracast interviews precognition authority Marty Rosenblatt.
- Large, boomerang-shaped UFO 'cloaked itself' in front of Florida witness.
- Are drones to become the 'swamp gas' of the XXIst century for the UFO phenomenon?
- The Victorians' obsession with fairies is approached in Robert Means Lawrence's new book [Amazon US & UK]
- The football fairies of Ireland.
- The Irish monk Macarius and his concept of the universal soul.
- 1st photo of the legendary albino tapir.
- The Ili pika, world's cutest (endangered) animal, photographed for the 1st time.
- 7-year-old Bigfoot photo gains new footing.
- Dinosaurs: 'Terrible lizards' or just plain terrible?
- Seems the Russians haven't tired of building crazy-ass cargo planes --Antonov's dream lives on!
- Red Pill of the Day: Fan-made Star Wars anime short that took 4 years in the making, and was *totally* worth it.
Thanks to the a-hole who scraped my car last night, for teaching me the concept of car paint impermanence.
Quote of the Day:
“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore
Will the elves save us from the robots?
- The X-Files: The next mind-bending chapter.
- MI5 records reveal gerbil spycatcher plan.
- Quantum experiment verifies Einstein's 'spooky action at a distance'.
- "Computers are going to take over from humans": Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
- Everyone has the right to challenge "scientific experts".
- In Iceland, 'respect the elves – or else'.
- Were Martians wiped out by a nuclear bomb?
- Landmark study proves that magnets can control heat and sound.
- Mini black holes could be the key to parallel universes.
- Argentine archaeologists probe 'Nazi hide-out' for clues.
- World's largest asteroid impacts found in central Australia.
- Is Madonna the Kabbalistic Queen of the New World Order?.
- Boeing's force field could save soldiers from brain injuries.
- 20 images of Jesus and other religious figures seen in strange things and places.
- Universe may be on the brink of collapse (on the cosmological timescale.
- Prehistoric hunt suggests humans arrived in North America earlier than previously thought.
- Have researchers discovered the sound of the stars?
- Curiosity Rover finds biologically useful nitrogen on Mars.
Quote of the day:
Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.
Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies
The video below seems like the usual playful moment between a loving mother and her 4-year-old daughter; making funny faces at the camera, sharing hugs and kisses, and talking about the woman's grandmother, who "went to heaven" last November at the age of 93.
Then, right at the end, the girl delivers quite the bombshell:
From Jaime Primak Sullivan's Facebook page:
I am freaking out - I can't even find words. I don't know what to think or say or do- there is no way Charlie could know this. My grandmother called me this name growing up- there is NO WAY Charlie could know. I am shaking.
Of course, skeptics would say the whole thing was staged, and it's true there's no way we can verify whether little Charlie didn't know her great-granny called her mom by the name 'Jamila' --or if the girl was queued as it's the opinion of some members in the comments below. But if true, then this little incident might be another confirmation that little children, still untouched by the 'social conditioning' we all grow up with, are more sensitive and still in touch with "the other side."
Now, whether this 'other side' is another dimension of existence in which our dearly departed still live in some immaterial form, or is rather a state of consciousness in which the Time is non-existent and all things and beings remain in a state of interconnectedness, that's something for which we don't really have any answers... yet.
Have your children shown similar 'mediumnistic' abilities? Share your stories on the comments below
[H/T Above Top Secret]
The end is n.........ot nigh.
- The bad news: Physicists find that the collapse of the universe may be imminent. The good news: 'imminent' to these guys is "a few tens of billions of years"...
- Big Bang Theory could be debunked by the Large Hadron Collider.
- Largest ever asteroid impact found in Australia.
- Lava tubes on the Moon could be huge enough to hold cities.
- Boeing patents Star Wars-style force fields.
- 10-year-old boy remembers past life as 1930s Hollywood actor.
- Family 'gobsmacked' as four mysterious objects zoomed across the sky during BBQ, chased by 'MOD helicopter'.
- The Hampstead Cult that wasn't: revisiting the Satanic panic.
- SETI is giving you a chance to name Plutonian surface features.
- Here's how this ancient Mayan pyramid makes bird calls.
- 'Monster salamanders' found in fossilised mass grave.
- Pope Francis credited with performing miracle as Saint's blood liquifies.
- Aboriginal god is Wikipedia's longest running hoax.
- Video of the Day: Tour one of the world's largest caves on the back of a drone.
Quote of the Day:
Knowing that you are going to die is, I suspect, the beginning of wisdom.
We've featured a number of Jason Silva's wonderful monologues here on the Grail over the past few years, and counterculture writer Erik Davis is one of our long time favourites (he's also a Darklore contributor). So I'm sure many readers will enjoy this long-form, sit-down chat between them both on 'Techgnosis: Technology and human imagination'.
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