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Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Insect Typewriter Companions

In Art, Cinema, Ephemera, Industry, Insects, Literature, Surrealism on December 27, 2009 at 9:28 pm

*Penumbra Report owes its creative genesis in part to the delicate midwifery of an anthropomorphic machine.  I was at Blue Moon Camera and Machine developing film and visiting my friend Christie Spillane, when my partner in slime, Lady Quackery, noticed the elegantly framed poster of NAKED LUNCH above what appeared to be a shrine / display of beautifully refurbished typewriters.  We became hysterical.  In a frenzy we rushed to the display and began typing on the mahines.  After caressing and groping each and every one of those beautiful machines, we tucked in our shirts, pulled up our stockings, fixed our hair, decided we had somehow descended into some sort of temporary madness, and promptly left the store.  We were mere feet from the car when that hot, typological fever took hold of our loins and dragged us back inside hysterically screaming until an early 1930s Underwood No. 5 was purchased.  It’s been true love ever since.

When most people think “typewriter,” they picture something much like the Underwood No. 5.  Why? Because this is the most successful typewriter design in history.  When the Underwood was first introduced, it was only one of hundreds of competing and extremely varied typewriter designs.  But by 1920, this machine, succeeded in defining the stereotype of a typewriter: a machine with four rows of keys and a shift, typing with typebars through a ribbon onto the front of a cylindrical rubber platen. This is the form that still determines our concept of what a typewriter is — or “was.”  The No. 5 was the quintessential Underwood.

The CURE for modern machine angst resides within. Does our disposable culture leave you worried? Fed up with squandering your hard-earned equipment budget on devices rendered obsolete before they are even broken in? Searching for a companion machine with which you might actually have time to become intimately familiar?

Within our Portland, Oregon based facility you will discover a veritable treasure trove of functional, durable, fully warranted mechanical devices, from tried-and-true photographic apparatus to the west coast’s largest selection of refurbished and eager mechanical typewriting machines.

::Blue Moon Camera and Machine::

In some ways typewriters are fascinating because they are the predecessors of the electric processors used today.  As Walter J. Ong puts it, “Since writing came into existence, the evolution of the word and the evolution of consciousness have been intimately tied in with technologies and technological developments.”  Although, the most alluring characteristic about these machines is that they can be seen not only as tools of a bygone era, but independent psychological entities autonomous of human will.  There is something inherently different about a MacBook Pro and an Underwood No.5.  The MacBook is like an inanimate terminal, sterile and often cold to the touch.  On the other hand, the Underwood is pulsating, arousing, virile… almost sentient.  It comes down to the feel of these machines.  A typewriter can be a guiding tutelary spirit or, contrastingly, a demonic presence or pet-like familiar.  The only difference between familiars and demons are the specific ways in which a familiar possesses an individual.  In contrast to demons, familiars do not possess the body.  They rather possess the personality, the soul, the human affective relations and the psychological processes of a victim, but the familiar spirit maintains a differentiated personality with those who attack.  Sometimes the familiar spirit entices the human spirit by appearing friendly and comforting when things go wrong, thus developing a progressive dependence on the spirit and the diminishing reliance of one’s individuality.  Akin to a mercurial spirit, the typewriter acts as a medium (think both senses of the word), that creates a vortex and tearing a hole into other realms.  It has magical powers because it is, in fact, a window — a hole in the wholeness of our world (which is never a seamless wholeness), through which our imagination may come in contact with the symbolic dimension.

The invention of the typewriter changed the course of Western culture, forever mutating the topographical landscape of literature.  Many authors and writers have had unusual relationships with typewriters. Friedrich Nietzsche used a typewriter in an attempt to stem his migraine headaches and his incipient blindness. Mark Twain claimed in his autobiography that he was the first important writer to present a publisher with a typewritten manuscript, for Life on the Mississippi. E. E. Cummings may have been the first poet to deliberately use a typewriter for poetic effect.  Jack Kerouac, a fast typist at 100 words per minute, typed On the Road on a roll of paper so he wouldn’t be interrupted by having to change the paper. Within two weeks of starting to write On the Road, Kerouac had one single-spaced paragraph, 120 feet long.  Another fast typist of the Beat period was Richard Brautigan, who said that he thought out the plots of his books in detail beforehand, then typed them out at speeds approaching 90 to 100 words a minute.  Ernest Hemingway used to write his books standing up in front of a Royal typewriter suitably placed on a tall bookshelf. Tom Robbins waxes philosophical about the Remington SL3, a typewriter that he bought to write Still Life with Woodpecker, and eventually does away with it because it is too complicated and inhuman of a machine for the writing of poetry.  After completing the novel Beautiful Losers, Leonard Cohen is said to have flung his typewriter into the Aegean Sea. William S. Burroughs wrote in some of his novels that “a machine he called the ‘Soft Typewriter’ was writing our lives, and our books, into existence,” according to a book review in The New Yorker (the image to the right is Claes Oldenburg’s eponymous sculpture).

Of course, David Cronenberg’s film adaptation of Burroughs’ novel, Naked Lunch, is perhaps the greatest example of the morbid and perverse relationship between man and typewriter.  In the film, Burroughs’ typewriter is a living, insect-like entity (voiced by Canadian actor Peter Boretski) and actually dictates the book to him.

Onscreen Naked Lunch recalls both The Sheltering Sky and Barton Fink in its respective evocations of the life of the literary exile and the torment of trying to write. Mr. Cronenberg’s hideously clever contribution in the latter realm is the insect-cum-typewriter that supposedly assists Bill in his efforts but clearly has a mind of its own. Both the writing bug and the Mugwump, a man-sized and rather soigné strain of monster, are capable of registering their approval by oozing viscous, intoxicating substances from various parts of their anatomies. “I’d like you to meet a friend of mine,” Bill is told upon encountering his first cigarette-smoking Mugwump on a bar stool in Interzone. “He specializes in sexual ambivalence.”

::Janet Maslin, Drifting In and Out of a Kafkaesque Reality::

Cronenberg and Burroughs share a biologist’s detached view of humans as species.  They view the species in evolutionary terms.  A post-humanist stance that visualizes man as being in a brave new denatured world of permeable boundaries.  Technology reaches directly into unseen depths, stimulating the ganglia and the viscera, caressing and remolding the interior volume of the body.  In this way, Kafka’s Metamorphosis of industrial man into primordial insect parallels the current transformation of mediated man into futuristic machine.

In this video, a robot re-enacts the typing of a love letter from Franz Kafka to Felize Bauer, in which Kafka makes reference to typing the letter on a typewriter and expresses the impact the new writing device has on his train of thought:

The link between insects and technology is not new. To quote Virgil’s Aeneid, “And now Aeneas saw in a side valley a secluded grove with copses of rustling trees where the river Lethe glided along past peaceful dwelling houses. Around it fluttered numberless races and tribes of men, like bees in a meadow on a clear summer day, settling on all the many-coloured flowers and crowding round the gleaming white lilies while the whole plain is loud with their buzzing.” The souls of the dead draw from the rivers of forgetfulness to re-format their hard drives and enter a new life back on earth. Virgil, the son of a beekeeper, makes the comparison between human and bee society throughout his verse. As in the Roman ideal, the world of the bee depends on the rule of a single monarch, and members are ready to sacrifice their lives for the whole. Insect colonies offer themselves up as mirrors for their human hosts. They provide a symbolic language for arguing between the needs of the collective and the individual. Like insects themselves, these representations mutate over time and evolve into exotic models of human behavior. McLuhan spoke of the mission of humans to ‘fecundate’ technology. It was a tenuous metaphor to begin with. Today it barely rates as a metaphor – more like a description.  The industrial nature of insects have made them the perfect symbol for the modern age.

Ladislaw Starewicz (1882-1965), born in Russia from Polish parents was a stop-motion animator who used insects and animals as his protagonists. Biologist, in 1920 he became director of the Natural History Museum in Kaunas. Inspired by the stop-motion animation work of Emile Cohl he began producing nature documentaries about the lives of insects, experimenting with the use of live insects at first and then the animation of small articulated puppets created with the carcasses of dead insects. His insects’ nimble gestures lead one through an array of human emotions, and to a heightened sense of sympathy and forgiveness. This may be why his insects and animals are so easy to relate to, and why they are so notably Eastern European.   Important author, had a great influence on the cinema of animation following up to authors such as Terry Gilliam and Tim BurtonThe Cameraman’s Revenge (1912) is a story of betrayal and jealousy, artistic struggle, with a bit of recursive humor too.

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Krampus // Pelznickle

In Animals, History, Language, Myth, Religion, Society on December 26, 2009 at 2:06 am

A DARK FIGURE hides behind the grinning countenance of Ole’ Saint Nick.  Sometimes he rides on a white horse, and sometimes he is accompanied by fairies or men in blackface dressed as old women.  Sometimes he is in rags and a long black beard, and sometimes he is covered in fur with the horns of a goat and a long red tongue.  He is just one of the many murderers and child molesters that make up Santa Claus’ posse.  Truth is, Jolly Santa’s “companions” are a hodgepodge assortment of rough-and-tumble characters; assorted fiends with sordid pasts and nightmarish agendas.  The companions travel with St. Nicholas or his various equivalents (Father Christmas, Santa Claus), carrying with them a rod (sometimes a stick, a mace, switchblade, sythe, revolver, a magic top hat, rusty chains, a birch branch, bundle of switches or a whip, and in modern times often a broom) and a sack. They are sometimes dressed in black rags, bearing a black face and unruly black hair. In many contemporary portrayals the companions look like dark, sinister, or rustic versions of Nicholas himself, with a similar costume but with a darker color scheme.

Santa and the Gang “Spring Break ’34”

The companion of the French St. Nicholas, Père Fouettard, is said to be the butcher of three children.  St. Nicholas discovered the murder and resurrected the three children. He also shamed Père Fouettard, who, in repentance, became a servant of St. Nicholas. Fouettard travels with the saint and punishes naughty children by whipping them.

In Germanic folklore, Knecht Ruprecht, meaning Knight Rupert, accompanies St Nicholas when delivering gifts and represents the more frightening side of this custom. He is also known as Black Peter, so called from the soot in the chimneys he goes down.  According to tradition, Knecht Ruprecht asks children whether they can pray. If they can, they receive apples, nuts, and gingerbread. If they cannot, he beats the children with his bag of ashes.  In some of the Ruprecht traditions the children would be summoned to the door to perform special tricks, such as a dance or singing a song to impress upon Santa and Ruprecht that they were indeed good children. Those who performed badly would be beaten soundly by Servant Ruprecht, and those who performed well were given a gift or some treats. Those who performed really badly were put into Ruprecht’s sack and taken away, variously to Ruprecht’s home in the Black Forest, or to be tossed into a river, or to be dumped into the fiery pits of Hell.  Over time, the image of St Nicholas has merged with Knecht Ruprecht to form “Ru Klaus” meaning Rough Nicholas, so named because of his rugged appearance; “Aschen Klaus”, meaning Ash Nicholas because of the bag of ashes he carries with him; and “Pelznickle”, meaning Furry Nicholas, referring to his fur-clad appearance.

One of the most notorious incarnations is Santa’s old pal, Krampus.  To say that Krampus is a bad seed is would be an understatement. The word Krampus originates from the Old High German word for claw (Krampen). In the Alpine regions, Krampus is represented by an incubus-like creature. Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December, particularly on the evening of December 5, and roam the streets in drunken revelry: dressing in pagan costumes and frightening children and women with rusty chains and bells.

It would seem that Krampus is an amalgamation of several pagan traditions and trickster archetypes leftover from the Pre-Christian Era of Germanic history like the Yule Goat. Yule was a winter solstice festival that was connected to the Wild Hunt and/or influenced by Saturnalia, the Roman winter festival. A description of Yule can be found Old Norse King’s Saga Heimskringla:

It was ancient custom that when sacrifice was to be made, all farmers were to come to the heathen temple and bring along with them the food they needed while the feast lasted. At this feast all were to take part of the drinking of ale. Also all kinds of livestock were killed in connection with it, horses also; and all the blood from them was called hlaut [ sacrificial blood ], and hlautbolli, the vessel holding the blood; and hlautteinar, the sacrificial twigs. These were fashioned like sprinklers, and with them were to be smeared all over with blood the pedestals of the idols and also the walls of the temple within and without; and likewise the men present were to be sprinkled with blood. But the meat of the animals was to be boiled and served as food at the banquet. Fires were to be lighted in the middle of the temple floor, and kettles hung over them. The sacrificial beaker was to be borne around the fire, and he who made the feast and was chieftain, was to bless the beaker as well as all the sacrificial meat.  Later, toasts were to be drunk. The first toast was to be drunk to Odin “for victory and power to the king”, the second to the gods Njörðr and Freyr “for good harvests and for peace”, and thirdly a beaker was to be drunk to the king himself.  In addition, toasts were drunk to the memory of departed kinsfolk… [This continues until everyone is plastered – sounds like Christmas, right?]

In his Dictionary of Northern Mythology, Rudolf Simek says that focus was not on the gods of the Vanir, but instead the god Odin, and he notes that one of Odin’s many names is Jólnir (Old Norse for “yule figure”).  Simek says that Odin was associated with Yule, and that the tradition of the Wild Hunt undoubtedly contributed to the association of the two.  According to Simek “it is uncertain whether the Germanic Yule feast still had a function in the cult of the dead and in the veneration of the ancestors, a function which the mid-winter sacrifice certainly held for the West European Stone and Bronze Ages.”

This is fascinating since the Norse Odin is directly related to the Roman Mercury / Hermes.  For instance, the name of the day “Wednesday” comes from the Middle English Wednes dei, which is from Old English Wōdnesdæg, meaning the day of the English god Woden or Odin.  When the Romans described the gods of Celtic and Germanic tribes, rather than considering them separate deities, the Romans interpreted them as local manifestations or aspects of their own gods, a cultural trait called the interpretatio Romana. Mercury in particular was reported as becoming extremely popular among the nations the Roman Empire conquered; Julius Caesar wrote of Mercury being the most popular god in Britain and Gaul, regarded as the inventor of all the arts.  Romans associated Mercury with the Germanic god Wotan, by interpretatio Romana; 1st-century Roman writer Tacitus identifies the two as being the same, and describes him as the chief god of the Germanic peoples.  Julius Caesar, in a section of his “Gallic Wars” describing the customs of the German tribes, wrote “The Germans most worship Mercury,” apparently identifying Wotan with Mercury.  That is why the Romantic languages use the Latin dies Mercurii (“Mercury’s day”) for Wednesday while the Germanic languages kept their Norse equivalent!

Father Christmas riding a Yule Goat

To tie it all together:  Krampus is related to the “Horned God” an archetype represents the personification of the life force energy in animals and the wilderness, fertility, sexual virility and the Hunt. Gods like Baphomet, Cernunnos, Pan, Faunus, and Innus are personified as being sex crazed or shown as having a large erect phallus.  Fertility, fecundity and the symbolism of the phallus all denote a connection to the rites, rituals, and celebrations of Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice.  Pan is the alleged offspring of Hermes/Mercury and follows in his progenitor’s footsteps as both trickster and psychopomp (a guide for the souls of the dead into the Underworld).  Pan is also equated with the Astrological sign Capricornus.

This is where it gets interesting.

capricornusCapricornus has one of the oldest mythological associations, having been consistently represented as a hybrid of a goat and a fish since the Middle Bronze Age, first attested in depictions on boundary stones, and explicitly recorded in the Babylonian star catalogs as “The Goat-Fish” before 1000 BC. The constellation was a symbol of Ea and in the Early Bronze Age marked the winter solstice.

Among the Greeks and Italians St. Nicholas is a favourite of sailors, fishermen, ships and sailing. As such he has become over time the patron saint of several cities maintaining harbors. In centuries of Greek folklore, Nicholas was seen as “The Lord of the Sea”, often described by modern Greek scholars as a kind of Christianized version of Poseidon.  Capricornus is a union between St. Nick and Krampus.  Half goat, half fish.

So what we have here is Santa Claus/St. Nick/Father Christmas as personification of Winter Solstice accompanied by his servant and messenger Krampus/Horned God/Hermes as the personification of Summer Solstice.  Basically a resurrection myth.  In a Christian sense we have the birth of the Christ Child as the celebrated rebirth of the Divine.  A promise that man will be redeemed through a Savior but also a forewarning of the suffering/death that he will have to endure before redemption.  Enlightenment that comes after a period of Darkness (Ignorance), i.e., “Out of Darkness, Cometh Light.”  In a Pagan sense we have the Horned Fertility God acting as psychopomp and leading us into the Underworld with the expectation of a later resurgence in reproductive energy come Springtime.  In an Astronomical sense we have Winter Solstice being the longest night of the year and the onslaught of deathly cold, but also the return of the Sun and the guarantee that the Summer will eventually save us from starvation.

And so the Holiday is really a celebration of the dualistic nature of reality.  An agreement that with the good comes the bad and vice-verse.  An alchemical union of opposites.  Christmas solved!


Thanksgiving.

In Animals, Government, History, Literature, Myth on November 25, 2009 at 4:43 pm

*Above:  A Thanksgiving Prayer by William S. Burroughs.  Dir. by Gus Van Sant.

Some light fare and portentous quotes for the Holiday.  Remember to tip your waiters and enjoy your parade.

Also, if you are feeling really “thankful” today, try donating some time/money/help to Black Mesa Indigenous Support.  Maybe your Grandma would like a Navajo Rug.  Maybe she would rather shit in the blood of our ancestors.  I don’t know the woman.  But when we build our houses with the bones of our progenitors, it is good to pay tribute, lest the ghosts of those we have wronged hunger for flesh of the living.  Just sayin’.

Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for – annually, not oftener – if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians.  Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man’s side, consequently on the Lord’s side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments.

::Mark Twain::

Turkey: A large bird whose flesh, when eaten on certain religious anniversaries has the peculiar property of attesting piety and gratitude.

::Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary::

Got no check books, got no banks.  Still I’d like to express my thanks – I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night.

::Irving Berlin::

To Demeter Eleusinia. O universal mother, Deo famed, august, the source of wealth, and various named: great nurse, all-bounteous, blessed and divine, who joyest in peace; to nourish corn is thine. Goddess of seed, of fruits abundant, fair, harvest and threshing are thy constant care. Lovely delightful queen, by all desired, who dwellest in Eleusis’ holy vales retired. Nurse of all mortals, who benignant mind first ploughing oxen to the yoke confined; and gave to men what nature’s wants require, with plenteous means of bliss, which all desire. In verdure flourishing, in glory bright, assessor of great Bromios [Dionysos] bearing light : rejoicing in the reapers’ sickles, kind, whose nature lucid, earthly, pure, we find. Prolific, venerable, nurse divine, thy daughter loving, holy Koure [Persephone]. A car with Drakones yoked ‘tis thine to guide, and, orgies singing, round thy throne to ride. Only-begotten, much-producing queen, all flowers are thine, and fruits of lovely green. Bright Goddess, come, with summer’s rich increase swelling and pregnant, leading smiling peace; come with fair concord and imperial health, and join with these a needful store of wealth.

::Orphic Hymn 40 to Demeter (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) ::



Dream #2

In Animals, Dreams, History, Inner Space, Magic, Mystery on November 22, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Do you ever have dreams where you find secret doors? Hidden rooms? I often have such dreams.  On many occasions, I am at my house, or my elementary school, or another familiar place when I come across a previously concealed opening.   I crawl inside and navigate among a network of fleshy tunnels, sliding between walls, climbing up cold metal vents, and going down dark shafts to places strange and unknown.  Several times, these paths lead me to obscure worlds…  alien locations super-imposed on familiar locales.  I’d like to think that these dreams are metaphors for exploring your own “personal” psychic space.  There is a scene in the movie Dreamcatcher (based off the Stephen King novel) where the protagonist explores a metaphoric warehouse of his own memories while an alien creature inhabits his body.  While I do not advocate watching such a terrible, terrible film, the image is clearly useful and pertinent to the conversation.

One such dream lingers on my mind.  In this dream my parents purchased my favorite Haunted House in Ocean City, Maryland and wanted to run it as a family business.  To those unfamiliar with the Haunted House at the end of the Boardwalk, let my explain that, basically, it is a seated two-person ride where frightening automated tricks are triggered as the cart travels down a winding track through a serious of horrifying scenes.  The labyrinthine layout of the ride confuses the passengers’ understanding of space and time while the psychedelic optical effects of the black-lights loosen their subconscious minds, successfully allowing the ghosts of the ride unmitigated access to the personal fears of the travelers, or at least, that’s how I’ve always felt.

In the dream, I returned home to Maryland to help them renovate their new business.  I was walking through the ride and I noticed a door that I have never seen.

It was down the crooked psychedelic hallway with its chipping black-light paint…

Past the terrifying old mill with its rusty saw blades…

Past the torture chamber with its racist primitive and its tied up maiden with giant animatronic heaving bosoms…

And directly after the horrific decomposing Victorian skeleton knitting a neon tea-cozy by moonlight.

There against a blank wall was a small, mysterious door shrouded by darkness.  I got on all fours and crawled through what seemed an endless maze of cobwebs-and-sand-encrusted tunnels.  Finally, after a long while, I reached a drafty, open chamber made of stone and marble.  The silvery moon must have been bright that magical night, because before me I saw illuminated some sort of ancient subterranean burial tomb.  It was then that I realized, “Holy shit.  This Haunted House is really just the top of a buried Egyptian pyramid!  Sweet.”  It was like the tip of an iceberg peering out of the water, only it was buried deep and forgotten in that cigarette-butt and broken beer bottle infested coastline that hugs the waters of the Atlantic.  I knew right then and there that I had found a great psychic doorway to the Underworld.  The ghosts that ran the haunted house were the lingering spirits of powerful beings.  At last, there would be proof that a proto-human species inherited these colossal geometric structures from their divine celestial fore-bearers (at least, these were my thought at the time).  And the best part… it was all mine to explore.  I don’t think I have ever been happier in a dream.  Then I woke up.  The dream was over.

Last night, I went looking for the actual blueprints of the fun-house (which I found) and luckily, I was charmed enough to come across The Bill Tracy Project, “a comprehensive look into the personal and professional life of the greatest designer and builder of dark attractions the amusement park industry has ever seen: Bill Tracy.”  He designed and built the Haunted House in Ocean City along with many others across the good ol’ U.S. of A.  He also designed many of the early Thanksgiving Day Parade Floats (how timely) and some display cases for Macy’s.  The list of his achievements is daunting (46 Dark Rides, 15 Walk-Thrus, 8 Water Rides, 6 Ride Displays, 1 Park Front, 1 Concept Ride, 1 Park Design/Layout, plus 2 Unknown Projects), and his carefully researched biography… fascinating.  This excerpt in particular seemed portentous:

Tracy’s creativity flourished and he became nationally known for his ceramics after being featured in the November 11, 1940 issue of Life, where a photo of Tracy’s ceramic creation, “Jonah in the Whale,” was published in an article covering the Syracuse Ceramic Show at The Museum of Fine Arts in Syracuse, New York, where his piece was on display. His unique sculpture featured a whale with a portion of its side removed to reveal a person trapped inside. 

For a full-page synchronicity, see Dream #1.

How did the young Bill Tracy gain access to the dreams of a of an individual 69 years in the future?  Why were the dead and hidden secrets of Ocean City’s occult origins revealed to humanity?  Will Nathan actually destroy the foundation of his favorite childhood thrill-ride to satisfy the ephemeral desires of a dream?  And just how much will the tickets cost to this new and wonderful attraction?  The answers to all these questions (and cooking tips for the holiday season!) in the next penumbra report.

Dream #1

In Animals, Dreams, Magic, Psychology on November 12, 2009 at 11:45 pm

I have been having a series of vivid dreams.  I have tried to keep a dream journal in the past, but to no avail.  Jungian Psychology places a strong emphasis on dream analysis.  Hopefully, this process will prove therapeutic and, of course, entertaining.  Public feedback is also an important part of the process so please feel free to chime in with your thoughts.  So, let’s lay the corpse on the table and start dissecting…

Last night I had a dream about a Whale-man.  I often have dreams concerning whales.  I distinctly remember one such dream several years ago wherein I was a whale floating through outer space.   Groovy, right?  Well, this dream was pretty “far out” too, but it carried with it a more sinister tone.  I dreamt of an immense palace with a large, open ballroom.  There were ornate balconies lining the walls in a saccharin Rococo style reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast.   I was sitting alone on the marble and I was a child.

All of the sudden, the oak doors creaked open and the Whale-man entered the great room, his wet footsteps echoing all around me.  He was dressed as a Count, but had the head of a sperm whale.  I found this picture online, the tone and expression is all wrong but the general idea is correct.  I remember his head being enormous, like the actual head of a whale, though his torso may only have been 7 feet tall.  I think his skin was orange, too.  It was definitely a bright color.  He had a mouth like the picture, but I don’t remember him using it to speak.  I believe he was telepathic.  He was wise beyond his whale-years, I could tell you that.  He was monstrous and it frightened me, but I felt drawn to him and his presence was familiar.  He came up to me and touched me with his hand on the small of my back, as if we were about to dance.  But instead of dancing, we floated up into the air, levitated, if you will.  I knew right then that he was MAGIC.  I felt terribly insecure but he calmed me with a kiss, which I found erotic.  I became embarrassed and paranoid that the Servant would find us.  Servant may not be the right word.  There was a man on the balcony looking for me (his job was to look after me), and he seemed to be like a nurse-maid or pseudo-parental figure… like Zazu from the Lion King ( are you counting the number of Disney references?).

The Whale-man took me straight out of the palace and across the dark ocean.  At this point he morphed into a Seaplane.  We flew close to the skin of the sea and I watched as other whales were following us.  They popped in and out of the sea like wooden puppets.  It was night.  I was worried, but the Whale-man seem to say, “Don’t worry.  I am taking you away.  We are running away together.  Trust me.”

After a long journey we made it to his Castle.  He seemed to say: “Have a look around, my boy;” and so I did.  It was really neat, his Castle that is.  Very dark, lit by candelabra, Gothic.  “Nice place, you got here, Whale-man,” I said.  But he had transformed again.  This time he was dressed back as the Count and was a VERY old  man with a thick mustache.

But I couldn’t focus on this new manifestation; I was too transfixed on the knife he held behind his back with pale, thin hands.  I could see it as he crept toward me because I was viewing things in the third person.  He lunged forward and cut me, I don’t remember where, but it was deep.  For some reason he couldn’t kill me, because I knew who he was now: he was Dracula.  He seemed disappointed.  So he swooped me up into his arms and returned me to the Palace.

I found my father in the Hall of Elders and told him I was raped by Dracula/Whale-Man.  He said the same thing happened to him when he was my age and to his father before him.  I thought it strange that Ole’ Drake had been lurking around my family lineage initiating every male child into some sort of divine molestation for all eternity.  And with that thought, I woke up.