Where are all the Spider-Cats?
I am currently reading Nick Redferns "Memoirs of a Monster Hunter: A Five Year Journey in Search of the Unknown". This is a follow up to his "Three men seeking monsters" which I read a couple of years ago.
I enjoyed the first book very much and am equally enjoying this follow up. Nick is an informative and entertaining writer who makes reading a total pleasure. This is not hard-core occultism but an interesting and informative account of some of the stranger byways of weirdness. Nick is perhaps more famous as a ufologist rather than a monster hunter however he very much takes the paranormal entity rather than "nuts and bolts" view of this phenomena - a view I very much agree with.
Basically the book covers his time in America where he lives with his wife and recounts his adventures investigating all manner of weirdness over the US. This includes Bigfoot and other ape-men, the intriguing Goat man, and werewolves in Wisconsin.
Through the two books there are a couple of interesting points perhaps worth discussing.
1) Points of high strangeness occur.
The idea that UFOs are paranormal entities which are perceived in a certain way is gaining a lot of ground. Here we see them as Aliens from Zeta Reticula (or wherever) for any number of reasons including our culture, our psychology, even the fact that they find it funny to lead us to think this. I read a great book on this ages ago by Patrick Harpur called "Daimonic Reality" ages ago which goes into this in detail.
However when you also look at cases of ape-men such as Bigfoot, what A lot of the "fur and feathers" cryptozoologists seem to gloss over is that active locations also seem to attract a number of accounts such as close encounters with UFOs, ghosts etc. If creatures such as Bigfoot were purely what they seem (simply as an undiscovered ape perhaps similar to a gorilla or orangutan) it strikes me as strange that other phenomena would appear in their vicinity. Something very odd is going on if the same locations are hotspots for both UFO phenomena (whatever that is) and Bigfoot.
To me this strongly reinforces the idea the we should be looking for many cryptids in the spirit world rather than under bushes.
There will probably still be some blurring with this idea. As well as Bigfoot, it has been suggested that Lake monsters and even some big cats are also energy beings or even perhaps a tulpa. Maybe. I do recall that in the UK in the 1970s a law was enacted preventing people keeping dangerous animals like Tigers as pets.
There are numerous urban legends suggesting that rather than having their dangerous pets put down people released a number of them into the wild. To be honest, that is certainly what I would do and places like the Yorkshire moors or Bodmin moor in Cornwall sounds like perfect isolated places where Spot the pet Bengali tiger or snowflake the puma could hunt in peace. Backing this up there is also evidence to suggest that some big cats leave a trail of hunted animals such as sheep etc. This suggests a fur and feathers explanations for some cryptids, not tulpas or some other exotic paranormal incursion.
Please see this link for more info on the Dangerous Animals act.
However there are also cases where creatures disappear without trace, leave no marks of their passage or remains of hunted prey. These cases are more intriguing.
A common example is perhaps the Loch Ness monster. Whilst a part of me suspects that the early 20th century accounts were stirred up by Aleister Crowley when he was in Boleskine several decades before I also have to admit that their were cases of sightings going back to at least the time of Saint Columbia. The sheer length of time over which a large number of sightings have taken place suggest that something is going on, even if it is perhaps a tulpa.
However whilst it is easy to hope that it is perhaps simply a survivor of prehistoric times such as a plesiosaur I think that if it were the case that a small colony of plesiosaurs were surviving in the Loch (remember cold blooded creatures in freezing Scotland wont be very comfortable) there would be more evidence of something flesh and blood there. Over the centuries why hasn't at least one corpse been washed up or more recent researches found sonar trails from one.
It sort of suggests that Nessie is not physical or perhaps that Nessie lives in a different world which overlaps with this one.
This theme is taken up very well in a another great book by writer Ted Holiday "The Goblin Universe". Its pretty hard to find nowadays but well worth checking out of you come across a copy. I wouldn't go as far as suggest that all encounters with unexpected animals are brushes with the paranormal, but perhaps many which are assumed to be encounters with rare and supposed extinct animals are.
Perhaps we walk past paranormal incursions all the time. If I walk past a tabby cat in the street I assume its real, but unless I stop and say hello to it I could never really know. The paranormal world is funny in that sometimes it likes to play the trickster and finds it hilarious to appear as Bigfoot in a UFO, at other times it seems to want to not attract attention to itself and hides on the edge of consciousness and perception, covers its presence and encourages people not to discuss the matter such as in encounters with the alleged Men In Black.
2) Chimeras and Therianthropes
The other point I would like to make regarding Nick's book (and many other accounts) refers to the numerous human/animal hybrids which appear. We see accounts of GoatMen, Wolfmen and Owlmen. John Keel has written extensively about MothMan and there are numerous other examples.
Why do we see these as human hybrids but never see chimera's between other animals such as Spider-Cats, Squid-Dogs and (thankfully) Slug-flies. Perhaps this is not quite true - in mythology there are hybrids such as Griffins and Cerberus which do not seem to have any human components.
Maybe as humans we can contact chimeras with human parts more easily than those with purely animal parts. This seems to make sense. Of the top of my head I am thinking of purely animal chimeras in mythology and almost all I can think of contain (mostly) mammal components. Again it makes sense to me that we can contact close relatives easier than those which are more distant such as a reptile hybrid.
All this brings to mind the idea of atavisms such as discussed by Kenneth Grant and Austin Spare. I think we need to consider the possibility that there is a relationship between atavisms buried inside ourselves and theriomorphs/chimeras we might encounter in the environment
Occasionally these ideas are put down to genetic memory (GM), and I must admit that I do have several issues with this as the explanation behind the phenomena (much as I do with the idea that GM is behind reincarnation). My problems with GM can be summarised as:
1) DNA does not change through our lives so where are the memories stored?
2) There doesn't seem to be much evolutionary advantage in a GM to help creatures survive (assuming a Darwinian model). IF GM were real, memories can only be passed on up to the point where offspring are conceived. At that point the DNA is fixed. So parents could not pass on information concerning their death - yet a number of regressed subjects recall their deaths showing that whatever the source of this information it is not stored in their DNA.
3) It is possible to reach back into oneself and (say) pull out a tiger to use an example Austin Spare once wrote about. However tigers are not human ancestors so whilst I do not doubt AOS's experience I think the information composing tigerness which he worked with came from elsewhere.
I think that rather than look to genetics to provide an answer here we need to look at a non-local explanation such as Sheldrakes Morphogenetic fields. I suspect that these fields exist in what we might call the astral or etheric levels and this is where the information is stored that presents itself internally as surfaced atavisms and externally an close encounters with entities such as Mothman or chimeras such as Cerberus.
I must admit I am not really comfortable with referring to these as "Morphogenetic fields" because I think due to the scientific approach Sheldrake took the ideas haven't been extended far enough yet to cover some of the possibilities which I am writing about. Having said that I do have a lot of time and respect for Sheldrakes work, I just want to see it taken further which I am sure will happen over time as his ideas get vindicated.
My first thought is to refer to these as information fields however that is still not really a strong enough to become a movement towards a working hypothesis in that I suspect these fields possess a consciousness and quite possibly a sense of humour - our trickster again. In fact maybe we could say that many of the qualities we attribute to Gods and Goddess can be attributed to these fields - I wont develop these ideas now as I am still thinking about them ,however I do intend to come back to this another day.
I would like to add that we can only ever see a small portion of these fields at any one time, much as a four dimensional fractal can only be perceived piecemeal, if there is a connection between certain Gods and Goddess and certain entity-based phenomena. I dont think we are doing anything a disservice, merely saying that the universe is very strange and we are groping for answers by looking for patterns. I'll come back to this in another post soon as well.
We also have the idea from many shamanic cultures of the idea of a Grandfather or template animal which is the guardian of that particular species. This also seems related to the field idea.
Over the past couple of years my thinking has moved very much away from the idea that anything (including us) is actually a discrete entity and that what we are looking at are interactions within a sentient field of conscious. My belief is very much that our experiences are composed out of interactions with these fields (or field) which supplies the form and function of whatever entities are being encountered.
There does remain the question as to whether this field (if it exists) is localised around a particular place or not. I rather think it does (at least partially). We have places such as Rendlesham forest where strangeness seems so deeply embedded that accounts have gone back centuries. Similarly the book "Hunt for the Skinwalker" discusses a location in Utah were similar phenomena can be encountered. If the book is to be believed - and it comes across as highly convincing - then the scientific investigators were as mystified by the events as the people living in the location.
Please post your thoughts