Monday, February 22, 2010

Strange Brew: The Mothman Mystery

I like nothing better than to discuss and trade theories on crypto-zoology, UFOs, and all aspects of the unexplained with other curious minds. One of my new co-workers is a sharp, eccentric, funny guy who, like yours truly, is interested in the weird and the arcane. The other day at lunch, he and I were mulling over tales of a number of strange phenomena and our discussions harkened me back to some of the better books I have read on this type of subject. There exists for me, no tastier food for thought.

One of the weirdest, most unexplainable (in ordinary terms)cases of strange sightings, is the puzzle of West Virginia's Mothman. The late paranormal investigator, John A. Keel wrote the ultimate account of the happenings, a classic documentary of weirdness, from which a major motion picture was eventually developed: The Mothman Prophecies.

This book chronicles decades of sightings of a seven foot tall, brownish-gray being with leathery, bat-like wings and blazing, red eyes, reported by average folk in and around the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. As if being terrorized by a giant, demonic bat-man wasn't enough, at around the same time, these simple, church-going, working-class people also experienced multiple UFO sightings, as well as visits from the notorious "Men-In-Black", those odd-looking, humanoid types in rumpled, ill-fitting, three-piece suits, well known to those familiar with UFO lore, who ring the doorbell after you report that you've seen something strange. Various and sundry giant birds, Sasquatch creatures and other bizarre things also popped up along the dark roads of West Virginia in those days and still do from time to time.

To my mind, the best and most thought-provoking thing about Keel's master-work, with its exhaustive research and scrupulous regard for detail, is the theory he puts forth to "explain" this unexplainable wave of weirdness that has held a community in its' grip for decades.

Rather than being distinct, separate, strange phenomena, Mr. Keel seemed to think that all this weirdness is, in fact, the same thing...or at least, it emanates from the same source. He stopped short of postulating exactly what he thinks it is, or who (or what, exactly) is behind it all, but he hinted that it may be the fault of a lapse of the veil that separates the dimensions. He suggested that we are not being visited by the denizens of far-flung galaxies, in other words; they are here among us already, and always have been, along with big-foot, wolfmen, ghosts and yes, mothmen...we just don't perceive them except under special conditions. Those conditions were surely present in the hills of West Virginia in the late nineteen sixties, and in many other places throughout our world, before and since.

Having read extensively on spirituality, metaphysics, and a bit about quantum physics, I have come to understand that our visible, material world is far from the only "reality" that there is. I find these accounts fascinating and I never tire of hearing or reading about them; one person can hallucinate, one person might be crazy, drunk or lying, but dozens of otherwise reliable, sane and honest people seeing the same something that can't possibly be real? How is that possible?

John A. Keel passed from this reality on July 3rd of last year, but he leaves a legacy of intelligent, matter-of-fact investigations into the unknown, along with his paranormal classic, The Mothman Prophecies.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Office Politickin'

It's been two weeks already at the new job. What a whirlwind!

Yet again, it seems that the most challenging part of this new assignment won't be the work at all, but negotiating the office politics. A dozen different personalities, a dozen separate egos, a dozen diverse, personal agendas to navigate around. Ah, but it keeps life interesting.

Because of hard lessons learned at my last two jobs, I made a decision weeks ago, before I even started in this new position, to keep a strong boundary wall up between myself and my new co-workers. I'm pretty determined to keep my inner life and my work life completely separate.

At my last job, I quickly made friends with a woman who was a few years my junior and seemed to be in about the same place in life as me. We had a lot in common and I quickly became fond of her. All too soon, I found out that she had betrayed my confidences and used me as a pawn to further her own agenda with others in the company. I vowed that the next time I had a fresh start, I would do things differently, and so here I am.

I am usually an open book. I try very hard to be "authentic"; what you see is pretty much what you get with me. I detest gossip and I don't engage in it, or repeat it if I hear it. I am generally very real and I try to say just what is on my mind, although I tend to err on the side of kindness and discretion.

But now I find myself choosing my words carefully and guarding my facial expressions so as not to completely give myself away. I'm willing to pass up new friendships in the interest of protecting myself and keeping my work life on an even and predictable keel. I am being careful not to share much about my personal life. I am trying to keep my opinions to myself,and maintain neutrality in arguments that may arise from day to day, keeping everything very much on the surface. I think that in the long run, it will prove to be the best policy.

My goal is to be able to stay above the fray, for better or worse, unaffected by the tide of feelings that, for me, always accompanies office politics. Although this means that I probably won't have deep, meaningful friendships at my new workplace, sadly, I guess it is just the price one has to pay to keep the work life sane.