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Thursday, January 09, 2003

-Everyone’s Saying-

She says ‘I will not discuss my boobs with a stranger’

-I’m certain this evening will be unforgettable-

A pop siren passes by our table, trailing a whiff of Opium

A smirking waiter follows closely in her wake

-The evening is guarded, slowly developing under Scorpio-

She says ‘Forget my novel, I’ll write yours’

-I wonder if this is the right venue? An instant I hesitate

To leave, but her smile has me spellbound-


(To reveal does not necessarily mean- a revelation)


-Seeing the epithet –‘Sad Man Insane’- cracks me up

I first witnessed its use as an AOL chat-room alias-

Beyond 25 you lose your edge; doubts take over, and

‘Mortality’ becomes a philosophical mantra

Power, forward propulsion, and ground-shaking force-

Are now under way to the Gulf -a token of instinct-

B r e a k i n g N e w s will shortly be emitted from

Toasters, dishwashers and other pervasives


(The worst type of being is a Hollywood Guru)


Recently I stopped carrying my files with me

-They tend to digress- and give me poor ratings-

Despite a constant, albeit solitary professional tumult

That surrounds me at home, or out of the office

I am in the corner where human wit is most

Poised to grow, weeping under the willow

-I know you need me, but I will not be back shortly,

Not with TV programming stuck in its current sorry state-


© Walter van Lotringen 2003


posted by Walter at 1/09/2003

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

- P O L T E R G E I S T -

The Drummer of Tedworth

‘In about 1662 a Wiltshire magistrate, John Mompesson was called upon to examine the b o n a f I d e s of a wandering drummer, who was in the habit of traveling from fair to fair, picking up a vagabond’s livelihood by beating his drum.
The bailiff found that his papers were not in order, but as there was nothing against him, he was allowed to go free. So far, so good, but the bailiff, to teach him a lesson, no doubt, took awy his chief means of livelihood-namely, his drum. The drum was sent as a sort of curio to John Mompesson’s home, the master being away at the time on a short visit. When Mr. Mompesson got home he found a distracted family. The usually quiet homestead had become the scene of apparently meaningless knockings, bangings, and noises. Since nothing was heard for the first two days and nights after his return, the magistrate reserved judgement; but on the third night the bangings began again all around the house. Doors, back and front, were shaken with thumps, and all over the surrounding gardens noises rang out loud enough to banish all sleep.
After some nights of this sort of thing, the cause of the racket, whatever it was, decided to move indoors. Bedsteads groaned and cracked; doors, walls, windows reverberated with loud clamor; and particularly, it was noted, from one room, the room in which there had been placed the confiscated drum. It sometimes seemed as if the drummer were present himself, and as if it were he who were responsible for this variegated percussion orchestra.

Two odd details began to impress observers. First there seemed some connection between the noises and the children of the house. It was not that the children actually made the noises; they could not always have done so by normal means, and what abnormal or paranormal means could they be using? The other curious detail was that the domestic animals, the dogs, for example did not seem to notice the rumpus. Sounds which men heard at a considerable distance from the house did not bestir the animal dozing by the fireplace in the room from which the sounds seem to come.
Things now began to go from bad to worse. In the spring of 1663 investigators of various capabilities began to arrive and for their benefit lights appeared, the stairs creaked, the rustling of unseen skirts was heard in the rooms, doors began to open and shut themselves.
The last straw came when Mr. Mompesson’s horse was found lying on the stable floor with one of his hind hoofs so firmly stuck in its mouth that a lever had to be brought to pry it out.
Meanwhile the drummer was apprehended in Gloucester for stealing and while he lay in Gloucester Goal confessed that he had caused all the commotion in Mr. Mompesson’s home by the use of witchcraft. This explanation was probably considered more satisfactory then than it will be now; but what the true explanation may be is not very easy to imagine.’


- A P P A R I T I O N –

McConnell’s last flight

The following account of an apparition concerns an eighteen-year-old airman, McConnell, and his roommate, Larkin. On December 7, 1918, Larkin was sitting in front of a fire waiting for his friend to return from a flight. He heard the familiar rather rowdy entry typical of McConnell and turned around toward the door. McConnell was standing there in flying kit, but, as susual, with a Royal naval Air Service cap instead of a flying helmet. This, the only cap like it in the unit, was worn by him as he had seen some service in the R.N.A.S. ‘Hello bot. ‘Hello! Back already,’ Larkin replied. ‘Yes,’ said McConnell. ‘Got there all right; had a good trip. Well, cheerio.’ And he shut the door again.

A few minutes later, at 3:45 pm, another airman came into the room saying that he hoped McConnell would be back early enough for them all to go out that evening. Larkin told him that McConnell was already back and in his room.

At 3:25 that afternoon McConnell’s plane had crashed many miles away and he had been instantly killed. The exact time was known because the crash had stopped his watch.


- T E S T –

If you want to test the likelihood of any ghost story being true, here are a few points worth noticing:

1- No authentic apparition leaves physical traces behind it. It leaves no footprint. It does not write something in a notebook (like the fictitious ghost which was believed by thousands to have written the correct future course of a ship in her captain’s logbook).
2- The real ghost is not a vague, misty figure; if it were to stand side by side with a real man, the two figures would be equally clear-cut and ‘natural.’ The better the light the clearer the ghost.
3- You very rarely, see the background t h r o u g h a real ghost.
4- Real ghosts never carry their heads in their hands or go in for any similar extravagances. They have their heads screwed on the right way.
5- Real ghosts do not pretend not to see us. On the contrary, they behave with as good manners as a real person. They may smile at us, or turn their heads to follow us move.
6- Almost always real ghosts cast a shadow.
7- We may see a real ghost open or close a door, but when it has disappeared the door will be exactly as it was before. It will not have been physically moved.
8- If the ghost picks up an object and seems to get it down in another place, the object will be found not to have actually moved.
9- Real ghosts do not like being cornered, and if you try to walk through them or otherwise behave as you would not do to a real person, they usually disappear.
10- You cannot photograph a real ghost, nor record its sounds on a recording device


Excerpts from: The Unknown – Is it Nearer? By Eric J.Dingwall and John Langdon-Davies © Signet Books 1956

-On the back cover of the book two short profiles of the authors are featured. I tried to find bios of both writers, but backgrounds of the two men are minute. Eric J.Dingwall died in 1986. John Langdon Davies is the author of ‘A short history of the Future’ published in 1938. As to his fate; an extended search on the web gave no indication as to when he died.



Back cover text of the Signet pocket:

The authors Eric.J.Dingwall, M.A., and Ph.D., graduate of Pembroke College, Cambridge, Director of Physical Phenomena of the American Society for Physical research, is author of many articles and such books as HOW TO GO TO A MEDIUM, and GHOSTS AND SPIRITS IN THE ANCIENT WORLD.

John Langdon-Davies, graduate of St.John’s College, Oxford, author of THE AGE OF FAITH, and SEEDS OF LIFE, is considered one of today’s great and learned science writers


Some extra information about Eric J.Dingwall can be found at

Eric J. Dingwall was an honorary vice president of the Magic Circle when he died in 1986. In the early part of this century, he investigated numerous mediums and published many journal articles on his investigations. Dingwall came to rather favorable conclusions regarding St.Joseph of Copertino (a saint who levitated), and for Daniel Dunglas Home (an extraordinary medium). He also has written an extended discussion of Eusapia Palladino. These are recounted and evaluated in his most appropriately titled books, Very Peculiar People and Some Human Oddities. Later in life he wrote some scathing attacks on psychical researchers, but he did not explain some of his own extraordinary observations.


posted by Walter at 1/07/2003

Sunday, January 05, 2003

-The Front Line-

I’m looking out onto the battlefield in front of me, still bearing the fresh scars of last year’s carnage of love, lust, indifference, greed and animosity. What ‘rapprochement’ can both sexes offer to one another in 2003? Nickie Roberts’ account of an eight year episode in her life during which she worked as a stripper in Soho, London in the 80-s paints a witty mosaic of male-female confrontations in the trenches of a neo-puritan Metropole. Her viewpoint offers a distant, ironic and sometimes cynical perspective of the male craving for sex, testified by violence tinged scenarios, and orgasmic starvation expressed by the punters of the sex workers involved in Roberts’ account. Her narrative is a battle proven lead to this year’s continuing clash or détente.

‘Something in those nights showed me the way it worked: men’s fascination with/abomination of women and our bodies. It was as if I were witnessing something so deep and entrenched: centuries of men associating women with guilt and degradation. I saw how sexuality had been twisted and repressed to such an extent that this was the end result: a battle-ground; men heaping their guilty shit on to our nude bodies.’

For good measure to Roberts’ report I also looked for other voices offering opposing rationale, or poetic comfort, expressed ironically, or in matter-of-fact fashion that only men can muster.


Nickie Roberts –The Front Line- Women in the sex industry speak- GRAFTON 1986


‘Amongst the most famous of the early Rock groupies was Cynthia Albritton, a shy Chicago teen who, for reasons she only understood, found herself suddenly impelled to storm the hotels where visiting British musicians were staying. In time she would make a name for herself, literally, as the groupie who made plaster casts of rock stars’ erect penises- she became Cynthia Plaster Caster.’

‘I was fascinated by the whole thing. They had a team, and one of them was a real expert at fellatio, and she was beautiful. They came with a wooden box and showed us all the equipment and everything.’

-Eric Burdon-

‘There was like, a two-year period when we were dragging the (casting equipment) suitcase around, not really knowing how to do it, just wanting to try it out, using it as shtick to get to the hotel-rooms. We’d tell people, ‘We need someone to experiment on. Would you like to help us experiment?’ We’d get the pants down, and then, ultimately, they would put the make on us, and voila- sex would happen.I think we encountered Eric Burdon during that same period. We were on an airplane with him, and we were gonna try aluminium foil, wrap it around his dick. That proved not to work.’

-Cynthia Plaster Caster-

From: David Kamp – The British Invasion – Vanity Fair November 2002


‘Some of the guys were ‘regulars’: a species of mankind that is almost completely obsessed with ‘sex’. A sad, and sorry lot really. Not that we felt particularly sad or sorry for them. Why should we? They were the ones you saw queuing outside the clubs as early as ten in the morning; two hours before the shows started. The sight of them sometimes made my stomach heave.
The ‘crack ‘o dawn wankers’, we used to call these. They were mostly old crocks who hadn’t a cat-in-hell’s chance of seeing young female flesh in any circumstances.’

From: Nickie Roberts – The Front Line


‘My fantasies take place on an alien planet. I board a submarine tied to a dock. It is usually night or dusk. I am Victor Laszlo without my wife, a lone fugitive- not from the law, but from life on shore. The marvelous undersea cruiser has an all-women crew, but I want nothing to do with them. I retire to my bunk and am asleep before we leave. Sometimes in the night the captain awakens me. I accompany her to the control room where she dims all instrument lights to a dull green and rolls back the protection from the windows. Suddenly we are in the middle of the alien sea. All around us a blue-purple glow spreads like static lightning across the water. Something in the ocean, some life form, glows from our contact and the energy waves spread out from us.
‘Nice’ she says, and hands me a lighted joint. We smoke and watch the sea burn its harmless flame around us. ‘The light show will last for hours,’ she says, and leads me to her cabin. The wide bed seems as big as the sea compared to my narrow bunk. A touched button opens a window that curves from the floor up over our heads. We seem to be hanging outside the ship, in the fire. We make love until the ocean turns out the lights.’

‘Jason’ from ‘Men in Love’ – Nancy Friday


‘The other breed of punter that used to make me question men’s sanity was the bowler-hat-and-brolly-brigade. They more or less took over the clubs during the first couple of rounds- talk to me about late lunches! These office-types came to our clubs for a post-prandial wank. From about 2 PM onwards, the seats would statrt filling up with them, briefcases or bowler hats plonked on their laps to conceal what was going on underneath. If you looked at them you thought ‘English City Gent’ bur, my God, you should have seen the way they carreid on if a seat became vacant in the front row. We called it ‘The Grand National’; it was quite incredible. First they were under starter’s orders, gathering up their paraphernalia, then all hell was let loose.
Seats flew back and they were off; pinstriped arms and legs flaying as they climbed across the seats, each other, in the grim battle for that front row seat.. Brollies and rolled-up copies of the Financial Times were wielded like clubs- they really did bash the shit out of each other- and their briefcases became shields. Those paragons could be violent bastards when it came to the battle of the front row. You had to see it to believe it- and we saw it a hundred times. I’ll never forget one time, during a particularly vicious carry-on, two of them stopped the show when they both reached the seat at the same moment. They started slugging it out right there, in front of our noses with three of us on stage at the time’

From: Nickie Roberts – The Front Line - Women in the Sex Industry


‘Lydia came our from behind the tree- screaming. She took the paintings out and started tearing them. She threw the pieces in the air and when they fell to the ground she stomped on them. She was wearing her cowgirl boots.
Then she took my books out of the shopping bags and started throwing them around, out into the street, out on the lawn, everywhere.
‘Here are your paintings! Here are your books! AND DON’T TELL ME ABOUT YOUR WOMEN! DON’T TELL ME ABOUT YOUR WOMEN!’
She started smashing the glass panes in my front door. She took -The Selected Works of Henry Chinaski- and smashed pane after pane, screaming ‘You want your books back? Here are your goddamned books! AND DON”T TELL ME ABOUT YOUR WOMEN! I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR WOMEN!

From: Charles Bukowski – Women


‘Orgasm: a compelling sensation of light from his head and into mine. I start pouring out light to match. My vision dissolves into brilliance behind my eyes’ blinding me; my body dissolves into pure light. I see nothing but light, hear nothing at all, feel nothing that can be named- but every blood cell is dancing and every pore outpouring radiance- and the spiders in the closets and the ants on the floor must be full of joy at receiving the overflow of love.’

An unidentified female respondent from: Shere Hite – The Hite Report


‘You say you just want to be my friend. I know you mean you want to relate to my mind but not to my body. I can understand that, and will not ask you to relate to me in a way you don’t want to. But likewise I refuse to castrate myself for you by pretending. If you want to have me as your friend you will have to accept my penis along with me.’

From: Hugh Prather – Notes to Myself


Excerpts used from the following books:

Nickie Roberts - The Front Line- Grafton
Hugh Prather - Notes to Myself
Nancy Friday - Men in Love- Arrow
Charles Bukowski - Women – Star
The Hite Report - Shere Hite - Dell


posted by Walter at 1/05/2003