Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Hallowe'en 2014!

Henry Fuseli (1741-1825), Fairy Mab (c. 1815-1820). Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington. "Mab is the chief fairy in folklore and literature. Fuseli's source for this subject was John Milton's poem L'Allegro (around 1630). The painter claimed that he was attempting to express 'female Nature'. Fuseli emphasises the themes of sensual indulgence and sexuality, with a fairy slumped into a bowl of junket (sweetened cream) and another little spirit holding a spoon and bowl, symbolising male and female genitals."-Tate. Image Source: Madame Pickwick (Hat tip: -C.).

Happy Hallowe'en! This marks the end of the Countdown to Hallowe'en blogathon. I was too busy blogging to check all the other participants, but be sure you do so (here). I did have a chance to look at Plaid Stallions, Dark Mind of a Feminist, The Ghost Town, The Grim Gallery, Limer Wrecks, Russian Nerd, Radiator Heaven, and Wonderful, Beautiful, and Strange Finds, and I was not disappointed!

On the Internet, reddit is Creepy Central; you can look at these subreddits for Hallowe'en chills, but you may regret it.
Theodore Von Holst (1810-1844), Bertalda, Assailed by Spirits (Bertalda von Kuhleborns Geistern erschreckt) c.1830. Von Holst was Fuseli's student. This painting is taken from the novella Undine (1811) by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué. Image Source: Wiki.

Below the jump, see more creepy sights, read spooky stories and listen to ambient suspense and ambient horror music. All copyrights belong with creators and are reproduced under Fair Use for non-commercial appreciation and discussion only.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Counting Down to Hallowe'en: The Death Rites of the Toraja

Tau tau - Toranjan effigies of the dead - on a balcony in Indonesia. 'Tau tau' means 'like a person' or 'little person.' Image Source: Wiki.

The most elaborate funeral rituals in the world occur among the Toraja people of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. The locals have partly converted to Christianity, and partly to Islam. The remainder adhere to a system of polytheistic animism known as Aluk ('the Way' or 'the Law' - a religion of laws and habits); in this tradition, death is central to the culture. Because death rituals were and are so important to this culture, they persist among converts to other religions who have otherwise abandoned Aluk, at least insofar as life-oriented rituals are concerned. Thus, one might have a hybrid religious life: a Christian wedding but a traditional, animist funeral.

Among the Toraja, dying is an epic journey with several stages, starting with an in-between state where the living make the dead walk through all the places they frequented in life. These are complicated funerals which can last for years, because the higher the status of the deceased individual, the more expensive and involved the funeral, including sacrifices of many buffaloes and pigs and the involvement of the entire community in some ceremonies. Family economies revolve around the stages of death, rather than the stages of life. Ancient Origins:
During their lives, the Tarajans work extremely hard to accumulate wealth. But unlike other societies, the Tarajans do not save their money to give themselves a good life, rather they save for a good send off in death. In fact, it is the extravagance of the funeral, not the wedding, which marks a family’s status.
At the second stage after death, the physical presence of the dead person splits in two between the corpse and a doll version of the corpse, called the tau tau; the act of carving is divided into several stages, punctuated by sacrificial offerings:
The tau-tau is fashioned before the second phase of a major mortuary ritual for the dead commences. During the manufacture of the doll, the woodcarver sleeps near (or even under) the house where the deceased lies on view. Actual work on the effigy also takes place in the vicinity of his house, possibly even on the floor of the rice barn opposite the tongkonan. When the image is completed it is placed beside the dead. Just like the deceased, the tau-tau receives food to eat (an offering, indeed, for giving food to the tau-tau is a ritual process). All this occurs before and during the second phase of the ritual, in other words for quite same time, as the time lapse between the first and the second phase of the ritual can be considerable.
Expenses include everything from the required carving and dressing of the tau tau effigy to buying the corpse new clothes and cleaning the body at least every three years, in a ritual called Ma’nene.

Further cruel sacrificial blood-letting (and subsequent meat distribution according to social status to both the corpse and living villagers) which follows is matched by the eerie fact that the body is not buried until the family raises funds to cover vast funeral expenses. Therefore, one may confront a corpse hanging around the house and town until his or her relatives can afford to inter the body:
When a Torajan dies, family members of the deceased are required to hold a series of funeral ceremonies, known as Rambu Soloq, over many days. During this time, the deceased is not buried but is embalmed and stored in a traditional house under the same roof with his or her family. Until the funeral ceremonies are completed, the person is not considered to be truly dead but merely suffering an illness. The dead relative is referred to simple as “a person who is sick” or “the one who is asleep”. Remarkably, this could even last several years after death, depending on how long it takes the family to raise money.
These practices have fueled a counter-surge of funeral tourism among foreigners, fascinated by this grim religious fixation on the liminal stage between life and death.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Counting Down to Hallowe'en: Virtual Reality, Unexplained

Still from the Wyoming Incident (2006). Image Source: Crushable.

Explore the faked and the unexplained in the mass media and you enter a realm which is one part crime and one part law enforcement, where disinformation mingles identity theft with social control, vigilantism and espionage.

Image Source: imgur.

"A computer-generated 10-year-old Filipina called 'Sweetie' was used to identify over 1,000 child sex predators around the world. An Australian man has become the first person convicted from the operation, the rights group behind it said." (2014) Image Source: Business Insider.

Fake identities and Internet stings give way to the unaccountable. There are things out there on the Web which are just 'out there,' with no explanation. Some are anonymous experiments in mass communications. Post something weird, see what happens. What kinds of urban legends form? How quickly? From reddit:
Some people post frightening material to trick the unsuspecting. Take the Wyoming incident in 2006 and 2007, in which pranksters posted cryptic videos with frightening messages (see below). These videos supposedly carried forward footage from an earlier television broadcast signal intrusion onto the new medium of the Interent. Speculation on the meanings and origins of the videos went viral, and a strange blog, Unknown Videos - Warning, joined in the fun before it turned out that the clips of earlier television hacking and the new videos online were faked. You can read the account of the incident on Crushable here. If you want to explore more bizarre faked online horror, visit the Website Creepy Pasta - the term refers to creepy stories which float around the Interwebs. Note: some viewers may find the videos below the jump to be disturbing.