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Paul_finch (Paul_finch)
Username: Paul_finch

Registered: 11-2009
Posted From: 195.93.21.74
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 12:39 pm:   

I've watched with interest the way the debate on the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY board has moved. Comparisons are now being made between fictional movies like PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and non-fictional cases like that of the 'Enfield Poltergeist'.

It's started me wondering - can it ever be possible for a piece of ghost fiction, either book or film, to ever capture the aura of fear that surrounds these so-called true cases of haunting?

The case of the 'Enfield Poltergeist' (which Steve Volk has admitted was part of the inspiration behind GHOSTWATCH), is extremely creepy, but it's not the only one that springs to mind. At the last Fantasycon, Zed and I discussed at length the know facts behind the case of the 'Hexham Heads', which both of us remember appearing on the British TV programme NATIONWIDE in the 1970s. It was an extremely frightening case then, and is still extremely frightening now. Other classic hauntings worthy of examination include the 'Ash Manor Ghost', the 'Elm Street Devil' (Conncticut, 19th century), etc. All of these cases were well documented at the time, and many reliable witnesses gave testimony to the most bizarre and scary events. On nearly all these occasions, the occupying families were almost driven out of their minds with terror.

The only one of these, to my knowledge, that has been thoroughly aired both in book and movie form is the story of the 'Amityville Horror'. I was still at school when the book first came out, and remember my hair prickling as I read it. It's probably the last novel I actually read that left me frightened after the light had been turned out. It's since become an industry in its own right of course, and much of it has been revealed to be a hoax (though there are one or two oddities that are yet to be explained). I read the book again recently, this time for research purposes, and was surprised at how simple the narrative was and how flat it's tone. There is almost no literary merit there. It really is nothing more than a diary account of spooky events, which, if you consider that most of them were invented, renders it even less worthy. I was baffled that on its release it was deemed to be so frightening, and can only assume that this derived from its claim to be a true story.

Which is a long-winded way of getting back to my original question. As fictionalists, can we ever hope to recreate the same buzz that surrounds a supposed real event? What is the key to injecting that nagging sense of doubt into a reader's mind that this may actually happen to them, when from the outset they know you've made it all up?

Shirley Jackson managed to do it with THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, a completely fictional book (though she was apparently compelled to write it after making a photographic tour of New England's most famous haunted houses, so I suppose it could be argued that there was some purported truth in there, but hell, I'm not going to split hairs - it was a horror masterwork). Robert Wise's 1963 movie version, THE HAUNTING, continued the tradition; in my opinion that's still the most frightening film ever made. But is this is one-off case? Because nothing else, to my knowledge, has ever come close.

If anyone has an answer to this puzzle, email me with it and you'll be well rewarded when my millions roll in.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 12:53 pm:   

can it ever be possible for a piece of ghost fiction, either book or film, to ever capture the aura of fear that surrounds these so-called true cases of haunting?

The Blair Witch did it for me, Paul - it brought back that feeling of utter helpless dread I experienced watching the Hexham Heads on nationwide. Ghostwatch also did in in parts, back in the day.

In book form, I'd put Streiber's Communion. I know he thinks it all really happened, but even taken as fiction it's terrifying.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 12:55 pm:   

The Blair Witch documentary is another good example of the above.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 12:59 pm:   

A large part of the buzz that surrounded 'The Exorcist' novel & film on first publication/release was the rumour that Blatty had based it on a true case and was writing from his own experiences as a trained Jesuit.
This fed the mythology that grew up around the film concerning a supposed curse and the death of cast members, etc.

So I guess if fiction writers want to make their work REALLY SCARY they should follow Blatty's lead by blurring the edges as to where source material/inspiration ends and fiction begins.

'The Exorcist' remains a contender for greatest horror novel of the 20th Century and his own scripted movie adaptation is, for me, the greatest horror film ever made.
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Paul_finch (Paul_finch)
Username: Paul_finch

Registered: 11-2009
Posted From: 195.93.21.74
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 01:08 pm:   

I was quite interested to see that THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, which as a movie had some effective moments, though it might have been too religious in tone for some viewers, was indeed based on a true case - the trial of two priests in Germany (I think in the 1950s), who presided over the death of a young girl during an exorcism. Many of the movie 'facts' vary wildly from the real facts of the case, though, as in the film, the priests were found guilty of negligent manslaugher but received very light sentences as there was much sympathy for them (apparently, in real life, the psychiatric route had been thoroughly exhausted first, and numerous doctors claimed to be baffled by the girl's horrific behaviour - speaking in multiple voices, eating insects, violent seizures, etc).

In that movie, I didn't find the 'true story' claims quite as frightening because, having heard it all before, I refused to believe them. It was quite a surprise to then research it and find that there was indeed a bedrock of truth behind the tale.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 01:25 pm:   

Given that the supernatural doesn't exist, supernatural fiction has to be assessed in terms of its metaphorical significance. At that level, THE EXORCIST panders to male (and especially parental) revulsion at the development of an 'innocent' female child into a sinful and rebellious adolescent. Ramsey's novel THE HOUSE ON NAZARETH HILL offers a valuable counter-argument to the authoritarian ideology of the 'demonic child' sub-genre.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 01:42 pm:   

If you Google the real story behind THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, you'll find some terrifying reports and photographs.

Has anyone read the book about the case Blatty based THE EXCORCIST on? It's pretty scary stuff.

Joel - I can't even examine the film version of THE EXORCIST on a metaphorical level (which is unusual for me), because it's so scary that in my mind it ceases to be about anything other than what it says on the tin. I first saw it aged 12, and had terrible nightmares for years afterwards involving my sister floating along the landing in a white nightdress, speaking in tongues and vomiting blood. It's a toxic film for me; pure genius, but hard to watch.

Possesion is the single most terrifying horror trope for me, and I'm not at all religious. That thing about a foreign consciousness invading your body and controlling your actions...or, even scarier, if you believe that's what has happened. Utterly, utterly terrifying.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 01:45 pm:   

ps - I don't think THE EXORCIST is an example of the "demonic child" sub-genre. IMHO, that comparison does the work a disservice.

I think it's more about the reactionary fear of teenagers (both male and female) developing into something unknowable. It's a very religious novel (the sequel even more so), and has much more value than a simple "devil-girl" scenario. It's like the ultimate Catholic fear: you raise your children to follow your faith, and they turn into the devil. I think both book and film are masterpieces.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 01:46 pm:   

I can't even examine the film version of THE EXORCIST on a metaphorical level

I just contradicted myself, didn't I?
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Alexicon (Alexicon)
Username: Alexicon

Registered: 10-2009
Posted From: 88.106.98.193
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 02:53 pm:   

If you can obtain a copy of 'The End of Borley Rectory' (Harrap,1946,hardback) by Harry Price,please do so.

This 'faction' was being presented to the gullible public aeons ago. Nothing changes,does it?

Price presented himself as a psychic investigator,and was enthusiastically supported by the Daily Mirror in the 1930/40s.

Situated on the Essex/Suffolk border,Borley Rectory was a prime candidate for paranormal activity: you only have to look at the photos of the building and there's your scene-setter.

Price and a team set up long-term camp and shipped in their 'equipment',recording all manner of spookiness. Some of the pics in the book would've been very convincing to readers at that time.

When you look at Price's CV and the subsequent revelations of chicanery,you realise what a clever job he did in creating fiction out of mundane fact. If you come 'cold' to the book,you'll be even more chilled after you've read it.

Good luck to old Harry; he made a few bob.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 02:59 pm:   

It's worth keeping in mind that the tradition of belief in 'demonic possession', historically speaking, has a real basis: epilepsy. And other brain disorders, but epilepsy is by far the most common. For centuries, epileptics (especially if they were female and/or young) were subjected forcibly to 'exorcism' until the 'evil spirit' was cast out. If they died in the process, that was a shame but saving the soul was more important than saving the body, and the peaceful appearance of the corpse would prove that Christ had won.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 03:13 pm:   

Joel, it still happens in parts of Africa. There have also been cases of "death by exorcism" in so-caled civilised countries. Terrifying stuff: the belief in all this is more disturbing than the actuall notion of possession.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.193.5
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 03:19 pm:   

The case of Anneliese Michel (the basis for both The Exorcism of Emily Rose and the more restrained Requiem) took place from the late 60s to mid 70s in Germany - I remember hearing about her death on the news (I lived in Germany then). The book written on the case, including transcripts of interviews and exorcisms and some of Anneliese's diary excerpts, is worth reading. Some of the pictures of her taken during her ordeal are very disturbing. I remember a similar case occurring just after I'd arrived in Taiwan, and the images of the apparently possessed girl was similarly harrowing.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 03:41 pm:   

Huw - is Requiem worth seeking out?
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 04:00 pm:   

I agree there is no such thing as the supernatural. The very word is a contradiction in terms as anything that exists is by definition natural. The word paranormal is much more accurate as the universe is chock full of phenomena beyond our limited senses or ability to understand.

Horror fiction that taps into the wellspring of paranormal phenomena will always be far scarier than supernatural based fantasy.

Demonic/spirit possession, psychic powers, the idea of an intelligence behind meaningful coincidence, witchcraft, satanism, black magic, voodoo, religious mania, stigmatics, serial killers, split-personality killers, yadda yadda yadda make old-fashioned monsters like vampires, werewolves, reanimated Egyptian mummies, flesh-eating zombies and Frankenstein's creature look cosy and comforting by comparison.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.244.232
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 04:21 pm:   

But I'm wondering when/where did this epilepsy = demonic possession link occur?... Julius Ceaser, wasn't he known for being epileptic? They didn't think he was possessed. I don't think the Jews had a strong strain of belief in demonic possession - correct me if I'm wrong, but the Old Testament has no mention of demonic possessions (let alone, demons). But even the Pharisees of the time make comments, outraged Christ was doing it on the Sabbath, say, casting out demons; but clearly taking for granted that that was nothing out of the ordinary, demons in folks. There's something curiously modern in the whole story of "Legion," the demons flying from the possessed man into the pigs, the pigs rushing to their suicidal deaths... apparently, the horror genre might have had its genesis in the Gospels....
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Alexicon (Alexicon)
Username: Alexicon

Registered: 10-2009
Posted From: 88.106.98.193
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 04:37 pm:   

Yes,Craig.I see where you're heading with one...

We may be talking about a universal religion...?
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 04:41 pm:   

I could see violent cases of paranoid schizophrenia being more easily mistaken for demonic possession. The victim would be conscious and highly vocal for a start while babbling semi-coherently about voices in the head.

In ancient times epilepsy was seen as a sign of greatness or communion with the gods i.e. a sign of divine approval (as with Julius Caesar). In the Dark Ages of early christianity I can see it being given a more sinister interpretation though.

By the same account I've always thought the extreme final stage symptoms of rabies could have been interpreted as possession by an evil entity.

Which reminds me of another favourite horror film that scares the crap out of me and was also based on a purportedly true paranormal case: 'The Entity' (1982) by Sidney J. Furie - terrifying!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.244.232
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 04:44 pm:   

Actually, no, I wasn't headed there, Alexicon - I was just rambling - but now that you mention it, that is an intriguing notion....

Or did something just happen at that time, something changed? Did the demons suddenly leave their Hellish holes, and begin inhabiting the bodies of the living, for a reason we don't comprehend? (playing the believer, not the skeptic, for a moment)

The very notion of "demonic possession" seems even more foreign to a Greco/Roman sensibility, than entire Judeo-Christian belief-systems would be to them, doesn't it?... How did they take this strange blip in their existence, the supposedly "demon possessed"?...
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Alexicon (Alexicon)
Username: Alexicon

Registered: 10-2009
Posted From: 88.106.98.193
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 04:58 pm:   

Exactly,Craig. Keep going please.

Although the shamans (priests) had no idea what was happening to those poor subjects before them,They pretended,indeed possibly BELIEVED that they did. Either way,they accrued brownie points in terms of the power and influence they and their religious outfit had over the masses.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 - 05:58 pm:   

That's how all religion started imo.

The weakest men of the tribe who also happened to have brains realised they could never compete physically with the top hunters so they pretended to understand, predict and even influence the inexplicable forces of nature that held them all enslaved.

It was a crafty trick that meant ruthlessness as well as brawn survived in the race which led us to the fine state of affairs we're all in at the minute!
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.193.5
Posted on Thursday, December 03, 2009 - 12:19 am:   

Zed, Requiem is a well made, well acted film. I was disappointed that it didn't follow the events of Anneliese's life as I was familiar with them - rather, it seemed to strain to downplay (or ignore entirely) the most interesting and disturbing aspects of the case, and insist that she was just an ordinary girl who had some psychological problems. I wouldn't have minded if they'd come to the conclusion that she was 'just' mentally ill if they hadn't made such an effort to disregard everything that made her ordeal so harrowing. Even if she had been suffering from some acute from of schizophrenia and epilepsy, from Requiem you'd think she was just depressed and a little weird. If The Exorcism of Emily Rose goes too far in one direction, Requiem occupies the other far end of the spectrum, in effect saying "nothing much happened." Perhaps I'm doing the film a diservice, as it was certainly well made (and the central performance was very good); it just didn't tell the story as I know it. It felt almost too sanitized.
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Paul_finch (Paul_finch)
Username: Paul_finch

Registered: 11-2009
Posted From: 195.93.21.74
Posted on Thursday, December 03, 2009 - 01:21 am:   

Huw, stories like this are difficult to tell, never mind put on film, in the modern era.

We live in an agnostic age (at least, here in the West we do), so it's always going to be a challenge asking the majority of your target audience to buy into a supernatural / infernal explanation for these kinds of psychological ordeals. Perhaps this was the thinking behind REQUEIM - presenting the case as mundanely as possible so that a medical explanation could never be totally dismissed.

EMILY ROSE went the other way of course, leaving no doubt in the viewer's mind that - as far as the film-makers were concerned - demonic forces were the root of the problem. It made for an exciting movie, but may explain why it didn't do so well critically or at the box office.

Possibly the success of THE EXORCIST lies in the priest's personal dilemma, in that he is actively losing his belief in God. He thus goes into a desperate battle spiritually unprepared - in effect just like any one of us, and therefore is easier to identify with than a Dracula-hunter type priest, who is totally zealous in his beliefs and these days would be seen as a bigot. I'm sure that this is part of the reason why THE EXORCIST was regarded by some as an 'evil film' on its first release, whereas now it's recognised as portraying a deeply human but at the same time deeply religious conflict.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.193.5
Posted on Thursday, December 03, 2009 - 02:31 am:   

Paul, I see what you mean. I think both The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Requiem had their merits, but I would like to see a film made, one day, that tackles Anneliese Michel's plight seriously and respectfully, without holding back from the more disturbing or sensational (for want of a better word) aspects of the case. Felicitas Goodman's book on the subject is well worth reading, and is written from the viewpoint of an anthropologist and linguist (the author was an expert in the phenomena of 'speaking in tongues', apparently).
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Thursday, December 03, 2009 - 01:56 pm:   

There are still countries where The Exorcist is banned for being a pro-Christian film. Ironic when it was effectively banned on video here for being satanic.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.232.3
Posted on Thursday, December 03, 2009 - 04:59 pm:   

That's how all religion started imo./The weakest men of the tribe who also happened to have brains realised they could never compete physically with the top hunters so they pretended to understand, predict and even influence the inexplicable forces of nature that held them all enslaved./It was a crafty trick that meant ruthlessness as well as brawn survived in the race

Actually, Stephen, you've just described how kings and dynasties came about, and how governments were formed.

I'd like to see that kind of movie too, Huw. What you're asking for probably requires a film-structure different from what we have, which right now more accommodates a character arc, than it does linear dispassionate analyses of events. I actually long for the days when these new film/story structures arrive, and they will, though it may be long after our lifetimes....
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.0.107.17
Posted on Thursday, December 03, 2009 - 11:27 pm:   

But the shamans, witchdoctors and holy men came first.

They would have imparted their pretend wisdom onto the "strongest man in the tribe" (the alpha male figure) who became their official protector and able to claim the mantle of divinely chosen King over their "inferiors".

Religion was born of the guile of weak men as their only means of survival. Dynasties and governments came after.
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Alexicon (Alexicon)
Username: Alexicon

Registered: 10-2009
Posted From: 88.106.82.173
Posted on Friday, December 04, 2009 - 04:17 am:   

The cunning man was invariably the priest: local brimstone blackmailer,political manipulator - ultimately a foot soldier in an empire of corruption and collusion. Remnants of which are still evident today.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, December 04, 2009 - 10:33 am:   

'The Inheritors' by William Golding (possibly my favourite novel) tackles this very issue at its roots - with the displacement of Neanderthal man (in tune with and respectful of nature) by Cro-Magnon man (led by the tribal shaman to fear and attempt to control nature).

It wasn't Eve or the Serpent caused the fall from grace but the first physically weak man who understood nature's blind lack of malice and decided to create one that only he could protect his fellows from... that's my theory anyway and how I read Golding's novel.
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Alexicon (Alexicon)
Username: Alexicon

Registered: 10-2009
Posted From: 88.106.5.90
Posted on Friday, December 04, 2009 - 03:44 pm:   

Stephen - should we not regret the displacement of Neanderthal Man? After all,his successors aren't doing very well in this over-populated world,are they?

Over-population is veering off-topic here and maybe better in the 'Age of Stupid' thread. But that's over-populated at present too.

Neanderthal Man...'in tune with and respectful of nature',to quote you. I'm reminded of owl populations. In climatologically bad years,when voles suffer a population decrease,owls self- regulate their own populations by laying fewer clutches of eggs relative to the available food supply. How do they do this? I mean,they're not 'scientists',are they?

So how will current Man deal with his disastrous,out-of-control population? 'Scientists'will soon stumble upon the inevitable yet brutal solution: deliberately introduce killer pandemics.

Heartless,perhaps. But consider the current situation in this tiny UK island alone. We need a quick,35-million decrease in population to make life bearable. War's out,so no help there.

Bring back Neanderthal Man.

I'd implore you to read the 1961 short story by Alice Glaser. It's called 'The Tunnel Ahead' Boy,was she a clairvoyant.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, December 04, 2009 - 03:51 pm:   

I will read it... and implore you to read 'The Inheritors' likewise.
Few books make me weep by just thinking about them but that is one.

The ending is so powerful, tragic and prophetic and yet beautiful, non-judgemental and unsentimental (when a lesser writer would have ladled it on) that to think of that final scene and all that it implies is, even now, making my lip tremble with the enormity of the tragedy that is the human race - what we had and what we lost <choke>.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Friday, December 04, 2009 - 03:56 pm:   

I read somewhere that in experiments - when populations of rats in enclosed spaces were deliberately increased, levels of homosexuality increased exponentially, almost as if it was a natural form of population control, introducing members of the population who were unlikely to add more to it. I can't remember where I read it so I don't know how true it might be.

Also (and I'm fairly confident on this one) the ratio of male to female babies increased massively in the world wars - as if nature realised that massive amounts of men were dying and needed replacing.

Sorry to keep the veer off topic continuing. BTW if distribution of resources was done fairly, there would be enough food produced on the planet to feed everyone. Overpopulation is a myth created by the hoarding of most of the worlds resources by a tiny minority.
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Alexicon (Alexicon)
Username: Alexicon

Registered: 10-2009
Posted From: 88.106.5.90
Posted on Friday, December 04, 2009 - 03:57 pm:   

Nice one,Stephen. I'll get onto 'The Inheritors' immediately.
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Alexicon (Alexicon)
Username: Alexicon

Registered: 10-2009
Posted From: 88.106.5.90
Posted on Friday, December 04, 2009 - 04:05 pm:   

Nah, Web, the 'tiny minority' is itself blighted by over-population. You and I are part of that 'tiny minority'. No myth there,mate.
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Richard_gavin (Richard_gavin)
Username: Richard_gavin

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 69.157.31.195
Posted on Friday, December 04, 2009 - 05:10 pm:   

The theory about religion being spawned by weaker men who feigned a kind of mystical insight in order to survive amongst the brawny hunters is interesting but a bit flawed.

To begin with, it completely overlooks the role of the feminine in the development of myth and religious beliefs in early civilizations. Anthropologists and archaeologists are quite uniform in their belief that the earliest cults were combinations of animal worshippers and goddess worshippers, often in relation to the harvest for obvious reasons, and that women played a key role in these mysteries.

The cycles of the harvest and the gestation and birth of children was seen as sacred in ancient times, and thus so were women because the pregnancy process was "hidden" within the woman's body. (And gents, if you've ever been lucky enough to be in the delivery room while a woman gives birth you can understand why women are deserving of such veneration.)

Perhaps the theories discussed earlier in this thread might be more accurately applied to the rise of theocracy than to the "supernatural" or religion in general?
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.0.107.17
Posted on Saturday, December 05, 2009 - 01:45 pm:   

You're right Richard, veneration of the feminine and the procreative in nature was the initial (common sense) avenue intelligent beings took when trying to understand their place in the world.

In Golding's novel the Neanderthals had no male figure of worship and venerated a Gaia-like mother goddess that provided them with what they needed to survive. Likewise the most "important" member of the family group (not tribe) was the elder female (or wise old woman) whom all looked to for reassurance when faced with the inexplicable... but who in no way ruled.

The implication is that Cro-Magnon man with an increasing (not all at once) concentration on the masculine inclination to fear nature and need to conquer what they fear, while downplaying the feminine role, led to a fracturing of the racial psyche and knocked us completely out of synch with the rest of nature - to the Neanderthal's cost and ultimately our own.

This change from being in step with our environment to nothing short of ignorant brutishness began at the instigation of male (fear instilling) shaman figures.

The two forms of "superstition" co-existed for millennia but with one growing increasingly organised and looking at the world now it is clear to see which side won.
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Richard_gavin (Richard_gavin)
Username: Richard_gavin

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 69.157.31.195
Posted on Saturday, December 05, 2009 - 04:00 pm:   

"The implication is that Cro-Magnon man with an increasing (not all at once) concentration on the masculine inclination to fear nature and need to conquer what they fear, while downplaying the feminine role, led to a fracturing of the racial psyche and knocked us completely out of synch with the rest of nature - to the Neanderthal's cost and ultimately our own."

Very well put, Stephen. I agree with the implication you've outlined. The earliest lunar-based goddess cults were eventually crushed under solar-based god cults. These masculine cults led to increasingly masculine pantheons, and eventually to monotheism where the Big Grouchy Papa Upstairs had the final say on everything.

And the rest, sadly, is history...

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