Clowns and CannibalsBruce begins his post with the question:"What makes a creature monstrous to us?" I found it interesting Bruce used, among the many images he used in his post, a photo of a clown face. To my mind, a disturbing, creepy, unwholesome, garish and violent-vibe emitting image. I don't like clowns -- and I like them the less the older I get. It's almost an esoteric cliché to be afraid of clowns, though in my "Miss Toughy" mode, as my spouse sometimes calls me, I'll say I'm not afraid of the greasy smelly rude thugs dressed in ruffles and clashing colors, but I am very offended by them. I know what they're up to; I'm on to them. Moot point though; I don't trust them or like them, and there's obviously something about this visceral response to clowns that lives in many of us, for, as we know, our culture has expressed this distaste and unease with creations like Stephen King's IT, and the movie Killer Clowns From Space, etc. In Fortean terms, the clown also lives, with weird stories of clowns in vans kidnapping children and harassing adults, for example. Some people find clowns funny and delightful Why is that? What causes others, like myself, to want to avoid and destroy the nasty things, while others don't?
On land, we humans don't face the creatures of the deep unless we go to them, but we keep ourselves busy with killing on land (and on the sea.) Bruce wrote:
"Of course as creative carnivores, we have a cultural affinity for making totemic demons out of the banal mask of frivolity that can unpredictably bite us on the jugular vein."Clowns are cute, yet they can turn on us. They have turned on us; and again, culture motifs reflect this. How many TV shows have you seen where the drunken, chain smoking, foul mouthed clown shows up and scares the little kids while making gross sexual passes at mom?
I no longer eat beef, pork, and most other animals, but many of us do. We happily go to fast food places and devour burgers, chicken, and other meats. We name our reststuratns after the dead animals we eat, we turn them into cartoons. We turn them into happy figures that are goofy, crazy, even, kind of dumb, and pleased to sacrifice themselves for our gratification. Are we afraid the cows, chickens, pigs, and lambs will rise up and attack us? Do we feel a collective and uneasy, submerged guilt at our greed, which is reflected in these cartoons and images of the stupid eating itself, the lunatic pig or cow? If the thing we kill for our pleasure is stupid, and even crazy, as well as damn happy to be slaughtered for our satisfaction, it's only fair to treat it so patronizingly. It keeps at bay the fear that it will turn around and eat us. (Our fears may be becoming real; stories of animals gone mad, carnivore sheep, invading hordes, appear in news items more and more frequently.)
We call the creatures seen in Loch Ness, Ogopogo, Lake Champlain and other watery worlds "monsters." These are as yet unknown -- or unaccepted/undiscovered -- by science, and so don't really exist, as far as offical paradigms go. Yet for the many witnesses who've seen these creatures, they do exist. Like Bigfoot, who many have seen (many people I know, who've seen Bigfoot, sometimes more than once) the "monster" exists. I also know someone who lived in British Colombia and saw Ogopogo once. Of all the people who've personally told me of their encounters with water creatures or Bigfoot, they've never used the word "monster." In thinking about seeing things in the water, or the woods, or in the skies, for that matter, I realize that the unfamiliar can morphed into something even more unfamiliar, as bruceleeeowe points out in his post. But we also want to make sense out of the weird appearing thing before us. I remember the first time I saw a bear in the woods. It was sitting up on its hind legs for a bit, then sat down, watching me. I was scared to death, not because it was a bear -- I was too stupid to know about the woods, bear danger and basic rules of camping at the time -- but because, since I'd never seen a bear in its natural habitat, and, didn't expect to see one, it took me a few moments to realize what it was. While I had heard about Bigfoot in somewhat vague terms, my mind didn't go there at all. I thought, at first, it was a dog. Specifically, a large German Shepherd. Then I realized, at age fifteen, alone in the woods, that that was kind of ridiculous. So I kept watching it watching me, and then, after running over in my mind what the odd thing that's been watching me so intently could be, I realized: a bear. (And that's when I quickly but carefully got out of there.)
Seeing weird things in the water; we wonder what they could be. Otters, eels, sturgeon, mistaken for "monsters." But a lot of us, even if not familiar with what's to be expected in nature, realize that the weird thing we're seeing is something mundane. It must be. And sometimes it is, but sometimes it just isn't. And we know it isn't. The excitable, naive, and outright delusional or liars aside, which account for some reported events, the reality is: we're often faced with something outside of that reality, which sounds paradoxical. We then try to make it into something we can understand and explain, or, ignore.
High Tech Hunting
Many "monster" hunters of the watery worlds are like the high tech ghost hunters (and Bigfoot hunters) we're inundated with: tons of equipment, lots of noise, and little to show at the end, which is often presented as "proof" or at least evidence that there is no lake monster, the building isn't haunted, or that Bigfoot is not about. It never seems to occur to these kinds of investigators that the Bigfoot, or the spirits, or the water creatures, have known of their coming long before they've arrived, and, either left the area, or, stuck around, hidden, all the while watching the researchers looking for the researched.
Eric Ouellet’s point about the paranormal being an innate part of UFO/cryptid, etc. phenomena is one that must be made again and again. Everyone ignores this one, science, UFO researchers, crypto researchers, etc. No wonder we aren’t getting anywhere. The ones who do accept this are still, even now, on the fringes, even if they’re in the fringe. We're sort of on the fringe of the fringe. Sometimes this gets presented as a religious framing; usually Christian. Biblical UFO stuff, for example, which often just ticks people off. You’re either a Christian who’s superstitious and believes UFOs and other paranormal, Fortean phenomena is “the devil,” or you ignore anything that has a religious content. Somewhere there is “betwixt and between” area with all this stuff. For example, Phil Imbragno's and Turkish UFO researcher Farah Yurdozu's research into the Djinn.
Going back to my point about noisy, clanking high tech equipment approach to investigations and the always disappointing results of such investigations: Eric writes, that, along with ignoring the paranormal aspects of lake “monster” sightings, etc. such approaches are futile:
"The ones that really destroy paranormal phenomena are the “real” field investigators (anomalist or skeptic), armed with their cameras and sensors. The deep sonar exploration of the Loch Ness figuratively killed the phenomenon, and may only reappear when, perhaps, no one is paying any attention to it."Contradiction: Elusive, Yet In Our Face
Weird stuff has been going on for thousands of years, co-existing, or co-operating, alongside us. Despite us, or because of us, or even independent of us. That is such an obvious reality, and yet, the human race still argues, ignores and vilifies such acknowledgment. Or, disguises it in attempts to control -- both “it” and us -- through science or religion. Both systems have doctrines and both have beliefs/agendas that present themselves as the only truth. Belief in a "god" or belief in no god/rationality.
And of UFO, Fortean, paranormal, crypto researchers? Many still reject the woo, the weird: personal accounts that involve dreams, (as Eric pointed out) or other nebulous type phenomena. Basically, it’s still a nuts and bolts system within the fringe world. Bigfoot researchers don’t want to hear about dematerializing Sasquatch or orb wielding creatures by landed UFOs, UFO researchers don’t want to hear about astral projections or other high strangeness, water monster investigators don’t want to know about stories of UFOs, MIBS, and strange dreams by the banks of Loch Ness.
Meanwhile, it all keeps happening. It all remains elusive. We interpret that elusiveness as being nonexistent, no there there. Which allows us to go on our way, as if nothing has happened. Or frustrates researchers, who sometimes give up because, as they often moan in despair concerning UFOs, “After sixty years, we still don’t have an answer.”
There isn’t a simple, single answer. Maybe we aren’t listening. We decide what it is, and more importantly, what it couldn’t be, before we’ve begun. As long as this approach is the standard, we’ll stay stuck.