During a flashback I experienced when I was sixteen, I remembered an evening in which I awoke from a dream of a creature I called the Goblin Man. While holding my mother’s hand in a crowd of people, we see him bolt into the crowd and lose sight of him as everywhere goes frantic. I see a guy running through the crowd in a green-and-yellow costume, and for some stupid reason wonder if its him. Then the real Goblin Man appears and takes me from my mother’s hand, giving me a piggyback ride and telling me that its okay for him to take me away because he was my real daddy.
When I awoke from that dream, I found the Goblin Man standing at my bedside. I ran to my mother’s room to find security. She let me sleep beside her, insisting it was all a bad dream. This hope she planted in me diminished considerably when I watched, through my mother’s open doorway, as the creature booked it from my room, passed her open door and down the hall, where the bathroom and my sisters’ room was located. The aforementioned hope literally died in the light of the dawning morning. Still awake beside my sleeping mother, I open my eyes and lift my head to find the Goblin Man now standing at the foot of my parent’s bed.
Among my countless anomalous experiences involving these creatures this theme of confusing parentage carries on and grows. It played a role in another spontaneous recollection that came to me sometime after the flashbacks. As this was the incident where I began keeping dated logs, I know this memory came back to me on February 25, 1995.
The memory opens with me standing just outside my parent’s closed bedroom door, pushing it open as if my mother just told me to come in. When I push it open sufficiently to walk inside, the room is dimly lit, as if it is morning. Despite everything being in its place, so to speak, something about the scene seemed artificial. It almost seemed like I was walking through the single frame of a space-time film. There was an ominous, permeating silence, an eerie stillness to the whole scene, and as I stepped towards the bed I could no longer deny my deep sense that this was all somehow a set-up. Before me on the bed is presumably my mother, though she is concealing herself beneath the sheets. The form beneath the sheets is small, however, and certainly nothing like that of my mother.
I suddenly feel like Little Red Riding Hood approaching her alleged grandmother, all the while knowing it’s really the wolf, and the feeling does not go away. Though we proceed to have a conversation with each other, the terror in me grows the more I pay attention not only to where this conversation is being pushed but the manner in which the conversation is taking place. It is less like I hear my mother’s voice than it is that I just know what she is saying, and when I do put my might into focusing on the voice it sounds absolutely wrong. It’s high-pitched and frighteningly inhuman. In addition, our conversation seems somehow manipulated, like a veiled interrogation, unerringly driven by her to something preconceived. I dodged her questions and pressed my own, such as why she seemed to be hiding beneath the sheets. My anger at this attempted manipulation finally grew to the point where it overpowered my fear. Finally, I began screaming that it was not my mother, demanding it show its face. Conveniently, all fades to black.
For some reason they have frequently done this throughout my experiences with them, the last incident having occurred roughly a year ago. They seem capable through what can only be described as telepathy of not only conveying thought in the manner of an inner voice, but also imagery and other sensory parallels. These come in the forms of hallucinations or mental imagery. They can produce hallucinations on your waking sensory field, thereby making you see things that aren’t there, stop you from seeing things that are there, and can also make you see things that are there as something other than what they are. They can make it so that you see them as black dogs, white cats, or perhaps a huge owl or a seven-foot-tall Smokey the Bear.
With respect to mental imagery, this can come in the form of a single still-frame, a slide-show, or mental movie. These images seem to come in certain levels of absorbency, with the lowest being the experience of a mental image from another as a mental image, and the most extreme case being a realistic lucid dream setting in which you share this space with one another. When using the low-absorbency mental images they will often use them in combination, nearly always complimenting them with an inner-voiceover, making it sort of documentary-style. As implied by both my flashbacks of that evening, when these creatures weave their lucid dreams you take to be real, they can also use them as false “screen” memories to cover for the amnesia they also induce and confusing any surfacing memories of the actual event. They seem capable of producing imagery through eye contact or mere close physical proximity and, in one experience of mine, a “lucid dream” was accomplished through ramming a sturdy metallic rod into my ear.
Any way you slice it, it sounds like a form of telepathic warfare in which the strategy of “divide and conquer” is applied to the single individual. Keep a person battling themselves inside over what’s real or not real and they will have little time, energy, and of course be lacking the necessary prerequisite of certain belief in the enemy in question to have any hope of being a significant any nuisance to the spooky powers that be doin’ the dividin’.
The incident with the creature in my mother’s room is the only instance I have recalled in which I called them out on their telepathic illusions and aggressively stood up to them, unfortunately, and I do not recall the outcome. Just as in the case of my Goblin Man flashback, there was only my mother and myself in the room, and the dim morning glow about the room was identical to how the room looked when I saw the Goblin Man at the very end of the flashback. I wondered if he had somehow used that scene as a model for this one.
There was one more use of this telepathic dreaming that seemed to be aimed at confusing parentage. Around the time I remembered the incident involving the creature under the covers I also recalled a single image from some memory or dream from my childhood. I’m on the floor in my room staring at the open doorway to my old room, where stands, shoulder-to-shoulder, who are presumably my mother and father. Their faces look wrong, however, or at least appeared so due to the interference of their large, glowing eyes.
Which brings me to what for me constitutes a far more disturbing matter, namely why they would wish to confuse me in this area to begin with. Part of me wonders if they do this out of an interest in what parental bonds do and how they function. There is, for instance, the matter of that oil-painting-style still frame of the Goblin Man giving me a piggyback ride that came to my mind towards the end of the flashback. This I cannot help but associate with “Mother and Child,” an oil painting by Gari Melchers that, it seems to me, inspired that portion of the dream-scenario. A copy of the painting hung above my parent’s bed from the time I was young, and though I somehow found it dark and eerie, it was also comforting. Perhaps my association here is no mistake, either. Clearly having access to my memories and associations, perhaps the Goblin Man utilized that style of imagery in an attempt to inspire the same kind of parent-child bond I had always felt was depicted so elegantly in that painting. Maybe when I ran to my mother for security after awakening to find the Goblin Man standing beside my bed, they elected to study the maternal angle as well.
Rather than using parental bonds as study, they used it as a means of manipulation. The Goblin Man’s attempt to justify taking me away by claiming to be my father, for instance, or the creature under the covers trying to glean information from me by pretending to be my mother, no doubt because they presumed I found security and trust in her. If the themes in these experiences weren’t expanded upon in others, I would be perfectly happy with concluding that this was all there was to the matter. Unfortunately, the paternal theme played out in a more complete manner in an incredibly vivid, haunting dream that I had prior to the two flashbacks, and perhaps while I was still in junior high school.
One late night or early morning, I recall waking up from that seemingly endless dream and going downstairs, where my father was preparing to go to work. In my groggy state I made an attempt to convey to him the power of this dream, though only found myself frustrated at my inability to articulate much about it at all. The dream was more eerie in terms of mood and emotions, while the imagery, however frighteningly lifelike, was just as necessary but ultimately secondary to its rich emotional context. To make matters worse, the dream was quickly going retrograde, fading from my conscious grasp. It angered me that I could not convey what little I managed to momentarily hold on to. I remember drinking water by the sink, looking groggily down at the counter and trying to find any string of words that might capture something still lingering within conscious reach.
In my mind’s eye I examined the remaining image from the dream. While the image was technically in motion and it remained for an enduring period, neither the frame nor what it framed changed much, so it was not much of a scene in that respect. There was only a close-up of his face, and it was in the darkest conceivable night during a violent downpour. Still, you could make out his black, leathery face, and while I remember no thunder, I do recall seeing the face in an odd highlight, perhaps caused by flashes of lightning. As you strive to capture all you can of his features through these brief windows of illumination you find that his face vaguely resembles the mask of Batman. In comparison the creature’s face looked far more inhuman, however, and in retrospect the face looked more than slightly like the tall, black vinyl creature in Tool’s Prison Sex video. The way he crouched atop that building like a predator, looking out into the distance beyond the frame in the rampant downpour as if some guardian, one could easily mistake him for a gargoyle.
In the end, all I managed to tell my father was the overarching message of the dream, which once out of my mouth struck me as being essentially accurate but grossly insufficient. In the dream, I learned that my real father was this strange creature like the Batman. In the dream, a profound fear and confusion emerged in me not only out of the discovery that my real father was some Batman-like creature, but the logical extension of that fact, the daunting implication: as his son, I was somehow also somehow such a creature. Though groggy, it seemed to me as if the tone in which I asked him had confused him, as if I had unintentionally delivered my words in such a way that it was presented not as a description of a dream but rather as an accusation I wanted him to respond to.
Perhaps a response did come through him after all, though the specific source was in the dreams generated by his unconscious mind. The message from his shadow was then passed along to me. As is the case of many people, for some reason, my father occasionally tells me of his dreams. At some point late in high school, I recall him describing a vivid dream which, upon asking him some time after, he appeared to have entirely forgotten. In my recollection, his dream dealt with our family in some hallway. Along with the family was someone who he called “the dark man,” who wore a trench coat and fedora. His face could not be seen. A young boy was running around playfully, who my father seemed to think was me, and whom the dark man proclaimed to be the devil’s child.
So to summarize: the child of Goblin Man, who was depicted in the dream-scenario, at one point, as a man in a superhero costume. The child of a Batman-like creature. Now a child of the Devil, who is certainly the equivalent of a comic book supervillain for some people, a superhero to others. So why this theme of being a son to a dark, inhuman superhero? Was the flashback a glimpse into the source material for my dream, and perhaps my father’s as well, or would it be rational to look upon the flashback as a dream as well?
Regardless as to whether the flashback was a root experience giving rise to two dreams, why did I call him a goblin? My mother told me once that I always spoke, evidently through play, that I was being chased by goblins, and I particularly remember imagining them following us in our car as we drove, trying to catch up with us by quickly building a tunnel underground parallel with us.
The only place I remember being subjected to the concept of a goblin was through a superhero, meaningfully enough. I knew the Green Goblin to be the arch nemesis of Spiderman, and both characters I knew not through the medium of the comic books, but through the boob tube during the Saturday morning cartoons. On our Atari 2600, I also remember playing a Spiderman game. As Spiderman, you would slowly crawl up a building with your web. The obstacles he faced on his way to the top I fail to recall, but as the top of the building Spiderman met with the Green Goblin, who was riding his “goblin glider” back and fourth in the air. I could never get passed him, and in the end he always made me fall off the building and die. Beyond that, there aren’t many associations with the character.
If the flashback is the root experience, the nonhuman superhero theme makes perfect sense. These creatures are clearly not human and with their display of telepathy, psychokinesis and advanced technology, imagining them as being of superhero or supervillain status isn’t really a far cry from the truth of the matter at all. The incident with the creature under the sheets pretending to be my mother I felt to be attacking my intelligence, as they were trying to trick me and doing such a shoddy job of it. If this was all a dream they had put in my head, couldn’t they make the form under the sheets look convincingly human, in the very least, and perhaps come up with a reasonable explanation as to why she couldn’t show her face?
The Goblin Man’s claim attacked my sense of identity, my sense of belonging to the family and species I had taken to be my own. Yet it left me in limbo, as they had not revealed my true identity or family but left me with the knowledge that I was in both, of both, but belonged to neither. I belonged nowhere and I was utterly alone.
If this was all an illusion, if the flashback was nothing more than a hallucinatory fiction emerging during a psychotic break, this makes the “alien” theme an obvious unconscious choice. I have felt that I don’t belong my entire life, and it has not dissipated as I have aged, but to the absolute contrary. Perhaps the feeling of not belonging emerged in me and had no seeming cause or explanation, so my unconscious whipped up a fictitious narrative to give that sense of out-of-placement a well-needed context and origin.
The fact that in being both human and alien I would also be just as alien to the aliens seems unnecessarily redundant to me, however. In addition, given my reactions to this unconscious choice of origin it seems unlikely that providing a sense of comfort was a primary objective. The notion terrified me and, I feel ill to confess, still terrifies me as I write this. Not only because some intergalactic pact might support visitation rights for the father, thereby providing legal justification for abductions, either, but because of the aforementioned implications.
As if the whole alien ordeal was not enough, other events began happening in real-time and drifting back to consciousness in memory that were not mundane or carried by the air of what we regard as sanity by any means. This led me to conclude that either our most educated assumptions about the nature of ourselves and the universe were flawed in what I took for some pretty fucking vital areas or my madness, ever-relentless, simply accepted no bounds. Relevant here are my apparent recollection of events that occurred in previous lifetimes. Later, after I had struggled with the puzzle pieces, attempting to order them into their distinct lifetimes and their correct sequence, I felt I had distinguished three distinct lifetimes aside from my present one and possibility two more. The most recent was the life of a man I have come to call Sam, born in Little Rock, Arkansas in the 1940s or 50s and dying in the mid-to-late 70s while working at a toy store in a mall in Florida, perhaps Miami, where he lived for a time in his vehicle in the large parking lot. Previous to that I recall being a man who, given some of the memories, I presume to be an orphan, born and raised for a time in Tennessee or Kentucky and eventually making his way to California or a closely neighboring state while still a pre-teen. Eventually he became a Catholic priest who seems to have met his demise at an old age by means of a gunshot wound to the head.
The third and most distant group of memories bear the basic qualities of the other two, which is to say that I recalled the memories directly and also recalled instances in my own childhood in which I had recalled them. The first scene I had seen countless times as a child, crisp and vivid in my mind’s eye. The light is a little brighter than twilight, perhaps, and from a position up high, perhaps on a mountain or large dune, I look far out across a desert and see, atop a dune in the distance, three to four vehicles congregating. Despite the fact that I see them from far away, the discovery of their presence invokes a tremendous fear.
What I saw in the distance may or may not have been what I knew as either a “war machine” or “death machine,” which I have a single memory of. In the scene I recalled, the light is dim, like a dark twilight, and I am standing beside a gigantic wheel that towers over my head, part of this massive machine. It has four to six wheels, I believe, and is in some ways akin to a tank. The metal is silver and it is shaped like half of an arrowhead, the longest side down.
In another scene, I am now on flat ground, looking at the side of a large jagged rock with many layers of sediment. It is dark and the area looks gray and dusty. Some creature scurries across the ground, and then a spider-like creature that looks more or less like a pom-pom with long, spindly legs leaps after it, pounces on it and wraps its legs around it in a lightning-speed predatory maneuver, sending a cloud of dust up from the ground. I have visions of creepy, leafless, dead-looking trees either alone or in patches across the wasteland as well as visions of a lush rainforest teeming with plant life that took on neon colors of a phosphorescent quality, both, and especially the last, appearing very out of place with the rest of the desert world.
During meditation or on the bridge of sleep, I would receive other brief images of this world. I had brief visions of lit, three-windowed domes peeking up out of the desert surface. In another image, I saw a three-pronged structure akin to a crystalline castle amidst an otherwise desolate wasteland. An image similar to the three-pronged castle, though it seemed to be a logo, was accompanied by a voice on another occasion on the bridge of sleep which said the single word, “Conduit.” I had images of underground caverns with rooms that served as artificial habitats, full of plant and animal life.
In tandem with these direct memories of this environment there are memories of my playtime as a child, in which I used this world as a setting for my fantasies. As far back as I could remember I’d play Hock and Noodle at night when I was in bed and supposed to be asleep. Rather than using toys, my props for this dynamic duo were solely my hands. I’d hold all my fingers horizontal and press my thumb to my index finger to simulate their mouth when they spoke; when they walked, I would withdraw my thumb and last two fingers into my palm and use my middle and index finger as their legs. To simulate these spider-like creatures, I would put my hand spread palm-downwards and my thumb and fingers acted as the crawling legs. I’d also press my thumb to my index finger or to my middle finger with the rest of my fingers spread to represent two other specific types of enemies, though I do not recall the actual mental images these particular enemies were associated with.
Often I’d use a tissue box as a prop for their vehicle and together these two would venture out across their sickly, desolate, desert world. I liked it best when I had my light brown blanket on my bed, as that was close to the color of the surface of their world. Though no memory of mine specifically indicates it, I have the burning sense that the civilization had long ago retreated into underground tunnels and subterranean cities, preferring to live predominantly below the surface in order to protect themselves from the dangers on the planet above. During playtime, I would often imagine rocks falling from space onto the surface of their world, something that seemed to be a frequent occurrence. I’ve also always felt that this has been connected with a recurring theme in dreams I’ve had over the years in which various end-of-the-world scenarios have played out. In those dreams, my instinct has always been to get as far beneath the ground as possible, be it through the sewer systems or elaborate, subterranean structures.
Though perhaps I wouldn’t be talking about Hock and Noodle at all, perhaps they and their world would have faded from my memory entirely if it had not been embedded into my mind due to the nature of their last adventure. It was less than a year after I’d first put on my leg braces when I went back to the doctors so they could check out how I had been developing. To meet this end they would place me in the CAT scanner. On the table I went, and it guided my frantic self deeper into the doughnut-shaped lips of the machine and into it’s huge, tube-shaped belly, where I would have to remain for three to four hours.
As I was drawn inside, my face reddened and I cried and screamed. I didn’t understand what was going on, what this machine was doing or what was going to happen, but my mother and the doctors said that I would be fine, that I just needed to lay perfectly still and everything would be all right. They tried to get me to relax by talking to me and reassuring me again and again. Once inside, I calmed a bit, though I was still considerably restless. Eventually fear gave way to boredom and I began playing Hock and Noodle. Hands dancing all around the belly of the CAT scanner. Imagining how those doctors must have felt after looking at those X-ray images after four hours and finding freeze-frame Kodak moments of the bones of my hands as they walked across my belly and mouthed words to one another — well, it makes me shudder. Hearing him was frightening enough.
At first it was just a commotion below my feet; I could barely hear it and wondered if maybe I was just imagining things, but then I heard those frightening screams of anger, that high-grade cussing, that shouting back and fourth between what was undoubtedly the doctor and my mother. I wondered what was going on. When I heard my mother shouting my name, she did not sound very pleased at all, that was quite evident. She told me viciously that I had better not budge. Not a twitch. This time, I didn’t move a damned muscle. I remained in there for another four hours, and the embarrassment over that whole episode was a profound one. It ended my playtime with Hock and Noodle, but it served to solidify them and their world in my memory.
It was after I got the braces taken off and while I was still in kindergarten that my eyes fell onto, into the eyes of one who I felt a strange kindship that seemed associated with the memories of that dead world. She was petite and brown-eyed with long brown hair that looked strangely exotic to me. However frail, she seemed to be a furnace of energy, and she battled the world with a beaming smile. There was something dark and vast in her, it felt to me, something rich, and in some way, shape or form I felt as if we came from the same place, that we both felt similarly out of place here. I don’t ever recall talking to her, and it would not at all surprise me if that is only because I never really uttered a damned word to her in the first place. Even then, evidently, I was deathly shy of approaching beautiful girls.
Despite that fact, I was overcome with joy and violent surges of anxiety when I received an invitation to her birthday party. Her apartment was in the apartment complex catty-cornered across the street from our house, so the night of the party my father walked me over. When we came into the place, it was like a drunken college party of shaved, drunken orangutans. There was no booze, however, and these were toddlers, and nearly everyone in both kindergarten classes, by the looks of it. It suddenly made sense how I had come to be invited. I existed. Looking out across the living room, I saw kids running up the stairs. She was upstairs, the birthday girl, hiding in her room. Both my father and I wanted to leave, and he asked if I wanted to go up and say happy birthday to her. I did want to, but I was afraid, and I somehow got the sense that she didn’t like being the center of attention anyway.
So my father and I slowly walked home in the dark, and I remember liking just walking beside him, with no one else around. It always felt good to be around him. I remembered thinking about my sense of isolation, and a conversation I must have recently had with my father. It was an evening when I was “camping out” on the floor in my room — basically just sleeping on the floor with blankets and pillows, which is something my sisters and I found exciting when we were younger for some reason. Earlier in the day my mother, upon learning of the report cards of my sister and I, had joked about how she should be doing so much worse than me in school due to her cerebral palsy and that the school must have mistakenly swapped our grades. When my father had come in to kiss me goodnight, I remember asking him if he thought there may have been a similar mix-up and it could be me, and not my sister, who had cerebral palsy. This question seemed to sadden him, and when he asked why I would ask such a thing, I tried to explain how I felt different from everyone around me, and though I could not articulate what this difference was, it had to do with my brain. My sister’s condition was my only real default assumption.
At this point, walking home beside him, I felt that the difference was in fact something else, that it had some other cause, that if it included genetics it must also go deeper than that, past the marrow and to the soul. Part of what drew me to that girl, I felt, was that she was different in a way similar if not identical to how I was different. Her and I, somehow and in some way, had come from the same place and I felt some sort of kinship. In my mind, her image, her vibe, her “feel” is associated with the most beautiful images. A bird’s eye view of a vast desert landscape enshrouded in darkness, an image of a planet that looked like Saturn, of distant-seeming areas of the cosmos where I seemed to be just a swimmer in space, taking in from all angles the community of stars, asteroids, nebulae. These images shared this feeling that seemed to extend far beyond what I understood or felt from others with respect to religiosity; it was a union of my essence with beauty that swept me far beyond the usual conceptualized limitations of the self, that truly connected with the mystery around and within myself. It was a numinous cosmic saturation. This feeling was also associated with the imagery and experience of coursing through space at such a speed that stars seemed to stretch and bleed into one another, as if I was on some voyage into sectors of existence where few if any had ever ventured.
These images as well as the girl are also associated with a bizarre experience that happened to me when I was older, I believe. I remember awakening in a strange, well-lit and sterile-feeling room on a hard table and walking towards the huge, floor-to-ceiling window on the far wall. As I came up towards the glass, the beauty that had drawn me there blossomed completely in my discovery that this was not a glorious night sky I was looking at, but the seeming depths of space. There was no ground. Stars were all around me and earth was nowhere to be seen, but that didn’t disturb me at all, strangely. Staring out that window, I felt so strong a connection, so intense was empathic feedback, that there was no question I belonged to the cosmos. Certainty surged in that moment that it was not that I did not belong in the universe, or even the earth, but perhaps merely this specific time and place, these particular cultural circumstances.
Even after the girl moved at the end of the year, I found that I still thought of Hock and Noodle and their world from time to time. Years later, after we had moved into our new house and my parents wanted to re-paint my room, I decided I wanted to change the color of the room from blue to brown, and my mother said I could also get a wall paper mural on one wall. When I was at the store looking through the choice of murals, I was absolutely drawn to the image of the planet Saturn, which I always imagined the desolate home of Hock and Noodle to look like.
Regardless, after I saw that Saturn mural, I didn’t want to look at any of the other images; I persisted this was the one I wanted. Though I would not dare say it, the image of Saturn brought back strange feelings of longing, almost an aching homesickness, of the dark world I left behind with my childhood playtime. That mural remained on my wall far passed my teenage years, and it took me some time to recall the associations that had prompted me to get it.
If the aliens can create lifelike memories, they could certainly create false memories of a previous lifetime as an alien. In an incident I feel must be some extremely-well executed telepathic imaging on behalf of the creatures, they again cease their attempts to attack my identity from the maternal or paternal angle, boldly stepping fourth and drive a dagger into the heart of it, go for the bull’s-eye.
I find myself standing on the stool we always had in the bathroom when I was a kid, looking into the mirror above the sink. Soon enough I find myself transfixed on my reflection, certain that something about my appearance is unusual but utterly unable, at first, of putting my finger on what it is. As I’m drawn into studying my reflection more closely, however, I suddenly realize that the problem resides with my eyes. Despite sincere efforts to prove to myself that I must be mistaken, the reflection clearly show my eyes appearing to grow larger and more slanted. The process begins slow, so slow at first that I could not first determine what was happening, but the shape-shifting effect was steadily increasing in speed. As continue ballooning, slanting up along my face, my mouth hangs open in disbelief. Though I wouldn’t have known this at that age, my eyes were distinctly of a shape, and increasingly growing to the size and position of the eyes of the typical Gray beings. Soon I discover that I cannot blink, shifting my awe and horror from the reflection to my actual face. No longer can I pretend this is merely my reflection. Slowly, I reach up a hand, watching the reflection, and cautiously allow my fingers to touch the surface of one eye. It feels rubbery and slick. The sensation is incredibly real.
Reflecting on it now, it makes me think of a three-link chain of associated scenes in the original Star Wars trilogy. There is a moment towards the end of Return of the Jedi, where Luke has successfully beaten the shit out of his cyborg father and looks down at the hand he cut off of pops. He then looks down at his own black leather gloved mechanical hand. He makes the connection. Back in the second film, Darth Vader hacks off Luke’s hand with his saber and then drops the news on him that he, Darth Vader, is Luke’s father, and Luke was a bit dramatic in his reaction. It was also in The Empire Strikes Back that he had the experience under the guidance of Yoda back on Degahbah. Back in that swamp, Luke had been made to walk through a cave of twisting vines in the darkness and ultimately forced to battle an illusion of his father, Darth Vader. He cuts off the head of the heavy-breather with his trusty light saber. The head falls, rolls, and comes to a sort of rest on the ground. There the mask of the helmet explodes, revealing Luke’s own face behind the mask. You are the son of a monster, and as a consequence you are part monster yourself.
Perhaps the Goblin Man circumstance is my life’s own manifestation of the same underlying archetype — fed to it, perhaps, not in the Jungian sense but rather through becoming very familiar with the Star Wars trilogy itself. In my version, I see the eyeless Goblin Man, who pronounces he is my real father. Then upon staring into the mirror I find my own eyes growing into the ones he had lacked. You are the son of an alien, so as a consequence you are part alien yourself.
I cannot help but feel another incident is related to the memory of the mirror, one that took place amidst the “play therapy” sessions I recall being run through by any number of the psychologists and social workers my mother took me to when I was young. At that time, I do remember that it was a young, attractive and friendly woman who, in the comfort of her office, ran me through a test known as the Thematic Apperception Test. Basically, the patient is shown a picture and is supposed to weave a story around it, explaining not only what is happening in the image but what happened up to that point and following it. Since the patient needs to draw off of their own personal beliefs, thoughts and emotions in order to construct the fantasy, it conveys personal information without the patient being aware of it. The image she handed to me depicted a person standing alone in a room staring into a mirror. I described how the person saw their face slowly changing, and how the reflection ultimately transformed into a large fish which stepped through the glass and chased the person around the room.
In either dreams or spontaneous fantasies, looking into mirrors would seem to imply we are taking an honest and direct look at ourselves in order to see who or what we really are. Before we had mirrors, the most likely place we glimpsed our reflections was on the surface of some body of water. We went there to drink and bathe, glimpsing through the surface, along with our reflection, the fish that inhabit the world beneath the fluid skin. With that association between mirrors and water’s skin in mind, my reflection transforming into a fish and stepping beyond the glass would seem to suggest the notion of “a fish out of water.’ By this time in my childhood, for all I know, I may have already been able to draw off of my eye experience with the bathroom mirror as well, which would make this TAT image particularly alluring and projection-friendly. As I watched my eyes undergoing their transformation, after all, I was unable to blink, much as the case appears to be with fish.
When our ancestors went to the water, they did not only glimpse down at the fish swimming in the fluid world of reflection, however, any more than we do today, however relegated it is to a so-called “sport.” No, we hunt them. We fish for fish. Bait fish. Net fish. Spear fish. By whatever means, one barges in through that reflective surface into their world and chases after them, aiming to abduct them from their world, perhaps fillet them, maybe just throw them back. The tides, one could say, are merely turned in my fantasy, where the fish instead bursts through the surface into my world and chases me around. Here, the fish out of water, the reflection now out of my control, hunts me down, and I run from it as I am terrified of it.
Perhaps then, at least at some level, I felt there was a part of me that came from another world and that it didn’t operate under my control and could step in at any time. If so, it was certainly buried deep in me, only to be unearthed perhaps a decade later on the eerie morning of Tuesday, August 22, 1995, only a few days after school had begun. That morning was a rather fitting end to the months of unrelenting, mind-wracking chaos that had led up to it in the last several months, and no doubt this would have been even more the case if I were able to remember clearly everything that had transpired.
Instead, I awoke that surreal morning to find myself scooping coffee grounds out of the can and putting it into the filter of the coffee machine. This is not in itself an unusual occurrence at all; it was only shortly after the memories started trickling in that I had been a thoroughly-caffeinated insomniac. This was my morning routine. The issue was that I had become aware of doing this only in the process of doing so, with little initial recollection of any of the events that preceded it, which was a considerably unusual experience. As soon as I asked myself why I was here doing this, however, I remembered, and I also remembered how this works. The sensation. There was a sort of breach between one state of consciousness and the other where you forgot entirely for a moment and then could successfully look back for a short time as memories rapidly went retrograde. I seemed to know precisely how it worked, as if I had gone through the experience a thousand times before. I immediately stopped what I was doing. I bolted up the stairs, across the hallway and into my room, grabbed the nearest notebook and pen and, kneeling beside my bed and using it as a table, I struggled to get out the general highlights of a long night seemingly out of this world before it all faded from my mental grasp.
In my confused notes that morning I wrote that they had been there last night, that I had not been asleep at all, and that throughout the experience I was unable to think straight or function appropriately. I had also experienced a series of what I described as “terrible” and “odd dreams” and “astral projections,” the specifics of which I could not recall, save for the fact that they had to do with my cousin. There had been some discussion, at least, about her being in trouble and then helped. Though I did not write it that morning, I know I had been walking out from the forest at the side of my house in a stressed manner not too long ago, someone walking beside me as I walked towards the house. This was perhaps right before I came into the house, began my morning routine and suffered the breach in consciousness. Then there came the flood of memory that immediately began its retrograde erasure.
Most disturbing to me of all is that I wrote that for at least part of the time that I was with them I was in an alternate state of consciousness in which I became aware that I was “one of them” underneath it all, that this deeper alien personality hid its identity behind the masque of the everyday personality.
At the bedside, pen in hand, I felt the last of it go, and the memories were gone. When nothing else was forthcoming from my memory, I wrote that I was scared of them, and frightened at the thought that humanity was at the mercy of these alien forces, these creatures, who I knew were here to “fulfill their own agenda,” specifics unfortunately not offered. What bothered me most of all, however, was that it suggested that I was a masque, a shell, a costume for some alien consciousness. It made it sound as if I was the alter, and he was the host. It made it sound like there was some sort of supervillain inside me and I was his secret identity.