The Plague of Devia Mara.

1/4/99

Effectively divorced from my skin and all sensory stimuli, I felt myself descend as if into the proverbial rabbit hole, leading me towards what either constituted a lucid dream or another plane of existence. The debate is still raging. In either case, I was awake and knew this was not mundane reality I was literally falling into, and so I feared the entity that had attacked me so often when this sort of thing happened might lunge at me, so in response I resorted to a technique I had picked up in my Occult readings and refashioned to my own satisfaction. Chanting the made-up word only I know three times, I summoned my protective shield. Evidently, the conditioning I had subjected myself during my ordinary, waking life paid off, as it occurred without effort in precisely the way I always imagined it to function. Starting in my chest area, a white, glowing ball of energy swiftly grew to encompass my entire form, cocooning me in a protective bubble of energy.

To my relief and amazement, the vicious entity without certain form never showed. Though I could be mistaken, I do believe that this was the first time that I had found myself awake within an otherworldly space and not ultimately been subjected to his relentless violence. As I continued to fall down this nonphysical well I saw floating Gray alien heads strewn all about as if I was underwater, which did not seem to be the case, until I ultimately came to rest in an alternate version of my bedroom. There, my lucidity depleted significantly.

What followed, at least in the notes that, judging from my handwriting, occurred immediately afterward, constituted various non-lucid but certainly vivid dreams. I cannot be certain of their chronology, the degrees to which I succeeded in remembering them or whether they were separate dreams or part of a single, enduring narrative, but they were of an uncommon clarity and an eerie, dark overcast. Two scenes have direct relevance here.

Inside what I know to be a long building with a large parking lot that in retrospect I surmised must have been a bar or restaurant, I am sitting at the bar, a friend to my left and a girl sitting to my right. She dragged off a cigarette held between long, frog-like lips positioned beneath buggy eyes, and I got the overwhelming feeling that she was depressed. For some reason, I also felt that she looked like a Jennifer.

In the next relevant scene, I am introduced to what I explained in my notes as a sex-crazed girl in a dark room. I saw her as if from below, sitting on her sofa chair as if it were a throne. Leaning back, sprawled on the chair quite comfortably, she had her right leg bent at the knee and leisurely aiming to my right, with that foot resting on the chair, the other leg casually hanging off the edge. She was clad in a black shirt and pants, her shoulder-length black hair the only discernible feature when I focus on her head, which is entirely draped in darkness.

Though I would much prefer to think that I walked, given the position from which I initially viewed her I would have to say that I was on my hands and knees and crawled toward her, eventually atop her, though her position did not significantly change as I did so. Looking down, I spied her belly, as concave as my own at the time, and her comparatively loose black jeans, void of any belt. So inverted was her tummy that I could not only discern that she wasn’t wearing any underwear but clearly see her finely-shaven vagina. I then asked her a question, I think whether or not she would be my girlfriend.

“No,” she replied. “No Sex.”

In the dream notes, I mentioned that she for some reason looked as if her name would be Devia, though I have never, up to the time of this writing, known any girl by that name.

***

Sometime after having this dream, when I again decided to try my hand at fiction, I wrote a short story inspired by the dream, which I entitled The Hole in the Universe. It dealt with a group of guys who hung out at a bar based partially on the one in my dream, which was run by the girl I had called Jennifer. Their typical, end-of-the-workday routine was interrupted one evening when a biker entered the doors, offering cautionary tales to the group regarding a girl he was attempting to hunt down called Devia Mara. He claimed that though he had never met her himself she had taken home some of the guys at the biker bar down the street and brainwashed them, drained them of all will, and those that returned to the bar after nights with her came back changed, not at all themselves. After ascertaining they had not seen or heard of such a woman before, he told them to be careful and departed.

As the story progressed, his dire warnings proved to have merit, as she had evidently moved her territory from his biker bar to their own and started plucking them away one by one — though in this case, none of his friends ever returned to the bar or were seen again. The last member of the group and the one qualifying as the protagonist of the story feared she was seducing and then killing them and, despite the fact that he had still never laid eyes on her, soon became obsessed with hunting her down himself.

Ultimately he encountered her on the stairs at a bar, where she bit his lip and he passed out, only to find himself bound in duct tape to the passenger seat of a car upon awakening, with her in the driver seat. They engaged in a rather aggressive conversation, during which she insisted she had not killed his friends but only helped them to accept their true, individual natures and open up to life, leaving their group and the bar behind them in the wake. Though she eventually releases him and they walk together along a bridge, he stubbornly refuses to trust in and be swayed by her as they allegedly had.

Up to this point I feel my story was okay — not great by any measure, but all right — though in retrospect I certainly feel as though there was far more I could’ve done with it. I am, on the other hand, entirely unsatisfied with the ending, where she revealed herself to be something akin to a psychic vampire or parasite of the soul and left him alone on the bridge, paralyzed, slowly disintegrating into dust, falling into the water below. It seemed dreadfully inconsistent not only with respect to the promise I felt she had in the context of the dream that inspired the story but in the story previous to that point. For her to reveal herself as some simple personification of evil after teasing true depth and complex motives through their conversation seemed cheap, and the ending rather predictable, at least in essence.

To make matters worse, there are suggestions that this was my intent from the very moment I began writing the story, though I can neither recall any specific intentions nor have I managed to uncover any suggestive notes.

For instance, I do know that there was a good reason I chose the last name Mara for her. By the point I had written the story I am sure I knew that a mare or mara was said to be an evil spirit essentially synonymous with mythical creatures such as the succubus, Incubus and the old hag in that they were said to straddle the chests of people as they slept and suffocate them, giving rise to bad dreams or “night-mares.” It should come as no surprise that they are currently thought to be hallucinations caused by sleep paralysis. I knew all this as I had one such experience myself in March of 1995 and had subsequently engaged in obsessive research — and in an era that was BG (Before Google), no less. The sense I got from my research was that such entities were essentially psychic parasites, which is clearly reflected in the ending of the story.

Though I am fairly certain that I had no knowledge of it at the time, I have also discovered that Mara was the name of the demon that tempted Siddhārtha Gautama on his path towards enlightenment, which is to say to the trajectory that terminated upon him earning the title of Buddha. Mara is therefore considered in the eyes of at least some present-day Buddhist sects to be the personification of all that seeks to keep one bound to the wheel of death and rebirth.

In essence, my intention seemed to ultimately present her as a seductive entity that enslaved others and drained them of their power.

***

Though her face remained concealed within the dream, once I introduced her in the realm of my writing I gave her definite features. I was rather taken aback when I read it again, as it seems to describe Hypnotic Haylee, who I only stumbled upon far later, rather accurately:

“Her green eyes dug into me like a knife,” I wrote. “Her forehead was tilted further outward than her chin, and locks of her black hair fell across her face, reminding me so much of a predator fixating on her prey.”

While I never delved into how it was Devia changed those who became entangled in her web, hypnosis would fit nicely, and had I known enough about it at the time I feel certain I would have included it in the story as the means by which she “brainwashed” the guys at the biker bar. In any case, I’ve come to suspect that this is why I ultimately gravitated towards Haylee so many years later. She fit the profile of Devia in the dream to a startling degree and at least physically in the story that it inspired, suggesting that I have been psychologically projecting Devia onto her.

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Dreams of the Lost.

From what I have been able to recall from my dreams, the theme on the 15th and 16th involved pet animals, much has been the case with my dreams over the course of the last few months. Rather than forgetting I own them and forgetting to feed and water them, however, they were escaping and I was unable to track them down. More recently, the theme of “lost and not found” has carried on, though the manifestations have extended beyond animals.

1/15/16

I had two pets in a glass tank in what appears and feels like my parents living room. One of the animals died, and though I cannot recall what the first animal was the second was a chameleon, and I soon found that it had managed to escape its tank. As I hunted around the house for it, I at first thought I had squished it — I could even see its legs in the pile of stuff I had accidentally, evidently squished it in — but found that this was not the case. It was still alive and roaming free, hiding from me. 

I kept losing it in ways that seemed impossible. I remember catching it at one point and looking in the small tank where I had temporarily put it in shortly thereafter only to find that it was gone. Poof. He was a goddamn Houdini with cold blood. 

I was getting frustrated. And the dream ended without me ever having completed my mission of finding the damned thing.

The next time I slept (which is to say on the same day/evening), I had more dreams. A group and I had been in the house of someone else and the feeling I got is that our presence there was not in the least bit called for, not the least bit legal. They left, and only I remained — in one of the bedrooms at the end of the hall — when I heard the door open and heard (or in any case ascertained) that two people had entered the house.

Grabbing a stuffed dog nearby, I peek around the door frame of the room to see into the hallway, using the plush puppy to mimic the same behavior. It was done in a very childlike way, and I did it so as to not alarm them when they undoubtedly saw me. Evidently, it worked. It was a guy and a girl who came in, though I never saw the girl and didn’t recognize the guy he saw me peering around the corner, hardly glancing at the plush dog, looked me in the eyes and with a casual and even warm sense of recognition said to me, “Hey, Rick.” 

I had a vague sense of having seen the guy’s face before, but I’d be damned if I knew where — and the guy acts as if my presence is no surprise, no big deal. The only problem is that name he called me by. I am not Rick.

In another dream, I find that someone has a pair of leg braces like the ones I used to wear when I was young, and I was curious as to why they had them. Had they also had Perthes Disease? 

In yet another dream, I bump into two shift managers at work, though one was fired a few months back. I give one of them a belated birthday present for her daughter that I had been carrying around. She took it without saying anything, and I feared it meant nothing to her for she saw me as doing it out of guilt.

1/21/16:

I was thinking about a pet rabbit of mine that had evidently escaped some time ago and hoped to find in the context of the dream as we were looking for something else.

1/26/16:

I drive this small toy tank, presumably by remote control, so that it goes right under my bed. When it never comes back out the other side as it should have, I look under the bed — look everywhere multiple times — yet never find it. In another scene, I apparently drive the same toy tank into a pond, where it continues to plow along under water, but when I await its arrival on the side, it never comes. Again I embark on a fruitless search. 
 
1/27/16:
 
It had been some time in the dream before I realized I wasn’t wearing my hat. My immediate fear, my instant sense of embarrassment arose from the realization that my bald spot had been exposed for a such great length of time — and all without my knowledge. I ran back to where I thought I had lost it. 
 
***
 
In general, dreams about getting lost, having lost something and searching for it are regarded as an expression of your sense of alienation or inadequacy. Losing a pet chameleon? Perhaps losing the ability to blend in to your surroundings. Losing a pet rabbit? I don’t know — perhaps losing softness, a sense of idealism. The toy tank having gone MIA not once, but twice in the same night in two different scenes? I’m clueless. Losing a hat? Maybe it suggests fears of losing your social role, social masque or persona — or having anxiety about what others might think regarding your hair loss…

Misinterpretations With a Side of Violence (6/25/15 Dreams).

While working, I’m practicing hand movements involved in operating some strange kind of gun, though I don’t know for certain that I actually had the gun with me. Regardless, in the midst of being lost in the practice it comes to my attention that someone, perhaps a customer, is watching me and my sudden fear is that he or she will presume I’m getting ready to shoot up the place, jump to the conclusion that I am preparing to commit some massacre.

***

While at work, this scraggly-looking guy comes behind front counter — and through a gap between the counter and the wall which does not exist in the waking world. Some manager in the kitchen sees him and yells for him to hold on, but he quickly comes all the way behind front counter, grabs something and then runs back through the gap and out the nearby doorway. After only a moment’s hesitation I run after him, out the side door, into the night, and down the sidewalk along Main Street in the direction heading away from downtown. He finally lays down on the steps on the small patio outside of some closed building or store. I determine in passing that he is homeless. I run up to him, standing over him cowering below me and pull my fist back, making like I’m going to punch him, all the while trying to determine what it was he had taken and get it back. In fear, in a trembling voice he mumbles something about having needed something for a job interview, presumably whatever it was he had taken. In the end I take what looks like my phone from him and he stumbled away, around a dark corner. As I walk away I think I hear him talking to someone, complaining about the whole thing, I think.

As I walk back I look at the iPhone in my hands and instantly know that it cannot be my own — the casing isn’t as beat up as mine is, for one thing. For a moment I consider taking the casing and ditching the phone, an odd thought for me, but I know I wouldn’t feel right about it, so I stand the phone up on the ground, leaning it up against something like a trash can or the wall of a building and continue walking back.

Bored (6/23/15 Dream).

Even after remembering the dream this morning regarding people sneezing, I didn’t write down the conversation I had with my boss, Connie, as it seemed more like a memory of an actual occurrence upon awakening. Only when I woke up fully did it strike me that though this seemed a lot like my brief encounter with her yesterday it was, in fact, a dream.

Yesterday I had taken out trash in the small structure built to hide the dumpsters. We call it the corral. I was sipping a small coffee and enjoying a cigarette, writing something on my iPhone when I heard someone approaching. It was her, even though she was off work that day — stopping by to toss some boxes her daughter had used for moving in the dumpster. She pretty much caught me, but didn’t say anything about it. Today I learned that she had been sick yesterday — so sick that age went home early today, in fact. The conversation in the dream seemed to take place in a way that felt similar. I was trying to explain something to her and somehow let it slip that I was just bored at my job. I tried to quickly brush passed it, but I could tell by the look in her face and her eyes that she caught it. In the dream, my slip was like a revelation to me somehow: I really was insanely bored at this job. The look in her eyes was weird, too — like sympathy, understanding.

The Getaway (5/5/15 Dream).

In the midst of creeping around, having run and hidden from someone, I find myself in some hallway with metallic walls, crouching before this mesh of tubes with fluorescent green fluid in them. It is something that has healing qualities, I think. Quickly, I rip them out to take along with me, but then worry that the fluid may leak out. After some contemplation, I grab a nearby towel, wrap it around the torn mesh of tubes and hold it close to me, in front of me, with both hands.

Then I try to make my escape again, and I feel as though I have tried this several times before and failed. Eventually I run out of what suddenly becomes my parent’s house, and rather than hiding around the house as I had so many times before I decide to make a run for the treeline at the end of the yard.

As I do so I see her, a pregnant girl, there in the front yard on the far left of the property, I’m at the far right. My hopes are that, being closer to my car, she will grab it, come pick me up and we can both make a getaway without ever being spotted, but she just crosses the driveway and meets me at the tree-line at my side of the yard. Its a long driveway ahead of us if we just run. Still, we’ve gotten this far and its as close as we have come to escaping and we might even get to make it on foot if we aren’t spotted and chased. She even suggests to me that she knows someone who could come pick us up in their car.

Though it feels like dangerous, perhaps foolish backtracking, I bolt back to the house with her in hand to where my car is parked. Before we make it there my mother, or something pretending to be my mother, appears from the backyard with a group. They are the enemies. I am determined to get her in that car and drive the hell out of here. No one, nothing will stop me.

I wake up.

Not Dead Again (4/28/15 Dream?)

With respect to the dream or whatever it was that crept into my mind right as I was about to step in the shower, it’s like I’m outside the bubble now and the memories are inside. I can kind of feel the surface emotionally and catch ambiguous imagery associated with it, but I cannot seem to penetrate the bubble. I feel like I’ve gone blind and I’m forced to see with my hands.

In the circumstance, the scenario, I was convinced that this was it, that it was over, that I was going to die. I remember having been fooled before only to come out alive, but something happened this time that removed all doubt. The seriousness of matter sunk in, penetrated, so I know I had time to consider it all before it happened. I acted with the knowledge that either way, I was going to die. Was I fucking fighting something? As real as it feels, I cannot remember the circumstances.

Of Astral Planes & Entities.

The astral projections, or whatever label you wish to throw on them — they began for me in May, 1995. Before that, before I began slipping down the fault lines of corporeal reality, I had been concerned about ending up in a rubber room because I was having memories and real-time encounters with what appeared to be alien beings. With this additional strata of insanity, I did not foresee contact with a mental health professional resulting in anything less than a new, sleeveless jacket and a small, well-padded room.

I did, however, have a peculiar circle of friends who were willing to listen.

When I had explained these out of body experiences to a friend of mine during high school, he remarked that they sounded eerily reminiscent of people’s experiences when they took various kinds of psychedelic drugs. This was a comment I found intriguing. Until twenty years of age I would not so much as drink a beer or smoke a cigarette, though I was already — spontaneously and against my will, free of charge or foreign substance — having the kinds of experiences that some people paid to have delivered to them by means of inhalation, injection or ingestion. To top it all off, knowledge of this did not even make me feel privileged.

Subsequent research confirmed his allegations: not only did many psychedelic experiences bear the qualities of my OBEs, some of the most potent ones — namely Salvia Divinorum and DMT — seem to comprise all of them. I also found that the world I experienced closely corresponds to the allegedly parallel, non-physical worlds described by many out of body travelers, among them Robert Monroe and William Buhlman. They described this world, popularly referred to as the astral plane, as being “thought-responsive” or sensitive to consciousness, effectively molded by the conscious and unconscious aspects of the out-of-body traveler. Even later, I would find that my otherworldly experiences — and so the astral plane and some full-sensory psychedelic experiences — also fit the characteristics of some lucid dreams.

Whatever the experience was, then, it did not require psychosis, psychedelics or death to get there, though that is not to say that they were not effective avenues. All one really required, however, was a slumber of appropriate depth, a snooze that sufficiently inhibited our senses receptors and brought on sleep paralysis while keeping conscious awareness acute.

From this one might conclude that lucid dreams might be mistaken for trips to the astral plane or vice versa, but what it really reveals is that the two are indistinguishable. The attempt to find distinctions has proven to be futile. Meeting up with a fellow out of body explorer in a predetermined otherworldly locale could be interpreted as evidence in support of a parallel universe, for instance, but it could just as easily be presented as further suggestion of what is variously called a shared, mutual, meeting or telepathic dream. This is a dream shared between two people, presumably through the medium of telepathy. Some are allegedly even shared lucid dreams.

Some of these dreams are shared between two living individuals, but there are also reports of dreams between the living and deceased. From this we might presume they can be shared between the dead as well. This would suggest that in death we not only retain access to the physical locale, but the capacity to dream. Even the dead, then, could not determine whether the world I am evidently dealing with is a network of dreamscapes or another plane of existence. If death is a transitory state, though, and both the physical worlds and telepathic dream worlds are constants, isn’t the distinction ultimately arbitrary? There are perhaps two different kinds of real which we have access to, be us alive or dead, much as the entity in my initial experience had gone to such lengths to convince me.

Of course, that still leaves the nature of that entity open to question, and if that was the same entity that later went on to attack me for years as I continued having these experiences. Dream characters are manifestations of your own mind, but that seemed more akin to a real conversation, and the later incidents felt like real, excruciatingly painful interactions. Was this another person, and were they living or dead? Was this a dissociated aspect of my personality?

I’m not sure how I could ever know for sure.