Wednesday, November 27, 2019

"UNGAZILIBALI" - Music


"UNGAZILIBALI (Don't Forget Yourself)" is a beautiful, poetic paean about hope, healing and unity at a time when such a message is needed most. In response to women throughout the country suffering from abuse, this single is a majestic, soulful song that has brought together five very talented artists, like fingers, to make a fist for the women facing oppression and violence in South Africa and anywhere else where positive spirituality is needed against political oppression. While traditional records labels can choke out some promising musical genius, digital distributors like Platoon are helping to get female creators the attention they've earned and help worthy causes while doing so.

In honor of Women's Month in South Africa the five most popular musicians in the country combined their energies and unique talents to bring up the hopes of women with an appropriate anthem. Ami Faku, Bonga Kwana, Msaki, Zolani Mahola and Eryn Allen Kane are all elements in a synthesis from across the planet that certainly captivates. "The magic happens when there is no agenda and you're not trying to force anything...you're just trying to make magic...and I think that is happening. The world should hear it," says Platoon's Co-Founder and CEO, Denzyl Feigelson, about the collaborative effort.


Platoon, a music company straight out of London, UK (as well as Cape Town, South Africa), has provided independent, unsigned, alternative artists like the ladies responsible for "UNGAZILIBALI" with a chance to reach out to listeners without going through a stifling official corporate record monolith. They not only have mighty musical mavens like Mr. Eazi, Maleek Berry, and Raleigh Ritchie, Platoon is also sponsoring artists that have gone onto major labels like Billie Eilish and Stefflon Don. "All these amazing artists who make records that aren't of interest to labels would be able to find an audience directly," says Feigelson. "We believe that artists do their best work when they have creative and economic freedom."

For the women who created the single, the project wasn't just business, it was personal."It's really special because this is something you can only accomplish when there are five women in the room. It's a very unique way to write," said Msaki, who is also a composer and producer. Singer Ami Faku added, "This is for my future daughter to tell her that I believe in her and trust her, and that she shouldn't be putting my fears or experiences upon her own life." Zolani Mahola, a singer that brings her own unique empathy as well as energy to the work, adds "This world is deeply in need of our particular energy and our particular voice."


Bonga Kwana (aka Nokubonga Kwana), a self-taught poet, singer and songwriter, reminds listeners of the song's motivational message: "People should take care of themselves." Eryn Allen Kane, a musician from Detroit, Michigan who has collaborated with Prince, definitely knows how to work with the best and heal hearts at the same time. "We're all bound by certain things, but music was the thing that completely freed me," she says. "We have a special mission here on earth as any creative, especially as a female...and there are waves that we are tapped into that we are only beginning to scratch the surface of...this world is very deeply in need of our particular energy and particular voice," says Zolani Mahola.

The single is a combination of English and Xhosa, a language native to South Africa. If you had a bad day and got mood poisoning, this is just what the ugqirha ordered. As deep and powerful as the sea, the song propels you like a whispering tide to a paradise with words. The five sing together, voices flying away, drifting back, spellbinding you with traditional rhythms and old, old, old skool beats. Each artist has a place in this single where they shine out, and when their voices soar together in unison, you can only feel good again.


What's next for these fine female musicians? Although each artist is occupied with their own successful careers, any successful collaboration like the single "UNGAZILIBALI" could potentially create an opportunity for more magic. Platoon has the platform for it, and Denzyl Feigelson knows how to deliver a hit that raises awareness at a time when women like Ami Faku, Bonga Kwana, Msaki, Zolani Mahola and Eryn Allen Kane around world need sincere support the most.

You can check out the single for yourself right here: https://geni.us/Ungazilibali Find out more about Platoon here: https://platoon.ai/ Learn more about Msaki over here: https://wikimzansi.com/msaki/ More Ami Faku can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3flcjKgRCeBVZTR8n8iShE Zolani is over here: http://www.theonewhosings.com/ Bonga Kwana is here: https://soundcloud.com/user-520139074/bonga-kwana-nzwakazi And Eryn Allen Kane is here: https://music.apple.com/tr/artist/eryn-allen-kane/812455847

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Horror Films of the Inland Empire - Cinema

Home sweet, uh, I mean, sweet and sour, home.

Although I was born on a nuclear Air Force base in Michigan, most of my life has been spent in the Inland Empire. Between growing up punk there to eventually working as a law clerk and then finally as a process server for the San Bernardino County legal court system, as a veteran of the landscape my opinion is that the I.E. is best described as a massive, dusty yin-yang. 

The yang being the wealthy parts of the place that make money juxtaposed by the rather horrific, yin regions that end up making criminal statistics swell. It's the 14th most dangerous city in America, and dozens of people die there every year. I tell my friends the worst parts of the I.E. are basically Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome...but there ain't no Thunderdome. 

I still miss you, Spanky's!

Inland Empire Weekly called me one merry October and requested that I write a whole lot of words about horror films made in the I.E. "Sure." I said. "But it's going to cost you so much money you won't even be able to keep your website going by 2019." They laughed at my weird prediction and basically left me to my own devices until I hit the deadline weeks later. Vita brevi, ars longa!



While Halloween occurs only once a year, horror films are something we can celebrate every season…as long as we don’t die before the arrival of that next blockbuster. An oozing chunk of the gruesome delight in watching all of that screaming on celluloid is the thrill of witnessing your own town host all of that terror…if you dwell within a place Hollywood finds fearsome.

The scary news is, when it comes to terror Los Angeles gets more film than the thriving metropolis known from here to hell as the Inland Empire. Maybe it’s because of the cancerous smog, the deadly traffic, or just the constant, eerie Kafkaesque dread of being face-to-visage with LAPD. 

Occasionally though, all of the omens line up and some lost, mad soul does decide to shoot something sinister amidst the haunted hills and dusty domiciles of the Inland Empire, where even the blandly bright suburbs have gutters that can stream scarlet, thanks to monsters, malefactors, or everyday murder.


Invaders from Mars, Palomar Observatory, San Diego County

Invaders from Mars, made in 1953 and directed by William Cameron Menzies, is a cosmic sci-fi thriller that is radioactive with paranoia since it was made at the height of the Cold War. Decades ago every adult knew that if WWIII happened it would be nothing but nukes from Rhode Island to Russia, and until then every American citizen was a secret communist spy, sent from the USSR to infiltrate and destroy.

In this silver screen screamer, evil Martians invade a small town and start to mind control the populace, brainwashing their leaders into cold, sadistic drones trying to enslave humanity for their monstrous green masters. Before they succeed the good guys find out, the bad guys get taken out, but the space age menace remained, spawning numerous 50’s flicks that promised moviegoers everything in the universe couldn’t wait to journey across the cosmos to slay us all.


Palomar Observatory is a part of San Diego worth stitching on to any piece of cinematic excellence. Before the place was hit by Invaders from Mars film noir got there first in the form of 1947’s Nightmare Alley, a brutal story about one man’s sadistic greed and the mayhem he leaves in his wake. Not exactly a cauldron of gore, through.


In 1977 this beautiful section of San Diego County ended up on the big screen again, thanks to 1977’s Crater Lake Monster, a tale about a dinosaur that wakes up from suspended animation and tries to destroy and devour a city. The legendary David Allen supplied the claymation magic that made the monster, but after watching space marines fight acid-spraying xenomorphs in Aliens or seeing Godzilla stomp Tokyo concave, the fear you’d normally feel is far, far away.


Slaughterhouse, Lakeside, San Diego County

This cool little chopper hits the road red for fans that that demand large men with cutlery turning small ones into hamburger. Slaughterhouse, filmed in 1987 within Lakeside (also in the county of San Diego) is about a small business owner who goes insane when evil bankers threaten to take his property. Instead of filing a civil lawsuit he tells his muscle-bound, 300+ lb. mentally challenged son to turn the opposition into crimson coleslaw with anything heavy and choppy that will do the job.

While this movie is dreadfully acted, a little bit awful and rather low budget, the fact that Lakeside ended up in this bucket of gore is not surprising. A cyclopean, rural domain containing several bodies of water (including Lindo Lake and Lake Jennings), and vast stretches of brooding forests sliced into sections by running rivers, those deep, dark environs are also stalked by woodsmen who like it wild, scary and far from safety.

Rick Roessler, who also wrote Slaughterhouse, made a monster that transplanted the Inland Empire into the blood-streaked mausoleum of cinematic history while at the same time introducing a villain with a motivation more intricate and fathomable than, “I’m a killing machine.” If evil bankers were attacking and your kid was roughly the size, shape and mental intent of Jason Voorhees, wouldn’t it be fun seeing them end up like meat on a hook, instead of watching our politicians keep them off of it?


Hell Night, Redlands, San Bernardino County

Films about teenagers and co-eds going someplace awful to get brutally slaughtered one-by-one are a proud tradition in American horror. Whether it is camping near Silverlake or ending up in the wrong house in Texas where chainsaws are standard-issue, wacky kids are always going to somehow end up on a chopping block somewhere when it comes to entertaining the masses. Everyone appreciates it when someone improperly adventurous dies.

A group of teenagers are challenged to spend the night in a gigantic mansion, only to be murdered by the survivor of a massacre that happened there decades before. Filmed all over Southern California for a horror-hungry public who weren’t content just seeing Linda Blair possessed by the devil, Hell Night was made not only in Los Angeles and South Pasadena but also throughout the County of Redlands within the Inland Empire.

It’s unusual how the Inland Empire hosts so many movies about homicidal maniacs. When crazy meets cutlery, the blood usually flows if there are unaware victims nearby, and the screams sound better against the quiet, rough hills and suburban sprawl Redlands is heir too. Even the name of the place sounds lethal, as if the ground itself was carmine from slaughter. Someone needs to write a script for a slasher flick called Redlands.

"REDLANDS." Sounds like a title to me.

Hell Night is replete with affordable fears and fun kills, but watching one psycho just whack a bunch of young, dumb trespassers gets kind of lame, quick. I’m sure every foreboding, dilapidated mansion deserves a mass murder, but in an age of pepper spray, smartphones, MMA training, a proliferation of firearms and a militarized police force armed with APC’s, it is hard to imagine a lone suburban maniac successfully stabbing so many ignorant kids to death uncontested without anyone calling 911.


The Hills Have Eyes, Victorville, San Bernardino County

In 1977 a fun-loving family went camping in the desert, only to encounter a fiendish pack of violent, radioactive cannibals. Wackiness ensued. Wes Craven, the writer and director of this gritty, bloody beast, made cinematic history with an almost plausible story about a road trip gone so horribly wrong well before he created A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Shot in the brutal, rocky landscape anyone in Victorville can find if they wander into the wilderness miles from their backyard, it doesn’t take long for the film to fill you with fear as our hapless, lower middle-class family realizes they aren’t alone in the lonely, dusty hills they camped out in. By the violent end they are fighting for their lives against gruesome thugs that look like they wandered in from The Road Warrior.

Apart from the wonderful casting choice of using the big, bald, terrifying Michael Berryman as Pluto, the meanest-looking mutant in the movie (Berryman’s career is the envy of any professional…he’s also in The Devil’s Rejects, directed by the immortal Rob Zombie), some of the sorcery of this film is its realism. Anyone who has camped out in the boonies knows that there just has to be evil people out there, licking their chops, and they’d be your bogeyman, if unleashed.


The real horror, however, is observing the family debase themselves in an orgy of violence to beat their aggressors. As mom, dad and the kids start to get their murder on, too, there’s a feeling by the end of the creation that although the monsters have been fought and brutally beaten down, new ones have replaced them.


Inland Empire, Los Angeles County (?)

While David Lynch (the director of masterpieces such as Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Lost Highway) is always lurking on the bleeding edge of modern cinema, Inland Empire, created in 2006, has one very serious hang up: the film wasn’t made in the Inland Empire at all, despite its name.

While it is a psychological horror film (which means its more like Angel Heart or Psycho instead of Scream or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) about a young woman relentlessly pursued by an evil, murdering ghost haunting a cursed screenplay, Inland Empire should be called something else because it was made in Los Angeles, Hollywood and Poland. Imagine if Chinatown took place in Sacramento. It may as well be called Southern California, sans San Bernardino. Thanks a lot, Lynch.


Paranormal Activity, San Diego County

Unliving proof that low budget can still equal big box office bucks, 2007’s Paranormal Activity is a work replete with dread because of the fact the horror happens in a suburban home, not in a graveyard, mansion or mausoleum. Directed by Oren Peli and shot in the thriving metropolis of San Diego, the film contains scares anyone living in the modern era can relate to because the demonic nightmare happens in a seemingly normal house. When the familiar becomes frightening, nowhere feels safe.

A young couple is haunted by an evil spirit, eventually leading to insanity and murder. The documentary nature of it merges with the sensation that what you are seeing really happened, as supernatural occurrences surmount, dark shadows move in the corners, and something wicked comes their way until fear and madness gives way to gore. Pass the popcorn, please.

Let's just say after Poltergeist III the girl who played little Carol Anne was done with horror flicks.

Not that it’s the first time suburbia got it’s slay on in the cinema, but when Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg teamed up for Poltergeist (if a cute little blonde girl tells you, “They’re here,” leave), the fear came from having an electrically-charged sledgehammer of big-budget special effects pound your psyche into oblivion. By contrast, the more sedate Paranormal Activity has still waters that run deep, lulling you down into the calm before a corpse reaches up from the murk to drown you.

The young couple in the story doesn’t always see the unnatural darkness lurking dangerously behind them, but the audience does. As their doubt dies when they realize the terror is real, a small part of your mind wonders if this is film footage left over from a real demonic attack. The fact it takes place in a house like yours, instead of the skull-like domicile in The Amityville Horror, makes it uncertain if going home is safe at all.


Why aren’t there more horror films made in the Inland Empire? It has to be way cheaper than it is in Los Angeles or San Francisco. Wouldn’t you like to see a werewolf roaming the marble halls of the San Bernardino courthouse, or witness vampires feasting under a freeway overpass in Fontana? 

Here’s to hoping the Inland Empire has a cinematic future far ghastlier than before.


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Stranger Things 2 Autopsy, Part V - The Weird


INTRODUCTION & PREDICTIONS

We've all seen the brand new trailer for Stranger Things 3. As I've predicted, there is a full-blown possession with Billy. The rot has turned into black ooze, so there's going to be vampires and zombies and some serious body horror. The robotic, lantern jawed man wandering around with a pistol is certainly a reference to The Terminator. The giant blob of flesh, eyes and teeth that seems to be a physical threat in the form of a monster is not only a reference to The Thing, it's also a reference to a Gibbering Mouther from AD&D. This makes sense.

This movie is fuuuuuuuuucked up...

From Eleven's perspective, she's going through those physical changes that turn a child into an adult. This is why the body horror genre, which involves the transmogrification mutilation of flesh, is so important. We are used to our bodies. Attached to them. If our body becomes mutated, diseased, and horrifying, this is a terrible fear to face. Suddenly the horror has gone from being outside to within. Bodies merging with bodies (sex), strange fluids (puberty), the protean nature of our own flesh (becoming an adult) is all something that is happening to Eleven, and we can expect her world to reflect this factual nightmare.

You really, really don't want to fight a Gibbering Mouther. Or become a part of one.

MIRROR PEOPLE

My theory about Kali & Co. being a big illusion is that in their very first scene, all of them are living out some action sequence that Eleven would see on television at the time. They even have an A-Team type van. This initial sequence is a dream...Eleven's dream. When she meets Kali, all of the characters seem to be flipped and warped opposites of her friends back home, only their colors and sex have been flipped. It's like the Thessalhydra too everything it saw through Will, mixed it with Eleven's own dreams from watching too much TV, and then tried to tempt her into staying in Pittsburgh with another group of friends, so back home the portal could stay closed.

It knows she wants a family so offers her another.

This also explains the odd, dream logic of the episode that made everyone who watched it feel like it didn't seem to be in synch with the rest of the show. Kali and her crew exist in the psychosphere, the realm of dreams, the astral plane, The Upside Down, and Eleven almost got lost forever in there.

Check out the background, it's important.

SPIRITUAL (ADV)ISOR

When Kali and Eleven have their big moment where an illusion of her father is conjured to say very nasty things to his daughter (confirming the molestation theory), there is a big neon sign right behind them. "SPIRITUAL ADVISOR", it says, but certain letters don't work. This is not a mistake. The spiritual part is obvious...the ISOR part takes a little research.

I.S.O.R.

The first ISOR is an Indian institute dedicated to oilseeds research. Not very scary, but it is an Indian institution, and Kali is definately Hindi. Continuing with the research, disturbing results show up.

The next ISOR has to do with research into Game Theory. To give you an idea, Game Theory is simply the observation that there are different levels to any game, from board games to video games to economics and social darwinism. The trick is to look at the game from a perspective going beyond a mere player to see the real game being played, in order to avoid falling into an intellectual rut. ISOR is apparently another name for the university that discusses a lot of Game Theory.

Following Game Theory, Pee Wee Herman evolves and rises above it all. He's not a pawn, Pee Wee's a player.

Eleven really is doing this when she's working with Kali. Even the illusion of her father is simply facing her dark side, the whole reason she's angry, hurt and confused. This scene is pretty much the final evolution for Eleven. After that she realizes it is important to leave the group behind to save her friends back home.

Yet another ISOR relates to a research group that studies religion, identity and memory involving pedagogy, which I will explain later. ISOR is very interested in the interstitial nature of religion, culture and the meaning of life when it comes down to the individual in society. Religion? Identity? Memory? Reconstructing mental processes? Now you know why those neon letters are probably there. Eleven's mind needs fixing. Her primordial self can do the repairing.


The final ISOR relates to something called pedagogy. Basically, when dealing with people who have suffered serious mental trauma, there is a whole list of things you have to do to help them heal. ISOR is an investigative procedure for treating people who are having psychological problems, especially when the initial diagnoses and therapy has ceased to be effective. By searching the patient's background for former trauma by interactive dialogue with the patient, success (that is, healing) can be achieved.

Sounds like Kali talking to Eleven to fix her mental problem, to me.


DAD PROBLEM

I am now going to admit to you that when Eleven's father appears, there is strange, loopy writing scrolling down on the walls next to him. I can't tell what it says and don't know what it means. Sorry. Hey, at least I didn't try to fake it.

Kali and Eleven's father, a.k.a. Thessalar, the monster maker.

Moving on, the dark, lecherous nature Eleven's father exhibits (via Kali's ability to research a person's mind and produce images from inside of it...you know, kind of like a tulpa...) proves the theory that Eleven's father moonlighted as Chester the Molester. He even tries to use her sexual infringement against her...something child molester's often do when psychologically manipulating a victim into silence.

We get a lot of things from this meeting. First off, Kali points out that he is still alive. How does she know that? Second, Kali says that he not only claimed to be their father (claimed to be is a clue that he might not be Eleven's father) but seems to indicate that he is Kali's father. Why would she think that? Because she was at the facility and was raised by Eleven's father, too, or because she is Demogorgon, or at least the leftover energy of Demogorgon...a tulpa intentionally created to kill people Eleven hunted down.

Yes to the can, no to the cat.

Remember, Eleven refused to kill the cat in the first season, when we saw flashbacks of her experiences. Over the rainbow (The Rainbow Room) represents the creation of alters, splinter personalities. A monarch butterfly (The Monarch Program) conjured by Kali is a reminder of this procedure. Of course Kali feels like Eleven and her are sisters, and if her father created the tulpa to kill Russian spies he is Kali's father as well.

REINTEGRATION

Before I go further, I'd like to point out something. "El" is a term that means gods in general, or an assembly of gods (in the Bible gods and angels are the same). So the B'nai Elohim is sort of like congress. "Kali" is the title of a specific goddess. So saying Kali is like saying congresswoman. If El is the whole, Kali is part of that whole. It's like comparing the Senate to a specific senator within the organization.

Careful viewers noted that when Eleven banished the Demogorgon, energy seemed to flow out of it, dispersing into the atmosphere. Some even saw a small, spiritual figure inside the monster, reaching out to El. I cannot say for sure that my eyes are seeing the same thing as these people when watching that part. I just can't see a little glowing figure, although it's obvious energy is released from the exploding creation.

See the light? Why can't Eleven blow up people like that?

According to physics, energy is neither created nor destroyed, only although it can be dispersed and reintegrated. If Kali is a real person, my theory is destroyed. If she is Eleven's dark side, Kali certainly does a very Jungian job of helping Eleven face her own evil and overcome it...although Eleven rejects Kali in the process.

In the show Eleven kills people. However, there is a stark difference between hunting down and killing people just doing their job when they are not attacking her (like the worker Kali and Eleven hunt down, or the Russian spy) and killing people fighting you. Sure, Eleven killed people, but they had guns and had already murdered innocent people.

As above, so below.

Eleven realizes she doesn't want to kill the worker responsible for her mother's electrocution years later. Kali isn't very happy about this, and just when the argument comes to a head the police show up and everyone has to escape. Eleven leaves her, but she has faced her dark side and is a stronger person for it. Because she had a conversation with her shadow. Jung would be pleased.

If Kali is real, she's basically doing the job we've seen repeated in previous 80's films we've already discussed. Even Rey, in The Last Jedi, basically went into The Dark Side to realize she is a female clone created by Palpantine (uh, sorry, spoiler alert) just like he created Annakin (it's why you see many copies of her, until she faces a shadowy figure in a cloak that could only be Palpantine). Luke Skywalker went into the cave in Degobah to confront his dark side. He wasn't ready, and lost to Vader. Eleven confronted her own dark side, was ready, and beat the Thessalhydra.

"My possessed clone and cloned female copy shall rule the galaxy as father and daughter!"

THESSALAR

Remember what I said about the Lich Thessalar? He makes monsters. Kali say's he's her Papa, too. Eleven is a monster. She even said so. Her Papa made Kali by either by the same way he made Eleven, or he made Kali because she is the Doppleganger, the lost sister of Eleven, her splintered personality, make-believe friend that eventually became the Doppleganger...or just another girl that ended up with pyschic powers just like Eleven. Either way, the name sticks.

Is Papa still alive inside The Vale of Shadows? The Demogorgon jumped on him. It probably drained his blood, but never got a chance to teleport him and shove a tentacle into his mouth. Maybe he survived the loss of blood and is in the real world. Who knows what other monsters he's made?


BACKGROUND WORDS

Like we talked about earlier, what's going on in the background is very important. To really go over "The Lost Sister," a chapter everyone agrees is kind of odd, I went over every background glypho I could. There are a few I couldn't figure out. The ones that could be researched say very significant things about the scene.

O.P.T.

Appearing in the right hand corner at 8 minutes and 58 seconds into the episode. This is a psychological program for international students who want to treat American patients. Is this a hint of how Kali is going to treat Eleven? Hmmm...I dunno...kind of a stretch. Let's keep going.

A word is worth a thousand pictures.

LOLA

The crazy white girls with the bow in her head has a giant LOLA painted above at one point. What is Lola? Our Lady of Sorrows, a Spanish spirit that serves as an intermediary between this realm and the next, kind of like a Catholic version of the Voodoo loa (spirit, or god in Voodoo), Legba. Pretty thin, however, the spiritual and occult symbolism is there.


MENA

MENA appears over the head of another one of Kali's friends. A search of MENA indicated that it stands for Middle East and North Africa. The young woman in question obviously is that ethnicity, which is why it is there, to teach the audience that these random background letters are there for a reason.

KALI THE GODDESS

A picture of the goddess Kali can be seen above the staircase when she first appears. That is not much of a clue to her being a tulpa or anything, but it's still something in the background that tells us who someone is. Rather odd that Kali and Eleven both agree that she was a piece of her that was missing. Kali meets up with Eleven, and now feels whole. As if she is a piece of Eleven's puzzle. What did Eleven do to the Demogorgon in Season 1? She touched it on the shoulder when she was in The Upside Down. Kali touches Eleven on the shoulder when she's in The Upside Down, listening to the Sheriff.

"hel"

8:53 in, you also see "hel" in blue letters. This is the realm of the dead in Norse mythology, and is also a god of the dead in the same pantheon. Hel also means hidden in the same language. This glypho (I keep using that word instead of "glyph" for a reason) keeps showing up around the punk rock guy.

Symbolism. 

THE MOON – YESOD

The Moon features prominently in the night sky above when Eleven embraces Kali. In the Kabbalah, The Moon is Yesod, a sort of go between area after the material realm but before you get anywhere else. It's dark side in the Qlipoth (the opposite, evil twin of the Shepiroth in the Kabbalah) is Gamaliel, whose demon queen is Lilith. In other esoteric Western occult beliefs The Moon is the dwelling place of Maya, which is illusion.

O'BEDLAM

This phrase shows up a lot when Kali's friends are assembled. It means "of bedlam," as in these individuals are related to a place. Bedlam is a word that can mean Pandemonium. This word can also mean Hades, Hell, i.e. The Underworld. So these characters are basically of the dead. They're ghosts.

"PAWN." Who's the player controlling the pieces?

PAWN

This term appears over Kali's head in one scene in blue and red letters. Why put that there? I thought that place was a factory? Why is it also a pawn shop? That word is there to tell you Kali is a pawn. Eleven is in a trap. She's being tempted by a new family to give in to her dark side and hunt down people to murder them, just like Demogorgon in the last season. If she stays there, she can't close the portal. Kali is just another tentacle on the Thessalhydra, following orders. Just like when you are playing a video game, the monsters you face are just pawns to the machine.

It's all in the mind.

BARBELITH, KING MOB AND GRANT MORRISON

At this point I've jackhammered my tulpa theory to undeath, I'd like to point out two glyphos tagged on the wall when Eleven walks in on Kali's crew. They both appear at the same time, they are both important, and they both relate to the same story and person: Grant Morrison.

Aside from writing more comics than you can shake a hookah at, Grant Morrison is also a practicing occultist, specializing in something many of us old skool occult types kind of hate called "Chaos Magic," which is basically an anything goes kind of approach to magic where instead of sticking with Voodoo, LeVay Satanism, Freemasonry, Goetic or even Thelmanic, a person using anything they can to summon the arcane forces of whatever, using anything available, from mythology to film, television and comic books.

Barbelith, The Invisibles.

This arcane history of Morrison is important to what happens next. The two words written on the wall that are important in The Lost Sister are "Berbelith" and "King Mob. " Each are two words written by one man that could only come from him and are from the same comic books series, The Invisibles.

To explain the comic book The Invisibles to you would take a stack of books on the occult and 23 hours. Simply put the comic series, published by Vertigo comics (DC's dark side), is about an organization of anarchistic, rebellious, iconoclastic occultists who are trying to destroy an evil occult group that runs the world, all the while trying to usher in a New Age so indescribable anyone who sees it can't even fathom the nature of it. Whatever this glorious future is, the bad guys employ evil magic to keep it from happening. The comic book is about that conflict as it ranges across the planet and even time.

Grant Morrison

King Mob is a character in that comic, and even Morrison has admitted that the character is him. In an interview with Disinfo.com the writer talks about how over time, he became the character. He also has mentioned that in real life, he has met a tulpa of this character, i.e. a realistic double of an imaginary being, as mentioned in the works of Blavatsky. Hell, even the creators of Superman admitted to meeting the character in real life, so Morrison is not alone.

So King Mob is an imaginary being created by a person who has described the character as a tulpa. Where it gets more complicated is that while Stranger Things 2 takes place in the Orwellian year of 1984, The Invisibles wasn't released until 1994...ten years later. That's a decade. The person who wrote that on the wall wouldn't be able to in 1984 because the term DIDN'T EXIST YET.

That's just one reference. However, Berbelith is another that connects to The Invisibles. It's one thing to have a single reference, but two? That's a clue to the audience that the choice is not an accident, because I'm pretty sure The Duffer Brothers don't get paid big bucks to fuck up.

Berbelith is a stranger symbol created by Morrison, although it is really supposed to be, brace yourself, a massive satellite hidden behind the Earth's moon that looks like a gigantic pink fake boob. Each of the important characters in The Invisibles sees it. The term even appears on a wall in the astral plane at one point as a character experiences an epiphany.

What's spookier is that Morrison has said that he came up with the term in a dream. He saw it written on a wall in his sleep and decided to use it. Berbelith is a term that does exist, though, but what it represents in the comic is a positive, feminine force, guiding each of the characters, as well as humanity, into a new evolution and a better future.

Barbelith is a combination of two names, Barbelo, a goddess of thought in Gnosticism, and Lilith, a dark goddess of magic in Wicca and other occult disciplines. Lilith is also a dimension overlapping our own in Jewish Kabbalah. This makes sense because in The Invisibles, characters only see Barbelith in a dream. Morrison claimed he saw the name in a dream. So Eleven was dreaming, which is why she saw it.

King Mob & Co.

Remember, Stranger Things is about other dimensions. You are used to four, three dimensional space (which you can travel around a perceive), and time (which you can only travel in one direction, forwards, while perceiving the dimension in only one direction, backwards). The fifth dimension, which occultists simply call the astral plane (Eleven would probably refer to it as The Upside Down), is the imagination. Dreams, day dreams, fantasies...to the occult this takes place in a dimension beyond space and time, connected by all minds. Sort of like the Internet.

Yes, it sounds crazy, but we are talking about the occult. So a 1994 reference (or two) in a 1984 story line would make sense...if it took place on the astral plane. Otherwise "King Mob" and "Barbelith" are rather unique in that they are artificial words made up by a person ten years later, which means the words couldn't exist in real life.

By the way, O'Bedlam is also a character in The Invisibles.


CHARLES LEDBETTER

Here is something worth mentioning in reference to the Demogorgon, Kali and King Mob. When I mention, "the occult" I'm referencing a pattern of beliefs constantly repeated in books written on the subject by hundreds of individuals across hundreds of years, even up until today. One of these books is Theosophical Manual No. 5, The Astral Plane, It's Scenery, Inhabitants and Phenomena, by Charles Ledbetter.

A heavy read that is no joke to think through, the book describes many different supernatural subjects, what happens when you die, what happens when you are dead and everyone forgets about you completely (it ain't pretty...), vampires, necromancers, ghosts, graveyard hauntings, angels and artificial elementals.

An artificial elemental is not like a person. It is something created by a person, whether it is intentional or not. So far we have not seen another Demogorgon, like the one encountered by Eleven in The Upside Down, the deep black space in her head that is separate from The Vale of Shadows. The Pollywogs looked like the Demogorgon for a reason...they come from the same source but are related to humans.

What happened to the Russian spy? Did he end up like Barbara?

Remember, Eleven's evil scientist father couldn't get her to kill living things. So he made a split personality that became Demogorgon to kill the Russian spy. After that, Eleven was forced to make contact with this demon from inside her mind...and the resulting shock opened a portal into the place where it came from, causing the creature to appear in our world. To Theosophy, it's an unconscious artificial elemental.

These things can be good or bad, but the bad ones are terrible in that once freed from their creator, they will go about trying to exist by basically terrorizing people and eating their life force...kind of like the Demogorgon, Eleven's personal demon, ended up doing. Kali is that artificial elemental, according to my tulpa theory, and she's trying to get back to Eleven. How?


ELEVEN VERSUS THE THESSALHYDRA

Look at "The Lost Sister" this way, now that you know more about The Shining, the occult, and psychic powers in Stranger Things. Eleven sees a picture of a girl. The girl is in her memory. It's just an image. We have no proof Kali is that exact girl. The opening sequence in the show, where Kali and co. escape from the cops, is a dream Eleven is having, formed from a strange mish-mosh of the TV shows she's watching.

Eleven gets off the bus and wanders around until she gets to an empty warehouse. She hallucinates everything, changes her clothes, hair, makeup etc. and then has a mental epiphany. Kali tempts her into wandering around lost and crazy. Eleven resists her dark side, resists going crazy and probably dying of a brain aneurism, and then gets back on the bus. The Thessalhydra controlled Demogorgon just like it controlled the remaining energy that became Kali.


"YOU'RE ALL DEAD..."

As Eleven strolls down the Hades-like path to where Kali is, a random, crazy homeless person is yelling "You're all dead." If Eleven fell asleep on the bus, and her soul is free to travel in the astral plane, or psychosphere (the realm of dreams, imagination and higher truths, like numbers and symbols) it makes sense she'd get a warning along the way. When Eleven first meets Kali's mates, they are scary, mean people, who steal money and kill individuals Eleven wouldn't. Kind of like ghosts. Or demons.

"WE WERE DEAD..."

The characters around Kali act odd. Aside from the words all around that tell us these people are dead, in the realm of the dead, and are now haunting Eleven's imagination, they talk about how they were dead until Kali found them.

In spiritualism there is an understanding that just as humans are basically flesh batteries for electrical charges the people used to call spirits, spirits can stick around and amplify themselves by sticking together, like oil in water, bacteria, and other microscopic life. The Bible even talks about a spirit reinforcing itself with others like it before going back to possess a person. A powerful spirit will dominate lesser spirits, allowing it to function.


BACK TO LOVECRAFT

Never forget a source material for Stranger Things...H.P. Lovecraft. This means that the Duffer Brothers are taking angels, demons, Hell, monsters and spiritual possession and repackaging the whole nightmarish affair for a materialistic, rational, atheist, scientific reader, just like Lovecraft. While the kids use AD&D imagery and the adults use scientific thought to figure out what in the Hades they are encountering, it's worth noting that other that randomly scream, "Jesus Christ!" none of the character turn to spiritualists to figure out the problem, even when Will gets possessed by the Devil or something.

All in the mind. Notice the golden ray of light, indicating telepathy. The film poster is that color for a reason.

So Demogorgon is a demon...repackaged as something horrific out of Eleven's head, made flesh by an arcane, pseudo-scientific process. Kali is a ghost, trying to tempt Eleven into doing evil things and not closing the portal into where the Thessalhydra dwells. The entity possessing Will is nothing like the demon Pazzuzu possessing Regan in The Exorcist. Instead, Will's personality change is more like memory loss and brain damage.

We are never going to know for sure in Stranger Things when we encounter the classic horror movie monsters you and I grew up with. Vampires, demons, spiritual possession and ghosts are going to end up like the hauntings in The Shining, where it's not specters, it's mass telepathy, though time and space. When Jack Nicholson walks into The Gold Room, and then into the bathroom to talk to the phantom waiter, everything he sees and experiences is an illusion, much in the same way Eleven does in Chicago. It's the Thessalhydra, shining at her, using Kali (an evil spirit/split personality) and Will (he's unconscious when she's unconscious, so it's a mental assault somewhat like Dream Master).

Why make contact with it?

"IT'S A TRAP!"

When Mike appears to Eleven, he yells his line, which is a reference to Empire Strikes Back. This line is repeated to Eleven twice. Why? Because one trap is what he and his friends are in. The other is Eleven's. Notice how Kali even interrupts communications between Eleven and her friends. Eleven is trapped by a demon, and her attachment to Mike saves her.

WHO/WHAT IS KALI?

If I am wrong about Kali than she'll show up in Stranger Things 3 and other characters will see and interact with each other. I have a feeling that instead, Eleven is going to once again end up being separate from her friends when she hangs out with Kali.

Jungian psychology for the females.

Even if all the references written on the walls in the abandoned warehouse Kali is dwelling in are just random, it does not matter. Kali can be real and still represent mythical, literary archetypes and Jungian concepts of a psychological dark side that allows Eleven to overcome her abusive background and take on Thassalhydra. The Duffer Brothers don't have to explain everything because it's supposed to be unknown anyhow, to properly reference it's source material, Mr. Lovecraft.

If Kali was a splinter personality of Eleven's created to kill people that was made flesh by a psychic electromagnetic pulse (a strange gestalt of many conspiracy theories, from The Monarch Program to MKULTRA to The Philadelphia Experiment to The Montauk Project) which eventually lost it's body but haunted her former creator (Eleven) to the point of momentary delusion, we'll probably never know for certain.

"Double, double, toil and trouble..."

Many will believe that Kali is real because of her photograph. According to the occult, evil spirits can pretend to be a anybody in someone's memory, and masquerading as a photograph of a person you know can be done. Eleven's mother seeing Kali in her memory along with Eleven? We don't know if she's looking at Kali or Eleven (Eleven's mom completely ignores Kali), so it's as if the image has been injected into the memory artificially. Aside from a bad photo and someone else's bad memory, we don't see a single flashback from Eleven's memory proving Kali's existence.

Her make-believe friend.

Also, Eleven hasn't seen Kali since her young childhood. Since there were at least eleven children involved in the Hawkins lab experiments, it is reasonable to conclude that they are all dead. Kali could be a ghost. Or she could be real, hiding out someplace, while the Demogorgon presumes her identity (in the same way the Thessalhydra pretends to be Will) and attempts to trick Eleven into being an evil person that kills people, which is what the government tried to mind control her into doing, anyhow.

The government mind control conspiracy theories touched upon by The Duffer Brothers are important to recognize, and the background imagery, words and clues wouldn't exist unless they were important.

Her make-believe friend.

IN SUMMARY

If I am wrong about Kali, she will appear in the flesh in season 3 and socialize with the other characters. That might be the case, and that's OK because the symbolism is still there and consistent with 80's film concepts regarding the Hegelian Dialectic and enlightenment via a conservation with the shadow. This is also a reference to Dr. Carl Jung and the writings of Joseph Campbell, who in turn influenced films like Star Wars

The Duffer Brothers continued their pattern of referencing source material from the 80's to form a film pastiche that is both the old and the new, horrifying the audience with monsters, psychic powers and conspiracy theories, while at the same time telling a tale that is very new. As before, the second season took occult material and overlapped it with science and child-like observations and logic.

Nobody talked about the occult or the supernatural. The show is still grounded securely in H.P. Lovecraft's godless, materialistic, scientifically-minded philosophies by showing us the terrors of The Unknown while at the same time avoiding a precise definition of the supernatural. We can expect more of the same from season 3.