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Angels watching over me

The book on Dr. John Dee's communication with angels featured in the new show "Requiem" on Netflix.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – I was a bit of a strange kid. Back in the early 80’s, when most of my friends dressed up for Halloween in costumes relating to Star Wars, horror movies or the standard ghost-witch-vampire-mummy variety, I was just a little … off.

It was on October 31, 1983 that I showed up for a neighborhood trick-or-treating party, there in the waning autumn light in Little Rock, Arkansas, that I arrived to the group wearing old jeans, a T-shirt, windbreaker, hat and a backpack. When I was asked what I was dressed as I responded: “I’m a runaway from Fort Wayne, Indiana.”

Fort Wayne, Indiana?

I had never been to that city in the northwestern corner of the Hoosier State. And yet it resonated with me, somehow. I would eventually end up in Fort Wayne, Indiana while on tour with a Christian song-n-skit group I was a member of in 1989-90. I recall buying the cassette single of the song "Pure" by the British indie-pop group The Lightning Seeds, a band name inspired by a line in Prince's 1985 hit "Raspberry Beret."

Anyway, Fort Wayne came up again a couple of months ago when I went to Stilwell, Oklahoma to attend the Oklahoma Bigfoot Symposium. I had gone to college in nearby Siloam Springs, Arkansas and took the highway to Stilwell. Stilwell, is named after 19th century railroad promoter Arthur Stilwell, who quite openly told people about his regular communications with the spirit world. They gave him advice - and warnings - on a regular basis.

Dumpster welcoming visitors to Strawberry Capital of Oklahoma - Stilwell. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

But before reaching that small town I came across a roadside marker noting that “Battle of Old Fort Wayne” that took place between Stilwell and Siloam Springs on October 22, 1862 during some trans-Mississippi skirmishes during the American Civil War. There had been a U.S. Army fort called “Fort Wayne” in the 1840’s, which was shuttered after a few years due to malaria outbreaks in that area.

This was, of course, on the line of 94 degrees west longitude, which I was investigating and writing a book about. I had never heard of this “Fort Wayne” and was intrigued. I went on to Stilwell and covered the Bigfoot festival as planned. This “Fort Wayne” synchronicity was odd to me.

Flashforward to a few nights ago. In this dream, two significant things happen. First, I am in an SUV with a family member and he is driving fast around hairpin curves through a dark forest on a narrow, country road. I realize at one point we are going to crash into the trees, he is driving so fast. And while it is not a catastrophic crash, as I expected, damage is done to the vehicle. Thankfully, no one is hurt, as we nearly go into a body of water. I remember thinking how amazing it was that we missed all of the big trees on our path through the dark forest.

The dream morphs into a scene with what looked like me – dressed as I was that Halloween night nearly 35 years earlier – and I am in a sleeping bag, zipped up (like the “smiling death bag” in Twin Peaks) and thrown into a body of water. I’m thrashing about and can’t seem to escape. And yet, I was able to somehow escape, even though I was without oxygen for quite a while. It was as though, like Harry Potter, I was “the boy who lived.”

And you know, I do believe in angels. I felt as though an angelic presence rescued me in that dream … keeping me alive.

Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he,” Clarence the Angel (Henry Travers) says in the Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life, where Clarence saves George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) after he tries to commit suicide by jumping into a river. Bailey survives and does great things for his family and his town - thanks to angelic intervention.

Reminds me of something I recall happening in my front yard at the age of 7. My school friend Brooke Buckley (there’s that surname again!) and her mother had come over to my house, mainly to meet with my mom. For some reason, my gaze was drawn to Mrs. Buckley’s car, parked on the street in front of our house. And between two pines (twin pines?) an “angelic being” made itself known, before almost instantaneously vanishing.

I, of course, was stunned. But then I had felt “protected” during my childhood, by an angel I named Carrie. I felt she “came from a star” I could see from my bedroom window – a window that faced the front yard and where those twin pines were where the angel had appeared.

I note this in light of the fantastic, six-part British supernatural drama Requiem (highly recommended by Christopher Knowles at The Secret Sun). In the serial, a brilliant London cellist named Matilda Gray (Lydia Wilson) who begins questioning her past following the suicide of her mother.

In Requiem, Matilda tries to make sense of things - from her mother's death, to her own past. (Netflix)

As Matilda begins to dig deeper, she learns more about her mother, who seems somewhat connected to the mysterious disappearance of a four-year old girl named Carys Powell, in the Welsh village of Penllynith.

Matilda, accompanied by her musician friend Hal Fine (Joel Fry), go to Wales to learn more, ending up staying at a creepy old mansion where the estate ends up in the hands of a pretty-boy Aussie Nick Dean (James Frecheville) who inherited it from an uncle who suddenly died.

When Matilda and Hal try to find a place to stay, Nick – seemingly overwhelmed by the estate – the spooky story of Requiem really begins to take hold, with strange sounds, voices, and gothic horror overtones are the order of the day.


I was reminded of a number of other films and TV series’ that seemed to inspire Requiem, from Peter Wier’s Picnic at Hanging Rock to Twin Peaks to Supernatural and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. And while I won’t spoil it for you by revealing too many details, the Enochian inquries by Queen Elizabeth I’s court magician and alchemist, Dr. John Dee, plays a major role in what unfolds at the manor and with key characters in the serial. The Monas Hieroglyphica glyph that Dr. Dee created was said to represent the unity of the cosmos and also represent the "the moon, the sun, the elements, and fire."

This glyph image shows up repeatedly in Requiem as the story advances and Matilda begins to realize that Dr. Dee's glyph and strange happenings in this remote, Welsh village are linked. And have a lot to do with angels and secret, occult ceremonies. It starts to take on a Rosemary's Baby quality at a certain point.

This book on John Dee's "Enochian" works falls on the floor and attracts Matilda's attention in Requiem. (Netflix)

Something that got my attention in the show was the setting of Spring 1994. That was a very interesting spring. I was a college dropout living in Grand Rapids, Michigan, working at a vegetarian restaurant and hanging out in record stores whenever I could.

I was getting into the Britpop sound of that period, particularly Blur, who would release their most Brit-friendly record, the brilliant pop gem Parklife, that May.

But the focus is on March of 1994. That is important. Why? Because where I was living at the time, in western Michigan, a series of UFO incidents had been taking place along Lake Michigan, baffling witnesses and investigators alike. The Muskegon Chronicle had some fascinating front-page articles about the UFO sightings at the time. I still have the clippings.

One night, my friend Erik, Michael and a few lady friends would pile into two cars and drive to Holland, Michigan, on the Lake Michigan coast, in search of UFOs. Kind of like Gram Parsons and Keith Richards some 20 years earlier out in Joshua Tree, California.

Interestingly, in Requiem, the investigating police officer is named "Graves." (Google Images)

So, while the fictional events in Requiem are taking place in March 1994, my very real and very weird UFO sighting is about to take place.

We go out on this chilly evening – right as winter was changing to spring – and wait on the dark, sandy beach for a UFO to show up. Or something to rise out of the lake, confirming what so many people had seen or caught on radar at the airport.

Alas, we were out there for several hours. Smoking, talking. Watching. And yet – nothing.

Eventually we got tired and began our drive back to Grand Rapids. That’s when things got weird. As we drove through a rural area between Holland and Grand Rapids, near Hudsonville, Erik and I see what looks like an eerily glowing, pink, egg-shaped UFO. It was traveling pretty rapidly from southwest to northeast, roughly in the direction of Grand Rapids, as it was. And the direction the lights had taken before, as noted in the above newspaper article from that time.

Erik immediately pulled over as did the other car in our caravan. The other driver was yelling and pointing to the sky. We were seeing something very strange and otherworldly in the air above us. We had no idea what to make of it as it buzzed away, spooking us all.

I recall all of us getting back to Grand Rapids and staying up in Michael’s house talking about what we had just seen and what we would do. I did eventually call the police department in Hudsonville and made a report. The officer/dispatcher reluctantly confirmed that others had seen “something” in the skies over their town.


So, as I noted earlier, the Britpop band Blur, led by singer Damon Albarn (also of Gorillaz), became obsessed with Dr. John Dee (and I was getting obsessed with the music of Blur in the Parklife era, when the Britpop battles between Blur and Oasis were percolating), going as far as recording a pastoral opera of sorts called Dr Dee in 2011. The accompanying opera was called Dr Dee: An English Opera. It received very good reviews at the time. Originally, Albarn had sought to do a Dr. Dee opera project with noted magus and artist Alan Moore. That project did not work out.

Note Dee's Monas Hieroglyphica symbol, said to represent the "unity of the cosmos." (Google Images)

As I noted in a May 23, 2012 Dust Devil Dreams post titled "Damon Albarn, 'Dr Dee' and what may lie ahead for the Olympics and beyond," I wrote about the then-upcoming 2012 London Olympics and the symbolism I was picking up on.

Recall that the 2012 London Olympics, now six years past, had a logo that looked like the word "ZION." And recall that William Blake's poem/hymn "Jerusalem" (aka "And did those feet in ancient time") is an English national anthem. I noted that all in my piece "The 2012 Summer Olympics - More than meets the 'eye'?" Blur would perform a huge concert at Hyde Park in London at the conclusion of the London Olympics. An Olympics featuring its own weird, one-eyed mascots Mandeville and Wenlock, which I wrote about exactly six years ago, here at Dust Devil Dreams.

I should note that Dr. John Dee's incredible, angelic-inspired knowledge played a great role in expanding the British empire, from the 17th century forward. Also, it is interesting, as Christopher Knowles writes at The Secret Sun, that the symbolism and timing connected to yesterday's opening of a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem - which led to massive protests and riots, and the death of over 50 people - is another piece to this End Times puzzle.

IWrites Knowles: "I mean, I already pegged the Embassy as the de facto Third Temple but seeing these old friends from the Heavens is too much."

One-eyed, London Olympics mascots, Mandeville and Wenlock. Viewed on a certain portion of the light spectrum. (File photo)

And with Blur being a Blair-era Britpop band that embraced their English heritage - as Albarn clearly does as evidenced in his songwriting and singing style - I was fascinated with Albarn's public embrace of the occult and wanting to "open portals," not unlike Dee and rocket scientist Jack Parsons, who is getting his own TV series in short order - Strange Angel, based on George Pendle's book of the same name (which I reviewed here in 2016). Parsons wanted to - and may have - opened portals to other worlds ... 

As I wrote at the time: "And as Albarn told the London Guardian in April, Dr Dee is less a straightforward story about Dee’s life than it is “an evocation of a very English mysticism that Albarn’s songs project on to the country of today. His intention, he says, is to ‘sing about the past, but feel it in the present.’”

But back to the / New York magazine interview. Here’s where Albarn starts getting to the mystical nitty-gritty: “It’s not enough just to read about Dee. A lot of what he was into was so essentially esoteric that you’ve got to understand a bit of kabbalah, you’ve got to understand hermetica, you’ve got to understand old-church Catholic, you’ve got to understand Sufism, you’ve got to understand voodoo. ‘Understand’ meaning understand where they are coming from – I’m not an expert on any of them. I’m very interested. I certainly know a lot more than I did, but I’m not yet quite able to open portals to different realities.”

Nitsuh Abebe responds: “That’ll be two projects down the line.”

Replies Albarn: “Okay, then. I’m working on it.”

Wonder if Mr. Albarn has any updates for us that he would like to share? Is he scrying? Using Enochian language to break through? I bet at the very least he is a fan of Requiem.

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About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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