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Cassandra's burden (Things fall apart)

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Yesterday, a family member living in another state called me, asking me what it was I needed. They said I had called twice and left a message repeating the word “hello?”

I explained that I had not called, that I was out of the office at the time they said the calls were made – both within minutes of each other. This family member was convinced it was my voice.

It was very strange, I will admit. No number showed up, they said, noting it was from a “private number.” What to make of it?

What was weird is that it reminded me of some of the writings of paranormal investigator John A. Keel, who, during his investigations in West Virginia into the “Mothman” would tell of strange calls received by people he knew saying that Keel had called them. He had not, even though the caller was a dead ringer for Keel, over the phone anyway. 

In Keel’s case, clearly he was getting too close to uncovering the truth about the nature of UFOs, aliens and their link to the manipulative and puzzling “Superspectrum" and he was repeatedly harassed for knowing too much, as the notorious "Men in Black" warned.

There have been a number of alleged "Mothman" sightings in the Chicago, Illinois area that has gotten my attention. They seemed to begin this past spring. 

Now, I'm not currently involved in any big investigation on that level. I've only reviewed a number of Keel's books in the past few months, including the famous Mothman Prophecies.

The "prophecies" in the title allude to the appearance of the Mothman in and around Point Pleasant, West Virginia for a hair-raising 13 months prior to the December 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge, which spanned the Ohio River. Keel's 1975 book was turned into a supernatural thriller in 2002, with Richard Gere starring as Washington Post reporter John Klein, who is drawn into the Mothman mystery which involve circumstances similar to those that were observed by locals and reported by Keel many years earlier.

That 13 month period ... could that mean that the sightings in the Chicago area mean that the appearances of Mothman are leading to a time 13 months in the future? I think the first appearances were reported in April. So, that would mean May 2018, right? I certainly hope nothing happens. 

For the synchromystic-minded among us, many can point to certain "predictions" people made in the weeks, months and years before the attacks of September 11, 2001. The strange things reported by many people in that period of time, just as people here in Oklahoma City saw strange things going on in and around the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in the weeks and months prior to the bombing that killed 168 people, including many children.

And in Keel's time, the Superspectrum, as he preferred to call it, was sending "otherworldly" messengers to warn people of coming, historical tragedies, from the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. and the deaths of NASA's Apollo astronauts, among other major incidents of the 1960's and 70's. 

In ancient Greek mythology, the myth of Cassandra is key. She was a beautiful woman in Troy who caught the eye of the god Apollo (there's that name again!). However, Cassandra did not welcome the Greek god's advances, even though he had given her the gift of prophecy. Angered by her unwillingness to be with him, Apollo cursed Cassandra with the gift of foreknowledge, except that when she tried to warn people, they would not believe her.

As a result, the Greeks entered Troy in a large wooden horse. And despite Cassandra's frantic warnings about the Greeks' intentions, no one believed her - and Troy fell when the Greeks poured out of the (gift) horse. And Cassandra would later suffer a sad fate. She could do nothing. This gave way, in the mid-20th century, to the Cassandra complex or syndrome, where people offer valid claims that something bad will happen but the person is not believed.


Scene in 12 Monkeys, showing cover of USA Today (with David Morse and Christopher Plummer) (Universal Pictures)

So, over Halloween I couldn’t help but notice a photo making the rounds showing actor Bruce Willis, along with Willis’s assistant, dressed as one of the Grady Twins from The Shining. It's one of my favorite films. And the numbers "237" are the digits on my license plate. It's a classic supernatural horror film, involving a boy whose doomed family moves to a remote Colorado hotel. The boy, Danny, can "shine," or he has telepathic abilities, and also terrifying premonitions. He is like a young Cassandra, of sorts.

Anyway, I note Bruce Willis because his role in the 1995 Terry Gilliam-directed film 12 Monkeys keeps coming up of late. Not only was it turned into a TV series, but it has become part of the popular culture because one can throw out a line from the film - one with many memorable lines - and someone will likely know what I'm referencing, as I found out recently at an Afghan Whigs show in Dallas, which I noted here.

That gig was the same day that reports came out of rock n' roll pioneer Fats Domino's death. And before the show, the Whigs' crew played only Fats Domino songs, including "Blueberry Hill," the autumn 1956 chart-topper that Bruce Willis's character, time-traveler James Cole, notes when he goes back in time to 1996 and comments how much he loves the music of the 20th century as "Blueberry Hill" plays on the car radio. 

I've noted this scene a number of times. It resonates with me, because I sense we are heading into a very, very dark time and that while there are a few folks and sources out there warning about potential future disasters, most of it is lost in the din or ignored, much like Cassandra. The example of Cassandra is noted in 12 Monkeys by the psychiatrist who is kidnapped by Cole. 

Because in Cole's mid-21st century future, people live underground, the few that are left alive after a plague was unleashed on the world in 1996 and spread around the world by a crazed scientist (played by David Morse, in image above) who wants the Earth to be completely free of human beings. 

This map shows the spread of the virus to nearly every continent, beginning in Philadelphia and ending in Beijing. (Wikimedia Commons)

I (once again) thought of the story of 12 Monkeys following a story I saw reporting about a plague - similar to the one in the film - that rapidly spreads, killing millions.

Reports the British tabloid the Daily Star: “Madagascar's health system has been plunged into crisis by a lethal airborne plague that can kill people in just 24 hours.

The rather alarmist stories in the Daily Star reportage are, well, alarming. This is known as a Black Death plague, or pneumonic plague that is rapidly spreading in cities on the island nation of Madagascar, and the African mainland is concerned that this disease, spread by bodily fluids (sneezing, coughing, etc.), will spread in other African cities and spread from there. It apparently can kill victims in three hours and antibiotics are not working.

As reported today at the UK Daily Mail: “Professor Johnjoe McFadden, a molecular geneticist at Surrey University, said that the plague is 'scary' and is predominantly a 'disease of the poor.'

McFadden also said: 'It's a crisis at the moment and we don't know how bad it's going to get.'

Professor McFadden added: 'It's a terrible disease. It's broadly caused more deaths of humans than anything else, it's a very deadly pathogen.”


It seems that southern Africa is suddenly back in the international news, particularly Zimbabwe, where a military coup allegedly ousted longtime dictator Robert Mugabe. Mugabe's horrid wife, Grace, escaped to neighboring South Africa, a country led by President Jacob Zuma.

Speaking of Zuma, Elon Musk's SpaceX is launching a super-secret satellite into space tomorrow called "Zuma." It is not clear what the name is a reference to, but this rock fan is reminded of the Neil Young and Crazy Horse album Zuma, released on November 10, 1975 - the very same day the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in a terrific storm on Lake Superior, causing the deaths of all 29 crewmembers. Fellow Canadian (also from Ontario) Gordon Lightfoot would write and record a moving ballad about the sinking of that ore boat - "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" - in 1976.

Dig that wild album art! And that pyramid! (Reprise Records)

Also, regarding Zimbabwe, the U.S. has inexplicably allowed elephant trophies to be imported from Zimbabwe and neighboring Zambia. 

And then note today's Google Doodle, featuring Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, whose birthday was today. He would have been 87 today. He is known for the great African novel from 1958 titled Things Fall Apart, a phrase that has been coming up of late, although unrelated to Mr. Achebe's work.

And on this day, when murder mastermind Charles Manson is close to death, I note a report in the UK Mirror, which says a "reputable" psychic named Craig Hamilton-Parker has emphasized some pretty alarming stuff predicted for 2018, including a "world flu epidemic" and multiple "chemical"-focused terror attacks. 

We suspect 2018 will be another one of those "wild" years that people will talk about for years to come. You don't need a crystal ball to predict that.

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About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

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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