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On the right track (tin can)

Sticks River / Planet Weird
The "tin can" on the ground of the cave the 2019 documentary "Hellier."
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OKLAHOMA CITY – My friend Louis Fowler, a regular contributor to this website, long ago told me that someday in the future, when I look over my many synchromystic ravings here at Dust Devil Dreams, that previously unrecognized patterns would emerge.

That really stuck with me, as I think Louis has many, many gifts of thoughtful insight and discernment and a unique perspective on the human condition in general.

In fact, Louis began writing for me some years ago after I read an article he wrote for the Oklahoma Gazette on the local chapter of the O.T.O. Not exactly run-of-the-mill fare, right?

And while Red Dirt Report has been keeping a lower profile of late, due to my ongoing, synchromystic investigation of the late Arthur E. Stilwell and high strangeness that coincides with his famous railroad, the Kansas City Southern, Louis has been there, always willing to offer his thoughts and suggestions – and in an entirely honest way – which I absolutely appreciate.

Anyway, I mention it because I finally finished watching Hellier, the Planet Weird, five-part documentary series that focuses on the sync-laden investigation into alleged “goblins” harassing a family in far southeastern Kentucky, deep in Appalachian coal country.


Hellier investigator Karl Pfeiffer in the captivating new documentary of the same name. (Sticks River / Planet Weird)

The team, consisting of Greg Newkirk, Dana Newkirk, Karl Pfeiffer and Connor James Randall, spend a week or so in and around Hellier, Kentucky talking to locals, poking around in government offices and wandering the hilly, remote countryside looking for answers. Are there “goblins”? Did the person who initially contact them in 2012 with these strange tales actually exist?

I won’t give too much away – Hellier is gripping stuff, y’all – and it inspired me to up my own investigative game, because we know that the “paranormal and the trickster” are essentially one and the same, as George P. Hansen so eloquently reminds us in his classic book of the same name.

So much of what they did and tried to uncover reminds me of my own research on The Stilwell Enigma, particularly when I was in Scammon, Kansas, Stilwell, Kansas, Stilwell, Oklahoma, Mena, Arkansas, and multiple locations in eastern and southeastern Texas, all on that ley line that has been beckoning me for decades now. America's spine of high weirdness. 

2018 Oklahoma Bigfoot Symposium in Stilwell, Oklahoma. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

So, while watching the final episodes of Hellier, where the team enters a long-abandoned-and-forgotten coal train entrance somewhere near the equally forgotten burg of Hellier, they are shocked to find a tin can lying on the ground near the entrance. A sign from the spirit world reminding them they are on the right track. This is because earlier, when Hellier investigator Connor James Randall is using his “spirit box” method to communicate with whatever was inhabiting the Hellier area, an unusual thing occurred: an image of a tin can appeared in his mind – the very same tin can that they would come upon a few days later in the mine entrance – on an old, primitive coal rail line, of course! (A common theme for me – rails, tracks, liminal areas …)

I emphasize “tin can” because that phrase was something I emphasized in my “On the border” post two days ago – a post that is still making sync waves, at least for me. (I have been besieged, for some reason, with emailed coupons from the On the Border restaurant for several days now!). And yes, something unusual appeared in the sky when I was there having lunch. It's a crossroads, near a rail line. Not unlike in Clarksdale, Mississippi last October, as I profiled in my Robert Johnson-heavy sync piece "Last Train to Clarksdale."

This is not the "crossroads" that had the impact on me. It was actually about a mile away. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

In that post, referencing the research of Trevor James Constable, I noted that Constable’s unconventional take on the UFO phenomenon, at the height of the “contactee” era (which I write about in my new review of Adam Gorightly and Greg Bishop’s book “A” is for Adamski), was that these aeroforms or jellyfish-like “critters” were up there but not always seen by the naked eye.

Constable would tell people that there were good “Etherian” ET’s and evil ET’s called “The Dark Ones,” as Gorightly and Bishop note in “A” is for Adamski. The spaceships were more amorphous and not “nuts and bolts,” as many saucer investigators believed. After all, like Bigfoot, they would sometimes leave evidence of their existence. I have seen Bigfoot tracks. I’ve written about them for a major Louisiana newspaper nearly 20 years ago. It’s something I’m familiar with. But then the tracks just stop. The “etherians” blink out …

So, in writing my “On the border” piece the other day, where I mention my initial thoughts on Hellier (having not finished it at that time), I emphasized the fact that Constable rejected the notion that ET’s and UFOs were an example of a “carcass in a tin can.” A tin can!!!! John Keel would talk about animated tin cans. Perhaps Indrid Cold himself shapeshifted into a seemingly inantimate object. Who knows?

The other word Constable used, in referring to the space creatures and their methods of travel, was the colloquial term “critter.” In Hellier, the investigative team notes that the unusual “entities” bothering and attaching themselves to people, families and property.

Constable’s infrared images showed saucer-shaped craft and jellyfish and/or amoeba-like entities high in the sky – just like the “critter” witnessed in September 2013 next to the spot where the On the Border eatery is located at 33rd and Broadway Extension in Edmond, Oklahoma – next to a railroad track, as well.

Regarding my conversation with On the Border server “Vivian,” well, yesterday she emailed me that she misremembered the story of the hawk hitting the window of the restaurant and dying from its injuries. No, it was actually a falcon.

What was strange about that is that the very word “falcon” is something that has long resonated with me, as has the word “pop.” But “falcon” was important to me. Like a hawk and an owl (the latter bird heavily syncing with me over the years), the falcon is both very fast and has exceptional visual acuity. And in Ancient Egypt, the deity Horus – the son of Isis and Osiris - was depicted as a man with a “falcon head.”

Looking back over my stories on Red Dirt Report regarding “falcons,” I noted everything from the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars; the Atlanta Falcons football team; Elon Musk’s ill-fated Falcon 9 spacecraft; The Maltese Falcon; Polar explorer Robert Falcon Scott; and a reference to David Bowie’s melancholy song “This Is Not America,” featured on the 1985 The Falcon and The Snowman soundtrack. Today I learn that a biopic about Bowie is in the works. Title? Stardust, of course.

And exactly 100 years ago, in 1919, English poet William Butler Yeats wrote the famous poem “The Second Coming,” immediately in the wake of the first World War. Each line is recognizable, but what is interesting is the second line, which I emphasize in bold: “Turning and turning in the widening gyre / The falcon cannot hear the falconer / Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world …

Sounds about right … and syncs up with my predictions about the world situation going back about five years. Didn’t Bowie sing about Earthlings having “five years” left on the first track of the Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars album? Yes he did! Something is telling me that time is of the essence. That things are ramping up. And I think Bowie instinctively knew this before he moved on. Recall him frantically scribbling in the “Lazarus” music video “Look up here, I’m in heaven …”. He knew time was short, not just for him, but for all of us. Maybe that's why I have the Ziggy Stardust album (released the summer I was born) on repeat this week?


Perhaps I have been on a major David Bowie kick this month because it is the third anniversary since his ascension to that next level. And I am also in the middle of reading Jason Heller’s excellent new book, Strange Stars, about Bowie’s interest – and others – in science-fiction and its incorporation into their music.

And then there was the Peter Murphy/David J. concert (Bauhaus) over the weekend where Murphy told my son that Bowie would be happy and thinking of him when they performed the Bauhaus cover of “Ziggy Stardust.” My son, a huge Bowie fan, thought that was the coolest! Also, David J met Bowie while on the set of The Hunger, the 1983 horror film based on alien abductee Whitley Strieber's novel of the same name. Strieber, in his new book The Afterlife Revolution, regarding the afterlife and the death of his wife Anne, refer to the Yeats's poem "Song of the Wandering Aengus" as sort of a touchstone between husband and wife to note that consciousness still exists after death.

Bauhaus appear at the beginning of The Hunger performing "Bela Lugosi's Dead." David J discusses this meeting with Bowie in his excellent autobiography Who Killed Mister Moonlight?

And David J., whom I’ve met and written about before, has communicated with me regarding some Bowie syncs I had right before he left us on January 10, 2016. (Check out David J’s beautiful song “The Day David Bowie Died” where he tells us “Ziggy has retired, now for good”).

Just yesterday, the Austin Chronicle profiled ex-junkie and former Tin Machine drummer Hunt Sales. Tin Machine, of course, was the band that Bowie fronted from 1988-92. And I randomly highlighted the fact that I had picked up Tin Machine’s self-titled first album on vinyl recently. Bowie was finishing up a Tin Machine tour when he took time to appear in David Lynch's film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. His appearance and performance made the film, in my humble opinion.

Tin Machine. Tin can. The song that Jason Heller reminds us that put Bowie into the mainstream, of course, was 1969’s “Space Oddity,” released in July of that year to coincide with the Apollo 11 launch. And in that song, Bowie, as "Major Tom," sings of floating in space, all alone, in his "tin can." Bowie knows.

Which segues into Room 237 and The Shining.

There are numerous theories out there about Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic interpretation of his 1980 film The Shining, as noted in the documentary Room 237. One of the more interesting theories is that Kubrick directed the faked NASA Apollo Moon landing footage, from Apollo 11 onward.  Oh, and the aforementioned Hellier investigator Connor James Randall works  on communicating with spirits at The Stanley in Estes Park, Colorado, the hotel Stephen King used as the model for The Overlook Hotel in his novel. 

"The papers want to know whose shirts you wear." (Warner Bros.)

This would sync with Bowie and what I would later call The Blackstar Event, a sort of ongoing, alchemical “working” that was triggered by the release of Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, on his 69th birthday and two days before he left us.

Two other things about Hellier, before I wrap it up for this installment ... there is mention of Chief Cornstalk, the Shawnee chief linked with Point Pleasant, West Virginia and John Keel's Mothman investigations. I had a strange dream a few years ago that sync with the trickster quality of this paranormal stuff - "Dopey little tykes ..."

And the other was a sound the Hellier team mentioned hearing in the cave where the tin can was found and strange things happened - like car tires on a bridge. If you are a fan of the band The Afghan Whigs, as I am, you will know that the first song on their classic 1993 album Gentlemen features the song "If I Were Going" and on it is a recording of the sound of bassist John Curley's Mercedes wagon driving over the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge linking Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky. I noted this in my review of Bob Gendron's book review of the Gentlemen album. I wrote in my review that the tires on the bridge make an "ominous hum of rubber rolling over the bridge's metal grates," helping set the tone of the album as a whole.

I mention it because the Hellier team is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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

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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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