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Palms and sycamores

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
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O Sycamore! Sycamore! Stretch your arms across the storm” – “Blind Lemon Jefferson” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

OKLAHOMA CITY – It’s the first of August, in those first few weeks of the time referred to as the “Dog days of summer.”

But the rains have come to this parched land. It was 67 degrees, last I checked. Almost fall-ish.

And life continues. Although there is palpable tension in the air. An electricity. The real storm seems to be just over the horizon.

Or, to put it another way, “something wicked this way comes.”

Perhaps it is closer than we think.

In preparation for the total solar eclipse scheduled to take place on August 21st, I will initially be at latitude 36°11'17.29"N and longitude 94°32'25.79"W and working out from there, observing, interviewing people and taking copious notes. This line of longitude, specifically, is very important, and has played a major role in my life, something I’ve only recently begun to investigate and understand. I call it "The Stilwell Enigma."

Other Red Dirt Report writers will be dispatched to sites in Oklahoma to cover the eclipse and the reaction it garners.

This event, which will only be viewable in North America, is appropriately being called “The Great American Eclipse” and on the website, the city of St. Joseph, Missouri, located on the Missouri River, is “right on the centerline of the eclipse path and enjoys one of the longest durations of any sizable city in the nation.” The site notes that St. Joseph is an “ideal choice” for those wanting to “enjoy the eclipse in the company of astronomers.”

Indeed. At, the city’s official website, they are highlighting the fact that “St. Joe” will be “right in the middle of it all” during the total solar eclipse.

At 39.7675° N, 94.8467° W, I think it is an “ideal choice,” cosmically speaking. St. Joseph was important in American history, specifically in the 19th century as the starting location for the Pony Express.

Earlier, before its founding as a town, what would become St. Joseph was a site visited by explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as they made their way up the Missouri River as part of the Corps of Discovery, an expedition – focusing primarily on Capt. Lewis and his unfortunate demise a few years after the conclusion of the expedition into Oregon Territory (noted in Mark Frost's The Secret History of Twin Peaks), land that included present-day Oregon, Washington state, Idaho and portions of Montana and Wyoming.

Just south of St. Joseph is the Lewis and Clark State Park, site of a lake the explorers said was “full of geese and goslings.

St. Joseph had a rather wild reputation in its early days, after it was incorporated in 1843. Called a “bustling outpost and rough frontier town,” it was a jumping off point for prospectors, settlers, soldiers and many others seeking fortune and a new life in the “Wild West.”

And it was in St. Joseph, in 1882, that the outlaw Jesse James was shot and killed, resulting in St. Joseph being known as a the city where “the Pony Express started and Jesse James ended.”

A very American sort of town, and it seems to me – in light of my ongoing research into parapolitics, high strangeness and synchronicity - but with a dark side, where mental asylum patients suffered, people were lynched and violence always seemed to be bubbling just below the surface, even today, with a notable rise in homicides and violent crime, according to a 2016 article in the St. Joseph News-Press.

St. Joseph is also home to the Glore Psychiatric Museum, considered one of the “most unusual museums in the United States,” with strange and awful implements and devices used in the "curing" of patients in the care of the neighboring psychiatric hospital in its early days. And along with that, St. Joe is known for notable hauntings. It seems it's "thin" in St. Joseph, too!

And just a little north of St. Joseph, in Andrew County, Missouri, is the small town of Bolckow (40.1130° N, 94.8222° W). This town, according to this Mysterious Universe article from 2012, implies that hauntings, “strange disappearances” and more are plaguing the small town – a town on that same mysterious line of longitude.

And here we have a major eclipse taking place. It reminds me a bit of the scenario in that spooky 1981 Walt Disney film The Watcher in the Woods, starring Bette Davis.

In that film, a young woman disappears during a lunar eclipse whilst involved in a séance in an abandoned church in the English countryside. Later in the film, the young people, determined to get the missing girl back in our dimension, hold a similar “ceremony” at the same site, but during a solar eclipse. It turns out that the young woman had somehow “traded places” with an “alien presence” from an alternate dimension and was the source of high strangeness in the surrounding woods for many years.

According to Ptolemy, in Tetrabiblos, “eclipses in Leo could invoke happenings with and by the following creatures and natural phenomena: wild animals and four-footed creatures (as Leo is a bestial, four-footed sign), earthquakes (as a northern terrestrial sign), and damage to the foundations of houses, monuments and buildings (as a fixed sign).


I stepped out into the rain, taking in the drops of life-giving water.

And there stood the hardy sycamore. A bird’s nest visible. And a tree swing. Sweet. Innocent. All-American.

At the Sacred Places website, on a section called “Trees and the Sacred,” we learn more about the sacred nature of the sycamore, particularly in ancient times: “In Ancient Egypt, several types of trees appear in Egyptian mythology and art, although the hieroglyph written to signify tree appears to represent the sycamore (nehet) in particular. The sycamore carried special mythical significance. According to the Book of Dead, twin sycamores stood at the eastern gate of heaven from which the sun god Re emerged each morning. The sycamore was also regarded as a manifestation of the goddesses Nut, Isis, and especially of Hathor, who was given the epithet Lady of the Sycamore. Sycamores were often planted near tombs, and burial in coffins made of sycamore wood returned the dead person to the womb of the mother tree goddess.”

And yet the sycamore has a mysterious, and perhaps, darker side. Something that is deeply linked to the ongoing Twin Peaks mythos and is becoming ever-more evident during the current reboot, Twin Peaks: The Return.

My favorite Twin Peaks fan site, 25 Years Later, features the insightful thoughts of fan Gisela Fleischer, who recently wrote a piece titled “The connection between Sycamores and the portals – a New York theory.”

Of all of the writers at 25 Years Later, I find myself agreeing primarily with Fleischer’s findings. Original fans know of the “12 sycamores” at Glastonbury (Glastonberry) Grove, where Special Agent Dale Cooper first entered the Black Lodge.

But in The Return, the sturdy, shady sycamore has been making more appearances, as street names both in Las Vegas and Buckhorn, South Dakota, places where purported portals exist in the Twin Peaks universe.

In the aforementioned (and absolutely essential) Mark Frost “history” of Twin Peaks, a lot of parapolitical weirdness, UFO woe, and conspiracy is weaved into the chevron-shaped tapestry that has my full attention these days.

And I say that because so much of what is being addressed in the current, 18-part series, along with the original series (1990-91) and the prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, has so much to say about American history and what is both good and bad about our country and those who make things work – and those who only create chaos, mayhem and misery. It’s utterly stunning what Frost and David Lynch have created, and I’ve said this time and again. 

So, with Frost’s book, he introduces (as me meet in The Return, with actress Chrysta Bell) us to Special Agent Tamara Preston. Note her initials – “T” and “P.” Like Twin Peaks. And then there is her first name, Tamara, which translates as “palm tree.” I found this significant in light of the name “Palmer” in Twin Peaks, specifically Laura Palmer and her parents – Leland and Sarah Palmer.

The name "Palmer" translates as a pilgrim who has just returned from the Holy Land with a palm frond or leaf as “a sign of having undertaken the pilgrimage.” Oddly, the name "Palmer" is said to be linked to the name "Milford," according to - a surname which is utterly key in Twin Peaks lore and history.

And the palm? It came up today, as I revisted a 2015 Dust Devil Dreams post, "Palm reader," which included an anti-Trump post written by Shane Smith, a Red Dirt Report contributor who was writing for at the time.

Wrote Smith: "Peace is a hard sell next to the belligerent effusions of a Donald Trump.  His crazed rantings against immigrants, his bizarre fantasies as to how he would handle world leaders via telephone call, as well as his boorishness in general, has thousands flocking to hear him speak.  But what they’re cheering is an avatar of a blood-soaked ideology, one that cloaks itself in the native symbols and culture, breeding hate and intolerance, until the bilious nationalism reaches just the right temperature and then boils over into lawless fascism.”

You can't say you weren't warned, America ... 

But back to the palm-related name “Tamara.” In one of William Shakespeare’s first tragedies, Titus Andronicus, from the late 16th century, this “violent and bloody revenge play” concludes with “Tamora – Queen of the Goths,” who meets a most unfortunate end, but not before unwittingly eating her two sons who have been gruesomely “baked in a pie” by the title character, a fictional – and quite mad - Roman general. Sound familiar? Cherry pie, anyone?

Regarding the coming eclipse, according to a fairly lengthy story in Newsweek, by reporter Max Kutner, who interviewed astrologists about their predictions and readings of the stars, particularly in regards to the troubled Trump administration:
“Marjorie Orr, another astrologer, pointed out last November, just four days after the election, that the August eclipse is part of what space scientists know as the Saros series, which has included eclipses in 1909, 1927, 1945, 1963, 1981 and 1999.”

Continuing: “Orr noted the major political events in those years: the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a period of unrest in Chicago that involved bombings and an attempted assassination of President William Taft. “Usually this series places strains on personal relationships, induces hasty decisions on the basis of false information and is associated with tiredness or health problems,” she wrote.

Orr concluded:“Certainly this eclipse presages violence in one form or another.


With continued talk of a possible nuclear exchange with North Korea, we are seeing cities in California returning to Cold War-era “duck and cover” prepping in case of a nuclear attack.

This, of course, reminds me of that life-changing anti-nuke, anti-war film The Day After, from November 1983. In that film, the events take place along the 94 degrees west line of longitude, and focus on the Kansas City area. I explored some of that in my recent Dust Devil Dreams post "Show-me state (Pt. 2)." I've been heavily syncing with Missouri, particularly after watching season two of Fargo, which features key characters connected to the mob out of Kansas City, which is located at 39.0997° N, 94.5786° W.

Eerily, the events begin on Friday, September 15th. It just so happens that this year, in 2017, September 15th falls on a Friday.

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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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