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What happens in Vegas ("Harry's lodge is gone")

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
A few puzzle pieces.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – “Wow, Bob, wow!

If David Bowie’s character in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Agent Phillip Jeffries was correct, we do live inside a dream. It couldn’t be any other way after some of the synchronicities I’ve experienced in the days leading up to the series’ return and ever since. Note the "starfield" in the insert of Bowie's Blackstar album - and the starfield outside the Black Lodge, where Maj. Garland Briggs' face (the late Don S. Davis) appears to Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and cryptically says: "Blue rose."

Time to cue up David Lynch's album The Big Dream, folks. And be sure to read Mark Frost's The Secret History of Twin Peaks. And pay attention to the bits about Lewis & Clark and their expedition to the Pacific Northwest, sent there by President Jefferson - who is on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Agent Rosenfield has a picture of the monument, in case you are interested.

"Faces of stone," Cole tells Rosenfield on the way to see "Bad Cooper." I'm sensing more and more of Stanley Kubrick's interpretation of Stephen King's The Shining, than I ever imagined I would.

"We live inside a dream ..." (Lynch/Frost Productions)

Let me start off by saying that I was a little thrown off by the first two episodes of Twin Peaks: The Return. Our reviewer, Kevin Tudor, offered his thoughtful, humorous and straightforward analysis, while I was bewitched by the portion of the show focusing on the so-called “glass box,” located in a building in New York City, on the island of Manhattan. A project in Manhattan. A "Manhattan project," as it were. More on that in a bit.

If I understand it correctly, the “glass box” was installed by a mysterious “billionaire” who, in all likelihood, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada, as indicated by the closing scene of episode two where a man laments working for this particular person.

Manufactured "portal" to the Black Lodge? (Showtime)

In my post, “New Twin Peaks brings to mind spooky Utah ranch where billionaire investigated ‘high weirdness,” I note how this “billionaire” in Twin Peaks is likely based on Las Vegas-based aerospace entrepreneur Robert Bigelow – the same man who allegedly monitored the utterly bizarre and shocking paranormal events that reportedly have been going on at the so-called “Skinwalker Ranch” in Utah for many years.

Bigelow’s fortune led to his purchase of the land and the hiring of people to monitor, watch and film any and all “high strangeness” on the ranch property.

The appearance at Skinwalker Ranch of shape-shifting creatures, orbs, lights and UFOs, portals opening in the sky or on the ground. It makes perfect sense that David Lynch and Mark Frost are using some of those ideas in the scenes involving the “glass box” portal to the Black Lodge and Bigelow’s private investigations into the unknown.

Skinwalker Ranch in Utah. (Wikimedia Commons)

Well, wouldn’t you know it? Synchronicity, being what it is, led me to a CBS 60 Minutes interview that just took place – on a Sunday, the same day Twin Peaks: The Return airs, of course – with Bigelow himself, a notoriously private person, almost on a Howard Hughes level. Hughes, of course, became a recluse in Las Vegas, buying The Desert Inn hotel as his headquarters. It had been a popular stop for President Harry S. Truman (he of "atomic bomb" fame - re: Hiroshima & Nagasaki) while he was in office. Hughes was very vocal about his concern regarding nuclear testing at the nearby Nevada Test Site, even trying to get presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon to end the tests. President John F. Kennedy, of course, was dead. He likely would have ended the madness had he lived. 

I thought of this as I enjoyed a glass of The Owl & The Dust Devil wine. Apropos, I thought ... 

The owl, dust devil and the hanged man, Harry. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

Another denizen of Vegas in those days – and ever since – Mr. Bigelow, told 60 Minutes’ Lara Logan this week that “as a young boy, he would watch the skies over Nevada light up with the bursts of atomic bombs.”

As Bigelow told Logan during the interview: “Witnessing those explosions in the 50’s and 60’s, you weren’t aware of the ultimate ramifications of those kinds of things but there was a real strong feeling of energy and a secretiveness and so forth and it was cool …”

And while noting a UFO encounter his grandparents had near Las Vegas, Bigelow’s interest in space travel, UFOs, aliens and the unknown only grew exponentially, as his budget hotel chain fortune grew exponentially, allowing this “billionaire” to delve into areas most would rather avoid all together.

The unmistakeable "alien" logo for Bigelow Aerospace in Las Vegas, Nevada. (CBS)

Lara Logan: Do you imagine that in our space travels we will encounter other forms of intelligent life?

Robert Bigelow: You don't have to go anywhere.

Lara Logan: You can find it here? Where exactly?

Robert Bigelow: It's just like right under people's noses. Oh my gosh. Wow.

Wow, indeed, Bob. Wow, indeed.

And so the clues, Easter eggs, what-have-you, pop up during Twin Peaks: The Return, I am stunned at just how damn good it is. I admittedly had some concerns and hesitations, but I really think David Lynch and Mark Frost had some fantastic ideas bubbling around this past quarter-century that had to come out, as Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) predicted in the red-draped confines of the Black Lodge.

Notably absent in Twin Peaks: The Return is the role of Sheriff Harry S. Truman, as played by Michael Ontkean. Ontkean, I learned from Twin Peaks fanatic Brad Dukes, is a bit of a recluse, and is not in this reboot. Interesting in light of the fact that David Lynch said the name "Harry S. Truman" was more of a nod to cantankerous hermit Harry Truman who died after Mount St. Helen's erupted on May 18, 1980 - an eruption that is noted with regularity here at Red Dirt Report, for varying reasons - than the 33rd president born in Lamar, Missouri, located at  37°29′37″N 94°16′20″W - a mystical location often noted here as well.

Harry R. Truman - before his volcano-related death in 1980. (AP)

In an Associated Press story (via the Spokane Daily Chronicle) published on May 20, 1980 – two days after the eruption – “Harry R. Truman (the “R” stood for “Randall”), the stubborn, 84-year –old patriarch of Mount St. Helen’s, probably is entombed in the lodge he refused to leave, his sister and a good friend said Monday.

Harry vowed he wouldn’t budge for man or mountain, and all indications are that he kept his word.

Continuing: “When Mount St. Helens blew at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday, a sea of rock, muck and searing hot mud covered Harry’s lodge at Spirit Lake to a depth of 30 feet.”

Truman became a folk hero of sorts in the Pacific Northwest. A man who stood his ground in the face of impending doom. And he and his 16 cats perished, as expected, in the blackened lodge there at Mount St. Helen's.

"Harry's lodge is gone," his sister said. Indeed. The lodge is gone, up there in rural Washington state.


Robert Oppenheimer said: “If atomic bombs are to be added as new weapons to the arsenals of a warring world, or to the arsenals of nations preparing for war, then the time will come when mankind will curse the names of Los Alamos and of Hiroshima.” 

Los Alamos is the New Mexico town that Oppenheimer chose for his "Manhattan Project," developing the atomic bomb. He loved the location. It had a certain, "enchanting" feel. It remained to haunt the area - and a state frequently visited by ... visitors. A tear.

Another famous Oppenheimer quote, noted years after the Trinity test: “We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.' I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.

The Bhagavad Gita has come up in Twin Peaks. Fans will recall ... 

I thought of that as I watched Deputy Director Gordon Cole (David Lynch) and Agent Albert Rosenfield (the late, wonderful Miguel Ferrer) meet in Cole's office to discuss "Coop"'s reappearance. High weirdness ensued as the viewer sees a wall-sized atomic explosion featured - it appears to be the Trinity test of July 16, 1945. I found this significant - significant enough to get me to jump out of my seat!

Agent Rosenfield and Deputy Director Cole in Cole's office. (Showtime)

I am continuing to explore these ideas and dreams I've been having involving nuclear detonations, tears in the fabric of our dimension and what has happened in our "world" since 1945 - the start of the Atomic Age and what it means today. 

These are times that are both strange and wonderful. With a mix of Samuel Beckett's chess game, and this is the Endgame, as Windom Earle (Owl in Dream) suspected it was.

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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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