We were all young once..... "Were?" I hear you screech - "speak for yourself, old lady!! "
Still, I was once a young, gullible naiive woman, with the usual stock of fears, inhibitions, tabus, and a huge drive to explore the occult, anyway.
I was once one of those quivering, terrified kids who imagined vampires and werewolves under the bed, and in the cupboard, too, even when Mother checked and firmly said there was no cupboard inhabitant. When those lights got turned off, I firmly hid my whole head under the sheets, bundled the pillow around my ears, and tightly folded my hands over my chest (in case I got stabbed by the ghosts, vampires, werewolves, rapists, and escaped criminals in the night.)
My teenage quest for a more stable, scientific answer to all of these phenomena, which have so delighted our ancestors into writing so many fairy tales for we innocent children , and in telling gory stories at Hallowe'en, was met by a big, glossy book called "The Occult". This, and the other works that I pored through, all through my youth, was the first of many science fiction works, tales of the occult, ghost stories and, eventually, actual courses in various mystery schools.
My arts career has been associated with mystery schools, and with the depiction of the indescribable - art or photography offered as a legible language, in art history used not only to describe historic events with some accuracy, but to quietly and, in a discreet manner, culturally, to present evidence or guide the viewer into understanding dangerous conditions, crimes, or social ills.
What we artists found difficult to accept was that, if we were to describe some of the events which bothered us to the police, if we did not have a photograph, or mens rea1 evidence of the event as it occured, disturbing us, we seemed to be relied upon to creatively depict some of these things, usually for the benefit of the discrete, 'genteel' senate, and 'associates', who feel that works of art should just "come".
More of that, later. Getting down to the bottom line, here, we artists, some of the poorest people in the country, seemed to be asked too often for our educated awareness, time, and attention, with regard to settling cultural or social malaise, including problems of the ecology and public health. Personally, I found myself under physical attack, more than once, by secretary(s) stateside, for handling my own original art. My graphics samples, which I handed out to industry and government alike, commercially, had become "Top Secret", 'for the governments' eyes alone' in the estimation of these excited, baby secretaries, who were in the habit of grabbing, expecting, and giving birth to their own 'discrete' market, for which they were paid, not me. When I xeroxed some of my pointilliste graphics onto some art paper, and watercoloured the design as a gift of stationary for my Mom, there these greedy kids were, to laser snipe as if they owned my whole enterprise. Guess I found those vampires, Mom!
1. 'mens rea' is a Latin term used, in criminal justice,
to define realized, material evidence, on hand
I could write a book, but, in reporting the many oddities, crimes and phenomena potentially in association with either crime or public health, I have run into a few scares which might be more efficiently described by employing a tabled checklist.
Instead of dashing in, bloody and bruised, to the police or the hospital, crying that a giant fishtail, ghost, voleur, terriorist, or -whathaveyou - some phantom dragged baby brother or auntie Sally into hell, in front of you, why not systematically check off what the odd thing, blob or animal looked like on a checklist, first. This would save time and some confusion, usually the time police or health authorities have to deal with potential social hazards of any kind. They take in evidence, hunches, and statements, etc, and will come to fairly logical conclusions after some of the data has been re-organized and synthesized, or categorized. But they do not have a lot of time, per person, especially if you have seen a phantom the equivalent of 'the Grimm', or the "deranged, I think its name is, er...something like in the new Harry Potter*, sir. I'm sure I saw it, all black and with octopus hands....." (know what I mean?)
So, I am presenting a tentative checklist one may use and adapt , in the hope that it will eventually be databased, but as a printout for the public to use. This might be as simple as a list of a hundred phenomena which constantly bother the public, using names that everyone agees upon, to define the basics of each event, plus a description of what happened. Please, do better, someone -we might all need this, plus a book describing commonly seen phenomena.
At the bottom of the page, you can click to the list concept. Please, embellish and unfold this for others, if you can.
To Quick Check List