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As I was writing my promised discussion of spiritual evil I found myself being drawn more and more into an amazing series of incidents that took place during the 1980s. I was a complete newbie in matters Pagan and occult at the time, and was an amazed bystander who knew, and still knows, a number of the people involved. My friend Don Frew was deeply, centrally, involved, and so I recently visited him to refresh my memory about the details of events that happened over 20 years ago. As we talked it became clear to me that what happened deserves a post of its own, rather then being merely an illustrative example to some points on spiritual evil. These events have never been written up before, yet they constitute one of the most fascinating explorations into the reality of Thought Forms that I have ever encountered.
It all involves Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Grimjack. The story is below the fold.
Our adventure begins with a Ouija board. A group of friends had gathered to play with one and a woman who I will refer to as “Lark” was among them. She thought of Ouija boards as kind of silly, but her friends wanted to play with it, so OK. There were many fans of Battlestar Galactica in the group, and they decided to see if they could contact a character in the series. Lark ended up being on one end of the planchette, and was about to discover hitherto unsuspected and not entirely welcome abilities.
The Battlestar Galactica character came through quite strongly, to everyone’s amazement. But soon afterwards Lark began experiencing powerful urges to begin writing on some paper. As she did the character came through again, but more rapidly. However Lark had never been a strong fan of Battlestar Galactica, preferring Star Wars, the first episode of which had come out. Perhaps because of her much stronger emotional involvement with Star Wars, two major characters began communicating through her pen: Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.
The two appeared to be contesting against one another for control of her pen as they had contested with one another in the movie. Episodes of autonomic or automatic writing got more frequent ad more difficult for Lark to resist. The battles between the two characters for domination over her writing began to dominate her life, and both claimed that “Star Wars” was an actual historical event that happened “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” Lucas had supposedly psychically picked up on what had happened, turning it into a movie. Lark in an earlier incarnation had been a female cat like alien who had been Skywalker’s lover and once Vader’s student. Vader wanted her back and in one case even knocked her forward out of a chair while causing a serious welt to appear across her back as “discipline” to bring her into line. Frew remembers him writing that this was a reminder “of what a light saber feels like.”
Whatever was happening, it was getting out of hand, and Lark was not happy about it.
Psychic space aliens?
Around this time these events came to the attention of J. Allen Hynek the noted UFO researcher and adviser to the US Air Force on such matters. At the time Hynek had become interested in people claiming psychic connections with aliens, and had devised a interesting means to make an initial evaluation. If person A was claiming such connections, he would ask person B, who also claimed alien connections, about the characteristics of the alien supposedly contacting person A, who was unknown to B. The person/alien he asked about Lark’s alien described her as a cat-like female.
As Hynek studied what was going on with Lark, he decided it was too weird for his purposes, and backed out. However, he suggested she work with Don Frew who at the time was deeply involved in investigating paranormal phenomena.
Frew remembers that Lark’s episodes of writing were characterized by being so rapid that someone had to tear the paper on a pad away so she could continue on a fresh sheet, and that while always very hurried, the handwriting styles of Vader, Skywalker, were different. As if different beings were doing the writing. On the other hand, the female alien spoke through Lark rather than writing.
It seemed pretty clear to Frew that whatever was happening, Star Wars was not a genuine historical event. His guess was that Vader and Skywalker were thought forms, creations of the mental focus on many people on a particular character with a given set of qualities, that coalesced into a kind of psychic entity kept together and ‘fed’ by mental attention. Thought forms had a long history in Western and Tibetan magickal traditions at least, but had always been considered deliberate constructions by a magician. If Vader and Skywalker were thought forms, they could also be created by the relatively undisciplined thoughts of thousands or millions of people.
Vader communicates with Vader
Frew had friends in the comic and science fiction communities, which would prove very important in exploring this possibility. Around this time there was a science fiction convention in the Bay Area, and David Prowse, who played Vader’s body (James Earl Jones played his voice) was going to be a guest there. Frew sent Prowse a query asking whether he would be interested in meeting ‘Darth Vader.’ Prowse responded that yes, he would. He, Frew, and Lark met, she went into trance, and Prowse talked with Vader.
The result of the meeting was deeply disturbing to Prowse. He told Frew that Vader told him things about the character that Prowse had come up with to help give his acting depth, but which no one else knew. Vader even described details about the interior of Prowse’s home in England. It was like talking to the ‘real’ Vader himself, Prowse told Frew.
Prowse’s experience was compatible with the possibility of Vader being a thought form. He knew information that people involved with Vader knew, but he did not know how a light saber worked because no one did. But Frew wanted to explore this possibility further, for if this was the case Lark was a “literary medium” in his words, a medium who could communicate with thought forms created by popular attention.
But how to test this possibility? Frew’s first effort was to see whether Lark could contact Spiderman, a comic book character with tens of thousands of devoted fans. She could. ‘Spidey’ came through loud and clear, and gave some information about the character not known to the general public. But there was no way to test whether this information was valid or not.
Grimjack weirds out his creator
It was then that Frew thought of testing this possibility with “Grimjack,” a popular character then, but largely unknown today. The character was essentially the creation of two men, Tim Truman and John Ostrander. No one else was involved in the writing. He has some 40,000 fans. Finally, one of the two men, Frew thinks it was Truman, was going to be in Berkeley staying with a mutual friend.
A meeting was arranged and Lark was encouraged to contact Grimjack. When the character came through, he was asked a number of questions about future adventures. Truman was then told what Grimjack said and was, as Frew put it, “weirded out.” The information was accurate but there was no way she could have known it.
These discoveries were fascinating, and while I never met either the entities or Hynek or Prowse or Truman, I knew all the other parties, and was present when they were discussing what was happening. I was also present when Lark channeled the female alien and was finally freed from her unpleasant connection with the Star Wars entities. She was asked to have the alien come through, and after some conversation with a shaman, Greg, the being was tricked into entering a crystal. The crystal was immediately encased in salt and a jar, and buried in a place where it was unlikely to be found. Lark had no more trouble.
Significantly to me, a traditional shamanic method succeeded in ending unpleasant experiences with thought forms apparently by breaking connection with the central connection.
As to who or what the female alien was, no one seems quite certain. She could not have been a thought form in the same sense Vader and Skywalker were because she was not a character in the movie. On the other hand, there were extensive secondary stories being produced based on the movie’s plot, and Lark herself, after the aliens contact, began writing some.
Obviously playing a central role between Vader and Skywalker would have some appeal, and the alien could have been her own creation as a literary thought form. Many fiction authors report that their characters take on a kind of independent personality as they are being written, and the Philip experiment (see below) supports this possibility. Yet Vader and Skywalker treated this being as if she was real, and Vader at least had access to knowledge Lark did not. On the other hand neither had any knowledge that was not known by fans. For example, neither knew anything about how a light saber worked, I imagine because no one does. It was a prop. Nor was there any evidence that Vader knew he was Skywalker’s father. As far as I can tell, Lucas had made that decision, changing an earlier story line that had Vader killing Skywalker’s father, but none of the fans knew it. That being so, perhaps Lucas’s ideas were drowned out by popular beliefs to the contrary. (By comparison, no one had any beliefs about Prowse’s house except Prowse.)
Frew’s investigations are not the only ones that shed some light on this kind of thought form.
The Philip Experiment
The Philip Experiment performed by Canadian researchers in the Toronto Society for Psychical Research during the 1970s. Essentially a thought form was deliberately created and then tested through séances. With most fascinating results. One brief write up is here. A short description of the experiment and its context in the history of investigations of the paranormal is Scott Fowler’s The Philip Experiment (short PDF). Iris Owen and Margaret Sparrow wrote a book about this experiment, Conjuring Up Philip: an adventure in psychokenesis, which unfortunately is out of print and used copies are very expensive.
I tell this story for several reasons. First, if much that we term ‘evil’ is our own creation, here is one means by which it can take on what appears to be spirit form. Once this happens it is an open question to me as to how much independence such a formation can acquire. I do not know.
Second, it suggests the boundaries between minds are far more porous than we are inclined to believe, and the creative power of imagination is far greater than we usually think. While I do not believe the Gods as I have encountered them are the thought forms of human beings it seems pretty clear that an open-ended variety of psychic manifestations may be of this character.
Third, it is one of the best examples I have come across as to how this kind of phenomena can be studied by people who take the possibility seriously. And given my own experience, if someone does not take the possibility seriously, I am not all that much interested in what they have to say on the matter.
Fourth, it’s a good tale
I hope to get back to the spiritual evil post in time, but this seems juicy enough for now.
The Shaman who solved Lark’s problems with the cat-woman alien just sent me his “stream of consciousness” reaction to the event. I asked him whether I could pass it on, and he said yes. So here it is, including a criticism of a poorly written part on my part.
Here is what I remember
Don sat over there, my anchor
Lark went into a trance, and so did I
She verbalizing, me asking questions and sometimes directing attention
Like most trance journeys, details are blurred (esp after so many years) but first I just followed here a bit to see where she was, and then to see the entities of her dreams
In light of your thought forms—without her projection the experience was through my own, so that the “dimensions” or whatever she called them were less detailed with the SF/movie and familiar to me in my terms.
The closest we got to Darth Vader was close enough for me. The Whirlpool, the Pit, the hole into the void—it’s those to me—the great desire, the lust for emptiness, the place of falling into when despair is the best we can do. It looked like Darth Vader to me that moment.
At the bottom of that endless pit is where an owing takes place, can take place, and lies the spark. I remember Lark owning it, the skeleton mother devours Inanna, and I asked her where did he live in her and she said her heart.
And where now Lark, is Obi Wan Kenobi? Pause. He must be here. *gasp* Ask him, Lark, if you wish, help you
“That’s too corny,” she says out loud—it’s an iconic scene in the movie after all.
No, no, don’t get distracted, where is Obi, don’t speak out loud, use your hands, see use the feathers here to show the path a bit, and she asks and I see this ball of golden light there, and it comes and pauses, and just reach out and take it and it’s ok? Yes? Where will you put it? Him? Yes, of course. Welcome him, ok, thank him, ok!
And for Darth, the shadow, do you want to keep him there or throw him away? And then was the crystal and bottle.
As for Thought Forms, just off the top of my head, I presume you mean the Theosophist type.
It’s clear to me now that half of our spiritual nature is projection. No, better said this way: our biologic human, ingrained social, and learned personal experiences all shape our interface with the Mystery.
Lark’s personal experience as an overly sensitive medium, untrained and unguarded, generated the crisis, a very real need to understand what was going on. I recall she had been pushed down a flight of stairs as well as your litany of dangers.
The normal medium of this interface is through Mythology, the set of interpretative images that society gives to us to interface with Mystery. Mask work reveals its secrets into the Mystery. Modern American mythology is of Economics, Progress and Monotheism; none of which provide any symbols or substance or meaning to Lark’s experience. Only the devil is a likely candidate for her focusing of this power—Lark was very focused upon details. I don’t know why she rejected the devil. Instead, her interface with the potent horrible force behind the mask was processed by her as Darth Vader, the potent horrible force behind the mask who was watching from billboards, newspapers and everywhere else.
Are Thoughforms defined as having originated with an individual. I forget. Is it on your site? [No]
By the way…
“She was asked to have ___ come through – this time speaking rather than writing as her mediumship abilities had improved substantially, and after some conversation with a shaman, Greg, was tricked into entering a crystal. “
…is a rather ambiguous sentence to have in print. I’d really hate to have it thought that part of me was buried somewhere. It looks like it was badly edited or is an artifact of unfinished construction.