Occult Psychology

  • Genery, Matt and I are acting as housesitters for Matt's uncle's mansion/castle while he's away on business relating to his scientific research. The old man, Roelof, is Danish, and has a peculiarly more-than-academic interest in the occult. I know this from Matt's description of his uncle as well as the dark and gorey interior decorating of the gothic-style castle. We are in his laboratory on the day Roelof is supposed to return; I'm on the floor fixing Roelof's computer which has a dead sound card in it. Just as I pry the defective chip from the mother board, Roelof appears and greets us in a strange British accent. I reply to him in the same accent, jokingly. Now, antithetical to the standard mad scientist movie plot, Roelof is quite open about his experiments and discoveries in paranormal occultism. He presses a button and what used to be a solid wall fades away like a hologram into an open portal. Beyond the opening I see other walls randomly flickering in and out of existence. Roelof explains that this is his ingenious security system. He presents an intruder with not one maze but all possible mazes between the beginning door and goal door. The walls are not mere images but actually solid (direct matter-energy conversion, I suppose). Roelof knows the way of course and leads us, haltingly, through the correct series of steps which brings us ultimately to a dimly illuminated room with something very strange inside.

    Aside from the stone walls, everything in the room is a shade of green. There are paintings of forests, furniture of lime, a green bed with a green spread, and in the center of the room, a large circular rack of sheer green evening gowns of many shades. But the strange thing is the far wall, which sags outward in one 7 ft. tall spot, a 3 ft. wide depression lined with sickly-white lichen. The stone looks as if it had been slowly dissolved and distorted by acid, and the stench of formaldehyde drifts into my nose. To be direct, death saturated that strange depression. And cradled within this mess, a beautiful, if extremely pale, young woman with sea green hair lies motionless, apparently deceased, in a velvet dress the color of the moon. We all stare speechless at the macabre sight until Roelof gives a little shout. The woman's eyes fly open and she cries as if startled. Roelof calls her out of her coffin and she comes forth on shaky legs. Behind her I can see the outline of her body in the wall, carbon-black like a chemical burn. A large grin appears on Roelof's face as he very cheerfully tells her, in his funny accent, how beautiful she looks today. A weak smile cracks her downturned lips. "Let's get you into a nice, fresh dress." As she changes into an emerald gown, Roelof turns to me and gestures towards the deformed wall: "You can see why, when the devil took her, he didn't keep her." When she is fully attired, he leads her and us back into his laboratory.

    Roelof walks over to his stereo system and soon some high-tempo swing music is blasting out. The woman begins to move her body in time to the music until she is in an all-out dance number. Strangely, I am similarly affected and take her hand as we begin to swing like pros--spinning, sugar-footing, twirling and stomping. I dance at peak energy for the remaining minute of the song. As the band hits the outro, I release her hand and turn my body in a slow 360, skipping my feet around. When the cymbals crash on the final downbeat, I turn back to her. The woman now looks like any fresh-faced girl: rosy dimpled cheeks, long dirty-blonde hair, and vigorous breath, chest heaving deeply after the effort of the dance. A huge smile graces her face revealing bright white teeth. I am astounded by her transformation as well as the nearly perfect resemblance to my girlfriend, Genery. Dream ends.

The background gestalt that went with the dream but was not contained in it: the woman is an occult being, like a vampire or werewolf. Her particular affliction is that she is an incarnation of death itself. Whatever she stays in physical contact with decays, withers and, if alive, grows old and dies. Her own body is no exception as it wastes slowly away. There is an antidote, however, to her condition: happiness. Her favorite color is green and so Roelof surrounded her with it, along with nice clothes and possessions to keep her spirits up. He would interact with her regularly to keep her lively but since he had been gone on his trip, she was left neglected. One day she leaned against that wall and lost consciousness. The result, days later, was the ugly depression we witnessed in her room--a dying wall, if ever there could be such a thing. On his return, Roelof utilized her very favorite thing in order to bring her back from the dead: dancing.

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