This weekend paranormal investigator Howard Heim and I stopped in at The Occult Bookstore in Chicago to discuss the possibility of organizing an upcoming lecture by Dennis William Hauck from the International Alchemy Guild. While absorbing the store’s ambiance I noticed they had a copy of Clint Marsh’s Mentalist’s Handbook out on a table. Having enjoyed his introduction to William Walker Atkinson’s Clairvoyance and Occult Powers, I decided to pick it up for something to read on the train ride home.
Marsh’s exploration of the ‘aether’ is interesting for it’s experimental nature. Rather than rush in with a head full of New Age jargon, he’s open in his introduction with the fact that he is consciously writing in an authoritative voice to facilitate the work (and because it’s almost impossible to resist after getting a taste for the style while reading 19th and early 20th century initiatory and mind science publications.)
Being subject to the same questions of authenticity, and reality, that anyone is when honestly approaching liminal phenomenon, he requests that those experimenting with the suggestions in his book contact him with their results, questions and reports. In light of this open sense of inquiry into the unknown potentials of human existence I hereby present my own initial report, a day after purchasing the book, and in a situation where the experiment was quite unintentional…
Location: Dunkin Donuts
Time: 3pm CST
Weather conditions: Partly cloudy, but still sunny, approx. 70 degrees.
Emotional/Mental conditions: Feeling of anxiety, mind semi-focused on getting back to the apartment to start writing, and also remembering the type of doughnuts my roommate said she wanted. By the time I reached the shop I was pretty mentally blank. It was the last stop on an errand run that included about 3/4 of a mile walking.
Exercise33 – The Unspoken Message: While standing in line I noticed that the clerk on shift was one who had, in the past, shown confusion while filling orders. With this in mind I was focusing on speaking clearly, listing the doughnuts I wanted in the order that they were organized on the shelf so he’d understand, using body language (casual pointing and eye contact with my desired doughnuts) to enhance communication, and not ordering anything extra that might complicate the order.
I had the three doughnuts in mind that my roommate wanted, as well as the three doughnuts that I wanted. There was one customer ahead of me in line, and as I waited I assessed the positions of the doughnuts on the racks so I could list them in order. In the process I noticed the blueberry glazed doughnuts, which I had been thinking about before leaving on my errands, and thought about switching my order. I decided against it.
When I got to the counter I went through my order making sure my body language, eyes and clear intonation indicated what I wanted. This may seem a bit pathological, but I got stuck for over 30 minutes one time while this clerk struggled with orders. I didn’t want to make his life any more difficult, or end up having to ask him multiple times for the right doughnuts.
We got through the order with no glitches…until the last doughnut. I said “Bavarian Creme” nodding towards their position on the bottom shelf, middle rack, and was surprised when the clerk walked to the next rack over, reached up towards the top shelf, and put a Blueberry Glazed in the box.
Since I was the one who wanted the Bavarian Creme, and not my roommate, I didn’t argue. It’s my habit to accept what I’m given at a restaurant or fast food place because I prefer fresh foods, and I don’t go in expecting much from what I get. In this instance, however, I was reminded of reading Excercise33, which is based on sending messages without speaking, on the train, and thinking about it earlier in the afternoon prior to going out for errands. This made reflecting on his mistake a bit more interesting.
Bavarian, Blueberry, both words that start with B, so it could be a simple mistake. My gesturing and focus on getting the order across makes this less likely, but still a definite possibility. The positions of the doughnuts also makes it unlikely that he misread my body language, although my initial interest in the blueberry doughnuts may have carried over into some unconscious indication of them.
While it is not certain how the outcome occurred, what is interesting is that I wasn’t thinking about putting into practice Exercise 33. This aetheric insinuation into the everyday happened without forethought, or planning, and would have gone unnoticed if not framed within the narrative that had been building since purchasing the book yesterday from The Occult Bookstore.
Narratives defining the interpretation of events which themselves define the narrative. That’s just how it is when you’re enmeshed in the ever spinning ouroboros of psychical investigation, or if we’re honest, how it goes just living day to day.