by David Weatherly
Leprechaun Press, August 2013
173 pages / $16 Buy from Leprechaun Press
I was initially hesitant to read this book and write this review. To even acknowledge the presence of these ulterior intelligent forces, to name them and to give them recognition is to give them energy through the concentrated power of belief. Belief has the power to move mountains, to create and destroy empires. Belief in these nightmarish boogeymen acts as an invitation to them, to allow them to infiltrate the psyche in some subtle way. Weatherly writes, “Traditional lore says that speaking about the djinn too much, or too loudly, will attract their attention and cause them to trouble you. They often take their time, lurking about and learning as much as they can about a person to decide how best to take advantage.” On this note, I encourage readers to explore this material with caution.
David Weatherly’s Strange Intruders is a chilling look at the ulterior intelligent forces that manifest as strange entities that have been encountered all over the world. Weatherly specifically examines black-eyed beings, Djinn, shadow people, the Grinning Man, Pukwudgies, shapeshifters, the Slenderman, and other nightmarish entities that come from the periphery. Weatherly focuses on these lesser-known entities that continue to unsettle, and Strange Intruders is revelatory simply because there is scant literature out there on many of these beings. Weatherly examines this rogues gallery of nightmarish entities as well as “the strange nonhuman presence” that accompanies these encounters.
Weatherly’s previous book, last year’s The Black Eyed Children, has already become something of a minor classic in the field of high strangeness. Although Strange Intruders contains a handful of new encounters with black-eyed entities, it broadens his scope to include a variety of entity encounters, sort of like an updated version of The Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings by John A. Keel but with a focus on humanoid entities and the disturbing intelligent forces that hide in a human-like form. Weatherly’s clunky prose and occasional grammatical errors are mostly excusable because serious literature on these entities is hard to come by. These accounts are unsettling at a primal level.
One highlight of Strange Intruders is the chapter on the Grinning Man, a tall, thin and oddly dressed man with a freakishly exaggerated grin on his face. Weatherly claims to have encountered the Grinning Man in the late 80s and his experience recounted here is as bizarre and unsettling as any.
One of my favorite parts of the book was the chapter on shadow people. The shadow people have been described as “a mist of black energy” and “humanoid forms that appear to be made of pure darkness.” The shadow people have been the subject of many excellent episodes of Art Bell’s Coast to Coast AM. Weatherly writes, “Another intriguing theory proposes that the shadow beings are actually the manifestation of pure thought or negative energy. Like the classic Tulpa of Tibetan lore, these beings are a creation of concentrated energy, taking physical form and attempting to ‘feed’ on the energy of fear and dread that they invoke in their victims. These types of beings can eventually take on solid, physical form once they have taken a sufficient amount of energy.”
This theory cleverly modifies a famous belief of Keel’s. Instead of the planet itself being haunted, it is the human psyche that is being haunted. The psyche is fragmented every night through sleep and through dream. When we wake in the morning we often have little or no recollection or what happens in the sleep state. In sleep and dreams we may become vulnerable to these ulterior intelligent forces to infiltrate our intelligence, often in the subtlest ways. Weatherly’s next book is supposedly about Tulpas and thought-forms, and I’d be very interested to see him elaborate on this intriguing theory.
However, there is no one theory that adequately explains the existence of all these nightmarish entities, and the unknowable nature of this phenomenon adds to its unsettling nature. In a terrifying chapter entitled “Hiding in Human Form,” Weatherly examines cases where disturbing entities appear as humans who shape-shift into sinister black-eyed beings and other disturbing manifestations. This is reminiscent of Keel’s disturbing look at ‘artificial humans’ and other odd humanoids in The Mothman Prophecies.
Weatherly connects the Slenderman mythos with the theory of Tulpas and thought-forms. By all accounts the Slenderman began as an internet sensation in 2009 on the Something Awful forums as part of a contest to create a convincing image of a paranormal entity. Several images were posted of an unnaturally tall man with impossibly long tentacle-like arms and a bald, featureless face. Slenderman seems to have taken on a life of its own and has physically manifested itself, with numerous unsettling reports of Slenderman sightings months after the creation of the internet meme. Was the Slenderman collectively imagined into existence? According to ancient Tibetan tradition, Tulpas can become autonomous and physically manifest themselves, and this is exactly what the Slenderman seems to have done. However, Weatherly has uncovered some cases of a Slenderman-like entity that predates the internet meme by decades, and several of those fascinating encounters are covered here.
Some of the entities in Strange Intruders seem to be the result of mass hallucination. It’s as if the collective psyche had been wounded or fractured in some way, and through these cracks in the psyche emerged shadowy figures that tap into our fear of the unknown. These things originate in the realm of belief and through this concentrated mental power allow them to materialize. This is a very tricky topic, and one that’s certainly not limited to bizarre paranormal encounters.
Many encounters in Strange Intruders act as an omen of bad luck or some kind of personal prophecy for the victim. Weatherly connects some of these bizarre entities with ancient stories of the incubus and succubus, entities that drain the life force of their victims. Many people who encounter these strange intruders often experience poor health, exhaustion, troubled sleep, increased paranoia and other negative effects after such an encounter.
This is a truly disturbing book. As Weatherly writes of these paranormal beings, “Some fly, some melt into the shadows, others are simply…gone, all in the blink of an eye, unclear to us and disturbing in its unknowable nature. While their intent is not clear, one thing is. They do not belong here. They are alien, intrusive, and most often, sinister.”
Chris Moran lives in Columbus, Ohio. His chapbook GHOSTLORD is forthcoming from Solar Luxuriance.