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My Journal of the Plague Year – Entry 10

Dagon’s Illusion – Pilot Script for a Supernatural TV series

He was a master mentalist, a warrior of the spirit, an adept in strange arts. And the last battle was about to begin.

The hellish hurricane is coming. As it screams toward landfall, one man knows the truth about its origin and power. One man has seen the Mighty Angel that was called from the depths to wreak destruction and rain new evil onto the Earth. That man is Robert Arthur Dagon, the leading mentalist and magician of his generation. But Dagon is much more than an illusionist, he is a spirit traveler who knows how to leave his body and enter unseen worlds.

This television pilot script is based on the novel by Coleman Luck.

Also, you can listen to the novel in a dramatic presentation by going to this link. https://open.spotify.com/show/5GDH2Yq4bDRkuCT4Zc1A6W

At the Back of the North Wind

I’d like to share a story with you that I have loved for many years.  I wish I could share it as a film, but I can’t.  It is a feature script that I wrote a long time ago, the first professionally written script of my career completed when I was a grad student in screenwriting at USC. When it was finished, my prof, Jim Boyle, said to me, “Coleman, do not sell this script for any less than $400,000.00.”  And you know what?  I never have.

Where did the story come from?  When I was a child, my father read books to me.  (Thank God we didn’t have a television in those ancient days.) He introduced me to the great fantasy and science fiction writers.  One of them was George Macdonald.  You may not have heard of him.  He lived in the 19th century and his novels were an inspiration to both C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. One was entitled, At the Back of the North Wind.  It’s set in Old England and is about a little boy named, Diamond, who meets the North Wind and she becomes his friend.  North Wind can appear as a lovely young woman, a charming little girl or a towering creature of darkness and terror that can engulf an entire land. 

Macdonald’s book, for all of its charm, is not written in a modern form.  Adapting it was a challenge. I added some elements that are not found in the novel. For instance, appropriate for today, the Black Plague comes to London, but Diamond is protected.  Why?  You’ll have to read to find out.

Freaks Rule 2020

Over 20 years ago, I wrote about this experience relating it to America of that day. It’s time for a new telling.

I grew up in the Chicago area. In the mid-fifties I was in the sixth grade. During those years I had a paper route. Talk about anachronisms, newspapers were actually read back then. Anyway I had this paper route and it was a miserable job – dogs in the dripping heat of summer, freezing your tail off all winter long, and once a month I had to collect. That meant wandering up and down the streets on a Saturday trying to get jerks to cough up a couple of bucks to keep me in business. That’s right, payment in cash.  But I was good at it. In sixth grade, I won an award. I’ve forgotten what it was for, but the prize I will never forget. It was an evening at Riverview.

Now anybody who grew up in Chicago during that period remembers Riverview. It was one of those great old sleazy amusement parks, a bloated carnival on a permanent location with a wooden roller coaster and a pot load of other dangerous rides that looked like they’d disintegrate the moment you sat down on them.  All summer long Riverview advertised on the Chicago TV stations. Their main pitchman was a local personality named “Two-Ton” Baker, that’s what he called himself.  He was a really large guy who did noonday programs for kids. All summer there’d be these commercials showing old “Two-Ton” taking up two seats on a roller coaster, yelling to display his sheer joy and probably to prove that if the thing held him it’d hold anybody. Anyway, you get the picture.

Riverview was the last gasp of an era. It died with the coming of the giant fake reality theme parks of today where everything is perfect all the time even the plants, which they change constantly to make sure everything is always blooming. Riverview was an honest straightforward temptation. It whispered to kids, “Come wander in my shadows. Come listen to my rats crawling around behind the boards. Come debauch.” We loved it.

Anyway I won this trip to Riverview and the greatest part of it was that my parents wouldn’t be going along. I’d be with a group of paperboy “winners” just like me, young delinquents in training. And, the peak of ecstasy? Our “chaperones” would be the paperboy “supervisors” from The Daily Journal. Now my parents didn’t know it but these guys were absolute losers, basically drunks who had been promoted far beyond their level of competence.  Going with them was like going alone.  They gave us cash and went off to a bar. Oh joy from heaven. Sixth grade. Money. And Riverview without adults.

Now when I say this was an old style amusement park I’m not joking. On the boardwalk it had a freak show. Can you imagine such a thing today?  Try to picture a freak show at Disney World.  So after you’ve gorged yourself on delicious little bags of dead meat euphemistically called “hot dogs” and braved all the dangerous rides at least six times, where’s an eleven-year-old boy gonna be found?  I don’t need to tell you.  So, I bought my ticket and walked in.

I found myself in a stark, ugly little room standing with a small crowd in a roped-off area. There was nothing fancy about this. It was as down and dirty as you can get. Three feet beyond the rope sitting on wood pedestals and little chairs were seven or eight freaks. And they were the real deal. Nothing fake here. It was a collection of poor sad human beings with bodies that looked like they’d been created in a Hollywood visual effects house. The instant you walked in, there was a seriousness about the place. Nobody laughed. Nobody talked. The freaks looked at you and you looked at them and then you left. But while I was there, something happened in that room that I will remember as long as I live.

One of the freaks was a little old woman, probably in her sixties. No more than three feet tall, her face was deformed beyond ugliness and all of her limbs bent in the wrong direction. She was just sitting there and you could imagine that she had done this all of her life. Suddenly into the room walked a man carrying a little girl about three years old.  Why this idiot had brought her there no one could imagine. I was eleven and I was appalled. Of course at the time there was no rating system on freak shows so how could you blame him?

Anyway, the man with the little girl stopped in front of the little old woman. The instant the child saw this frightening creature she became terrified and started to sob. It was a horrible moment.  Then, as I watched, that little deformed lady started to cry too. Quietly, without a sound, the tears ran down her cheeks. After all the years of being stared at, all the years of loneliness and pain, the humanity in her eyes was overwhelming. Then, that little woman began to talk to the little girl. Softly, with a voice like your grandmother and mine she tried to comfort her, to reach out with words because her arms weren’t long enough and they bent in the wrong direction. It was one gentle heart whispering to another. She said, “Don’t be afraid, sweetheart. It’s all right. Nothing is going to hurt you. See?  I am crying too.” Eleven-year-old boys are not known for their deep sensitivity, but if I live to be a thousand I will never forget that scene.

Over 60 years have passed since that night. Riverview is long gone and I was thinking about freaks the other day. Often, we hear that we are a nation ruled by Laws. Untrue. We are a nation ruled by stories. The stories we love reveal who we are and what we are becoming. And, at this dark moment of American history our collective story should be titled, “Freaks Rule.” Not the good, honest freaks of Riverview, the true freaks. Us.

What is the story of our national freakhood? At its heart, is an addiction beyond politics and parties, beyond religion in all of its forms. It is the center of our lusts and aspirations, the hidden claw that rakes our lives, the chimera behind every lying story and every broken dream. Our money shrieks it to us, “In God We Trust” and money is the dark god in which we believe. Beyond all other gods we worship at its altar.  From courtrooms to boardrooms, from churches to casinos, from shacks to mansions from whore houses to White Houses, without our green god, we are filled with fear. In money we trust and in our tattered freakhood, we pray desperately that the science money buys will save us from Covid-19. In this diseased and dying nation our doom is smeared on restroom walls. We have mocked the true God who loves us. We have mocked the Righteous Judge whose fingerprints of majesty are everywhere on earth. We have mocked the blood prints of His Dying and risen Son who came to save us and will return to rule.

In this awful year of 2020, to commemorate our mockery, I have written a new American Psalm. It goes like this:

Let’s all mock God together, as a pastime, it’s delightful, and there’s nothing more insightful than sleek souls that are self-satisfied.

Let’s all mock God together, some are sure He’s non-existent, so they disregard that strange, but very persistent, tiny, gnawing fear.

Let’s all mock God together, let’s trust in our blind science, to excuse our cold defiance, as we prepare for the living darkness that lies ahead.

Let’s all mock God together, obsessed with streaming distractions, to make us forget our evil actions, for certainly we answer to no one but ourselves.

Let’s all mock God together, in a culture dithering toward senility, we glorify scurrility, and claim every wretched sin to be a human right.

Let’s all mock God together, while black men die under bended knees and hang from barren trees, above their corpses flies our patriotic flag.

Let’s all mock God together while frightened families are torn asunder, we continue to oppress and plunder the poor who pick and carve the food that gives us life.

Let’s all mock God together, in our well-insured complacency, with frightening indecency, we watch sufferers without help go bankrupt and die.

Let’s all mock God together, while we FUND the skilled aborters, the dead baby sorters, who cut out souls, then chop and sell.

Let’s all mock God together, maskless shrieking offenders, freedom’s great defenders, infecting all with the spitting selfishness of hell.

Let’s all mock God together, toilet paper hoarders with excremental disorders flushed through texting fingers to screens throughout the world.

Let’s all mock God together, porno cyber suckers, groaning, spermy muckers with minds that reek of rotted flesh.

Let’s all mock God together, while wealthy men buy someone’s daughter, to use, abuse and slaughter, hell awaits their final day. 

Let’s all mock God together, while we bloat like good consumers, pushing shopping carts of tumors, blind to the cancer that eats our souls.

Let’s all mock God together, with ventilators wheezing, millions go on pleasing the little god that gasps between their ears.

Let’s all mock God together, while patriotic churches worship mammon, their souls are starved in famine without a morsel that will save. 

Let’s all mock God together, though His judgment is long in coming, we can hear the death march drumming for nations too evil to repent.

Let’s all mock God together, I’m sure He doesn’t hear us, and we have Amazon to cheer us while America grinds slowly to her grave.  Yes, let’s all mock God together.

That, my friend, is our tragic national story. And stories rule.  But in my heart I wish I could write a different story. It would be so radical that everyone would freeze in shock. It would start this way. Into the Oval Office, rancid as it is with tweeted droppings, I would bring a new person to lead our land. For her, the President’s chair would be too large and the desk would be too high. There would be no rose-garden signings jammed with the fatuous elite. Her arms would be too short and they would bend in the wrong direction, so putting her name on our great laws she could not do. When the TV cameras focused on her many would be filled with horror and revulsion. They’d demand to know why such an aberration had been allowed to live, why her mother hadn’t ended her in a merciful abortion. But she wouldn’t listen to the ranting rage. Every slithering insult, every denigrating whisper, she had heard a thousand times before. In fact, she wouldn’t talk to us at all. Instead she’d speak softly to our terrified little children. And with her words and tears maybe they’d be able to see beyond her ugliness into eyes filled with love, beautiful beyond comprehension, because in her suffering she had seen the Face of God.

If only we had a true, honest freak in the White House to lead us to national mourning and repentance instead of national death.  It wouldn’t take long for that little grandmother to touch hearts that hadn’t yet turned to stone. I can tell you, at that freak show in Riverview so long ago, it took only five minutes for her to touch the heart of an eleven-year-old boy.  

Cry for our beloved country.  The evil freaks rule.  

Journal of the Plague Year

virus in skull eye

Something Very Strange Has Been Going On.

In 1722 Daniel Defoe published a classic novel entitled A Journal of the Plague Year.  It purported to be an eye-witness account of what happened in London in 1665 when the Black Death struck.  Though it was fiction, Defoe’s skill was so great that most of his readers thought the novel was an actual journal written by the central character. Over half a century had passed since the terrors of the plague, but the memories still burned deep.  The novel is a harrowing account of what happens when the world turns upside down – when what seems like endless death strikes a city and no one knows where it comes from or how to stop it.

Over the years I’ve read a number of books about the scourge of disease and how pandemics have shaped history.  In the mid-90s, I created a short-lived television series entitled, The Burning Zone that dealt with an unusual pandemic.   A virologist was on our consulting staff and I learned a great deal.

As a novelist and screenwriter, I am fascinated by what happens when the thin veneer of socialization disintegrates and the truth about the human race bubbles up out of the darkness of our souls.  In particular, plagues generate unreasoning terror that strips away every sophisticated façade.  In its most virulent form, this terror can utterly destroy the very core of what it means to be human.  In a blind rage of self-preservation, people do hideous things that would be unthinkable at any other time. Mobs attack innocent people, loving husbands and wives abandon each other, parents abandon their children and children their parents. Fear of disease can turn people into beasts.

At this moment, a virus named Covid-19 is destroying China and has spread to other countries.  Warnings from the WHO and CDC tell us that very likely a pandemic is coming upon us and we should be prepared. At this time, it is unknown how lethal this virus really is.  We hope and pray that measures being taken will stop the spread of this disease.  Scientists working on a vaccine warn us that the earliest it could be available is sometime in 2021. So how should we prepare for what may be coming and I don’t mean stockpiling food and other essentials?  Yes, those preparations may be necessary, but I mean preparing our souls. Witnesses speak to us from the past and we should listen to them.

During a plague, the response of brutal self-preservation is so consistent that when you find anyone acting against it for the good of others it seems almost a miracle.  Right now brave medical teams are risking their lives to help sufferers.  But that is expected of them and most of them, with great courage, expect it of themselves.  What about others?

Let me tell you a story about one village.

In the year 1665, the Black Death was ravaging London.  But in the little village of Eyam nestled in the fields of Derbyshire, the big city and its horrors seemed far away.  350 people lived quietly there and the church was the center of their lives.  They had a new young pastor, William Mompesson, and their old pastor, Thomas Stanley, had remained to help in the transition.

Exactly how the Black Death was spread was not known, but everyone was certain that person to person contact must have much to do with it.  No one in Eyam had contact with any Londoners so they felt relatively safe.  George Viccars was the tailor of Eyam.  In late August, he received one of his regular shipments of cloth from London.  The material was damp so he spread it out to dry.  In doing so he released fleas.   Flea bites were a common nuisance, so when George was bitten he thought little of it.  Within a week he was dead.

When the village realized that the plague had come there was panic.  The first tendency of everyone was to escape from the town, to save their lives and the lives of their families.  But very quickly there came a second realization.  There was no plague in any of the surrounding villages.  If they escaped into them very likely they would be taking death along.

As the dying continued in Eyam, the pastors called for a town meeting.  Everyone gathered at the church.  Together these brave men and women made an amazing decision.  They would not run.  For the good of the neighboring villages, they would stay, quarantining themselves until the plague ran its course.  And this they did.  Nearby villages left food and other necessities at the edge of the town on a stone called the Coolstone.  Money that had been soaked in vinegar was left in payment.

For the next fourteen months the bubonic plague decimated the little village of Eyam.  Church services were held outside in an attempt to mitigate infection.  And no longer were there communal burials.   Families became responsible for their own burials and these were not in the churchyard.  Victims were interred next to their homes.

How the plague struck was without logic.  For instance, in eight days Elizabeth Hancock buried her six children and her husband, but she herself was never infected.  The young pastor lost his wife, but he lived.  The stories of loss during those fourteen months are heartrending.  Emmott Sydall and Rowland Torre were lovers.  Rowland was from a nearby village.  During the plague, they would meet at the edge of town and call to each other across the rocks.  Then one day Rowland waited for her, but Emmott did not appear.  She never came again.

Finally, the plague ended.  Out of 350 people, only 83 were left alive, but the surrounding villages remained plague free.  For 14 months these brave people faced both fear and death to save the lives of others.  With broken hearts, they buried their loved ones outside their houses as they cried out to God. You can visit Eyam today.  It’s known as the Plague Village.  There’s a little museum and a walking tour that meanders past the old graves.  On those fading tombstones, you can barely read the names of babies and little children, young people, old people, and lovers.

Eyam is a monument to selfless courage. Where did it come from?  We need to find out.

Whether Covid-19 creates a worldwide pandemic or not, there is strong evidence that we are living in uniquely strange and horrifying times.  What is the proof? Let’s look at four cataclysmic areas, war, pandemics, famines, and earthquakes.  For the purpose of this study, we’ll establish a line of demarcation with the year 1900, what we could call the start of the truly modern era.  I propose to you that everything that has happened since then has been moving us very quickly in a specific direction.

War

In the history of the world, from 1900 to the present day the wars that have been fought have been devastating on a different level than in the past. While war has been a constant in human history and millions have died over thousands of years, the modern experience in just over a century has taken us to a new level of horror.  Needless to say, it is very difficult to accurately measure the number of deaths from war that have happened during the past 120 years. Historians estimate that the median number of people killed during 79 wars around the world from 1900 to the present time is 163,340,990. This counts only wars with more than 25,000 deaths. Dozens of smaller wars have taken place during this period.

How does it compare with the past? We need to do some calculations. Let’s start at 549 BC with the wars of Cyrus the Great and end in 1899. That is a period of 2448 years. Over that time, historians list 84 major wars that took place around the world each with over 25,000 people killed.  In some of those wars, millions died. Historians estimate that in all of them the total median number of people killed directly or indirectly due to all the conflicts is 289,081,220.   This gives us an average of 188,088 people killed in each of those 2448 years.

Horrible, but how does it compare with 79 wars over 120 years?  The average estimated number of deaths due to wars during each of those 120 years is 1,331,174.  (My source is the Wikipedia entry, List of Wars by Death Toll.) Of course, the world population was much smaller before 1900 at approximately 1 billion in 1804 and 1.6 billion by 1900.  Prior to 1804, the world population was in the hundreds of millions. Right now in 2020, the world population is 7,749,798,739. Exponential growth in population has brought exponential growth in deaths from war over a vastly shorter period.

Famines

Like wars, famines have killed millions. It is estimated that since 1900 there have been 35 devastating famines causing the deaths of between 70 and 100 million people.  Over half of those deaths were in China.  In 1958-1961 it is estimated that 36 million died during Mao’s famine. In Stalin’s famine of 1932 to 1933 alone it is estimated over 5 million died in Ukraine and Kazakhstan. From 1970 to 1979 two million Cambodians starved to death.  During 1984 and 1985 up to one million Ethiopians died for lack of food.  In Somalia during 2011, 260,000 people starved to death. At this writing, 20 million people in Africa are in danger of starvation during the next six months as unprecedented swarms of desert locusts are completely devouring crops in dozens of African nations including Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, and Kenya. These swarms threaten to decimate the Mideast.  Also, they have entered south Asia. They are as large as major cities and are expected to increase 500 times by June.

Pandemics

Based on the number of deaths, the most lethal pandemic in history was the Spanish flu of 1918 which infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed an estimated 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans. This was even greater than the Black Death of the 14th and 15th centuries that killed 25 million people in Europe. Once again the exponential growth in population caused exponential growth in deaths.  During the 1956-58 Asian flu epidemic, the World Health Organization estimates that 2 million people died worldwide with almost 70,000 of those in the U.S.  The CDC estimates that in the U.S. approximately .1 percent equating to 61,000 people have died of the flu annually since 2010.  At this moment we face Covid-19. It is clear that the death rate is significantly greater than the yearly flu. How much greater has yet to be determined but estimates put in the range of 2.5 percent which equates to almost 2.5 million deaths.  In addition to Covid-19, versions of bird flu and swine flu are moving through parts of the world.

Earthquakes

Since 1900, around the world there have been more than 10,000 “strong” earthquakes with magnitudes of 6 or greater, this is according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The record suggests that earthquakes are becoming more frequent. In a 2015 story, it is reported that a study by USGS researchers found that there were more than twice as many “large” earthquakes, defined as magnitudes of 7 or above, in the first quarter of 2014 than there were in 1979. During 2014 alone the planet saw a record number of earthquakes. 13 had magnitudes of 6.5 or greater. “We have recently experienced a period that has had one of the highest rates of great earthquakes ever recorded,’ according to Tom Parsons, a research geophysicist at USGS. In December of 2014, NBC News reported that “great earthquakes” nearly tripled over the previous decade. And the devastation continues. In the past year, a 7.7 quake struck off the coast of Jamaica. Not long before that, a 6.4 hit Puerto Rico. A few years before that Haiti was devastated. In addition to quakes, there is an increase in volcanic eruptions around the world.

Clearly, something new and very disturbing has been happening around the world for over 100 years.  Where is it leading? Let me propose a disturbing idea that many will think is insane.  All of this was predicted by Jesus Christ almost 2000 years ago. How could I say such a thing?  Read on.  Let’s start with Jesus’ words found in Matthew chapter 24 of the New Testament:

Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”    Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many and you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.  And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

Over the 2000 years since Jesus spoke those words, there have been endless wars and rumors of wars. There have been famines, pestilences and earthquakes. Also, there have been many false teachers who claimed to be the “Christ” and such spiritual wolves continue to deceive millions.   The center of the Covid-19 outbreak in South Korea is a cult in the city of Daegu called the Shincheonji. The Shincheonji Church of Jesus, formally known as the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony, was founded by a false prophet named Lee Man-hee in 1984. Members believe that Lee, now 88 years old, is the second coming of Christ. The cult has 12 branches in South Korea and 150,000 followers. The 61-year-old woman who brought the disease into the church refused to be tested.  Her reason?  In this cult getting sick is viewed as a sin because it prevents members from doing “God’s work”.

Jesus said that though all these terrible things will happen the end hasn’t come yet.

 However, there is a unique period that immediately precedes the End of Days.  He calls it “the beginning of sorrows”. During that time, the scourges that have destroyed millions throughout history will dramatically increase.  War will become even more hellish with nations and kingdoms rising against each other in new and terrible ways.  I believe it is implied that in all the history of warfare these wars will be unique. Jesus doesn’t set a time period for the “beginning of sorrows”. He implies that the things that will be happening during that time will make it clear.  I propose to you that the past 120 years fit the description that Jesus gave. And the sorrows are increasing.

The parallel passage to Matthew 24 is Luke 21. Here Jesus adds these words. Along with wars, pestilences, famines and earthquakes “…there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven…There will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

If this is the “beginning of sorrows”, we can expect to see terrifying things happening in the cosmos, in the sun, and in the moon, that will have devastating effects on earth’s environment vastly increasing the “distress of nations”.  I believe that the strange unidentified phenomena that are increasing in the skies around the world are part of the signs that are building toward terror.

As part of these warnings, Jesus says that His followers will be delivered to tribulation and death and ultimately all nations would hate them. In 2017 it was estimated that 900,000 Christians had been murdered for their faith during the previous ten years and the murders continue around the world.  In many places such as North Korea it is impossible to know how many have died for their faith but according to those who have escaped there have been many thousands. Open Doors, an organization that tracks such numbers, estimates that EVERY MONTH 345 Christians are killed – often in public and without regard to gender or age; 219 Christians are abducted and imprisoned indefinitely without trial; 180 women and girls are raped, sexually assaulted or forced into marriage; and 106 churches are demolished.

Jesus warns, And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.  Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”   The hate between groups around the world is growing with frightening speed. The United States is being torn to pieces by hate. False prophets and evil leaders are rising up speaking in every area from politics to religion. Lawlessness means the exponential growth of anarchy as people lose all faith in established governments and become laws unto themselves. Out of such hate grows violence.

But there is yet another vital prediction that Jesus made:

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  Over these 2000 years, the Good News of God’s Love through His Son, Jesus Christ, has been preached in all nations. The 20th century saw great movement toward the completion of that mission. His words do not mean that every single person will have heard the message, but that at some point every nation and ethnic group will have received the Good News.

There is one more prophecy that I would call to your attention.  Strong words that predict the restoration of Israel as a nation are found throughout the Old Testament. Read this stunning prediction:

“Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day, or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the LORD. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God. “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her.” (Isaiah 66:8-10)

In 1948, the Jewish nation of Israel was born in a day.

Never in history has anything ever happened like this before, a people dispersed across the world maintain their unique character and come together to re-establish a nation that hasn’t existed for almost 2000 years. And it occurred after a time of unprecedented agony, horror, and death. Truly fitting that it would happen during the “beginning of sorrows” that sweeps the whole world.  According to the Bible, in the days ahead, terrible persecution will fall again on the Jewish people in Israel.  It will precede the coming of their Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus), the One who was rejected but who is the Chief Cornerstone of a new age.

So where does this leave us? History had a beginning, it will have an end. If you are controlled by the Normalcy Bias like the vast majority, you will disregard all that I’ve written as nothing more than fantasy. You will commit yourself to believing in the Steady State theory of global life.  That is your choice, but you are disregarding Jesus’ words that the End is coming. What will happen when it arrives?  He will return in power to this world and ultimately every person who has ever lived will stand before Him to be judged. Those who heard the truth about who He is and rejected Him will answer for it. For those who have placed their faith in Jesus, His return represents the ultimate hope and joy that far transcend all the horrors and heartbreaks that are coming upon us.

At this critical moment in history, the Good News is there for you.

As it says in the New Testament book of John chapter 3 verse 16, God so loved the world, He so loved you, that He gave His only begotten Son so that if you believe in Him you can have Eternal Life.  What does believe mean? It means believe that Jesus is who the Bible says He is, the Son of God who came to take your sins and mine and pay the price for them by shedding His blood and dying for you and me on the Cross.  All it takes is a simple prayer telling Him that you believe in Him, that you repent of your sins and want Him to be your Savior. It means giving your life to Him and making Him your Lord and King.  My friend, whatever we face in the days ahead, the future can be yours.

How were the people in the little village of Eyam able to show such sacrificial courage even to death?   In the middle of great suffering and sorrow, they had placed all their faith in the One who gave them Eternal Life.

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”  Jesus – John 11:25

Trance and Delusion Part Two: The Buddhist Monk’s Awakening

Head rave4

In his book The Holographic Universe, author Michael Talbot relates something very strange that he observed in the mid-1970s. His father hosted a party for some close friends.  For entertainment, he hired a professional stage hypnotist. Michael Talbot watched the performance. It began as expected with the hypnotist giving various tests to the group to determine who would make a good subject.   A man named Tom was selected and he went into trance very quickly.  It should be noted that Tom had never met the hypnotist before and did not know what he was going to do. What followed was the usual hilarious hypnosis show. Tom was convinced that a giraffe was in the room which caused him great amazement.  He ate a potato and thought it was an apple.  That sort of thing.

Then came the climax of the performance.  It involved Tom’s teenage daughter.  The hypnotist gave Tom the post-hypnotic direction that when he awoke he wouldn’t be able to see her.  The girl was placed directly in front of him. When he was brought out of the trance he was asked if she were in the room. He looked around.  Though she stood right in front of him giggling, he replied, “No. Not here. ”  Over and over, Tom was asked if he could see her and over and over, while his daughter’s giggles grew louder, he said that he couldn’t.  Now all of that is still typical Hypno show tricks.  Then the hypnotist did something else.

He stood behind the girl so that Tom couldn’t see him. Then he took an object out of his pocket keeping it hidden from everyone in the room.  Cupping it in his hand, he placed it against the girl’s back and asked Tom what it was that he was holding.  Tom leaned forward, stared straight at his daughter’s stomach and correctly identified the object as a watch. The hypnotist asked him if he could read the name and inscription on the watch.  He did it accurately.  The person who owned the watch was not known to any of the guests in the room.   Later when Talbot questioned him, Tom said that he never saw his daughter at all.  It just looked like the hypnotist was holding up a watch in his cupped hand.

I have studied stage hypnosis and seen performances.  I have never seen this test demonstrated.  My first response would be that it was a trick.  Stage hypnotists often use secret assistants from the audience.  So the simple answer would be that Tom had been secretly recruited and knew what the man was going to hold up. But that explanation doesn’t really work.  This was a small gathering of personal friends.  Tom was a friend.  Michael Talbot questioned him.  Tom would have known that Mr. Talbot was going to use his experience in a book that he was writing dealing with quantum physics and paranormal experiences.  It’s difficult to believe that Tom would have allowed a personal friend to use that experience as an illustration if it hadn’t been real.  If it was real what are we to make of it?  In some people, hypnotic trance can open the door to paranormal experiences and strange abilities.

The U.S. government has done extensive research into a paranormal ability called Remote Viewing.  That is the ability of some people in a mild trance state to see physical objects such as buildings and other landmarks, many miles, even continents away.  The research involved placing the remote viewer into a semi-darkened room then giving him map coordinates with the instructions to describe what he saw at that location. Some of those tested were very accurate in their remote observations.

Trance is a tremendous power and influence in our lives and all of us experience it. 

It can make us see illusions that appear to be real but are not.  Trance can be most dangerous when it is experienced collectively.  Probably you have seen films of Hitler’s Nuremberg speeches.  To us, they just look weird.  They took place at night.  Partial darkness can be important in inducing a collective trance. As the vast crowd stands watching, many of them in uniform and in rigid formation, the scene is lighted partly by searchlights and partly by fires.  There is dramatic music that assists in mass trance induction. I’m sure if you had been there and spoken German it would have been a mesmerizing experience because Hitler’s speeches were carefully orchestrated grand dramas.  He put an entire nation into a trance creating illusions of power and glory.  From them grew a delusion that almost destroyed the western world and murdered millions of innocent people.

But it doesn’t take pageantry to induce mass delusion.  All it takes is fear. Throughout history lying delusions have taken control of huge masses of people and those delusions have led to the most awful brutality, violence, and injustice.  In reading the history of mass delusions, many of the things that have happened cannot be described except as Satanic in origin.

Most often mass delusions appear when there is a large-scale breakdown in a society.

People lose faith in formerly trusted institutions, leaders and each other. There is a breakdown in communication that creates an environment of deep and pervasive fear.  Then suddenly, someone drops a rumor. It’s like a deadly virus in a weakened body. Almost instantly, it metastasizes.  The rumor is everywhere and even worse, it constantly mutates into darker forms.  The result is a vortex of fear that can lead to utter destruction.  Formerly decent people become vicious beasts.

To study the evil effects of mass delusion, all you have to do is look at the plague years of the middle-ages in Europe. The Black Plague came in waves sometimes with decades in between.  Fear of its arrival was constant and when it did arrive, terror took control.  Rumors are like forest fires.  They have specific points of origin.  They don’t happen by chance. Some evil person concocts a lie and tells it to others who spread it. During the plague years, very often rumors had to do with blame.  A group of people had brought the plague and were consciously spreading it.  Jews have always been an easy target. For centuries during the Middle Ages, mindless hatred was directed toward them.  In 1285 in Munich, Germany 180 Jews were burned to death because someone spread the rumor that their community had sacrificed a child as part of a satanic ceremony.  So when the plague arrived the liars were ready to blame them.

In Milan, Italy in 1629 rumors spread at the highest levels of government that people were spreading the plague across Europe through sorcery and contagious poisons.  When the plague arrived in 1630, someone started the rumor that Jews were poisoning the water supply. The rumors and terror spread faster than the plague stoked by stupid, evil people.  One night in Milan, someone or some small group began smearing the buildings with an unknown substance.  Here is an eye-witness description. When people awoke the next morning, “In every part of the city they saw doors and walls of the houses stained and daubed with long streaks of I know not what filthiness, something yellowish and whitish, spread over them as with a sponge.” In the ensuing fear and rage, many innocent people were suspected of spreading the plague. They were dragged from their houses, beaten, thrown into prison and killed.

Here is an example of the horror recorded by another eye-witness.

It happened in a cathedral.  “An old man was observed, after kneeling in prayer, to sit down, first, however, dusting the bench with his dark cloak. ‘The old man is anointing the benches’ exclaimed some women who witnessed the act.  The people who happened to be in the church fell upon the old man.  They tore his gray locks, they heaped upon him blows and kicks and dragged him out half-dead, to convey him to prison, to the judges, to torture.  I beheld him dragged along in this way, nor could I learn anything further about his end. Indeed, I think he could not have survived many moments.” This is what mass delusion can do and we see examples of it throughout history in every culture.

Very often in the cold light of day, the rumors and delusions are clearly ridiculous.  In 1914, Canada joined in the First World War against Germany.  But the United States didn’t join until 1917.  During those years rumors spread through Canada that German Americans – at the time there were 10 million living in the U.S. – were getting ready to launch bombing and espionage raids from America.  At one point it was rumored that 80,000 well-armed German-Americans were training near Niagara Falls for an invasion of Canada.  This rumor was promoted by no less than the British Consul General in New York and prompted the Canadian Prime Minister to order an investigation.  Quickly, it was discovered that the whole thing was bogus.

In Indonesia between 1937 and 1981, over and over, appeared the “headhunter” rumors and delusion.   The idea was that a human head was needed to supernaturally strengthen various large construction projects and that the government had sanctioned headhunter teams to acquire the necessary items.  People were terrified to leave their houses at night or to walk through the forest alone in the daytime.

From headhunters, we could go to the sublimely ridiculous.

Do you remember the “Paul McCartney is dead and replaced with an impersonator” rumor that began in 1969 and went on for years, bolstered by imagined proof – hidden messages in the Beatles’ music and album covers, etc.  This was taken seriously enough by major newspapers that they sent reporters to investigate.  It seems that the rumor was first published in the student newspaper at my alma mater, Northern Illinois University.

If you want to look more deeply into the insanity of delusions I recommend two books:  First, an old one published in 1852 entitled Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles MacKay and one published in 2015, A Colorful History of Popular Delusions by Robert Bartholomew and Peter Hassall. In our scientific age we are just as prone to illusions and delusions as in the past.  The difference is that with “social” media they can grow to horrific, worldwide proportions in hours. The delusions of QAnon are a current example. Never in history has there been such a dark potential for manipulation, mind control, evil and violence.

So what patterns do we see in all of this?

Humans are very susceptible to outside control.  This can come through trance, through misreading sensory illusions that have been presented to us. It can come through our own desperate desires that keep us from seeing the truth and it can come through belief in lies and lying rumors.  Any and all of these can create powerful delusions that will control our lives and lead us to destruction both individually and collectively.  Shock, terror, and desperation make us far more vulnerable to such delusions.

Remember that in the future God is going to send the most powerful delusion of all upon the Earth.  It will be so convincing and overwhelming that if it were possible even the elect, God’s own children would be fooled by it.  When it arrives, many people will fall away from belief in God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Many will turn to false Jesuses. Based on the history of delusions, what can we imagine about this terrible period?  First, it will have been prepared for a long time.  As they sink into the delusion, people will look back and perceive what they consider evidence for the lie that has been overlooked or misunderstood thereby creating an historical basis for them to believe it.  For instance, when delusions appeared about the Jews that led to violence against them, always they were based on centuries of lies and false evidence. When the people of Indonesia believed delusions about headhunters, those delusions were based on centuries of belief in the power of sorcery and evil spirits.

Destructive mass delusions do not appear out of nowhere.

They may be instigated by lying rumors that are presented as facts, but always they are based in some form of lies that have been seeded in history. So I think we can say that the lies upon which the Greatest of Delusions will be based exist right now.  When it does arrive, very likely it will come at a time of worldwide terror and vulnerability.  The human race will be in shock.  The systems upon which we depend for order and survival will have broken down.

Very often mass delusions offer a kind of dark hope.  If you kill these people or do this desperate act, the plague may stop. If you kill all the aristocrats, all the rich, with their greed and despotic governments, the common people can thrive.  That delusion led to the bloody French and Russian revolutions and many more.  So in the Great Delusion, we can expect to see horrible violence directed against groups of people who are chosen to be scapegoats. Being the Greatest Delusion, it will offer the greatest false hope.  Destroy these people and save the planet.  Delusions are most successful during catastrophes such as economic crises, wars, plagues, famines, and other disasters. So if it is the Greatest Delusion we can expect some of the most devastating catastrophes ever seen to be taking place around the world.  Jesus predicted that just before His return there would be terrible wars, diseases and other disasters.  People will be attacking each other, the perfect environment for illusions, delusion, rumors and false hope.

So what illusions and delusions are controlling your life right now?  If you say there are none, perhaps you haven’t taken a close enough look.  There are people today who have placed their hope in the delusions of a political party and philosophy.  Others are controlled by delusions of wealth, prosperity and success.  Many believe the delusion that there is no God and this life is all that exists. Others are enslaved to the delusions of false religions that have existed for thousands of years.

God is in the business of awakening us from our lying illusions and freeing us from enslaving delusions.

Sometimes it takes a brutal experience to accomplish that.  What follows is the first-person account of a man named Athet Pyan Shinthaw Paulu, a former Buddhist monk.  The account is dated 14 July 2005. His awakening from delusion was truly brutal.

“My name is Athet Pyan Shinthaw Paulu. I am from the country of Myanmar. I would like to share with you what happened to me, but first I would like to give some brief background information from my life growing up. I was born in 1958 in the town of Bogale, on the Irrawaddy Delta area of southern Myanmar [formerly Burma]. My parents, who were devout Buddhists like most people in Myanmar, named me Thitpin [which means ‘tree’ in English]. Our lives were very simple where I grew up. At the age of 13 I left school and started working on a fishing boat. We caught fish and sometimes also shrimp from the numerous rivers and streams in the Irrawaddy area. At the age of 16 I became the leader of the boat. At this time I lived in Upper Mainmahlagyon Island [Mainmahlagyon means ‘Beautiful Woman Island’ in English], just north of Bogale where I was born. This place is about 100 miles southwest of Yangon [Rangoon], our nation’s capital city.

One day, when I was 17, we caught a large number of fish in our nets. Because of the many fish, a large crocodile was attracted to us. It followed our boat and tried to attack us. We were terrified so we frantically rowed toward the riverbank as fast as we could. The crocodile followed us and smashed our boat with its tail. Although no one died in this incident, the attack greatly affected my life. I no longer wanted to fish. Our small boat sank because of the crocodile attack. We had to go home to our village that night on a passenger boat. Not long after, his employers transferred my father to Yangon City [formerly spelt Rangoon]. At the age of 18, I was sent to a Buddhist monastery to be a novice monk. Most parents in Myanmar try to send their son into a Buddhist monastery, at least for a time, as it is considered a great honor to have a son serve in this way. We have been observing this custom for many hundreds of years.

 When I turned 19 years and 3 months old (in 1977), I became a normal monk. The senior monk at my monastery gave me a new Buddhist name, which is the custom in our country. I was now called U Nata Pannita Ashinthuriya. When we become a monk we no longer use the name given to us at birth by our parents. The name of the monastery I lived at is called Mandalay Kyaikasan Kyaing. The senior monk’s name was called U Zadila Kyar Ni Kan Sayadaw [U Zadila is his title]. He was the most famous Buddhist monk in all of Myanmar at the time. Everyone knew who he was. He was widely honored by the people and respected as a great teacher. I say he “was” because in 1983 he suddenly died when he was involved in a fatal car accident. His death shocked everyone.

At the time I had been a monk for six years. I tried hard to be the best monk I could and to follow all the precepts of Buddhism. At one stage I moved to a cemetery where I lived and meditated continually. Some monks who really want to know the truths of Buddha do things like I did. Some move deep into the forests where they live a life of self-denial and poverty. I sought to deny my selfish thoughts and desires, to escape from sickness and suffering and to break free from the cycle of this world. At the cemetery I was not afraid of ghosts. I tried to attain such inner peace and self-realization that even when a mosquito landed on my arm I would let it bite me instead of brushing it off!

For years I strived to be the best monk I could and not to harm any living being. I studied the holy Buddhist teachings just like all my forefathers had done before me. My life proceeded as a monk until I got very, very sick. I was in Mandalay at the time and had to be taken to the hospital for treatment. The doctors did some tests on me and told me I had both Yellow Fever and malaria at the same time! After about one month in the hospital I was getting worse. The doctors told me there was no chance for me to recover and discharged me to make arrangements to die.  This is a brief description of my past. I would now like to tell you some of the remarkable things that happened to me after this time…

After I was discharged from the hospital I went back to the monastery where other monks cared for me. I grew weaker and weaker and was lapsing into unconsciousness. I learned later that I actually died for three days. My body decayed and stunk of death, and my heart stopped beating. My body was prepared for cremation and was put through traditional Buddhist purification rites. Although I faded away in my body I remember my mind and spirit were fully alert. I was in a very, very powerful storm. A tremendous wind flattened the whole landscape until there were no trees or anything else standing, just a flat plain. I walked very fast along this plain for some time. There were no other people anywhere, I was all alone.

After some time I crossed a river. On the other side of the river I saw a terrible, terrible lake of fire. In Buddhism we do not have a concept of a place like this. At first I was confused and didn’t know it was hell until I saw Yama, the King of Hell [Yama is the name ascribed to the King of Hell in numerous cultures throughout Asia]. His face looked like the face of a lion, his body was like a lion, but his legs were like a naga [serpent spirit]. He had a number of horns on his head. His face was very fierce, and I was extremely afraid. Trembling, I asked him his name. He replied, “I am the King of Hell, the Destroyer.”

The King of Hell told me to look into the lake of fire. I looked and I saw the saffron-colored robes that Buddhist monks wear in Myanmar. I looked closer and saw the shaven head of a man. When I looked at the man’s face I saw it was U Zadila Kyar Ni Kan Sayadaw [the famous monk who had died in a car accident in 1983]. I asked the King of Hell why my former leader was confined to this lake of torment. I said, “Why is he in this lake of fire? He was a very good teacher. He even had a teaching tape called ‘Are You a Man or a Dog?’ which had helped thousands of people understand that their worth as humans is far greater than the animals.” The King of Hell replied, “Yes, he was a good teacher, but he did not believe in Jesus Christ. That’s why he is in hell.”

I was told to look at another person who was in the fire. I saw a man with very long hair wrapped on the left-hand side of his head. He was also wearing a robe. I asked the King of Hell, “Who is this man?” He replied, “This is the one you worship: Gautama [Buddha].” I was very disturbed to see Gautama in hell. I protested, “Gautama had good ethics and good moral character, why is he suffering in this lake of fire?” The King of Hell answered me, “It doesn’t matter how good he was. He is in this place because he did not believe in the Eternal God.”

I then saw another man who looked like he was wearing a soldier’s uniform. He had a large wound on his chest. I asked, “Who is this man?” The King of Hell said, “This is Aung San, the revolutionary leader of Myanmar.” I was told, “Aung San is here because he persecuted and killed Christians, but mostly because he didn’t believe in Jesus Christ.” In Myanmar the people have a common saying, “Soldiers never die, they live on.” I was told that the legions of hell have a saying “Soldiers never die, but they go to hell forever.”

I looked and saw another man in the lake of fire. He was a very tall man and he was dressed in military armor. He was also holding a sword and a shield. This man had a wound on his forehead. This man was taller than any person I have ever seen. He was six times the length between a man’s elbow and the tips of his fingers when he stretches his arm out straight, plus one span of a man’s fingers when he spreads out his hand. The King of Hell said, “This man’s name is Goliath. He is in hell because he blasphemed the Eternal God and His servant David.” I was confused because I didn’t know who either Goliath or David were. The King of Hell said, “Goliath is recorded in the Christian Bible. You don’t know him now, but when you become a Christian you will know who he is.”

I was then taken to a place where I saw both rich and poor people preparing to eat their evening meals. I asked, “Who cooked the food for these people?” The King of Hell replied, “The poor have to prepare their own food, but the rich people get others to cook for them.” When the food had been prepared for the rich people they sat down to eat. As soon as they started a thick smoke came up. The rich people ate as fast as they could to ease their consciences. They were struggling to breathe because of the smoke. They had to eat fast because they were fearful of losing their money. Their money is their god.

Another King of Hell then came to me. This being asked me, “Are you going into the lake of fire too?” I replied, “No! I am only here to observe!” The appearance of this creature was very terrifying. He had ten horns on his head and a spear in his hand that had seven sharp blades coming from the end. The creature told me, “You are right. You came here just to observe. I cannot find your name here.” He said, “You must now go back the way you came.” He pointed me toward the desolate plain that I had first walked along before I came to the lake of fire.

I walked a long time until I was bleeding. I was hot and in great pain. Finally, after walking for about three hours I came to a wide road. I walked along this road for some time until I came to a fork. One road, going off to the left, was wide. A smaller road went off to the right-hand side. There was a signpost at the fork saying that the road to the left was for those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The smaller road to the right was for believers in Jesus. I was interested to see where the larger road led so I started down it.

There were two men walking about 300 yards ahead of me. I tried to catch up with them so I could walk with them but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t catch them up, so I turned around and went back to the fork in the road. I continued to watch these two men as they walked down the road away from me. When they reached the end of the road they were suddenly stabbed. These two men cried out in great pain! I also cried out when I saw what happened to them! I realized the bigger road ended in great danger for those who traveled down it.

 I started walking down the believers’ road instead. After traveling for about one hour the surface of the road turned to pure gold. It was so pure that when I looked down I could see my own reflection perfectly. I then saw a man standing in front of me. He was wearing a white robe. I also heard beautiful singing. Oh, it was so beautiful and pure! The man in the white robe asked me to walk with him. I asked him, “What is your name?” but he did not answer. After I asked his name six times the man answered, “I am the one who holds the key to heaven. Heaven is a very, very beautiful place. You cannot go there now but if you follow Jesus Christ you can go there after your life has finished on the earth.” The man’s name was Peter.

Peter then asked me to sit down and he showed me a place to the north. Peter said, “Look to the north and see God create man.” I saw the Eternal God from a distance. God spoke to an angel, “Let us make man.” The angel pleaded with God and said, “Please don’t make man. He will do wrong and will grieve you.” [In Burmese literally: “He will make you lose face.”]. But God created a man anyway. God blew on the man and the man came to life. He gave him the name “Adam”. [Buddhists do not believe in the Creation of the world or of man].

Then Peter said, “Now get up and go back to where you came from. Speak to the people who worship Buddha and who worship idols. Tell them they must go to hell if they don’t change. Those who build temples and idols will also have to go to hell. Those who give offerings to the monks to earn merit for themselves will go to hell. All those who pray to the monks and call them ‘Pra’ [respectful title for monks] will go to hell. Those who chant and ‘give life’ to idols will go to hell. All those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ will go to hell.” Peter told me to go back to the Earth and testify about the things I had seen. He also said, “You must speak in your new name. From now on you are to be called Athet Pyan Shinthaw Paulu [“Paul who Came Back to Life.”].

I didn’t want to go back. I wanted to go to heaven. Angels opened a book. First, they looked for my childhood name (Thitpin) in the book, but they could not find it. They then looked for the name I had been given when I entered the Buddhist monkhood (U Nata Pannita Ashinthuriya) but it wasn’t written in the book either. Then Peter said, “Your name is not written here, you must return and testify about Jesus to the Buddhist people.”

I walked back along the gold road. Again I heard beautiful singing, the kind of which I have never heard before or since. Peter walked with me until the time I returned to the earth. He showed me a ladder that reached down from the heaven to the sky. The ladder didn’t reach to the earth but stopped in mid-air. On the ladder I saw many angels, some going up to heaven and some going down the ladder. They were very busy. I asked Peter, “Who are they?” Peter answered, “They are messengers of God. They are reporting to heaven the names of all those who believe in Jesus Christ and the names of those who don’t believe.” Peter then told me it was time to go back.

The next thing I was aware of was the sound of weeping. I heard my own mother cry out, “My son, why did you leave us now?” I also heard many other people weeping. I realized I was lying in a box. I started to move. My mother and father started shouting, “He is alive! He is alive!” Other people who were farther away did not believe my parents. I then placed my hands on the sides of the box and sat upright. Many people were struck with terror. They cried out, “It is a ghost!” and ran away as fast as their legs could carry them. Those who remained were speechless and trembling.

I noticed I was sitting in smelly liquid and body fluids, enough to fill about three and a half cups. This was liquid that had come out of my stomach and my insides while my body was lying in the coffin. This is why people knew I had indeed been dead. Inside the coffin, there was a type of plastic sheet fixed to the wood. This sheet is placed there to retain a corpse’s liquids because many dead bodies release much fluid like mine did.

I learned later that I was just moments away from being cremated in the flames. In Myanmar people are placed in a coffin, the lid is then nailed shut, and the whole coffin is burned. When I came back to life my mother and father were being allowed to look at my body for the very last time. Moments later the lid of my coffin would have been nailed shut and I would have been cremated! I immediately started to explain the things I had seen and heard. People were astonished. I told them about the men I had seen in the lake of fire, and told them that only the Christians know the truth, that our forefathers and us have been deceived for thousands of years! I told them everything we believe is a lie. The people were astonished because they knew what kind of a monk I had been and how zealous I had been for the teachings of Buddha.

In Myanmar when a person dies their name and age are written on the side of the coffin. When a monk dies, the monk’s name, age and the number of years he has served as a monk are written on the side of the coffin. I had already been recorded as dead but as you can see, now I am alive!” (End of statement.) Along with this statement came the following report:

 Since ‘Paul who came back to life’ experienced the above story he has remained a faithful witness to the Lord Jesus Christ. Burmese pastors have told us that he had led hundreds of other monks to faith in Christ. His testimony is obviously very uncompromising. Because of that, his message has offended many people who cannot accept that there is only one way to Heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ. Despite great opposition, his experiences were so real to him that he has not wavered. After many years in the Buddhist monkhood, as a strict follower of Buddhist teachings, he immediately proclaimed the Gospel of Christ following his resurrection and exhorted other monks to forsake all false gods and follow Jesus Christ with all their hearts.

Before the time of his sickness and death, he had no exposure to Christianity at all.  Everything he learned during those three days in the grave was new to his mind. In a bid to get his message out to as many people as possible, this modern-day Lazarus began distributing audio and video cassette tapes with his story on them. The police and Buddhist authorities in Myanmar have done their utmost to gather these tapes up and destroy them. The testimony you have just read has been translated from one of those cassette tapes. We are told it is now quite dangerous for citizens of Myanmar to be in possession of these tapes.

His fearless testimony has landed him in prison at least once, where the authorities failed in their bid to silence him. Upon his release he continued to testify of the things he saw and heard. His current whereabouts are uncertain. One Burmese informant told us he is in prison and may have been killed, while another informant was told he is now released from prison and is continuing his ministry. (End of attached report)

This near-death experience has been viciously attacked.

It has been called a lie, an illusion and a delusion. Very likely, this is because many people only want to hear messages that agree with them and make them feel good in whatever they have chosen to believe. Which could argue for their desire to maintain an internally consistent delusion themselves.  In my opinion, the fact that this experience does not bring such comfort argues for its veracity. It is difficult for me to believe that it was fabricated “whole cloth” to prove Christianity.  Such a lie would go against the basic tenets of the faith it was trying to promote.  And what would be the advantage?  It would not be a popular message in Myanmar and certainly could bring persecution and trouble in any Buddhist country.

The underlying reason for all the hate that has been directed toward this man’s testimonial is very clear.  It stands against the most pervasive modern delusion which is this: If you believe in an afterlife at all you must believe that all roads lead to Heaven because everyone worships the same “god”.  This is nothing but ignorance. The major religions of the world have diametrically opposed definitions and descriptions of who “God” is.  They do not mesh. Also, foolish people choose to believe that Jesus taught nothing but “non-judgmental” messages of love that point to everyone worshipping the same “God”.  Once again, this is nothing but deadly ignorance.  He was very clear when he said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father but by Me.”  Heaven is where the Father is.  To get there, belief in Jesus is the only way.  That is the ultimate message of this former Buddhist monk. Do you consider that message to be true or false?  Making the right choice means everything.

We live in a world awash in a mighty ocean of illusions and delusions, lies both monstrous and small.  Yet, at the same time truth exists if we want to find it.  But often the truth is very painful, that’s why we prefer our delusions.  Giving up precious delusions can be one of the most difficult choices of our lives. As a professional storyteller, I have wanted to tell stories that are true, stories that do not spread delusions that lead to spiritual death and that is what delusions always do. As I have grown older, my great desire has been for wisdom.  And that is quite different than knowledge.  I know many people who have a wealth of knowledge but are not wise at all. Their life choices have brought disaster to themselves and those around them. Where does wisdom begin and how can we get it? When you give your life to Jesus Christ, true wisdom begins that leads to Eternal Life.  In the days ahead, we’re going to need the wisdom and love of Jesus because the world is ripe for the Great Delusion.  I’ve written about that in my four-part series, Dark Illusions.

I want to leave you with a final and very serious warning.

There are many ways to make ourselves vulnerable to illusions and delusions. Certainly, drugs and alcohol can do this, but a life of foolish, selfish choices can do it as well, along with filling ourselves with lying words and images, pornography being a good example, but there are many others.    With this vulnerability comes the greatest danger. We open ourselves to the influence and control of supernatural powers of evil. Of course, if you are a materialist you will think such an idea is ridiculous.  I submit that your belief system makes you extremely blind and vulnerable.  When we give opportunity to the powers of evil they will guide us to personal destruction creating in us hate, bitterness, lust, and rage that will grow more terrible year by year.  They can even speak through us to those we love bringing damage and heartbreak. You will be made to say things that you never intended and do not believe.  During sane moments of control, you will wonder where such evil words came from.

Not only can the Powers of Darkness speak through you, they can speak into you with lies meant to crush you into hell itself. Imagine that a dark power exists that can speak words directly into your mind and they come in the first person using “I” and “me” to make it seem as though they are your own thoughts. But they aren’t.  What you hear is, “I am worthless.  No one cares about me.  I should just kill myself”, and they spew over and over filling you with mind cancer. You start repeating them and believing them. Playing into this is the materialist delusion that such an evil influence is impossible, so they must be your thoughts. Your mind becomes an echo chamber of lies.  How can you stand against such evil?  There is only one way, through the Power of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit that He gives to protect and heal you when you put your faith in Him.

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” There is no greater slavish labor or heavy burden than to be dying inside under the raging lies, illusions, and delusions of Satan.  I urge you to place your faith in Jesus Christ who loves you more than you could ever know and died so that you could be released from crushing burdens of fear, hurt and anger.  What have you got to lose?

If I can be of help to you write to me.  My email is colemanluck@gmail.com.

I invite you to listen to my dramatic podcast Dagon’s Illusion with Coleman Luck.  It is an on-going story about the invisible war.

https://anchor.fm/coleman-luck

Trance and Delusion Part One: The Child Inside

Woman rave

Several years ago, I had some serious dental work done.  I’ve experienced quite a bit of that in the past, but this time I tried something new.  I went to a dentist who offered “twilight sleep”.   Anything is better than a shot in the mouth with a needle that gets wiggled around while it’s stuck in your gum.  An hour before the procedure I took a tiny pill.  I live an hour away from the dentist so my son, Cole, drove me to the appointment. After twenty minutes, I was feeling very relaxed if a bit odd.  Reality was taking a ten-degree turn away from my head.  I remember getting to the dentist’s office and sitting down in the chair, but after that, I was out. When the procedure was over I don’t remember getting out of the dentist’s chair or going to the car.  Apparently, I needed help getting from the office to the car, but when I was in the car I assured everyone that I was in complete control of all my faculties.  I do not remember saying that, which may indicate a seriously flawed sense of over-confidence buried deep in my psyche.

They told Cole that I needed to eat something right away so we went for an In-N-Out burger.  I’m pretty sure I remember eating one.  Later I found food residue all over myself. Apparently, my drug-controlled mind is a slob. After that came the hour ride home. My son says we listened to a podcast and had some discussion about it.  He reported that I was a bit “loopy”, but I was happy to engage in conversation.  I don’t remember anything about that trip home, not a single word that was heard or said.  Memory doesn’t begin until I was climbing into bed to sleep for a few hours.

So here’s the question, while my conscious or “executive” mind that controls everyday memory and (theoretically) makes rational decisions was asleep who was awake and conversing?

Many years ago, while I was in Vietnam, I had an officer friend who liked to drink.  One night, at our base camp there was a party.  We drove to it in a jeep. My friend took me along because he knew I didn’t drink so I was his designated driver.  When we left the party he was drunk and his whole personality had changed.  When I asked for the keys to the jeep, he refused to give them to me. When I insisted, he got in, started the engine and ordered me to get in.  I refused, so he proceeded to try to run me over. I’m sure it was comical watching a captain in a jeep chasing a lieutenant around in circles, but it didn’t strike me as funny at the time.  Afterward, he didn’t remember doing it.  He was a very nice man…except when his conscious mind wasn’t in control then a different person appeared who was full of real viciousness.

So what was in control?  We just accept that that’s the way some people get when they are drunk.  But why do they get that way?  It’s almost as though two different “people” live inside each of us.  When one goes to sleep someone else appears, and sometimes “he or she” is rather evil and destructive. But taking drugs and getting drunk aren’t the only ways for this other “person” to emerge.  I want us to think about illusion and delusion. The Bible talks about delusion. Let’s read a mysterious passage from the New Testament.  It’s found in Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians chapter two:

“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.  Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?  

And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.  And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this reason, God will send them strong delusion that they should believe the lie that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

That’s pretty clear and really disturbing.  So God is going to send a strong delusion on the whole world.  What is a delusion?  A delusion is a belief or viewpoint that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by reality or rational argument.  In fact, those who are deluded think that any rational evidence that refutes their belief is itself a delusion. Delusion is considered a symptom of a severe mental disorder. So if God is going to send a delusion that will be accepted by the entire world as real, obviously that means that the entire world is suffering from a severe, collective mental disorder.  Let’s put that another way.  Because the entire world is insane, everyone will believe the same gigantic internally consistent lie.  Insanity is always internally consistent.

Let’s understand something.  God has not inflicted insanity on the world. That’s voluntary.  People don’t need to be insane, they have chosen to be insane.  Acceptance of this coming delusion will be proof of the true mental and spiritual condition of the human race.  I’m an old man now, but one thing I’ve learned by my own bad choices.  Sin makes you stupid. The longer you keep sinning, not only do you get stupider, you lose touch with moral reality.  The longer you are out of touch with moral reality, the more you live in your own fantasies trying to create your own reality, until finally the whole mess comes crashing down.  At that point, many people get angry and bitter at God and what they think “life” has done to them.

There’s another way to put this. There’s a strong relationship between illusion and delusion.  Often one leads to the other.  So let’s define illusion.  An illusion is a specific figment of the imagination or hallucination that is perceived by the senses but is wrongly interpreted. Remember a delusion is a belief or impression that is maintained in spite of reality. Seeing illusions that are wrongly perceived as real often leads to believing a delusion, a larger idea that is firmly maintained in spite of reality or rational argument.

Here’s an illustration that I’ve used before: I’m a mentalist and a past member of the Academy of Magical Arts at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.  From the time I was a teenage magician, I have been fascinated at how easily people can be fooled.  As I have written before, for a number of years our family did a program of mental illusions. In the program we made it appear as though I could read minds, predict the future, control choices, etc.  But at the midway point, I would stop and tell the audience that everything they had seen us do was a trick, an illusion, not real at all.

But even after saying that as clearly as possible, there were people who would come up when the program was over and tell me, “I know you said it was a trick, but when you looked at me that way, I could feel you entering my mind.  I know it was real. I know you have power.”

Well, it wasn’t real at all and they wouldn’t believe me.

I had created a series of illusions, specific experiences that were misperceived as real.  Together they produced a delusion, a strong belief based on false information. Once it is firmly implanted, it’s almost impossible to break a person free from a controlling delusion until some disastrous event occurs that brutally tears them loose. Sometimes even then they hang on to it. Why is this so?  Where did our horrible human tendency to be deluded begin?  I think it came when a particular choice was made a very long time ago. Let’s remind ourselves about that choice.

 Genesis 3:1-7 “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

This is a bare-bones account in very simple terms.  You know the way it’s presented in pop culture.  This beautiful, but stupid, naked woman — have you noticed in the pictures she’s always blonde — is wandering around in the forest.  Suddenly, a fat snake dangles down from a tree and says, “You hungry?  These apples look really good.” She, being blonde, gets sucked right into this trap.  Later, her husband, who is a stud, probably a proto-professional jock but also stupid, goes right down the drain with her.

Let’s do some serious speculation.  Underscore that word speculation.  I’m not a theologian or professional Bible scholar, I’m a storyteller.  Good storytellers search for motives. We search for logical causes and logical effects. So let’s speculate about what might have really happened there.  An interdimensional being who appears in the form of a serpent, at that time very likely a beautiful creature, tells Eve that she isn’t all that she could be. She could be like God.  She and Adam have spent quite a bit of time with God.  They’ve walked with Him in the Garden. One thing she knows, there’s a big difference between them and God. He is beautiful, wonderful, powerful and all-knowing.  They are way beneath Him.  Certainly, she’d like to be like that.

Right there is the basis of all self-improvement courses that have ever existed.  Now, she was told a lie that was mixed with truth (the best lies always are) and it offered a huge delusion. She could be illuminated, she could move to a higher plane of existence.  She could be like God, knowing good and evil whatever that meant. Think about that.  She didn’t know what good and evil were.  The words were a fascinating mystery and people love mysteries.  Not only would she be like God, but she would also learn secret powerful things to get there. Wisdom must mean having your eyes opened so you could see things that have been invisible to you.  That is the very definition of the occult.

What happened when she ate that fruit?  It was disobedience, the first sin with all the moral implications packed into it. But could something have happened to her experientially that to a large degree validated what this evil being had promised? Pure speculation, but a reasonable question. Was that just a delicious piece of fruit, or might it have had hallucinogenic properties?  Might Eve have had an experience of overwhelming exaltation and supernatural awareness, of mind expansion, that made her feel like a god?  She took it back to Adam. Now according to the Apostle Paul’s letter of II Timothy 2:14, Adam was not deceived. Which, in some ways, makes his sin worse. He disobeyed God willfully with his eyes open. Then, later he blamed it on his wife.  What a hero. In so many ways, this paradigm is played out in relationships today.

What was the immediate result of eating that “fruit”?  They knew they were naked and clearly felt vulnerable. So they tried to sew together coverings out of fig leaves. They weren’t covering their wrists and ankles, they were covering large parts of their bodies.  They were covering their sexual organs. I wonder why? About hallucinogens used by shamans in South America The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances states, “The hallucinatory experiences…have a marked sexual content. Shamans…described hallucinogens as ‘all semen’ and the visions they induce are states of sexual arousal and orgasm often involving fantasies of incest.”

I think the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil having hallucinogenic properties is a reasonable possibility. If you look back into the history of ancient pagan religions, including, of course, shamanism, leading all the way up to our time, over and over you see at the heart of those religions hallucinogens used to acquire vision, wisdom and supernatural power.  The evil Powers of Darkness work in patterns.  I believe those patterns go back to the very beginning.

There has been a lot of study of hallucinogens, including LSD, etc. and how they appear to expand the mind sometimes giving what has been described as almost godlike awareness and exaltation.  One of the most interesting scientific studies was done by a medical doctor named Rick Strassman. He did research on a drug called dimethyltryptamine, DMT. That is the basic ingredient of a shamanistic brew called Ayahuasca.  Why is the human race so prone to believing lying delusions?  Our ancient ancestors, Adam and Eve, planted that destructive weakness in us.  As a race, we are foolish, arrogant, fearful and prone to self-gratifying fantasies. We love to believe lies if they make us feel good and promise to give us what we want. That’s the basis of consumerism. All of this is quite bad enough.  But we need to add another strange human trait that makes the whole mess even more lethal.

As a race, we are prone to trances.

Because of my interest in illusion and delusion, I’ve spent years studying hypnosis – not in order to do it but to understand the process.  I’ve learned some fascinating things.  To be under hypnosis means that you are experiencing trance. What is trance?  Trance is the setting aside of the conscious or what might be called the “executive” mind that guides all our waking activities, so that the subconscious, or what I call the “childlike mind” can come to the surface and be revealed.  This is a “person” within us who, under normal circumstances, remains hidden while at the same time deeply influencing our conscious minds.  You might think of them as conjoined twins. The conscious and subconscious share the same body and brain, but there are real differences between them.  They work together but for periods of time, they can be separated.

Now I’m not a psychologist and I have to be very careful about terms. The fact that we name something doesn’t mean we understand it or even that we have placed it in the right category.  Conscious and subconscious are Freudian and “psychological” terms. I’m using them only to describe two very different manifestations of human personality that are deeply mysterious. We all know what conscious means in the popular sense.  (In reality, no one knows what “consciousness” actually is or where it comes from.)  The word subconscious is not so well understood.  I use it to describe a deeper awareness within each of us that is both connected to and strangely separate from our conscious minds.  Subconscious does not mean unaware or asleep. Quite the opposite. The subconscious or childlike mind appears to be the storehouse of memory.  It remembers everything, often in great detail, that we’ve heard and seen throughout our lives.

While it’s a great storehouse, the childlike mind does not have the ability to make moral, ethical or complex decisions.  It can’t even distinguish between what’s real and what isn’t.  It absorbs all information without making value judgments about any of it.  It can be easily influenced and manipulated. But here is the striking part.  In everyday life, the subconscious or childlike mind is the seat of creativity and imagination.  When a problem is assigned by the conscious mind the subconscious mind searches for ways to solve it.

People talk about “sleeping on a problem”.   During the night or in the morning often an answer appears. The subconscious mind never sleeps.  In one case I read about, after a surgery a patient was hypnotized.  Under hypnosis, this individual recalled everything that had been said in the operating room though she had been totally anesthetized throughout the procedure. All creative problem-solvers, whether in the arts, sciences, business or anywhere, have very active subconscious minds that assist them in finding solutions. All-day long, we feed information into those minds.

Have you ever been in a trance, a state where your subconscious mind was near the surface and the conscious mind had receded and was no longer in total control? I’m sure you have.  There are different levels of trance. Trance isn’t going to sleep.  Quite the opposite, trance is the extreme focus of attention to the point where everything else is excluded.  The deeper the focus and concentration, the deeper the trance and the more the conscious mind is set aside.  When you are engrossed in a movie or a book, even when you are driving down a long, straight road and lose all track of time, you are entering into a mild trance.  You are experiencing a light form of hypnosis.

When you binge-watch a TV series or see a movie in a theater, you enter a light trance where your conscious mind is awake, but the extreme focus of attention brings the subconscious mind to the surface.

This childlike mind can’t distinguish between what’s real and what isn’t.  It accepts that TV series or movie the same way it accepts everything else in your life, as a real experience and memory. That means whatever values have been taught in those fabricated illusions called TV episodes or movies subtly influence and define your view of the real world.  As you make decisions about how to live, about what is right and wrong, the values of those Hollywood created illusions are constantly influencing your choices and your morality whether you think so or not.

Now I want to be clear about Hollywood. No one is creating film and TV so they can put you in a trance and make you believe things. They’re just trying to tell successful stories, but they are doing it from their moral values and psychological baggage. And let’s be honest, some of those people are really screwed up. I don’t speak as an outsider about this.  I spent most of my career as a writer and executive producer in Hollywood network television.  For almost four years I was a writer and producer of a series entitled, The Equalizer. It was about a man named Robert McCall (played by the wonderful British actor, the late Edward Woodward), who had spent his life as a top operative in the CIA.  During that time, he had done some terrible things. He carried a lot of guilt about what he had done.  Leaving the agency he decided to spend his life helping people who were in deep trouble.  He ran an ad in the newspaper that read: Got a problem?  Odds against you?  Call the Equalizer.  When people called, he would help them.

We shot our series all over New York City between 1985 and 1989. The show was very popular, especially in that city.  When we were shooting on location crowds would gather.  How much of an influence was our show?  A few years ago, I received an email from a woman in Australia.  She told me that when she was a little girl, only eight years old, she would watch the show every week.  She said that her home life was so bad it was the only thing that gave her hope that somewhere out there could be a father who really cared.  Our series entered her subconscious mind as reality and it was a positive influence.  Others have told me much the same. That means a lot to me.

Collectively, when there are great changes in what our society views as right and wrong or acceptable/unacceptable behavior, often those changes can be traced directly to television, especially hugely popular TV series.  We’re not aware of the influence these Hollywood illusions have on us, but they are powerful in restructuring all of our views.

But there are unpleasant ways for the conscious mind to be set aside and for the child mind to appear.

Extreme shock is one of them.  It could be caused by such events as the sudden loss of a loved one or a traffic accident.  The conscious mind freezes and for a period of time is set aside.  After a terrible crash, people may wander on the road not understanding what has happened and not knowing what to do.  In war, even if you are a trained soldier knowing the possibility of attack by an armed enemy I can tell you from personal experience when those first shots ring out your mind freezes.  This will happen no matter how well-trained you are.  How quickly your executive mind recovers and takes action means everything.

There’s another way that the conscious mind can be set aside and lose control.  That is through various kinds of torture that may include hypnosis and drugs, which can lead to what has been called brainwashing. In that process, over time a person’s entire view of reality can be turned completely around.  Governments of the world, including our own here in the United States, have employed this evil technology.  Which leads us back to hypnosis.

What is hypnosis?

Formal hypnosis is entering a trance state guided by another person who is a hypnotic director or hypnotist.  Here is where we delve into the real mysteries of the human mind.  It’s well known that under hypnosis the subconscious mind can remove pain from specific parts of the body.  The subconscious mind can take control of the autonomic nervous system and stop blood from flowing. The scientists at UCLA have done extensive research into the use of hypnosis instead of drugs during surgery.

There are many myths about hypnosis.  Are there people who simply can’t be hypnotized?  From all of my study, I would say probably not.  There are some who are much more difficult to hypnotize, but all it takes is the right atmosphere, the right attitude, and the right hypnotic “director”. The more intelligent you are, the more creative and imaginative, the more susceptible you will be to trance and hypnotic suggestion.  (Hypnotherapists prefer to use the word suggestion for what they do because they don’t want to imply coercion.  They will use the word “may” in the directions they give, such as “when you awaken you may want to do so and so”, etc. But they are implanting the desire within you to obey their instructions, so a more accurate word is direction.)

Under hypnosis, can you be made to do things that you would not do under normal circumstances?  Hypnotherapists are quick to say, no.  From my study, I say yes, but it would take a very skilled hypnotic director and multiple sessions over a long time to restructure your view of right and wrong and the desirability or importance of a particular action. In a hypnotic trance, the subconscious mind can be induced to create almost overwhelming desires that will deeply influence our conscious minds when those minds awaken.  A skilled hypnotic director will place triggering words into the subconscious before waking the subject.  Later, even as much as a year or more later, when that hypnotist speaks those words, most subjects will quickly enter a trance state.  If the words have been attached to an action the person will perform as instructed without knowing why.  If they have been instructed not to remember something with their conscious minds, they will not remember it.  If they have been instructed not to see something, they won’t see it even if it’s right in front of them.

When we study the power of the subconscious under hypnotic direction, we must look at the work of a man named Milton H. Erickson.  Dr. Erickson was a psychiatrist who was born in 1901 and passed away in 1980.  Arguably, he was the greatest hypnotherapist who has ever lived. Erickson was trained in all the psychiatric schools of his day but he wasn’t happy with any of them.  What he didn’t believe in was spending years in psychotherapy lying on a couch talking about problems.  While he treated some people for long periods of time, his basic approach was to find out where an individual wanted and needed to go in order to have a fulfilling life. And then Erickson would determine exactly what barrier was holding them back.  His therapies were designed to remove the barriers. And Erickson’s therapies are legendary. Whole organizations have been created to study and promote his work.  However, some of the things he did in the 1940s and ’50s would not be considered ethical now.

What Erickson accomplished shows the deep strangeness and power of the subconscious mind.

A young woman came to him for help.  Her problem was that she couldn’t form a relationship of trust with any man.  Consequently, she couldn’t allow herself to fall in love.  What she wanted was to be married and have a family, but it just didn’t seem possible for her. Dr. Erickson discovered that she had never had a loving, trusting relationship with an older man.  From her earliest childhood, there had been no caring father or father-figure in her life.

After determining that this was the reason for her inability to form a trusting male relationship, he elected a most unusual therapy. Using hypnotic regression, over a long series of sessions, Dr. Erickson took this young woman back into her childhood to all the significant days of her life. These she lived again as though she were really there, birthdays, Christmases, etc.  But there was one change in all of them.  Erickson inserted himself into her subconscious memories.  As though it were real, she experienced him coming to visit her at her home and bringing gifts. Over time, Erickson built into her subconscious mind memories of a caring, loving father-figure, who was there for her at all of her significant moments.  As the unusual therapy progressed, she found herself able to establish a trusting relationship with a young man that led to marriage and a family.

There are many such stories in the books written about Dr. Erickson’s therapies.   A few would be considered extremely controversial today.  However, in the 1940s that wouldn’t have been the case. Dr. Erickson was not a moralist, he didn’t make moral judgments in one direction or another. He was a pragmatist dealing with the cultural environment of his time. Here is an example: A young man came to him who was a homosexual.  He wanted to marry a woman and have a family, but he considered that impossible.  He told Erickson that he was hopeless and not worth anything as a man.  Over several years of unusual therapy, using hypnosis and other approaches, Milton Erickson changed his self-image and his sexual orientation.  Eventually, he married a woman and had a family.

It’s clear from Dr. Erickson’s work, and the work of many other skilled hypnotherapists that built into all humans is a powerful ability to see things that don’t exist, but appear to be real, and not see other things that are totally real. When we are fooled by illusions, we can be controlled by delusions that grow out of them. And there’s something else very strange about the subconscious. Under hypnosis, it was discovered that the subconscious mind can weave stories that it thinks are real memories but never happened at all. Which means that we can create our own personal illusions and delusions about people and life that will deeply influence our conscious thoughts and actions.  I think most people live their entire lives unaware that they are often in a mild state of trance with their view of reality entirely shaped by illusion and delusion.

Because of this, we are vulnerable to outside control by any force that knows how to construct and manipulate effective illusions.  This is the heart of modern politics.

In the New Testament book of Ephesians 5:14 it says, “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”   In John 8:12, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  It’s hard to stay asleep when there is a bright light shining in your face. The Light of Jesus Christ awakens us from our illusions and delusions. It shows us who we really are. It reveals the real world to us. While we live in a lying trance we are dying in our sins and delusions. This is why it’s so important to ask God to show you who you really are.  We need to understand our true condition and who He has created us to be.  When we see ourselves through the lens of God’s truth our eyes are opened.  We understand how much we need God’s forgiveness for our sins. We repent of our sins and accept the gift of salvation given in Jesus Christ through His death on the cross.

As repentance becomes a lifestyle, as we examine ourselves each day, our eyes are open about many things in this world. The lying promise that Satan made to Eve, God actually gives to His children through His Holy Spirit. We do begin to understand the difference between good and evil and how horrible evil truly is.  Though we will never be gods we gain much wisdom from God.

The longer you live in this world, one fact becomes ever-clearer.  The human race is broken and blind, chained and enslaved, unable to live up to its potential. Spiritual darkness, sin, and evil have destroyed us.  Dangerous doors exist within us that can lead to very disturbing experiences.  I want to tell you about one in Part 2.