Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic From Appalachia – Psychology, Witchcraft, and Mind Control…
Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic From AppalachiaKaren was the name of the reception person, who sat behind the desk one Saturday morning around noon when I dropped in. I had never heard about them and was actually planning to find the J.B. Rhine Institute or the Federation for Research on the Nature of Man (FRNM). I had stumbled in to the ‘mother lode’. It wasn’t necessary to come to these places to look for their literature or research. I could have found more than enough of that at the Association for Research and Enlightenment library in Va. Beach. I wanted to experience these things first hand.
Karen Getsla turned out to be much more than a receptionist. There was a person in what had been the front living room in this quaint converted house under the magnolias. He was on a bed and there was a cat and recorder in the room. Karen explained it was Blue Harary, the most effective astral or OOBE (Out of Body Experience) researcher. I later ran in to a book of his at an account in Laguna Beach, but that was in another lifetime almost twenty years later. Karen explained that the black cat was helpful in guiding Blue back from his travels. She was a few years older than me and a handsome woman with lots of strength who acted as if I was a bit of a nuisance at first. We talked, and it was clear she needed to impress me. I knew that wouldn’t be the act of someone who wasn’t interested in me. Still the moment didn’t seem right that day to ask her out; and I listened and encouraged her to tell me all about herself. Needless to say I was quite impressed. She told me that she had worked on the FRNM project to communicate with the submarines below radio contact range. I had read about this as one of the better proofs of parapsychology and ESP. Still it wasn’t the 100% proof that nay-sayers needed. Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic From Appalachia
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She talked about taking courses at Duke University towards her degree in psychology and how she had helped a Yogi psychically remove a needle that a failed medical treatment had left in a child’s spinal column. This had happened in her home town of Chicago. It was apparent that a man she had been involved with hurt her very badly, and did some kind of sorcery when she was his ‘working partner’. A ‘working partner’ is a spiritual/sexual ritual partner of witchcraft and she told me she had been a High Priestess of Majik. I saw a need for power and a propensity for pettiness or egoistic pursuits.
I told her about Dottie and Ed. She had heard of Ed and was impressed but tried not to show it. I told her I would be coming back and didn’t press the issue. As our relationship progressed I had the opportunity to learn how to play a more passive role in terms of making decisions. She made it clear she wasn’t interested in being dominated or ‘head over heels’ with any man at that point in her life. Karen told me she could perform PK or light a light up between her hands while being grounded out from all known energy (electric, magnetic etc.). Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic From Appalachia
Ambert Dail was someone I was able to talk freely with as I worked out of his office in Hampton/Newport News. He and his sales manager tried to help the sales effort but other than some air time and introductions, our product had to be sold on its own merits. Ambert would talk with me about psychic things despite appearing to be a very straight person. I would often read books like Zolar’s Encyclopedia of Ancient and Forbidden Knowledge at the ARE library. I don’t remember when it was that he offered me a radio D.J. job as a talk show host. He thought that a more down-to-earth scientific approach than the psychic fortune tellers would create a great market. It would have been journalistic and involved interviews with interesting people. I often wish I had taken it. I told him my business and family were important and that Karen would be better to do it.
This is a little about my time during 1974-5 within the Commonwealth of Virginia. She was involved with a group of lesbians who I think were also into witchcraft. They had designs on her sexually and didn’t like my arrival on the scene. Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic From Appalachia
When I returned to Toronto I was excited about Karen and how I felt as I learned a new way of relating with women. I had taken Karen to dinner and a movie but was looking forward to a date in a week or two where she was inviting me to be her consort at the Director’s house of the Psychical Research Foundation. I had joined their membership and was receiving their newsletter ‘Theta’ at our offices in Toronto. Swaena had received a poem from Karen that she had responded to and included an arty piece of dried flowers in. I was surprised that Karen had introduced herself to my family. There were many interesting articles from around the world of parapsychological research in this newsletter and I tried to get John and others to see this psychic stuff wasn’t so weird. We went to dinner one night while I was in Toronto. John, Swan and I all enjoy talking a lot but Swan has a hard time when John and I talk at the same time. In this matter I still have problems because I can pay attention to a couple of conversations while writing a letter and talking on the phone. There is an element of social graces that I never learned growing up in a male family, to be sure.
“So. What does Karen look like Bob?” Swaena talked in her usual enthusiastic manner as she sat beside John with her hand on his arm. They were not living together at this time, if I remember correctly. Swan was separated or divorced and John wasn’t dating her sister Peggy anymore. Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic From Appalachia
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“Her hair is dirty blond and short but full, with bangs, I guess. I like her round face and I guess you could say she is handsome, rather than beautiful. She doesn’t try to use make up and other things. Her skin doesn’t need any and her lips are full. There is depth in her eyes which are brown but not as dark as some. You know there has to be chemistry and a good vibe, for me. I was a little shocked that she wrote you, and that there was a poem in it. She hasn’t indicated that she wants me as a boyfriend or anything.”
“If she is taking you to her Director’s party that means something, doesn’t it?” John smiled. Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic From Appalachia
“Yes, I guess. But it could just be that she needs a date.”
“I see you are in a far different position than with most of your ladies. Do you like being the passive one?” Swan joked a little.
“Yes, I am exploring the yin aspect or feminine supportive side of my humanity a lot more. Her ego takes up most of the available space I guess you could say.”
“We share the stage pretty easy don’t we John.”
“I think you are a little more into that.” We all chuckled a little, everyone knew Swaena was one of the most vivacious and loquacious people, except perhaps her mother who I loved dearly.
“The fact that you are both Cancers makes you a good ‘fit’.”
“Do you think Karen is a good’ fit’ for you?” Swan asked.
“I know there is a lot I can learn from her. It is too early to tell much more than that. She does fill my heart and I am a little infatuated.” Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic From Appalachia
“Has Myrna still got a lot of your heart?” John wisely asked.
“I will always love Myrna! If you ever really loved someone, I don’t think it ever ends. But no, Karen is not going to be what Myrna could have been or was, for me. I’m beginning to know how ‘special’ Myrna was for me.”
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“Are you going to go up to the cottage while you are here? I think it is the best and most beautiful place in the world!”
“Swan thinks God is residing there now.” John touched Swan’s hand on his arm and looked at her with a goofy grin.
“No, I think I want to get back to Virginia, as soon as I can. I guess I should check out a couple of other cities on the way, too.”
“L’ amie and I are taking your Mom up this weekend.” Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic From Appalachia
“Is that Lambie?”
“No, it is French for ‘the friend’.” Swaena smiled a big smile.
“That is nice. I think that is the thing that Karen and I might have a hard time getting to be. Myrna was all of that and more.”
The Director’s house in the woods near Chapel Hill was a geodesic dome. I had never been in one of my hero Bucky Fuller’s designed homes. I was honored to be there and proud to be Karen’s date. She even held my arm on occasion and seemed close to kissing me once. I was standing in the glass covered garden beside the house by myself when a bearded professorial man with a lot of gray under his tweed cap approached me. He was standing on a step when he first began to talk with me, and was still a little shorter than me. His Scottish brogue and pixie smile made me feel comfortable, but I don’t remember his name. He liked my name and smiled as he told me about Robert de Bruges which was the original name of the Bruce’s. He was from the University of Edinburgh and one of the leading psychic researchers. There were many other such luminaries at this party and I was definitely a little awestruck. I had been introduced to the Director and some others, and I heard that J.B. Rhine might even show up although I don’t think he did. I told this gentleman about Ed and the ‘wind and rain’ as well as Dottie/Esalen and the Baskin-Robbins and bed frame over the next half hour. He told me a lot about Esalen and the people like Joseph Campbell who he knew personally. He had heard of Ed and there was no sense of surprise at any of the stories I told him about.
“These things are not easily explained to be sure. I agree with you about the energy and a possible scientific explanation. We have to demonstrate far simpler and more basic details in order to get funding. Rhine has a government ‘in’ and he can do what he wants pretty much. It is hard to get people like Karen who can perform these feats of psychic ability reliably. She is one of the top six people in the whole world.”
“Does that include Russia and Nelya Michelova or Barbara Ivanova?” Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic From Appalachia
“Yes, and gurus from India, who are pretty good too.”
“I imagine there are some who are better who don’t engage in the science though?!”
“Yes. Or at least they say so. We have tested many who can do some amazing things like you spoke about but we don’t know how to break these things down into realistic experiments.”
“In many cases like with the ‘wind and rain’ it isn’t what the performer intends as much as it is the response of nature or the energy.”
“That is part of the problem to be sure. I wish you well with Karen. She is a strong woman and I think I see some of the necessary strength in you too. I have to go talk with some of my colleagues.”
“It was quite gracious of you to talk with me. I really am like a fish out of water amongst all the older and experienced people here.” Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic From Appalachia
“You handle it pretty well… I’ve got to go.”
Karen came to talk with me. “You spent a lot of time with him. What were you talking about?”
“I think he wants to get you to go to Edinburgh and do research with them. I think they’d be willing to give free school and housing plus whatever spending money you need. He said it was hard to get reliable performers and that the test results don’t look statistically good when working with ‘hit and miss’ people.”
“I have a good deal here and I really am not into money. This is the top research center in the world for parapsychology. Christchurch New Zealand is interesting too. You know I think you look pretty good tonight.”
Karen took me by the arm and we left shortly thereafter. I stayed at a motel and left after having lunch with her the next day. It was clear I was going to have to work hard to get her to open up and let love be experienced. Still that wasn’t my main concern in getting to know her. I would have been happy to collaborate on writing a book or just keeping a friendship. We still were in the psychological stage some call ‘storming’ and I wasn’t buying that she was as powerful or unique as she wanted me to believe. Powers such as she might be able to demonstrate were what Krishnamurti and those like Ed called ‘siddhis’ and said it was limiting to get caught up in the pursuit of. I felt that was the kind of limitations these researchers were also forced into engaging in. To use the cultural or methods of reductivist ‘linear’ science on chaotic reality was fraught with all the wrong insights. I knew this as surely as I knew that Jesus was just another human even if he was also an ascended master.
About a month went by and I saw Karen twice during that time for dinner and a movie. I think we danced once around this time and I’m not sure but it might also have been the first time I met one of her ‘mousy’ lesbian friends. I remember getting bad vibes from her as soon as I saw her. My friendship with Marc was growing and he introduced me to some interesting people. I was getting better at reading palms and did this on occasion with girls in the bars.
“You worship women too much Bob. I think you should ‘lighten up’ and realize they enjoy ‘fun’ too.”
“You make a compelling argument and I sure would like to be able to loosen up a lot. I don’t know if I can go that far though.” Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic From Appalachia
“If you could realize that they often feel intoxicated by the feeling of love just like you and that it is a normal human chemistry I think you’d find a lot less heartache.”
“Marc, you are only a couple of years older than me but I can see you are far more experienced. I had no female role model and that might be part of my problem too. Anyway I really like the intense infatuation and I have found things can grow from there. A lot of my relationships are far more psychic than physical.”
“I see you like the physical a lot. I think maybe you hold back too much. All this psychic stuff might be a shield or way of pushing some people away.”
“Why get involved if you don’t have that kind of ‘connection’ that you know can be? I have had something too good to cheapen with just sex.”
“Whatever! My bro’ Richard is coming by in a while and he is into Yogananda and a lot of the same ‘shit’ you’re into. I guess the two of you will groove on the Autobiography of a Yogi and The Science of Religion stuff. I’ve read enough to know that balance in my life is as good as all those who have the demon to pursue knowledge ever seem to really KNOW!”
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“You sure are laid back and able to go with the flow. I wish sometimes I was more like you. In the final analysis I have to do what is right for my heart and I can’t act like I really care about someone if it isn’t as true as I can be.”
“I never lie to a lady, Bob. They don’t always need someone to kiss their feet and grovel about their beauty.”
John came to visit and meet Marc who wanted to work with us. There was some immigration and custom’s concerns but it was more an issue of whether or not Marc was the right person to rely on as a project manager. We had been through a few problem people and ‘con artists’. Somehow we found ourselves at the Spectrum in downtown Norfolk where Jose Silva was getting ready for a convention seminar. We actually got to meet him and I discussed the matters of psychometry with John. It was to be Jose’s topic that evening. This is the original psychometry and not what those like Dottie and the IQ testers do. Jose was a bald man in his sixties with a friar-like appearance. He started out as a teacher in Laredo, Texas and had witnessed the problems for too many years. The educational bureaucracy is a subject that John and I have always been able to share insights about. We often found agreement about that particular subject.
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The discipline combined with science and creativity of Silva Mind Control was something John found intriguing. He certainly couldn’t accuse Jose of being a ‘con’ and he remembered Ed Tucker was a teacher in this program. The Harvard studies that show 33% of what we learn comes via linear intellectual means was recently completed and I think I made it clear that I thought ESP was a largely unused educational tool. Silva Mind Control also demonstrates results from psychic things that can’t be explained by other means. John was clearly still insisting that intuition or ESP was explainable through intellectual processes. The fact that police forces allover the world were using psychometrists who could hold a piece of clothing and attune themself to the whereabouts and thoughts of their owner was definitely not in John’s worldview. We left to join up with Marc at a friend’s place.
On the way I continued to talk to John about the book Seth Speaks and Jane Roberts’s mediumship with a spirit guide who was part of a multi-dimensional personality connected with her husband and herself in previous lives. I told him this fit to a degree with my energy wave coagulation analogy of the cosmic soup that surrounds us. John was becoming stubborn in his defensiveness and it was time for us to meet Marc’s friend Steve. He was an accountant by training and had a theory that fit with what I had been telling John. He described reality as being like a journal of ledger sheets. Each one reflecting a point of time and state of growth. The graphs of Descartes and the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ co-ordinates or vectors signified the growth potential of the present consideration. The other pages dealt with time and its passage. The ‘spiral of education’ that moved across the page in one dimension were repeated and developed as growth occurred.
I had been with Karen the week before and though I didn’t know a lot about witchcraft then, I sure wonder about some of her possible influence in this, now. She took me home to her place and made love to me. Then she told me: “How does it feel to be used just like you do other people. My girlfriends told me you hit on them! You are scum…” Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic From Appalachia
“I never hit on them. I don’t have the least little interest in them. You are very wrong about this Karen.”
“I know you in ways that you can’t fathom even a little. You will never darken my door again. I will wreck havoc on your life to the best of my magical ability.”
“Do your best, I know the use of the mirror.”
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I had told her how I had adapted the crossing of the Christian faith to cleanse negative energy and send back the unwanted or bad portion. It involves welcoming what is right and being open to change but not allowing what is wrong to influence me. I use a poem and a little of the reflecting aspect of what Wiccans do with reversing candles or the palm of the hand. It is only now as I re-write this book that I am contemplating that my weight gain of five pounds while going running with John out in Morristown and eating only 1000 calories a day for two weeks might be connected to her work on me. I normally would have lost fifteen pounds doing this. Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic From Appalachia
Author of Diverse Druids, Columnist for The ES Press Magazine, Guest writer at World-Mysteries.com
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