Emergence

Posted in Meta on December 21, 2014 by glasganon

It’s all lies.

That’s what you have to keep in mind when it comes to the “paranormal”, the “supernatural”, the “occult”, whatever you want to frame it as. Everything you hear, everything you see – hell, even everything I’ve said – it’s all half-truth. Para-normal. Beside the real.

Which isn’t to say the other half is a lie, necessarily. You know that old saying, about how if you were to the point to the moon, a dog would only ever think to look towards your hand, never towards the sky? The half-truth is the hand half-open, one digit extended (painkillers, little white moons, tucked inside the other folded fingers).

When we watch a movie, we’re not constantly assessing whether or not what is happening on the screen is “real” (whatever that means), whether it has actually happened (whatever that means), or who is lying (whatever that means). If an artist draws a portrait of you, he’s not really trying to get you to believe that you’re nothing more than graphite on paper (although…). When a friend delivers an anecdote, we don’t demand evidence – but we also don’t believe that everything they’re saying is one-hundred-percent true, either. (“YOU CAN’T MAKE AN OATH ON THIS BLACK BOOK.”)

A lie is the sugar on the bitter pill of truth; it makes it easier to get in your gullet. I’m all for taking painkillers for the sickness reality’s given us. Don’t call it Lunacy.

All these half-truths are meant to get us to think. Metaphor, ‘pataphor, semaphore six times removed, one thing pointing to another, pointing to another, pointing to a hand that’s pointing at the moon while the other pats the Dog of Sickness. It’s not enough to read the writing on the wall – you have to move your mind down to each and every individual letter, all the way up to the soaring heights of symbol. (“TURN YOUR EYES FROM WINDOWS TO DOORS”).

It’s not a random accident, for example, that the only way to access a colossal, seemingly-infinite tower standing in desolate plains can only be done by passing through a circular (seemingly-infinite) tunnel (the negative space of a horizontal tower) under metres of rock. It’s also not a coincidence that the acolyte has to press buttons labelled 1, 2 and 3 (three realities) at the same time (bringing them into synchrony) then denying all three by mentioning the basement (sub-reality/the level of symbol and metaphor/para-normal/beside the real) to get access to a woman who owns books (grimoires, grammaries) that describe reality through magick (spells) and symbol (spelling). It’s also not insignificant that these two locations are, in our level of reality, physically within sight of one another. They’re connected. (“THE SPELLER DWELLS IN THE CELLAR”.)

This is not a random assortment of meaningless, arbitrary details and cosmic mis-takes: each part, each Key, is connected to every other one in cryptic, but altogether concrete, ways. In a spider’s web, the spaces between each strand of webbing are just as important to the overall structure of the web as the strands themselves; what’s missing is just as important as what’s present. What am I missing?

I guess I’m missing myself. Or that I was missing.

It’s important to not only be good at crafting a lie, but to be just as good at crafting a half-truth. I’ve spent almost three years pretending to be someone else, someone I created, just to give myself a place to hide – but you know, you can only hide objects inside or behind other objects. Where do you hide a mind? Inside and behind another mind. A mind that said “None of it’s real!” “It’s just something I wrote for fun!” “It’s all an art project!”

Maybe you believed it, maybe you didn’t. Remember, it’s not about whether or not it was true, or if it was a lie. It’s about the hand that’s pointing at the moon. In this case, it was a bit of sleight of hand. Sleight of mind. (“THE WATER RESTING ON YOUR EYES PROTECTS FROM ALL THE FOULEST LIES“).

That’s why I went missing. I left Glasgow, travelled down south for a while – “it’s all gone south, really,” I said to myself in Portsmouth. It wasn’t enough. Every city, every town, every village, every farmstead – every congregation of people has its relics, its pilgrims, its acolytes, its bibles, its holy words, its prophecies. Its secrets.

I tried the Appearance of Three Ladies in Brighton, only, it seems as though They’d always been there, mistaken for phantom nuns (phantom, nones) at Apes. I watched as They made their eternal walk down the Devil’s Dyke. I lost the Colder Capacitor in Tunbridge Wells when London’s Acolytes came down to find me – appropriately enough, on September 18th – and I cried “Weal, weal, weal, weal,” all the way home.

And now: I’m home.

Things have changed. Everything old is new again. And Glasgow’s Gideon Keys have grown older and younger. Some survived, some have died, some will rise again. And I know I have to go back, to write this all down – forge the next link in the Chain – before we forget that all of this, the Keys, the Held Breath Conflicts, Eilidh, the Glascau Curator, Lady K, and Dominic, all of these things were real. Beside the real. Para-normal.

And now:

“THE DAMSELFLY FLITS ON THE DOOR OF THE DEAD, WAITING FOR THE KEYS TO TURN IN THE LOCH.”

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EMERGENCY

Posted in Meta on March 11, 2012 by glasganon

I’ve scheduled this post to be sent out at midnight on a Sunday, so that, if I’m not around to disable it, it will send out this message. I’m also making a habit of updating this post every other week so that if something happens to me, you will have as much information as I can give you.

The last date I edited this post was: 6th March 2012.

This post will be the longest by far, because something is going on in Glasgow. Something major has changed, and we’re all feeling the fallout. Not just acolytes – the Keys are moving so close to the general public that they’re bound to finally notice. A meteor passing across the sky. An image of Princess Diana being caught on camera in a Glasgow church. You don’t need to know about Wormeswood and Kempion, or the Secret Canonisation, to know that these things are tinged with the paranormal.

But they’re just the fallout of bigger events that the public never sees.

According to The Voice of Other Glasgows, the Glascau Curator has been killed, and everything from its exhibition has been taken – all acolytes are being turned away. If the exhibits fall into the wrong hands, we could have a new disease hitting the streets – made up of every disease that has come before.

People using the Glascau Tarot have reported seeing a new card show up in the “future” position of spreads – “The Damselfly”. It seems to take the place of The Hermit, and some people are interpreting it as an omen of “the birth of a new death” – a contact of mine claims it “sleeps in the amniotic lake, steeped in placental dirt”. Other forms of divination report similar ideas.

A gang of Coerceomancers have gotten involved with football throughout the city, which has led to the tumultuous period for Celtic (with their manager embroiled in bomb plots) and Rangers (going into administration and numerous other business disasters). The gang has gone unnoticed due to the relatively mundane, down-to-earth havoc they have wreaked – but it’s all really to weaken the power of “The Church of Our Lady of the Old Firm”, a group of occultists who have been trying to give football the same sanctified status as religion.

The Watchtower bleeds. Ankle-deep blood on the top, dripping down through the cracks of the concrete. The plains around are empty.

And most damaging for me – I saw my own body pulled out of the Sacred Ground. I know it’s not a concrete, inviolate portent of doom, but it’s unsettling enough to have given me some sense of memento mori. I need to make sure I have everything in order. That’s what this was for.

Eilidh is missing. No-one at the consultancy has seen her since two Sundays ago. I keep getting messages from her phone, but they’re not from her. I’ve had phonecalls too. I don’t answer them any more. They sound like her, but they can’t be her. Eilidh would tell me where she was, what had happened: the voice on the phone screams, and cries. I listened to the voice for fifteen straight minutes, and it never said a word. Screaming and crying, for fifteen minutes, and it sounds like my best friend. My last friend.

Even Steph is gone.

I think she killed Dom. She’d been acting really weird since I took her to visit the Borstal and we opened the splinter there. When we left, she told me she wanted help her find answers – I thought she meant about Dom, since the things we experienced in the Bostal are so closely tied to the things that Dom was investigating. I wanted answers too, so I took her to visit Ms. Marshall at the lab, and we took some of Gideon’s Key: I woke up the next day in Steph’s apartment, and walked into the kitchen to find her at the sink, with blood dripping down from the worktops and all over the floor. She was slicing away layers of skin on her left ring finger, just cutting and cutting away without making any noise. She jumped when she saw me, and her hand slipped, taking the full finger clean off. She didn’t scream, or shout, or anything. She just breathed in. There was a noise like metal hitting the floor – I looked down, and saw her finger, purple and blue from the blood being cut off by a ring that had the word “ZEBA” engraved on the front.

I looked up. She was watching me the whole time, maybe trying to gauge if I had worked something out. I hadn’t – but it didn’t stop her. Steph thrust the knife at my face without even blinking, and just set at me. She jabbed the knife at me, but I managed to shove her away so that she slipped on the floor, and I ran out of the flat.

I went back every few days, but she never answered the door. The lights were always out when I visited in the evenings. Then, this Saturday, I saw a “To Let” notice on her flat’s window. She’s gone, and I don’t know where.

I don’t know what to make of all this. I’ve tried using the Glass Bones, but they don’t work for me. I’m writing down as much as I can now, but I don’t know how much time I have left. There’s still so much I’ve need to tell people. The Scavenger’s Daughter, The False Saint, the Clock that Crawls, the Witch Tree, the Ochre Room, the Doll Colony, the Centipede Mosaic… I haven’t finished my work yet.

Just in case, though, I’m taking what I’ve written so far and giving it to Judith at the book-store: 75 entries will be enough for Bible John’s black book. If anyone could find a way to weather any storm that’s coming Glasgow’s way, it’d be that bastard.

150: The Parallel Puzzle

Posted in Gideon Keys on February 20, 2012 by glasganon

There is a large communications tower in the east of the city that is home to an enigma that has gone unsolved for thirty years.

Although the tower seems ordinary from the ground, climbing up the ladder to the uppermost point of the steel-and-wire construction will reveal a series of square-foot-sized concave mirrors haphazardly tied down to metal struts and hidden away behind the huge television and satellite dishes at the apex of the tower. There is some give in the ropes that tie them down, which allow them to be rotated to face the city around them, or the sky above.

Each of the mirrors seems to reflect a slightly different reality. The one reached first – also the largest – seems to reflect its surroundings accurately, but when angled towards the ground, it reveals a colossal, gaping pit in the ground below you. There’s no trace of this chasm in the real world, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there – and it certainly won’t stop anything from climbing out of it.

The two mirrors above the hole-mirror are angled so that they only reflect the sky, or parts of each other. Oddly, they only ever show the night sky, and always as though there was no air or light pollution in the sky – however, the constellations that appear in the mirror are never visible in the sky. In fact, they’ve never been seen on Earth.

The final mirror, placed at the tip of the tower, can swivel to point immediately above to the ground below. It’s difficult to reach, as it requires stepping off of the secure metal struts of the tower and climbing up the smooth face of a satellite dish, which can easily mean falling to your death with a misplaced step or a mistimed jump. The last mirror is large enough for you to see all of yourself in it – and invariably, whenever you look into it, you will see yourself at the pinnacle of all you could have accomplished. This reflection looks like you would if you had strove to reach your potential, if you had done your utmost to succeed and took every opportunity before you. This is a false blessing – there is only so much pride you can share with this false reflection before you realise it will always be better than you in your current state, and with that acknowledgement comes frustration and anger.

Perhaps that is why the mirror now lies broken – someone simply did not like what they saw. In their anger, however, they have doomed us; in the 70s, before it was smashed, the light from the moon would filter down through the comm tower and into the large pit that is only visible as a reflection. This light would draw in all those things that hide in the shadowy parts of the city and force them down to the deeper consciousness of the city, keeping us safe; now, the light is split and fragmented, and acolytes have thus far been unable to realign the light from the mirrors without something from the pit rising up to claim a new prize.

137: The Riddle Querent

Posted in Gideon Keys on February 19, 2012 by glasganon

There is an abandoned swimming pool in the south of Glasgow, which, due to the general disrepair of the building it is housed in, lies open to the skies. The pool sits empty and unused during dry weather, but on those nights where the rain seems to fall heavier than usual, the pool quickly fills up as rainfall trickles in through the dilapidated roof.

It is during these nights that something takes up residence in the depths of the pool.

The only way to gain access to pool is through the roof. You must throw yourself into the black water below you, allow yourself to fall with the rain. As the water rises up around you, you will quickly realise that the water goes far, far deeper than you realise – and far further than is actually possible, judging from the depth of the darkened pool during dry weather. To meet the querent of the pool, you must swim down as far as you physically can. If you are confident in the answer you intend to give the querent, then you should consider weighing yourself down with concrete.

When you swim down far enough that your breath begins to burn in your chest, when your lungs feel as though they’re about to burst, you will hear a voice, quivering and vibrating out through the pool – this is the unseen querent, who poses you a riddle.

“Within the hole you saw your whole environment contained,
Though nothing solid from within could ever be obtained.
This mirror manifested –
Appearing as a guest did –
Once the downpour started, and after it had rained.

Once the sun had crested,
no part of it remained.”

This far down, answering incorrectly or not at all means it will be impossible to resurface in time to take another breath. However, if you answer the querent correctly, you will find yourself able to breathe underwater for far longer than should be humanly possible.

005: The Mirror Trick

Posted in Gideon Keys on February 19, 2012 by glasganon

{A handwritten letter, with the lingering scent of perfume on it. — Ed}

Hello again sweetheart, how are you? I believe its nigh time you and Eilidh got a little more practise, by yourselves this time. Here’s something that you can do without even leaving your home, and its fairly safe, no inviting things in or exploring abandoned buildings like you seem to be intent on doing! It can be harrowing though so make sure you have some liquor handy!

For this you’ll need a candle, a mirror (which you shouldn’t need to close), a dark room and somewhere comfortable to sit. Position the seat about half a metre in front of the mirror and then place the candle half a metre behind the seat so that when you turn off the lights and light the candle you should be able to see yourself in the mirror but not the candle itself. Now just wait and just watch.

The eyes are the windows to the soul but sometimes they can be doors too. If you keep your stare and don’t look away from the gaze of your mirror image you’ll see your own face begin to change. Its important you keep looking if you want to seek the truth. Your reflection’s face will deform and become something else. Bits of skin will change shape and its eyes might disappear completely into blackness. Your own face with too many rows of teeth in a screaming mouth. Or maybe you’ll see something that looks like your parents… but They aren’t. They are something else entirely. The thing you have to realise is that whenever you look into a mirror, behind your reflection’s eyes something else is looking back at you.

You have to understand They are looking through at us all the time. My friend Dolly who you met last fortnight at the meeting says that we’ve evolved to see only our reflections because They would take notice of people who spent too much time looking and hunt them down. Po Face thinks reflections are like windows or doorways into the city’s dreams and They are its nightmares. I don’t know if I believe either of them but the fact remains that They are there, They have always been there, and They will always be there. Sometimes I think They will find us all and there will be no-one left who remembers They exist.

Trust me honey I don’t want to scare you, I want you to be prepared for what must come. You can’t save everyone, but you can save everything. By that I mean you can record all of your experiences, write them down, share them with people, and hope that even if something happens to you, you can still have something to help the next generation. That’s all the Chain is honey, a chain of association. A link from one generation to the next. Some day you ought to make a new link in the chain by passing on what you know on. Remind me to take you along to meet our friend Ms. Christchurch next time you’re at the meeting okay?

As always if you can’t stay safe stay careful honey. Mwah! x

Lady K.

093: The Sacred Ground

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags on February 12, 2012 by glasganon

There is a patch of disused land where a church once stood in the southside of Glasgow. The grand has grown wild and untamed since the church was demolished, and due to its previous use as a holy site, can now be used as sacred ground.

Note that this does not mean it provides any kind of sanctuary from some of the entities that thrive in the darkness of the city – the creations of Shadow Farmers can set foot on the soil, the Silent Man can pass through the iron gate, the Scavenger’s Daughter will still find you, and They will be able to follow you there.

The real boon of the Sacred Ground is its use to practitioners – because the Gideon Keys of Glasgow have been interwoven so tightly with Christian mythology, certain elements of each system come together on the grounds of the former church. Mixing water with allspice on the grounds will create a kind of “holy” water which, when applied to the eyelids, will allow acolytes to detect those things and people who have heavy significance in the living mythology of Glasgow. A number of the mushrooms growing amongst the weeds can be ingested to give hallucinogenic trips that reveal the fundamental mycological reality that lies underneath our own. Rites held on the ground seem to have a much stronger effect, perhaps due to the things that are buried beneath.

The acolyte must avoid the area on rainy nights; unknown figures sometimes congregate in the grass, digging up cadavers from the soil, and it can be harrowing to see your own body being dragged up from the dirt.

049: The Watchtower

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags on February 12, 2012 by glasganon

Go to any subway station south of the River Clyde, and ask for a single to Merkland Street; you’ll likely be told that Merkland Street has now become Partick, but reply “I like to keep one foot in the past, one in the future.” They should make some motion to show they’ve understood you – if not, or they ask you to repeat yourself, walk out of the station and rip the ticket up – it’s of no use to you.

If you manage to get the ticket, get on the Outer Circle line, and board the next train that arrives. Figure how many stops you have to wait before getting to Partick – for example, it’s one from Govan, seven from Bridge Street – and the second you sit down, close your eyes. Keep them tightly shut and count down the stops, and when you get to Partick, stand up and walk through the doors with your eyes shut. Open them once your feet touch the platform.

You’ll find yourself at the topmost point of the Watchtower: a colossal, concrete monolith that rises up from a valley, with a view that spans miles. The wilderness around the Watchtower seems to indicate the city’s current health: in almost all cases, the valley is as empty as it is dry and barren, but now and again, new things appear. A black, charred horse-and-cart that rides through the blasted valley, leaving a trail of dark soot and rot behind it. A sickening yellow shape that resembles an enormous cloud in the sky, until it gets closer and you realise it’s a creature of impossible dimensions, roaring through the deserted plains. A confluence of misshapen figures, congregating around the base of the Watchtower, looking up at you with their blurred, thrashing faces as the rain of annunciation falls from the heavens.

It is important to take note of as much of the wilderness around the Watchtower as you can, as quickly as you can – you will wake up inside the train you thought you had left as soon as it reaches Partick again.