Friday, April 29, 2011

The Rape of Lilith Prezi

Mainly just testing ... but also wanted to make this available. This is the Prezi (presentation) I used for my Lilith Lecture at the PRS's Field Trip 11 in New Orleans, LA on March 26th 2011. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Something I am Working On

Have this new idea I've been working on. I'm not sure if it will turn out to be a short story, novelLa, or what ... I don't even know what I'm going to call it just yet (though I am toying with something like "Life and Limb") ... right now I am just enjoying writing it. It's been awhile since I've had enough breathing room to write fiction, and I have really been missing it.

I don't really want to give away any big spoilers, as far as what the focus of the whole story is all about. However, I should probably share the fact that the entire story is going to be written as though it was being verbally dictated to a voice recognition device.

I thought I would share the first page or so with you guys and see what some of you think. So, here you go (comments and/or criticisms are entirely welcome ... good or bad ... as long as they are constructive):

VD-M-12001: VOICE DICTATION MODEL
SEATTLE VETERANS HOSPITAL
25 MAY 2065
DICTATED BY: CORPORAL ROBERT SMITHSON (COMBAT DEACTIVATED DUE TO INJURY)
SUBJECT: THE LOUISIANA ENGAGEMENT
ENGAGEMENT DATA:
 UNIT: 2ND BATTALION, 6TH MARINES: ARMORED EXO-INFANTRY (350 MEMBERS)
 DATE: 1 APRIL 2065
 END CASUALTIES: 348 DEAD, 2 WOUNDED
KNOWN SURVIVORS:
CORPORAL ROBERT SMITHSON (COMBAT DEACTIVATED DUE TO INJURY)
LANCE CORPORAL NICHOLAS ENGLISH (DEEMED UNFIT FOR DUTY)

START DICTATION: [PROMPT: PLEASE START YOUR RECOLLECTION FROM THE BEGINNING]

CPL SMITHSON:
Start from the beginning? What kind of prompt is that? [sigh] Fine… let’s just get this over with.

I would have to say it all started on the day that I first signed that [message redacted] contract and joined this piece of [message redacted] army.

Hey! That’s not what I said! What the hell do you mean “message redacted”? What the [message redacted] good are you if you won’t even write what I say, you piece of [message redacted] [message redacted] machine?

Dammit! Stop that you [message redacted] [message redacted] [message redacted] piece of [message redacted] machine! I swear to [removed for religious content] I will tear out your circuits with my [message redacted] teeth.

Wait … what? “Religious content”? Are you serious? Since when does blasphemy count as … [sighing] … you know what? Never mind. You are [correct].

Fudge! I didn’t say correct! Wait … Oh, so apparently you’ll let me say “fudge”? Have it your way. You intel pukes wanna be a pain in my [hind quarters] … then I will be a pain in yours for sending me this fudging machine that won’t even write what I fudging say, you bunch of fudging pencil pushing mother fudgers.

You want me to start from the beginning? Fine. You asked for it.

I was born in Augusta, Georgia … as everyone knows, Georgia is little more than a 27000 square mile bug nest these days. I saw it with my own eyes, during my first year of combat duty. I could hardly believe that once upon a time I’d actually lived in that place … like I said, I lived there and even I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that that hellhole was actually inhabitable only a decade ago. Not now. We spent 6 months trying to take it back, block by block, and all we managed to do was wall up enough room for an ops base. More than half of the guys who’d gone through EXO-training with me never made it out. Makes a guy wonder, you know? How’d I get out? Why did the seals in my suit hold, keeping me bug free long enough for that [message redacted] of a lieutenant to finally give us the fallback order from his cushy and safe little aerial command post? Damn, the ground in that place was alive with those damn Junies. Probably still is… hell if I know.

Oh, so apparently “damn” and “hell” are acceptable words … good to know. That “message redacted” bull [message redacted] is getting on my nerves.

Back then, though, my mother [dictation stopped due to irrelevant content]

Why you little [message redacted]! That’s it! I told you I’d rip out your wires with my teeth, you good for nothing piece of

[dictation ended]

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My A-Kon 22 Panels (6/10/11 & 6/12/11)

Howdy Folks,

Sorry for not posting anything last week. Things have been busy lately, to say the least, between my day job and trying to get the final index elements finished for The Mythology of Supernatural ... which is still scheduled for release on August 2nd 2011.

Anyway, I have a lot of possible public speaking engagements and/or appearances that are still up in the air right now. However, as confirmations are received, I will be posting them here on the blog.

My next public speaking appearance is right here in Dallas, TX ... at A-Kon 22, the longest running anime convention in the U.S.

I am currently scheduled for 2 separate panels, one Friday evening and another on Sunday afternoon. I will have books on hand for sale (but I am always happy to sign books, no matter where you bought them … as long as you don’t bring me a pirated PDF or some craziness like that). I may also bring a few other goodies (might bring a slayer kit or two?) with me. I believe that my Dead Come Home co-author, Robert Fox, should be stopping by for at least one of the panels (I would expect Friday’s). I plan to make some time for selling/signing books during the last 10 minutes or so of the panel. However, I realize that this may not be enough time. Luckily an awesome new friend of ours, writer and web comic artist James Grant over at Two Lumps, has kindly offered to let us share his table VERY briefly (I promise we won’t overstay our welcome, James ... and you have my undying gratitude for being willing to share your space with us for a moment) to sell and sign books after the panel, in case we run out of time in the panel space. If you come by the table while we are there, by the way, you should totally check out James' work ... especially his new fantasy/satire book, Valen the Reticent ... I have read it cover to cover and i have to say that it is an awesome piece of writing.

Anyway, barring any unforeseen changes, my panel schedule for A-Kon should be as follows:
Panel 1: Anime, Myth, and Naruto – Friday (6/10) at 7:30pm in State Room 2
Panel 2: Anime/Manga, Naruto, and the Revival of Shinto – Sunday at 12:45pm in State Room 3

So, any of my readers coming to A-Kon this year … I would love to see you at either (or both) of these panels. I am always available for questions, etc. at an event … even if it is outside of a panel.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

PRS FT11 Rape of Lilith Lecture (2/26/11)

Here is a clip from my lecture on Lilith at the Paranormal Research Society's Field Trip 11 in New Orleans, LA on March 26 2011. This clip comes courtesy of Tara over at tem78.blogspot.com

In the near future, once I receive the edited footage from the folks over at PRS, I will post more of this lecture ... both here on my blog and on my YouTube channel (YouTube username: ZenCowboyTexas).

Friday, April 15, 2011

Surreal News Interview

Here is the full length audio from my "ZOMBIES!!!" radio interview with the folks at Surreal News (WSLR 96.5 in Florida) a couple of weeks ago (Friday 4/1/11).

video

The Problem of Forced Exorcisms, Part I

I have been doing a lot of research in recent months on the surprisingly high number of injuries and fatalities that have been caused by forced exorcisms over the last two decades (I am only part of the way through my initial research, and I have found multiple cases of serious injuries and literally dozens of deaths caused by forced exorcisms in the last 20 years ... and, what's most disheartening, nearly half of them were children).

I should probably start by explaining what I mean by “forced exorcisms.” More or less, these are exorcisms that are performed on individuals, who may or may not actually be possessed, in one of the following common scenarios:

Scenario 1 – Untrained Exorcist; An untrained individual (meaning someone who is NOT an actual exorcist) believes that a person is possessed (and because they are untrained, this belief is usually wrong) and so the person tries to remove the perceived demon on his/her own. Often, these are cases where the untrained person tries to literally “beat the devil” out … meaning, by use of physical violence. Sadly, since there is no demon to remove (and since demons cannot be physically “beaten out” of a person to begin with) … these cases often end in fatalities.

Scenario 2 – Overzealous Exorcist; A trained exorcist or similar clergy member becomes convinced that a person is possessed, despite evidentiary findings to the contrary (for example, the person is found to suffer from neurological defect, mental illness, drug use, schizophrenia, etc.). As happens in Scenario 1, since there is no demon to remove, these sorts of exorcisms accomplish nothing ... aside from exacerbating the actual cause. The most well known fatality caused by this scenario is that of Annaliese Michel, who died of malnutrition, dehydration, and infection after undergoing weeks of fruitless exorcisms when a group of clergy attempted to exorcize her despite the church’s findings that the girl suffered from mental illness caused brain a brain tumor. However, this is by no means the only case. In 2005, a Romanian priest literally exorcized a nun to death under the mistaken belief that she was possessed.

Scenario 3 – Mass/Social Hysteria; This is a situation in which a small to medium sized group of people come to believe that a single individual is responsible for their misfortune, illness, etc. … or that the person’s refusal to conform to a certain belief structure is due to demonic possession. Such cases often occur in the chaos of certain protestant church settings. For example, during a church retreat a teenage girl’s refusal to participate in her church youth group’s activities may be seen as a result of possession by the other teens and youth pastor. They hold the girl down and start trying to call demons out when there are none present. These cases rarely result in fatalities, I have found. However, the psychological scars they cause can be devastating.

Scenario 4 – Perfect Possession/Involuntary Exorcism; this one is a bit more complicated, mainly because in this scenario the person is actually possessed. However, they have reached the ultimate/final stage—perfect possession. This means the person is likely highly dependent upon the residing demon (or at least feels that he/she is), and does not wish for it to be removed. Any legitimate exorcist will tell you that an exorcism requires the possessed individual’s participation in order for it to be successful. Long story short? You cannot force a demon out of someone who does not want the demon gone, no matter how long or hard you pray and/or recite from exorcism rites. All you will succeed in doing is ticking the damned thing off … likely causing it to harm the possessed person out of anger.

All of the above scenarios have led to nearly 30 cases of injury or death (that I have found so far) caused by forced exorcisms over the last 15 years. Not only are the above scenarios futile, morally twisted, and ethically problematic … they are ILLEGAL. From my work as a demonologist, I am well aware of the fact that less than 1% of all suspected possession cases are found to be real. From my work as a mythologist, I am well aware of how human beliefs … if not tempered with reason … can go horribly wrong.

I am hoping that, sometime in the near future, I will be able to put together a book on this subject and find a publisher willing to print it. For now, however, I will continue my research.

If any of my readers have ever been involved in, witnessed, or know of an occurrence of any of the abovementioned scenarios, then I would love to hear from you about it.

I plan to blog on this more in the future. So this is only the first installment of my discussion of this topic, about which I will be posting far more entries over the next 12 months or so.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Guess I Should Use This Thing

Hey Folks, I grabbed up this blog account about 6 months ago, and I apologize for the fact that I have not used it up to now. I am not really up to writing anything too complex today. However, I promise to begin posting new blog entries every other day or so from here on out. Welcome to my blog and I hope you enjoy! Nathan Robert Brown