Unseen Forces (Kids on Bikes, Part I) / #occult30


“…when you seek magic, you find it. And when
you find enough of it, you become it.”

An Origin Story

The world is on fire and here I sit, staring at my computer screen, supposedly to begin my thirty day blog tour through some of the more interesting encounters, investigations, and oddities I’ve happened upon in my years of exploring the mysteries of myth and magic and all things that go… well, you know…

I gave some serious thought to postponing this exercise until September (our next 30 day month), or even cancelling it altogether, but then, that little voice inside my head whispered, “maybe you need a distraction from all the craziness going on in the world… maybe this madness is a part of the story.” Maybe.

So, I’ve decided to listen to that little voice and thus we begin in the beginning, of sorts. The stories I’ll be sharing will be non-linear, but they will, assuredly, be true, or at least, as true as human memory allows.

Maybe this will inspire you to share your own origin story…

I was raised in a lowland fen on the banks of Turkey Creek two miles northwest of Converse, surrounded by ash and pine, and fields of corn, beans, hay, and straw. My folks, and most of my relatives, were born in Arkansas, and they reared me on Ozark ghost stories and legends.


My origin story begins, more or less, at the age of eight. It was 1974. I remember the impact of seeing a double bill at the Marionaire Drive-In Theatre — The Legend of Boggy Creek and The Exorcist. I was terrified by both, but ultimately captivated and it set me firmly on the path already paved by my favorite TV show — Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

earthshiddenmysteriesI was dead set on becoming a monster hunter like my hero. I collected UFO magazines and comics, and prowled the adult stacks in the Converse Public Library for books with an esoteric edge — stuff like Dennis Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out, Sybil Leek’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, Charles Berlitz’ The Bermuda Triangle, and Gerald Gardner’s Witchcraft Today.

I carried around Carl Cohen’s Scholastic book, Earth’s Hidden Mysteries, like it was an instruction manual.

My friends and I formed The Monster Club, based on The Secret Hide-Out by John Peterson. We prowled Converse on our bikes, sneaking into abandoned houses and scouring the many local bone-yards, and we made exhaustive lists of all manner of ghosts and beasties, culled from novels, comics, tv, movies, and folklore and myth. We all had the bug, but I was even more consumed.

unseenforces-mphMy most prized possession, still to this day, had belonged to my great-grandmother. One evening, staying with my paternal grandparents, I was digging through a steamer trunk full of my great-grandmother’s things they had stored in a spare upstairs bedroom. Inside was a treasure trove of books on astrology, herbology, and hex signs. But the one item that most caught my imagination, that I could not resist, was a mid-forties edition of Manly Palmer Hall’s Unseen Forces.

Unseen Forces became my bible, of sorts.

The pamphlet revealed to me a world filled with elementals, nature spirits, thought-forms, ghosts, spectres, and the ‘Dweller on the Threshold’. Everything leading up to my discovery of this book was kindling. Unseen Forces was the spark. The fire came after…

We lived, you see, just a quarter mile from one of Miami County’s most famous paranormal hot spots — Little Pipe Creek Cemetery. The small cemetery used to be surrounded by a fence, with a wide gate in the northwest corner of the lot. Legend held that when people came to visit at night, the gate would open of its own accord for those of the more gentle persuasion — but when a young man would enter, the gate would open, only to swiftly slam shut, striking them.


It got so bad that they eventually removed the gate entirely, and then years later, took the entire fence down.

Bob8Of course, eight year old me couldn’t resist such a temptation. I took to sneaking out of our trailer late at night. Easy enough as I had a door to the outside in my bedroom. I would walk up the gravel road to the top of the hill, enter the cemetery, and climb up into the crook of the old shade tree in the center of the bone-yard.

And there I watched and waited for a spirit to appear.

And when it eventually did — a mist-like form that drifted out of the southeast corner of the lot — I was awestruck. This vigil continued for months…

I still swing by there on occasion. It’s changed a lot. The old shade tree is gone, taken away much like the gate and fence, and the tombstones that littered the place have seen far better days, but I believe the ghosts remain, if not in the proverbial flesh, then in my wildest imaginings.

The Ghost of Little Pipe Creek was the thing that showed me that what I wanted to be true, that what I believed to be true, was a reality. It was the fire that was set alight and that still burns more than forty-five years later.


Of course, this is all just a small part of the story. An origin is never as cut and dried as that found in a comic book. There’s no radioactive spider. No disfiguring accident that led me to Tibet. No pointless murder of my parents to inspire a lifelong pursuit of justice against evil-doers.

No, there’s all these little bits and pieces, that when assembled like a jigsaw puzzle lead one to discover the picture staring back at them is that of an occult detective. It’s been a thrilling journey.

Tune in tomorrow for some more tales of the strange and unusual.

But first, what’s your origin story?

One Response to “Unseen Forces (Kids on Bikes, Part I) / #occult30”

  1. […] on the 1st of June, I posted a blog titled “Unseen Forces: Kids on Bikes, Part I” as part of my Occult 30: True Tales of the Strange & Unusual feature that ran throughout […]

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