The Shock of Awe (Part One)
2007-02-20 0:00

By Jeff Wells |

You shine your darkness on me
I am blinded by the darkness - T Bone Burnett
Signs and wonders have always accompanied lives lived in extremis. And even if our lives still bear the semblance of routine, the entire world is now in extremis, so we'd better get used to seeing them.

Last month in Australia, a national broadcast of the disaster show Mayday was interrupted by a seven or so minute audio loop of the ambush of Halliburton contractors in Iraq. Over scenes depicting the recreation of two trains rushing towards a head-on collision, viewers heard the repeated phrase "Jesus Christ, help us all Lord" (from just after the two-minute mark in the original video), followed by what sounds like "Fuck!" in a second voice. (Oh my god," messaged one viewer. "I saw that. It kept repeating a pretty distressing quote about God or something. It did my head in!") Oddly though, a Seven Network spokesman explained the occurrence as a "technical glitch due to an audio problem with the tape," and that "the line actually is 'Jesus Christ one of the Navarines' [though he probably meant "Nazarenes"] and this is from the documentary." It was not a prank, he said, "but one of those things that happen from time to time."

Whatever the truth, the explanation offered is a lie, as the videos tell, and as the Australian media would have surmised if they'd bothered to review the tapes.

On the last Sunday in January, in the town of Kannapolis, North Carolina, nearly a dozen church services were disrupted by three well-dressed young men who "walked right up to the pulpit and began speaking Hebrew." One minister with a knowledge of the language reported "They said things like, 'God is peace, God is love, God is comfort, God is joy.'" Some worshipers found the strange, brief interruptions terrifying, while others said "it's a God thing." According to witnesses, the men were seen to leave "in a large car, possibly a Lincoln."

Over the same period, residents were noticing strange silent lights overhead. And in the comments to the story Strange Sightings in Triad Skies", many were connecting their own religious dots:

"It is my considered opinion that the Sightings of recent days...are spiritual phenomena manifesting themselves as objects,discs,or ufo's for the express purpose of deception...and a direct sign that Humanity is living in the Last Days of human history as we know it."

"My family and i were heading to a church function in pine hall three weeks wife noticed a strange light in the sky. The lights were actually running in a circular motion and the object remained still in the night sky. I actually pulled off to the side of the road to observe.after 10 min the object had not moved and lights started to change color. My wife and kids were frightened and begged me to leave."

"In the "last days" spoken of by Saint John in the biblical book of Revelation, Jesus, upon his return will descend upon a cloud... sound like a UFO?"

Meanwhile, "odd lights," resembling the Phoenix lights (which have themselves lately returned), "cause a stir" in Maine. North London is illuminated by strange orange lights, while to the north of the city a silent object is seen making right turns over a reservoir and flashing red and gold lights. What's going on?

Probably several things, if not more.

That bizarre bit of business on Australian TV could have been a prank, and the network is simply loathe to admit it. Or it could be one of those synchronistic eruptions of the universal mind, that doesn't have an actor in the conventional sense but acts upon those prepared to receive its message. (And the message of mashing up a train wreck, an ambush in Iraq and a plaintive cry to God isn't exactly textbook subtlety.) Or it could have been an exercise in psyops to fray viewers' nerves with a collage of doom and End Times' inevitability. (Perhaps it's noteworthy that the three countries currently reporting mass weirdness are Australia, Great Britain and the United States, the "Big Three" Western allies in Iraq, and possibly soon Iran. And an aspect of the story has to be not that the weirdness is occurring, because strange things happen all the time, but that the weirdness is now breaching the mainstream's conventional wisdom.)

The three men who disrupted church services could have had their own reasons, and no agency but themselves. While at the same time, the folkloric parallels to "Men in Black" accounts, at least since Albert Bender's 1962 Flying Saucers and the Three Men, also merit attention rather than derision. (In his Operation Trojan Horse John Keel notes of Bender's book that, initially, "it read like the fantasies of a madman. But now many of the things he described have repeatedly occurred all over the world, and the book deserves a careful rereading.") And then there's the possibility of covert orchestration, to nurture broad impressions of coming apocalypse cynically plucked from the Dispensationalists' own playbook.

The appearances of mysterious lights also have multiple, reasonable explanations. Some are almost certainly mundane events, while others could be authentic manifestations of High Weirdness. But there also exists the possibility of human manipulation in order to engineer an effect. (If advanced military craft are being flown away from testing grounds and over populated areas, we should probably assume it's the populace that is being tested.)

Regardless of causation, the result is the same: people are shaken, people take to religion, and people look up. And whether the phenomenon is fraudulent or genuine, human or supra-human, that appears to be the intention.

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