Iinterstercial

Sunhill Asylum, November 12, 1963

Jack is wheeled into the consultation room where doctor Pontius awaits at his desk. The attendant applies the brake then leaves and shuts the door behind him. Sitting on the desk is a human skull with a dissected cranium; behind it is a large REVOX tape recorder and two microphones on stands. Pontius presses RECORD and says:

‘This is doctor Pontius assessing category A patient Jack Vallis. Date, November 12th, nineteen-sixty-three. Time, 11 A.M. ’

Jack doesn’t move, but sits vacantly in his wheelchair. He is dressed as a baby girl and wears an oversize frilly dress that barely covers his huge nappy and plastic pants.

Pontius takes out a penlight and waves it in front of Jack’s pupils:

‘Pupil reaction normal. Subject appears fully conscious. Hello. Do you know who I am?’

‘You look familiar, but I can’t remember your name.’

‘My name is doctor Pontius.’

‘Oh yes. Doctor Death.’

‘Do you know where you are?’

‘Hospital?’

‘That’s right. And who are you today?’

‘Jill. My name is Jill.’

‘Do remember anything else?’

‘I remember that skull.’

‘The skull on my desk?’

‘Yes. The broken crown. I’ve seen it before – in a dungeon.’

‘What dungeon?’

‘Will you give me some morphia?’

‘No.’

‘The paraldehyde doesn’t help. I am terribly depressed.’

‘Tell me about the dungeon. Was it a dream?’

‘No. It was long ago.’

‘Before you came here?’

‘No. Before I was born.’

‘The life you write about? That’s fiction.’

‘Please give me some morphia. I remember the past, really I do, but things slip from me everyday. I am so nervous and tired. I long for death. Life here is so dreadful—but if you will give me some morphia I shall surely be all right. Please, please do.’

‘I can’t give you morphia. You’ve become addicted. We’re trying to wean you off it.’

‘If you don’t give me morphia, I will turn you into a frog.’

‘A frog? You threaten me with spells every day. Do you know that?’

‘Well, I have magic powers.’

‘No Jill, you don’t.’

‘Yes I do. I’m a witch.’

‘No Jill, you’re not.’

‘Yes I am. Beátus ventur qui te portávit et úbera quæ suxísti. [Blessed is the womb that bore Thee and the paps that gave Thee suck][i]. Why does God’s infinite goodness ordain me to a such a terrible end?’

‘You’re sick Jill.’

‘Let me out of here. I want to go back to my cell. I must return to my old life.’

‘Listen to me Jill. Your old life is not important; you must live your new life now. The only life you have is here, now, in the present moment. There is no life before birth, and there’s no life after death.’

‘What would you know? You’re not a doctor of the soul.’

‘Oh but I am. The brain is the very substance of the soul.’

‘You are mistaken doctor. Your approach is doomed to failure.’

‘Approach?’

‘You believe that Mind and Brain are one and the same. Ergo, you think that knowledge of the brain confers true knowledge Man. But you only know what Man appears to be; the true essence of Man evades you.’

‘On the contrary. Man is nothing but a swarm of electrical signals in a cranium of jelly. Your cortex, although highly evolved, has all the traits of the most primitive nervous system. Tell me Jill, why do you suck your thumb? To pacify yourself, that’s why. Excitability and conductivity are two of the fundamental properties of living protoplasm which enable an organism to respond to changes in its environment. Stimuli, responses and reactions. The soul is simply a construct of neurons working in reflex arcs. Effectors and receptors. Nothing more.’

‘I see no point in continuing this discussion.’

‘Why Jill?’

‘Because you’re nothing but a materialist. The neurological correlates for consciousness are non-existent.’

‘How do you know? Are you a neurologist?’

‘Yes. I studied brain surgery with Sigmund Freud.’

‘You like making fun of me, don’t you Jill?’

‘I’ve been many things in my time: a poet, goatherd, author, tinker, alchemist, philosopher, state reformer, anarchist, sexual pervert and private detective.’

‘You’re deluded Jill.’

‘Then why attempt to overcome my delusions with argument? After all, my delusions are symptoms of cerebral disease; therefore argument is completely pointless. Would it not be better to ignore my delusions and lead the conversation to another subject?’

‘Let us return to the soul.’

‘To discuss the soul with an atheist is completely pointless.’

‘But I’m interested in your opinion.’

‘No you’re not. You just want to condemn me.’

‘Nonsense. I want to save you.’

‘Save me? With a lobotomy? Where’s the logic in that? You think man is just a machine. But cutting up the brain to find the soul is like smashing up a church organ to get at the toccata inside. All your science is in vain… The true mystery of man lies within the immortal Soul, and not the jelly of the brain.’

‘The soul is nothing but blood.’

‘You’re an ignoramus.’

‘Indulge me. If the soul is not blood, what is it?’

‘The soul is immaterial—a spiritual substance, which exists beyond flesh and blood. The soul remains active even after death, when it cleaves from the body.’

‘No Jill. The soul is utterly obliterated by Death.’

‘You have been misinformed. We possesses a higher intelligence which does not rely on material things. How else do you explain the reappearance of the dead?’

‘You mean ghosts?’

‘Yes. The dead.’

‘I don’t believe in ghosts.’

‘Why not? There are certain places which are definitely haunted. Like this asylum. And there are ghostly phenomena which are tied to certain people. Like me.’

‘Do you converse with spirits?’

‘All the time. Does that count against me.’

‘Unfortunately, yes.’

‘Shall we hold a séance?’

‘No.’

‘Why not? Aren’t you even curious?’

‘Spiritualism is a sham, and all mediums are charlatans.’

‘Not me: I’m the genuine article. I’m an adept in the art of resonant consciousness. I’ve channelled many spirits in my time. The best ones all begin with “P”… Pliny, Proclus, Plotinus, Plutarch, Porphory and Plato—to name but a few. Although last year, I was in regular contact with Aristotle.’

‘Do you take me for a fool?’

‘It’s hard to believe, I know. Nevertheless, it’s perfectly true. The dead speak: and they have many messages relating to the visible and invisible universe.’

‘It’s not the dead who are the source of these messages, but your own subconscious mind. Auditory hallucinations.’

‘No, it’s the dead.’

‘To die is to cease to exist; to be extinguished forever; snuffed out; obliterated; to moulder and rot; to become dust, without any hope of resurrection. So how can the dead speak, when they have no lips or tongue, nor brain to formulate their speech?’

‘A brain is not required.’

‘A man without a brain is a vegetable.’

‘Psychic vision, although independent of the brain, requires brain action; for without a brain the sixth sense cannot communicate to the material world. I refer to wave holography in the brain cortex.’

‘Wave what?’

‘Never mind. The brain is a receiver through which spirit acts; but if the brain is damaged, there can be no transmission to the physical plane. You see, in the spirit world, our thoughts are transferred without using words.’

‘You mean telepathy?’

‘Exactly. The mind is not dependent on the brain.’

‘You make the ludicrous sound plausible.’

‘And you make E.C.T. sound so gentile. Do you know what your machines actually do to the human brain?’

‘You are ignorant of these things. Do not presume to lecture me on the details of your therapy.’

‘Therapy? Is that what you call it? I gave no consent for such “therapy”.’

‘Your consent is not required. Shall we continue?’

‘With what?’

‘My questions. Just answer them truthfully.’

‘Why should I?’

‘Because I’m the psychiatrist, and you’re the patient.’

‘Call yourself a psychiatrist? That’s bloody rich, that is! You have an acute incapacity for reason; and you remain impervious to the simple logic which my arguments present. You are the definitive lunatic. But then again, it is useless arging with a lunatic about his delusions.’

‘Then let us talk about your delusions. Do you still believe that the universe was created in six days?’

‘Six epochs. But it was still created.’

‘Do you realise that in holding these views, you contradict the theory of Darwinian evolution, and the entire evidence of the fossil record?’

‘The theory of evolution is precisely that: a theory. As for the fossil record, there have been fundamental errors in the chronological dating of rocks.’

‘Are you a geologist?’

‘Are you a doctor?’

‘Stop this fencing.’

‘If you must know, I hold a Ph.D. in geology.’

‘Do you indeed? And where did you qualify?’

‘I can’t remember. But I am telling you, that as far as the fossil record goes, all geologists argue in circles. The correlation of fossils with evolution is quite absurd. Take the ten strata that geologists always use to date fossils: Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Tertiary. These are meant to compose the Standard Geologic Column. But do you know that 95 percent of the fossil record consists of marine invertebrates? Yet they only represent one hundredth of a single percent of the geologic column. Why is that? Because they are evidence of a global flood—evidence that evolutionists want to suppress. ’

‘Your Darwinian conspiracy is a delusion Jack.’

‘Is it? Question: How do you know a rock is old? Answer: Because it contains primitive fossils. Question: But how do you know it’s a primitive fossil? Answer: Because it was found in an old rock. Reductio ab adsurdam. Evolutionists will tell you that primitive creatures are found low down in the geologic column whilst more evolved lifeforms are found higher up. But this is only true in textbooks; it does not occur anywhere in Nature. The truth of the matter, is that fossils are not separated by millions of years, but by the locations in which they are found. For example, the Cretaceous period is derived from the Latin word for chalk “creta”, and was applied to the extensive deposits that form the White Cliffs of Dover. Whereas the Permian period is named after the province of Perm in Russia. The Cambrian period is taken after the Roman word for Wales “Cambria”, where rocks containing the earliest evidence of complex life were first studied. But nowhere on Earth does the geologic column exist in entirety. The Coelacanth was thought to have gone extinct with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. But this prehistoric fish was found alive and well in 1937. Do you know that human civilization was flourishing at the time of the dinosaurs?’

‘That’s nonsense.’

‘Or heresy? The geologic column of fossils is meant to provide proof of Evolution from one common ancestor—id est a single cell. But where did the single cell come from?’

‘No doubt it spontaneously evolved from a pre-biotic soup.’

‘That statement is patently absurd. Even the most primitive cell is too complex to have evolved by accident. The odds are impossible. There is about as much probability of a tornado assembling a Boeing 707 whilst passing through a junk yard.[ii]’

‘Clearly you find the facts of Evolution abhorrent.’

‘Evolution is not a fact: it’s a theory presented as fact. I’m very sorry doctor Pontius, but where is all the evidence for transitional forms morphing between Species X at Point A in time, and Species Y at Point B in time? They simply don’t exist. The vast majority of the fossil record indicates jumps between Species X and Species Y with no transitions between them.’

‘Nature jumps.’

‘That is fallacious and only shows your complete ignorance of the complex chemical and biological processes which must occur at the molecular level. The notion that mankind accidentally evolved from apes who accidentally evolved from lower primates is ludicrous. It’s not even remotely scientific.’

‘Does the idea of ancestral apes disturb you?’

‘Mankind did not descend from apes. We are sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. The Darwinian hypothesis is complete bunkum.’

‘And what is the Darwinian hypothesis exactly? Do even you know?’

‘The hypothesis that random mutations can lead to phenotypic variation, which in turn lead to improved survival, which, by a process of Natural Selection, (which occurs over vast periods of geological time), can create new species. I mean, it’s mathematically impossible for one thing. There just isn’t enough time in the universe for random mutation to create such an abundance of life. All animal phyla, including the chordate fish, can be found as fossils in the Cambrian period. But no ancestral forms can be found for the protozoa, arthropods, brachiopods, bryozoans, coelenterates, molluscs, sponges, annelids, echinoderms or chordates. In fact, these phyla appear abruptly, all at once, fully formed, and distinct. That is because there was a Genesis, rather than a long descent from one common ancestor.’

‘What other Ph.D’s do you have?’

‘I have doctorates in maths, chemistry, theology, astronomy and medicine. I have many others, but I can’t recall them.’

‘Impossible. You left school at fifteen.’

‘Yes, but since then I have been on a distant learning program.’

‘With whom?’

‘My teachers are ascended masters on higher planes of existence…’

‘Oh? And do you contact them often?’

‘Yes.’

‘How?’

‘In dreams, mostly.’

‘Tell me about your dreams.’

‘Tell me doctor, do you think my hysteria is based upon a sexual component? Do my dreams represent suppressed egocentric sexual mechanisms? Are they the imaginary fulfilment of desires acted out when the censor of consciousness is inhibited?’

‘I don’t know Jill. You tell me.’

‘Where’s Maria?’

‘Doctor Torris is not with us today.’

‘I must speak with her.’

‘You can’t. It’s her day off.’

‘Oh yes. She’s shopping in Harrops on Lune Street—looking for new shoes. I love shopping for shoes.’

‘Listen to me Jill, I want to talk about your powers.’

‘I’ve nothing more to say to you.’

‘But this is important. Do you still believe you can walk through walls?’

‘Yes. Of course I can. When I leave my body I can go anywhere; walls, floors and ceilings don’t bother me—I just pass right through them.’

‘Are you awake when this happens?’

‘Wide awake.’

‘And how do you leave your body?’

‘Leave me alone. I’m tired. I want to sleep.’

‘You can sleep later. Tell me how you leave your body.’

‘I become a disincarnate spirit.’

‘So you leave your physical body behind?’

‘Not exactly. I reduce my physical body to an etheric state by condensing its atomic structure.’

‘And how do you do that exactly?’

‘Mind over matter.’

‘What you are saying is literally nonsensical.’

‘When you discover the close relation of Mind and Matter, this feat will appear perfectly normal.’

‘So leaving your body is quite natural to you?’

‘Yes. I just slip out and rise to the ceiling. It’s like taking off a glove. Have you never sensed that your body was in the bed, whilst your spirit was hovering about it in the dark?’

‘No.’

‘Then you will just have to take my word for it. Astral projection is a well known occult phenomena.’

‘Astral projection is complete illusion. What you perceive is a phantasm. The sensory part of your brain elicits some definite image of its own aspect, and transmits it beyond the confines of normal perception. A state of consciousness typical of neurotics and excitable persons.’

‘Why interrogate me?’

‘Because I want to assess your state of mind.’

‘I must speak with Maria.’

‘I’ve already told you: she’s not here.’

‘Well, I see no point in speaking with you. You believe my powers are nothing but hallucinations with no objective reality; yet you refuse to accept the fact that your own beliefs are logically vulnerable. You have settled views on the origin of life, and the nature of the Universe. But these beliefs are false, and garnered from the flimsy halls of academia. Like all atheists, you have invested your faith with an absurd emotional warmth and instinctive certainty, and nothing I say, however much enlightened by the precepts of your own philosophy, will convince you of a spiritual reality.’

‘Great claims demand great proofs. But you haven’t given any. Your claims are all delusions based on childish fantasies. If I told you I was really a girl, what would you say?’

‘Who the hell are you, anyway?’

‘I’m doctor Pontius. Don’t you remember?’

‘What date is it?’

‘November 12, nineteen-sixty-three.’

‘The Apocalypse is coming.’

‘No Jill, it’s not.’

‘Yes it is: I read it in the papers. Don’t you read the papers?’

‘No. I find them in general to be full of gibberish and pointless speculation.’

‘This wasn’t gibberish. It was true. The Apocalypse. The angels are at The Gate, sharpening their swords and preparing for battle. This is the Age of Aquarius.’

‘Astrology isn’t true, Jill.’

‘This wasn’t astrology, it was science—so you’d better watch out. The Apocalypse. The end is nigh. I read it the papers…’

‘And which paper was that? The Beano?

‘Ha, ha, very funny, doctor Pontius. But then again, maybe it was the Beano… Yes, that’s right! 14th May 1960. It was in the issue where the medical examiner came to school… Yoo-hoo! Doctor! Where are you? You’ve got to test my eyes! … Read me the letters on that chart. … What chart? … The one on the wall. … What wall? … I’m not sure if you’re short-sighted or half-witted. Send the next pupil in—and that’s the fireplace, not the door! … (Next pupil enters). You’ll have to examine my tummy doc. I’ve just eaten five pounds of coconut fudge. … Then I think you should have your head examined! Crack! Prang! Ow – just as I thought – solid bone! (Next pupil enters). Stay still and let me examine your tonsils lad. Say AH! Bite! Crunch! (The doctor gets his fingers bitten and starts going mad). Teacher come quickly! The doctor’s acting funny! … (Teacher enters). Hello! Is that the hospital? Could you send somebody to give the medical examiner a medical examination!’[iii]

‘Do you think I need a medical examination?’

‘Absolutely.’

‘Because I don’t believe in the apocalypse?’

‘Amongst other things.’

‘So where did you read about this apocalypse? The Bible?’

‘No.’

‘A Jehovah’s Witness pamphlet, perhaps?’

‘No. I read it in The London Sunday Dispatch of July 16th 1954. It was an interview with Air chief Marshal Lord Dowding—he was former head of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. Do you know what he said? “I am convinced that these objects do exist and that they are not manufactured by any nation on earth. I can therefore see no alternative to accepting the theory that they come from an extraterrestrial source.” ’

‘Extraterrestrial?’

‘You know: flying saucers.’

‘I am sure there’s a perfectly rational and mundane explanation. You needn’t worry about flying saucers.’

‘I saw them one night over the bowling green. There was a big white light, and a small red light. The red light flashed backwards and forwards, then merged with the white light. Then it all went dark. A few minutes later I saw another light which floated a few yards above the ground: it looked like a big blue flame, and all around was a halo of sparkling light. It flared up and went out alternately for about five minutes. I wasn’t the only one who saw it. Tommy Perry saw it too. Ask him.’

‘Tommy Perry suffers from moral insanity. Like you, he has led a dissolute life. Why should I listen to him? You have probably concocted the story together.’

‘No. We saw them. Orbs.’

‘It was probably a lighthouse on the coast; or marsh gas. The entire precinct is surrounded by swamp.’

‘Thank you for your highly erudite and thoroughly scientific appraisal.’

‘Why do you hate me Jack?’

‘Jill.’

‘Why do you hate me Jill? I’m trying to help you.’

‘Help me? God in heaven!’

‘All this talk of extraterrestrials is inherently unscientific; and it does nothing to help your case. Your beliefs have a non-rational origin and are the product of a transsexual complex.’

‘Look who’s talking!’

‘And just what do you mean by that?’

‘Never mind.’

‘How often do you see bright lights?’

‘You can’t stop them. No one can. They come from a mirror universe, on the other side of the space-time continuum. They’re taking over our planet. President Kennedy knows all about them. That’s why the C.I.A. is going to assassinate him.’

‘I see.’

‘No, you do not see. I know about these things.’

‘How do you know? Are you in communication with the C.I.A?’

‘I might be.’

‘Are you one of their spies?’

‘No. But you are.’

Pontius glares over his spectacles then asks:

‘What makes you think that I work for the C.I.A?’

‘Because you have presided over my progressive deterioration; you have created a big black hole in my head. But to what end, doctor Pontius? To what end? You cannot destroy me. The mind is infinite. Indestructible. The more you try and destroy me, the more powerful I will become…’

‘One of my patients believes that she is descended from Queen Victoria, and is the rightful heir to the throne of England. She calls herself “Rule Britannia”, and has the entire British Navy under her command. Last month she sent a fleet of ships to attack Spain. However, she also believes that I am out to obstruct her coronation by keeping her locked up in this asylum. Does that ring any bells Jack?’

‘Not really no. Clearly your patient is suffering from an inferiority complex, and has compensated for her miserable life with delusions of grandeur. I have no such delusions.’

‘But you believe you’re a Parisian Lady.’

‘Mais mon petite papillon, je suis! Je suis une dame de Paris!’

‘And you believe President Kennedy is going to be assassinated?’

‘Yes.’

‘When?’

‘He will be shot on the 22nd November.’

‘Did your voices tell you this?’

‘No. The Cyclops told me.’

‘May I speak with him?’

‘He doesn’t wish to communicate with you.’

‘Why not?’

‘Because there’s a black monkey sitting on your shoulder.’

‘Can you see this monkey?’

‘Yes: it’s whispering in your ear.’

‘I can’t hear anything.’

‘No, but your subconscious can.’

‘I see.’

‘I see, said the blind man.’

‘A pity I can’t speak with this Cyclops. I’ve heard so much about him.’

‘He might speak with you, but the opportunity for intelligent debate is severely lacking. You have such narrow-minded parochial views.’

‘Nonsense. I’m as open-minded as any rational man.’

‘But you don’t believe in my powers.’

‘Because they’re irrational.’

‘No, because you’re an irrational rationalist.’

‘All right. Have it your way. Tell me about your powers.’

‘Which ones? Levitation?’

‘Yes. Tell me about that.’

‘I fly about. Can I go now?’

‘What else can you do?’

‘Conjure ice from a red hot furnace.’

‘Impossible.’

‘Not at all. I once performed this miracle for the king of France.’

‘No Jill, you didn’t.’

‘Yes, I did. Would you like to know how I did it?’

‘By all means.’

‘I fashioned a platinum vessel, and heated it over a charcoal fire until it glowed red-hot. Unbeknown to the king, I had concealed a long flask of vitriol up my left sleeve. The flask was sealed by a cork which was attached to my signet ring by a length of string. Thus, by extending my finger I could uncork the flask and release the vitriol. At the precise moment, I cried “Abracadabra!”, popped the cork, and poured the flask into the furnace. It was a highly volatile reaction. The rapid evaporation of acid produced such an intense degree of cold, that a large lump of ice was immediately formed; and, being thrown out of the furnace, was handed round for all to see.[iv]’

‘A trick.’

‘Yes. A trick. But that is how to elicit ice from a blazing furnace. You see doctor Pontius, what you deem impossible is explained by simple chemistry, and nothing more… But the king fell for it, hook line and sinker.’

‘You seem very well versed in the science of the elements. What of your other so called powers? Are they tricks also?’

‘Oh no, my powers are very real—and quite above the base science of the elements. Take my telekinesis, for example – ’

‘Telekinesis? Go on then. Show me. Move that inkwell across the desk.’

‘I’m not in the mood. Anyway, even if I did, you’d think it was a trick. There’s nothing I can do that would convince you of my powers.’

‘And why is that? Because they don’t exist.’

‘No. Because you’re an empirical reductionist. You don’t believe in the spirit world. You don’t believe in the Cyclops. You don’t believe in telekinesis. You’re just trying to humour me. Do you take me for a fool?’

‘Let’s return to the extraterrestrials for a moment. The little green men.’

‘I didn’t say they were little, and I didn’t say they were green.’

‘But you believe they will bring about apocalypse?’

‘Yes. A new world order.’

‘Comprising what exactly?’

‘The banking cartel, the oil cartel; transnational corporations; all the intelligences agencies – C.I.A., F.B.I., MI5, MI6; and the entire military-industrial complex. The New World Order.’

‘Sounds more like the old world order to me.’

‘No, it will be very different from the past. Very different.’

‘In what respect?’

‘It will be controlled by them.’

‘And who are they, exactly?’

‘The fallen ones. Demons. The Al-Jinn, who are made of essential fire.’

‘You think these demons are objectively real and go about in flying saucers?’

‘Yes.’

‘No. They’re not real Jack.’

‘Jill.’

‘Sorry. They are not real, Jill.’

‘They are real. I’ve seen them with my own eyes.’

‘Listen to me. They’re just hallucinations. You took L.S.D. didn’t you?’

‘Yes, but that was doctor Hardy’s idea.’

‘Well, you’re suffering flashbacks. These Jinn are nothing but after images – perceptions of movement in your visual field. Blurred patterns and halo-effects. The hallucinogen has left you with a persisting perception disorder.’

‘But I saw the Jinn before I even took L.S.D.’

‘When?’

‘Long ago, when the world was young. Like Aeneas, I descended into the Underworld bearing a fiery bloom of mistletoe. Ten thousand fathoms down went I, beyond the plains of Eden and the mines of Tubalcain; yet ever onward into darkness, through volcanic vent and subterranean stream, deep into The Crystal Halls of Knowledge. There the great Serpent sleeps, coiled around the cortex of Asmodeus, the fallen king of the Triple Throne, ruled by the moon and the Jinn of eternal night. Be still. They are all around us.’

‘Well I can’t see them. Can you?’

‘They’re not visible to ordinary human sight.’

‘Describe them.’

‘They’re monstrous. Like insects. But their appearance is suspect and cannot be trusted: they assume many diverse disguises.’

‘What do they want?’

‘To infect and manipulate our consciousness. They command exotic technology. Have you seen the film Forbidden Planet? No instrumentation. They control everything with the mind. Because everything is Mind.’

‘I see. And where are these monsters from? Mars? Venus? Or the moon perhaps?’

‘No. I’ve told you already. They come from another dimension. Interspace. They’re very close, yet very far away. They live in the crevices between things. Between atoms. An interstitial race. They dwell in a world of anti-matter. Parasites and predators. Masters of deception. Fallen angels that were cast down from Heaven with Lucifer. Spirits of the air. They were created long before the human race; they have always been here… Doctor Pontius, I find your grin very patronising. Do you find this amusing?’

‘It’s fantasy Jack.’

‘Jill. Not fantasy. Reality.’

‘Inter-dimensional insects that want to infest our minds? It’s paranoid delusion.’

‘What happens when your paranoid delusions come true? Believe me doctor Pontius, I’ve seen them. Monsters.’

‘Enough. There are no monsters.’

‘Yes there are.’

‘Have you ever asked yourself why you alone can see these monsters?’

‘Because I have the gift.’

‘Gift? I have no doubt that your eyes are anatomically identical to mine. But I cannot see the Al-Jinn. No one can see them but you. Does that not strike you as odd?’

‘You claim to understand the mind, but you know nothing of its metaphysical seat, nor its true nature, nor the existence and attributes of God.’

‘You sound very high and mighty for a man who’s dressed as a baby girl.’

‘Listen to me –’

‘Why should I?’

‘It’s your job to listen to me.’

‘I’ve heard quite enough from you already.’

‘But I’ve got something important to tell you.’

‘Another revelation? What is it this time? Are you about to lecture me on the nature of reality? I’ve heard it all before Jack.’

‘I have a new theory of Natural Philosophy deduced from a single law of Forces. A single law of Mind.

‘Your philosophy has no relevance here. Science is based on evidence of the senses. But you confuse this evidence with hallucinations.’

‘I’m in hell. I know it. There are monsters, I tell you. Monsters.’

‘There’s nothing to fear Jack. Withihn these walls you’re perfectly safe. We’ll look after you. There are no monsters here.’

‘Except the monsters from your Id. They’ll suck my brains out!’

‘You won’t get any better if you persist in believing this childish nonsense. It’s completely preposterous.’

‘How can you say that? The depths of space are full of untold terrors. Realities beyond all human category. Beings from worlds you cannot possibly comprehend.’

‘That’s enough Jack.’

‘Jill.’

‘I’ll up your medication. It will calm you down.’

‘Don’t you believe in aliens?’

‘No Jill, I don’t.’

‘But Air chief Marshal Lord Dowding does. Perhaps you ought to lobotomise him instead…’

‘Don’t be absurd.’

‘What’s absurd about it?’

‘Everything.’

‘There are worlds within worlds. The Al-Jinn are all around us, watching, waiting…’

‘Waiting for what?’

‘To be perfectly frank doctor, I’d rather not divulge such sensitive information.’

‘I see.’

‘You smile wryly and nod your head. I know that supercilious look. Are you aware, that by denying the existence of this mystery, you do great harm to the spiritual evolution of mankind?’

‘Do I Jack? And how much importance should I attach to the garbled and fantastic claims of a delusional hysteric?’

‘These phenomena are not to be scoffed at. I pity you doctor Pontius. You are not mentally prepared for the impending catastrophe. You should let me go, before it’s too late.’

‘Whilst you believe in these delusions, you are not mentally prepared for the outside world.’

‘But I am prepared. Very well prepared. Alas, the stupidities of your Freudian science conspire to bog me down.’

‘The Al-Jinn are nothing but Arabian fairy tales.’

‘Every truth must pass through three stages before it is recognised: in the first stage it is ridiculed; in the second it is violently opposed; and in the third it is regarded as self evident.[v] ’

‘What is self evident to me, is that you exhibit all the classic symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia.’

‘I say, are you supposed to tell me that? What is the aim of your diabolical experiment? To subjugate my will and gain control of my mind!’

‘Listen Jack—’

‘Jill.’

‘I refuse to call you Jill.’

‘I refuse to be your lab rat.’

‘I have been over this with you time and time again. Your demons are not real. They’re just hallucinations created by a chemical imbalance in your brain. Are you taking your medication?’

‘Doctor Pontius, do you ever have the impression that your judgement might be biased?’

‘No. Do you?’

‘The Al-Jinn will snatch you up! They’ll carry you off in the twinkling of an eye! They possess a terrible telepathic power. They are cold, ruthless and incapable of pity. You cannot outwit them: they have great capacity of intellect.’

‘If you persist in these fantasies, I will be forced to increase your E.C.T.’

‘Frying my brain won’t change the facts. I’m telling the truth. There’s a dark force which lurks in the cracks of the modern world; it hides in the coils of consciousness and possesses the unwary. Have you not heard of succubi and incubi?’

‘Of course I have. As a matter of fact, demons of the middle ages are very popular in lunatic asylums. You’re not the first patient to suffer from such delusions. Have you been attacked by a succubus?’

‘Many times.’

‘What if I told you that there’s no such thing?’

‘I’d say you were a fool. You cannot let go of your preconceptions about the nature of Mind or the underlying nature of physical reality.’

‘You were obviously having a nightmare, or were the prostrate victim of nervous hypochondria.’

‘A deliberate falsification.’

‘Not at all. What you perceive as a succubus is nothing but bodily paralysis. Plain and simple. It is a well known phenomenon. What happens is this: your conscious mind awakes before your motor-cortex. You cannot move and feel a terrible pressure on your chest, as if a hag were squatting there, sucking the very life out of you. But when your motor-cortex awakes, you can breath again and the hag vanishes into thin air.’

‘Hogwash.’

‘It’s a proven biological phenomenon. The transitional states between waking and sleeping are especially favourable to subjective hallucinations of the senses. They are called illusions hypnagogiques.

‘You call my realities illusions, but the chief characteristic of your science is delusion. You know nothing of the invisible realms, or the ghostly aspect of Man.’

‘Then enlighten me. What did this succubus want?’

‘What they all want: to possess our minds; to corrupt our souls; to impair our moral judgement; to enslave us eternally; to keep us imprisoned in this base world of matter; to merge with the stream of human creation. The Antichrist will be born of a woman having intercourse with an incubus; He will blind our vision of the One True God.’

‘There is no god.’

‘No god but you.’

‘Religious beliefs are nothing but primitive superstitions. All religion is poison to the soul. The cure is judicious reasoning. If the world is not purged of religion, modern society is doomed. That’s why I became a doctor of the mind.’

‘Oh really? Have you come to save me from the dogma of transubstantiation?’

‘Perhaps. It seems to me that your hysteria is firmly rooted in your faith. You are a slave to irrational fears and beliefs. In my experience, Catholicism is the first cause of psychosis.’

‘You mean madness. Lunacy. In the Old World, they call me moonstruck.’

‘Call it what you will. But a faith that claims the reality of devils and angels is hardly beneficial to the progress of mankind.’

‘What do you intend to do about it?’

‘Substitute your superstition with rational and intelligent thinking. After all, that’s the true role of a psychiatrist.’

‘Do you cure all your patients?’

‘Some are more easily cured than others. But in the end, all come to understand the error of their ways.’

‘You make butchery sound so profound and virtuous. What is a lobotomy? An act of psychiatric expediency, or one of humanist reconciliation?’

‘Lobotomy is the recommended solution to neutralize a person from a security point of view.’[vi]

‘Am I such a threat?’

‘You might be.’

‘Why?’

‘If your powers are real.’

‘But you don’t believe in my powers. You think I’m a delusional schizophrenic, don’t you doctor Pontius?’

‘I don’t know what to think. I find you very puzzling indeed. For one thing, I don’t understand your resilience to E.C.T. You had three shocks less than two hours ago. Any other patient would be dazed, confused, and for the most part, completely helpless. But you remain lucid, coherent, and talk quite spontaneously. Why is that?’

‘The Cyclops protects me.’

‘Hmm… Then why do you cry in your cell?’

‘Who told you that?’

‘Matron. She hears you at night. Are you unhappy?’

‘Unhappy? Me? No! I’m happy as a pig in clover! You stupid trousered ape. What do you think?’

‘Tell me why you cry.’

‘You’d cry if you got punched in the stomach when you were sleeping.’

‘And who did that?’

‘Dobbs. But he’ll only deny it. Besides, why should you believe the word of a madman over a psychiatric nurse?’

‘Indeed. But you can hardly blame Dobbs. He holds a grudge against you—and for good reason. You bit off his ear, remember?’

‘I should have bitten his bloody head off.’

‘Displays of violence will only count against you.’

‘Dobbs hated me the moment I arrived.’

‘Is that so surprising? You were wearing women’s underwear; and if I remember correctly, you spat in his face and called him a murderer.’

‘He is a murderer.’

‘Nonsense.’

‘I knew Dobbs in the Old World. He drowned Blackie in a sack.’

‘Blackie?’

‘My cat.’

‘No Jack. There was no cat, and you didn’t know Dobbs in the Old World.’

‘Yes I did. He broke my arm and knocked out my front teeth.’

‘It was just a dream Jack.’

‘I know what your goals are.’

‘My goals?’

‘The Cyclops told me.’

‘Oh? Then what are my goals?’

‘You have three main objectives: (1) to induce hypnosis very rapidly in unwitting subjects; (2) to create durable amnesia; and (3) to implant durable and operationally useful posthypnotic suggestions.[vii]’

Pontius looks concerned:

‘Who told you that?’

‘I have access to secret information.’

‘From whom? Doctor Hardy?’

‘No. The Cyclops. He says that men like you have dammed the entire human race.’

‘Do you think you are damned Jack?’

‘My damnation is defined by the fact that I am stuck in here with you. You’re so proud, conceited and arrogant. You think you understand the mind. But you know nothing of the mind.’

‘So you’re a psychiatrist now?’

‘If you really want to understand me, you must be willing to sacrifice your atheist dogma; you must suppress your Freudian prejudice, your nihilist, reductionist empiricism. But this requires a moral effort which you are not prepared to make. From your standpoint I appear quite mad; but from my standpoint, you are fast asleep. The sad truth of the matter, is that you have already made up your mind; you’re not willing to consider the evidence; and you condemn all my esteemed knowledge as insane delusion.’

‘I’m sorry Jack, but you are insane.’

‘No, you’re insane.’

‘I’m not the one dressed as a baby girl.’

‘I’m not the one dressed as a doctor.’

‘Succubi and extraterrestrials? You’re mentally ill Jack; and the sooner you accept it, the better.’

‘Better for who? Does the idea of a foreign influence on human consciousness strike you as ridiculous?’

‘As a matter of fact, yes it does. I am master of my own destiny. Just as you are master of yours.’

‘If only that were true.’

‘Wouldn’t you like to be rid of your demons once and for all?’

‘I would.’

‘What if I told you that I could magic them all away?’

‘How? By cutting out my brains? What a brilliant cure! For all I know, you could be one of them.’

‘You’re making this much harder than it need be.’

‘I know. I’m supposed to agree with everything you say; yes doctor, no doctor, three bags full doctor.’

‘A lobotomy is not as bad as you think. It will stop you hearing voices.’

‘I’ve already told you: I don’t hear voices. I’m clairaudient. There’s a very big difference.’

‘You mean you’re psychic?’

‘Yes. Like Enoch and Moses. I have transcendent visions; I commune with beings on other planes of existence. And through them, I have access to super-rational and intuitive modes of knowledge.’

‘Such as?’

‘I have cognizance of future events. And I can read the minds of others without any meditation on the part of my senses.’

‘Jack Vallis, I think you’re bullshitting me.’

‘You know my powers are real, but you pretend not to believe in them, just for the benefit of that tape.’

‘That’s paranoid nonsense. Besides, I have no evidence of your powers, so how can I possibly believe them?’

‘If you don’t believe in them, why are you so interested in hearing about them?’

‘Because they are evidence of your delusions.’

‘They call me Gypsy Jill. Cross my palm with silver and I’ll tell your fortune. I’m the most psychic transsexual in the northern hemisphere.’

‘All right. If you’re so psychic, tell me what I’m thinking.’

‘You’re hungry.’

‘You heard my stomach rumbling.’

‘You missed breakfast this morning because your Westclox alarm didn’t go off. It’s half past twelve and you’re looking forward to lunch because they serve chocolate sponge in the canteen on Fridays—your favourite pudding.’

Pontius grins:

‘Very good Jack, very good. But that’s hardly evidence of psychic ability is it?’

‘Was I right or wrong?’

‘Both.’

‘What do you mean both? Did your alarm go off or not?’

‘No, it didn’t—because my bedside clock has been broken for over a month.’

‘So I was right on that count. And did you miss breakfast?’

‘Yes. But I never eat breakfast anyway.’

‘Ah! So I was right on both counts!’

‘Hardly.’

‘But you are hungry aren’t you. And you are looking forward to that chocolate sponge.’

‘I should think everyone in Sunhill is looking forward to that chocolate sponge. You might be able to fool doctor Torris, but you can’t fool me.’

‘You’ve got the clap.’

‘I beg your pardon?’

‘You got it from a prostitute in Blackpool. You like to dress up in women’s underwear and play the lesbian. Does it burn when you pee? I’d get that sorted out if I were you.’

‘Jack Vallis! How dare you!’

‘I’m sorry doctor Pontius.’

‘That’s very insulting!’

‘But true. Gypsy Jill never lies.’

Pontius begins to tremble and the tip of his pen skits across the clipboard. He glances nervously at the tape-recorder, clears his throat, dabs his hanky on his brow, then says:

‘What did you do to doctor Torris?’

‘Nothing.’

‘You made her faint. You did something to her. What was it?’

‘I made her remember.’

‘Remember what?’

‘The Old World: that’s where we met.’

‘The world you write about? That’s fiction Jack.’

‘No, it’s true. I’ve told you before. The transmigration of souls.’

‘Have you had many lives?’

‘No, just one single indivisible life; all these manifestations in Time and body are but small variations of the whole.’

‘Who else did you meet in the Old World?’

‘You.’

‘So we have reincarnated together, is that it?’

‘Yes. We have come together for a reason. There are karmic debts which must be paid in full.’

‘Jack if you persist with this delusion, I will be forced to lobotomise you.’

‘You haven’t changed a bit. Six centuries later and you’re still an idiot.’

‘Your personal opinion of me is not important. I don’t need your consent to perform the operation.’

‘But it would ease your conscience.’

‘Not at all. I think a lobotomy is the best thing for you.’

‘Why not just shoot me in the head instead?’

‘The operation is a highly skilled procedure.’

‘What? Smashing an ice pick behind my frontal bone? What’s so skilled about that? Nothing.’

‘Well, as I said, I don’t need your consent.’

‘Yes you do: I’m not your patient. Maria will have to agree to it, and she won’t.’

‘Her opinion can always be overruled: it will only take a vote from the board. She’s completely outnumbered on matters of psycho-surgery.’

Jack scowls then says:

‘Very well. I will agree to the procedure on one condition.’

‘Which is?’

‘I want this put down in writing.’

‘There’s no need for that: our session is being recorded.’

‘Yes, but you’re going to erase that tape, aren’t you doctor Pontius? We can’t have the board knowing about your sordid little trip to Blackpool, can we?’

‘Enough! I see no point in continuing this conversation.’

‘I want witnesses.’

‘Witnesses?’

‘Get matron—and Bob the warden.

‘What for?’

‘To witness my prophecy. Just call them in.’

‘Very well, if you insist…’

Pontius marches to the door and pokes his head into the corridor. There’s much mumbling and whispering as two figures gesticulate behind a pane of reeded glass. The figures walk away. A moment later, the matron enters with Bob.

‘What’s this all about Jack?’ asks matron. ‘You up to your old tricks again? We haven’t got time for your silly games you know.’

‘This isn’t a game. I need you both as witnesses. Doctor Pontius wants to turn me into a turnip. Lobotomise me. Principally because he does not believe in my psychic gifts. He thinks my second sight is a delusion and that I’m nothing but a paranoid schizophrenic. I will agree to the procedure on the following condition. If, on the 22 November 1963, President Kennedy is assassinated, then my psychic gift will be proven by act of prophecy. In which case my lobotomy shall be cancelled. I shall no longer be judged insane or kept incarcerated against my will, but shall be released forthwith, back into society.’

The matron bursts into hysterics:

‘Oh! Jack Vallis! I’ve heard it all now. You daft apeth! You can’t go about like that!’

‘Can I go now?’ asks Bob. ‘I’m already late for lunch. It’s chocolate sponge today and there’ll be none left.’

Pontius waves them off and they exit, whooping like hyenas down the corridor.

‘Satisfied?’ asks Pontius.

‘Perfectly.’

‘Well, I must say, you seem very confident. Are you planning to assassinate Kennedy yourself?’

‘You prating fool. Stultisissimus. [A perfect fool].’

‘Do you know what you are Jack? You’re a fully fledged lunatic.’

‘I’ll take that as a compliment.’

Copyright © Nicholas Shea 2017


[i] Luke, 11:27. (Daily Missal, Third Sunday in the Season of Lent. p. 298)

[ii] Sir Fred Hoyle calculated that such odds were one chance in 1040,000 (“the same as the probability that a tornado sweeping through a junk yard could assemble a 747”). Evolution from Space (1981).

[iii]School doctor visit from The Beano, 14th May, 1960.

[iv] A demonstration performed by Professor Butigny at a meeting of the British Association, Cambridge, June, 1845.

[v] Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher (1788-1860).


[vi] Lee and Schlain.


[vii] In 1960, the CIA began an aggressive program of “field experimentation” in the “counter-intelligence program.” There were three goals: (1) to induce hypnosis very rapidly in unwitting subjects; (2) to create durable amnesia; and (3) to implant durable and operationally useful posthypnotic suggestion. (John Marks, 1979, p. 189).