In a recent comment, Debbie linked to the essay Aliens Among Us: A Brief History of the Owl by Carey McHugh. The second section of the essay bears the heading "The Owls Are Not What They Seem" (apparently a line from a TV show called Twin Peaks) -- the same sentence which, in a comment on my blog, prompted me to start reading Mike Clelland's The Messengers: Owls, Synchronicity, and the UFO Abductee. Clelland is the world's leading expert (not that there's much competition!) on the connection between owls and close-encounter phenomena. McHugh, despite titling her essay Aliens Among Us, does not discuss UFOs or extraterrestrials at all.
Debbie's comment was left on my post "Lots of owls that fit just perfectly, and I wanna know Y!" The first part of that title refers to something I read in Clelland's book about owls and aliens; the second part refers to an old Sesame Street skit with muppets.
The McHugh essay Debbie linked mentions Goya's etching El sueño de la razón produce monstruos (The Sleep -- or Dream -- of Reason Produces Monsters), which prominently features owls. Although that picture had turned up in the sync stream as recently as this April (see "Bee of the Bird of the Musk"), I had not thought of it in connection with the current owl theme. Wanting to look at the picture again, I ran a Google image search on the Spanish title. The first six results were what you would expect: images of the Goya etching.
But the seventh result was this:
A parody in which the owls have been replaced with "monster" muppets from Sesame Street!
Of the Sesame Street characters in the picture, the Count stood out as not really being a "monster," and his name -- sometimes given in full as Count von Count -- made me think of the Duke of Earl. Then I noticed that the Count was next to Grover. Many years ago, I created a YouTube playlist called "Go back to sleep" -- a line from the first video on the list, which was the Perfect Circle song Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums (counting!) with an accompanying video made up of clips from the 1989 film Communion, in which Christopher Walken stars as alien abductee (alien abductee!) Whitley Strieber.
I had started with this video and then tried to construct the rest of the playlist "intuitively." After listening to each song, I would put my feelers out in the ether for inspiration and go with the first song that came to mind. After the first track, the rest of the list ran as follows:
- They Might Be Giants, "See the Constellation"
- Kate Bush, "Deeper Understanding"
- Miranda Sex Garden, "Lovely Joan"
- The Everly Brothers, "When Will I Be Loved"
- The Moody Blues, "Minstrel's Song"
- Donovan, "Jersey Thursday"
- Paul Simon, "Oh, Marion"
- Tommy James and the Shondells, "Crimson and Clover"
- Bobby Fuller Four, "I Fought the Law"
- Weezer, "The Good Life"
- Portishead, "It's a Fire"
- The Mamas and the Papas, "Dream a Little Dream of Me"
- Sesame Street, "Monster in the Mirror"
- Gene Chandler, "Duke of Earl"
- Bonnie Tyler, "Total Eclipse of the Heart"
The two bolded tracks are the reason this playlist came to mind: Although I had forgotten most of the content of the list and had to look it up, I did remember that I had juxtaposed "Duke of Earl" with a song about monsters sung by Sesame Street's Grover.
The "Monster in the Mirror" video begins with the letter C flying out an open window into the night sky. Grover's hand then pulls down the window shade, on which a sunny daytime scene is painted. This sun becomes real and rises higher in the sky, and the room lights up. The camera then pans to the bed, where Grover is just waking up -- so who opened the window shade? Some pretty freaky symbolism for a silly kids' video.
This window-related weirdness made me think of something I had read recently in Clelland's book.
I contacted Strieber [Strieber!] to ask about owls and their role within this mystery, he replied with memories of his own childhood.
There was a white owl that stood in our back yard and watched the windows of my bedroom when I was a child. It made my folks very nervous. This was during the time that they nailed the screens shut.
That he would have seen a white owl in his yard came as no surprise. I then asked if this owl from his youth could have been some sort of screen memory.
I don't have any way to tell if it was a screen memory. I remember an owl, and certainly nobody said that it was anything different. My parents never said why they nailed the screens shut, but I assume that it was either because they feared that something might be coming in, or I might be going out at night.
It could be my own mind grasping at nothing, but I can't help but see window screens being nailed shut out of fear as a metaphor. The word screen is just too perfect, and the term window is sometimes used by researchers to describe the gateway that UFOs might use to enter our reality.
This story stood out to me because of a recent experience of my own. A few months back, I was cleaning a third-floor guest room which we rarely use. The window is always closed and locked, with the shade down. While I was cleaning, I suddenly had a very strong impression -- an overwhelming but inexplicable sense of urgency -- that I needed to open the window and look outside. I opened the shade and saw something truly bizarre: a large white bird hovering about 100 meters away. It was a very windy day, and the bird was flapping against the wind at precisely the right speed so that it moved neither forward nor backward but just hovered in place like a helicopter. I watched it for several minutes, and its position never changed. Never in my life have I seen a bird do anything like that.
The bird was not an owl, but the strange thing is that I haven't the slightest idea what it was. I can't even narrow it down to an order. It was about the size and color of a large egret, but it definitely wasn't that. It didn't have a long neck, and its face and beak looked almost like those of a parrot, but it wasn't a parrot, either. It had long gray legs that were hanging down, and its very long wings had the distinctive knife-like shape one associates with seabirds.
I opened the window itself to get a better look and was surprised to find that it was unlocked. I was even more surprised to discover that there was no screen! The entire bottom half of the window screen had been neatly cut out as if with a knife and was just gone. At first I wondered if this meant a thief or someone had attempted to enter the window, but that didn't make any sense. The window slides open horizontally so that you can open either the right side or the left side; the screen also slides horizontally and is only large enough to cover one side of the window. If you wanted to climb in the open window, you could just slide the screen to the other side; there would be no need to cut it.
I kept watching the bird through the open window, trying to make out its features more clearly in hopes of identifying it, but the more detail I took in, the less it looked like any particular sort of bird! (I later scoured my field guides and the Internet in vain.) This whole time, the bird was hovering in place. Finally I left the window and went downstairs to tell my wife, but when we returned to the window, the bird was gone.
When I checked Wikipedia to confirm that the Count was called Count von Count (similar to Duke of Earl), I found this.
During the 2020 United States presidential election, which required a ballot-counting period of four days before Joe Biden was declared the winner (a result of record-setting use of mail-in voting and early voting), the Count was featured in many internet memes and social media posts, such as playful wishes that he could be called in to assist the tabulation and the insistence that President Donald Trump's demand to "Stop the Count" was hopeless against the Sesame Street character.
Trump wants to stop Count von Count but can't. This obviously ties in with Anglin's posts, recently highlighted on this blog, about politicians trying in vain to stop the Duke of Earl. Just as Anglin portrays the Duke of Earl as an immortal being that can never be stopped, back on Pi Day (3/14) this year, I posted "The Sempiternal Count recites ALL the digits of pi!" in which the Count from Sesame Street is likewise portrayed as immortal.
Although Pi Day is normally considered to be March 14, Wikipedia says, "Alternative dates for the holiday include July 22 (22/7, an approximation of π)" -- the release date of Jordan Peele's upcoming film NOPE.
Note added: I forgot to mention this in the original post. In connection with the Perfect Circle refrain "Go back to sleep," Mike Clellan relates this story in his owl book:
I was 30 years old in the winter of 1993 and living alone in a small house in Maine. I woke up in the middle of the night because a bright light was shining into the room. I sat up in bed, looked out my bedroom window, and saw five spindly aliens walking towards the house. These were the typical gray beings that get reported, they had oversized bald heads and huge black eyes. This should have been terrifying, but I felt absolutely nothing. I was oddly sucked dry of any emotion. After a few moments of looking at these beings, I heard a voice in my head say: "Oh yes, they're here. Now is the time to put your head on the pillow and black out." And that's exactly what I did. . . . I nonchalantly lay my head down on the pillow and promptly fell back asleep.
This illustration appears in the book. The significance of the stegosaurus is not clear.
I also wanted to mention that Grover's sunny-sky window shade, hiding the reality of the night sky outside, reminds me of a picture I painted as a teenager, called I Shall Not Want. It depicted a man wearing a sky-blue blindfold printed with a bright yellow sun and fluffy white clouds. All around him, unseen, was a night sky teeming with stars.
I wrote a poem on a similar theme around the same time (content warning: teenage poetry!):
Praise ye the Sun for the blinding white glow
That hides all the heavenly host from our sight
May ever his rays be our shelter below
And may sleep be our shield to protect us at night
As you may know, the title of this blog comes from the closing lines of a poem in Chapter 22 of George MacDonald's Phantastes. -- a work which I did not read until I was in my mid-thirties. The poem begins thus:
The sun, like a golden knot on high,
Gathers the glories of the sky,
And binds them into a shining tent,
Roofing the world with the firmament.
Go back to sleep.
Update: About 10 hours after posting this, I checked, once again, Anonymous Conservative. One of the links just said, "Biden to GOP: 'Get ready, bal! You're gonna in for a problem!'" It was a link to an Israel National News page, dated today, which had a video. For some reason, instead of just watching the video there like any normal person would do, I went to YouTube, put the Biden quote in the search bar, and found this video. Idly scrolling through the comments, I saw this:
Go back to sleep -- word for word, the name of a YouTube playlist I had mentioned in this post, and also the sentence which I had ended the post before the present update.
Then I noticed that the video wasn't even very recent. It had been posted in December 2021. Why it was being reported as news by Israel National News is anyone's guess, but it certainly came at an appropriate time sync-wise!