Sunday 28 January 2018

Stranger Things have happened: Hollywood, abuse and what we have lost.

My wife, Liz, pointed out that this seems to be a reference to the common phrase “stranger things have happened”. Which could imply that the seemingly fantastical story in this series is actually more connected to reality...

There was reference in the first series to the U.S. Government’s use of MK Ultra mind control, some of which has been admitted to publicly. In 1995, then-President Bill Clinton issued a public apology to the many Americans who had been used in experiments to create ‘Manchurian Candidate’ types. There has recently been a docu-drama on Netflix which investigates an alleged victim of MK Ultra, entitled Wormwood. The publicly revealed extent of this mind control is probably only the tip of the iceberg. Women such as Brice Taylor and Cathy O’Brien have given detailed accounts that they were mind controlled sex slaves used by some of the most powerful people in the American government. Their claims, and those of others like them, have not been publicly acknowledged or even given serious coverage by mainstream media. The fact that some form of mind control experimentation has been admitted to by the American authorities would suggest that further claims should at least be taken seriously.

In Stranger Things, the character known as Eleven has been held in a government facility where her psychic abilities are tested and trained to be used by the military. In several scenes, newspaper clippings have been collected referring to many cases where children have been abducted or disappeared. The origin of Stranger Things comes from the alleged Montauk Project (Montauk was the original working title for the programme). This is claimed to be a secret American government project where young people were abducted and used for experiments. These allegedly involved various sci-fi sounding projects such as remote viewing: the ability to psychically connect with people across vast distances of time and space.

It has been frequently discussed in academic circles, amongst others, that people’s understanding and perception of the “real” world is increasingly governed by representation. These theories have recently found a much more dramatic expression from mainstream scientists and technologists: Elon Musk and Dr Rich Terrile of NASA, to name two high-profile figures, have claimed that our world is a giant hologram.

‘Will got lost in the woods’

Stranger Things is set in the 1980s (the period when it is claimed The Montauk Project was taking place) and the series references many films from that period. The motif of a gang of kids endearingly triumphing over evil adults was adapted through several films from that era – from E.T. to The Goonies, to Stand by Me. One of the child actors in both the latter two films was Corey Feldman, who has since, as an adult, spoken passionately about the widespread child abuse in Hollywood. He not only claims he himself was abused but also that the abuse suffered by his friend and co-star on the film The Lost Boys, Corey Haim, led to his problems with drugs and eventual death. A more recent documentary, An Open Secret, has testimonies from former child performers who were also abused by older men in the film and entertainment industries. The documentary highlights that at least two men convicted of child sexual abuse, who served prison sentences, are now released and back working in the film industry:

A documentary about the alleged Montauk Project talked of children being abducted in order to be used for the experiments (including men who said they were abductees). As mentioned above, Stranger Things dramatizes this but in the series the abducted children have been targeted deliberately because they have special psychic abilities.

Whether the Montauk Project happened or not, there is no doubt that children have been taken from their families, abused, and denied identities across the world, in many different forms for centuries. The Child Migration schemes where children from poor backgrounds, who were in institutions in the U.K., were shipped to the colonies such as Australia and Canada were a Twentieth Century development of the practice of ‘spiriting’. This practice stretches all the way back to the early years of Empire: in 1618 one hundred child migrants ‘were sent by the City of London at the request of the Virginia Company to provide labour for the colony (Lynch 11). Such organised parties in the period up to the nineteenth century were only ‘sporadic’ (Lynch, Gordon. 2015. Remembering Child Migration. London: Bloomsbury 11) but there was alongside this the widespread abduction of poor children, many of whom had families, from Britain to be shipped to the emerging colonies. They were abducted from streets and countryside, one contemporary account stated that ‘in the dead of night children were taken by force from the beds where they slept […by] ruffians who hunted their prey as beasts of the chase’ (from The Book of Bon-Accord cited by Skelton, Douglas. 2005. Indian Peter: the Extraordinary Life and Adventures of Peter Williamson. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing 24). The term ‘spiriting’ has uncanny connotations alongside such a terrible practice. For those parents whose children were taken it must have felt like bereavement, as if their children were now ghosts. The children ripped from their homes and taken to a very alien place, the ‘New World’, may also have felt that they had been removed to a different reality. I list just a few other examples of mass child abduction, from across decades and in several different countries, at the bottom of this post.

When Will disappears at the beginning of the first season of Stranger Things, the absence which creates the ensuing narrative, he is taken to the ‘Upside Down’, another dimension which is a dark version of the ‘real’ world (as if the world we normally live in isn’t dark enough). I would argue that this abduction, revealing an evil strata within the structures that we consider safe, is symbolic of how children are ‘spirited away’ from the material world and the way this turns the reality we perceive upside down.

The threatened children in Stranger Things could be seen as a metaphor for those traumatised children who have been the victims of paedophilia in Hollywood over the years.  The children running in fear from the evil scientists and government authorities can be seen to represent the many, many children pursued and abused, who were like them, child actors and stars. When the other characters in Stranger Things refer to Will being lost in the woods, it is the woods which the fairy stories through centuries have warned us about (and simultaneously drawn us towards). The ‘woods’ which are now also our cities and towns…
(and incidentally, for a quick compression of fairy-tale to modern day paedophilia – and Hollywood, check this out:

They are taking our will away, and most people don't seem to be looking in the right places.

Please look at these examples below and consider the way our society is built over the bodies of children.

Hundreds of children a year are abducted from Kolkata in India and sold into slavery or sexual exploitation (and that’s just from one city in one country):
In Spain under Franco, around 300,000 babies are estimated to have been taken from their mothers at birth, the mothers told their children had died, and the children were given or sold to families considered more ‘desirable’ by Franco’s authorities and the Catholic Church:
In the early years of the Israeli state, hundreds of children were taken from mostly Yemeni  Jewish families:
Roma children were systematically taken in Switzerland over decades and placed in institutions, in yet another example of organised targeting of children from poor or minority groups:
A paedophile ring involving politicians, including in The White House, was appallingly covered-up in the 1980s:

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