Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fair Phantom (Part 1)

My series of articles on the Sacrifice dated back to a mind expanding five day visit to Sydney last year. On either side of that epiphany was a plane flight & on both those flights I watched a movie. This movie or should I say what happened to the movie's writer & director has been my companion since then. For many months I have held a promise to write about it.

Maybe it's just fanciful but I have had the idea that if we could put truth or awareness back into the time frame from whence it was stolen (or manipulated), perhaps we could reverse (or release) it. The PTB certainly seem addicted to time frames & rituals, so with that in mind, this article has bided it's time, until now.

That flight to Australia took the usual three & half hours. I flicked onto & then off a few bad movies & then spotted Waitress. I remembered seeing the 'shorts' for it & thought it looked quite fun. I was still watching it when the announcement came to switch off for landing, but that was fine as I thought I'd watch it again on the flight home. And so I did. I enjoyed it as a feel good movie, savouring the sensuous tie in with delicious looking pies.

Some time later I thought I'd take my son to see it - while I realise it would be labelled a chick flick by many, it had a nice flavour to it that I thought he would enjoy. It also happened that I invited a friend who was feeling a bit down at the time. It was she who first told me about 'the actress who was murdered'. I was rather stunned & I thought she meant Keri Russell who played the lead role. I've not watched tv in years, but I remembered seeing previews for Felicity, & that there had been a tremendous palaver about her hair.

I went looking on the internet, it was not Keri Russell at all, but the movie's writer & director, Adrienne Shelly who had been killed. She had also played a role as one of three waitresses in the movie. It was the date she died - 1st November, combined with the overkill of her death, some lines from the movie & an amazing synch that kept this event alive & unsettled for me.

There isn't a particularly straight route in this article, just things that have called for attention along the way, nor is it meant to be sensationalist - this story was part of a very important event in my life, so in a sense I'm trying to return a favour.

To start with I have borrowed some info from Ellis Taylor's site because what he says, he says well & with great integrity. The following words relate to a number of different murders, but are they so different after all?

"My insights and research, so far, suggests that both culprits and victims are chosen because aspects of their energy patterns suit a specific purpose. The locations that are involved are selected for the same reason. It is not necessary for any of them to be consciously aware that they are being motivated to fulfill the intended agenda...There is always an occult element to every incident, every experience, because all things are manifested thoughts and are therefore devised in secret.
In many cases major incidents are callously manufactured to camouflage or bury something else that the Darkness or its Dark Ones are trying to hide from the public

Adrienne Shelly was killed on November 1st (2006) - the day after Halloween, All Saints Day & the Day of the Dead in numerous cultures. Here Ellis Taylor refers to a woman who went missing on 30th October, 2006 - one day before Halloween (& two days before Adrienne Shelly's death).
"The evening of 30th October is the night before Halloween/ All Souls - 31st October and 7 days prior to the true Samhain 5th November in 2006, which also hosted a full moon. This Samhain moon is known as Dark Moon, Herbistmanoth (Harvest Moon) and Blotmonath (Sacrifice Moon). This is a time dedicated to the Scandinavian goddess Hel."

Most sites I've read refer to Samhain as the 1st November, that was why I paid attention to this date - Ellis puts it at the 5th, either way, countless cultures pay great attention around this time, the Western world simply snuck in Guy Fawkes Day on 5th November to keep this week brewing nicely.

So looking to some additional info on the Celtic festival of Samhain.

"Feast of Death.
The rituals of Samhain involve bonding with the dead. On this night, the Celts believed the doors were opened between the worlds and the paths were travelled by the spirits going back and forth on this night. This world and the Otherworld become equivalent to each other, and no barriers existed between the dead and the living, that is, the “Veil” was at its thinnest.
It is The Veil between the two worlds that Wiccans invoke when they cast the circle to worship or perform rituals; thus, on Samhain night, when the Veil is thinnest, spells are most powerful because we are closest to the spirits."

"Samhain is the most sacred and high holiday of all the festivals of all rituals. Samhain combines a number of elements: the end of the agricultural harvest, the wild harvest, the transition of the fall foliage season into the onset of winter weather and the commemoration of The Day of the Dead. It is a time for remembering our ancestors and our departed loved ones, and a solemn time should be set aside for contemplating the mystery of Life and Death as taught by the ancient ways."

"It is generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st. It is one of the two "spirit-nights" each year, the other being Beltane. It is a magical interval when the mundane laws of time and space are temporarily suspended, and the Thin Veil between the worlds is lifted. Communicating with ancestors and departed loved ones is easy at this time."

"Symbolism of Samhain:Third Harvest, the Dark Mysteries, Rebirth through Death."

This time of year is honoured by numerous cultures around the world, each linking into a belief in some form, that the spirits of the dead or the world they inhabit, are closer than at any other time of the year.

Día de los muertos or the Day of the Dead is a very important holiday in Mexico, it can be traced back to "to the indigenous peoples such as the Olmec, Zapotec, Mixtec, Mexican, Aztec, Maya, P'urhépecha, and Totonac. Rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors have been observed by these civilizations perhaps for as long as 2500–3000 years....Similar observances occur elsewhere in Europe and in the Philippines, and similarly themed celebrations appear in many Asian and African cultures." - From wiki

Now lets take a brief look at Ecuador

"Día de los Difuntos, or Day of the Dead, is without a doubt one of the most important and highly respected days in the Ecuadorian highlands, taking place on November 2nd."

"The most important dates in the indigenous' calendar are the 1st and 2nd of November. All Saints' Day (Todos los Santos) and Day of the Dead (Dia de los Difuntos, o muertos).The ancient belief is that the soul visits its relatives within these days and should have plenty of food to be fed and continue further on its journey to the after life."

"The Ecuadorian Day of the Ancestors isn’t quite like the Mexican Day of the Dead, nor is it like American Halloween. El día de los difuntos is a time to celebrate one’s dead ancestors. In the small country villages, families dress in their finest clothes and carry a meal to the cemetery, where they dine on top of the grave of their ancestors. One plate is always left for the dead ancestor."

Now we return to Adrienne Shelly.

I don't like this bit & in fact I have never been able to reconcile myself with it. The following is the gist of news reports. She was found hanging by a sheet from a shower rail in the apartment she used as an office at 15 Abingdon Square, in Manhattan on the evening of 1st November, 2006. At first it was reported as a suicide, but her husband & family & indeed common sense said this was not so - she had been waiting to hear if her movie Waitress had been accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. A reebok shoe print in the bathtub or on the toilet (versions vary) led to the arrest of Diego Pillco, a 19 year old illegal immigrant from Ecuador who had been working in the building. Again versions vary, but it seems he first denied murder, but then later confessed. Stories also vary as to the 'reason', at first it was that they argued over noise & then later that she found him stealing money from her wallet. There are also various versions of what happened next, with a general acceptance that he hit her & presuming he'd killed her, he thought of making her death look like a suicide to cover his tracks.

The overkill in this event disturbs me & also how 'dramatic' it feels. Acceptance of the idea that an illegal immigrant would stoop to murder to avoid detection seems plausible. However I wondered why someone in such a knife-edge position would risk any kind of exposure in the first place.

"Neighbors at Mr. Pillco’s apartment building said he was hard-working and respectful. He lived in a basement apartment with his cousin and held a variety of odd jobs, they said.“He sent money home to his mother and father,” said Frank Lingo, a neighbor. “He minded his business. He never bothered me or anyone else near here. He seemed like a good kid. I’ve never seen him hang out.”Chris Pannhorse, another neighbor, said: “He was always respectful to me and my wife. He’s a good kid. Because that is what he is to me, just a kid.”

"Pillco's cousin told The Post that the accused killer was "quiet and peaceful. He didn't have a temper," and was working to pay off his smuggling debt, and to support his parents and five siblings back in Ecuador."

Pillco comes from Ecuador where, "the most important dates in the indigenous' calendar are the 1st and 2nd of November. All Saints' Day (Todos los Santos) and Day of the Dead (Dia de los Difuntos, o muertos). So November 1st is the Roman Catholic feast day, All Saints Day - a part of of Pillco's tiny room included "a simple shrine to a Catholic patron saint, adorned with flowers and prayer cards." The modern Oracle better known as the 'media,' incubated guilt in the 'discerning' public with the next few lines "In the corner near the bedroom door was a cheap TV. On a nearby shelf were a collection of Spanish horror and smutty films featuring women dressed as schoolgirls posing on the cover" ... hmmm, no mention of the cheap dvd or video machine with which to watch them, or am I being picky? It's amazing how a little pornography, casually dropped into 'objective' reports basically guarantees public acceptance of guilt - I couldn't help remembering the stories of 'Korans left in bars' prior to Sept 11.

Am I saying he didn't do it - I have no idea, I wasn't there. I just noted interesting points. Another significant date in this scenario was Pillco's entry into America on the auspicious date July 7 (7/7). A little further along, we have the date of 14th February (Valentines Day), this year as the date in which he pleaded guilty.

"During his testimony in a New York courthouse on Thursday (14Feb08), Pillco then confessed to hanging the 40-year-old to make her death look like a suicide." I have found his choice of words strange - description followed by an extra admission.

"I didn't mean to kill her. But I did kill her."

I saw a sheet and I decided to choke her and that's what happened."

Part of the reason I find this murder so hard to accept is the dramatic feel of it. It could so easily be the plot of any one of the multitude of tv crime shows that drop bodies into peoples living rooms at a dizzying rate. I'm not sure how many panic stricken people would have the wits to create a suicide scene using a sheet as a makeshift rope & if they did because they'd seen it on tv, surely they know to wipe away prints. Perhaps he did, because I've never heard of any other evidence being found.

I was obviously not the only person to see the dramatics of this event. The crime show Law & Order, jumped on it & a few short months later, exhibited their own rendition entitled 'The Melting Pot' - "Well, it was bound to happen sometime, but frankly we're a little shocked how fast Dick Wolf is getting going on the Adrienne Shelley rip-off episode"

and the storyline...

"JULIO CONTRERAS] male, 19-24, Hispanic, illegal immigrant. Speaks English w/accent. He has been working as a day laborer/construction worker in this country for almost two years. He sends money back home to his family in So. America - he is the sole breadwinner for his mother and siblings.

He is suspected of murdering Erin Garrett after they argued about his construction crew turning off the electricity in her building. He admits to the argument and pushing her. She fell, hit her head, and was knocked unconscious. Julio swears he did not hang her. He is brought to trial".
Notice the victims name Erin is a twist of the four middle letters of Adrienne's name. Erin means Ireland - the Celtic home of Samhain.

Adrienne began her career as "an Indie film actress who gained fame as filmmaker Hal Hartley's early muse." She came to prominence in two of his early movies, The Unbelievable truth (1989) and Trust (1990). She, herself guest starred in an early episode of Law and Order, as well as appearing in Homicide: Life on the Street & 'Oz'. She turned to "writing and directing, making her directorial debut with "Sudden Manhattan" in 1996."

I realised today that there was no way I could complete this article & publish it for November 1st, it has been steadily growing in a strange variety of directions, so I have decided to divide it into two parts, having only just skimmed the surface. My intention was to somehow help return what I see as stolen energy - I have no idea if this is possible, it was simply my intent. Along with this, I now feel the desire to use & share the energy of this time as best I can. I found some interesting ideas on Samhain that I had not contemplated - ideas that belong to us, the living & so I pass them on.

"Samhain is a time of introspection, of emptying the false from the mind, heart, and soul. It is a time to heal the source of our deepest wounds....and those we have inflected on others around us.....before time fails us. It is a time when we can learn to see clearly."

"Like New Years' celebration all over the world, Samhain festivities fall into two sequential phases: one that signifies the return to Chaos, and involves the disposal of old goods, potlatches, parties, suspension of taboos, return of the dead, and the mixing of the two Worlds, in Past and Future; and a second whose theme is the rebirth of Order and Cosmos, of creating anew, of preparations, and of the rites of Samhain Morning."

"Health or disease came from the ancestors in the Celtic Cosmos; to live well one had to be on good terms with the dead and with one's past. The past becomes present again on Samhain, between the years. All oblations and funeral rites due the ancestors must have been offered, and all debts of this World paid, if the traveler is to step lightly between the Worlds. If all was not in perfect order, the quester might become trapped or the ancestors could send disease and misfortune when the passage opened. Or the wronged dead could pass into this World, and walk in the time between the years, seeking revenge."

For the first time ever, I have contemplated this day in line with what I have learned from the festivals of the Day of the Dead. I have a candle burning amid photos of family members who have died. My cupboards are bare, as I 've been rather busy researching, so the food I have offered consists of dry bread & cooking chocolate - so far no complaints thank goodness.

I leave you with my own personal offering on this Day of the Dead. The time in this world is too precious now to withold our stories when they may offer healing.

Many years ago now my first child was stillborn. It was completely unexpected & I was shocked & angry for a long time. Somewhere along the way I felt a desire to create a memory of him & so decided to put an entry into the Book of Rememberance at the crematorium where his ashes were scattered. I struggled for some time with ideas & words of rememberance or not forgetting. When the words came, they came quickly & simply.
Beside his name is written "Go with Love, Little One."

The day after I arranged this, I experienced a feeling of intense joy that lasted for hours, even in the midst of a very tiresome activity. I have always associated the two events.

"Go with Love, Adrienne Shelly & all we have loved who have left this world."