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Friday, July 23, 2010

Nothing to Hide: Gheel, July 23, 2010

We were astounded! We had had a brush with the supernatural. Robert Eringer and I noticed things were a wee bit peculiar about this town.

From the Dildo on the Street sign, to the orb in St. Amands Cathedral, everything seemed 'floaty'. We'd been instructed by El Presidente', to walk a mile up the street to St. Dymphnakirk...if we wanted to find Dympthna's relics. So, onward we walked.

I knew from research this town was leveled by the British advance through Belgium, in WWII, and so the streets and Buildings were starkly new.

One Odd thing we noticed was there were cut pine (Christmas) trees roped and dangling upon all the Lamp Posts, like something out of a Story by Dr. Seuss. Some were erect, some falling down, some clinging by a needle. Another Ironic thing; Near St Amands Cathedral was one of the largest lingerie stores I've ever seen, Displaying their seductive wares in their store front windows. There was even a condom dispenser standing a post on the wall outside. Oh-Kaay! I thought to myself.

But by far, the ODDEST sight was coming across not one, but two different clothing stores, nowhere near each other, displaying their mannequins, (or in this case, womannequins), completely devoid of clothing!

I wondered if maybe this was part of the 'Family Therapy' Gheel was famous for?

I found myself surrealing from this site; feeling a bit vulnerable; like I was somewhere in the twilight Zone, having been blessed with X-ray vision!

I couldn't wait to see what waited around the corner!

For more >Motional Blur, see the Surreal Bounce Blog:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

First Orb, July 22, 2010

There! On my jacket, above my Bedlam Bar Hat, was the most beautiful Orb I'd ever seen! It was there, as if to say, "Cheese," for the camera. The picture was taken with a digital camera so when we viewed the picture, I saw the orb right away, and enlarged it.

I couldn't believe my eyes. It looked like a medallion, or like a Saint Christopher.

We took another few pictures inside the Cathedral and it seemed the Orb was following us around; hovering up above us.

If I didn't believe in Angels before this day, now I had no doubt they exist.

For more >Motional Blur, see the Surreal Bounce Blog:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Which Way to Gheel? July 21, 2010

You know your are in an interesting space when the roadsigns are purely profound.

This Open Air Mental Institution gave us much amusement; the more we looked around, the more subtle, and extraordinary occurrences we observed. When Robert Eringer, Floater, Jimmy Harper and I traveled to Belgium we were already on a heightened state of awareness, in search of St. Dymphna's relics.

This road sign pointed us in the right direction... (UP!!)

We made our way to St Amand's Cathedral, (which was closed), However we were lucky to be granted entry into the cathedral by it's president, who, after learning I was an artist showed us his fine marble faux painting on the columns behind the alter. We thought this was the church that would have had Dymphna's bones, but we were off by a mile.

This church, was dedicated to the priest who'd fallen for her in Ireland and literally lost his head over it. (This story will follow).

We appreciated the education of the president, and asked him if he would take a picture of us in front of the alter. What came out in the photo would have a surreal influence on our travels to come. Our Odyssey just kept getting more odd by the minute.

In Spire ation
Gheel Belgium 2004

For more >Motional Blur, see the Surreal Bounce Blog:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy Henchmen, Antwerp, July 20, 2010

So this is Antwerp. And what have we got?

Cold, Dark, Gray, Moody Day. Robert Eringer, Floater, fellow artist James Harper and I arrived in snarling traffic and drizzle.

Hitting the ground running, we paid homage to Peter Paul Rubens in the Antwerp Cathedral, which housed his magnificent mural sized paintings depicting the Christ deity.

Winter was the season; Creativity and Madness was the reason.

25 miles away was the near-by Mental State of Gheel. We were on a quest; a pilgrimage of sorts, to the murder site of a sixteen year old named Dymphna. Belgians come to Gheel to visit the relics, (Or what's left of 'em) for their healing power, in the belief that they, or their family would be healed of the demons in their heads.

Us? Well, we were on a trail of Irony: A tongue-and-cheeky pathology it seemed.

Near-by the holy Antwerp Cathedral, we dropped in to visit another sort of reliquary, housing the torture tools of trade; serving us as a reminder of the demented depths for which our human ancestry once delved.

This exhibit didn't, in the least bit, enliven our mood: note the happy faces?

All dressed in black, we walked around the diamond district wearing bright, shiny faces, looking to some merchants like four Soprano thugs raring to loot. It was hilarious to see some of them scramble as we approached; they'd see us, then turn around in their tracks, and walk briskly in the opposite direction.

But we weren't interested in their rare gems or stones; we were interested in Dymphna's Bones. So, onward to Gheel.

Robert Eringer and Floater

For more >Motional Blur, see the Surreal Bounce Blog:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Patron Saints July 18, 2010

"Have I got an idea for you," says Robert Eringer, (my new friend, patron, and fellow luna-seeker). He says to me, "I know we are on to something regarding this Creativity and Madness stuff; we've discovered the correlation between madness and genius, as in the case of Vincent Van Gogh.

Eringer took a puff of his Hemmingway Short Story one afternoon, (I quickly snapped a photo), he leaned over to say, You know, I've discovered that there is actually a patron saint for mental illness!

I remember saying to him, (in astonishment), "well then, where are her relics?"

He then told me they are in Gheel, Belgium, and the town is an open air mental institution centered around the relics St. Dymphna. I knew then that we needed to go.

Three months later, the stage was set; Iceland, Arles, were behind us, we would leave on our next adventure in mid-January, under the full Wolf Moon, and seek out more answers.

Who was this Patron Saint Dymphna? We would soon find out, and we would find more extraordinary cultural, human, and supernatural phenomenas which would be added to our depth and understanding of the life we were leading.

Me, an Artist, and Family Man, and Eringer...well, I still didn't quite know what he was about. I knew better than to ask too many questions, and so I trusted that eventually, the smoke would clear and I would learn more details about his adventures.

All I knew is this trip was going to be fun, and that was good enough for me.

Master of Smoke, Mirrors, and Levity
by Thomas Van Stein

Surreal Bounce, 2003

For more >Motional Blur, see the Surreal Bounce Blog: