(Major spoilers for the 1990-1991 run of Twin Peaks — spoiler-free for the 2017 series)
Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself within a dark forest, for the straightforward path had been lost…
Twin Peaks started out (in some ways) as a typical murder mystery — but there was very little typical about it. The series was created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, and if you aren’t familiar with David Lynch’s work as a director, he specializes in what can best be described as weird and sinister situations. How weird, and how sinister? If you’ve never seen Eraserhead or Mulholland Drive or Blue Velvet or Lost Highway or Inland Empire, then here’s an early short film of his — less than four minutes long — about the alphabet.
Go ahead, watch it: what could possibly go wrong with the alphabet?
Anyway, about that murder, and here’s where the spoilers come in: the victim was Laura Palmer, a high school senior who was up to a lot more than her reputation as “a good girl” would have you think. There are several suspects… as there always are in a decent murder mystery… but it turns out that Laura was murdered by her father. Or, rather: her father who was possessed by a demon named Bob who came from an evil place in the nearby woods called The Black Lodge.
What most people who watch Twin Peaks probably don’t realize is that The Black Lodge is a real place, and if you bear with me I’ll even tell you how to find it.
Any pagan worth their mistletoe can tell you all about “sacred groves.” Many parts of the world and many religions have had holy places where ceremonies are performed or where one can get more in touch with the Higher Spiritual Powers of the Universe. Less well known, but as any horror movie fan can tell you, there are places out in the woods that are inherently evil. You don’t even have to be a horror fan to know that. How often do good things happen to children wandering in the woods in fairy tales?Consider the Aokigahara Forest on the side of Mount Fuji in Japan. It’s become a popular destination for people who are suicidal, and not surprisingly it’s considered to be haunted by the spirits of those who died there. Normally, according to the Japanese tradition, when a person dies they’re likely to eventually end up in a better place. But (as with most of the world’s traditions about “ghosts”) if a person dies carrying a large burden of some emotion that compels them to stick around (and if the proper rituals aren’t performed), they become Yūrei (literally “a faint spirit”) doomed to wander around overwhelmed with sorrow or anger or love or whatever emotional state defined their physical lives.
But: no matter how you may feel about suicide, most of the people who kill themselves can’t properly be considered “evil.” As we were all reminded recently by Chris Cornell, suicide can simply be what happens when a person’s coping mechanisms all fail all at the same time. Suicide is no more “evil” than metal fatigue or corrosion. The Black Lodge from Twin Peaks is a dimensional portal to a place where disembodied spirits who wish to do us real harm wait for the opportunity to reach out and grab us.
Does such a place actually exist? Yes, it does. I’ll tell you how to find it. All you’ll need is some spare time and a working cell phone.
Go into the woods. Go far enough in that there are no signs of others around. Then, turn on your phone’s browser and and look at a few web sites and Facebook pages and Twitter feeds that espouse ideas that you find utterly repellent, and that are expressed as hatefully as you can find. Sit quietly and absorb the rhetorical style you’re seeing.
Then, go on and attack these people with the same raging venom that they themselves bring to the table. Do so with the utter conviction that your loathsomeness is all that is required to overcome the loathsomeness of others, and let your indignation fuel you as far as it will go. Congratulations! You’ve landed yourself in The Black Lodge!
Now: what are you doing to protect yourself from being possessed by those evil spirits when you aren’t in the woods…?