Friday, May 28, 2010

Meeting Hunter S. Thompson and Nathanael West

Perhaps a brief recap of this whole story is in order:

Last January, I was attempting to make a documentary about metaphysics. The film was meant to be a sort of sequel to my short documentary "A Parallel World", which was about a haunted house on Cape Cod (click HERE to view). I didn't know what I wanted the so-called sequel to be about, but I essentially wanted to further explore the possibility of a spiritual dimension coexisting with our physical world, one comprised of spirits (deceased humans), more intelligent energies (what we would refer to as 'angels') and a most intelligent energy (what we would refer to as 'God').

My attempt to film such a documentary ultimately led me to a medium named Liam Galvin. Galvin is renown for his mediumship and has written several books about the so-called "spiritual world". I met Galvin through a friend of mine and he was kind enough to schedule a reading with me, both for the purpose of my documentary but also for my own personal interest. Although it usually takes about three months to get a reading with Galvin (because he's so good at what he does), he was actually kind enough to fit me in within two weeks time.

So on January 25, I sat down with Liam at a place called "The Healing Moon" in Norwood, MA., and it wasn't even five minutes into the reading that I was essentially shocked by what was happening. Not only did I end up talking with my two dead grandfathers but Liam also identified two of my "spirit guides" as being Alfred Hitchcock and indie film director/ex-Hollywood actor John Cassavetes. Liam also said I had a beautiful actress with me from the 1920s or 30s, as well as writers, musicians and philosophers. You can read the full story and listen to the audio tapes of my reading with Liam by clicking HERE.

The night after the reading, I went home and had a very strange experience while in bed trying to fall asleep. The name "Lillian Gish" suddenly popped in my head and then a B&W image of D.W. Griffith flashed in my mind's eye. Gish, if you're not familiar, was an extremely famous actress from the silent film era and Griffith was one of the first big directors of the early Hollywood days (his films Birth of a Nation and Intolerance were among the most significant of the silent era). I didn't know why these two people came into my mind, but, with the help of another medium friend (Jan), I eventually came to identify them as two more of my spirit guides. To read the full story of this particular discovery, click HERE.

After identifying Gish and Griffith as spirit guides - in addition to Cassavetes and Hitchcock - I basically tried to forget about all this spiritual stuff. Although I believed in everything that was happening, part of me was still kind of weirded-out by it all. I mean, it's not exactly normal to be walking around thinking you're haunted by the spirits of four ex-famous people. Though I was excited by my discoveries at first, I felt a little stupid in the long run. Kind of delusional. Maybe even a little crazy. So I basically tried to put it all in the back of my mind in hope of returning to a state of mental normalcy.

But my guides weren't through talking to me. Only a week or so after "meeting" Gish and Griffith, another random name entered my mind: Nathanael West.

West, if you're not familiar, was a big writer from the 1930s. His novel Miss Lonelyhearts (1933) is considered his masterpiece while The Day of the Locust (1939) is considered to be one of the best novels about the early years of Hollywood (the latter novel is often said to be on the same level as F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon).

I actually read The Day of the Locust a year or two ago as research for my own Hollywood novel, so I was somewhat familiar with West, but I found it odd how - all of a sudden - his name kept echoing in my mind. At first I kind of just said "All right, maybe this is significant," but, to tell you the truth, I didn't really care all that much. Maybe Nathanael West was my spirit guide or maybe I randomly had Nathanael West in my thoughts for no significant reason -- the bottom line was that I was more or less tired of all this spirit stuff and wanted to concentrate on other things.

West, however, wouldn't let me forget about him. A couple days later, I was paging through the Boston Sunday Globe newspaper and I suddenly saw the name Nathanael West staring at me from one of the inner pages of the "Ideas" section. Apparently there was a new book that had just come out about the life of West and his wife Eileen McKenney (entitled Lonelyhearts: The Screwball World of Nathanael West and Eileen McKenney). I read the article on the book and it gave me a really weird feeling. There seemed to be something significant about this Nathanael West guy. The idea of him being a spirit guide felt a little more possible...but, still, I didn't feel any real need to confirm my feelings. I could have gone to one of my medium friends for confirmation - like I did with Jan when I was curious about Gish and Griffith - but I decided not to. I didn't want to bother her any more.

A month or two passed and West remained in the back of my mind, though my immediate thoughts were on other things. I probably never would have gone to any effort of confirming him as a spirit guide if it wasn't for another development in this whole story. About six weeks later (i.e. two weeks ago), I was polishing my novel for probably the five-thousandth time when a thought suddenly entered my mind. For some reason, I started acknowledging certain affinities between my work and the work of Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Then I remembered how Liam Galvin had told me I had five writers with me as spirit guides, which is something that - for some reason - didn't interest me too much at the time (I basically figured the writers were unknowns from way back in the past). But, suddenly, I started to think "Hmmm...maybe Hunter's one of those five."

But, of course, the idea seemed rather far-fetched. First of all, I've always like Hunter's work (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is one of my favorite books of all time), so I kind of chalked up the whole idea of him being my guide as "wishful thinking". Plus, Hunter has only been dead for five years; I mean, he friggin' committed suicide in February 2005, for Christ sakes. The idea of a guy shooting himself and, sometime within a five-year period, attaching himself to me as a guide, seemed like a really wacky idea. So I kind of laughed off the whole thing and tried to forget about it, kind of like I tried to do with West.

But Hunter wasn't going to let me forget about him either. Day after day passed and I had extreme difficulty getting him out of my mind. For some reason, I felt compelled to go on Youtube and start watching Hunter S. Thompson interviews and other video clips. I looked up photos of him on the Internet and read little tidbits about his life. Looking at him and listening to him struck a chord within me. There was something strange going on.

About a week later, I finally came to the point where I started to seriously consider the idea that maybe - just maybe - Hunter was actually with me as a guide, and I stress 'maybe'. Possibly. Conceivably. There was a one-percent chance. But, still, I wasn't quite ready to consult with someone like Jan, mainly because I didn't want to make a complete ass of myself if the answer was 'no'. I wanted to, first, try and confirm my suspicions via a few methods I could perform myself.

The first thing I did was 'dowse', just as I did with Gish and Griffith. I explain the concept of 'dowsing' in my last blog but let me give you a brief explanation here: What you essentially do is hold a pendulum in your hand and ask your spirit guides 'yes' or 'no' questions. Usually your guides start moving the pendulum in a clockwise direction if the answer to the question is a 'yes' and in a counter-clockwise direction if the answer to the question is a 'no'. However, I find that you can calibrate the pendulum in any fashion you want to. For example, sometimes I ask that the guides show me a 'yes' by simply moving the pendulum and a 'no' by not moving it.

Anyway, by means of dowsing with my (home-made) pendulum, I was able to further confirm my suspicions that Hunter was with me as a guide. Basically, when I asked if Hunter was present, the pendulum would move like crazy, without my help or the help of any external stimulus. In other words, the pendulum's movement was entirely 'paranormal'.

Watch the video below for a demonstration of this phenomenon:

So, yes, the dowsing - once again - yielded some interesting results and I was one step closer to being convinced Hunter may have been with me as a guide. But I still had my doubts. After all, the pendulum could have moved from my own subconscious energy, especially if - deep down - I really wanted to believe Hunter was my guide. Clearly I needed more evidence before I drew any conclusions, but I still felt foolish consulting with a third party like Jan. I mean, think about how silly I would have sounded: "Hey, Jan, could you just check and see if the spirit of Hunter S. Thompson is haunting me? Thanks a bunch." And if the answer turned out to be 'no' I'd feel like a royal schmuck. "Who do you think you are, Matt, thinking a dude like Hunter S. Thompson is with you as a guide? Get off your high horse, ya stupid hediot!"

Yes, I needed a little more convincing before I consulted with my medium friend. So I tried one other experiment, a method that paranormal investigators refer to as an "EVP session". "EVP" (if you've never watched the shows "Ghost Hunters" or "Ghost Adventures") stands for electronic voice phenomenon. What you do is basically take a voice recorder and ask spirits questions in hope that they provide answers. Metaphysical theory suggests that it takes less energy for a ghost to communicate through the audio frequency recorded on an audio tape than it does through the frequency we hear with our own naked ears. This means that we may not hear the ghosts respond to our questions, but they may still turn up on the recorder.

Anyway, I managed to get my hands on a digital audio recorder and I began an EVP session by simply asking Hunter to say something I would be able to hear when I played the tape back, so that I would know he was with me. However, after a couple of tries, nothing turned up - no voices as far as I could hear.

So I altered my approach a bit. I began another EVP session where I asked Hunter to knock or click or make two sounds twice, as confirmation that he was, indeed, with me. And it was after this request that something rather interesting happened. About five seconds after I asked the question, I felt as though something flew past my eyes, kind of like a bug, but it wasn't solid. The best way to describe it is that it was like a ball of energy...sort of like an orb, though it wasn't illuminated. And, then, about a second or two after I saw the orb (call it what you will), I heard a noise that I'm still having trouble finding an explanation for. Listen to the audio clip below and hear for yourself:

(Note about this clip: the reason why I specify that Hunter only communicates with me if he is "in the light" is because I was afraid of attracting any kind of negative energy to myself. Hunter, after all, committed suicide, so I was concerned that he may not have made it into the light after passing. Spirits who aren't in the light are not good to have around you, not necessarily because they're negative or evil, but because their intentions are often misguided, even selfish, and they may influence you in ways that are not in your personal best interest.)

Now, the above audio clip is played at regular speed and - to the the naked ear - the noise sounds like it is one single 'click'. However, upon slowing the clip down, the noise is actually two distinct clicks that come right after each other. Here is the same clip played at a slower speed:

So, yes, there seems to be two distinct noises in the above audio clip, but why are they so close together when played at normal speed? Why wouldn't Hunter (if it WAS Hunter who made the noises) have spaced them out more? Well, there is one possible explanation for this. Metaphysical theory suggests that many spirits (especially those who are in the light and not earthbound ghosts) are operating at a higher energy vibration than human beings. What this sometimes means is that their method of communicating can be much faster than our kind of communication. EVPS from these particular spirits will sound sped-up, like they are in fast-forward. In other words, the two clicks in the above audio clip may sound fast to the human ear, but to a higher spirit like Hunter S. Thompson, they may be slower, more spaced out and not sound like they're layered on top of each other. This is a possible explanation.

Anyway, all this talk about EVPs and vibrations may sound strange and complicated to the everyday layman, but the fact of the matter is that I seemed to get an appropriate response when I asked Hunter to make two noises. Surely the 'clicks' could have sounded out of sheer coincidence, but I have to say I never heard the noises again and I really couldn't identify the source of them. Plus, there was that weird orby-thing that flew in front of my eyes only seconds before I heard the noise, which only adds to the strangeness of it all.

Paranormal or not, the results of the EVP session were undeniably interesting. But I STILL was nervous about consulting with Jan and asking her to see if Hunter was with me. The whole idea seemed too far-fetched, and if the answer was 'no' I would have felt like the biggest ass in the friggin' world.

Days passed and I, again, tried to forget about the entire situation. But I had great difficulty doing so. Hunter simply wouldn't get out of my mind, and, eventually, I came to realize that, if Hunter was with me, I really needed to know, one way or the other...literally, for my own peace of mind. I needed confirmation.

So I finally caved and wrote an email to Jan. As I mentioned in my previous blog (click HERE to read), Jan is an experienced dowser with both psychic and medium abilities. Keep in mind that I don't pay her for her services. She is simply a friend kind enough to help me out with my metaphysical questions. She has nothing to gain by telling me what I want to hear.

Anyway, here is our email correspondence. It's brief, simple, and pretty damn straight-forward. Also, you will notice that I asked her about Nathanael West as well. I figured I might as well try and get both names out of my head while I was at it; you know, kill two birds with one stone.


----- Original Message -----
From: Matt
To: Jan
Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 3:30 PM
Subject: Re: question

Hi Jan,

Just another question to run by you if you have any free moment. Absolutely no rush.

The medium I went to a while back said I had five writers with me as spirit guides and two names have been in my mind lately that I just wanted to run by you: Hunter S. Thompson and Nathanael West. If you have a moment could you dowse to see if these people are with me as guides, just to rule them out and get them out of my mind? Again, absolutely no rush.

Thanks a lot. I really appreciate the help.


----- Original Message -----
From: Jan
To: Matt
Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2010 8:44:17 PM
Subject: Re: question

Yes on both counts! : )

----- Original Message -----
From: Matt
To: Jan
Sent: Friday, May 28, 2010 3:44:17 PM
Subject: Re: question

Wow hahaha. Thanks again for your help! I really appreciate it!!!


So, indeed, the answer, according to Jan, was simple: YES...both Nathanael West and Hunter S. Thompson were with me as spirit guides. Now, I'm not saying that Jan's dowsing results are one-hundred-percent accurate, but I do have to say that she's usually right. I mean, her results combined with my own dowsing results (not to mention the EVP session) have basically convinced me that, yes, it's probably true that both Hunter and Nathanael are two of my spirit guides.

Needless to say, this is all pretty crazy. I mean, knowing that a guy like Hunter is with me is a really intense feeling. This is the guy who wrote The Rum Diaries (the inspiration behind my "Natty Ice Diaries") and Hell's Angels and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He worked and became good friends with Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro while making the Fear and Loathing movie. He was a pop-cultural icon in the 70s, writing for Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated and covering the disillusioning Nixon era with his unique "Gonzo" journalism. It's very surreal that Hunter is actually with me right now. I mean, he knows who I am! That's a really weird thought.

And then, of course, there's Nathanael West, one of the great novelists of the early twentieth century. The Day of the Locust was an ingenious novel, probably one of the best Hollywood novels I read while researching my own novel. I'm sure he provided a lot of assistance when I was writing my book.

So, yes, discovering Hunter and Nathanael are with me as guides is an incredible feeling; however, what's even more incredible about the whole experience is how, again, my guides were able to telepathically reveal their identities to me (just as Gish and Griffith did). I mean, their names just popped into my head in a very weird way and haunted my thoughts until I finally got some confirmation that they were, indeed, with me as guides. For some reason, they felt it was time to reveal their identities. Why now? I don't know.

What's also interesting about the situation is how both Hunter and Nathanael experienced really tragic deaths at the end of their life, but are now (apparently) alive and well in the spiritual dimension. I mean, Hunter, of course, committed suicide, so it's interesting to see that he made it to "the other side" in one piece and is still doing his thing. And then there's Nathanael who actually died in a tragic car accident while driving to his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald's funeral in 1940.

Hunter's situation, in particular, raises some interesting questions about the concept of suicide. Is killing oneself really the ultimate sin? Was it wrong for him to do it? Was it his fate? Maybe Hunter's helping me out now for Karmic reasons, because he cut his life as a writer on earth too short. In fact, maybe Nathanael is helping me out for similar reasons: that is, because his own life was cut too short (for reasons outside of his control, of course). Or maybe everything was meant to be. They were meant to die when they did. It was all part of God's grand design.

Whatever the reasons, I am honored to have Hunter and Nathanael helping me out. I'm sure there's more spirit guides to identify, but I have no idea who they are at this point in time. Liam said I had three more writers with me, not to mention musicians and even philosophers. It will be interesting to see if these people ever decide to reveal their identities; maybe, over time, they will. But, frankly, I'm happy enough knowing Hunter and Nathanael are with me, not to mention John Cassavetes, Alfred Hitchcock, Lillian Gish and D.W Griffith. It's nice to know that these people are endorsing my endeavors. They give me a feeling of validation, especially during the times when I start doubting myself and the creative life I lead.

Now, one thing a lot of people are probably wondering right now is where the hell all these spirit guides are? I mean, if they're "with me", where are they in relation to my physical self? And, to be honest with you, I don't really know how to answer this question other than to say that the spirits exist in a completely different (i.e. non-physical) dimension that we can't see with our own eyes and therefore have a difficult time comprehending. But it's important to remember that our eyes are only designed to process a very narrow spectrum of light, which means that we only see a fraction of what is actually in front of us. If our eyes were designed to process a much broader spectrum of light (one that would include infra-rays and ultra-violet rays) then we would probably be able to see a lot more spirit activity, as spirit energy usually only makes itself visible in the higher portion of the light spectrum. This, incidentally, is why so-called "Ghost Hunters" have more success capturing spirits with "full-spectrum" cameras (i.e. cameras with lenses that can process both infra-red and ultra-violet rays).

The bottom line is that our concept of reality is unavoidably limited because we can see very little of what's in front of us. So, in the end, who is to say that our guides aren't around us all the time? Maybe they are, but we just don't know it. Maybe an entire world of spirits surrounds us on a 24/7 basis, but we're just completely blind to it.


  1. Amazing post, Matt. I'd love to have a long conversation with you about paranormal theories!

  2. Yes, sometime hopefully we will!