A man who painted Nightmares

I once knew a man that painted nightmares. Well they looked like nightmares to me. Vast religious allegories in oils. None of your, ‘Light of The World’ allegories for him. No, he went in for the more horrific, ‘The Devil’s Crucifixion’ style of painting. Bodies on inverted crosses, Horribly deformed people scrambling away from crevasses and all, as they say, ‘in the best possible taste’. I’m not saying he was a bad artist, he made a fair living selling charcoal sketches and most of his work had been exhibited in a Sydney gallery at some time or other. What I am saying is, any Freudian psychologist would’ve had a field day if they’d caught a glimpse of his work. In his flat, amidst the half empty tubes of Prussian Blue and the rotting sandwiches, were some of the most outrageous depictions of human suffering you could imagine. One particular painting always puzzled me. I could understand the significance of most of his work, indeed some I considered even trite. Yet one grizzly monster, about twenty feet long, depicted most of the world leaders ranged across a barren wasteland each touching the shoulder of the one in front. Archbishop’s and presidents, all blind, “The Blind Leading The Blind’. I was comfortable with the concept, or ‘uncomfortable’ if you wish. However I could not understand why each one of the figures held a little red book. Originally I assumed the book was ‘The Thoughts of Chairman Mao’ but closer inspection showed that it had the title ‘6669’. I remember asking him the significance of this little book. “Ah”, he said, “the number of the beast.” Being reasonably sure that the number of the beast was 666 I questioned him more closely on this and discovered that most others and I were wrong. In his book the number of the beast was Charles Darwin. Charles Darwin he informed me was the real evil behind current thinking and the reason that we were having a really bad time. I’m no numerologist but he did explain to me that taking the English alphabet and the decimal numeric system the name ‘Charles Darwin’ could be summed up to reach 6669 hence the extra ‘9’ on the title of the book. I was just about to counter this argument by pointing out that when the Bible was written they knew nothing of the English alphabet. When he quickly stifled my protests by saying, “Isn’t it wonderful how they knew that one day we would have a numeric system and an alphabet that would allow us to arrive at that number?” I retreated to my room and tried to forget what he said but today this awful number has once again made me pause for thought.

Prophecy, the idea that we can see into the future has always fascinated me. However, fascinated as I am by thoughts of ‘scynchronicity’, UFO’s and all manner of strange things, I don’t wish to be considered gullible enough to accept every strange or convoluted device that the ‘Cayce’s or Nostradamus’s of this world leave behind them.

Recently world events have driven us nearer and nearer to the brink of catastrophe and with the development of each new or discovered fact the ‘seers’ tend to stroke their charms and nod knowingly at the works of the ‘prophets’. “It was foretold by XXXX you know”, followed by some obscure quote or ‘quatrain’ that could be twisted to fit the facts. Lets face it, some of these prophets have been way off the mark and only the ‘faithful’ have made us notice the similarities to current events by adding an extra ‘9’ to the prophecies. Nostradamus’s suggestion that a man called Hister would wreak havoc on the world is about as near as it gets. If his prophecies were so good why didn’t he get the name right? Mother Shipton; bless her, why didn’t she predict a few of the more noticeable events. “England with lines shall netted be” That could just about cover any form of current city planning from sewers to the Internet, although I’ve been told there’s not much difference between those two at the moment. Why didn’t these people mention the ‘millennium bug’ or a few of the great catastrophes that seem to emerge every day?

Of course these prophecies are really "Delphic" the oracle at Delphi was know to do a sort of openended prophecy that could  be interpreted by anyone to mean anything. Please don’t assume I’m a complete cynic, I enjoy a good yarn like most people. I just think we should be a little more objective in our assessment of what we consider to be a genuine case of prediction when it comes to major issues.