Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cat People

I heart Jacques Toureur.

Preface to this post:
I wrote the majority of this text the night of the loud noise, January 29th. This subtle event triggered a flurry of self-examination, and the essay below. It was only the last sentence was written the next morning.

trailer for this evocative movie

The other night I was watching the very cool 1947 film CAT PEOPLE on DVD. I pressed pause and got up from the movie to get some ice cream from the kitchen.

At that point I was thinking about contacting Nick Redfern, and asking him to do an interview. In my head I rehearsed a speech where I would ask him to play the role of psychiatrist as a selfish way for me to try and unravel my own odd experiences.

I returned to the couch (and my black kitten climbed onto my lap) at the 57 minute mark of the DVD, where the psychiatrist character in the film gives a coldly logical speech (excerpted below) directed at the haunted Irena who is trying to deal with her evil cat identity. This heavy-handed bit of dialog seems to define my own challenges.

Irena (the main character in the film) is a deeply troubled artist, and also a shape shifting cat.

The creepy psychiatrist says:
You’re that close to real insanity. I can’t help you, you can only help yourself. You keep going back to the mad legends of your birthplace, forget them. You surround yourself with cat objects, pictures, paintings, get rid of them. Lead a normal life.

It was right at the end of this speech that I heard a very loud thud coming from the kitchen. I was really startled and my kitten jumped up from my lap and she darts to the corner of the couch, a spot where she can zip between the couch and the wall to hide in a zone of safety.

Now, let me say that this little kitten is afraid of nothing.

The sound in the kitchen sounded like nothing more than something plastic clattering in the sink. But, when I got up and looked around the kitchen, there was nothing out of place that might have made such a loud noise. The dishes were neatly stacked, and I couldn’t find anything that might be out of order.

I even tried to recreate the noise by dropping a plastic scrub brush into the sink, but it didn’t seem to sound at all like the jolting sound I had heard moments before.

I returned to the living room, and my other cat, Spazzy, exited the closet and very cautiously walked towards the kitchen. I followed her to see what she would look at, only to watch her sit at the entrance to the kitchen and do nothing. The jarring noise in the kitchen was odd, but more odd was when it occurred at the dramatic moment the film.

Let me add that I am completely thunderstruck by the dreamlike beauty of this film. I had seen it before, years ago on VHS, but this DVD print was remarkably beautiful.

A short excerpt of the creepy doctor and Irena. Beware, this is a mega-spoiler!

There are two domesticated cats are “featured” in the film. A light colored Siamese, and a black one. These match my cats, Spazzy and Jackie. And, there is an exceptionally beautifully photographed sequence in the film where there is a cat sitting on a light-box, curiously similar to my cute cats on light-box video. (posted over a month earlier on youtube)

Cats and a light-box NOT directed by Jacjues Toureur.

The doctor who gave that well scripted speech (excerpt above) ended up dead, the tragic heroine of the film kills him in her shape-shifting puma form after he gives her a lascivious kiss. This attempt at seduction on the part of the psychiatrist seems weirdly out of place, and I am not sure what to make of it. The script is very dreamlike, awash in mythic imagery, and it feels this character represents something calculating in a story full of unrequited passions.

The psychiatrist, the coldly logical force in the film speaks to the tragic Irena:

“You’re that close to real insanity..."

This is a small part of a speech of rationality, and later the doctor is brutally clawed to death by the sad Irena who is lost in a fog of paranormal obsessions. And at the same time, these obsessions prove to be very real. It sure seems like getting rid of a few cat pictures in her dramatically lit apartment wouldn’t have changed who she really was.

I spend a lot of my time trying to come to terms with my own experiences and what they might mean. I know that I am sane, but I have to assume that any pragmatic doctor would logically tell me: "You're that close to real insanity."

It felt like this was a message directed at me. What is the meaning? To ignore rationality and acknowledge the deeper truth that lays hidden in the paranormal?

*       *      *

The next morning I found my wooden scrub brush on the floor of the shower, this was obviously the source of the loud noise from the previous night.



Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity-- does Irena use a litter-box?

Anonymous said...

Spazzie and Jackie are cute!

A similar incident of weirdness I experienced - a couple of years ago I was watching Communion on DVD. I especially love Christopher Walken's acting in it and I've watched the movie at least a half-dozen times since it's release years ago.

Well, the scene where Walken/Streiber gets on the bus and he dreamily walks down the aisle to a young woman who's visibly upset and asks him if the bus goes to the "end of the line"....then Walken/Streiber looks around at the other passengers who are now praying mantis-like beings making strange sounds.

After that scene passed, I noticed the sound of a cricket somewhere in my family room area. I hadn't noticed it before. It stopped chirping after a few minutes but spooked the hell out of me!

~ Susan

Brizdaz said...

I've had so many sync/links after reading this post,that my brain is almost going into meltdown from synchronistic overload (It's like a synchromystic Pinball machine in here.-)
Soon as I read this post,I went to my blog-site and did a photo blog post,so you could see what started to link together,after reading your post;

and that's not all.
I put in Irena+57 (57 minute mark of the DVD) to Google Images,on a hunch,and got this image from this cool site;

It's got the name Irena above a pink owl cat (see my icon for this comment) or paste the above link into your browser,and scroll down,until you come to the pic.
How weird is all this ???

Brizdaz said...

I also found these interesting sites while searching "Irena+57".

Two "One Way" signs on the one post pointing in two different directions,with "last night was probably the most frightful night of my entire life." written on a red wall behind those signs.

This print of a man/cat thinking,called "Ex Libris of Irena Jakimowicz"

(it kind of looks a bit like your blog photo and pose.-)

This link about an annual music festival which is held in a town my dead Aunt used to live in, before there ever was a music festival there.

A picture of a girl (Irena Sophia) with a white owl resting on her arm. (see icon)

Cheers / Daz

Red Pill Junkie said...

It's interesting to find that Irena (or Eirene) was the goddess of Peace in ancient Athens. Kind of something completely the opposite to what is depicted in the movie.

...Until Irena accepts her true Nature --of being a shapeshifter.

Maybe this is just the Universe advising you to "be at peace with who you really are"?

PS: South American's precolombine cultures had a long tradition of shamanic practices where the priests would believe they could attain the power and nature of the Jaguar ("Balam" in ancient Maya). You all might find this article of interest:

"Enter the Jaguar" by Mike Jay.

Brizdaz said...

Did you ever see the sequel;
CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE,and if so,is it worth watching,in your opinion?

Brizdaz said...

Reading Andy Colvin's
"The Mothman Photographer II", he mentions in his interview with his sister,Loretta,about the Mothman sightings,and how she would often see black panthers,too.
She said,"Back then it was common knowledge in the area.We would hear it and see it late in the evenings.It wasn't just me..."
"I have a feeling that I have a cat nature...I've had a feeling that I was transported into a catlike [state].It's almost like I have left my body for a while,and then I was a cat.I even clawed myself."

Loretta also mentioned that she sees other catlike people while in trance,and that these people are blue in colour.

Sounds a bit like my Blue Arcturian friend to me.
Spooky stuff!

If you like books like Keel's "The Mothman Prophecies",then this book is for you.Great read,so far.

Starblanket said...

Hey Mike, this is Simon Wilson here who emailed you and Gibbs earlier... I went looking for Gibbs on Facebook, but the first Gibbs Williams I found was a black and white family cat. I wondered, 'are you really a cat, Gibbs?' Then I read your story.