I’ve been MIA for a while on this blog, but now I’m back and with a new type of post to try out. Unsolved mysteries, murders and other true crime related stories have always been a huge interest of mine, so I decided why not start a series on my blog discussing and researching a few of the cases I find most interesting. Let me know in the comments if this series is something you’d be interested in seeing more of from me!

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jay-decoded
Jay-Z’s book ‘Decoded’

When I was at college studying English Literature, we were tasked with writing an essay arguing for the inclusion of a piece of literature, song or poem to be included in the literary canon. The western literary canon is a rather outdated collection of literature, music and art that scholars accept as the most important and influential when it comes to shaping western culture. Of course the canon is seen by most people as widely restrictive and noninclusive of work by authors and artists from different racial backgrounds and genders, as most of it’s included works have been created by white, European men (but really, what did you expect?)

My time at college was also the time where I really developed my love for hip hop and rap music. As a white girl who grew up on her Dad’s punk rock music, and her Mum’s eclectic mix of 80’s pop and Elvis, rap music was rather unknown territory for me back then. Around this time I had discovered a lot of rap artists, but my favorite had soon proved to be Jay-Z, arguably one of the most well known hip hop/rap artists since the 90’s when he first emerged onto the scene. Getting tasked with this essay at the time I was becoming obsessed with rap music was really a great way to explore and learn about the history of rap, how it came to be, and why I had suddenly fallen in love with it. I decided to do my essay about Jay-Z and his music, the meat of my argument being that rap music was poetry in another form and highly influential to a huge group of people.

Justin Duerr was brought to my attention a few years ago when I came across the documentary he was a part of, ‘Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles’ which turned five this January.

Justin, an american artist, musician and writer began the search back in 2005, seeking to explore and find the source of these strange tiles that were popping up all over streets in the US. I became borderline obsessed with the documentary and Justin himself, and even years after I had seen it I still found myself thinking of it from time to time. 
I had Justin’s website bookmarked for a while before I got up the nerve to actually contact him about the enigmatic tiles, his artwork and other endeavors. I’d like to thank Justin for not only agreeing to answer my questions but for sharing his incredibly awe inspiring autobiographical comic book with me and his amazingly unique artwork which has connected with me and ignited something within me on a creative and spiritual level.  

The Nightmare, directed by Rodney Ascher, (the same guy who directed Room 237 about The Shining and the conspiracies surrounding it) is a 2015 documentary thriller about the frightening real life condition/phenomena of sleep paralysis.

I’ve never experienced sleep paralysis myself, but I’ve read enough about it to know that it is definitely not something I want to experience. People who experience sleep paralysis become unable to move or even speak just as they are falling asleep or waking up. They also experience terrifying physical experiences of ‘entity’s’ coming into their room and interacting with them, along with audio/visual hallucinations.

 

It starts with a babysitter, always a young girl. The kids (she presumes) are upstairs, peacefully sleeping as she relaxes downstairs. Suddenly, there is a phone call. She answers the phone cautiously, and hears a strange man’s voice from the other end,
“Why don’t you go and check on the children…”
The creepy voice says. The babysitter slams the phone down and tries to take her mind off it, before the phone rings again.
This time laughing can be heard from the phone. Deep, ominous laughter. The now terrified babysitter calls the police to report the calls.
The police tell her not to worry, just a prank caller, some kid having fun…but that they will trace the call, just in case. And a few minutes later the phone rings again. The police.
“The phone calls are coming from inside the house.” The worried police man says, “Get out of the house as fast as you can,” 
But it’s too late. The man is already coming down the stairs. The babysitter screams, preparing for her tragic end…