Out by the Graveside (a ghost story)

For two weeks recently I was inside one of the world’s most advanced neurological wards with a condition that involved hallucinations, related and unrelated paranoia, a sort of rigor mortis, which I believed to be self-induced to feign death, and other creative and imagined terrifying experiences wrapped into a loss of space-time and identity.

SS Barracks, Buchenwald

The camp was built by the former elected socialist and democratic politicians of Germany.

I tried several times to escape from a secure ward. Twice, I was restrained by heavily protected security persons in body armour, assisted by ward staff and perhaps visiting relatives. Once, I left a blood trail near where I was hiding in an open gown, tackle waving about, behind a perfectly skeletal bed trolley in a lighted, abandoned room. I remained there for some time despite coaxing, by very pleasant psychiatrists, and others.

The Buchenwald Gate

A judge from the Cold War Capital, Bonn, holds the key. The words on the gate are Jedem das Seine. To each their own. The letters can only be read from within the prison.

This is an instance of what I call:

The First Lesson of Transculture:

Real people have no character. Only characters have character.

I wrote that in my essay on the codependency of foreign aid: The Apocalypse of the Narrative World (and my role in it).

Once I refused to cross a black line on the floor. I think it designated the border to the staff lounge and office space.

Guarding the Iron Curtain in the Fulda Gap.

For a generation, this was the proposed battleground for World War III.

I apologize for some of the stereotypical nature of my hallucinations.

I had a fairly long one, where I was in hiding from a son, who also was an owner of the hospital. I imagined it to be a private one in the Caribbean. 

This is an instance of what I call:

The Second Lesson of Transculture:

Personality is a construct, some of which is consciously done as performance, some of which is scripted by context and derived, some as programed derivations, some designed as legacies (both biological and cultural). Some is only desire manifest. Some is sold. 

I also wrote that in my essay on the codependency of foreign aid: The Apocalypse of the Narrative World (and my role in it).

In this hallucination, it was extremely important I control the flow of midnight stars, tiny white pricks of light, in an upward direction in increased speed towards the pole.

It is possible they were fireflies.

This movement of lights commencing and accelerating at the right moments would open a portal.

I do not know what this portal was for. I was guarded behind a curtain by a person from Zimbabwe who had both white and black spotlights to detect whether I was moving or not.

Probably Not.

What began as a poster cancelled in the nightly Communist-Nazi street battles of Weimar, in the river valley below Buchenwald, became an image of myself when I looked in the mirror.

The private clinic, set in a countryside setting amidst ruins which included the folly reconstruction of Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, was called


From behind the curtains, I often heard the voices of various consultants discussing flights to their next assignment for brain surgery or brain experimentation.

I apologize, again, for the clichés. It is possible that I was never Hamlet. It is possible that

I had become African.

This is an instance of what I call:

The Third Lesson of Transculture:

Identity is only a fantasy. It is the thing that gives real advantage to oppressors, predators and criminals. And lovers. 

Someone calling himself me wrote this in The Apocalypse of the Narrative World (and my role in it).

Most of the experimental clichés were in the field of transforming certain old and rich people into younger people, or with eliminating sectors of old people active in economic activities which had no relevance.

I have since been told that many people succumbed to the same hallucinations at the time.

Getting into Trouble in Kaiserslautern:A Self Portrait

Barbarossa started his bungled crusade (the 2nd) here.

Now, doesn’t that sound like literature?

The consultants (behind the curtains) ordered brandy and other liquors (as well as bagels with salmon and crab on peppered crackers) from the world, while I was served horrific layered puddings and vile coloured squash by masked individuals.

Had they realized that I was neurodiverse?

Sometimes they were in carnival dress. Sometimes they were relatives. I peeped out to see the sunset over the ruins.

I met Zelensky in Weimar Before He Started Dressing in T-shirts in Kiev

This is an instance of what I call:

The Fourth Lesson of Transculture:

The literature of our time is not in books.

As one of the many Richard Rathwells I have been wrote in The Apocalypse of the Narrative World (and my role in it):

The object of poetry and some other arts is to detach from these sorts of things intellectually and emotionally and encounter what is there, and spin it in language as precisely as possible. Poetry, in this meaning, is not necessarily formally presented as such. It can be invisible in ordinary life… In speech, silence and memory.

And what you find out as an aid worker in Africa, to your peril:

It can be something else previously unimaginable.

Late at night, there was a great celebration in the bar downstairs. The staff guarding me explained that ‘Lillian’s was ‘saved’. By the block fees paid for me. By expenses charged as accounting tricks. By other charges for unnecessary treatments that kept our bed stay going. By the removal of people who were unproductive experimentally and unprofitable because treatment was not working. By all that.

Hanging Out as Angela Merkel at Barbarossa’s Hideout

(Where the neo-Nazis hid from the communists.)

All literature is political.

During the celebration, one colourfully dressed Caribbean remarked to another that he saw from the window in the fields beyond, my relative and co-owner of the facility riding by on the way to the beach for a midnight swim on a carbon bike, towing my dog on a leash.

For this undercover work, I was in training for a long time. I call this:

The Revenge of the Neurotypicals.

A perennial favourite, it went through many editions.

Autobiographical interlude, just for you:

I do have experience with neurotypical narratives, whether as groups of sisters, committees of guardians of the state or party, masters of departments of great institutions and budgets, laboratories and space programs that prey upon infants of the neuro diverse.

Going deep undercover to rescue the space dogs.

I am no elite. I was raised by a virtual single mother. It was in the backwoods. Throughout the world there were millions of us backwoods persons, with mothers virtually made single because dads, virtual or not, were at wars. I was not sure which war it was in my case at the time of my birth or early schooling or other times he was supposed to have returned and went.

Maybe it was a war in Lesotho. I did try to work as a teacher during that one myself, although by my time the weapons had been upgraded.

Schooling was at first in a small hut-like place heated by a wood stove. The teacher hated us, me more than most. Despite being pre-school I would get the grades mixed up

(we were all together)

and answer the wrong questions. This resulted in a loss of patience, an order to the other students to beat me and me fleeing for my life down the path and across the river to the home of a widow who defended me with the sword of her ancestors.

Baba Yaga: my teacher in life.

This took place in Canada, where bullying is a crime now, but then it wasn’t.

That war ended and my mother, still virtually single and supplementing a service income that never came by living in a storage area at relatives’ in the cold or picking various commercial agricultural things, and evading rape in rainy fields and seasonal accommodations, moved. 

So, really, it was outside of Canada that I started collecting my selves. End of autobiographical interlude.

At Lillian’s, I spent an amount of my hallucinatory time faking, as I thought, rigor mortis, in the hope that I would be rolled beyond the locked doors as a corpse. However, I seemed unbelieved. Persons tugged at my eyelids and repeatedly asked me to stop. 

I then constructed a master plan, fragments of which I remember. The key to the plan emerged when the rigor mortis led to a funeral which was attended by staff, including cleaning staff, consultants, and the aforesaid team of relatives and owners. It was puzzling, as I had never been accepted as a certifiable corpse. 

That’s me inhabiting the corpse of the statue of Hindenburg, erected at Barbarossa’s Hideout, toppled by the communists, dug up by the neo-Nazis, and left there in its grave by bureaucracy.

And all this time, that trickster Harold Rhenisch and I were working on our new book Don’t Expect the Sun to Shine, about a wake for


Literature is not in books.

There was a lot of giggling as I lay there. One by one, the mourners excused themselves, leaving the relative and owner, who had solidified down to one person, who had asked for a quiet moment. Alone with me, he laughed. He tossed onto my body what looked like a bundle of wet and decayed reeds. 

I was at sea.

A resplendent pharaonic funeral on the Nile, it was not.

And if it was Canadian, it was not the Canada that Canada tells itself about. That looks like this:

I did.


To be continued in Egypt. Soon.

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