Sub Rosa

Thanks a lot! I have Jin and her spooky tale to blame for another awkward exchange I had with one of the bartenders at The Wulfshead.

Well, it's my own fault really. I mean, by now, I should know better than even broach such a subject---any subject---with any of the staff here. Not that, most of the time, one will fare any better engaging some of the patrons.

What can I say? I just couldn't help it: I asked the bartender what he knew about Spirits. You would have done the same thing. I hinted to him that anything he'd share with me as I was under the influence of wine (sub vino) would also remain sub rosa. And this is how I now know more than anyone here---more than I really cared to---about some rather expensive vodka distillates produced by this Oregon craft micro distillery. The bartender told me that in sampling some of the "elixir" he was serving me, I was sharing in a long and honored tradition in line with the Illuminati, the Priory of Scion, and the Knights Templar. Methinks he was putting me on!

But, speaking of which---i.e., Spirits and bottles (the kind from which genies are freed or imprisoned), and Sub Rosa....[continued]

Prior to visiting The Wulfshead last night, I had just been watching that quaint and rather atypical 1994 TNG episode:

I kid you not---cross my heart and hope to die!

Now, how is that for a coincidence?

Odd isn't it? I thought so too. Imagine my surprise when, visiting The wulfshead shortly afterward, I ran into Jin and her enraptured audience as she was relating her own ghost story, and possibly a Gothic romance of her own.

You would have been amazed at the amount of pastries those people can ingest---Jin's audience that is, not Gothic lovers.

One of the scenes in the TNG's episode is rather hot:
The candle (a family heirloom which is a depository for the ghostlike entity) begins to flicker in Beverly's quarters as she is sleeping soundly. The covers over her begin to slide away, and so is her nightgown, slowly exposing her shoulder, and Beverly reacts as if someone were kissing her on the neck. A disembodied voice calls her name as she stirs and shivers...
And...err...ah...where was I?

Ah, yes, ghosts!

The problem with ghosts is that it is not always clear how they come about or which came first, the ghost or the belief. It's the same thing with myths. Myths and beliefs sometimes take a life of their own. In time, some manifest as true because enough people believe so passionately about them. Some are helpful. And some will lead you astray.

A common question when it comes to "apparitions" is: "Did we see it because it really was there or did we see it because we expected to see it due to the known story of the place?"

This is how the Philip experiment was born.

A a group of Canadian parapsychologists during the 1970s hoped their experiment would help in the study of the phenomena of poltergeists, hauntings, and Spiritualism. Their findings appear in the work Conjuring up Philip (1976) by Iris Owen and Margaret Sparrows.

Philip was a fictitious concoction agreed upon from the start by the members of the group who created him. Like a character in a fictional novel, Philip was given a name and a made up history. The group proceeded from there to gather on a regular basis and sit around a table, like in a Spiritists seance, to conjure the spirit of Philip.

One day Philip responded.

The results of the experiment---which were fully documented on film and audiotape---are quite intriguing:


The Philip Phenomenon

How to create a Ghost

The Skippy Experiment


  1. As a former Knight Templar I assure you the bartender was right.

    As for sub rosa versus above rosa I prefer the latter. It has a sweeter taste.

    I have seen many concoctions after drinking some and never could tell the difference. Life is a big burgeoning, sub rosa or not. And the Gothic will never leave us, even if eventually ruined by Hollywood.

    But as I said in another post, I wish we had a ghost in the house. It would be fun. Imagine what stories he or she could tell? What a link to the past it would be! Would it clarify our sense of justice and injustice? Would we become wiser for it?

    Just pass over the Rosa and stop bitching. Some of us like the way the present intrudes upon the past.

    Hey, bartender! Wake up!

  2. Somehow, this seems appropriate... We Oregonians tend to prefer things sub rosa.

  3. Oh how interesting! (I mean about the Philip Phenomenon... not the fact that this Beverly woman actually wears a nightgown in bed... although that certainly is different.)

  4. One Rosa, coming up, sir! The gentleman is right, I was woolgathering, and like Chuang Chou I am now unsure whether I was then a bartender dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming the bartender.

    There is nothing more fun than sitting at the bar enjoying a good story or two. Ghost stories are always a favorite. Something beckoning about the mood of the place that invites those, I suppose.

    There are those who say that nothing vanishes, sir. That when people die, the river takes it all, but what was in them does not go away.

    They say that the river swallows them, and in time it pulls them apart and they forget everything. But the things they knew are still there, in the waters---but not in them anymore, because the thing in one that holds it all together is gone.

  5. Some say that there is another river, or perhaps another part of the same one, and there, those with the power to do so can drink and bring those memories and knowledge back into the world, held in new vessels.

  6. Thanks, bartender.

    Excessive drink leads to paranoia and, sobering up, with a terrible hangover, I repented my outburst. After all, it could lead to the dread 86. How was I to know until I showed my face again in the bar?

    A good bartender has to keep his flock in line. Otherwise, anarchy, tragedy, drunken mishaps no hangover can atone for. You run a tight ship, bartender, and I salute you.

    Now I'll have that rosa.

    What's that about people disolving and remaining in the river's clear waters? I'll have to try that sometime.