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The Hidden (And Not So Hidden) Messages in Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut”

“Eyes Wide Shut” was promoted as a steamy, suspenseful movie starring the “It” couple of the day: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. While the actors were prominently featured in the movie, it is everything around them that told the true story of “Eyes Wide Shut”. Stanley Kubrick’s attention to detail and symbolism gave the movie an entire other dimension – one that cannot be seen by those who have their eyes wide shut. This multiple-part series will look at the hidden symbolism of Kubrick’s final film.

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I remember when I first watched Eyes Wide Shut, back in 1999. Boy, did I hate it. I hated how slow everything was, I hated how Nicole Kidman tried to sound drunk or high and I hated seeing Tom Cruise walk around New York looking concerned. I guess I reacted the same way critics did at the time the movie came out and thought: “This movie is boring and there is nothing hot about it.” More than a decade later, equipped with a little more knowledge and patience, I re-watched the movie … and it blew my mind. In fact, like most Stanley Kubrick films, an entire book could be written about the movie and the concepts it addresses. Eyes Wide Shut is indeed not simply about a relationship, it is about all of the outside forces and influences that define that relationship. It is about the eternal back-and-forth between the male and female principles in a confused and decadent modern world. Also, more importantly, it is about the group that rules this modern world – a secret elite that channels this struggle between the male and female principles in a specific and esoteric matter. The movie however does not spell out anything. Like all great art, messages are communicated through subtle symbols and mysterious riddles.

Stanley Kubrick unexpectedly died only five days after submitting the final cut of the movie to Warner Bros, making Eyes Wide Shut his swan song. Considering the fact that Eyes Wide Shut is about an occult secret society that eliminates those who cross its path, some theories arose about Kubrick’s death and its suspicious nature. Did he reveal to the public too much, too soon? Maybe.

Let’s look at the main themes of Kubrick’s last creation.

The Modern Couple

The stars of Eyes Wide Shut were the “It” couple of 1999: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Those who were expecting the movie to be a sort of voyeuristic experience showing hot scenes of the couple were probably very disappointed. The audience rather got a cold, egoistic and profoundly unsatisfied couple, one that seems to be tied together not by pure love, but by other factors, like convenience and appearances. While the couple is very “modern” and “upper-class”, the forces that keep it together are the result of basic, primal and almost animalistic behavior. If we look at the instinctive behavior of humans and animals, males primarily look for females that have good child-bearing qualities while females look for a strong provider. Remnants of this behavior still exist today as males tend to display wealth and power to attract females while females showcase their beauty to attract males. In Eyes Wide Shut, the couple perfectly follows that instinctive script.

Tom Cruise’s character is called Dr. Bill … as in dollar bill. Several times during the movie, Dr. Bill either waves his money or his “doctor badge” at people to get them to do what he wants. Bill is part of the upper class and his dealings with people of the lower class are often resolved with money.

In order to get this taxi driver to wait for him in front of the mention, Dr. Bill tears up a hundred dollar bill and promises him to give him the other half when he comes back. Dr. Bill's motto is probably "Everybody has a price".

In order to get this taxi driver to wait for him in front of the elite mansion, Dr. Bill tears up a hundred dollar bill and promises him to give him the other half when he comes back. Dr. Bill’s motto is probably “Everybody has a price”. Does his own wife have a price?

Played by Nicole Kidman, Alice lost her job in the art world and is now fully supported by her husband’s salary. While she lives very comfortably, Alice appears to be extremely bored with her life as a stay at home mother. The name Alice is most likely a reference to the main character of Alice in Wonderland – a fairy tale about a privileged girl who is bored with her life and who goes “through the looking glass” to end up in Wonderland. In Eyes Wide Shut, Alice is often shown staring at the looking glass – grooming herself or … maybe looking for something more to life.

Alice spends a lot of time in front of the mirror being pretty - maybe because it is the only "attribute" that keeps her in that social status. Her daughter, Helena (maybe named after Helena of Troy, the most beautiful woman in the world) follows in her footsteps.

Alice is often shown in front of the mirror and making herself pretty. At the beginning of the movie, almost everyone who talk to her mention her appearance. Her daughter Helena (maybe named after Helena of Troy, the most beautiful woman in the world) follows in her footsteps.

Promotional images for the movies feature Alice kissing Bill but looking at herself in the mirror, almost as if she was living in an alternate reality.

Promotional images for the movie feature Alice kissing Bill but looking at herself in the mirror, almost as if she was seeing an alternate reality.

While the couple shows signs of fatigue, Bill and Alice put on their “happy masks” when it is time to attend social events. Like the elite people they socialize with, there is a big difference between the facade they put on and reality.

Brushing With the Elite

Bill and Alice go to a classy party given by Victor Ziegler, one of Bill’s wealthy patients. Judging from Victor’s house, he is not simply rich, he is part of the ultra-elite. While his party is very elegant and is attended by highly cultured people, it doesn’t take long for the viewers to realize that this facade hides a disgusting dark side. Also, small details inserted by Kubrick hint to a link between the party and the occult ritual that occurs later in the movie.

When entering the party, the first thing  we see is this odd star-shaped Christmas decoration. This particular decoration is found throughout the house.

When entering the party, the first thing we see is this peculiar Christmas decoration. This eight-pointed star is found throughout the house.

The eight-pointed star is nearly identical to the star of Ishtar.

The star at Zeigler’s house is nearly identical to the ancient symbol of the star of Ishtar.

Knowing Kubrick’s attention to detail, the inclusion of the star of Ishtar in this party is not an accident. Ishtar is the Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, war and, mostly, sexuality. Her cult involved sacred prostitution and ritual acts – two elements we clearly see later in the movie.

“Babylonians gave Ishtar offerings of food and drink on Saturday. They then joined in ritual acts of lovemaking, which in turn invoked Ishtar’s favor on the region and its people to promote continued health and fruitfulness.” – Goddess Ishtar, Anita Revel

Ishtar herself was considered to be the “courtesan of the gods” and had many lovers. While inspired in bed, she was also cruel to the men that got attached to her. These concepts will constantly reappear in the movie, especially with Alice.

During the party, Bill and Alice go their separate ways and are both faced with temptation. Alice meets a man named Sandor Szavost who asks her about Ovid’s Art of Love. This series of books, written during the times of Ancient Rome, was essentially a “How to Cheat on Your Partner” guide, and was popular with the elite of the time. The first book opens with an invocation to Venus – the planet esoterically associated with lust. Interestingly enough, Ishtar (and her equivalents in other Semetic cultures) was considered to be the personification of Venus.

Sandor drinks from Alice's glass. This trick is taken right out of The Art of Love - maybe because its a subtle way of telling Alice that he wants to exchange fluids with her.

Sandor drinks from Alice’s glass. This trick is taken right out of  Ovid’s The Art of Love. It sends Alice a message that is not very subliminal: “I want to exchange fluids with you”.

Sandor’s name might be a reference to the founder of the Church of Satan: Anton Szandor Lavey. Is this Kubrick’s way of saying that this man, who urges Alice to cheat on her husband, is a part of the occult elite and its decadent ways? The Hungarian man is apparently skilled in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) as he nearly hypnotizes Alice with well calculated phrases about the futility of married life and the necessity of pursuing pleasure.

Meanwhile, Bill is discussing with two flirtatious models who tell him that they want to take him to “where the rainbow ends”. While the meaning of this enigmatic phrase is never explicitly explained in the movie, symbols talk for themselves.

Rainbows Everywhere

Rainbows and multicolored lights appear throughout the movie, from the beginning to the end.

The name of the store where Bill rents his elite ritual costume: "Rainbow". The name of the store under it: "Under the Rainbow".

The name of the store where Bill rents his costume is called “Rainbow”. The name of the store under it: “Under the Rainbow”. Kubrick is trying to tell us something…Something involving rainbows.

As if to emphasize the theme of multicolored rainbows, almost every scene in the movie contains multicolored Christmas lights, giving most sets a hazy, dreamy glow.

Almost every time Bill enters a room, the first thing we see a multicolored Christmas decoration.

Almost every time Bill enters a room, the first things we see are multicolored Christmas lights.

Sometimes Christmas lights are the often source of light on set.

Sometimes Christmas lights are the focal point of attention.

These lights tie together most scenes of the movie, making them part of the same reality. There are however a few select scenes where there are absolutely no Christmas lights. The main one is Somerton palace – the place where the secret society ritual takes place.

Sharply contrasting with the rest of the movie, the Sommerton palace is completely devoid of multicolored lights. Everything there looks sharp and crisp, contrarily to the hazy feel of the outside world.

Sharply contrasting with the rest of the movie, Sommerton  is completely devoid of multicolored lights. Everything about this place is in sharp opposition with the “outside world”.

In Eyes Wide Shut, there are therefore two worlds: The Christmas lights-filled “rainbow world”, where the masses wander around, trying to make ends meet and the other world… “where the rainbow ends”-  where the elite gathers and performs its rituals. The contrast between the two world give a sense of an almost insurmountable divide between them. Later, the movie will clearly show us how those from the “rainbow world” cannot enter the other world.

So, when the models ask Bill the go “where the rainbow ends”, they probably refer to going “where the elite gathers and performs rituals”. It might also be about them being dissociated Beta Programming slaves. There are several references to Monarch mind control (read this article for more information) in the movie. Women who take part in elite rituals are often products of Illuminati mind control. In MK Ultra vocabulary, “going over the rainbow” means dissociating from reality and entering another persona (more on this in the next article).

The models ask Bill to leave this fake facade of the "rainbow world" (there's a Christmas tree right behind them) and go to indulge in the debaucherous rituals of the occult elite.

The models ask Bill to leave the “rainbow world” (there’s a Christmas tree right behind them) to indulge in the debaucherous rituals of the occult elite.

Behind the Curtain

Bill’s flirting with the models is interrupted when Ziegler calls him to his bathroom. There, we get a first glance of “where the rainbow ends” – the dark truth about the elite.

Bill finds Ziegler in his gigantic bathroom dressing up and an almost unconscious woman.

Bill meets Ziegler in his gigantic bathroom. The man is dressing up and is with a naked unconscious woman…who is not his wife.

If we rewind a little, when Bill and Alice first entered the party, they were welcomed by Ziegler and his wife in a room filled with Christmas lights. We saw two respectable couples talking about respectable things in room full of enchanting lights. But when Bill goes “where the rainbow ends” (notice there are no Christmas lights in the bathroom) we see reality: Ziegler with a Beta programming slave who overdosed on goofballs. When the woman gains consciousness, Ziegler talks to her in an odd, paternal matter, highlighting the fact that he’s the master and she’s the slave. The luxurious setting of this scene is Kubrick’s way of saying that extreme wealth does not necessary equal high morals.

Ziegler then urges Bill to keep everything he just saw a secret. The world “where the rainbow ends” must never be revealed to the outside world. It operates in its own space, has its own rules and depends on the masses’ ignorance.

Questioning Marriage

While Alice ultimately rejected Sandor’s advances, she was nevertheless enticed by them. The next day, Alice tells Bill that she could have cheated on him at the party. When Bill tells his wife that he loves and trusts her, she completely loses it. She then proceeds to tell him a story about how she was once ready to cheat on him with a naval officer she met in a hotel. This cruel story highlights the “Ishtar” side of Alice as she brings up in her husband feelings of jealousy, insecurity, betrayal and even humiliation. In short, Alice purposely summoned everything that is negative in relationships to pop Bill’s “love bubble”. This wake-up call prompts Bill to embark in a strange journey around New-York city, one that has multiple level of meanings. That strange night will ultimately lead him to the exact opposite of a monogamous relationship: Anonymous, masked copulation with strangers in a ritual setting. Bill’s journey will be further analyzed in the second part of this series of articles.

Conclusion of Part One

The first part of this series about Eyes Wide Shut took a broad look at Bill and Alice, a modern couple that has the “privilege” of brushing with the upper-echelon of New York. While everything appears great on the surface, Kubrick quickly tells the viewers to not be deceived by appearances and to not be impressed by exhibitions of wealth. Because, behind the “rainbow world”, exists a dark and disturbing reality, one that Kubrick exposes in many subtle ways throughout the movie.

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Occult

The Dreaded House of Boleskine

Near Loch Ness stands the dreaded Boleskine House of infamous Occultists and Rock Stars alike. Within lies a harrowing history of demonic madness.

One thing is for sure. The old country is a spooky place. Something that will always separate Europe from America is the difference of having thousands of years of relatively well-known and documented history.

Not all of it may sit well with the faint of heart either. Through bloodshed and misery the castles and streets have become havens for ghostly apparitions of the restless undead.

However, it is the mystery of the countryside, especially the cryptic and beautifully bleak countryside of Great Britain that can share histories of unparalleled horror. With its old names and enigmatic backgrounds these haunts are breeding places for untold terrors.

The southern bank of Loch Ness in Scotland is no different. In fact, it has a tale to fill the stoutest heart with ice that is less than one hundred years old.

The House of Demons and Sorcery

It is like any other Scottish country mansion. Beautiful and old, a mysteriously majestic quality the same of which cannot truly be found anywhere else in the world. Yet inside the salmon stucco walls of Boleskine House a horrible secret is kept.

For starters across the courtyard on the other side of a rural road rests a graveyard that is over a century old. It was built in the late nineteenth century by a man named Archibald Fraser. Its neighbor, macabre resting place, predates the house by decades. This is because before there was a house at Boleskine there was an old church. One that burnt to the ground– with everyone inside it.

Not a happy place to put up a lot. Rumor has it that a tunnel was built to connect the graveyard to the house, but that is only the beginning of the tragedies that would soon fill this place with dread.

In 1899, the house was acquired by the infamous magician Aleistor Crowley for a very specific purpose. It was Crowley’s intention to use the house’s remote location to summon the hordes of demonic spirits as listed in the grimoire The Book of the Sacred Magick of Abra-Melin the Mage.

This sort of hocus pocus may sound like nothing more than a standard game of Dungeons and Dragons, but Crowley was more than deadly serious. To quote him:

“The first essential is a house in a more or less secluded situation. There should be a door opening to the North from the room of which you make your oratory. Outside this door, you construct a terrace covered in fine river sand. This ends in a ‘lodge’ where the spirits may congregate.”

With the proper house obtained Crowley set about the task of completing a complex six-month ritual that would end in disaster.

Aleister Crowley

Throughout his life, Crowley mentions a continuous personal goal to make contact with his holy guardian angel. To do this he would first have to summon the forces of darkness. Strange occurrences began happening in the area, hushed whispers of it being bad luck to go near the house began to circulate. The terrified locals stayed as far away from Crowley and his house as they could. Some even stated that the impression of the cloven goat hoofs of Lucifer himself could be seen on Crowley’s river sand terrace. A couple people even went mad.

Then it happened. The crumbling leadership of the Occult order of the Golden Dawn requested the help of Crowley to bring stability to their lodge. Despite his qualms of what was surely going to happen, Crowley left Boleskine house with the ritual unfinished.

By the time he would return a canopy of perpetually dark clouds hung over the house. The man Crowley had left in charge of the house had fled and no one in the local village dared come within sight. Crowley himself soon fled too.

Madness at the Lake of Loch Ness

It has been pointed out by a few that the early sightings of the fabled Loch Ness Monster ironically coincide with the fleeing of Crowley from the house. Yet what would happen inside the house near its southern bank in the subsequent years to come would, shall it be said, blow the odd little creature out of the water.

It is recorded knowledge that most who took up residence at Boleskine either went insane or left quickly. Like the house in Amityville, there were many who could only take the oppressive and frightening strangeness for a month.

A young man left his blind wife calling out and groping through the halls as he wandered out into the hills. A military officer with no determined history of mental illness committed suicide.

The bad vibes and bad luck of the place would continue until it came into the hands of the perfect owner. The guitar god and life long Occult practitioner, Jimmy Page of the band Led Zepellin.

The Nightmarish Account of Malcolm Dent

In the early 1970s, Boleskine house came into the possession of Jimmy Page the rock star whose life is quite chronicled. What some don’t know about Page is that he really was and still is into the practice of Crowleyen magick.

Any fan of the music need not look too far to discover that throughout his life Page has spent countless hours and dime in the search of Occult relics primarily having to do with Crowley. Accompanying this hobby, despite his admittance to it, is the absolute silence Page has kept over the years regarding the matter or anything similar in nature.

Though Page admitted to encountering the spirits within Boleskine himself, it is not he who the stories come from. These events were handed down by his childhood friend, Malcolm Dent, who Page made caretaker of the property.

Dent was the perfect choice for the job. He was not to be found in the rock music scene or any scene for that matter. A down to earth man with no vice for substance Jimmy placed him in charge of the grounds while he was away.

While the master of the house was gone Dent spent most of his time trying to ignore the bumps in the night as well as fight off the not-so-peace loving Crowley hippies who would stalk the house grounds.

Did Dent know what he was getting himself into when he first came to the house and found a Pentagram, sword, and ritual room floor covered in river sand? Probably not too the extent that he would soon find out. One night he woke up to the sound of rolling crashes outside in the hall.

A thumping, thudding sound that went back and forth down the hallway. He expected the cats, but later found out he was not the first to hear these sounds. They dated back to a beheading that had taken place there some time ago. The rolling sound was the man’s head scuttling about on the floor.

Another time Dent woke up in the clutches of fear. A thing sat outside his bedroom door. It sniffed and scratched, pulling at the lock. Dent sat upright with his pocketknife and did not venture out of his room until noon the next day.

He later stated that it was the most horrifying experience of his life and that he knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that whatever hunted him that night was pure evil.

Dent would go on to marry and raise a family in Boleskine house till 1991 when Jimmy Page sold the property. This brave soul passed away just last year.

Boleskine House Today

The house still stands and is open for visitation by all. For a while it was a reputable bed and breakfast where according to the new owners nothing out of the ordinary seemed to happen. It is a peaceful place now surrounded by the beautiful Scottish countryside.

Ever so often throughout the years the house does come back on the market. Keep an ear open for its listing.

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Occult

Salem Unveils World’s Largest Ouija Board This October

The Talking Board Historical Society will be revealing Ouijazilla this October is Salem, MA.

Ouijazilla the world's largest ouija board to be unveiled in Salem this Halloween

Rick Ormortis Schreck, the Vice President of the Talking Board Historical Society whose family has been dubbed the “real-life Addams Family,” has been hard at work preparing to crush the current world record holder for the world’s largest Ouija board.

The massive board, which has been named Ouijazilla, was constructed out of wood and hand-painted by Schreck in the classic Ouija style.

“So I finally am able to talk about the Top Secret project that I have been working on since last Summer,” Schreck posted on Instagram. “It has been a Hell of a journey and. It ain’t over yet. Stay tuned for sneak peeks at the Monster!”

Ouijazilla will be unveiled in Salem this October. More info here.

World’s Largest Ouija Board

World's largest Ouija board

The Grand Midway Hotel in Windber, Pennsylvania currently holds the Guinness World Record for the Ouija board they painted on their roof in 2016 along with the accompanying ten-foot planchette on wheels.

I’m thrilled to see what kind of monster Ouija Schreck has created.

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DNA and Genealogy Tests Reveal the Identity of a 19th Century Vampire

Imagine taking one of those genealogy tests which are so popular these days and finding out you’re a descendant of a vampire. You would undoubtedly deny it (or perhaps be proud of it) and seek to prove your point either way with a DNA test … only to find that your DNA matches up to the vampire. If your name is Barber and you have ancestors in New England, you may want to take notes and wear some extra sunblock at the beach this summer because researchers have identified a man buried as a vampire in 19th century Connecticut.

In 1990, an abandoned cemetery was found in Griswold, Connecticut. Researchers determined it to be the private cemetery of the Walton family, which owned and farmed the land from 1690 into at least the 1800s. The remains of 29 individuals were found – men, women and children – and most showed evidence of lives of hard labor. However, one stone-lined grave caught the attention of Paul S. Sledzik and Nicholas Bellantoni, who were doing research for their paper “Bioarcheological and Biocultural Evidence for the New England Vampire Folk Belief,” which was eventually published in The American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Why?

“Upon opening the grave, the skull and femora were found in a “skull and crossbones” orientation on top of the ribs and vertabrae, which were also found in disarray. On the coffin lid, an arrangement of tacks spelled the initials “JB-55”, presumably the initials and age at death of this individual.”

In their study of New England vampire beliefs, Sledzik and Bellantoni found that the descriptions of alleged vampires generally say that the person was wasting away and losing flesh despite leading an active and otherwise normal life. This led to the belief that vampires craved food and ultimately human flesh, which is why relatives of vampires seemed to eventually suffer from the same wasting away. These are also the symptoms of tuberculosis, which was called consumption in those days and ran rampant throughout the unsanitary farms of 18th and 19th century New England. While most cemeteries of that era showed many people suffering from and dying from consumption, only JB-55 had it in the Walton cemetery.

“Several years after the burial, one or more of his family members contracted tuberculosis. They attributed their disease to the fact that J.B. had returned from the dead to “feed” upon them. To stop the progress of their disease, the body of the consumptive J.B. was exhumed so that the heart could be burned. Upon opening the grave, the family saw that the heart had decomposed. With no heart to burn, the bones of the chest were disrupted and the skull femora placed in a “skull and crossbones” position.”

According to the paper, the New England way of dealing with suspected vampires was to burn their heart, especially if blood was found in it. In this case, the heart had decomposed, so instead the family rearranged the bones into a skull-and-crossbones formation – the next best thing since decapitation was also a way of keeping a vampire in its grave.

The case of JB-55 intrigued Charla Marshall, a forensic scientist with SNA International in Alexandria, Virginia, who participated in the DNA and geneaology analyses to identify JB-55. In a presentation given recently at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, Maryland, the findings of Marshall and experts at the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System’s DNA laboratory in Dover, Delaware, were revealed.

“When modern tools were used – Y-chromosomal DNA profiling and surname prediction via genealogy data available on the Internet – the experts said they came up with a match for the last name: Barber.”

Barber! That made it easy for the forensic experts to check old cemetery and newspaper records. As the Washington Post reports:

“They discovered a newspaper notice mentioning the death there in 1826 of a 12-year-old boy named Nathan Barber, whose father was a John Barber. Researchers had found a grave near JB’s containing a coffin with the notation NB 13 similarly tacked on the lid.”

SO, JB-55 was not a vampire but a poor farmer and father named John Barber who lost his 12-year-old son and eventually wasted away from tuberculosis, only to be later suspected of vampirically rising from the grave and attacking his own relatives before they dispatched him forever by detaching his skull and rearranging his bones.

All you New England Barbers out there — you don’t do things like that anymore, right? RIGHT?

Source: Mysterious Universe

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