The first Wildnisgeist album was created using sounds culled from multiple paranormal investigations; so-called window areas, where paranormal activity of various kinds is reported; and recordings of several creeks around these areas.
Wildnisgeist : Pandemonium takes as its sources similar sounds. The field recordings on this album, however, were gathered on one harrowing night in the ghost town of Pandemonium, Pennsylvania.
Pandemonium met its doom long ago. It sits, dead and lonely, in the shadow of Bowers Mountain, within the Tuscarora State Forest. Once a thriving town, Pandemonium's houses, sawmills, school, and tannery are now marked only by piles of stones - the remnants of foundations. The forest has reclaimed the town. What were mountain roads over a century ago are now but lonesome trails––as likely to feel the belly of a ratttlesnake as they are the soles of boots. Only the town cemetery remains as it was: a solemn reminder of bygone days.
No one knows how Pandemonium gained its name (it translates from Greek to: place of all demons). Some researchers have put forth unprovable theories as to the naming of the town, but in truth the mystery persists. Paranormal researchers have noted the propensity for The Other to show up in and around places with devilish names: Devil's Creek, Hell's Canyon, Diablo Mountains, etc.
I accompanied my friend and fellow pursuer of the strange, Chad Redding, on an overnight excursion to Pandemonium in August, 2019. Not long after nightfall we heard a heavy, ringing clang as someone––or something––hit a metal guardrail (or perhaps a piece of construction equipment) with great force. This first bit of oddness confused us as we had hiked around the area earlier in the day––no other campers were in the vicinity.
Around 3:30 AM a disturbing dream turned me in my sleeping bag: short, white, hairy creatures with bird heads crawled over my tent, trying to gain entrance. I was awakened––not by the nightmare, but by the sounds of heavy knocks––it sounded as if something was swinging a heavy branch into a tree perhaps 50 yards from my tent. Another series of knocks answered in the opposite direction.
Chad awoke from an eerily similar nightmare: small, hairy creatures were driving us from camp (his lacked the white color and bird heads of my dream-creatures). We spent the rest of the dark hours listening to something walk around our campsite. I saw a creepy, white, mask-like face staring motionless from a tree. Klaxon-like screams echoed through the valley. Owl calls––and something which sounded as if it was mimicking the owls at a lower register––echoed near and far.
We witnessed two red lights, glowing like coals in the darkness. Though they moved in tandem I hesitate to call them eyes, for we only saw the lights. Old folklore from the area holds a name for unexplained lights in the woods: witches' fire.
In the bright light of the morning, breaking down camp, I found a rusty spring twisted into the paracord from which my pack was hanging on a tree. A wake in the ferns showed a newly-beaten path from the direction in which the first knocks were heard to the tree where my pack was hanging. Someone––or, again, something––with hands crept into our camp and wound that spring into the paracord.
Back home, a short time later, after a night of editing the audio we recorded at Pandemonium, a wild-haired hag invaded my sleep. She screamed at me horrifically, turning dream to nightmare. After mentioning this dream on my podcast, a listener contacted me about her experiences in Pandemonium. Her mysterious message read: "I think I ran into your witch at Pandemonium."
(For a more detailed account of our night in Pandemonium, as well as a return trip to the area, check out Strange Familiars podcast episodes 116, and 118-120.)
The field recordings from Pandemonium were processed and combined with other instruments to make this recording. The beats on this album were made from the recordings of the wood knocks, cut up, rearranged, and looped. As a nod to the spring left in our campsite, drones were made from springs wired to pickups and processed by various means. Woven into these sounds are processed Celtic harp, electronic tamboura, srutibox, and other electronics.
The first Wildnisgeist album was billed as a sonic ritual to summon The Other. It was an experiment in sound which, if the many emails I received are to be believed, works. People reported poltergeist phenomenon, hauntings, unknown voices, even sightings of orbs and apparitions in the wake of playing the album. One person reported that every time she plays the album strange things happen. Another advised against driving while listening to Wildnisgeist, for fear of the unexpected things which occur while the music is playing.
The intention of this album is much the same, however, it is a specific Other I am trying to reach: whatever it was which seemed to take interest in Chad and me at Pandemonium. We went to Pandemonium seeking ghosts. We found weird dreams of little creatures, unexplained sounds, an eerie white face staring from the woods, a rusty spring left in camp, strange lights, and much more.
My own experience with the first Wildnisgeist has been less dramatic than those reported to me by others––leaving me with more questions than answers––and not much to report other than some mild poltergeist activity. However, I took a nap directly after the first time I listened to the final, mastered version of Wildnisgeist : Pandemonium. My dream was haunted by indistinct ghostly forms and, once again, the wild-haired witch of Pandemonium.
If you experience anything strange during or after listening to this album, I would very much like to hear your stories. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
As the first Wildnisgeist album was used as part of the soundtrack to the paranormal documentary series Hellier, season2, I feel it is pertinent to mention one more detail: On our second trip to Pandemonium, Chad chased a grey-white upright figure through the woods. I followed behind Chad, having not seen whatever was leading him. He stopped at the foot of a tree––the last place he had seen the figure––where I caught up with Chad. There, on the ground, was a mylar ballon. These events occured before the release of Hellier 2. We even speak of the incident on a podcast published before Hellier 2 was released. The significance of mylar ballons to our own experiences would reach beyond Pandemonium, while Hellier 2 features its own odd mylar balloon moments.
released November 24, 2020
All instruments, sounds, concept, manipulation, mix, and ætheric engineering by Timothy Renner. Mastering by Mkl Anderson.
Thanks to Chad, Chase, Mark Skabs, Mkl, Dana, Greg, and the entire Hellier crew, Strange Familiars patrons, and Joshua Cutchin who crafted the term, "wildnisgeist", and gave it to me to use for these audio projects.