This is the full 28th chapter of my book Paper Squares and Purple Stars: My Life as a Rave Outlaw. I have decided to share the whole book here for free. The book is already available for purchase at www.raveoutlaw.com, and the mobile game is coming soon, www.immortalgames.co.uk.
Chapter 29 - Dose of Reality (Summer 2010)
The news left us all stunned, everything was just so confusing. As soon as I got that message from Manifest's sister that night, his profile was deactivated, and nobody knew who his family was, so we were all in the dark about whether or not there would be a funeral. The only thing that any of us knew about his death was contained in that short message that his sister sent out from his profile before it was taken offline. I wasn't quite sure what to think about the situation, I had never seen him in the state that he was in that night before he ran off, but there were always signs that something might not be right. A doctor would say that he was mentally unstable and that he had a serious drug problem, and these things may be true. We were all altered on an almost daily basis, and we were all a bit weird, but he had a hard time telling the difference between fantasy, faith, and reality even when he wasn't high. Me and him both have some very strange and mystical beliefs about how the world works, and the things that we experienced on psychedelics seemed to give us confirmation of these beliefs at times.
I am not sure how, but to this day I believe that these experiences have some connection to reality, maybe the drugs were a portal to another dimension or a catalyst for religious experiences, or perhaps it is simply that neglected parts of the brain are being stimulated. I don't think that there is anything unhealthy about having these types of beliefs as long as you are still grounded in reality. In fact, my choices are often guided by visions and synchronicities, but I always try to balance this with realistic expectations of the world. Manifest had given up on reality long before I met him though, he was living in a different dimension than the rest of us. I think that's why I liked him so much, because I spent a lot of time in that dimension too, but he was more familiar with it than I was.
After hearing the news, I began making phone calls to mutual friends to see if I could dig up some clues on what was going on. One of the first calls I made was to a girl named Allegra, she helped him through a traumatic trip the year before, and he talked about her all the time. I didn't know her all that well, but both of us seemed to be the only people around to help when he was having an episode, which happened from time to time, even if he wasn't on drugs. Allegra was the shamanic type who was always happy to help people through things like this, but I also think she was especially sympathetic to him because she witnessed people fucking with him on the night she met him.
They were apparently being bullies and intentionally confusing him because they knew he was trippin, which I guess is very similar to the treatment that he got from Enzo and Ash a few nights before. Since she took care of him when he was in that confused state, I guess he emotionally imprinted on her somehow, conjuring some false reality in his head that they were destined to be together. I wasn't even sure if Allegra heard the news yet, but it turned out she actually had a far deeper understanding of the situation than I did. When she answered the phone, I asked her if she heard about Manifest, and that's when she dropped the bomb on me: Manifest wasn't dead, the whole thing was a lie!
Allegra said that he came by her house talking all kinds of crazy shit about how half of the people in the Philly rave scene were a part of some evil cult. When she asked him why everyone thought he was dead, he told her that he was faking his death and leaving town to escape the cult. She told me that she tried to talk him down, but he was insistent on leaving town and said that he had to take her with him. He would not take "no" for an answer and frantically told her that her life was in danger. Terrified, Allegra locked herself in the bathroom of her house and called 911.
As she waited for police to arrive, Manifest paced around her house mumbling about the cult and how he needed to protect her from them. Moments later, when the cops pulled up outside, Manifest tried his best to get away, but it was too late. As soon as he stepped out the back door, one of the cops tackled him to the ground and arrested him. They found a lot of drugs in his bag, and he had a few active warrants, so he ended up going to jail with multiple charges.
I wasn't sure what to think or feel, I was horrified that he was capable of this type of behavior, but at the same time, I knew that he wasn't entirely healthy either. I was angry and confused, I had to figure out what was going through his head, so I went to visit him in jail. The place was filthy, and I could smell the mold in the air as soon as I walked through the doors. Every single person on the staff was rude and filled with aggression, ordering me around like I was guilty of murder even though I was just a visitor. After filling out a few forms, I was led down a hallway into the visitation room. When Manifest saw me, it was hard for him to make eye contact, I could tell that he didn't want to face me. He sat down and laughed nervously, “I guess you found me,” he said.
“Yeah, I found out when I was planning your fucking memorial show asshole...What the fuck were you thinking?” I asked.
He looked down for a minute then said, “I'm sorry man, I know that was a really fucked up stunt to pull. I just had to get away… I was thinking about it for a while because I’ve been dodging warrants for years. I’ve been pretty much living in the scene, staying under the radar, underground, for years. That night at the party, I just realized how dark all that shit is, you know, the scene, and especially them Philly cats man. I don't know how deep it goes, but I saw the darkness yo, them motherfuckers are not beings of light,” he said.
“You said that they psychologically attacked you, what did that mean?” I asked.
“They got inside my head saying all this roundabout shit! Like, passive aggressive comments, ya know? Everything they said could have been interpreted a bunch of different ways, a lot of them bad, but it's not like I could call them on it because they weren't coming out and saying it in plain English,” he said.
“Are you sure you weren't just trippin? Sometimes I misinterpret shit a lot when I'm trippin,” I said.
“Yeah that's the whole thing man, I was trippin, and they were taking advantage of it. They know it's hard to read people and interpret what they are saying on that shit, and they were playin on that to get in my head, I don't know man it's hard to explain. It's the same shit those guys tried to do to me last year,” He said.
“I don't know, they were pretty fucked up too. Why would they want to get in your head?” I asked.
“They want to shut us down John, they want to shut you down. They don't like the voice that you have in the scene, they want to silence you and put an end to all this philosophy and education you are trying to put out there. That book you’re working on has them sweatin bro, I know it,” He said.
“Did they say that? They have never expressed any of this to me, they have always seemed supportive. I mean, come on dude. This isn't making any sense,” I said defensively.
“Nah, they didn't come out and say it, but I was reading in between the lines, and I know that they somehow feel threatened by what you’re doing,” he said.
"Yo, you tried to kidnap someone! That shit is threatening! Do you want to explain that one to me?" I asked, trying to refocus the conversation.
"I know it looks bad, but I was just trying to help her. The cult is gonna hurt her, and I wanted to take her with me so she could be protected," Manifest said.
"She told you NO! You gotta listen when a girl says that to you! Come on man! Fucking kidnap!?" I shouted.
"It's complicated man. I know she said no, but she didn't actually mean it. The cult was threatening her and making her say that because they don't want us to be together," he said.
"Do you hear yourself man? I don't give a fuck what mental gymnastics you do to try to justify this stalker shit, it's not right. You need to leave Allegra alone bro. She said she doesn't wanna speak to you again and you need to respect her wishes," I warned.
A buzzer rang over our heads, “Look, I need to go, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have put you in the middle of that shit, but you need to be careful with those motherfuckers. I'm tellin you, there was a cult we didn't know about at God's Basement, none of them people can be trusted,” he said as he walked away.
I left there in a daze, unsure of what to make of his story, but I was sure that there wasn't any cult, and I was pretty sure that the Illuminati hadn't sent drug dealers to spy on me and sabotage my local operation. It was hard to take in, one of my closest friends had freaked out at a party, faked his death, and got arrested for attempted kidnapping in the span of a week, and now he was saying all this completely outrageous shit about some of my other closest friends. I knew his story was too far-fetched even for someone as mystical as me to believe, but a part of me wanted to trust his intuition, even though the details of his story were obviously the ramblings of someone who was losing his grip on reality. Was I surrounding myself with dangerous people? Did they really not have my best interests at heart? I had come to learn that a majority of the people who were trying to make a name for themselves in this industry had ulterior motives and that many of my “friends” saw me more as a commodity or a means to an end than an actual human being. Enzo and his crew were different though, they didn't seem to have much to gain from me, they all had a lot more money than I did, and they didn't need my shows as a safe haven for their hustle, they had plenty of other connections. Plus, they weren't interested in making a name for themselves, they were happy staying under the radar because of everything that they were involved with. This gave me a bit more confidence that I could trust these guys, that they weren't using me as some kind of pawn or prop like so many other people around me seemed to be doing. Still, after all the times I had been betrayed and taken advantage of in this business, any crumb of doubt would have me thinking the worst. At times I felt like no one could be trusted, and this was one of those times. I sat in traffic on the way home from the prison trying to make sense of everything. I was sure that Enzo and his crew were fucking with him that night and that probably set him off.
They can be some really dark and menacing pranksters sometimes. They get off on pushing people's buttons, on making them react, like internet trolls but in real life. I knew they weren't entirely innocent in the matter, but that guy was a ticking time bomb, and I am sure they didn't actually mean to do serious damage, they just think it's funny to fuck with people. Manifest had been drifting in a bad direction for a while though, having paranoid delusions of people in the scene being undercover agents or a part of some weird cult.
Some nights he would call me and tell me that the television was talking to him, or just go on rants about the people who were plotting against him. Part of me knew he was unstable, but another part of me got tied up in his stories, I guess I am a sucker for a good rabbit hole. I suspected for a long time that he was schizophrenic, but that never bothered me, I even thought there was a possibility that it may have made it easier for him to tune into other realms. The great psychedelic advocate and lecturer Terence Mckenna, who was becoming a massive inspiration to me at this time in my life, had a theory that schizophrenia was seen as a gift in ancient cultures, and that schizophrenics were appointed as shamans by the tribe as soon as they exhibited any “symptoms” of the condition. I loved this theory, and I took the idea to heart, so I tried to look at people like Manifest as potential teachers and shamans who were just misunderstood by our soulless society. I still take this mindset and see great potential in people with mental illness, but perhaps that is because I see so much of myself in them sometimes.