Excerpts from Taylor’s writing…
Autism’s Politics and Political Factions: A Commentary
(Can be found in Kindle and paperback here.)
Three Excerpts from “Autism’s Politics”
“Autism’s Politics” #1:
Self-diagnosis is specious and unreliable. Aside from that, a self-diagnosis is not recognized as an official diagnosis by medical professionals. My opinions about self-diagnosis are shared by many others in the autism community at large.
My further opinion is that, for their own good, people who self-diagnose who are told repeatedly by medical professionals that they don’t have autism would be wise to listen to the diagnosticians rather than themselves. And if these self-diagnosed people, after being told by many doctors that they are not autistic, “diagnosis shop”, and find one lone doctor who tells them they are autistic, they would be wise to question whether or not what that one doctor is telling them is true.
On a related note, we cannot put much faith in a self-diagnosed individual if they disbelieve the majority of qualified medical practitioners who tell them they don’t have autism, and who instead choose to believe their self-diagnosis to be accurate.
Similarly, I don’t believe anyone can take a self-diagnosed person’s “personal experiences with autism” seriously until they are truly diagnosed.
I have been circulating in the autism community online since just about the time the internet became widely used.
Sixteen years ago I was seeing kids joining autism forums who were saying things like “I’ve been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, but I think I’m really autistic because people don’t understand me. I’m going in for testing to get checked for autism.” Invariably, people like these reported that autism was ruled out, but, interestingly enough, more diagnoses were tacked on that were behaviorally related.
One woman specifically, who now claims to be an “autism warrior” was diagnosed as being psychopathic, and this diagnosis, to my knowledge, remains unchanged to the present day. “Autism” as far as I know, was never her diagnosis, yet she claims to be autistic.
These “posers,” many of whom have been repeatedly -and in no uncertain terms- told by licensed board certified medical professionals that they are not by any stretch of the imagination autistic (regardless of whether or not they were previously “diagnosed” by school psychologists) are now giving lectures, making tapes and videos, writing books, and billing themselves as “autistic life coaches” and “autistic advocates.” Some of them are now running -or serving in leadership roles in- autistic advocacy organizations.
“Autism’s Politics” #2:
Interestingly, perhaps the two most vocal factions against therapies of any kind seem to be self-diagnosed autistics, and wannabees. Apparently, these people want the “perks” that come with autism…but not the treatments that come with the diagnosis.
“Autism’s Politics” #3:
Some neurodiversity activists like neurotypicals. Others dislike them. But most recognize that in order to succeed in life, ignorance of what autism is needs to be countered with honest efforts to inform.
But some neurodiverse people use neurodiversity as a platform to campaign for selfish wants, rather than the needs that most autistics may have. The common justification for this selfishness is usually that it is the most intelligent autistics who wind up speaking for those affected with autism, and just like an army travels on its stomach, these intelligent autistics need to have their “needs” satisfied so they can be the most effective at advocating that they can be.
Thus neurodiversity activists can be regarded either as autism’s soldiers, or a quasi-political class.
What they really are is a combination of both.
Supposedly working independently of one another, in reality, many autistic advocacy organizations have moved their way into the neurodiversity arena and are now cooperating and collaborating ring masters of the advocacy circus. When an autistic advocacy organization issues a blanket statement that most on the spectrum feel to be wrong -such as the idea that autistics need to be seen as members of a cultural minority instead of people with a disorder or disability- and the rest of the heads of the neurodiversity movement parrot this concept to the public, it’s plain that the neurodiversity movement has been corrupted if not taken over.
In response to this assertion, autistic advocacy organizations and autistic advocates will say that many neurodiversity activists have very high intelligence quotients, and this is justification enough for them to make pronouncements on behalf of all autistics without even consulting them.
Autistic Authors, and Autistics and Autism in Literature: A Commentary
(Can be found in Kindle and Paperback here.)
Three Excerpts From “Autistic Authors”
“Autistic Authors” #1:
While we can understand how someone can be misdiagnosed, can we really believe that an autism diagnosis can be faked? After all, for self-diagnosed “autistics” to “look the part” on demand they have to appear autistic to anyone who may question their diagnosis.
Can it be done?
As proof, I offer Dustin Hoffman and Claire Danes, who played Rainman in Rainman, and Temple Grandin in Temple Grandin respectively on the big screen. While any moviegoer knows that people who portray other people on the screen are just actors, both Hoffman and Danes convinced millions of people around the world that they were watching an accurate portrayal of autism. Furthermore, in the case of Rainman, Kim Peek, the autistic man upon whom Rainman was based, shares only a few qualities with Hoffman’s character. Thus while Hoffman’s Rainman isn’t exactly a lie or a fraud, it’s not exactly true either.
Hoffman and Danes didn’t instantly fall into their roles. Rather, they were coached, and told how to behave. In fact, Hoffman was actually coached by Temple Grandin. It is not so much of a stretch, then, to posit that, like Hoffman and Danes, anyone could learn how to imitate someone with autism and carry out this act for a lifetime?
“Autistic Authors” #2:
Have you ever noticed that some really terrible products have been hawked in commercial ads by celebrities? Unethical authors/journalists/bloggers do the same. “Look at me!” They will say. “Pay attention to me, and not so much in the believability of what I am telling you.”
There are only a select few people who can get away with tacking their resume after their names. Three common examples are doctors (M.D.s), doctors (Ph.D.s), and people we commonly known to be associated with a certain profession, title, diagnosis, or combination thereof. Examples: Country Musician Taylor Swift, President Barack Obama, Autistic Author Temple Grandin.
The media can be guilty for ascribing labels to people who cannot and should not be labeled, and to people who do not want to be labeled. Donna Williams is much more than an author, and she is much more than autistic. Williams is an artist, a lecturer, and friend to many. Communicate with her and she will tell you that she is a person who has autism, not the embodiment of autism itself. Yet to the media, she is oftentimes, and more often than not “Autistic Author Donna Williams.”
It seems that in this generation more people than ever have taken to creating their own image and then spend a great deal of time trying to get people to buy into that image. I believe that even though this is a very common practice, it may still be an unethical thing to do, because if you are not who you say you are, and if you have not accomplished what you say you have, what you are doing by promoting an “image” of yourself is inciting people to buy into an illusion.
Even authors are guilty of this kind of thing.
“Autistic Authors” #3:
Adding to the overall problem, with the proliferation of “autistic authors” comes a whole new list of new “sources” which may be quoted, and if any of these “autistic authors” have an agenda, or if they are poor researchers, they hardly qualify as sources.
What is one way an unethical autistic author can become a “source?”
Well, as with blogging, many “authors” from one organization with an agenda can now publish books on the same topic. If these authors publish their books in succession, each new author can quote the previous one, thereby giving credibility to an otherwise incredible “source.”
This is how “authorities” on autism are “made” in many instances. But keeping in mind that these “authorities” may be no more knowledgeable about the subjects they are writing about than the readers who buy their books, it is important to research the authors themselves and find out more about them.
“Evil Creeps In: A Tale of Exorcism”
(Can be found in Kindle and paperback here.)
Three excerpts from “Evil Creeps In”
“Evil Creeps In” #1:
You do have a way of boxing people into corners don’t you?”
“Yes. Although I don’t do it too often. But a woman’s body is at stake here and her soul might be at stake too. Also yours, and that of anyone else involved in this case. Mine even. I’m sure the demon isn’t too pleased that we are having this conversation.
“Evil Creeps In” #2:
“Go to the darkest portions of Africa, the untrammeled areas of South America, or maybe to certain Polynesian Islands. The belief in the existence of evil is strong among native peoples in these places. We regard many of their beliefs as superstitious mumbo-jumbo, yet even after Christianity has taken root, we still hear these people tell stories of occurrences of demonic possessions, oppressions, obsessions, infestations and external pain caused by Satan. These stories of occurrences persist even in areas where willful subjugation or dependence upon demons has been mostly rooted out! But why?”
“Some of the old superstition remains, and shines through in the reporting of events?” Paul suggested.
“No!” I said, emphatically. “These people may be living in places with no electricity, no media, no examples of evil to emulate from any people except themselves! In places like these, where only word of mouth spreads news, how is Satan to corrupt men and women in these environments? If he cannot do it through the subtle creepage we see in the Western world, he has no choice but to use naked manifestations that can be directly observed and then told to others. This is why native folklore in these places is replete with stories of ghosts and paranormal, preternatural, and supernatural activity. It’s why, when the weak Christianity of modern times fails to combat evil in its purest form, these people revert to witchcraft, and the appeasement of the demons that haunt and taunt them.”
“I have heard that sentiment expressed by my colleagues,” Paul admitted. “Although in many of those places, it can be argued that the indigenous people never entirely give up heathenism in their first generation of Christian religious training.”
“Really? Then why are we importing priests from those ‘heathen’ countries to make up for the shortfall in the ‘civilized’ ones? How crazy it must seem to them when we deny the existence of the blatant forms of evil. How crazy it must seem to nearly all of the world’s other established religions when they see that Christianity is losing its belief in demons while ‘heathen’ religions keep their belief in demons and ‘evil spirits’ intact.
“Throughout all recorded history, there have been religions that believe in evil spirits, and demonologies,” I said. “Akkadians, Assyrians, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Iranians, Muslims, Jews, and Zoroastrians either have complete demonologies or else they believe in evil spirits, and this is not an all-inclusive list. One must also remember that demons come under many different names. The Native Americans call them ‘the evil ones.’
“Evil Creeps In” #3:
“What was that!” Paul exclaimed.
“It came from the kitchen!” I said, getting up.
I hurried down the hall and toward the kitchen. Paul followed quickly.
I skidded into the room and looked around. Then I saw what had made the noise.
“What is that?” Paul asked.
“It fell out from between the cabinets,” I said.
“But what is it though?”
“It’s filler,” I said. “It’s wood that was filling in the space between one cabinet and another. See?” I pointed. “That one and that one. I remember when they put it in. That was nearly thirty years ago.”
I bent over where it lay on the floor and touched it carefully, (I had a sinful and superstitious notion that it might be hot to the touch) and then I picked it up. It was an L-shaped section of oak made of two pieces of wood. Both pieces were two inches wide. One piece was as tall as the cabinets were tall, the other as deep as the cabinets were deep.
“Didn’t they use nails or screws?”
“You can see there are no nail or screw holes in this wood. They just wedged it in there. They didn’t think nails or screws were necessary at the time because the space between the cabinets was so tight.”
“Has this ever fallen out before?”
“Nope,” I said.
“Could there be some supernatural attribution to what happened?” Paul said in a scientific tone of voice. “It certainly is coincidental that it should fall out at the moment you may have hit upon the reason for the old woman’s possession.”
“We have no idea why the woman is possessed,” I said, trying to fit the wood back in the gap it had fallen out of. It didn’t seem to want to go in. I would need to pound it in with a wooden mallet. “We shouldn’t credit Satan or his minions with this. It could be pure coincidence. Or it could be a test given to us by God. The first thing we did when we saw this was theorize that Satan was behind it. Isn’t that fear on our part? Who are we supposed to be fearing? Satan or God?”
I pushed the wooden fitting in as much as I could. Then I dug out a meat tenderizing hammer and a dishtowel. I covered the area I wanted to pound with the folded towel and then I firmly pounded the L-shaped section into place.
“It certainly took enough effort to get that thing in there,” Paul observed.
“I could put some nails or screws in to make sure it stays put,” I said. “But seeing as it has stayed in place since the early 1980s, I don’t see the point.”
“It could be the house is settling,” he said. “Maybe that’s why it popped out.”
“That’s a more likely explanation than demonic activity,” I said. “Also. Don’t forget that minor earthquake we had a few years ago. It might have shifted the house ever so slightly, causing this thing to build up tension over a period of years that was finally released at this very moment in time. Or maybe it was just time for the wood to pop out. Who knows?”
“Have you had any other things like this happen lately?”
“Rack your brains. Anything at all?”
“Nope. And don’t you think ‘racking my brains’ is a bad idea? Isn’t that like searching for the devil when the devil isn’t here? Isn’t that like inviting him in?”
“Would you like me to bless the house?” Paul asked.
“One, there’s no need. This is not a supernatural event, and even if it were, it is hardly a diabolic infestation. Two, I trust in God to protect me and the house. Three, I’d have a Lutheran minister do it if it really needed to be blessed. No offense, but I have to stay with what I believe in, otherwise it implies my faith in my own religion is weak. Now, let’s go back to the living room and sit down.”
“Deadly Duo: Two Stories of Death and Murder”
(Can be found in Kindle and paperback here.)
Three excerpts from “Last Stop”
“Last Stop” #1:
Yes, a shovel. A big one, like the kind you’d use if you were going to plant a bush. I had left it by the back door earlier that night. I grabbed it when I went toward No Man’s Land. I had the flashlight in my left hand and the shovel in my right. If I needed to swing the shovel, I’d drop the flashlight and have at it.
“This time, I went straight through the bushes without stopping.”
“And what did you see?”
“I saw a gang of workers digging holes on one side of the track up and down its length as far as I could see. Except of course, they weren’t regular railroad workers. They were corpses and skeletons. Some of the ones that were working must have been fresh. You couldn’t see a mark on them. But others wore tattered clothes. Some were practically naked, with flaps of skin and strings of muscle hanging off of them. You could see guts hanging out of the one closest to me. That one turned, and it seemed to grin. Then it began to raise its shovel like it was a club, and it came right toward me.”
“Last Stop” #2:
“Do you know how far down we are, my friend? Many a time I’ve hopped over a turnstile and gone up the steps hoping to reach street level and see the daylight. But you can’t. You just keep going up and up stairs. And I tell you what… Sometimes you see signs that point you down long hallways to other stations that aren’t directly accessible by any of the lines down here that I know about.”
“I mean a man could get lost down here on subways that crisscross the whole of Chicagoland. Some link up, and other times you have to go down what they call ped-ways to get to others. At least I think you do. I never wanted to ride a line that wasn’t directly connected to another one.”
“Last Stop” #3:
“Oh shit!” Culbertson exclaimed.
“We’re coming up on the last stop on the readout’s map, and look what it’s called!”
“Grim Quatrain: Four Tales of Terror”
(Can be found in Kindle and paperback here.)
Three excerpts from “From Beneath”
“From Beneath” #1:
We stopped by a farm. The animals in the barnyard had been utterly slaughtered. It wasn’t like when you go to a grocery store and see cuts of meat at the meat counter. You look at those, and sometimes you think you could eat them raw, they look so delicious. But what we saw were unidentifiable chunks of meat, hide, guts, and bone. Pools of blood too.
We found half a dead steer. It was completely intact from its front to its midsection, but there was nothing below. It looked as though it had been cut clean through with a razor. The carnage inflicted upon it had happened recently. There was no stench coming from the corpse, except for the blood, bile, and other bodily fluids running out of its severed organs. You could see them in there easily. They were starting to get compressed under the weight of the animal, but they weren’t being squeezed too much yet.
Deep, wide, star-shaped footprints that were waist deep and wide enough for me to stand in had bashed the previously flat yard into a kind of miniature mountain range.
“Benson,” I said, dejectedly, as we stood there looking at them, “we’ve gone over ninety miles from our starting point and there haven’t been any blockades or barricades. What’s happened to all of the people?”
“From Beneath” #2:
“Why?” I asked him. “Why aren’t there people here? We checked out a lot of houses before we came here, and the creatures ate people out of them as though they were sucking the centers out of bon bons. Why weren’t they warned? Why weren’t they evacuated?”
“From Beneath” #3:
Benson and I have an agreement: Each person carries his own weight, and if it looks like one is going to hold the other back, we separate. It sounds callous, but we’ve made it a point not to get too familiar with one another so that separation would be an easy thing to do. How our consciences would deal with it further down the road is another matter.
“Ghostly Quintet: Five Tales of Ghosts, Apparitions, and the Beyond”
(Can be found here and here).
Three excerpts from “The Culling of the Damned”
“The Culling of the Damned” #1:
He set off down the left hand corridor. He only had to go fifty feet or so and he encountered a door on the left side. The smell was coming through the crack underneath it. There was no lock, but he had a hard time opening the door. The wood seemed to be bloated with moisture, and it pressed hard against the jamb on the sides. Pulling outward, he used as much force as he dared at first, and then all the force available to him.
The door gave with a dull crunch, and he saw that it wasn’t just the moisture which had caused it to stick. It had been barred shut from inside. Ahead of him was another stairway.
He wasn’t sure it would be a good idea to go down, the air was so foul. If there were poisonous gasses, like the kind he’d often heard about in the bottom of wells, he could be asphyxiated. He took a few steps down anyway, breathed carefully, and decided it was safe.
Still, inhaling what was obviously putrefying particulate matter couldn’t be good for him. He found a napkin in his pocket and tried to use it as a mask. It didn’t really work well for him, but it made him feel better. Sixty steps down was a landing, and there was an abrupt turn to the left.
In front of him was a very large room.
There was no decoration here. It was simply one large rectangle hollowed out of the ground. It was maybe fifty feet wide and a hundred feet long. He couldn’t tell how deep the it might be because the floor was covered wall to wall with bones and the stairs disappeared into them. An exit on the opposite side of the room was three quarters choked with them.
The bones belonged to animals mostly. He could see the rib cage of what looked like a horse with a horse’s skull nearby. There were also cow bones, chicken bones, bones from lamb. Some bones were still jointed together, but others had been tossed willy-nilly.
There were human bones too, and the scariest thing about some of them was that their ends betrayed the marks of having been boiled, their lengths signs of having been gnawed on.
He had had enough.
Stuffing the napkin back into his pocket, he turned and ran back up the stairs, not caring that he was breathing the toxic and diseased air in such big breaths. Whatever else there was down in these caves and passages, he no longer wanted to know. He would get out, call the police -or maybe even the FBI- and let them deal with it.
“The Culling of the Damned” #2
“The fact of the matter is, even if you do not believe the premise that demons dwell below, you do believe that I and my former followers were worshiping Satan don’t you?”
“Then it follows that whatever kind of creations are down below -supernatural or man-made- they will be in accord with what I have described. In either case, it will be something evil and dangerous. Do I make myself clear?”
“I am telling you what you will see if you choose to go down. You would do well to believe me. What is down there is as I have described. It exists. It is real.”
Hemlock decided he would try to find the books, but not alone. He would get together a posse of trusted men, and then do it. There was no reason to risk it by himself. He could die down there purely by accident and no one would ever know what became of him. But if he could get together a group of people-
“The Culling of the Damned” #3:
“The books you will be destroying are of the blackest kind. They are scribed on parchment, with covers bound in human skin. Do not even look in them. They give you the names of the demons, tell you how to call them up, and tell you how to cast them into others. Most you will be unable to read. They are written in many different languages, most of them archaic. Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and Latin. But there are also Egyptian texts written on papyrus, others in Old English and Middle English. There are scrolls and bound bits of work from other cultures too. The people who have collected that information have done so over a period of centuries. They have found data on every demon from every known religion and every known culture possible, past and present. They have found every known rite for calling them, every known spell for casting them, every known spell for using demonic power. If the library I have hidden gets to someone who already holds power, evil will rule unfettered. Get rid of those books, and you may set back the hour of the apocalypse. You will also erase forever, knowledge it is best for man not to have.”
“Sinister Sextet: Six Supernatural Stories”
(Can be found here and here)
Three excerpts from “Sores.”
Her hair was difficult to describe, because while it looked like she might have had a bizarre matching cap on, for whatever reason, she seemed to have pulled her hair through some of the holes in it.
Then I saw one of the pom-poms on the top of her head burst. A diluted, syrupy fluid spewed out of it like cherry brandy liqueur popping out of a gigantic squashed bon-bon, except the color of the liquid was greenish. There were blackish chunks of something mixed in with the running sore, too.
Her arms, face, and head were covered with giant pustules. These were what I was seeing. Not a sweater with dirty pom-poms crocheted into them at all. The growths were grayish white in color, and big. Probably each of them were as long and as large as the last knuckle on my pinky finger.
The -for lack of a better word- pox, also explained the looseness of the blouse. It was probably concealing more pustules, as were her dark blue slacks. Looking at it again, I could see some dark green blotches on her blouse here and there. Cleverly, it seemed the woman had used the blouse’s natural coloring to try and conceal the burst sores.
“Stay back,” I warned.
She muttered something unintelligible and then swore. When she did, greenish goo spurted out of her mouth, and I quickly understood that the infection she had was internal as well as external.
I was worried about her proximity to me even though she was still twenty-five feet away. If she sneezed or coughed -hell, even breathed- and droplets came my way, and if whatever she had was transmissible, I was screwed.
“If you look out your back window, now” he said, “you’ll see other fires. I don’t know if other people are burning bodies, or if some houses caught fire, or if they’re just cooking food, but the smoke is too much for people making campfires or cooking fires in my opinion. I don’t hear no sirens. Now would be the time to get rid of the one behind your house. It’ll be trickier though, because I’d have to make sure the fire wouldn’t spread. The grass is dry. But you’ve got a spigot back there don’t you? I could take my hose and hook it up and wet the grass around it and take care of it for you.”
“That would be mighty kind,” I said.
Russell looked relieved and worried at the same time.
“Now you know,” he said, “that I got close to that other body, and I’m going to need to get close to this one. You still want that rifle? I was thinking of leaving it somewhere where you could get to it before I burned the other body last night, but I couldn’t take the risk. If someone got to me and Lynne Mae before we talked you wouldn’t know where it was, and if someone got to the rifle before we told you about it, you wouldn’t get it anyway. I’ve been in contact with Lynne Mae all this time, of course, and so now I suppose the both she and I might be contagious.”
Now it was upon us. Now, it was cutting through the final barrier. The trees were being torn out and flung into the air with the ease of a frenzied man pulling out handfuls of grass.
It was excruciatingly loud now, pandemonium ripping at our ear drums.
Had we thought we’d heard trees crashing down outside? We had no idea. That was just the small stuff. Bushes, branches. Limbs. Saplings and small trees. Petty debris.
Now the trees began to crash down. Whole trees. Trees which had grown tall and robust in these low mountains for over two hundred years smashed down outside with gargantuan crunches.
Russell’s house was to the left of ours as you faced the street. There was another house to our right. It was at the very end of the cul-de-sac between our house and the one that had been lopped in half by the telephone pole.
We heard a tree come down on top of it and pulverize it. Boards from the wreckage flew into the side of our house.
“Hemlock: The Collected Mysteries (Volume 1)”
(Can be found here and here)
Excerpt from “No Crocodile Tears Permitted”
Hemlock was not familiar with any kind of demonology, but had he been, he would have quickly understood that the worst specimens of fallen angels were represented here. They were laid out like chess pieces on a board, with the bare middle rows of the field forming a kind of street through the nightmare. There would be no way that a person could traverse the track without perturbation and accumulating dread, knowing that such lifelike representations of the most accursed ambassadors from the infernal regions of Hell were looking down upon him.
They were mind-bending creations. Each one was an amalgam of earthly creatures and creatures of no kind the earth had ever seen. One was a many legged creature with a body that seemed to be composed of mostly eyes and pinchers. Another was a many-headed animal with screaming mouths, and multiple tongues. There was no way to describe most of them, but it made Hemlock shudder when he thought of the sculptors who must have spent untold hours working on them. To be so close to them, and to look at them for days as the final forms were slowly chiseled out of the rock, or marble, or concrete, or whatever material happened to comprise each varying shape… It would drive a sane man mad, though it might delight a wicked man, and feed an insane man’s mania.
Excerpt from “The Loop in the Underground”
But he didn’t have time to pursue that line of thought. There was a clicking sound and Plum was on the line.
“Ah, Mr. Hemlock. I see you’ve found another one of my little hiding spots.”
“Yep. Have your wounds healed yet? I seem to remember that during our last encounter I stabbed you with a machete and punctured you with a bullet or two.”
“I’m fine, thank you. You do realize that your calling me right now seals your fate, don’t you? I have men and women going down there to finish you off?”
“Are you so extraordinarily stupid as to think that I haven’t planned for that? If they come down here, they’ll die. If you want to save their lives, you would do well to call them off.”
“They are expendable, and will be rewarded in Hell if they die. They know this, which is why they will come for you no matter what you have waiting for them.”
Excerpt from “Death Screams Eternal”
There was a splintering, tearing sound, and the boy fell through the floor and into the crawl space beneath the chapel.
Bones broke his fall.
Hundreds of bones.
Thousands of bones.
Maybe tens of thousands of bones.