Excerpt from 'The Harlequin.'
Dan Mitchell: 'A mysterious figure I called the Harlequin, a thin, androgynous being that presented itself to me on numerous occasions throughout my life, particularly during childhood. This being was clearly not human, and seemed to be stalking me my entire life.'
'For me it all began in February of 1981, when I was 5 years old. I lived in a Polish flat with my parents and 2 brothers on the South Side of Milwaukee. My father had grown up in that house, and it was sold to him by his father in 1974. It would be fair to say that there were many personal demons afoot in that house, and many bad childhood memories floating around in my father's head as the son of an angry and abusive father. In 1981 I would begin to experience visitations by a person that would haunt me for years to come.'
'This person who I called, "the tooth fairy" when I was still a young child, would enter my room in the dead of night and communicate with me without words. It communicated through a series of movements that I was intuitively able to understand naturally with my child's mind. On Luminosity and elsewhere the entity was named "The Harlequin", a name I came up with many years later when I struggled to find a cultural analog to this being. It was the closest match I could find. Its body was very lithe and its movements extraordinarily graceful.'
'I struggle to remember its clothing, but remember them being rather motley in appearance. It was unmistakably androgynous. Its face had an almost ancient appearance. Its eyes were very large and blue. The most memorable feature was its hands. Those hands looked very much like my mother's hands, and as I grow older, they look similar to mine. The sight of its hands always made me feel as though it was somehow related to me and to my family. The only trait I could never understand was its mouth, which was always open as if trapped in a state perpetual horror, in the shape of an O.'
'By coming to me in that disguise, it may have been attempting to pretend to be my mother, who also moved quite graciously and had a very kind visage. Its features and mannerisms were perhaps an over-exaggeration of hers. While I cannot fully remember what it was communicating to me, I do remember it telling me things that I would have to do when I became older.
My childhood experiences truly ran the gamut of strangeness. In the summer of 1984 I remember a strange event that took place in our neighborhood. I had been sitting on my porch with a friend when all of a sudden a huge object blocked out the sun. It was a large and structured object that was absolutely breathtaking. Seeing it caused an eerie feeling to come over me. I then remember seeing one of my friend's moms screaming and running down the street calling out her name. It felt as though all of the children in the neighborhood went missing, perhaps taken into the enormous object hovering in the sky. I watched all of this unfold in a detached state, almost like I was watching a movie.
This memory of mine has become corrupted over the years. It is as if something has tampered with it. This tampering began as early as the next day. While I distinctly remembered the enormous object in the sky and the parents screaming for their children, another memory seemed to sneak in of an event that I know never happened at the same time. In this false-memory everyone in our neighborhood is laughing and playing together, even adults.
A water balloon fight breaks out and there are hundreds of people in the street laughing and having a good time. The memory is clearly not real and comes off almost as a corny 1980s bubble gum commercial. For years I struggled with making sense of that day and knowing that I was not supposed to remember anything related to the object in the sky. I checked to see if there were eclipses visible in Milwaukee in 1984. There were none.
In 2012 I made contact with a friend I grew up with in that neighborhood. I contacted her as a witness to that day. I was attempting to make sense of all of my memories. To my amazement she remembered it almost as I did. She remembers extreme panic in the adults who were scurrying about looking for their children. She also remembered it as though we were watching the events unfold in a movie from a perspective that felt outside of reality. While the both of us were clearly not able to be found by our parents, we were still somehow aware of their panic and what was unfolding in our neighborhood. I was so taken back by her recollection that I began to film interviews of her speaking about that day in 1984.
A few weeks into our communication and my conveying to her that I was possibly going to make a short documentary about the event, she grew frightened for the safety of herself and her child. She was getting strange phone calls in the middle of the night, usually with an elderly sounding man moaning her name or laughing. Her doorbell would frantically ring in the middle of the night, or she would have bizarre, non-sensical and sometimes perverse notes or drawings left on her car. She demanded that I either hand over all of my footage or destroy what footage and notes I had taken. It was one of the first times I genuinely became frightened over my personal research into these matters.....