Chimeras of Burning Man

A Travelling Museum by D. Schlunegger B

the gallery card I picked up at Tara Ice Cream the day after my dream, with corners dog eared from time spent in my sock drawer

“One measures a circle, beginning anywhere.” Charles Fort

I begin with this quote because I have a story to tell and no idea how to tell it. I’m hoping Fort’s idea holds true, that even by telling this series of events in chronological order a feel of their structure and strangeness will come through to the reader.

When paranormal impresario Steve Ray and I were engaged in precipitating synchronicities upon the unsuspecting host and guests of Radio Misterioso, a number of intricate and highly personal clusters of connections sprang up outside of the boundaries of our experiment.

This particular one ‘began’ about three years prior to our starting to experiment, years before Steve and I had even heard of one another.

What happened was, I had a dream. I dreamed that I was in the dreamworld location of Burning Man (I’ve never been there in the mundane, in fact i have an aversion to the idea). My mother accompanied me, and we wandered around a bit taking in the sights. The place wasn’t hopping, but there were plenty of people, vendors, etc.

We went into a restaurant and sat down to order. The weird part about this restaurant was that they were selling these kind of pet/art things made of old parts of used animals. It sounds horrible, but in the dream the chimeras came across as happy and healthy.

The dream made an impression on me, both for the strange content as well as the strong feeling i’d travelled to an astral location as opposed to just sifting through the usual day detritus or working through emotional stuff.

That afternoon, my husband Anthony and i were walking on College Ave in Berkeley, headed south just north of Alcatraz, to Tara Ice Cream. I described this dream to Tony as we walked, not our usual topic of conversation, as the vividness and strangeness stuck with me.

In a block or two we came to the ice cream store. We started talking to the guy behind the counter, who mentioned in a disgusted tone that he had an artist friend whose work he didn’t care for as she made ‘new’ animals out of pieces of dead ones.

Of course i exclaimed that i’d just been describing the same thing to Anthony because of my dream the night before. The counter guy handed me a gallery card for his friend’s show, featuring one of her works in full color. The artist is Danielle Schlunegger.

Which makes a very nice synchronicity in itself. The creation and sale of chimeras comes across clearly in both dream and art. Hypothesizing that i’d picked up on the day’s possibilities while dreaming isn’t the biggest stretch you’ll find in the annals of the Fortean.

Three years later, Steve and I were chatting ‘behind the scenes’ when he described to me a vivid dream he’d had within the last couple of nights. Some of the content, as well as my gut feel this was more than working through psychological rubbish, brought to mind my ‘chimeras of Burning Man’ dream and so i described my dream to Steve. I also sent along pictures of the front and back of the gallery card.

Two of the names on the card were names of people so closely connected to Steve, and so influential in his life, that our conversation regarding this topic is redacted from our excruciatingly complete ‘chatter’ records.  Again, a very straightforward synchronicity, no metaphors or cross media involved – the names are the names.

I promised you in the beginning that i would tell this tale chronologically, but examining the notes and the gallery card in preparation for writing this piece has made a liar out of me.  I noticed that “A Travelling Museum” exhibition of Danielle Schlunegger chimeras took place at a gallery only two or three blocks from where i lived around a quarter century ago. I lived there with one of my dearest friends, SC. SC is an artist who sometimes alarms viewers with his hard edged approach to art though, personally, I can’t get enough.  At the time of my dream SC and i had been living in different states and hadn’t seen each other for years.

So what do we call this concatenation of events. A multistage synchronicity? A prophetic dream? Folie a deux (or more)?

Did something in me create a strange dream so i’d grab a piece of shiny colored paper in order to startle Steve years later? Was part of me missing my friend SC and his art? Did the force behind Steve and my experiment reach back through the years and cause me to dream of the future?

Or does our attention and intention create a beacon on the plane of thought, towards which meaning is drawn as a moth towards flame?

Update September 25, 2019: I wrote this up months ago with a question regarding this constellation still unanswered in my mind – why had my mother accompanied me to the strange restaurant? At the time of the dream, and the experiment, I was living with my husband of many years in our home of many years, my mother living about 45 minutes north in Napa.

After Steve and I finished our active experiment we began organizing our results and notified Greg Bishop of our activities. Steve Ray did a truly incredible amount of work transcribing the shows we’d targeted, entering all of our communications into spreadsheets organized by target, identifying and categorizing hits, and so on.

Finally we were ready to join Greg on Radio Misterioso in order to talk with him about our experiment. I’d been delaying this unveiling, because a couple of months before we finally recorded the show my life had been upheaved and my responsibilities had exploded.

My mother was in the process of selling her house in order to move across town when she broke her back and became incapacitated. Between doctor’s appointments, back surgery (successful), arranging the move to a new home, taking care of her dogs, I ended up moving to live with her and was living with her at the time we did the show linked below.

Mom’s doing much better now. End Update.


Update Nov 2020: From the moment I recalled this dream i wondered why on earth my mother and I would be wandering around Burning Man. I still live with her in the Napa Valley, which since fall of 2017 has been plagued with apocalyptic firestorms. Much of my attention in these past couple of years has been focused on making sure we are positioned to evacuate safely, monitoring progress of fires, etc. End Update.

The artist in this story is Danielle Schlunegger, and her show “A Curious Natural History” exhibited at Book Zoo in Oakland, CA in 2011. Visit her website at: http://schlunegger.com/

Link to the synchronicity experiment Radio Misterioso show, links to supporting material here also.  http://radiomisterioso.com/2016/11/23/quick-and-ray-a-psychic-influencing-experiment/

Note: The “Chatter’ spreadsheets document ALL communication between Steph and Steve over the course of the experiment. We communicated strictly via written electronic means, all entries are time and date stamped. The “Target Show” spreadsheets contain transcribed notes of the target shows as broadcast live.

From Chatter 20141222_20141228

Steph 12/28/14 2:32PM via email:

“… your dream also reminds me of one dream in particular i had a couple of years ago. I dreamt that my mom and i went to a place that was basically the dreamworld aspect/location of Burning Man. Things were not super lively but there was a fair amount of people and vendors, shops, etc around. We went into a restaurant, part of the gig there was that they were selling these art pieces/pets? that were made out of pieces of animals…it’s liek they created new creatures using discarded animal parts? seems creepier/more cruel as stated than it came across in the dream. The critters were alive and moving around and seemed fine and healthy enough.

anyways later that day my husband and i were walking in berkeley, headed towards Tara ice cream shop. That dream was still in my mind, so i described it to tony. Within five minutes we got to the shop.  This tall young guy helped us and we started talking about a bunch of different stuff. This guy mentioned that he had an artist friend, he didn’t care for her art as she made it using pieces of dead animals…..whoa. I told him i’d just been explaining the same thing in my dream to tony, and this guy gave me a small postcard announcing his friend’s art exhibit with a picture of one of her art works. (Just found the postcard and took a pic – i’ll send along later today.)

anyways, the whole gross-out component as well as the sense (to me, i note you have not mentioned this) of possibly being in an astral environment populated by other beings in the astral as opposed to simply a re-hash of the day’s detritus are what recalled this dream/synch of mine upon reading your own dream. I hope it isn’t giving you a weird dream hangover feeling, it seems like the type of dreamspurt that could do so.”

Steph sent picture of the back and front of the gallery card later that day via email.

Steve 12/28/14 5:32pm via email:

“…3)      As to your gallery card, [REDACTED]…”

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