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Old 16-10-2009, 05:07 PM   #1
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Default Black Lodge encyclopedia.

Good website with analysis of masonic symbolism in David Lynch's Twin Peaks and Fire Walk With Me.
Black Lodge Encyclopedia: The Man from another Place

By Ben Meuleman

Appearances: Like other Lodge characters, the Man from another Place’s first chronological appearance is in Fire Walk With Me (FWWM), during Phillip Jefferies’ ramblings at the FBI headquarters. He presides over a Lodge meeting above the convenience store, attended by the Tremonds, two Woodsmen, the Electrician, the Jumping Man and Bob. On the table are bowls of creamed corn (Garmonbozia).

A bizarre ritual is enacted involving the green ring, and afterwards, the Man from another Place (MFAP) and Bob are seen entering the Red Room. MFAP next appears during Laura’s dream, where he reveals more about his nature to Agent Cooper, and offers Laura the green ring, which she refuses at the urging of Cooper. He also appears in brief flashes during the killing of Laura Palmer. After Leland has dumped her body, he returns to Glastonberry Grove and enters the Red Room, where he is met by Gerard and MFAP, who, speaking in unison as “Mike,” reclaim the Garmonbozia Bob had stolen from them.

The Black Lodge storyline is much more pronounced in FWWM than the show, where it constitutes only a vague plot arc reaching across the entire series, with a full resolution in the final episode. Although the MFAP is one of the most iconic characters from Twin Peaks, he only makes three appearances throughout the show’s entire run. His first and arguably most famous appearance is during Agent Cooper’s first dream sequence in episode 1.02 (“Zen and the Art of Killer-Catching”), where he provides clues on the identity of Laura’s killer. To get the most obvious facts out of the way, he’s a dwarf, wears a red suit, and resides in a place known as the Red Room. His speech sounds like it was recorded backwards and then played in reverse (because it was), and he has a tendency to dance. His theme song is Badalamenti’s famous “Dance of the Dream Man.”

The MFAP’s second appearance occurs after the death of Josie Packard, when Agent Cooper sees him dancing briefly on her bed. His third and final appearance is in the season two finale, during Cooper’s trip into the Black Lodge.

Connections: Probably too many to mention. The MFAP is connected to nearly every other Lodge spirit in some way or another.

Role: The lost arm of a spirit once known as Mike. He presides over the Red Room, and is apparently occupied with harvesting pain and sorrow from the real world, which he consumes as creamed corn, or Garmonbozia.

Gerard’s Phantom Limb

The nature of the MFAP is stated, and demonstrated, quite literally in the movie FWWM: he represents the lost arm of Philip Gerard, better known as Mike in his demonic form. The arm is first mentioned by Gerard himself in episodes 1.02 (“Zen and the Art of Killer-Catching”) and 2.06 (“Demons”):

“We lived among the people. How do you say, convenience store? We lived above it. I mean it like it is, and it sounds. I too have been touched by the devilish one. A tattoo on the left shoulder. Ah, but when I saw the face of God, I was changed. I took the entire arm off.”

Gerard claims he was once inhabited by a spirit called Mike. He and Bob killed together until Mike “saw the face of God” and repented. The experience purified him and he literally excised the evil from his body by removing his left arm, which contained a “Fire Walk with Me” tattoo. Gerard remained close to his former inhabiting spirit Mike however, from time to time regressing to his possessed state. The attempt to remove the evil from his body was not entirely successful either. As the MFAP states in FWWM during Laura’s dream:

“Do you know who I am? I am the arm. And I sound like this: [Amerindian whooping sound].”

The line clearly states that the MFAP represents the evil that is left over from Mike. The fact that the MFAP is indeed Mike’s former arm is again demonstrated during the final scene in FWWM, where we see Gerard (Mike) and the MFAP side by side in the Red Room. When “Mike” reclaims the stolen Garmonbozia from Bob, the MFAP touches Gerard’s shoulder and they speak in unison

Patients who have had an arm or leg amputated often report still feeling sensations and pain in the location where the amputated limb used to be. This is referred to as “phantom pain”. In Twin Peaks, David Lynch takes this concept one step further by turning Mike’s phantom limb into a character: the Man from Another Place. This is consistent with Lynch’s general approach to storytelling, which often relies on the use of odd and surreal characters as personifications of emotions, motives and desires—this can be seen in Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and (arguably) Blue Velvet.

Lord of the Lodge

Judging from MFAP’s appearances both in FWWM and the show, it must be surmised that he is somehow the Lord of the (Black) Lodge. His style of dress corresponds to the interior design of the Red Room and he is usually the first character to be encountered when anyone ventures into the Lodge. This is the case in Cooper’s dream, Laura’s dream and Cooper’s final visit to the Lodge. During the final episode, the MFAP acts as a gatekeeper into the Black Lodge, which Cooper enters upon the MFAP’s invocation of the words “Fire Walk with Me.”

The Lodge meeting described by Philip Jeffries hints at the hierarchy among the Lodge spirits. The MFAP and Bob clearly occupy the foreground, while the more “menial” characters (perhaps souls enslaved by Mike and Bob) watch on from the background, divided by the Jumping Man. With the exception of brief visions, the MFAP is never seen outside the Lodge, indicating an entirely supernatural origin.

The Green Ring

The events in FWWM strongly suggest that the MFAP is the (original) owner and perhaps creator of the mysterious green ring with the owl cave symbol. The ring is connected to several deaths and disappearances in the TP universe: Teresa Banks, Chester Desmond, Philip Jeffries, Laura Palmer, and to a lesser extent, Annie Blackburn. The function of the green ring has already received extensive treatment. Nonetheless, I will repeat some of the most important facts and conclusions.

In short, my theory holds that the green ring is a mark of death. Whoever wears it must be killed by Bob, and the resulting Garmonbozia handed over to the MFAP. This “contract” is outlined in the Lodge meeting described by Philip Jeffries in FWWM. After Pierre Tremond tells Bob to “fell a victim,” the MFAP states “with this ring, I thee wed.” Thus, the line implies that the bearer of the ring is simultaneously tied to the MFAP and Bob. The events of FWWM largely support this theory, as well as two other ideas:

• the MFAP uses the Tremonds to move the green ring in the real world.
• the wearer of the green ring briefly experiences numbness in the arm of the ring finger

The first owner of the ring is Teresa Banks. Presumably, she got it from the Tremonds about three days before her death. Not only do the Tremonds inhabit a trailer in Fat Trout Trailer Park (under the name of Chalfont), Pierre Tremond briefly appears outside the Blue Diamond Motel during a flashback late in the movie. According to the waitress Irene, Teresa’s left arm went completely numb three days before her death. The photograph in her trailer confirms that she wore the ring on her left hand.

Shortly after wearing the ring, Teresa is murdered by Leland/Bob. Agent Desmond and Agent Stanley are called in to investigate, and quickly discover that the green ring has gone missing. This unsolved element continues to trouble Desmond and prompts a final return to Fat Trout Trailer Park. Upon investigating, his attention is drawn to a nearby trailer (in the script, a hand waves at him from behind the window), and beneath it he spots the green ring on a mound of dirt (like Laura’s necklace). When Desmond touches the ring, he mysteriously disappears. Later, Cooper discovers that the trailer belonged to “an old woman and her grandson” called the Chalfonts.

Although Bob killed Teresa, he did not entirely respect his contract with the MFAP. Apparently he stole the Garmonbozia resulting from her death, as indicated by the traffic stop scene later in the movie. Mike, speaking as Philip Gerard, confronts Bob with his “crime” and reminds him of his oath by holding up the green ring (on his little finger).

The third owner of the ring (if Desmond is counted) is Laura Palmer. While preparing for her meals-on-wheels route, she encounters the Tremonds in the parking lot of the Double R Diner. Mrs. Tremond beckons Laura to approach and hands over a picture of a doorway, informing Laura that it “would look nice on [her] wall.” Laura obeys the suggestion, and by hanging the picture on her bedroom wall is able to enter the doorway in her dreams. During these dreams, the Tremonds transport her to the Red Room where she meets the MFAP and Agent Cooper. Standing close by is an ornate pedestal with the green ring resting on it. The MFAP offers the ring to Laura, but Cooper warns her not to take it. Laura seems to wake up, but is actually still dreaming. Her left arm goes numb, and suddenly she finds the green ring resting in her left hand. When she finally does wake up, the ring is gone and her left arm back to normal.

Although Laura initially refused the ring, it still leads to her death later on. In the train car sequence, Bob attempts to transfer his spirit from Leland to Laura. Mike/Gerard intervenes, and throws the green ring inside the train car. Rather than facing living hell with Bob, Laura chooses to commit suicide by taking the green ring. As mentioned, the green ring is a mark of death. Bob is now forced to kill Laura, as indicated by his words “don’t make me do this.” During the killing, the MFAP appears in brief flashes, hysterically laughing. After her death, Bob returns to the Red Room and hands over the Garmonbozia from Laura’s killing, which rightfully belongs to Mike.

End of story? Not quite. There is a fourth owner of the green ring: Annie Blackburn. In the original script of FWWM, a coda elaborates on the fate of Cooper and Annie at the end of the show. First, a conversation takes place between the MFAP and Cooper at the ornate pedestal, similar to the one in Laura’s dream:

MFAP: “Is it future? Or is it past?”
Cooper: “Where is the green ring?”
MFAP: “Someone else has it now.”
Cooper: “That would indicate that it is the future.”

The next scene shows Annie being wheeled into a hospital after her Lodge visit. She is wearing the green ring! To this, we can add interesting details from the Season 2 final episode. When Cooper finally confronts Windom Earle during his Black Lodge test, they find themselves in the room with the ornate pedestal. Now if we turn to the shot where Annie briefly appears standing between Windom and Cooper, we can notice three important things:

• The green ring is nowhere to be found on the pedestal
• Annie is supporting her right arm with her left hand!
• Her right hand is obscured from vision!


During her brief Lodge visit, the MFAP offered Annie the green ring, which she accepted. Hence the empty table and the numb arm. The possessed Cooper keeps repeating “how’s Annie?” because she is now marked for death by the MFAP. This would have made the Season 2 finale even crueler than it already was. But wait… the hospital scene ends on an ironic note: the green ring is stolen by a nurse, indicating that Annie may be saved from certain death after all (she may still be tormented by Bob on his own accord of course). In any case, the scenes were cut from the final version.

The Magician

Some have suggested the MFAP is in fact the “magician” referred to in the Lodge poem:

“Through the dark of future past
the magician longs to see
One chants out between two worlds
Fire walk with me”

Within the Lodge, the MFAP does indeed possess “magical” powers, most significantly the ability to “bend” time, which he apparently achieves by rubbing his hands together. He demonstrates his powers to Agent Cooper in the final episode, successively freezing, accelerating and slowing down Cooper’s coffee. In the original FWWM script, the MFAP asks Cooper “Is it future? Or is it past?” recalling the first line of the Lodge poem, and again establishing the extra-dimensional nature of the Lodge.

Mythological and Planetary Connections

Twin Peaks features some interesting planetary themes. Most importantly, the Black Lodge can be entered at the alignment of Saturn and Jupiter (which occurs about every 25 years). In mythology, these two deities are traditionally regarded as opposed to each other. One could perhaps be identified with Mike, the other with Bob.

Saturn is regarded is the god of agriculture, which fits with the harvesting of Garmonbozia from the “earthly world.” In Greek mythology, Saturn is also identified with Kronos, the god of time. The connection to the MFAP here is explicit, as he can indeed control the flow of time, and resides in an extra-dimensional realm where time does not exist. Saturn is also regarded as the god of wisdom and order, as opposed to the more temperamental Jupiter (Bob?). Jupiter is identified with thunder and lightning, or fire, suggesting uncontrollable forces. These mythological connections are clearly referenced inside the Red Room. Not only is a statue of Venus present, but standing on the little table beside the chair, is a lamp in the form of the planet Saturn.

Lastly, an amusing coincidence lies in the appearance of the MFAP: he could be accurately described as a “Red Dwarf.” Within the context of astronomy, a red dwarf is a weak sun, typically only 40 percent of the sun’s mass. This is consistent with the fact that the MFAP is a version of Mike at reduced strength.

MFAP Good or Evil? The Left-hand Path

FWWM and the show seem clear: the MFAP represents the “evil” of Mike. Like Bob, his primary concern is the collection of pain and sorrow, or Garmonbozia, which he consumes in the form of creamed corn. We might wonder however to what extent Mike (minus the arm) is indeed purified and acting “benevolently.” While he does claim to act against Bob, this is by no means the same as being “good.”

Perhaps coincidentally, Mike’s lost arm is his “left.” Throughout history many cultures have regarded left-handedness as evil. This tendency can be seen in the etymology of words such as “sinister,” which in Latin means both “left” and “unlucky.” Consequently, the left hand has often symbolized the rejection of traditional religion. Modern Satanism has expanded upon the Hindu tradition associating the “left-hand path” with amorality. From Wikipedia:

“Left-Hand Path belief systems value the advancement and preservation of the self, glorification of more temporal and terrestrial goals, and personal power rather than spiritual attainments. Rather than valuing proximity to the divine, followers of Left-Hand Path belief systems seek to “become divinities” in their own right.”

Not all viewers accept the MFAP as evil however, with some preferring a more neutral or even variable alignment. Perhaps the Lodge spirits care little for the “natural world” and, like Greek gods, use humans merely as pawns to enact their own petty schemes. But if the MFAP has to be interpreted as good or evil one way or the other, I find that his actions largely support the latter. As mentioned, he consumes pain and suffering just as Bob does, and once killed people for it when he still inhabited Philip Gerard. We can be sure that Bob is evil. He actually lives inside the Black Lodge, and feeds on fear. Bob represents a baser, animalistic force however, while the MFAP represents a more calculated, controlled type of evil. Notice the expression on his face when Laura is murdered in FWWM. He appears in brief flashes and seems to be ecstatic about the killing. Or is it frustration?

MFAP and Bob

An interesting question regarding the MFAP/Mike is to what extent he does or does not control Bob. As was mentioned before, the Lodge meeting described by Philip Jeffries hints at the power relations among the Lodge spirits. Although the MFAP and Bob are both up front, the MFAP is clearly in charge. He dictates the rules regarding the green ring, presides over the gateway into the Black Lodge, and therefore indirectly controls Bob.

This hierarchy seems to have been disrupted when Bob went rogue and decided to keep the Garmonbozia from Teresa’s killing for himself rather than share it with Mike. Now Bob has no real motives other than death and mayhem. The relevant question isn’t so much why he suddenly went rogue, but how he was able to do it. In episode 2.06 (“Demons”), Gerard (as Mike) states that Bob was his familiar. They killed together in perfect harmony, but this working relationship changed when Mike “repented”, and excised the evil part from his body by removing his left arm. Mike lost most of his former power, and was literally reduced to the MFAP, who remained confined to the Red Room.

Perhaps as a result, Mike lost some of his control over Bob too. Perhaps new rules had to be established; hence the Lodge meeting described by Philip Jeffries, where a new bond is forged through the green ring. The convenience store is abandoned, and instead, the MFAP and Bob take up residence in the Red Room. Whether they actually created the Red Room, or merely usurped it, remains an open question.

In any case, Bob clearly disobeyed and kept the Garmonbozia from Teresa’s killing for himself. He had to be called back to order by the MFAP, and was forced to hand over the Garmonbozia from Laura’s killing in FWWM. Significantly, in this final scene, Bob submits to Mike (that is, the MFAP + Philip Gerard) indicating that the MFAP alone is no longer fully controlling Bob. It’s interesting also that Bob, an entity who feeds on fear, only fears Mike.

MFAP and the Giant

Another ambiguous piece of information comes from the petroglyph in the “owl cave.” In the upper left-hand portion of the drawing, under the mountain but about the circle of trees, are standing a large man and a short man in proportion to each other, resembling the Giant and the MFAP respectively. Although the Giant most likely inhabits the Elderly Waiter, his comment in episode 29—“one and the same”—is a double entendre; not only is he both waiter and spirit, he is also bound to the MFAP. Perhaps they are both hosts of the lodges, the MFAP of the Black Lodge and the Giant of the White Lodge.

Deputy Cliff Inhabited by Mike?

A theory that Mike once inhabited Deputy Cliff may seem far-fetched at first, but FWWM does contain some interesting evidence in support of this idea. The most obvious connection between Mike and Cliff occurs during the drug deal sequence involving Laura and Bobby. After Bobby shoots Cliff out of self-defense, Laura suddenly makes the bizarre statement that he “killed Mike.” Perhaps she’s just out of her mind. Or perhaps Bobby did actually kill Mike, the demon Mike that was possessing Deputy Cliff.

The Fat Trout Trailer Park in Deer Meadow offers additional clues. Three people of significance own a trailer on the site: Teresa Banks, the Chalfonts / Tremonds and Deputy Cliff. But the presence of Mike is suggested with a number of hints: the power line, the red trailer, the green ring, and the words “let’s rock” on Agent Desmond’s car. The power line is situated roughly in the center of the three aforementioned trailers in the Fat Trout Trailer Park. It bears the number six, and is the site where Desmond picks up the strange Amerindian whooping sound. This is the same sound the MFAP makes during his conversation with Cooper in Laura’s dream. In fact, the MFAP claims this is how he actually sounds. The presence of the green ring also implies the presence of Mike. It is Mike who holds the ring during the Lodge meeting, and Mike who offers the ring to Laura during her dream. Significantly, after Agent Desmond disappears, Cooper finds the words “let’s rock” scrawled on the windshield of Desmond’s car. These are the same words spoken by the MFAP during Cooper’s dream in episode 1.02.

Having established the Mike connection, we must wonder: how can he be physically present in Fat Trout Trailer Park (perhaps even killing Agent Desmond)? A fairly logical conclusion would be that Mike actually inhabited Deputy Cliff prior to inhabiting Philip Gerard. This would make sense of 1) Laura’s comment after Deputy Cliff’s death, 2) the fact that the power line is situated near Cliff’s trailer, and 3) the mysterious disappearance/death of Agent Desmond. Two other minor details of interest can be added. First, in the script Deputy Cliff lived in a red trailer (in the movie, he only owns a red truck), and second, Cliff’s jokes during his initial meeting with Agent Desmond allude to some of the MFAP’s dialogue from episode 29 (more on that connection in my piece on Agent Desmond).

Arguments against Cliff being possessed by Mike are that, 1) for Laura’s comment to make sense, she would have to know who Mike is to begin with, and, 2) perhaps more importantly, Gerard must have been possessed only a few days prior to Laura’s death (which is when Cliff dies). That means Gerard’s arm should have been amputated somewhere in between, which is slightly implausible.

The Face of Mike

One theory I’ve heard suggests that the Jumping Man in the Black Lodge, like the MFAP, is another part of Mike. Both wear a bright red suit, and both are seen laughing and dancing. If the MFAP is the “arm” of Mike, then perhaps the Jumping Man is his “face”.

Bear in mind that although the show suggests that Mike looks more or less exactly like Philip Gerard, it is still an open question as to whether he has a “true” face like Bob. Apparently only the gifted and the damned can see the true face of Bob (Cooper, Laura, Sarah, etc), but who can see the true face of Mike? The fact that Gerard still looks like himself when regressing to his “Mike” state (episode 2.06, “Demons”) is not necessarily evidence that this is how Mike actually looks. When Leland finally reveals himself as Bob inside his prison cell, he still looks like Leland too. Depending on who’s watching, the true face of the spirit may or may not be seen.

One of the final scenes of FWWM argues against the theory that the Jumping Man is Mike by showing the MFAP and Philip Gerard speaking in unison to BOB. Clearly, if the Jumping Man is the face of Mike, then BOB should see him with the MFAP, not Philip Gerard. This scene concretely suggests that Mike looks like Gerard

Last edited by truthspoon; 16-10-2009 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 16-10-2009, 07:26 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by edelweiss pirate View Post
Good website with analysis of masonic symbolism in David Lynch's Twin Peaks and Fire Walk With Me.
Great post.

I don't think it has anything to do with the "Illuminati" or Secret Societies but I love DL and TP.
Ack Acka Dak, Dak Daka Ack

Last edited by barney_rubble; 16-10-2009 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 17-10-2009, 04:14 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by barney_rubble View Post
Great post.

I don't think it has anything to do with the "Illuminati" or Secret Societies but I love DL and TP.

When I was a kid I watched Twin Peaks but had no idea it had anything to do with masons, indeed I didn't even know what masons were.... Looking back the uneasy feeling, slightly 'evil mysterious' vibe of those shows that used to come through makes perfect sense.

I'm downloading Fire Walk with Me and will watch it later with new eyes.

Last edited by truthspoon; 17-10-2009 at 04:16 PM.
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