This year of the plague has been a miserably difficult time for all of us. For my part, it has all but obliterated my writing and research which, given how others have suffered, is a rather small price to pay. I’ve not gone cold or hungry, and but for the one time when pipes burst, I’ve had running water. So I’m trying to push myself back into writing, and that push has got me toying with thoughts of something that is fun yet Whitehead related. So I’m going to deviate from the “standard” Whiteheadian brief here, and perform a two part divagation into an arena that is often left aside as an example of the “irrational”. Specifically, I want to dip a toe into the uncanny. I will explain in a moment my reasons for the previous two scare quoted terms. But first I want to say something about my own curiosity on the subject. Also, I would draw everyone’s attention to the irony that I begin this writing on “pi-day”, March 14 or 3/14. For the “irrational” number π, as we will observe, is disturbingly uncanny.

Night time, when shadows and substance blur into one another

My own little journey began – one hesitates to say “innocently enough” given the nature of the subject matter – on social media. With social distancing (which, in my case, includes an unpleasant measure of social isolation) I was shifting around for various available forms of online connections, and stumbled into a small group of writers, creators, and artists who focus their attention on folk stories, and folk horror in particular. We engaged in various asynchronous forms of sharing, but also in synchronous activities such as watch parties of old-school ghost stories freely available at various streaming services. Given the workings of my mind, I naturally began wondering about fitting such stories and ideas within Whitehead’s speculative philosophy.