Living on the Fringe: Space Elves and the Origin of Otherkin

Beyond the normal reaches of our society lies an endless array of others: some living, some dead; some known, some obscure. This is about the fringe of the fringe.

Otherkin were perhaps once best known as “those people online who think they’re dragons”; now they’re best known as “those people on Tumblr who think they’re anime characters”; but in truth, the origins and history of Otherkin date back much further than most might expect.

A quick definition of terms. Otherkin, or “kin”, are a subculture that identify as nonhuman. This is commonly a spiritual, “I was this in my past life”, identification, but some Otherkin believe their identity is psychological in nature. Otherkin traditionally identify with fictional creatures, such as elves, dragons or fae. A closely related concept is therianthropy; therians instead identify with animals that, whether currently living or extinct, exist. A relatively new addition to the nomenclature are “fictionkin”¹, who identify with fictional characters; unlike Otherkin or therians, many fictionkin identify with beings that, while fictional, are generally human.

Otherkin and therians claim to experience their identity in different ways: via memories, and via “shifts” – commonly mental shifts in behavior, sensory shifts in perception, or “phantom shifts”, where they feel their identity reassert its body via phantom, ie mental, limbs. It is important to note that Otherkin and therians do not claim to physically change, and so-called “p-shifters” are usually a laughingstock in the kin community.

Though today it’s seen as a youth subculture, Otherkin trace their origin to the burgeoning pagan & new age movements of the 1970s. An invaluable timeline by Orion Scribner places the first group that we would today call “Otherkin” in at least 1975, when a group called the Elf Queen’s Daughters placed their first public ad in a pagan quarterly. The term itself dates to 1990, invented as a catch-all for the many non-elven identities Otherkin now possessed; therianthropy found a name and a home on Usenet circa 1994.

But all that can wait. Today, we’re zeroing in one specific facet of the Otherkin community: a elfkin subculture with an involved mythology that flourished briefly, but brightly.

The Elenari started on now-lost mailing lists in the late 90s; in 2000, a newly-created site called the Elenari Nexus became the community’s home.

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The Curious Case of Marilyn Monroe’s Purported Reincarnation

marilyn

Here is a vintage case: the tale of a Canadian singer who believed herself to be Marilyn Monroe reborn, and the doctor who believed her. It hails from ye olde 2005, and has been immortalized in the book Marilyn Monroe Returns: The Healing of a Soul, which has a mighty four stars on Amazon after nineteen reviews. Despite the overall positive rating, the top reviews are all distinctly negative – with even believers in reincarnation calling the book’s case a stretch.

You may regard reincarnation as primarily a spiritual matter: a process where, upon death, a person’s soul moves on to another body – which may be completely different, and may indeed – depending on the belief system – not even be human. But Dr. Adrian Finkelstein believes reincarnation to be an altogether different process. Namely, one can decode a individual’s past lives not via hypnotic regression or memories, but because they look similar to their prior self:

Dr. Finkelstein become convinced that Ms. Laird is indeed the reincarnation of Ms. Monroe, not only due to her memories, but also due to the presence of similarities in facial bone structure, hands, handwriting, voice pattern, linguistics and personality traits that exist between Marilyn Monroe and Sherrie Lea Laird.

I can understand the same soul showing the same personality across lives, but the same bone structure? The same physical appearance? Does a reincarnated soul warp their new form into its favored appearance, or does it specifically seek out fetuses that will grow up to look like their past self?

Ms. Laird, who goes by the stage name, Sherrie Lea, is a singer whose production of No Ordinary Love hit the top of the charts in Canada and Europe. It is interesting to note that in her film Bus Stop, Marilyn’s role was of a singer named Cherie.

So Marilyn Monroe is reborn, and she names herself – not Marilyn, not Norma, but to…a name that’s kind of similar to one of her characters.

Sherrie Lea Laird experienced vivid memories of her life as Marilyn Monroe, but more importantly, she looks just like her:

sherrie

MY GOD, THE RESEMBLANCE IS UNCANNY! Continue reading