Thursday

Sky-Spark As Liminal Medium of Departure


This seemed on the face of it so small a thing that from a certain angle it was hardly worth the telling. But it was there, if only for a moment.

And I was sitting on the sofa just two weeks ago, not late, a little before ten p.m., when a bright light flew silently past a window which, high in the wall and from where I sat, looked out over the neighborhood, at the sky just above the houses across the street. It was a very bright white ball, moving fast, though not shooting as a meteor would shoot, but slower than that, and it was low in the air, low to the ground, maybe one or two hundred feet above. It happens sometimes that I can see naval fighter jets that come flying over through this same window from that very spot, and they will cross at the same low altitude, but this was not that – this white light was soundless. Not quiet, but soundless. The jets, when they come for their practice runs at the simulated aircraft carrier flight deck nearby, are anything but. They’ll shake the nerves right out of your spine.

The window, at that angle, offers a very narrow view out, since I was some distance from it, and it is small and high up the wall above the stairs. That this bright, low light flew past that specific area, from right to left, just so that I could see it, struck me as not an accident, but as something that I was supposed to see. I ran to the window, jumped up the steps to look for more, but it was gone. I don’t remember being able to see much of the stars, whether it was clear or overcast or what – that didn’t seem to matter at the time, since I was certain it wasn’t a shooting star. Something in me came back to life then and I felt excited again, as if something wonderful were near, like this was an announcement of sorts, letting me know it was still around. It was very much like the light I saw shoot off over the freeway one night in Indiana, while driving cross-country. For all I know, it’s the same light. For all I know, it’s nothing.

Coming then, as this did, just before the regular drive I make inland to Utah at this time of year (and which I’m currently in the midst of), while making preparations and coming to grips with leaving the island home that I’ve only recently come to feel I’ve got real roots in, I imagine this as a signal of a similar crossing. I like to think that I have an ongoing relationship to something inexplicable, and that these teasing hints and subtle clues are perhaps just the surface, and that they in and of themselves have meaning. Yet I’ve been reluctant to write up this account, brief and peripheral as it is, on that possibility that I’ve only imagined such a relationship, while this flat and lifeless feeling creeps back over me, rendering everything meaningless.

Perhaps this isn’t a matter of choosing one thing over another – fantasy or reality, belief or disbelief. I’ll never prove anything to anyone, and not to myself either. For now, I’m driving over a flat earth, one that seems sometimes to glow in the gathering night from within, and it is spectral and strange, and I’m amazed that I can see at all, and I think of how I love the earth, and that the world is warm, even where it is blasted and dead and cold, and that in it there are stories still to be made and told, and that I am still this squirming thing that is alive and weird and staring, and exactly and always right here.

Friday

Shapes of Coming Things


This was a dream from a few nights ago. I include it here because it speaks to the subject of this site, in this case the literal intrusion from another level of being through and into this phenomenal world (or that, as portrayed in the dream). It arrives as a coda to a greater dream-narrative, in which I lived in a solar system that had several populated worlds. This was a science fiction dream.

I’d left one large and densely populated, earthlike planet to visit a much smaller and much more rural, unpopulated and less developed planetoid. There I’d inadvertently caused this smaller planet’s rotation to stop by opening the tip of a great glass tube –a fluorescent light tube several hundreds of feet high – unstoppering it by some electronic control panel within so the tube could gather the light of the sun. This had activated the tube and caused it to light up, but this then had the unexpected consequence of halting the planet’s rotation, which in turn had vast consequences over the planet’s ecosphere.

I’d left the planet for a year or more, returning to it after a segue in the dream narrative, and could then see what sort of consequences had followed. Oddly enough, one was that the planet’s surface which now permanently faced the sun, and where the tall fluorescent tube stood, to gather energy, to stay brightly lit, had become colder. In another spot, where now it was night (and though this didn’t occur to me in the dream itself, this would by logic be to the other side of the sphere) I stood in a yard amongst trees with a small group of familiar people, though I was slightly apart from them, and I was talking with an older man, a man in a hat, who was a sort of mentor figure to me. His fedora may have held a feather. As we spoke, we at some prompt looked up to see the black, starry sky get spilled over by a widening and deeper blackness, like a stain of ink spreading irregular across the night from above – as if the sky were a glass surface that we could see from below it, and the spill spread over that from some metaphysical ultra-place, blotting out the here-ness of distant normal space. But then in this deeper blackness we could see, moving through it, like unicellular ultra-creatures, these vast geometric shapes – hybrid rhomboids of spirals, boxes, circles, the like – all flat and darkly vivid, as if glowing in blacklight, in purples and deep, deep reds and magenta-maroon. These shapes were moving. They crawled hugely through the ink-dark, and worked through toward this world. This was yet another consequence of what I’d done by lighting the tall tube and the stopping of the small world.

Travelogues of the Dead: ECETI Ranch, Part 3 (Conclusions…)



It may now be that I’ve waited too long to recount some elements of this first visit to the ranch in the necessary detail. I’ve lost sight of too many particulars, forgotten too much about the people who were there: the woman who ran some kind of center in Costa Rica where lights out of the sky are landing regularly, where her abductions have become a matter of course; or the visiting Russian remote viewer and his elegant wife, whether holdovers from the era of the KGB or something more recent, I never knew; or the lively and intelligent former Franciscan monk; or perhaps the brooding, dark couple who’d gotten lost and arrived late, their GPS system having misled them down roads still closed from wintertime, fellow speakers, like JG, over the festival circuit (or so I gathered); or that entire young family – parents, children, one illicit dog – returning now from the Midwest with a truckload of fresh maple syrup, chasing after the significant experience they’d had at the conference that summer previous… I’m necessarily condensing these various characters from this and subsequent visits, because that is primarily what I found at ECETI: a revolving cast of fascinating people; moreso this than significant contact experience... I think – I say that guardedly, and will explain in a moment – because subsequent visits, perhaps necessarily, brought sharply diminishing results as regard actual sightings and the like, weather conditions not allowing for further skywatchings. I’ve since seen videos posted from ECETI and it’s guests, enough at least, to see this familiar scenario of odd little distant lights [see previous post] repeated often.

But what these grainy green infrared video clips don’t show, and can’t begin to explain, are the ancillary things, such as how, when I woke up that next morning, though my eyes were still shut in reluctance to face the day, I was finally forced to open them, to try and see who it was who’d found their way into the same bed beside me: I’d clearly heard a woman’s voice sigh with waking, and the sound of the covers rustling with her movement, not mine. Yet I knew that I’d gone to bed, entirely sober, alone… just as I was in fact still alone – nobody else was there. Bright, if diffuse, sunlight filtered in through the thin curtain as I looked around the bed and the room. It was just me in here. But I’d heard… right there

Okay, it was entirely possible that the walls between rooms are so thin that essentially no barrier exists to mediate the sounds between rooms. Usually I can tell the difference between a sound immediately beside me and one in the next room several feet away, even if there is nothing more substantial than a curtain between the two, but I’ll be happy to admit that there could conceivably be no particular significance to this. Except that that is not how it felt, because what it felt like was an object lesson of some sort, a metaphor in living, if ghostly, form, as if she (invisible she) were a gamepiece arranged (I being another piece in the game) – we two, myself and the ghost – in the same place at the same time, but not quite exactly, as if there were something deeply funny to some third person, some metaperson, about how she and I were just exactly not quite together in the same dimension. I’ve had time to reflect on this since, and see levels to the lesson now, or joke, that would be difficult to explain. The ghostwoman, real or not, means something very personal and multilayered, and that is all I will say.

In a similar connection, when I returned to ECETI ranch almost exactly a year later, again staying in the same room in the guesthouse, in my sleep that night I had what is for me a very unusual dream. Nothing of any great significance had happened the evening previous. The weather had prevented any viewing of the skies, and I’d had a nice chat with the other guests staying that night in the house, but the circumstances were otherwise unremarkable. But in the night I’d dreamed of being in a room that was completely white, simply flooded with light – it had walls and a floor and I supposed a sort of a ceiling, though I couldn’t see it – and I was immersed in the even, white light, and seemed to have no body. Take that at any level of meaning that can be imagined: I had no body. I later called this dream my dream of the reset room, because that was the thing that happened: the connection between myself and this ghost of the previous visit (I call it a ghost, though I know it really isn’t) had been leveled and returned to a zero, our karma, as such, was cleared. Do over; start again, we’ll call the whole thing good.*

I don’t know if I’ll go back to the ranch or not, though my experiences there have had meaning – albeit not of the sort that I’d gone looking for. But it seems that everything is like that; at least it is in my life. My feelings regarding ECETI are profoundly ambivalent. Although I’ve found the people there, both living at the ranch and those visiting, like myself, to be friendly, accommodating and often fascinating, there is a certain vocabulary of belief that holds over the place, one that I cannot wholeheartedly speak with conviction. Perhaps doing so is not required. Perhaps what I feel is my innate sense of aloneness, that thing I’ve held on to in order to remain myself. I would stop far short of calling the atmosphere there cultish (it has been accused of this), yet it does very much center around the teachings and charisma of James Gilliland, a gentle man who has certainty and sincerity, and an evident depth of spiritual experience. His position of definitiveness – as he has answers about what is happening around the ranch, about what beings are involved, where they’re from, and what they are up to – while providing a framework of guidance, also places a limit over one’s understanding of events that are otherwise ambiguous and personal, and I find myself resistant to drawing absolute conclusions about what one has seen, and what has happened, and far more over what it means. I am not qualified to criticize James, as I’ve not gotten to know him well at all. I certainly don’t wish to be overly critical; I believe him to be a good man. Yet I maintain a self-protective distance – perhaps this is symptomatic of my own egotism and its wounds, far moreso than any quality I may find in him – as I also know all too well my proclivity towards being subsumed under such an influence as his, and have learned by many hard lessons to distrust charisma. Still, I feel that I have stopped far short of experiencing all that lies in potentia at ECETI.


*I’m being cryptic, I know, and I’m sorry, but to say anything more about the deeper context in this would take several thousand more words, involve conjecture that may well be considered libelous, and at the very least greatly invade the privacy of another person; so this is as far as I can go.

Travelogues of the Damned: ECETI Ranch, Part 2



Framed photographs of colorful, splotchlike orbs taken at night in the field covered the walls of the guesthouse living room, and one, a blur of spectral colors, which had been described to me definitively by my admitting host as a faery, it in particular caught my attention – it even had defined “wings” and something resembling a skirt or tail, hanging in the night air above a small cluster of people, who all looked up toward it. It reminded me distantly of the Marian apparitions photographed around the Coptic Church in Cairo, between 1968 and 1971. As the evening wore on, there gathered in the guesthouse perhaps half a dozen of us altogether who were not with the ranch itself, but there to encounter what might be encountered. I was a little surprised to find myself relatively at ease with this small and unfamiliar group, as conversation came untroubled and informal comfort seemed the order of things. After a time, the same woman who’d first admitted me and shown me to my room put her head in the door again in to announce to us that James had received acknowledgement that they were here now… that it was time to come to the field if we wanted to see them. A wave of anticipation rushed over us as we hurriedly gathered up our jackets and cameras, following after.

It was a short walk through darkness and beyond the main building to the field, where James and the others were waiting. As I walked out amongst the scattered deck chairs in the chill, open air, I started to notice colorful blotches of light popping in the peripheries of my vision, greens and reds. They wiggled and disappeared as quickly as they’d arrived. It seemed an interior, perceptual thing, though very physical, and not quite like anything I’d experienced before, so I said out loud, yet still mostly to myself, “What are these colors I’m seeing in the corners of my eyes?” James replied, surprising me that he’d even heard my soft voice, “Those are the beings that live out here.” We looked up.

It was some moments before anything started to happen, but then one of us said something to the effect of, “Oh, there’s one…” Above us, in the sky, one of the many dots moved laterally against the darkness. A satellite? James pointed a laser at it, for the benefit of anyone who’d not caught it yet. In the wake of anticipation, I wondered if this could auger something more to come. I’d heard stories from my new friend back at the house of spectacular behaviors of lighted objects that had convinced her to come to live at the ranch. But of what I saw now, this in itself it didn’t seem like much. Then a second dot of light was noticed, moving in a different direction. The laser beam called this one out as well, and infrared goggles started being passed around. In time, more and more of these dots appeared, moving always in continuous lines. “Let me see if I can get them to power up,” James said, confidently, following one with his pointer, flashing the beam on and off. Sure enough, as though reluctant to perform, yet badgered into it by the laserbeam, the dot did flash back at us. People cheered. This was repeated a few times, by a few different dots – as several of them appeared over the hour and a half that we were out there in the field, under the clearing in the skies.

When the infrared binoculars were passed over to me, I took a swing with them around the green-lit star field. Nothing. Even as more dots were sighted, cheered on by the others, and I tried chasing after them, I just couldn’t seem to catch up with anything. When I said as much, somebody – I couldn’t tell who in the darkness – suggested that I train the binoculars toward one particular spot and wait, so I tried this tack, holding steady, looking directly to an area chosen at random, and waited. I began to get a sinking feeling, a sadness altogether too familiar, as if even in this feakazoid behavior, I just wasn’t somehow good enough to get it, a lonely child again who would never quite fit in. As I sank into this old despair, through the goggles, in the center of a dark patch, there was a sudden, bright flare-up and just-as-quick disappearance. My animator’s time-sense calculated: at 24 frames per second of film, it would have been over with in 3; one eighth of a second. Nobody else commented, as no one seemed to see it but me. But I had very definitely seen it, at just exactly the moment that I’d given up and felt most entirely alone.

When James called it good, deciding that this performance was over for the night and we should go in, one of the staff tallied that we’d seen 22 such little moving dots of light in the 90 minutes that we’d been watching. I’d heard in James’s interviews about the “Heavens Above” satellite-tracking software they employed to check what hardware was actually accounted for in the sky at a given time, but hadn’t seen or heard any numbers for that time span that evening, but even given the mostly unexceptional nature of what we did see, moving-spot-wise (and not accounting for my more subjective experiences) the numbers seem, at the very least, a little weird. That’s a lot of satellites, some of which seemed happy to blip at us more or less on command. Yet it was all so distant, diminished, unspectacular, and to the skeptic, unconvincing – while to those inclined toward belief, it seemed yet more ready proof. One visitor, a young man who’d come in a group with two others, was visibly annoyed at the willingness of the rest to accept this as in any way significant. He’d seen a few satellites and nothing more. I couldn’t exactly blame him for feeling this way, but I’d had the experience of something reaching me – and only me – at the moment when I needed it the most. And I’d had the feathery little blob-colors touching me, as I could almost more feel than see them, brushing quickly, playfully up against the flanks of my soul, as I’d first stepped out into the field. But it was so subtle and subjective, so easy to dismiss, and in that sense, exactly like most of the experiences I’ve had of this sort.

[Concluded in the next post… ]

Travelogues of the Damned: Experiences at ECETI Ranch, Part 1


ECETI Ranch may be the sort of place that needs little to no introduction. Ranch owner and mystic James Gilliland has spoken much and well over numerous media to describe the history of his involvement with the place and the sort of thing that tends to happen on its grounds – and especially in the skies over them – at Trout Lake, Washington. I’d first heard Gilliland over Coast To Coast AM, then later on the podcasts of Whitley Strieber and William Henry. Because Trout Lake – which is not exactly in my backyard, but neither is it so far from it – was only a short jog off the I-84 that I’d begun migrating seasonally between the Puget Sound and Utah, and the ranch is open to visitors, there seemed no good reason not to stop in and see if I couldn’t invite something more into my life by way of contact experience, or at the very least, experience of some sort or another. That seemed to be the point.

It was at the end of the ski season in the springtime of 2010 and my seasonal job in Park City had wrapped up when I booked a room for myself along the return drive to Washington. I didn’t know what to expect. I knew at least not to hope for too much – it seemed unlikely that any astoundingly weird craft or beings should appear on order. And anyhow, I wasn’t looking for Spielbergian special effects and spectacle. What I wanted most of all was to enrich the mostly quiet thing that I’ve lived with for so long: this sense of something other, never so far off  – this being of depth, this inversion of or vast expansion from the human, insofar as I’ve come to know the experience of being human – and that I’ve always felt or imagined myself in some manner tied up with. What I worried about was that I might wander into some or another cultic sensibility, some all-too-human network for escapist fantasy, a sick support in mutual delusion. What’s more, I’m very aware of my own sometimes timorous grasp on the conditions of the actual, or on myself for that matter, knowing that if presented with an idea – or more especially, a charismatic personality – compelling enough, that I can lose my balance, I can loose my mind, I can became too easily subsumed within the stronger field of another’s belief, if it should be aligned closely enough to what I already intuitively feel to be true. This is a danger for anyone. And yet, such a sensitivity, a willing or unwilling lack of a coherent self, is perhaps necessary to truly experience another thing, to get past the assumptions that one inherently makes, and thus to enter into a different point of view. The danger of this is less to believe wrongly than to become empty, to be no one for a time, and thus to become another’s emotional tool.

When I arrived at the ranch, I was greeted by a very friendly young woman and a barking dog. The dog’s name I’ve since had repeated to me several times, though I’ve never been able to remember it. A slightly aloof, small, patchwork mutt, we did at least have a chance to converse a little, later on, the dog and I, and we seemed to work out some arrangement where it was not necessary for it to bark any further at me. The woman showed me to a room in the guest house – a building which, comfortable enough, seemed to have grown, room by room, organically out of stray materials as they had become available. For the same price as any number of bleak roadside motels that I’d stayed in, I was certainly not complaining. What the building may have lacked in finish, it more than made up for in personality.

As it was only then that ECETI had opened up again to guests after a long winter, I was as yet the only person in the detached guest house, and had the run of ranch to myself. It was still fairly early in the day. I really had nothing to do, no plan, no work that I’d brought with me. I was told that if conditions were right for it in the evening, there would be a sky-watch in the field after dark, in the “Field of Dreams”. Until then, I was on my own, so wandered about the grounds. I crossed and walked the perimeter of the field. I ran across James as he worked at setting a wooden frame into the ground near the newly-constructed meeting hall – something to do with the septic system he explained – so I introduced myself. He seemed genial enough, and complained about the hoops the county was making him jump through to stay open (legal hassles that would only get a hundred times worse in the months to come) – and then his next words to me were that he had seen, in a vision, the roads and the trees that line the roads sway and buckle and shake like waves, as though the ground were water, and that this was most likely the great earthquake to come. It seemed to me, even me, an odd way to introduce oneself. I later read in James’ autobiography “The Ultimate Soul Journey” of how he’d had similar visions leading up to the devastating San Francisco earthquake of October 1989 while living in the area, of how he’d felt compelled to tell people about it and take precautions, his visions ultimately proving predictive and beneficial, if not lifesaving, to those who’d listened. Given that context, his comments made a certain sense, but at the time they put me off slightly – I’ve been hearing from local channelers and the like their similar predictions of the imminent destruction of Seattle by earthquake for more than two decades, and it has as yet failed to happen (I believe I said as much to James) and though I would be foolish to say that it can’t happen – in fact it almost certainly someday will – I’m also not about to spend my life in a state of eternal disaster preparedness either.

I returned to my room for a short, midafternoon nap. As the day wore on, more people arrived: those on staff who’d been away for the winter, more guests also. I found myself in a state of strange familiarity with one of the staff, a dark-haired woman close to my own age with whom I found conversation easy. In time, as guests came and were shown to their rooms, I was mistaken for staff myself. When asked how long I’d been there for, I answered, “Maybe four hours,” and was stared at in blank disbelief. I took it as fortuitous that I seemed to belong; either that or a testament to my powers of camouflage.


Tuesday

Faery Talk


I didn’t want to talk about the faery.

In fact, I keep thinking to shut this whole thing down, this blog, to stop writing it. It’s a crisis I go through each week, since I’ve now exhausted the raw material of my journals and just don’t have that many stories left. Now I resent the straightjacket of a weekly schedule of postings that I’ve put myself to, and inevitably, I will have to stop, or at least retool the thing to serve a different purpose, and one that I don’t hate. Not that I exactly hate this now, but the problem is that I can’t make stuff up. Or, okay, I can make stuff up. I call it fiction; but that’s not what the purpose of this format is, and that’s not what I’m doing here. This is a sort of serialized memoir in which certain significant moments of my life are highlighted by an otherworldly quality of event or thought, and though it is in part a literary exercise and thought experiment, the point of writing about this stuff is not to convince anybody of anything – not about my character, nor my veracity, nor the objective reality of things I’ve experienced – but neither is it to distort nor embellish, nor to try to impress anyone, but to describe in the most effective way I can what has really happened, or sometimes what I think has happened, or what I think about what I think has happened, or maybe the way I feel about what I think about the things I think have, you know, happened, etc… and, but… the reasons I have for this are entirely selfish, and that is what holds me to it; not some sense of duty (though I feel there is a purpose) but what I get directly from the process of doing it.

And so I was ready to give it up, except that I do have at least a couple of stories left. One is ongoing, the other in my recent past. I’ll start with the ongoing one, even though I don’t know what to make of it.

I really didn’t want to talk about the faery, because I’m not exactly convinced that it’s there – it’s really more of a thought experiment, as in, what if it were there, and how to proceed, as in, with maybe trying to carry on a conversation with it, with her, to see what happens? What would I say? More importantly, what would she say? I’m still not so sure I want to talk about it, and I wouldn’t yet – not yet – except for something that makes me think it might be appropriate: I’d decided the other morning, sitting down to a cup of coffee, to go looking back through Mike Clelland’s Hidden Experience blog, since there is a lot of it that I’ve not read. Not having any purpose or plan to it, I clicked on the tag for psychic Anya Briggs, having some acquaintance with her, and found the story from March 10 of this year, “Can You Find the Fairy?” It blew my mind – for reasons that I hope to make clear. After reading the article and deciding it was time to articulate some of this experiment, I left the coffee shop where I’d been working, and stopped along the way home at the local grocery store to pick up a few things. An impulse buy put the amount for my purchase at $12.34 – which readers of H.E. will recognize as a synchronistic signifier of particular import to Clelland, indicating a need to take especial notice. I felt – as I did, oddly enough, when first contacting Anya – as if I’d strayed out of my own story and into his narrative instead. But then I do have boundary issues. It seemed, in any event, time to take notice.

Now it was Anya who got me all onto this faery thing in the first place, when in a recent session with her over Skype, we’d had a perfectly clear signal all throughout the hour-plus conversation until, toward the end, little pixilated swooshes started appearing suddenly, moving in quick diagonals across the screen from my end. Anya got excited, picking up that it was an elemental spirit that lived around my home, impatiently trying to make contact, and that she, Anya, had been seeing a lot of these beings recently. Since this very selective interference seemed to happen with an uncanny sense of purpose, and I’d also been seeing similar things out of the corners of my eyes for some time previously, I was prepared to take Anya’s advice, by way of saying hello, to set out some sort of offering for the spirit, a small cup of water, into which I floated the head of a flower…

The article on Hidden Experience concerns Mike’s friend’s hastily shot photograph, in which a perfectly clear and pixie-like woman’s disembodied head floats almost concealed behind the branch of a tree in dense foliage.

I’d been asking the spirit to show me what she looks like. I guess asking a shape-shifter what it looks like is just walking straight into it; but since this seems a retroactive sort of joke, unhinged from any sequence of normal chronology… it just makes the joke that much more funny. Anya did tell me that they have a very different relationship to time than human people.

It was only the night before this, in my regular meditation, that I’d invited the spirit in for a talk – “talk” being in this case very loosely defined – and had (though not for the first time at all) a very vivid sense of presence, something like a thick, cold wind approach me from behind, an electric crawling sensation inside of my skull, at the back of my skull, and this very much like the sense of a presence I’d had over a decade ago, when I’d experimented for a time with channeling and connected to something identifying itself as IMHOTEP (and yeah, it spoke in caps) – and though this presence now was similar, it was also different. I get the feeling now as I write about it: it has a cool, blue character to it, and is uniquely feminine, which is a hard thing to describe adequately, because it has nothing to do with sex, but is very much more abstract than that. The IMHOTEP character was ruddy red, big and cloudlike, and masculine, and though it’s been a long while since I’ve tried to contact that, the impression remains vivid.

I made it a regular part of my day, setting out the cup of water, getting a new flower for it when the old one wilted, tossing out the little bugs and specks of dirt that accumulated in the cup from birds coming to drink from it. For more than a month, the small ceramic cup remained as an ongoing offering. When I had to recently prepare the house for fumigation (beetles in the wood were eating it to the ground) with a silent apology, I took the cup in from its post on the back deck, beside the tree where the faery seems to keep herself. When later I went outside again, at the exact moment I stepped out the door, a sparrow smashed itself against the window and died right at my feet. It was as if the faery were saying, “Hey! We were having a conversation here… ” after I’d rudely hung up the phone. I watched the small bird’s wings pump slowly in and out as it gradually resigned itself to not living anymore, black eyes staring dazedly nowhere. I’ve since put the cup back out.

And I noticed, when looking again at the receipt from the grocery store, that my impulse buy had been rung up mistakenly by the friendly cashier. An out-dated pastry item, marked down on the box, she’d keyed in at full price. It was an accident that put my total into the realm of significance.

Ireland, 2001; the Soft Music of Angels



In 2001, for our honeymoon, my new wife and I flew first into London. There we rented a car and drove West, to the small town of Box, Wiltshire, where I’d lived for most of a year some short time before, and then went on to the ancient city of Bath, where I’d also stayed for a time. We continued through Wales, caught a ferry across the water, and spent the remaining week or so driving through the Irish countryside, more or less without aim, stopping when we felt like we’d found someplace we wanted to stay. It was in some small town along a bay, I forget the name of it now, where we held up for a night, and where I heard, in the sound of the tolling of the churchbell that next day, the angel chorus.

We’d walked the streets of the village that morning before we left. So many of the particulars of that place are now lost to me – what the room was like where we slept, or if we made love, or if our breakfast, or the meal of the night before, was any good – but I do remember clearly how with every great peal of the massive bell of the stone church nearby behind us as we walked the cobbled streets, soon to leave, how in its reverberant, hanging notes, I could just barely detect, and if I listened carefully, very closely, thought that I could tell, voice from voice, note from note, each singly, an impossibly sweet harmony sustained between them of human voices, or of nearly human voices, of perfect pitch, of perfect and unearthly chorus, quiet, as though revealed by, yet somehow also held within the solid sound of heavy-struck and old, odd metal. And I knew also that I’d heard this sort of thing before, once, or something like it before, once when I was younger, not exact in its qualities but like it – a sound likewise concealed within a sound, a song not exactly there: I’d listened once when I was young to an unlikely music I’d found by accident one night inside of a wall beside my head where I slept, and in the wall was I think the noise of a pipe, or some such noise, and somehow my mind had parsed the sound, had taken it apart – a white sound, an even and full-spectrum sound – and piece by piece arrayed it into the music, so-called, like an organ of sorts that played, endlessly, slow cycles of notes in sparse and obsessive repetition, the same thing I’m certain Philip Glass had once heard but never written nor played it himself. I’d listened then to the music for an hour, or maybe longer than an hour, until I realized that I’d not heard it at all.

Enter Mysterious Dot; Sedona, Arizona, 1999 (Pt. 2)



Sitting in meditation on a rock at the end of the trail through Boynton Canyon, near the cliff ruins – which for all I knew these flat rocks could have been stacked up only the week previous into the little fortress walls; shoulder-height and roofless, there was something more than a little disappointing to these ancient Indian relics, which struck me more as a fort built by enterprising children to play at being Indians inside of – I used the visualization exercise I’d only just learned from the psychic channel in order to connect with some other entity (the one I would in time identify as IMHOTEP) and felt energized, though more by a high level of anxiety than any sense of coherent spiritual contact. I wasn’t really expecting much from the exercise. This was, after all, only the first time I’d ever done it. Nevertheless, when finished, I walked the winding trail through the canyon back to its source with a sense of deep significance, searching for a presence of something – though with half my mind I doubted that there was anything more to this feeling than a desperate need to believe I’d accomplished something, that this whole episode had been more than simply being taken for a sucker. With another part of my mind, I felt as if I needed to watch for signs, because they would likely be there.

There were few others on the trail; in fact I don’t now remember anybody else, though I did at one point see, at less than halfway back, up ahead quite some distance, a white and moving dot of what I took to be the fabric of a sweatshirt. Though I hadn’t actually seen this, I had the vivid impression of a middle-aged woman coming in my direction. This was visible only for some brief moments through the foliage between us, yet it (or she) seemed clearly enough to be moving toward me, human-sized and following the trail ahead, in the dappled sunlight and shadows of deciduous trees, and I don’t know where exactly I’d gotten this impression that it was a middle-aged woman, because I never saw any detail of this figure beyond the whiteness of the shirt, but that was the picture I was distinctly left with. When I eventually reached the point in the trail where the two of us should have met up with one another, there was nobody. Maybe I’d just misjudged our trajectories, I thought, but even further on, there was no sign at all of her. When I got to the place where I’d last seen her white dot through the leaves, I stopped and looked carefully around. Nobody. But what I found instead was only the barest hint of something like a trail, not exactly a well-worn path, but a path all the same, undoubtedly, something that at least animals had traveled. It led up a rock embankment to my right, so I followed it, scrambling up. I wanted to see where this woman could have disappeared to. But I never did find her, if there even was one – although a short distance further in, well out of sight of the main trail, there was a plateau of red rock, and across the shelf were dozens and dozens of deliberately constructed little piles of rocks in small pyramidal constellations. These were things I’d sometimes run across in the area, along the trails: little constructions left by hikers, I supposed, other pilgrims to these mystic lands, to signify a spot where they’d stopped and maybe (I guessed) found some kind of insight, or at least a pleasant moment of meditation. Or maybe they just liked where they were, because it was nice. On this shelf, these arrangements were clustered in every direction, closely together, as if an orgy of meditation had taken place there; a whole battalion of seekers wide-eyed as myself, come to this particular spot, hotly visualizing God knows what; or just sitting and, you know, just sitting. But there were no people, not now. I felt certain that I had been led here deliberately by the appearance of the mysterious white dot, which I realized only in that moment had never really appeared as anything other than just that.

In a related aside, I later ran across a very similar massed arrangement of small stones. It was late in October of 2001, and I was on my honeymoon, driving through Southwestern Ireland. My new wife and I stopped somewhere in the countryside to see a long barrow tomb or collection of standing stones, I forget exactly where. A tour bus had stopped also in the parking lot, and there was no shortage of people about, hefting cameras, on this bleakly overcast afternoon. Many had gone to snap photos of the small monument or returned already to the coach, but nobody seemed interested in the rock field immediately next to the lot where hundreds of these small arrangements had been made. No one seemed to so much as noticed it. There was something wondrous to seeing so many little deliberate piles of rock, so carefully and absurdly set. There was nothing haphazard about it: hundreds of these stacks balanced directly beside each other, with no space to move between them. The effort to do this would have been enormous, and carefully considered as well, and though I don’t mean to imply that there was anything paranormal to it, it struck me as at least a little curious that no one else seemed to notice this or care.

I remained in or near Sedona for another week, having taken a room in a bed and breakfast in nearby Jerome. Soon my friends would arrive – they would be flying in later. But for now, I was by myself, engaged in having visions, writing madly about everything I thought or saw or thought I saw in a manic and all-but-unreadable, looping scribble, filling page after page of notebook paper with the wild and blank intensity of fever. I’ve since lost the notebooks. I don’t know what I wrote, and don’t think it matters. I spent the remaining days in a desperate, wired state, looking for something I couldn’t imagine, needing something I would never quite find.

Monday

Imhotep and the Mysterious White Dot; Sedona, Arizona, 1999 (Pt. 1)


When the psychic told me she would not allow me to record our session for legal reasons, I should’ve twigged that something wasn’t right. Put it up to over-credulity, perhaps – I’d like to think I’m a little wiser now, thirteen years later (I hope to God that I am, at least a little) – or perhaps to the willing suspension of disbelief that a certain kind of story requires, and sometimes, deserves. And I’d been in her chair before, once, one year previous, when I and my friends had found her while on our vacation; my first time in Sedona, Arizona, and her little house at the end of town with the glass globes arranged all about the garden outside and the big sign, says PSYCHIC, and something about it – maybe it was the glass globes – just appealed to me: the seeker in me, the sucker in me. It was on that first visit that she’d told me she could teach me to channel, but that the time wasn’t right, I should come back in a year. Okay, I thought. I don’t remember much else of the particulars of that first visit, other than the chair she’d put me into was an assemblage of copper tubes, having a pyramid on top, and she placed coins and amulets over my arms and wrists, told me that for health reasons I should drink my own urine, or, as an alternative (which I took her up on) allow myself to be shuttled over to her colleague’s office for the most expensive emergency massage I’ve ever had. (One of my two friends I’d come with, who also had a session with this woman, got exactly the same advice re: the necessary consumption of bodily waste. I don’t know how she resolved the issue. My other friend politely declined any services whatever.)*

So when I returned a year later, it was for the express purposes of learning how to channel. The psychic did not remember me. She did not tell me to drink my own urine. She put me into the chair with the pyramid on top and once again balanced coins and amulets onto my forearms so that I couldn’t move without them falling off me, and as before, I remember little of the actual session, other than it involved how I would be able to use sound as a healing technology (which still seems to me like a good idea), and in the end I was given some practical instruction in how to channel. It was a very different sort of reading from the one previous, in that there were no histrionics, no attempt to scare or upsell me, perhaps because the massage practitioner had by then moved on.

I won’t describe the specifics of the instruction, other than it involved a manner of meditation, and it was something that I was eager to start out on. The psychic told me that I should go to one of the several famed power spots in the area, most of which I was already familiar with, and spend some time trying the exercises. I decided to go into nearby Boynton Canyon, as that would involve a decent hike in, and offer some seclusion as well.

As an aside, it was year or two later, having dinner with a friend of my now ex-wife’s, a German woman, a no-bullshit character employed in a medical supervisory post, when she told us the story of how she had hiked this same canyon several years earlier, alone, just shortly after the construction of the high-end (and reputedly cursed) resort positioned just at its mouth. She’d come upon the splayed remains, some distance up a ridge, of a coyote that had, to all appearances, been ritually sacrificed, and she felt thereafter, for the remainder of her stay in the region, as if eyes were following her everywhere she went. In a nearby mountain town some forty miles away, the people she passed as she strolled along the street all seemed to watch her knowingly, aware that she’d found their secret. This was a woman not given to flights of imagination or paranoia, not normally. But then these were not normal circumstances, at least for her.

Now, for me, later, in the springtime of 1999, sitting on a rock at the terminus of the canyon trail revealed nothing in particular except a feeling, though it was not one I could easily describe. Later, with more work with the exercise, this feeling would resolve into something more specific and pronounced. I would feel myself being flooded by a peculiar intensity to the back of the inside of my head, the sensation of a presence of something very big, to which I attached the name IMHOTEP (like that, in caps), not knowing at first who this represented historically, or what, mythologically. That I would research and learn more about in time. But at first, I only had the name and the strange intensity of feeling – though in this initial attempt, I didn’t even have that much: only a vague sensation, a hopeful tingle, and also, I found, a vast and lasting anxiety that would carry me through the whole of the next week.



*Disclaimer: I am sometimes an idiot. If I have a functioning bullshit filter at all today, it’s because I have willingly subjected myself to egregious amounts of bullshit in the past. I will probably also do so in the future. In my defense, I think it’s maybe part and parcel of being open to the weird that one also accepts, at least for a time, the stupid. Also, holding a figure such as the above-described professional psychic up for scrutinous ridicule, or ridiculous scrutiny, is about as challenging as dynamiting barrels of carp. The point here is less that this woman would appear to be patently fraudulent, at least 85% so, but that I returned to see her again. I drove 1300 miles plus, not only for that reason, but also for that reason, perhaps on the basis of that remaining 15%. Also: this does not represent a baby + bathwater = everything tossed scenario as regards the veracity of psychic- and/or mediumship as a whole, in my opinion, as I have written in the past, in admiring terms, of professional p/m Anya Briggs, who is, I believe, among others of my direct experience, a truly gifted channel and someone whose integrity proves worthy of my trust. It is a complex issue in which the quality of information received and the character of the receiver can be very different and sometimes unrelated things; i.e. the information may be worthwhile and/or it may be garbage, depending on its invisible source; and/or, the person receiving may be a clown or a sincere human, or perhaps an entirely sincere clown, pretending to be human, receiving information that is real or spurious or combinations of both, etc. Etc.

[Etc.]

Tuesday

A Mist or Matter [Part 2, that is, as in, more, continued…]


The period of time in which I so often saw these falling stars, since it seems defined by their frequency, is maybe a thing worth thinking about. If I’ve learned anything in the keeping of these journals, and later on, these postings, it’s that of the majority of my “encounters” – if even such a word is the word applicable here, which it isn’t – the thing seen is important in the context into which it inserts itself; that these intersections of the supranormal (even if it were often only the idea of such) are like little color-flags stuck into the pages of my life’s book at points of interest, moments in which the plot turns, the main character becomes a little more seasoned, a little less bothersome, perhaps a bit more like someone you’d want to talk to.

From 2006 until 2009, or thereabouts, it was a time of redefinition and starting over, and starting over yet again. After a disastrous marriage and failed business venture, I needed to find a new career, or at least something with a living wage attached to it, and had no idea where to go. I’d had a career in design before all of that, but it had run out – just simply run out. Then I thought I’d found my stride afterwards in filmmaking, a childhood dream, but that dead-ended also. I’d left Seattle and lived for a short while on a sailboat in Redondo, CA, trying to think of how to start looking for a new life, where it occurred to me – rocking back and forth on the waves in the marina, waiting to hear back on the slew of resum├ęs and demo reels that I’d driven twelve hundred miles to hand-deliver, now watching some absolutely uninteresting cooking show on a portable tv – that I could go back to school (yet again) and learn to cook professionally. It was a stupid idea. I had no background, demonstrable ability, not even any particular interest in cooking at all, and what’s more, every single punter in America seemed to have come up with exactly the same idea at the same time, although I didn’t understand that yet. But a year and a half later I still had no better idea, in fact no other idea at all, so I did it, and it was in the midst of this whole process of deciding and taking action that the stars, I noticed, started falling out of the sky. I moved to Rhinebeck, New York, where the stars also fell, usually as I drove home at night after classes, and once even a fireball went shooting lazily over the highway. While on my externship in Colorado, I saw a tongue of cartoon flame form and vanish in the air beside me, like Casper the Holy Ghost. This decision, more or less an arbitrary one, but one undertaken with the inanely maniacal, single-minded fervor of a robot, more for the sake of shaking things up and making some kind of desperately-needed change than for the knowledge or skill in itself (which I could almost not care about) seemed to fray the edges of the real, to pull all this fizzy marginalia out of the sky and make me think, and look, and think again, and look, if only to wonder what was going on, or if anything truly was.

Eventually, all that stuff stopped falling. I think it stopped falling. The sky has stopped falling; I’m only here now, and I have to ask, is this what happens when I step to the side, lose the path, turn orthogonally out from the constraints of a concessionary life and run counter to sense, even to my own nature? Could I make it happen for real if I were to go truly mad, and stop only playing at it? Would that help, and I am capable of such a step? Because it seems to me as if I need other magic now; that an act of will, if absurd enough, can rewrite the facts of the person, because it has to, just as it can shake out the more arbitrary facts of the sky, as if the stars were only people once, or were people now, or if they were only people.

A Mist or Matter of Sharply Dropping Stars


I would have written it off as fantasy entirely if it weren’t for two things. The first was that for every time I saw one, it seemed too much like silent but emphatic punctuation, the night sky’s underscoring to whatever thought or event of the moment, with its commentary to the effect of, “Yes, now pay attention,” or “It is so, but not quite as you think,” or some such gnomic assurance, rather like a cosmic Magic 8 Ball – but one that answers always in the affirmative, and only when it wants to. I look up into the darkness just in time to notice as a point of light at that moment drops straight down, and this happens again and again. I’m driving, I’m waiting in line, when I used to smoke I’d be outside smoking… It doesn’t shoot across the sky in a great arc, leaving a trail of vapor, as would any self-respecting meteor, but simply moves in a steady progression from point A to B, and always, from my perspective, directly down. Between the years of 2006 and 2008 or 09, it was happening a lot, or I noticed it a lot. And whenever I saw this, my mind would split and run off in opposing directions.

The myth- or mothmind, the one that has wings, would say that something somewhere has just given me a message, to clue in to what I was thinking or doing at the time; that it means something, that it’s telling me that something is right or significant. It’s a sign. The other mind, the one that’s made of ice and rocks, would tell me that I’ve just watched some ice or rocks fall through the atmosphere and get themselves changed by friction into gas, and really there’s nothing more to it than that. And then what’s more, it turns back onto the mothmind and in that admonishing tone makes a point of it: There is nothing more to it than that. As if speaking to a child.

I have internalized the entire debate.

The other reason I’ve not entirely acceded to the bullying tendencies of the rock-headed side is because the other possibility, the mothmind, has by happenstance or synchronicity found a kind of validation in an unlikely context. I’d been reading again, probably for the first time in well over a decade, Whitley Strieber’s Communion, which is full of the wonder and horror and uncertainty of some really rough treatment at the hands of some really strange people. What makes Communion an unlikely context is that, amidst all of this extreme circumstance, Whitley describes the smallest and most timorous thing: exactly the same phenomenon of looking up at the sky, and finding, as if by answer to his burning question, a single point of light drop straight down. The thing that he’d been asking for at that moment was some confirmation from his visitors that their interventions, which he’d only just become aware of, were real. Needless to say, he is sharply disappointed by this display as any sort of answer. He does not say – not in the text of the book – that he might have only seen a meteor; he tacitly accepts it for what its image suggests, which is an entirely unsatisfactory response, a lame answer to a difficult and important question. What happens in this moment for me as I read this, is that my story, my own myth, is now woven retroactively into the image-substance of Strieber’s in a way that it hadn’t been already. The mothmind takes wing, circles about the fire. It has been supplied with literary metaphor deeper than its own imagining, touching now upon an idea shared. This does not make it a literal fact or facet of visitor encounter, but it does make it something.

For Strieber, this sign was soon thereafter followed by a contact experience, in full consciousness, that was quite profound. No such thing has happened to me. Not even close. Instead, I was dogged by dropping stars for nearly three years, until, after some long time, I realized that I wasn’t seeing them any more. These came often over Whidbey Island, and just as frequently over Rhinebeck, NY – at opposite ends of the country, where I lived during the time.

One happened as I waited in the ferry line, having just come from Seattle and the first public screening of my film All My Love, late in 2006, in a small theater to about twenty people, two of whom walked out an hour into its 90 minutes (which I’m still convinced was because they’d wandered into the wrong theater – easy enough to do at this venue, and as frequently happens – and were too polite to leave any sooner). The audience, I believe – though I have never met them or known their identities, nor had the producer given me any warning that this would be the case – seemed to be made up in part by benefactors of the film, the controllers of family foundations and private donors, and judging from overheard comments, they may not have been convinced their support (or perhaps only the reasons offered, though not by me, for which their support had been solicited) was well-represented. Reactions among the small audience were mixed: my friends and colleagues liked it, while others left somewhat baffled. I went home with some profoundly ambivalent feelings, but I knew at least that I had done something. I’d put a lot of work into the film, and it was the best that I could make it at the time. Waiting in the ferry queue for the next boat, I looked up toward my destination across the water, and when I saw just then a pinprick spot of light descend from directly overhead, it seemed as if it were a silent acknowledgement, telling me that yes, something worthwhile had been accomplished, something toward the fulfillment of my purpose on earth; the work itself, yes, but moreover that it had been seen.


Aerial Light: The Lost American Highway Soul


I’ve done my share of driving. It used to be along a North/South axis between my home state of Washington and points in California, Nevada and Arizona. Finally in 2007 I broke through to the East/West axis in a significant way when I moved for a time to New York. I’d first started this driving thing a decade earlier, after living for most of a year in the west of England, where my colleague and friend Karolyn told me – my being an American – about her plan to someday come to America, to rent a car and drive it across the country. This was  how I finally came to understand something about the vast spaces that the US represents to someone in the relatively compact UK, the opportunities for emptiness and landscape unavailable in a country that can be traversed in a single day. Of course I’d read On The Road and Blue Highways. The concept of a long drive was not foreign to me; I’d even taken a few road trips myself. But it was clear that I’d never quite thought of it in the right way before, much less appreciated what was freely available to me in my own home country – a place which I’d up until then thought of as more of an international embarrassment than anything else. In America, there was space, an entire continent’s width of it, a baffling sense of scale which, if you let it, could reduce the single human ego to more or less exactly what it was: one tiny point of reference, a moving dot, a thing so easily lost sight of once the perspective is opened and the scenery, even if only partially, immersed into. The prospect of this can be absolutely terrifying, and not out of weakness or undo ego-attachment, but simply from being a vulnerable human animal. One becomes so entirely lost in it. One’s life and safety depend on the functioning of the machinery, on having enough gas in the tank.

At first I made a point of taking the small, forking roads, keeping as free from the interstate as possible. This was usually far more interesting, more varied and lively. But as these personal transits became over time more functional, and as gas prices crept higher, the journey came to be about less about the journey than the straightest line as shortest distance between points A and B. I’d come to appreciate the efficiency of the toll highways of the Midwest, with their arrangements of full-service rest stops at regular intervals designed to prevent unnecessary deviations or subjections to contingencies of velocity. A singular focus upon steady movement was, under these conditions, gained, and this was something that my soul had its hunger for, though no doubt much also had been traded out along the way.

It was along one of these toll highways, running, I believe, through Indiana – it seems to be in the nature of the thing that specifics of which state or which year or even which direction are lost – and I was either returning to Washington from New York, or I was going to New York from Colorado a year earlier. This would have put it in either July of 2009, or October of 2008, respectively. It was sometime after nightfall, though it wouldn’t have been terribly late – I tend not to drive late when  traveling over a course of several days like that. What I saw was just the briefest glimpse, but it was clear enough: there was a light – I couldn’t say how big or small, just a white ball of light – and it was less than a hundred feet off the ground, above the road, a short distance ahead. I only noticed it at all, as opposed to thinking it a streetlamp, because of the sudden movement as the thing shot off, running in parallel to the freeway, heading in the same direction as me – that is, away from me – and going very fast. There wasn’t any sound from it apart from the noise of the road, which I couldn’t hear for the stereo. A helicopter that close would’ve made a lot of noise, I’m sure. It didn’t accelerate, but was just in an instant going about as fast as a jet airplane might, and vanished in the distance as quickly as it had appeared.

Like so much else of this sort that I’ve seen, or think that I have seen, there was only the briefest, tiny glimpse, as if to tantalize – a desire frustrated – the suggestion of something that anyone could explain away without much effort. This convinces no one, not even me, but I have the sense that it isn’t supposed to; in fact, that it’s supposed exactly not to. Suggestion, impression, the reading into of an active and conscious projection is the level of engagement that seems to be asked of me, and certainty or conclusion are what I will (perhaps thankfully) never be given.

But because I’m a writer and I tell stories, and more specifically because as a writer who is shaping these fragments of my life into stories, and thereby changing the very structure of my life as I’m living it, the need for an ending requires, if not the certainty of conclusions, then at least a point at which to wrap things up, a bell to ring that signifies the end, which is this: that was my soul; I lost my soul, it got away from me; look: I lost my soul while driving; I lost my soul while driving so far up and down the interstates of America, and in such a hurry, and because I was so small, and now I have to get it back; I have to chase it down; I have to chase my soul down; I have to chase my soul back down in my imagination, because where else am I going to find it? And I have to find it there because there is where it is. Okay?