Friday

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.