I have had many premonitions in my life, but none as strong as the morning the Shuttle Columbia broke up over Texas. I am a Deadhead and also a NASA buff. I live in South Florida and get NASA TV whenever there is a shuttle mission or live launch of an unmanned vehicle. Anyway, the morning Columbia Broke up, I had a dream at the exact same time as Columbia was breaking up, that I was outside with my mom. We were near a factory of some sort and fireballs of all different sizes were streaking from the sky, and they seemed to be from a jet that was crashing or breaking up in the air. I remember vividly yelling to my mom over the noise of the falling objects, that we needed to get back to the right, very important to get to the right. Anyway, it was so disturbing that it woke me up. I told my wife right after I woke up. Now, I had forgotten that I had wanted to get up early to watch the landing on Tv (just after 8am our time), so I went to my computer to see how my Further.net downloads had been going the night before. As always, I started at my homepage which has news on it. I noticed a headline reading something to the effect of "Houston loses contact with shuttle 16 minutes before landing". It was then i remembered the landing would be on, and figured I would turn on the tv to see the crew had landed and it had been a temporary problem. It was then I saw the footage of the pieces falling live as it was happening and to my astonishment it was almost exactly like had been in my dream, which at this time had been only 15 minutes or so before. I have never had such an exact dream like that, and hope not to again any time soon.I also noticed later that he last communications from the shuttle showed they were veering off course badly to the left and need to get back to the right, I wonder if that was why I had to get to the right in my dream. It was really unsettling, but the true loss was the seven lives that ended that day. God bless them and their families, and I hope the shuttle flies again soon as they would have wanted it that way.
Phil Ross Boca Raton, FL firstname.lastname@example.org
The day before Jerry passed I bought a guitar, I had to work the following day but I couldn't put it down. As it turned out I stayed up all night playing. That morning my fingers were trashed and I had some time to kill before work. So, living in Vegas, I decided to go to the desert behind the Silver Bowl and watch the sun rise. I sat in my Isuzu Amigo, you know one of those open top deals, listening to Infrared Roses as the sun peeked over the mountain. I had a massive audio set-up in the truck. The music was very loud. All at once I felt someone looking at me from behind, I turned my head toward the rear of the vehicle and a very calm Blackbird sat on the back seat. I looked at him he looked at me and we watched the desert sky and surrounding mountains transformed in the shadows of the rising sun. I went to work that day and of course knew nothing of what happened to Jerry until a co-worker told me because I listened to tapes all day. When I did find out, my body! was instantly covered in goose bumps. After work I decided to go back to my desert spot behind the Silver Bowl. As I approached the entrance there were police everywhere. They were not blocking the road so I went on in. Further down the road I noticed the smoke. The desert was burning.
Zelda Pinwheel email@example.com
When I was younger, about 10 or 11, my sister and I shared a room. We were both sleeping in the dead of night (no pun intended!) when my mother came through our bedroom door and screamed so loud I am sure the whole neighborhood heard her. It seems she had just been visited by her mother who had been dead for over 10 years! When she had calmed down enough to speak, my mother told us the following story:
She was dreaming that she was talking to her mother. Her mother was insisting that she go check on her two daughters. At that point, my mother was then shaken out of her dream. She just shrugged off the "request" as part of a silly dream. However, as soon as her head hit the pillow ( she wasn't sleeping this time) she heard her mother's voice state loud and clear, "Jeannette, go and check on your daughters!" Since she was already awake, my mother decided to go ahead and check on me and my sister. When she came through our bedroom door, she immediately saw the burglar halfway through our bedroom window! Her screams were enough to scare him away but to this day, I always remember that I have a guardian angel looking out for me - my grandmother. Even though I never knew her (she died before I was born) I feel an incredible sense of peace and wellness whenever I think of that night.
Stephanie Allen, Margate, Florida StephBren2269@cs.com
It was June 1974 and my brother Art and I were hitchhiking from Mendocino to Oregon. It was near evening and we were getting a bit impatient as we been hitching rides all day and we had only progressed a hundred miles or so. I was beginning to think about where we might camp the night and Art said, as he always did in these situations, that he would pray for a solution.
(Now to set the context: Art was 22 and I was 16; Art was a fervent Christian and I was, let us say, an enthusiast for the Grateful Dead. Art carried his big black bible and pile of little white tracts to give away while I carried a tape deck, wore a tie dyed T-shirt and had a stack of colourful promotional cards of the new Dead albums which I too would give away, like tracts. We were, it seems now in retrospect, just a typical pair of California hitchhikers for 1974.)
Anyway, Art knelt by the side of the road and started to pray for a lift and I cringed in embarrassment, trying to hide behind my backpack as I listened to my little tape deck.
After about an hour we still hadn't gotten any rides and we both were walking in circles and Art said he'd pray one more time. I said to him (as only a brazen 16 year old can to his older brother) "Come on Art, do you really think Jesus cares if we get a ride tonight? I am not going to believe any or your religious stuff unless you pray and we get a ride all the way to Kim's front door."
(Kim's place was our destination, about 500 miles away. He lived up a dirt road in a farmhouse on the outskirts of a small town in central Oregon.)
Art took up the challenge and prayed for such a lift. The next car that came toward us stopped and a unshaven man in a chequered shirt and baseball cap got out and told us to climb into the back of his truck, so we did. We drove for a while and then he stopped the truck and asked if Art could drive so he could have a beer. So Art drove, the man drank and I sat in the back, watching the evening descend on the Pacific Ocean.
Later that night the man put us up at a Ramada Inn somewhere outside of Eureka and he drank at the bar all night while Art read the bible and I listened to my tapes. The next day he let Art do all the driving while he dozed in his alcoholic stupor in the back seat and I breathed fumes coming into the back of the truck from his dodgy muffler system. He told Art he could drive wherever we wanted to go as long as if it was close to being on the man's way - he was headed toward Spokane.
Kim's place was not directly, but near enough on his way, and so we drove all day into Oregon, then turned off the main road, drove further into the countryside, made a turn up an unmarked dirt road and bounded up Kim's driveway and right to the front door of his farmhouse which was named Glad Tidings.
We thanked the man, and as he drove away Art just smiled, knowingly.
I told Art I couldn't deny what had happened and that indeed is was a pretty amazing coincidence that we would get a ride with a stranger all the way from Mendocino to the front door of Kim's farmhouse in Oregon. I said I'd give him the benefit of the doubt this time and he could chalk one up for his faith.
Well it's nearly thirty years later and Art is still a committed Christian and I am still just a little bit curious about this ride that led us so directly to Glad Tidings. (Who was that man in the chequered shirt?)
For the converted this
story may serve as further proof for what they already know, for
the rest of us, it is yet another uncanny incident to ponder.
- Don Defenderfer
I would like to relate
one of my experiences and my heartfelt belief in the Uncanny (I
like to personally believe it is the all enveloping force of God
- no religious denomination).
One of my first premonitions was one of my strongest. Of course the first of anything can seem the strongest. Anyway, I am having a dream and after a bunch of dreamscape images which pertain to the story, yet would make it too long, I am watching through my own eyes (in the dream) a crowd of people. Suddenly, one man takes an axe and sinks it into the head of another. I feel the pain in my own head but have to look into a mirror hanging in a tree to check myself (I'm looking through my eyes, so I can't see my head). I then wake up and am not only shocked by how violent and real the dream seemed, but I can feel moisture running down my scalp in the front and back of my head. A lot like rain when it seeps through your hair and runs down your scalp. I try to wipe at it and check what is going on, but there is nothing there but the dripping feeling. It remains, so I get up and go to the bathroom to have a physical look see. Nothing is there but the sensation of dripping. I quickly race back to my room and try to write down every and anything I can about the whole dream before it fades. It is frustrating how quick it fades, but I scribble fast enough to get the gist of it.
Two weeks later I am at a friends house and he starts chasing me with a buger on his finger. We are in a barn full of hay/straw at different levels. I run full speed into a barn beam with my head and split it open.
Two more weeks later I stop dead in my tracks upon realizing the coincidence.
It is 18 years since then and I always have a sign or feeling before anything serious happens to me. Sometimes it doesn't have to be serious. Sometimes it helps me fix my car or avoid unpleasantness. I have never seen a ghost or a good hallucination. This uncanny-ness is like a muscle that can show me things, but I cannot flex it or control it.
- G.S.Swenerton GSSwenarton@aol.com
I have lived in Charlotte,
North Carolina for over twelve years. My wife and I have been
to many shows around the country and have traveled with US Air
from our airport to many locations. I have flown in almost every
size and type of plane that serves in USAir's fleet.
A few months ago I was up all night sending out resumes since I have been laid-off for over a year and really need some work. I went to bed at around six that morning, tired from having tailoring resumes for each ad for many hours (all the while listening to some great dead shows). I don't remember everything that I may have dreamt that morning but one dream that I did remember left me feeling so very strange that I had to tell my wife over the telephone as soon as I woke up. We were near the downtown area on foot, seeing the skyscrapers from a distance. It was a particularly good view of the city and she and I stopped to enjoy the view. Just as we were about to walk away from this great view, I saw a small gray and blue USAir plane flying. The plane was very close and seemed to be on an almost vertical trajectory as though it was a rocket flying straight up in the air instead of horizontally. As I gazed at the plane a feeling of horror crept over me.
The plane stopped moving up and began to descend backward toward the ground. It was heading back to the ground at an angle that it brought it in our direction. We had to run from the where we stood to avoid being hit by the plane which crashed into a rectangular building in front of us. Terrified at what we saw, I felt a strong fleeting sensation as though we should run away from this place, as fast as we could, and not look back.
Although I was certain that there were no survivors I told my wife to get help and I would go back to see if anyone was still alive. The building had collapsed and visibility was low with lots of smoke and debris in the air. I felt a terrible feeling of total dread as I walked into the wreckage. I could see bodies scattered around the area mixed with pieces of airplane and building.
To my total amazement, the closer I got to the bodies the more I noticed movement. As I approached, I heard moans and the movements became clearer. No one was even badly injured! They all slowly got up and began to stumble past me toward the street as though they were only stunned. The next morning a small USAir plane crashed at the airport killing everyone on board. It was described as having a tail rudder malfunction and had made a vertical incline before falling back and crashing into a hangar. I have no strange feelings as I write this, only a profound sadness for the families of the victims. This is the only purpose of my premonition that I can think of, to tell others. Like fire on the mountain.
-Chris H. firstname.lastname@example.org
It was the winter of
'92 and I was sitting in the windowsill of my third story apartment
in downtown Traverse City. My roommates had gone out with some
other friends of ours for the evening so I had the place to myself
and thought I'd take advantage of the time alone struggling with
attempts at learning how to play my guitar. I'd only been
at it for a few months and my novice status was
quite evident, so I was uncomfortable with subjecting others to
the horrific sounds I torturously emitted during this learning
At some point I grew tired of listening to myself, frustrated at my inability...so I drifted off guitar still in hand, admiring the quiet beauty of the winter evening. Traverse City is magical this time of year, easily transporting one to dreams and distant faraway places, children to visions of Santa and his elves flying whimsically through starlit nights. The snow was coming down in large fluffy flakes, capturing the light in rainbow prisms, sparkling with crystal faeries in the air and on it's surface as it blanketed the deserted street below.
I was a fairly recent convert to the dead scene only having attended a handful of shows, my first being in the late eighties, but all of which had had a profound effect upon my psyche, experiences far too lengthy to go into here, but that had most certainly contributed to this moment. I began having a conversation with Jerry with no intention of any purpose or result, and as I was talking with him I was filled with this all consuming desire to play with the expression and ability that he had demonstrated during my exposure to his music and I communicated those feelings to him.
Suddenly, my hands were not my own. They were still there and it was my fingers on the strings of my guitar, but it wasn't me directing them, it was someone else. It was Jerry. We were sharing the same space and he was playing my guitar carrying me along with him. The notes were so tender and beautiful I wanted to cry and I felt each one of them as a loving caress, each sound it's own voice, it's own body, life, energy, warmth and color, painting pictures, forming dreamscapes in their unity. I felt emotions sweep through me as each note rang out, exhilarated with the effortlessness and ease, the flowing streams of music flooding the space around me. It was the closest I'd ever been to what I imagine heaven could be.
I have no idea how long this lasted and I was so carried away that I didn't notice my roommate Tom, who was also a bass and sax player, and our friends return from band rehearsal. They came into the darkened room and sat down on the floor listening quietly to what they thought was me playing. After some time, Tom spoke up and said, "You've got it girl, you've really got it."
The spell was broken and my hands stopped abruptly. Jerry was gone, off astral traveling somewhere else I thought. But he had given me a song. A gift of metaphysical proportions, and I was truly grateful.
I called the piece "Shadow Love" and put lyrics to it that summer sitting on the shore of Grand Traverse Bay. Jerry had become my muse and the song was written about him. As with many lyrics that I've written, I didn't understand all of the meanings and symbolism used until later on as they have a tendency to reveal themselves to me often languorously and through varying methods. Though it is intensely special to me and I played it often and still do, after I finished it, it was also a bit difficult for me to don due to it's content and it's sense of foreboding.
Though most people
interpret it as a broken love song in the generally assumed traditional
sense, it is a love song, but it is also about Jerry's addiction
and health which I had no knowledge of at the time I wrote the
lyrics but became aware of further down the road. And it was so
sad and bittersweet to me that this was the song that had evolved
out of such beautiful music."
I've never been able to play it the same way Jerry and I did that night. The experience did not endow me with the dimension of his ability or talents. But I was a better writer and musician for it and within months of finishing "Shadow Love" I was recording and performing my own songs for the first time in public with barely a year's worth of self training on my guitar. It's the song I always use to start and warm up my fingers with and the only one that I include in every performance.
- Kimberly Smith email@example.com
I work in the entertainment industry and had the pleasure to work in several arenas, stadiums, and theaters across the state of Pennsylvania. I apologize in advance for the brief history lesson, but I feel I have to do it.
Now for those of you who don't know, there are many stories of theaters having a "resident ghost" living in almost every theater. It is very unusual for a patron to have an encounter with a ghost, but I would believe it if I heard it. Our theater is a fully restored building that was constructed in the early 1900's. Several years after its opening, it burnt down and was reconstructed on the same site. So, almost 100 years later, here we are! Now, it's time for my story.
My boss has told me of experiences he had with the ghost, but you never really believe a story like that until you have a personal experience of you own. So I was repairing some boards in the area of the theater above the stage where you hang things from. This is called the "grid", it is like another level of the stage, you can walk on it, but there are holes in the floor. Heavy floor joists run one way and boards run perpendicular to form a grid. (clever, huh?!) So I am about 60 feet above the stage by myself. I know that my friend had gone back down to the stage several minutes ago, because I saw him leave. I am finishing my job when I see someone pass between me and the lights on the ceiling of this room. Startled and surprised I looked up to see nobody around. My heart was racing in my body, I was kind of scared and somehow I was able to think logically..... If I run down now, I'll have to come back up and finish what I started until I was done, or I could finish really, really fast, I could leave until tomorrow. I finished and erratically told my 3 associates what had happened. They felt I had finally been initiated by our ghost! Fortunately, he just lets us know that he is around instead of causing trouble.
This happened about 2 years ago and I have never had an experience since.
I have really enjoyed reading people's stories about the supernatural and have one of my own to add. My brother lives in a relatively old house in San Francisco. I was visiting with him one night a few months ago and he gave me his bed while he slept on the couch. At around five in the morning, I woke suddenly, feeling as if I was being tickled. I felt a hand tickling my armpit, and I was jolted awake with a gasp at this touch. I was sleeping on my side, and as a gasped, I jumped and sort of turned onto my back. There was a white cloud in front of me, which came into focus after a few seconds as the figure of a man sitting on the edge of the bed. He was wearing clothes that's looked to be from around the mid 1800s. He was a grayish - white color, like a cloud. He had his legs crossed towards me and his elbow resting on his knee with his chin on his fist. He was smiling at me, a very sweet, pure, smile. I got the strong sense that he held no ill intentions and was showing himself to me simply so that I would know that he existed. I did not feel scared or threatened in any way. After a few seconds he faded away slowly - back into a grayish white cloud and then nothing, and I was staring at the wall. I got up to check the time and use the bathroom, and felt very calm - slightly confused about what I had seen but not shaken or scared. I fell almost immediately back into a very good sleep. Most of my life I have believed in the spiritual and the supernatural, but have never before or since had any personal experiences with things of this kind.
Wishing to expand on "The Grey Zone"... (article following)
Being one of the two mentioned that witnessed an apparition I'd like to expand on it. My friend and I were sitting quietly on a sofa with Jake, the cat, between us, viewing some television. Suddenly in the large opening to the adjacent living room I saw a semi-transparent person in sort of a robe (not certain to the sex or if the person actually saw us) float across the doorway. Talk about an instant adrenaline rush! I glanced at my friend who had also taken on the composure of astonishment and whiter shade of pale. The real clincher was the cat, now up on all fours, arched back, every hair standing on end, also staring in the direction of the apparition. We all saw it - even the cat - from slightly different angles. Oh yeah....
During my sophomore year of college, I was living in the dorms with my friend Tom. I've never been one to have bizarre things happen to me, but, as it turns out, Tom is quite the magnet for supernatural occurances. One night while I was sleeping, I had a dream that our room was being visited by four strange entities. In the dream, I remember looking up from my bed to see a bright light coming in the windows and four beings (the aliens with the big black eyes) hovering above the floor and looking at Tom and me (we slept in lofts). And that's all there was to it (as far as I remember). The next morning, as Tom and I were getting ready for class, I told him about my dream. He just froze solid and told me that he had had the exact same dream. Same lights and same four beings floating above the floor and looking at us. It was the strangest supernatural experience I had had until...
Last summer I took a weeks vacation to go to Denver and see Phil at Red Rocks. One night, after spending the afternoon in Boulder at a bar called The Sink, I was walking around town taking it all in, when suddenly, it hit me. I had to call my friends Jason and Annette. Now, to give a bit of background info, Jason and Annette are married and, at the time, were trying to have a baby. She had had two miscarrages. One of them, unfortunately, was while we were on our way to see Bob Dylan in Cincinatti the previous year. At the time of my Denver trip, Annette was 7 months pregnant and had already been experiencing some complications. Anyway, while I was walking around downtown Boulder, all of a sudden, it hit me. I needed to call them. I immediately found a pay phone and called. As it turned out, Annette had to be taken to the hospital because she had gone into premature labor. Anyway, everything eventually turned out fine and she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, but it just goes to show how much of a connection you have to people when you really care about them.
I live near the north edge of a medium-sized town in western Oregon. About a mile from my house the town ends and gives way to open country--a rising range of grassy hills with scattered groves of ancient oak and maple, some bare hilltops which may once have been the site of Indian villages (I have found old arrowheads there), and then second-growth Douglas fir forest for miles beyond. I have enjoyed hiking in these hills since I moved here nearly 30 years ago.
About halfway up the range is a knoll which looks out over the valley below. It is shaded by magnificent old gnarled trees, and features a rocky outcropping which forms a natural bench. It is a comfortable place to rest before hiking to the ridgetop, or simply to sit and meditate for awhile; I have always felt particularly calm and centered sitting there.
Once (and only once, 25 years ago) I had a peculiar experience there. It was an early Spring day of intermittent clouds and sunshine, and as I sat enjoying a balmy breeze and thinking of nothing in particular, I strongly felt the shared presence of a young Kalapuya hunter from maybe 300 years before. For a moment I was looking through his eyes at a landscape of open unspoliled prairie, and at the same time sensed that he was looking through mine--with the same feeling of bewilderment--at a valley floor covered with White man's houses, streets, and automobiles.
The experience was not the least bit frightening; it was rather sad and poignant. I have often returned to this site, hoping to re-establish contact with this young man that I might--at the least--apologize for the harm my ancestors did to his people and his beautiful country.
But this has not happened. Last time I was there I found a chipped and broken arrowhead among the gravel. I didn't take it home, but buried it in a crack in the rocks.
Brian Pearson firstname.lastname@example.org
In the fall of 1984, my cousin and I, having
been blessed or cursed with a curiosity concerning matters of
the occult, pooled our money together and bought a Oija Board.
Moms old board up in the attic was unsuitable for contacting
the spirits, the clear plastic viewing disc on the pointer was
broken and the felt pads on which the pointer sat were no longer
in place. I'm not sure whether the reason this arrangement did
not work was by nature mechanical, and that no such communication
could occur, or social, the ghosts insulted by our request to
talk with them on such shabby equipment attending to other matters.
That same night my cousin John and I broke out the board and contacted a spirit who called itself xzqvqzx. Xzqvqzx had very poor spelling skills and it was difficult to communicate in detail, but he (she, it, ?) proved competent in responding to yes and no questions. I can't remember the details of the dialog, but I do remember that xzqvqzx agreed to meet us that night at 2AM.
My cousin and I went into the living room to watch as much of Saturday Night Live as we could, but grew tired and went to bed. Our plan to wait up and keep our appointment had lost it's appeal tofatigue.
I was later awakened by the sensation of somebody pounding lightly on my left calf. I looked back and saw no-one. Dismissing it as a twitch I went back to sleep. A while later my sleep was interrupted again by the same pounding as before, but on my right thigh. I looked back but nobody was there. Scared out of my wits I looked over at my cousin up on his bed and tried to get up to wake him, but found I couldn't move, and in all my effort to shout, I could manage no more than a very strained and dry whisper.
The next thing I remember is waking up in the morning and telling John what had happened. He said that he heard his name being whispered, and trying to respond, found that he was unable to move.
When I went home later, John made me take the Ouija board with me, and he moved all of his furniture into the spare bedroom, refusing to sleep in that room ever again. A few weeks later I broke the board in two pieces and threw it in the garbage.
I'm a graduate student at UVa. and live in
Charlottesville, Va. My little brother is in school at James
Madison University in Harrisonburg Va., about 1 hour west of
me. We are from Richmond, an hour east of me. One night this
past summer, I think it was thursday, I was asleep early as I
had to work the next day. But I wasn't sleeping very well. I
was dreaming fairly vividly that I was out with my brother and
a couple of his friends. One of the friends was Mark, a life
long buddy of my brother's, the other kid was anonamous.
In the dream we were driving down Old Gun Rd., a windy narrow road where my parent's house is located near the James river. We were in my brother's car and he was driving, I was riding shotgun and the other kids were in the back. I was uneasy because Chris didn't seem firmly in control. Every turn we swerved and almost careened on the edge of the muddy ditches. The tires didn't seem to be gripping the rode properly and he was going too fast. I wanted to tell him to slow down, but for some reason I just sat there and squeezed the arm rests, anticipating that we were going to spin out and crash. It was a similar feeling I've had, and heard of others having, in dreams were you are in danger and want to cry out, but despite all your efforts you can't make a noise (or one of those dreams where you can't run when you try). It wasn't exactly like that, however, because I didn't really try to stop him, but rather resisted a strong urge to try in favor of a dubious notion that I was over reacting.
Anyway, as you might have nearly guessed by now, the car went into a series of rapid, agonizing 360's. I've had car wreck dreams like this before, usually with me behind the wheel, and this is were they really turn into nightmares. The car flys out of control and you wait for the impact, certain you'll never survive. It's truely a horrifying feeling that's hard to out do.
The car spun and spun, and then, WHAP! the rear of the hatchback honda thunked into a muddy embankment. I didn't wake up as you normally might at this piont. Instead, I assessed myself as uninjured, inquired to the others to find them uninjuried, and then we simply spewed out of the ditch and the dream faded away. I slept the rest of the night undisturbed.
O.K., so here's where it gets a little weird. Like I said it was summer, late summer, and my brother was still in Richmond, having not yet returned to JMU for his third year. While speaking with my mother the next day, who always spills her concerns about Chris to me, I was shocked to hear the latest news was that just last night Chris had run my parent's suburban off of Old Gun Rd. Mark and some other kid I didn't know were in the truck, but no one was injured and the suburban was only minimally damaged.
Rob Staples RStaplziii@aol.com
From: Phil Eyesngart
I was at a two day meeting for work where all the health center administrators of Kaiser's Northeast Region gather for an evening dinner followed by an all day meeting the next day (sounds like fun, huh?). After dinner I was headed to my room when one of the other administrators, who I knew only slightly, approached me. She said, "Excuse me, this may sound strange but I have to tell you." "Tell me what?" "All through dinner I saw a woman, a spirit, standing behind you." Now being somewhat wise to the world and, of course, as a Deadhead I took what she said at face value. We went to the lounge where she told me she had been able to see spirits and auras since she was a child. The spirit standing behind me had been the most powerful she had yet seen. She described the women to me, but I didn't recognize her. She said the spirit was very luminous, kind and benevolent. Well that was good news. The spirit told her that I should not worry about my health (I am a survivor of a bout with Hodgkins Disease '87-'88).
We talked for a bit and it did eventually occur to me that this might have been an unusual pickup line, but it did seem unlikely. She knew I was married, as was she, we didn't know each other and I give off that "married vibe" at these things. She really had no way to pre-judge my reaction as a colleage although I might have been the only person at that dinner who would have reacted as I did. In any event, I returned, alone, to my room and sat up quite awhile feeling pretty buzzed from the whole thing.
Two days later, I received an interoffice envelope with two microcassettes. On them this colleague had recorded two separate visitations she had from the same spirit on her drive home from the meeting. The tapes included several aspects of my life that she shouldn't have know about, as well as a more detailed description of the spirit and her history as well as some advice. None of the tape was particularly troubling, mostly upbeat stuff. One thing that was advised was to read things that came my way carefully looking for more than what seems to be there (sounds alot like other good advice I've heard like, "Sometimes you get shown the light..."). All in all pretty cool.
Then, less than a week later, I came in from some yardwork on a Saturday morning, had a second cup of coffee and glanced down at the newspaper (a scenario which was very rare at the time). The first thing my eye fell on was a classified ad for a piano for $50 less than a mile from my house! I had wanted to get a piano in the house for years and just didn't have the extra money for it. None of us plays, but I like to have a piano to muck about on. A few hours later I had my piano.
So, well maybe it's not very weird or spooky and I guess it could have just been my lucky day to see the piano ad, call, and get there first (BTW the piano was in excellent condition). I don't think so, as soon as I saw that ad, I thought of the spirit. I'd like to think that the spirit chose me and I have some guardian angel around me making my dreams come true. Unfortunately, I don't think so - but maybe I was a special assignment. Anyway, It was a very cool exprerience and either that colleague was a great actor with no fear or she believed every word she told me.
Phil Eyesngart EYESNGART@aol.com
The night in question was much like any other,
my Mum had put me to bed and turned out the light. After ten
mins. or so of the obligatory faux sleep, I flipped on a flashlight
(back then I would have called it a torch) and read comic books
under the covers. A couple of comics in, I became aware of an
prescence in the room. Looking out from under the covers I saw
what appeared to be some sort of cloudy, human-shaped entity.
It had no face or features of any kind, but seemed to be looking
at me. At that point I really didn't feel any fear, and I stared
at it as if to say "yes? Can I help you?" The apparition
lingered for a moment or two, then appeared to dissolve slowly
into the floor.
After it had gone entirely, a whole bucket of dread poured down my spine, and paralyzed, I stared at the spot where it had been. I remained that way until fatigue overcame my will to stay awake. It was not until the family had made it to the U.S. that our neighbors wrote to us telling us the history of the house. The previous owners had divorced, the wife taking the kids and leaving the house to the husband, who had soon thereafter taken his life in the children's bathroom.
Our friends had not wanted to say anything while we were still living there, but as we had moved on deemed it time to tell. The letter also sparked communication amongst my own family. I had never mentioned my little story, and did not until my mother informed me that she had on many occasions, in the wee hours of the morning, heard footsteps on the landing and up and down the stairs. She had always assumed that it was me or my sister getting up early. Upon investigation, however, she always found us still asleep. Further letters from our friends in England told us that the new owners of the house were also experiencing assorted wierdness, and they did not stay there very long.
Simon Holcroft email@example.com
Gail Edwards sends this story along. Our first
"as told to" report: this story
gave me goosebumps when i heard it, especially when the teller
concluded by saying she didn't know why, but somehow she'd felt
compelled to pass it along.
yesterday morning a yoga student named Julie was talking to me about the recent death of her mother. it seems a few days ago she got an excited phone call from her brother, a surgeon and a scientist, who has never put much stock in the supernatural. as Julie put it, he's always believed when you're dead you're dead, and that's it. her brother had been in surgery that day, when the patient suddenly went into cardiac arrest. as he was frantically taking steps to revive her, the patient suddenly opened her eyes wide and said to him, "your mother wants you to know she's happy now." he was dumbstruck. the patient had no knowledge of his mother's death.
Gail Edwards firstname.lastname@example.org
R.A. of New York City submits one of the scariest
tales received yet for the Library. New
York City -
Spring 1996 It happened during the very stressful time just prior to our wedding. It was about 10:00 PM and my fiance (now my wife), was sleeping in the bedroom of our small New York apartment. She had to go to sleep early because she was working on a TV show that required her to be at work by 6:00 AM.
I was in the closet that passes for our office, fixing myself a little evening toke. As I smoked, and became increasingly stoned I realized that I was having a conversation with someone else, even going so far as to pass the pipe to the entity. As the realization of what I was up to set in, a shot of adrenaline pumped through me, and I knew that I had to get out of the small confines of the office.
I mustered my strength and hightailed it out the door and made for the living room. On the way down the dark hall I got the distinct feeling that I was being followed by a presence. Needles to say I was scared out of my mind. Once in the living room I felt a bit safer, but still freaked out. I decided to watch the video that I had rented earlier to calm my nerves. I thought to myself, "You're just too high, you're under a lot of stress and your mind took off on you - chill out."
I relaxed in the couch, ready to enjoy Woody Allen's "Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy." As the tape began I was more than startled to hear the first words of the film: (I'm paraphrasing) "Ghosts, spirits, fairies.." A big smile actually crossed my face at this point because it was a wonderful moment of synchronicity. However, it did not take long before I began to feel "the thing" at the archway to the living room was sizing me up from the dark hallway. My thoughts turned to my wife who is a very sound sleeper and the only noise was that of the movie, on quite low, certainly not enough to wake her. At that moment of extreme paranoia, the bedroom door suddenly shot open and she was standing there with a look of total fear on her face. I paused the film and she ran to me and we silently hugged for a long time.
She told me she had a really scary dream that she did not want to talk about. I was 100% freaking out now because of the timing of these events. I comforted her, but did not let on that anything weird was going on with me. After a while I tucked her back into bed and resumed the movie. A few minutes later I felt "it" again, this time coming closer. I said, "Get out of here - This is my place!" She called from the other room, "who are you talking to?" No response - no way to answer. Again, "Who are you talking to?" "I don't know" I replied, feeling annoyed and frustrated by this thing. Perhaps the word is haunted. I got up, opened the bedroom door turned on the light and got on the bed. I was fully awake and very scared. I admitted what happened to me earlier, and we were now both freaked out. I felt like I did when I was very young and went to see the Amityville Horror at too early an age. The TV was on, but I refused to go back out there to shut it off.
The two of us, holding hands got out of bed and quickly jumped out the door to the TV, smacked it off and leapt back into the bedroom and into bed. Lights still on. We sat up for what might have been hours. At some point I felt that the thing must be gone, and I was able to pass out, clothes and lights still on. Neither of us have any idea what went on that night. It never happened again, but as I write this, my skin is crawling like it did that night.
Andy Dorfman writes: About
two years ago I had a very odd dream. I dreamed that I was a
woman and I was falling down this staircase. A concrete one that
sort of wrapped around and around (like in a parking garage).
All the while I was falling I kept repeating over and over "why
is this happening to me, why is this happening to me?" I
got to the bottom feeling bruised and broken and kept repeating
the phrase over and over.
I awoke when the fear level rose to where I needed to be back in reality (I suppose - maybe a topic for further thought - why do we always wake up from dreams of such intensity). Anyway, I got up and went into work to be told that my friend and coworker Pattye, who has worked in my lab with me for over ten years and is a very close personal friend as well, fell while running the night before and was in the hospital, that was weird enough, it gets better.
Later that day, I spoke to another close friend (Jody) who was with her all night in the hospital. She let me know what had happened and how she was doing. After listening to the gory details (both elbows had been broken) I told Jody about my dream. As I finished, her face went white. Jody said, Pattye was saying that over and over last night, "why is this happening to me?" Then MY face went white. There's more to life and flesh then we understand, thats all I know.
Andy Dorfmann email@example.com
John Potenza sent this amusing coincidence
report along - perhaps only a Deadhead would find it truly uncanny,
but hey . . .
At Meadowlands 10/16/89. After the Dark Star revival our hopes were high that on Bob's birthday they would play it. I had made xeroxes of the sheet music of Dark Star at work that day and I brought them to the show. I had the intention of making paper planes and flying them at the stage. Our seats were too far from the stage though so between sets i made some planes. Just as the lights went down for set 2 from the upper level I launched a plane. It caught an updraft of hot air and smoke from the floor and sailed clear across the arena. With my binoculars I saw the plane gently bump into a guys chest on the other side. He slowly opened it up and he and his girlfriend looked at it closely. A minute later the band opened the set with Dark Star. I saw these two folks jumping up and down very enthusiastically. I'd have loved to have heard their side of this story.
John Potenza GMGWNORTH!ROCHELLE!JPOTENZA@gmdenver.attmail.com
Julie Johnson sends this touching report of
uncanny coincidence from Reed College.
Upon my arrival at the cemetary, I knew in an instant that my journey was not over. The place was enormous, one of the largest cemetaries I had ever seen. My brother had told me the site was easy to find, but I had not realized the impact of being familiar with the area would have in assisting him. This was the culmination of a week's travels. I had left Oregon a week earlier on a plane to Chicago where I attended my brother's wedding. Now I was in search of my mother's grave, which was located outside of Cleveland. My day had been spent driving, searching for the site with no more information than the name of the town I was in search of. I had been there many years before, when I would travel to Ashtabula to visit my grandmother. The last time I had been there was with my mother only weeks before her death in 1985.
After visiting several cemetaries in the area, I knew this was the right one. The cemetary was empty when we arrived; it was getting to be late in the afternoon. A woman was tending to several graves near the office, and she told us the office was closed for the day and no one was around other than herself. We decided the best approach would be to drive around and see if we could find the stone from the car. After almost an hour of searching I was utterly frustrated and the tension and emotion had reached almost untolerable levels.
The friend who had driven me to the cemetary offered to try and break into the office to find the records, so we parked the car. The woman had left by this point and the place was deserted. I began walking towards the office, looking at every stone as I went. I scanned the horizon, desperate to find her after such a long journey. I reached into myself and found myself calling out to my mother in a plea for help, "Mom, I need you to help me find you, bring me to you, please." Within 15 seconds, the door of the office swung open and a man stepped out. He looked directly at me, and waited for me to approach, as if he were expecting me. I walked over to him and asked if he could look through the records for me. He found her card and told me he had just been cutting the grass in that area and would show me personally where she was. He opened the garage and got on the riding mower and drove to the area where she was buried. I had been at the cemetary for maybe an hour and a half at this point, epecially in the area where he said he had been mowing, and had not heard the mower or seen him before. I was at her grave in less than 3 minutes after I sent out my plea for help...
Julie Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
David Glaubman has a different slant on the
uncanny, which is, after all, often what you make of it. The
following experience is real and commanding for him.
Early December 1980 in Boston. Ronald Reagan had won, and we were in deep shit. I tripped on Friday, and came pretty close to freaking out. That night I wrote my first (and only) science fiction story. As I read it, it scared me so much that I tore it up, poured water over it and flushed it down the toilet (everybody's a critic!) I was off-balance all weekend - I knew something was wrong, something seriously bad was going to happen. Nobody else seemed to be notice, or understand, and I was very confused about what was going to happen. The sun was going to explode? No, that wasn't quite it.
Sunday I was convinced that something was goin to happen. I called up the local TV station asking about the disaster - they were polite and unhelpful. Watching PBS that night at my parents', I watched a Masterpiece Theater episode that seemed to be about the outbreak of WWI. As a character spoke the words "the first is dead." a chill went through me. My sisters didn't seem to notice, but thought I was being a little weird (I hadn't fully come down from Friday).
I went home and went to work Monday morning. I had some difficulty concentrating, but my delusions from yesterday seemed over. After work I tried to relax but my uneasiness and dread fed on my efforts to calm myself. About 8, I went for a walk. I started walking, along the Charles river from Newton to Boston. I realized I was still (again?) high, and it seemed to me that everyone I saw on the street was likewise. We were all saints, cops and criminals alike. Life was so precious, so gorgeous, so beautiful, that we couldn't stand it. We used cruelty, hatred and suffering in puny, hopeless attempts to forget our divinity. (Stranger in a Strange Land?)
A car with kids went by me. I felt that I was going to, literally, fly away. Away from the earth, away from this sweet, simple world of events and people. I forced myself to kick at the car as it went by - I wanted to kiss them. I thought I needed to do something to keep me here, because of this overwhelming urge to fly away. The feeling passed, and I headed over to my friends S & S. They were crazy worried about me, since I had called them several times on my way over (I kept getting lost on the T) asking for news about whatever disastrous event was occurring. They quieted me, and comforted me, and semi-saned me and we went to bed. Nothing was wrong, the world wasn't going to explode, the First is not dead.
My sane, comforting friend S had a very bad moment (quite apart from the lasting tragedy of the awful fact) when she opened the morning paper to read that Lennon had been shot dead the night before. His reported time of death was during the same few minutes as my near rapture walking along the river. It's taken me a long time to tell anyone this.
David Glaubman <email@example.com>
John B.Randolph has one for our "chill
fix" this week.
It was my junior year at college, in a small school in Richmond, Virginia. I was talking to my girlfriend on the telephone late one night, around 2 am, when an operator broke into the line... "This is the operator. I have an emergency request by Steve to break into this line. Will you allow him to be connected?" Lisa heard the operator and was very upset - Steve was a close friend of ours visiting his family over the weekend. "Oh my God, John, what could be wrong?" "I don't know, Lisa. Hang up and I'll call you right back as soon as I find out what's up." Lisa hung up on her end and I waited on the phone, but there was only silence. I had never had anyone break into a line before and in my panic, didn't ask the operator what I was exactly supposed to do. Was I supposed to wait on the line or hang up and wait for Steve to call? After half a minute, I got a dial-tone. I hung up the phone and waited. After 10 minutes I decided to call Steve at his home in Northern Virginia. I wasn't even sure that it was my friend Steve who tried to reach me - the operator just said "Steve". Steve's father answered the phone and I asked to speak to Steve. After a minute, Steve answered the phone. "Hello?" "Hello Steve, what's up?" "What do you mean - 'What's up?'! You call my home at 2 o'clock in the morning, wake up the entire house, get my father out of bed and then you ask me 'What's up?!!" "I am sorry, Steve, but I was worried. I was talking to Lisa when an operator broke into the line and said that it was an emergency call by 'Steve'." His voice started wavering. "That's so weird. That's so weird. I was just dreaming that Alan had died and that I was calling up the group to let them know..." Alan was a friend of ours, who, four years later, killed himself in a park outside of L.A.
John B. Randolph firstname.lastname@example.org
John Salmon sent this chiller. Read carefully,
the details count!
October 25, 1991 - Philadelphia I needed to get up a little bit earlier than usual that morning, as I had to pack my bags for a weekend trip I was taking from to Richmond. So the night before, I set my alarm clock ahead 20 minutes. Instead of doing it the sensible way, changing the alarm time from 7:00 am to 6:40, which would have taken a bit longer, I simply set the time on the clock ahead 20 minutes. (Trust me, this is important to the story.
Also, you should know that I'm a little obsessive when it comes to keeping my clocks and my wristwatch set accurately. I have TIM-1212 programmed into my telephone's speed dial.) So the long and short of it: my clock was set 20 minutes ahead of my wristwatch. Well, that morning my alarm went off and I rose sleepily from bed. I'd been up quite late the night before reading a pop-science book about quantuum physics and had been excitedly speculating about its implications regarding time, causality, "objective" reality, etc. It seemed to be confirming my belief that not only are we "the eyes of the world," we are ALL of its sense organs, its consciousness - it would not even exist were we not constantly creating it. And that "time" seemed to be a concept we impose on the world, not one which is inherently "there." A local, if not entirely subjective, phnomenon. I rose from bed, turned the alarm clock off, and stretched lazily. (The clock read 7:00; it was "really" 6:40.)
Just then I heard a noise from the other room of my apartment. A hollow, wooden striking, followed by the unmistakable sound of the 4 highest strings on my acoustic guitar ringing open. I was struck with fear. Was there someone in the other room? I lived alone. I had no dog or cat. An intruder? I stood still and listened. Still the notes of the guitar strings rang, fading now. I pushed the door open and peeked into the front room. Sunlight was beginning to stream in the windows. No one there. Door locked, windows shut tight. My acoustic guitar was lying in its open case on the floor in the middle of the room. There was nothing near it that could have caused the sound I'd heard. Weird. I shrugged it off, chalked it up to some kind of audio hallucination, and got in the shower.
After a nice long shower, I toweled myself off and began dressing. I'd forgotten all about the odd noise I'd heard. As I buckled my wristwatch, I walked into the front room to turn the radio on. My fingers fumbled with the buckle of my watch, and it slipped from my grasp as I crossed the room. The watch struck the soundboard of my guitar and the strap whipped lightly across the treble strings. A familiar noise! The exact same wooden thud and ringing sound I'd heard come from this room, earlier that morning. As I picked up my watch, the notes from the guitar strings still hanging in the air, I glanced at its face. My skin rose in goosebumps. The watch said it was 12 seconds past 7:00. That was exactly the time the clock in the other room had read when I heard the sound the first time. And I had inadvertently(?) created the noise, using a timepiece as the actuator.
I don't know what happened that morning, but I'm certain I didn't imagine it. It was actually a wonderful confirmation that the world is very strange, and that if there is a God, he likes to play jokes on us. I'm not sure if anyone else can understand what a weird experience for me, but I'll tell you, if I'd seen the ghost of Charlie Chaplin playing cards with Margaret Thatcher in my bathtub, I couldn't have been more freaked out.
John Salmon email@example.com
Both of my daughters were present at this
strange event which happened in Bristol, England. I heard the
story years ago from each of them. I recently requested that
Charlotte write it up for the Library.
Bristol Pro Cathedral stood abandoned and derelict next to the Waldorf School my sister Jessie and I attended. The smashed windows invited us in and, for me, held a personal fascination as it was the cathedral I was baptized in. I don't like to remember that day but am being asked to write it down, so here goes.
The strange draw of the rotting cathedal was so strong that each day would find us and our schoolmates exploring further into the depths of the decaying building. Finally we found ourselves in the belly of the crypt, each so frightened the hair literally stood straight up on our arms. Childish dares forced us, against our wills, to go and collect candles from the school and return at lunch time to try and wake the dead! With one candle lit and placed we form a circle sitting on the floor, hands on the marble slab - pinky to pinky - thumb to thumb - all of us spooked, nervously giggling. We close our eyes and concentrate on raising the spirits around us.I can't remember exactly what had happened, but suddenly we are very aware that we have entered a space that we have no right to be in and this joke is no longer funny. All of us want out and are frantically struggling to remove our hands from the circle we have formed, but our hands are frozen on the icy marble and another presence has joined us. We are aware of it from the foul odor that has infused the air and the controlled movements of the candle flame. The odor was so strong that I remember thinking I'd vomit if I didn't get out immediately. That's the last of my own thoughts I remember.
The rest of the time spent in the crypt, I was not myself. We all started singing. Twelve children started singing a song I had never heard before and don't remember now - but we all at the same moment began chanting a nursery rhyme - a song from another time - from another world. I don't know how long this lasted but suddenly we all stop and our attentions are focused on Leslie, who seems to have become our ring leader. She looks demonic, her face contorted, eyes rolling to the back of her head -and again that foul smell. I remember flashes of red and green surrounding the space around Leslie, and the flame of the candle in huge sporadic movements - Leslie's eyes flickering and her body jerking in spasms. Finally she is calm and from her mouth comes the voice of a young boy. The odor is sweeter now. Red and green are still the colors I'm seeing. The voice is pleading to us to stop this cruelty; to leave him alone. I'm overwhelmed by a feeling of sadness. I realize I'm crying. We were all sobbing uncontrollably except Leslie, who still speaks in the voice of the young boy. All I can hear now is our crying. The candle flame is calm but still we can't free our hands from the marble!! Suddenly, Dagmar, the german teacher, is standing in the middle of our circle screaming hysterically. The candle is out, the odor gone, our hands freed from their captivity. Tired, confused, at a complete loss to comrehend what we'd experienced, we are led outside to find that we had been in the crypt for five hours!
I never went back into the Pro Cathedral again, but months later someone had been looking through a book of records of the the boy's school that had once been a part of the cathedral and came across a story about a young boy who had been so tormented by his peers that he hanged himself and had been laid to rest beneath the floor of that crypt. Now I don't know, the following could be explained in terms of overwrought imaginations, but from that time on, when we'd look into the windows of the abandoned boy's dorm, with the sun at a certain late afternoon angle, the trees would cast on its inner wall the shadow of a hanging boy.
I had a very vivid dream about a week before
the first set of Berkeley Greek Theater shows in 1981. I had
never been to that theater before, but I dreamt I was at the
shows, and the place was fairly small -- a stage in front of
a grassy area. In my dream, all of the fans brought gift-wrapped
presents to give to the band to thank them for everything. During
intermission, some children dressed in costumes came on stage
and put on a little show. Then, when I actually went to the shows,
I discovered that the first day (September 11) was Mickey Hart's
birthday. Healy played a tape over the PA of Joan Baez singing
Happy Birthday to Mickey and, wouldn't you know it, a couple
of band members did bring gift-wrapped presents on stage for
him. Then, Wavy Gravy and a group of kids came on stage during
the break one day (or maybe at two of the shows?) and did a little
skit as part of a plug to get people to go to the blockade in
protest of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant after the show
on Sunday! I don't know if my written rendition of this experience
can quite capture the amazement I felt as I watched my dream
unfold, but I've never had another experience quite like it.
Jolie Goodman Jerrapin@aol.com
James Sabatino sent this in just as I was
wrapping up the Library. The hair stood up on my arm for a solid
minute, so I'll drop it in!
During the summer of 1991, I was working a temporary job in the accounting office of a downtown San Francisco department store. On lunch break one day, I walked the block or two to an eatery called the Food Club. It was one of those places with fifteen or twenty different counters serving everything from Mexican to Chinese food. The room was wide open with a high ceiling and the counters lined the walls. Halfway back into the room was a stairway that led to a balcony loaded with more tables. I bought my food and carried the tray up to the balcony, selecting a table against the back wall.
I ate while reading the newspaper. I looked at my watch at 12:45, and figuring I had ten more minutes or so, lit up a cigarette and folded the paper to the crossword puzzle. I went for the pencil in my back pack and noticed two women dressed in business suits, place their trays on the table next to mine and then sit down. The table was angled so that one of the women had her back to me. I thought little of it and began with the first clue of the puzzle.
Suddenly I felt very strange. A bit dizzy. I looked up and the walls of the place began to move back and forth and in and out. I heard a voice clearly say,"Get out! Now! Run! Go!" Grabbing my pack, I leapt up from the table, ran down the stairs and out onto the sidewalk. Once outside I felt fine and began to laugh at myself. I had been so scared I had left my paper and cigarettes. I must have looked quite ridiculous. I walked back to work. Ten minutes after I got back to my desk, a co-worker ran into the office all excited. "Some woman shot another woman at the Food Club!" The next day, there in the paper, was the picture of the dead woman - the one who had been sitting next to me.
James Sabatino Dept of Epidemiology Univ. of Alabama - Birmingham firstname.lastname@example.org
Rich McManus sent these two tales from his
own experience to the Library. The first lights a question mark,
the second delivers the appropriate shiver that signals the UNQUESTIONABLE
presence of the uncanny.
TWO STRANGE LABOR DAYS
We had to get away from Chapel Hill for the first holiday of the new school year, and the Outer Banks were the place to get to. Having no means of transportation, JT and I hitchhiked across Eastern North Carolina. Our destination was the Drafty Tavern in Whalebone Junction, where I told my brother, who was camping on the Banks with his wife, we'd meet him by 9. It was well after 11 when we pulled up at the tavern. Fortunately, John and Louise were still there. We drove with them to their seaside camp, and settled in for the night under a canopy of stars.
As I nestled into my sleeping bag on the beach, my last thoughts were of how clear the Milky Way shone above. Dreaming of a need to visit my sister at Girl Scout camp, I awoke some hours later with pains arching through the soles of my feet. Somehow I had gotten out of my bag and wandered, asleep, across the dunes. The pains were from reeds I was trampling underfoot. I was profoundly disoriented upon coming to my senses, and it took awhile to find our campsite.
When I found my way back, there was my bag, draped neatly across a picnic table. Who or what escorted me out? What if I'd gone into the ocean? JT was still snoozing across the campfire from where I had lain down to sleep. Wake him to tell a strange tale? I could hardly explain it myself, and drifted back to sleep in my bag, never to sleepwalk again.
Part Two--Night on Roan Mountain Another Labor
Day, same situation. This time we decided to head West, to hike
on the Appalachian Trail. At nightfall we pulled into a parking
lot astride the Tennessee-North Carolina border, on Roan Mountain.
It was misting out, and our lantern beams gave us geometry lessons
as we bounced them off various surfaces. Blue clouds of herb
smoke found their way into the beams, and Schlitz laughter made
the unpacking easy. We settled in beneath a stand of pines, just
off a parking lot pull-off.
The next day would find us hunting for more fitting habitation. By 9 p.m., we and our Ramen noodles were cooked, and we retreated to our bags, chuckling at the absurdity of retiring so early. Deep in the night, I dreamt of sounding car horns. Insistent blaring. Gradually I realized that the horns were real, coming from the nearby parking lot. As I struggled for sight, I noticed my friends were already awake and shuffling with their belongings. One found a searchlight, and the tableau became clear: there was a ruckus in the parking lot! As suddenly as our beams began wagging in the night, car motors revved, tires peeled and the horn stopped sounding, to be replaced by the panicked weeping of children.
We staggered out of the woods to find two teenage runaways who had been picked up hitchhiking by creeps and had been undergoing sexual assault when our lanterns--appearing in the woodsmidst--scared off the attackers. When our wits settled, we drove them to a bus station in Johnson City, Tenn., arriving as dawn broke on that mountain town. The kids, a boy and girl, were sleeping like angels in the back of our wagon.
Rich McManus MCMANUSR@od31tm1.od.nih.gov
Craig O'Leary of Boston has this tale for
This happened nearly 10 years ago now. The phone rang. My grandmother, whom I'd always been close to was hysterical. My uncle had gotten into a serious car accident earlier that day. He was fine, the car was not, it was totaled because the brakes had failed. "Have you had your brakes checked lately", she asked. "No", I answered which was true as I'd not had any trouble with them. "Look, I know money's tight for you right now, I'll send $200.00, get those brakes fixed". A week or so later the check came. I called her that night to thank her and told her I'd deposit the check the next day. "Now, get them fixed" she said, "and don't spend it on those godamn concert tickets".
The next day, I was off doing my errands. I deposited the check and got to thinking 'maybe the brakes could wait a little longer, they seemed OK and after all there were more important things to do, I always could use some more blank Maxells, and the spring tour will be going on the hotline soon'. A little later my thoughts were interupted by a flashing red light on the dash, blinking frantically at first, as if to convey some urgency, then a steady red glow-- "BRAKES" it said. I stopped the car and got out. Checked as much as my limited car-knowledge allowed and finding nothing wrong got back in a started it up. No more light. And the brakes seemed fine. Needless to say, I drove very carefully. Damnedest thing.
When I got back home awhile later, another blinking red light greeted me. This one on my answering machine, signaling the urgent message that I must come home. My grandmother had died that afternoon. I got the brakes done right after the funeral.
Craig O'Leary (email@example.com)
Here's a tale of my own, from the first edition
of the library.
In 1965 I went to Big Sur with a friend, Paul Mittig, intending to camp out. Not wanting to go to the National Forest campgrounds, we scouted around and found a likely looking wooded area, climbed under a fence marked "No Trespassing" and discovered an inviting glade in a ring of big trees. Tired from our hiking, we lay down on our sleeping bags for a late afternoon nap. I was beginning to doze, feeling very happy with the magical place, when I became aware of a man standing near the foot of the bag. Tall and weathered, he wore a white shirt and slacks, a Panama hat, a patch over one eye, and carried a shotgun under his arm. "What are you doing here?" he demanded. I opened my mouth to reply, but was tongue tied. Then he just disappeared into thin air. I woke Paul and told him what I'd seen and we both agreed it was a good idea to get out of there. We spent the night at the campground, after all, where a raccoon opened the latch on the wooden cooler in the dark and drank all my chocolate milk right out of the carton.