UFOs: Sightings, Encounters, & Recurring Dreams (Part III).

III. UFOs & the Numinous.

After a recent UFO dream, I reflected on the recurring dreams I’ve experienced:

As a kid, I had recurring dreams that were the same dream, though over time they revealed a bit more of the scenario they depicted. Since I was sixteen, however, I’ve had recurring dreams of a slightly different flavor: they all shared the same theme; they are all variations on the same scenario.

One of the two major themes is a UFO sighting. Frequently enough the UFO or UFOs are above the forest between my parent’s yard and the road. These dreams are always vivid and sensory-rich, as if I’m actually there, as if its entirely real. They always seem marinated in the same dark, vivid, clear and eerie kind of mood. It’s dark and intense yet somehow calm at the same time. I wish I could better articulate the mood so that I could more easily examine it. Following these dreams, this residual mood hangs with me for awhile, almost as if a part of me is still in the dream, emotionally-speaking. Its somehow a comforting, balancing, almost mystical feeling, like I’m fully awake in a way, like my brain got what it needed.

I’ve increasingly wondered over the years why these dreams emerge when they do. What triggers them? One thought is that recurring dreams, much like flashbacks, may recur again and again in an attempt to process or discharge the emotions produced by them (if they’re memories) or which they represent (if they’re dreams). But is that indeed the case, at least here?

In the 2014 article, “What’s Behind Your Recurring Dreams?” by Michelle Carr Ph.D., she presents another possible answer. Or an elaboration upon it, perhaps.

In college, for instance, perhaps you began having dreams of missing an exam due to the stress produced by an actual, upcoming exam. This dream, or variations on the theme, may recur throughout your college career for reasons that are rather clear: you’re stressing out over an exam. Once you are seeking an actual career, however, those recurrent dreams may be triggered again, as the stress produced by an upcoming job interview is remarkably similar to the exam anxiety you formerly experienced.

This, she explains, is a complex, or script, as they are sometimes called. A similar network of experienced emotions in your life may serve as a trigger for activating such a complex, at which time the entire script unfolds. In other words, it operates in a manner similar to psychological projection and transference: the brain interprets something similar to something in the past as identical to that something from the past. As a consequence, in a meaningful but perhaps consciously invisible way, the past becomes present.

Some of these scripts, one would imagine, are highly personalized, whereas others are more culturally-influenced or archetypal in nature. In either case, this is thought by some to account for recurrent dreams. It suggests that the dreamer has not acknowledged and dealt with something in their life that is producing the stress that triggers the dreams and that the dream will continue to recur until the conflict achieves resolution.

Given I’ve actually seen UFOs, do these dreams stem from some actual, original experience, one that then became the default representation in dreams for the emotions originally elicited by the experience? The day before this most recent dream wasn’t only my birthday but the first major snow of the season, and both my age and driving in the snow are sources of anxiety, so might it be that that triggered it?

The thing is, these dreams don’t terrify me. There is always an element of fear lingering, yes, but it’s always dwarfed by my curiosity and awe. Recurrent dreams typically constitute nightmares, too, from what I understand, so I’m rather confused.

It would appear that I am by no means alone, as I discovered on Reddit.

In a thread from 2018 entitled, “Anyone else have constant dreams of UFOS?” a user by the name of wright345 related the following:

I have dreams of UFOS pretty often. They don’t really happen around particular emotional or psychological states, and I’ve never had a close encounter so to speak with the ufo or any beings inside. They just stay in the air or fly around. Usually disc-shaped, though last night they were varied shapes and colorful this time.

Another user by the name of scrignutz responded with his own experiences:

I’ve had hyper-realistic UFO dreams during several periods of my life. The most memorable—and the ones very difficult to shake, as they felt like real experiences—happened over a few years early in this century. While different, they put me in the exact strange emotional state as a frequent dream I had as a child of 10 or so: bewilderment along with concern or fear.

The adult dreams involved a rural, natural park at the end of the suburb where I lived at the time. I knew the park well, and walked there daily. Hilly terrain, with a typical Western U.S. landscape of occasional conifers but mostly brushy hillsides. These dreams saw me returning to different hillsides in the park, at sundown in order to be at a location by nightfall. And then the sky would fill up with the most fantastic swirling multi-colored wheels and discs, which would hover in formation and then shoot off like meteorites. I would hide in fear amongst the brush, but watch in wonder. There were no aliens or landings or anything of the sort; just these fantastic wheels in the sky, neon coloring, and if I close my eyes I can see them today, decades later.

In response, wright345 added:

Mine often happen at (hilly) places I live(d) and sometimes elsewhere but still familiar. They aren’t usually at dusk though. That bewilderment/awestruck feeling mixed with fear is what I usually feel as well, every time I see them.

In another thread, also from 2018 and entitled, “Recurring dreams of UFOs”, erako writes:

I’ve been having the same dream for about 2 months? I’m in my front yard and I’m generally in the same place, give or take a few feet and I look up at the sky and see these ships. So far they’ve been needle pointed, spherical, blimp-like (but metal and plated), lights, dark triangles, black cubes, more sci fi style human made looking space ships, swarms of drones coming from ships and probably more that I can’t remember at the moment. It’s a lot.

A few dreams have been in other locations. Sometimes it’s night, but often it’s day. The only night dream was an invasion with several large lights in the sky and swarms of drone-like ships coming to take us, that dream was in a different location.

But the way it goes is, I’m doing something I walk through my front door, down the steps and look up at the sky and see them. It’s a feeling of fear and excitement, I’m happy, but I’m afraid. Sometimes they’re massive and no one will look up, sometimes they’re tiny and fast, so no one would catch it anyway. My most recent one my dad saw, which was fantastic.

I’m rarely lucid in these dreams, but sometimes I am. In one of the more prominent dreams, I was visited by god, who was a glowing golden Buddha statue and he told me I was meant to be a healer. Then I saw a row of them in the sky passing by, all different types. And as an areligious person, that was kind of weird.

Even from these three examples, there are clearly many correlations with my own recurring UFO dreams. For instance, wright345 described being unable to identify any psychological states that preceded these dreams and which might have triggered them, which has also been the case with me. He also recalled no incident in which the craft landed or any alien encounters occurred (though there is, in my case, a single exception).

Wright345, scrignutz and erako all described the settings of these dreams as taking place in areas where they either currently live or had formerly lived, much as has been the case in many of my dreams. This makes me wonder if these recurring dreams were perhaps born of actual experiences in those locations; memories that have remained inaccessible to consciousness but can sometimes bleed through into dream life.

The most striking similarity, however, which all three share with me, is their reaction to the UFO sightings. We aren’t alone in this reaction, either.

A user by the name of EliHood posted a thread entitled, “Recurring dreams about a Massive UFO event.” He writes that since the beginning of the year he had been having recurring dreams regarding UFOs. The dreams typically begin in a normal fashion, but then he looks into the sky and sees the UFO, which gets increasingly closer to him, prompting him to run and hide in fear. “Last night takes the cake,” he then writes, “which prompts this post.” As in the prior dreams, he was at first engaged in some mundane activity; in this particular case, he was in traffic. He then suddenly noticed a UFO in the sky, though the anxiety wasn’t as intense at first. Everyone began getting out of their vehicles, he explained, “to take a look at this gigantic white saucer shaped ufo,” but this time, there was nowhere for him to run and hide. Ultimately he explains seeing a bright, white light as he was being sucked into the UFO, but what really caught my attention was how he explained his reaction as it began to descend. He writes that he began to feel “this IMMENSE TERROR/ASTONISHMENT.”

A user by the name of Timeghost182 posted a thread entitled, “Recurring dreams about lights in the sky. UFOs”. Here he details dreams he had on 12/17/13, 2/18/14, 10/3/14, 10/23/14. 3/2/15, and 5/14/15. Each time he appears to be in a different location.

For his 10/3/14 dream, he writes:

I had been on the front porch of my mom’s house in Opelousas, concerned about something, i was loading a revolver. My friend had just come back from somewhere and he brought home many revolvers and different types of ammo. I recall choosing the gun that held 10 bullets as opposed to 6. I loaded it with hollow points and walked outside with 2 people. On the front porch, it had just gotten dark out. Something shimmered across the sky like a shooting star. It caught my attention but was fleeting and gone in a second. About 10 seconds later i see “it”. An ominously huge craft with lights adorned all over flying through the sky. I immediately scream “UFO, UFO” to my 2 friends as if to be like …”Boom, I told you so… People called me crazy but there it is.. I’ve been right all along.” Then there were others flying in very strange unpredictable patterns throughout the night sky. The bright lights flickering on and off in weird intervals. One common theme throughout all of these dreams is that when i see the craft(s) I am immediately met with a feeling of fascination and elation, like a kid catching Santa Clause, but then followed by the most extreme feeling of helplessness one can imagine. They make me very uncomfortable.

Looking upon these dreams as a whole himself, he noted recurring themes: he was always the one to spot UFOs in the sky and to turn the attention of others towards them, for instance, and he has never been inside the craft or seen their occupants. Most relevant is a rearticulation of what he commented on towards the end of his notes on the above-quoted dream, which is that he was mostly “fascinated, elated, and interested at first, followed by extreme apprehension and fear.” He again describes this reaction in his 3/2/15 dream, saying that, as usual, he is “fascinated but then immediately feel terror and uneasiness at the sight of these things. […] I remember my reaction upon proving myself right was a brief second of wonder and awe followed by immense fear and terror.”

A user by the name of melvvay posted a thread entitled, “Occurring dreams about UFOs,” with “occuring” clearly being a typo. The poster writes:

I’ve always had this dream where I keep teleporting to this rocky desert type of setting. and in front of me is [an] enormous ufo that’s been crashed diagonal. I get excited because Dream me has discovered a ufo and couldn’t wait to write a news paper. After that I wake up. What does this mean?

In response, the user levelologist wrote:

I have had this same dream since [I was] a kid. The dream is part dread and part immense fascination. There is also usually a massive sky battle happening with chrome crafts and terrestrial crafts. In my dream I pray for one to crash so I can go check it out. I’m 48 and have had this dream as long as I can remember dreaming. They are so vivid that I think about them almost daily.

When they actually note it when describing their recurring UFO dreams, everyone appears to have suspiciously similar reactions. Scrignutz described the feeling the UFO dreams elicited as one of “bewilderment along with concern or fear,” and wright345 agreed, stating that the “bewilderment/awestruck feeling mixed with fear” is true to his experience as well. This is also incredibly close to erako’s “feeling of fear and excitement” in which he was happy yet afraid; EliHood’s “immense terror” and “astonishment”; Timeghost182’s “fascination and elation” followed by “the most extreme feeling of helplessness one can imagine” and levelologist’s “part dread and part immense fascination.”

Interestingly, this reaction we all share also echoes the reactions I had during my actual, UFO encounters, and it would appear that here, too, I am not alone.

Written by Marc Moravec and published in the April, 1981 issue of The MUFON UFO Journal, the article “Psychological Reactions to UFO Events” centered on a study of 46 cases, from which it was determined that:

The most common psychological reaction to close encounter UFO events is fear. The next most common reaction is curiosity.

How many reported both reactions, however, and what might a larger study reveal? It’s clear that many who report UFOs do report either one emotion or the other, it should be noted, while others report the sort of mixed reactions I and others have experienced in dreams and in real life. Why is this the case?

With respect to the mixed reaction, I think I’ve determined what it is. I think I know what this feeling we share, and which our mutual recurring dreams elicited, really is — or at least what others have labeled it as and perhaps more accurately articulated it as being. It is what theologian Rudolf Otto called “the numinous.”

It was first expressed in his 1917 book, published in German and entitled Das Heilige – Über das Irrationale in der Idee des Göttlichen und sein Verhältnis zum Rationale. Yes, this is fucking Greek to me. It was subsequently published in English in 1923, where it was entitled The Idea of the Holy: An Inquiry into the Non-Rational Factor in the Idea of the Divine and its Relation to the Rational. To be clear, I haven’t read the book, but various internet sources seem to outline his general idea rather clearly — assuming their accuracy, of course.

In short, Otto described “the holy” as being comprised of two distinct elements, one of them being being moral perfection, the other which he called the numinous, based on the Latin numen, for “divine power,” and which he asserted “cannot, strictly speaking, be taught, it can only be evoked, awakened in the mind.”

The numinous experience was itself composed of three parts, all articulated in the Latin phrase “mysterium tremendum et fascinans.” In short, this roughly translates to English as “a fearful and fascinating mystery,” though in efforts to further to flesh out the concept, it seems best to break it down in more detail, namely word by word.

By “mysterium,” he means to convey the notion of what he refers to as “the wholly other.” This is something so utterly alien to our ordinary experience that it generates a state of astonishment or wonder in us — one that is so absolute it leaves us in a state of silence and stupor. Then there is the element of “tremendum” or “mysterium tremendum,” which leaves us feeling small, utterly insignificant, frustratingly inadequate and ultimately terrified before its awesome and overwhelming power. Last yet equally significant is the vital ingredient of “fascinans” or “mysterium fascinans,” which is to say a charm or attractive quality which inspires in us an allure or fascination despite the simultaneous, aforementioned terror.

And in the midst of these echoing dream themes or an actual sighting or encounter, being before these UFOs does indeed elicit the sense of being in the presence of something terrifyingly and fascinatingly alien — something I have formerly described as my “dark moods” and what the aforementioned Reddit users have attempted to articulate in their own, individual ways.

The question, of course, is why the UFO sightings in and outside of dreams elicit the numinous experience. If these recurring dreams stem from still more actual sightings of mine that I cannot recall, perhaps these dreams represent my mind’s attempts to process those blocked memories and the numinous emotions they elicited. And perhaps this is the case with the others as well.

As to why UFO sightings, regardless as to whether one is awake or dreaming, produces such numinous experiences is something I’ve previously explored. Perhaps this is simply the predictable reaction the life forms of a lesser-advanced civilization have to the technology of a more advanced one. If not, this effect on us may be intentional and may even help provide an explanation as to why we have sightings of them at all — as well as the recurring dreams they inspire.

UFOs: Sightings, Encounters, & Recurring Dreams (Part II).

II. Personal UFO Sightings and Encounters.

It was towards the end of 1994 when strange memories began spontaneously floating to the surface of my mind. Initially, they dealt with seeming alien encounters as well as UFO sightings and close encounters throughout my childhood. Given my curiosity regarding my recurring UFO dreams, I will focus here exclusively on my UFO-related flashbacks and real-time observations.

Though I do not distinctly recall seeing a UFO in the following memory, the presence of one, I feel, was strongly implied, especially given my other, far more blatant memories of such sightings and encounters. This occurred when I was young, and it was certainly before 1988, when I was ten, as we were still living in our first house, which was in a suburban area. Behind our local police department there was a large field that was also accessible by climbing over the chain link fence at the very end of our backyard. Sometimes we would climb the fence to play over there, though my mother preferred that we walk or bike the half a block around. There was a baseball diamond way in the back, a football field that began almost directly across from our backyard and a sandbox right by the tennis court, which was situated between the football field and the parking lot for the police station.

It was in that sandbox where I found myself one late afternoon, playing and nervously watching as the occupied tennis court was slowly but surely deserted until I was the sole inhabitant of the field. Once alone, a gigantic shadow fell over me, like something large and circular had positioned itself above me in the sky, though I never recall looking up. Immediately, the world around me suddenly took on a rather ominous edge, an almost sinister quality. It was as if someone had pressed the cosmic pause button, leaving an intense still and a penetrating silence. Creeping up on me was that distinct sense of being watched, too, like the way in which one might watch a bug in a jar or some tiny creature under a microscope, but there was something more predatory here as well, as if I was a field mouse feeling the doom inspired by a hawk circling above me, as if it were some sentient stormcloud above me and I could sense the static energy in the air, the foreboding feeling of an impending lightning strike.

And in a way, what ultimately happened left me feeling as though I had been struck by lightning.

What followed was incredibly confusing, at least in my memory. In an apparent flash, it felt as though data was being downloaded into my brain from above, yet at the same time I was literally, physically ascending. For all I know, both may have been the case. All I recall for certain is that my surroundings suddenly disappeared and I was thrust into another “space” that I can now easily compare to an immersive virtual reality. The experience itself remains stubbornly difficult to nail down in words, ever-resistant to satisfying articulation, though over the years I’ve constantly tried. I was zipping about at high speed around, before, behind and through endless geometric patterns, growing fractals, and nets stretching on towards infinity in all directions. I soared through endless cubes within cubes, grids that stretched out into every direction, sliding down endless spirals. Zooming out of the macroscopic until it was microscopic, zooming into the smallest until it was the most inconceivably large. In essence, I felt akin to a worm that had suddenly been thrust into a bird’s eye view. I felt as if I was on overload, pushed to the brink of my capacity — and then it all stopped as suddenly as it began. I was back in the sandbox.

I would later realize how deeply this experience seemed to resonate with the experience of the Square upon being peeled of his measly two-dimensional plane and being forced to visit Spaceland in Edwin Abbott’s 1884 book, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, and how my struggle to articulate the experience paralleled the allegory of the cave that Plato wrote about in his 6th century work, Republic.

It was an enlightening yet frightening, confusing yet satisfying journey I experienced within or above that sandbox, or perhaps both, and, as was a very common characteristic of these memories, I remain not the least bit certain how it ended. There are, however, some deep associations between this memory and other things I recalled from my childhood.

There was, for instance, an old homework assignment that I found in the attic during high school. It was inside this box both my sisters and I kept beneath our beds as kids, and which housed all our artwork and other memorabilia. Given the words I wrote across the top of the page, the theme of the assignment was supposed to be, “In Celebration: A Past to Remember, A Future to Mold.” I later looked it up on the net, and it is, not coincidentally, the “Reflection Theme” of the PTA for the 1986-1987 school year, when I was in second grade. It was supposed to be a poster that dealt with the 50th anniversary of the Flint, Michigan sitdown strike. My memories, vague as they are, is that I had forgotten to do it and drew it all before class began on the very day it was due and hadn’t a clue as to what the assignment was about.

In any case, I had decided to interpret the project in a most peculiar fashion. Drawing a line down the center of the paper, I had drawn a gray brontosaurus to the left and a rather elaborate flying saucer to the right. The saucer had curved lines to the sides, suggesting movement, and was tipped upward, revealing its detailed underside. Twenty-one portholes — ten black, eleven gray — encircled the bottom along rim, and from each porthole extended a curved line that ultimately embedded itself into an eye-like structure at the center of the disc.

I can’t for certain say why I associate this drawing with my experience in the field that one, late day, but it wasn’t alone. It also reminded me of a short story I had written perhaps a year before the memories began flooding my mind in 1994, the central image of which has hung with me over the years. In the story a man finds himself alone one evening in an expansive landscape — a huge clearing in a forest, a desert, maybe even a field. All was eerily silent and, after a period of feeling as though he was being watched, he looks up into the sky to find, to his utter terror, that a gigantic eye was peering down at him. Aside from perhaps being associated with my experience in the field as well as my drawing, it also served as a way of expressing a strange fear of vast, open skies that I had for some reason developed around the second or third grade. I remember describing it as a fear of falling upward or being swallowed by the sky.

There were other memories of encountering UFOs that were considerably more blatant, however, such as the two regarding blue orbs descending from above, the first of which must have occurred when I was very young, as it took place at my maternal grandparent’s house. It was nighttime and I was alone, standing at one end of the dark kitchen as I gazed out the bay window at the other end, which looked out into the backyard. I could see this shimmering blue orb slowly descend from the sky towards the lawn, and it made my young mind think of the children’s rhyme, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

My other memory of blue orbs felt far less innocuous. By this time I must have been in my early teens and we had already moved into the second house, which resides in a rural area. I was on the right side of the yard, near where the huge horse barn would eventually be built, and it was nighttime yet again. Others may have been with me, though I don’t recall for sure. What I do remember is looking up into the night sky and seeing two bright, blue stars that began moving erratically. When it became clear that they were both curving downward, unerringly aimed towards me, I bolted across the grass, up and over the small picnic table we used to have there, and then darted into the woods running alongside the house.

On that same side of the yard, in the area where the aforementioned barn would later be, we used to have a swingset. I remember swinging there one beautiful summer day, facing the forest, my eyes staring at my feet as the background followed the looping perspective. I would see the ground, then the mown grass, the tall grass, the tops of the trees, and finally, the bright, blue sky before I came swinging back down again to watch it all play in reverse. As I did this, I began to hear this faint noise that was increasing in volume. To me, it sounded like rain hitting the leaves of the trees; as if some stormcloud was quickly approaching from deep in the forest and headed my way despite the beautiful weather and clear skies. Ultimately, as I watched my feet touch the blue sky one last time, I saw the edge of a gigantic black circle flying out from the tree tops, on its way to being just over my head — and at that point, the memory cuts off abruptly.

It appeared that I was looking at the bottom of a saucer that had been gliding across the treetops, accounting for the sound I had heard and had mistaken for rainfall. I would see this particular memory play over and over occasionally on the bridge of sleeping and waking, and it left me with that fear and awe kind of feeling.

Another memory, though significantly hazier, involved an incident that had taken place one night in the guest room at my paternal grandparents’ house, where my sisters and I slept on our visits. Above the head of my bed was the window, and I have a vague recollection of suddenly awakening during the night to the sense of an ominous presence which gave rise to an intense anxiety in me. I saw red lights flashing behind the curtains above me and, peering out from between the curtains cautiously, I saw, resting in their backyard, a large, egg- or acorn-shaped object adorned with blinking lights, it’s more pointed end aimed toward the sky. My instinct was to pretend it wasn’t there. Quickly, I lay back down in bed, pulled the blankets over my head and tried to go to sleep, or at the very least do my very best to play dead.

Then there were my two memories of the red orb.

The first was a memory I was uncertain about for a long time (and in fact to some degree I still am, despite its ruthless persistence), though if true, it may explain quite a bit about that initial UFO dream I had in December of 1994.

When we moved out of our old house and into our new one in 1988, the old house had yet to be sold; coincidentally, at the very same time the family of my best friend, Jimmy, was moving to Oregon. The family was hyper-religious, and my parents were convinced they were joining a cult. The father, a carpenter and an abusive asshole, had moved down early to set things up in their new place and start his new job. Their house was sold, too, and since they had no place to stay, and our old house had yet to be sold, my mother let them stay there. For at least one night James slept over at our new house, and I was happy to spend some time with a friend I suspected I would never see again.

That night my family, him and I went to the mall for something, probably things for the new house, and the car began to overheat on the freeway on the way back. My mother, grandmother, two sisters, Jimmy and I all waited on the side of the road as dad tried to get a ride from someone so he could get to the nearest phone, where he would call for a tow truck and find us an alternative way back home. As we sat on that hill, watching the sky as it darkened and the stars reveal themselves, I remember seeing a red light in the forest ahead of us — which is precisely where my memory of the events end until we finally arrived home, with my mother half-joking to him that he shouldn’t tell his mother about our car issues.

I subsequently confirmed that the whole incident, aside from the red light, actually happened, as Eve, the elder of my two younger sisters, remembered it herself. She even added details from her perspective that I didn’t recall or perhaps never knew to begin with, such as the fact that as we were all lying back, looking at the stars, Jimmy had laid his head upon her shoulder.

The interesting thing about this event is that, if my memories above are correct, everyone who sat on the hill that night save for my uncle were present on the bench-swing in the dream — even Jimmy, though in this case it wasn’t the Jimmy I knew in high school. In both the dream and the incident on the hill we were all having a good time watching the sky, too, until I saw a dancing light in the distance — though in the dream, it wasn’t red, as it was here. It led me to wonder whether the dream was in part a sort of residual memory of this specific event and if more happened on that hill beside the highway than I consciously recall.

Another and seemingly related memory, however — and one that I am most confident actually happened — took place a short time thereafter. It know it was shortly after we had moved into the new house as I still had the floor-to-ceiling window in my bedroom with a locked, black grate over it and blue-colored shades. Within a year or two my father had made it a regular-sized window. At the time, my bed had been positioned against the wall opposite the window and my head was laying towards it. I woke up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason and, without moving, popped open my eyes and looked outside the window. Off in the distance, behind the forest of trees that lied to the right of the driveway, I saw what appeared to be a red light in the distance. At first I just thought it was one of those red lights they have on top of towers and I just hadn’t noticed it before. Once I convinced myself of that hypothesis, despite the ominous feeling that persisted, I found myself closing my eyes again.

What felt like only a short time later, my eyes popped open again, and though I told myself I was mistaken, I again saw the red light in the distance, but that distance seemed to have diminished considerably. It seemed closer, and my anxiety was rising. Despite this, my eyes closed again. They popped open again later, and the red light seemed even closer. This recurred several times, and each time, the red light seemed to be increasing its proximity to my window. I remember it shimmering right in front of the trees at the end of the driveway. I have vaguer recollections of it ultimately hovering outside my window. After that, though, the memory certainly ends.

Why I didn’t run, move, or do something throughout any of this, I haven’t the foggiest clue, though I later read of similar reactions in UFO encounters. It’s as though the notion simply didn’t occur to me or I was somehow incapable of carrying it out.

A common thread running through all the aforementioned memories is that they came back to me in flashbacks. In other words, I mysteriously forgot each and every one of them immediately after they occurred, or so it seemed, only to spontaneously recall most of them around the age of sixteen or seventeen. Hypnotic confabulation is not a possibility, as no hypnosis was involved, so debunkers that prefer to be seen as skeptics would no doubt cry “false memory” and feel they solved the mystery. Though I certainly feel otherwise, for all I know, they are right. In tandem with this, however, they would also have to cry out “hallucination,” as I subsequently had real time sightings or encounters with UFOs, which is to say that I’ve recalled many such instances from the very moment in which they occurred.

The first of these I have previously written about in my post, UFOs and OBEs:

After speaking with my mother on the early morning of September 29, 2001, I learned that she was taking one of our horses to the vet due to its peculiar swollen eye and later, in the evening, her and my two sisters were going to see Sylvia Brown. Just as she was about to leave around ten, I finally went up to my bedroom and crashed.

As I rested on my bed, the familiar paralysis crept up on me, the volume knob on my senses seemed to turn down to zero, and I felt my subtle body drifting from the confines of my skin and sinking down into the otherworldly black void. Struggling to reattach to my body, I focused on a “whirring” noise I could hear as if from underwater, using it as the auditory equivalent as a rope by means of which I could pull myself back together, quite literally as it seemed. Once I met with success, I lifted my head, looked around, listened and discovered that the whirring had been coming from my computer, which I had left on in the midst of writing an article. I then went to sleep.

Around quarter to eight that evening is when I next awoke. I found that my computer was reading an error on the screen and my keyboard wasn’t responding. I rebooted it but had to unplug the keyboard and plug it back in to get it working again.

Heading downstairs, the quiet house suggested my mother and sisters were still out. I found my father asleep on the sofa chair, out cold, a strange movie on television. When he woke up as I came down the steps, I asked him if for any reason him or my mother had come into my room and fiddled with my computer as I was sleeping. It was a dumb question, and it didn’t surprise me when he told me they had not. The electricity had clearly not gone off, either.

Pouring myself a mug of coffee, I then put on my shoes in the mud room to go outside for a cigarette. As I began to open the front door of the house, I saw the red globe of light shimmering as it hovered just slightly above the front lawn and began to silently rise. Shaking myself free of shock, I aggressively yelled for my father, urging him to book it the short distance to the door.

The globe rose, crossed the driveway onto the other side of the yard and then ascended above the power lines and trees to the far right side of the property close to the horse barn. As my father arrived at the door frame, it had dimmed and was ducking behind some trees before it seemed to shrink or move out into the distance, glow turning an opaque milky red that then dissipated until it was entirely gone. He seemed perplexed by it, at first wondering aloud if it had been a flare, then asking if I wanted to check it out.

We hopped in his truck and drove to a nearby dirt road where it seemed to have been headed, but I was not even looking towards the sky. I knew it was gone. Soon we turned back around, and on the way back he tells me how strange it was that I had stepped out the front door at just the right moment to see it. He adds that it reminded him of the fireball my mother had talked about seeing in the sky while she was on the highway a few years back.

My mind was elsewhere. The important part of the red light sighting for me was that it established a connection I had for long suspected but had never had any real reason to believe: that the alien stuff was somehow related to the OBE stuff.”

The second such encounter occurred on August 11, 2002. I had gotten off work and smoked Salvia Divinorum again while hanging out with some friends. It was just the leaves without any extract on them this time, however, and by the time I saw the UFO later that evening it should not have affected me in the least. In any case, in the spirit of full disclosure it’s worth noting.

Disappointed that it had had virtually no effect on me, I soon left and dropped off one of my friends at their place on my drive home. I was going to write a bit, so I made some coffee, went to the bathroom and then went outside for a smoke. I was thinking again on my disappointment on the whole Salvia thing as I gazed at the sky full of stars as I did every night. As I turned to look toward the sky above the yard in front of the house at about 3:45 AM, things in my life got extremely weird again.

It was a triangular object that had a multitude of white, circular lights all over it’s underside that appeared to be arranged in rows. I saw it from an angle, moving from the forest in front of the house, across the yard and towards the space above the house. It was absolutely silent and remained in my clear, direct field of vision for about ten seconds. It gradually slowed down, dimmed its lights, brightened them to a degree brighter than before, and then the lights turned off completely. I could still see a dark, triangular object move there for a few moments, but it soon faded in the dark sky above the yard and I lost sight of it. Shortly thereafter I heard noises in the woods behind the house, like twigs cracking and leaves moving. I had the paranoid notion that the thing might be ducking into the tops of the trees.

I finished my cigarette, lit another, and kept my senses acute. I looked all around the sky, but saw nothing that couldn’t be easily identified as a plane or star. I eventually figured the show was over and went inside.

In both the real time red light experience and the experience with the triangle of white lights other odd experiences followed rather immediately — “astral projections” in the case of the red light and a hard-to-classify encounter with respect to the triangle.

My most recent sighting was brief, and though it could have been a mere hallucination, I’ve simply been unable to convince myself that this was the case, particularly due to my strange, extreme reaction subsequent to the event.

On July 1st, 2015, I had been high on cannabis and writing on my laptop in the third-story, one-bedroom apartment that I still occupy at the time of this writing. At about 3:30 AM I got up from my chair and proceeded to go through the doorway leading from the living room to the bedroom on my way to the bathroom. As I was at the door frame, I turned and glanced towards the windows to my left for a moment. There I saw, through the green curtains my mother had made for me, two red lights positioned vertically, like a colon, at the far left side of the window. I kept walking a step through the door frame, as it didn’t hit me right away, but when I realized what I had just seen I stepped back and looked again.

They were gone.

I tried to put it out of my mind. After all, I was high. Even so, I felt certain that this was no hallucination. Nor were they fireworks, despite the approaching holiday. Maybe it was two red lights on some tower I had for some reason never noticed before, I thought to myself, so I went up to the windows and pulled the curtains aside. There was no tower. There was only the moon in the general direction I had seen the lights, and it was certainly not the fucking moon. It couldn’t have been taillights from a car or a reflection from anything within my apartment and there was nothing else outside the window. Just the quiet, still darkness of the night.

I’m not alone in my family with respect to UFO sightings, either.

My mother once told us how she was driving home from work one evening when she saw “a meteor,” as the news would later call it; specifically, it was a huge fireball that was traveling parallel to the road she was on. I remember my father speaking about seeing a “strange light” above the garage when I was young and we still lived in the first house, but neither of my parents seem to remember anything of this. Much later, I believe in the 2010s, my father said he had gone outside one early morning and saw two objects moving above the forest in front of the house. He was mystified and told me he would never forget it as long as he lived.

Both my parents recall seeing a strange object in the sky when I was just a kid and we were camping at a park in Geneva, Ohio, and another above the house when I was just a baby.

There was also an incident with my maternal grandmother, who had been watching over my uncle’s house when he was away. She said she saw a strange, lighted object go over the house, and as it did so the electricity went off. The VCR was left blinking 12:00, she said. Despite her interest in UFOs and how she always said she wanted to ride in one before she died, she dismissed it as a legitimate sighting, however.

On my paternal side, my grandmother — a severe, functional alcoholic I only met when I was a baby — told my father and, to his dismay, many people that she worked with, how she had seen flying saucers outside her window. He deduced that it must have been the reflection of lamps within her place as seen in her window pane.

Maybe the recurring UFO dreams were inspired by one, some or all of my remembered and real time experiences of sightings or encounters, much as my original UFO dream seemed to echo elements from the admittedly vague memory of being on the hill on the side of the road with Jimmy and my family that one evening in 1988. Or perhaps the dreams are residue from UFO encounters which I have yet to consciously recollect.

Maybe the creatures that pilot these UFOs follow family lines, as has been suggested by alien abduction researchers, or perhaps these dreams are just a different manifestation of the same underlying psychological issue that gives rise to the hallucinations and subsequent delusions of having had UFO encounters — and much more — throughout my life, and maybe whatever is wrong with me has a genetic component. One I evidently inherited through both of my parental lines.

Choose your own interpretation.

In any case, I cannot help but note the similarity between the dark mood elicited by my personal sightings and close encounters and those which my recurring UFO dreams elicit. After my most recent UFO dream, I wondered why, despite the fact that I’ve looked up an untold number of UFO sightings and encounters that others have had, I had never bothered to look up anyone who, like me, also had recurring dreams of such incidents. After some minimal research, I wondered why I hadn’t taken the time to do this before. Others apparently have recurring dreams of UFOs as well, and their dreams share some interesting characteristics with my own — as do the presumably real-life, waking UFO encounters others have reported.

UFOs: Sightings, Encounters, & Recurring Dreams (Part I).

I. Personal UFO Dreams.

On the early morning of December 15, 1994 I had an unusual and incredibly vivid and lifelike dream embodying a theme that set a pattern that follows me to this day:

It was nighttime and I was outside, sitting on a porch swing in my parent’s front yard. Beside me sat my father, mother, maternal grandmother and uncle — my sisters may or may not have also been there, but there was most certainly this seemingly random kid from high school that I hardly knew, Jimmy. We are all staring above the forest that lines the front yard, entranced at the sight of this star-like object doing zigzag movements, falling leaf motions and other aerobatics. From that safe distance, this blue-white nocturnal light was mesmerizing, but in a moment, a fraction of a blink, it had zoomed down from the sky to hover beside Chad’s house, a kid who lived two houses down. No longer an object like a bright star in the sky, it now had revealed itself to be the typical flying saucer: like two shallow, silver-colored bowls placed rim to rim. From its midsection shot a white beam of brilliant light that hit the roof of the house and moved about, as if it were using it to scan the inside of the house.

After a short time, it shot away again, now coming to hover above the road in front of the house. We could now only piece together what was going on from what was could be heard and seen through the trees. I could clearly see the headlights of an approaching car and then caught a glimpse of the saucer descending and chasing it as it shot another one of those light-beams down upon it. Just as the sight became entirely obscured by the trees, I heard the abrupt screeching of tires in the distance.

Afraid not only that we might very well be observing abductions here but that we may be next in line, I decided to quickly take note of the time. That way if an abduction did occur it would be indicated by a gap of “missing time” the next time I took note of the time. Quickly taking a look at my wristwatch, I found to my confusion that it read an unblinking 88:88. My entirely irrational response to all of this was to follow the lead of the rest of those on the swing, who I found were already fast asleep.

Checking my watch again as I was lying down, it still read all eights. As I was rolling my head upward to settle in, I happen to look to the sky just above the swing, where I see a black, triangular craft, barely discernible in the night sky right above us. After comforting myself with the notion that only saucers are used for the abductions, which was an allegation I had read in a book around that time, I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep.

When I opened my eyes again, the rest of them are all already off the swing and walking towards the house. Curious, I follow them inside, into what now seems to be a birthday party. As was often the case I then drifted from the crowd, moving into the dark and unpopulated living room. There I stared out through the sliding glass window into the dark backyard. At first I thought it was my own reflection in the glass that was obstructing my vision, but I soon discovered that it was the face of my father with his beard shaved off.

Shrieking in terror, I fall back, my mother laughing from behind me. My father then opens the sliding glass door and walks in, a smile of amusement on his face. I follow them back to the table, where everyone from the party had gathered, and as they sat down I noted that while the beards of both my father and uncle were trimmed, my father’s face was no longer shaven.

Everyone had sat down save for myself and my mother, who suddenly appeared standing beside me — though this was not the mother I had just seen, who had just been laughing at me. Instead, this was some type of cliché fifties sitcom mother like Mrs. Cleaver with the apron and plastic smile. She held up a game entitled Discoveries of the Supernatural as if she was in some old advertisement. When she asked me whether I wanted to play, I refused, though I was unable to explain what made me feel so uneasy about it.”

Upon awakening, I wrote down this particularly vivid and emotionally-charged dream in detail, even providing drawings of the craft’s aerial acrobatics. This dream hung with me throughout the years, as it was the first of many recurring dreams — or, more specifically, dreams comprised of the same, underlying theme.

In such dreams, the sighting typically occurs at night, where they would constitute what J Allen Hynek referred to as “nocturnal lights,” though sometimes it would take place during the day, where they would constitute what Hynek called “daylight discs.”

As in the initial dream, I will often see the UFOs above the forest that separates my parent’s property from the road, on the left side of the yard separated by the long driveway from the perspective of the house, just as in that initial dream:

In an early dream, a very vivid dream, the dark night sky above my parent’s house was inundated with glowing saucers. They were everywhere and we just watched them.
— 9/15/07 Dream.

Occasionally, however, I’ll see them above other areas of the property as well:

I was watching a team of UFOs at the left side of my parent’s house, dancing far above above our neighbor’s lawn. Most of them were just `points of light’, but the one in the middle was large and different and I wanted to remember enough about it to draw it.
— 1/19/04 Dream.

At end of my parent’s driveway in the evening, a light flies over my head in the sky considerably fast, lighting up the whole sky as it went, and I snap a photo with my cell phone just as it happens. Later, during the day, I bring someone back to the end of the driveway with me and try to determine that it could not have been the rising and setting of the sun, which is an explanation I know to be entirely ludicrous but feel the need to falsify anyway.
— 2/6/10 Dream.

I finally managed to get to sleep many hours later, and awoke around noon to an extremely vivid dream scene. Though things had happened beforehand, I haven’t the faintest clue what they were, but I ultimately — and, it seemed, rather abruptly — found myself alone in my parents front yard on a dark, crisp night. Walking in the area passed the driveway, into the portion of the yard to the right if you’re coming out the front door, I see a light above and through the trees of the large stretch of forest lining the side of the yard. It was a distant, bright nocturnal light, though lights to either side of it — multicolored, though I can’t be sure of the colors — flared up and flickered shortly thereafter as if connected to the same, distant object. It seemed to do this in response to my concentration on it. And I was transfixed by it. Everything in my field of vision was crystal clear, indistinguishable from real. Before it moved or anything else happened, however, I woke up.
— 1/1/18 Dream.

On still other occasions, especially in the more recent dreams, I see them in an entirely different and presumably fictitious environment. Either that or the environment in question isn’t referenced, as I’m looking at the sky, or the environmental context is for whatever reason promptly forgotten upon awakening:

I’m looking up into the night sky and see, in the black distance in the sky in front of me, a closely-knit row of lights just slightly larger than stars. Suddenly the lights on the left side flare up, and then they dim as the other side takes its turn getting brighter. Then the entire thing abruptly flashes a brilliant white light, after which it appears to be this narrow football of white light.

Somehow, I knew exactly what it was going to do and prepared myself. As suspected, it swiftly shot up towards me, over my head and to the area of the sky behind me before it disappeared in a streak of light akin to the tail of a meteor. I never lost focus on it until it disappeared, either: I followed it as it streaked above me and then turned my body around to continue my visual lock on it.
— 11/13/19 Dream.

… on October 20th, I had a dream in which I saw a diamond formation of red lights in the distance moving in front of a thick cloud cover. A point of streaking light then swirled across the formation and they all disappeared.
— 10/20/11 Dream.

Usually the only environment that corresponds to an environment I’m familiar with in real life is my parent’s house. There have been exceptions to the rule, however, such as where I am living at the time of the specific dream in question:

Sunday, I wake up at maybe nine. I had some weird dream about this gigantic metallic saucer hovering above the apartment building, huge and vivid, with emphasis on both words. In the dream I’d gone to get a camera, but when I came back there was just a huge black congregation of eerie-looking clouds where the saucer had been. When I wake up, I do not look out the window.
— 3/30/08 Dream.

Usually I witness the UFO or UFOs alone, unlike the initial dream, but occasionally with company. Frequently, at least for awhile, a common feature in these dreams would involve me struggling to take a photograph or video of the sighting with my phone, though this typically ended in failure and frustration:

… I have a dream about strange lights in the sky. This time, I am lying on a towel or sleeping bag with two others to either side of me, and before us is a big movie screen. Looking up, I saw three- and four-petaled pinwheels and boomerang-shaped lights of different colors, all of which threw out sparks as they streaked across the dark night sky like fireworks under intelligent control. I decided to turn around and lay with my head at their feet so as to get a better look at the lights in the sky, hoping to photograph them with my camera phone.
— 10/23/11 Dream.

In the dream, he lives down the street from my house, which appears in this dream to be based upon my parent’s house in my old, rural neighborhood. At least one other person goes along with me late one evening, walking the densely-populated and low-traffic country road, and together we witness a strange and exhilarating sight across the road from Steve’s house. This is an area where a more expansive rendition of the field that actually exists across the road from my parent’s house resides. Above the field we witness a triangular-shaped craft with smooth curves at its corner and multicolored lights running along its edges and it moves across the sky in a spinning boomerang fashion. As it exhibits this mesmerizing behavior another object, so much farther away that if it were to hover motionless it could easily be mistaken for a bright star, proceeds to dance and do right-angle turns.

Afterward, I recall trying to get a camera, hoping for another sighting which I might be able to capture on film as evidence. In addition, I want to talk to Steve and document his reaction to what I witnessed going on just across the road from where he had been sleeping, and I imagine him being quite enthralled with the whole thing, perhaps disappointed that he had missed it. Arriving at his house in the daylight with my friend, who holds the camera, I try to tell Steve what happened and have a conversation with him about it, but he seems reluctant to talk about it, or even acknowledge what it is I’m saying to him, focusing instead on mundane, trivial matters with friends also present at the house with him.
— Another Steve Dream (8/6/2011).

More rarely, instead of or in addition to UFOs, I would instead see strange atmospheric phenomenon, like black holes in the sky:

I’m outside with someone, and they are video recording a weird phenomenon in the sky. The clouds part, leaving an empty area of sky, and some clouds funnel into the empty space from the left and curve upward until they begin making a spinning spherical outline. The circular, funneling outline of clouds thickens a bit and then lightning flashes and it shoots out of sight to the right, out of sight behind the clouds. The guy videotapes it happening once, and then, while he is all excited and viewing it on his camera, I look up into the sky and see it happen again. It looks incredibly vivid, seems totally real, and absolutely astounds me.
— 9/13/09 Dream.

Out in front of my parent’s house, out on the front patio, they’re all looking up at the sky at what they presume to be some odd stars, but they clearly aren’t. They are a tight formation of lights all arranged in rows and they are far too bright to be stars. I can also see the actual stars behind them. I get out my cell phone and try to take a picture, but they soon dim their light and sort of “blur” until some are hardly visible and those that are only appear as opaque globes. Then clouds move in. A thick and fast stream of dark gray clouds, but from behind this blanket of clouds I can see their lights moving about and I just watch them, still awaiting a photo opportunity.

Soon, to the left side of the yard facing the house, right around where the shed and chicken coop is, a hole opens up in the sky, like a black hole spiraling out of the blanket of clouds, revealing the vast sky behind it. As it slowly grows and grows, I try to take a picture of it from various angles, but then it stops.

At every step of the way, it feels as though they and the aerial phenomena they seem to control is aware of my attention and responds to my intention to capture it, to secure some form of evidence of its existence. I am frustrated and feel that I cannot defeat them, that I cannot even speak to others of their existence without feeling like a fool and having no evidence to support my proclamations.
During the rest of the dream, much more happens; I drink some alcohol and, some time later, end up smoking pot with some girl. All throughout, the whole incident with the sky seems to loom above my head (in a figurative sense).
— Struggle With the Sky (12/26/09 Dream).

Sometimes when I have dreams of these UFO sightings or encounters, there will be a point later in the dream, or in subsequent dreams during the same sleep cycle, in which I will experience paranormal phenomena: possessing another person’s body, telepathy, and so on:

I’m walking around some town at night with at least one other person, a friend, and there seems to be a lot of activity in the sky. There is this huge comet-like thing, for instance, only it goes straight above us, meaning over our heads, and doesn’t burn out quickly and looks large and close. There were other things as well, and as amazing as they all are to me I remember being told earlier about their conventional, natural explanations. Later, alone, I walk inside what seems to be the dining area at the student center on my college campus. It’s night, so it’s vacant, except for a little shop which seems to be where the coffee place called Einstein’s exists in real life. I sit at the bar that has been made out of the front counter. There are a few customers and at least one guy behind the counter. I order a chocolate-chip cookie and the guy says something about the vendor outside who usually sells cookies being closed. He then asks if its alright that the cookie is wheat instead of white and then, before I could answer (but immediately after I thought it) he goes, “You like wheat,” or, “You’re okay with wheat,” which is true. Even though he already knows, I verbally say, “That’s fine.” There is a girl there (sitting across from me, which makes no sense given the set-up in the dream) who has a very pinkish face and a lot of red in the whites of her eyes. I consider, inside my head, that she’s stoned, and she laughs, seemingly in response to my thought; a girl beside her, who is out of sight, chimes in and says, “Well, she was…””
— Lights in the Sky & Transparent Minds (9/18/09 Dream).

On two occasions I’ve had dreams of piloting a UFO:

While walking around with someone, and I think it is Moe, we come across the top of some building that looks as if it had been abandoned for some time. After walking down the hill and passed some trees and bushes towards the front doors, intending to go in, however, it seems clear that someone lives there. The front of the building has clearly had up-keep, so my desire to go inside comes to a screeching halt. I’m more than just slightly afraid. We keep walking.

Eventually we come to what seems to be a town square. As we approach an area beneath some tall trees, I see a girl I used to know sitting on a bench, and I jump over the back of the bench and sit beside her, where we end up talking. Beside me, to my right, sits Steve, the manager from work, and beside him there is an old woman (who is someone familiar) who is holding a small, black child. As I’m talking to the girl to my left, I realize I’m being too loud and might wake the child, which Steve and the woman communicate to me in one way or another, and I promptly apologize.
As I continue talking to the girl, trying to keep my volume under control, I suddenly hear the old woman scream, “Saucers!” She’s looking up, and so I look up as well. High above us in the sky are countless rows of saucers flying in tight formation, but they look like the cheesy flying saucers you would see in those old, low-budget, black-and-white movies.

The army of silver saucers above us are spinning like tossed Frisbees suspended in flight, and then one of them slows its spinning and falls from the sky. I watch as it hits the ground with a clang; its small, and looks not to be an actual flying saucer at all, but a hubcap. But then a large craft, bulky and not saucer-like at all, falls, however gracefully from the sky and has a rough landing. Two black men in ridiculous suits come out of either end of the craft very dramatically, almost doing this little dance. One approaches me and the other approaches Moe, who is sitting on the edge of the bench or standing nearby. They hand each of us what appears to be a thick and white rubber wrist band and then trot off as dramatically as before in the direction opposite their craft.

Immediately I interpret this as them not planning on coming back, and that they had essentially chosen Moe and I to be their replacements and were giving us their cheesy spacecraft. I run towards it, entering into what would be the driver’s-side door even though I know there really isn’t a driver’s seat (I have no idea how I know this or why it doesn’t bother me that I don’t know how I know this). So Moe climbs in the other door, expressing to me that this might not be the best idea, and I try to explain to him (without being able to explain how I knew) how they had chosen us as replacements and given us their craft and how they didn’t plan to come back alive. That its okay.

The craft hovers, goes upward, and I can somehow control it. It floats above the tree-tops rather erratically and I wonder if we’re going to crash land like those two black alien guys did. Moe asks what I’m doing, and I tell him that we have to go find them and help them fight whatever it was that they were fighting. Then I wake up.
— The Replacements (11/22/09 Dream).

Somehow, I am piloting a UFO. It is a small, circular or ovular room with a circular depression in the middle. At least one person is lying down in the small walkway around the central depression, amazed and excited about the ride. I’m not even sure how I am piloting the craft, and it even confuses me at the time. At the center or to the side of the central depression is this small, movable, vaulted dome aimed downward with a bluish-violet crystal-like glass between the beams, and I’m somehow maneuvering the craft by use of that.

Afterward, I have a conversation with someone — male or female, I am uncertain; I don’t even know who this individual is, and it seems strangely, purposely ambiguous — and this individual knows all about the craft, how it works, the physics behind it. I am asking this person how fast the craft can go, but realize, in the midst of forming my question verbally, that the craft doesn’t really move so much as fold the space between it and its destination, pulling its destination towards it. It still moves across the fold, however, so I rephrase my question to ask how fast it can accelerate, comparing it with how a car works, but again realize that it doesn’t move even when traveling at short distances; it still sort of “pulls” its destination towards itself by means of distorting the space in front of it and “falling forward”.

I then reform my question to ask how far it can go in a single fold, but realize its arbitrary, but then it strikes me that it might bring itself into collision with an object if it aims too far in the distance, but then, in the process of asking even that, I suddenly realize that it no doubt has a tracking system so it doesn’t fold itself into an object.

On and on it goes, with me asking questions to this individual only to realize in the midst of asking them that, to my surprise, I already know the answers. It’s as if I’m posing the questions to some part of my mind that knows what I do not consciously know.
— 2/9/10 Dream.

At least once, I dreamed of watching a UFO battle followed by a crash:

Though the beginning is fuzzy, its from a frantic, vivid, first-person perspective. At some point I am in or nearby the field across from my parent’s driveway. It’s evening, and there are multicolored lights all about in the sky, as if these UFOs are out of control or in some aerial battle. One, at least, seems to crash in the field, and there’s a lot of light and commotion, a lot of panic. Making it to a pick-up truck, be it alone or with others, I get away. The next morning I return, feeling more safe in daylight, and pull into my parent’s driveway. Not much longer than a car-length away, however, there is a blockade, like you might find before a road that is closed. Confused about what I should do, I park there, wondering if parking this close will get me in trouble. Nearby, in the ditch to my left, I see an overturned vehicle, and I wonder if I leave my truck there if it will meet a similar fate. I look to the field across the driveway where the craft crashed last night and see a crew of men in some type of uniform sucking up grass through hand-held machines, looking for and collecting what I for some reason know to be toxic material.
— The Blockade (11/30/09 Dream).

Unless you count my presumably real memories of alien encounters and abductions, I’ve had only one dream of an abduction:

Walking alone in what appears to be the front yard of my parent’s house, it is a dark, clear, warm summer’s night. I’m watching something in the sky that at first looks like a plane in the distance but suddenly it quickly accelerates forward, and in the end what I’m looking at is a saucer-shaped object with lights all over it in neon-like colors. I don’t know how high up it is, but it looks bigger than the moon would appear and it’s dancing, doing acrobatics in the sky above me. Soon another joins it, virtually identical in appearance to the first, and then another. It is absolutely amazing to watch them.

Though in retrospect my instinct should have been to run and take cover, instead I find myself lying down, putting my back upon the grass of the front lawn. As I do so, the magnificent, surreal light show above me continues, but I realize something is even more awry now. There’s a strange mixture of excitement and fear present in me, and I know something in particular is coming. From the especially dark area of the yard towards which the top of my head is pointing there comes something. A form. It approaches me, bends down and looks at my face, but as soon as it does so I close my eyes.

Suddenly, with my eyes closed, with my consciousness altering and drifting in and out a bit, I feel myself being lifted and moved around, and when I opened my eyes again I seem to be in a pretty bright place. From the table on which I lay I can clearly see them walking around, surrounding me. Some are familiar. The little gray guys. But they don’t all look the same. Some are of types I never remember having seen before, not in personal experiences and not in my research into the experiences of others. I remember how the head of one of them struck me as unusual and interesting and that I hoped that I would be able to remember this whole incident well enough to be able to draw it later on. This led me to playing over in my head what happened from the point of seeing the objects in the yard until now over and over, trying to remember the sequence, burn every detail of it in my memory so that I could write about it later.

Like so many times before, I hoped they wouldn’t wipe my conscious mind entirely clean. I wanted to remember how real this was in order to abolish the skepticism that always followed an experience, the doubt that always ached in me about my sanity after they dropped me off. There was a moment there on the table when I thought that perhaps I should just ask them, beg them to let me remember the fact that this happens from now on, to just do away with the amnesia because I can’t stop them and I think I can handle the memories. Maybe I could just accept what’s going on and somehow learn to integrate it into my life because, really, for the most part, its the mystery, the inability to know whether this is insane or really happening, that drives me over the edge. If I knew for sure, maybe I could deal.
But then I began to recall the kinds of things that went on when they took me, the kinds of things that were in store for me pretty soon, as I waited there on the table, and I thought maybe it would benefit me not to remember. That perhaps if they took my suggestion and let me remember it might just cause more pain, more fear, and may perhaps even destroy me and my life completely. And after that point, I have no recollection of what else happened in the dream, but I feel certain more happened.
— Voluntary Amnesia (6/28/08 Dream).

Almost always, I awaken from the dream possessed by a strange mood that is predominantly composed of awe or intense curiosity and wonderment, though tinged with a sort of fear. This has, fittingly enough, been my initial reaction to the UFO sightings and encounters I’ve had in my waking life as well, which strongly suggests I should include those experiences in my quest for answers.

Aliens, Auras, & The Indigo Children.

“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes.”
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

“I can remember when I was a little boy. My grandmother and I could hold conversations entirely without ever opening our mouths. She called it ‘shining.’ And for a long time, I thought it was just the two of us that had the shine to us. Just like you probably thought you was the only one. But there are other folks, though mostly they don’t know it, or don’t believe it.”
The Shining (the 1980 film).

NIMI’S BODY LIGHT.

Though I’ve had an absurd amount of childhood memories suggesting alien encounters, the bulk of these memories were horrifying. Not all of them, however. A certain set of these memories dealt with a tall, willowy, female entity donning a monk’s robe. She looked like the typical Gray alien with lighter skin and larger eyes. I’ve called Nimi ever since the flashbacks in high school, though she had only referred to herself by her title, which she told me was The Teacher. We always communicated telepathically, through internal-yet-interpersonal dialogue as well as mental imagery. Whenever I peer back on those memories I find myself filled with warmth, as I truly value the time we spent together and all the weird and wonderful things she told me. And though I will perhaps forever be plagued by the question as to whether my memories and real-time experiences reflect reality or are merely the fantasies of a diseased mind, I continue exploring them in the hopes that I’ll earn a greater understanding.

One of the first memories that came back to me regarding her dealt with her speaking to me through my bedroom window one night, which was right beside the head of my loft bed. That was where she explained to me, mind-to-mind, how there is an energy or light that surrounds all forms of life in the universe. The light around her was green, she said, and the light around me was a certain type or shade of blue. As she spoke to me regarding the significance of the colors of body-light in general, I have vague recollections of seeing a rainbow or some form of the visible light spectrum in my mind’s eye. We then had a discussion about my bluish color and what seemed to be some confusion with respect to its classification, though the specifics escape me.

Though I had no idea when I was a young child, I believe that by the time I remembered this childhood experience during high school I knew at least vaguely about the concept she was referring to. I was a fan of Star Wars as a kid, of course, but I didn’t grasp the whole concept of the Force and how it related to all this until much later. More recently, I’ve begun to explore the cross-cultural notions of this energy in greater depth.

Many religious and spiritual philosophies over the ages have believed in this energy and that it exists within and around all living things. In Indian or Vedic cultures, this energy is known as prana. In Chinese philosophy, it’s called chi or qi. In ancient Greece, it was known as pneuma. In Japanense medicine, it is known as ki. In Hawaiian and Tahitian culture, it is called mana. In ancient Egypt, it was known as ka. In medieval philosophy, it’s known as quintessence, the fifth element. Among the Māori of New Zealand, it is known as mauri. Among Algonquian groups of Native Americans, it was known as manitou. Among the Iroquois Native Americans, it’s known as orenda. In his 1907 book Creative Evolution, French philosopher Henri Bergson called it Élan vital, which has been translated to English as either “vital impetus” or “vital force.” Dr. Wilhelm Reich called it orgone. More generally, it has been referred to as subtle energy.

When used in religious artwork, it is often called the aureola or aureole when depicted as a radiant cloud cocooning the body; at other times it is limited to the head, where it is known as the halo or nimbus and represented as a luminous disc or crown of light rays encircling the cranium. While the distinction between the halo and its full-body counterpart is often vague, they are often collectively referred to as a glory or mandorla. They come in every color, even various colors, and typically are used to denote holy figures, mythical figures, rulers or heros.

In India, the halo is known as either prabhāmaṇḍala or śiraścakra, and the aura as a whole is known as prabhāvali. In his Hypothesis of Formative Causation, Rupert Sheldrake refers to morphic fields that exist within and around everything, living or not, maintaining and evolving the patterns that characterize all that is through what he calls morphic resonance. The concept has also been embraced in modern new age religions, where it is often referred to as an aura or the human energy field. Even modern science in the West is slowly coming to incorporate this energy into their overall understanding, as the generic term “biofield” was elected in 1994 by a panel of scientists at the National Institutes of Health to denote what they described as interactive fields of energy and information surrounding and interpenetrating all living systems. These fields are comprised of not only scientifically accepted and technologically measurable electromagnetic energy, they posit, but also the thus-far-only-hypothetical subtle energy.

Though I cannot say that I have ever seen an aura myself, it would appear to be an embarrassingly perfect visual analog to the atmosphere of vibrating energy that I feel residing within and around my own body and those of others. The manner in which I feel it can be best described as some hybridized form of the kinesthetic and tactile, some subtler form of touch and movement that can be sensed independent of physical contact. Personal experience suggests that there are at least three distinct aspects or levels to this energy field, the most immediate of which seems to either correspond to an individual’s present state of consciousness or actually constitute the mind itself. In other words, it bears a frequency, vibration or “vibe” that seems to change in accordance with an individual’s emotions, moods, thoughts, and the state of their body. Interactions between my own energy and that of others seem to play a role in my involuntary empathy and telepathic experiences. Sometimes I’m only conscious of the received emotions, with the energetic sensations serving as a sort of background unless I deliberately focus on them, though often enough the energetic interactions themselves are so intense they take the foreground.

In either case, this energetic interaction seems to intensify during eye contact, as if the eyes serve a dual purpose, not only allowing us to see but also serving as psychic amplifiers — “windows” or “gateways to the soul” that provide a more direct interface to the individual mind. During or quickly following eye contact with some of my fellow human beings I have received incredibly intense bursts of emotion, more rarely imagery or internal dialogue.

There is another aspect to our aura, however, that doesn’t seem to change, at least with such frequency, and seems to represent an identifiable energetic pattern specific to the individual. This came to my attention in my teens but for a long time, despite being aware of the aura as a concept in religious and spiritual philosophies around the world, I had never heard anyone else refer to this aspect of it — until I discovered Psionics. Psionics is a portmanteau of the word psi (which itself is an umbrella term for extrasensory perception and psychokinesis) and electronics, specifically radionics. It was a term that developed in the 1940s and 50s to denote disciplines involving the application of engineering principles to the study and exploitation of parapsychological or paranormal phenomena. It was appropriated in the nineties or early aughts by a network of individuals eager to educate, experiment, practice and hone these skills. Among these “psions,” which are those who practice the art of psionics, there is a belief in what they call “psionic signatures,” or psi sigs. This is essentially a psychic fingerprint that is specific to every living thing and, according to some, every existing object. It is a marker of identity that one can detect if one is sensitive enough and Psions use it when attempting to determine the geographical location of someone. They may also do this in an attempt to establish a psionic link with others at a distance, as when trying to engage in telepathy.

Among some psions, the act of utilizing the psi-sig has been called “sig snatching,” and they have attempted to articulate the process. First, they clear their mind, focusing on blackness, and then turn their focus to the individual in question. This may involve picturing the person in their mind, perhaps using a prop such as a photo or personal possession tied to them in order to guide the psychological process, and then trying to get a feel for them. Once it seems that the focus on the individual is established, that you are “locked” on the sig and so the individual in question, they let their mind slip somewhat. Then they either open up while focusing on the desired data to be extracted and received or fixate on the data to be sent or transmitted. Naturally, when one has a genetic or emotional bond with the individual in question or has already established some form of non-psionic link in the physical landscape — through the phone, the internet, or while in spatial proximity — establishing such a link via sig snatching becomes easier.

If such a psi-sig indeed exists, it might help explain my sense that everyone has a unique, energetic pattern. It might also help explain how many, including myself, feel as though they can resonate their energy or mind with another not just when they are in close proximity but when they are at a distance and experience various forms of telepathy (such as dream telepathy) as a consequence, even without conscious intent.

There is yet another aspect of this energy, however, that seems to suggest that there are different groups of people who share certain energetic qualities that distinguish them from other such groups. It is as if there are energetic types, groups or subspecies scattered throughout the human population. For instance, some people seem to consistently drain the life from me, almost as if they were psychic parasites or mosquitos of the soul. Others seem akin to psychic furnaces, their luminous, shimmering glow from within charging me up, even cleansing my energy. During high school and occasionally since, I’ve also felt a vibe from people that suggest to me that they share my unusual experiences. I have often suspected that these were the kind of characteristics and tendencies of particular types of body-light that Nimi was distinguishing by means of light spectra.

ANATOMY OF THE SUBTLE BODY.

Reports of those who have repeated out-of-body experiences and who are awake for the apparent separation from the physical form suggest that the subtle body they exist within during their “disembodied” state exists in and around the physical body, which seems to suggest that the aura is the portion of the subtle body that extends beyond the physical skin and can potentially be perceived by certain sensitives clairvoyantly. Similarly, many religious and spiritual philosophies hold that this aura stems from not merely one subtle form but rather a hierarchy of additional, ever-subtler bodies in which every living thing exists simultaneously, with each body serving as a “band” of the aura — perhaps accounting to the various levels of aspects of the aura previously explained. Each of these subtler bodies are believed to correspond to a plane of existence, just as the physical body corresponds to the physical plane.

This makes some sense to me. While I have not had an out of body experience with respect to floating around as a disembodied entity on the physical landscape during my present life, I have had experiences that seem synonymous with what others have referred to as “astral projections” onto the “astral plane.” I remain open to the possibility that they may in fact be little more than lucid dreams, though the experiences in that realm take on a hyperreal quality that remain difficult to dismiss. In any case, in the context of these experiences I find myself in a body that seems to be composed of energy and takes on one of three potential forms: a singular point of consciousness that, if I were to look on it from a third-person perspective, I feel would appear as an orb; an amorphous or fluid form that I imagine would look a blob of energy or cloud of smoke; and a body akin to my physical vessel in terms of form, but which is instead composed of energy — namely an intensified version of what I feel within and around my physical body during my mundane, waking, material life. During these experiences, especially during those periods where I am lucid during the period where my “subtle body” separates from my physical body, there are frequencies and vibrations I cannot only feel but hear. Whether this suggests I have three distinct subtle bodies or merely one that can take on three different forms, I cannot be certain, but the general notion of having a subtle body is certainly something I can relate to experientially.

As I have detailed elsewhere, Nimi did indeed explain the concept of other planes of existence to me during one incident, namely after I told her I felt I had a “foot in two worlds.” She also mentioned that some people were better at operating on one plane than they were on others. Given that this was the only occasion I can recall in which our telepathy was cranked up to the degree that we shared and occupied the same mental space, as if we were sharing a lucid dream while still awake, it has often felt to me that she was suggesting that imagination itself may constitute a parallel reality and that I may function better in that realm than on others.

While I have no memory of Nimi explaining how the aura related to subtle bodies, I did have an odd experience, perhaps merely a dream, on October 1st of 2009 that shed some light on the subject. I suddenly found myself in some rendition of the basement of my neighbor’s house across the street when I was young, just as I had in my initial “astral projection” in May of 1995, sitting on a couch in a rather drowsy state of consciousness. Two other individuals who I sensed to be male were standing nearby, though out of my line of sight, and they spoke to both me and with one another mind-to-mind. The conversation involved the physical body being nothing more than a sort of “post body” that served as a thin slice off the top of a body composed of a more subtle form of energy or matter. Furthermore, this body itself was just a part of a greater system of subtler bodies in which conscious beings coexist.

Interestingly, I later found that this description parallels the Eastern model of the subtle bodies remarkably well. The Jiva, which in Hinduism and Jainism is equivalent to what we often refer to as the individual soul or self, is said to be enveloped within five sheaths which are in turn organized into three separate bodies. These five sheaths are said to interpetrate one another and exist inside one another in the style of a Russian Doll. There is the annamaya kosha, which is the physical sheath; the pranamaya kosha, the sheath of the breath or life-force; manomaya kosha, the mental sheath; the vijnanamaya kosha, or wisdom sheath, and finally the anandamaya kosha, or bliss sheath.

The karana sharira, or causal body, is composed of the jiva and one sheath, the anandamaya kosha. The sukshma sharira (later called the linga sharira) or subtle body, on the other hand, is composed of three sheaths: the pranamaya, manomaya and vijnanamaya koshas. Last but not least, there is the physical body, known as the sthula sharira, which is composed of the annamaya and pranamaya koshas. Of possible significance here is the fact that while the subtle body consists of three sheaths, the physical is composed of only two, and one of the sheaths of the physical body — the pranamaya kosha — is also a component of the subtle body. In light of this, one could say that the physical body is just a small part, a “thin slice off the top” of a much greater body, just as the two entities in the aforementioned dream had stressed.

This subtle body, the sukshma or linga sharira, is also believed to have its own anatomy. Subtle energy, here called prana, is carried along through the nadis, or channels, which are the subtle body’s analog to veins — similar to the meridian system in Chinese medicine. I have but one personal experience that seems to reflect this supposed aspect of the subtle anatomy, and it happened in the early aughts. I had been using my Mindgear mind machine and, as I often do, had fallen asleep in the process. At some point I abruptly awoke and could not only feel but somehow also see this luminous, golden energy racing through elaborate, interwoven tubelike structures that took the form of my whole body.

These nadis are said to intersect at points on the subtle body known as chakras, which is Sanskrit for “wheels.” In terms of function, these chakras seem to have at least two. First, they are thought to “hook up” the physical and the subtler bodies to one another. They serve as not only the intersection of the nadis of the subtle body, then, but also as the intersection at which the physical and subtler bodies connect. Second, they are much like transformers in that each chakra changes the frequency of the prana brought to them by the nadis. While there are many chakras, attention is given to a minority, typically seven (at least in the Westernized versions), the functions of which seem to serve as an ancient rendition of Maslow’s Hierarchy.

Strangely, five out of these seven chakras also correlate with the location of the major endocrine glands of the physical body, which release hormones into the blood. The remaining two chakras — the highest and the lowest, both with positions that are often depicted as residing outside the structure of the physical body — correlate with the functions of respective endocrine glands, but not their positions.

Muladhara is the first, the “root chakra,” as it is often called. It is located in the area that corresponds to the base of the spine and is associated with the adrenal gland. It governs basic needs that serve personal survival, such as food, water, sleep and security. This chakra is also said to serve as the seat of the kundalini, a form of divine energy coiled like a serpent three and a half times around the sacrum. Various practices are said to awaken the kundalini, allowing it to rise along the spine, activating the higher chakras until achieving liberation upon activating the Sahasrara chakra at or above the crown of the head.

The following chakra is Svadhisthana, the sacral chakra, located in the area between the anus and genitals and corresponding to the ovaries or testicles. It governs our creativity, sexuality, and intimacy. The third, called Manipura, is located in the solar plexus and associated with the pancreas. It serves as our “personal power center” and “gut feeling,” governing our willpower, confidence and ambition. Anahata, located at the center of the chest, corresponds to the thymus. It serves to connect the bottom three chakras, which are concerned with biological needs, to the top three, concerned more with the spiritual. It governs our relationships, our capacity for compassion for ourselves and others, emotional healing and our ability to integrate opposites.

Vishudda, chakra five, is also known as the throat chakra and governs communication and self-expression. It also purifies energy from the lower chakras and corresponds to the thyroid.

While all of that seems rather consistent among those who provide commentary on the chakra-endocrine correlation, the associations designated to the top two chakras and glands evidently suffer from some confusion. The sixth chakra is Ajna, which translates to “command” or “authority.” It is also known as the brow chakra, the third eye, the inner eye, and the mind’s eye. Its located at the center of the brow or forehead. It governs intuition, imagination, perspective, self-awareness, and psi abilities such as telepathy and clairvoyance. Sahasrara, also known as the crown chakra, is the seventh chakra, located just above the crown of the head. Its oriented towards enlightenment, understanding, knowledge, reality and truth.

Ajna is sometimes associated with the pituitary gland for some reason, and this despite the fact that it correlates exactly with the position of the pineal gland, which in this case is instead associated with Sahasrara. With a little research I must concede that this does make some sense, at least from a certain angle, as in some species there is a parietal eye that formed from the pineal gland that pokes out the crown of the head. Nonetheless, the pineal’s placement in human beings certainly corresponds to the Ajna chakra, and the fact that it is considered the third eye and the pineal is literally our third eye makes their association a rather solid one in my mind. The crown chakra, Sahasrara, is more appropriately associated with the pituitary gland despite the fact that, much like Muladhara and the adrenal, it does not correspond with its position.

Due to these correlations between the chakras and the endocrine system, some speculate that ancient practices such as yoga and meditation may serve as a means of stimulating both the subtle manifestations, the chakras, leading to altered states of consciousness, and stimulating the material manifestations, the endocrine glands, to effect the corresponding biology.

PINEAL & THE THIRD EYE.

Rather than merely a curiosity relating to the energy field I feel around myself and others, the notion of chakras makes some sense with respect to my personal experience as well. For as long as I can remember I’ve felt what I can best describe as an energetic pressure or concentration of my energy on at least three areas of my body, each of which correspond to the alleged location of particular chakras.

The lowest location on my body where I feel this corresponds to is Svadhishthana, or the sacral chakra. Considering what is associated with this chakra, this should perhaps not surprise me at all. While I have nurtured the creative impulse through various mediums throughout my life, in the areas of intimacy and sexuality I have progressed very slowly and I could best be explained as rather stagnant at present in this respect. As of the time of this writing, it’s been well over a decade since my last relationship, for instance, and nearly nine years since I’ve gotten laid or had any sort of intimate contact with a female of the species.

Another point of concentration is the chest area, corresponding to the Anahata chakra, which always feels tender, vulnerable or exposed to me. It’s one of the reasons I nearly always sleep on my belly or on my side, hugging a pillow or blanket. Indeed, ever since childhood, I’ve avoided sleeping supine for just that reason — and for the fact that it often gave me nightmares as a child. Though I cannot remember a single example of those childhood nightmares, it has been the case that sleeping this way since the age of sixteen or so has led to some frightening experiences. On March 14, 1995, I had a classic “old hag attack” when sleeping on my back. I felt an entity crawl on my bed, straddle me, and attempt to suffocate me — first by pushing its hands on my chest, and ultimately by placing its knees there and applying agonizing pressure. During at least two astral projection experiences — one on July 1st of 2003 — I also had the feeling that my subtle body and physical body were bound at the chest area by something akin to elastic.

In addition, I certainly have issues associated with the functions this chakra allegedly governs. Though I have higher aspirations, for instance, I certainly haven’t “mastered the mundane,” so to speak. I’m also rather distant when it comes to relationships, be the nature of the bond one of family, friends, or the rare significant other in my life. I have an impulse toward intimacy yet need to be free and independent, and with these seemingly contradictory drives I continue to struggle. I also have a good deal of internal conflict about damn near everything and have had many difficulties in my attempts to reconcile the opposing forces within me.

The most curious area of concentration is the center-of-the-brain and corresponding forehead area, however, just above the area between the eyes, which corresponds to the location of Ajna, the “third eye” chakra.

An opened third eye is said to result in mental clarity, emotional stability, empathy, an ability to communicate with the dead, and an affinity for nature and animals. Characteristics of a partially opened third eye encompass the above, but also psychic imbalances such as anxiety, depression, resentment, aggression, addictions, sleep issues, hypersensitivity, an overly active imagination, issues with or total resistance to authority, bipolar emotions, and either lethargy or hyperactivity.

So all of that makes sense.

In multiple areas of my life, it seems, the third eye has played a rather consistent role. This first came to my attention through the theme running through the spontaneous artwork I began producing in 1995. While in art class at school or alone in my room at home, I would either place my black Bic pen to paper and let my hands guide me along, or tape a paper to the wall and essentially cooperate with the same process through the medium of chalk pastels. This “automatic artwork,” as I later learned it be called, gave rise to some elaborate pieces, many of which featured some rendition of the third eye — either between and above the eyes or at the crown of the head. This recurring theme only came to my attention slowly, and only later, after attempts to glimpse all my bizarre experiences as a whole, did it begin to make some sense. It came back to something that happened just prior to the spontaneous false awakenings and “astral projection” experiences that I began having just prior to the automatic artwork, in late April or early May of 1995.

At the time, I had called it “aura surfing.” I awoke to find my subtle form mostly detached from my physical body, hovering at an angle just above my physical back. Despite the efforts of some unseen entity that had grabbed my feet and was violently tugging me back and forth, however, I for some reason remained stubbornly attached at the head. This ultimately led to nested false awakenings, and no longer than a few days later, intense, hyperreal astral projections in which I wrestled with an entity that I feared was either trying to possess me, kill me at a level deeper than the flesh, or both — and this continued for some time. In addition, on at least three other occasions my experiences have also suggested that both my subtle and physical body are connected at the pineal/Ajna region (as well as at the Anahata region, as formerly described).

Later on during high school, I had been incredibly sleep deprived and writing on the computer that was in the hallway just outside my bedroom door. As I wrote, I felt myself nod off and felt my subtle form rapidly “fall” backwards, away from my body in the chair, and into this huge beehive-like structure that was dimly lit and gave off the sense of being very ancient, with various objects and things kept on the rows upon rows of shelves to the side. Suddenly I pulled back abruptly from that place and lurched violently forward into my physical body on the chair. At the very moment I regained sudden and full control of my physical body, I heard a loud “click” inside of my head which felt as if it had come from the center of my brain.. It stands as the most unearthly disembodied environment I have ever been in and the only occasion in which I slipped out and back in while still awake, with no breach in continuity of consciousness.

Yet it had company in its suggestion that the pineal serves as the locale of subtle hook-up. There was also that experience, in November of 2002 I believe, in which I felt “lightning bolts” coming from my temples and striking what would correspond to the area of the pineal in my brain when I abruptly reconnected with my physical body. An experience that came to serve as further reinforcement arrived on the very morning after which I slept for the first time my former apartment. I awoke feeling my subtle form still attached to my physical body at the head, just as in the “aura surfing” so many years before, but its form was bent in the direction opposite my physical body so that my subtle feet were against the wall beside the window just behind and above my physical head. It was like an involuntary, head-bound, subtle body yoga pose.

The Ajna chakra only became more intriguing to me when I learned it corresponds with the endocrine gland known as the pineal, also known as the conarium or epiphysis cerebri. It’s a small, pine cone shaped gland of the endocrine system that is often referred to as the third eye — and for good reason. It is seen as an “atrophied photoreceptor” because, like the two eyes with which we are familiar, it is sensitive to light and comes complete with a lens, cornea, and retina. It exists in most vertebrate species and in some reptiles and amphibians it is linked with the parietal eye, which actually pokes out the top of the skull, as formerly mentioned. As animals climbed the evolutionary ladder, however, the pineal began burrowing deeper into the brain. In human beings, at 49 days after conception, in tandem with the first indications of the sex of the fetus, the pineal gland emerges. It first develops in the tissues at the roof of the mouth and then ascends to the very center of the brain, between the two cerebral hemispheres. In its final resting place, the pineal is surrounded by the limbic system, which is the emotional brain center, and in close proximity to auditory and visual sensory relay stations. It also is in close proximity to the cerebrospinal fluid channels, allowing it to secrete its manufactured chemicals into deep areas of the brain.

One such chemical is melatonin, a serotonin-derived hormone that modulates sleep patterns and both circadian and seasonal cycles. It was found that the longer the hours of daylight, the less melatonin the pineal produces, and constant exposure to light has been shown to cause pineal shrinkage and increased reproductive functions. The longer the nighttime or exposure to darkness, the more melatonin it produces, and constant exposure to darkness will shrink reproductive organs and inhibit the reproductive functions. It also informs animal of the time of year, triggering seasonal instincts.

In his book DMT: The Spirit Molecule, Dr. Rick Strassman also speaks about the pineal security system, which, for instance, typically inhibits the production of melatonin during the day. He explained how nerve cells in close proximity to the pineal release neurotransmitters known as noradrenaline and adrenaline, which activate the pineal so that it begins producing melatonin. Yet while the adrenal glands release these same neurotransmitters in response to stress, the aforementioned pineal security system usually gets rid of them.

Studies he references have shown, however, that in instances of incredibly high stress the security system can be overridden — but only minimally. This results in melatonin levels that are relatively high with respect to waking, daylight hours but which are rather typical during sleep. Even so, it causes no apparent ill effects and exposure to daylight quickly counteracts this anyway. Due to this, he argues that the production of melatonin wouldn’t justify this security system — but that the production of DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine) most certainly would.

DMT has been called the most potent, naturally-occurring psychedelic known to man. Despite its illegal status in the US and other countries, DMT is naturally present in our bodies and in many other plants and animals. In his aforementioned book, Strassman posits that the pineal is at least one of the areas of the human body where it is manufactured. As Joe Rogan has grown fond of pointing out, the Cottonwood Research Foundation has since done tests with rats and discovered that their pineal glands do indeed produce DMT. Though its presence in the pineals of humans has not yet been confirmed, Strassman points out that the pineal not only has all the required ingredients to produce DMT, but is also known to manufacture compounds called beta-carbolines that inhibit it’s breakdown in the body, thereby enhancing and extending the duration of its psychedelic effects in a manner akin to ayahuasca. The same security system may typically inhibit stress-induced DMT release in normal individuals, however, much like the case with melatonin.

What role would the pineal production of DMT serve? Strassman finds significance between the sexual differentiation and pineal development in the fetus 49 days after conception and the fact that, according to The Tibetan Book of the Dead, there is an intermission of exactly 49 days between the death of a soul’s former body and its reincarnation into another. He fleshes out his hypothesis even further in his aforementioned book:

“The pineal gland produces psychedelic amounts of DMT at extraordinary times in our lives. Pineal DMT production is the physical representation of non-material, or energetic, processes. It provides us with the vehicle to consciously experience the movement of our life-force in its most extreme manifestations. When our individual life force enters our fetal body, the moment in which we become truly human, it passes through the pineal and triggers the first primordial flood of DMT. Later, at birth, the pineal releases more DMT … As we die, the life-force leaves the body through the pineal gland, releasing another flood of this psychedelic spirit molecule. (pages 68-69).”

Between birth and death, however, he believes the pineal may flood our brains for other purposes as well. Along with melatonin, for instance, the pineal may release DMT during dreamtime. Many, among them Terrance McKenna, have remarked on the similar issues of amnesia one experiences following both awakening from a dream and coming out of a DMT trip. It may also play a role in the altered states that can be triggered through meditation, prayer, and even natural childbirth.

Given that stress is known to exacerbate delusions and hallucinations, he posits that in psychotic individuals there may be a malfunctioning pineal — the aforementioned security system may be weakened, in other words, allowing sufficient stress to trigger an endogenous flood of DMT that accounts for the psychosis. This hypothesis of his, I must confess, instills a good deal of fear in me, as I have previously considered — only half-jokingly — that I have a malfunctioning pineal myself, and for several reasons.

For one thing, the pineal regulates circadian rhythms and I’ve suffered from consistent insomnia since I was a kid. I also have absolutely no sense of direction, which I later found many others term directional or geographic dyslexia, and remembered reading that at least in birds, the pineal serves as an internal compass. Seeing as how my own internal compass is perpetually spinning, I wondered if this, too, could be explained by a dysfunctional pineal. In the process of writing this I did a quick Google search and discovered that studies involving both pigeons and humans suggest that calcified pineal glands can indeed cause a defective sense of direction.

Though these issues of mine fall within the accepted role of the pineal, there are also elements of my life that could be explained by its more hypothetical role in DMT production. There is, for instance, the phenomenon that began on September 30, 2002, and which I originally called “the blurs” or “a trip without a drug.” Only later would I discover they seemed to be the scintillating scotoma brought on by what are known as silent or acephalgic migraines. These are migraines that generate the hallucinogenic “aura” minus the excruciating headache — all of which, I have noticed, are triggered in me during heights of anxiety or anger. In other words, the kind of stress that might trigger a flood of endogenous DMT in someone with a weakened pineal security system.

There are also my recurring instances of “false awakenings” and so-called “astral projections” — both of which may have occurred in my childhood, but certainly began occurring by early May of 1995. These, too, seemed to be triggered by stress, and so could also be explained by a glitchy third eye secreting endogenous DMT — and I say this due to the focus of Strassman’s book.

Between 1990 and 1995, he began the first psychedelic research in the US in roughly two decades at the University of New Mexico. He administered over 400 doses of DMT intravenously to 60 pre-screened volunteers with prior psychedelic experience and along with documenting the external, observable effects took extensive notes on the subjective experiences of the participants. He describes how a remarkably high number the volunteers in his DMT research trials reported encountering entities in the context of apparently “free-standing non-corporeal realms,” or what we might call other planes of existence or parallel universes. After finding that available models failed to suitably explain these experiences, he seems to have arrived at the hypothesis that DMT may function as a sort of chemical gateway for consciousness to enter into these parallel universes.

Many of the reports he claimed to have found to resonate deeply with what has been described in Near Death Experiences (NDEs). While they are not NDEs themselves, many of those elements are also found in my so-called astral projections, which suggests to me that these experiences of mine could also be related to pineal DMT release.

Most disturbing of all to me, though, is that he also claimed to have found that many of the reports paralleled alien abduction experiences. While I’ve read his book as well as many articles and trip reports, and watched countless videos on the subject, I’ve only found that people sometimes come across reptilian or mantis beings that parallel the beings described in abduction accounts. Indeed, this alone is interesting enough, but the allegation that these psychedelic experiences parallel abduction accounts as a whole seems unfounded given what I’ve come across thus far. I also find it difficult to ignore that my astral plane experiences seem incredibly distinct from my alien encounters with respect to both my flashbacks and real time experiences, and it has been this case from the beginning. The astral plane seemed hyperreal, but a different kind of real — not physical reality. I may be perplexed during the false awakening experiences, uncertain as to whether it’s the physical reality or not, but it’s clear as day immediately afterwards at the very least and often enough during the experiences as well, as that environment operates in accordance with a different set of laws. I’ve also tried to summon the aliens during those experiences and have always failed.

So far as I can tell, abduction reports have a basis in physical reality, just as UFO sightings and close encounters do. Even so, it may be the case that they also have access to these realms, and perhaps that is why so many others have encountered them there through the DMT gateway.

A CERTAIN SHADE OF BLUE.

All things considered, Nimi’s body-light concept and the historical context I later found it to be relevant to — not to mention the context of recurring, personal experience — made a lot of sense to me. Even so, I had a hard time understanding the concept as she proposed it to me on an intellectual level.

Given that I specifically remember her having given me the mental image of a rainbow with respect to the body-light, I can be reasonably certain this was the classification system she was referring to when discussing the confusion regarding my color. This makes little sense to me, however, for light is simply the name we’ve given to the relatively narrow portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that our eyes can pick up on. We call this range of wavelengths the visual spectrum and experience different wavelengths within it as different colors, to which we then ascribe specific names. Assuming this body-light exists, it is clearly invisible to most human beings and would have to be a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum our science has yet to uncover. Why this life-glow would parallel the colors of the visible light spectrum is beyond me, though this is what Nimi appeared to be implying.

Regardless, how did my confusing blue color fit into all of this? Well, as the visible spectrum is truly continuous and division-free, our color labels are ultimately arbitrary. Different cultures ascribe differing wavelengths to the same color names, after all, and even a single system may change over time. If body-light somehow shares this spectrum, perhaps Nimi was suggesting that my designated color differed depending on what classification system was used. In any case, I would have to be a shade of blue on the cusp of one of my two spectral neighbors.

Given that her color, green, and my color, “kind of” blue, are spectral neighbors, perhaps Nimi meant to imply that my body-light was cyan. As Nimi’s light was green, perhaps our proximity on the spectrum made our energies compatible in some way that inspired her visits. In Western new age literature, at the very least, green auras are seen to represent growth, balance, and nature and they are allegedly found among those who are natural healers or teachers, which seems fitting enough for Nimi. Cyan auras are supposed to embody elements of their neighbors, and so are said to be independent, calm, organized and clear-thinking, which sounds like an ideal student for such a teacher. While I have always envied and continue to strive towards embodying those characteristics, however, they certainly don’t accurately describe me. I’m a hypersensitive, perpetually chaotic mess, to be honest.

So we come to the second possibility, which is that the classification issue with respect to my sort-of-blue aura dealt with the spectral neighbor on the other side, namely the color we call violet. This came to my attention when I learned that though once accepted as part of the color spectrum, indigo has since fallen out of favor among many modern color scientists, who have as a consequence dropped the “I” from the ROYGBIV mnemonic and now divide indigo between its neighbors, blue and violet. In essence, indigo is the Pluto of the visible spectrum, though to be fair Pluto didn’t get sliced in two over its ordeal.

In any case, this would square well with how a friend of mine explained what my aura looked like during high school. During our meditation sessions in our mutual friend’s dark bedroom, he would attempt to see auras in his mind’s eye. He placed no significance on the colors and insisted auras always change. Nonetheless, on the two occasions I asked him what my colors were at the moment he described my aura as dark blue with streaks of red in it, which is a fair description of indigo.

The alleged significance of Indigo as an aura color in New Age thought, however, didn’t come to my attention until 2002. The notion seems to have been born from a woman by the name of Nancy Ann Tappe, who has a neurological trait known as synesthesia in which two or more sensory (and perhaps extrasensory) wires get crossed, leading to bizarre, consistent and highly individualized means of (extra-)sensory experience. In the case of Tappe, it manifested itself as an alleged capacity to see an “electromagnetic energy field” or aura around all living things in the form of a spectral field of colors. For the most part, this field of colors is in a constant state of flux, changing in correspondence to an individual’s emotions, thoughts and physical health. To that degree, her explanation resonated quite strongly with my own experience of body-energy.

Tappe also spoke much about the exception, however. This she called one’s life color, and it was a single color in every individual aura that seemed to persist from womb to tomb. Aside from the stability of the life color were the shared traits she noticed among those sharing the same color, and from these synesthetic perceptions emerged a system that mapped them out. This ultimately culminated in her 1982 book, Understanding Your Life Through Color. To me, this sounded much like the energetic subspecies I felt existed and resonated even more strongly with the spectral classification Nimi appeared to be explaining to me as a child. To boot, though she originally distinguished only eleven life colors present in the population, in the 1960s Tappe noted the dawn of a new Indigo-colored aura in children.

At roughly the time she met Tappe in the 1970s, Jan Tober claims to have had recurring dreams in which strange children would approach her regarding their upcoming incarnations, and that upon awakening she would find herself drawn to particular infants or toddlers with peculiar eyes and “old souls.” Ultimately this led to Tober and her coauthor Lee Carroll fleshing out and further popularizing the concept of the Indigo with the publication of their 1998 book, The Indigo Children: The New Kids Have Arrived.

Their argument was that those who have worked with children have been noticing an increasing number of them displaying new and distinct psychological and behavioral patterns, and that these were the children that had Indigo auras. The traits that characterize those with indigo auras have been written about extensively, and in the midst of my research I’ve broken them down into the most limited list of traits possible: their full-spectrum sensitivity, nonconformity, and sense of alienation.

One of the most commonly-mentioned characteristics of Indigos seems to be their full-spectrum sensitivity — or perhaps more appropriately, their hypersensitivity — which is a trait I undoubtedly share with them. It was relatively recently that I learned about a trait, apparently genetic, that is found throughout the animal kingdom known as Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS). Humans bearing this trait are commonly referred to as Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs) and make up roughly 15-20% of the population. This trait seems to cover not only many of the traits inherent in not only myself but those that are allegedly characteristic of the Indigo population.

As I learned via the rabbit hole offered by Dr. Google, the still-growing recognition of HSPs began with the publication of Elaine Aron’s 1996 book, The Highly Sensitive Person, where the term was coined. The following year Elaine, along with her husband, Arthur Aron, identified SPS as the characteristic trait distinguishing such HSPs and produced a questionnaire aimed at measuring SPS among the human population. Scientific papers exploring, experimenting, seemingly validating and elaborating upon this trait would follow in the years to come. Though it has certainly expanded beyond their own work, the Arons have to a large degree focused their efforts towards providing evidence which distinguishes SPS from traits and disorders with which they believe it could be confused, which range from shyness and sensation-seeking to autism and sensory processing disorder, perhaps in an enlightened attempt to cut off the negative consequences HSPs might experience in consulting Dr. Google in striving to understand their symptoms at the pass.

Rather than a disorder, SPS is a survival strategy developed through evolution that bears both advantages and disadvantages. In comparison to the masses, they have a hypersensitive central nervous system. In other words, they have a lower perceptual threshold that results in intensified sensory experiences, which is to say that they involuntarily pick up on sensory stimuli that others would consider novel, subtle or nuanced, given that the majority are capable of filtering these aspects out of perception out before they breach the threshold of consciousness. As a consequence, this lower threshold makes HSPs far more easily overstimulated, which in turn results in a deeper, more highly organized and thorough form of cognitive processing, an increased reaction time and an intensified emotional response towards such stimuli which others would be likely to interpret as an overreaction.

The overstimulation of HSPs makes them more easily overwhelmed and leads to higher stress levels, which at best inspires HSPs to engage in less risk-taking activities and proceed through life with more caution. More dismally, it also makes them more prone to depression, anxiety, and sleep issues, thereby increasing the risk that they will adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms and habits of avoidance.

Far less scientifically, however true it may be to experience, both Indigos and HSPs report elements of hypersensitivity that either straddle the fence between the mundane and spiritual or reside beyond the pale and rest solely in the realm of the fringe. Indigos, for instance, are frequently associated with Ajna, the third eye chakra, and are said to be born with their third eye already open — though either partially or completely. In any case, it is allegedly this that earns them an additional form of sensitivity, which is evidently psi or psychic sensitivity.

Another trait typically associated with Indigos is their nonconformist approach. This is said to be a consequence of their overwhelming sense of purpose, a drive that inspires them to take action and change the world. This leads to them having issues with authority and tradition, preferring to question everything and explore new ideas.

Aside from their sensitivity and nonconformity, and perhaps partially as a consequence of it, they often feel alienated. They feel misunderstood, different, like they don’t belong. The traditional terms “fish out of water” or “square peg in a world of round holes” describes their circumstances quite accurately. By others, they may be perceived as strange or weird. Even so, they passionately clutch onto their sense of independence, the third trait. They stubbornly refuse to change for others, determined to remain true to their odd souls, and so may become introverted and socially isolate themselves. They may have only a small, close circle of friends, and tend to get along with other Indigos best, being less shy around them, as they are far more likely to understand one another.

Indigos are also often lumped in with people of other spiritual “types” in the eyes of New Age philosophy — Wanderers, Starseeds, Star Children, Rainbow Children, Crystal Children, Children of the Blue Ray — though just as often they are all regarded as distinct. Even apart from this, some regard Indigos as old souls that have come here from other planets. In addition, I discovered a possible link in a book published two years before The Indigo Children, and it was the 1997 publication of David Jacobs’ The Threat: Revealing the Secret Alien Agenda. There he transcribes the 1994 hypnosis session of Allison Reed (pages 246-250.) Along with fellow abductees, she was brought into a room where they were made to watch a “media presentation” on a large screen. It is a colorful, sunny, springtime scene that takes place in a park where numerous families are having picnics and children are playing. Though the aliens told her to try and distinguish the true humans from the “creations” of the aliens within the scene as a whole and then in individual families, she finds it impossible. It was then explained to her that the only way in which their creations could be distinguished from normal human beings was by means of an “energy field” around their bodies, and that those that were capable of detecting it and elected to cause problems would be eliminated.

I would later learn that according to Tappe, there are also subdivisions of Indigos, which again brought me back to an exchange between Nimi and I. In the midst of what seemed to be a more casual conversation than those which we usually had, I remember revealing to Nimi how I had recently decided that I wanted to be either a scientist or a chef when I grew up. We were, at the time, both standing in my room in the area opposite the bed, with her beside me, far taller than me. Curious as to what she did for a living, I asked her what she was, and she said she was a Teacher. I pondered on whether I might one day be a teacher as well. In response, she said that I was an Artist, that it was “my work.” Curious, I asked her how she knew it would be my job. She said that she did not mean that kind of work, at least not necessarily. Instead, she explained, by “work” she meant that it was a talent I had developed over the course of many lifetimes and would most likely continue developing in this one.

I later learned that, according to the Upanishads, throughout the cycles of death and rebirth known as samsara, the linga sharira, our subtle body, retains latent habitual physical and mental patterns called samskaras. They were developed by and in turn retain one’s karma. It is not the reward or judgment of some god that sentences you but the amoral influence of past action on present action, and present action on future action, and in that sense karma comprises the whole of causality with its action-reaction, cause-effect associations. The subtle body is the carrier of our conditionings, sustaining our talents, phobias and fetishes, our use of voice and body language, how and what we think and feel. Karma is not fate or the result of judgment, then, it is only the process of building habit and reinforcing and evolving memories. Though karma is typically translated to mean action or deed, less often, though more accurately, it is taken to comprise both cause and effect, the whole of causality as instigated and perpetuated by the individual in question. The most all-encompassing word might be “work,” which Nimi had chosen to use.

This encounter, and learning about my work, also built on the Indigo theme in a way that did not at first come to my attention. Later I learned that Tappe had split Indigos into four subtypes.

There is The Conceptualist, who questions the commonly accepted and has a hunger for new ideas and fresh perspectives. They are introverted, observant, calm and logical problem-solvers, potentially inventors or engineers. Then there is The Catalyst, who is polite, philanthropic and enraged by injustice. They are also curious and philosophical, but prefer to learn on their own, which causes problems in school and the world at large, which likely feeds their deep sense of alienation. They tend to force us into new perspectives.

The Humanist is a hyperactive social butterfly that has the tendency to treat everyone equally. They are quick to learn, and so get bored easily, and are focused on seeking out new ways to connect and communicate, primarily via technology. Last but not least, there is The Artist — emotional, empathic and sensitive in general, they are naturally geared towards self-expression in the visual arts, music, dance or writing.

It is often said that the central, unifying purpose of Indigos is to break down the social systems and belief structures we’ve outgrown and pave our way to a better future. Tappe illustrated her own sense of what the Indigo agenda was as well. “Indigos accept individuals for who and what they are and work for the interconnectedness of all,” she writes of them on her website. “Their task is to integrate mankind to one world through a globalization that moves beyond political or economic boundaries and beyond personal biases and prejudices.” It’s not all light and fluffy, however, as Tappe also asserts in an interview transcribed and provided in Tober’s aforementioned book, echoing the description others have given of an Indigo with their third eye incompletely open. She explained that “these young children — every one of them I’ve seen this far who kill their schoolmates or parents — have been Indigos.”

This brings us to one of the central and most controversial aspects of the Indigo: they are often diagnosed as having ADD, ADHD, or OCD, which those supporting the Indigo label insist is a consequence of their resistance to strict, absolute authority systems and the traditional use of fear- and guilt-based manipulation and discipline techniques, which Indigos naturally find intolerable. This tends to cause issues with them in the realm of social adaptation in school, at work, and society at large, say the Indigo supporters, which makes sense given their system-busting purpose. Either out of an unconscious desire to maintain the status quo or a very deliberate attempt to subvert the next step in evolution, the authorities in question seek to marginalize, numb, quell, and control the Indigos, and this is what has resulted in such diagnoses.

Meanwhile, the mainstream regards the “indigo” label as an irresponsible and dangerous new age belief promoted in part by the Forer Effect — which is to say that the qualities allegedly characterizing the children are so vague that they could with little effort be used to describe nearly anyone. Further, they assert that the Indigo label only serves to exacerbate mental disorders by placing a quasi-religious value on them rather than having them properly diagnosed and treated with the prescription pharmaceuticals they require.

There are astounding correlations between my partial memories of what Nimi told me and what Tappe laid out regarding life colors, not to mention associations between the Indigo personality type and my own traits which are difficult for me to overlook. If we accept her alleged ability to perceive auras, it seems conceivable enough that Tappe was able to note associations between people of a certain life color and certain personality characteristics, and even potential subtypes. Despite that, there is doubtlessly a lot of bullshit mixed in with the truth, if indeed a morsel of it holds up to scrutiny. I only hope that eventually science finds a way to detect and study this energy and incorporate it into our overall understanding of ourselves and the cosmos. Until then, it remains an undeniable experiential reality and the available models provide, at the very least, a fascinating reality tunnel to peer through.

Porch Light & Invisibility.

I just don’t get it.

Some days, it’s like I’m a porch light on a cool, summer evening attracting every phototactic insect in my vicinity. It seems I can’t get a moment of peace. People don’t get the hint and they’ll keep talking to me, keep venting, keep spilling, sometimes following me around everywhere — even the fucking bathroom. I try to hide, but someone always finds me, like I’m sending out some psychic beacon.

Other days, it’s the polar opposite. As hard as I try, I can’t get anyone’s attention. It’s like I’m fucking invisible. It makes me want to scream in their faces.

Depression and frustration plague me on invisible days; anger and anxiety when I’m a porch light.

I prefer the middle road, and I suppose that happens often enough, but why is it Others seem to react to me as if they were a joint psychic entity?

Of Fish & Firstborn Sons.

“Maybe you’ll stand. Maybe you’ll give and break to find another way and make things better. Maybe you’ll find a life you can live and learn to love along the way.”
Isolation, Alter Bridge.

Though Moe and I had planned on it during my vacation the week before, there was a miscommunication, so we elected to go kayaking and fishing the following Friday. I had literally been talking about kayaking again for years, eager to feel that sort of energetic peace I get when around bodies of water in general and eager to kayak specifically, and finally I was going to follow through. Moe had offered that we fish, too, and despite not having fished for some time and my unexplained disgust and refusal to eat anything aquatic, that sounded appealing as well.

So that Friday I got up early, went through my often enduring waking up process, and headed his way. After shooting the breeze at his house as we (mostly him) prepared the fishing poles and lures and all that, we got some drinks, I got a fishing licence, we loaded up his two kayaks and then left for a nearby, private lake.

Being on the water was fucking spectacular, as expected — for some reason, staring at the reflections playing on the disturbed surface induces a calming, cleansing, almost psychedelic state in me. Being surrounded by trees enhanced the cleansing feeling, too. It didn’t bother me much that I probably wouldn’t catch anything, it just felt good to be out in nature. We weren’t even out there for long, either, when, in the midst of talking with Moe, I got a violent bite.

Was I snagged on something?

Pulling back, the pole bowed so much I thought it was going to snap, but the aggressive movement made it clear as day that I indeed had a catch. As I reeled it in, afraid I was going to lose it as it swam beneath the kayak, Moe started paddling towards me like crazy. He pulled it up, mind blown, mind blown even further that I didn’t seem as mind blown. In his estimation, it was a large-mouthed bass of roughly five pounds. We didn’t bring anything to take it home with, however, and both of us had left our phones in the car, so I couldn’t even get a photo.

My immediate thoughts? Dad will be proud.

Hours later, when we returned to solid Earth and prepared to leave around nine in the evening, I finally got a chance to check my phone. I thought about texting my father about the fish, but it turned out that he had already texted me.

His text read, simply: Check your texts.

This seemed silly, for to follow his instructions I would have to have first, well, followed his instructions. To make matters more perplexing, his text was the only text. Even so, I knew what it was about, no matter how much I might try to convince myself otherwise, and my heart kind of sank. It was about my mother’s older brother. My uncle Fred. The ever-lingering concern as of late.

Cue flashback sequence.

When they were growing up, my mother once told me, she would be amused to see him sit on the edge of his bed in the morning, half asleep, chin propped up by a fist like those statues called The Thinker. She also always joked that he looked like a monkey, so one year, I think it was for Christmas, I did a pastel work of a monkey in The Thinker pose as a gift for her. I liked the inherent contradiction in the image — not to mention the fact that it served as a pretty good metaphor for how she perceived her brother in general.

He was a fairly hairy guy, so I’m sure that had something to do with the monkey thing, but she also saw him as rather un-evolved in certain ways. He wasn’t too social, wasn’t great with girls, and he was rather inept at taking care of himself. She told me once that when he finally got a place of his own he had to call their mother, as he hadn’t the foggiest idea how to do laundry.

The fact that he was catered to in his youth by his parents, my mother has often said, did him no favors. Fred being catered to by his parents didn’t do me any favors, either, as it turned out.

It’s not too complicated. Fred was the first child. Clearly, he was also a son, and being the firstborn son made him the golden child in his parents’ eyes, which stuck my mother in his shadow, where she grew quite cold about it, and understandably so. Her revenge was sought in an indirect fashion called transference. In other words, when it came to be that her first child turned out to be a son she took out her vengeance on him — me — as a sort of involuntary stand-in for her brother. She inverted the value system that her parent’s cradled. Her parents treated Fred like the golden child; as I grew up, mom treated me, well, like shit. It was only when she retired and became a grandmother that our relationship changed, and I like to see all that bullshit as being behind us now.

Despite her critiques of her brother, however, mom also frequently remarked how Fred was remarkably intelligent. Though he never confirmed it, she was also convinced he had a photographic memory. And to me, he was always the super-smart guy around — at least that’s the way I saw him as a kid.

I remembered how he always visited on the holidays, though typically having forgotten to get everyone gifts in the style of an absent-minded professor. He’d spend most of his time drinking coffee and reading one of his sci-fi novels while simultaneously watching the Sci-Fi Channel. Sometimes he would go and play a game on the computer. If I had questions regarding science or technology, he was always the guy to ask.

For a short period he was married, though my mother always said marriage never suited him and suspected the cold bitch he’d ended up with was only in it for the money. After the divorce, he got a dog, a rambunctious dalmatian, and since the dog’s death in the late 80s or early 90s, Fred has lived alone in his house in Cincinnati, where my parents maintain he originally moved to escape his mother. He was diagnosed with COPD several years back, quit smoking and ultimately retired.

From as early on as I can recall he was always complaining about his job at the time. What the job was, how much he made, where it was located — none of that ever seemed to make a difference. And I’ve always understood that, understood it all too intimately, but I assumed that retirement would be his time to shine. That he’d live it up. Be happy. Without a job, he could live by his own rules. Read his books, watch sci movies, fish, shoot his guns, and so on. He lived serving other people’s interests his entire life, but now his life could be his own.

After he retired, though, things just seemed to get worse. As time went on, he turned into a hypochondriac, constantly thinking things were physically wrong with him when it became increasingly clear to others that, aside from his COPD, his issues were largely psychological and self-inflicted. He complained he couldn’t drive because he couldn’t catch his breath on the way to his truck, for instance, and despite the fact that he was clearly having an anxiety attack, he denied it. He finally went to a psychiatrist, but stopped shortly thereafter. Despite him constantly going to see doctors, he considered them all useless quacks who knew diddly dick.

He came down for the holidays increasingly infrequently. He often wouldn’t even answer my mother’s emails, texts or calls. He also refused to let my mother come down to visit him; she suspected it was because he was embarrassed what she’d think when she saw the house. Though I forget how it happened, mom made friends with his neighbor, who she described as a kind lady who also cared and worried about him. The neighbor visited him, though he never let her in the house, either, and they shared suspicions that Fred had become a hoarder. She sort of became Mom’s secret contact, her secret agent, someone with whom she had a covert alliance and through whom she could keep an eye on her declining sibling.

When the neighbor informed my mother that she would soon he moving to Florida, Mom became understandably worried that without her help she would just discover he had died one day, likely some time after it happened, and be left to sort through a house packed to the brim with junk.

Then something amazing happened. Out of the goddamned blue one day, Fred actually called Mom. Stranger still, he openly declared to her that he needed help, as he just couldn’t live like this anymore.

When I heard this from her, it was a relief. It brought a smile to my face. I was actually proud of him. After all, this couldn’t have been an easy thing for him to do. I mean, imagine it: you spend countless years making money, buying a house, building a life you’re in control of, loathing the mere thought of asking anyone for help as you’re convinced through this suffering life you have, if nothing else, gained some sort of independence and autonomy, some liberty, some true, goddamned personal freedom — and then, suddenly, you are forced to face the fact that you just can’t do it alone anymore. Your life has become a hopeless, unmanageable, dilapidating bag of festering shit and you have to summon up the courage to swallow your pride and ask a trusted loved one, someone who has been trying to nurture and sustain a bond with you for years to no avail, for help. Allowing degrees of vulnerability you’ve likely never expressed to flower as you show that person — mom, in this case — that you trust her more than anyone else.

Mom later told me she suspected that the real reason he called her was because someone had reported him to Health and Human Services and he needed her help so that he could make a more convincing case to them that he really didn’t need help. While this killed my buzz, it seemed to present a far more likely scenario.

Yet again, cynicism wins.

He was in the hospital when Mom first came down, and without telling him, she went into his house. Uninvited. And it was horrid. His nesting instinct had gone awry, gotten stuck in overdrive.

He was indeed a hoarder.

She’d brought their German Shepherd down with her. It was roughly a four-and-a-half hour drive and, particularly given the fact that she had never driven that far before alone, she needed the company and sense of security the aging pooch could provide. As they entered the house, the dog was afraid to move, refused to enter the place.

My parents are very clean and orderly, at least with respect to the majority of houses I’ve been to in my life, so the poor pooch was not acclimated to this kind of environment. Not in the fucking least. The same was true of my younger sister, Linda, and mom’s story about the dog immediately reminded me of it.

When my youngest sister was very young, my mother had brought her to our cousin’s house. I forget if mom was feeding their animals while they were away or what the exact circumstances were, but my sister felt so threatened by the cluttered surroundings that she clung to my mother’s leg the entire time. Unsurprisingly, my sister’s house, now that she has helped build a family of her own, is perhaps even cleaner than our parents’.

Once my mother cleared a path for the dog, she actually submitted to entering the mouth of that maddening house. Mom then cleaned a room and left, if I remember correctly. In any case, she returned home enlightened, now at least aware of her brother’s living conditions and capable of beginning the process of acclimation to the epic mess she was going to have to deal with when he finally shed his mortal coil. And, hell, she even got a head start on sorting through the garbage heap that she was doomed to inherit as well.

When he finally conceded to allowing her to see him at his house, which in his eyes was the first time she saw the place, mom was somewhat acclimated to her surroundings, psychologically prepared for what it looked like — and so was spared the inevitable double-whammy, for it immediately became apparent that she was not at all psychologically prepared for what he looked like.

He was deathly skinny and had long hair and beard. Her overall description made me imagine an unkempt, severed Jesus head atop the pike of a stick figure’s body clad in baggy clothes — though to be fair, I wasn’t there.

She continued to go down there once, twice a week, cleaning the house, doing all she could to help him get better. However much she persisted, he wouldn’t eat or drink, save when he tried to get her to stay, and couldn’t even make it the short distance to the bathroom before having an anxiety attack and calling it quits. No wonder he couldn’t make it to his truck to drive down to us for the holidays.

He was in and out of the hospital and she tried to get him into assisted living, but he resisted. He just kept getting worse. He started calling mom at three or four in the morning, usually over a disturbing, vivid, paranoid-fuelled dream he’d mistaken for reality. From the hospital, he was put in a nursing home, where he swiftly graduated to a hospice, which was thankfully also in the hospital.

Simultaneously, my parents continued going through the house, which is an ongoing chore for them. He hadn’t opened his mail in some time. There were bills from years ago, gift cards we’d sent him, even presents, all unopened. There were bags of new clothes and appliances he had bought, dropped, and left unopened on tables, on the floor. Packets of batteries were everywhere, some corroded despite being unopened. Bags of rotting, unopened food. Plastic bags that were disintegrating as soon as they were touched, they were so old. Since he had the aforementioned difficulty making it to the bathroom, he had also evidently taken up the habit of pissing in empty Evian bottles. There were guns and ammo buried in every room. At one point, Mom had gathered up some clothes for him to bring to the hospital. Once they got there, she discovered there were bullets in one of the pockets.

This old hoarder house was armed to the fucking teeth.

There were also the pills, some for various conditions he thought he had, others for anxiety and depression. Some he had taken for awhile before stopping, others he had never opened.

Then there was the locked room. What could be in there? I thought it, too, but my sister, Eve, the middle child, was the one who actually verbalized it to Mom one day when they were discussing the room:

“Whatever happened to his dog’s body when it died?”

My parents burst into laughter.

My two predictions were the dead dog (though mostly in jest) or that it was a porn room. When the door was ultimately opened: porn it was. Magazines, DVDs, even a box of VHS tapes. There was a dildo and other sex toys. Not to give the impression that the porn was limited to the porn room, mind you, as they found when they started bringing bags of stuff they’d excavated from the Cincinnati hell house back home to go through. Dad was reading something in their upstairs bathroom, a magazine of Fred’s, and found an interesting makeshift bookmark in the process. It was a signed photo of a stripper calling him by name and thanking him for “cumming.”

Still, it beats finding a dead dog. I mean, I guess.

A few weeks ago, upon visiting my parents, I was out by the fire pit in the backyard when my mom slowly approached me and told me she wanted to talk to me about something. She knew Fred had a lot of money, but she had no idea how much until she started dealing with his finances. She said that what she wanted to do was give us all a cut and that I should use mine to find a place nearer to home.

I tried not to get too excited, particularly given the guilty feeling it gave me considering how I might profit from the death of a loved one, but I couldn’t help but imagine the ease this would give me. I didn’t have to worry that I’d find a place near my parents place but not a nearby job, so I’d have to commute between there and where I work now, a good distance away — or find a job but not a place, which would be equally shitty.

What if my car broke down?

In any case, that would elicit unbearable anxiety, particularly in the winter months. That’s why, as much as I’ve wanted to move, I haven’t.

It would be a far easier transition knowing there was some significant cushion in my bank account. With the money, I might even be able to buy a trailer, and after paying it off I’d only have the lot and utilities to worry about. I’d never have to move again or worry about not having a place to live — and family would be nearby. And I could finally quit this job and find another.

Still, I knew all that was uncertain. I considered his outstanding bills. The nursing home would have cost a lot. Then the hospice.

Then I went kayaking and fishing with Moe and left my phone in the car. When I saw my father’s text, I was hemming and hawing, wondering if it would be rude to Moe to call him then and there, and Moe sensed it and urged me to call. I did. Dad answered. I told him I got his text but no others. Mom later said she tried to send out a group text but might have done it wrong. In the moment, though, Dad cut to the chase, his voice low energy.

“Fred died.”

He passed away on the morning of Friday, July 27, 2019. According to Mom, he had been getting worse. No longer merely confusing dream with reality, he was faithfully believing in false memories and having blatant hallucinations.

It was frightening to contemplate what it must have been like for him. I read Fred’s story, at least the last quarter, like a fucking horror novel. A cautionary tale. I interpret his life like I would a bad dream. A goddamn waking nightmare. It saddens and terrifies me, how he ended up. It was hard not to be bothered by this on an intimately personal level, too, considering mom had for so long treated me like his premature reincarnation.

If there was a message for me in his story, it was clear as fucking day:

This is what could happen. You cannot let this happen. You cannot leave your sisters the kind of stressful fucking mess that your uncle left your mother. Clean your apartment. Pay your bills. Delete your porn, or at least hide it better. Try to get your shit in order, not so as to be someone else but so as to be yourself, and get on the right path lest you deteriorate the way Fred ultimately did.

What the fuck is the right path, though? I mean, where exactly did it all go wrong with him? Where did his life narrative go off the fucking rails and end in delusion and death? Fred had freedom, intelligence and money — all shit that I’m rather shy on — and yet it didn’t make him happy. Didn’t put a dent in his machine of misery.

The following day, my father messaged me. Evidently, Fred had told Mom that he wanted to sell his two houses (in reality, he only has one) and buy a house near the water so he could go fishing. The last time my father had spoken with Fred he’d explained how he’d love to be by a river right now, fishing.

Then, on the very morning he passed away, I go kayaking on a lake, which I haven’t done in years, and fish, which I haven’t done in far longer, and I catch a five pound bass. He couldn’t help but wonder if Fred was channeling me.

Maybe Fred hitched a ride with Moe and I, finally living up his real retirement.

I truly hope so.

Politics & a Possessed Population.

Fighting fire with fire, becoming the percieved enemy in order to defeat them, doing onto others what they have unjustifiably done onto you — it is the very definition of hypocrisy. It impies not that you think what they’re doing is wrong, but that you pnly think it’s wrong when done to you specifically — and that only makes you selfish.

If sexism is wrong, it shouldn’t matter what sex is doing it. If racism is wrong, it doesn’t matter what race is doing it.

Its as simple as that.

If you whine about kids getting participation trophies in school for games they didn’t win, realize that Confederate statues are just really big participation trophies for a war you fucking lost.

If you need to run away to a safe space when something someone says “triggers” you, think twice before you point your finger at those who want to build a big, dumb wall to beef up their illusions of a nationwide “safe space” because immigrants trigger them.

If you believe in a patriarchy and that men are inherently toxic and oppress women, who should now lead the way for the species and push down the dong-bearing, at the very least don’t pretend that you’re fighting for equality. Be self aware. You’re a sexist, plain and simple.

The aim should be empathy and fairness and respect for individual liberty. And if you fight, you fight on that basis and don’t sacrifice your fucking principals.

Anything less and your percieved enemy has won the war by means of something akin to spirit possession. And given the state of the political climate, I’d say we, as a population, are largely possessed.

D.O.C.

When Claire asked me to go down to Iowa to see her, I was instantly terrified. I’d never flown in a plane before. Never taken a trip out of state alone. And how awkward would it be? I was awkward as fuck when she visited this last summer and I’d seen her two days that were days apart. How much more uncomfortable might a whole week of being around her in a place entirely unfamiliar to me be?

The anxiety was immobilizing. The automatic thoughts were putting in overtime. I kept telling myself, I have to. I have to do this.

So I planned on asking for the vacation time. Before I got to that point — and yes, I was putting it off — I see on Facebook that she’s now in a relationship with a guy she never once mentioned to me despite the frequent texting as of late. Stranger still, I wasn’t so much angry and jealous as I was embarrassed.

Though I’d been ignoring it, the realization had been creeping up on me that she doesn’t care about me the way I care about her. So often she has vented to me via text, and I never did. Until recently. Just once. And she texted back some time later and was polite about it. I’d apologized for the venting and she said I could vent to her whenever I needed to, which again, was a nice thing for her to say, but I could feel the deception. She really didn’t care. I stopped a moment to truly question the bond I always felt we shared. All this time, has it not been that she loves me, at least not in some romantic way, but that she loves the fact that I love her?

In any case, I’ve been blind to the fact that this is one-sided. Which sort of makes sense. She never seemed to get involved with a guy that actually knew her, and that never made sense to me — and I’ve come to accept it doesn’t have to. She never seemed too interested in probing my depths as I did hers, either, and perhaps it was selfish for me to be hurt by that. It is what it is and I’ve been neglecting to see it.

So I decided it was high time to just let go. Fuck it. Stick a fork in it. Her and I? It’s simply not going to happen and I’m tired of the fucked up fairy tale I keep telling myself that eventually it will. After all, wasn’t it I who used to critique her for chasing after a fairy tale that was simply incompatible with objective reality? And here I was. Here I had been for over two decades.

This was my epic hypocrisy.

Since I met her, thoughts of her, dreams of her have been my drug of choice. I was addicted to an illusion and it was time to bear the withdrawal and just get over it.

I was never going to be what she needed. She was never going to be what I needed. Fuck, I’m still not entirely certain I know what I need. It’s more akin to a process of elimination when it comes to me. And so another one bites the dust.

I still hope the best for her and still consider her a friend, of course, though I must admist I am perplexed a bit as to why she didn’t tell me, as she’s told me some incredibly private things over the years. Maybe she thought it would hurt me or maybe she just didn’t feel it needed to be said.

Whichever. Whatever. In any case, it’s none of my fucking business.

I am glad it happened, though; I prefer being aware as opposed to being in denial or being delusional, and I do believe that was where I had been before this realization.

For a short time afterward, it was as if I were riding a high. As a friend of mine put it, it was as if I had given away my power to her and had now gotten it back. I felt calmer, more controlled. I had this boost of mental energy. The anxiety went down, my depression lifted.

Or was it coincidence? After all, I’d been trying to lay off the booze again. I’d also started taking CBD in the hopes that it might alleviate the depression and anxiety, and it did seem to be helping. So all of that may have been a factor as well.

I don’t think I’ll ever get married, as I enjoy my isolation too much, and that never works out in a relationship, or so it has been my experience. Even getting into another relationship after — what has it been? A decade and a half? — seems inconceivable, and for precisely the same reasons.

If there was any girlfriend of mine that I should have stayed with, any relationship that actually held promise, it was Anne. That was something that struck me shortly thereafter. She was intense, intelligent, responsible, incredibly sexual, knew how to make her way in the world, and I do believe that she was the only one who honestly loved me. She just concluded, much as I now have with respect to Claire, that I didn’t care for her the same way she cared for me.

Was that true? I was so hung up on Kate, another ex-girlfriend, at the time that I couldn’t even say. And when Anne and I had had a chance years earlier, I was hung up on Claire. Both Claire and Kate were Virgos from California, had tattoos of the sun, moon and stars on their body — and both obscured any hope Anne had of really reaching me. It was like a ghost taking on alternate manifestations that always stood between her and I.

Shit happens. What goes around, comes around. So it goes, I suppose.

It’s been eight years, so as shallow as it sounds, I do hope I get laid again before I shed my mortal coil, but I’m not holding my breath. But my naive hopes for the perfect and longlasting intimate relationship is all but dead in me.

I feel like I’m at a point in my life where certain possibilities are falling away — and though it initially might seem otherwise, I’m quickly convinced that it’s not entirely a bad thing. Closing the book on particular potentialities, tying up loose ends, it’s like decluttering your life. And focusing on changing what you can, accepting what you can’t be and just letting go: it’s actually quite liberating.

Waves of Man-Hate and Fears of Intimacy.

During work, I’d gone out into the dining room and passed by a table where the wife of one of the managers sat solemnly, head down, lost in her phone. I knew a day or two before that the family had to put down their dog, who they’d had for under a year and who had been very sick for most of the time they’d had her. As I walked passed, I said that I’d heard, and that I was sorry, and as I did so I instinctively touched her arm with my fingers. It was meant as a comforting touch and for all I know that was also how she’d interpreted it, but for the remainder of the day that moment constantly came back to me, sort of haunting me as it played over and over in my head as I worried that I’d intruded on her personal space by touching her and left her feeling violated in some way, which could only have elevated or further aggravated the suffering she was already going through.

At the same time, I realized how absurd this worrying train of thought was. Even so, you can’t be too careful anymore, as things have gotten so bloody absurd that such worrying trains of thought just might be justified.

In today’s culture, the man-hate is strong. It’s surged again lately on Facebook due to the whole heartbeat bill here in Ohio. Men want to control the bodies of women, say the memes, and some begin there and run down the list. Men have held us back, raped us, and so on.

It finally hit the peak in my mind yesterday. To the point that I can’t help throwing my fucking hat into the ring.

Look, I happen to be passionately pro-choice. I also have a penis, and know of others bearing that same kind of appendage who are also pro-choice, so no, not all men feel they have the right to control the bodies of women. I also know women who are anti-abortion, so there are also some women that want to control the bodies of all women. So the man-hate? It isn’t justified. You’re framing it wrong. You’re manipulating facts so that they fit the man-hate narrative. Just fucking stop it. Don’t alienate men who are on your side and ignore the many women who are not.

By written word, spoken word, protests, you should certainly speak out against unjust mindsets, laws, policies, behaviors, and groups of people defined by the ideas and ideals they embrace, particularly when they impose upon your rights — not by groups of people defined by their skin color, genitals, sexual persuasion or country of birth.

It’s a war of ideas, as Sam Harris has explained another issue.

It was the same thing when the #metoo movement amped up, with some loud voices damning men as a whole for being prejudiced towards women as a whole, as if they were trying to cure sexism with — well, sexism. News flash: Two wrongs don’t make a right and you don’t defeat an enemy by becoming them.

Aside from that: you’re just plain wrong.

Not all men treat women like that. Stop being so absolutist. And while we’re on the subject, stop throwing everything into the category of sexual assault. Making someone feel uncomfortable because you verbally came onto them like a naive jackass is not at all equivalent to forcably inserting your part into her hole.

And stop pretending like we should accept accusation without investigation, too — that to doubt an accusation makes one “a part of the problem.” Blind faith is never a good idea.

And by the way: men? They get raped, too.

Again, this makes me glad I’m not in the dating scene. That I’ve given up hope of so much as getting laid ever again. I was anxiety prone before all of this, terrified of approaching a girl or making a move as I might make them feel uncomfortable or violated. Today’s climate has only delivered seeming justification to what many had formerly dismissed as ridiculous paranoia on my part.

In Bad Company.

As stupid as we all too often seem to be as a civilization — particularly when you try and take the wide-angle lens, third person perspective — perhaps our path of self-destruction is not an uncommon one.

I remember hearing once that “intelligence is a failed mutation,” but I’ve come to disagree. There may be species infinitely far more intelligent than ourselves who aren’t in the appropriate environment and/or have failed to evolve the bodies necessary to manipulate their environment so as to develop a high-tech civilization. Dolphins or octopuses that developed on an ocean planet would have neither the right bodies or the right environment, for instance.

Perhaps when an intelligent species is in the appropriate environment and has evolved the biological technology necessary to manipulate the environment and build artificial high technology, however, they have a damned good chance of engaging in species suicide and potentially bringing most life on their home planet down with them. So perhaps one of the reasons for the Great Silence in the cosmos is that the Great Filter is ahead of us — that advanced, technological civilizations may be relatively common but have the tendency to kill their planet and therefore their high civilization before they migrate to space.

This might be inevitable, for instance, if such a civilization needs fossil fuels to achieve our heights of civilization and beyond. If so, perhaps all such civilizations also need to change course before the damage is irreversible and civilization collapses — and maybe intelligent species just aren’t that likely to change course. If they can migrate to space and become an interplanetary civilization, perhaps that helps to some degree, but unless those factions of the species are self-sufficient and need not rely on the home planet to sustain their existence, it wouldn’t help much at all.

And maybe climate change and ecological destruction isn’t the only element we share with fallen global civilizations across the universe. Maybe the kind of political divide we’re presently experiencing in the US and the general disagreement on what constitutes truth is not unique to this time, place and species but is instead a recurring theme across life-bearing worlds that have developed intelligent and capable creatures.

It’s a thought that’s been plaguing me lately, and it certainly doesn’t make me feel any better about our curcumstances.

In more ways that one, we may not be alone.