One morning I awoke with a strange, realistic “dream” still fresh in my mind and had Eve climb up from her bottom bunk to my own. For some reason, I wanted to ensure that neither mom nor dad overheard me or that Eve would go and tell them about it. After swearing her to secrecy, I explained to her how other children and I had been huddled close together in this strange, brightly-lit room. In the midst of the crowd, someone extended their hand, fingers spread, and at the center of their palm rested something wonderful, awe-inspiring and strange. It was a tiny, white worm, its body from one end to the other rippled into segments. At the head of the creature, which rose and looked in my direction, shone a brilliant blue light that shimmered outward in all directions, mesmerizing us all. As I stared at the creature in wonder, a whisper so loud and close it seemed to have come from inside my head, stated quite bluntly, “It’s an extraterrestrial.”
The light in the creature’s head, I had been told, was its soul, and we are all radiant beings light that. The body was just a shell, like the shell of a hermit crab. Once we outgrow our shell we shed it, seeking out another that serves as a better fit. Some souls don’t have bodies, I was also told, and they exist all around us. If we try hard enough, we can see them.
Together with my sister, I blinked my eyes speedily, making the whole world look like an old motion picture. Though it had not been told to me, I had somehow reasoned that this was the means by which we could see the disembodied souls, and I did this often when we walked to school. Aware that there may be souls around me that I could not see, even though I seemed to be alone, I would sometimes do something to acknowledge them and would politely excuse myself if I belched or farted. This behavior has carried on into my adulthood.
Other memories linger around the peripheral of the one regarding the hermit crab soul and the cosmic seashells. For instance, I also have memories of a vast, blue-colored space through which I, as a bluish ball of light, hovered and zoomed about, and I felt as if this place was some ancient, spiritual “Home.” It seems attached to what I had been told in the dream, as do the lines, “death is a transitory state,” and, “we are all light and boundless,” though I cannot recall any instance in the narrative in which she might have told me this. The dream also seems attached to my later chilhood, when I had a room alone. Oftentimes I would lie awake in bed at night and daydream, or merely think. I remember noting quite a few times that I was sure I knew what certain things and certain experiences felt like — what it felt like to die or be a grown-up, for instance — even though by conventional logic I knew that there was no way this could be true.
More interestingly, this dream would appear to be just one of the many encounters I had with an unearthly female presence in my youth, though it still stands as the earliest encounter with her I have come to remember. Often in these experiences I would only recall her as an internal voice from an external sourse, namely her willowy form nearby. In her mind or my own, perhaps some transient psychic fusion, she would explain various concepts to me in the form of a voice-over as a lifelike dream scenario blossomed before me. As she went on paying me visits throughout my youth, she seemed to slowly show more of herself. Glimpses of her are scattered about in my memories, her willowy form covered by a robe or cloak, the hood of which typically hung down, obscuring her features in shadows.
On a single occasion, however, I managed to get a good look at her, and the hood also failed to obscure her face. Similarities certainly existed between her and one type of the malicious creatures I had encountered, namely those creatures commonly referred to as the Grays. She was distinguished from them externally only in two ways. Her skin was snow-white, for one thing, much like the creature on the cover of the book Missing Time by Budd Hopkins, the book that triggered the trickle of memory that swiftly grew into a flood. For another thing she — again like the creature on the cover of that book — had wider, almond-shaped eyes. In terms of the inside, she felt more emotional and empathic, and had a sincere desire to offer the information she was teaching me.
In the midst of what seemed to be a more casual conversation than those which we usually had, I remember revealing to her 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 would probably become an Artist, because that was “my work.” 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 likely continue to develop in this one.
It is also curious that much of what she told me also seems to provide a context for the strange memories and recurring dreams I had in childhood, not to mention the strange experiences that saturate my life to this very day. The explanation regarding cycles of death and rebirth, for instance, certainly provided a context for the last grouping of memories to flood my mind during high school. It was as if my mind was an onion, and I had peeled off the outermost layer that constituted my present life and was now compelled to peel myself always to the very marrow of my inner self.
After the flashbacks in my teens, when I decided to be intentionally receptive to my subconscious and attempt to get the puzzle-pieces of my buried memories together into a cohesive whole, I at first had what you might call very narrow search parameters. Specifically, I was targeting and only allowing myself to explore the memories that arose involving aliens. Later, I spent a good deal of time targeting the memories regarding Jimmy, especially when I began to suspect and decided I must explore the possibility that all this alien stuff might really be the result of childhood abuse of some nature. Despite this broadened search, however, I still felt the subconscious itch — the feeling that memories laying just beneath the threshold of consciousness desired to arise — and often began to, only to have me push them aside because they didn’t meet my qualifications for exploration — that involved neither Jimmy or, at least in the sense I had come to accept, aliens.
I recall one night feeling the strength I deemed necessary to face whatever these memories involved, so I lay in bed, opened myself up, let myself become receptive and decided to leave it all open-ended. Whatever desired to reveal itself I would grasp with my mental hands and explore. To my absolute surprise, the memories that came to show themselves were remarkably mundane in every way save for one. That one quality, however, made all the difference: they could not be my own. They were my own — I felt and knew that somehow — but they were not memories that I had been taught could in any way belong to me, as they did not fit within the context of my life. Or at least of this life. They were all memories of what must have been — to consider, for the moment, that the memories are real — previous lifetimes I’ve lived, of walks and works taken prior to my residence in the physical body my culture had taught me must have been my one and only, and which science insisted was not a mere residence of consciousness but it’s manufacturer.
Doubtlessly, it might have been a lot easier for me to swallow if it were merely one previous life that revealed itself to me. My disbelief gave way to curiosity, however, and in the context of that same evening I decided to navigate intentionally through this well of memory in the attempt to go back as far as I could, to conjure up the most ancient of recollections.
When I later subjected them to analysis, I noted that memories of this kind came in two forms: direct memory of the events themselves, and memories of my own childhood when I remembered the events. Again and again I have tried to order them linearly, but it’s proved almost impossible to do so with any certainty. They did not come to me in sequence, and for the most part I seem to just receive memories with intense emotional impact behind them, and whatever associations I can follow from those events. Some events seem `closer’ to my present life, as others seem further away. It would have been neat if I could’ve recalled a moment in a former life where I’d remembered an even earlier one, but that doesn’t seem to have occurred. Nonetheless, they all seem very real, and so I’ve ordered them here the very best I can.
Elsewhere I have described the most ancient set of memories, and how those memories reinforce the allegations and suggestions made by those more malicious creatures that I was, in fact, one of them, though they seemed to stress a genetic, rather than spiritual, nature to the tie. While these memories depicted none of the alien creatures I have seen in my experiences, nor any indication of what I looked like, they were memories of an environment clearly not that of earth. In addition, others have had experiences or memories of similar alien environments while in the presence of the Grays. However the matter ultimately rests, for some reason I stopped living lifetimes on that presumably Saturn-looking planet. Though I don’t have a clue as to their overall placement in the timeline, I recall zooming bodiless through space, so perhaps I made a quite literal spiritual journey to earth. Whatever the explanation proves to me, if this does not all prove to be manifestations of my boundless madness, it is likely to be far more bizarre than the content of this considerably embarrassing paragraph.
As for where I first came to be on this pale blue dot, there is some confusion in me as to whether its Kentucky or Tennessee, though I know we live deep in the woods in this rundown-looking shack of a place that seemed to serve as an orphanage. In dreams I have remembered the interior in detail, and I even made some drawings during high school. In the back, I remember being very familiar with this clever, makeshift shower where we had a large brush and large, yellow bar of soap. Elsewhere in the place, a beam hung down from the ceiling where they hung all the big pots and pans, and this defined the boundary of the kitchen.
The kitchen itself was a dark room of massive size, at least relative to my size and experience at the time, and there was a big metal stove inside. It was here that I remember being part of a crowd of youngsters, and in our midst there sat a large, heavyset woman on a stool. She has a stained white apron on over her blue blouse. With one of the children over her knee, she proceeds to deliver a spanking with a look on her face that conveys a detachment so complete it almost rates as catatonic. As I watch what she is doing to him, I feel that I know all too well what it is like to be in his position. This memory sticks out particularly well, too, as I recall slipping up in my “current” childhood. It was when my mother had made reference to the fact that her and my father did not abuse us as the father of my friend, Jimmy, routinely did to his own children in front of me. I corrected her by reminding her that she used to spank us, and only when she adamantly denied it did I realize my error. My mother had indeed spanked me as a young child, but I had been absent-mindedly thinking of the wrong mother.
There was also an image of an active old man with a long, grayish-white beard stretching down almost to the center of his chest, his wide-brimmed hat hides his intense eyes. I would always see him walking with a pickaxe slung over his shoulder, walking up or down this hill. Though my sense is that he is basically a distant and fascinating stranger to me, in some way he seems to function as a father.
Another image that may be tied to this life involves seeing a creature standing behind broken portions of a wooden and stone structure, staring down at me. It is the typical Gray entity. I at first dismissed this image from consideration, despite its vivid quality and rich emotion, as it seemed too absurd: not a mere alien encounter nor a mere memory of a past life, but a memory of a past life in which I had an alien encounter. I had my limitations. The image has persisted, however.
The next memory is at a location I feel certain is in Kentucky, where I am as an older child leaving behind my life behind me. I see a red barn with white trimming, like those which have an “x” formation on the doors and shutters. There are farmlands and expansive fields. I see it down a dirt road, where I stand looking in its direction. On my shoulder is a stick at the end of which is a red bandanna with white designs on it, and inside the bag I’ve made of it by tying its four ends together are a few personal possessions. I have on one of those newsboy flat caps. My one arm is extended and I’m waving goodbye to a man and a woman standing in front of the barn in the distance, watching me and waving back.
As I get older in the memories, the scenery seems to change abruptly. In what came in the form of one out of the three recurring dreams I had as a child, I am a young boy living in what appears to be a sunny, hot and dry desert town. Usually I am running and trying to hide from someone, though on occasions the dreams involved me pedaling around on a bicycle instead. Outside of that, everything was always the same. There is little grass outside, if any, mostly just dirt. I’m running right by people into stores, what look like bars and restaurants, hiding behind doors and curtains. There are so many people around and so much action going on I am hardly noticed, and where I am noticed, usually just encountering a casual annoyance or cautious humor from others. The town appeared far too detailed and realistic for me to have made up, though I can certainly connect it with no place — or environment, for that matter — that I’ve ever been to, at least within the context of my present life.
Associated with this recurring dream is a memory that came to me while listening to a guided past life regression hypnosis recording on December 21, 2008. In the memory I find myself in a confessional, sitting on a small bench built into it. Between my hands, with my fingers held together and straight and my thumbs extended, is a black, leather-bound Bible. I hold this between my legs, with my knees drawn together. My head hangs beneath my shoulders. Not far in front of me is the entrance, which I initially take for a door but then realize is nothing more than a thick curtain. I watch the light shine from the bottom of it, with the light broken by two or three slender shadows. The light terminates well before my feet, which are partially drawn under the bench. To the right of me is the other booth. Maybe a little screen window. Behind me, maybe colored glass, I can’t be sure. All I know is that I feel dark, sad, scared and very drawn into myself. I am young, perhaps in my early or mid-twenties, but this is perhaps just a shot in the dark, too. My clothing doesn’t catch my attention. It doesn’t strike me whether I am the one confessing or the one being confessed to.
I move further ahead in time. What I see now are two men holding what seems like a stretcher between them come out the doorway. They walk down the steps of a building to the grass, which I assume to be the back entrance to a church. This stretcher is just two long sticks with an off-white sheet between, on which lay the body. I don’t look. At this point I feel dreadful. Looking downward, eyes watching the grass in front of me, I make my way forward along with the men I know are carrying the stretcher to my right. My walk comes to an end as my line of sight falls upon a large, freshly-dug hole in the earth. I then watch as the body is not so much as lowered as it is dropped into the hole. The face of a good-looking young man stares back at me blankly. Just a boy, really, I feel. Not a day older than twenty. Slender with fine skin and jet-black hair. The boy’s eyes, his dead eyes, are wide open. His skin, even his eyes, look blue-tinted. I watch him for a mere second before a shovel full of fresh soil blasts him in the face, which I am frightened to find un-phased, as if, despite my knowledge that he is dead, I had somehow expected him to react. I look out of the hole now and to my right, where I see two men, in white shirts that seem slightly puffy at the sleeves. They are pitching their shovels into the nearby mound of rich soil and tossing heaps of it into the hole in a style that seemed to rushed and routine.
Things are suddenly confused. I don’t know if what I’m seeing is me or if its someone I’m looking at. I get a flash of doing it, but of seeing it from an outside perspective as well. My sense, from the inside perspective, is that I open my book as they continue to shovel. I begin to read. I think I’m older. Older than the boy in the pit, older than I was in that scene in the confessional. And yet still feeling dreadful. Still feeling sad, grim, powerless. If this is me, I am a priest.
When I was really young in the current life, my mother had this night-light that consisted of a bulb inside of a ceramic frog which she would leave on the edge of a dresser or table pushed against the wall just across from my bed. I would just stare at it as I lay awake at night, letting my mind wander back to this elegant church, where men in long robes and high hats stood beside one another as a child was being baptized before them. These high hats, I eventually discovered, were the mitres usually worn only by bishops of the Catholic Church.
I also have images of a beautiful and comfortable room made of stone, and particularly a room with a bubbled-glass door that led to a shower, and I for some reason associate this with Rome, Italy. There is also this image of two elderly people, a man and woman, meeting one another while both are under umbrellas in the midst of a morning downpour, and I get feelings of love, and perhaps secrecy.
There are two memories I feel were at the very end of his long life. In one such recollection, he is inside this diner in a place nearby a river, and I get the feeling that during this period he is trying to get in touch with life. Present is the feeling I often have when I’m around moving water, which is this sort of cleansing and energetic feeling. I feel older here. I picture trucks driving through puddles outside, in the muddy area that serves as a parking lot. The restaurant is sparsely populated. Like in the childhood memory, the dream of the desert-like town, the atmosphere here seems somehow different than I’m used to.
During the chilhood of my current life, a haunting scene had at least on one occasion unfolded autonomously before my inner eyes as I lay awake in my loft bed. I can see his black clothing in the dimly-lit room, the white portion of his collar and his grayish-white hair. I notice his face, carved with deep wrinkles, and eyes that seem to hold a depth and intensity. There is a sadness in him that he cannot bear; this great weight that seems to be pulling him down and crushing him. Feelings of guilt, shame, and anger swirl in him. The sense of depression, of being trapped, of this awesome disappointment with himself and his long life is overwhelming. At some point in the vision I realize this is myself, that I am looking at my own face in a mirror, peering deep within my own, aged eyes as if making a final assessment.
My attention is drawn to a photograph of a very morose-looking woman in a long, black, Victorian dress. She is standing in a field of tall grass with a body of water, perhaps the ocean, to her left and a house just beind her. My sense is that she lives there in solitude, isolating herself for some reason. I get the feeling she is someone for whom I care very deeply, with whom I share a deep empathy. With a gaze at the photo, I feel myself fill to the brim with sorrow. As if a final judgment of myself, I find in my mind the words: “I am very unhappy with my work.” Then I lift the gun I am holding to my head, pressing it against my temple, waiting for the right moment, trying to let the entirety of my life sink in as I pull the trigger.
As I write this I wonder what I expected to find once that bullet shot through my skull. Was I expecting heaven, perhaps hell, or had I even in that life earned the atheism I have since renewed, but with it mistakenly assumed I would no longer be? And was he relieved, saddened, enraged when I found myself free of the shell, yet not of myself? How much time passed before I, perhaps inevitably, found myself right back at square one? In any case, there is an unrecalled intralife existential commercial break missing here, but eventually I found my way back.
My vision is blurry, as if my eyes are not adjusting properly. To some degree, it was as if I was seeing this all through a fogged window. My mother is beside me, and I stand perhaps at the height of her waist, staring out amidst the shimmering streetlights bleeding out through the darkness and pouring rain. Gripping my hand, my mother playfully tells me to run. Across the street we go, passed a small stretch of sidewalk and towards a building with windows bright and bleeding out into the night. This is where she works. Inside, men in suits surrounded by model cars in strange, pastel colors seem very excited to see me, but that was all I remembered of the incident save for one more basic detail: that this occurred in Little Rock, Arkansas.
When I think of Little Rock, I picture looking out the side window of a car as it goes up and down this road, and I can see layered rocks to the sides, above that hints of the greens and browns of a forest. Nor has my mother ever had such a job. Though I have forgotten what the job was, I had known it in my youth and had asked my mother if she had ever had such a job. She responded to my question with a confused negative. I remember not being surprised, but that I nonetheless felt I had to ask the question just as confirmation.
Though reduced in clarity, I have two recollections of a toy store that took place at a young age, so I must wonder if this was the nature of the place where my other-mother worked. In one recollection, I am hiding with someone in the large stock room of a toy store in a little cove made of boxes. In another, I remember this room with a high ceiling literally teeming with toys, though it is particularly a toy train that went all around the room that burns in my memory, as well as a cheery old man with a gray-white beard who seemed to run the place.
In another memory that feel attached to Little Rock, I am a very young boy standing in a long line outside the door to what I feel is the art room. The hallway is congested, filled with kids, and I think there are pictures on the walls. My attention is for some reason directed at a small black boy, and I feel empathy with him.
When still young, I believe, I am in the car with someone and we are driving into New York City. Rain pounds down on the windshield of the car, blurring the lights and images from outside, and though I am uncertain as to whether or not I am driving, I am terrified we are going to get in a wreck. Something in the context of the car ride gives me the impression of high class, and in some vague way it seems to be associated with another brief recollection of mine. I find myself up close to the stage in what appears to have been a jazz club, watching a band on stage, paying particular attention to a well-dressed, elderly black gentlemen expertly playing the saxophone to the far left.
In still another memory I associate with Little Rock, and which I used to imagine as I played with my toy trucks as a kid, I find myself with someone at a large, well-lit arena at night. There are many people around and there is excitement in the air as trucks plow through the mud and at one another. With this I associate the same brown-haired woman from yet another memory I have of Little Rock. Again it is raining. It seems to be the twilight of early morning. Above the head of the bed is a window, revealing the early morning twilight. Rain is blurring the browns and greens on the other side of the glass, casting a dim, eerie, relaxing blue glow about the room. There is a man in bed with a beautiful, slender woman on top of him, straddling him, her bottom half concealed by bed sheets as her long, flowing, dark hair cascades across her shoulders. Muscles flex on the soft, smooth skin of her naked back. The moment seems imbued with this relaxing, peaceful, liberating feeling. The perplexing aspect of this memory is that I am viewing it from behind her, as if from the far end of the room. Sometimes I interpret this as me having witnessed this scene as a third party, and on other occasions I feel certain I am the man, viewing her back from a mirror positioned on the wall opposite the bed.
There may be more to this memory, but my attitude has consistently wavered, and does even now, as I type all this. During the five years or so that I lived in my efficiency apartment alone, I was exploring this grouping of memories quite heavily. In the midst of some meditation laying on my back in bed one morning, I suddenly see in my mind’s eye a brown-haired girl roll over on the bed, her beautiful eyes peering into my own sensuously as she smiled warmly. Then I abruptly snapped out of it. It was amazingly lifelike. Instantly I associated her with the girl I had been having sex with in the Little Rock memory. I believe it was later on, when posing the question to my mind on the bridge of sleep, where I came to refer to her as Susan.
While playing over the scene with Susan in that house, I began to get flashes and impressions of a child in the dark hallway, though not necessarily at the same time as the memory. The child seemed to be black, or at the very least not Caucasian, and I did not feel that this child was myself. Though I can’t be certain whether there was such a child in that house or not, it could explain other memories I’ve had regarding a black child, which I will describe later.
There are also various vague snippets of memory that seem to imply there were also some college years to speak of, or in the very least a college class. I had a particular fondness for the class, and the lecture hall was in a building that rested halfway underground, at least at the angle I’m viewing it in the memory. There seems to be this excitement in the air, this intellectual stimulation bringing people together to discuss and explore meaningful ideas. Two other recollections seem to resonate well with this theme and have led me to believe that this was during the 1960s. The most telling of the era, perhaps is the one in which I find myself in a red-orange tent atop a grassy hill with some individuals who undoubtedly fit the classification of the hippie. Though I do not recall the act specifically, I have the impression I took a potent psychedelic drug of some kind. I was seeing tracers and had hallucinations of nets and other patterns. Most of all, however, I recall the brilliantly colorful, apparently phosphorescent daisies and grass on the hill outside the tent and the night sky above, which seemed unimaginably wide and deep, colored the blackest black sprinkled with the most brilliant, shimmering stars.
In addition to this, however, there are memories that must find their home in this same period and yet carry a very different mood. One memory takes place in the dark of night, where I watch as a group of men dressed in black gear travel across a wire. They move across the wire silently, swiftly, following it onto a boat or vessel of some kind. While I am watching this from a distance, I feel as if I’m doing so as an observer, as if I am there but not participating. In any respect, the men accessing the vessel were surely not enemies of mine. In another recollection, it is daytime and I am in a jungle. If anyone else is around me, I have no awareness of them. I am holding a camera attached to a strap drawn over the back of my neck, looking up at the tops of the trees, as if I‘ve just suddenly noticed something. There, just at the treetops, I see a pitch black, saucer-shaped object, the rim lined with multicolored lights. It hovers silently and I find myself transfixed by it, in absolute awe at the sight of it.
Whenever I recollect the scene of his trip with the hippies on the hill or the scene when he was staring at the saucer in the jungle (make what you wish of that), I see him as I did in a dream I had one morning. In time this dream would help clear things up a bit, as for some reason I attached to him as a grown man the nickname “Uncle Sam,” which I found perplexing. In that strange dream I found myself slowly zooming in, out and around this incredibly elaborate drawing, which appeared as though it was done in India ink, of a man’s face. He had a long, bushy goatee and hid his eyes behind stained, rounded glasses. He wore something akin to a top hat, his curly hair flowing out the back, and a cigar stuck out the side of his mouth. In short, he looked like a darker image of the traditional Uncle Sam. The picture burned in my mind and later on I drew him, but try as I might I could not even come close to expressing the quality of form and detail that my dream had revealed to me. I had the impression that this was a sort of self-portrait I had made in my later years, and that his appearance if nothing else helped account for the name.
It also might account for how I preferred to dress as a kid, and by that I mean the life I know I have as I am living it now (at minimal speed and with a broken compass, but nonetheless). Often I would wear one of my father’s button-down, green Army shirts and the gray, old man hat my maternal grandfather had given me.
In addition to these two military memories there is a third, though it is less of a memory than a high-speed collage of memories — a “jungle reverie” of greens, red, war, the jungle, leopards, explosions, the American Flag, green tanks and soldiers in green uniforms and helmets. It is in a hotel room in Florida that this jungle reverie overtakes my mind like a visual-emotional windstorm. I am sitting on a canopy bed with transparent white drapes around the sides, and it is something leopard-print in the room that triggered it. Distraction was the last thing I wanted. Without doubt, I am anticipating sex. There are two other memories having to do with a hotel, and while I am uncertain if it has to do with this memory specifically, I feel it is likely. One image depicts a fairly wide hallway in what seems to be a high-class hotel. The imagery has a 1970s look to it and I feel I‘m on a high floor. The last image to do with a hotel merely deals with the image of a beautiful waterfall that gives off a tranquil feeling, a sense of comfort that seems to be void of all worries, tensions and fears. The overall feeling resonates remarkably well with the scene with the woman back in Little Rock, and I wonder if this is perhaps some place we met up after I came back from the “jungle.”
There are other memories that lead me to suspect this, and it has to do with the theme of a black boy, as mentioned earlier. For some time I thought these memories indicated a life I lived as a black boy, but I’m no longer convinced, as none of the memories are through the eyes of the child, always from an external perspective. None the less, to this day the memories confuse me. One such memory depicts a small, dimly-lit apartment, but other than the fact that it exists in a city, I have no impression as to where the place is. I feel certain, however, that this apartment is owned by an elderly black man. Walking in the door, you enter a short hallway and there is a closet to the right, in which he has a pair of brown leather shoes. This apartment may be associated with another memory in which I am looking down at a small black boy in one-piece pajamas. There are other, older children around him, and they are all in a run-down room with bunk beds. I know this child is not myself, but I do not get a sense of who I am or my age. I do, however, have the strong impression that this is in Miami Beach, Florida.
In any respect, if it was indeed Susan at the hotel, her and I did not seem to have a lasting relationship with one another if we had one at all. All other memories of Florida depict me alone, after all, and sinking deeper into misery, as indicated by the remaining memories and the impressions I get of this latter period. Be it nicknames I earned or mere associations I had with myself, thinking of myself at this point brings to mind “the hobo,” “the bum,” “the hermit.”
There are quite a few brief memories and impressions of jobs I had. Unless I was in Florida prior to going to what I presume to be the war, the first job I recall having in Florida was a job that made me miserable. I worked as a trash collector on Palm Beach. In the single memory attached to this intuitive allegation, I have walked off the beach into a room of a building, perhaps to talk with my boss, when I catch a glimpse of my reflection in a mirror or in the glass. It is to my right from where I came in the door. For whatever reason, it seems that it has been quite awhile since I’ve seen my own reflection. My appearance is dirty, my face looks worn, I am unshaven and — what most catches my attention and disgusts me, for some reason — my hair is overgrown and messy, reaching out in all directions. I am so disgusted with my reflection that I find it painful. I had felt ashamed at how far I have not come in life, and now a glimpse of my own reflection only served to diminish the little drive to live that I had left.
Akin to the jungle reverie spoken of earlier, with respect to Florida I have a rather morbid, at times nightmarish reverie. It is a moving collage: speedy, jerky and incredibly disorientating. Amidst the confusion and horror there are vivid and oftentimes surreal images, all wrapped nice and tight in a cocoon of fear. Dark alleyways, trash and dumpsters haunt my mind. Threats to my life just looming out there in the darkness, waiting to strike. Hiding and scavenging and feeling the most abysmal futility. More stable memories, though stiff brief and vague, suggest I tried my hand at graffiti and even painted elaborate murals on walls. Specifically I remember the esoteric themes, such as the seven-banded aura, the major chakras, and the minor chakras on an open hand.
There is no reason to think that I was always homeless, or in the very least broke, as I have all too many memories of jobs. I have images of flipping burgers on a grill at a busy fast food restaurant (which could also be looked at as a prophecy, considering my current, long-standing employment). There is also a distinct sense, which arose from a dream, where I worked at a slaughterhouse with a group of men, where it was cold and frightening, with large chunks of meat hanging from the ceiling. It was my job to cleave the meat. I felt isolated there, as if they sincerely considered me a mental handicap, and I remember being taunted and teased, pranks being played on me.
There was one last job that I had, and it would be the last job of my life. More interestingly, I think I remember the car ride that took me there. Though the mood and general impression may make it fitting for the drive that took me away from the life I had known in Little Rock and to the war, I get the sense that I am older now, heavier with experience that feels as though it now weighs me down all the more. In any case, I am in the backseat of a car, perhaps a taxi, and feeling this dismal feeling as I headed off to a place I feel I have never been before. The dull, gray-white sky seems wide and threatening, thick with pollution, and the congested highway brings fearful considerations of our planet’s over-population. This car ride, I believe, dropped me off in Miami Beach.
Perhaps I had read into the alchemical symbol known as the oroborus, or perhaps their natures simply resonated. Regardless, he happened to land in the most available substitute for the first job he had ever been introduced to, if indeed it was a toy store where my other-mother worked. He worked at a Children’s Palace, it’s castle form built into an indoor mall. I remember a warehouse where machines lifted big wooden crates, perhaps indicating that for some time I worked somewhere in shipping and receiving. It was in his car in the parking lot where I slept, or at least tried to. At night, I recall feeling frightened, depressed and unable to sleep, staring up through the car windows at the high, long-necked lights of the mall parking lot. I also remember gulls hanging around the lot in the daytime, and perhaps it is for this reason that I recall reading the book John Livingston Seagull, which I later found was on the Bestseller’s list in 1972 and 1973, which may give me some sense of when this all occurred. I also felt he was an avid reader of Friedrich Nietzsche, though no life stage is suggested.
There is also a scene that was depicted in one of three recurring dreams I recall having as a child. In the dream, I find myself running through the dark, vacant walkway of a mall, as if for my very life. Looking to my sides, I can see the stores caged off from the world, the bars pulled down beneath the signs and across the entrances, as I pass them by. Faster I run until I find myself outside the mall, in the back of the mall building right behind me. The sky is blue and the sun blares down and the wall of the back of the mall is painted white. The only thing that confuses me is how it is that I got to be out here, as not only is there no door to be seen, but I certainly did not recall walking through any such door, and that would seem to be the sort of thing I should remember. No, one moment I was running like a bat out of hell in the darkness; the next, here I was alone, bathing in the light of the sun. My eyes rest on the only possibility: this grate in the wall. I must have climbed through the ventilation shafts, removed the grate and replaced it behind me, and all without realizing I had done so. With frightening effort I took a lot of time trying to convince myself that all of this was possible, and was, in fact, the only logical explanation. Slowly but surely, my defenses break down, however, and I come to face the truth, which is that I am dead.
Despite my apparent death, there are at least two, and perhaps three memories to follow, all of which would appear to precede my present life, and two were particularly vivid memories, and may even be different parts of the same memory. In the first, I am watching as some black boy, perhaps in his early teens, plays alone in a basketball court with cracked gray pavement and surrounded my a chain-link fence. Walking from the court and across the street of what seems to be a run-down city, he holds the basketball underneath his arm as he walks along the sidewalk against what would appear to be a building of a strip mall with an overhang. Rather than looking at me — or even acknowledging my existence, for that matter — despite our close proximity, he walks with that basketball under his arm, eyes wide with fascination with respect to all the stuffed animals on the other side of the huge glass windows. There is a particular lack of reaction when he does not notice me, as if it were simply expected. A related bizarre quality to this memory is that I seem to be nothing but an invisible, floating point of awareness despite the fact that I had, if no other sense modality, at the very least a crystal-clear vision. This is contrary to the sense of still having a body, so much that I mistook myself for still being alive, when outside the back of the mall.
The other memory involves being inside what I presume to be that same building, up above the shelves of a toy store, looking out passed the resisters to the huge glass windows at the front of the store. My line of descends, pans away from the front and travels down an isle of toys. From there, it slowly fades into this vivid, subjective imagery filled with dark silhouettes. These shadows are set against a background of hallucinatory still images composed of various two-dimensional shapes, and I pan across the still scene at a set, slow pace to the right. All the while I feel as though I am in some way letting everything go, drifting off into this altered state of consciousness almost akin to that one finds in a vivid dream.
The remaining memory that might be relevant here is a memory from what we could call my present life, and it involves a recurring scenario in the “daydreams” I had as a child, when despite being in bed, in the darkness, and with my eyes closed, I simply could not drift off into a sleep. It always involved myself falling down a deep hole, passing by other things falling at different speeds, being grabbed by bony creatures clinging to the sides, falling down through hoops and through the gaping mouth of a gigantic ape head. As long as I would fall, I would never reach the bottom of this vast well — save for one particular rendition of the fantasy. This was the original form the fantasy took, or so I feel. In any case, it involved this person, perhaps on some occasions a guy but most memorably a girl, who died early in her life, perhaps by suicide, and was forced to become reborn in another body. This process involved her falling down a vortex of some kind leading to the vertical tunnel I always imagined falling down, and finally ending up as this tiny piece of dust which fell into the salad or drink of the unassuming woman who would come to be my mother. On some occasions with frustration it took several attempts until she consumed the speck I had become.
Then I read a paper by Jim Tucker and Poonam Sharma entitled “Cases of the Reincarnation Type with Memories from the Intermission.” Though I was interested in the manner in which they reincarnate, I didn’t expect Tucker would detail the manner in which it occurred. He did to some degree, and I found it interesting:
“Nine commented on how they gained entrance to the mother’s body. This was most often by transforming into a grain of rice or speck of dust in the water and being ingested by the mother. A few went to considerable lengths, having to try repeatedly when either they were rebuffed by guardian spirits or the water was thrown out as dirty.”