Stealing Babies.

“I’m teething on the answers you’re saving.
How are you going to make me understand?
I’m dreaming while you’re stealing babies.
How are you going to help me sleep again?”
— Stealing Babies, Our Lady Peace.

Cynthia follows me outside for my last smoke of the evening. As we both stand there, keeping in constant motion in the attempt to keep warm, she asks me whether a fellow employee of ours has crossed eyes. I confessed that I had not noticed, that I never looked at him for too long because his teeth kind of bother me. She asked if her teeth bothered me, and I tell her no, her teeth are all there.

Anyway, I tell her, aside from his teeth the guy just had this annoying aura about him. This guy was one of those people that felt to me like some sort of psychic parasite. I always feel uncomfortable and drained around these people and often it as if I can feel their energy siphoning my own. They always seem to have a very fake personality, too, as if they were really bad actors just not pulling off the role they are trying to play.

When she asks if she has an annoying aura, I assure her that she does not. Then she begins to tell me how her aunt has a homeopathic shop nearby where I live and cleans auras on the side. She wanted to teach Cynthia how to read and clean auras as well.

I found all of this very interesting, to say the least. To begin with, typically when I reference the aura people fail to take me literally. While I have never witnessed a shimmering halo around people, I always sensed what seemed like vibrating energy around their bodies. The vibe is most intense during eye contact, when you can sometimes feel as if you’re feeling other people’s emotions.

She asks me if I’m at all interested in that kind of stuff, what she calls the supernatural. I confess that though I see no evidence for and much against the notion of a god and that I regard at least most religion as at best silly, at worst harmful, I do find evidence of what she’s calling the supernatural. I prefer to call it paranormal. There seems to be sufficient evidence for reincarnation, disembodied spirits through death or even during life, and worlds or dimensions other than our own, I say to her. I wrap it up by saying that I certainly see a spiritual dimension to our existence, but I’m cautious about coming to specific conclusions.

What I fail to confess to her is that my life is a cyclone of the weird, that my life is riddled with these strange sorts of experiences. I fail to bring up what seems to be the central weird aspect of my life, too. This is to say that I feel reasonably comfortable and secure in this conversation.

Then she says it. She brings them up all in her own.

She tells me how I’ll probably think she’s crazy, but she knows this lady, say its a friend of hers. And this lady, she’s seen them. She swears she got abducted by aliens and that they put a baby inside her. Her family kind of scoffed at her because her family’s very religious, and so a lid was kind of kept on it, but Cynthia believes her.

Suddenly I’m out of breath. My soul itches. Any sense of comfort and security I had in this conversation has been fed into a tree shredder.

It’s a myth, a hallucination, an archetype, most say. Many claim that these reports were never made until Budd Hopkins book, Intruders came out, where he claimed female abductees were being implanted with genetically-modified fetuses. Prior to that, though, John Keel makes references to it in his novel, The Mothman Prophecies, suggesting it stretched back to the 60s and 70s. And as Jaques Vallee notes in many of his works, this entire experience — UFOs, alien abductions, stolen babies, peices of family left behind by strange creatures — it’s found all across human history in various manifestations. It’s found in Chinese, Celtic, and even North American legend, and in modern times it has manifested in a whole new way. A way that is more attune with our concepts of higher intelligence.

In the past, they were known as Changelings — fairy children that were left in the place of the human children stolen by the fairies. It was believed back then that the fairy children were left with the human parents so that they might preserve as well as improve upon their own race. While the Changelings were provided with the nurture of human mothers, the stolen human babies would be brought up among the fairies and bond with them.

Sometimes it was physical abnormalities that indicated to the human parents that a child was a changeling; other times it was merely a psychological abnormality. Sometimes, of course, it was both.
People believed this so strongly and feared the faeries so much that if they suspected their children to be these replacements, they’d often take extreme action. Sometimes they’d run these children through harmless tests, just to be sure.

Other tests? Well, they weren’t so harmless. These tests carried the same horrifying illogic of the tests conducted on women who were believed to be witches — tests where proof of one’s humanity was nessesarily death. On other occasions, in fear their children were really changelings, they would merely abdanon their children in the forest, Hansen and Grettle style. Martin Luther would later re-define the changeling idea in Christian terms, and it was then believed that it was Satan, and not the faeries, who were involved. The devil had either stolen human children and replaced them with his own, or these devil children had come as a natural product of human women doing the verticle hokey-pokey with Satan himself. Either way, he believed such children should be killed.

Some attest these acts of abdanon, and even murder, and the apparent myths that inspired them served the purpose of justifying the elimination of children that parents could not afford to support. This allegation doesn’t make total sense, however, as often suspecting that a child is a changeling inspires the parents to go the opposite road: to care for the child even more carefully than one would a normal, human child. These people believed that the faeries were still watching over their changeling, and if the child was mistreated the human parents would be up shit’s creek. If the child was well cared for, alternatively, the human parents would be rewarded.

Perhaps this was why abductees saw the babies who appeared far too strange to pass as normal humans on board the craft. History, perhaps, had revealed that humans had the tendency to equate difference with distinction or dysfunction, to embrace xenophilia or xenophobia.

Cynthia finds the story a strange one, and indeed it is, but it’s a story that anyone who’s taken enough time to look into the unspeakably bizarre subject has heard time and time again. There’s never been any evidence for it, but both men and women who claim to be taken by Them say that they’ve taken their eggs and sperm, blood and skin samples, and then subject them to what appear to be routine physical checkups and then a telepathic psychological exam. That sometimes they show abductees these rooms filled with jars or aquariums lining the walls, and inside are fetuses of varying stages, all of which seem to me a mix between Them and Us. Sometimes they’re shown these babies when they’re older, in nurseries. Or even older, in climate-controlled rooms.

I have memories of such encounters, too, so I cannot so easily dismiss it all.

Sometimes the woman claims she’s been implanted with an embryo during once abduction, and then a few months later it’s taken out, which many claim makes no sense whatsoever. And sometimes when a woman is already pregnant by natural means they’ll take the baby out just to put it back inside her, or stick a needle in her or something of the like, and afterwards they’ll tell her that her baby will be different.

Sometimes the baby is miscarried. Sometimes she goes for an abortion after finding out she’s really pregnant, only to find it already gone. Sometimes she’s had the child and, as predicted, the child seems very different.

“Did she have it?” I ask, and she tells me no. No, she was fairly certain it was a miscarriage.

A few days go by. I’m going up the stairs from the basement at work, Cynthia’s going down. As she moves to the side to let me pass, I move to the side she’s moved to — intentionally, playfully. She looks tired, a little depressed, and she hasn’t said anything to me since I clocked in, so I hoped this might make her laugh. She smiles, and I say hi and move back to the other side. I’m about to go up the stairs when she meets my eyes and tells me, “I found out more about that baby.”

I’m confused for a second, and apparently my look reveals this. She begins to explain, but my brain suddenly shifts into gear. Then she says, “She had it at five months. And the government took it.”

Later, she elaborates. Her mother, it seems, knew this woman who’s identity Cynthia seems so intent on keeping from me, however much she’s willing to dispell to me every other aspect of the story. Cynthia’s mother was the one who had rushed her to the hospital sometime around the five month mark, where the woman confessed that the baby was not her boyfriend’s. That she had been taken by the aliens and they had put this baby in her.

When they got to the hospital and she was delivering the baby, Cynthia told me, the first thing they saw was its eyes. “You know those big, black, sunken eyes?” I shook my head in the affirmative: I was all too familiar with them. The baby did not look human, she told me, it looked like one of them, though evidently it had “all the right organs.” It had lungs and everything, she said, and for being five months, it apparently looked really developed. Before I even asked the question, Cynthia shrugged, speculating out loud that maybe they develop more quickly, maybe it was put in the woman at a late stage.

She says that these men claiming they were from the government — “men in black, I guess,” she says — came and told her they needed to take the child. They even offered her money. The woman said she could care for the child, but the men said that this would be impossible, as the child was an extraterrestrial life form.

In later conversations she told me the woman was her aunt, her mother’s sister, and presumably the same lady who wanted to teach her how to perceive and clean auras. Allegedly there was even a photograph of the child, and though Cynthia claimed she would see if she could find it and let me see it, that never came to be. She left the job some time later and I haven’t seen her in years.

I tried researching the hospital she thought her aunt had been brought to, but heard no stories, no tales about the military or a cover-up. Sometimes I think that perhaps I should visit that shop in town. Even if I did, how do you ask such a thing?

Maybe the story was bullshit after all, but I have heard and seen things just as strange in my life. It seems to resonate, but who knows what that really means?


Goblins of the Threshold.

I. Samhain.

Closing my eyes, letting go, my mind drifts, blossoming spontaneous motion pictures, as is usually the case before I slide into a dream. Relaxed and numb, I am certain I will fall asleep for the few hours I have until I have to start waking up for work, but suddenly, in the silent movie in my mind, one of them pop up. Short, slender, large head and black, slanted, almond-shaped eyes. I come out of it, then drift back into another motion picture, but again they emerge, uninvited.

Curse my unconscious.

Getting up out of bed, I pour myself a mug of coffee. Sit in front of the computer. And then I just stare off into space. Stare into the void where answers should be.

II. Just Another Paranoid Afternoon Morning.

It is the eleventh; the day before my birthday. Something feels “off” from the moment I open my eyes. Suddenly I just wake up, as if out of a trance at the snap of fingers, and look at the clock, which reads around one in the afternoon. Apparently I had gotten up, turned off my two alarms and fell back asleep without realizing it, which happens a bit too often. Either in my hand or just near it on the bed is my cell phone, which immediately struck me as odd, as I always keep it in the chair next to the head of my bed and would have no reason to have it in my hands anyway, as I hadn’t set the alarm on my cell last night. Strangest of all, I was positioned on my bed wrong; my feet were towards the head of the bed, my head at the foot. I sure as hell hadn’t fallen asleep that way. Granted, I must have gotten up to turn off the alarm, which I’ve done countless times without realizing it, but I’ve never settled back down in bed in the opposite direction. And that still didn’t explain my fucking phone.

Later, I would become disturbed by the possibility that I might have been sleep-walking, or more specifically sleep-talking — that I had either answered the phone in my sleep or called someone and had some conversation I didn’t remember. Checking my cell later on, I saw no number called or received during the time I was out. I’d had a few beers the night before, but I certainly wasn’t drunk when I fell asleep. So I just got up, made some coffee, checked the net, took a shower. Tried not to think about it, tried not to reinforce my own stupid paranoia.

And failed fucking miserably.

III. Faces Out From the Haze.

Saturday night, more like Sunday morning. No sleep aide tonight. No pill, no bottle. Back to the mattress, lain straight, I close my eyes, focusing on deep breathing, imagining a cocoon around me, and then relaxing myself from toes to the top of my head, going deeper, deeper. Just breathe. Just relax. Again I see them in my mind’s eye. Involuntarily rising up from the mental haze, this time it is just their faces staring down at me, real close up to my face. Eyes raping my eyes. Breathing deeply, relaxing further, I try to find focus on Ajna, the third eye region, but even with that calm concentration where I feel entirely compact and focused, I see one of them looking down at me, face so close its almost touching mine. Even my mind is against me. Rolling over, face to the wall, clutching the wadded-up blanket like a child, I tell myself just to go to sleep. To forget them. Just sleep without dumbing yourself down tonight. Ignore the sounds, its just the neighbors, the people upstairs, the cars outside, the plumbing, the computer. No one is there. No one is there. Fucking go to sleep.

IV. Supine.

I wake up on my back, my body positioned straight, legs together, both my hands placed on my chest, and paralyzed. I am unable to move anything but my eyes. Unless I am meditating, this is a weird position for me to be sleeping in, and even when I do meditate and eventually fall to sleep I roll over on my side or my stomach shortly thereafter. As I open my eyes, staring at the ceiling, an afterimage of a straight line blinking in my field of vision for a few moments for some odd reason, I immediately recognize how peculiar all this is, and though perplexed, I am unafraid. I move my eyes, which is the only part of me I seem capable of moving, towards the clock, but I cannot remember what time it was that I saw. Nor can I recall my dreams, though I feel certain I had more than one. I remember thinking it was a shame I had not kept my webcam recording me sleeping as I had several nights prior. I then close my eyes again and drift off to sleep.

V. They Are My Waldo.

If you ever watch South Park you may have noticed that in many episodes that have stretched out across the seasons cameos have been made by “The Vistors,” as the writers call them, or, as they are more popularly known, the Gray aliens. Its like Where’s Waldo? only in this case Waldo is short, skinny, with a huge head like an overturned egg upon which rests two big, black, slanted and almond-shaped eyes. And even if you don’t look for Waldo, he pops up out of nowhere, haunting you. Sometimes these cameos are blatant, but more often you’ll find them hiding in the crowds or in the scenery.

Well, for the past few months this is precisely what my head has been like when I’m lying down trying to go to sleep. As is always the case, pictures emerge out of the haze of my mind as I am on the bridge of sleeping and waking; sometimes these images are in color, sometimes they manifest in this crisp, vivid, opaque kind of quality, as if I’m viewing it all through a pair of dark sunglasses. Often its scenery, sometimes people; sometimes freeze-frames, sometimes there’s movement. So I’ll be letting my mind go and drifting calmly off to sleep when out of nowhere one of the Grays will appear, walking around, and they will look dead at me like some character on television that suddenly looks back at you from within the screen and you get the startling sense that the character is real and can actually see you. As can be expected, this freaks me out and I bolt awake, physically bolting upward, only to try and fall asleep again, often to only have it happen again.

To be entirely honest, I prefer this to what was occurring maybe a month or two ago, when I could not lay my head down into the pillow sober without seeing, within my mind, images of a group of Grays looking down on me from real, real close-up. I always sleep on my side or with my face down in the pillow, rarely on my back, so the fact that I always saw them looking down on me from a supine position shocked me even more; despite the fact that these were before-dream images, it felt as if I was actually there, real-time, on my back, despite the fact that I most certainly was not (or at least at the time, I can say with confidence). I really would have hoped that after all these years the sight of their faces would not haunt me so; that they would not be so very entrancing and yet simultaneously frightening.

To some things, it seems one can never become desensitized.