Telepathy and Eye Contact.

“When eye contact between two people is initiated and maintained, an invisible energetic circuit is established between the two participants, dissolving the barriers that ordinarily separate them from each other, drawing them ever closer into a shared awareness of union.”
— Will Johnson, The Spiritual Practices of Rumi: Radical Techniques for Beholding the Divine.

“Portal sits deep within the eye.
The eye of yin’s severity
rewards understanding.”
— Mudvayne, Mercy, Severity.

In addition to my personal experiences, parapsychological research suggests that not only is eye gazing unnecessary for telepathy to occur, but distance between the subjects in question ultimately makes no difference, either. Despite this, eyes certainly hold a particular and peculiar power for me and I continue my struggle to understand why. It doesn’t help matters that aside from the alien abduction literature in general and my own experiences in particular I have only heard of experiences of “ocular telepathy” through two other sources.

Years ago, when I found Koda on the net, he had yet to write his 2004 book Instant Enlightenment: Metaphysical Fast Food, which I have since purchased. His interest in metaphysics was first sparked as a teenager in the early 1970s after experimenting with psychedelics. Since then he has explored the paranormal through conversation and tested out various techniques on his own.

His first attempt at telepathy occurred when he and a friend were alone, smoking hashish, and the technique was a rather basic one: Koda tried to focus on and “send” a letter as his friend tried to “receive” it. After visualizing a letter for about five minutes, his frustration grew and he screamed to himself mentally, at which time his friend screamed it quite verbally. They tried to repeat it several times that day and failed, but now that he had confirmed telepathy to his satisfaction he decided to see what other questions in this area he could lay to rest.

After attempting and accomplishing two other paranormal feats while alone in his bedroom that evening, as he explained it, “My ego was glowing profusely.” Upon going to the local coffee shop and telling some of his friends and classmates, however, he was met with only disbelief and ridicule. Frustrated, he was immediately set on revenge, and he stumbled upon the means some weeks later at that very coffee shop.

They often held staring contests and one girl always seemed to be better than the rest. Whenever he challenged her he would be doing fine for a short while before he cracked a grin and lost the game. He finally thought he would try thinking of a joke during their staring and telepathically “send” it to her to see if he could get her to laugh. It worked, even during the rematch she demanded. When she asked how he had done it and he told her, she confessed to using the same technique.

He then began practicing telepathy far more blatantly — and with a certain vengeance. He would begin the process using cold reading, approaching a friend, looking in their eyes and saying,”Let me see if I can read your mind.” Judging from their facial expressions he could easily determine that they thought he was full of shit, so he told them just that. They would confess it was so but maintained that it proved nothing. Then he would declare that they were now trying to think of something more specific and less obvious. Then he would tell them that they were beginning to wonder if he really could read their mind after all given his accuracy this far. At this point he began to generate fear in them, which as a consequence made them focus all the more intensely on whatever they were thinking about.

Up to this point, it was all cold reading, but it became, in this way, effective foreplay for telepathy. He slowly and systematically built up fear in them that he could read their minds and once that emotional component achieved sufficient intensity — typically when he went one step further and accused them of being terrified that he might be capable of knowing their deepest, darkest secrets — their focus became so locked on their specific, sustained thoughts that, as he put it, they essentially broadcasted their thoughts to him. He would then tell them what they were thinking, which by this point was something very specific, and they would confess that he could do it after all.

He did this daily for two weeks and got quite proficient at it before deciding he had had enough. Not only did he finally feel that he gotten even with them, he could no longer deal with the feelings of absolute terror he generated in them in the process. To make matters worse, even after making it known that he had stopped, people still avoided him for roughly two months.

It was two years before he started investigating telepathy again, this time with the intent of teaching others how to do it. In time he developed what he came to call the “Psychic Window Technique” in which two people engage in prolonged staring or mutual gazing at a short distance. According to Koda, this technique has a few effects.

In the midst of prolonged eye-gazing he would perceive strange illusions in his partner’s face: areas would often appear blurry, darker, or become more pronounced. Sometimes these distortions gave way to full-blown hallucinatory shape-shifting into the faces of strangers, animals, and even stranger things. His partner, it turned out, would see the same illusions, simultaneously and with equal intensity on his own face. He came to call this effect “visual telepathy,” and it is essentially this that first brought him to my attention. It helped explain an incident I’d had on December 15, 2001.

For some time I had been working at a particular fast food restaurant where I also often spent a considerable and embarrassing amount of my time off. A few hours before work I would come in, get my free and essentially bottomless cup of coffee, sit in my booth in the smoking section and spend my free time writing, reading, thinking and, in my idle time, people-watching. It was one of the few unofficial benefits of the job.

On the day in question a guy I had briefly worked with at another fast food job saw me, took a seat at the opposite end of my booth and we engaged in a short conversation. He was there with some guy, perhaps a brother, who had a young kid with him. After we concluded our conversation, he got up and left. I went back to my writing, lost in my own personal trance, having assumed that was the end of it. I could not have been more mistaken. As I have previously written:

“I was jolted… by the sound of something hitting the far end of my booth. Startled and curious, I looked up to find a dome of blond hair poking out from just beyond the end of the table. It was the upper hemisphere of a toddler’s head. One hand of his was grabbing a hold of the end of the table; in the other, he held his cup with the sippy-top. He was looking dead at me, and instead of meeting his eyes I just sort of laughed under my breath, turned my head back down, placed the pen to the page and continued my writing. My eyes didn’t even reach my notebook before I heard it again. Looking back up, I immediately locked eyes with the kid and found myself imprisoned there. The gateways to my mind were being held hostage.

My peripheral vision was suddenly enshrouded in this dark, blurry overcast. While the eyes at the end of the tunnel shared the shadowy opaqueness, it was also possessed with a hyper-vivid quality. This sense of pressure built in my head, as if energy from his eyes were literally pushing into my mind, as if breaking and entering the mind and scanning and downloading personal files. A virtual form of search and seizure or, in this case, a telepathic analogue.

After a moment, he seemed satisfied and strangely amused, looking at me in a creepy way, as if he knew a “dark secret,” as I had later phrased it, that somehow connected him and I. The edges of his lips then curled slowly upward to an unnatural height, almost as if this surreal Cheshire Cat grin belonged somewhere in the twilight betwixt reality and cartoon.

Soon he walked away slowly with who I presume to be my ex-coworker’s friend holding his hand, but my line of sight was still ensnared by his eyes. He held me in his ocular tractor beam until he was out of my line of sight, at which time I felt him release my mind from his psychic grip.

Sinking down into the booth, I was cold and trembling, heart pumping wildly beneath gooseflesh. My eyes felt a strange, widened sort of pain, and it felt as if I could still feel the residual feeling of him being inside my head. I tried to look intensely out into nowhere, to “stare” the feeling out of me as if I were trying to flush out the psychic lines or something.”

According to Koda, this mutuality of experience does not end with visual illusions and hallucinations of the face, either, but extends to emotional states and physical sensations. One can even play a game, he suggests, in which one takes on the role of the blind receiver as the other intentionally generates and attempts to communicate a specific emotion or sensation.

This brings us to the 1998 book, Dancing Naked in the Mind Field, by Kary Mullis, a biochemist who won the Nobel Prize for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 1983. Despite his accomplishments and credentials he is, to put it mildly, a controversial figure and an interesting character with even more interesting personal anecdotes to relate. In a chapter entitled, “Intervention on the Astral Plane,” he recounts his experience with a woman he introduces as Katherine O’Keefe who had astounding abilities — though I will focus on a single instance he cited which occurred on the day he met her “in the flesh,” in December of 1978. They met first at a Bakery and she then followed him home:

“We talked briefly about nothing much in kitchen and then made love before I knew anything more than her name. She looked deep into my eyes and did something to me with her mind that was ecstatic. It seemed to me as if a little tentacle had reached into my mid-brain and tickled my hypothalamus” (p 93).

In 2002, while I still worked at the fast food restaurant previously mentioned, I had met Angela, a beautiful girl that had some strange experiences of her own. When we worked nights together she used to get up real close to my face and stare at me in the eyes, which I always enjoyed. At one point, while staring at me in that way, she did something akin to what Mullis described. I received this intense, joyous, almost orgasmic high that reached a fever pitch, overwhelming me and causing my field of perception to ripple like the surface of a disturbed body of water.

I had experienced such perceptual distortions before, to be certain, though the emotional component had never before achieved such intensity. One of the first occasions this happened, I was attending a dance with my girlfriend at the time at her school. In passing, as I was walking behind her through a crowded room, I happened to lock eyes with a random girl and the same thing occurred: a rising high with rippling vision. And she had done it at some distance, too.

Koda also writes about telepathically transmitting and receiving emotionally-charged imagery. Having read it for the first time in the process of writing this, it made me think of two experiences of mine.

The first happened during high school sometime after the flashbacks. I was in English class and we were all in our seats working on our papers independently and the teacher was walking up and down the isles, observing us as we worked. Occasionally she would stop and talk to a student in whispered tones. She walked up to my desk, leaned down to talk to me and as I looked up I happened to look her directly in the eyes. It was as if I was sucked into the vortex of her pupils. Inside, I saw things rotting, dripping with a venomous, sewage-like substance, absolutely grotesque, ill and deprived of life. And in an instant I broke the link, looking away from her, totally confused as to what had just happened.

Years later, the same sort of thing happened to me with a kid on April 8, 2002 as I was in a booth at work talking with a Tess, a co-worker and passing romantic interest:

“As her and I spoke, I found myself a bit distracted when this family of four came in. There was a curly-haired brunette lady who I presumed to be the mother; a tall, dark-haired man who’s face I never saw, and two kids. There was a younger one who had blond hair and blue eyes and looked rather frail-looking. His head was kind of big, too. The other was older with dark hair. The mother sat down in the booth behind my friend – booth number five – with the frail boy between her and the wall. Across from her and back-to-back with my friend was the tall man. Across from the blond haired kid and tall man sat the dark-haired boy.

It was the blond that first caught my attention. He was a cute little kid with bright blue eyes, but something about him made me uneasy. Though I was quick to attribute it to paranoia, for a few moments I watched him closely just to be sure. As I was scrutinizing, both kids stood up at once, leaned towards one another from across their table and placed themselves forehead to forehead, like playful bucks locked in a duel, staring dead into one another’s eyes. The mother lightly backhanded the blond kid and told them both to stop.

My attention slipped back to Tess, who was still talking. I had absolutely no fucking clue what the hell she had been saying, and even what she was saying at present seemed to be empty words lost in a jumble. I was getting really, really uncomfortable, and I had no idea why. It all seemed very odd. Somehow, something just didn’t feel right.

Then I looked back up over her shoulder. The dark-haired kid seemed to sense my eyes on him, and he suddenly turned around and looked dead at me and have me a Cheshire Cat grin. When I meet his eyes his pupils grow large, darker-than-dark, and it suddenly it feels as if I’m violently dragged forward and right into them. It’s like we’re in this foggy bubble where we’re only eyes and mind, and only him and I exist, and the rest of the world grows blurred and distorted. It was definitely visual — he looked magnified, abstract and surreal, and I could still see that Cheshire grin, wide and cartoon-like. It certainly wasn’t limited to image, though. It was as if our eye contact had merged us mentally, fused us. I felt as though I was in his mind, or that he was in mine, or that we now shared a mind.

I looked away. It took me a few seconds or so of staring at the table in front of me to realize just what the hell had happened. I knew I wasn’t sleeping, so I couldn’t be dreaming. I wasn’t on drugs. Tess was still talking, but when she looked up at me she did a double-take and then stopped dead in her tracks. I imagine the look on my face must have been about as fucked up as I was feeling. She studied me another moment before asking what was wrong.

Looking at her, staring deep into her eyes, I found that nothing happened. If this was in my head, I wondered, wouldn’t looking into her eyes do the same thing? I looked back at the kid, thinking this might have been something I’d imagined — half hoping, as a matter of fact, that it had truly been something that I’d imagined. Then it all happened again. He goes into my head, grinning again, almost as if he’s a fucking cartoon. If I focused at all, I feared I might be locked there forever; that I might be trapped there and the rest of reality might fade away.

He looks away. While I’m sitting there pale as a ghost and freaking out, he’s sitting there amused. It’s almost as if he thought it was funny that he could do this. He leaned over the table again and whispered to the blond haired kid. Then he turns back to me and does it again, grinning that wide and freaky Cheshire cat grin, eyes as big and black as universes.”

Koda ultimately experienced something far more extreme than me in this respect, however. In the summer of 1984 he writes how he was practicing the technique with a friend of his in a coffee shop when, for roughly six seconds, they both suddenly saw the same detailed scene from the same perspective:

“I was looking directly at a very pretty blond girl about nineteen-years-old. She was perhaps six feet away, facing slightly toward my left as she sat in front of an old-fashion chest of drawers topped with a large, ornate mirror. Her dress was bright yellow, laced up the front and had a white, ruffled collar. She was brushing her long blond hair with very slow strokes, looking rather absent minded, as if she were daydreaming about some hoped-for future. To the left of the dresser was the closed bedroom door. Without knowing why, I was certain there was a hallway on the other side of the door. I knew that toward the right the hall lead to the back door and the barn area, while on the left the hall opened into the living room. On the other side of the hall from the bedroom was the kitchen. I knew where all the pots and pans and lanterns were hung, that the road came in from west in front of the house and most of the fields were in that direction. I knew everything about the place as quickly as my mind could scan the area, including the ‘fact’ that I was in a farmhouse in Southern California in the late 1800s” (p 18).

In rare instances, he says, even thoughts can be communicated — as exemplified to some degree in his initial experience with his friend on hashish and his subsequent mind-reading of his friends and classmates. It also brings us back to Mullis. In a chapter of the aforementioned book entitled, “My Evening With Harry,” Mullis recounts an experience he had in 1978 in San Francisco.

He was sitting at his kitchen table with his friend, Harry, a fellow chemist, who he had not seen in some time. They both drank some beer and Harry smoked a joint. After explaining that he wanted to show him something, he turned to Mullis with wide eyes and asked him to stare into his eyes and do his best not to blink or react if his face happened to change. As Mullis goes on to explain:

“His face did change. It was still Harry, but varieties of Harry I had not seen. Different faces appeared out of the familiar flesh, which now wasn’t so familiar. Some of them were humans I didn’t know, some were not human at all. They were animal. They were all Harry in some way I couldn’t explain. I was seeing things in him that were him but not a part of the life we had shared. It was a little scary, but Harry was somehow underneath it smiling that confident smile” (p 86).

(p 86)

They both admitted to being inside each other’s minds (“the front room — the reception area,” Mullis explained) and then Mullis broke it off for a moment, grabbed two pens and some index cards.

“We were being scientists. We both wrote down a word and then showed each other our cards. It was the same word. Just a word, nothing cosmic, but it was the same, and we knew it would be. We did it again and again, and we knew every time it would be the same. We were watching something — always present but usually dormany — from a privileged position that we had created by putting ourselves together in some way. It was absolutely normal and yet it wasn’t” (p 87).

Recently I came upon some articles regarding eye-gazing experiments that inspired me to try researching the subject again, hoping to find something. While I found no further personal anecdotes, I did happen upon some interesting and relevant studies. In a video by The Liberators International they invited strangers to publicly engage in eye contact for one, whole, psychologically-juicy minute. After the predictable awkwardness produced at the onset, participants reported the very heights of elation. This predominantly emotional experience may have been overshadowed by some haunting hallucinatory phenomena if ocular engagement had continued for ten minutes, however, at least according to experiments conducted by Giovanni B. Caputo, a psychologist at the University of Urbino in Italy.

I was first introduced to Caputo’s work through an article regarding his studies on mirror-gazing in which he found that after perhaps no more than a minute of staring at one’s reflection subjects experienced what he called the Strange-Face-in-the-Mirror Illusion. Features would darken or become more pronounced; people would see, instead of their own faces, those of strangers, animals, or monstrous beings. In further experiments in which he explored the effects of what has been variously referred to as interpersonal, intersubjective or mutual eye-gazing, he found that the same basic manifestations emerged.

In a paper entitled, “Dissociation and hallucinations in dyads engaged through interpersonal gazing,” Caputo described an experiment in which he paired off 20 people (15 women, 5 men) and had them sit facing each other at a distance of roughly three feet in a dimly-lit room where they were instructed to gaze into one another’s eyes for ten minutes. There was also a control group of 20 placed in more or less the same conditions, though in this case they were instructed to gaze at a blank wall. Each group then completed three questionnaires relating to their experience. The initial dealt with dissociative states, the remaining two focused on their experience of the point of focus — the control group’s wall or the face of your partner. The results were astonishing:

“The participants in the eye-staring group said they’d had a compelling experience unlike anything they’d felt before. They also scored higher on all three questionnaires than the control group. On the dissociative states test, they gave the strongest ratings to items related to reduced colour intensity, sounds seeming quieter or louder than expected, becoming spaced out, and time seeming to drag on. On the strange-face questionnaire, 90 per cent of the eye-staring group agreed that they’d seen some deformed facial traits, 75 per cent said they’d seen a monster, 50 per cent said they saw aspects of their own face in their partner’s face, and 15 per cent said they’d seen a relative’s face.”

As explained elsewhere, a cocktail of neural adaptation, psychological projection and facial recognition would explain the surreal effects that can manifest during mirror-gazing; the same would appear to be true for mutual gazing. This would not, at least so obviously, explain why interpersonal gazing would constitute the more intense experience of the two — nor would it begin to explain the seemingly telepathic effects. There are, however, at least two separate studies that may offer some insight. One was conducted by psychologists from the University of Stirling involving 20 five-year-old children. It concluded that those who averted eye contact in order to consider how they would answer questions were more apt to answer correctly than those who maintained their gaze. In another study conducted at Kyoto University in Japan (the results of which were published as “When we cannot speak: Eye contact disrupts resources available to cognitive control processes during verb generation”) participants played word association games of varying complexity while looking at a variety of faces that were either staring or looking away. During eye contact, they did more poorly during the most complex questions.

In both cases, then, it was suggested that cognitive effort and eye contact interfered with one another. While neither study so much as references hypnosis, the conclusions of both appear to resonate well with hypnotist Scott Jansen’s allegation, which is that sustained eye contact generates “psychological pressure” that diminishes conscious thinking. Subliminal or unconscious thought then rushes in to compensate, heightening one’s suggestibility. In other words, eye contact could be seen as the most basic form of the most typical of induction techniques used by hypnotists both on and off the stage: what is variously known as the direct gaze, fixed gaze or fixation method of hypnotic induction. Though this can be used to refer to the subject’s fixation on nearly anything — a candle’s flame, a finger, a swinging watch — among the objects of potential focus are the hypnotist’s eyes. The issue here is that inducing hypnosis does not alone explain the seemingly telepathic effect, as there are no clearly no overt, hypnotic suggestions to follow in the midst of silent, mutual gazing — and they would prove difficult to deliver, too, perhaps, given the interference it evidently has with respect to cognition.

There may very well be nonverbal hypnotic suggestions at play here, however. Consider that eyes are essentially extensions of the brain that not only receive external signals as sense organs but can also transmit the brain’s own signals to other pairs of eyes. When you engage in eye contact with another person you pick up on the expressions on their face and, of course, the movements of their own eyes. While you can consciously perceive the eye movements known as saccades, such as when the person looks back and forth, there are various forms of subtler, involuntary movements that occur even when those eyes remain fixed on your own, and they may also communicate nonverbal information regarding their inner state. By picking up on these external, nonverbal reactions to their own minds we may instinctively decode those signals and replicate the other person’s inner state within ourselves. Hypnotic trance through silent, prolonged mutual gaze would only amplify such effects.

Those effects are certainly there, too, whatever the cause. In a 2015 study published in the journal Neuroimage, 96 volunteers were split into pairs and proceeded to engage in mutual gazing under the watchful eye of fMRIs. It was found that not only did the pairs begin blinking in unison, their brain activity synchronized in the area of the right inferior frontal gyrus. The remaining question is whether these mundane processes are enough to explain the effects of what I, perhaps lamely, have referred to for some time as ocular telepathy. To put it more plainly: if through prolonged mutual gazing you are capable of sharing or exchanging hallucinations, emotions, mental images and even thoughts with your partner, does it remain a viable hypothesis that the aforementioned normal — as opposed to paranormal — processes are the culprit?

Taken as a whole, it seems a stretch. To break it down in specific bits: being capable, in the midst of locked gaze, of reading emotional states through nonverbals and experiencing them as your own — or experiencing them as emotions from an external source, namely that of your partner — is a hypothesis that would be relatively easy for me to accept, especially given what we know regarding our inherent capacity to subliminally and automatically translate body language. When it comes to sharing hallucinations and subjective imagery, however, I am far more skeptical, and when it comes to communicating thoughts — say in the fashion of Mullis and Harry at the kitchen table exchanging those index cards — it seems absolutely absurd.

So how might one explain this?

We know that ordinary sense perception exists. Our mundane senses do not operate in isolation, however, but are in constant concert, influencing one another with the aim of delivering a seemingly seamless sensory experience to consciousness. Smell, for instance, affects taste, as anyone who has had nasal congestion can attest to. Wine tasters swirl the fluid in the glass, take a hearty whiff, and then sip, utilizing all relevant senses as they contribute to a more holistic, mindful experience of the taste.

There is sufficient data in parapsychological studies to suggest that extrasensory perception exists. While we accept the community or senses as a factor for clear reception with respect to the clarity of reception provided by any singular, ordinary sense, we are for whatever reason suddenly prone to amnesia when it comes to exploring the extra-sensorium. Here, frustration and discouragement overwhelm us when we learn that, for instance, telepathy is difficult to isolate with any certainty from other senses — or potential extrasenses — in the laboratory setting. When we do manage to fashion experiments that isolate specific psi, we are frustrated and discouraged when the effect, though exceeding chance, is relatively weak. We fail to consider the fact that in their natural environment, so-to-speak, they may complement and be similarly influenced by a community of extrasenses just as ordinary senses are.

Not only that, but we should expect these two distinct sensory systems to influence one another as well, which would certainly serve to complicate matters. Assuming this is the case, it could go some way to explain what many interpret as a failure in parapsychology, which is to say that any detectable effects are prone to being relatively weak in nature. After all, when we take average individuals and subject them to parapsychological studies with rigid controls meant to remove any evidence of sensory (if not other extrasensory) influence, we are in effect removing their given extrasense (telepathy, in this case) from its natural context and placing it in an isolated, alien environment in which it is not only virgin but necessarily abandoned by its typical support system. We should be astounded that parapsychological experiments reveal any psi influence at all.

Perhaps the coupling of mutual eye-gazing, subliminal cold-reading and telepathy could better explain the phenomena experienced as ocular telepathy. It works so well, its effects are so predictable, immediate and intense in comparison to telepathy as it is ordinarily explored, simply because it utilizes the parapsychological in tandem with the psychological and biological.

No doubt a relevant form of training might help discipline our natural ability to conjure such capacities through the Psychic Window Technique, and the literature which I have referenced in quotes in this article already provide some clues as to what training might be optimal. Consider, for instance, the conversation between Mullis and O’Keefe following the incident in which she seemed, according to him, to have tickled his hypothalamus:

“I asked her what the hell she had done to me.

She replied, ‘You’ve been playing with your mind, but you don’t know anything yet. No one has ever properly taught you.’

I was excited. ‘Will you show me how to do that? What you did?’

‘You already know. You just need to practice'” (p 93).

Though Mullis reported that she did indeed teach him to practice, he gave few details, in the end only offering the reader her diagnosis of his condition. “She told me that I had abilities that I hadn’t tapped into and that I had to learn to quiet myself inside,” he wrote. “I had to learn not to think so much.” Though she never said it outright so far has Mullis himself has conveyed, it seems clear to me that she was talking about meditation — something akin to the Theravada and Tibetan Buddhist practices of samatha and vipassana, which cultivate the power of attention.

There was also a detailed practice offered by Koda, however: the aforementioned “The Psychic Window Technique.” He suggests that you and your partner sit down and face one another at a distance of perhaps two to three feet, sure to maintain “open” body language devoid of defensive barriers like crossed arms or legs in the process. Both of you then decide which mutual “side” will hold your attentions when you stare at one another: either you focus your eyes on your partner’s right eye as they focus on your left or vice versa. It is of vital importance, I think, to focus mutual attention on a mutual “side,” as it makes certain you are both focusing on the eye of the other that is focusing on you. This would also make it indistinguishable from samatha meditation.

Once the “side” is established, you both stare into one another’s eyes unwaveringly, without blinking, all the while trying to expand your field of clear perception to encapsulate the entirety of the face: then the weirdness begins…

Mirror, Mirror.

Mirror, mirror upon the wall,
I’m asking you, who is the most confused of them all?
Mirror, mirror, subservient twin,
screams back at me “You! You sick flawless mime,
I want to break you!”
— Mudvayne, Shadow of a Man.

As is the case with many of the memories that came to me around 1995, I can’t be certain how old I was, but the flashback was brief and vivid enough that despite the fact that no written records of it exist from the time of recall I am confident enough in how it played out. One could always argue that it was some vivid dream and nothing more, of course, but it certainly seemed to be a real occurrence to me.

I was in the bathroom at the house we lived in from my birth until 1988, and so no older than ten, standing on a small stool we had in the bathroom so that us kids could reach the sink and see ourselves in the mirror. I don’t know if I was brushing my teeth or combing my hair or if I was about to get in or just exiting the shower. In any case, I suddenly noticed, in the process, that something was wrong, peculiar, noticeably “off” about my reflection in the mirror. Unable to put my finger on it at first, it soon became obvious that my eyes were changing. They were slowly but with increasing speed growing at once larger and more slanted. I remember watching as I simultaneously felt my mouth falling open in shock, my growing, unblinking eyes unable to avert their gaze for a mere second. Uncertain if it was my actual face or merely my reflection undergoing this localized shapeshifting, I lifted up my hand to touch one of my eyes, sliding my fingers upon its smooth, slippery, rubbery surface.

Still later in 1995, after a night of what could perhaps be best described as a meditative exploration of my apparent past-life memories, I had gazed into the mirror in the upstairs bathroom with the lights off and had a strange visual experience. My reflected face was rapidly shapeshifting into what I presumed to be the faces of my former incarnations, many of which I had not formerly recalled episodically. It seemed as if my mirror image was trying to coagulate into a singular form that embraced the qualities of all previous corporeal containers. Unlike the earlier episode there was no question that this was an illusion, and one specific to my reflection as opposed to my actual face.

Many years later I came upon those who had experienced similar distortions of their reflections in Dr. Marlene Steinberg’s book, The Stranger in the Mirror: The Hidden Epidemic. For some time that has been my only lead for an explanation of the experience — assuming it was not some vivid, sensory-enriched dream. Until recently, that is, when I came upon the “Strange-Face-in-the-Mirror Illusion,” a 2010 publication in the journal Perception, by psychologist Giovanni B. Caputo of the University of Urbino in Italy. He ran an experiment in which some fifty volunteers sat in a dimly-lit room with a 25-watt lamp placed behind them. They were instructed to stare into a mirror for ten minutes and take note of the effects. After about a minute, strange shit began to happen. Caputo writes:

“The descriptions differed greatly across individuals and included: (a) huge deformations of one’s own face (reported by 66% of the fifty participants); (b) a parent’s face with traits changed (18%), of whom 8% were still alive and 10% were deceased; (c) an unknown person (28%); (d) an archetypal face, such as that of an old woman, a child, or a portrait of an ancestor (28%); (e) an animal face such as that of a cat, pig, or lion (18%); (f) fantastical and monstrous beings (48%).”

Their emotional responses were also interesting:

“The participants reported that apparition of new faces in the mirror caused sensations of otherness when the new face appeared to be that of another, unknown person or strange `other’ looking at him/her from within or beyond the mirror. All fifty participants experienced some form of this dissociative identity effect, at least for some apparition of strange faces and often reported strong emotional responses in these instances. For example, some observers felt that the `other’ watched them with an enigmatic expression – [a] situation that they found astonishing. Some participants saw a malign expression on the ‘other’ face and became anxious. Other participants felt that the `other’ was smiling or cheerful, and experienced positive emotions in response. The apparition of deceased parents or of archetypal portraits produced feelings of silent query. Apparition of monstrous beings produced fear or disturbance. Dynamic deformations of new faces (like pulsations or shrinking, smiling or grinding) produced an overall sense of inquietude for things out of control.”

In a follow-up publication the same year (2010), “Apparitional experiences of new faces and dissociation of self-identity during mirror gazing,” Caputo added that subjects reported that while they maintained self-consciousness of their own face they felt as if “a strange person was watching them from within or beyond the mirror”. He also concluded that the degree of lighting seemed to play a role in the illusion, which is to say that the lower the illumination the less time it took for one to experience the SFMI. More interesting are the effects of mirror-gazing on subjects suffering from depression and schizophrenia, two other studies of Caputo’s which he summarized in the abstract of his March, 2014 publication, “Archetypal-imaging and mirror-gazing,” in which he gives an overview of the studies on the matter:

“Recently, empirical research found that gazing at one’s own face in the mirror for a few minutes, at a low illumination level, produces the perception of bodily dysmorphic illusions of strange-faces. Healthy observers usually describe huge distortions of their own faces, monstrous beings, prototypical faces, faces of relatives and deceased, and faces of animals. In the psychiatric population, some schizophrenics show a dramatic increase of strange-face illusions. They can also describe the perception of multiple-others that fill the mirror surface surrounding their strange-face. Schizophrenics are usually convinced that strange-face illusions are truly real and identify themselves with strange-face illusions, diversely from healthy individuals who never identify with them. On the contrary, most patients with major depression do not perceive strange-face illusions, or they perceive very faint changes of their immobile faces in the mirror, like death statues.”

Why does this illusion happen? There are some pretty reasonable hypotheses. As Kaylee Brown put it in her December, 2016 article, “Eye Gazing: Science Reveals How it Affects Our Communication”:

“Our neurons can slow down and even completely stop their response to stimulation that is constant. This happens when you stare at anything — your perception changes until you blink or something within the scene changes.”

One way to put it, then, is that steady, prolonged mirror-gazing results in sensory ambiguity, and we have known for some time that the greater the ambiguity in a perceived stimulus the more fertile it becomes for psychological projection. Our brains naturally compensate for absent data and impose structure on chaotic information based on cues in the given context associated with data already stored in memory. Well, in the case of mirror-gazing, the cues are aspects of our face that remain detectable, and so another influential force here may be our capacity for facial recognition. This leads us to seek out the patterns of a face in our projections: as your face distorts due to neural adaptation, your brain conjures up faces stored in memory that fit the available — which is to say fluctuating — data, which result in illusions of faces that are not your own.

The weakest and mildest projections manifest as pareidolia, such as when we look at a spill on a counter, a stain on the concrete or clouds in the sky and “see” figures and even scenes. This can increase to illusions, as when someone is approaching you from a distance and you’re certain it’s a friend, only to find as proximity increases that it is a total stranger. In some cases projection can even produce full-blown hallucinations, as in cases of sensory deprivation.

My experience in the darkened bathroom after my exploration of my alleged reincarnational world-line would perhaps reside on the cusp betwixt illusion and hallucination, but my memory of my reflection of a child in a bathroom of full lighting would clearly have to constitute a hallucination — not merely in the visual sphere, either, but in a tactile sense, as I distinctly remember touching my eye to ensure it was merely my reflection that was changing, only to find that it was, despite my hopes, my actual face as well. Nothing that Caputo has published to my knowledge could explain that aspect of the memory, given it was not a vivid dream — not even the experiences of schizophrenics.

I must confess: that is not the least bit comforting.

***

For more information regarding the aforementioned studies conducted by Caputo (et al.), please consult the following links (or use the titles as search queries):

Strange-Face-in-the-Mirror Illusion,” 2010.
“Apparitional experiences of new faces and dissociation of self-identity during mirror gazing,” 2010.
“Visual perception during mirror gazing at one’s own face in schizophrenia,” 2012.
Visual perception during mirror-gazing at one’s own face in patients with depression,” 2014.
Archetypal-imaging and mirror-gazing,” 2014.

Be Clear.

Distant shadows
approaching, what say
you of the state
of the world

in which I’ve been abandoned,
left embedded within
and of the state
of my own disposition?

Be clear,
lay it all out
on the table,
and give it to me straight.

Provide me with feedback.

I need it
something
anything
to integrate my insides,

realign myself
with my poor
excuse for a life.

Ex Caput Mortuum.

Sixteen,
slipping headfirst into the black.

Alone at last, embracing introversion,
stumbling through the jungle, to the tender lips
of the abyss within, listening
to ancient whispers, denied memories,
buried aspects of my personality:

truths of a type
that nightmares are made of.

Ink in pen, pastel, pencil, various media
in hand, fingers to keyboard,
hungry for bloodletting,
expel the poison,
work the dirt out from the sore
that I become in this prison
of ignorance,
hunt and peck
until they blister and spill my essence…

I try to bleed it dry, swallow it whole,
deep certainty that this is the only way to let go
of that which I have been entirely blinded to,

not least of which the fact
that I hold and have held
for so long, though this hole is deeper
than I could ever have guessed, could have known,
a surreal vortex that threatens
any sense of self or sanity
with ruthless, violent, unmerciful
disintegration.

Crows peck meat from bones,
ghosts torment the mind drifting free
from body, now at war with the chaos,
eyes as black as my head is dead,
flies encircles my eyes, halo of crows spinning
like satellites around my charred
and wasted mind…

Cannot believe the weight I hold.
(Arrogance.)
Cannot believe the age of soul.
(Age is not synonymous with wisdom.)
Fight against the accusation
that I am a part of this, participant
in this mess,

my freedom, my responsibility.
Belonging nowhere, gather the lost, fight
for a better home. Feel like I need
to do something, use all that I have got,
though I’m lost,
fuck,
what am I supposed to do
with all of this?

No one could
(not even sure that I completely)
believe it.

No faith in self.
No hope is scientifically
discerning anything else.

How can I know what side
is right to fight
on if I know enough to know
that I don’t know myself?

(Nimi, where are you?
My guide, my confidant…)

Need to gain
a sense of direction
to find the off-ramp,
escape my personal hell,
embrace my work,
be myself.

Goblins of the Threshold.

I. Samhain.
11/1/09

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.
11/13/09

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.
11/16/09

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.
11/20/09

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.
1/12/10

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.

Evolution of Intrusions.

When I was a kid, I would always feel as if I was tending to an audience, as if I were entertaining someone watching the television show of my life. I would play with toys in my room and weave stories using the figurines as props, which I saw as television shows for the viewer.

From as early on as I can remember, I was always fascinated with mirrors and would weave tales for my sisters regarding the hidden world it served as a doorway to. Privately, I seemed to use it as a sort of communication device, I suppose. Privately, I would lip sync in the mirror to the 45 blaring out my little record player. Among my favorites were “Disco Duck” and “Morris the Moose.” All of this was entertainment for the imaginary audience implied by my constant sense of being watched, so strongly felt that I often found myself addressing my audience directly in the mirror.

It was not until very recently that I discovered that imaginary companions (which may only be alter personalities in the making) can manifest to the child not only as a hallucination or a subjective figure, which I would have guessed, but may also come in the form of a mere “sensed presence.” I must wonder: was that audience beneath my skin, behind my eyes? If so, I suppose it made sense to address them in the mirror after all.

Beyond sensing a presence and feeling as if I were under constant observation, there were other suggestions that my imagination was quite literally getting out of my control, particularly in reference to the “daydreams” I produced in my restless mind at night in bed.

In retrospect, it seems I was as much an insomniac as a small child as I am now, so perhaps calling me nocturnal would be more accurate. The issue then that the teenage years would free me from was not insomnia, but passive insomnia. In my current active insomnia, I spend my evening doing artwork, reading, writing, watching documentaries. My child status had me confined to a dark room and a bed, so I would spend my nights passively, though quite active subjectively. I would daydream, making up stories in my head and rehearsing future situations, wondering about things, reflecting on things.

Sometimes, though, I got the funny feeling that parts of my imagination literally had a mind of their own. The suggestion came in the form of the “bionic spiderwebs” as well as the increasingly unwelcome visits by the asinine messiah, both of which had to have occurred during the first to third grade era (1985-1988). As I am uncertain as to which came first, I’ll begin where it seems it would have developmentally.

It happened pretty much the same way every time. I would be imagining something and then from out of the peripheral vision of my inner eye this meshy tendril of spiderwebs would shoot out, grab ahold of the imaginary content and drag it quickly out of frame. I would try to imagine it again and the same damn thing would happen. Needless to say, this got annoying really quick.

Never was I certain why I referred to these webs as bionic, though I later learned the word essentially means “life-like,” which serves as a good description of their behavior. After all, I was not doing this to myself. I was not so dire in need of entertainment that I would resort to imagining an ethereal, cleptotelepathic bionic cobweb as an adversary. If this was my imagination than this was no imaginary parasite, or in the very least not merely, but a parasite of the imagination. It had been born in or had invaded my headspace where, so far as I know, it fed solely on the acute levels of frustration it managed to generate in me.

Now I had to open my eyes to the darkness and isolation of the bedroom. Play with the array of stuffed animals I would arrange in a circle around my bunk as a ritual of comfort and protection. After some time I could perhaps forget about it, slip back into imagination and everything would be all right again for awhile. That was the hope, anyway, and it didn’t take long to see that hope needed some work.

Inevitably, I would start daydreaming again, but I would either slip and think of them or they would arrive on their own to ruin by reveries. How could I banish them?

I noted that they often arrived with their thought-abducting strands precisely when I was thinking how I hoped they would not. It was as if I were at some level summoning up the strands that seized my imagination, semiconsciously conjuring up the very cobwebs of my concern. It was outside my conscious control, though perhaps inadvertently awakened through thinking of them at some subliminal level of pre-thought.

This was perhaps only because in order to ensure that I did not think about it I had to remind myself not to think about it, which consequently necessitates thinking the very thought I sought not to. Yes, I did discover the answer, no doubt obvious to many from the get-go, and that was to think about something else, an alternative, a Thou Shalt as opposed to Thou Shalt Not. A positive can stand on its own. A negative by necessity requires its opponent’s support.

This was but a temporary aide, of course, nothing approximating a solution. The enemy was still out there, I just ceased waving them over. They still found me, just not right away, being free of my assistance and all.

As a product of my imagination, however autonomous, perhaps some understanding could be gained by looking at the bionic spiderwebs from the perspective of a dream symbol, which is to say as an unconsciously-generated personal metaphor.

I know neither how nor when it began. It could have been the case that I first imagined these things, unknowingly “getting the ball rolling” for some autonomous function that took it from there. My sense is that I did not know how or why the bionic spiderwebs began even at the time, namely because I ended up giving them a back story down the line. Strangely, this came as a consequence of my novel attempt to rid myself of them once and for all. My attempt involved the use of my imagination as a tool to solve the problem.

Creating a wild series of misadventures in my head at night, I would engage myself in a fantasy about seeking out the source of the bionic spiderwebs, at the end of which I would imagine I found their source, ultimately destroying it, thereby banishing them from my mind.

Perhaps suggestive of their subliminal inspiration, I imagined their roots to be found in “the grave of Spider-Man” and wove a story around it, ultimately leading to the destruction of the grave. I recall using this scenario more than once, and I am uncertain if it ultimately had any bearing on the eventual disappearance of the bionic spiderwebs, but ego likes to label it a triumphant act of banishment.

In any case, the complete symbol would then appear to constitute a superhero that, however buried, was none the less showing signs of life-likeness by extending his “superpowers” into my imaginal space in the form of “bionic spiderwebs.” Was it a buried personality breaking through to extend a web-tendril, or a gestating complex showing signs of alter potential through autonomous intrusions into waking thought?

Subsequent imaginal events seem to suggest that bionic spiderwebs were no longer needed to reach out from that hole, be it grave or womb, as the soul had escaped, it had been born from the rich earth of my mind.

Or as it was more specifically expressed, the dead superhero himself had risen. Rather than assume the form of the human-arachnid cross known as Spiderman, however, he incarnated into the form of a far more ancient superhero, a god-man cross that I today refer to as the asinine messiah. He assumed the traditional image of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes at night he would just pop into my head. He would be sitting cross-legged on a puffy white cloud, sporting his mythical robe, long hair and beard and looking down from his puffy white throne he would engage me in conversation.

If ever there was a time in which we actually got along, it is a period I have long since forgotten. From what I do remember he was actually quite the asshole. What frightened and angered me particularly about our interactions was his supposed all-knowingness and insistence that fate or destiny controlled our lives. This, I think, is what led to our little game of prediction. Typically we would spend the majority of our interactions placing bets on things, as for instance when a car would drive by on the road outside my bedroom window, or whether or not I could resist scratching an itch and a host of similarly stupid things. I did a good job of beating him quite often in our wagers, too.

I often wonder if this has ties to my whole concern about free will when I was around seven or eight. I would be on my bed and try to do something that was too swift to influence, too random and on the fly to predict, but I was of course never able to rule out a hidden influence on my decision-making or confirm a deviation from any supposed path of predictability.

We would argue about things all the time (though conveniently I cannot recall any of the specifics) and he quickly morphed from a fear or intimidation into an absolute fucking annoyance. I believe I told him to go away and never return, though from what I vaguely recall it took repeated efforts to successfully banish him. In any case he eventually lost his dominance in my imagination, effectively vanished from my inner-vision.

These instances made little sense until I learned about partial dissociation. Rather than the abrupt “switching” from one personality to another in Dissociative Identity Disorder, both personalities can simultaneously possess varying degrees of partial control over the mind or body.

The extreme ends of the spectrum where the host or alter take control are known as complete dissociation. The spectrum of co-consciousness is known as partial dissociation. The alter exerts influence on the host through “partially-dissociated intrusions” that can take many forms, such as through the subjective experience of imagination and dreams. This may suggest that bionic spiderwebs and elder superheroes in desperate need of attitude adjustments are items that belong in this category.

Again, subsequent events suggested that death of the asnine messiah, like the death of the bionic spiderwebs that presumably came before it, may have merely represented a state of transition, a metamorphosis bringing to it greater heights of complexity in a new incarnation soon to be plaguing my life.

And indeed, around that time I also found myself committed to activities without knowing why.

Intersection of Midwich and Innsmouth (2).

Though I cannot say that I have ever personally seen an aura, it does appear to explain the “vibes” that I feel from people and what feels like a subtle energy around all our bodies. It feels like a radiation of some sort, like an energy or light which I am blind to but can “feel” in a way I can best describe as a sort of hybridization of the typical tactile and kinesthetic sensations.

Different people feel different and the same people don’t always feel the same, but they have unique patterns and perhaps even omnipresent individual and group “signatures” beneath it all. I think of it this way: sometimes you can feel someone staring at you from the back of the head, so you can feel foreign energy. Sometimes, however, you can feel precisely who and what is staring at the back of your head: your mother, your dog, an alien, perhaps. General, group, and individual patterns therefore seem to exist in the experience of energy.

You can feel people leaching energy from you, and you feel utterly drained for some time after escaping their presence. Others feel like a psychic furnace, an irradiating sun charging all those who surround them. I can feel the energy of others as it pulls back from my own or as our energies reach out and mingle, resonate and coalesce. Through that energy I feel emotions, more rarely thoughts and images, that I feel certain are not my own. While I feel energy around their bodies, it becomes incredibly more intense through eye contact, almost as if serving as direct interface to an individual’s working memory.

During high school, I could not help but feel that at least to some degree I could tell who were abductees. I even began making a list of people from school that I suspected were having encounters. Despite this inner sense of certainty, I didn’t know why, so tried to find some unlikely common element they all shared. Eventually it came down to the fact that their energy had (at varying intensities) the same characteristic “feel” of the aliens and they even carried some physical characteristics I associated with the creatures.

There was, for instance, Maddox. With his skinny, tall frame and his stringy, light brown hair stretching down passed his long, bony, almost reptile-looking face and intense eyes, yes, he could come across as intimidating. Maddox always seemed strange, but he was also a polite and reasonably-cheerful fellow.

It was during high school that he underwent his grim metamorphosis, one that seemed abrupt and dramatic to me, as if somebody had just suddenly flipped a switch inside of him. Whatever the trigger was, he seemed to transform mentally, emotionally, and even physically he seemed different somehow. He had shaved his head, gotten tattoos. He seemed dark, lost, cold and angry and had isolated himself from his former friends.

One day I remembered him sitting motionless in the art room, arms crossed, staring with remarkable intensity into oblivion as if it were his master. Through word of mouth during high school, there was the pieced-together story that he had taken a drug at some party, which I believe was LSD, and that his friends had turned on him rather than helped him out. There was no way for me to know, because I had never known the guy personally.

It was not until high school, I believe, that I learned that a girl I lusted after was in fact his long-term, on-and-off girlfriend. Her name was Hazel, and she was slender with beautiful, dark eyes and long, brown hair. She, too, had that feel about her. It had tended to steer me away from such people, but with her there was also the desire to plow into her, so-to-speak, for she was strange, beautiful, insatiable — and with me, that only resulted in additional anxiety. It took me forever to talk with her at all, and about every day in the school library I had the chance to talk with her alone, one on one. She always looked near the bookcase that held all the paranormal material — my section — but the tension was high and paralysis always set in.

Then one day I’d gone to the very back of the library, where the Occult section was, and I noticed her quietly walking back there as well. I found her looking at the books right around the Occult section. Damned if I can remember how, exactly, but I ended up talking with her.

Life is full of let-downs. She was not one of them. She was all that I had hoped she would be, which essentially comes down to intelligent, mysterious, dark and damned interesting. She told me she loved reading these books about serial killers — books that were located a few shelves down from my section on the paranormal. Somehow that made me all the more curious about her on multiple levels.

Eventually, I managed to bring up my relatively-recently acquired obsession with the paranormal and asked her if she had ever seen a ghost or anything of that nature. “I’ve seen aliens,” is how she responds, and I didn’t know if I wanted to run away screaming or bury myself in her then and there. While insisting they were actual events and describing them as real, she nonetheless referred to those childhood encounters she had as dreams.

This was the first time I’d ever met anyone else who claimed to have had experiences with them, and I was blown away. Not only was she dark, mysterious and beautiful, but she’d seen `them’.

I couldn’t cough up the courage to talk to her again, though, let alone go so far as to make a move on her. As the years went by, I’d occasionally receive updates on Hazel, as my mother worked with her mother for a time. Mom explained the lady as Hazel had explained her, namely as so incredibly Christian that it bordered on the psychotic. Hazel and Maddox had apparently run off together out of state for a time, but eventually returned and, the last I heard, had broken up.

Though I did not immediately see a connection with the alien-vibes I first sensed from some people in high school and the telepathic child with the Cheshire Cat grin I had encountered, it would begin to set in some four months after the telepathic toddler, on April 7th, 2002.

On my way to meet up with Channing, I had stopped to get gas and cigarettes. As soon as I walked inside the door I met with a pair of vivid blue, piercing eyes staring at me. The eyes belonged to the skinny, bald-headed guy leaning beside the register behind the counter. It was Maddox. I had seen him but once, in passing, since I had graduated high school half a decade back, but we had not spoken.

After a pause for processing, I said his name in a manner as cliché-sounding as anyone who’s bumped into a fellow ex-high school classmate nearly five years after graduation. In a poor attempt to be polite, he returned by confirming he remembered my name as well.

He only lightened up when I shifted into customer mode and asked for a carton of Marlboro Reds. My plan was to ask him about his girlfriend before exiting, but I opened up my wallet to find it empty. Apologizing, I asked him to wait a moment and went to the ATM a pace or two behind me, got money, turned around and he was gone. Some girl had taken his place, and he was nowhere to be seen.

The day following my encounter with Maddox, on April 8, I was back sitting in the same dining room I had seen that kid in, perhaps even the same booth. I was sitting across from Tess, just another girl I had failed to develop a relationship with. We had finally had one successful date — a double date with our coworker, Angela, and her boyfriend — but she had ended up going out with some other kid shortly thereafter. She wanted to exchange writing and comment on each other’s work, and this time instead of poetry I’d given her some writings on my strange experiences. I felt certain she hadn’t read them, and to be honest I really didn’t give a shit.

As her and I spoke, I found myself a bit distracted when this family of four came in. There was a curly-haired brunette lady who I presumed to be the mother; a tall, dark-haired man who’s face I never saw, and two kids. There was a younger one who had blond hair and blue eyes and looked rather frail-looking. His head was kind of big, too. The other was older with dark hair. The mother sat down in the booth behind my friend – booth number five – with the frail boy between her and the wall. Across from her and back-to-back with my friend was the tall man. Across from the blond haired kid and tall man sat the dark-haired boy.

It was the blond that first caught my attention. He was a cute little kid with bright blue eyes, but something about him made me uneasy. Though I was quick to attribute it to paranoia, for a few moments I watched him closely just to be sure. As I was scrutinizing, both kids stood up at one, leaned towards one another from across their table and placed themselves forehead to forehead, like playful bucks locked in a duel, staring dead into one another’s eyes. The mother lightly backhanded the blond kid and told them both to stop.

My attention slipped back to Tess, who was still talking. I had absolutely no fucking clue what the hell she had been saying, and even what she was saying at present seemed to be empty words lost in a jumble. I was getting really, really uncomfortable, and I had no idea why. It all seemed very odd. Somehow, something just didn’t feel right.

Then I looked back up over her shoulder. The dark-haired kid seemed to sense my eyes on him, and he suddenly turned around and looked dead at me and have me a Cheshire Cat grin. When I meet his eyes his pupils grow large, darker-than-dark, and it suddenly it feels as if I’m violently dragged forward and right into them. It’s like we’re in this foggy bubble where we’re only eyes and mind, and only him and I exist, and the rest of the world grows blurred and distorted. It was definitely visual — he looked magnified, abstract and surreal, and I could still see that Cheshire grin, wide and cartoon-like. It certainly wasn’t limited to image, though. It was as if our eye contact had merged us mentally, fused us. I felt as though I was in his mind, or that he was in mine, or that we now shared a mind.

I looked away. It took me a few seconds or so of staring at the table in front of me to realize just what the hell had happened. I knew I wasn’t sleeping, so I couldn’t be dreaming. I wasn’t on drugs. Tess was still talking, but when she looked up at me she did a double-take and then stopped dead in her tracks. I imagine the look on my face must have been about as fucked up as I was feeling. She studied me another moment before asking what was wrong.

Looking at her, staring deep into her eyes, I found that nothing happened. If this was in my head, I wondered, wouldn’t looking into her eyes do the same thing?I looked back at the kid, thinking this might have been something I’d imagined — half hoping, as a matter of fact, that it had truly been something that I’d imagined. Then it all happened again. He goes into my head, grinning again, almost as if he’s a fucking cartoon. If I focused at all, I feared I might be locked there forever; that I might be trapped there and the rest of reality might fade away.

He looks away. While I’m sitting there pale as a ghost and freaking out, he’s sitting there amused. It’s almost as if he thought it was funny that he could do this. He leaned over the table again and whispered to the blond haired kid. Then he turns back to me and does it again, grinning that wide and freaky Cheshire cat grin, eyes as big and black as universes.

For the next few weeks, I began to wonder if all abductees were to some degree alien in terms of psychology, and if the creatures were slowly genetically manipulating us throughout the generations. Maddox, Hazel and I were an earlier generation and these kids I was suddenly encountering we’re simply the most recent upgrade. Still, it terrified me to think their might be adults like them walking around with telepathic abilities just as potent. From the back kitchen, I would look out into the dining room and look at the people ordering at the counter, wondering if some of them may be alien minds in human bodies.

Any hope that I might be overreacting died on May 18th. I woke up late and was in the process of pouring myself a cup of coffee when the phone rang. As my father went to reach for it, I told him, “Tell them I know,” figuring it was work calling. I wasn’t late for work, but it’s rigid routine for me to go their four hours early every day and sit around, drink coffee, smoke cigarettes and write. When I’m not there at least three hours early, they usually call and wake me up.

In response, my father handed me the phone. It wasn’t work. It was Melanie, a friend who I had drifted from during high school, and who had spent the last several years desperately trying to rekindle a friendship with me. I’d accepted that we had changed. I’d flipped out during high school and began seeing little aliens and having out-of-body experiences — I knew I’d be too weird for her now, and I was significantly different than how I’d been when she knew me. I didn’t want to live in the past and try to be who I was, and she seemed to expect that of me, so I had kept my distance.

“Did you hear about Maddox and Hazel?”

“No. What?”

“They’re dead.”

It was the way she said it — with not a hint of apparent sorrow. She almost seemed happy to tell me the news. She said it in the same tone she used to use when she called those frigid winters during high school to announce to me we had a snow day.

My father dropped the newspaper down on the counter in front of me just at that moment, as if to confirm her words, and their yearbook photos stared back at me from the front page.

After they had both graduated, they ran away together out of state, only to return a year or two later. They broke up and, after he became obsessive, irrational and abusive, often stalking her, she moved out of state again to distance from him. Apparently she had begun dating someone else; a kid from high school. Maddox kept coming back to her, though, trying to get her to take him back, but she refused. Things had gotten so extreme she had been talking to people at the store where she worked about getting a restraining order against him.

When police arrived the first time that morning in response to a call, they knocked on the door, leaving shortly thereafter when no one answered. After they were gone, a neighbor from across the hall then saw Maddox leaving the apartment. He was covered in blood. When he saw her he lifted a finger to his lips, went “shhh,” and left.

When the police returned, they found her purse outside the door. Inside, they found a trail of blood leading from the living room to the bedroom and bathroom, where they found her body. Beaten with a pair of brass knuckles they found nearby. Stabbed with the chards of a broken mirror. They had enough evidence to bring Maddox in for questioning, but they never got the chance. A hiker found his body in a secluded area in a park nearby my parent’s house, where he had put the barrel of a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

I didn’t feel right going to either of their funerals, and scary things began to run through my head. It took me awhile to sit down and seriously consider the implications of it all.

Intersection of Midwich and Innsmouth (1).

When he approached my booth in the crowded dining room, it only took me a moment to remember him. We had met back when we had worked together at the other fast food place, a mere gas station away from this one. He had taken a look at my notebook and seemed to like what he read. Based on that he lent me his Slipknot CD, which he seemed to feel I would like.

He disappeared before I got the chance to return it. I had met him and last saw him back in 1999. It was now December 15, 2001.

I found that though he was a nice kid, he could come on really strong and it was really easy to trigger his anger. Inside he seemed so intense, so loud it drowned out any thoughts of his that might help him override the impulse. He became absorbed in his anger, it saturated him. Every verbal exchange with him felt like walking through a mine field.

Later I learned that he had spent some time in a mental institution. This had been on more than one occasion due to violence against himself and, if I remember correctly, others as well. I chose my words, my body language and even my tone of voice around him very carefully. In that vein I brought up the CD and told him I still had it, and I could bring it to work sometime if he wanted to swing by. Angry at first, when he realized I actually remembered and gave a damn he quickly cooled off. He told me to keep it.

He asked me if I was on break, but I confessed to him I hadn’t even started yet. I usually spent my free time sitting here, at a booth in the lobby, where I read, wrote, smoked my cigarettes and fed off the free refills of coffee.

As I looked at him across the table now, I couldn’t ignore how the side of his face would twitch every few seconds. He had not had that before. Cautiously, I asked him about it, only to learn that he had ended up in an institution again, where they had restrained him with shackles, as he described, and proceeded to subject him to electroshock therapy.

I was amazed to discover they still practiced electroshock therapy. At this point I would have thought we would have learned that its appropriate to jump cars, but you just keep the cables off the fucking people.

After a short discussion, he told me he had to go, explaining that he was here with some friend of his, some older guy with a small child, selling tickets for his band, or someone’s band. He asked if I was interested. I didn’t have much sincere interest, though instead of just telling him that I found myself lying to him in the attempts to be nice, giving him the false line about not having the money on me.

Though disappointed and clearly suspicious of my line, he accepted it. He returned shortly thereafter from his attempt to sell tickets, grim due to lack of sales, and we bid each other farewell. That, it seemed, was the end of that, so I went back down to writing in my notebook.

Not long after returning to my writing, however, I was jolted out of it by the sound of something hitting the far end of my booth. Startled and curious, I looked up to find a dome of blond hair poking out from just beyond the end of the table.

It was the upper hemisphere of a toddler’s head. One hand of his was grabbing a hold of the end of the table; in the other, he held his cup with the sippy-top. He was looking dead at me, and instead of meeting his eyes I just sort of laughed under my breath, turned my head back down, placed the pen to the page and continued my writing.

My eyes didn’t even reach my notebook before I heard it again. Looking back up, I immediately locked eyes with the kid and found myself imprisoned there. The gateways to my mind were being held hostage.

My peripheral vision was suddenly enshrouded in this dark, blurry overcast. While the eyes at the end of the tunnel shared the shadowy opaqueness, it was also possessed with a hyper-vivid quality. This sense of pressure built in my head, as if energy from his eyes were literally pushing into my mind, as if breaking and entering the mind and scanning and downloading personal files. A virtual form of search and seizure or, in this case, a telepathic analogue.

After a moment, he seemed satisfied and strangely amused, looking at me in a creepy way, as if he knew a “dark secret,” as I had later phrased it, that somehow connected him and I. The edges of his lips then curled slowly upward to an unnatural height, almost as if this surreal Cheshire Cat grin belonged somewhere in the twilight betwixt reality and cartoon.

Soon he walked away slowly with who I presume to be my ex-coworkers friend holding his hand, but my line of sight was still ensnared by his eyes. He held me in his ocular tractor beam until he was out of my line of sight, at which time I felt him release my mind from his psychic grip.

Sinking down into the booth, I was cold and trembling, heart pumping wildly beneath gooseflesh. My eyes felt a strange, widened sort of pain, and it felt as if I could still feel the residual feeling of him being inside my head. I tried to look intensely out into nowhere, to “stare” the feeling out of me as if I were trying to flush out the psychic lines or something.

It felt like mental rape, and as an added bonus, this experience was not at all foreign to me. The only difference in this case was that this was not some strange, presumably alien creature kidnapping me from my bedroom at night, but rather what by all outward appearances seemed like an ordinary human toddler in the dining room of the fast food joint where I worked.

Aside from a short poem I wrote in my notebook about it that day, I would not find the strength to reflect on it to the most minimal degree until the dream I had on the second of January.

In the dream, I was in this dark-lit restaurant I liked to hang out in, writing and watching people. I suddenly took notice of this waitress in the dining room, standing by the drink bar to the left of the counter. Though attractive, she seemed distant, even drugged, operating as if she were in some zombie-like, somnambulistic state. Instantly I recalled having seen her before, unable at first to recall from where but then realizing that I had met her while I was in the altered state of consciousness typical of an abduction episode. The altered state had endured, however, as her and I had sat down in a booth in this very restaurant and had spoken with one another on our experiences. It was there that she had given me a box, inside of which there were computer discs and what she described as pictures, which I had taken to be illustrations of her encounters.

Having finally remembered, I looked behind the counter, where I met eyes with a fat man. My sense was that he was of high authority, and I searched myself wondering if he played any role in the abduction. That, I believe, is when the fuzzy memory came to me.

In some hotel room, I am lying on the bed as an argument is going on between the girl, the fat man and I. Due to something said or done in that room, I was sure there was another girl involved, though not necessarily in a sexual way.

Sensing suspicion in his gaze, I casually looked away from the fat man, doing my best to seem calm and casual while trying to hide my face in a way that would appear incidental. The last thing I desired was for him to know that I was onto something, that I had gained awareness of my secret relations with this girl.

Upon leaving the restaurant and going home, I went to the downstairs computer, where I thought I had put the box that the girl had given me when we met up in the restaurant, shortly before the memories disappeared behind a wall of amnesia. The box was indeed there, seemingly confirming my memory. Inside the box were the discs as well as some tiny red folders or envelopes within which there were pictures, as she had mentioned. Rather than illustrations from her encounters, however, they were instead nudie pictures of her.

It bothered me that I had forgotten all about this, that I had not gotten back to her or so much as opened the box. There was also evidence that someone had opened the box and gone through it, and I feared that it had been my parents.

I left the family room in the back of the house, where the computer was, for the dining room, where I spoke with a man who seemed to be an authority in some way. Unlike the fat man, he was on my side, however. In some way I knew this man was me, despite the fact that I talked with him as if he was some separate entity standing by support beam in the dining room.

As we are talking, the fat man walks into the dining room from the direction of the living room, where I had been at the computer. Suddenly, I become frightened at the prospect of the fat man seeing me talking to my secret twin, but he is suddenly and simply not there anymore. Now my only hope was that the fat man would not recognize me as he passed through.

He did, and began to talk to me, specifically regarding some reference to a claim I had evidently made to him in the hotel room about being in the Army. As I put on my Army boots, I told him that it was rough for me. There were some things, top secret things, that I could not talk about, so I preferred keeping altogether silent about the matter.

Suddenly, the dream shifts scenes and I find myself in entirely different surroundings. I am uncertain as to whether this was a scene directly following the last or a memory within the dream akin to the one of the hotel room. Regardless, I am either in the back of a bus, a train car or van without windows, sitting in a seat typical of those vehicles. Directly behind me, in the very last seat, there was a girl sitting alone.

As we began talking, it occurred to me that there was already some secret bond between us, that there was more going on between us than I was aware of. She was aware of it, too, and she was keeping that secret from me. It suddenly struck me that this may very well be “the other girl involved” that had been spoken of in that hazy scene in the hotel room.

Regardless, I found her incredibly likable and fascinating, so was eager to comply when she suggested we exchange emails and requested mine directly. At the same time, however, the fact that she had an email surprised and confused me to no end, as if I felt she could not belong to the world in which that would be possible.

I found myself asking her if she was an abductee, to which she responded, “Not exactly.” Then I asked her if she was a hybrid, though I caught the same kind of ambiguity from her in response, I don’t believe she answered. Finally, I just openly asked her who or what she was. She explained that she wanted to tell me but she couldn’t, or that she was certain I would be incapable of understanding it.

It was at that moment that I finally let her entire face sink in. Even in retrospect, she seems so real. She wore a black winter’s hat over her blond hair, and she had very deep, sweet, blue eyes. They were also very sad, and I felt certain that they were sad for me.

After I awoke, the dream continued to fascinate me, and the themes it held that resonated with the encounter with the strange child in December made me wonder if it was merely a hallucinatory expression of the same underlying unconscious aspect. In the dream, the blond-haired girl’s request for us to exchange emails constituted a desire for communication, an indirect channel for keeping in touch, so perhaps this suggested a sub-personality in my unconscious wanted to engage in dialogue.

In the spirit of experiment, I utilized some techniques procured from Jung & the Alchemical Imagination by Jeffrey Raff, a book based on Jungian alchemy, in the attempts to conjure her in my mind and hold a dialogue with her under meditation on January 17th.

This only resulted in me falling asleep, but in the twilight between waking and sleeping I heard a distinct voice in my head. In retrospect, what bothered me about the voice was that it almost seemed like an external interception. It announced, “We’re going to have a problem here.”

When I awoke the next morning, I remembered having turned off my alarm clock three hours before and lying back down to think about something in particular, something I considered extremely important and which, of course, I could now no longer recall.

As my mind was not providing answers, I turned to rampant Internet searching, where I came upon “Indigo Eyes,” an article written by Mark Andrews that described a strange experience he had in the Spring of 1994. After an initial encounter with a blond-haired boy of roughly two years of age, the eyes of which delivered to him a “psychic jolt,” he encountered what seemed to be the same child on two subsequent occasions, each time accompanied by a different mother. The eyes of the child, or the children, he described as being almost cartoon-like, with an iris he described as looking like an indigo-colored pancake resting on a white paper plate.

From there, my internet searching brought me for the first time to the subject of what some had come to call the Indigo Children. There were, in fact, many such titles ascribed to children and adults regarded as somehow “special” or “strange” such as children of the blue ray, starseeds, wanderers, crystal and rainbow children. On the whole their descriptions seem to resonate with the Indigo, however.

The idea first came from Nancy Anne Tappe. She has the neurological condition known as synesthesia, in which sensory (and perhaps extrasensory) wires get crossed, leading to bizarre, consistent and highly individualized means of sensory experience. This can manifest in many different forms: hearing colors, seeing taste. 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. The only exception was a single color in every individual aura that persists from womb to tomb, and it is this that she calls a person‘s “life color.” Early in life she noted that life colors appeared to be associated with similar personality characteristics.

All the details were condensed into her 1982 book, Understanding Your Life Through Color. In that book she recounts how she originally distinguished only eleven colors, but began to notice a new color in newborns in the late 1960s which she identified as indigo. Over time she came to identify four types of Indigo, which she refers to as Humanists, Artists, Conceptualists, and Catalysts, and believes that their joint purpose is to globalize humanity.

The concept of the indigo was fleshed out further and popularized by Jan Tober and Lee Carroll with the 1998 publication of their book, The Indigo Children: The New Kids Have Arrived. Their argument is that those who have worked with children have been noticing an increasing number of children displaying distinct psychological and behavioral patterns, and that these are the children who bear the indigo auras. In addition to having larger-than-average or intense eyes, they are often described as being telepathic, and new age circles regard the indigo color to be associated with the third eye chakra.

They are generally described as independent, sensitive, hyper-cognitive, weird kids with a strong sense of entitlement and purpose.

At roughly the time she met Nancy in the 1970s, Tober claims, she began having strange dreams where children would approach her, tell her who they were and why they were arriving. Upon awakening, she would find herself drawn to particular infants or toddlers with peculiar eyes and “old souls” — an experience that echoed my own too closely for comfort. Certainly the experience of Mark Andrews as well, who had been kind enough to answer my email. He reported that he was a schoolteacher, and while he had not bumped into that child again, he has noticed a change in younger generations in school.

Their resistance to strict, absolute authority systems and the use of fear- and guilt-based manipulation and discipline tends to cause issues with social adaptation, specifically with the school systems. This has led them to be diagnosed with disorders such as ADHD, ADD, OCD and treated with prescription pharmaceuticals that serve to wedge these square pegs into their assigned round holes.

Mainstream regards the “indigo” label as an irresponsible and dangerous new age belief propagating with the help of the Forer Effect — which is to say that the qualities allegedly characterizing the children are in fact 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 quasi-religious value on them rather then having them properly diagnosed and treated. Many of the children in the school shootings and similar crimes were diagnosed and being treated with medication at the time of their given crime, however, and despite that they became front page news.

In her aforementioned book, Tober interviews Tappe, who first identified the children. “These young children — every one of them I’ve seen this far who kill their schoolmates or parents — have been Indigos,” Tappe explains. Others have gone further to note the correspondences between the characteristics of psychopaths and those attributed to the Indigo.

In a book published two years before The Indigo Children, and it is the 1997 publication of David Jacobs’ The Threat. 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 the 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, but she finds it impossible. After this, the screen seems to pause and one by one certain individuals turn their head to look toward the screen and turn black and white. These are the alien’s creations. The scene them goes back to color and the scenery becomes alive again. “There’s only one way to tell,” her transcript records, “and that is that energy field around them but unless you can see it, you’ll never know.” The aliens also informed her that those that were capable of detecting the energy field and elected to cause problems would be dealt with.

What I found amidst some more searching on the internet was the film Village of the Damned, originally made in 1960, then remade in 1995 and based on the 1957 book The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. I had vaguely recalled hearing of the films, never the book, but the online descriptions gave me the chills. I eventually watched the movies and their sequels and bought the book.

In the story, the military is called in when it is discovered that the British village of Midwich, Winshire has evidently been enshrouded in an invisible dome some two miles in diameter. Any living being that breaches the dome’s parameter immediately becomes unconscious, though after being pulled back out again they appear to be fine. Even more curious: at the center of this massive half-bubble force field eye-in-the-sky military photos detected an unidentified silver object.

Come the following day, the object is gone, the dome is gone and save for a collective gap in memory, the village of Midwich seems back to normal.

Death comes to this illusion of normalcy some months later when the women of the village all find themselves pregnant with the “dayout” as the date of conception. Ultimately 30 girls and 31 boys are born from these women, all with pale skin, golden eyes, advanced telepathic capabilities and, to top it off, the same fucking birthday.

Other abnormal qualities of the children become clear as they grow, not least of which is the accelerated rate at which they do so. Perhaps the most peculiar, however, is their powerful telepathic abilities, which allow them to read the minds and even control the behavior of others. In addition, they seem to group up into two distinct telepathically-mediated “hive minds” — one for the boys, one for the girls.

The cuckoo reference in the book’s title is drawn from the tendency of the now-extinct bird to lay eggs in the nest of other bird species in hopes that the unwitting targeted foster mother will take them in as her own flesh and blood or in the very least adopt them. Adoption, as it turns out, was not the typical response for cuckoos of the Midwich variety. The military discovers that this had occurred in several other places, on each occasion with the children being killed at some point.

Apparently aware of the danger, the Children utilize their telepathic capabilities to make those who harm them kill themselves or one another, eventually requesting safe migration to an isolated area by the military. One man who had been teaching the children and gained their trust learned he had a fatal heart condition and killed himself along with the children like a faithful suicide bomber in the war against alien toddlers.

As I continued researching into the whole Indigo notion, I began getting an uneasy feeling. One of the very first fragments of memory to surface during high school had to do with the topic of auras, as I would later learn them to be called. It was also the very first recollection I had of a female and my seemingly alien Teacher, Nimi.

Leaning over the bunk of my loft bed, I looked out my bedroom window and communicated mind-to-mind with her on the other side of the glass. There she explained how there is an energy or light that exists around all forms of life in the universe. There was also some discussion about the significance of the colors in general, and though I do not remember specifics, I have vague recollections of seeing a rainbow, or some form of the visible light spectrum.

She went on to explain how her light was green while my light was a certain shade of blue. We had a discussion about my color and what seemed to be some confusion with respect to its classification. What that had been all about was a question that gnawed at me for years. Then I learned that though indigo was once accepted as part of the color spectrum, it has since fallen out of favor among many modern color scientists, who have dropped the “I” from the ROYGBIV mnemonic and now divide indigo between its neighbors, blue and violet. This may explain the classification problem.

A friend of mine with whom I meditated during high school was of the opinion that auras differed not just between people, but in the same person depending on his mental and emotional state at any given moment. He believed in no life color. Despite this, at least two times while under meditation and trying to see, in his mind’s eye, the colors of people’s auras, a friend of mine has described my aura as dark blue with streaks of red in it. A dark blue with a mix of red, it would seem, is a good description of the color indigo. On the second occasion he had evidently forgotten what he told me on the first, though repeated the same description.