For four years I was stalked and attacked by an entity that dragged me out of body, chased me through dreams and, I feared, was aiming to take over my body. No matter what I tried, I could not rid myself of Ee. Then, around May of 2000, I met Jay.
We met through Howard, a red-headed guitarist my roommate had dated, as she would be ashamed to admit not too long thereafter. Every time he came over to fuck her, basically, his departure would not commence until he had drawn out his foreplay ritual of chatting me up to agonizing extremes. Finally, he would just whip out his short question as if he had earned his way to yes.
After coming to face the fourth time in a row, I stopped giving him a cigarette as payment for the pity he needed to get him to go away. I told him he could bum no more. He kept promising to pay me back, but told me he was unable to because he couldn’t buy a pack. Then he would be a smoker. But he quit, he told me. I first asked him if he was serious, and after validating that indeed he was I told him, as the police must feel when informing one of the death of a loved one, that he was a fucking idiot.
I was in a booth at the all-night restaurant I both worked and loitered at, I was in a booth one evening drinking hot tea, drawing on the back of a paper placemat, hoping to get over a nagging head cold made worse by insomnia.
Suddenly the equivalent of a full pack of cigarettes rains all over my table, only this is a variety pack stretching the spectrum. I look up into the face of Howard, only a few teeth too many and a few pounds shy of being the spitting image of the face on the cover of all those MAD magazines. The guy had bummed from twenty people to pay back what he bummed from me. Into the face invaded by a shit-eating grin, I again emphasize to him, again calmly as conceivable, “You’re an idiot.”
He asks me something along the lines as to why I keep telling him that, to which I respond with asking why he keeps going to such lengths to reinforce the apparent validity of the accusation.
Somewhere in the midst of our usual bitter and sarcastic back-and-fourth, I note the presence of the guy he had brought along with him and introduced myself. He wore all black clothing and looked like a shy, younger, darker version of Tony Danza. Spying some of my pen artwork on the back of a paper placemat, he seemed intrigued by the eyes I had drawn. Around one, I had written “gateways,” and when he asked what I meant I told him it had always seemed to me that the eyes were the gateways to the soul. It turned out that he, too, shared the notion and apparently drew eyes rather obsessive-compulsively as well, though unlike me all the eyes he drew looked like the eyes of a woman. He had as much difficulty drawing a male’s eye as I did a woman’s. I told him he could have the picture, and he accepted it graciously.
His name was Jay, though a mutual, sexy-nerdy friend would later refer to him as “Go Tool” Jay. Given my immediate compliment to him on his Tool concert teeshirt and our ensuing discussion, it would not seem that she had labeled him in haste.
Tool’s melodies had resonated with me since I first heard their album Undertow, one of the first CDs I ever owned. It was Aenema I would play over and over, however, finding it to be the perfect background music when working my pastel or ink pieces during high school, as it seemed to resonate with my state of mind. It served as a sort of musical anchor or home base, an auditory environment I could return to, much as Led Zeppelin seems to serve for a close friend of mine I would meet later on who, like Jay, is a talented musician.
Jay and Howard were band mates, as a matter of fact, which initially confused me given the clear difference in character. Jay’s passion for music had pushed him to take on being a part of as many available bands as he could at once, all alongside his job at a printing factory. His ultimate plan was to be part of a band that would play a new category of music he called “Toolesque.”
He was a curious guy who’s inner eye looked deeply, and he kept throwing out a few particular phrases that seemed to advertise for his interests.
Everything is light. Eyes are the windows to the soul. Beliefs are dangerous. Is seeing believing, he would ask someone, or is believing seeing?
They soon had to leave, and my hopes were that I would see the guy again. He had a comfortable vibe and there seemed to be some unspoken bond between us, and it was of an unusual strength for just having met the guy.
At a party Sandra was throwing at the apartment perhaps a week later, I was talking to someone in my room when, looking out my doorway and into the kitchen, I saw a guy pulling a beer out of the fridge. It was Jay. It turns put Sandra and other friends of mine knew him; given that, it was interesting that our paths had not crossed earlier. I showed him some of my pastel works.
Shortly thereafter, a group of us had gotten into a discussion regarding the speed of light, time travel, parallel universes and the Big Bang. As the conversation went on, Jay would play songs from Tool’s Aenema album over and over.
Slowly people tapped out, fell asleep or left for home until it was just Jay and I, sitting in the living room on the van seats a considerably drunken member of a party a month or so ago had brought into the apartment from who-knew-where. We watched as cigarette smoke slithered in slow motion in the rays of light shining through the window of the apartment. Jay took swigs of his beer as I sipped my coffee, and we continued our talk. What Jay and I discussed as the party died around us that night was our similar perspectives on what one might call “spiritual” matters — and the similarity in our personal experiences in that area.
I confessed my apparently alien experiences with him, the telepathic experiences and synchronicity, as well as my out-of-body experiences. He was open-minded. And with respect to some of my experiences, he understood on a personal level as well.
Often it has been said that the loss or reduction of one sense modality increases the range of intensity of another, and one could say that Jay suffered from two deficiencies. Firstly, he was color blind, only capable of seeing in black and white. This, he said, accounted for his strictly black-and-white wardrobe and his appreciation for my artwork, in which I used either ink or chalk pastels of extreme light and dark colors, which his eyes could clearly perceive.
Secondly, there were what for him acted as frustrating and seemingly insurmountable obstacles in articulating himself through verbal expression in a way that seemed to deliver the most minimal form of personal satisfaction. This I noted early on in our conversations, and part of the reason he came to trust me is that he could tell that I understood him and his strange experiences despite his difficulties in describing them due to my own similar experiences. We shared a fundamental similarity — or, as Jay described it, we came from the same place, as did the members of Tool.
Like me, Jay was an artist, though his sole medium, his singular creative investment, was in music. Throughout his childhood his mother went through boyfriends like a hot knife through butter, but it was one man he remembered in particular. He was a musician, and while either playing or listening to music in Jay’s presence at one point he suddenly took note of Jay’s foot, tapping in time, which prompted the guy to exclaim, “This kid’s got rhythm.” Jay then learned to play the saxophone, going on later to master other instruments.
Perhaps due to his color-blindness, his auditory sense was heightened, and given this, coupled with his simultaneous sense of limitation through verbal language, music became his natural gravitation for personal expression. The missing element here, however, is the other strange characteristics of his brain.
Through discussion with others, he learned that music was very different for him. Whereas most focused on a single instrument in a song with the rest of the instruments taking on the role of a blurred peripheral or background, he could hear all instruments independently, equally, and simultaneously. This appealed to me, as it echoed my value in diversity as opposed to the typical cultural values placed in unity. It represented a system of interrelationships in which group dynamics served to nurture individuality rather than condemn it to the grave in favor of a dominant group mentality. It seemed to recognize and emulate the role diversity plays in evolution, revealing its value to the evolutionary process in areas other than the genetic.
It also implied that more than one train of thought was going on in Jay’s mind at once, which is precisely how my own mind seemed to work. As a psychologist described my brain to me once, it seems as if my brain is a radio picking up multiple frequencies simultaneously. Aside from a characteristic of reception, it was also the way my subjective processes seemed to operate. In the very least with respect to music, the same appeared to be the case with Jay, only rather than hopping between different simultaneous channels, he could juggle them all at once.
When it came to the “electronic symphonies” of the progressive band, Tool, the structure of their music almost seemed designed for his type of mind — the music at once spoke to him and opened up a window for him to more accurately express his own means of experiencing the world. Tool to him represented not so much a band that functioned as a singular voice but as a network of individuals who complimented one another in creative and unpredictable fashions, deviating from one another through mastery of polyrhythms and meeting up at various rendezvous points throughout the course of the song. Rather than the typical four-chord rope, tightly bound together in predictable pattern, Tool was more akin to a tapestry in which the thread of each instrument wove in and out in its own unique fashion, each more than just a part of the whole, which itself was more than the mere sum of its parts.
If the brains or minds of Jay and I were similar in their multiple-channel bombardments, corresponding simultaneous parallel tracks of thought and consequential multilevel means of personal expression, it would follow that our brain-radios or “braindios” might have the tendency to slip to frequencies on the dial that stretch beyond the range of those for which the biological form is suited, and so are instead experienced subjectively, or perhaps exosomatically. Indeed, since as far back as he can recall, and it would seem to be a considerable distance, he has had strange out-of-body experiences. Like me, however, he did not roam about in disembodied form on the physical landscape, but in what appeared to be another reality, a realm of real-time experiences, visions, and memories experienced almost as if a subjective form of time-travel.
To put it in a way, he was far more highly sensitive than the average person to “technologies” traditionally utilized as a means of accessing altered states of consciousness. Sometimes he would be smoking pot or be on some other drug when it would happen. On some occasions, it would happen when he was asleep. In at least one instance he described to me, music was the culprit.
He was playing on the piano at the house of his friend and neighbor as his friend’s sister watched him. Jay got caught up in the music, lost in it, and upon hitting a chord suddenly and inexplicably froze, as if in suspended animation. The sister was horrified. From his perspective, he had vacated this reality.
As was the case in my own out of body experiences, the direction of his corporeal exit was always experienced as “down and in” as opposed to the traditional “up and out” means of exit reported by others in OBE literature. In both our cases, there was often the sensation in the out-of-body form of being in zero-gravity or swimming through water.
One of the real-time, otherworldly experiences of his he explained, if I remember correctly, as a dream that was more than a dream. There was a group of entities he called The Village for whom he evidently had a duty and purpose: he was to move this shapeless mass of unimaginable size from “point-A” to “point-B.” Every time he had this experience, which was roughly once a year, he would get so far only to lose control of the Mass, at which time The Village seemed awash with disappointment, he would feel frustrated and then wake up. Around the age of eleven, he said, he thought he had finally accomplished moving the Mass to its intended destination, after which that set of experiences stopped.
What I find best to label visions are otherworldly experiences he has had in which he took on the “third person perspective” or uninvolved spectator role. He turned over a paper placemat and drew for me a particularly interesting vision he had had.
He drew a block divided into four cells in four rows, the walls and floors that distinguished them embroidered, at their side-view, with stylistic cat-scratch characters that give off the impression of Chinese. Each row was accessible by stairways that traveled the full length of the four cells on each level, connecting each row in a zigzag pattern from the side-view. Only in the first cell of the first row and the second cell of the fourth did he depict prisoners, and both were sitting against the far wall, behind bars, knees nearly to their neck in their otherwise empty cells, and the one in the fourth row, at least, had his head in his hands.
Though not an element of the original vision, after his sketch and as we spoke about it he scribbled words around the border which read: “Locked from man, isolation for eternity, far from all — so I fail an endeavor of the stolen soul of mine.”
After some discussion of the vision, I asked Jay to go over a memory “re-experience” he had told me about before. Arguably Jay’s earliest memory, it began with him on his knees, hands tied behind his back, surrounded by a crowd of onlookers. His head was then placed onto the guillotine and soon enough, the blade fell. Despite that, he goes on to explain how it all looked from the perspective of his rolling head.
This memory struck me as interesting for several reasons, such as how it resonated with other themes regarding the head in both his experiences as well as my own.
On our way to our booth at the all-night restaurant one morning to talk he had felt, no doubt partially due to sleep deprivation, that his subtle body (to use my own words) was connected to his head as he physically walked, but the rest of his subtle body was flowing behind his head horizontally.
This led us into discussion of his beliefs regarding the eyes. Without knowing the name or source of the idea to my knowledge, in his own words Jay revealed that he prescribed to the extramission theory of sight from Aristotelean physics — the belief that sight worked by means of “eye beams” shooting out of our fleshy sockets and picking up objects in the external environment.
There was also his constant emphasis on light in his ceaseless pronouncements that “everything is light,” which in turn associated to his emphasis on eyes — all three of them. Like me, he had his fixation on the notion of the “third eye” located in the center of the head.
He didn’t seem to see the connection offered by his past life memory, however. After all, in his experience of decapitation, why did the evidently “resident” consciousness remain in the head once it was severed and rolling as opposed to the body — or rather than being bound both to the gourd and headless flesh-vessel at once in a state of dual consciousness? For that matter, why not just vacate both at the moment the blade fell?
As in many of my own out-of-body experiences, it suggests to me the subtle body may “hook up” to the physical body by means of the brain, specifically through use of the pineal gland in a lock-and-key kind of fashion.
Watching him go over the memory of the guillotine in the diner that morning, his frustration at being incapable of remembering more was visibly evident. I asked him to relax, close his eyes, and simply try to mentally submerge himself in the scene. With my pen in hand, I asked him to describe any details that came to mind.
His frustration erupted a few times, but then he suddenly got excited. A girl, he told me. He had seen a girl. She was in front of the crowd of people, a look of shock on her face, her hand held to her mouth. She had a white top on and flowing brown hair that hung to the bottom of her rib cage. Focusing on her blue-green eyes, he felt a sense of love from her. I asked him if he got sense of a name, but he did not. I asked him if she reminded him of anyone he knew now.”No,” he told me. “She’s got eyes that I’d know if I’d seen them.”
He came dressed in white one day while I was doing the dishes and announced to me that he had met her. I was confused, and he told me it was the girl from the memory. I had somehow seemed to earn a deeper trust with him. He told me that there was someone I needed to meet, and that we would talk about it soon.
A few days went by before I saw Jay again. He was waiting for me at a booth in the dining room when my shift ended. He had just gotten off shift at the print factory, where he work four-day ten-hour shifts followed by three days off. He explained what he did at his job and expressed shame and frustration that it was, as he put it, a “non-thinking” job. There was no room for individuality or creative application. It would seem we shared similar distaste for the culture we shared alongside everything else.
Quickly he shifted to more unusual or interesting topics, however. He referenced the book About Time: Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution by Paul Davies. For Jay, it brought him to invest in the possibility that there are no ends or beginnings.
Then he explained how he had read a book regarding experiments in which spiders were given various drugs. The webs subsequently woven were far from normal and the style of the webs differed in accordance with the drug. Most fascinating to Jay was the web constructed under the influence of LSD, which he took to be the same drug described in the liner notes of Tool. I broke it to him that it was actually describing the drug Ketamine, otherwise known as K. It was also the eleventh letter in the alphabet, and so likely had something to do with his apparent synchronicities with that number due to an event that occurred at that age as suggested in the song, Jimmy. It much much like my synchronicities with the number 23, only that number failed to point my way to a particular substance.
The following evening, Howard and Jay met me at the all-night restaurant just as my shift was ending and we all went to a nearby strip club. As the music played and the meat show commenced, Jay and I got drawn into conversation.
When I asked him, he maintained that, like me, he was an atheist. For Jay, there was no need for a god, as there was no ultimate creation to speak of, nor coming cosmic catastrophe. Instead, we lived in a multiverse without beginning or end, having no need for an ultimate designer or destroyer. To this I added that rather than god existing as some puppet-master pulling cosmic strings on his merry way to some master plan, we were instead all co-creators in an ever-evolving, inherently impersonal universe.
This clashed with Howard, his band-mate beside us, who was no stranger to my arguments for atheism and proceeded to speak of his profound sense of “evil” while on acid at a Korn concert once and how it rekindled his faith in a particular god. I told him there was no good or evil and that ethics arises naturally through the interplay of empathy and reason. He said he would pray for me.
Once earning some distance from Howard, Jay began explaining something to me which he had cryptically alluded to before and called “the link.” For the longest time he had kept all his strange experiences locked up inside himself, afraid to tell anyone, certain that even if he tried to explain it all they would be unwilling to take the effort to understand. When he was over at his friend’s house next door one day, he finally broke down and let all of it spill. Both started crying and he seemed to understand one another. As they began communicating about it more, bonding through it, both felt as if it were their purpose to gain authentic spiritual knowledge and find others like themselves. They are like the first two links on a chain, he told me, and Jay suspected that I was the third. He wanted to stop by the apartment that evening and have me meet him.
It seemed too good to be true. For once in my life, I did not feel so alone. In addition, this brother of the weird spoke of another, and of his cautious drive to round up more like minds to build a community. His interests and focus were revealed not just in what he had thus far conveyed to me directly, but on another level as well.
This is where we return to our mutual attraction to the band Tool, specifically his constant echoing of the Aenema album liner notes, which pronounced, as a synopsis of the reality-tunnel notions of the ever-interesting Robert Anton Wilson, “Beliefs are dangerous. Believe in nothing.”
To this, lead singer Maynard James Keenan once added in an interview, “Explore everything,” and given the additional mention of “ritual magik” and drugs this would appear to suggest more specifically the exploration of beliefs as tools through experimentation in the deliberately-eclectic style of Chaos Magick. This “art and science,” as Crowley put it, involves the temporary adoption of any available belief system that serves as a theoretical means of accomplishing a desired psychological or parapsychologically-mediated change, after which, regardless of how successful, you adopt a differing belief system — conceptually nomadic determination presides over all, as no belief system is complete and some, however elaborate, are a cold distance from any experimentally-falsifiable status, and so serve as nothing but a prison for the mind.
A growing toolbox of belief systems, of parallel tracks of thought at our mind’s side that also satisfy “perspectivism,” giving us as many eyes as the mythic Argus. This multiple-track, multichannel methodology resonates with both the music of Tool and the psychological inner-workings of both Jay and myself: the mutual gravitation to the music and to one another was therefore understandable, predictable, and perhaps on some level intentional.
Like me, Jay sought after what could be described as a “spiritual” or perhaps paranormal science and technology. The science needed was a methodology, a measurable pathway of increasingly greater understanding through which “authentic spiritual knowledge,” as he put it, could be gleaned and applied. The technology we sought after were tools by which this knowledge could be pursued and through which this methodology might be executed.
So I was eagerly in wait that evening when I heard the knock at the door. Opening it, I found Jay and a tall, razor-eyed stranger behind him. Jay introduced his friend, we shook hands. My initial impression of him, even before he spoke, was of an arrogant man bearing a phony persona. He had the characteristic vibe of such people, by which I mean he seemed to be leaching energy off me, perhaps whoever he was near. People that have this kind of energy always leave me feeling drained, irritable and violated in their ice-cold kind of presence. Out of respect for Jay, I tried my damnedest to play nice and not prejudge. I wanted to stay open-minded.
Jay had me show him a bit of my artwork, and then we all sat down to talk. Jay sat in the chair, his friend on the couch with me sitting just in front of him, on the van seat. He then explained that Jay had brought him to realize his capacity to see into people, by which I assumed he meant to suggest a solely receptive form of telepathy. This he experienced as a tunnel to the sides of which he caught visuals and impressions, thoughts and emotions. Naturally, I asked him if he could read me, to which he responded that indeed he could — through both my eyes and my artwork.
As we held prolonged eye contact I felt a familiar sense of stretching in my eyes, a cold sort of psychological nakedness. He told me that I was engulfed in fears. I had a very intense, complex mind. An open mind, but a suspicious mind. I didn’t tend to believe in something unless I had experienced it for myself. There is a girl I love, he told me, though there is some uncertainty about it. All in all, he more or less described how I perceived myself and my circumstances with my ex-girlfriend, Claire, but perhaps he drew sufficient information through the medium of Jay and my artwork.
At any rate, as the guy and I fell into discussion, Jay just sort of sat back and observed, seeming quite happy regarding our back-and-fourth. Occasionally he would feed the conversation with questions or bringing certain details into amplification for deeper analysis. Jay’s friend seemed like the type to romanticize and take it all as a game in which he was putting on an act, made all the worse due to the fact that he was simply a really bad actor. At times he seemed to be trying to sound like some guru, fancying himself some young, sleek incarnate of Obi Wan and making everything seem cheesy, fluffy and lame in the process. On other occasions, he almost approached the realm of sincerity and rationality.
He told me how Jay and him sought after authentic spiritual knowledge. They were like the first two links on a chain and they suspected I was the third. It is as if Jay an himself had been through grades one and five, and I have traveled from grade six on towards graduation. I needed to back-track and they needed to catch up so we can go forward together, rounding up “others of our kind,” as he put it.
The meeting with Jay’s friend left me feeling frustrated. Despite the nagging sense that he had saw into me with his eyes, nothing he said required telepathy to piece together. My discomfort around him was as intense as the brotherly feelings I felt towards Jay.
A night or two later Jay found me at the crowded diner, asking if I wanted to go with him over to the house of Obi Wannabe, as there was something he wanted to show me. My curiosity compelled me to query, but he treated it as some big secret and only urged me to come along. As I agreed and we all got up to leave, Obi spoke up. “The link is strong tonight,” he said, and I tried to conceal my irritation and hold still the eyes that itched to roll in response.