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.

Aliens, UFOs and Abnormal Psychology.

Dismissing myself as crazy has been my convenient go-to, a default triggered when my strange experiences and their apparent implications become too overwhelming. When this surreal aspect of my life comes to face the giggle factor, meets the laughter curtain and exceeds my boggle threshold, the barrier beyond which I am no longer able to suspend disbelief, I endure a sort of nausea of the mind so intense that I, for a time, submit to it. Declaring myself crazy by no means makes me feel better — to the contrary, I always feel worse — but condemning myself in this fashion requires less energy than continuing my efforts to actually understand my experiences. The issue is that once I get beyond the emotional devastation of labeling myself crazy and subject this self-diagnosis to analysis I ultimately come to realize it really doesn’t constitute a diagnosis at all. “Crazy” is just a buzzword, dismissive in spirit and entirely devoid of true explanation.

So early on, back in high school, I found myself trying to identify a more specific self-diagnosis by reading through books on psychology, even an Abnormal Psychology college textbook I got from a friend. I didn’t know whether to be relieved or terrified when I found that no single condition I read about seemed to cover the crazy shit that I had been experiencing. No umbrella terms appeared to be available. When I began seeing a psychologist shortly thereafter, and one that I had quickly developed a respect for, I explained how I had tried diagnosing myself and failed, as no disorder seemed to encompass it all. In my memory, he retorted, stating that I was wrong, and when I pressed him he fumbled and mentioned schizophrenia. The fact that he immediately seemed to backpedal when he saw my reaction only made my terror increase. The moment hung with me and I fell back on it when the weirdness weighed me down. At one point I remember finding a page on the net that described traits of the schizophrenic and the schizoid personality that seemed to fit me perfectly.  I scotch taped it to my bedroom door.

In 2002, when I came back to him after an intense cluster of experiences and casually acknowledged in our session that I was fully aware that I was schizophrenic, he immediately asked me, with a skeptical look on his face, who it was that had given me that diagnosis. When I stated that it had been him, he was emphatic that this could not have been the case. After explaining to me that the term schizophrenia was essentially a dumping ground for what may turn out to be various disorders, he took on this proposed diagnosis directly.

“If you’re a schizophrenic,” he told me, “you’re certainly a highly-functioning one.”

I found the notion that I, a twenty-something living at home yet again and working fast food, could be described as “highly functioning” by any measure to be ludicrous, but he was, after all, the goddamned professional. Though he predicted that I had particular abnormalities in certain regions of my brain and called my experiences “perceptual anomalies,” he never gave me a diagnosis.

For a time, specifically after reading Dr. Marlene Steinberg’s book, The Stranger in the Mirror: Dissociation — The Hidden Epidemic, I also explored the notion that I might suffer from a dissociative disorder, perhaps even Dissociative Identity Disorder. Without doubt I experience what has been labeled dissociative symptoms. In addition, my memories and experiences may in part be due to some alternate personality or “alter” and there appears to be evidence of its beginnings in my childhood. My initial rush of memories and the flashbacks that followed might represent a previously compartmentalized sector of my mind, one belonging to this alter, colliding with my conscious personality and merging. My experience with the ideomotor response in my use of the Ouija board, in my spontaneous artwork and writing, as well as during the hypnosis session, all may have represented the alter gaining slow and localized control over my body. The entity I encountered during my “astral projections” might be one manifestation of an alternate personality or alter as well — perhaps after sharing previously isolated memories the separate aspects of mind we have governed over blended further, giving rise to shared lucid dreams I took to be “astral projections.” Maybe the incidents between June and August of 1995, climaxing in the incident at the java juicer, represented transient periods where the alter took control of my body entirely.  

The issue is that this degree of dissociation is typically associated with intense physical and psychological trauma. On the surface, at least, this presents itself to me as an utterly insane proposition. As I imagine is the case with anyone, I have my share of complaints and grievances with respect to how I grew up. My mother favored my sisters over me and I had endless power-struggles with her over the course of my childhood. It hurt and enraged me, and I continue in my attempts to deal with those issues. Even so, I recognize that I was one lucky little asshole. My parents never physically abused us kids. I was certainly never sexually abused. Our harshest punishments as children, which I faced often enough, involved either staring at a corner for a length of time measured by my mother’s oven timer or being under “room arrest,” confined to my bedroom until further notice. Without doubt this nonviolent discipline is what made the abuse I witnessed at Jimmy’s house all the more traumatizing — and indeed, that was all certainly traumatizing from the position of a witness as well, but that it might provide the fuel for alien encounters seemed far more ludicrous to me than the thought that, well, I might have legitimately had alien encounters.

It isn’t just trauma and mental disorders that can allegedly produce these alien encounters, however. People have linked alien abduction experiences with various drugs such as Salvia Divinorum, Ketamine, and psilocybin, but most often DMT. All are classified as psychedelics, I believe, aside from ketamine, which is a dissociative, but unless you’re willing to concede that each of these chemicals constitute different rabbit holes leading to the same parallel universe, all are psychedelic in the true sense of the term, which is to say that they are “mind-revealing.” In other words, these drugs draw back the egoic curtain and let you take a peek beyond the veil of mundane consciousness, bringing you can deal more directly with the more subliminal aspects of the mind — just as psychosis can.

Some believe sleep paralysis alone can produce the abduction experience, which I find ridiculous for several reasons. Even among the popularized abduction cases one can see that bedrooms are not the only place encounters occur and that often enough the people involved are not asleep at the time of the event. They might be fishing or driving, for instance, and be among others who are taken along with them. In addition, I have had sleep paralysis myself and the earliest such experience is the succubus experience mentioned early in the book. Even at the time of the experience I did not interpret it as an alien breaking into my dark room, crawling atop my bed, straddling my immobilized body and proceeding to dry-hump rape me. Instead, I assumed it was a disembodied entity doing something analogous or — more likely, I supposed — this was all a hallucinatory experience brought on by one-part sleep deprivation and one-part prescription medication.

So I have explored the Psychological Hypothesis (PH), which alleges that while it may require activation through trauma, drugs, mental disorders or the peculiar circumstance in which your mind wakes up before your body does, the abduction experience is purely a product of human psychology. There is no external intelligence at work here, only my own. It’s all in my head. A related school of thought I explored posits what I’ll call the Psi Hypothesis (PsiH), and it attempts to compensate for the failure of the PH to account for physical evidence by bringing parapsychology into the fold — specifically, the psi capabilities of the human mind.

My train of thought ultimately ran along this track: if one finds the PH absurd and instead accepts abductions as nuts-and-bolts physical experiences, these physical experiences require you to accept the existence of paranormal phenomena. It is simply a given. After all, a cursory glance at abduction reports should make it clear that telepathy and moving through walls, for instance, is by no means rare in abduction events. To the contrary, paranormal phenomena is pretty fucking standard — and not just during these events, either, but in the wake of them. There is the matter of the “paranormal afterglow” that manifests in my life during these experiences, and while some investigators fail to mention them, personal reports from abductees reveal that I am by no means alone. Others also experience spontaneous telepathic experiences, poltergeist activity, vivid dreams that seem like awakening in a parallel reality, odd coincidences and other strange events.

As this paranormal afterglow runs the full spectrum of psi, stretches on indiscriminately into the gamut of the strange, it seems natural to wonder if the aliens themselves, rather than extraterrestrials, might just be another manifestation. In other words, it could very well still be that the phenomenon is purely psychological at the roots, that it is governed by compartmentalized aspects of my mind that influence me subliminally, that this is truly my conspiracy against myself. Maybe it also branched out into physicality utilizing psi abilities, however: powers which for whatever convenient reason I cannot wield consciously.
This would by necessity be a form of poltergeist. In this view, the phenomenon of poltergeists is explained as a living individual who is experiencing recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis; the psychokinetic activity is the result of subconscious and involuntary acting-out of the focus individual.

For a clearer picture of how this might work we might first turn to a series of parapsychological experiments that have been conducted since 1972. These experiments sought to demonstrate that the display of psi phenomena often attributed to deceased individuals could manifest without them, and so such phenomena were not necessarily evidence for life after death. In the beginning, which in this case was 1972, there was Philip Aylesford, the child of eight members of the Toronto Society for Psychical Research. He was a fictional character they developed with an elaborate backstory regarding his birth, life, and eventual death. They collectively meditated on him before attempting to communicate with him in the style of a Spiritualist seance. Participants reported not only communications but manifestations — they not only saw and heard things, in other words, but poltergeist phenomena also manifested. Other groups conducted similar experiments, reporting that they had successfully created and then conjured Lilith, a World War II French Canadian spy, Sebastian, an alchemist from medieval times and finally Axel, who was from the future.

As expected, results of these experiments were disputed — as were the tales regarding the more extreme manifestation of what has typically been called the tulpa in Western culture and which is also variously known as an egregore or a thought-form. It is often conceived as an imaginary entity that achieves, through ritual intent of its creator, a physical manifestation — according to some, an intentional and advanced rendition of your typical poltergeist.

Though the notion is reasonably dispersed across the collective consciousness at this point, methinks, the only alleged personal account I have come across is the one told by Alexandra David-Neel. In her journey through Tibet, she became interested in tulpas. Having elected to make one herself, she decided on a friendly, pudgy monk, and was eventually able to visualize him as a hallucination in her visual field. Over time the hallucination gained clarity, and eventually she found it indistinguishable from a living, breathing, physical being.

The frightening aspect of her little experiment soon became apparent, however, when the monk began appearing when she hadn’t conjured it, and then began behaving in ways it had not been programmed by her to behave. The monk also seemed to be losing weight and had taken on a distinctly malicious appearance. Nothing was as shocking, however, as when an individual she knew, who knew nothing of her practices, began questioning her about the stranger that had been meandering about in her tent. She reports that it took half a year, but she was eventually able to abolish the creature through other Tibetan techniques.

Though in both of these cases the entities were intentionally generated, in both cases they reportedly also exceed their programming and seemed to take on a life of their own, independent of the conscious aspect of the mind: essentially, a spiritual form of artificial intelligence. It also fits the profile of a dissociative identity state, an alternate personality. They are essentially intentionally-generated alters that can manifest physically.

An interesting aspect of the Philip experiment was that none of the eight involved were gifted psychically. Nonetheless, they were apparently capable of creating and programming a spiritual entity that could communicate in a way that was consistent with that personality and, most important and amazing of all, producing psychokinetic effects. David-Neel seemed to be at least moderately gifted psychically and have some degree of discipline as well; despite being a lone individual, she was able to produce a creature that could be seen by her and others. The entity was also able to become independent of its creators, functioning autonomously. Naturally, this might lead one to wonder what kind of effects a large group of psychically-gifted individuals might be capable of producing.

All the people I know that have had experiences similar to mine seem to have no knowledge of the UFO or abduction phenomenon beyond the superficial reports that the media regurgitates every now and then. Despite this, correlations between our narratives are plentiful right down to unanticipated details. From the way one friend described the shadows of the beings from outside her tent during a formative experience while camping as a child to the way another friend described the manner in which one of the creatures in his encounter ran, there are correlations even in the details littering our experience that I cannot in good conscience deny. This extends to many of those of whom I have read and read about in blogs, articles and books and seen through interviews and documentaries. Could the answer really be that our collective unconscious is conspiring against us, utilizing telepathy to share a narrative and RSPK to bring that narrative to life?

Despite finding the concepts of both the PH and PsiH fascinating, I have, in the end, always choked in my attempts to swallow. Those who have posited that poltergeist activity is the unconscious product of an individual note the similarities in individuals around which the alleged recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis (RSPK) manifests. In cases of alien abduction, on the other hand, it is clear that these experiences are shared by people from all walks of life, people all across the spectrum — racial, religious, cultural, class, education — as well as people of wildly different constitutions who react to these shared experiences in very individual ways. This sounds less like a psychological disorder — with or without psi effects — and more like an actual, nuts-and-bolts experience.

Polishing Ajna.

Jonas and Elizabeth come over between eight and nine in the evening. I had woken up from my post-third-shift slumber a few hours before, drank some coffee, relaxed, taken a shit and a shower and waited while trying not to think, think, think.

Elizabeth was wearing all black save for her tie-dye hippie socks. It had been awhile since I had seen Jonas, and his hair had grown and taken on a look that reminded me of the traditional style of the eighties. Kind of like Luke in Star Wars: A New Hope. I met them at the side entrance to my building and Elizabeth led the way up three flights of stairs and along the short stroll to the door to my one-bedroom apartment, where we all sat down in the front room in front of my laptop monitor. I had set up the papasan by the computer for myself, as I knew it would be the most comfortable thing for me to sit on during the experience.

Jonas has some initial difficulties cutting one of the tabs in two, finally succeeding by use of the X-Acto knife I typically use to clean out my bowl. Using their tweezers, he then places a whole tab on her tongue, one of the halves on his own.

This was happening. I felt wary. Did I want to do this? Me, I always said I’d never do this. Then he picks up the other half with the tweezers and extends it towards me.

Shit. This is the moment of truth.

I’m nervous, not entirely ready, and in my hesitation he accidentally drops it. Though this would be unfortunate in the event it could not be found, I was thankful for the moment of reflection it permitted me. We look around for it on the carpet between us all as I try and build up some courage. Eventually one of them finds that it had fallen into my shoe. With the tweezers, he plucks it from my sole and places it on my open sketch pad. With diminishing reluctance I go for the tweezers but Elizabeth says it would probably be easier to just lick it off my sketch pad. It seems a weird way to go and that typically works for me, so I do it. I feel mildly apprehensive after doing so, but curiosity of what may be to come quickly takes dominance.

We smoke a bowl, a cigarette each, and I try to keep it under my tongue, eventually realizing that it is gone. That I must have swallowed it. They tell me not to worry.

As I did not take notes during the experience, I cannot be sure of the exact sequence of all events, though particular events in and of themselves are certainly vivid. It began while we were watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

If I were to do this, I had decided some time ago, I had to watch Cosmos, most of all episode 13, “Unafraid of the Dark,” which was particularly visually stunning in its depiction of supernovas. Elizabeth also insisted we watch episode 5, “Hiding in the Light,” mainly due to the portion regarding soundwaves. It was still on Netflix, thankfully, and so we watched “Hiding in the Light” first.

At some point as we were watching it I suddenly feel as if certain parts of my brain light up, blasting me into this heightened awareness. My vision was crisp. I felt this intensity in my body. I felt a sense of euphoria with a side of anxiety.

As time went on I experienced periods of sudden, incredible and sturdy focus — which would be strange enough if it did not seem as if I could focus on several points simultaneously. Psychological absorption was at an all-time high. Fantasy seemed more like a parallel world I had equal access to alongside sensory reality; shifting between them was akin to changing channels or switching stations. In time I came to be very, very absorbed in what we were watching on my laptop.For other, brief periods — at least once, to be sure — I became tangled in a web of divergent attention and high-speed thoughts, achieving a height of frustrating confusion before wriggling myself out of it and coming back into focus.

To my left I could see my bedroom door, opened just a crack, and the light bleeding through kept catching my attention, fucking with me. I finally had to get up and open the door. Then I kept thinking I was seeing the lights and shadows from the bathroom, accessible through my bedroom, move as if something was there. At one point, I thought I saw something small and white run from the bathroom into the darkness at the other side of my room. None of it frightened me for more than a second, after which I realized it was just my imagination and laughed at myself in response.

When I was talking with Elizabeth and Jonas sometimes I would catch the laptop monitor out of the corner of my eye, convinced for a moment that something was playing on it, like a movie or something, but there was merely a motionless visual on the screen. It kept fucking with me in a fashion similar to crack in bedroom doorway.

In our conversation before taking the acid, they told me I should eat first and if I needed to poop, I should do it beforehand, because it was rather disconcerting under the influence of this chemical. They also told me that pissing was kind of strange, but I knew I would be unable to avoid that one — in general, I tend to take in a lot of fluid: water, coffee, iced tea, booze. This equals pissing like a race horse.

When I inevitably had to get up to pee, Elizabeth suggested I look at myself in the mirror. Piddling itself was a perplexing experience indeed. I felt high up, incredibly tall and skinny, and it seemed as though my dick way, way down there was pissing into a teeny-tiny toilet. After I went to the sink and washed and dried my hands, I looked up, into the mirror, focusing on my eyes. My face seemed to morph around my point of focus, though not into anything discernible. My vision brightened, everything seemed white and yellow. I was transfixed for a while, but eventually returned to the front room and sat in my comfy nest.

Over the entire course of the evening, I had only one fully-scale visual hallucination. As I was watching the bedroom door (which I had absentmindedly closed again when returning from pissing and skrying) this little transparent ball with a long, tadpole tail swam in a slow, wavelike fashion across my field of vision. It was like an oversize, slow-mo air-sperm.

Getting up, I opened the door again.

More subjective strangeness took place than sensory, hallucinatory phenomena. For instance, at times I felt that while I was inside my body I was not entirely attached to it. I often felt as if I was residing in my body in positions that I ordinarily did not. Typically I feel as though my consciousness resides inside my head, for instance, but for a period I felt as though I was hanging out in the chest area.

So we watched the two episodes of Cosmos. The segment on sound waves was astounding, though I got the feeling that it was not the “full experience” Elizabeth had experienced herself when she watched it on acid. When we got to the episode on supernovas, I must have been at or near my peak. More than just the beautiful explosions of dying stars, there was the journey through space in general that drug me in, embraced me. I even said to them, “Twelve hours of just that. Just journeying through the stars. I would love it.” In retrospect it reminded me of those dreams I had as a kid, just soaring through the stars at fantastic speed, alone in the vast, silent beauty of space.

At some point the journey ended as the camera pulled out from space into Neil deGrasse Tyson’s star-spore, dandelion-seed-shaped Spaceship of the Imagination through one of the windows — which initially looked to me like the gigantic, slanted, almond eye of your typical Gray alien. No one else seemed to make that connection. I don’t know if I felt sad to be alone or thankful for my isolated association.

After the two episodes, we watched Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, where I came to confront the Cheshire Cat, another symbol from my past. After we began coming down and had tired of conversation, we turned back to Netflix and watched the first two or three episodes of American Dad, which I had never seen before. I noticed that I was more prone to laughter, at times ridiculous laughter. While I felt in most cases the laughter was appropriate, it was far, far more amusing than it would have been had I been sober, or even stoned out of my mind on Mary Jane. I was laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes.

It was morning when we finally came entirely down. They slept on the couch in the living room and I closed my bedroom door and lay in my bed. My body was so comfortable. There was no tossing, no turning. My body was relaxed, vibrating, though my mind was still acute. They had given me half a pill of a muscle relaxer, and it finally kicked in.

When I awoke, to my disappointment, I didn’t remember any dreams, though I did recall that I had some that I would have found interesting.

False Awakenings, Psychic Elastic, Paranoia and Dreams.

7/7/15.

For the last few days, my sleeping, if you want to call it that, had come in a steady rhythm of violent spurts. I would close my eyes for twenty minutes, my eyes would pop back open in shock, and then I would close them again.

Eventually, I wake up to hear someone knocking on the door. I don’t really open my eyes; not much, anyway. As to who it might be, I vaguely recall something about maintenence stopping by, that I should be expecting them, but I’m too tired to remember or really give the vaguest semblance of a shit. So I just play dead.

I hear the door open and he comes in, and all the while I remain motionless. Just do what you have to do and go, I think. I keep my ears open, though. He makes some remark about the smoke in the apartment. “Somebody’s been partying in here,” were his words, I think. I have been asleep for hours, though, so that’s bullshit. I make no response, however, and just keep pretending like I’m sleeping, because even though he’s in my damn apartment, I simply do not feel like dealing with the guy. Then my eyes pop open. It comes to my attention that I’m not expecting maintenance, that no one had really come into the apartment. It had been yet another false awakening.

7/26/15: 3:05 AM:

I just felt as though my subtle form was pulled up out of my physical body for a moment or two, wiggled around for a bit, then let go to snap back into my bony, fleshy form, as if the two superimposed bodies were attached through some sort of psychic elastic.

I think I should take the opportunity to mention here, too, that I use certain words for lack of better ones, and certain alternative words (hallucinations, perhaps, for instance) lack the specificity I prefer. You have heard of phantom limbs that linger when physical limbs are lopped off of bodies? Well, this subtle body might be a sort of full-body analogue when consciousness becomes the (though in many cases only temporarily) amputated limb in question.

3:40 AM.

Now I got jolted by what sounded like something hit my window. I am high and mildly drunk. The window is open a little, the fan is on: perhaps someone slammed a car door and that’s all.

7/26/15, 2:30 PM.

It was like I was waking up before the dream was ready to end so it tried to rush to completion before it was forced to fade to black. For some reason the last few moments if the dream was more cartoonish than realistic, as I recall rest of the dream being (though I’ll be damned if I can remember anything else about it). A polar bear had been pushed off some mountain, and he slid to the bottom of it as if it were slipping down the side of a pyramid or something. It was like a slide. As he landed, he barely missed a guy resting on his belly at the bottom who had also been pushed off, or so it seemed. It was the actor that played a doctor on the television show House; he played the young character that committed suicide. I think I was thinking about his character at some point last night. He looks up at the bear, asks him if he’s a polar bear, and the polar bear looks at him and nods. Then I wake up.

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.

Somnambulism, Alters and the DOP.

You try and shrug it all off. After all, perhaps life has the occasional continuity error. Maybe the universe has periodic existential glitches, rare quantum events. Finally you heard of the “disappearing object phenomenon” or DOP, as paranormal sites on the net have called it, happy to not be alone — but still the cause, or causes, remain unknown.

The last hypothesis you would have suspected to find yourself entertaining is that of the complete dissociation of identity, where amnesia is instilled in you, the host, for the time in which an alter personality is at the wheel of the body. Indeed, the switching may fly beneath the radar of one’s life for enduring periods of time, it is suggested, so how does one go about ascertaining whether one is possessed of this level of duality in consciousness?

The first red flags that waved unambiguously to me (when I read a good portion if a book and then proceeded, as is chronic in my life, to fall past event horizon into the surreal bowels of my obsessive-compulsive Internet research frenzy) dealt with instances involving objects. These came in three types. There are objects that mysteriously come up missing, objects that mysteriously pop up among your belongings and objects that disappear for some time before reappearing in an unlikely place.

As for objects that have come up missing, there is, to begin, that childhood incident involving the timer.

Growing up, my parents never resorted to physical violence with my two younger sisters and I. Instead, mom would sentence her disobedient little larvae to that dreaded place the three of us kids knew only as The Corner.

I saw it often enough. Left there alone to study the subtle contours of the paint, I would stew away at the absence of justice and grow mad in the overwhelming boredom thrust upon me in a prison limited to the narrow, banal space where one wall met another. If matters were mot bad enough, the duration of my term of torture was measured by the irritating, persistent tick-tick-ticking of that blasted oven timer. Boredom only ended with its angry, frantic ringing. In a way, all this was preparation for schooldays to come.

Clearly I hated that unholy, piece-of-crap timer with that steady, mechanical pulse serving as the soundtrack to the agony of unrelenting boredom. So on the day my mother discovered that the wretched oven timer was missing, disappointment was not my reaction.

Sadly, my capacity to be thankful to the kind hero who disposed of it took a back seat to defending my own innocence. After asking me in steady mantra in a voice of growing volume where I had put it, her fury growing with my every denial, my mother made me tear apart my room looking for it. This went on for some time. I was looking through my toy chest when she finally told me to stop and made me turn around. Facing her now, she asked if I was ready to tell her where I had put it. Even today, at 34 years of age, she operates under the same faulty assumption: that it was me.

After we moved, sometime around seventh or eighth grade, there was a sort of sequel to the timer incident. Strangely, this incident never seems to stick out for my parents like the previous, but it was considerably more plaguing for me.

It happened when I suddenly became hyperconscious of my appearance and social image. I wanted to feel like I belonged, be looked at in a different way, and it was all a disaster, but my determination had yet to run dry. Of particular focus was my hair. For years I had wanted my hair to look like Luke Skywalker’s after he emerged from being pulled down in the watery trash pit by that weird creature in that scene from the first Star Wars movie. To make it easy for you: his hair was slicked back. I liked that look and it was what I wanted, but I could never get my hair to do it.

Then came eighth grade, and I became even more obsessed about my hair. This time, however, I wanted my hair cut in such a way that it would grow into the hairstyle Edward Furlong had in the movie Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Once a week it seemed I would grab the stool, scissors, mirror, towel and other supplies and bring them into the dining room, where my mother had promised to cut my hair. Trim a little here, clip a little there.

More and more often I would also grab my father’s electric hair clippers, which he used to trim his beard. He kept it inside a small cardboard box inside the plastic cabinet above the toilet in the downstairs bathroom. In the basket there were perhaps five of six clipper cartridges which you could put in or take off the clipper to trim at varying lengths.

How many times I grabbed the clippers and returned them until the cartridge went missing, I do not recall, but when it happened, it brought back a strangely familiar sense of frustration.

Everyone’s Columbo, everyone’s Sherlock Holmes, and they all peg you the culprit. They did not catch you red handed, sure, but the trail of blood leads to you. You are guilty until proven innocent, and it is up to you to prove the negative. This becomes understandably more difficult on the second occasion a cartridge goes missing after you have used it and, I promise you, entirely impossible on the third such occasion.

Frustratingly, the only possibility you are in the position to know is not true is what the other party takes as a given actuality for what you must confess are perfectly legitimate reasons.

I feel certain that there is an internal logic to the universe, but I feel equally certain that it feels no obligation to fall into accordance with the human-made logic with which we strive to understand the universe. All signs can point to Yes, but the answer is still fucking No — our Magic 8 Ball brains be damned.

I know I didn’t take the timer just as I knew I had put everything back just as I had found it after my mother helped me customize my gnarly mesh of gourd follicles. Even in light of all that, as you tear apart the bathroom looking for a little black plastic clip of detachable trimmer teeth you hope but somehow know is not there to be found as you have done this three or four times before, you really begin to question yourself.

There was, so far as I can recall, only one personal instance in which the reverse occurred and an object mysteriously appeared amidst my possessions. I believe it happened shortly before moving out of my parent’s house in 2003. A book ended up in my room that I had never seen before, and no one else in the house knew where it had come from or would have put it there. The book was the 1994 book It’s All In Your Head: Remarkable Facts About the Human Mind by Jean Stine and Camden Benares. Though it was a good many years until I began reading it, it proved to be full of intriguing entries dealing with all matters of the brain.

Lastly there are those objects that disappear and then reappear. As a sort of subcategory here we might mention objects that appear in unlikely places, as the numerous times I have woken up with the phone beside me in bed, and have even found it in my hand. Sometimes I wake up with my head on the opposite side of my bed, too.

Only on one occasion do I recall an object disappearing for a time and then reappearing, and this happened rather recently, during the first year my roommate and I moved in. I had a heavy, black, felt button-down shirt that seemingly vanished, and then one day I walked into my room and it was laid out on my bed. Thinking I had perhaps left it in my roommate’s car and he had seen it and put it back in my room, I asked him about it, only to receive a confused negative. The confusion came from the fact that if he had not done it, I must have, but I most certainly did not.

This brings me to an incident that occurred when my friends and I were still living in the last house we shared together. I awoke one morning and went to make a pot of coffee when I found the funnel you put the grounds in missing. It seemed strange that my roommates would play a prank on me, at least like this, and they denied it when I asked them. Eventually, I found the damned thing in the microwave.

Something similar but slightly more interesting had happened a few weeks prior. I was going through my usual insomniac routine one evening and watching a movie alone in the living room. Suddenly, for just a moment, I distinctly smelled brownies, and this transient olfactory hallucination inspired me to get up off my lazy ass and actually make some. As they baked I watched my movie and when they were done I had a few, placed the napkin over the top, and went upstairs with the hopes of lapsing into a coma.

Upon awakening, I meandered downstairs, saw my roommate and his girlfriend in the living room and turned the corner to grab a brownie before making my morning pot of coffee. Lifting the napkin, I found a barren desert of a pan plastered with dark, brown crumbs. After confronting my roommates in the nearby living room, my prime suspects, they insisted that it had, in fact, been me. Ever open-minded, my response was, “Bullshit.”

They were not joking, unfortunately. Evidently I would come downstairs, grab a brownie, and walk back up the stairs. I did this multiple times. After I got my coffee and returned to my room, I found three butts in the ashtray I could have sworn I emptied before crashing the night before.

That got me a bit worried. People can sleepwalk, sleep-talk and even engage in complex activities and conversations during sleep without remembering it. As far as I can tell, an alter would appear to be just a highly developed rendition of it all.

In the brownie instance: was this was not merely an instance of something disappearing, but suggestion that an alter inspired me through an olfactory hallucination to produce the very thing that was destined to disappear? The hallucinated scent of brownies that had spawned my post-midnight baking — could that have been my sleepwalking self who, having already planned to take the wheel of the body as soon as I conked out, thought he might manipulate me into making him a little snack?

Perceptual Anomalies of Derealization.

Derealization (DR) is sensory distortion — when familiar people, places and things in the world of the senses are experienced as being distorted, distant, foreign or unreal.

The experience of finding a close friend or family member unfamiliar or seeing them as an imposter, for instance, may be a dissociation between your sensory perception of that person and the emotions typically associated with him or her. You can see them clearly and you know who they are (or at least should be), but it doesn’t feel as if its really them, or they may not even feel real at all. The same would appear to be true with familiar places and objects that are suddenly foreign to a person.

The sensory field itself can also be dissociated from consciousness in whole or in part, giving rise to witness consciousness, pareidolia, negative hallucinations and positive hallucinations.

Witness consciousness involves the sense that you are a passive witness, watching reality from a distance. As sensory distortion increases, the mind struggles to make sense out of this perceptual chaos and pull the signal from the noise. Depending on the amount of noise, there are various degrees of projection that come into play in our perceptions.

The mildest is known as pareidolia, which could be defined as perceiving something that is there as something other than what it actually is. In the struggle to interpret vague, ambiguous sensory data, the unconscious imposes its own structure. We see faces and figures in clouds and stains and ink blots on cards. In such cases we usually know that the cloud is not really a puppy, of course, but in other cases we indeed mistake pareidolia for actuality.

We are sure we hear voices in the static, in the hum of the fan, in the record played backward. We see someone walking towards us from some distance away, convinced is a friend of ours — only to discover upon closer proximity that it is in actuality a stranger.

Mildly more vivid, perhaps, were also the “face-phasing” instances I’ve written of previously. The majority of instances of this face-phasing are relatively mild illusions that always seemed to occur with girls, and in all cases save for one they were women I was sexually and romantically attracted to. In that one case I was speaking in front of my class during my senior year of high school, in the midst of an anxiety attack, I looked at a girl I had gone to school with for years and her face seemed strangely different somehow. In the other cases the face of a girl I am currently interested in momentarily morphs into the face of a girl I was interested in at some prior point. Be it anxiety or sexual desire, it would appear that a common feature for this face-morphing is intense emotion.

Aside from pareidolia, other illusions occur during DR such as a change in the color intensity of objects, a sudden change in lighting. On various occasions my field of vision has gotten suddenly brighter, clearer, colors more brilliant and on others everything has had this dim, intense kind of overcast to it. This happens to me quite often, as a matter of fact.

I have yet to hear anything akin to an episode I had on two occasions in which my field of vision abruptly and temporarily took on photonegative qualities. The first occasion was on December 25, 2002, upon reconnection with my physical body proceeding a rather intense out of body experience. It was the only occasion in which I returned to my body after an OBE to find my eyes to be already open. The other occasion was shortly after breaking up with my girlfriend in 2005 (I think) when one of my roommates at the time, Nick — also my current roommate — took me for a drive in his new car. We were at some parking lot when I seemed to slip away for a moment, only to realize my vision was in photonegative.

In DR, it is said that objects may even appear to change in size or shape, though Steinberg notes that this typically only occurs in severe derealization, typically signs of a dissociative disorder. In other face-phasing cases, women I have been interested in have suddenly appeared incredibly ugly, as if all their faults (always the face) are suddenly highlighted and magnified in such a way that it inspires the most overwhelming sense of revulsion in me towards them.

As the distortion of DR intensifies, the mind keeps up the struggle to procure some semblance of coherence from the breakdown despite having a decreasing amount of hints keeping it hinged to and guided by objective data. Illusions give way to either total or selective hallucinatory phenomena on the sensory field. These can come in either the form of negative or positive hallucinations.

Negative hallucinations occur during hypnosis and its parallel, once known as hysterical blindness and now part of what is known as conversion disorder, is thought by many to be a dissociative disorder. In essence, conversion appears to selectively dissociate sensory data without filling the gap with compensatory material. You can look directly at something, for instance, and not see it.

In September of 2002 I had an experience that, in the half hour that it lasted, had me convinced I was going blind. I think I remember seeing a bright flash while in the kitchen at work, then a purplish blob like an afterimage. And then a blob slowly began growing in my peripheral vision, growing up and over, closing in on my focal point. As it grew it revealed triangular cells in its blurry form which began shimmering in rainbow colors. Eventually, after half an hour of terror, it stopped.

Though I had no idea what they were at the time, after a few more episodes I did some Internet research. In the end, it seemed clear to me that I was seeing “scintillating scotoma,” a common component of a migraine aura. It seemed equally clear to me that this must be what is known as an Acephalgic migraine, basically a rendition of the migraine auras my mother saw, only of considerably shorter duration and strangely void of the excruciating headache she experienced throughout the ordeal.

My mother’s migraine auras would play over the excruciating headache like a recording, a program that played the same way each and every time she had the experience. My own, on the other hand, have changed.

On one occasion I even managed to will them away through relaxing meditation and distraction. The meditation suggested, in the very least, that fear of the experience exacerbated the experience and relaxation broke the self-reinforcing feedback loop.

The blurs have also changed. The most recent instance of the blurs occurred early morning on Friday, June 15th of 2013, while I was at the tail end of third shift at my fast food job. All the visual contained was a serpentine blur that began just around my point of focus and then grew larger over the course of half an hour. More interesting than its placement was that the serpentine blur was rounded — it was eating its own tail, a symbol I know too well to be the orobouros.

My mother never found what caused her migraines, but she mentioned to me that she did not even prefer to talk about them, as when she does she often has one of the migraines shortly thereafter. All of this seemed to suggest it was psychosomatic.

Rather than a migraine of any type, this instead sounds much like what has been called hysterical blindness, and which now falls beneath the broader heading of conversion — specifically, converting dissociated emotions into hysterical blindness through the spread of the serpentine scintillating scotoma.

The most disturbing episode of the blurs was one that I “awoke” in the midst of, and when it was at such a peak that it entirely encompassed my field of vision. It occurred in November of 2002. The blur field was pure visual distortion, but I felt tactile things vaguely if I concentrated enough, though never exactly getting my bearings. Were these mere projections?

In any case, it left me considering the possibility that the blurs might act as a form of negative hallucination that provides a canvas for positive hallucinations — a subject I’ll ramble about when I write on depersonalization.

There is also the apparent selectivity of these psychological blurs and blinders to consider, however. In the kitchen at work in 2003, right before I was about to move out of my parent’s house for the last time, the blurs struck again. It began as a negative hallucination that blotted out the bottom half of a guy’s face (who’s lack of teeth I was trying to avoid looking at) and then devolved into the typical experience of the blurs.

The meaningful selectivity of the blurs in this instance and how they can evidently act as a negative hallucination makes me wonder if it also plays a role in other “perceptual anomalies” I’ve had — those that would certainly constitute positive hallucinations.

Positive Hallucinations, if you have yet to guess, are when you see something that is not there at all — something that may or may not be acting as a screen or masque concealing or replacing something that is indeed truly there.

In the laundry room in the back of the house my parents used to have a chest freezer. My parents slaughtered chicken occasionally and bought some stuff in bulk, so this was where you went when gazing at the contents of the fridge and freezer in the kitchen didn’t inspire the ol’ reach-and-grab.

One evening in maybe seventh grade or so I go in the back, lift the cabinet freezer door. As my eyes scan the contents, I suddenly see something that struck me as disgusting. Within a sealed freezer bag sprinkled with frost I swear I saw a full rabbit, dead, stripped if hair, its eyes closed and its ears swung back.

We have eaten rabbits before and it always bothered me, as most if them were pets and my mother once had around a hundred of them. I had always assumed that as with the chickens, they decapitated the rabbit.

It was not until some time later that something reminded me and I casually brought it up with my mother, who was disgusted by what she clearly took to be an absurd story, and even seemed to feel insulted about it. I cannot say for confidence that it was there, but I know I saw it clear as day just the same.

There are also two instances in which the face-phasing of pareidolia was juiced up to the level of a selective positive hallucination. Both involved mirrors and both were interesting in their own right.

There are quite a few things, for instance, which still plague me about the experience I had as my parents drove me home from the hypnosis session that eve of April 27, 1995. Looking into the rearview mirror from the back seat of the van I saw, in place of my father’s face the face of a Gray alien with wrap-around, almond shaped eyes. The skin or exoskeleton was not gray, however, nor were the eyes black. Both were of an iridescent, phosphorescent purple-blue color.

I’m forced to consider the realistic appearance of the alien reflection, the unearthly color, the way it would apparently need to fall into perfect synchrony with the movements of the true reflection it obscured. How consistent it was over the course of the ride home, how I did reality checks and everything else seemed to be normal, but as soon as I look in the rearview mirror on the dash, well, its all over. For there I see the reflection of a neon blue-purple alien in place of my father. Beside him in the passenger is my mother and they are talking. I have a funny feeling she would have noticed an abrupt shapeshifting in her husband of so many years. There is clearly no denying it was a hallucination.

Nor that the other event was a hallucination as well if not merely a vivid childhood dream. With that said, it did not seem like a memory of a dream but of a real instance. It was vivid and sensory rich, taking place from the viewpoint of a fixed first person position, and it began as abruptly as it ended.

I was in the bathroom at the old house looking into the mirror, perplexed because something I couldn’t put my finger on seemed off about my reflection. Soon enough it became clear that the issue was my eyes: they were growing larger and increasingly slanted.

My mouth hung open in amazement and in effort to confirm it was not merely my reflection but my actual face, I reached up my hand, watching its reflection move in perfect correspondence on its way up to my large, slanted, unblinking alien eye. Then I let two finger touch and slide across the skin on my eye.

If not a sensory-rich dream, this experience appears to represent DR/DP correspondence so complete that I watched myself with alien-shaped eyes in the mirror as I felt the slick, rubbery surface.

Battles in the War to Remember.

To each buried memory
in this ol’ cemetery,
its very own plot.
They could have built
a catacomb!
Now:
why the fuck not?

It never struck me until I began reflecting more on the whole incident with the flashback of the chair and the drawing on my wall that it might not have been me burying these memories. I was actively fighting the amnesia. Same thing the August morning, only in that case I watched it fly away from me in retrograde.

This was not me. This was not my doing. This was fucking done to me against my will.

Even during the flashbacks of the incident that must have happened in November or December of 1983, when I was six years old, I knew that they would try and make me forget, which is why I studied the alien Doctor carefully, so I would both remember and be able to draw him one day when I had developed sufficient talent. After the flashback, I noticed one of the many drawings on my wall was the face of the Doctor, though I had drawn the picture some time before I had the flashback.

The Goblin Man, who’s face was missing from the flashback, might have come out through my obsessive-compulsive drawing of the alien face that one evening.

Evidently I made a more aggressive attempt when I lay immobilized on my loft bed staring down at the chair pulled out from my desk and chanting you will remember, you will remember, you will remember over and over to myself. When that flashback came to me, it brought with it all the fear and anger of the moment as well, but though I remembered the chair and chanting “you will remember,” I cannot at all recall what it was that I was trying to remember, only that I felt it deathly important to remember, to overpower the amnesia that was creeping.

There is no way these incidents were acts of repression or dissociation on my own part. I remember constantly trying to fight the amnesia when I was a kid, and that battle was rekindled after the memories started rushing back in.

In February of 1995 I started giving the date, time, and descriptions of when I got memories and of the time and descriptions of real-time incidents on paper. My memory had clearly failed me, or perhaps only my ability to recollect; in either case, I wanted back what was mine. I wanted total recall, and while I was looking for the lost parts I wanted to ensure that I would lose no more in the process. Documenting it all became a very important weapon in the ongoing war to remember.

My first real-time incident since the memories occurred in March of 1995. By the evening of March 14th, I had been on ten milligrams of the antidepressant Nortipiptyline for eleven days and tried to get back into the routine of sleeping again. I had been lying on my back for some reason, which was something I had avoided since childhood, as I had come to associate sleeping supine with having nightmares.

I found myself in the hypnogogic state experiencing the sensation of being lifted up out if my bed to the height of the window that lie just above the headboard, then going horizontally out the window, only to snap out of it and sense my body fully in bed. Then it would start all over again. I knew at the time that this was an illusion and even found that I could control it somewhat. Eventually I grew bored with it and drifted off to sleep.

Some time later, I awoke with my mind acute, apparently in response to sensing a presence in the room, though conveniently I was simultaneously in a state of almost total body paralysis. It moved onto my bed and crawled atop my body, straddling me. I could feel its legs at my sides. It then seemed to put something over my face that made it difficult to breathe and made me feel as if I was trapped in my head, with little to no sense of my body. As I fought to open my eyes I found that I seemed to be in some dark, spacious masque with a porthole before me. Striving to see through the porthole, I got vague images of what I thought was the base of a gigantic tree, and along with that got the general sense that the area was a marsh or swamp.

Suddenly the masque was gone and I was aware of my entire body on the bed again, the creature still atop me. It was pushing its hands on my chest now, apparently in the attempts to suffocate me, and when that seemed to be judged as insufficient the creature then moved its knees on top of my chest to apply more excruciating pressure. Curiously, I have no recollection of how the encounter ended.

Upon awakening the following morning, I found the log I only vaguely remembered making after the experience in the notebook beside my bed — and then some.

At 1:31 AM, I wrote: “I keep having nightmares about being lifted up out of my bed and going through the window, of someone standing over me with an air tank on my face. My eyelids are nailed closed. I also had a dream sensation of being somewhat in this position around 4:00, feeling a presence in the room and falling on the floor.” I then signed out of the log at 1:18.

You cannot log out earlier than you logged in, nor can you have a first experience that takes place some three hours after the second experience. To say that I was in a particularly confused state that evening would be to make a mole hill out of a mountain to be sure, and that wasn’t the half of it.

Not only did I only vaguely recall making the log and only recall the second experience I documented, but I had absolutely no recollection at all of drawing the symbol I found in the notebook nearby the log, nor what it was supposed to mean. It was comprised of a circle with two crescents on the top and bottom in the manner that made it look like a crude drawing of an eye.

I later found this is a classic example of an experience of sleep paralysis, when one awakens before the “REM atonia” induced during dreamtime that ensures we do not act out our dreams shuts off. As a consequence, the unconscious compensates for the distortion or lack of sense data with hallucinatory phenomena that manifests in accordance with available cues from mental set and environmental setting. These cues are predictable, which is likely why the manifestations during sleep paralysis are cross-cultural, referred to variously as “old hag attacks,” being “hag-ridden,” or encountering the incubus or succubus.

It makes sense to me, and it takes only a little serious consideration. We awaken but feel detached from our paralyzed bodies, lingering between first- and second-person consciousness. This act of observing oneself results in the sense, at the other end of this dualistic state, of being observed, hence the sense of fear and the sense of an observing presence.

This guides the hallucinatory phenomena that fills the sensory vacuum, which conjures up just such a mysterious, malicious presence in your room which serves to confirm this sense of a dreadful presence. If you’re a male, you may also be erect in this state, making it likely that the hallucinatory narrative then moves to this vile entity straddling you. It may also lead one to perceive it as female, though in my case the creature gave off a sexless vibe.

Our minds being awake and our bodies being immobilized and locked on autopilot with respect to body functions also makes us utterly incapable of consciously exerting control on our breathing, which despite our efforts remains locked in shallow breathing mode. Our brains interpret this resistance as being suffocated. Mix this with the aforementioned menacing presence, and the next logical step in the hallucinatory storyline has its required cues: it is the mysterious presence in your room that is now proceeding to suffocate you.

The time issue bothered me, though given the interpretation of this experience of REM-atonia-induced hallucinatory phenomena, it’s not difficult to imagine this would also serve as an explanation.

This was the first time I had taken medication, and in my opinion it had only made things worse, for now I was unsure as to whether this was really happening, a product of my utter madness, or bad reactions to an antidepressant.

Now I was calling into question my own memories expressed in a written log I didn’t remember writing regarding an experience I apparently only partially consciously recalled.

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.