Thought-Talk Monologue Voice-Over.

Some might say
that you never existed
in the first place,

but your reality was cemented
in me through the nature
of our conversations.

Just as they use
verbal communication
atop nonverbals,

you use subjective still-frames
and mental motion pictures
complemented

by a thought-talk
monologue
voice-over.

Imagination
is your telepathic
nonverbal.

You’re the best voice
that’s ever been
in my head.

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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…

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.

Of Dan and Abra.

Reading words bled
by the dark and prolific,
securely encased

in fiction, resonating
with a connection
I desire, secrets shared,
minds entangled.

Here there is no hiding.
Mutual transparency, extreme.
Naked beyond skin and bones.

Intimacy of consciousness.
Community through commonality.
Psionic bonding.
My secret family.

Halfway between covers,
envious of their secret tie.

No Reason.

(2008)

I. Squaring the Isosceles.

Eva had come out her seemingly self-imposed exile. She used to turn off her phone and disappear without word for days, weeks on end, and nobody could get a hold of her, nobody could find her. She kept her distance. And then suddenly she began going the other way. Eva seemed to have opened up, blossomed in a way, and very quickly — and it occurred around the time I heard of Abbey and Zeke’s break-up.

Zeke had departed, leaving an empty space beside Abbey, and Eva seemed to rush in to fill the silhouette. To feed the gaping, hungry void. You could feel the connection she was forging with Abbey. I’d sit in the back seat of Abbey’s car and watch the two of them up front, just talking, and sense the bizarre intensity of the rapport. And it was from both ends, yes, but it was more, I don’t know, naked and confident from Eva’s end, far more unhinged and certain, far more passionate and unambiguous in general.

I don’t mean to imply I was tapping all this through psychic intuition, of course. It could be in the tone of voice, in the body language that the nature of the matter here was conveyed. It could have been in the many ways one can pick up signals that inspire that feeling of certainty about something without entirely knowing why.

There were others in our circle who had said Eva seemed to have more than a friendly attraction to Abbey, but it was taken more along the lines of a joke; I, on the other hand, felt it to be serious, though I denied it when it was brought up, at least at the beginning. Still, I felt certain.

Abbey was horny. I was horny. There is, at least on the surface, a simple and obvious solution to our resonating predicaments here. Eva seemed very territorial around Abbey, very aggressive to me when I was around, and I couldn’t help but feel that it was because she knew that Abbey and I wanted to have sex and she felt her newfound place by Abbey’s side in the wake of Zeke’s departure might be threatened by me.

If I was right and Eva just told me, if I knew for certain I wasn’t crazy, then I wouldn’t do it. Of course, part of me thinks its senseless for Eva to tell me she doesn’t want me to — after all, if she won’t make a move on Abbey and Abbey won’t make a move on her and Eva has denied it to others and Abbey has denied her attraction to Eva to a large degree even to herself, then why not? What is it about Abbey and I getting it on that would be threatening to Eva? We would just be two friends doing each other a favor. Two friends having sex. We would not be in a relationship.

Anyway, regardless as to whether or not Abbey and I were dating or just having sex, wouldn’t Eva rather Abbey be with me rather than with some presently unknown guy or — which would be worse, I think all who know him would agree — that she get back with Zeke, her negligent asshole of an ex-boyfriend out of her intense desire for some intimate, if only transient, human contact? And doesn’t Eva think that this sort of thing is going to happen eventually, one way or the other?

II. No Reason.

About half passed nine I’m in the dining room, cleaning the tables at work. I check my cell phone and notice a text from Eva from about twenty passed nine, in which she asks, “What are you doing?” I text back that I’m about to clean the restrooms. The question seemed rather out of nowhere and I had the feeling something might be behind it, so I also asked her why she wanted to know. At about fifty passed nine she texts back, “No reason.” I don’t believe her, so I text back, “There’s always a reason.” Quickly, she texts back a simple, “No.”

And Eva’s, “No,” sounded loud and bitter. It reverberated. It was a lot like when someone snaps at you; someone you have never heard snap at you before, never thought could possibly snap at you, and the shock is compounded by its seeming lack of any conceivable justification. Even if this person had snapped at you, in other words, you can think of no reason why they would at this exact moment.

It took me entirely off guard. I didn’t respond for the rest of night and there were no further texts from her. Still, even right after I got the text, I just felt confused and dismissed it as my imagination. As me merely projecting again. As strong as I felt the anger in her voice, the power behind that, “No,” of Eva’s, there was no real reason to think she might be mad at me. My mind couldn’t cook up a reasonable scenario. I coughed it up to misinterpretation, as a momentary paranoia. I let it go and went on about my work.

Then, out of nowhere, something incredibly unprecedented and absolutely terrifying began to occur within me. I began to feel hatred towards me. It felt as though people I really fucking cared about hated me at an inconceivable depth; as if I’ve done something horrible. There was this dread, this need to fix something, to say the right thing or explain or help or something. Finally, in my mind, in some vague, transparent kind of daydream, I saw or got a sense of Abbey and Eva talking and had the weird notion in my mind that they had both determined something about me; that they had teamed up, bonded in some joint agreement with respect to something that was bad about me. I definitely got the feeling I was being talked about, and that what was being said would hurt me if I could actually hear the words. It felt like a joint thing, however, between Eva and Abbey; like you might talk ill about someone behind their back but would never have the indecency to be so candid about it to their face.

Then I felt a deep, writhing agony, almost like fear, like abandonment, and I had the silly notion all of this came from Eva, and it was this collage of negative emotions that slowly grew within me throughout the night. I couldn’t shake the certain feeling though that these were absolutely not my emotions. They were coming from somewhere outside of me. It was like there was a wall between me and her and suddenly it cracked and out dribbled some emotions towards me. The pressure on the other side of the wall built, the crack grew, branched, there was more dribbling, now spouts of water. Steadily this proceeded. By the time I was in my car and driving home I was unable to contain it.

The dam fucking broke and it was proceeding on what seemed to be its course towards breaking me. I felt cold, I was shaking, it was a full-body emotion. At this point it was so intense I could not possibly choke it down or ignore it or push it to the side. It was everywhere. It was filling me up, bloating me, radiating off my skin. I started screaming in my car, asking what the fuck was wrong with me. I knew and could not ignore the knowledge that there was absolutely, positively no rational reason whatsoever for me feeling like this at all, let alone to such an intensity that it felt worse than death.

The only comparable experiences I was able to come up with — and I should say that I came to realize this later, in retrospect — were my break-ups with Anne and Kate. Worst of all — perhaps merely because she broke up with me, rather than vice versa — was the break-up with Kate over the phone when she had called me from what turned out to be her permanent vacation to see her parents in California. The feeling in the car was not as bad, of this I am sure, but the feeling that night was far, far removed from my normal range of emotional pain. But this was the closest I had felt to it. And add into that the fact that I felt certain these were not my emotions and the terrified reaction to this fact, to the fear of what this emotion might do to me or how long it might linger or how much greater it might grow. The terror inherent in not having any level of control here or even any means of anticipating its course as it was, as I said, not my rush of emotions.

It all coalesced into alarm, horrific alarm, and I got home and sat in front of my computer and just tried to relax in the familiar environment. My safe haven. I stared at the phone. I wanted, needed to call Eva or Abbey. Or both. What could I say? If I was wrong, I’d sound insane and feel insane, which would most certainly not be a glorifying addition to how I presently felt. And even if I was right, they may not admit to it, which would not be much better, because I’d have no sound reason to think they were lying and would be forced, through the eye of reason, to label myself batty as fucking hell.

How the fuck does one ask the question I wanted to ask, anyway? “Hey, was there maybe some shit-talking, after which Eva decided she fucking hated me and wished I’d die a miserable death and feel all the pain she felt for whatever horrible thing she had decided I’d done to her? Why? Oh, no reason. No reason.”

So I just sat there at my computer desk, in my chair, staring at the bottom of my computer for awhile. A few minutes, maybe, I was just zoning, trying to cease freaking out, waiting for the foreign emotional mass within me to quell and depart, to have some mercy. Then I reached out and plugged in my cell phone so it would charge. The moment I did that, it rang.

It was Abbey. I picked up.

“Hey,” I said, unable to conceal the terror in my voice and my simultaneous and blatantly contradictory relief, pure ecstasy over the fact that she had called me. I somehow managed to tell her that I was freaking out for some reason, that it felt worse than death, that it had come out of nowhere. She told me to try to calm down. She asked me when it started to happen. Confused, hopeful, I told her about nine-thirty. I added in that Eva had texted me around the time it started, but I didn’t see how it could have anything to do with it. She had asked me an odd question, asked me where I was, asserted there was no reason she asked, but nothing in that conversation could possibly produce this. There was just no way.

Eva was already in her mind when she had asked me when all this had started, however; she checked her cell phone and informed me that this was exactly around the same time she had been talking with Eva and had told her that her and I might be having sex. Eva, apparently, was quite against the idea, as Abbey implied.

I didn’t ask for elaboration. A part of me felt I really didn’t need it.

All Abbey said was that it was strange timing, considering. I asked her if she would call her to see if she was all right. I would, but I wouldn’t know what to say and, well, it might not help matters. Might make them worse. “I don’t know why you’d be so sensitive towards Eva,” she said.

I said I’d try and call her, so I hung up the phone and did so. Eva didn’t answer the phone, so I left a message — a stupid, insane, and thankfully vague message — and called Abbey back. She was sincerely worried about me and, I think, a little curious about the whole thing, too, and so tried to call her for me. Curiously enough, she managed to get through. I texted her, asking if she was okay, if I was insane. Abbey texts back, while apparently on the phone with Eva, “You’re grade-A bonkers.”

I thought this would be good news, but I texted back to her something along the lines of, “That does it. I’m getting on medication.” And at the time, I really meant it. If something this intense was nothing, I honestly was insane, and I really did need professional help. I certainly did not want this happening, unprovoked, tearing me up inside whenever it wished.

After I calmed down a bit, I decided there were two options. That either I’m insane or this is something weirder. And if its something weirder, then Eva really ought to be honest with me, because I’d back off in a fucking second if she gave me validation of what I’ve felt from her towards Abbey. I don’t want to hurt anyone. Make anyone feel the way I’m feeling now. Least of all Eva.

Then Eva suddenly calls, but for some reason I think its Abbey when I pick up the phone — swear it was her name I saw on the screen — and Eva seems, I don’t even know. I know she’s calling because I’d called her and left her a text message. I tell her it’s nothing, I was wrong, I’m probably crazy, and I make haste in getting off the phone with her.

Abbey calls me back after talking to Eva, but we speak only briefly; she tells me that maybe I just need to sleep, as I had confessed to her that feat has not come easy for me as of late.

The next day at work, Abbey texts me to ask how I am; I tell her that I feel as though, for the most part, my emotions are my own now, and I guessed that was good. I felt increasing disconnection (though never entirely) from the source of the emotion, which I, in my likely insanity, still felt to be Eva, but the connection never went away entirely, although the emotions were losing force. It was kind of like when you loose control and maybe bark at somebody and you realize, shortly afterward, that you didn’t know your own strength; you kind of say, “holy shit,” to yourself and take a step back, let the air clear a bit.

Towards the end of the night, I felt that “piercing through” sensation in my mind — I remember the moment; I was at the counter and talking to my coworker, Mister Peepers — and impressions started pouring through again. Not like the night before, but the normal flow of emotions I sense from others. It again seemed to be from Eva. But subtler, thankfully.

III. Recovery of the Second Act.

It took me a day or two to realize what the flood of emotions I believed I had received from Eva reminded me of; what personal experience in my history it was analogous to. The answer, as it turns out, was my break-up with Kate. That was when I had felt that intense pain so many degrees more lethal than the cold fear of the clear and present potentiality of death. That is where I had felt that horrible sense of abandonment.

I remember it clearly.

It was not simply as if the universe, which was suddenly personified in my mind, simply had no sense of justice; it was not only that it had failed to recognize that I had, after all, earned this chance at true and lasting happiness through my agonizing endurance of loneliness over the years. It was not merely that the universe was impersonal. No, the universe was downright hostile — and it was hostile to me, specifically. It was cold and cruel and that night she called me, when my paranoia revealed itself to be intuition and she told me she was not returning from her vacation, I wanted to die. I felt as if I was the butt of the cruelest of the cosmic jokes, and I should have seen it coming from the beginning.

I should have seen the formula in action. It was simple. Clear steps. Take someone who fails to believe in love and fails to believe with normal strength. Break him down, convince him until he stops and goes retrograde, does a complete 360-degree turn. Watch him believing in love completely. Go too deep, too fast. Let him lift himself up on her wings, up higher and higher still and then — and then drop him. Make him a fool. Punish his stupidity. His naivete. Punish the crimeless, the ever-so cautious in trust. Reinforce the doubt he had for so long maintained despite the pain all in order to protect himself from abuse, betrayal and abandonment. Teach him there are no exceptions, no matter how convincing. Teach him you cannot believe in anything. Trust in anything. Punish him. And do it mercilessly, as if he were just any old fucking fool of love; as if he was the sort who had it coming.

I felt as if I had been tricked, as if I had been betrayed at a level so high and a degree so profound it was previously inconceivable.

I realized what the emotions had reminded me of maybe a day or two after the whammy emotional transmission. And three days after that psychic punch, I had a dream.

There is something I’ve found about dreams; maybe it is this way with everyone. Usually, if you look at it long enough, hard enough, and from enough angles, you can determine to some level of satisfaction why it is you had a particular dream at a particular time and what, at least in a generalized way, it was manufactured by the dark of your mind to convey to your conscious light. It has often seemed to me that dreams process data and make correlations waking consciousness may not see so clearly; this assumption of mine was only reinforced by my dream on November fifth, as it answered a question that had been gnawing me in the wake of the experience. I felt she cared for Abbey in a more than friendly way, but I still didn’t understand why she felt the way she did about the prospect of Abbey and I having sex. And then, as I said, along came the dream.

In the scene, I am at front counter at work, right in the area where those guys did construction in real life, but here its like a bar rather than just a counter. There’s an empty seat between me and someone else and this guy I know fairly well but haven’t seen in awhile sits down. He’s distraught, apparently, because he has just broken up with his ex-girlfriend. He explains things about the break-up to me and the guy on the other side of him — as well as to some tall, skinny, hairy heavy-metal-looking guy working by where the fryers would be in real life. Quickly I come to realize that this guy’s newly ex-girlfriend is Kate, my old ex-girlfriend. He just broke up with Kate? I try to hide my excitement, this surge of energy in me out of respect, but I’m excited by the possibility that she’s available. That things aren’t going terrific for her, that this guy has been tossed aside, that there might be hope for her and I because this guy has been removed from the equation. That there is a space to be filled now, and potentially by me.

Almost immediately afterward, I felt that this dream leaped off the similarity I had just recently consciously recognized between Eva’s transmitted emotions and my own. On the basis of conscious recognition my subconscious built up an analogous situation which would put me in Eva’s shoes and give me the opportunity to understand another aspect of her situation — one that, at least to some feeble degree, might also be analogous to the circumstances that had occurred between Kate and I. In the dream I learned that Kate’s boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend, was out of the way; their relationship was over. However unlikely it was that her and I would get back together in light of this fact, it nonetheless gave me space for the hope. And the idea that Kate was quite likely presently alone, lonely and unhappy because of this, that there was a space to be filled — it somehow added to my hope, however morbid that might sound.

So what on earth does this have to do with Eva and Abbey? Well, perhaps its analogous to how Eva herself felt when I told her I was convinced having sex with Abbey would ruin our friendship and that the romantic feelings I sensed Eva herself had for Abbey only added to my hesitance. She felt I was out of the way. When it seemed to Eva that Abbey and I wouldn’t be having sex after it at first seemed so certain that we would, I became analogous to the “ex-boyfriend” of my dream and her hope was lifted. And in that, the dream filled the gap between what we could refer to, for the purposes of order here, as the first and last acts.

The first was my awareness of the triangle. The third was seemingly unprovoked the psychic punch. The dream, then, provided the missing “second act” — it helped me, through analogy based on similarity of shared experience, just why Eva felt the way she did. Kate chose her parents and friends in California over me and I was expected to simply respect that because her love for them was not just different but of a higher order of importance. I could not compete. Then her father said he’d help her get a job, then she met that boy, got pregnant, got married. I could not compete. None of that was ever said explicitly, of course, but the circumstance seemed to communicate it in utmost clarity. Actions speak louder than words; as cliche as it sounds, it is undoubtedly true.

Perhaps Abbey’s desire to have such intimate contact with me made Eva feel the same kind of thing. She could not, or would not be so bold as to offer a resolution to Abbey’s sexual frustration; she could not, in that sense, compete. And if she had convinced Abbey she was not attracted to her, and Abbey could therefore not be rightfully blamed for failing to consider Eva’s feelings since she had been convinced that they did not exist, then the blame, in her mind, at least in a relatively transient and yet intensely emotional and reactionary moment, was to be laid upon me, who she knew to know of her feelings towards Abbey. And so in the very least she would have seen me as considering her feelings to be irrelevant in the matter, or at least of a lower order of importance, than the raging sexual impulses of Abbey and I.

IV. Instinct & Psychic Latrines.

On the phone, I tell her that I cannot seem to accept things as confirmation. It’s weird, because I automatically trust what I feel, what I intuit, the strange things I experience, but then I stop and step back and I don’t trust my trust. Silently, I know the problem is that I’m afraid of being wrong, that I feel as though maintaining doubt is my only means of defense against insanity — which is perhaps itself insane, because accepting nothing as true necessitates a standstill, which is clearly at odds with my quest for answers.

I explain how I’m also trying not to be a hypocrite. I spend a lot of my time attacking the blind faith of religion and fear falling into the same trap. She assures me that its not the same thing — that its an instinctual response to accept your perceptions after they satisfy certain basic criteria; that this is a sort of survival technique. And that sort of cliques with me, I must admit.

“And you can never know for certain if you’re right,” she says.

I also told her that when I had previously come across people who fit into the category I’d place both her and I in we both seemed to have intense affects on and reactions to each other — the paranormal activity between the two of us, in other words, tended to amp up, and weirdness in general seemed to escalate. Though I didn’t say it in this way, it seemed that when I came across people like Eva, who had recurrent experiences in the weird, we tended to synchronize in a way analogous to how women synchronize their menstrual cycles.

In her email a day or two ago she had confirmed to me (once again) that she did indeed hear my voice inside her head so long ago and, though much more hesitantly, she now confirmed, over the phone, that she had indeed purposely “downloaded” her emotions into me that one evening, much more recently. She says that she didn’t think it would have hit me so hard if I wasn’t so receptive, however, and then went on to suggest that my receptivity was only one of my many feminine personality traits, to which I conceded.

I explained the sense of abandonment I felt that evening. While she seemed hesitant to confess to it at first, she tried to explain what I felt to be a sense of abandonment and elaborate upon what she meant when she said she had purposely dumped her emotions into me. And she expressed it in what I think turned out to be an effective analogy. She said it was like when an animal’s eating and you try to take away its food — it tends to snap at you.

I am, of course, supposing Abbey was the food in this respect, and I, the foolish hand.

Most interesting is what she said next. It seems that once she dumped her emotions into me at a distance, she no longer felt them herself — they were gone; out of her. So I had in a way become the psychic equivalent of her emotional toilet.

Headspace.

At first Eva was simply some attractive blond-haired girl I had never met who occasionally commented on my MySpace blog. She first responded to a blog post I made on body language and expressed interest in the ideas of using it to build or break rapport more consciously as opposed to reacting instinctively.

Later, I learned that some of my friends — Zeke, who I worked with, and his girlfriend Abbey in particular — knew her and occasionally I would see her here and there in passing. I saw her in the downtown Halloween festival, dressed as a Vietnam era American soldier. Then she had come in to the fast food joint with a few of her friends to visit some girl I worked with at — again in costume, so-to-speak, only this time her and her two or three friends seemed to be wearing layered and oversized clothing, as if they were children who had just raided a thrift store. 

She was pretty, childlike and playful, so it seemed to me through our brief encounters, and through her MySpace presence I found her to be incredibly intelligent as well. There was a darkness in her, too. All of it made her so alluring to me. 

Through observation and word of mouth it became clear that she was addicted to exercise, frequently going to the gym or walking around town, frequently engaged in strict diets, cleanses, and there were occasional whispers among those who knew her about her vomiting up lunch. It all screamed Bulimia Nervosa. 

 It went deeper than that, though; she was intense, through and through. She always pushed herself. She seemed to prefer getting into a state where everything was stripped away, where she was fully immersed in her object of concentration, where she could shed herself down to naked attention and operate on will alone.

Her mental strength fascinated me. 

When she finally began coming into the restaurant as a pit stop on her walks, sometimes to kill time reading or writing, I got the chance to learn more about her directly. Being physically around her, it was unmistakable now: the girl had a distinct energy about her, which is to say that oftentimes I could literally feel it, as if she was a psychic furnace. Radiant despite the aforementioned darkness. 

From her friend request to hearing about her, from seeing her at a distance to finally talking with her — she seemed to be slowly spiraling into my life, shedding layers along the way, and it got deeper still — unfathomably so — on October 6, 2007.

It was raining. She came in after my lunch break, probably around eight o’clock, while I was working in the kitchen and covering other people’s breaks. Glancing over the grills and up at the counter, I saw a head of blond hair up front. Later I confirmed my suspicions that it was her who had come in.

Watching as she sat down in the far corner of the dining room, on one of the high tables and chairs behind the drink fountain, I smiled. Her usual seat, nine times out of ten, and a damned good choice. Its the best seat in the house for a people-watcher. If I were a visitor and not an employee, that’s exactly where I’d sit. Its secluded and offers a view of damn near everything possible and, as an added bonus, you’ve got a brick wall covering your backside.

Steve, our manager with the muffled voice, he sticks his head beneath the monitor from up front, looking at me, but before it even comes flying out his mouth I tell him I know, I tell him that I saw Eva come in and sit down. He laughs, amused at the fact that I know exactly where he’s going with this.

What could be more obvious, though? Right after she walks in the door, everyone keeps telling me how I should go for her. Asking me if she’s single. Asking me how old she is.

“She’s hot,” they tell me. And I go, ”I know, nothing could be more obvious, but its not like that. Its not that way. The girl’s not interested in me, not in that sense, and I can deal with that.”

After a short while, I step up front. I say hello to her by means of making eye contact and shouting, across the dining room, ”It’s the beautiful Eva,” which thankfully elicits a warm smile from her and not embarrassment or some painfully evident awkwardness, which was what I’d come to fear when the sentence was not even halfway out my mouth.

I walk over and ask how she’s doing, noticing as I do so that she’s reading what looks like sheet music. For quire at college, no doubt. The whole thing about her being shoved to the position of Alto, even though she really feels more suited for a Soprano.

She asks me if it has stopped raining outside and I tell her no, it hasn’t. She has to walk the whole way home, she tells me, and if it is still raining when the restaurant closes she’s going to hang out in my Explorer until I’m off work and she’s going to have me drive her back to her house. She seemed to expect in the very least some playful rebuttal on my behalf, but I shrugged and said that was fine. I had no problem, so long as she wasn’t a serial killer.

And after a short conversation (during which I manage to play it cool but am actually so nervous I can hardly remember a word of what was said) I announce that I’m going out for a smoke. I don’t invite her out with me as I did last time she stopped by. It wasn’t my intention to be rude, of course, it’s just that last time she was here and I did so she followed me outside after gathering up her things. Had a short-but-sweet conversation. Then, as we spoke in the midst of my smoking, her mother drove by and she was taken away. I didn’t want that to happen again. I also didn’t want her to know I had lied, and it really had stopped raining.

After smoking and then doing some work, I notice Steve is chilling at a table doing nothing, with the ever-annoying Derek sitting across from him. They’re just chatting. Steve’s a manager, and so I figure if he was just lounging around doing nothing than I certainly shouldn’t feel guilty about doing so. Guiltless, I then casually go and sit down across from Eva, who is in the middle of writing a poem. Its about some children in the woods and I think they get murdered towards the end. She can’t finish the poem and, after a wonderful but brief reading to me, she informs me she’s given up on concluding it.

This girl, she makes me so curious.

I want to ask her about the guy I saw coming up to her table while I was in back kitchen, but I don’t. She tells me that she just gave her phone number to him, that she’s been asked for it now a few times by random guys. It always happens in groups, she says. She’ll get approached and asked for her number by guys several times in a really short time period and then not again, not once, for a long time.

“Maybe it happens during hormonal peaks,'” I offer, suggesting that perhaps she is shooting out pheromones like mad. Or perhaps its something more along the lines of a psychic ability that gets amped up during that period. I keep speculating that all the weird, supernatural-like stuff happens to me during such peaks, and that’s probably behind my suggestion.

She makes a face. “I don’t like that word,” she says. ‘”Whore,'” she says, pausing. Then: ‘”Moan.'”

“All right then,'” I say, smiling, ‘”sexual peaks, then.”

She saw the Spiky Dikes (as I affectionately called them) the other day, which she indicates to me not verbally but by motioning her hands over an invisible mohawk on top of her head. I explain how its not really accurate now, considering how I had recently learned that Zoie, the little one, is a closet bisexual and not lesbian. She comes back with the fact that “Spiky Dikes” still has a nice sound to it, so I shouldn’t abandon the title. I find that I agree, but you always try to strive for accuracy, you know?

Surprisingly, I find that I’m not all that shy about bringing up the fact that Zoie perplexes me in much the same way as Eva here. For some reason, I just can’t read the two of them like I feel I can with most people. They simply feel different, which is hard for me to explain in words.

I told her how Anne, my ex, was kind of like that, too. Whenever Anne and I brushed upon the subject of feeling people’s vibes or I confessed how sometimes I felt I could feel other people’s emotions, sort of like psychic empathy, especially through the eyes, but how it was harder for me with her, Anne thought that maybe it had something to do with her wandering eye. If she held her eyes in place for a certain length of time, one of the eyes would start veering, just slightly. I always secretly thought that maybe the close connection Anne and I have on a certain, deep level made us erect certain barriers in defense of one another. Still, I could never be sure exactly what it was.

As I continued to talk with Eva, though, and our conversation seemed to get more involved, there seemed to be this intoxicating wave of emotion, or something, in the air. It was as if my mind was penetrating through some kind of membrane. Eventually, I started catching definite things from her — emotions, impressions, potent vibes — just like I do from normal people only the intensity was amazing, the reception crisp and clear. It was like some psychic form of tunnel vision.

There was one point where it almost seemed that I caught a sex vibe from her, which confused me so much I had to look away for a second. She noted it, too — the fact I’d looked away — and seemed to think it was something she had said, but I just told her no, it wasn’t that, there was just too much going on at once. I wasn’t even entirely certain what I meant by that, either, but something strange and wonderful was going on. It was like I was riding the wave of some supernatural high. I had to wonder, though: was I really seeing what was there, or was I throwing that out and was it bouncing back at me like some psychic echo?

As we went on talking, the rapport seemed to get deeper and deeper and ever-more intense. I mean this in no cheesy way, either. It’s not a poetic metaphor or anything of the like. It was literally the experience of some weird, almost psychic bond. I was reading things from her ever-clearer. Just emotions. Just impressions.

At one point I’m looking at her. I don’t think we’re talking, but I’m just gazing at her for a moment, unable to help myself. It wasn’t a particularly naughty gaze, but I think to myself, about her, ”god, you’re sexy,” as I look her way.

It was just internal dialog, but it seemed clearer and louder than usual. Like subjective stereo. Like a psychic echo. Not only that, but I had the distinct impression that she had heard me.

That I was in her head, or she was in mine, or we were temporarily fused in some mutual headspace. Maybe it was in her eyes, the way she lifted her head and looked at me. Perhaps it was in her facial expression, or perhaps it was just her vibe. The important thing here is that for some reason her hearing me think did not, at the moment, seem all that unusual.

So then I think, but this time intentionally to her, as a sort of experiment or test, ”You didn’t hear me, did you?” And she shakes her head, as a matter of factly, yes, up and down, up and down. And I eye her suspiciously, almost teasingly. “No you didn’t,” I think to her. She stops a second, as if hesitating, but just a second later she begins to shake her head no, side to side to side to side to side. Satisfied, I slam my hand on the table and say, with a smile — and I say it aloud this time — ”Good,” and casually get up out of the chair and make my exit passed the drink tower.

It was so natural.

Nothing from, ”you didn’t hear me, did you?” to the point that I got up seemed at all unusual or frightening. But as soon as I was halfway passed the drink tower adrenaline shot through me. I try to tell myself I didn’t remember it correctly, but it just happened. I try to tell myself that it didn’t happen, that its impossible that it happened, but it just happened.

Didn’t it?

Maybe I interpreted it wrong. Maybe she didn’t hear my thoughts, maybe I said it out loud. Maybe I was thinking out loud without realizing it.

This is how it goes. After it happens, I always walk away and try to convince myself it didn’t. It always seems to work this way with any occurrence that seems even vaguely supernatural. The reason is I don’t want to be crazy, and part of me is still gripping onto that quaint superstition — you know, the one where crazy people don’t ever think they’re crazy — and using it as a sort of defense mechanism.

If every time something weird happens I make sure to distance myself from the experience by means of constantly questioning everything, to distance from the experience by casting doubt upon the soundness of my mental functions and perceptions, well, then I’m being as sane as possible. I can’t be entirely sane, of course, because I still accept it might be true, but I can’t be entirely insane, either. Instead, I’m in this cozy gray-area, this safety-zone of the middle-ground. I’m secure in the land of the eternal maybe. See how the logic works?

There’s just one problem. The problem is, of course, the fact that I know damn well that crazy people can indeed know something is wrong with them. They can even know they’re downright bonkers, and this doesn’t necessarily make them, by some form of thought-magick, not crazy anymore. And since I know this train of illogic to be a superstition, I can’t hold onto this all-encompassing denial for too long without having to whip up new excuses for distancing.

Always there seems to be room for excuses, though. Room for doubt. After all, nothing is for certain. There’s no way to confirm anything, really, is there? In the end, when its all said and done, you can only offer yourself a shiver and a shrug. And least that’s how its been to me.

At least until now.

I walked back to the kitchen and I didn’t look behind me. The art of surviving the weird, be it supernatural or psychotic episode, is to let it roll off you like falling rain. Not to hide from it. Not to put your head up with your mouth wide open and drown in the drip-drops, either. Just walk along like nothing’s wrong. Go on about your day. Much like working on a painting or writing something, you can’t always really grasp what’s going on while you’re up close. Sometimes you’ve got to turn your back to it and walk or run a distance and then, after turning around and glimpsing the whole from a more detached perspective, you might be able to better grasp the overall nature of the experience. As in what it was, how and why it happened, what it means.

Often it takes years.

Of course, denial is often just the result of fear. And since my fear in this case is that of the unknown, I have no precise definition or clear nature to deny, so I deny the experience totally. I often find myself literally saying to myself how this, whatever this is, ”could not have happened.”

Next time I look out there in the dining room she’s grabbing her bags and leaving.

It could have been a hallucination or delusion that erupted out of some not-so-latent psychosis of mine, but it happened. It was real in the experiential sense, and to deny it even that degree of reality is as blind as lying blind faith in a singular interpretation regarding its reality.

So was it a hallucination, a delusion, strictly an event in my own, private headspace? Was I acting so weird it made her feel incredibly uncomfortable and that’s why she’s leaving? Or did it really happen, and that’s what made her feel so awkward she had to pack up her stuff and proceed to leave at just this moment?

I quickly make my way up front, and I catch her at the corner of the counter, and I look dead at her with wide, sarcastic eyes, my chin up, and point a scolding finger at her. Fixing her with an eye, I say, ”You were going to leave without saying goodbye,” accusing her in a teasing fashion.

”No,” she says in calm defense, staring for a moment, then looking away, then looking back. And then, sweetly, with just a tinge of sarcasm and a roll of the head as she speaks, she says, ”bye,” smiles ever-sweetly, and walks away, out of my line of sight.

Try as I might, I can’t stop regurgitating and dissecting the whole episode the rest of the night. I need desperately to tell someone, and I so wish my old friend Channing was around. I knew I could tell Abbey. Even if she didn’t believe me, she was at least accepting enough of my stories that they’d listen without judging or feeding my self-doubt. They would give me rational feedback.

I text Abbey, through my cell phone: ”Weirdness.” It isn’t until I’m on my way home that she texts me back, saying only, ”Nice to see you, too, pal.”

Shortly thereafter, she calls me, and though I hate talking on my cell while driving, I pick up and explain to her the fundamentals of what happened. How it was just like those kids years ago, those five year olds, namely the second one, which made eye contact with me. Our minds fused and he seemed to be able to throw visuals into my head. An image of him, like a clever, surreal cartoon image of him with a big, magnified face, huge eyes and this big, Cheshire Cat grin. Only with Eva, though the sensation was too similar to be a coincidence, it wasn’t visuals she threw at me but words I threw at her, or words that she took out of me.

I don’t even know if it was her or if it was me. As a matter of fact, I told Abbey, I can’t really say whether what I think happened really happened. I could just be fucking crazy.

She tells me that I’m not crazy and that I should talk to Eva about it, that I should just ask her, and I should do it soon. I should do it right away, say something before Eva forgets about it or dismisses the whole thing.

I agree with her that I should just swallow my pride and ask Eva right away, but the assumption that Eva would forget such an experience or dismiss it seems strange to me. I don’t see how that would be possible at all. It blew my mind, after all, and weird shit happens to me all the time. Not exactly like this, of course — not shit that I could usually potentially validate as something objective, or at least inter-subjective — but in this general, seemingly-paranormal category.

My final decision, and I reach it before reaching my apartment, is that I’ll send her a message about it through MySpace and I’ll be as vague as possible. That way in whatever way she responds it should be evident whether what I thought happened really did happen. I was worried about it because if this turned out to be nothing, just a hallucinatory-delusional psychological cocktail of mine, that everything I’d ever experienced in this supernatural category would be undermined. Proof, once and for all, of my insanity. It wouldn’t be, not really, but it would feel that way to me and, upon relating the story to others — which I would do for the sake of my honesty — it would also look and feel that way to everyone who had the ears or eyes to read or listen.

I got home and I wrote her:

”My reality check may have indeed bounced,” I wrote, ”and I certainly don’t dismiss that possibility. I may seriously regret discussing this, specifically for the reason I may make myself out to sound completely insane in the process, but I need to ask. If I don’t do so promptly I may kick myself in the ass for it later. For my benefit, I’ll keep my question as vague as possible: Towards the end of our conversation this evening, did anything particularly strange occur on your end? Shall we say, paranormal or supernatural-wise… ? Please respond as soon as possible. And be specific. Please. I’m a little perplexed right now. Very perplexed.”

The next day she wrote me a simple, one-sentence reply: ”I already answered you.”

I didn’t respond. Before opening the message, I had been sure I was going to be shot down, find evidence that nothing happened, and I was fully prepared to deal with the ramifications. I thought maybe if it turned out none of this was real I would seriously consider taking medication. Atypical anti-psychotics. Accept my total madness and move on.

Turns out it really happened.

Attentive in the Trough.

All the weirdness of my life happens in clusters, akin to the wave-like characteristics of UFO sightings, particularly as they were described by Jacques Vallee. More or less he described these waves as periods of inactivity broken by periods of intense activity — always following an altogether unpredictable pattern.

These waves have piques of unknown heights and troughs of uncertain depth. When riding the wave, drifting closer to the alien eye of the surreal, paranormal, psychotic cyclone, I mostly just document. During the silence of the troughs I keep trying to put it together, to determine with as most certainty as possible what they are and why this happens.

The reason is simple, really. It’s as if they wait until I have finally convinced myself that none of it ever happened, that it was all a really bad dream, that I could forget about them because they were never coming back, never really there to begin with and, bam, they return and I get to watch and feel as my life crumbles to dust all over again.

Perhaps my family of the strange and I truly are being conditioned.

To fight the recurring shock value of their return, I try and face them constantly, because the moment I turn my back and fall asleep with both eyes confidently, naively closed, I know its going to bite me on my ass.

Ocular Singularities.

We meet eyes and its as if I zoom in towards her pupil, then zoom out again. Did that just happen? I look at her and let go. It happens again. Each time with the pupil zooming I catch glimpses of emotions, images in my inner eye that encapsulate me, saturate me. Why is this happening again with such intensity? It has never happened with her before. Its interesting, I only wish I could understand it, control it…

A Guard Against Transparency.

In you walk with some tall, skinny fellow I presume to be your current boyfriend. As with last time I had seen you come into the dining room perhaps a month ago, when I look, your back is to me and I get the distinct impression you’re ignoring me. I feel determined to confirm or falsify it this time, so once you get up to the counter, I approach you within a comfortable distance and say hey. You do not so much as glance at me.

I know you’re high, I know you’re still taking it, but why you feel ashamed before me is beyond me. Have I judged you before? Never. Its your body, your life. I have my concerns but I respect your personal freedom.

I corner you into saying hello, but you still go out of your way to avoid my eyes, and I leave so as to put an end your obvious discomfort. You’re afraid of looking at me, afraid it might happen again — that I might hear what’s going on between your ears, that I may eavesdrop. You used to be amazed by the whole incident when you still worked here with me. Curious and excited about it. Now you’re avoiding me. Determined to hide something, keep it contained, and that’s your right. I would never intentionally intrude. I hope you know that.

I just hope you’re fucking okay.

Of Astral Planes & Entities.

The astral projections, or whatever label you wish to throw on them — they began for me in May, 1995. Before that, before I began slipping down the fault lines of corporeal reality, I had been concerned about ending up in a rubber room because I was having memories and real-time encounters with what appeared to be alien beings. With this additional strata of insanity, I did not foresee contact with a mental health professional resulting in anything less than a new, sleeveless jacket and a small, well-padded room.

I did, however, have a peculiar circle of friends who were willing to listen.

When I had explained these out of body experiences to a friend of mine during high school, he remarked that they sounded eerily reminiscent of people’s experiences when they took various kinds of psychedelic drugs. This was a comment I found intriguing. Until twenty years of age I would not so much as drink a beer or smoke a cigarette, though I was already — spontaneously and against my will, free of charge or foreign substance — having the kinds of experiences that some people paid to have delivered to them by means of inhalation, injection or ingestion. To top it all off, knowledge of this did not even make me feel privileged.

Subsequent research confirmed his allegations: not only did many psychedelic experiences bear the qualities of my OBEs, some of the most potent ones — namely Salvia Divinorum and DMT — seem to comprise all of them. I also found that the world I experienced closely corresponds to the allegedly parallel, non-physical worlds described by many out of body travelers, among them Robert Monroe and William Buhlman. They described this world, popularly referred to as the astral plane, as being “thought-responsive” or sensitive to consciousness, effectively molded by the conscious and unconscious aspects of the out-of-body traveler. Even later, I would find that my otherworldly experiences — and so the astral plane and some full-sensory psychedelic experiences — also fit the characteristics of some lucid dreams.

Whatever the experience was, then, it did not require psychosis, psychedelics or death to get there, though that is not to say that they were not effective avenues. All one really required, however, was a slumber of appropriate depth, a snooze that sufficiently inhibited our senses receptors and brought on sleep paralysis while keeping conscious awareness acute.

From this one might conclude that lucid dreams might be mistaken for trips to the astral plane or vice versa, but what it really reveals is that the two are indistinguishable. The attempt to find distinctions has proven to be futile. Meeting up with a fellow out of body explorer in a predetermined otherworldly locale could be interpreted as evidence in support of a parallel universe, for instance, but it could just as easily be presented as further suggestion of what is variously called a shared, mutual, meeting or telepathic dream. This is a dream shared between two people, presumably through the medium of telepathy. Some are allegedly even shared lucid dreams.

Some of these dreams are shared between two living individuals, but there are also reports of dreams between the living and deceased. From this we might presume they can be shared between the dead as well. This would suggest that in death we not only retain access to the physical locale, but the capacity to dream. Even the dead, then, could not determine whether the world I am evidently dealing with is a network of dreamscapes or another plane of existence. If death is a transitory state, though, and both the physical worlds and telepathic dream worlds are constants, isn’t the distinction ultimately arbitrary? There are perhaps two different kinds of real which we have access to, be us alive or dead, much as the entity in my initial experience had gone to such lengths to convince me.

Of course, that still leaves the nature of that entity open to question, and if that was the same entity that later went on to attack me for years as I continued having these experiences. Dream characters are manifestations of your own mind, but that seemed more akin to a real conversation, and the later incidents felt like real, excruciatingly painful interactions. Was this another person, and were they living or dead? Was this a dissociated aspect of my personality?

I’m not sure how I could ever know for sure.