Picking up where we left off in last week's blog, this one also first appeared in my SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE column from January, 2008.
I never know how each of these stories will conclude once I find the sacred space with which to write them. I know only that their theme will be based on the supernatural ( for lack of a better word ) events which I believe will ultimately wake us from our subconscious slumber. Civilizations in previous ages have all witnessed their own share of miracles, usually heralding a new age. So what miracles, technology aside, are taking place in our modern world today? And are we too pessimistic to even notice them?
I write about a lot of seemingly miraculous events, I can't seem to get enough of them, but more importantly, I think that one should expect them to happen. Before our Age Of Reason, which I have faith is drawing to a close once more, people spoke with gods and angels frequently. For some reason ( there's that word again ), most of us would believe such things simply can't happen today. Regardless of how we view God, if at all, or angels or devils or spirit guides, we are still viewing through finite human eyes and then processing information through a human mind. Extracting our ego, in a world that was still flat not that long ago, one which made up the center of the universe, with people jailed for thinking otherwise, is still an issue. That which we deem coming from the divine will never make any sense to us, we will never recognize all of its faces, and we will run in fear from it, throwing rocks at the moon, unable to make out Magellan's passing ships until it is too late. Because the divine is without reason, and if it's not in popular media, cannot guarantee us a job, a mate, catalogs of frivolities, or even revenge, what good is it to us?
We have our own human construct of the mystic, and mystical events. Perhaps we ultimately feel we're not good enough for miracles, and that if it doesn't, for whatever reason, happen for us, then it shouldn't happen for anyone else either. After subtracting such ego, I began to experience some profound things. I realized that some form of divinity was always attempting communion with me, however weighted down in my Age Of Reason I happened to be. Quoting Caroline Myss, of our modern age, "we are all mystics without monasteries."
A mystic then, the following is another example of the world I have shaped through the expectation that miracles do indeed continue to happen. We each have our own truths, whether or not they incorporate a god, and this is how I have sought mine.
I marked the page I had been reading, closed the book and looked out the passenger side window, yawning. We'd been on the road for a couple of hours and I was getting drowsy. Every few minutes, I'd gaze out toward the night sky for any sign of movement. I was reading Christopher O'Brien's The Mysterious Valley, about the unexplained paranormal activity taking place in Colorado's San Luis Valley, near the Sangre De Cristo mountain range. There had been hundreds of reports of unidentified lights in the sky, bizarre cattle mutilations, poltergeist phenomena, strange sounds, and sightings of unknown life forms. I was watching the highway for those, too, as the high beams of the truck eerily lit up the dark road before us, guiding us out into the great unknown, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, as my friend Wayne and I made our way south toward The Valley.
I held up an audiocassette I'd labeled with a question mark and waved it before him. We had been listening to an audiotape of a psychic reading he had with a woman he was going to introduce me to when we got back. It sounded interesting, but I hadn't known him for very long, and had no way to authenticate the validity of the information the woman was giving. Wayne assured me that the psychic had told him things she could never have known, including the sign language he used with his former partner, the nicknames they adopted, and illnesses they bore. I'd had a couple tarot readings previously, but only for the novelty, and so far not one so-called psychic I'd ever crossed paths with had ever given me reason to believe in a sixth skill. Right now, I wanted only to listen to the compilation of dark industrial and techno music I'd made, enhancing the already sinister atmosphere and helping to keep me on my hunting toes. Staring out the window again, all I could see was the reflection of my face softly illuminated from the booklight in my lap. I looked hopeful, and my eyes were wide with excitement and wonder.
Was there truly a place, a paranormal Disneyland, where just any Joe Blow could experience the plethora of supernatural activity said to occur there? A Native American, I was more than well aware of the existence of a spirit world, and the thin veil between that dimension and ours. Even though all of my family had experienced strange phenomena wherever we'd ever lived, I wanted communication with something other than your average ghost.
There were supposedly portals to other places in The Valley, and I thought of the black and white lodges portrayed in the television series Twin Peaks. Could it really be as easy as that? Like slipping through a membrane, parting a curtain, stepping through a stargate? U.F.O.s weren’t anything new to me, as they had fascinated me since childhood. Hopi creation myths had spoken of the Star Ancestors, and I thought of all the Kachina dolls I'd ever seen, robotic and alien, their Native patterns resembling ancient circuitry, often technological in design. What we were heading into was high strangeness, and what was once believed to be events concerning off-planet intelligences was now suggested to be interdimensional in nature. Something was slipping through veils on their own side to our earthly plane and I was willing to release anything I knew or thought I knew. Something had the technology to mimic our aircraft, and our people, and too many of them were witnessing something to not take notice.
Born in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, with many in our poor tribe still hunting for food, we were exposed to the cattle mutilation phenomena, having found dead bovines and horses which had undergone impossibly clean and precise surgical procedures. In most cases the blood was completely removed, as were eyes, tongues, rectums, with no footprints leading to or from the animals. This baffling work was not being committed by predators, and because the surgical procedures suggested that some form of laser was being used, and because sightings of mysterious orange lights in the sky were being witnessed, many believed, and still do, that extraterrestrials were responsible.
I found my beliefs in friendly, benevolent ETs steadily evaporating, being replaced with something far darker and unsettling. Shadowy government affiliations and reverse-engineered technology, underground bases and genetic experimentation gone awry were becoming the new myths of our age. I was deep out in the San Luis Valley, where the stories incorporated all of these things, driving down spooky backroads , squinting up into a pitch black sky for any indication of the high strangeness Christopher O’Brien, Linda Moulton Howe and several others had for years been reporting. In the Pine Ridge of my childhood, I had once owed a horse, completely white, whom we had named Snowball. We set him and the others free when our families migrated toward Denver, Colorado for better opportunities in life. I thought of him as I scanned the dark heavens, hoping he had not met the same bizarre fate as the countless mutilated animals found here.
The destination Wayne and I had decided on was San Luis's Greenie Mountain, where the most dramatic of U.F.O. sightings, as well as a purported crash, had occurred. Apparently the military had picked up the craft on radar, and when private investigators radioed in with their own information from their helicopter, they were deliberately misdirected to a location several miles away while the military either shot down the craft and/or collected the remains. Had a crash actually occurred, I knew the military would have been more than thorough in picking up any debris, but I wanted at least to stand in the place where such an event had occurred, absorbing its energetic echo, getting an intuitive feel, a reaffirmation that our age was truly one of signs and wonders and how I might find the means to fight the future.
I turned the volume dial up and rolled down the windows as a remix of the X-Files theme song blared from the speakers. To have a book in my hand, whereby I could read the outrageous claims of San Luis's residents and then looking out the window to see the Sangre De Cristos in all their mysterious, moonlit glory was like walking into a story, waking up in a dream, engaging in a call-and-response with another form of the unknown. I was near spiritually bankrupt at that point, having an Indian name but not knowing where to go from there, filling the absence of spiritual guides in my youth with those from Denver's nightlife: party people, d.j.s, bartenders, rave organizers. Because I had been moved from South Dakota early, I had also been deprived of the elders, vision quests, sweat lodge ceremonies, sundances and powwows that may have shaped me into someone else entirely. Whoever he might have been, I was looking for him now, praying for illumination, turning away from the false light and dead ends of discotheques and underground parties, when a trail of synchronicity had led me to Wayne, a fellow adventurer who was game for anything.
He also seemed a little fed up with his own circle of circuit party snobs, and so we became fast friends, watching Laurie Anderson videos in his basement, trading ghost stories over turkey dogs on his deck, holding mini sweat lodge ceremonies in his little steam room, laughing over vegetarian meals in his kitchen. He'd also heard of the "Taos Hum", the inexplicable and untraceable low-frequency sound heard by many of the residents and visitors of New Mexico, and I had just picked up The Mysterious Valley after reading an article about recent phenomena there in a local paper. Wayne had experienced much of the same paranormal phenomena I had, and we decided immediately that we would have to see these places for ourselves.
I tore through my closet the night before our trip. What did one wear when meeting with The Great Mystery? Of all the archetypes in my life, the most prominent was that of the Magical Child, who through imagination makes his world into one of exciting opportunity through great improbability. In the last years of my childhood, I was refining those skills, desperately hanging on to any magical shreds as my body, my environment, and my friends, became gradually unfamiliar. I was in Ohio visiting my cousins for a month during that time, the last of those mystical Indian summers. They lived in a haunted house near a dense forest. We'd explore this wooded area looking for our own Terabithia, with Goonies-inspired handmade treasure maps, chasing ice cream trucks, piling into their station wagon at twilight for a drive-in movie, listening late into the evening for ghosts.
Their mother was an armed guard at a local mall, and we'd often accompany her to work, playing spies, slingshots and cheap plastic handcuffs in our back pockets, my 007 combination wrist watch / gun always poised. We posed as bellhops at a hotel, sneaking into the elevators, pressing floor buttons for guests and holding their luggage, graciously collecting tips to support further summer outings. Late at night my uncle would recount the ghostly goings-on he had experienced living in the house, pulling up the carpet to show us the blood stains of the woman who had been shot to death at the top of the stairs. He showed me the god’s eye which used to spin by itself, pointing out the exact spot where their backyard met the forest where the spirit of the woman had beckoned him to follow her. We would sit at the top of the stairs listening for the ghost of the man who had shot his wife to death in a jealous rage, the same one who had called out to my aunt as she returned home from work late one evening. From the bottom of the dark basement steps my aunt would whisper up to us, just as the man had to her, “Sherry…” “Sherry…”
As terrifying as those nights could be, we still wanted more. Perhaps we were used to growing up haunted, but our perception truly was different than that of the average person, for we had seen objects slide across tables in the dark by themselves, doors opening and closing, lights turning on and off, people crying or laughing in the night when no one should be. We each had access to a paranormal playground, though as an adult, I was forgetting how to alter my perception, to view life as a playground again. My magic child, having a game of marbles with my cells, shook a stout finger back and forth at me. I'd forgotten how to play. Seduced by false, fast-moving currents of energy, I had nothing to show for my life investments save for a catalog of old rave fliers and a technopunk wardrobe that had quickly turned passé. More than that, I was having a hard time identifying with people. Friends weren't really friends, you just happened to look good standing next to them, and deep inside I understood I wasn't learning anything new from them. Starving for the sacred in my late 20’s, in tattoo and piercing parlors, I was beginning to bore of myself. I didn't know what I needed, but I needed something, and I was yearning for direction and meaning. Something within me must have just decided, must have really meant it finally, to hand over my reigns to a higher power. I began asking the right questions, and began opening up to difficult answers.
It instantly became clear that I would have to leave the unfulfilling job I held, as well as the unfulfilling relationship I was in. Neither were doing anything for me, and the city had become stagnant. I was taking night drives often, devoid of any destination but looking, and although I was more than familiar with Denver, Colorado, I found myself getting lost often. In an instant everything appeared unfamiliar, as became true with the people I'd known. It appeared there was some mysterious restructuring occurring in my life, and I knew it was high time, so I didn't resist.
I began meeting other people, older people, attracted to the wise elders I had missed, who were intelligent, easygoing, and spiritually minded. One of them did something called "light body work", kind of like a masseuse for the spirit. He was able to locate and remove negative energy blockages in the body that could lead to illness. He seemed very perceptive, and we began a sort of intuitive game where we would psychically guess things about each other's lives. The results were fascinating, and eerily accurate. I understand now that he was an earthly guide, preparing me, as life always does, for what was coming next.
I soon discovered a little metaphysical store in an old Victorian building on the outskirts of the city. Walking inside was such a wonderful escape from the torrent of my gritty reality as I was greeted with the smell of intoxicatingly rich incense, soft chimes toning in the background, walls full of images and sculpture from world religions I was unfamiliar with. Everything was devoted to spirit there, the friendly staff and its customers all resonating with a different level of consciousness I both admired, deeply respected and envied. I began purchasing crystals, candles, esoteric books and new age music, filling the empty void where my former life had been. The pace of my life was beginning to slow down, as my mind adjusted to another way of being. I was still confused, but felt more at peace, and I began to feel as if I were actually being guided to someone or something, laying the groundwork for all that was to come.
Giving up on the map, Wayne and I decided instead to use our intuitive skills. This proved difficult, as it was pitch-black and cold outside, and the road we thought would lead us to that magic mountain had abruptly ended. We found a large mound nearby, and decided to camp. The sky had become overcast. If there were anything flying around above our heads, we'd be unable to see it. We were still having a neat adventure though, so we planned to look for the Taos Hum in New Mexico, leaving early the next day.
I awoke on a dewy, mist-enshrouded hill in the mountains, still not knowing which one was Greenie, a little deflated about the lack of activity the previous evening, but we'd be on our way to New Mexico, as well as more mystery, shortly. I checked my nose, neck and arms for any signs of medical procedure, only finding a couple of mosquito bites. No, I had not been abducted by aliens in the night.
"Damn," I whispered, looking around the truck for any mysterious tracks. In the valley to my left, a cowboy with a black hat was nonchalantly riding a horse with his eyes to the ground. On the right was another, with a white hat, also scanning the valley floor for something. I felt like those treasure hunters they speak about, bitten by the gold bug, no matter how deep they dug, the treasure was always three feet deeper. I wanted to stay, I was sure we'd see something if we just gave it another night, headed deeper into the woods…
I vowed to return when I had more time, and so we were off to Taos. I'd never been there, but I was by then used to the unfamiliarity of everything, including my own reflection, which I noticed was gradually changing. I began to feel a heightened perception, a sweet, nurturing energy as we crossed into New Mexico. I wondered if there were crystals underground, amplifying everything, able to alter one's perception…
I fell in love with all of the adobe, the simplicity, the wide, open landscapes and mystical mountain scenery. We found a hotel and walked around the Taos plaza. From deep within my cells crept the familiarity and the feeling of home that had been absent from my life. That night, we visited a health club set against the face of one of the mountains. I sat in one of the hot tubs, looking up at the milky way, not, with all of the city's light pollution, having seen it so clear and luminous since my childhood. I felt bathed in its light, reenergized, altered somehow, perhaps even down to the molecular level. It felt like it was aware of me, in the way one might befriend someone similar to them. I felt an odd connection, a feeling that I had found the right place to be, the right place of being.
I stepped out of the hot tub and, by way of daring myself, jumped into the "cold plunge" of icy water nearby. I quickly popped back out, sputtering, the stars above me brighter than ever, breathing in the night with an exhilaration I'd never felt before. I knew my former life was finally falling away, the heavy weight going with it, and I was beginning to know what it felt like to truly live in present time. There was a radiance to things, one I'd never noticed before, and I didn't want to go home ever again. I thought of Erasure's song "Home", partially inspired by the musing of Dorothy choosing instead to stay in Oz. My soul yearned to stay in this dream place, I was afraid of returning to nothing.
As it was, Wayne and I had been watching the Out On A Limb miniseries, in which Shirley Maclaine's spiritual journey takes her to Peru with a guide who shows her a new way of being. She experiences a number of fantastic incidents which show her how much more there is to life and a generic god, involving synchronicity, a sixth sense, astral travel, past lives and proof of extraterrestrial contact on our planet. In the end she must return home to apply what she has learned, despite a great fear of returning to nothing except ridicule.
People had most likely always thought me odd, so I didn't care what people thought of my own personal spiritual quest, wherever that might lead me. I was going U.F.O. hunting, I was going to meet a psychic, I was going to listen for a mysterious hum in the earth. I was having more fun than my inner child ever thought possible and the experience was real and entirely rich with possibility. I was beginning to see that which I deemed God in another light, and I realized we had never had the closest relationship to begin with. It was so cleansing to shed everything I knew of "Him", of all "His" supposed anger, wrath and judgment. My image of God had been shaped for me by others, and, letting go of those suburban myths, I felt like a deep relationship was finally possible.
Wayne and I never did hear the hum. I would hear it myself on a return trip several years later, but after returning from New Mexico he introduced me to the psychic Josie, who was unlike anything I had expected. She felt oddly familiar, as if I'd known her before. It was like meeting a long-lost aunt, and she hugged me warmly. There was a white candle on the table between us, as well as a collection of quartz crystals. She placed a cassette into a nearby player and began recording the session, beginning with a simple prayer. Because I was at a loss for words, she started by collecting information from my energy field and higher consciousness. Later, one of my spirit guides would appear with information. I was ready for carnival tricks, so I kept my body language neutral and shared no personal information with her. I didn't necessarily need to know my future, I was looking for proof of psychic ability, a glimpse of the other side of our three-dimensional world, a wave hello from a divine being.
The information she began to reveal about me was accurate. She knew I liked playing a lot of games and was interested in creating one of my own. She knew I was composing music. In my Gen-X youth these could very well have been lucky guesses judging by my appearance, until she spoke the first and last name of my first love, popping in via spirit to say hello. I had never shared this information with Wayne, and I was startled into silence. She went further, with information about a half brother I'd never met. She also gave me his first and last name, another piece of info Wayne knew nothing about. I remember how startled my mother had been when I approached her with this name.
Josie informed me about the spirit parasites I had picked up in my last unhealthy and unfulfilling relationship, and the need to be conscious of my every thought and act, as everything I sent out would return threefold. She had a lot of amazing, practical spiritual advice, even regarding health issues, diagnoses which were absolutely correct. She remained humble, but motherly, and I did feel that the information coming in was indeed from a spirit plane. She even spoke about the lights I had seen in the sky, a program about U.F.O.s on her television set when I walked in, with her asserting that she never watched television before a reading. I was stunned, as the reality, the realization of the truth, began to seep in. All of this was real, all of this was really happening.
According to her, I would meet my twin soul in my lifetime, not too far off. She gave me three things to look for, as well as traits of the person. A twin soul was one who was created with you, agreeing to reincarnate with you again and again as a teacher and pupil. Josie believed all souls are basically without gender, able to incarnate in both male and female bodies lifetime after lifetime, informing me that I had been a woman in the life before my current one. She described her physical appearance, which matched the type of women I had always been inexplicably attracted to. She then informed me I had known my twin soul in that particular incarnation as well. He had played the piano for me in a saloon back then, as he would again play for me in my current lifetime. She said he was full of humor, and would be trying to "get the hell out of Chicago" before I met him, and that he was with someone named Michael.
She described his deep brown eyes and saw him, of all things, making grilled cheese sandwiches. She also gave me the name of a spiritual teacher I would want to look into, a woman by the name of Caroline Myss, who was a medical intuitive, able to detect illnesses and dis-eases in a person. I thought of my old friend who had done light body work, and my first love, who had introduced me to the spiritual works of Richard Bach, both helping to pave a way to this moment. It was so much information, almost too much, yet I breathed in all of its truth, understanding there was no going back from here.
Years later, I met someone whom I instantly suspected was the one Josie had spoken about, entering the metaphysical store I was managing at the time. I knew we were going to be great friends the moment I saw him, knowing, from a very deep place, that I already knew him. As he was paying for his pile of books on the human energy centers of the body, I commented on his Snoopy checkbook, and he flashed me his Joe Cool tattoo. I flashed him my Star Wars tattoo. After leaving, he returned an hour later with a Star Wars calendar he had found. At lunch that day, the toy being offered in the kid's meal of the restaurant was a Snoopy soccer ball. It was synchronicity, and I caught a flash of a new path quickly unfolding before me.
Mr. Joe Cool had actually been trying to "get the hell out of Chicago", just as he described it, after 9/11. He was afraid of being stuck there due to more possible terrorist acts while visiting a friend named Michael. His name is James, the same one who I have been spiritchasing with all these years. His eyes are deep brown, and he does play the piano, with special attention to "The Entertainer" and other old wild west saloon hits. He's delightfully funny, refreshingly crazy, and was a stand-up comedian for three years.
I still wondered about the final sign, the grilled cheese sandwiches, as if I hadn't been given enough evidence already, and the first morning I sat before my computer to email him, an internet pop-up ad appeared on the screen before me. Apparently, the image of Jesus had been sighted on a grilled cheese sandwich, as well as Mary, Mother Theresa, and other saints. The ad contained many different kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches, each bearing a different likeness of the divine, with the final one featuring St. James.
By 2013, James has proven to be an excellent fellow adventurer, and we have gone U.F.O. ghost hunting on numerous occasions, returned to the San Luis Valley, attended powwows and met several inspirational figures, including Caroline Myss, Linda Moulton Howe and Christopher O’Brien, not to mention the sci-fi celebrities we are granted an audience with at any number of the conventions we attend each year. He has watched me on television being interviewed about some of my synchronistic experiences, perused through the material I used in my U.F.O. lectures, witnessed dreams and signs I've had spring to fruition, and was there with me when innocent photographs we took together first revealed the presence of spirits around us. He was with me at a L.A. studio last year when we were being interviewed about similar photographs for the Biography Channel and raced about with me through Disneyland and Venice Beach as life became a playground once more.
( Meeting Christopher O'Brien )
( Meeting Linda Moulton Howe )
( Meeting John Burroughs of the Rendlesham Forest incident )
( Meeting Christopher O'Brien )
He has become my brother, my best friend, my greatest ally. I sit in our kitchen having lunch with him, watching an old Unsolved Mysteries episode filmed in our city. It concerns an unknown life form witnessed in the woods here by many 'Springs residents. So many, in fact, that a crossing sign was erected for it on the road up to Pike's Peak, a mountain James has successfully climbed. The magical child within finds this all terribly exciting, and I look over at him, my mouth full of grilled cheese, his deep brown eyes already holding the answer to my question.
( Image altered using iPhone UFO Camera app )
( Image altered using iPhone UFO Camera app )
"Are you game?"
- Christopher Allen Brewer, August, 2013.