Friday, November 28, 2014

Paranormal Activity

Spencer Dryden

This posts sweeps up a couple of recent topics, disbelief and cravings. It involves the most powerful paranormal experience of my life which occurred in the spring of 1965, a time when I did not believe in such things—as was ordained by the Church. Such things fell under the general rubric of Satanic worship. If you're hoping for salvation as a Roman Catholic, you better not be caught dead in that theater. Pile on the sins from the relentless stream of  impure thoughts and,'re pretty much without hope of getting past the pearly gates.  I believed in the "Holy Ghost", and hoped my guardian angel watched over me, but nothing else in the spiritual realm which wasn't stamped with the papal imprimatur.
Bless me father, but I did have an 'experience' once with the Ouija board. I guided the pointer to
spell out a scary message trying to impress a girl with my psychic powers.  I put my immortal soul on the line to impress a girl. What was I thinking?  Didn't work. It could have easily been the beginning of one of those chain saw massacre, satanic, paranormal, don't open the closet, oh let's go into the haunted house to get away from the storm movies that are so popular today.
I had no trouble suspending disbelief when "The Exorcist" came out years later. I knew from my religious training that Satan was waiting, lurking, ready to devour the soul of some poor innocent kid who hadn't said their prayers or had stolen some money from the jar in his parent's room. (I put it back. Really.) I hear tubular bells.
My experience began innocently enough. I was at the end of my Freshman year at an all boys Catholic high school in Milwaukee. A good friend had a sister attending a boarding high school in the Madison area, about 90 miles away.  She had a part in the school play. My friend was obligated to attend, as his mother and step-father were traveling out of the country.  He convinced me to go along to lessen the pain of riding across the state with his aunt and uncle. What a dope I was. Sure, what are friends for?  In the guy world we call friends like this wingmen now. I was being a good wingman.  I've got a great wingman story I hope to get published. It features that wild girl all us Catholic boys hoped to meet one day. But I digress.
It was dark by the time we reached the outskirts of Madison. Her school was on the north side of town, so we got off the freeway and made the final leg of the trip via state highway. We rounded a curve only a few miles from her school. Off in the distance, behind some rolling hills I could see the lights of a town. No buildings, just the warm glow coming over the hill in the night time sky. Suddenly, every instinct that says "home" flooded my soul. It was disconcerting to say the least. I'm not talking about, 'oh this looks the same as'... No, this was deep in my core where you don't have words, just sensations. All of those sensations said 'home' was just over that hill in that little community.
It wasn't the kind of experience that I could brush off. It was too powerful. I hardly remember the play or the return trip, I was so full of wonder at this experience. I tried to deconstruct it many times looking for the accidental triggering of the 'home' instinct. Nothing. I didn't mention it to anyone lest I be whisked away for an exorcism. Maybe I was psychic after all.
A year and a half later my parents moved to that little farming community. It's where I had my brief encounter with fame that I described in the post on cravings. Go figure. I still have trouble believing it.


  1. Hi Spencer-

    As skeptical as I am about things like that, there's always the realization that we don't know it all. There are many things beyond our comprehension that manifest themselves in ways we can'r dismiss.

  2. Thanks Daddy:
    Maybe some people are better transducers. Imagine how a radio would be interpreted by someone in the first century.

  3. Great story, Spencer.

    My heart aches for you, when I hear how badly you were messed up by your early religious upbringing. Now that's Satanic.

    And I think I remember your wingman story. That's the one about the call in radio show, right? Wonderful, subtle tale!

    1. Thanks Lisabet,
      My big wingman story, "A Wingman's Reward", has only been seen by my crit partners. It sat at Ellora's Cave for Men for Eight months, "awaiting an acquiring editor". I pulled it a few weeks ago when it appeared there was no hope of ever cracking into the all female line-up. ( of male oriented fiction.....grrrr)

      The story you are recalling (thank you) is an all dialogue piece called "The Dude" which works around a radio call-in show. It's about a wife taking revenge on her cheating husband by seducing one of her husband's wingmen who is the unreliable narrator of the piece. I would gladly donate it to our OGG sampler.

    2. That was an extraordinary piece, Spencer. Had me in stitches. But it was more than that too.

    3. Thanks Daddy:
      I love all dialogue pieces as I know you do too. I wish there was someplace to place them. They are high art to me.

    4. I find all-dialog shorts valuable in learning to introduce action and atmosphere into dialog.

  4. Spencer, your experience with the town that was not yet but would be "home" sounds like some variation on "deja vue". Makes one wonder about the nature of time. Time seems to be one of the major concepts that we know the least about and wonder the most.

    1. Sacchi:

      I agree.

      I saw a recent program discussing the "multiverse theory". I had a hard time wrapping my brain around it, but proponents say time doesn't exist. If everything is in the present, it would make my experience much easier to explain.

    2. Makes sense. Time is the fourth dimension. It exists for some theorists as a straight line. What time it is depends on where on the line one is traveling.

  5. One thing that strikes me about stories like yours is how intensely personal they are. I completely believe that you felt the way you did, and when I've tried to describe experiences of my own like that, words have really failed me. I always feel as if I can't really communicate what I'm trying to say.

    As far as your wingman story and EC for Men, I know I've said it before, but you dodged a bullet. (Just google what's been going on with EC lately). And I think not getting picked up had nothing to do with the line being female dominated and everything to do with the fact that EC laid off most of its editors this year and is downsizing. I think the awaiting an acquiring editor thing was the truth.


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