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The Vortex

The first week we had the cat, [my all black female kitty with yellow/green eyes, right after moving into the new apartment at the end of May, 2000] I was playing with her in the living room, when suddenly she stopped, and started freaking out. Her eyes fixated on something that I couldn’t see, right next to us, and her eyes got wild and scared. She arched her back, fluffed her fur out like a Halloween kitty, and then proceeded to gallop around and around in circles in this herky jerky way, around this mysterious something that I was just NOT seeing, no matter how hard I tried. Her eyes were locked on it. From the height she was looking, it was like she was looking up at a person. She’d stop for a brief second, making funny scared mewing sounds up at it, then start up again, herky jerky ‘round and ‘round.

My hair was standing on end and my heart was racing as I watched this. I knew that she was brand new with us, and that cats have different personalities and all that, but I also realized that this was just not normal cat behavior. And it wasn’t some bug flying about either, or a piece of lint or dust floating about.

I scooted back up against the wall, nervously eyeing the area in question, but, I didn’t see anything. Or feel anything either, for that matter. No vibes of a presence, or of something bad and negative. I would soon learn though that the one human presence we had going on there didn’t leave a “vibe” feeling when it was around usually. Not one that you would notice when you’re busy and distracted, anyway. Which was half the problem, the reason why it was always having to “do stuff” to get our attention, otherwise, people like me would never know it was even there.

After about thirty seconds of this, she slowed to a stop, and moved off to the side, and slowly, hesitantly sat down. She was no longer fixated on a line of site, but rather, just glancing around, nervously. Apparently it was over, whatever it was. I was really confused about the incident, only because I hadn’t seen, heard or felt a single thing. But I knew she had.

By the second or third week of being there, that’s when the stories started with my brother.

The first I heard of anything from him that I can remember, I was in the kitchen after work in the late afternoon, preparing dinner for myself. Joe came out of his room and started talking to me and nervously brought up the subject of the fact that he’s uh, had some REALLY weird experiences going on in his room lately…

Oh yeah? I asked, not really surprised. Like I’d noted before, Joe’s a magnet.

He then started telling me all about “something” pulling him out of his body and dragging him along with it, in an astral projection sort of way. It brought Joe to this thing’s “world” and reality, where Joe basically just followed along after it, taking in the scene and tagging along.

I listened, objectively. This was pretty off the hook, even for Joe. Although, I had to remember, he was older now. He wasn’t a 12 year old little kid anymore. He was in the big leagues now. He’d spent the last couple of years honing his astral projection skills, and had become well acquainted with “opening windows” and attracting in the heeby jeebies everywhere he went. So his abilities had been building up considerably since I’d last lived with him. He proceeded to describe this world where these “things” lived…It was some bare, really cold place, with a barren landscape. It was so cold that had he been in a physical body, he wouldn’t have been able to survive. And these things lived underground, where it was warmer. Their existence was bare bones. Solely about survival from day to day. He walked along with this thing that had yanked him out of his body, in the underground areas where they lived. There were also all these cylinder tube things, thousands of them, lined up as far as the eye could see, that went from the underground, to the surface, and up beyond, into the sky. He didn’t know what the cylinders did, what purpose they served.

Okay, I thought. So, what did this place LOOK like? I asked.

It was hard for him to explain, so it’s going to be hard for me to explain, but basically, he got the impression that he wasn’t seeing these beings correctly, the way that they see themselves. Because he wasn’t on his own dimensional plane. So they were distorted. They came across as looking like pure energy forms, but they might not have been, they may have actually had physical bodies and he just wasn’t seeing it, although he kind of doubted it. The overall coloring of the place was like a purple brown and black mixture, and the landscape barren and empty. Completely opposite from our own world and existence as we know it.

I believed that HE believed that this had really happened. But I didn’t necessarily believe it. But I knew Joe could astrally project, so, who knows. Maybe it did. Who was I to say, right? I wasn’t there.

For the next week or two he kept coming to me with all these wild tales of things that were going on with him. That thing came back again, yanking him out to go hang out and tag along; the way he’d feel completely wiped out after being yanked out…his room changing before his eyes into something which I didn’t understand. Something about different colors and lines, black, red, I don’t know, like a grid or something, appearing in the air, in 3D, so it was like his room was still there but overlapped with some other reality, bleeding over.

At first when he started telling me these things I was interested and objective. But after awhile, I started getting pissed. Like, REALLY annoyed. I began to think that he was seriously off his rocker, because I was absolutely not experiencing any of this. So what was he even talking about anyway? Obviously, he’s got his own very different reality from mine. There’s his world, and my world. I began to believe that he could be schizophrenic, that he definitely needs medication, that he was off the deep end. Until finally I snapped at him one day when he was in the middle of telling me yet another wild and bizarre tale of grids, and energy beings and whatever the hell else he was hallucinating about.

I flipped out and yelled at him, calling him a schizophrenic, saying that he needed to be on meds, that he was nuts, that he had problems. I told him I was SICK of hearing about this shit, it was all nuts!! So I didn’t want to fucking hear about it anymore, okay?!? So STOP!!!

He recoiled a little, looking hurt. Fine, he said. Forget it.

And that was that.

Life went back to normal. So it seemed. Let Joe live his weird ass reality that he imagines, in his room, in his own little world. Meanwhile, I have MY reality to live. I have work, and bills, and my writing. I have my normal life, in the real world, thank you. Full of financial problems that I had to deal with – Needed to get money saved for a car, then get some money saved beyond that to move out of this area, and go up north, because that was the plan, to go to the Bay area…I had all of my own distractions, occupying my time.

So that was the beginning of the summer. Throughout the rest of that summer, odd things were happening……….

Everywhere we looked, things just weren’t right. I had bought a beautiful hanging ivy plant at Green Thumb nursery. Unfortunately, something went horribly wrong with it. It started emitting a red brown, blood looking liquid every time I’d water it. Mystified, I called Green Thumb, and asked if plants ever did that. Maybe if they’re overwatered, and there’s something funky going on with the minerals in the soil or something…? or maybe a plant disease, or whatnot…? ? ??? Something? But nobody knew, they were completely mystified. The lady I spoke with had never heard of plants emitting bloody colored liquid, and nobody she talked to ever heard of such a thing.

I had to keep my ivy plant out on the patio because of the stuff that was coming out of it. Otherwise it would’ve poured out onto my carpet. Finally I just gave up on it, and tossed it. And all that was left were these bloody red brown looking stains on the patio. It seriously looked like somebody had been wounded and had bled a trail of blood on the patio, and it had dried that way.

[Exactly nine months later, Joe and I would be standing on the patio, hands up in the air, with several Rancho Santa Margarita cops pointing guns at our heads. The cops were there due to an altercation between Joe and our child-abusing next door neighbors – he fired his pellet gun at the next door neighbor guy who was rampaging on his family, as usual – but after the cops got there they thought it was a real gun – it was designed to look real – and so had their guns drawn in a standoff. The “blood stain” from the ivy plant was on the same exact part of the patio where I would later be standing, hands up, flashlights trained on my face, guns pointed at my head, feeling numb, like it was surreal dream. First Joe had been standing on that spot, until a cop told me to switch spots with him “…so that when I shoot your brother, you won’t get hit….” Not if, but when. Cops. Gotta love ‘em. It was around that point that time felt like it slowed down. I was completely blank, feeling nothing, other than marveling at how quickly things disintegrated to this point. How did this happen? Wow. Nobody wound up getting shot. But the blood stain on the patio indicates that it’s maybe not how things originally went. But I’m getting ahead of myself…]

Then, everybody around us just wasn’t acting right.

People – complete strangers – would come up to me and say nonsensical things, for no apparent reason. Then sometimes, just as quickly as they appeared, poof, they’d take off and vanish. One older woman in particular called out to me, “I made a new year’s resolution to bend over 50 times a day!” with a big chipper grin. Talk about random. Then it was like she just disappeared. I don’t know where she went. I think I glanced away, then when I glanced back she was gone, but there wasn’t enough time for her to have gone anywhere. Another time I was sitting outside a bagel place there on the lake in Rancho, and a guy was getting into his parked car in front of the store, and he called out to me, “HI” in a serious and intense way. I just stared back at him like, Huh? “HI” he yelled again, being stone faced and serious. His face and tone didn’t match the greeting, on top of the fact that we didn’t know each other so there was no reason for him to be saying hi to me in the first place. Then he got in his car and that was it. I was left sitting there, mystified. Then there was the incident at Carl’s Jr. in the same plaza at the lake in Rancho where I was sitting in my booth, about to start eating, when a guy walked down the aisle to my left. As he approached his eyes were locked on me with a weird grin, and I just sat there, feeling weirded out. He passed by me, and was now behind me. Normally I would have turned around to watch him walking past, to see more since it was all a little strange. But this time I had this weird “knowing” that if I turned around, he wouldn’t be there. And I wouldn’t be able to handle something like that. So don’t look. And I didn’t. (Note: I’ve had other encounters with weird strangers, mentioned both in my e-book “Miscellaneous Stories of the Weird and Unusual,” and in my book, “Chasing Phantoms,” including another incident at a Carl’s. But I’ve never had an incident where I had some strange knowing/intuition that somebody wasn’t actually there, so don’t turn around and look back. That was the only time that’s happened.) Despite this weirdness I didn’t obsess over these incidents. As noted in other writings that’s been my primary pattern in life. Things happen, and I just drift on a few minutes later like it never happened. lalala….

Then there was Joe’s stories. Of the guy he’d always see, every night, on his way home from his job at _____. It didn’t matter what time he’d leave to go home……8, 8:30, 9, 9:30, the guy was always there, wearing his blue flannel and walking his dog. In the same exact spot. Without fail. It began to freak Joe out, so he purposely started leaving at different times, just to test his theory. And the guy would always be there, no matter what. I’d once had my own experience back in ’99 with always seeing an old guy on the same stretch of road in the exact same way no matter what time I passed by, so I could believe that, otherwise I’d be doubtful.

And then there was the security guard he’d drive past on his way home, this black guy that was always sitting around outside some high tech corporate-y looking company in one of those brand new cookie cutter office buildings down off of Antonio Parkway and Empressa. Supposedly, according to Joe, this guy was always there, in the same position, doing the same thing, night after night, didn’t matter the time. Until Joe decided one day to see if this guy was even real. So he stopped and said hi to him. The guy didn’t respond. So he said it again. No response. Didn’t even glance his way, like he wasn’t there. So Joe got off his bike, and approached him. No response, no eye contact. And then Joe got in his face, yelling, only a couple of feet away. No response. The guy actually glanced down and started picking at his cuticles, bored and oblivious. Joe wasn’t there, as far as this guy was concerned. Or this guy wasn’t really there. And the freaky thing is, Joe wasn’t sure which was the case. Spooked, he took off.

Then came a Friday afternoon company picnic thing at ____. Joe stood there, outside, watching the whole thing going down. Management and staff eating, smoking, drinking beer, doing beer bongs, yukking it up, just completely carrying on and being bizarre when there was work that needed to be done. It’s like this isn’t even REAL! Joe thought finally. It was just so bizarre, the whole scene. He stood there, puzzled.

Then his buddy Dave came to him and said Hey. (not to be confused with another guy named Dave that comes up later in this piece.) They both stood there, looking around at the strange scene.

“This isn’t real, is it?” Dave finally said.

Joe turned to him, his eyes big. “I was just thinking the same thing.”

“Let’s test it out,” Dave suggested. Dave was cool, he was a buddy of Joe’s that seemed to be into the same stuff Joe was. Was into electronics and scanning and conspiracy theories and realizing that maybe reality isn’t what we think it is. So Joe and Dave proceeded, according to Joe, to walk around the entire complex. Going in places where they knew full well they didn’t have clearance for. And nobody noticed. Saying shit to people, getting in their faces. And getting no response. Doing whatever the hell they damn well felt like. And having no repercussions for it. Joe said they even went inside to the security desk and got behind it, poking around with the camera equipment, just TOTALLY being obnoxious, in an area they weren’t allowed in. And the guard didn’t even acknowledge them.

When Joe came home that afternoon he was so disturbed, and so freaked out about the whole thing that all he could do was pace around, going, WHAT the fuck is going on??? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!!!!!!!! What WAS that?!? He was ranting about reality, and wondering if we really are some program, like the movie The Matrix, or WHAT……because he had no answer for what he had just experienced. There was no logical explanation. “Carissa, I was doing whatever I fucking WANTED today! No, you don’t understand, okay, there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do or get away with! I could do whatever the fuck I WANTED. NOBODY-SAW-ME. NOBODY-NOTICED. I-WASN’T-THERE. Or THEY weren’t there! ‘Cause at this point, I don’t fucking know!! I don’t even know anymore! I can go outside right now and do whatever the hell I want! And it’s not the first time this happened either!”

I became pretty freaked out myself just hearing about it. Part of me, of course, wondering if he really was suffering from Schizophrenia, or Manic Depression, and was actually experiencing one of those “delusions of grandeur” they always make mention of. And he began to seriously wonder if he was really dead. And if he’s really dead…then what am I? Obviously then, I’M not real. To which I’d always laugh and go, Joe, I’m real, I’m alive, come on…

“Are you? Are you really?” he’d ask. “Because I don’t know that. I don’t think you are!” And he’d grin, and go back to shooting hoops, or whatever we happened to be doing at the time.

Or even better…maybe he’s not dead, but maybe he was really unconscious in a coma somewhere, and all this “reality” was really a big dream. We were pondering all kinds of explanations for what was happening. It was a pretty freaky and fun time.

Then there was my absolute strangest incident. Towards the end of July, when I was seated at my computer, engrossed in typing. It was late afternoon, sunny, warm. My window was open, and so I could hear the outside world going on. But as I was typing away, I began to notice that the noise outside was progressively getting louder…and louder…and louder…like a volume button was slowly being turned up. Kids began yelling and screaming. Parents were coming out onto their balconies, yelling for their kids. Car stereos were pumping in the parking lot, the music and bass steadily going up, and up and up. Dogs barking, car alarms going off, fire engine sirens screaming by on Santa Margarita Parkway. Just more and more noise, piling on, everything and anything that could be out there making noise. And like I said, I only first noticed it in the back of my mind, subconsciously. But as it progressively got worse, and worse, and louder, and louder, it began registering. I began squinting, and leaning forward towards my computer, trying harder to focus.

But when it got to the point where there were kids standing literally, underneath my window now, screaming and yelling at top full volume, that’s when I finally jerked my head up and thought, WHAT THE…?!?!? I turned to the right, to face towards my window, to hear it all better. Poised, frowning, listening, with brows furrowed. My ears straining. In the meantime, after all this noise finally got my attention, it began to reduce drastically, and die back down. As quickly as it started. And everything was calm again outside.

Perplexed and confused, I tried to get back into my writing.

Joe came home soon after, and I got up to go say hi. Unlike many incidents that had happened to me, I didn’t forget about it right afterwards or just dismiss it. In fact it was the first thing I mentioned to him. And I told him the whole story, as he listened, intently, with his brows furrowed too.

“And you know what was the WEIRDEST part about the whole thing?” I asked, it dawning on me for the first time why I had been “straining” to hear the noise, despite how loud it was.

Actually, he did know, since I asked. “Yeah,” he answered. “You couldn’t understand ONE GODDAMN WORD that anybody was saying. Yeah, I know, been there, had it happen to me.” He nodded knowingly, looking serious.

“That was EXACTLY it!! How did you KNOW?!?”

“Because. It happens to me. All the time. It’s like a mis-tuned radio frequency. Like the station’s only half way tuned in, and you’re half in, and half out of the plane or dimension, or something.”

“That was exactly it. Because when the noise level finally got so loud and obnoxious that I had to actually stop what I was doing!”

“…to acknowledge it…yeah, I know…Like something’s desperately trying to get your attention…”

“Yeah, because it was just so loud. And it wasn’t like they were speaking another language. The problem was, it was like everything was garbled. Mish mosh. I couldn’t make out ONE WORD that anybody was saying! It was all nonsense. I was trying to make out something, anything, but I couldn’t! Not even the parents standing on the balconies, yelling!”

“Or the kids right under your window. Yeah, I know.” He kept nodding, knowingly, the whole time I explained it to him. We talked for a bit, about his theories on that, about how it’s like a mis-tuned radio frequency. He said it’s common with him, to be “off” with the rest of the world happening around him, like one foot’s in one plane, and the other is in another. Half way in. Half way out. And that when sound gets distorted. Reality gets strange, and things don’t follow the same rules as they do when it’s “tuned in”.

It was completely fascinating to me. I’d never had such an experience. And now here I was, going through it. And having my brother explain to ME what had happened, before I even finished my story! Confirming it.

Then in September, I found myself in the living room playing with the cat, as usual. This time, I was blowing these “catnip bubbles” for her to chase and bat around. (bubbles infused with catnip oil or something. :D ) The lighting in the room grew dim for a split second, then brightened again. Not like a bulb flickering, but rather, like an object passing in front of a light source. Based on how that looked, my brain’s first reaction was to think that something had blocked the light from the light post outside for a second. Without thinking, I whirled my head to the left, to look outside the sliding glass doors, to the light post outside. That’s when my logic kicked in…wait a minute…we’re on the second floor. The light post is down below on the ground level. If something moved in front of it, you wouldn’t see it up here…

My head slowly turned back to the right. Towards the kitchen.

And I saw it. Whatever it was. This fuzzy, translucent sort of black shadowy thing, roughly blocky and square shaped, about three feet in length, and two feet in height, from my vantage point, anyway. It didn’t make any noise, total silence. And it didn’t touch the floor. It just sort of ambled along…waving along, is the word for it, because it moved like it was going up and down, like in waves…and it was coming from the area of Joe’s room, and heading towards the living room wall.

I sat there, intrigued. Leaning forward, squinting my eyes, bubble stick still in hand in mid air, thinking, huh?!?

I glanced down at the cat. She was calmly sitting there, watching it too, her line of sight right on it, following it with her eyes.

Okay. She’s seeing this too then. I’m not crazy.

And I went back to squinting, open mouthed at this whatever it was, black shadowy translucent blocky thing, waving along, in the air, languidly. Heading towards the wall. The whole thing lasted maybe ten seconds? And the entire time I was wondering if I was really seeing this. Glanced over at the cat again. Yup, she was still watching it too. Okay.

And it disappeared into the wall.

And that was that.

I sat there for a few seconds afterwards, confused. I mean, what WAS that? Was it even there? Did I actually see that?

I had no answers. So I just dismissed the whole thing. Oh well, I don’t have an explanation, I don’t know what it was, if it even really was there, so forget it.

Shrugged my shoulders, and went back to playing bubbles with my cat, like it was nothing. In fact, when Joe got home about ten minutes later, I had already forgotten about the whole thing, and didn’t even mention it to him. [This was an interesting phenomenon I had when I first had this stuff happening to me – I would just “forget” about things. Put them out of my mind and completely forget and go back about my business. Almost as if my mind had trouble dealing with it. Just shove it aside, bury it, and keep on truckin…!]

The next morning we were standing around, in the front doorway area, directly in the path of where that thing had been moving along the night before. We were just talking about random stuff and engrossed in our conversation, when Joe glanced down quickly, cutting himself off in mid sentence. Then looked back up, confused.

“Wait…where’s the cat?” he asked.

“In your room. I saw her go in there a few minutes ago, and she hasn’t come back out yet.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yup. Positive. Here, come look…” I walked into his room, and found the cat in his bathroom, poking around. “See! She’s in here!” I called out to him. He poked his head in, oh, okay…Then we went back out to where we were standing.

Then I finally thought to ask, “Why? Why did you want to know?”

“I don’t know…just because I thought I saw…this flash of black fur or something, right here,” he pointed down to where the thing had been yesterday. “I thought it was the cat or something running around because it was black, and moving…”

“OH MY GOD!!! I saw that too!!! Right here!!!! Yesterday!!! When you were out!!! I totally forgot to tell you!!! I can’t believe it!”

And so it began. For me, anyway. Because it had been happening for my brother for a long, long time. His whole life. Now it was my turn. And once it started happening, it took off.

Events continued happening in Joe’s room…and it was usually always in Joe’s room. I heard wild tales of what he called “Crossovers”, which is where entities were crossing over into his room, from wherever they came from. They’d cross over, then “blow through”, as he would put it, leaving, on their way to someplace else. Where, we had no clue. Occasionally he had one that would poke about in his room for a bit. Seeming to be very much aware of him, and the surroundings. Especially with his radio equipment. His room was buzzing with stacks of radios, all interconnected, and plugged into an old word processor of mine, scanning every frequency there was to be scanned 24/7. His “system” was never turned off. And it definitely seemed to attract a few of the entities. Most though, from what he reported, seemed to be completely and totally oblivious to Joe and our apartment.

Then came the morning when he discovered the “static critters.” That’s what he named them, because they were drawn to his radio equipment, and seemed to land on the wires and suck up the electricity and energy. They liked static, get it? But Joe knocked on my door one Sunday morning, telling me I had to see this, he just found something new. He drags me into his room, and proceeds to try and get me to see these static critters that he was seeing.

Well, I could not. Much to his chagrin. This totally angered him. He went from 0 to pissed off in like two seconds. He was keyed up and agitated that I couldn’t just instantly see them, like he could. “LOOK! RIGHT THERE!! IT’S RIGHT FUCKING THERE!!! DON’T TELL ME YOU DON’T SEE IT!!! DON’T FUCK WITH ME!! IT’S RIGHT THERE!!! LOOK!!! HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE IT!!!”

I eventually was like, “You know what? I’m atta here. You need to calm down, okay? Maybe when you calm down, I’ll come back, later, and try to check it out. But I’m not seeing it, and you need to accept that. So I’m leaving right now. I’m getting dressed, and I’m leaving the apartment. You are way too intense right now, I don’t even want to be in the apartment with you, forget trying to hide out in my room!”

He mellowed a little and said “Look, it’s just that I’ve been up since like 3 in the morning watching this, okay? I’ve discovered a new species or something! That feeds on electricity! This is something that nobody has ever seen before! And I’ve been watching it for HOURS now! I’ve ruled out every possibility of what it could be. Are you serious though? You really can’t see it?”

“No. I can’t. Sorry.”

“Just try again, okay? Try it one more time.”

Sigh.

“Come on, just look again…” he urged.

Another sigh. Sigh again. Fine, whatever. I’m telling you though, I’m not going to see anything. I’m not like you, I can’t see all the stuff you do…

“Yes you can,” he insisted, bringing me back into his room.

So, I stood in his bathroom doorway. Again. And checked everywhere that he kept pointing to underneath his scanning equipment tables and desks. Again. Not seeing it. Again. And him getting worked up about it. Again.

Then, plain as day, I saw something which looked like a shadow against the wall, like a huge bug or something, about six inches long, with a tail, that was flopping around, wiggling and hyper, back and forth.

“What the hell is that??” I pointed, squinting and moving closer.

“YOU SEE IT?? SO YOU SEE IT? CAN YOU SEE IT NOW??”

“Well, I see something, I don’t know if that’s it or not. Right there. Moving around, wiggling, or something. What IS that? Is that a shadow??” I immediately began searching for the source of this weird ass shadow. It had to be coming from something. But I couldn’t find anything.

“No, it’s not coming from anything, it’s not a shadow. It’s what I’ve been trying to TELL you!! That’s one of them! So you see it, right?!? You see it?!?”

“Yeah, I see something…” I moved closer, and watched it. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how this shadow was being made. There was no light hitting that part of the wall, because it was an area that was completely enclosed by the desk. No direct light from his window off to the left. But there it was, this translucent something, moving around. By the wires.

Joe spent the next fifteen minutes trying to show me the other ones, moving about, in the air, on the wires, following their trail with his finger, excitedly yelling, YOU CAN’T SEE THAT??? YOU’RE LYING!! YOU HAVE TO SEE IT!!! IT’S RIGHT THERE!!! RIGHT THERE!!!! HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT?!? But I just couldn’t see them, not like the other one.

I started thinking he was a little cuckoo for cocoa puffs again. Despite my experience with the black shadowy translucent thing in the livingroom I’d been witness to.

I finally gave it up, despite his protests. I told him, you can see things better than I can. I just don’t have the abilities you do. Don’t get mad at me for that, I can’t help that. It’s just the way it is.

And he told me something that he’d end up telling me many times to come: That not only did I have the abilities, but mine were so strong, I could blow him out of the water, and I didn’t even know it. I didn’t even realize what I was capable of. He told me that he’s never met anybody who emits as much energy as I do. Which I thought was interesting, because it’s not the first time I’ve heard that. Two other people had also separately told me the same thing, and an unofficial third as well. I walked into a coffeehouse in Fullerton one night back in 1995 and the guy standing behind the counter glanced up at me as I walked through the door, looked down…then immediately did a double take back at me, his eyes traveling over my head into the air above, staring at me like, “OHHH-kay.” He snapped his head back down again and tried to play it all cool. As he rang me up he quietly asked me if everything was okay. I said Yeah, in a brow furrowed, flat way.

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” I frowned, rooting through my purse. I wasn’t, but it didn’t matter. He mumbled under his breath something about “everybody always tells me they’re ok even though I can see that they’re not…” walking away to go make my mocha with whipped cream. Curiousity piqued, I asked him how he could tell that people weren’t telling the truth, and he explained. He could see people’s energy. And when I walked through the door he saw energy just literally, pouring off the top of my head in a way that he’s never seen before, ever. He said with people my age (20 at the time…) their energy tends to be centered in their genitalia region, not their head/“crown chakra” area. I wound up hanging out by the counter with him and then later out back while he had a smoke on his break, learning about chakras and how the Earth emits natural energy and so on, and how SoCal specifically has very little, if any, natural energy anymore. It’s been completely depleted for obvious reasons. He was Native American and his grandma was a healer shaman in New Mexico. It was fascinating stuff and all news to me at the time! I loved it.

Then my buddy Mike (who is featured later in this write up in more detail) was reaching over my head one time to grab something off his shelf when he stopped in mid-air and was like, “Wow! Holy shit!” and pulled back towards my head. He took his hand and passed it back and forth over my head and told everybody else in the room, “Come check this out!” He could feel heat pouring off the top of my head. So everybody came over and passed their hands over my head to feel it too. :D Then my Wiccan/Pagan buddy Tiffany whom I answered phones for at work in ’99 could also see auras and said that I had more energy emanating off me than anybody she’s ever seen, and it was concentrated over my head area. Then Joe also confirmed this independently without knowing about any of these incidents, saying that the energy just poured off me and then flowed around the room. His eyes following the path of the energy trails which I couldn’t see. He said I was like a battery, literally.

So anyway, now when Joe would be coming to me, telling me his stories, I believed him, because of what I’d seen with the black fuzzy thing, his indepedent confirmation of the energy that emits from the top of my head and possibly the newfound “Static Critters” that I saw. The black thing had been coming from his room, and disappeared into the living room… blowing through, as he put it, maybe? I don’t know. And with these Static Critters, Joe said that they were very interactive. They definitely seemed to be aware of him. They were always roaming around his room, poking around, settling on wires, feeding off the electricity. He had stories about “baby static critters”…the small ones, that seemed to bounce along, like kids…and “Mama Static Critter”…the big honkin’ one that seemed to just lumber along, like an adult…And how the “babies” would blow donuts around his legs. Chasing each other, around and around and around, like they were playing. And even interacting with the cat, trying to play with her, and landing on her and making her fur stand up and scaring the crap out of her. Or landing on Joe’s head, and making his hair stand up. He got a kick out of the whole deal, and as usual, encouraged the activity in his room whole heartedly. The more action, the better, to Joe.

During this time period I had my office day job and my evening and weekend drug store job, and this one night while working the register at the drug store Joe stops by to see me and say Hey. So I’m in the middle of ringing up some conservative looking woman in her 40’s with glasses, when Joe leans on the counter next to me and starts talking “in code” about the latest static critter happenings. He was so excited about it that he didn’t want to wait for me to come home in three hours.

“I saw FIVE tonight!” he started out with.

I was bagging up the items, as the lady filled out her check.

“Five?” I repeated, raising my brows, bagging. She glanced up, puzzled, and went back to her check.

“Yeah, FIVE!” he said, excitedly. “Two adults, and three babies!”

“Really!” I said. Pause. Bagging some more. “Could the cat see them?”

The lady’s head shot up when I said that, and she looked like, HUH??

Joe was grinning at me. He nodded. “Yup!”

“She could?! Wow!” I said. Which only succeeded in piquing this woman’s curiosity even more.

Then one night Joe came and reported that there was going to be a crossover in his room, activity had been slowly building up for the past few hours. This was about 8 pm or so at night around October. I myself had just gotten in from running to the grocery store, and was busy putting food away, full of energy, feeling distracted. So when he came to me with this, I was like, Yeah okay, sure. Whatever. He said that you could feel the energy building up where the crossover was going to happen, come on, come check it out!

I was immediately like, Yeah, right. Sure. Totally blowing him off. I still had the leftover atheist/skeptic in me from my recent three years as an agnostic/atheist. Could not shake it. I scooped up the cat to say hi to her and pet her, and carried her into his room, talking to her, not even taking the crossover thing seriously. I entered his doorway and immediately blew him off, all cocky and arrogant, was like, Pssh, I don’t feel anything! (pet the cat some more) I don’t know what you’re talking abou…WHOA. Holy SHIT!

I walked right smack into a wall or column of energy, in front of his closet doors. It was intense enough to shut me up in mid sentence and stop me in my tracks, in mid step, foot still up in the air. I immediately jumped back, out of the way. Holy shit! What the hell?? I said, laughing in amazement and nervousness. I moved forward again, more gingerly now, still holding the cat, and stepped back into that spot. Yikes! Ugh…had to move back out again. It felt like warm, intense, tingly energy. Like if you were standing in front of an open oven, only, without the intense heat, just the tingle you’d get from the energy itself, creating a physical something in the air, even though you couldn’t see it.

I backed away again, laughing. And moved all the way back out to his door. I wasn’t going near that, no way. I put the cat down, still laughing. She darted off, nervously, into the living room. Apparently she wanted no part of it either.

“See, I told you,” Joe said, grinning. “This has been building up all night.”

I remained in the doorway, fascinated.

“You wanna see something even better?” He walked over towards that area and grabbed something off the end of the desk/table that was nearest to it. “Look at my thermometer. It’s 90 degrees in here. And the window is open.”

“No way…” I said, taking the thermometer he was passing me. It read 90 degrees, sure enough. And his window was wide open. It was no warmer than 55 degrees outside, and you couldn’t tell, not at all. My bedroom window was closed, and had been, all night. And it was colder in my room than his. And to rule out heat generated by lighting…well, his room was lit by a neon Marlboro sign. Neon signs don’t generate heat.

“The temperature always goes up when there’s a crossover.” He carefully placed the thermometer back on the end of the table closest to the energy, so it was sticking out, to register any heat change. (and yes…I did check out the thermometer on another occasion when there was no activity happening, JUST to make sure it wasn’t broken and forever locked at 90 degrees. And that time the thermometer read 72 degrees. So yeah, the thermometer was working.)

I tried to walk back over to check out the energy again, but he shooed me away. “Don’t! You’re fucking it up for them! You’re in the way! You’re going to mess it up! Don’t stand there.”

I backed up to the doorway again. The cat meanwhile, was completely spazzing out. Normally she was pretty mellow, unless there was a “problem” going on with Joe’s room, like now. She was tearing all over the place, in a frenzy. She’d dart from the living room, tear into his room, screech to a halt, look around bug eyed and dash back out again, and retreat to the living room where she’d gallop around in circles. Then do it all over again, over and over.

“If you look closely, you can see sparkles,” Joe said.

“What?! You can? I can’t…” I squinted.

“Just look.”

“Where?”

“Right there…” He pointed to the spot where I’d only just been standing. “I can see them,” he shrugged.

I studied the area for a short bit, expecting a loud an obvious display of sparkles, which is why I couldn’t see anything at first. Then I relaxed. And there they were. Delicate and dainty. They looked like a mixture of embers from a fire, and gold sparkling glitter. Larger bits would fly out here and there, just like embers.

“I can see them…oh my god!” I laughed again. “I think…I’m not sure…I don’t know, what if I’m just imagining this? Because you put the suggestion in my head?”

“You’re not imagining it. Just watch.”

I studied the area some more. It was amazing, I kept seeing all this sparkling gold dust stuff, sparkling through the air, randomly flying about, this way and that, some of the them looking like those embers. There was no noise attached to it though.

Then the most amazing part – I watched as the gold sparkles COALESCED, and formed a rounded spiral, twisting elegantly down though the air, before breaking up again, back to sparkling randomly, this way and that. That’s when I KNEW I wasn’t imagining this.

I flipped OUT when I saw that, laughing in glee, giddy and fascinated and completely entranced. Without taking my eyes off it, I slowly sunk down to the floor, sitting Indian style, glued to this scene, transfixed. It was so beautiful and amazing, especially the spiral. Was that done on purpose? Or was it just accidental? I’ll never know.

“I feel like Carol Ann in Poltergeist right now….they’re heeeeere!” I giggled again. I looked just like her, the way she sat transfixed in front of the television. The cat continued darting in and out of the room, like a spaz.

We watched for a few more minutes, until he said “Here, come on, let’s get out of here. Let’s leave it alone for awhile.” He turned serious. “Come on…I’ve got to go to the store anyway, get some cigarettes. Let’s just leave it alone.”

“Okay,” I reluctantly agreed, getting up.

“Do you want to come with me?”

“Na, I already went.”

So I stayed behind. I was so absorbed in thinking about what had just been happening that all I could do was sit in the livingroom, clutching the cat, staring intensely at the floor, in deep thought, brows furrowed. I finally got up and had a snack, and went back to sitting on the floor, staring some more.

I wanted to go brush my teeth since I just ate something. Thing is though, the toothpaste was in my brother’s bathroom right now, because he had borrowed it.

I would have to go get it.

And for whatever reason, the idea of going into his bathroom right then was absolutely OUT OF THE QUESTION. Absolutely not. No way. Just stay away. I actually felt scared a little, at the idea of going into his bathroom, and I had no idea why. I wasn’t scared of what was going on in his room before. In fact, I’d watched it eagerly, and had even stood in the spot with the energy. But now…there was no way you could get me in his bathroom. Which was odd, since there wasn’t anything happening in his bathroom. It was in his room, by his closet.

Oh well.

So I stayed put, until Joe got back, after twenty minutes.

We went back into his room again to check out the scene, see what was going on now. I forgot about my irrational fear of his bathroom, and eagerly went back over to the energy spot. Up close you couldn’t see the sparklies. Only from a distance. But the energy was still there, loud and clear. I giggled again in amazement as I stood there, passing my hands, palms down, back and forth, into and out of the energy spot, feeling the drastic difference. No energy…Tingly Energy!!…No energy…Tingly Energy!!! Giggle again. Joe stood back by his doorway, smiling, enjoying the fact that I could be a part of it, and witness for once the strange happenings in his room.

Still grinning, I glanced over into his bathroom to my right.

It took a second for it to register what I was seeing. My grin faded, and I furrowed my brows.

“What happened to your mirror?” I said, curiously.

“What are you talking about?” he said.

“Your mirror. What happened to it??” I pulled my hands back in and walked to his bathroom doorway. I flipped on the light and just stood there. Joe came up behind me.

We stood there, perplexed, looking at his bathroom mirror which used to be a large rectangular, very heavy mirror attached to the wall over his sink – typical in many SoCal apartment and tract home bathrooms. Now, it was sitting in two pieces, having been completely sliced, diagonally, clear through from one corner to the other. One half was now leaning up against the wall from which it came, sitting on the sink counter. The other half sat on the floor, leaning up against the wall. The two broken halves together formed a perfectly clean slice, in a gentle “s” shaped wave. No shards. No broken chunks. No shatter marks as if the mirror had been dropped.

I looked at Joe, and saw him with his mouth open, and eyes wide. For once he had nothing to say. He turned to me, still speechless, mouth still open.

“Holy shit…” Now it was his turn to say it.

“Dude, did you break your mirror??” I grinned. My first reaction was to think it was him because a few weeks earlier, his bathroom medicine cabinet had come loose, and come out of his wall. He had ended up pulling it out and just resting it on the floor, until we could get it fixed by maintenance. So since I’d seen another bathroom object with a mirror sitting on his floor, leaning up against the wall, out of order, I just assumed it was a case of Joe Strikes Again. Although, how the hell he managed to break this mirror which is screwed into the wall is beyond me. He must have been removing it, to do something with it, although, what, and why, is beyond me. And if he had removed it, and dropped it, then how the hell did it break with such a clean “s” shaped slice like that? I mean, how do you even GET a wave shape like that? Weird.

“No! I swear to God I didn’t break it. This mirror was FINE before I left to go to the store. There was nothing wrong with it, at all! I swear. I was even in here, taking a piss before I left. The mirror was fine!”

“Come on, you broke it…” I teased, still not believing it had anything to do with the rest of what had been going on all night.

“No, I’m telling you, I didn’t do this! I’m not lying. If I did it, I’d just tell you I did it. I wouldn’t lie, you know that. If I did it, then I’d just say, Yeah, I did it, sorry, whoops, my bad. But I didn’t do it. I swear!”

That’s true…he’s never once denied anything that he’s broken. He’ll always get that sheepish look on his face, grin, and go, Yeah, I did it…sorry! Ooops! And his reaction would be different from this. He’s never gone through trouble to put on an act of amazement, trying to play dumb, and seem like he has no clue.

“It was fine before I left. I saw it. I used the bathroom before I left.”

Then I remembered my irrational fear of going near his bathroom after he left. Well, now it was obvious why. I told him about that incident.

We looked back at the mirror, and started investigating it. No shards, no chunks, no shatter marks. Just a clean slice, from one corner to the other. We spent the next half hour or so pondering this, with me continually trying to get him to confess to it. [One of the last things I ever asked him, the last time I ever saw him as I boarded a bus in Portland, Oregon, was whether he broke that mirror. Just admit it, I said. It doesn’t matter anymore. It was one of the big unsolved mysteries that always bothered me, right til the bitter end. He adamantly denied it, and I could tell by his voice that he was telling the truth.]

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