Saturday, October 31, 2015


On Halloween, what better time to write about the world beyond the veil?

For this, we move backward in time to the night, appropriately and ironically, of October 31, 2004.  Really.

Being non-participant misanthropes, my husband and I laid low as is normal for us on this and other holidays.  The porch light was off, the gate closed to deter trick-or-treaters.  Not that they are much of a problem out here in a semi-rural neighborhood where houses are sparsely located and any pickings not worth the legwork.  Besides, the long, overgrown driveway leading to our house is not particularly inviting to kids at night -- "spooky" I'm told – and darn near impossible to find in daylight for first-timers.

Anyway, we were settled in for the night.  I was reading.  Richard was on the computer.  CNN was providing background noise for us half-an-ear news junkies.  Absorbed in his evening toilette, Sam Cat was ensconced on the other end of the couch from me.  Moggie, Cat Two, was curled up dead asleep on her favorite chair.  Cat Three, Casper was zonked out elsewhere in the house.  A typical evening.

Suddenly, Sam, who was facing the back of the couch while washing his tummy, leaped straight up into the air, pulled a 180, and landed standing frontward and wide-eyed on the cushion.  He was rubber-necking as if Moggie had sandbagged him and dashed off as part of their ongoing feline rivalry.  But she was asleep and he didn’t appear remotely interested in seeking retribution.  He was looking for something else at floor level.  Fluffed, he jumped to the carpet and continued to stare around intently.

"So what's the matter with you?" I asked. 

Across the room, Moggie remained undisturbed.

At this point, Richard came from the other room around to the end of the couch to say, "It was the little black thing again.  It ran around the desk and end table into the living room."

Cut to the backstory.

For over a decade before that 2004 benchmark point, Dick had been occasionally seeing what we have dubbed the "black entity."  We refer to it as that because it radiates no color, similar to the stellar black hole which allows no light to escape from it.  Perhaps another term might be a "familiar."  Or simply “it.”  It is that “something” that we have all heard of or have perhaps experienced, that form or movement lurking just at the corner of the eye, that is not there when you turn to look.  However, this little fellow has put in far more obvious appearances to my husband.

These visitations began in the early 1990s when we were in the Holiday Inn in Great Falls, Montana, while Dick’s father was in the hospital because of a heart attack.  Dick was showering.  I was sitting on the end of the bed watching TV news.  Dripping, Dick came out of the bathroom with a startled expression and asked, “Did you see something come out here?”

That is a provocative opener to an unknown topic guaranteed to garner attention.

It seems that when Dick opened the shower stall door, he was greeted by a dark “blob” about the size of a cat or small dog down close to the floor.  “It” froze in place as though caught out by Dick, about as surprised as Dick was in seeing “it.”  Then it zipped out the door and turned to the right, which meant it would have come into my view.  And, no, it had not.

From that point forward, the black entity put in appearances as related primarily to Dick’s father’s health.  News of Larry’s cardiac near-misses manifested in novel ways.  One time, Dick awakened in the middle of the night to find the weightless “it” curled up on his chest like a favorite cat.  On another occasion, he nearly stumbled over it when it ran in front of him around high noon as he was walking across the construction yard at his work headquarters. A few times, our black entity would peek in from the periphery of Dick’s vision.  Only afterwards would we learn that Dick’s dad had been on the brink with another heart issue.

Return to Halloween night, 2004.

What did Sam's reaction to “it” mean?  We knew well that Sam, being a nuts-and-bolts, kibbles-and-mice sort, had never given sign of seeing things that weren't, as people so often claim cats do.  Having had many cats (156 at the last count, mostly in quantities no greater than three at a time) over the years, I have not seen any of them even pretend to watch things going bump in the night, and I observe them pretty closely because they are fascinating people.  So, that furry flurry over, Sam went off to his food bowl.  Moggie and Casper slept on peacefully.  Therefore, my husband and I marked this episode as notice of something to come and returned to what we were doing.  A successful other-worldly trick-or-treat sortie had been run on us, despite the dark porch and closed gate.  All we could do was wait.

Fast forward to a month later, November 30, 2004.

Well, as we learned that evening after getting only busy signals from Dick's father's number, Larry had died sometime that night in his apartment, attempting to call for help.  He was 89.  That very afternoon, he had been out with his coffee buddies at the K-Mart.  Altogether, that's not a bad way to go, being busy and mobile to the last.

So, yes, the veil between the living and the dead had lifted a little that Halloween.  The harbinger, that little black entity, “it” had come to warn us that the game was indeed afoot.  More, we had an independent and remarkable corroboration of its presence, surely of interest at the purely scientific level, an unbiased validation of a genuine paranormal occurrence.  Everyone should be so lucky as to have a personal banshee to warn of serious illness and impending death.  A little head's-up is always a good thing.  Thus, it came as no real shock or surprise to learn of Larry's transition out of his present life.

But we are left wondering how busy those other-dimensional dudes are kept, message-running like that.  How many little black entities are left frustrated because so many dense humans miss those cues lurking at the corners of their eyes?  And although I have never seen it, I know it and something more exists.

A cat confirmed it all.

Happy Halloween! 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Underwater UFOs

You never know when and where corroborations will crop up.  This blog arises from claims made about sightings of unusual lights moving under water or UFOs as physical bodies emerging or diving into the oceans or lakes.  The stories are many, from Shag Harbor in the Northeast to the waters off the Southern California coast and around the world.  I have an in-family addition to share with those folks interested in such things---and also a cautionary about preserving such history.

In the early 2000s, during a fast-food lunch break with my brother Kurt, I brought up the topic of UFOs.  Documents (see previous blog) that I had come across in my archival work at the Clark County Museum called to mind his off-hand remark made decades before, that there were other “Bermuda Triangles” scattered around the oceans where weird stuff happens.  He briefly related two personal sightings, in 1956, in the Indian Ocean when he was in the Navy aboard the USS Merrimack AO-37, a Kennebec-class fleet oiler and one of several naval ships to have carried that historic Civil War name.

It was night.  Kurt and some fellow crew members were on deck when one of the sailors spotted a strange light in the water off the starboard side.  They witnessed a large, round, glowing object submerged at an unknown depth.  I asked if this could have been a school or cluster of bioluminescent sea life.  No, my brother was definite about this.  They all knew the difference.  This was a well defined circular object that did not change shape, and it continued to pace the ship for some miles.  Then the light simply blinked off.  No radar return had been registered before, during or after that incident.

Afterwards, during that passage across the Indian Ocean from the Red Sea, my brother was on the ship’s fantail with several other sailors. It was high daylight when a sudden bubbling appeared on the water’s surface at a distance of approximately a quarter mile ahead, so that was not a small disturbance.  Then bubbles churned into violent froth.  A large silvery orb erupted from the water and shot off at an angle into the sky and, moving at extreme velocity, quickly vanished from eyesight.  Radar tracking was not mentioned.

The former event sighted from the USS Merrimack uncannily echoes the description of a nighttime incident that took place on November 14, 1949, between the Strait of Hormuz and the Indian Ocean.  It is recorded in the United States Naval Institute Proceedings as Report # 63, “An Unexplained Phenomenon of the Sea,” by Cmdr. J. R. Bodler, a Merchant Marine officer who had served in World War II and then returned to the Merchant Marines.  It is accessible online.  The condensed version is that, on the date noted above, in calm seas, Bodler witnessed a large, luminous, circular object approach his ship from below the horizon level, underwater.  The object proved to be approximately 1,000 to 1,500 feet in diameter.  It passed silently under his vessel, casting light up against the hull, and appeared to be revolving spoke-like around a center hub in a timed, counterclockwise rotation.  It paused directly under the ship before slowly moving away.  He viewed the object until it was some miles away, at which time a second, slightly smaller object manifested on that same track, passing underneath his ship.  A half hour later, a third object appeared, detected when it was in much closer proximity.  It was smaller with a diameter of approximately 800 to 1,000 feet, and followed the others’ path.  No electromagnetic effects were noted.  References and coordinates are provided at the end of the online article. 

Then, in 1957, after his tour aboard the Merrimack, Kurt was reassigned to the radar picket ship, YAGR Searcher, in the North Atlantic.  (He once quipped that YAGR meant “You Ain’t Getting Relieved.”)  That former Liberty ship, loaded with electronics and radar, was part of the DEW Line system during the early Cold War period.  The Searcher described a repeating rectangle over the same coordinates, 150 miles wide by 250 miles long, exceedingly boring -- except for the occasional intriguing electronic blip.  During that TDY, he and other radar crew and officers witnessed several anomalous radar returns tracking objects  moving at extremely high speed (well exceeding 3,000mph) and performing erratic maneuvers that could not be attributed to known aircraft, missiles, or meteor incursions through the high atmosphere.

Of course, the Searcher incidents will ring familiar to any radar operator who has witnessed oddball, inexplicable returns on radar screens.  Certainly, they fit in with numerous similar reports of unusual radar trackings.  While not undersea phenomena, these unusual occurrences witnessed at sea in a military setting lend credence to significantly large and growing hardcopy, eyewitness and anecdotal reference bases. 

Here I want to point out that  credible eyewitness accounts and anecdotes should not be discounted as real evidence or discarded as unscientifically gathered observations.  For when compiled and examined under stringent criteria, they create data bases that reinforce a very strong hypothesis for actual phenomena behaving outside an established norm.  Just so, much science has grown from recognition of incident similarities---not to mention hunches, flights of the imagination or dreams, the DNA double helix and the benzene molecule being two well known examples.  And informant credibility must be factored in.  In my brother’s case, I knew him well enough to accept that his powers of observation and skeptical nature made him a believable source.

Looking back on that lunch, I have wished many times since that I had had the presence of mind to ask for more details from my brother before his death.  I have only a few notes from one short meeting to wrap this posting around.  Any other “Bermuda Triangle”-type occurrences alluded to by Kurt are lost to my lack of journalistic aggressiveness.  So, don’t let the opportunity slip by to query a possible source about an unusual occurrence that falls into the paranormal category. 

A final point is that important clues, like gold, are where you find them, in unexpected places and at unexpected times.  Be alert for them, but don’t interpret or interpolate what is not there.  Like bibliographies, with time, you learn which sources are reliable and which are not, and whether it is worth your time to keep reading.  The more of the latter, the more suspect the content.  But when unrelated similarities start adding up, pay attention.

[ For conspiracy buffs and accuracy, this particular Merrimack is listed as having been decommissioned in December 20, 1954.  However, in 1956, it was pulled out of mothballs for service prior to the Suez Crisis, ostensibly for crew training.  My brother, who was aboard during this time, told me that, besides fuel, the ship was hauling weapons and other war-related items.  It also picked up and delivered mysterious, unidentified individuals in civilian clothes at various ports.  That time is certain.  As an 8-year-old, I recall the night my family received a phone call from him to let us know that he was okay.  That day, October 31, the Egyptians had blown up a British ship (among others) to blockade the Canal.  The Merrimack had been ahead of that target and was able to sail on to the Red Sea.  The Suez Canal was closed until April 24, 1957.  Just a tidbit to whet the appetite. ]