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! 

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