Prelude to a Turtle

Hello again, Loyal Readers — all six of you! How’ve you been? It’s been a while. I’ve been busy. But now that I have a lazy weekend ahead, I feel it would be a good time to resettle this blog and share a few things with you, if only for clarification.

First off, as I have mentioned before, I have a no-take-backs policy on this blog. Once I post something, it stays posted, even if I come to regret the posting. I may go back and do some tweaking by way of editing grammar and wording, but the messages will always be the same and remain shared. (Usually. A few things I have posted as ‘private’ due to possible publishing interests.) My opinions are those of a free mind and are therefore subject to change, so check the date on the post you are reading. If it is fairly old, there’s a chance, however small, that I may no longer hold those same views. People change. I don’t know of a river so long that it doesn’t contain a bend, or some sort of colloquialism like that.

Next, I would like to clarify comments made in an earlier post entitled, Just a Reminder: I am Full of Sh*t! (October 12, 2019). I stand by the title. I am well aware that I am full of shit. That is to say, my perception of what is “truth” may differ greatly from someone else’s accepted reality. Reality is a fluid thing, and it converges and diverges in consciousnesses like a mighty river that don’t know where it’s flowin’, sometimes it takes a wrong turn, and it just keeps goin’ (if I may paraphrase The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. Side note: Come to Korea, Bruce!) However, what I write is, to me, the truth of my experiences. And we will look at yet another example of this in this lengthy post.

Bruce-Springsteen-E-Street-Band

Seriously, Bruce, we expats here in Korea need you and the E-Street band to visit. #BornToRamien

Here’s the thing: I have a book coming out this month, and it covers some of my stranger ideas and experiences. In fact, it covers most of them, in a sort of umbrella capacity. You see, I got tired of getting into deep discussions with strangers in pubs. And I am not that guy. I make it a point not to be that guy. But curious people seem to pick up on that weirdo vibe I lay down and, more so when drunk, they seem to hone in on me, and I end up in a discussion. I just thought rather than repeating the myriad of details and strange histories and philosophies, it would be better to just have some literature handy. I figure, if you hand someone some literature, they tend to leave you alone. My literature got away from me, and it turned into a book. Now, to save time in these encounters, I can simply say, “Here, read my book.” And hopefully, that will be the end of  it.

BBT

My book, available this summer from Fulton Books. Ignore the name of the author. It’s not important!

In this book, there is a lot of new, unshared information. (For example, how you, too, can become immortal! Just $15.95! Seriously, I do not know how my publisher settled on that price. It’s as if they don’t want to sell books.) There are also a couple of reprises from some of the classic hits from this blog, including Fifth-Column Fernando (Oct. 13, 2018). In the book, I change the name to “Fifth-Column Franklin” to go along with an homage to the Grateful Dead, who get a section in the book all their own, as a tribute to their song Franklin’s Tower. Neither name is the entity’s real name, of course. I say “entity” because I feel that the word “person,” although apt and justified, does not carry the weight of the feeling I get when in this entity’s presence. They feel like something more, like I am seeing a person, but just behind that familiar shape is something much more. Maybe it’s just a vast consciousness that goes beyond the physical form I see and recognize. And in the end, aren’t we all just that?

I originally went with the name “Fernando” because, when I wrote the blog post, I was listening to Swedish Super-Group, ABBA. ABBA deserves a listen, no matter what type of music you are into. There, I said it. And that may be the most controversial thing I say in this post. I don’t know why they are referred to as a super-group — there’s only four of them, two married/divorced couples that apparently spent a lot of their stage time arguing, but who am I to judge? I can’t even seem to make a two-year relationship work. But that’s another cross to bear at another time.

Getting back to dear ol’ Fifth-Column Franklin, I would like to clarify something about these encounters. The few people to whom I sent early copies of my book all had questions about this particular chapter. (And yes, they encouraged me to publish AFTER they read it, and I love these people, and so I trust their advice. Perhaps, consciously or otherwise, they just think it will be funny to see me destroy my own reputation. If that’s the case, then the joke is on them – I have no reputation! But like I said, I trust these people, and I trust that they truly have my best interests at heart, so there it is. A published shot-in-the-dark type of book.)

The first question was, “Did this really happen?” And this was the hardest question to answer. There is no good answer. The story is completely unbelievable, and I am well aware of that. I don’t expect any reasonable person to believe it. (Jesus, I sound like a Republican!) If I say, “No, I made it up,” then it throws into question every other thing I say in the book, and I say some damned important things in there. If I say, “Yes, that really happened,” then I am insane. I cannot reasonably expect anyone who has not encountered such things before to believe that story. And therefore, I must admit that it is completely reasonable to assume that I have lost my damn mind. So my only answers produce two undesirable results: either I am a liar, or I am a lunatic. 

And so, I will just get it out of the way here and now: Yes, that really happened. And it has happened three times that I can recall. What else am I going to say? I have to stick to what I believe to be the truth. Now, in the following paragraphs, I will relate a few key points of the story, and clarify a few things that, in the original post, seemed too far beyond my descriptive capabilities to describe in detail. This is going to get long, so I hope you are truly interested. If not, feel free to bail out and go watch some interesting videos on YouTube. 

Let me begin with my first encounter with this entity that I shall continue to call “Franklin.” I do want to protect this entity as I consider them to be a friend and I am truly not sure that I was ever meant to mention any of this to anyone, let alone in a public blog and then a book. The name Franklin should not be taken to indicate any specific gender, either. I would love to tell you the real name and other identifying traits – I am very tempted to do so now – but I do feel honor-bound to keep that information private. I do have a sense of responsibility to protect my friends, be they real or imaginary.

And let me say that right now: yes, I recognize the possibility that I imagined these encounters. I have never been closed about my past use of hallucinogens. And I have seen the movie and read the book A Beautiful Mind, which chronicle the misadventures of famed mathematician John Nash, who suffered from schizophrenia. The movie is very different from the book, and they chose in the film to depict his mental issues as hallucinations of what appeared to him to be very real, tangible people. The thing is, his “schizophrenia” – a term given to any extreme mental anomaly that cannot be clearly defined –  literally sent him over such an edge that it rendered him incapable of normal function, and nearly destroyed his life. So far, I am faring pretty well, and there are no indications – at least at the time of this writing – that I am going to be appointed Emperor of Antarctica. Still, is it possible that I was experiencing some sort of fugue state during these encounters? Absolutely. As I said, I don’t know of a river so long that it doesn’t contain a bend that veers it clear away from reality and over a waterfall into the weird. Or some such thing. But my divergence apparently reconvenes with the mainstream river, and I continue to function. Look, ma, I can feed myself!

In short, I am aware that what I am saying sounds crazy. And I don’t expect you or anyone else to believe me. But this is what I experienced, and this is what I am telling you, and you can do with it as you will. For those of you that have had similar experiences, you know the tightrope I am walking in trying to share these accounts. Respect. So here we go:

The first time I met Franklin was in downtown Pittsburgh. It was after a Ratdog concert at the Byham Theater in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District on my birthday in 2003. I had ordered the tickets online as a birthday present to myself. At the time, I was in grad school, and I was dating a beautiful nursing student, and I had wanted to take her to see a Grateful Dead concert as these concerts had been such a big part of my life. Since Jerry García’s untimely passing in 1995, there weren’t many opportunities to relive those experiences. Ratdog was a satellite band led by the Grateful Dead’s rhythm guitarist, Bob Weir. And here they were, playing in Pittsburgh on my birthday. We had to go.

Sadly, my girlfriend, being a nursing student, had to do her clinicals on that date and was unable to go to the concert with me. So I went alone. I picked up my two tickets at the will call box office, and I gave hers away as a “Miracle” – something you do at Dead Shows for Karma Points. People who want to see the show but do not have a ticket will walk about with a finger in the air, saying “I need a miracle!” (a play on one of the Dead’s songs). I found a girl with her finger in the air and gave her my extra ticket. She asked how much I wanted for it, and I said, “It’s free. It’s your miracle.” She gave me a big hug, and then, to my chagrin, she grabbed her boyfriend and said, “Jimmy! I got a ticket! This guy just gave me one!” He lit up and shook my hand, thanking me because now he and his girl could see the show together. As long as someone got to do that, I was happy. I wandered off and sat against the wall of the theater, waiting for the doors to open, and watched the Deadheads twirl around me.

As I sat there, feeling lonely (Ever been in a crowd at a concert all by yourself? It sucks. Even in a communal-minded crowd like a Dead Show), a little girl – could not have been older than nine years – walked over to me. She was wearing a flowing yellow skirt and a tie-dyed top, and she had little flowers in her hair. She gave me one of her flowers. It was such a sweet little gesture, and one that I will never forget. I hope she is having the best life, wherever she is now. She just stood by me, handed me a flower, and said, “Here, you can have this!” I smiled at her. I took the flower (it was a dandelion) and thanked her. She smiled at me. I had on a little beaded bracelet – the kind they sell at Buddhist temples here in Korea, although at the time of the concert, I had not yet been to Korea.

mantra-zlatá

The bracelet looked something like this.

I had gotten the bracelet free with a tapestry I had ordered for my apartment. As I dressed for the concert, I spotted the bracelet lying on my desk, and figured, “May as well wear that.” I slid it onto my wrist and headed out to the show. Now, sitting on the ground outside the venue, I slid it off my wrist and gave it to this little girl. “And you can have this, my new friend,” I said. She grinned and turned to her mother, a young woman in her mid-20s, who was watching nearby. She held up the bracelet and said, “Look! I got a bracelet!” Her mother smiled at us both, saying, “Good for you! Are you going to wear it to the show?” She told her daughter to “thank the nice man,” which she did, with a little wave of her little hand, and off they went.

I kept the dandelion she gave me. I pressed it, and later, when I found a bootleg recording of the show on CD, I laminated the dried flower and used it as the decoration for the CD cover. As Karma Pooling works (I talk about it in my book), Ratdog played “I need a Miracle” as the second song of their first set. Incidentally, in the second set, they played a song that I was not yet familiar with called “Corrina.” Years later, when deciding if I should leave the U.S. to work in Korea, I was listening to that bootleg CD. In the chorus, it sounded like Bobby was screaming, “Kor-ree-ee-a!” and I took that as a sign.

When the doors opened and we all started shuffling into the show, I bumped into the girl to whom I had given my extra ticket and her boyfriend. “Dude!” said the boyfriend. “Glad to meet you again. I have something for you.” He slid a bag of mushrooms into my hand. “I had a bag left over. They’re all yours.” And the young couple, of whom I remain envious to this day (I really wish my girlfriend had come to the show with me) disappeared into the crowd. Delighted with my luck (Karma!), I ducked into the men’s room, occupied a stall, and ate the contents of the bag. In the show, I was about ten rows back from the stage. During the first set, a young fella next to me, bedecked with gauges stretching out his earlobes, green hair flopping from one side of his otherwise shaved head, and decorated with piercings and tattoos from his neck to his fingertips, passed me a thick joint. I gladly accepted – just the thing to get the ‘shrooms kicking in! I felt bad at having a little private laugh at the young fella when I first saw him, thinking to myself, “Dude, at some point you have to realize the drugs are doing you.” After all, who am I to point fingers, right?

As we smoked, a surly-burly security guard leaned in and said to me, “If I see that again, you’re out of here!” I nodded at him, but thought, “Fuck you, man. It’s a concert! You’re gonna see it, you’re gonna smell it, hell, you’re probably gonna inhale it. Chill the fuck out and do your job keeping the crowd orderly. You should be happy we’re smoking weed and not getting drunk. We’ll be much more manageable!” What the fuck was he gonna do, kick everybody out? Ass-hat. 

But I digress. After the show, I ended up wandering down to The Point. To those of you not familiar with The Point, it is Point State Park, the little triangular peninsula with a big fountain, located where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers come together to form the Ohio River (everything comes together at The Point). I won’t go into the history of this landmark here, but it is worth looking into. 

Point State Park and the Pittsburgh skyline

In this aerial of Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, you can see the outlines and remains of two of the oldest structures in Pittsburgh, Fort Pitt and Fort Duquesne. (Photo by The Base)

And here we go. There was a girl sitting on the wall of the big fountain, which had been turned off. She said hello to me. I looked around at first to see if there was someone else she could be talking to. I hate it when I assume someone is waving at or speaking to me, and I reply in kind only to find they were addressing someone behind me. It’s so embarrassing! But there was no one else in her line of sight, so I waved and said, “Hello, there!”

“What brings you down here tonight?” she asked.

“I was at a concert in the Cultural District. The Ratdog show,” I answered, standing there about ten feet from her, not sure if I should approach. I was nervous, and I could feel that the mushrooms and weed had not yet worn off. They began to kick in again with my adrenaline. I stood there, not wanting to be the weirdo in the park, but she had initiated contact, so I felt I was OK to stand my ground.

“Oh?” she said, cocking her head at me. She had dark, curly hair, a nice, round face with a rounded chin and high cheekbones. Very cute! I felt my pulse quickening and my head flooded with thoughts, and I tried to focus and maintain a reasonable appearance, hide the fact that I was tripping. “How was the concert?” she asked.

“Great!” I heard myself reply. “I wish I hadn’t gone alone.” Why did I say that? It was true, but… weird? She smiled and asked, “Why did you go alone?” I didn’t want to mention my girlfriend because I am a creep, you see. At least, I was. I have grown up a bit since then. But I am sure you can understand, I was a little hurt that my girlfriend had not come with me (it was my birthday!), and what would YOU have done in a similar situation, anyway?

“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “Things just worked out that way.” And I stood there. And she just looked at me, head still cocked to a slight angle. Quizzical, I thought. The silence was becoming awkward. Should I walk away? Was that the end of our chat? Then she said, “I also came alone.”

“Oh?” I said. “Did you go to the concert also?”

She shook her head, her dark eyes still locked onto mine. “No. I just came here to the park. I like the water.”

“Me, too,” I said, and offered her a conversational gem I brought up a lot in similar conversations: “I think living near water just makes people more relaxed and easy-going.”

She smiled at this. “Yes, I get that as well.” And then she said, “You know Pittsburgh has more bridges than any other city in the world.”

I did know that. “Yes,” I said. “City of Bridges.”

“A good place to cross over,” she replied. I was tripping, so I totally got that. I agreed.

I told you this was going to be a long one. Let me get to the point: Next thing I knew, I was sitting on the fountain with her, and we were chatting. I asked if she was from Pittsburgh, and she said, “Yes and no.” I asked her to clarify. I actually said it like I was a freakin’ robot. I said, “Clarify?” And rather than look puzzled, she did clarify. She said to me, “I am from this location, but I am not from this city. I’m from a different frequency.”

Please put yourself in my shoes here. I was tripping on mushrooms, I had smoked some good weed, and I was alone in a park coming down off a concert high, a lot of energy, and this is what this strange, attractive woman was saying to me. She was from a different frequency. My mind flooded with thoughts again, and I froze up like a deer in headlights. In these situations, my mind kind of goes on the fritz and I find it a little hard to focus. At the time, I just chalked it up to the hallucinogens. I managed an audible, “Ah,” and just nodded, trying to think of what to say next. I held her gaze, though, and her smile broadened.

“Do you know what that means?”

Frequency. That word. All I could think to do was to attempt a joke, which is what I do when I feel out of my element. “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” I asked, referencing a strange thing that happened to Dan Rather in 1986. She leaned back a bit and asked, “Who’s Kenneth?”

“Beats me,” I shrugged. “Who are you?” I figured this was a good time to try to get a name. She eyed me for a second, and then put out her hand. “My name is Franklin.” [I changed the name, remember.] I took her hand and gave her my name. Then the awkward silence returned, so I broke it by asking, “So what is the frequency?” She looked at me quizzically again, so I clarified, “Where are you from, really?”

She looked out at the rivers, and pointed toward the Ohio. “Over there.”

That wasn’t much help. I said, “Where, Mount Washington?” A small laugh escaped her, and she said, “I’m from another realm. I’m not from here, really, I’m just exploring.”

“Ah,” I said again, “A tourist.”

She nodded. “Yes, I guess that is as good a description as any.” I looked at my feet. She looked at me. “You seem to be a bit of a tourist yourself,” she said. And in a way, I was. I had lived in Pittsburgh before, but was now living two hours north-east of the city to attend graduate school. Aside from that, I was tripping, and when tripping, one feels like a bit of a tourist among the “normies.” I just nodded.

“Where are you from?” she asked.

“You’ll have to ask my parents, they wouldn’t tell me,” I said, repeating an old joke I had heard on the British TV series The Young Ones. This elicited a genuine laugh from her. Then she said, “I guess I can tell you. I’m from another dimension. Are you aware that there are other realities, which are separated by frequencies?”

Now my head exploded with thoughts. I had thought about other dimensions, parallel universes and the like, many times in the past. I love to read about science, both fact and fiction. This comment from her caught me off guard, however, and I could only nod again. And my head was rushing. She gave me a brief explanation of what she meant, about how matter is energy and all energy vibrates on a different frequency, and our vibrations determine what matter/energy we interact with, and she was altering her frequency to interact with our physical world. And there you go. At this point, my head was already swimming, and now it was drowning in the rivers around the point. She said the Brownian motion of the converging waters here was represented on her frequency, also as rivers, but more like rivers of energy than water. She said water was alive, and in her world, she was closer to the soul of the water than the corporeal form.

Now I’m sitting there at the point, trying desperately to focus my mind on what she was saying, trying to come down off of the mushrooms, and if you have ever tripped your face off before, you know that trying to come down sometimes only sends you further along. In retrospect, it occurred to me that I had ingested the mushrooms around four hours before, and a mushroom trip generally lasts about half as long as an LSD trip, so I should have been coming down by then. And yet I felt like I was peaking. Could she have been doing this to my head during our interaction? Definitely. Could I have been experiencing a break with reality, been experiencing some sort of fugue state? Again, sure. She was still talking.

“We have to be careful with these energies here. When our people first crossed over at this point, there was a massive surge in the electromagnetic field around these waters and one of your military aircraft that was in the vicinity was pulled down. Two people were killed.” Well, that got dark fast. I felt a sense of sadness wash over me and then it was gone. She wasn’t kidding, either. That actually happened.

b25-illustration-1024x729-1-1

Illustration of the B-25 bomber over the Monongahela River. Courtesy of the B-25 Recovery Group. (Photo by Heinz History Center)

I focused, formed some words, and asked her, “So you’re from another universe?” I tried to sound cool. I was no stranger to such theories, after all. I am a huge fan of the weird, and have been ever since reading The Hithhiker’s Guide series by Douglas Adams.

“Don’t you try to outweird me. I get stranger things than you free with my breakfast cereal!” – Zaphod Beeblebrox, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Book two of the five-part ‘trilogy’ of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

This incident, this meeting at the Point, occurred a few years after I had received a strange phone call while reading The Mothman Prophecies by John Keel. This was not my first rodeo, it seemed. [I recount this occurrence in other places in this blog as well as in my upcoming book, but I am not gonna go digging for it right now. I’m on a roll!]

She said that she was from another universe, somewhere “Up and a bit to the left,” whatever that meant. She was smiling when she said it, so I got the feeling it was some sort of joke. I replied, “Ah, damn lefties!” and she laughed again. And that was when I felt a sense of connection with her. Under normal circumstances, I might have asked her if she wanted to go get a coffee, or if I could have her phone number. But here, now, there was just too much, and I was getting that feeling that there was more behind this person. And no, I can’t go any further into that than I already have. She was walking with me anyway, away from the Point, and back towards the theater from whence I had come. I don’t know how that happened. I was just relieved that she was telling me that she was human, just like me. She was just from a completely different place. I wasn’t freaked out. Having experimented with powerful hallucinogens at many points in my life, and having had a few other unexplained experiences over the course of my life, had sort of made my mind malleable to the inexplicable, I guess. I was just happy that I wasn’t alone anymore. She might not be my girlfriend – she would never be that, I knew even then – but at least I was in the company of someone with whom I felt a deep connection. That was what I had been missing all night.

So right there – motive and opportunity to have imagined the whole thing. Yes, I am aware. But it seemed so real. The next thing I knew, I was getting on the 57 bus to head back over to Shadyside, back to my hotel, the Marriot Courtyard between Baum Boulevard and Centre Avenue, just kitty-corner from the apartment I had lived in when I had received that strange phone call while reading The Mothman Prophecies years before. The location here was also a junction – right where Shadyside, Oakland, and Liberty came together. I asked her if she was coming back to my hotel with me (because remember: creep!) and she said, “Not tonight. But I’ll see you in time.”

The bus came by and I got on, and that’s when our meeting ended. I remember looking out the bus window, seeing her stand there with that beatific smile on her face. On the bus, a homeless man sat down next to me as I was still lost in my thoughts. He pulled out a wad of cash – mostly singles – and said, “Yessir, it was a good night tonight!” I imagined he had had a good night because a crowd of Deadheads had been in town, and they love to help out people in need. He looked at me and seemed to know I was feeling a bit discombobulated. “You alright, my brother?” he said.

“Yeah, I’m good,” I managed. “You OK?”

“Oh, tonight, I’m OK,” he said, looking at his haul. Then he did something that struck me as funny – he handed me a dollar. “Pay it forward!” he said. I tried to refuse his offer, but he said, “I gotta give a little back to keep the good things coming!” So I took the crumpled dollar, and thanked him. As I got off the bus in Oakland, I started laughing. How sad must I look for a homeless man to give me a dollar? At the time, I had been dreaming of a career in stand-up comedy, and had even done a few open mics. I went up to my room and started writing down the story of the homeless man, having seemingly completely forgotten about the amazing thing that had occurred just before. I didn’t think about Franklin again until I saw her years later in Korea.

Now you can go back and read that story if you choose. Here is a thing I might change in that account, however: In that meeting, I say that Franklin showed me a device that looked like a dildo. This is not exact. I felt it needed some humor at that point. Also, when I wrote the story, I felt that was easier to understand and describe than what I had actually seen. I felt at the time that the story would be more acceptable if I described something that seemed more familiar to our current technologies – something like the remote control to all of our TVs. In my head, I had seen it as a device fitting the description of the sub-ether ‘thumb’ that Ford Prefect and other galactic hitchhikers use in Douglas Adams’s stories – a smooth, cylindrical device with buttons on either end.

In fact, what Franklin had shown me was a smooth, black sphere, about the size of a billiard ball, maybe a bit smaller. She had given it to me, allowed me to examine it. It was light and incredibly smooth – so smooth that I had the urge to rub it against my cheek. It was seamless, and bore no stamp of trademark or manufacture. After I had rolled it around my face and hands, feeling its somewhat rubbery texture, I handed it back. I did not see any other function for it. Then she pulled it apart with her hands, and then she had two smooth, shiny black spheres, each about half the size as the first. She set one in her lap, and pulled the other one in half, creating two more spheres, again half the size of the original. At first, I thought she was showing me a magic trick, some crafty slight-of-hand. But she handed them to me, two smaller and one slightly larger (about the size of a golf ball now) and let me examine them. Again, seamless, smooth, almost rubbery to the touch. The texture was odd, and now they felt a little warmer. I tried pulling the larger one apart like she had done, but when its shape did not change between my fingertips, I stopped, trying to play it cool. “Neat.”

We went into the bathroom and she turned on the shower. She put one of the smaller balls into each pocket of her pants, and, holding the larger one in one hand, she stepped into the shower spray – and the water curved around her. She wasn’t touched by a single drop. She let me try it, and I still cannot satisfactorily describe the sensation I felt, all at once excited, dumbfounded, and ridiculous, as I stood there, moving my hand with the slightly larger sphere in it and watching the water repulsed by it. She explained that this was used instead of the cumbersome umbrellas we use in our world to keep the rain off our heads. She said that in her world, people often put these little balls into rain hats and they never have to worry about staying dry in a downpour, or putting someone’s eye out with the edge of an umbrella. It used soundwaves to repel the water droplets, and it seemed so convenient and clever that I wondered why our people hadn’t made something like it yet. She told me that there was a plan to seed this technology to us soon. They sometimes seeded technology to us to advance our development, and they did it through contact with people like Nikola Tesla, T. Townsend Brown, and even Leonardo da Vinci. The goal was to introduce technology gradually, at times when it was not too far removed from our own, so the connection would not be too unsettling for us. They want to get our civilization to a point where our two peoples can communicate openly and develop together.

Our side of the world is held back by ignorance, religion, fear, greed – all of the wonderful traits that make us who we are. They are trying to help us overcome that, but there are forces that are trying to ensure that we do not, that we sink into the lower frequencies. Misery does indeed love company.

We went back into the main area of the hotel room, and she put all the little balls together in her hands and pressed them back into their original single-sphere shape. She tossed it to me, but I was a little freaked out by it, and my instinct was to shrink away and let it land on the floor. In the original account, I say that Franklin also inserted this weird device into the solid wall of the hotel room. She didn’t. This little device was just a common little knickknack to her, something that was an everyday item no more unusual than an electric toothbrush. She didn’t need the object to penetrate the wall. She had inserted her hand – just her own flesh-and-blood hand – into the wall, nearly right up to the elbow. She had stood there, eyes closed, breathing rhythmically, flexing the fingers on her hand for a few moments, then she had touched her fingertips to the wall. Then her fingers bent, but they hadn’t bent. They had shortened. They had passed into the solid matter of the wall. Then her hand, then she slid in right up to a few inches below her elbow. Then she looked at me to see how I was reacting to this. I was trying to view her arm from every possible angle, like a man having a strong acid hallucination trying to figure out how the handle to my refrigerator door seemed to bend in my hand, or how the wall in front of me appeared to be breathing. I wasn’t frightened, I didn’t freak out, but I was and still am amazed. Then she had smiled, removed her hand from the wall, and handed me another beer.

I asked her if someone was on the other side of the wall, would they see her hand coming through? She said it depended on their frame of mind, and explained the concept of negative hallucination – that when the conscious mind sees something it cannot qualify, it tends to ignore it. Or people see something, but cannot comprehend its full-reality potential, and so they see a disproportioned version. Maybe they think they see a ghost. Or they think they saw something out of the corner of their eye, but when they look, their conscious mind has already blocked it. It didn’t matter, she said, as the room next door was unoccupied anyway. I asked, “What if they are in the right frame of mind, and they see the full image of your arm suddenly pop out of the wall?” She shrugged, and said, “If they are that far along, they are probably familiar with the physics, and will try to grab my hand and shake it, or to make contact in some reasonable way. Most likely, they will freeze up, and my hand will be gone before they can even react. They may tell someone, but who will believe them? Even if they are believed, what evidence is there? If anything, it ends up as yet another strange story on the internet. People can believe it or not.”

“And if they believe it?”

“Then it furthers our agenda of full contact.”

And that was that.

The third time I saw Franklin was back in Pittsburgh when I went home again after two years of teaching in Oman. I had handled something in Oman that I shouldn’t have, and she was concerned about that and had just wanted to check on me and make sure I was back to my normal self again. I was, so we just exchanged a few pleasantries, and she was gone again. I wondered why she had not contacted me while I was in Oman. I didn’t see her there. She waited for me to get back to Pittsburgh, and I had gone to The Point again. I can’t even remember why I had gone to the point. I was just in Pittsburgh and felt like visiting all of the places that were special to me. Again, when I am in the presence of such entities, my mind goes sort of warbly, like a feedback loop or interference. Again, possible evidence of some sort of mental break. This time when we parted, though, she made no indication that I would see her again.

I really hope that I do. I really would love to see my friend again.

And that’s it. Was I hallucinating? Am I suffering from some sort of mental ailment such as the all-encompassing schizophrenia? I feel fine now!

And I am aware of how utterly bizarre and unbelievable all of this is. All I can do is shrug and say, “Well, that’s what I saw.” Maybe I do “suffer” (or more accurately “enjoy”) the occasional break from reality. The first time I saw her, I had been tripping on mushrooms and I had also smoked cannabis, and I was still very much under the influence of those substances. The second time, in Korea, I had been stone-cold sober, and was even teaching a class with her as my guest. We did go out and get drunk after that. And the third and final time I saw her, the encounter only lasted about an hour, and I had also been sober. A sober mind can suffer a mental break just as much as one under the influence, however.

That’s all I can say, and I can offer no evidence. You may take or leave it, all or in part, at your own discretion. Either way, I hope you enjoy my accounts, and I truly hope that you have some of your own. Safely, securely, nothing scary or so unsettling that it pushes you over the Nash Edge, just an encounter that gives you the same peaceful sense of “What the hell was that?” and “Maybe we’re not alone.”

Peace. Oh, and by the way, those so-called “UFO/UAPs” that have been grabbing the media spotlight lately? Consider this: Some of them are programmable entities – that is, they carry consciousnesses on exploratory missions. The crafts we are seeing are a life form in their own right. Interstellar distances and G-forces are nothing to a craft designed as a vehicle for a consciousness alone. You are already considering the possibility of “uploading” your consciousness to a – what? Android? Imagine a system so advanced that you can program it with your very consciousness. Technology evolves exponentially. Consciousness follows suit. You may have heard of “remote viewing.” This is like that, only much more tangible.

OK. I’ll shut up now. Have a good day! Here — watch this video:

Initiating Dream Contact with Aliens: Ancient Civilizations Used This Method – YouTube

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