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05.08.02 1:00 a.m.

One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. "Supernatural" is a null word.


 -Robert Heinlein,"Time Enough for Love"  




Previously in Xenology: We saw a UFO in Pine Bush. Emily complained of a "vampire" infestation in her room.

I Was Once Like You
My life is taking one of those stranger turns that make this site more interesting than that of an ordinary boy. See, I was recently bitten by a radioactive/genetically mutated spider and... wait, no... radioactive spiders have a marked tendency to die of radiation poisoning. The fun new bit of information that has put my life from "slightly unbelievable and mildly interesting" to "ridiculous and worth reading" is the fact that Dr. Ellen Crystall (I'll give you a hint... the doctorate is in New Age music) wasn't lying in her book Silent Invasion, there really are tunnels under Pine Bush that have no known explanation. Of course, you know that this means that Melissa, Evan, Emily and I have to go exploring them, don't you?
If you read the link, you'll likely note that these caves were not, according to the page's author, really explored. Possibly a large-scale expedition has been mounted to survey every nook and cranny of the tunnels in the last three years. However, I'd wager otherwise, especially given the mythology of Pine Bush.
 
The hidden barbed wire on the ground around the Jewish Cemetery.

So, in Hanna-Barbara/horror movie fashion, the crazy young adults will explore the mysterious and uncharted cave in a town purported to be home to aliens, government cover-ups, and hyper-intelligent lemurs. We're even the proper stock characters, though several all at once. Emily functions as the obligatory love interest/na´ve girl/martial arts expert. Melissa is the wise cracking comic relief/secret genius/stoner/ballistics expert (well, she did blow up once, it should count!). Evan is the mysterious quiet one/skeptic/movie expert. I'm the armchair occultist/first to die/impetuous/myth expert. I swear I have seen this movie.
I'm not exactly sure when we are mounting this trip. Certainly during the day, because we are not stupid. We will also be bringing plenty of photographic equipment. With flash. And flashlights. And food. And cell phones (though I am not sure how well they work 550 feet into a mountain). And we will tell people where we are going and went to expect us back. And the plasma blasters. Can't forget them.
Evan and I spoke how we felt we had less to fear from government intervention in the frightening "If you ever use the letters U F and O in the same sentence again, your family will never see you again" way. We aren't really seeking to blow the lid wide open on this horrific scandal. We are just damned curious. It also unnerves us that a lot of the "researchers" into the Pine Bush sightings/phenomenon are perceived by most of society (ourselves included) as utterly bat shit. We are not crazy in that we know that this is treading on the sort of stuff society generally resists hearing outside of television.
Oh, but this is not where the strangeness ends. Why, this is rather normal fun for us. Emily has been sick for a few days. She had blood tests in fear that she had contracted mono from the foaming-at-the-mouth, close-minded feminists in some of her classes (do not get me wrong, we do not have a problem with feminism or feminists. We have a problem with idiots who decide to point their illogical hatred at 49% of the population while saying people are being prejudiced against them. "'Scuse me, there seems to be a plank in your eye, Miss."). As such, Emily has been - what's the appropriate term? - clusterfucked for several days. Several nights ago, while spending the night at my house, she claims that she heard a high-pitched voice talking to her but she couldn't understand what it was saying. This seems typical of dreams, i.e. one cannot read in dreams. She told me that is said three sentences or questions, though she doesn't know if they were the same or different. M wanted to wake me up (I have told her that, should anything strange occur, she should actively remember to wake me for substantiation/defense), but couldn't. She said that I was sleeping very deeply, as judged by my breathing. She didn't report saying anything to me, and I would think she would mention it.
It seemed to lack the elements of dreaming, in my opinion. She is a very sensible girl most of the time, as you know, so I do not think she was imagining things nor do I think she was making this up. Given what she has experiences with me and alone, I doubt she would ever fabricate a story about the potentially paranormal. Moreover, she is on a medication that ordinarily puts her into a deep sleep well into the morning most nights. Well, she was on this medication. It just ran out. It should be noted that I sleep with earplugs, because I am such a light sleeper. Last night, in fact, I awoke owing to my Pekinese poodle snoring under my bed (which wasn't the sound Emily heard, she is used to Lolly). Also, because of my light sleeping, I am sure to shut off every electrical thing in my room, because I can hear the high-pitched whine of a machine and it annoys me when I am dozing. That rules machines out. I had the window shut, which would block outside conversation unless someone was walking right next to it (meaning they would have been trespassing in my yard by a good sixty feet). She places the noise within the room, by my head as well. Nothing, save a sleeping me, could have made this noise and she seems fairly sure I am not capable.
I went to bed around 3:30 AM, because I was writing a journal entry, and awoke at 11:00 when my alarm sounded. She went to bed around midnight and awoke around 8:30 to get to the train to take her personal training exam.
First the potentially logical explanations that don't satisfy me: She was having a very vivid dream or experiencing a state of altered consciousness that was caused by her lack of medication. Possible, and it would account for the possible sleep paralysis that prevented her from waking me. Evan claims that this is common from his own sleep paralysis. However, she seems certain she was awake and merely unable to move. The other explanation is that she heard some animal or machine in my house. My cat always stays out of my room and I had the door shut (my mother puts the poodle in my room to keep her from barking). He is out of the running. Machines are always shut off. They are out as well.
I do not know what she experienced. However, in a long parapsychological conversation with Evan, I brought Emily's nocturnal visitor up. While initially half-joking, I began to connect this with Emily's "vampires" ("beings" she only sees when she is heavily medicated and waking up to use the bathroom. Generally they are all pale men with dark clothing from her description). As I explained to Evan, a Jungian might stated that these entities are a manifestation of the superconscious/collective unconscious mind that are given substance in the subjects mind owing to her necessitated use of medication. For other people, these would dwell in the realm of dreams alone. However, Emily can "see" them sitting in chairs watching her. It should be noted that she makes no move to interact with her visualization because the medication also makes her solely interested in returning to bed. She makes no mention of scents or sounds associated with them, likely meaning that this experience is primarily visual in nature.
 
Not a poltergeist.
She doesn't fear them and has certainly been exposed to vampires as positive entities (Anne Rice, Buffy) rather than cannibalistic reanimated corpses of years gone by. I doubt it is psychosexual, because the vampires do not move to interact with her, let alone seduce her and she doesn't seem to have repressed sexuality. If I knew more of the anatomy and function of different parts of the brain, I would attempt to arrive at a theory as to why her combination of medications would result in this phenomenon. This is not to say that this is the theory I believe, merely one I am entertaining.
She also states that she finds things moved the next day, which sounds faintly like lazy poltergeist phenomenon. That makes a little bit of sense, given that poltergeist phenomenon usually centers on an adolescent girl that feels repressed in some way and under stress. Emily fits these categories. Latent psychic energy manifests itself in moving objects, which generally wanes as the girl gets older and feels more in control of her life. Of course, I am going to introduce the variable that her medication would introduce into the equation. So, she could be slightly moving things in her sleep through some untapped but qualitatively and scientifically noted ability of the human mind. Or she is empowering these thoughtforms to move objects slightly on their own. Or, perhaps, it is a phenomenon at which I cannot really guess. Not a haunting, certainly. The phenomenon follows her.
I explained all of this to Emily and she noted it with apprehensive interest. After I corrected her as to the modern parapsychological view of poltergeist, she seemed to agree that this was a possibility. She asked, "I am a poltergeist?" I thought for a moment and told her that she has a poltergeist like she has dyslexia. However, she is not dyslexia.
Wait, doesn't the repressed psychic count as a horror movie stock character?

Until My Muscles Burned and My Veins Pumped Battery Acid
Recently, I have taken up running. I wish I could say it was for so noble an aspiration as to become more in touch with myself or because I wanted to compete in a marathon. That's bullshit, however. I wish to look better naked. I wish to be able to rollerblade and dart up three flights of stairs and not feel my muscles rebelling and my lungs aching.
I don't hold to any dysmorphic opinion of what my body should look like. Basically like it does right now. I do not wish to be "ripped." My strength is in my flexibility, not muscles like overinflated party balloons. I want to be healthier and have greater cardiovascular endurance.
It does help that I am dating a lass who has aspirations of personal training, though.
The strange part of all of this is that, when I am reaching what I feel in my edge and my body is beseeching me to walk for a bit, I don't really think of my goals of a great lung capacity or endurance. No, I think about adventures like the one I'm going to have in Pine Bush and how being able to run for a while at a decent clip could come in useful.
Yes, I acknowledge that is screwed up. Yes, I'm comfortable with that. I am enlightened.

Black Valises
While I am being weird, I might as well go all the way. Emily was doing a paper on cults a few weeks ago. She had settled on Heaven's Gate, about whom she knew nothing (having been out of the country at the time). In the course of her research, she uncovered the fact that all of the bodies had certain things with them. Five dollars and a few rolls of quarters, for example, because American currency truly is universal. The mystery is that all of the bodies had black travel bags next to them. The FBI investigator was not allowed to know what was contained in these cases. The F... B... I... investigator was not... allowed? Of course, the truth about the contents has never been released to the public. Here is my mission, should you choose to accept it: I wish to know who forbade the FBI to know what was contained within the valises. I also want to know some of the credible theories pertaining to the contents. I don't expect the actual truth is out there, but I find the whole situation baffling and compelling.

Soon in Xenology: Coke lines at Eveready. Liz like mother. Brahma. Kandahar. Desubstantialization. Blow. Martin Luther King estate. Amelie. ET. Anne and Jerame's party. M tells me not to harass strangers. Veronica is an abrupt faucet. Debating off of paper. DwB, unlimited energy from the fourth dimension, angel cards and Pine Bush redux. The quantums. We are all gods. How? We are all gods... Bronx Boy wants no blondes. Theories of the paranormal making our heads explode.


last watched: The Boondock Saints
reading: Good Omens
listening: Nevermind
wanting: cardiopulmonary health or a krypton flashlight.
interesting thought: all I need is to know I am telling the truth to the best of my ability.
moment of zen: exiting my last class of the year.
someday I must: swim for hours.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.



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