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Saturday, May 14, 2016

What I "saw"

Re-reading Cosmic Trigger for the ongoing online Cosmic Trigger reading group (if you haven't joined us, go ahead and jump in — we haven't gotten very far and it's not too late to take part), and reading about the strange things that Robert Anton Wilson saw, or thought he saw, leads me to pose a question. Have you ever seen anything you couldn't explain?

I had such an experience maybe 10 years ago. It wasn't as dramatic as the events in Cosmic Trigger, but it startled me.

I worked for a little under a year at a weekly business newspaper in downtown Cleveland, before I left for the job I have now. I sat next to a slender young woman with long hair who was very nice.

We didn't have free parking there, so we had to pay a parking company to have a place to park our cars. I was a reporter, often having to leave the office for interviews, so I didn't have the option very often of using public transportation to get to work, which I would have preferred to having to drive downtown.

Downtown parking was expensive, so must of us chose to park in the Flats, an area west of downtown where the parking was cheaper.

It wasn't uncommon for me to run into one of my office mates as I walked to the office from the Flats after returning from an appointment. And so one day, as I was going back to the office, I saw the young woman who sat next to me as she walked to the Flats. Then I returned to the office — and there was the young woman who I had just clearly seen walking away from the office.

I was very startled, and I've wondered since then about my mind playing tricks on me.

Rationally, it seems to me that perhaps I simply saw someone else and mistook her for the young woman who sits next to me at work. In fact, that must be what had happened. But the incident surprised me at the time, and I haven't forgotten it.


michael said...

A few years ago, my wife and a female friend and I were talking in our living room, which had a view towards the back yard. Suddenly, for some reason, I saw our next-door neighbor's friend in our back yard. He was looking at me and smiling and gave a little wave. He must have been 50 feet away from where I was sitting. Why would he be in my back yard this late in the evening?

I went out to ask him, but he was gone.

Our neighbor's friend didn't live nearby, but often came to parties our friends held, and I was always invited.

I asked my neighbors if their friend (a guy I found funny and gnomish) was staying with them; they said he hadn't been around since the last party, a week or so ago.

I really don't know what happened there. I told my wife and friend what happened and they were baffled. To this day I'm baffled too.

I came up with a bunch of models/scenarios for what happened: I was under stress and hallucinated, even though I was not consciously aware of my stress. It was the early signs of some sort of mental breakdown (this didn't pan out). He really WAS back there and exited and made a clean get-away: his weird gnomish sense of humor?

This apparition worried me for a few weeks, then I guessed he'd made a certain impression on me when I interacted with him and my mind concocted this hallucination in order to get me to pay attention to that in him which is good/interesting but which is also a part of myself.

Still: MAYBE.

Nothing like this had or has ever happened to me again. So far.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Did you wife and your friend see him too? Or was it just you?