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Posts Tagged ‘death’

I’ve heard many unusual stories over the years. For instance, a farmer’s wife told me of seeing lightning go through a closed window, pass through her kitchen, through an open door, then out a window in the living room. Another time she told me about a night, not long after her husband died, when she’d been awakened by a bell. A bell he had used to summon her when he was sick. “I shoulda never given him that bell!” Then she felt his side of the bed go down. She asked him to please go—it was very frightening for her—she told him she couldn’t handle it, and he left.

 

When I sold encyclopedias I met an Episcopalian minister who told me that at one time he worshipped the devil. Back in those dark days he used to leave his body and fly with his friends to an enemy’s house to attack them. He also told me that the devil was very powerful and that he was like a light bulb in brightness compared to us who would be like a match. God, however, would be like the Sun.

 

A Mankind Project friend, Fred Cheyette, has compiled a book of stories of the strange and inexplicable things that have occurred to ordinary people; things that seem too amazing to be attributed to coincidence. After experiencing many unusual occurrences himself, he would often relate them to others. They, in turn, would tell him of theirs.

 

Here are some of the stories that will appear in his book:

 

During a trip to Los Angeles I went to the YWCA and had a massage with a woman named Eve, who I had never met before. During the massage she told me things about my family, which amazed me, because I had not mentioned them to her. Two days later I went back to the Y and asked to set up another appointment with Eve because I was so taken with what she had told me. The clerk said that was impossible to do because she had gone back to Hungary six months before!

In the ‘60s I was living in Cambridge, Massachusetts and my brother was living in a nearby town. One night he called me. Since this was before cell phones and speed dialing, he dialed my number manually. However I was not home, but was at a party somewhere in the suburbs. I had come with other people, I didn’t know the house and I had never met the host. At one point I decided to take a break from the party and was sitting alone next to the telephone. The phone rang and on impulse I answered it. It was my brother. I was incredulous. “How did you find me here?” I asked. He didn’t understand what I was talking about. After some discussion, we discovered that he had intended to dial my Cambridge apartment’s number and somehow dialed the number of the house I was visiting.

On September 21, 1938, I was leaving my house in Brooklyn to go to school. I was seven years old and fairly heavy. I closed the front door of the house and walked down the five steps to the landing. As I approached the two steps that led to the sidewalk, a gust of wind picked me up, carried me through the air and gently put me down on my feet on the sidewalk. I looked around and didn’t see anyone, so I walked to school and didn’t say anything about it. The wind that picked me up was part of the most severe hurricane to hit the Northeast in recorded history.

My wife and I were home, sitting in the same room, doing some mundane thing. Suddenly, at the same instant, we both broke out into song. We sang the same song, in the same key and started singing at the same place in the song. It was not a song we had been singing or listening to. It never happened before or since.

His publisher wants him to add more stories to his book before it’s published. If you have a story like the ones I’ve included from Fred’s book (not like mine) and you’d enjoy seeing it in print, email it to Fred at fredcheyette@earthlink.net. Let him know if you’d like it to appear with your byline.

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Why did Grandma die, doesn’t she love us anymore?”

When my mother was dying several years ago, we gathered for a week at her bedside, all eleven of us, her children, coming in from all parts of the country, also numerous grandchildren.

My mother’s body was shot, after living with cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a host of other maladies, including my father who now had Alzheimer’s. She’d had enough; it was her time to go.

When I was growing up, we went on weekly picnics in the nice weather.  My mother loved to sing; she had a beautiful voice. She and my father, whose voice was not as exceptional, would lead us in the old songs that they grew up with. We would all sing around the fire at night and on all those drives to and from.

So, around my mother’s bed, we sang these same songs. When we got the words wrong she would jump in and help us. Then she died.

I missed when she passed out of her body and briefly burst into tears when one of my sisters said she was gone.

The next day I was hanging out with my nieces. Jana, a very vivacious eight year old, was very sad and angry.

“Why did Grandma die?” she asked. “Doesn’t she love us anymore?”

She could not understand why her grandma, who had held on until everyone had come in from Illinois, California, Connecticut, and Colorado, would abandon her. Jana sorely missed her.

I explained that Grandma’s body was all worn out, that it was very hard for her to stay alive when she was so old and so sick.

I said it was time for her to leave her body and go on to something else like a caterpillar in a chrysalis becomes a butterfly. “Would you want Grandma to stay the way she is, all sick and broken down, just because you don’t want her to go away?”

Jana’s face changed. Still serious, but now a little lighter, she asked, “Is Grandma a butterfly?”

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[This is the 4th  installment of a hitchhiking trip I took in my twenties; see the first  post to read from the beginning]

After the Prairie Dogs

 Not only were my hosts on their way to join the New Zion Army, they were also stopping in Charlie’s hometown, Minneapolis, so they could live with his mom, get jobs, and save some money.

“Hey,” Charlie said, “When we go up to South Dakota to do some camping, we can do some shooting too. They have those prairie dog towns. You just sit there for a while and wait for them to pop their little heads up.”

“Sounds like fun,” said Ken.

“Yeah, it’s a ball. It’ll help you relax, get your mind off your troubles.” Charlie laughed; they both laughed. “We could use a little fun after Las Vegas.”

I wasn’t sure I still wanted to go camping with these guys. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see prairie dogs splattered all over their mounds. It wasn’t how I liked to experience nature.

The sun set orange over the mountains in the west.

“You wanna drive straight through?” said Charlie to Ken. “We’ll stop when we hit South Dakota.”

“All right,” said Ken.

Ken always went along with Charlie. He looked up to him. Charlie was a very self assured person. He always knew what to do.

The lengthening evening gradually shrank the vistas outside the car windows. There were few lights beyond the head beams of the little Celica and few cars on the interstate.

“I can kill a man with my bare hands,” said Charlie to no one in particular. You just have to grab ‘em by the throat and twist. I did some in Nam…It was fucked up there.” His voice got very dark, like the night outside the windows of the car. “The bastards killed my buddies right beside me. I killed as many as I could. After I finished my tour I signed up for another.”

I was very quiet. I felt sorry for Charlie and all the “Charlies” Charlie had killed. I could understand an anger that can’t be quenched; however, I never killed anyone. As a matter of fact, I’d only been in two fights my whole life. The thought of being in a fight scared me; I didn’t want to get on the wrong side of Charlie.

I could feel some kind of plan that was shared by my two Samaritan friends, but that I was not party to. They had gotten quiet, aside from the occasional curse or bitter remark. Charlie gripped the wheel his eyes knifing into the road ahead. Ken sat at attention, both hands in fists, one arm across his lap, the other under his nose supporting his head, his brow aiding his intensity by pressing down like a collapsed accordion.

“I hope I’m not too much of a bother,” I said.

“No bother,” said Ken.

“Hmmph,” said Charlie, “What?”

“I hope I’m not too much trouble.”

Charlie turned his head, “Nah,” he half smiled then looked forward down the road.

The little car ate up the interstate like a Chihuahua nibbling a midnight snack.

Why did they pick me up? I thought. The glow I’d felt from having my problems solved with a ride clear to my destination, had worn off. I was tired like my traveling companions. I hadn’t had much sleep and we’d been driving for hours. The grim reality of my situation began to dawn on me. They had gone to a lot of trouble to fit me in. There was no good reason for them to pick me up. They were best friends, I was a stranger. They had a cramped vehicle even before I got in. They had guns and other weapons. The driver was nuts and a trained killer.

The blood drained from my face. My heart pounded. I felt they must hear it above the sound of the engine and tires on the road.

They would take me up to South Dakota, way out in the country. They would camp, kill a few prairie dogs, then kill me. They wanted my money.

Many thoughts, like visions of poisoned sugarplums, danced through my head. Maybe they would make me get down on my knees and blow my head off. Maybe they would beat me to death.

I knew I didn’t stand a chance against these two. And, since I wasn’t sure they were going to kill me, that maybe it was just my overactive imagination, I couldn’t try to escape or tell someone. Doing that, would cause a lot of trouble, and that would really piss Charlie and Ken off. In addition, I’d lose all my belongings since they were secreted throughout their car. Besides, I’d be too embarrassed. I would look like a fool if it wasn’t true.

“I’m getting pretty tired,” said Charlie. “I wanted to drive straight through, but maybe we should stop.”

Ken agreed, “Maybe we could all share a room.”

A glimmer of hope lit my manacled brain. Maybe this nightmare would clear up with a good night’s rest and maybe, when they saw I had only traveler’s checks, they’d reconsider murdering me.

We pulled into a Howard Johnson’s. Just as I thought, when I paid my share of the room with a traveler’s check, Charlie let out an annoyed hiss.

I was glad if it ruined their plans. I didn’t want them to benefit from my demise.

We got a room with three single beds. I was given the middle one. When Ken opened his suitcase, he showed me the throwing knives. “I can stop a man at 30 feet with one of these.”

“Yeah, and do you see the blades on those?” added Charlie, “They’re tapered so the wound won’t close. Anybody who gets one of those in him will bleed to death.”

It seemed that Charlie and Ken wanted to be sure that I didn’t try anything in the middle of the night.

I lay in the bed, lights off, peering at the faint ceiling above me. Part of my thought was terrified, panicking, Maybe I should make a run for it, tell the manager, something, another was so tired that it said, Wait till morning, this will probably all clear up in the morning after everybody’s had some sleep.

I was so exhausted I felt I would take the chance they’d at least wait till tomorrow. So I closed my eyes.

 

Next Week:

 Road to Minneapolis

 

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