Ghost Hunting at the Flagler Museum

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Today, we got together with our friends Bruce and Lynn Gernon and Kathy Doore and met in Palm Beach, at the Flagler Museum, built in 1902. It is still known as Whitehall and was Flagler’s winter home. We were there to do a little ghost hunting.

A little background. Henry Flagler was a founding partner of Standard Oil and the earliest and undoubtedly the most important developer of Florida. He developed two million acres of land and his East Coast Railway connected the entire east coast of the state, from Jacksonville to Key West. He built Whitehall, which has more than 75 rooms, as a wedding present for this third wife, Mary Lily Keenan. She was 24 when she married Flagler, then 60.

The inside of the mansion: ceiling in the lobby, painting surrounded by ornate, gold-plated art.

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Back in the late 1970s, Bruce and Lynn were visiting the museum when she had an encounter with a man she believes was Flagler’s ghost. She and Bruce were on the second floor and Lynn had gotten lost, which is easy to do in this place. She was looking for the restroom and ended up in one of the strange little hallways that lead to a room. And in this hallway she encountered a man dressed in overalls. She asked him where the restroom was and he gestured off to his right. “Down there.”

“I knew something strange was going on,” Lynn said. “I felt really disoriented, disconnected. I followed his directions toward the restroom and when I glanced back, he was gone.”

Bruce says that when he finally found Lynn, she was pale, scared, and it took awhile for her to tell him what she’d experienced.

Some years later, when Lynn and Bruce were living in the keys, Bruce awakened suddenly one night and saw a man standing at the foot of his bed. “I was totally freaked out,” he said. “I thought a robber had broken into the house.” But the man telepathically told Bruce not to be afraid. And it was then that Bruce recognized him as Henry Flagler.

And Bruce, remembering Lynn’s encounter that day t the museum, demanded, “What’s your interest in my wife?”

“She looks like one of my wives,” Flagler replied.

Mary Lily’s portrait. She, like Lynn, was a blond. This hair, though, looks like a wig.

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And when Lynn was 25, she did look a lot like Mary Lily and didn’t wear a wig!

Over the years, there have been sightings of Flagler in Whitehall. According to one article, he has been sighted on the stairs where, at the age of 84, he fell and died. But the security guard I spoke to said that Flagler didn’t die in Whitehall. The fall broke his hip and he was taken to a cottage near the Breakers Hotel to recuperate – and died there. The cottage no longer exists. He also said there were no ghosts in the museum. “For there to be a ghost, someone has to have died here. And no one has died here.”

To give you some idea of the opulence of this place:

the ballroom:

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A photo of what ballroom looked like when it held actual people from the era:

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the music room: the organ is set into the wall

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Other people have sighted Mary Lily peering from a second floor bedroom window. Several women have claimed to seen her dressed in her distinctive period clothing while using the lady’s restroom.

So over lunch, before we went to the museum, I showed Lynn and Kathy the Ghost Radar app on my iPhone, which allegedly registers energy fluctuations in your immediate environment.

From the FAQ that comes with the app: “It has been suggested that paranormal energies manifest themselves through the Quantum Flux or are an aspect Jung’s collective unconscious. Regardless of the medium through which the energies manipulate electric devices the resulting manipulated readings seem to indicate intelligence on occasion… It’s believed that paranormal energies have the ability to influence electrical equipment. This idea comes from the concept that matter, life, soul, and life are fundamentally an electrical phenomena. The app provides a set of parameters for paranormal energies to manipulate which are then processed as graphical, textual, and audible readouts.”

The app registered energy fluctuations frequently, but in some areas the fluctuations were abundant. They appear on the app radar screen as red, blue, green or yellow blips, with red the strongest. On the second floor where Lynn had her encounter nearly 30 years ago, I got several red blips in a tiny hall between two small rooms that had been servants’ quarters.

Three words from the app’s library popped up quickly: guess, also, edge. In using the app, I’ve found that the words often describe what I’m thinking or the conditions in the immediate environment – i.e., a synchronicity. These 3 words intrigued me. I was thinking, We’re guessing at all this. After all, nearly 30 years had passed and just because Lynn had had an encounter in this area didn’t mean anything now. But suppose this app was cutting edge?

The place where my app and Lynn’s went nuts was in the master bedroom, the walk-in closet, and the master bathroom. Lots of red and intense blue blips and the words: wonderful and successful.

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bathroom

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walk-in closet

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No one had an encounter, but we certainly had fun with the app and now and then, I could feel the powerful presence of the past that suffused the air in the mansion. While I was writing this post, I turned on the app to check on the words that had come up in the master bedroom area and three words came up: cell, correctly, evidence. Was my cell app correctly interpreting the evidence?

It would be interesting to test this app with a psychic who can perceive spirits. Would the psychic’s impressions fit those of the app?

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A ghost has also been sighted in Flagler’s private railroad car, also on display in the museum. We went through it, but will leave that one for another day!

 

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Little Synchros: The Lint Roller

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Not all synchros are huge, sweeping and powerful. Some are small and seemingly silly and happen almost daily. I used to dismiss these small synchros as oddities, but I’m beginning to think they may be significant in ways we don’t see at first. Here’s what I mean.

A few days ago, Rob came out into the kitchen holding a lint roller. “Hey, the next time you hit Walgreen’s, could you get some replacement adhesives for this thing? “ He set it down on the table and I thought of the various ways we use this simple device. It’s great for getting Noah’s fur off the seats in the car, for removing cat fur from the couch, the blanket, the chairs.

So today I was headed to Walgreen’s and dropped the lint roller in my purse so I’d be sure to get the right size. But when I finally found the aisle at the drug store where the lint rollers were, I couldn’t find any replacement coverings, just lint rollers. I asked a clerk if they carried the replacement coverings, and he said he would ask the manager and be right back.

Within a few minutes, the man returned to the aisle with the female manager. She checked the stock and shook her head. “I’m sorry, but we’re no longer carrying the replacements.”

Okay, fine. I bought a new lint roller for three bucks and change. When I got home, with the new lint roller, Rob and I got a chuckle over the fact that the replacements probably cost less than a buck, so why carry them if a NEW lint roller brought in three times the money?

Before going back to work, I logged on to a game I play on my iPad. A hunt and banish game. The collection item that came up was one I’d never seen before: a lint roller. My first thought was: what a silly synchro. Rob and I got a good laugh about it, about how silly synchros like this happen almost daily and that it might be cool to gather several of them for a post.

Then this evening I was writing a scene in my novel where the protagonist, a young woman who is an animal communicator, is at the site of a particularly brutal murder. I knew something was missing and thought about the lint roller. I Googled, What is a lint roller? Google delivered a response:

A lint roller or lint remover is a roll of one-sided adhesive paper on a cardboard or plastic barrel that is mounted on a central spindle, with an attached handle. The device facilitates the removal of lint or other small fibers from most materials such as clothing, upholstery and linen.

The moment I saw the words “other small fibers,” I understood the synchro. Using a lint roller, the protagonist is able to find hairs that forensics analyzes and which ultimately lead to who the killer is.

Not so small, after all! This one seems to fall under secret #4, The Creative,  from our book  7 Secrets of Synchronicity.

 

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Henri the Cat is Back

I love these Henri videos. He reminds me of a tuxedo cat we had named Whiskers.

 

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‘Alien eggs’ floating ashore

 

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Remember that movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, based on the novel by Jack Finney?  One of the most striking aspects of the horror story is that aliens were gestating in strange pods that people kept finding in their basements, garages, backyards,  attics, etc. There was a somewhat similar scenario in Cocoon. This time the alien pods were in the bottom of a swimming pool at a retirement home. A fun movie.

Well, now we have strange spherical pods washing ashore on a beach in northern Sydney, Australia. The green pods attracted hundreds of visitor in late September, according to reports.

“I didn’t want to touch one because you never know what can sting you on the beach, but I did poke it with my toes and it’s squishy, like a sponge,” said beach patrol member RaeMaree Hutton. “They look like alien eggs or something.”

Regular beach goers say they’ve never seen anything like it wash ashore. According to an article in the Daily Mail, the barefoot observers describe the balls as ‘alien eggs,’ ‘alien hairballs,’ Japanese moss balls and UFOs, in this case…Unidentified Floating Objects.

Some beachgoers suggested that the objects had been growing and, yikes, multiplying. “About three days ago, there were a few egg-shaped balls but then today, they were much bigger and everywhere on the beach,” said local resident Jenny Zhang.

There has been much debate among experts with regard to what the objects actually are with the consensus at the moment being that they could be balled up clusters of seaweed or algae.Scientists have suggested that the spheres are a rare type of living algae, brought ashore by warmer than usual weather and rough waters. They think that the algae might form balls to protect itself from hungry fish. 

 

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Double Doppelganger

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The person with the long Facebook name who posted this pic did so because she thought the guy in the foreground looked a lot like her friend Bill Gallart. I did too. Bill is my disc golf partner on Saturdays. I also thought for a moment that I was in the photo – the bald guy on the right. Then I realized that it wasn’t either one of us. But two doppels in the same pic?

What’s also surprising is that the photo was taken at JoJo’s, a bar-restaurant here in Wellington, where Bill and I go sometimes, usually separately. But we did meet there once for drinks with several others. So a double doppelganger…and a synchro! After all, that picture could’ve been taken anywhere.

Not only do those guys look fairly close in facial features to us, but they also have similar builds. Bill is tall with a long upper body, and his doppel looks the same. The bald guy not only has a similar build to mine, but his clothes look like what I typically wear. I have several khaki shorts and often wear a pale blue t-shirt. (In fact, I’ve got it on now with the shorts as I write!) Fortunately, the guy is in the background, because I’m guessing he’s probably 30 years younger than me.

So who are those guys and what are they doing, anyhow? We don’t know.

But don’t take my word on the look-a-like matter. Judge for yourself. Here’s Bill and me…

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What Is Possible

This powerful three-minute film about climate change was shown at the U.N. Climate Summit on September 23, 2014.

 

 

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Bumper Sticker philosophy

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The letters are fairly small so the message on our bumper sticker doesn’t jump out at you. But it’s there…If anything can go well, it will.
 
It’s a positive message, the opposite of Murphy’s law,  and I (Rob) notice it every time I walk past the rear of the car. It’s like a corollary to: You create your own reality. Some people are confused by it and have asked what it means. Others have glanced at it and given us the thumbs up. They get it.
 
Megan has the same sticker on the back of her car, and some of her friends have actually made fun of it, saying things like, “Isn’t it supposed to be SHIT HAPPENS. Which is actually the opposite message, suggesting that we are the victims of random events, that we really don’t have much control of our environment.
 
I thought about those negative sentiments this morning when one of our cars wouldn’t start and I had to call AAA. I figured the car needed a new battery, but thought, Damn it, didn’t I just do this a couple of years ago?
 
After placing my service order with AAA, I texted a friend who was supposed to join me this morning for the disc golf league we play on Saturday mornings. I told him that I’d have to wait for the service truck to get here and it would take up to an hour. That meant I had to drop out of league play today.
 
He’s a young guy, one of Megan’s friends, and an avid disc golf player. He texted back, if you can believe it…shit happens.
 
Then things started to turn. The truck driver called and said he would be at the house in 15 minutes. He arrived right on time. He checked the battery, saw that it was bad, and noticed an AAA sticker on the side. “When did you get this battery?” he asked.
 
I couldn’t remember, but looked in the glove box, and voila, pulled out the AAA battery receipt. He looked at it and said, “You’re good. You get a free battery.” Ten minutes later, he was pulling away and I texted my disc golf partner and told him I was back in. New battery, no charge, finished early. I added: If anything can go well, it will.
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Confirmation or Trickster?

Several weeks ago, my agent emailed me asking is I would be interested in writing a novelization. This kind of book is a novel based on a movie script. Rob has written a number of them, including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  My agent emailed the script and said that if it interested me, I should write 25 pages from the script showing how I would turn it into a novel. It would then be submitted to the producers and, if they liked it, he would do his best to get me the gig.

The script was 125 pages long. That meant that for it to become a novel, one page of script – a minute of film –  would need to become at least 3 pages of a novel. It meant I would have to fill in the character’s background. What’s her past? How does she think? What motivates her? Since a script is done mostly through dialogue, it meant I would have to show who she is within herself, what she thinks about, obsesses about, what her past is like. To do this, the first person voice – I – seemed be the best point of view to use.

The first eight pages of the script – which would be the basis for the first 25 pages of the novel – follow a young American woman through her first day in the U.K. There’s a natural break at the top of page 8 of the script, so I decided that would be the ideal place to end my 25 pages. I then read the entire script to get a sense of the character and how she evolves through the course of the movie.

The protagonist is a year younger than my daughter, so I could identify with her journey. I was specifically looking for something in her past that I could carry forward through the story. Rob had suggested this and I found it. She lost her father when she was really young and after his death, her mother told him that if she ever wanted to talk to him, she should write a message to him against the sky and he would see it. She does this several times in the script, so I seized on this and used it a couple of times in my 25 pages.

After Rob had read through the pages, I tweaked it and sent it off. That was on  a Friday. Sunday evening, we took Noah to the dog park and I was talking with Diana, a woman who had been one of Rob’s yoga students. Her husband was diagnosed with liver cancer last year, has had extensive surgery, and is doing better now. They had recently spent three weeks  in Alaska and had just gotten back yesterday. On the flights out there and back, she said, she had watched an emotionally wrenching film about a young man with cancer who falls in love with a woman who has a disability.

“This movie really touched me. I can’t remember the name of the film, though, Trish. Do you know which movie I’m talking about?”

I stood there for a moment, stunned. “It’s called Our Fault in the Stars, and it’s based on a novel by John Green.”

The movie was produced by Temple Hill Entertainment, the same company that is looking for a writer to novelize the script that my agent sent me. So what are the odds on this?  I hadn’t seen Diana at the dog park in months, I hadn’t mentioned the possible project to her or anyone else except Rob and Megan, and I haven’t read Our Fault in the Stars or seen the movie.  The only reason I know about the book is because after my agent emailed me, I looked up the production company and the book. And there were dozens of people at the dog park today and I could have spoken to any of them.

As we left the dog park, I remarked to Rob that the synchro is either a confirmation that I’ll get the project – or a big trickster synchro if I don’t. I’ve experienced several synchros that seemed to be confirmations and turned out to be tricksters. However it unfolds, it’s the sort of synchronicity that invariably leaves me wondering about the power of what quantum physicist David Bohm referred to as the “implicate” or enfolded order in the underlying, deeper reality of our lives.

In other words, who or what orchestrates this stuff, anyway?

 

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UFOs & Electrical Storms

Here’s a video about a sighting in Houston in mid-August during a massive electric storm. The narrator goes on to show other examples of the attraction of UFOs to such storms. Of course, an alternate explanation is that the storm itself creates what appears to be UFO. Take a look.

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A Synchro Encounter of the Fourth Kind

Here are a couple of UFO/alien-related synchros. Well, at least one of them is. The other one is just sort of silly, but it happened when I was preparing to write the real one. So I’ll include it first.

I (Rob) was looking around the house for Noah’s Frisbee. He’s our golden retriever. I looked behind the couch in the family room, didn’t see it, then looked up at the television, which was on, and there was a guy in the foreground facing the camera and holding up a Frisbee. It was the same color as Noah’s! And, of course, Frisbees look like UFOs! Okay, it’s not really a UFO-related synchro, but the next one takes us deep into the contact phenomenon.

This is a story related to me by Sandy, the woman we’ve written about before who is in frequent contact with alien beings…and when I say contact, I mean physical contact. The beings who have been visiting her since 1995 don’t abduct her, but are engaged in what seems to be ‘energy work.’

I’ll let Sandy tell the story.

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I had a very cool synchronicity this weekend that I want to share with you! I was going through some old journal entries this weekend and came across one that involved the beings telling me to go to 3 Reiki sessions (I think it was 1995), so I was thinking about all the energy work they do and remembered that I bought a book about Reiki a couple of years ago titled Hands of Light, by Barbara Brennan, but I never read it.

When I pulled it off my bookshelf on Saturday, it still looked brand new and untouched and even had the sales receipt in between the pages. So I flipped it open and came across an illustration of the aura around hands with a description at the bottom of page stating that “The energy bodies pull like taffy between the fingers…”

This is amazing because in my June 9 1997 journal entry, I wrote: “We (Sandy and her husband George) sat up in bed and played with this amazing energy field that surrounded both of us! It was almost sticky and when we would bring our hands close to the other’s the energy would merge.

When I closed my eyes and held my hands about 8 inches apart, George would pass his hand through the energy field between them and I could feel his hand! George described it as putting his hand in magnetic water. We could actually touch each other without physical contact using this energy field. It was so much fun!

Whenever I would place my palms facing each other the energy appeared as glowing white, and small sparkles and flashes would be produced. After about an hour we were tired and settled in to sleep.

Right before I drifted off I asked what that was all about and received the answer “You are living the future.” The energy field stayed with us for 3 days, growing fainter each night until it was just webbing around our fingers. Too cool.”

So, this had my attention and I spent a lot of time reading parts of this book this weekend and then looked up the author, Barbara Ann Brennan online, wondering if she might have a workshop I could attend. Well, not only is she located in Florida, but there’s a 2-day Hands of Light workshop in Sarasota in February. I signed up.

I think this is where I’ll learn to really work with this energy the beings have opened me up to. It all fell together in a most unexpected way! I love when that happens.

 

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Paint Nite Synchro

We recently visited our daughter in Orlando, and attended another one of her Paint Nite classes   – our third. I was hoping for a synchro that night – and wasn’t disappointed.

The venue for this one was in a German restaurant, which has an entire area at the back of the restaurant that is perfect for a class of 35 to 40 people. Rob and I were early. We wanted to grab a bite to eat before the class began, so we reserved our seats with two of the green artist aprons that you wear during the glass. Our seats were at the front, where we would have a close-up of how to paint the Eiffel tower.

While we enjoyed a German dinner, Megan and her assistant for the night, Justin, were doing the rather complex setup for the class. You can grasp a sense of it in the top photo. Each spot at a table requires three brushes of various shapes and sizes, an easel and canvas, a plastic cup with water in it for cleaning brushes, a paper towel for drying the brushes,  and a paper plate with a palette of basic acrylic colors on it – black and white, blue, red, and yellow.  When you’re expecting 35-40 students, this process takes awhile.

At the front of the area is a sound system and two canvases – a painting for that night and a blank canvas on which Megan takes us step by step to the completion of the painting during the two-hour class.

After we finished dinner, Rob and I donned our green artist aprons and took our seats. In front of us were the painting for the night and the blank canvas, which was about a foot to the right of the Eiffel tower. Megan had painted this one in preparation for her class.

Both canvases had bright lights that shone down over them. And because we were seated at the front, those lights served as a backdrop for this, formed by the shape of the easel on which our canvases stood:

“Rob, look! It’s the Eiffel tower!” I exclaimed.

His canvas also had the shadow tower and so did the canvases of the other three people at our table. We laughed about it and the three other women at our table  recognized  the “coincidence” as well.

The woman next to me was delighted. “This will make painting the tower much easier.”

Maybe, I thought. But as we started with the background paint and the preliminary outline of the tower, the silhouette became less visible. And you can see I’m already having some trouble with the, well, outline!

And painting the actual tower was the trickiest part of the entire painting. Mine came out looking like something from a nightmare, but Rob’s fared much better.

The evening was great fun and the odd synchro at the beginning of the class seemed to be saying, Relax and enjoy the ride!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vintage Car Show: Where’s Christine??

During our trip to Minneapolis on July, we headed out one morning to Stillwater, Minnesota, a town on the Mississippi River, where we planned to have lunch. Rob’s mom, Ione, went with us.

On our way out, we stopped by a vintage car show in a local park. Ione’s neighbor, Mike, keeps his 1956 Ford Galaxy in her garage and in exchange, he drives her to the grocery store when she needs to buy stuff. We were curious about the types of cars that might be at the show. That photo above, by the way, was NOT in the show. But it was so weird looking, with all the astro turf covering it, that it could have been in a weird car show!

After Rob parked and we were walking down a shallow hill to the exhibit area, it occurred to me that car shows, antique or otherwise, aren’t on our usual agenda. In fact, I couldn’t recall the last time I’d gone to a car show. That said, there’s a certain mystique about vintage cars that intrigues me. Who were the original owners? What kind of lives had they lived? Were any of the cars haunted, like Christine, the 1958 Plymouth Fury in Stephen King’s book (1983) of the same name?

The exhibit was small, but fascinating. The windows of the cars were open and you could peer into the vast, pristine interiors that invariably featured HUGE everything. The steering wheels were usually the size of a two-year-old. The seats were leather, the glove compartments could easily accommodate several laptop computers, iPads, and leftover containers from lunch.  The back seats were spacious and looked comfortable enough to curl up on and go to sleep.

In this beauty, I could almost see Alfred Hitchcock at the wheel, headed toward the day’s filming of The Birds or 39 Steps or Rebecca.

Here’s an old fire truck – I don’t have any idea what year this is. But it was easy to imagine the firemen riding high on the truck, the tensions rising at it neared the fire.

When I first spotted this 1955 Ford, I texted it to our daughter: Is this Christine?? Goes to show how much I DON’T know about vintage cars.

But it had the same eerie feel as the car in the movie, the hood open like a giant mouth. The guy who stood beside it – who wasn’t in the photo I took – could have been a character from a King novel, a kind of down home sort of man with a quick laugh and strange eyes.

Here’s an old Corvette (I think) with a couple of other cars.

Here’s a  vintage Mustang. Years ago, one of my uncles worked for Ford and designed the original Mustang. I think he would enjoy seeing this one:

I have no idea how this truck was used or its year or make. But it’s easy to see it hauling butt on some interstate in the present, loaded up with produce – or artifacts from a UFO crash site…

I think this is Mike’s car, the one that’s kept in Ione’s garage. Then again, I may be wrong, and it may not be a Ford Galaxy at all!

I admit that when we first arrived, I expected to be bored since antique cars are definitely not my thing. But as I walked around, looked inside these beauties, studied what was under the hoods, my imagination began to play with it all. I realized it’s all creative fodder. And, who knows? In a future novel, maybe the ghost of Hitchcock will be driving that big ole black car.

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A New War??

Rob and I watched President Obama’s address to the nation on September 10. And we watched the hour afterward, where TV pundits explained – or tried to – what it all meant.

Here’s what it meant to me: I felt like I was watching George W. Bush during a similar address more than ten years ago, when he told us it was imperative that the U.S. invade Iraq, which hadn’t even been involved in 911. His remark that the U.S. will seek out and destroy ISIS wherever it is bore eerie parallels to Bush’s axis of evil speech in his state of the union address on January 29, 2002.

I clearly recall Bush’s expression during that speech, the way his eyes narrowed, his mouth twitched, the way his voice struggled for sincerity and failed utterly and completely. Obama scared me. And I voted for this man twice. The first time he ran, Rob and I stood in a line in Fort Lauderdale for five or six hours, waiting to get inside an auditorium to hear this man who spoke so movingly of change. We actually got great seats and were riveted by his energy, his idealism, his vision. Now it’s six years later and guess what? Not very much has changed.

–       Gitmo is still open for business and has fewer than 150 prisoners who are costing the U.S. untold zillions a year.  Why? National Public Radio – NPR- recently conducted a program about Gitmo. Check it out. It’s an eye opener.

–       Surveillance on Americans has expanded under Obama, not shrunk. Just ask Edward Snowden. If you’re a blogger who ever mentions politics, be sure to check your Statcounter for the number of hits you receive from government spy agencies. Are you a danger to the U.S.?

–       We are supposedly out of Afghanistan this year, but there are still about 30,000 troops there.  Why?

–       And why do we still have more than 30,000 troops in South Korean, more than sixty years after WWII?

–       And why do we, civilians who just want to get from point A to B on a plane, still have to remove our stupid shoes and put them in a stupid tray when we go through security at the airport? I mean, really. There was ONE guy way back when who had a bomb in his shoe. ONE.

–       And why are TSA employees allowed to feel you up and over when, in any other situation, this behavior would constitute sexual battery or assault?

–       Why does the military/industrial complex receive untold zillions while we are constantly told that universal health care would be untenable financially?

I am so disenchanted at this point with Obama’s promise for change that unless the democrats run a true liberal in 2016, I’ll be sitting out the election. A true liberal would be, oh, let’s see, the list is short. Forget Hillary Clinton. She’s a hawk.  I love Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts who has never backed down from a fight; Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed socialist who is up there on my hero list with Nelson Mandela; or Wendy Davis,  currently a democratic Texas senator who is running for governor.

She’s the woman who filibustered for 11 hours to block a truly restrictive abortion bill for that state. Think about that. You talk for 11 hours. You can’t sit down. I don’t know if you can even pause for a sip of water. I suppose they have time for a bathroom break, but maybe not. It’s Texas, after all, one of the most right-wing states in this country that pretty much hates women.

And that’s the thing, really. Our national politics are intimately threaded through our international politics. Eisenhower warned us about the military/industrial complex more than half a century ago. No one listened.

You notice how gray Obama has gotten in the last two years? My sense about this man is that he meant well, he really did. He hoped to initiate significant change, hoped to engage a recalcitrant congress, to work with them, but encountered one cement wall after another. When he rallied the U.S. military to save thousands of people stranded on a mountaintop where ISIS had chased them, I cheered for him. Humanitarian efforts are where we should we putting our military might.

When he started bombing missions to stop ISIS, I got nervous. Yes, two freelance journalists had been beheaded on You Tube, a provocation, an invitation to engage. Yeah, it’s barbaric, it’s Medieval – but Saudia Arabia, our ally – has beheaded 16-30 citizens this month (depending on which source you read) and one of those beheadings was for sorcery, which in that country might be nothing more than a weather prediction.

When I listened to Obama’s speech the other night, I realized he had caved, that he was channeling Bush, that not much has changed. For some reason, the consistent paradigm of US foreign policy is that we must be the world cop. We must intervene, conquer, and of course, always, “guard and defend our interests in Mideast” – i.e. OIL.

That’s tragic and sad. We could do so much better.And if the paradigm doesn’t change of its own volition, something will force that change.

 

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Irish Flash Dancing

This one will surely make you smile!

 

 

 

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Erica’s Synchros

 

Recently we received two synchronicity stories from Erica. They are quite different from each other and illustrate how synchronicity can manifest itself in any number of ways.

The first one involves a date, the second is about a book.

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Perhaps you are too young to remember that on 15 August 1945 WWII in S.E. Asia ended and was won by the USA.

I was born in 1935 in then Netherlands Indies, now Indonesia. I was baptized and raised Roman Catholic. As a child I lived through and survived the Japanese occupation (1941 – 1945).  My mother was very devoted to Mother Mary, the Holy Virgin.

During the war every day she prayed Hail Marys, begging the Holy Mother to please put an end to this horrible war. At last on August 15-  which in the Catholic church is the holiday of Mary Ascension – the Japanese surrendered  and that was the end of the war in S.E. Asia and the Pacific, thanks to U.S. General Mac Arthur.

To my mother this date of August 15 was PROOF that  the Holy  Mother had answered her prayers ! Coincidence?

In the 1960s I stopped going to church. I did not lose my faith, I abandoned religion.

Like your blog a lot.

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On a lazy rainy afternoon in the summer of 2007 I sat down reading “The Four Agreements” by  Don Miguel Ruiz.

When I  finished and closed the book I thought to myself, in Dutch, “This book is so good.” Then I decided to watch TV. The first thing I saw on the screen was Oprah Winfrey  throwing her arms high up in the air shouting, “That book is so good!”

Don Miguel Ruiz was her guest in that show! Everyone in the audience got a copy of that so good book.

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Only Erica can determine what these synchros meant for her. But the second one, at least to me, suggests she was clearly in the flow, in tune, experiencing that deeper reality in an immediate, personal way.


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Story bundle

One afternoon, 15 years ago, I walked into a bar in Los Angeles and pulled up a stool next to Billy Dee Williams. I apologized for being late. I’d driven up from San Diego where I was visiting with a cousin. Even though I had started out early, traffic was nearly deadlocked at times and the 125-mile drive took more than three hours.

Billy and I talked about our novel PSI/NET and the plans for a sequel. The black protagonist was a retired remote viewer, or psychic spy, who re-activates and ultimately saves the nation’s capital from a backpack nuclear bomb. We also talked about the possibility of a movie or TV series, starring Billy, of course, as the protagonist, Trent Calloway.

Billy did most of the publicity for PSI/NET, but I  joined him in Atlanta where we made joint appearances at a science fiction writers conference and radio shows. I clearly recall one stop on the tour. We arrived at a black-owned radio station in downtown Atlanta in a limo that the publisher had provided. Billy had his window open and people on the street recognized him. He obviously enjoyed the recognition.

We entered the radio station, and I couldn’t help noticing that everyone working there was black, and so were the guests—except me. As the show began, I sat between Billy Dee and four-time world heavyweight champion Evander Hollyfield. I remember the radio personality asking Billy to repeat some of his famous lines from Lady Sings the Blues…and then, oddly enough, he would turn to me and say, “Now, Rob, you say the lines.” Kind of funny. I also remember asking Hollyfield what he ate for breakfast while he was in training. His answer: two baked chicken breasts. Yeah, breakfast…after running several miles. I didn’t ask him about his ear, but I couldn’t help taking a peek to see if I could see a scar.

I was thinking about all this stuff today because that novel, PSI/NET came out in a special e-book promotion along with five other science fiction novels. It’s called a ‘story bundle’ and for the next 20 days readers get all six books, but pay only what they want, a minimum of $3 for the bundle. Readers who pay $15 or more get even more novels from a secondary list. Trish paid $16 and got 13 novels. Sure, most of these novels, like PSI/NET, have been previously published, but the price is right and the stories are great.

So if you’re a science fiction/fantasy fan, take a look here. The novels are categorized as a sub-genre, cyber punk, which is defined as stories in a near future-dystopian setting, usually featuring high tech tools. I’m not sure that PSI/NET exactly fits that mold, but I’m glad to have it in the bundle.

I was thinking there’s no synchronicity in this post, but then I realized there actually was one. I wanted to get this post up as quickly as possible, Thursday being the earliest I could do so. That’s when I realized that I was writing about a story of a terrorist attack on the nation’s capital in a post being published  on 9/11.

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Nika & Small Claims Court

Nika and Noah, enjoying a great view

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On August 29, we posted a story about our daughter’s dog, Nika, who had been hit by a car in June. Fortunately, she wasn’t badly injured. But the young man who hit her took Megan to small claims court  for the damages to his car caused when her dog hit his car.

The case was selected by Judge Judy, but the young man chose not to appear on her show – even though he stood to win the entire $1700 he was claiming. Before Megan had to appear at the mediation, I asked a psychic friend what she picked up on this. This woman is a TV writer whose psychic abilities she keeps to herself. Here was her response to my question about how this mediation hearing would unfold:

Unfortunately there feels like some law or statute that they can pin on Megan.  I don’t think this man is a sympathetic person to the court, but he may have her on a legal technicality.  I don’t think he’s going to get all the money he’s asking for.  He would have done better on Judge Judy.  He was right to be worried about being made fun of by her.  He feels almost like he has some sort of disorder, like Aspergers.  He just keeps repeating the same sentence over and over, which means he can’t let this go.  The root of it feels biological.  He appears unreasonable but he truly just gets stuck on something and he can’t let go.  It even exhausts him.  He’ll be talking about this 20 years from now as if it happened yesterday.  He might be right, but nobody likes him.

It’s like:  Did you run that stop sign?  And the answer is yes.  So Megan needs to have a good explanation for going against what the law is.  They will still find that the law was violated, but she could mitigate the cost.  Work on her reasonable explanation.  

Today, September 9, Megan arrived promptly at court at 9:00 a.m., as the summons stipulated. She didn’t get in to the mediation until 10:45. Two women were mediating. The driver stated his case, Megan stated hers. Megan explained that her dog had seen a squirrel and had raced away from her, still leashed, and that there was a video to prove that she was still on her leash. The young man said he couldn’t stop his car to avoid hitting Nika as she ran out into the road.

Megan explained that she was a dog walker and artist who lived paycheck to paycheck and couldn’t pay him a lump sum. Her vet bill alone for this fiasco had been nearly $500.  She offered $800 payable at $100 a month for eight months. The young man refused. Megan pointed out that he never asked her how her dog was doing, what her injuries were.

“Would that have made a difference in your willingness to pay me?” he asked.

“It would have made me less resistant to discuss things,” she replied.

And he said, “Your dog is irrelevant.”

Yeah? Irrelevant?

At this point, Megan broke down in tears and the mediators asked the man to leave the room. They asked Megan some questions about her work, her finances, and she explained her situation. What are you willing to offer him? $900 max, she said, paid out over 9 months. They asked her to leave the room and the young man returned. Megan believes the mediators convinced him to take her offer.

“I wish you’d told me from the beginning what you could afford to pay,” he said to her. “Then we could have avoided all this.”

He seemed to be missing the point that he had hit the dog with his car.

Two years ago, Nika was attacked by a pitt bull as she and Megan’s friend, Tim, were about to get in the elevator to go downstairs for a walk. The vet bill was $1,200. Megan didn’t take the man to small claims court. She tried to get him to settle amicably. She’s not someone who rushes to the law for recompense. In the end, she was reimbursed just $200 for that fiasco.

When I wrote to my friend about the small claims settlement, she replied:

So the “court” was on Megan’s side but technically she had to be found guilty.  $900 is better than 1700.  

 Megan needs to do some meditating on all the dog issues.  If any insight is passed along to me, I’ll share it with you, but this is old, deep stuff she’s working out.  When I ask for help understanding it, it’s like going down a long dark tunnel.  It feels like I’m looking at Shakespeare type clothing.  And this sounds really weird – only it feels like the future.  I see a triangle connection.  I have no clue what any of this means.  But the triangle has two long sides and a shorter bottom, like a candy corn.  And it’s on its side so the point is pointing toward San Diego (Is that east from me?  I think it is).  This has nothing to do with San Diego, it’s only a direction sign for me.  

I also see a third thing coming but she can cut the ties.  Imagine a big pair of scissors and snipping to the left and right.  Let this go.  She will stand up a happier woman and be done with this thing.  But her dog thanks her for remembering the bond they made.  She’s done enough.  It’s like she took on this payback to prove how sorry she was about something in the past/future, or a loyalty issue.  She’s proven it, now she can move on.   When she snips the ties, money will come more easily and paying him off will be a lighter experience, not the dirge it is now.  I feel like she’ll sell a small painting, or something.  It’s kind of a gift after this test she’s gone through.   

I emailed my friend’s insights to Megan, and she’s still puzzling over it. My friend was certainly on track with the young man’s personality. I did some research today on Asperger’s – and lack of compassion, obsessiveness, and repetitive behaviors are some of the symptoms.

Onward.

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The ‘Sailing Rocks’ of Death Valley

I first read about these large stones in Death Valley that supposed moved on their own back in the late 1980s. Specifically, I remember comments by skeptics, who found the idea hilarious. They suggested that the people who were reporting that the stones rolled across the valley on their own were scientifically challenged. In other words, wackos. If the stones did move, it was the work of pranksters. End of story. I wish I still had that debunking article.

Yes, the skeptics said the stones had trails behind them that seemed to indicate movement, but the logical answer was that someone pushed them across the valley floor—known as Racetrack Playa— or created the lines behind them.

They assured us that stones‑especially large ones weighing hundreds of pounds, don’t move on their own. They used this example as a way of showing the gullibility of people who believed in the paranormal, and accepted things that weren’t scientifically sound.

Well, now we know for a fact that the stones do move across Racetrack Playa, and pranksters are not the cause. We also know the mechanism by which they move.

It’s an interesting example of the process that takes place when the veracity of an idea shifts from the realm of the impossible and implausible to acceptance.

First there is ridicule. Then when evidence is presented, which might include measurements, strong doubts are raised and the evidence is dismissed because the idea is still preposterous, outside of scientific reality.

Finally, more evidence is presented and the explanation for what seems impossible is linked to a scientific truism. In the case of the so-called ‘sailing rocks,’ forces of erosion—water and ice—move the rocks along. The theory was supported by GPS readings and video proof. The skeptics accept the explanation, and they tell us that they knew it all along, that it’s another victory for science over nonsense. No alien intervention or mysterious magnetic forces were involved.

The problem is that the debunkers would not have solved the mystery. Because there was no mystery. Rocks don’t move on their own. Period. End of story.

Fortunately, there are still scientists who are curious about the unknown, and not simply in the business of defending the current scientific paradigm. Some tried to show that dust devils or strong straight-line winds moved the stones. But no one had seen the rocks moving.

In some cases the rocks’ trails were measured to be as long as 820 feet (250 meters), according to Slate.com. Some of the trails formed a graceful curve, while other trails created a straight line, then an abrupt shift to the left or right, which further baffled researchers.

In 2006, Ralph Lorenz, a NASA scientist investigating weather conditions on other planets (hello aliens!), took an interest in Death Valley. In particular, Lorenz wanted to compare the meteorological conditions of Death Valley to those near Ontario Lacus, a vast hydrocarbon lake on Titan, a moon of Saturn.

That pursuit led him to take an interest in the enigmatic sailing stones of Racetrack Playa.

Lorenz developed a kitchen-table model — using an ordinary Tupperware container — to show how the rocks might glide across the surface of the lake bed.

“I took a small rock and put it in a piece of Tupperware, and filled it with water so there was an inch of water with a bit of the rock sticking out,” Lorenz told Smithsonian.com.

After putting the container in the freezer, Lorenz ended up with a small slab of ice with a rock embedded in it. By placing the ice-bound rock in a large tray of water with sand at the bottom, all he had to do was gently blow on the rock to get it to move across the water.

And as the ice-embedded rock moved, it scraped a trail in the sand at the tray’s bottom. Lorenz devised his clever experiment by researching how the buoyancy of ice can cause large rocks, when encased in ice, to move by floating along tidal beaches in the Arctic Sea.

The ultimate proof came when James Norris, a research engineer, attached GPS to stones and set up video cameras. The right conditions eventually occurred and he had documented Lorenz’s theory.  

 

 

 

 

 

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The Giver

If you haven’t read Lois Lowry’s book The Giver, then do yourself a favor. Download it for four bucks and change. Buy the hard copy. You won’t regret it. This book, published in 1993, is one of those dystopian novels where the world is laid out through the eyes of a single character – a young boy named Jonas.

His world is fairly bleak. He lives with his parents- non-genetic parents, parents who were chosen for him when he was an infant – and a sister, who was chosen the same way. His father is a Nurturer, who tends to the Newborns in the community, and his mother is a judge who keeps track of the various infractions committed by community residents.  The power mongers are on the council and their decisions are binding, iron-clad.

With each birthday, children in the community receive certain gifts. Nines receive a bike. Twelves receive their “assignment” for life. Everything in this community is monitored for the degree of sameness the residents exhibit.  Jonas, at his twelfth birthday, is assigned the position of Receiver, an important and enigmatic position that places him in the internship of The Giver, the man who holds the community memories.

Our daughter recently read this book for the first time and called when she finished it. “Oh my God. I cried at the end of this. We have to go see the movie the next time I come home. I’m blown away by this book.”

The movie? This was the first I’d heard of it. “Who’s in it?”

“Jeff Bridges plays the Giver and Meryll Streep is the elder on the council.”

I Googled it. The reviews weren’t great. But anything with Bridges or Streep in it is good enough for me. So when Megan came home for the weekend before her 25th birthday, so we could celebrate it with her a week early, she, Rob and I went to see The Giver.

For more than 90 minutes, I sat in this darkened theater completely enthralled. I had re-read the book before Megan came home, so it would be fresh in my mind. I realized that what had satisfied me twenty years ago when I’d read it had left me wanting this time, dissatisfied with the ending. But in the movie, that dissatisfaction vanished.

Movies provide various viewpoints and some of the most poignant scenes are those between Bridges as the Giver and Jonas as the Receiver. We come to realize that after whatever cataclysmic event changed things, the status quo (Council of elders) chose sameness over diversity. Through an unexplained technology and genetic engineering, they somehow erased the collective memories of the very emotions that make us human – love, passion, sensuality, sexuality, pain, sadness, grief, triumph, the tragedy of wars and their horrors.

Bridges is terrific as The Giver. His own daughter was selected as a Receiver a decade ago but as she was given the memories, she couldn’t stand it and asked to be “released.” And this word, released, has a precise meaning in this society of precise vocabulary.

In the movie, in the moment when Jonas actually understands and sees – through video – what this word actually means, is a powerful turning point. Jonas watches his dad – the nurturer- insert a syringe into the head of an identical twin whose weight isn’t up to snuff. His father doesn’t seem to understand that he is killing the twin.

In so many ways, the ending of the movie surpasses the book’s ending. This may be due to the fact that we see the moment when Jonas reaches the boundary of memories – and moves beyond it. Once he’s beyond it, the people of the community  experience the return of memories of love and hate, war and peace, all the emotions that make us human.

Lois Lowry, as a writer, a novelist, set these ideas into motion. But  Hollywood ran with them and made them real in  a dynamic, visceral sense, And I haven’t even mentioned the character who is pivotal to the second plot point in the story, an infant named Gabriel…

You’re in for a treat with this one.

 

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UFOs in Pennsylvania?

This video is interesting and is best seen on a full screen. Since the local PA news covered it in late August the story has since been picked up by Good Morning America. I originally ran across it on Whitley Strieber’s website.

 

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The Masque of Synchronicity

I began my Tuesday evening meditation class recently with a quote.

“Meditation takes us from survival to creation; from separation to connection; from imbalance to balance; from emergency mode to growth-and-repair mode; and from the limiting emotions of fear, anger, and sadness to the expansive emotions of joy, freedom, and love. Basically, we go from clinging to the known to embracing the unknown.”             – Dr. Joe Dispenza, You Are the Placebo

As soon as I mentioned the name of the author, one of the students, a middle-aged man named Gary who was taking my class for the first time, called out. “I know Dispenza. I read that book and went to his three-day workshop. He’s fantastic.”

After class, I spent half an hour talking to Gary about the workshop, and his story was rife with synchronicity. Earlier this summer, he was with a friend who said she wanted to go to a bookstore and find something to read. Once they arrived, she had no idea what she wanted. So Gary walked up to a nearby bookshelf and just randomly snatched a book. It was Dispenza’s Placebo. He’d never heard of the book or author. He took a quick look at it and handed it to his friend. “Get this one.”

That weekend he read the book from cover to cover, spending nine hours in one stretch studying it. When he finished, he wanted to find out more about Dispenza and his workshops, so he went to his website. To his surprise, Dispenza was leading a workshop the following weekend in Miami, 70 miles to the south. He signed up for it, and the following Thursday took his 88-year-old mother with him for the two-hour introductory session.

Afterwards, they headed home and he kept wishing that he had someplace to stay that was closer so he wouldn’t have to get up at 5 a.m. and fight traffic to Miami Beach in order to arrive on time. He was so focused on the idea of a closer location that his mother asked him what he was thinking about. As he explained how he wanted to apply Dispenza’s technique for changing your reality to his current issue, his cell phone rang.

It was a banker friend who had some information about a money transfer. The banker asked him what he was doing and Gary told him about the workshop that he would be attending all weekend, driving back and forth from West Palm Beach. “Why don’t you stay in Miami?” the banker asked, then added: “I’ve got the perfect place for you. It’s a two-bedroom condo. It goes for $685 a night, but I can get it for $180 a night. The owner is my client.”

When Gary asked where it was, the address was only five blocks from the workshop. “Turn around right now and go there,” the banker said. “I’ll set it up for you.” Gary and his mother stayed the weekend on Miami Beach, and he walked to the workshop.

When I came home from the class, I told Trish about Gary’s story. She had written a blog post on Dispenza’s book and now here was someone who had attended the recent workshop in Miami. We might’ve gone to it ourselves, but that weekend we were out of town.

I wasn’t going to write anything here about Gary’s synchro, because we’ve already written about Dispenza and his new book. But then something peculiar happened. Back at my desk, I’d returned to working on my next book: Bump in the Night: Ghosts, Spirits & Alien Encounters. I had just Googled a short story by Edgar Allan Poe Poe called, Masque of the Red Death, that I was considering for a chapter on ghosts in literature. I scrolled down the article, which was a summary of the eerie tale about a ghost wearing a disguise to a party of wealthy people who thought they were insulated against an epidemic called the red death that was ravaging the countryside.

Halfway down the article, I came to an ad inserted into it. The ad was for You Are the Placebo and featured a photo of Dispenza. What an odd place for it—a book about healing in the midst of a story about disease and death. And what timing. Synchronicity. I knew then I needed to write Gary’s story. Thanks, Edgar.

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