Thursday, May 04, 2006
I Don't Believe In The Supernatural
I don't believe in the supernatural. I don't believe in ghosts and spirits, good or evil. I think readers of minds, palms, tarot cards and tea leaves should be licenced with the Better Business Bureau after they've proven their skills at the race track, the Big Spin or the New York Stock Exchange. I spent the better part of the summer between second and third grade obediently following the instructions of Sister Veronica of St. Ambrose Catholic School in Cleveland, Ohio, praying for roller skates to no avail. To say that whatever "faith" I have is based solely on empirical evidence is a vast understatement of the facts.Having said all of this, I had an experience the intensity of which would have convinced a weaker soul than mine of the likelihood that supernatural or paranormal forces are at work in our lives. In the summer of 1976 I had a dream of such vivid character that I remember every detail even now, many years later. That dream came back to me, in all its vividness as to colors, textures, sights, smells and sounds at what may well have been a critical moment four years later. In 1980 I was playing around Southern California in a club/dance band. I had traded an old Rambler wagon for a '68 Olds Cutlass that looked like hell but went really fast. One of my band-mates and I switched off driving to the club. This particular night, it was my turn to drive, and after the gig my band-mate, Ivan and I were packing up and making our way to the door. Just as I was walking away from the building, Ivan called out to me from the doorway and asked if we could give a lift to a guy that had been at the bar most of the night. He lived in North Hollywood, which was on our way, so I told him to have the guy meet us at the car and it wouln't be a problem. As I opened the trunk lid, Ivan and our passenger rounded the rear fender of the car. I couldn't put my finger on it but something about this guy made me feel as if someone had dropped an ice-cube down the back of my pants. We shook hands and made small talk while we loaded up our instruments and as we were opening the car doors, the guy asked if it wouldn't be to much trouble to give his friend a ride as well. I nodded okay, and his friend came out of the darkness between the buildings toward the car. The moment I saw this "friend", a shudder of absolute fear shot through me the likes of which I had never experienced...EVER. I shouted to Ivan to get in the car, NOW, and screamed out of the parking lot in a cloud of blue burning rubber, leaving our two riders to fend for themselves.I didn't say a word until I had reached the freeway on ramp. Ivan's eyes went from the white knuckles on my steering wheel to the road speeding by and back again, wondering just what he hell had just happened. by the time we were half the way home, I told Ivan the story of the dream I had four years earlier.In my dream, I was driving the long stretch of highway which follows the Platte river across the state of Nebraska. I saw a hitch-hiker at the side of the road and pulled over to give him a ride and to have some company. He was of medium size and very fit, wearing engineer boots, jeans, and a white T-shirt with a pack of cigarettes rolled into one of his shirt sleeves. Across his other arm he was carrying a brown leather bomber jacket. As I rolled down the passenger window to ask him how far he was going, he looked into the car and smiled crookedly. I noticed that he had the kind of brown teeth you only find in a Midwest tobacco-chewing farmboy type. He started to open the car door and, pointing past my head, he asked if we could also give his buddy a lift. I turned toward my left and saw an older, white-haired and unshaven guy in jeans and a sweaty undershirt grinning at me and holding a shotgun to my chest from outside my car window. I stepped into the gas pedal and sped off, waking from my dream in a sweat.As I told my dream to Ivan, describing every detail in the appearance of the two hitchhikers, it became clear to him that I was also describing the two guys we were going to take to North Hollywood earlier, because they were dead-ringers right to the stained shirts and teeth. My heart was still pounding when I finally pulled into my driveway.I have no rational explanation for the events of that night. All that I do know is that it happened... and it scared the shit out of me.