Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Mario V. Farina
Email: [email protected]
These are 12 Stories dealing with the paranormal. The titles of the stories are:
Tomorrow, I Will Disappear Again
Seen Through My Grandfather’s Eyes
Revelations of the Attesor Stone
Thou Art A Witch
A Pleasant Journey
A Time Travel Visit To Schenectady
Time Needed To Sort Itself Out
The Ouija Board Lie Detector
The Thought Mailers
I Married A Ghost
Go Directly To Your Sweetheart
I was born at midnight on January 1, 1900. “Quite a magical time for a little girl,” my mother used to say as I was growing up. I don’t know about the magical part, but I did relish the uniqueness of my birth date and time. My age is one-hundred-sixteen now, but, in appearance, I am a young woman in my mid-twenties.
(The slim, horn-rimmed, attractive, middle-aged woman and I were seated on the veranda outside my home. Fresh breezes from the nearby Hudson kept us comfortable. She listened intently as I spoke. I noted that, legs crossed, she was conservatively dressed in a brown suit. There was a pad in her lap and a bright yellow pencil in her right hand. Her blond hair was moderately streaked with gray. Her expression gave no hint as to what she was thinking.)
I was 35 when I began to suspect that I had a problem with age. It didn’t bother me at first. Indeed, I hoped that what I imagined was true. I went to the Troy Public Library and searched in the medical encyclopedias until I found progeria, an insidious disease that afflicts children causing them to age prematurely. Ten-year-old boys and girls appear to be seventy. I had hoped the article would mention some sort of opposite disease characterized by extremely slow aging. There was no such mention.
Most persons would think that having an affliction like mine would be a blessing, but it isn’t. Seeming to be twenty-five when one is forty, fifty, and sixty can have its problems. This is especially true when one is my age!
Dr. Gilbert had braved a sleet storm to come on horseback to the little farmhouse in Brunswick, on the outskirts of Troy, where my parents lived. He had glanced at his timepiece at the moment that I arrived and remarked that I might have been the first baby in all the world to be born in the twentieth century. If true, what a distinction that would be!
I was named Matilda. I don’t remember much of my infancy except trying to climb out of my crib when I was a toddler, but I do have hazy recollections of life in the country. I remember the horse and buggies from my window as they made their way on the muddy, rutted roads near my home.
I remember, too, the one-room schoolhouse on Adams Road, now Burdett Avenue, where Mr. Quinn unveiled the mysteries of arithmetic, grammar, and geography. Today, I realize what an intelligent, well-rounded person he must have been for I learned these subjects thoroughly and never felt a twinge of envy for those who went to public schools in Troy.
As I grew up, people marveled that I didn’t fall victim to childhood diseases. I was not afflicted with whooping cough, diphtheria, measles, and the like. I never had so much as a sniffle throughout these years. If I fell while playing and was bruised, I would heal overnight. To this day, I have not seen the inside of a hospital. I have never required medical care, except for some dental work in 1978, that I’ll tell you about later. I had a sister, Mary Louise, who was born three years after I was. She did not enjoy the same good health that I did and died of scarlet fever when I was six. My parents mysteriously disappeared when I was ten and I was consigned to the care of the Cranstons who lived down the road. They became my real parents while I was growing up.
The Titanic sank when I was twelve. People were horrified upon hearing the news but it didn’t mean much to me. The Panama Canal was completed a couple of years later. Everyone thought this was a major accomplishment.
I was fourteen when I met Joshua Higgins at church. He was two years older than I, thin as a straw, had bright blue eyes, and wore a shock of red hair that could have set a haystack on fire. We spent a great deal of time together. On Sunday afternoons, he would take his family’s buckboard and drive us down to the Bijou Theater on Fourth Street in Troy. We’d pay five cents each for admittance and laugh uproariously at the antics of Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Kops. He brought me home well before curfew. Somehow, it became understood that Josh and I would marry one day.
In 1915, the Germans sank the Lusitania. There was a fervor for bloodshed that frightened me, but Woodrow Wilson promised to keep us out of war. Nevertheless, the United States did declare war on Germany in 1917 and Josh volunteered. He was slightly wounded in France. Almost immediately after he returned, we were married. We bought a Tin Lizzie for a bit over $400. For several years, we lived with my parents looking toward the day when we would be able to strike out on our own. Josh got a job at Simmons Manufacturing in Troy. For several years, he’d walk a mile to catch the trolley at Hugh and Wiley. He’d work ten hours operating a milling machine. Then he would begin the long journey home.
We had two children, Theodore and Abigail. They were educated in Troy public schools. At the movies they grew up with Laurel and Hardy, Flash Gordon, and Mickey Mouse. Josh advanced in his job and we were able to rent a flat on Second Street in Troy so that Josh could be closer to his job. We voted for Herbert Hoover because he asserted that the country was on the threshold of a prosperity unknown in the history of the world. Alas, Josh speculated recklessly in the stock market and lost the money that we had been saving for a down payment on a house. Soon afterward, he was laid off and we went on relief. From time to time, Josh worked at odd jobs.
Franklin Roosevelt became president and Josh got a job with the WPA. This enabled us to get off relief and begin reducing our debts. We were in the middle of a depression, but some of our privations were alleviated by a most marvelous toy, the radio. What fun it was for the adults to tune into WGY and visit with Ma Perkins, Stella Dallas, Lorenzo Jones, and Amos ‘n’ Andy. The kids tuned into the adventures of Tom mix, Little Orphan Annie, and Jack Armstrong! What a thrill it was to hear the world and local news every evening! We also followed the adventures of Amelia Earhart who flew across the Atlantic only five years after Lindy had. And who could forget listening to the World Series in the fall? (The Yankees always won.) And, to The Shadow on Sunday afternoons, sponsored by Blue Coal, hosted by John Barclay.
At the movies, we were spellbound with Clark Gable in “Gone With the Wind,” Judy Garland in the “Wizard of Oz,” Orson Welles in “Citizen Kane,” “Shirley Temple” in “The Little Princess,” and others. All movies had sound by now and many were in color.
When we got involved in the second world war, Josh got a job at the American locomotive company building tanks. Theodore was drafted and went off to war, and my daughter and I got jobs as assemblers at General Electric. The family moved to Sixth Avenue in Schenectady. From there we were able to walk to work.
Josh would be exhausted when he came home from his twelve-hour shift. He didn’t want to participate in outside activities, but my daughter and I would go to the USO and serve coffee and donuts to the servicemen and dance with them. Abigail was twenty. I was forty-four, but in appearance, she and I could have been sisters. Both of us were slim and brown eyed. We had clear complexions and glistening auburn hair. I was flattered that the young men would ask me to dance as often as they’d ask Abigail, but I knew something was wrong. Every day I would examine my skin and hair looking for those first wrinkles or strands of gray but they never came.
(The woman shifted in her seat and jotted something down on the pad. As I spoke a faint look of perplexity crept across her face. Was she beginning to guess?)
“Mom,” Abigail would exclaim, “I’m jealous of all the attention men give you. You’re my mother, but no one would ever know. Why do you come here? You’ve had your life, now you should step aside and let younger people have theirs!”
President Roosevelt died just before the war ended. Josh was almost fifty. Theodore had seen service in Okinawa. He came home with premature wrinkles on his forehead, otherwise, healthy and fit. He joined the Air Force intending to make a career in the Service. Abigail quit her job and married an Albany lawyer whom she had met at a dance only three months before. “Mother,” she said on her wedding day, “Donald and I plan to build a life as far from you as we can. I won’t compete any longer with a twin sister who was born a full generation before me.”
The remark both stung and puzzled me. Then I realized that Abigail was crying out in pain over something that she did not understand. I quit my job and resumed being a traditional housewife. Josh was elated when his name came to the top of a waiting list and he was able to purchase a 1948 Pontiac Deluxe for $2400.
The years after the war were prosperous ones. Harry Truman was president; there was a “Cold War” raging with the USSR, and there was a constant fear of the bomb, but as a family, we were doing well. Josh took a job at General Electric in Schenectady as a manager working in the Turbine Department. Because of his increased income, he and I were able to scrape together a down payment for a house and we purchased one on Fox Avenue in Colonie. Abigail and her husband were living in Arizona. They had a daughter and sent us an announcement, one of the very few communications we had with them over the years. Theodore stayed at home for a while, then he, too, got a job at General Electric. He was transferred to Cincinnati where he married, bought a house, and began raising a family.
Josh made no secret of the fact that my appearance bothered him. He looked for signs of aging even more diligently than I did.
“You look as young as you did when we were married, Mattie,” he raged one day. “And I look like hell! I’m gray, bald spot on my head, flab on my stomach. But you never change. I swear, there’s something wrong with you!”
One day a year later, babbling like a baby, he told me that he had fallen in love with his secretary who was little more than half his age, and wanted a divorce. There was something he had to do to find himself, he blurted through his tears. He left that night and was never seen again. The house fell into my possession by default since he never claimed any ownership. I sold it and rented an apartment on Caroline Street.
I received a picture of Abigail and her family at Christmas in 1958. Abigail was obviously older than the last time I had seen her. This dispelled any notion that, somehow, I had passed on to her some sort of youth gene.
(I handed the woman a bulky envelope. She took it and began to open it. I raised my hand and she stopped.)
In 1959, after having thought about it for over a year, I decided to start fresh and applied for a new Social Security card claiming that I had never worked. I moved to Mohawk Avenue in Scotia and Matilda Higgins disappeared as if she had never existed. I applied at General Electric for a job and was immediately hired as a file clerk. I had lied on my application stating that I was Jenny Jordan, twenty-one years old, and a graduate of Mount Pleasant High School. There was not a great deal of checking being done by this company at that time and it worked out. At times, I would run into someone I had known at General Electric, but nothing ever came of it.
The Korean War had started in 1950. It had gone badly at first then better. President Truman fired Gen. MacArthur. Eisenhower became president, the hydrogen bomb was tested, television came into people’s homes with the Camel Fifteen-minute news program. Also, Howdy Doody, and I Love Lucy. Jet travel became commonplace and Alaska and Hawaii became states. I had opportunities to meet men and to date but avoided long-term relationships. I had become resigned to the fact that my appearance would not change, and did not want to relive the anguish that I had experienced when Josh left. One of the men I had dated spouted one day that I was a cold, mechanical woman, devoid of feelings. He was right.
In the sixties, computers were being used in business more and more. I recognized their future impact on human life much sooner than most and resolved to learn all I could about them. In 1962, soon after John Kennedy was elected president, I left General Electric and started at Union College studying computer science.
Every day I looked in the mirror and saw the same person, a slim woman of about twenty-five, attractive hair, mouth, eyes, ears, and nose seemingly positioned on her face with the skill of an artist. There was never a hint of a wrinkle or shred of gray despite the fact that I was now in my sixties. It wasn’t fashionable for a woman to dye her hair so I kept mine unchanged.
President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, and Lyndon Johnson became president. I received a BS degree in 1964 and joined IBM as a programmer at Endicott, New York. There was an unpopular war in Vietnam. Each night, on color television, people would see our servicemen dying in a far off land. The war brought down the president. He decided not to run for reelection.
Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated. Richard Nixon was elected president. Men walked on the moon. There was an incident at Watergate in Washington. I was now seventy-two and people were asking embarrassing questions about where was I born, and how old I was. While those around me were aging, my appearance seemed carved in stone. I worried that these kinds of persistent questions would cause me to become an object of curiosity, and that I might have to submit to involuntary research. It was time to begin a new life.
Visiting Lawndale Cemetery, I found the grave of an infant and decided to adopt her name. I applied for and received a new birth certificate. It was surprisingly easy to say, and be believed, that I had been born in Binghamton in 1947. I obtained a Social Security card, driver’s license, and credit cards. I became Helen Van Allen and abruptly left my IBM office one Wednesday afternoon. I didn’t bother even to put the punched cards away or clear papers from my desk.
I went back to Albany, and took a small apartment on S. Pine St. Feeling that medical training would enable me to learn more about my problem, I explored the possibility of obtaining a medical degree. Unhappily I found that, for this, I needed more personal history of Helen Van Allen than was available. However, Albany Med accepted me for nurse training. Personnel believed my story that records had been lost in a fire at Binghamton High School and agreed to give me a test in lieu of transcripts. The hospital congratulated me on my superb scores and the training began.
Jerry Ford was president when I obtained my degree in 1978. I went to work for Mendell Orwitz, a geriatrician, on State Street in Albany. There, during spare time and off-hours, I dug into the documentation that was available about aging. I also sought the council of Dr. Orwitz but, as Omar Khayyam had said, in the end, I went out the same door as I had gone in.
My attention was suddenly drawn to a spectacular occurrence in England where the first test tube baby was born. I read all I could about this but there was nothing that helped me. During the same year, I needed to have a tooth filled. It was a small thing, but this incident gave me hope that I was, after all, a mere mortal being.
I tried again for a medical degree and was accepted at Cornell University soon after Jimmy Carter became president and Voyager began sending pictures from Saturn. My nurse’s experience, plus the results of the test that I had taken at Albany Med, made up for my lack of transcripts. I did well and became a doctor specializing in psychiatry at about the time that Mikhail Gorbachev took control of the Soviet Union in 1985. After three years of internship, I opened an office on Greene Street in Hudson.
Having an office of my own partially solved one of my everyday problems. I could better hide from the prying eyes of those who speculated about my age. In my office, patients were much more interested in their personal problems than in what I looked like. No one cared. I could be eighty-five in real life, thirty-eight as Dr. Helen Van Allen, and still safely look Twenty-five.
My practice prospered but my life was unstable. Sooner or later, I would have to assume another identity. I would have to procure new documentation as proof of who I was. Doing this was going to be difficult next time because computers were controlling almost every facet of human activities. I could foresee the day when a person’s identity would be established at birth and remain with him or her as an unshakable companion for a lifetime.
I decided that salvation lay in the computer itself. With advances in its capabilities, I predicted that I could probably forge whatever documents I needed in the future. I obtained an IBM personal computer. Teaching myself, I learned MultiMate, then WordPerfect, and finally Microsoft Word with its huge array of fonts. As computer technology improved, I obtained a color copier and a sophisticated printer. No expense was spared for these devices since they would allow me to hold on to my independence and anonymity. At about the time that the Berlin wall came down and the USSR collapsed, I was prepared for any eventuality. The computer also assisted in a personal endeavor. Using CD ROMs with residential databases, I was able to follow the careers of my children, and grandchildren.
On January 1 of this year, I completed my 116th year of life on this earth. Over the years I have witnessed advances in automobile and plane travel, the emergence of electronics and advanced computers, space travel, wars, the comings and goings of a dozen presidents, skirts rising and falling like the tide and much more. I am frightened by the fact that there is no hint as to how much more there is ahead of me.
As Dr. Van Allen, I am now sixty-four and it is time to move on. However, before I do, I wanted to have a conference with you because you are a reporter. I’d like to have you tell the world about me and also express my speculation that some January 1, midnight might be another magical time. I want to alert the medical community that another person like me may be born. I invited you here because you are a widely respected journalist with many successes to your credit. If I called a press conference with the story that I just told you, people would say I was crazy. But you’re different. Not only are you honored in your field, but you play a personal part in this story that will lend credence to what you report. You see, my dear, you are Abigail’s daughter, Dolores. You are my grand daughter. Everything I told you can be verified. The envelope I’ve handed you contains photos and documents that provide irrefutable proof that what I have told you is true.
(The woman winced when she heard her name. She stared at me. A smile skirted across the edges of her mouth. She placed the pencil on her ear and folded her hands in her lap.)
If a disease, the opposite of Progeria exists, it could well be called Airegorp because this name is Progeria spelled backwards. Airegorp would need to be studied. But this would have to be done without me, for tomorrow, I will disappear again.
I awoke and glanced at the clock radio which showed the hour of two. Other than the light from the faint numerals, the room was dark. Then I saw it. At the foot of the bed there arose, from a murky nothingness, a nebulous glimmer. It increased in magnitude to a soft incandescence, which then slowly diminished until nothing was left. There was a pause of several seconds, then the light reappeared and again dwindled. As I watched, fascinated, the action was repeated several more times. In wonder, I continued to stare into the shadows, then sensed, rather than heard, “Robert Milford.” It came from an unknown source. There followed a silence that prevailed until I fell asleep.
The sound of music from the radio signaled seven o’clock. I listened to the news, the traffic conditions, and the weather. Reluctantly, I arose and began getting ready for work. Memory of the unearthly luminescence entered my consciousness as I showered. Had a dreamt that? Where had it come from?
I stepped on the scale. One-eighty. At five-nine, I was about twenty pounds heavier than I should be. Viewing myself in the mirror, I combed my thinning hair. A little too soon for thirty-two, I thought. At 8:45 I stepped into the Civic and began the ten-minute drive to Edgar Elementary where I taught math.
The memory of the mysterious flashings returned. It had to be the blinking of some car’s emergency light coming into my room through the window, I decided. And my name being called? I had dreamed this. After all, it hadn’t been a real voice.
Something awakened me the next morning. The clock radio again showed the hour of two. At the foot of the bed there was a speck of light no greater than that given off by the evening star. It soon turned into an eerie illumination which grew to an acute brilliance. The intensity of the light held at this level for several seconds, then began to dim until it was gone. After a few more seconds, the action was repeated. Then again, and again. I glanced at the window to determine whether the light was coming from there. It wasn’t. The pulsations were taking place in the bedroom.
It wasn’t a voice. It was a perception in my mind. Someone was communicating with me, but it wasn’t being done audibly. It was nevertheless real. The impression was too powerful for it to be a thought. Before I had time to analyze who or what had transmitted the salutation, I felt it again, “Robert.”
“Who, what…?” To whom was I speaking? There was no one in the room but myself.
“Robert, I perceive that you can hear me.”
“Who are you?” I gasped. “Where are you?”
“Don’t be alarmed, Robert. My name is Sylvia Jameson. I’m speaking to you telepathically.”
“Who are you?”
“Speak to me with your mind, Robert.”
“Who are you?” I repeated, this time mentally.
“In your frame of reference, I am a spirit, Robert. But those who share my state, use a term that carries a meaning closer to self essence. I know this is strange for you but do not be frightened.”
“You’re a ghost?” I spoke the words.
“No, nothing like that! In the spiritual realm, there are no ghosts as you conceive them. We don’t rattle chains, wear sheets, moan in the night. Just think of me as a person without a material body.”
“Why are you . . .?”
“Please, speak to me with your mind. It is easier for me to grasp your thoughts. While I have no substance, I do have the ability to ascertain facts about you in a way that is similar to your sense of touch. Just as seeing is easier for you than touching, so is telepathy easier for me than hearing.”
“The glowing, is that you?”
“Yes, this is an ability that I have mastered. It is done with an extraordinary exertion of a kind of material force. Only a few of us are able to do this. Communicating with you, even mentally, requires a great deal of fatiguing effort.”
“Why are you here? What do you want of me?”
“I must go. I’ll return tomorrow at midnight.”
I was not asleep the next night when I observed the pulsating light. At first, it was hardly more than the flicker given off by a firefly but, as I watched, it grew in strength until it brightened the room with an unearthly glow. Sylvia’s mental utterances began to penetrate my brain.
“Before I answer the question you asked last night, I need to tell you more about the ethereal world. Mortals, such as you, consist of a self essence and a physical body. When mortals die, their physical body ceases to exist but the essence continues. In the past, mortals who died continued to drift, barely self-aware, wanting nothing, needing nothing. Without substance, they were not located anywhere at any particular time, yet everywhere at the same time.”
“This is the way that their existence would have continued if it hadn’t been for a cataclysmic event that occurred similar to the one your scientists refer to as the Big Bang. Some spirits began to your yearn for more. In the way that mortals have endeavored to devise machines to communicate electronically, and to participate in genetic engineering, spirits began to strive for the ability to be more aware of their own existence, to be mobile, to communicate telepathically, and to gain substance. All this had to be done with extraordinary exertions of an attribute similar to human willpower.”
“The first important event took place several hundred years ago when a spirit shucked the bounds of dreamlike existence and became an individual in a specific location. With exercise of the will, the spirit learned to sharpen its sense of self-awareness. Then, it encouraged others with the same yearnings to reproduce these achievements.”
“How do I fit into all of this?”
“You’re very important to me, Robert. You see, some of us have learned to attain physical substance. As yet, our efforts in this area have been meager, but we know that we will soon be able to attain a form of materiality which will enable us to handle things, to use tools, and to build. It will not be long before mortals will be able to see us, not only as luminous objects, but also as persons. I selected you to participate in my next endeavor because seventy-five years ago, I lived in the house which you now occupy. I was . . .”
Sylvia unexpectedly disappeared. Without warning, the room returned to darkness and silence, but I knew that she would return.
It was midnight the following night, and Sylvia was speaking. “I was seventeen and boarding with Gerald and Wilma Cranston who owned your house at that time. I was a freshman at Emma Willard and, in the evenings, spent most of my time studying.”
“I began to notice that some of my things were not in the same places where I had left them, and I suspected that the Cranston’s were snooping. I had nothing to hide but it pained me that they might be spying in my diary where I wrote my most intimate thoughts.”
“In my room, which is now your bedroom, there was a closet which was much deeper than it was wide. It was so dark at the back that I couldn’t see anything there when I opened the door. Getting on my hands and knees I crept to the very end with a flashlight. My objective was to hide my diary where it would be free from prying eyes. There I found that one of the boards on the floor, about two feet long, was loose. I pried it up and saw that there was a small cavity below into which I could store the diary. It had been a lucky find.”
“Now, I could make entries in my diary and feel that they would be secure. To make sure, after each time that I wrote in the diary, I arranged it in a special way when I put it back in its secret place. From that time, there was no evidence that the diary had been disturbed and I felt that what I wrote would remain inviolate.”
“Emma Willard held a dance one day in 1942. There I met Robert Milford, a graduate student at RPI. He was your grandfather. We fell in love and began to meet whenever we could escape from the pressures of our classes.” The mention of my grandfather startled me. He had died in 2011. The pictures I had seen of him as a young man revealed an uncanny resemblance between him and myself.
“Robert and I declared our love for each other and vowed to wed as soon as our education was completed. He gave me a diamond ring that we agreed I would not wear until we announced our engagement. I hid the ring in the same cavity that held the diary.”
“One day, Robert and I went boating on Lake George. The boat capsized and I drowned despite his heroic efforts to save me. I became a restless spirit waiting for Roberts to join me. I had none of the abilities that I have now and was not able to communicate with him.”
“Robert bought the house in which you live when the Cranston’s offered it for sale. Being a lonely man, he married Winifred Rossman in 1946 soon after he had returned from service in the Army during World War II. This was a marriage of convenience; Robert wanted an heir; Winifred wanted the comforts that he could provide. Robert and Winifred had two children, William and Rosemarie. William grew to adulthood and married Adelaide Feller. They had three children, only one of which was a boy. That boy was you. You were named Robert after your grandfather. Your grandparents both died in 2011.” I marveled at how much Sylvia knew about my ancestry.
“I must leave now. Every day I grow stronger in my abilities to communicate with you, but I must leave since tonight’s efforts have fatigued me greatly. I expect to have a surprise for you when I return tomorrow.”
I did not sleep the next night until midnight arrived. This time Sylvia’s radiance was much stronger. As I watched as the image, which had had no definite form in the past, took on the shape that, hazily, resembled a human figure. I could see nothing clearly but was able to discern a blurred woman’s figure, a head with flowing hair, a lithe body, indistinct arms and legs.
“Sylvia,” I murmured audibly, “is that you?”
“Yes,” she responded telepathically. “In this form, I can hold the image for only a short time. Would you do something for me?”
“Anything!” I exclaimed.
“While I am gone, please get the ring from where it is hidden in the closet. I will be back tomorrow.”
The spectral image of Sylvia shone brightly for a few more seconds, then began to disappear. My eyes clouded. The scene before me quivered growing smaller, then larger. Suddenly, it sharpened. I experienced an uncanny feeling that I was seeing through eyes that belonged to someone else. I dimly discerned the features of Sylvia’s face, eyes, nose, mouth, and hair. She was dressed in a gown of shimmering gold. She raised her arms, crossed them, eclipsing her face, then slowly opened them as a velvet blackness replaced the bright light in the room.
Abruptly, I felt a profound love for Sylvia. It seemed I had known her for an eternity. There was no concern that she was older than I, that she had lived in another age, and that she was a spirit. The differences between us were of no consequence. All that mattered was that this was the person for whom I could dedicate my life, the person for whom I would be willing to die.
I covered my face with both hands, then felt the sensation that my own eyes were being returned to me. In the sleep that followed, I dreamed that for a few moments, the visions I had experienced had been seen through my grandfather’s eyes. I awoke with a start and did not sleep again.
In the morning, I opened the closet door, got on my hands and knees, and armed with a flashlight, crept to the far wall. The loose board that Sylvia had described was there. I pulled it up and discovered her diary. It was open. Without intending to, I read the words, “Robert and I plan to go boating today at Lake George. I love him so much. Despite anything that the future might hold, I know that we will always be together.”
A diamond ring was lying beside the diary. I picked it up and backed out of the closet.
I did not go to work that day, but sat motionless in a chair near the window. My thoughts were of Sylvia and by irrational love for her. Near midnight I sat on the bed and watched as the hands of the clock crawled toward the top. The awaited hour finally arrived.
A tall, unbelievably beautiful woman, dressed in a long flowing, white evening gown materialized at the foot of the bed. She had the bluest eyes I had ever seen, the blondest hair, the most exquisite lips. She smiled. My brain numbed as I stared at her loveliness.
“Sylvia?” I stammered.
“Yes, Robert. Do you like the way I look?” Her voice was hushed but audible.
“Sylvia, you’re beautiful!”
“Why shouldn’t I be, Robert? This is the way I’ve always wanted to look. In life, everything was always a little too long, or a little too short, or a little too something else. Now I can attain whatever appearance I want. Do you have the ring?”
I nodded, stood, and took the ring from my pocket. I stretched my arms toward her. She cupped her hands and moved them toward me. I gently placed the ring in them. She closed her hands tightly and fix her eyes on mine. “Thank you, Robert dear,” she whispered.
“Sylvia, I – I need to say something.” I faltered. I think she knew what I wanted to say.
“Wait, Robert,” she interjected. “I want you to rejoice with me. I have been working with your grandfather for several months. He has already mastered many skills that I have taught him. In a few days he will be able to attain the same kind of physical quality that I now have. When that happens, he’ll place this priceless ring on my finger and then we will be together forever. Wherever we are, we won’t be far from this home and from you.”
We talked after that. I don’t remember what was said, my mind reeled with thoughts that would not focus. Sylvia placed a surprisingly warm hand in mine as we bid each other goodbye. She kissed me lightly on the cheek and was gone. I knew that I would never see her again, but I lay on the bed completely at peace. For a few moments, which will be forever cherished in my mind, I knew that I had shared a vision of bliss through my grandfather’s eyes.
In 1799, the discovery of the Rosetta Stone by some of Napoleon’s soldiers meant that the key had been found that would allow scientists to decipher two modes of Egyptian writing, the hieroglyphic and the demotic. In November, 2012, another stone was found in a hidden cavern in the Pyramid of Khufu at Giza in Egypt. On this stone, which has become known as the Attesor Stone, there are three inscriptions; one, hieroglyphic, one demotic, and one in an exotic Greek-like language, which is thought to have been invented by Socrates. These inscriptions have been deciphered and translated to French and English.
Without fanfare, the translations were released to the general public, but to date, these have been of interest only to archaeologists. Yet, the ramifications for the future of what is in these translations cannot, at this time be comprehended. So astounding are the revelations, that they may cause pandemonium when they are widely disseminated. There is no good, however, that can come from attempting to conceal or obfuscate the truth; indeed, peace of mind and acceptance can come only when the truth is known and its consequences addressed. That is the purpose of this document. What follows is a distillation of the dramatic translations.
Two hundred thousand years ago, the Earth became ruled by intelligent creatures of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, and other families of dinosaurs, who had come to Earth from Mars. Because conditions for life on Mars had been degenerating for several thousand years, all life on that planet gradually became extinct except for the huge dinosaurs, which at the time, had ruled the planet and maintained its well-being. They eventually faced the fact that a migration would have to be made to Earth where the subsistence of life was still possible. Eons were spent by these creatures in mastering techniques of miniaturization. When, at last, conditions were right, a conclave of 144,000 dinosaurs miniaturized the space between the atoms in their bodies so that they required only one thousandth of their original volumes. The tiny dinosaurs then transported themselves in small saucer-shaped vehicles to Earth. Leaving several hundred million of their brethren behind, these creatures survived the trip to earth. They landed in a place that today, we know as Machu Picchu in Peru. They restored themselves to their former sizes and began populating the earth.
At that time, the only other creatures on Earth were insects, birds, and fish. The dinosaurs created the new creatures we see today; lions, tigers, dogs, cats, etc., and several others that have become extinct. Human beings were also designed and produced at this time. The male human was called Mada and the female, Eve. Humans, a favorite of the dinosaurs, were taught to communicate in a language called Ruasonid, which, over the years, splintered and evolved into Greek, Latin, English, German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and all the other languages that exist. At the request of the Egyptian rulers, the dinosaurs built the pyramids in Egypt by miniaturizing the boulders, setting them in place, then expanding them to their present sizes. These structures served as the resting places of the pharaohs for thousands of years. Dinosaurs also built a statue in the image of a revered pharaoh, Xnihps, which, at a later age, became known as The Sphinx. In England. they helped the Druids build Stonehenge. The dinosaurs continued constructing the computers which they had used on Mars. The chips are made from sand crystals which were found in abundance at Giza. The purpose of the computers was to control the everyday lives of humans, the other creatures on earth, and the dinosaurs, themselves. No attempt was made to control fish, insects, and birds.
As the computers took more and more control of Earth, it became obvious to the dinosaurs that certain species of life had no purpose and might need to be made extinct. They did nothing with respect to their kinsmen which had been left on Mars. The dinosaurs felt that these beings should resolve their own destinies. It is known that, today, there are small colonies of dinosaurs still existing on Mars, and that they are planning another excursion to earth. This is expected to occur sometime in the year 2026. When this happens, the landing is expected to be at Reno where sand for the construction of computers is in plentiful supply.
The computers that were built by the dinosaurs are still operating and will continue to do so for thousands, if not millions, of years. They are located in the computer bays of one thousand space capsules that automatically circumnavigate the Earth. These computers control, and have controlled the evolution of science on this planet. While Marconi may have thought he had invented radio; Morse the telegraph; Bell the telephone, and Edison the electric light, the actual knowledge for these inventions had been fed to those persons at predefined times. The fact is that, with one exception, smoking, humans never invented anything. Even the idea of the wheel was fed to Mada’s and Eve’s descendents by a Parasaurolophus.
It is understood that, with the arrival of the new settlers, earthly creatures, that are deemed superfluous, will be extinguished. All other life, whatever its form, including humans, will be destroyed also. It is planned that an experiment will be conducted to determine if anything at all should exist, including dinosaurs and, even their computers.
All of the foregoing, inscribed on the Attessor Stone, is to be burned onto a DVD-ROM beginning in August 2023, and the disk is to be widely distributed. The date and time of the release of the document that you are now reading, is to be determined. If you are reading this document, that time has arrived!
It is possible you might think this entire article is a hoax. The fact that the word, Attesor, is Rosetta spelled backwards may lend some credence to this notion. But it is also possible that, in order to help keep panic to a minimum, this is what the computers want you to believe.
Cora Fielding, Forewoman of the jury, took a vote as soon as the five men and seven women had been seated. She announced the result had been eleven votes for innocent and one for guilty. Ms. Fielding, about 35, overweight, blond with streaks of gray asked, “Would the person who voted guilty care to identify himself or herself?” Janet Carter raised her hand. Puzzled, Ms. Fielding stared at her. “You don’t look familiar,” she said. “Are you one of the jurors? What is your name?”
“I’m registered with you as Mary Carter,” responded the juror. “My real name is Janet Carter.” Mystified, the other members of the jury remained silent.
“This is bizarre,” commented Ms. Fielding. “What did you do, switch places with Mary Carter?”
“No,” responded, Janet. “I’m the same person that entered the room. I took on a different appearance and name while we were voting.”
“Nonsense,” retorted the forewoman angrily. “What’s going on here? As I recall, the other person was young with dark hair. You’re, at least, thirty years older! How did you get in here? Where is the other person?”
“I know this will cause a mistrial,” said Janet. “I have a special reason to being here. The other person was me as a young woman. My present appearance is as I was when I died! We’re here to judge the innocence or guilt of Jerome Carter. He’s accused of killing his wife, Janet Carter. Most people think this trial is a farce since there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime. I’m here because I know he’s guilty! I am the person he killed!”
The silence in the room continued but its character changed from mysticism to shock. There was not so much as a murmur in the room. After several seconds, Ms. Fielding found her voice. “Do I understand that you are claiming to be the murdered person?”
“Exactly, declared Janet!”
“How can we believe that? What can you show? What is your objective in being here?” gasped Ms. Fielding.
“I do have a purpose,” responded, Mary. “Whether you believe what I’m saying or not, does not matter. I want this jury to file back into the courtroom and have Jerome see me, a year after he shot me. We need to see his reaction.”
“I can’t agree to that,” Ms. Fielding shouted. “As forewoman of this jury, it’s my duty to report this to the judge at once. This is for him to handle.” She picked up the phone. “Open the door,” she commanded. “We’re coming back. Now!”
She led ten jurors to the door. Janet followed slowly several steps behind.
There were still several persons in the courtroom. The judge was standing behind the bench speaking to his adjutant. Jerome Carter, the defendant, middle aged and balding, was seated absorbed in a discussion with his lawyer. The prosecutor was having an animated conversation with several reporters.
A great deal of confusion ensued as eleven members of the jury seated themselves. “What is the meaning of this?” demanded Judge Allen. “Your honor,” began Ms. Fielding but didn’t get any further. Janet was walking through the door when Jerome Carter caught sight of her. He hesitated for a moment, then rose shakily.
Janet pointed her finger at him. “I’ve come back, darling,” she shouted. With color draining from his face, Jerome sank back into his chair.
“Yes, it’s me, lover,” Janet continued. “Do you have anything to say to your adoring wife? Speak! Though I’m already dead, I’m dying to hear your voice!”
“Jan, Jan, I’m sorry!” shrieked Jerome. “I did it in a moment of madness. I’m sorry!
You’re dead! Go back. Go back to wherever you’ve come from.” He clapped both hands to his eyes and began to sob.
“I’ll go now, beloved,” responded Janet. “But I won’t be far. Stray not one step from the path you need to walk!”
She vanished. The room was quiet except for the tumultuous sounds of Jerome’s continuing sobs.
We live in a world of witches. This is more of a problem in other lands than it is in the United States because we don’t use archaic language here any more. But we should know more about witches anyway. Here are the facts:
There are many witches in our country. They look like ordinary people, both men and women. There are bad witches and good witches. The bad witches can cast spells; good witches cannot do this but they can remove them where they exist.
If you say to a person, “Thou art a witch!” there may be a reaction. If he or she is not a witch, the individual may be offended, but nothing worse is likely to happen. However, if that person is a bad witch, he or she may cast a spell upon you. The spell will be such that it may be removed only by a good witch!
I can’t emphasize how important that last paragraph is!
In my youth I was at a diner one time after I had been reading about witches. There was a lovely blond woman serving me and I thought I’d try a new line. I said, “Thou art a witch!” The plan was that if she complained, I’d say I had yearned to be placed under her spell. As it turned out, the woman was a bad witch! She became very angry and, indeed, placed me under her spell. She turned me into a coffee cup! The picture at the front of this book shows what I looked like at that time.
Yes, that is a picture of me at the time. I was actually a coffee cup!
I had not expected this outcome and spent several days in this condition. But I was optimistic. Every time I’d be placed on a table and someone sat there to eat, I’d say, “Thou art a witch!” My hope was that a good witch would hear this and remove the spell. Most of the time the result was, simply, shock. After all, who had ever heard of a talking coffee cup?
After a week of this unpleasant existence, a pretty woman came to have breakfast. She was alone. I said, “Thou art a witch!” I was hoping she was a good witch so that she could remove the spell.
“Yes,” she responded. “I am a good witch.” I was overjoyed and begged, “Would you please make me human again?” She was willing but in no hurry. She wanted to know more about me. We had a pleasant chat, which was interrupted only when the server, a kindly-looking older woman, came to take the her order. I had found out a lot of good things about the young woman, but all she knew about me, up to that point, was that I was a coffee cup.
We continued our conversation, and I got the feeling that when I was a human again, we could take our relationship up to the next step. Eggs and bacon were delivered to her and she enjoyed this but I had nothing but coffee.
After the good witch had eaten, she changed me back to a human. At that time, I found myself sitting opposite her. We continued to chat. At the end, we exchanged telephone numbers and she left. The server came back and stared at me. “I didn’t see you come in,” she said. “How could she have?” I thought. I had been there all the while as a coffee cup!
I found this a little amusing and was chortling a little too loudly.
“What’s so funny?” she asked.
I was laughing by this time, and I said through my tears of laughter, “I was thinking about the time I said something I shouldn’t have and got turned into a coffee cup!”
“What on earth did you say?” the server asked.
“Thou art a witch!” I replied.
The woman’s countenance took on a severe appearance “That was nasty,” she growled as she turned me back to a coffee cup!
I’m older than most persons but I’m still employed full-time with a State agency. At the end of their work shift, most co-workers disappear like snowflakes on a hot summer day. I linger at my workplace for several minutes because I don’t like scurrying to the parking garage, then waiting in line as the cars creep down the ramp out to the street. I prefer to leave when the way is clear. Even then, I’ll take a last glance at my work station to make sure the computer has been shut down and papers are put neatly away.
Something happened today that I’d like to tell you about. When four o’clock came, I walked to the door leading out to the street where I work and found that the elevator was ready for use. I work on the first floor and usually take the elevator to the second floor because I don’t like climbing even one flight of stairs. Exercise is not my thing. I avoid it religiously. I feel that any exercise beyond brisk walking is harmful to health.
I entered the elevator, rode to the second floor, and exited there. Then, I began the short walk that led past the nearby convenience restaurant to the enclosed bridge over Fulton Street. I like taking this walk especially when there isn’t anyone around because this is “Think Time.” My thoughts turn to favorite topics like space technology, the nature of numbers, the origin of language, and the like. I don’t enjoy idle chit-chat with others about which team is going to win this or that game. I don’t care for sports.
I was lucky today. There was only one other person ahead of me and she was almost at the far end of the bridge. There were no sounds behind me and I felt my thoughts would probably be uninterrupted. There were large windows on both sides of the narrow bridge, and I was pleased to see that the sun had just emerged from the heavy clouds that had covered the area all day. I was pleased that my short ride home on this mid-July day would not be marred by gloomy weather.
The parking garage was at the other end of the bridge and the Mini Cooper was within easy walking distance. I knew that it took four minutes from my desk to the car. I had timed the trip many times in the past. I also knew how long it would take to drive home. I live a little over a mile from the office. My home is on a pleasant street at the top of a hill. The trip from the garage to home takes about six minutes. The weather doesn’t matter much. I can leave the office at quarter after four and be home in time to enjoy half an hour of Judge Judy on Channel Ten. Tonight wasn’t going to be any different. At least, that’s what I thought.
The garage was nearly empty and I was by myself as I traveled down the short slope that led to the exit. In the past, I had sometimes had to wait at the exit for traffic to clear before I could make a left onto Fourth Street. Tonight I could see cars on the left and right but nothing that would impede my turn. I made the left turn. Now, it was only a short distance to the traffic light on Sage Street. I got into the rightmost lane so that I could make the turn there. Again I was fortunate. The right arrow was lit and I went around while observing the long line of cars waiting at the end of the Greek Island Bridge. To this point, my trip home had not been delayed by anything. This was unusual. It was only a block to the next light. This was at the intersection of Fifth and Sage Streets. Here, traffic is directed in four directions. The wait could be as long as two minutes. As before, I was lucky. The light was green and I breezed through the intersection with ease. There was news on the radio but I wasn’t paying much attention to it.
Next came the steep-half mile uphill climb leading to 15th Street. On Fifteenth, I would have turned right, traveling a couple of blocks to Bouton, turned left, and arrived at Tibbits where my home is located. The light at Fifteenth was green and I would not have had to wait a moment. What fantastic luck! All the lights were going to be green this evening, I thought. “Could it be that there is an invisible hand controlling what is happening?” This momentary thought flashed through my mind. Though I immediately rejected it, I didn’t realize how eerily accurate it would turn out to be.
Curiously, at the intersection, instead of making the right, as I had planned, I drove straight through! “Victor,” I hollered to myself, “why did you do that? How could you have been so stupid?” Now instead of getting home earlier than usual, it was going to be later. I would have to continue on Sage until I reached Burdett, make a right, drive to Tibbits, then make another right. Suddenly amused, I smiled at the way I had scolded myself. There wasn’t anyone who could do this with more fervor than I.
I drove to Burdett and found that the light was green. I wasn’t surprised! Tonight was going to be special. Inexplicably, when I got there, I didn’t make the right as I had planned, but a left! Again, I berated myself. Why was I doing this? Had I lost my mind? Now, I would have to make a U-turn somewhere. Ahead was Samaritan Hospital. I would go into their parking lot, and make the turn, I decided. Well, at least, traffic was light. This wouldn’t take long.
At the entrance to the hospital, I made a left and began driving down the long passageway that led to the Emergency Entrance. Suddenly, without warning, a weird indefinable feeling overcame me. I felt myself becoming lightheaded. “I’m fading,” I said to myself as I lost consciousness. I had passed out. When I came to I found myself in a hospital bed. There was no one else in the room. “How in the world did I get here?” I wondered. I felt fine I was about to rise, when the door opened and a short, thin man, well dressed in a blue striped business suit, entered the room. He was carrying a doctor’s satchel in the old-fashioned tradition. He was wearing a gray hat. “Nobody wears hats anymore,” I thought. I recognized the thin face, with deep, navy-blue eyes. It was a face I hadn’t seen since I was a youngster.
“Dr. Lyons,” I muttered. He smiled. “Yes,” he said. “You remember me? I assume you had a pleasant journey getting here.”
“We arranged it that way.”
“We?” I asked. He continued to smile, making no response.
“All those green lights? You did that?” I asked incredulously.
“ ‘Twas no problem,” she said. “How do you feel?”
“Fine,” I said. “But how can you be Dr. Lyons? You look the same as when you used to come to the house fifty years ago!”
“Well, I was your family doctor,” he said with a glint in his eye.
“You used to come when someone in the family was sick. You took out my tonsils when I was a child – on the kitchen table.”
“Of course! And now, I have to make your final journey, as pleasant as possible.”
“What final journey, Doctor? I don’t need a final anything. I need to go home, if that’s what you mean.”
He came closer. The smile was gone from his face. There was a solemn, purposeful, seriousness instead. “This will be an easy journey,” he said. “Just as your trip here was.” He placed a heavy white cloth over my face. I tried to cast it off, but found that my arms were paralyzed. I tried to protest, but my voice could utter no sounds. Within seconds, I smelled the pungent odor of ether, the same as I had experienced so many years ago on the kitchen table. I felt myself losing consciousness again.
“I’m fading,” I thought for the second time. Without my consent, I had an embarked on a journey I had neither expected nor desired.
I thought about it afterwards. This had been an unearthly experience. In all my years, I had not had any like it. In my musings, I had come to realize that there had been a lesson in it. We, none of us, know when our own Dr. Lyons will guide us on our final journey. It has often been said, and we need to be reminded of it again and again. We should live our lives as if every day were to be our last.
Oh, yes, I forgot to mention. This had all been a dream. Otherwise, how could I have described it to you if it had been anything else?
I don’t know exactly how to begin this tale. In a sense it’s not a story but a recitation of something that actually happened. (At least, I think it happened.)
I’m ninety-three, a widower, and live alone. I was having dinner at a local diner, the Daily Sunrise, in Troy, New York. I ate there virtually every day, and, in a way, it was the only period of recreation that I allowed myself. I was retired and didn’t do a great deal during the day except attend to finances and, at times, write a story. Some days my writings went well, at others, it didn’t, but I did the best I could. I was having sausage and eggs though it was not breakfast time. This was a meal I enjoyed very much, and that I would order frequently without regard to the time of day.
A man approached the booth where I was sitting. I merely glanced at him since I didn’t think he was coming to see me. He was a large person, middle-aged, rough face, very little gray hair, wearing a blue suit and nondescript tie. He looked vaguely familiar. Without any introductory remarks he said to me, “Pardon me, sir, are you having any huckleberries with that meal?” The conversation ended at that instant; also the meal; also my presence at the Daily Sunrise. Instantly, I found myself in Schenectady.
Schenectady, New York was a place that I knew well since I had been born there in 1923. I recognized it at once and noted that the street I was on was State Street in the business area. I was on the south side where Proctor’s Theater was, and is still located. Looking west toward Scotia, I could see the railroad bridge that crossed the street. I didn’t know what time it was but felt it was well within the time when businesses and organizations providing services were open. I think it was sometime in the afternoon.
To say that I was amazed and surprised would be enormously understating the way I felt. What was it that had happened? Was I dreaming or hallucinating? Had I suddenly become insane? Nothing of how I found myself made sense! For several seconds, I stood motionless, allowing my brain to catch up to the event that had just transpired. It was like I had just stubbed my toe and awaited the pain I know would arrive in a second or two.
The autos on the street were old. I guessed that many of them were thirty-sixes and thirty-sevens. It began creeping into my psyche that I had suddenly been cast into a time period that approximated 1937. My mind was unable to adequately process this information. What should I do? Should I seek the aid of the police? Should I go to a hospital and ask to be mentally evaluated? A muddle of questions were overloading my brain with no understandable answers.
I knew where the public library had been in 1937. I decided to go there to see if I could glean anything helpful. Walking west on State Street, I suddenly realized that I was headed in the wrong direction, so made a sudden 180 degree turn. A man walking in the same direction as mine almost ran into me. I recognized him as the man who had come to see me while I was having dinner. He was startled at my sudden turn and immediately spun his attention to a store’s show window. On the inside there were on display several items of women’s lacy underwear.
I was surprised to see this person. How was it possible for someone belonging to 2016 be here in 1937? I should have said something to him but didn’t and kept walking in the direction that would take me to the library. As I walked, I’d glance behind me from time to time to see if I would catch sight of the burly man again. What was his part, if any, in what was happening to me? So many questions there were without answers. If my brain had been a thermometer, the mercury in the little red ball at the top would have burst.
The public library was on Seward Street. It took about ten minutes to get there. I went through the large mahogany door as I had done many times in my childhood. Inside, the place looked exactly the same as I remembered it. This convinced me that I was, indeed, in another age, in another time.
The book checkout counter was on the left of the hallway as it had always been. I glanced toward the shelves and the racks. There were no difference from my recollections. I looked for the children’s section, which was the section that I gravitated to as a child, and went there. I began looking at some of the books. I saw a book that I remembered from my childhood. It was a bright red book entitled Poppy Ott and the Tittering Totem by Leo Edwards. This had been one of my favorites. After a few minutes, I left the section inadvertently carrying the book with me. Then I climbed the stairs to the second level where there were books dealing with general non-fiction topics. I was hoping to see something that would explain the sudden events that had occurred. There was nothing and I decided to discontinue my futile search. I thought it might be time to take a different course of action like visiting Ellis Hospital. If my brain was playing a game with me, I should find out what the rules were!
I was walking toward the exit when a young dark-haired young woman from the checkout desk signaled me that I needed to stop there first. Oh yes, Poppy Ott! I stopped and told her that I wanted to check out the book. She asked for my library card. I told her that I knew I had a card but didn’t have it with me. She said she’d look up my record.
The young woman asked for my name and looked through a card file until she found a card. She said, “I have a card here with the name Roger Gordon, but it says this card was made out to a student two years ago. Are you the person that applied for this card.” I said I was. She asked, “Are you a student, sir?” I told her no but that this was definitely my card!
I knew I had puzzled her greatly when I added that I had made out the card many years ago when I was a student. Her face took on the appearance of a person being asked a question in an unknown language.
“This card was made in 1935,” she said. “It states that it was made out to a student. Forgive me, sir, but you look like as if you haven’t been a student for a long time.” Her own age couldn’t have been more than eighteen, but she spoke with the logic of a judge. “Do you have any identification?”
I pulled my wallet from my back pocket and handed her my driver’s license and a Discover card. She stared at the documents then, with no explanation, went into another room leaving the door open. I could see that she was using the telephone. I knew that she was calling someone about me but I didn’t mind. I knew that if someone came, it might be a person that could help me understand what was happening in my life. She came back and said, “It’ll be a few minutes sir before we can serve you. Do you mind waiting?” I said no.
I stepped back and waited while the young woman attended to other persons. After about ten minutes, a police officer arrived. He was middle-aged and kindly-looking. There was no weapon visible. He spoke to the woman for a few seconds, took my driver’s license and credit card from her, looked at them for a minute, then approached me and said, “I’m Officer Jenkins. Are you Mr. Gordon?” I responded that I was.
He spoke politely, “ You want to check out the book that you have in your hand and want to use a card that does not appear to be your card. The ID items you gave Miss Adams look strange. Can you explain any of this.”
“Officer,” I responded, “the library card was made to me many years ago. Though that was done in 1935, I’ve lived a long time since then. I’m ninety-three and live in the year 2016. Today, about two hours ago, I was brought back to 1937 by some power that I don’t understand. I know this is hard to believe. I don’t believe it myself. I need a lot of help in trying to find out what has happened to me. Can you help me?”
The officer asked, “Do you mind coming to the station where we can talk about this?” I responded that I didn’t. We walked to the officer’s police car parked on the street half a block away. He drove to the police station on Jay Street. Interestingly, he had invited me to sit next to him on the front seat. At the police station, Officer Jenkins spoke to the officer in charge who escorted me to a nearby room. The room was barren except for an old wooden desk and three plain chairs. He told me to sit and wait. Then he left.
This room seemed to be a place where the police interrogated people. A young man, dressed in a business suit came in and told me his name was Detective Nelson. He had the library card and my ID documents with him. He asked me to sign my name on a sheet of paper, which I did. He compared what I had written with the documents he had. “I’m convinced you’re Mr. Roger Gordon,” he said. “Do you believe you are the person on this card and that you are also related to another person who originally used the card?” I said yes I thought so.
Detective Nelson opened a drawer of the desk and pulled out a Schenectady Directory.
“Do you know the address of the person for whom this card was made?” he asked. I said, “Yes, his home is at 1329 Sixth Avenue in Mount Pleasant. He lives there with his parents. He is an only child. You can probably find the father’s listing by the name, Frederick Gordon. I don’t know whether they might be home at this time or not but it might be a good idea to see if they are.” The detective agreed and said that he would send a car to find out if anyone was home. He took me to a plainly-furnished waiting room and asked me to wait until they had further news. While waiting, I browsed through the Poppy Ott book that I had brought with me.
About half an hour later I was escorted back to the interrogation room. There were two people there, one that I recognized as my mother at an age of a long-ago time. There was also a young lad and I felt this must be me as I looked in 1937. Both individuals seemed puzzled. I didn’t know how to deal with the visitors since I believed they would not recognize me. I wanted to exclaim, “Mother,” and rush to her with arms outstretched, but resisted the urge, not wanting to cause any complication to the already befuddling situation. The detective asked my mother if she recognized me. She said no. He asked the boy whether he recognized me and the youngster also said no. Then he asked me if I recognized them. I nodded yes. My mother and the boy seemed not to comprehend.
Detective Nelson asked me, “Tell me more. What’s this about your coming from a time in the future?” I responded, “I believe that I live in another age. I was born in 1923. I don’t know what year it is here but it seems to be 1937. I don’t know how I got here.” He confirmed that it was 1937. I asked what was the date and time were. He told me that it was June 11, and the time was 4:15. The date was consistent with the date during which I had been having dinner such a short time before. The time did not exactly match.
The door opened and the officer in charge walked in escorting a burly person whom I recognized as the one who had accosted me when I was having dinner and then later had nearly bumped into me on State Street. The officer faced me and said, “This man states he is your attorney and wants to help you. Do you know him?” I said that I did recognize him. The husky man announced loudly, “Huckleberries are in season.” Within an eye-blink I found myself back in 2016 having dinner at the same diner that I had left some hours earlier.
I saw a man walking out the door of the diner. Otherwise the scene was exactly the same as it had been when my dinner had been interrupted. The server came to my table and asked if everything was all right. I said yes and asked who it was that I had seen exiting the diner. She said the man was Professor Collins who worked at RPI. She did not know anything more about him than that. She said the professor had been with me for about twenty minutes and that, during that time, I had been completely immobile. She had wondered whether I was all right and was happy to see that everything was OK. I agreed that there was nothing wrong and I finished my sausage and eggs though much of the food had become cold.
The following day I went to RPI and asked to speak to someone who knew Professor Collins. There was nothing wrong, I said. I simply wanted to learn more about him. I added that he might be able to help me with a problem. Someone did assist me and told me that Collins was a professor of Psychology and Philosophy and that he had been doing experiments dealing with intelligence, human behavior, and virtual reality.
I thanked the individual and left determined to speak to Professor Collins. I did reach him the following day and made an appointment to go see him. He said that he would be able to see me at two on the following afternoon.
When we met, the first words Professor Collins spoke to me constituted an apology for having troubled me with an experiment. He thought that my age was such that I would not be aware of what he was doing and he would not need to give me a lengthy explanation, then ask for permission. He had been surprised with the intelligence I had displayed in coping with the sudden events. He hoped I would not make an issue of his actions since they had been intended for the good of humanity. I told him I probably not go forward with anything.
Though I did not remember having met him, he gave me information that I had had an initial contact with him in an evening of entertainment hosted by General Electric a year earlier whereby the professor had presented an experiment in hypnotism. He had claimed he could hypnotize an entire room at the same time. To those hypnotized he had left a post hypnotic suggestion involving the word huckleberries. I remembered the occasion but felt I had not been hypnotized. It came as a disappointment and a source of pique to learn that I had unwittingly surrendered my mind to this man. He had selected me from the audience because of my age. This had been the epitome of effrontery toward me by this man. I felt I should sue for something but didn’t know exactly for what.
Professor Collins stated that when he uttered huckleberries, that word would trigger a post hypnotic suggestion that would immediately put me under his control. Then he would be able to send me back in time using a special adaptation of virtual reality. Apparently the experiment had worked and I had gone back to 1937. Though intended to be virtual, it had felt utterly real. What I had experienced, seemingly over several hours, had all been done within a time frame of only a few minutes. He, himself, had not been with me at any point, he asserted.
Then I remembered the book. I showed Professor Collins the Poppy Ott book. How could I have a material book in my hands though the experiment had been one of virtual reality? The sight of the book bewildered him. He reluctantly admitted that he had no answer. “Give me a moment,” he said, more to himself than to me. He closed his eyes and went silent, trance-like, for several minutes. Finally, opened his eyes and spoke.
“Mr. Gordon,” he said, “I conclude you had that book in your possession all along. You could not have gotten it in 1937. There is no other explanation.”
I was about to controvert his remark when there was a voice from the intercom. “Professor, there is a woman here with a letter and a demand for money.”
“Send her in!”
The door opened and a woman in postal uniform entered. She handed a battered envelope to Professor Collins. “Professor, she said, this envelope was mailed to you in June 1937. On behalf of the Postal Service, we apologize for its condition and the delay in its delivery. There is only a three cent stamp on it. I’ve been instructed to collect ninety-five cents postage due, but I have the authority to personally waive the fee, as a courtesy to you and the school, and I do so.” She left.
Professor Collins examined the envelope and its postmark, then opened the envelope. He pulled out a small plain-looking piece of paper with a bit of handwriting on it. He studied the paper and appeared stunned. He handed it to me. It was a receipt made out to the professor by the Acme Bonding Service. It was a receipt for one hundred dollars, bail money for the release from jail of one Roger Gordon. “Y-you were r-right, Mr. Gordon,” Professor Collins stuttered as he spoke to me. “It wasn’t virtual reality after all. You actually were in 1937 and I was there with you!”
CNN came out with the breaking news that both Goggle and Apricot Technology had created an app that would allow people to make visits to the past! This announcement was met with alarm from any quarters and there were demands that injunctions be filed preventing this kind of activity. Arguments were that studies needed to be made as to whether this new capability might be dangerous.
1 Both technology companies opposed these sentiments on the basis that simple ordinary visits; for example, vacations, would pose no dangers and could actually be beneficial to the peoples of both the present and the past. These companies cited the U. S. Constitution guaranteeing the right of the people to travel without restriction. In the future, they suggested, tourists might find it commonplace traveling freely between the past and present. There might even be a common unit of currency invented that would encourage such travel.
“Ludicrous!” cried out many. “Absurd!,” “preposterous!,” “reckless!,” “foolhardy,” even “cockamamie!” were other terms used. But the two companies were not moved by the uproar. Each wanted to be first in this endeavor and both said they were making plans to send an explorer to the past at an early date.
The President of the United States said the Law Department should issue an injunction immediately until a hearing could be held. The Prime Minister of Great Britain wrote an open letter to the world family of nations denouncing the travel notion. The leaders of Germany, Russia, Japan, and China stated they would oppose these foolish adventures to the utmost of their abilities short of war. Nevertheless, the two companies stood firm.
Amos Brown, a respected news reporter with the Washington Post, remarked it was like someone had lit a fuse on the mother of all bombs and the world was watching as it burned to see whether someone would blow it out.
While wrangling over the news, Goggle announced Roger T. Benson as being the first traveler to the past. It was exactly noontime when the event had occurred. Roger was visiting April 7, 1967! He was making explorations as a news reporter. Concurrently, Apricot made a similar announcement for Alice L. Watson who was currently in June 6, 1793. These pronouncements did not reveal why those target dates had been chosen. Where, exactly, these individuals were located in those date periods was not revealed by either company. The news from Goggle was that Roger was having success with his visit. He was walking the streets of the past! Apricot had no news concerning what they might be hearing from Ms. Watson.
Within hours, the names, Roger Benson and Alice Watson was on the lips of several billion inhabitants of the world. Goggle and Apricot were making brief update announcements every few minutes. Specific details of his experiences were expected soon from Roger. There were fears expressed for the safety of Alice. The entire world seemed to be holding its breath.
Within minutes, Max O’Brien, founder and CEO of Goggle, was summoned to a Congressional hearing by, Nadine Wilkins, Speaker of the House, to be held as soon as possible.
In New York City, it was the afternoon of April 7, 1967. Roger was sitting in the Public Library on 34th Street. An article in the Encyclopedia Britannica about time travel had drawn his attention. Surreptitiously, he had taken a photo of this with his smart phone and TT-Mailed (TimeTravel Mail) it to his supervisor, Randolph Gregory. The latter read the message and put a printout of it in the top drawer of his desk. Immediately, he TT-Mailed Roger to return to the present at once!
He then sent a message to Max O’Brien requesting an urgent, immediate meeting with him. He received a response within seconds asking Randolph to come to his office.
In the meantime, Goggle released information that the trip to the past had been made possible by the creation of a time travel force field using a Base 16 digital application developed by a special research team at Goggle. Not to be outdone, Apricot immediately responded that their application was superior since the base used was 16.5 or Base 16 Plus, as they dubbed it.
Earlier, the news media of the nation had begun a drumbeat demanding more frequent updates on what was happening with both time travelers.
Apricot soon made the sad announcement that nothing had been heard from Alice Watson. The company advised it was carefully studying the situation and would issue a report at an early time. Nothing was ever heard again from this company. It was as if Apricot had never existed.
Goggle decided to withhold the fact that Roger Benson was being recalled.
Word came to Goggle that the TT-Mail message Randolph had sent recalling Roger had not been delivered because there was nobody at the other end to receive it. Further attempts to reach Roger failed.
Randolph and Max were having a meeting behind closed doors as to what was the best procedure to undertake at this point. They decided to send out for pizza and continued the discussion until midnight, then decided to adjourn until noon the following day. The phones at Goggle had rung incessantly throughout the day and during the evening hours.
Randolph was haggard when he arrived at work the next day. He was informed by the receptionist that a Mr. Adam Schwester had attempted to report for work in the place of Randolph. She had reluctantly admitted him to the Director’s office.
“What’s this about you coming in to take my place?” Randolph demanded angrily.
“I work here!” retorted Adam. “I’ve been employed at Goggle for six years as Director of Communications. You’re the one who’s the imposter!”
“Nonsense,” responded Randolph. When the last syllable of this word had been spoken, he dissolved from view!
Adam sat in Randolph’s vacated chair and found the TT-Mail printout that Randolph had placed in his desk. He pressed a button on the Intercom and said, “Ms. Jameson, hold my calls for the rest of the day. I need to do some serious planning.”
“Yes sir, Mr. Schwester” responded the voice of the receptionist.
Adam pointed the remote to the TV set. CNN was reporting that many disappearances were being reported throughout the country and turbulent occurrences were taking place at many localities of the world.
He pressed a button on the phone. “Max, We need to talk at once!”
“I’ll be right over,” said Max.
When Max arrived, he showed no indication that Adam Schwester might be a stranger to him. It was as if the two had known each other for years.
“We have very little time to talk,” said Adam. “I think we’re in the midst of the greatest change the Universe has ever experienced. From what I read just before your coming here and from what I saw on TV, it appears the normal flow of time has been destroyed. It may be that because of this disturbance, many people who are currently living will suddenly vanish; others, who never existed may suddenly materialize. I may be one of them though you don’t seem to be aware of it. Events may happen that were never destined for occurrence, while others may take place but with different results. Activity may be taking so many never-destined forms that they will make no sense. This kind of tumult may continue until the flow of time has settled out.
As he spoke, the TV was showing details of horrendous scenes, torrents of water gushing from the streets, buildings collapsing, dams splitting, panic amongst disorderly crowds of people.
“We may have started this when we sent Roger Benson back in time yesterday,” muttered Max. “It seemed innocuous. What can we do to undo the damage that has been done?”
“Max, there is nothing you or I can do. I read an article that Roger had TT-Mailed to the office. It had been written by an eminent RPI professor suggesting that meddling with time, to even the slightest extent, such as a visit, would throw time into turmoil that would need to arrive at equilibrium by itself. Her article was ignored. It’s like a heart that goes into fibrillation. While it beats normally, humans thrive; when it begins random and meaningless fluttering, they die.”
“But . . .” Max’s statement was never finished. He suddenly faded and vanished.
Adam appeared stoic, standing motionless. The room began heaving and buckling. A crevice opened in front of the TV. The set fell into it while a blast of wind entered through the opening and tossed articles around in the room as if they were in the midst of a tornado. The tumult continued for several minutes.
What was left bore little resemblance to what had been normalcy only minutes before. Adam was gone. There was no motion in the room. There were no sounds. Then, there was nothing.
“Where are the wires?” Fred Moore demanded with some annoyance as, escorted by Detective Unger, he swaggered into the room and looked around. “I’ve done lie detectors before. They put all kinds of wires on you and there’s a thing that makes charts, and also an operator. What gives?”
It was true. There was no lie detector in the room; only a simple wooden table, some folding chairs and an Ouija Board on the table.
“Yeah,” replied Detective Unger. “We’ve heard that you brag about beating lie detectors. And we also know you’re scared of Ouija Boards. That’s why your test will be a little different today. If you’ll look at the table, Fred, you’ll see we brought one here especially for you.”
“You can’t do that!” yelled Fred. “Ouija Boards are evil! What you’re doing is illegal. I refuse to continue without consulting my lawyer.”
“These things aren’t evil except for evil people, Fred. You’re not scared of being found out, are you? We told your lawyer we were going to test your credibility. He agreed to that.”
“Yeah, but you can’t use the results in court, detective.”
“You’re right Fred, we can’t, but if you flunk the test, we’ll know you killed Joseph Armando, and that will help us a lot. If you refuse to take the test, it’s an automatic flunk.”
“All right, all right. What do I have to do?”
“Just put one hand on the board. I will ask you a few questions that can be answered yes or no. You don’t have to say a thing. The pointer on the board will move automatically. We won’t be here more than ten minutes. This board was made in 1892. It’s real old. The new ones are toys. This is one of the originals from the old days. It was sold by William Fuld whose company made them. When you touch it, this thing will know you better than you know yourself. Fred, it is one hundred percent accurate. I don’t want to scare you but keep this in mind. One hundred per cent! Now sit!”
Fred sat reluctantly in one of the metal chairs in the room. Detective Unger sat to his left. Fred stared at the Ouija Board. It was obviously old. The letters and numbers on it were partially rubbed away. The positions of Yes and No, however were unmistakable. The heart-shaped planchette looked worn from much usage but appeared well able to perform its function of pointing to answers. When ordered to touch the board, Fred put four fingers of his right hand lightly over the barely discernible words, Good Bye.
Detective Unger spoke. “First question, Fred: Is your name Frederick Moore?” Fred was preparing to respond when the planchette moved rapidly to the word, yes and parked there covering the word. Fred gasped audibly.
“Are you answering these questions willingly?” The planchette darted to no. Fred began shivering.
“Did you kill Joseph Armando?” The planchette sped to yes. Fred’s shivers changed to severe shaking of his entire body.
“Have you killed others besides Joseph?” Before the planchette had a chance to move, Fred sprang from his chair while, at the same time, giving the board a violent push sending it skittering across the table and off the edge. It fell to the floor with the sound of splintering wood. “Let me out of here,” he bellowed “Take that damned thing away! I’ll tell you what you want to know. Burn that monstrosity! Send it to hell!”
Alarmed by the outburst, detectives Hendricks and Wilkins stormed into the room. Fred, mumbling unintelligibly was escorted from the room by Detective Wilkins.
“Looks like that electronic fake you rigged up worked,” commented Detective Hendricks.
“Yes, it did,” replied Detective Unger. “But I did not have time to press even one button on the wireless box in my lap. The planchette on that mock-up did all the pointing on its own!”
William (Bill) Foster and Wilhelmina (Billie) Mason were in training. They had both been hired as Product Service Representatives by General Snacks Incorporated. This company was manufacturer of condiments such as candy, chips, snippets, morsels, and bits. Product Service Representatives were intended to handle telephone calls from customers and answer questions about their products.
They were seated side-by-side at a table in a classroom that had been set up to train a dozen new representatives. There was a chalkboard at the front of the room where the instructor could write key words on a white surface. Students sitting at tables would be able to listen to the instructors and write notes using pads that had been put on the tables. In front of each student was a card showing the name of the student, including any nickname that the person might have.
Bill smiled at Wilhelmina and said, “I see your name is Billie. This is a coincidence my first name is William, but my nickname is Bill. So, we are Bill and Billie sitting next to each other.”
Billie smiled back and responded, “I’m happy to know you, Bill.” I imagine we’ll be seeing a lot of each other during the next several days. I was hired Friday for this job, and we will be learning a lot about the company’s products so that we can explain them to customers. “That’s another coincidence,” said Bill, “I was also hired Friday.”
Both students were in their mid-twenties. He had sandy hair and was clean-shaven; she had Auburn hair beginning on top and changing to blonde at the shoulders. Neither wore glasses. Someone glancing at them for the first time, would have thought that they might be recent college graduates, which, indeed, they were.
Class was to begin at 9 a.m. so they had about a quarter of an hour, or so, in which to continue their conversation. During their talk it was discovered that they were both interested in the paranormal. Each believed in spirits, orbs, ghosts, and the ability to communicate with thought transmission. Neither had had an opportunity to test whether they could communicate this way with another person. Bill suggested that if they had time after classes they might try some experiments. Billie agreed.
The instructor arrived and the class began. There was a break at 10:30 lasting twenty minutes. After visiting the restrooms the two new friends found there was still enough time to purchase a Coke at the vending machine and continue discussing their beliefs before class resumed. They found that what they were saying to each other was so exciting that by the time classes resumed they were bubbling with enthusiasm for having met the other person.
There was another break in mid-afternoon and classes ended at four. Bill asked if Billie was in a hurry to get home and she said no. “There’s a new Panera Bread not far from here,” he said. “Would you like to have dinner there with me?”
“That would be wonderful,” she said. “We have so much in common. There is so much we can talk about. My car is in the parking garage. Shall we use my car for years?”
“Let me do the driving,” he suggested. “After dinner I’ll bring you back to the garage.”
After they had been seated and were enjoying Panera Bread’s famous cantaloupe salad, Bill asked, tell me how you feel about orbs?
“I think they are spirits,” she responded. “I feel there are beings all around us wanting to help people and to give them energy and health whenever they need it. All we need to do is know that they exist and how to tune in to their generosity.”
“I believe exactly as you do,” exclaimed Bill. “And you said you believe in thought transmission. Would you like to try some experiments with me?”
“What do you suggest we do? I can’t wait to start,” she replied?
“Why don’t I send you a short message by thought, no more than a dozen words,” he began, “and you can try to receive them, say at 9 o’clock this evening. Then, about a half hour later, you’ll do the same with me. Each of us can tell in a few words how our meeting today has affected us. Nothing mushy, just some thoughts. Let’s write them down, then tomorrow just before class starts, each of us can read what the other has written.”
“I like your suggestion,” she said. “It should be fun.”
After dinner, they returned to the garage, and each drove to their respective homes.
The next morning, each was seated at their seat a half hour early. They eagerly exchanged slips of paper. Then they began laughing. “Look what we said to each other,” said Billie. The slip that she had handed Bill, read. “I was pleased to meet you yesterday.” The slip that Bill had handed to Billie read, “Yesterday I was so happy to have met you.”
“That was too easy,” said Billie. “We could have guessed what the other person was going to say. We need to do something harder.”
“Yes I think you’re right,” responded Bill. “I have a suggestion. Tonight, let us send each other two lines of text. Let’s use T-Mail, Thought Mail. This can be anything you want to say, but let us both try to say the same thing.”
“That would be a very rigid test,” commented Billie. “And would tell us a lot. Let’s do it. And I have a suggestion for tonight. I like Jake’s Diner a lot. Shall we have dinner there. My treat!”
“Let’s make it Dutch treat!”
“Sounds OK, but only this once. We can sit in a corner where we can talk and get to know each other better.”
The next morning, the two were even earlier than the day before. They handed their slips to the other person. As they read from the papers, Bill’s face became a mask of astonishment. Billie’s froze to profound immobility. Then they stared into each other’s eyes.
Bill and Billie had written identical messages! They were:
“Alas, my tongue must fail, I fear,
to say how fond I am of you, my dear.”
“What does this mean?” stammered Bill?
“You know what it means,” mumbled Billie quietly.
“We were made for each other!”
“And did you think of making the second line different?” she asked.
“Of course,” he replied. “The second line has five beats. It should have four.
Let’s say them together the way they should have been written.”
They spoke these words:
“Alas, my tongue must fail, I fear,
to say how much I love you, dear!”
They were sitting face-to-face in the pastor’s quarters. “What brings you here Millie,” asked Pastor Harold Cooper gently. He was well acquainted with Mildred Allen. She and her fiancé, Frank Baxter, had been talking to him about an upcoming marriage. All talk on this subject had disintegrated upon word that Frank had been killed by an IED in Iraq. His rank had been Sergeant when he died. In March, his body had been buried with military honors in Wellhaven Cemetery.
“Frank has been coming to me, as a ghost, for several days, Pastor.” Mildred spoke quietly and calmly, as if her words could be considered commonplace. The fact is the good pastor was instantly shaken.
“Frank came to you as a ghost?” Pastor Cooper repeated, as if he had not correctly heard what she had said.
“I know this is an unusual thing for you to hear, Pastor,” she said. “But it’s true
. When Frank comes, I see him as clearly as I’m seeing you now. He is dressed in an ordinary soldier’s uniform. He is clean and neat and well shaven. He smiles at me, and we talk.”
The pastor could not find any words with which to reply.
“We talk about him and me, and the plans that we had been making for getting married. He tells me that he loves me dearly. The most astonishing thing he says is that he wants to marry me. I know people don’t get married after they had died, but Frank keeps repeating what he says about marriage over and over. He really means it. And I want to marry him too. Pastor, is it possible that you can marry us?”
Pastor Cooper, astonished at the request, was silent for several minutes. Mildred waited patiently knowing that what she had requested was probably an impossibility.
Finally Pastor Cooper found his voice, and said, “I do understand what you are asking, but I don’t see how your request can be granted. I don’t know of any case where anything like this has ever been done. I know that people are being married under unusual circumstances these days; same-sex marriages are common. But a marriage between a dead person and a live one, I just can’t imagine it happening!”
“It would not have to be an elaborate marriage,” she said. “If it were done in your chambers, I’m sure that Frank would be happy with that, and my objective at this time, is to make him happy. Can’t it be arranged in some way?”
“I could do a dedication ceremony without any trouble,” said the pastor. “I would expect that Frank would be present, at least spiritually, if not literally. Would this be acceptable?”
“A dedication ceremony is not a marriage.” Mildred said firmly. “And he wouldn’t appear invisibly. I would be able to see him though other wouldn’t. I would expect that he would have on his best uniform and would be wearing his medals.”
“During this wedding, would people be able to see him?”
“I don’t think so. I see him very clearly. But when he came to the wedding, I think I would be able to see him but you would not.”
“Would you expect to, ah, I don’t know how to say this, consummate the marriage?”
“No, Frank is a spirit. He has no solid substance. But for me, this would not be an important consideration. I know that under certain circumstances, people get married without expecting the marriage to be, as you say, consummated. But for me and for Frank the marriage would be real. And I would become Mrs. Baxter!”
“You would be happy under these circumstances?”
“Yes, because I would know that one day I would a spirit just as he is now!”
“I don’t know of any mechanism by which I can legally grant your request,” said the pastor. “Let me do some thinking, and some inquiring around, and I’ll see what might be possible.”
“I couldn’t ask for anything more!” said Mildred.
After Mildred had left, pastor Cooper sat at his desk, writing down some possibilities. He wrote,
Then he picked up the phone and dialed the number of Congressmen Wilkinson, whom he knew well.
“Jim,” he began, “I have the weirdest request that you may never have heard. One of the members of my congregation, wants to get married to a dead person, a fallen soldier in Iraq. She says that he is a ghost who is requesting the marriage and she wants to comply. I want to do whatever is possible, but I don’t know what is possible! Is there any way that a marriage can be conducted legally under these circumstances?”
The Congressman did not immediately ridicule the request or declare it to be impossible. He said, “Right off the top of my mind, the only thing I can think of is for Congress to pass a law allowing the marriage, on a one-time basis, with the two people that are involved. It would be a request unheard of in history, but for the sake of the serviceman, I think there a chance that it might be passed. Let me check it out.”
“Thank you Jim. Let me know as soon as you can. In the meantime I’ll call the young woman and tell her that we’re working on it and will get back to her.”
They hung up.
The pastor sat motionless for a few minutes, then he dialed Mildred’s number. “Millie, I’ve just talked to a Congressman that I know and he will see what can be done. I’ll get back to you when I know more. Don’t expect a lot. And don’t expect my answer to come right away. But I will call!”
There is much that happened within the next several months. There were the usual wrangles in Congress over the budget, taxes, health benefits, and others. Unbelievably, the House of Representatives actually took up consideration of the bill James Wilkinson had requested. It passed with no dissenting votes. The measure called for Pastor Cooper to conduct a wedding ceremony for a deceased soldier named Frank Baxter to a living person named Mildred Allen at a time and place convenient to both of them. No license would be needed. At the ceremony, the persons needed in attendance with the pastor, were the bride, groom and a witness. The ceremony could be as complex or as simple as the bride and groom wanted it.
Pastor Cooper gave the good news to Mildred as soon as he could. She was overjoyed with the information, and said that Saturday, June 15 at two p.m. would be a good time for her and she would check with Frank to see if this date and time would also nr convenient for him. Pastor Cooper thought, inwardly, that he could not understand why any time at all would not be convenient for a ghost.
On June 15, Mildred and Pastor Cooper were sitting in the same chairs that they had sat in at an earlier time. The pastor wife, Susan, was standing at the doorway. “Is Frank here?” Pastor Cooper asked Mildred.
“I saw him last night,” she responded. “And he said he would be here exactly on the dot.”
“How will I know if he’s here?” asked the pastor.
“I will tell you when he has arrived,” she said. “I’ll be able to see him. Even though you will not. He will respond to your questions, and you will hear his voice. I’ll be looking forward to this myself since even though I have been seeing him for several weeks, I have never heard him speak.”
“I am happy to see you again, Pastor Cooper,” came a disembodied voice. Pastor Cooper, greatly astonished, looked in every direction but saw no one. He had enough presence of mind, however, to stand and ask the bride and groom to place themselves facing him. Then, assuming that they were there, he began the ceremony.
Although the pastor was not able to see Sergeant Baxter, Mildred could see he was there beside her. As she had expected, he was dressed in a handsome uniform and with medals on his chest.
When the pastor asked if Frank would take Mildred as his lawful wife, the clear voice of Sergeant Baxter was heard robustly saying, “I do!” Mildred responded to the question in the same way. Pastor Cooper declared the couple to be man and wife.
The new Mr. and Mrs. Baxter thanked Pastor Cooper for the service he had provided, then left. Susan, who had said nothing during the ceremony, declared, “I never felt so strange in all my life!”
“It was strange for me, too,” responded her husband.
“Oh look,” exclaimed Susan Cooper, “this wasn’t here during the ceremony.” She picked up an item from the table near the door, and handed it to the pastor. It was an envelope containing a thank you note that was signed by Sergeant Baxter. There were also several brand new bills of paper money in the envelope with strange symbols and writing on them. These turned out to be Iraqi dinars, which the pastor and his wife never exchanged for U.S. dollars.
Robert Stanton was born in Silverdale, South Carolina on April 17, 1919. He was graduated from Jefferson High School on June 3, 1937, and was hired as Product Inspector at Ajax Manufacturing in the same year. He became engaged to Angela Stanton late in 1940. The couple married on December 18, 1941 the day before he began service in the U.S. Army. He was killed in action on Omaha Beach in France on June 6, 1944.
Angela had been twenty when she married Robert. She never remarried.
While dating, the favorite song of the couple had been I’ll Be Seeing You, with music by Sammy Fain and lyrics by Irving Kahal. This piece was particularly important to her because they had sung it together during the night they spent in each other’s arms. He left to serve at six the next morning. They never saw each other again. She became the mother of Robert Stanton, Jr. on August 31, 1942.
The words of the song had meant a great deal to Angela because they represented pleasant memories of dates she had had with Robert before they married. They had had lunch at small cafes, and had often taken walks in the nearby park.
She couldn’t recall whether they had ever seen chestnut trees, but the children’s carousel had been important to the couple as they planned their future.
The words, “I’ll be seeing you in every summer’s day in everything that’s light and gay,” had been the most important part to her. In planning their life together, this is the kind of happy life they expected to experience for many more years of their lives. Angela always thought of him that way.
During the years Robert had served before he died, she looked for him in the morning sun and when the night was new. She would be looking at the moon but she would be seeing him.
Angela became a nurse and served in this capacity all her life. She died in June, 2016, holding the hand of Robert, Jr.
When she entered Heaven, St. Peter met with her and said, “no need to sign in right now, Angela, Robert is waiting for you. He’s been sitting on a cloud humming an old tune all day. Go directly to your sweetheart!”
Note: The author of this story reads one of his stories on Youtube. To see and hear, open www.youtube.com and search for “Grandpa Mario reads Remembering the Anniversary”.