Eclipse, by Ursula Freer

Quotes and Good Articles

Walking through a wall

By Ed Itor | January 1, 2007


Unlike flying or astral projection, walking through walls is a totally earth-related craft, but a lot more interesting than pot making or driftwood lamps. I got started at a picnic up in Bowstring in the northern part of the state. A fellow walked through a brick wall right there in the park. I said "Say, I want to try that." Stone walls are best, then brick and wood. Wooden walls with fiberglass insulation and steel doors aren’t so good. They won’t hurt you. If your wall walking is done properly, both you and the wall are left intact. It is just that they aren’t pleasant somehow. The worst things are wire fences, maybe it’s the molecular structure of the alloy or just the amount of give in the fence, I don’t know, but I’ve torn my jacket and lost my hat in a lot of fences. The best approach to a wall is, first, two hands placed flat against the surface; it’s a matter of concentration and just the right pressure. You will feel the dry, cool inner wall with your fingers, then there is a moment of total darkness before you step through on the other side.

-Louis Jenkins

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Anomalies old and new

By Ed Itor | January 1, 2007

Silbury Hill and glyph, Wiltshire, near Stonehenge, England

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By Ed Itor | January 1, 2007

Can we retrain ourselves at this late date to become Finders of hidden treasure? And by what technique, seeing that it is precisely technique which has betrayed us? Derangement of the senses, insurrection, piety, poetry? Knowing how is a cheap mountebank’s trick. But knowing what might be like divine self-knowledge – it might create ex nihilo.

     -Hakim Bey, Immediatism, p. 59

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From a Review of “The Privileged Planet”

By Ed Itor | January 1, 2007

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There is an opinion, common among scientists and intellectuals, that our earthly existence is not only rather ordinary, but is, in fact, insignificant and purposeless. But perhaps this melancholy assumption despite its heroic pretense, is mistaken. Perhaps the unprecedented scientific knowledge acquired in the last century, enabled by equally unprecedented technological achievements, should, when properly interpreted, contribute to a deeper appreciation of our place in the cosmos. (from a review of the DVD "The Privileged Planet" in Atlantis Rising, May/June, 2007, p.54)

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Gary Larson busts our whole species

By Ed Itor | January 1, 2007

          A Larson cartoon twists our egos just so: Two ETs, the ones with the eyes on stalks, are hiding behind a tree in a park. One has a clipboard tucked under his arm. They are near but out of sight of a paved walk. Propped against a tree opposite them on the other side of the walk is a full-size dressing room mirror. Generic dumpy human male, out for a stroll, approaches on the walk. One ET says to the other, “And now we’ll see if it attacks its own reflection.”

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Excerpt from: The Starchild Skull, Lloyd Pye

By Ed Itor | January 1, 2007

Excerpt from

The Starchild Skull

Genetic Enigma Or. . . Human-Alien Hybrid

By Lloyd Pye

©Bell Lap Books, 2007

At the same time I studied the finer points of deformity, I also brushed up on hybridization, which I had to learn quite a bit about in the writing of my book, Everything You Know Is Wrong. In Part IV, I deal with the writings of Zecharia Sitchin, a Sumerologist and ancient history theorist who is well-known and widely respected in the world of alternative knowledge. His books deal mostly with the writings left to posterity by the ancient Sumerians. His work is truly groundbreaking, and therefore is highly controversial because human hybridization at the hands of alien “gods” is at its core.

The Sumerians left to posterity as many as 100,000 tablets written on soft clay in a language known as cuneiform. After completion, those tablets would be fired in a kiln and turned to stone, thus becoming the benchmark for veracity in ancient times-“written in stone.” Most of those tablets detail everyday workings of Sumerian society and culture, which, inexplicably, sprang out of nowhere about 5,000 years ago to achieve an extremely high level of sophistication overnight in historical terms. In practical terms, it seems impossible.

The Sumerians produced over 100 of the “firsts” we now attribute to a high civilization, though writing is the only one they are consistently given credit for. They were, by all accounts, a civilization so “sudden” that they impress even the most hidebound establishment scholars. However, what makes the Sumerians so special in history, and in the writings of Sitchin, myself, and others, is the written record they left regarding what the establishment calls their “mythology,” but what alternative scholars call their “history.”

Part of their history, according to alternative scholars, was somehow knowing that Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were in our solar system, 4,000 years before we rediscovered that lost knowledge. They didn’t label Earth as the “third rock from the Sun,” as we do; they regarded it as number seven because they started with Pluto and counted inward. (And isn’t that an unusual perspective for a people supposedly not long out of caves and just past hardscrabble subsistence farming?) They also included a currently “missing” planet in their scheme of things, a very unusual one they called “Nibiru,” on which lived their “gods,” the Anunnaki.

According to the Sumerians, the Anunnaki could travel to and from Nibiru in spacecraft, and 600 of them started settling on Earth around 400,000 years ago. By around 300,000 years ago, the transplants decided to create for themselves (in their “house of fashioning”) new plants and animals to “give the gods their ease” (make life on the distant outpost more comfortable and, presumably, more like home). They also decided to create a “slave and servant” to further make their life on the outpost as comfortable as it could be.

From this came our modern domesticated plants and animals, among which were the “Adamu,” the first humans. (The term “Adamu,” the slaves and servants created by the Anunnaki “gods” of the Sumerians, was slightly modified 2000 years later to become “Adam” in the Old Testament.) The Anunnaki created the Adamu by hybridizing their own “essence” with the essence of “creatures of Earth,” the planet’s indigenous upright walking beings. We assume those were either Homo Erectus or Neanderthals, both of whom were in existence when the Adamu were being created.

The “creatures of Earth” provided an appropriate physical model for a functional slave and servant formed “in our own image, after our own likeness” (another set of words on a Sumerian tablet copied 2,000 years later in Genesis). The new Adamu would be smart, but not too smart; strong, but not too strong-i.e., useful but not inherently dangerous.

In this hybridization between the Anunnaki (the “gods” who lived on Nibiru) and the “creatures of Earth,” I heard echoes of what I thought I might be seeing in the Starchild.

Most people have the idea that hybridization is a 50-50 division, half from the parent of one species and half from the other. It never works like that. Even in normal conceptions, one parent will inevitably dominate how you look (your “phenotypic expression”). So the spread can be 60-40 or 70-30 or even 80-20. However, in the case of human beings, if the Sumerians were correct about us being genetically engineered in the Anunnaki “house of fashioning,” then the split in our phenotypic expression could be 90-10 or even 95-5.

There can be little doubt that, apart from our bipedality, humans have virtually nothing in common with Homo Erectus or Neanderthals. Then, in a widely reported study in 1987, our mitochondrial DNA revealed that our genetic history as a unique species, as the beings we are today, extended back to only about 200,000 years, precisely when the Sumerian tablets indicated that the Adamu were created!

Humans, it turns out, have 46 chromosomes, while all other higher primates have 48. How could two entire chromosomes go missing from our gene pool, yet we are so much more mentally sophisticated, so much “better,” than higher primates? To me, something was absurdly dissonant about that fact, and in my studies I found out what geneticists know but seldom advertise, so no one of any importance will notice: Those two chromosomes aren’t missing!

By a seeming “miracle” of genetic good fortune, somehow humanity’s second chromosome is actually a fusion of the second and third chromosomes of higher primates! So we keep all of the higher primate gene code in those two chromosomes, but we have it massively rearranged from what Mother Nature could rationally be expected to produce by an accumulation of miniscule mutations.


Depiction of first five chromosomes in humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans. Note second and third human chromsomes are fused into one. (An adaptation based on research published in “The Origin Of Man: A Chromosomal Pictorial Legacy,” a 1982 article in Science, Vol 215, Issue 4539, 1525-1530 by J. J. Yunis and O. Prakash.)

The fusion of our second and third chromosomes simply could not occur by mutations alone-it required something very much like intervention, by brains and hands capable of manipulating it in . . . well, a “house of fash­ioning” sounds as if it could have been much like a genetics lab, doesn’t it?

There are many other valid evidences to support what is becoming known as the “Intervention Theory” of human origins. But what it meant to the Starchild case was that it had given me a firm grasp on how a hybrid being might be created between a human and a Grey alien. On the surface, they would not seem able to procreate, almost certainly not by a normal sexual union. However, if the union could be genetically engineered, then virtually anything became possible.

You would have to start with the egg of a human female, because even with the Anunnaki, it began with female eggs. Why? Because the size of eggs relative to sperm make them easier to work with in a genetics laboratory. You have to utilize both to make a hybrid, but the sperm contains only its package of chromosomes and genes, while eggs contain all of that plus all of the mechanisms needed to carry a fetus through its gestation to birth. So, if you intend to hybridize between a human and a Grey alien, you should start with a human mother. Once that condition is met, you can skew the balance of traits as much as your genetic expertise permits.

This is how you get human beings looking absolutely unlike any other higher primate on the planet. We seem to have indeed been made “in the image and after the likeness” of the “gods” who created us, gods not fully adapted to our planet or its gravity. This is why in many ways we are physically maladapted to our terrestrial home, as evidenced by our sunlight sensitive eyes and skin, bad lower backs, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and similar gravity-induced debilitations.

The point is that the Starchild could indeed have been a hybrid between a human mother (herself from a hybrid species created 200,000 years ago) and a Grey alien father, and it could be a perfectly viable offspring while being 90 or 95 percent like its father and only slightly like its mother. This was the only way I could explain the stunning lack of human corollaries for the features in the Starchild skull. Virtually everything about it was unlike any human counterpart, yet it had lived and functioned at least until the age of five.

Without my previous understanding of hybrids, and how they could be genetically created by those who knew what they were doing, I could never have pressed the Starchild’s case with the confidence I was beginning to feel about it.


Once I had convinced myself I wasn’t on the government’s hit list, I went to Wal-Mart and bought a durable, lockable tool box to hold both skulls in a foam bed cut to accept them. Then, at a dumpster at my apartment comlex, I held a brief ceremony of respect for duty well served by the El Paso cardboard box. I never knew how many years it held its prizes.

That serious-looking tool box (gray, of course, in honor of its contents) added a decided uptick to my credibility as I continued taking the skulls to scientists or doctors who agreed to examine them. In addition, I took them to psychics and other “sensitives” who wanted to “psychometrize” them. I wasn’t picky and I didn’t play favorites. I wanted and needed solid, verifiable, provable information, and I didn’t care where it came from as long as I felt I could count on it. Thus, the bottom line gradually, surprisingly revealed itself.

Scientific “experts” knew no more about what they told me than psychics. And while we’re at it, toss in UFOlogists. Between those widely disparate groups, I couldn’t see any difference in insight or understanding. Whatever their outward intentions, all three groups did little more than guess, just tossing mental darts at the problem, hoping to hit somewhere near it. The most consistent thing was that everyone I talked to-scientist, psychic, or UFO buff-sounded convinced they were correct. What none of them realized was that now I knew enough to know they were guessing.

All they did was leave me wondering what to try next.

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Steven Greer Quote

By Ed Itor | January 1, 2007

My direct experiences have led me to understand something important about the nature of advanced ET civilizations: they have selected non-hostility as a natural evolutionary step. In other words, their high level of consciousness is incompatible with divisiveness of conflict. Otherwise, with the incredible technology at their command, they would have long since destroyed one another. –Steven M. Greer, MD, “The Shadow Government’s Hidden Agenda on UFOs”, NEXUS, March-April, 2007, p.61.

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Joy Ride

By Ed Itor | January 1, 2007

Le Canard.” Right. I’ll never reveal the real name of this “frothing eclecto-conceptualist. . .applied psycho­physicist”. For reasons that will become clear as you read, the author of this narrative must remain anonymous!

A word of advice: When you finish, think twice be­fore dismissing this narrative as only multi-edged fiction.


Joy Ride

-Dr. Charles Le Canard

I am a normally mild-mannered asso­ciate professor of physics at a small Jesuit college in the San Francisco Bay Area. I want to make it clear at the outset, how­ever, that I exist at the margins of my profession, due to an alter-ego problem that I have more or less willfully culti­vated. While I am known on my own campus as one who is concerned about the philosophical and spiri­tual under­pinnings of science, and thus am tolerated, I am known to the fra­ternity of physicists as a royal pain in the arse, a radical, frothing eclecto-conceptual­ist who doesn’t stop at the harmless Hindu pablum dished out by guys like Capra or the nice, tidy paradigmatic pronouncements of guys like Kuhn, but who in­sists on trying to tear the throat out of physics each and every time he opens his mouth, and even has the gall to drag in lin­guistics and goddam psychology.

So be it. I am a lone wolf who only dons sheep’s garb for the occa­sional foray across the Bay to that great fort on the hill, LBL, the Lawrence Berkeley Labo­ratory of the University of California, where, once or twice a year, I cannot help prowling the labyrin­thine corridors until I chance upon a hapless junior graduate student. Then, twitching with excitement, trying not to slobber, I gather my theoretical muscles and set upon him (he is always male, and nearly always Chinese, but to me he is Little Red Rid­ing Hood em­bodied).

“Excuse me,” I say, “can you tell me the speed of light in a vacuum?” I am extremely direct with these fellows, because (1) they move about this world as though tiptoe­ing gingerly through minefields of equa­tions, and have absolutely no room in their heads for small talk; and (2) they are complete suckers for a ques­tion like this: of course they can tell me the speed of light in a vacuum, and in their impatience they proceed to do so. They may answer with an abrupt, “c,” or they may deign to spell it out down to several decimal places. I could care less; I go straight for the kill:

“If it’s a vacuum, what’s light doing there?”

And that’s it. No mortal physicist and cer­tainly no first-year grad stu­dent of my acquaintance, has ever raised more than a pitiful defense. They cough, turn red, fumble with the shirt collar, swallow the Adam’s apple, and then WHAM, the jugular:

“Has it ever occurred to you that c might be a limit­ing, rather than an attained, velocity?”

They froth and gurgle some more, but the end is near. I do fully in­tend to devour this poor soul, but I also mean to recon­struct him. It will take me only about three minutes, standing there in the corridor, to explain the simple but devastating chink in the General Theory of Relativity, upon which I, drug-crazed and fully incited to riot, stumbled, oh these many years ago, down along Telegraph Avenue, in full flight before a phalanx of po­lice and then suddenly frozen, cross-sected by a guillo­tine of revelation that came slamming down from heaven knows where, and that I will now wield in turn, to de­stroy this young man’s career. His ca­reer, that is, in the West, in the Sci­entifically Developed World. Now he too will be unwelcome, a black sheep at best, a wolf if he dares open his mouth; and he will have no choice but to tuck tail and go slinking back to Taiwan or Hong Kong or the mainland, to take a teaching post in some muddy rural precinct and be forgotten.

But wait! The poisonous gift I have forced upon him will not lie quiet and suffer the death of its host. It rumbles and lurch­es about in him, now compelling him to launch diatribes at hap­less students, now prompting him to dispatch suspect research papers to hungry editors of regional journals, but always con­stantly driving him to spread the contagion: I humbly submit that the next great wave in physics shall spread out of the East.

Enough prologizing, then, and on to the main event:

I was hiking in the open hills above the college one blus­tery day in the fall, when I heard the sound of a helicopter behind me, directly over the school. Traffic helicopters are common along the freeway corridors of the Bay Area, but do not often venture out the road that leads to our quiet institu­tion: I turned to see what chan­nel deemed us newsworthy. I couldn’t make out any markings at all, but I did notice it was accompanied by three turkey vultures, flying in rather tight formation. A gov­ernment chopper, then, haul­ing in yet another decrepit bureau­crat to conduct a star chamber on our re­search spending.

Leery of cowpies ─ I was in a bit of a rush and had contin­ued to stum­ble along backwards as I looked up ─ I turned back to the trail, and was just about to wonder why the ‘copter hadn’t been descend­ing, when it scooted out from behind a cloud high above the ridge east of me, nearly 90 degrees and at least three miles from where it had been not two seconds earlier ─ or had it been two seconds? Had I fallen in a wink into some entrancing submental process, only to pop out of it at hearing the sound again? But I couldn’t for the life of me remember not hearing the sound during those two or three sec­onds. I whirled about to look for the vultures. Gone. The chopper itself was continuing to advance matter of factly down the ridge. But no sooner had I mentally said so (I had already begun to construct this narra­tive, truth to tell), than, almost as if in direct, teasing re­sponse, it dove steeply and disappeared below the ridge.

Time to write this one off: I was lapsing into one of the minor paranoid fantasies that are my daily fare; I’d stepped in another of the little post-psy­chedelic potholes that pepper my psychic landscape. “Make that ‘cowpies,'” the thought train con­tinued, rushing at its normal breakneck speed into the lin­guistic netherlands. And just at that instant I became acutely, agoniz­ingly (but ecstat­ically!) aware that time, that steady old friend, had un­accountably ditched me. In the endlessness that ensued I could and did make the intimate acquaintance of each and every blade of fresh green grass, every cow with neck lowered to munch it, each ─ yes, each cowpie that had splattered to earth ─ knew on a first-name basis every atom that vibrated with infinite lan­guor in the sea of air before me. . .through which now sailed, straight to­ward me, the helicopter.

Then I got it. It wasn’t that time had stopped, but that I had. And the presence of the helicopter, moving so easily yet purposefully in my direc­tion, could only mean one thing. One thing that was indisputably con­firmed by the golden-green hum­ming-buzzing rhythm-wave that at some point in this horrible-delectable forev­er had arrived from the chopper and triggered in me massive recognition-puzzlement and then, as it cascaded down from one chakral center to the next, a vertiginous, emptying sort of relaxation-catalepsy that, when it reached the terminus, left me without one iota of control over my bladder and bowels, which, seizing this rare opportunity, completely voided themselves.

Leaving me, then, with only one, obvious, thing: the knowl­edge that they had returned. I scuttled off into the sea of utter panic; but the sudden recognition that I could not physi­cally scream even if I wanted to, coupled with what I have de­scribed as the ecstatic, also the delectable, also the inti­mately familiar aspect of the situ­ation, allowed me to crawl back out of that tide and dry off, as it were; so that now, from every pore of my be­leaguered body there began to flow that same humming-buzzing rhythm-wave, but trans­formed into the warm, protective “mantle of the wolf” that I had first donned that night. . .but no, that story must wait.

Suffice it to say that I have always had a peculiar affinity for the dog, the wolf, the coyote, and their brethren. Indeed, my wife, who is Chinese, was quick to remark, on the first week­end after our wedding, when I had circled the living room floor sev­eral times and then plopped down for a mid-day nap, that this was just what she expected from “a dog,” that is, from one born in the year 4693 (1946). And, at the moments when I have most exas­per­ated her and we have tangled, she has several times ut­tered a final sigh and then muttered some mum­bo-jumbo about the unfortu­nate influence of the “golden-green-fire dog star.” This baleful body is actually an amalgam, near as I can tell, of ele­ments from two differ­ent oriental systems of astrology; but as a descriptive device it is quite apt: I do on occasion howl and puke fire.

And so, while editorial considerations prevent me from shar­ing the con­voluted and rather embarrassing tale of how I first came to wear the “mantle of the wolf,” you will at least appreci­ate that I feel at home in it. And never did it feel more com­forting, buzzing softly around my head, shoulders, and back and down my legs, than it did now, because I knew it made me the match, ultimate­ly, of whomever and whatever I was to face. I might require obedience training or housebreaking at the hands of my new masters, but, because I had spontane­ously created the mantle I now wore (and had worn, however tenuously, that first time), and because I had fashioned it from the whole cloth they had presented me ─ that is, had transmuted the overwhelm­ing and poten­tially annihilatory wave that struck me into a standing wave of positive power about me ─ I was no longer afraid. To speak of.

The chopper floated softly to a landing before me, scatter­ing cows in exquisitely amusing slow motion, and two men stepped out. Two male human­oids, that is, Cau­casian to the point of Aryanism. As a French-Canadian Jew, I could not help noticing this, indeed being shocked by it. I would have pre­ferred (or so I told myself) the short, scrawny, bug-eyed fellows from before.

“Peace!” said one, “We have come to quicken you.” “I’m Dean and he’s Don,” said the second. I should ex­plain that their speech was entirely sound­less, at times even wordless: it was as if they were right there inside my head, or that “inside my head” was no longer a rele­vant construct. (I should also mention that in the excite­ment of the moment I failed to really nail down which of them was Dean and which Don. Ascriptions by name later in this narrative are thus arbitrary.)

What they said next ─ they said it in unison ─ was perhaps the most shocking thing anyone has ever said to me: “You’ve done very well. We’re all proud of you.”

I’ve shown you the rift in my soul. I’ve made it clear that I am not always a good person. I’ve suggested, if I haven’t said it outright, that my marriage is flawed as well. My wife is not merely resigned to my going, she predicted it and indeed has stated that she would never have consented to marry me had it not been perfectly obvious I would soon depart, leaving her with a town­house in the City and a green card. Not that I’m going away for­ever, or even that far away; it’s quite possible, I think, that I may be allowed down for occasional week­end furloughs ─ but I’m getting ahead of myself.

My wife loves me. My parents and brothers and sis­ters loved me, but no one has ever loved me like my wife. She has trans­formed me. Lacking her dangerous, fertile, implacable Dragon-Lady influence, I should never have found the Wolf in me. It’s just that, as she said this morning, “I can’t imag­ine living the lest of my life with you.” She’s sweet.

Yes. We were about to board the ‘copter. Our limbs have come un­stuck, our shoes and trousers have been magically removed and our nether parts cleansed, and we are tip-toeing toward the door. “We have come to quick­en you,” they have said. We feel the Com­pleat Fool.

Inside, I am handed a pair of shorts (blue vertical stripes) and strapped into a body-length seat that feels like it’s con­stantly shifting itself to make me comfortable. I sit there and look around. It looks much like the inte­rior of a helicopter. I realize I haven’t talked back to these guys, not a peep. I aim a tentative thought at the rear of Dean’s head: “What the fuck­ing hell do you think you’re doing?”

“Turn down the volume,” comes the answer. And, from Don, “A bit less emotional static would also be ap­preciated.” Then si­lence. OK, we’re communi­cating.

We lift off. I can’t see anything but blue sky and clouds, but the rate at which the clouds are changing suggests we are going more or less straight up, and quickly. There’s no sense of acceleration whatsoever. If anything I feel lightheaded, floaty. Hungry, too. Ready for anything, really. Feels like my whole life has been a series of crude, protracted warm-up exercises for this moment when I’d soar free of the earth. In a Huey. Uh-huh. I’m abso­lutely certain I’ve been picked up by aliens or their repre­sentatives ─ for several long seconds I’m back at the Polo Field in Golden Gate Park, summer of ’67, the Airplane wailing, lifting 100,000 souls into the air:

When the ones who left us here return for us at

last. . .

We are but a moment’s sunlight, fading on the

grass. . .

And up there in the sky, but hidden (but obvious to they who are high), the Seed of the Revolution, the Na­vel of Mary, broadcast­ing to all the tune, gold­en-green humming-buzzing rhythm-wave, that I’ve heard my whole life, through all the static: they’ve come back for us. We’re saved.

But no. The tune fades, the revolution turns its jacket inside out and goes back to work. Much of value is created: mar­riages, babies, companies, products, move­ments. And not one of us who knew is ever truly satis­fied, because that hole in the sky is still there. Finally, in middle age, at this most ironic of all junctures, I ascend through it.

Do I love my wife? Yes, but not as well as I had planned. My marriage was to be a marathon and I was to be heroic down the stretch. Here I was in the middle miles, still feeling cocky, the Wall nowhere in sight. And now I’m going straight up ─ end of race.

“Am I going straight up because I wanted to, or because you wanted me to, or because ‘they’ wanted me to?” I ask.

“All of the above,” comes the answer, quick as a wink.

I’m a little chary of this telepathy stuff. Something cru­cial is missing here. Ah, and I know what it is, don’t I: there had been a cork in the Klein bottle of the world, and that cork was me. The foil wrapper was removed, the wire basket painstak­ingly untwisted, the cork oh so carefully nudged and tugged ─ and it now shoots straight up. It can only go through the hole in the sky and back around and out through the middle of every­thing, because that’s the way this world is made and ever shall be, and I can never leave it. . .I was doing my best, you see, to cog­nize the experience around a few simple, manageable ideas, drawn mostly from my child­hood and second (psy­chedelic) child­hood. Yet I knew ─ and the constant golden-green buzzing rhythm line laid down by Dean and Don confirmed it ─ that I was spot on, and yes it “really was happening,” um-hm, and about time, too, wasn’t it.

The windows ran black, the cabin stretched and yawned, and Dean and Don swivelled about in their chairs. I looked at them through great black empty eyes that saw my whole life and the whole earth, and that cried very much and shone with endless, empty hope. They looked back at me with eyes that had been and would be mine forever.

“Welcome home.”

“It’s good to be home” ─ while the small, scared voice of an associate professor of physics at a small Jesuit college in the San Francisco Bay Area cried out its fear, shame, and desperate demand for nonexistence.

“It’s all right. You’ve been, and will be, a human being. . .for some time now.”

“Thank you.”

“Think nothing of it.”

Ha ha. But I knew ─ knew it was all right, knew it was all over, knew the entire shtick, except for one little nagging. . .

“What we need ─ what they need ─ from you is navi­gational assistance.”

“What for?!”

“You see, you’re human. . .[I aggressively waited for him to add, “like us.” He did not.] That makes you part and parcel [Words hardly suffice for what was com­muni­cated here, but, for reasons I’ll soon come to, this story must be written, not to mention published.] of this world we’re now orbiting.

“As you’ve perhaps begun to understand, flying, particularly within the meteorological and psychic atmo­sphere [Ah, words do fail.] of a planet like yours, re­quires something more than a sure hand on the joy­stick.”

“Of course.”

“Indeed, flying, as we know it and as we propose to teach it to you, is what might be called a ‘consummate activity.'”


“To fly as we fly is to become, and by your passing to re­make, the en­tire world about you, as you will surely appreciate from Le Canard’s Corollary to Einstein’s Gen­eral Theory.”


“You were right, you know: the speed of light is indeed an asymptotic limit, not an actually attained ve­locity; yet one can in a sense attain it, by becoming ─ and thereby becoming respon­sible for ─ everything, while in the same instant giving it all up ─ throwing in the towel, as your Douglas Adams might say.”

I could see what he was getting at, and I was begin­ning to squirm against the straps. Why was meeting God so much like going to the dentist?

“Of course, to take it with one when one goes ─ to take one’s mind, body or, in the present case, flying vehicle along ─ is an even better trick, and is not in fact possible unless one fully ─ and we mean ‘fully’ ─ intends to come back ‘lickety-split.'”

“I ‘c.’” (I was trying to be funny. They gave no indica­tion of having got it, though they must have, since they’d got every­thing else.)

“Yes. One does not cheat. One is either on, or off, the bus, as your Kesey would have it. Yet, one has help.”

“Oh?” (I include these admittedly meager responses because they are the only literary device I could come with up to indi­cate that I was still in attendance and trying to cooperate. Actually, my participation and extent of comprehension seemed rather to be taken for grant­ed.)

“One is allowed to compromise, to tell ‘little white lies,’ even. One is permitted, indeed helped, to come and go to and from the universe in regions where the field density is extremely low, without the requirement that one become or be responsible for the ongoing creation of regions that lie further afield. . .”

“Regions,” Don chipped in, “that may be character­ized by a greater and therefore more sensitive density of creative intelli­gence and its byproducts, radiation and matter.”

“Matter,” I added, “being of course just a slower, which is to say a more ‘bent’ or ‘compressed,’ form of radiation.” (I was beginning to think they’d picked up the right guy; the vivid images of having every decayed and impacted wisdom tooth in my soul drilled and pulled simultaneously with­out novocain were receding.)

“Indeed. You were right about the fallacy of rest mass, but you were just slightly ‘out to lunch,’ as your Burroughs might say, with your insistence that the weak field, the sparse radia­tion, in a near vacuum not be conceptual­ly neglected.”

“Not that you were wrong” ─ Dean took up the litany ─ “in attacking physicists for being narrow-minded engi­neers; but you didn’t finally have the sense to realize, or accept, that God ─ the creative emptiness from which we all derive, and to which we return ─ does what it jolly well pleases.”

“Because it’s not an it.” (I was swinging now.)

“In a notshell.” (The image was conveyed of a Klein­ian som­brero ─ now it was they who were being funny; we were having a grand time.)

“It’s not like I had a lot to go on, you know.”

“That’s what they all say; but yes, you were rather in the thick of it down there.”

“As an associate professor of physics at a small Je­suit college,” Don added.

“No wonder you were con-fused,” said Dean. (The hyphen was definite­ly there, even if the word wasn’t.)

“But this business of rerouting the careers of Asian gradu­ate students in the hope that a little forced adver­sity would eventually lead to a new star rising out of the Eastern muck. . .”

“. . . Was just a bit much,” finished Don.

“So why didn’t you stop me?”

“That’s not the way it works, Señor.”

“In the ‘atmosphere’ of a planet like yours,” added Dean.

“‘Navigational assistance.'”

“You got it, buster.” [“bustard”? ─ As the pot with the guilt and fear was pulled back to the front burner, I was begin­ning to have trouble telling which images were theirs and which my own.]

“We need the sure hand of a native on the stick,” said Don.

“But I never even got to the second world in Super Mario!”

“You weren’t properly motivated.”

“Um, are we talking carrot or are we talking stick?”

“We’re talking stick.”

(Oh-oh. Not talking dentist anymore, talking general prac­titioner: pri­mal circumcision terror, manhood on the block, ini­tiation rites just around the bend.)

“‘. . .paintit red and wite and it wer split flatways so it wer a dubble flat stick,’ in the immortal words of your Hoban.” (Don was blithely citing a crucial passage in Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker, which I had read but which you may not have. I highly recommend it for addi­tional insights into the mat­ters touched on here. The quoted passage is a reference to the char­acter Mr. Punch’s “1 Big 1.”)

“Talking stick, healing stick,” said Dean.

“My penis.” (Might as well out with it.)

“No. Your shtick.”

“Uh. . .”

“Your ‘karma,’ to use an old Hindu term that has enjoyed a surprising revival in your era.”

“Your career, to put it in ’90s terms.”

“Your career as an ‘applied psychophysicist.'” (These guys didn’t miss a beat: ‘applied psychophysicist’ was my favorite fantasy term for myself, as I entertained large international audiences of initially hostile col­leagues, wow­ing and dismaying them with on-stage dem­onstrations of local violations of sacro­sanct physical laws. I’d never breathed the phrase to anyone.)

“Now apply your hand to this, if you will.”

Before I describe the “this,” I must beg you to in­dulge me in one more significant if highly personal di­gression. I have described, in a very general way, my wife’s character and my own and the state of our mar­riage. It will not require a great deal of imaginative interpolation, then, to understand that while we have found impressive peaks of mutual sexual interest to scale over the years, we have, more often than not, been in­clined to ascend them indi­vidually and at spatiotemporal odds with one another. That is to say, when she felt like climbing, I often felt like relaxing in the hut, and vice versa. I have, there­fore, found it both necessary and desirable to revive a habit which I first formed at the tender age of eight.

I had been very sick with measles, was feverish, had not eaten for two days, and was quite cross with my mother. Finally, at her wits’ end, she called in a babysit­ter and fled the house (or so it seemed to me; more likely she was simply going shop­ping). The babysitter proved to be the new girl from around the block, who was known to have breasts. More significantly to me, though, she had long, straight black hair and deep, wide-open brown eyes. She came to my bedside. Bending down to look at me, she spontane­ously caught her hair in one hand (to prevent it running over my face) and held it rather tightly under her chin, which made her appear, through the tiny, fluttering crack in my left eye, to resemble ─ simultaneously and with no hint of con­flict ─ the Blessed Virgin and a Hawaiian dancing girl. She said, “You’re awake.”

I shut the eye and silently dissimulated. She emitted an exasperated sigh and left the room. I remember dis­tinctly that it was just after 11 a.m., though I can’t imagine how I might have known, since I was no longer allowed to have a clock in my room. The sun was flowing in like the lightest of but­ter through the high south­eastern window. I kept the eye squeezed tight in order to hold her image. I saw her walking a Hawaiian beach, slowly, head down, her body covered in a long black habit, show­ing only her slim brown hands, clasped in prayer.

A tropical breeze nipped at her heels and playfully lifted the edges of her garment. She walked on, unfalter­ing and unsee­ing, until she had passed me. When her back was to me the wind rushed up behind and roughly ex­posed her calves, then filled the habit from within and split and spread it out from her back and shoulders like great black wings. She rose several feet above the bril­liant white sand: her perfect Polynesian bottom hovered there an entire wonderful eternity. Then she sighed the sigh she’d sighed looking down at me, and crumbled to earth, a black, sand-starred mantle dancing fit­fully.

The wind rose, and with it the waves. Out to sea a storm, fractured by the sun as it strained to reach the shore. My body rolling, rolling in the waves, rolling in the sand, rolling in the darkening sky, rolling rolling, out and out and back around into the middle of every­thing and out, leaving me lying there, dick in hand, crying with fear, joy and disbelief.

Dean had pointed at the floor and from it had emerged a very lingam-like metallic post, rounded and then slightly pointed on top and inscribed over its whole length with elaborate but illeg­ible characters that seemed to subtly brighten and fade in plac­es, and shift and transform one into the next. It rose sound­less­ly to eye level and stopped. He indicated I should grasp it at its top. I extended my left hand and rested it on the sur­prising, glans-smooth surface. It seemed to warm to my touch and respond beneath it, as the couch had done.

“Two hands for beginners,” said Don.

I laid the other hand upon it and stood up; it came further out of the floor as I did so, and began to dis­tinctly glow/hum with the familiar golden-green rhythm-wave, which, as I shut my eyes and let my knees draw up around it, grew in intensity and moved into me, until I was it and was nought, was the World Phal­lus, the World Tree, and upon my skin was written the lives of one and all of us. I understood what Dean and Don had not been able to say, even without words, even with hearts so empty they now blazed and whirled like white giant stars in quickening com­passionate orbit about the infinitely small and weighty black hole that was all that was left of me, de­vouring itself forever and howling for the mantle to be lifted by the wind, once and for all and my kingdom come, come.

I did, and had help.

I was a fly-boy now, and the question at hand was, where would I ─ my karma, my career, my shtick ─ take us next. It was also apparent I was to be navigatee more than navigator: we would be pulled inexorably along the ley­lines of my soul’s inmost urg­es, to where the empti­ness, the need, was great­est. No one could fly these missions like I could, because no one ─ certainly no goyim Space Brothers ─ had screwed up in quite the complex, de­structive, but eternally optimistic way I had. But wait ─ yes! there must be others, many others (144,000, then?) who had been taken up and quickened and who had their own impressive balls of string to unwind. I saw the skies awash with the windblown sil­ver seed of our ─ no longer lonely! ─ desire.

Off, then, through space and time to trace the faint, waver­ing footsteps of the first of those whom I had sent on a Long March: from Berkeley to Hong Kong, north and west in a long, jagged arc ─ bouncing with him on painful third-class train seats, howling with him in rage and despair ─ to the pretty, muddy little town and through the long years ─ the weeks, the hours, the min­utes! ─ of junior high school science instruction. To the day when the smaller than average, plumper than aver­age, far brighter than average little girl walks into his classroom for the very first time and looks up at him ex­pectantly, demand­ingly.

She gratefully takes everything he can give ─ not the rote nonsense of the textbooks, but the precious, dangerous things I had passed to him in those few min­utes in the corridor, the jew­els he has so cautiously grown and hidden beneath the floorboards of his heart, down the years ─ and then she understands something more, something much bigger and more useful: that she knows what is really going on, and why and how. It is she who has called us here now, then, to save her teacher, to be her friends, to give her the power-tools for the shaping of a new world.

And then off to an open, cow-spotted hillside above a small Jesuit col­lege in the San Francisco Bay Area, to deposit a be­mused associate professor of physics in a rumpled black, star-strewn mantle and clean underpants. He sits up slowly, shakes his head at a final telepathic transmission,* and gazes up, as the chopper rises in a fast, silent arc and is gone.

But not for long. There is work for me here, things only I can attend to, but it will not take forever. This story must be published (a minor detail but apparently important), my depart­ment placated, my estate set in order.

My wife understands, is happy for me and everyone I will help, is not overly impressed with my fate. She waggled her middle finger at me (a dis­arming Chinese habit) and gave me a look, when I first told her, like, “You had to go to outer space in flying saucer to see the nose between your eyes. Light?”).


* “‘Don’t flog your dummy too much,’ as your Gary Snyder might say.”


(Originally appeared Zen in the Art of Close Encounters: Crazy Wisdom and UFOs, David Pursglove, -ed

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