[Note – the following is a true anecdote, although you’re only getting the very beginning of it here before I run off to class. It’s paraphrased, having happened several years ago, but the gist is entirely accurate. It was prompted by the Hansen reading that reminded me of a very bizarre experience that occurred several years ago in undergrad]
Leaning against the masonry outside Jordan Hall, I glanced at my watch, nervously tapping my foot as I waited for the A bus to round the corner.
Shit, I was late. Again.
Beside me stood a short woman, perhaps sixty years of age, although her weathered complexion and creased skin spoke more to the passage of experience than time. Her eyes shifted back and forth and her lips moved soundlessly, caught in some quiet conversation with herself. I shot a glance back over to the approaching A bus and waited for girl to pass in front of me before climbing aboard. As the girl walked by, the woman was shocked from her reverie and violently found voice to her words –
“YOU BITCH!” she screamed, eyes rolling, teeth bared at the startled and not un-frightened girl that was passing by.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME? WHY ARE YOU HURTING ME? IT WON’T WORK”
Clearly, the woman was having an episode, or some type of mental breakdown. I made to leave as the girl quickened her pace. Walking into the relative security of the A bus, I turned around to find the woman had followed me on. Her unfocused eyes took in none of her surroundings as she stared blankly out of a window, looking into an experience that had been locked deep within the recesses of her mind. It was the return of the repressed.
“It won’t work you know,” she whispered softly. “I don’t have what you need. What is the government trying to find out?”
Her body went limp for a moment as her eyes rolled. Her teeth clamped shut, mouth twisted in a painful grimace.
“YOU BITCH!” she screamed at a startled girl next to her. The atmosphere on the bus took on an instant charge as the otherwise apathetic crowd became wary of her directed expletive.
“STOP SHOCKING ME! I told you, I can’t remote view. Why is the government interested in telepathy anyways? I’M NOT A SPECIAL.”
“You sure about that?” one of the passengers remarked dryly. The retort fell on deaf ears. The woman kept her eyes pinned on the girl next to her. Her wariness quickly turning to fear, the girl stepped towards to back of the bus. The woman turned her eyes towards the front of the bus, gesturing wildly.
“Sir, why would the government be interested in this? I can’t see anything, I told you! Please, I want this to be done.”
Once more her body went slack as she murmured under her breath. The bus came to a stop and she walked off, the silent words trailing behind her. A collective sigh of relief reverberated amongst the passengers.
I was disturbed. Surely, the woman needed psychiatric help, that much was clear. She was ill. But something didn’t feel right. It could have been just a figment of her imagination, but what if…
My own thoughts trailed off. The journalist in me was already working, skeptically wondering. Damn it, I should have gotten her name. Not that she could have given it to me in her present state, but still…
I disembarked and headed towards the nearest computer. In google, I typed in “remote viewing”. The first result was a Wikipedia article:
(I’ll pause for a moment while you peruse it)
The article linked to yet another – the “Stargate Project”, a declassified U.S. military project between the ’70s and ’90s whose purpose was to “investigate claims of psychic phenomena with potential military and domestic applications, particularly “remote viewing“: the purported ability to psychically “see” events, sites, or information from a great distance.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stargate_Project)
My eyes widened. I’m not one for conspiracy theories. But…
I tossed my notes aside angrily. My source was gone. And even if I found her, the ethical implications of interviewing someone who was mentally ill? I didn’t even want to think about it. But if this woman had been hurt – tortured – in this project, wasn’t there a story here? An opportunity to expose injustice? I sighed as I walked to class, thinking of an exuse as to why I was so late.
Clearly the truth would be too unbelievable.
Unfortuntely, this story doesn’t have a good ending. I never saw the woman again, and no FOIA request I made served to uncover any new information – althought it did serve to frighten my father when he discovered several letters from the FBI addressed to me in the mail. Perhaps it doesn’t have so much to do with our readings, but it is a personal story that illustrates the once-considered importance of telepathy by our own government.