People I’ve known but not forgotten… What kind of impact did they have to have on my life that I would have remembered them through the years? Most people flow through my life with barely a ripple, let alone a splash. Is it any wonder then that my memory fails me in locating a memorable person? (Of course, this does not include my husband.) Having Garth Brooks in my office when he was pitching himself as a songwriter/artist was memorable but only notable for whom he became later. Meeting Dr. Thomas Gold, the proponent of the now out-of-favor “Steady State Theory” was interesting—we discussed Schwarzschild Singularities (black holes) on my limited terms—but, again, for bragging rights only. I worked as a secretary for a Trans-control medium, which was definitely interesting; however, I cannot remember her name. In thinking of voices and the words that they uttered that still remain with me, once voice stands out. It is really very silly actually. I never heard his voice, never saw his face, but I remember his name and his words. Samuel.
I encountered him in the early seventies. It was during the time the Fifth Dimension was singing “when the moon” was “in the second house,” and “Jupiter aligns with Mars,” Age of Aquarius and the new age of exploring the unseen. Also, during this time, I met Zero. He was a medical technology student at Ferris State College who was studying to be a sorcerer in his spare time. “After all,” he claimed, “The world will destroy itself within two years, and I want to be prepared to take over when the opportunity arises.” He also claimed that he could teleport himself from one place to another. Ahh Zero! Your nickname was so appropriate! Followers of Wicca were to be found easily on campus and elsewhere as were Buddhists and other non-traditional belief systems. There were groups investigating the paranormal everywhere. I guess I give you all this information so that my encounter with Samuel will not seem out of line for the times as embarrassing it now seems to me.
A group of my friends and I were also exploring the paranormal. I remember séances in dorm rooms where we were sure that we witnessed a palatable ectoplasm buildup by a member’s extended hand. We experimented with out-of-the-body experiences (OBEs), which were all the rage. During an OBE, the sensation of flight was tremendous as you floated gently above your body. I remember, one time when I was taking an afternoon nap, I felt something brush against my leg. Now, I hated bugs with a passion, and I was sure that it was a spider crawling across my leg. I tried my best to wake up; however, I was paralyzed! As I tried focusing on opening my eyes so that I could see what kind of critter was crawling on me, my vision switched back and forth between my eyes looking back at my eyes trying to open. Very strange! However, I was finally able to look out away from my bunk, and I saw an arm, from the elbow to the fingertips dissolving away from me. My friends convinced me that I had an OBE, and I saw myself floating before me as I dissolved into consciousness. After this, you can now understand why my encounter with Samuel did not seem so strange to me.
One evening, as my friends and I were visiting at my house, we decided to get out the ol’ Ouija board and see if we could stir up anything interesting. At first, there was the usual nonsense that dribbled out of the board. We were just about ready to give it all up when we received a strong message that said, “Hawks for my master. Doves for my lady love. One lonely Jackdaw crying at my grave.” With such a coherent stream of words, we started excitedly asking questions. My friend, Bonnie, decided to go get a soda and as she came back into the room she asked “What happened to my Grandfather? How did he die?” We were told by Samuel that he had been killed by her uncle who was after the grandfather’s social security check. Apparently, her grandfather had heard her uncle ascending the stairs, and he had hid outside the window of his bedroom on a small landing. When the uncle had come into the room and couldn’t find the grandfather or his check, he flew into a rage. The uncle heard a noise outside of the window and went to investigate. There, he tried to strong-arm Bonnie’s grandfather into giving him the check, and in the struggle, Bonnie’s grandfather fell to his death. Bonnie, after hearing the explanation, cried and left the room. We were all flabbergasted, and we did not know that her grandfather was dead let alone how he might have died. She finally got a hold of herself and came back into the room, saying that her family had suspected that the accident was no accident but were unable to prove it. After that for an introduction, we agreed that perhaps the information we were getting from this source was valid.
Time and again, Samuel would return to us—always with the announcement by the way of the words: “Hawks for my master. Doves for my lady love. One lonely Jackdaw crying at my grave.” Over a period of months, he told us that he had been a house slave in the south and that his lady love had been sold away from the plantation. He gained our sympathy and our support. We believed. He gave us all information, in parables of a type, that helped us to look at the world anew, such as when he told Mary that she “was a tender reed planted in loose sand” and that she needed to plant herself in a more fertile soil. It certainly was true. She was the most flighty of us all.
In looking back on all this youthful indulgence, I cannot help but feel embarrassed that I was involved in it all. However, no matter how I try to rationalize what happened with Samuel, I still have a strong sense of him as a real person, and I remember him fondly if I allow myself to feel beyond the embarrassment. He sometimes haunts me in memories, especially when I remember one of the last things that he said, “Believe in me, cynic. I am a believer in you.” Lord! I am still a cynic, but why do I feel diminished because of it?