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Monday, July 12, 2010

undistilled spirits: part 2 - shaken, not stirred

in 1981 i applied for a job as a singing telegram deliverer. during the interview/audition i pretty much knew that i had the gig. as i was getting off the freeway coming home after the interview, a commercial for lone star beer ran on kroq that i had never before heard: doorbell rings; door opens; voice #1: “i have a singing telegram!”...

not only did i get the job, business increased during the time that i was the company singer for live lyrics telegram company.

on september 22, 2002 i was stopping by koh to catch up on some dubbing that i’d put off to leave the station in time on the previous friday to go emcee the miss street vibrations contest (i just cannot bring myself to call it a pageant). as i was driving passed rei i thought, “you need to buy a gps! you’ve wanted one for years; the prices are better than they were when darryl got his and they are much better; you just got a big check for the camel races and you’re about to get a bigger check for street vibes; just do!

so, i’d decided when i wrapped up the 45-minutes of dubbing i was going to go buy a gps-receiver.

as i was walking out of the station to leave and make the short drive over to rei to pick out my new gps, jeremy dunn was just getting off the air and walking out. he mentioned to me that he’d been out to fallon on the previous day. “what were you doing out in fallon?”, i asked. “geocaching.”, jeremy replied. “what the hell’s geocaching?” 20-seconds into his description and i knew that i was going to be a geocacher.

but wait… there’s more!

on the following day i attended a press conference in washoe county district attorney dick gammick’s office.

first, before i go any further, you need to understand that i think of a gps as being just a very sophisticated map.

so, i walk into dick’s lobby and in the middle of it is a fiberglass or resin casting of a life-sized big horn sheep (our state animal) decoupaged in nevada topographic maps.

i almost screamed out loud, “all right! i’m going to be a geocacher, damn it!”

some signs are not as strong and could be interpreted as coincidence, like when i met robin: mere moments after meeting i learned that she had just returned from seeing david bowie in quebec for the kickoff of his sound and vision tour. i said, “i heard a rumor about his guitarist on this tour...” interrupting me, robin chirped excitedly, “it’s adrian belew and i rode in an elevator with him!” it was enough for me to know!

there have been many other such symbolic messages over the years, several of which are related to adrian, too.

there have been a number in the past week sending me down a path which i never expected to walk: that of a ghost hunter.

# # # # #

my second walk down this path began in sandie’s car as we drove down to the former carson indian school. having learned it best to overdress, i was once again sporting long pants, but never put on the flannel shirt that i used three nights earlier. in addition to the protection from possible weather-weirdities, i also had my new talisman – a piece of tumbled/polished apache tear – and my new dowsing rods. this time, however, there would be several other members of the thin veil investigators joining our hunt.

arriving around sunset, a little earlier than we did on our previous visit and before the rest of her team was expected to arrive, sandie and i returned directly to the burial ground.

the last time when we got here, i had a feeling of pressure on my solar plexus complimented by a feeling of anxiousness. but, i’m willing to believe, in fact, i am certain they were psychosomatic manifestations.

this time, i felt none of that. instead, i had a sense of comfort and wellbeing.

sandie, on the other hand, said some boys were telling her to get away; they were warned not to talk to her.

they were scared!

we walked on, assuring them that we respect them and were only there to visit with and honor them and not there to hurt them. but, that didn’t seem to make any difference.

i asked sandie if the little girl was here. no, she replied. but, she wasn’t all that surprised since the girl’s energy was so weak. but, we walked to where she had been hiding on our previous outing.

we did, sandie said, pass by a couple of boys presumably the two boys that may or may not have walked with us the other evening. only hearing sandie’s side of the conversation, they were telling her that “somebody” told them they need to be wary of her and not to talk to her.

sandie made – what i could tell was – a vain attempt at convincing them of the contrary as we walked on to where we first met our little girl.

“that’s where she was right there, isn’t it?”, i asked sandie. “yes, right in the middle. but, she’s not there tonight.” then, almost stepping on her previous sentence, “nope. there she is!”

this was great news... i think.

ever since i first “met” the little girl, i have felt an attraction for her; perhaps because i just have a soft spot for little girls; perhaps because of my sorrow due to the torturous death she surely suffered; perhaps both.

except for a slight draw to the little girl's hiding place (possibly psychosomatic), i could only trust sandie. but, since this all feels like a calling to me, i have found it quite easy to trust in the things that sandie has told me that i am not (yet) able to see.

feeling a little more comfortable speaking to “no one”, i made a couple of awkward attempts at talking with the little girl. after over 30-years of talking to no one in radio studios, i find it slightly humorous that i’ve yet to be able to create the imagery in my mind to allow myself to speak comfortably with the spirits that i have met.

sandie, on the other hand, has no problem talking with spirits. but, she can see them, which seems to scare some of them.

which the little girl confirmed by telling sandie that she, too, was warned not to talk with her.

again, sandie tried to dissuade all of them from believing what they were told; we respect them and were not there to endanger them, but to honor them.

“we’re not going to get anywhere here right now”, sandie announced.

i was broken hearted. i really wanted to hang out with the little girl and she told us to split. here i thought i was going to be the inspiration to get her to open up; maybe show herself to me. well, it’s not the first time that i’ve been shined-on by a girl.

during this, my attention was being drawn toward the area behind the framework of the old backstop and told sandie of that attraction.

“oh. there are a couple of teenage boys over there.”, she confirmed. then, “there’s a few of them in there. would you like to talk with us?” sandie asked the boys.

“ok!”, she replied. “we’ll leave for now and come back later. whoever told you that we are here to harm you is wrong; we only want to talk with you.”

but, we left the athletic field and walked over to the infirmary.

as we rounded the south side of the small building, sandie began announcing our presence, assuring the spirits that we were just there to talk with them.

i suddenly i remembered my new rods.

“how do i do this?”, i asked sandie.

“you just hold them level and ask a question.”

“is there anybody here who would like to talk with us?” i asked with slightly less feebleness than on our previous trip.

the rods that were barely moving due to the light breeze suddenly crossed like they were magnetized.

“they’re here!”, sandie said with a smile. “i can see two boys hanging off the ends of your rods.”


learning the rods

now, i’m getting excited! those rods did move quite deliberately and there did seem to be a bit of resistance to them as they held, or moved, that was not there when sandie first gave them to me and before i asked the question.

“they like you, monty; they think you’re a brother - you being part native - they see you as a brother in blood; in your ancestry, especially with the utes being descended from the anasazi.”

this was the moment the psychic hook was set!

might this be another message leading to a path onto which i should walk?

some of the most spiritual moments of my life have been, what i would call, related to the ancients.

several years ago, while i was in monument valley along the arizona/utah border, after stopping for a picnic lunch along the scenic dirt road (on which, by the way, i was assured the little celica would not be able to travel), i wandered off a few hundred yards into the desert. as i did i walked into a sense of being with the gods; of standing in god’s own hand. it is an emotion for that i fail to find descriptive words. but, it could be the most profound moment of my life!

despite being reeled-in like a cooperative trout swimming willingly into the dip net and waiting to be lifted in the creel, l still found it difficult to talk with the kids who sandie assured me liked me.

i soon started to realize what it was that i found most uncomfortable about talking to no one: it wasn’t talking to no one; it was knowing what to ask and how to form the question in order to get a response.

we hung out for a while before telling the kids that we’d be back later; we needed to head up to the superintendent’s home, where we would wait for other members of the thin veil investigators to arrive.

dusk was still a while off, but the spirits – good and evil – were, according to sandie, beginning to become active.

“this is going to be a good night!”, sandie proclaimed.

her words would be proven true.

# # # # #

the thin veil investigators are made up of area psychics and sensitives who have an interest – whether they like it or not – in ghost hunting. the team have documented several carson and virginia cities hauntings.

we parked in front of the church and walked over to a picnic table in front of the superintendent’s home, of which its placement i find highly ironic. but, i find a lot of the history from this place to be filled with sad irony.

the spirit of one of the former school superintendents who was personally responsible for much of the torture and many of the murders has been bound to the basement of the stone home by several shamans from various nations, which now houses the nevada indian commission in another example of irony associated with this campus in general and this building in particular.

sandie does not like the superintendent’s home whatsoever!

she says a lot of bad energy is inside its walls!

she says it is not to be messed with!

so, there i sat, seeing if i could get a response from my rods as darkness began to fall, literally within spitting distance of a real honest-to-badness haunted house at a picnic table at which we will later have a late night picnic.

i’m ghost hunting now!

# # # # #

the first of the veilers to make the party was sandie’s daughter, shantell and shantell’s boyfriend, robbie.

the next arrivals would be a surprise that somehow really didn’t feel all that surprising: i first met loretta reed while i was working at koh. later, loretta would occasionally drop into kptl. i had no recollection of ever hearing loretta saying anything about having any psychic tendencies. but, it didn’t surprise me in the least when she and her daughter, carli, walked up to our table.

just like when i was standing in dick gammick’s office looking at that topo-sheep, loretta’s presence – somehow – seemed like another message that i am to follow the mysterious and quite possibly frightening and dangerous path of a ghost hunter, only slightly more frightening than geocaching... or being in gammick’s office for that matter.

i wrote the previous sentence while a ridiculous ghost hunting show on a&e is on in the background. i easily find my encounters at the stewart indian school to be believable, but have a hard time taking these idiots seriously as they taunt ghosts in an old prison until they get themselves so nerved-up that they scream like little girls from creeping themselves out and run out of the room.

despite the ludicrous nature of this show, i still am going to pursue this trip.

# # # # #

as loretta and i were beginning to get reacquainted, janet, the next arriving member of tvi was bringing her sizable toolbox filled with cameras, devices and every-other-thing one might find necessary in a hunt.

i wonder what color box i should get for my devices?

the final member of our party was our hostess, kath'leen a member of the washo tribe (which established the “stewart community” on certain parts of the former school and uses a few of the buildings, as well), who knows a lot of the history of the school and, whether she is aware of it or not, by virtue of being native, is a constant reminder of all the indigenous children who were brought here; some never to leave.

and now that the entire team has assembled, it was time to begin our investigation.

part of the team: robbie, shantell, loretta, monty and carli

our party, sans kath'leen whom i would later learn is not all that comfortable being at stewart at night and won’t even go near the burial ground after sunset would stay at the picnic table in front of the supervisor’s home and set up our snacks while the rest of us set up equipment and began meeting more and new spirits.

as we walked south passed what used to be called the “small” girls dorm where, as we caught up on the past couple of years, loretta expressed a feeling of foreboding, it would not be her last sense of discomfort associated with this building, which is now being used as state offices as are about half of the old building on the grounds that have been deemed safe enough for state workers; the school was closed in 1980 by the feds due to earthquake and asbestos safety issues.

as we entered a courtyard delimited by “big” girls dorms and scattered with many trees, janet began to fasten a game camera to one of the trees using a couple of bungee cords. janet told me she had the camera set to shoot continuously, but it can be set to be triggered by motion.

as we all began to wander about the area, i was drawn to a particular tree that had been struck by lightning, as have many of the trees around here; lightning strikes are rather obvious once you’ve seen one.

i mentioned this to sandie who quite casually said, “oh yes. there’s a boy right there! hi.”, and talked with him for a while as i fumbled with my rods and tried to form questions that i might ask.

“there’s a man sitting on the steps over there.” sandie said with a chuckle to hear voice. “he’s smoking a cigarette!”

doesn’t he know those things’ll kill ya?

the cigarette smoking man

i did not ask if he was white. but, i’m guessing that most of the workers were probably local white men employed by the school to maintain the building and grounds and maybe get a little paiutey-pooty as one of the perks.

is that why he has been here all these years? is it his sentence? is it his choice?

sandie continued to talk lightheartedly (maybe he’s not an evil cat. but, why is he here?) with the smoker as we continued to walk south between the dorm where the smoker sat, presumably, filling the fresh air with noxious smoke, and one of the classroom buildings. i instinctively held my breath as i passed, but did tell him we’d be back later.

once passed the classrooms we went directly to the infirmary; a building that gives everyone in our group “the willies”, while i feel compelled to be here.

are the kids pulling me here?

as we begin to cross what used to be grass and now mostly weeds, ants and goat heads the mood of the group definitely changed from “we’re here to have fun!” to “this shit is gettin’ serious!”

perhaps i was vibing a little off of that dread projected by the others, but i was still being pulled to the back of the structure like ulysses being drawn by sirens and wanting to hear their treacherous song at the risk of insanity.

announcing our presence as we rounded the back corner of the building, i held out the rods and said, “hey, guys. i told you i’d be back in a while. are you here?”

with a definite pull both rods crossed at the midpoint and held there like they were magnets.

orbs on the ends of my rods

standing next to me and surely sensing my discomfort in not knowing what to ask or how to ask it, loretta started feeding me questions telling me that they really like me.

to be honest, i don’t really remember all of the questions we asked. but, at some point, the kids stopped responding to my questions. loretta said, “i think they’re just playing around with you, monty.”

“are you guys just horsing around with me?”, i asked.

the rod in my left hand, which was being held slightly above the other began to spin completely in circles while the right rod spun until it hit the other rod before i separated my hands enough to allow it to spin. too bad the video cam wasn't rolling on me for this shot!

loretta and i instantly broke out into shocked, nervous laughter!

“you guys are funny!”

a couple of moments later, robbie came over to show us an orb
that he caught in his digital camera
that he took while shooting the old furnace flue at the same moment, loretta, the kids and i were all laughing it up,
that looked like an upside-down smiley face.

"smiley face" orb above the haunted infirmary

loretta, who deals with angelic spirits, kept telling me how comforting i am to the boys and how much they like me. later that night as sandie drove me home, loretta called her on her cell and said, “i hope monty isn’t offended by this, but the little boys told me one of the reasons they like him so much is that he reminds them of santa claus.”

mind? are you kidding me? i’ve got two little indian boy ghosts who think i’m the bees’ knees! how many people can claim that? this i intend to use to my advantage to help me get to know my new friends.

after a few more minutes, telling the kids we’d be back later that night, we rounded the side of the building where emotions of dread were again being expressed by the others in the group.

our walk back to rejoin kath'leen in front of the superintendent’s home brought us passed the old administration building, where the shadow people are supposed to frequent and once again passed the “small” girls dorm. loretta went straight up to the front door of the building, while i stayed back on the walk feeling, for the first time, something that told me not to go there; nothing specific; i just felt as if i should not be up there.

loretta laid her hand upon the door and proclaimed that a lot of bad things took place inside those walls: pain, punishment and rape.

the “small” girls dorm!

perhaps why i stayed on the walk

eventually, we all gathered around the table and enjoyed veggies and dip and chips and cookies and lemonade and talked about our stroll around the school.

after a few minutes, i excused myself to walk across the street so i could hide in the sagebrush and i noticed several sets of headlights way up on mcclellen peak. i thought to myself, “what’s going on? the last time there were that many cars up there at night was the rally in...”

that’s when the first firework soared into the sky. being a good 3 or 4 miles from ground zero, i wrapped up my business and made my way back to the superintendent’s home, taking the scenic route.

as i reached the front stairs of the building with the evil spirit bound to its basement, i felt as if i should explore the old building. climbing the 5 or 9 steps for the first time i walked straight to the door and placed my hand upon the door.


i looked inside the windows.

nothing except offices and things you would expect in such a setting.

i reached the south side of the house and continued around the porch, which becomes more of a terrace as the hillside drops steeply below on this side of the house. i continued to walk around the terrace to where a narrow walkway looked like it continued around the backside of the house.

it was at that precise moment that i realized that i was standing on the porch and in the shadow of a real haunted house.

i don’t know if i suddenly got sucked-up by my own imagination, of which i have a little, or if there was something or things up there with me. but, i kept feeling as if there was somebody standing behind me, looking over my shoulder. i turned around, expecting to see a face staring back at me like in the movies, but there was nothing.

nothing, because it was now standing behind me and must have turned with me.

rotating around again more rapidly this time, i still did not see what was on the terrace with me. but, i could sure feel it.

or feel something.

i turned again and realized that my revolutions were being punctuated by a scream coming from the area near the “small” girls dorm.

is that one of the girls?

after a few turns to see nothing there, i realized what i was hearing was a screech owl flying about the area. but, why had it chosen those exact moments to announce itself?

i am not alone!

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