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Friday, August 05, 2005

My Own Personal "X-Files" Experience

Greetings and Salutations:

Here's a story I've rarely shared, because I can't rationally explain any of it.

One of the very few people to whom I've described this event stated that it sounded like an episode from the famous "X-Files" television series.

As a very young man, probably about nineteen years old, I was aimlessly hitch-hiking around the country.

I arrived on the outskirts of Lexington, Kentucky, just as a very severe storm hit.

It was so powerful, that it might have been a tornado, but I never saw any funnel cloud.

Everywhere, the sky was pitch-black, and the winds were so powerful that a tractor-trailer rig was blown completely off the highway, and I think the driver was killed.

I did observe metallic roofs and signs being blown from buildings, sailing through air, and crashing into other buildings or snapping power lines.

It was starting to rain, so I walked into a gas station and asked if I could sleep on their floor until the storm was over.

They sent me to a small white delivery van parked outside, and I crawled inside and slept as best I could, even though I was cold, wet, and scared.

After a few hours, the storm was over, and I woke up, and went back out onto the highway.

There was very little traffic, and it was very late at night, so I walked and walked and walked.

As I walked, I observed the high voltage power lines parallel to the highway, and I observed numerous bolts of lightning.

I arrived at the Bluegrass Parkway, and caught a ride which took me clear to the end, which I think was in Paducah, Kentucky.

The next day, I somehow arrived at the home of my Aunt Ellen and Uncle Sidney, who lived in West Paducah.

Uncle Sidney was employed at the Shawnee Power Plant just down the road, right on the Ohio River.

I enjoyed visiting with them, and that night, I slept on a folding roll-away bed in the living room of their mobile home.

Everything SHOULD have been okay.

But, suddenly, in the middle of the night, I experienced a severe electric shock, which made me jump clear out of bed.

Uncle Sidney and I looked all around the bed, but could find nothing electrical anywhere near it.

So, I apologized for disturbing them and I laid back down to try and sleep.

Suddenly, I once again felt this powerful electric shock, which made me yell.

Again, Uncle Sidney and I searched for a cause, but couldn't find one.

He did tell me that, as an employee of the Shawnee Power Plant, he would often come home from work discharging static electricity from his body.

Anyway, I tried to lay down and sleep, but I just couldn't, for I kept experiencing the shocks, which were painful and terrifying.

I hated to do it, but I asked Uncle Sidney if he could drive me to the highway, so I could continue my journey.

I figured the problem was right there in their home, and once I left their home, the recurring electric shocks would cease.

But, that was not the case.

Not only did I continue to feel the sensations of a powerful electric shock over and over, but the effects became worse, and more noticeable.

If I shook someone's hand, I would shock them.

When I looked in a bathroom mirror and combed my hair, blue sparks would jump about.

This was before I converted to the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints (i.e., the so-called "Mormon" church), so I smoked cigarettes and sometimes drank beer (but not often - - - I was under age).

At one point, a fellow I was riding with stopped at a tavern, and I sat at the bar smoking, as he conversed with a couple of his buddies.

Blue sparks of electricity literally leapt from my fingers, as I knocked my cigarette ashes into the glass tray.

One of the guys said, "Look at that boy knock fire from his hands!"

I stopped in Covington, Tennessee, near Memphis, to visit my cousin, Bobby, who was a Methodist minister.

All this time, I was still constantly feeling the horrible sensations of powerful electric shocks, which would seem to begin in my lower torso, rising and increasing, until it burst into one huge shock inside my head.

There was no relief from this agony.

Frankly, I was terrified.

In Corinth, Mississippi, I was trying to walk across a bridge, which was adjacent to power lines, and as the bridge rose, I became level with the power lines, which seemed to be trying to send me a jolt through the air.

Naturally, I was afraid to venture further, for I felt certain I'd never survive walking across that bridge with my head on the same level as the power lines.

I went back to a garage, and waited around, with my thumb out, even though it was night, and any vehicle traffic was few and far between.

I remember saying something to one of the guys in the garage about my situation, and his reaction was, "Are you crazy?"

I visited my Grammaw and Grampaw in Jasper, Alabama, and because I couldn't lie down and sleep, I walked out of their house in the middle of the night, and wandered down the highway.

A couple of local police officers stopped to ask who I was and what was I doing there?

I told them about Grammaw and Grampaw and these awful electric shocks.

They looked at me and asked, "Are you crazy?"

After they left me alone, I returned to my Grammaw and Grampaw's house, somehow enduring this repetitive torture until the next day.

At some point, I left and continued hitch-hiking.

I caught a ride with a minister and his very young son, and exhausted, I fell asleep.

I don't know what happened, but when I suddenly woke up, they were both staring at me in horror or amazement, which really scared me, for I had no idea why.

I think (I'm having difficulty remembering) that it finally ended in a Missouri pasture, where I collapsed under a tree and went to sleep for a LOOOOONG time, having been without any sleep for several days and nights, and not having had anything to eat (I had no money) for three or four days.

But, at some point, the recurring sensation of electric shocks within my physical body gradually dissipated, although I still was subject to stronger than normal static electricity shocks, such as the ones received from walking on carpeted floors and simultaneously touching something metallic.

Everybody experiences that, but in my case it was much more severe.

Now, after all these years, I'm back to normal, and experiencing static electricity shocks now rarely bothers me, as they seem as mild to me as they would to anyone else.

But, what was going on back then, so many years ago?

What was it, and what caused it?

I do remember that when I was a boy, any standard wrist watch I wore would always stop working, and my Dad told me that it was because my body had too much electricity, and so I could only carry a pocket watch.

Could it have been a delayed reaction caused by the terrors I experienced when my parents permitted the juvenile court to confine me indefinitely to state mental hospitals, first in Big Spring, Texas, and later in Raleigh, North Carolina?

They gave me multiple electric shock treatments, which really terrified me.

I don't know why, for I don't remember any pain, and I don't remember losing consciousness.

Back in those days, children had NO rights, especially in state mental institutions.

When receiving the electric shock treatment, there was no anesthetic or medical preparation.

As you entered the room, it sounded like the end of the world and all Hell had taken over, with the screaming moans of unseen patients recovering from their electric shock treatments.

It was simply lying flat on a gurney, three or four big guys throwing their bodies across you, in order to immobilize you, and a tube of paper was shoved into your mouth, with a white towel draped over your eyes.

That's all I knew until I regained consciousness.

Later, when I was no longer scheduled to receive the electric shock treatments, I volunteered to help other patients.

That may have been a mistake in judgement.

That was when I SAW the patients, and didn't just hear the shrieks and groans.

I witnessed a patient receiving their shock treatment, observing their severe physical convulsions, which sickened me.

That all happened in Texas, and when they put me in the state hospital in North Carolina, my biggest fear was of getting more electric shock treatments.

But, the doctor told me I wouldn't be getting them, for because I was so terrified, they wouldn't do me any good.

What a relief!

The ward I was in was on the top floor, eight stories up, and if I had to go through that again, I was going to crash through the window and leap to my death.

At the very least, I planned to try and kill anyone who touched me.

But, the horror wasn't entirely over.

The policy was to use electric shock treatments as punishment for escape attempts or fighting.

That left me pretty darned helpless and hopeless, huh?

Oh yeah, especially since I was a typical teenage boy, and acted like any other normal adventurous and mischievous teenager.

For that, they put me in with the CRIMINALS!!!

I'm not sure how that particular hell ever ended, but I suspect the end may have begun with a conversation I had with the chaplain, and I heard rumors of an official inquiry from the Governor of North Carolina, wondering why youths who had broken no laws were being housed with convicted violent criminals and predatory sexual deviants?

Eventually, it all came to an end, and I was set free, working at a car wash, with room and board in a family's private home.

Of course, there's also a comical irony to add to all this.

In their great wisdom, the United States Army trained me for the Signal Corps, where I spent several more years enduring repeated electric shocks while performing my assigned duties tracing signals and repairing obsolete communications equipment!

I couldn't understand any of the stuff they were trying to teach me, so I failed my final examinations in the Signal School course, but as there was an unpopular and controversial war going on, my instructors rigged the test and passed me anyway, as the Army was desperate for some more warm bodies who could stop bullets.

But not every piece of Army communications gear was obsolete.

When I was in Viet Nam, I encountered newer equipment, which I had never been trained on, and couldn't ever figure out.

So I found lots of other stuff to do, such as perimeter guard duty, mundane daily chores, or serving as the "gopher" for the nightly Charge of Quarters (i.e., I was the "C.Q. runner").

By the way, there is yet ANOTHER unexplained "X-Files" phenomena currently existing in my personal life.

For MANY years now, I've had a sore which is just inside my left nostril, and the sore will not heal or disappear.

Did one of those tracking devices (whether big brother government or extraterrestrial alien) get implanted in my left nostril?

Well, that's my own personal "X-Files" story, so make of it what you will, for I have no explanation other than just stating the facts as I perceived them.

So, Art Bell or George Noory, hosts of the late night radio talk show, "COAST TO COAST AM", are you listening?

I often listen to your program, and this is right up your alley.

Maybe some of your fans have some answers.

Shucks, maybe those guys were right, after all.

Maybe I'm just plain crazy.

But that's just because I have no money.

People with money are never crazy.

Instead, they are considered eccentric.

Ain't life funny?

And after all that, we still have to die.

Thank you.

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