ᴛʜᴇ WORLD ᴛʜᴀᴛ NEVER WAS

(Animation from GIPHY.com)

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

–Albert Einstein

That which is in accordance with fact or reality, must be truth, or so they say. But what happens when the “truth” of our reality in its entirety, comes under scrutiny? When even the variations of interpretation are no longer merely arbitrary (or misinterpreted, deluded) on an individual level alone, but if the same event was recorded by multiple devices. Each capturing a very different variation of the same event, each a seemingly different reality than the last. What would happen if logic, causality were no longer universally interpreted? The same message could be played, but individuals hear entirely different words spoken. A coloured shape could be displayed, but observers witness 1 of 5 different colour variations. What if these interpretational anomalies were going on all over the world, increasing in number exponentially as time progresses?

Eerily, many of these “what if’s” are all part of the reality we currently exist(?) within. Even purely among our own species, we are all interpreting this reality very differently to one another. Our brains are making sense of things (often on a minuscule level) different to one another, but these variations add up, often culminating into very different interpretations. Concepts like this, mass erroneous memory, have given rise to popular theories like the “Mandela effect”. It was named so because a large vocal group of people, believed to possess the memory that Nelson Mandela died in prison during the 1980s. When in actuality(?), he died on December 5th, 2013. Believers in the Mandela effect are so adamant the memory of his death in the 80s is genuine, that multiple theories have arisen to explain the alleged phenomenon. The most popular being a merge of two very similar dimensions/realities. Another somewhat popular theory, being that Mandela’s alleged death in the 80s was somehow a glitch or error in the representation of this reality. An event that was altered, possibly one of many, but was brought to light due to the popularity of the globally shared erroneous memory. As the Mandela effect has become well known across the global masses, more and more shared erroneous memories have been discovered. Large groups of people learning that their similar common shared memory of very specific past events, are false.

These occurrences, deviations in memory, some false, some accurate, don’t necessarily prove anything. It even makes sense (to me) that if a misinterpretation was made by one person, chances are they wouldn’t be alone. Perhaps a very popular news headline was shared around the world that was mistakenly interpreted by many English speaking people to indicate the death of Nelson Mandela in the 1980s. That misinformation, like the exchange of accurate information was spread and nested in the memories of people all around the world, waiting to be re-assessed, in the year 2013 when the prior false information would be confronted with new conflicting data.

After the Mandela effect, similar concepts have grown in popularity over the years since. A rise in sharing photographs capturing seemingly anomalous coincidences. For instance, several people in a line who look eerily similar. Footage of the alleged naturally occurring loops of activity in humans, traffic, animals. Many will outright claim these photographs, videos, topics of conversation are merely staged to amuse people. That is most likely how they come about, falsely produced to generate attention. But the point is, the popularity and the intrigue behind the doubt, the questioning of the legitimacy of this reality, is growing. The idea that the nature of our reality is somehow synthetic, disingenuous is spreading like a plague. It’s difficult to predict how such a train of thought could implicate the human race, but generally a growing belief that all things are the product of deception could not bode well for the stability of this reality. Legitimate or otherwise.

But on a singular, individual, personal level, what would it take for YOU to question the legitimacy of YOUR reality? To witness the seemingly impossible, the unthinkable? What if you lived the exact same day twice, accurately predicting each moment as they come and go? What if I were to randomly type numbers, that were identical to those appearing on your credit card? 5253 6053 4980 8658. The odds are so incredibly stacked against those numbers being your numbers, that if they were… you might think something very unusual was going on. Then again, perhaps deep down you know that you could quite easily rationalize a great many unusual things. After all, strange things happen all the time, that doesn’t necessarily suggest that reality in its entirety is somehow false. The unique thing about discussing the concept of the validity of reality, is that we have no other point of reference for comparison. To detect an imitation product, we use our knowledge of the genuine original and identify the differences. So why then if this reality is all any human has ever known does the concept of a ‘false reality’ continue to arise throughout history?

Heavily popularized during the age of enlightenment, philosophers have long pondered the nature of this reality. Cogito ergo sum (quote by René Descartes), I think therefore I am, the only thing we can be sure of, is the existence of our conscious mind on an individual level. Aside from that, nothing else is certain. Throughout religious beliefs, mythos and cosmogenic/creation stories from cultures around the world, many toy with our world being disconnected from a reality of some specific group of supreme beings or deity. Even one of the oldest human beliefs passed verbally among groups of Australian Aboriginals, speak of a ‘Dreamtime’. Something seemingly independent from time and space, considered as both the furthest distant past, but also the furthest conceivable future in which existence as we know it was formed.

“Life is but a dream, within a dream.”

—William Shakespeare

The word ‘dream’ is one of the most frequently used words by Shakespeare throughout all of his works. Shakespeare often mused with the notion of dreams and reality, “To die,—to sleep;—To sleep: perchance to dream:—ay, there’s the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come. When we have shuffled off this mortal coil” (Hamlet, Act III).

The belief that the “truth” will be revealed in death, is by no means unique. In fact almost every religion, across every culture insinuates toward (possibly the greatest) element of death being the final lifting of some all encompassing metaphorical veil. The curtain that sheathes the truth, the meaning of all things, conceivable and/or otherwise.

Maybe our instinctual drive, our lust for there to be “more than meets the eye”, is merely the result of our longing for meaning, for purpose. Seek and you shall find, but where there are no answers, no light to properly illuminate the darkness, our minds make forms from shadows. We create a story, behind the story.

Contrarily however, maybe there’s a reason those of antiquity, possibly even the earliest of mankind, just as many of us today hold an unusual thought at the back of our minds. A thought that niggles, scratches in the furthest depths of human contemplation. A voice that for whatever reason, for as long as our species has been capable of thought, instinctually whispers, “there is more beyond this.”

Perhaps, you’re reading this, in a reality where only you have ever existed and your own doubts, or a clue from the very system that deceives you are taking shape in the form of this verbose blog post. How could I ever prove otherwise to you? Perhaps you’ve spent your entire life, living in a world that simply never was.

ᵀᴴᴱ WORMHOLE ᴬᴺᴰ ᵀᴴᴱ TIME PARADOX

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There is no greater limitation on our species, than the limitations we face when perceiving how limited our perception actually is. We are creatures of an entropic universe, like microscopic organisms that live and die in the upper half of the dwindling sands of an hour glass. As far as we can perceive, the arrow of time points in one direction only. We, like everything we have ever known with what senses we possess, are always and seemingly infinitely the products of something else. The organic life that exists now has reproduced and replicated itself since a time we would call the ‘beginning’ of the bioorganic world. The formation of perceivable matter, we attest to the amalgamation of microscopic particles after the Big Bang. The further back we travel however, speculating some origin of the universe, our imaginations begin to fail us. The limitations of our comprehension and understanding of the ‘grand scheme of all things’ begin to show, like cracks in a façade.

To our general human understanding, everything that ever is, was, or will be, must have or had, a beginning of some sort. When we apply this concept to the ever expanding universe in which our species resides, we are faced with a perplexing thought. We are told that the Big Bang is the moment that both time and space came into existence, that the cause was/could have been a totally random event. But for any catalyst to occur, of any magnitude, something had to have happened. Thus the waters begin to grow increasingly murky. In lieu of our universe, in the absence of this ‘reality’, what is/was there? If anything at all? If our universe did not exist, whether or not there is or isn’t anything beyond, we are for the most part, utterly incapable of imagining what continues to ‘go on’, wherever/whenever that may be.

Approximately 13.8 billion years ago, our comprehensible universe in its entirety existed in a fraction of time and space many, many times smaller than a single atom. Some have theorized the existence of parallel universes, a direct ‘shadow universe’ (connected/veiling our own and connected by gravity since and attributing to the beginning of our universe) and an entire multiverse linking/spawning universes and or dimensions. One theorized means of connecting two isolated points in space and time, universes, or junctures throughout the multiverse are naturally occurring ‘wormholes’.

Science-fiction has taken many liberties with the concept of the wormhole, suggesting that they are assuredly shortcuts through the curvature of space-time and traversable by forms of life (often with the aid of highly advanced technology). When in truth, for the most part, we can only speculate and hypothesize. Usually when it’s suggested that a wormhole could be used to travel billions of light-years in a short amount of time, it’s because it is believed that space-time bends and folds. But between folded points, like a folded piece of paper, an entry/exit hole exists (wormholes) cutting through billions of light-years of otherwise linear distances.

It’s one thing to discuss the function of wormholes and the possible use to traverse points in space and time in our own universe, but it is somewhat more controversial (or fictitious) to suggest the notion that wormholes could link parallel universes, dimensions or the multiverse entirely. When entertaining the idea that there could be arguably traversable links between our universe and the multiverse, a great many questions arise. Time is considered the fourth dimension in our universe, but higher dimensions and theoretical qualities of the multiverse transcend time. So would it be possible for a wormhole to form (by some hypothetical means) between our universe at a point in time when the date on earth was the 4th of September, 1772 and a region in the multiverse independent from time. The wormhole opens for a duration of exactly 9 seconds before vanishing in our universe, but in the multiverse it remains perpetually open and infinitely linked to the 4th of September, 1772 during a 9 second period.

Then in the earth year 7772, another wormhole appears in our universe, linking to the multiverse, relatively close to the constant wormhole that is still connected to the 9 second window in the year 1772. Now the hypothetical paradoxes begin to arise. Imagine, an advanced form of life (ultraterrestrial, extraterrestrial) learns of the existence of countless wormholes, throughout universes and the multiverse to travel where and when it wants, anywhere imaginable at the speed of light. Only one day, it happens to go through the same wormhole twice, that links to our universe on the 4th of september, 1772 for 9 seconds…

During the 9 second window, the advanced being had already once passed through and been present. So theoretically, upon this loop around, returning to the same wormhole, the advanced being would witness its former self embarking on its prior journey. Only, shouldn’t have it seen its future self appear simultaneously upon its original arrival? What if, the second craft was ill fated and another being wanted to warn it to avoid catastrophe. Immediately, during the 9 second window in 1772, three crafts would exit the wormhole. Two identical crafts and one third, warning them of their misfortune. All three navigate wormholes home, but now there are two replicates of the same being, one several hours (relatively) older than the other returning to their home world?

What if someone in 7772 designs an explosive of planetary proportions and sends it through the wormhole channels, that lead back to the 9 second window in 1772 and the explosion consequently destroys planet earth? Some might suggest that the future would cease to be the moment its past was eradicated. But others believe that theoretically, time trajectories are entirely independent. Meaning where we are in this juncture of time and space, is entirely separate to any hypothetical alterations to the past. So even the concept of going through the wormhole and seeing a former self may be impossible, because the point you pass into this universe/dimension is 0.00 for both parties. Only if there was a time variation for one to arrive at 0.00 and one at 0.01 or less, would they occur in the same point or trajectory in time and space. Because time is relative, not absolute, especially in the sense of a multiverse transcending time, it creates a paradox of epic proportion.

Our understanding of time and inter-dimensional travel is limited by our understanding. While most people agree time travel, especially traveling backwards through time is utterly impossible, even if it were theoretically achievable, we often struggle to fathom what implications could/would arise from it. Could you return to a specific point in time, to pick up one dollar from the side of the road, over and over and over again? Appearing at 6.00 AM on the dot each time, returning again and again as your pocket fills with dollar coins. Or would you return once and be fighting over the first coin with yourself?

ᵀᴴᴱ MYSTERIOUS KINROSS INCIDENT

(Illustrated by Douglas Castleman)

When a magician makes something disappear in front of an audience, we applaud the deception. Misdirection, sleight of hand, ingenuity, we admire the skill of someone who can seemingly defy the laws of reality before our very eyes. However, every magician knows making something disappear pales in comparison to making something appear (or reappear), as if plucked from thin air. That’s what gets a crowd roaring with applause. To make an elephant appear out of nothing, evokes a sense of wonderment, it symbolizes endless possibilities. But what happens if a magician closes an act after making two audience participants disappear? Well, that symbolizes something else entirely. Something unsettling. The very real understanding, that in this world, by the work of accident, plot or very strange and unusual circumstances, any one of us could vanish without a trance. Never to be seen again.

As fate would have it, on the 23rd of November, 1953, as it stands, such an end(?) appears to have befallen the likes of First Lieutenant Felix Eugene Moncla Jr. and Second Lieutenant Robert L. Wilson. Their disappearance falls into the elusive category of ‘strange and unusual circumstances’.

At the time of writing this text, the following events took place 65 years ago. As the evening skies began to darken, air defense radar operators detected the movement of an unidentified flying object. The flight was tracked as the craft flew over the Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, Soo Locks. Unable to communicate with the craft to verify its clearance, it was decided to launch an F-89 Scorpion interceptor to investigate the nature of the unknown craft.

The Pilot of the craft was Felix E. Moncla and the onboard radar operator was Robert L. Wilson.

For unknown reasons Lt. Wilson was unable to track the craft with the onboard radar so Lt Moncla was guided by the ground radar at the Kincheloe Air Force Base (situated in the Kinross Charter Township, Michigan. The base sometimes referred to as the Kinross Air Force Base, hence this commonly being referred to as the ‘Kinross Incident’). The F-89 Scorpion interceptor was traveling at 500 mph and the chase was believed to have lasted for approximately half an hour. The two crafts were tracked on the radars from the airbase, where the two radar blips seemingly converged, 8000 ft above Lake Superior, Michigan.

At first it was believed that the F-89 Scorpion had either over or under shot the craft making it appear as though their blips had unified on the radar screen. But the Scorpion was unresponsive and there was total radio silence. It was now considered that the crafts collided and the blip would be the marker for the wreckage soon to be submerged in the lake. However, one remaining blip kept on its original flight path, as if nothing had happened. But the F-89 Scorpion along with its passengers, seemingly vanished without a trace. To this day, never to be seen again.

It was thought at the time (and said to be recorded by the United States Air Force) as an “investigation” of a Royal Canadian Air Force C-47 Skytrain. Although, the Pilot of the closest Canadian air craft, Gerald Fosberg along with the Canadian government deny there was a collision or encounter between aircraft of any kind.

The center of Lake Superior is about 148 miles (238 km) from the Soo locks, where the UFO was originally detected. An immediate rescue team, along with extensive searches in the years since have all been unsuccessful to retrieve any trace of the lost aircraft. Lake Superior contains 2,900 cubic miles (12,100 km³) of water, with a total area of 82,103 km². It’s widest length stretching around 350 miles (563 km).

While the search area is vast, if the assumption that the UFO was an RCAF C-47 Skytrain (or behaving very similar to one), at the time the maximum speed of that particular craft was around 224 mph at 10,000 ft. Maybe it was this speed along with altitude and behavior of the craft, that led to this belief. So assuming the speed being traveled was 224 mph, in half an hour at top speed, it would have traveled 112 miles. Therefore, if the origin of the radar blip began above the Soo locks, at maximum speed for the presumed craft, it would likely be within the radius illustrated on the map below. ☟

(Created with MapDevelopers.com)

It’s entirely possible that a series of accidents, mistakes, malfunctions or one fateful, singular error, led to the destruction of an F-89 Scorpion jet interceptor and consequently the loss of the lives of First Lieutenant Felix Eugene Moncla Jr. and Second Lieutenant Robert L. Wilson. Perhaps, somewhere in the depths of Lake Superior, 1,826 miles (2,938 km) at its deepest depth, there rests the submerged craft and what remains of those who were piloting it.

Alternatively, the watery depths of Lake Superior don’t hold the answers many have been seeking since the 23rd of November, 1953. Maybe something happened that evening, involving a UFO that possibly, somehow engaged with the F-89 Scorpion. Could have a foreign hostile aircraft have engaged and destroyed the Scorpion, where soon after, governments went to great lengths to cover up an event which could have led to escalations of national outrage?

But is it possible that something far more phenomenal occurred? Like for instance, a UFO of unworldly origins engaging with a USAF aircraft and either A) using such advanced weaponry, the F-89 Scorpion was absolutely obliterated 8000 ft above Lake Superior, leaving no physical remnants behind. Or B) as some have suggested about this iconic UFO encounter, is it possible that the F-89 Scorpion, along with those onboard, were never destroyed in a mid-air altercation, but rather abducted by an alien craft. Where the craft, or its crew are, in time and/or space, to this day, we don’t know.

ULTRATERRESTRIALS ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ INTERDIMENSIONAL HYPOTHESIS

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Our observable universe consists of three comprehensible spatial dimensions, height, width and depth. We, like all perceivable matter and known forms of life exist within the realms of these three spatial dimensions. But despite the fact that we cannot perceive or even imagine additional dimensions, that is not an indication that they do not or can not exist. According to some Bosonic string theorists there could be as many as 26 dimensions, with 1 dimension being regarded as time (or duration).

When referring to ultraterrestrials and the interdimensional hypothesis in regards to seemingly “unworldly” inexplicable phenomena, two separate primary stances can be put forward to the basis of their origins/or relationship to our reality.

The first stance, is that our perceivable, seemingly independent reality is one of possibly infinite realities. Generally, this concept of multiple/infinite versions of independent realities, is known as the Multiverse theory. These realities, dimensions, parallel universes, are to our current technological (or spiritual) means, cut off and for the most part, inaccessible to us. But alike the unproven theoretical existence of the multiverse, there is also the unproven theoretical existence of beings capable of traversing these infinite dimensions as they please. Either by their own extremely advanced technological prowess, evolution or design.

The second stance, is that within the theoretical 26 (+) dimensions of our conceivable (and inconceivable) reality, there is a great deal going on that we are currently incapable of perceiving at all. The first dimension, is the x-axis, length. The second is the y-axis, height. The third is the z-axis, depth. The fourth dimension is then generally considered to be time. The dimensions beyond the fourth dimension drift further from our tangible understanding of spatial relation to concepts beyond our physical, measurable universe. Our five basic senses, touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste (along with our other senses, equilibrium, and so on) are all designed to operate within the first four dimensions. Theoretically, if a being could exist in even the fifth and/or sixth dimensions, it would interact with time completely differently to the way we do. Some theorists suggesting that the fifth and sixth dimensions ascend time as a linear construct, but rather a constant of past, present and future. What does this mean, if a being somehow existed or learned to traverse these higher dimensions? Theoretically, they could go anywhere, in all of space and time.

But who or what are these beings?

Advanced/divine/ethereal beings or extremely advanced machines (searching/scanning the entirety of time and space). They could have been appearing in countless forms all around our world, since the dawn of time or beyond. In the guise of UFO, ghostly apparitions, ball lightning or perhaps more commonly, something similar to a microsecond flicker of light completely unnoticed in a room full of people. They could ignore and defy the laws of physics, witnessed during brief encounters before vanishing, more often than not, without leaving a trace.

As illustrated in a topic I covered some time ago, regarding the Infinite Monkey theorem, when you start dealing with the concept of infinite, you are faced with an infinite supply of outcomes. Theoretically, every imaginable outcome you or I could ever conceive, is but a definite, minute fraction of the infinite possibilities, given an infinite amount of time (keeping in mind, some theoretical beings can manipulate and transcend time, all past, present and future). So by the very nature of the proposed theory of ultraterrestrials and interdimensional travelers, to suggest there is ‘one’ singular reason, ‘one’ type of “visitor” to our world would be theoretically impossible.

In many ways, the notion of ultraterrestrials, interdimensional travelers in lieu of a more traditional concept of extraterrestrials to many can seem like an even greater stretch of the imagination. Because it makes the question of “are we alone in the universe?” somewhat more difficult to answer. Because you’re no longer simply asking “where” did that UFO come from, in relation to our universe, but “where” in relation to our reality. Then to make it even more complicated, you now have to ask “when” it came from. Because theoretically, if you yourself witnessed an ultraterrestrial/interdimensional craft shooting across the night sky. You could unknowingly be looking at something that is on the same flight path, spiraling through junctures of time that moments later, passes over earth’s sky 11, 700 years ago. While one of your far distant relatives looks up in awe of the very same craft, seconds (relative to the craft) after you saw it in the present.

Perhaps, ultraterrestrials, interdimensional beings are responsible for life on this planet. To beings that transcend space and time, cultivating a planet for 4.543 billion years would be a relatively simple task. But what if there was a being that transcended the 10th dimension? Or even the 26 dimensions discussed in Bosonic string theory? The seventh dimension uses our understanding of infinity as a reference point that could be linked to separate versions of infinite, still defined by our universes origin of entropy, generally regarded to be the big bang. To perceive the tenth dimension, means to have access to all variations of all infinities and all variations of every timeline, connected to every infinite version of reality. In other words, absolute omniscience. A being capable of perceiving the 10th dimension, would essentially be considered a god.

ᵀᴴᴱ WOW! SIGNAL

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Every so often, usually in a quiet, fleeting moment, we find our gaze drawn to the night sky to take in the visual cornucopia of twinkling lights that adorn the empyrean. As we try to fathom the vastness of what it is we’re looking at, a question is often ignited in our imagination. “Is anyone else out there, somewhere in the vastness of space?” An answer many of us would go to great lengths to find. What we wouldn’t give for a sign, just one single sign. A single lone, dim beacon, flickering in the darkness of the void, would present and solidify a concept to us, that would change our lives and our world forever, “we are not alone”.

Well, it’s entirely possible that the fabled sign you’ve long hoped and waited for, actually already happened. In fact at the time of writing this text, records of the “sign” could have been sitting dormant now for approximately 42 years.

Enter the Big Ear. Not literally, that’s the name of a radio telescope at the Ohio State University. One of its primary uses at the time was to listen for the sign many of us spend our lives longing to hear, an indication of intelligent life in space. On the 15th of August, 1977, a relatively strong narrowband radio signal was received from space, from the direction of the Sagittarius constellation. The signal was considered such an anomaly, that upon its discovery Astronomer Jerry R. Ehman circled the signal and wrote next to it “Wow!”, hence coining the unusual signal’s nickname. The signal sequence lasted a total of 72 seconds, essentially indicating a possible continuous signal source/transmission (72 seconds, the maximum recorded length due to the rotation of the earth). But what was this interstellar message?

“6EQUJ5”

In actuality, the signal recorded isn’t thought to have been carrying a message, the code ‘6EQUJ5’ is more a representation of the 72 second long, unmodulated, continuous burst of radio energy. The strange thing about the Wow! Signal is that it ticks quite a few of the boxes set out as requirements to indicate a possible extraterrestrial broadcast by the Ohio State University at the time of the observation. While many have argued over the origin of the source of the signal, some even suggesting it erroneously began on Earth, a definitive answer has yet to be discovered.

For decades, more advanced radio telescopes have searched to rediscover the Wow! Signal to no avail. Even attempts at homing in on the Sagittarius Constellation have all proven unsuccessful. Not only unsuccessful, but no similar signal has ever been discovered. Leading many to believe that the signal could have been the byproduct of a passing comet, surrounded in hydrogen emitting the same frequency of that which was discovered. Maybe the distance and positioning was incorrect. A myriad of mistakes that resulted in a reading that is otherwise false, or misleading.

But if however, the signal was not some mistake, not some naturally emitted frequency of hydrogen at 1420MHz but instead an actual signal created by some highly advanced extraterrestrial race, then over 220 million light years away, in the Sagittarius Constellation, a signal was once transmitted. For who or what reason? It may never be known. Some estimations have localized the signal to a star called Tau Sagittarii.

Maybe there is or was intelligent life there, maybe they still are? Perhaps a reconnaissance drone was drifting through the vastness of space, emitting a frequency that traveled light years in all directions. Maybe Earth’s “Big Ear” only heard a very small fraction of a message. Or Maybe the entire event is just a very ordinary event, being taken vastly out of context.

Regardless, to this day, the Wow! Signal is considered to be one of the strongest events recorded, to indicate the possibility that we are not alone in the universe.

ᴛʜᴇ TRAJECTORY ᴏғ FATE

(Animation from GIPHY.com)

Years ago, I was living in an area that was rocked by something of an unexpected tragedy. Every afternoon a three year old boy would greet his father at the front door of their suburban home. On this one fateful day, the father was running much later than usual, for reasons I never learned. The boy likely fed up with waiting, managed to open the front door and ventured out, eventually wandering the road. He was soon after struck and killed by a passing truck. This tragic incident, changed the course of fate for many that day. Firstly, a three year old life was ended, before it had ever truly begun. A once loving relationship of a young family, turned to misery and resentment, the property was sold and the couple separated. Finally, the truck driver, already struggling to cope with depression, now racked with guilt, ended up taking his own life. Solemn ripples of mortality echoed through a wounded community.

I didn’t directly know any of the people involved, but I, like most that knew of the incident, would drive past where it happened, slow down and look at the little roadside memorial with a heavy heart. Years later, not only am I now extremely overprotective of children near roadways, the incident has also forever put a damper on Stephen King’s Pet Sematary for me. Even this very moment, you reading this text, me writing it, is a direct implication of that one fateful event. The trajectory of fate was realigned that day, and now, for better or for worse, here we are.

From womb to tomb, we are immersed in choices (not always our own), so much so that in many ways, in the end as all we really are is a culmination of consequences, a summation of innumerable choices. Sometimes the choices are obvious, like choosing a direction to take our lives. But more often than not, the myriad of choices we make day by day are small and seemingly inconsequential. Most of us fail to realize just how much our lives can change in the blink of an eye, all due to a single, seemingly inconsequential choice.

Even the slightest change in perspective can have resoundingly cataclysmic effects on our respective worlds.

That view became adamantly clear to me when I was once lost wandering the halls of a hospital and struck up a conversation with an old bloke facing his final battle with cancer. He told me the day he learned he had a form of terminal cancer, he sold everything he had, bought a yacht and went to sea. He said he thought he would somehow die before he crossed the horizon. Only he didn’t, he just kept sailing. He completely let go, throwing caution to the wind and saw a great deal of the world. He said it wasn’t until he was dying with cancer that he met the love of his life. It wasn’t until he lived without fear in the face of death that he truly learned to live at all. He chose to share that point of view with me, which immediately made him one of the most influential people I’d ever met, even though the conversation was momentarily brief and I never even thought to ask him his name.

Many of us are slaves to the notion that our mundane destiny is fixed and unyielding. But the truth is we know how easy it is to get what we want, yet we wear the dreariness of familiarity and repetition as armor. The squeaking wheel gets the grease, but you have to be willing to squeak. You have to expose yourself to chance and scrutiny alike, which is far easier said than done for most. You have to “risk it for the biscuit”, as my Grandmother would often say.

The problem is, for many of us, apart from the fear of failure, we don’t really know what we want of fate. You might be lonely and want “the ideal partner”, but you don’t really know what that is, not until you meet them. You might want to be ridiculously wealthy, because you assume your life will become less complicated. The first thing people who come into a great deal of money learn, is money comes with its own complications. It can reveal a nature in people that ends up destroying the very family you wanted to lavish with gifts in the first place. If you can figure out what it is you truly want, be honest with what you’re willing to do, then you can work on shaping the trajectory of fate to get to that reality.

Fate works in mysterious ways, an ocean of choices break and swell around you, maybe you’re precisely where you’re supposed to be, or maybe you’re needed elsewhere. But if I was able to give you anything, the greatest gift I could ever give you is the realization that you are going to die. This isn’t to burden you with fear, but to liberate you from complacency. If you needed a sign, this is it. Don’t wait for a far off tomorrow to start living, because lives all too often end before that day ever comes. Something tragic happened all those years ago to a three year old little boy, which led you and I here, to this singular road. The waters never stopped rippling from that incident, not for me, maybe they never will. I chose to play my part in this, I wanted to change the trajectory of fate, even if it’s just for one single person. But now it’s up to you.

EDWARD ᴛᴏʟᴅ ᴍᴇ ᴛᴏ…

(Illustrated by Gordon Van Dusen)

This is a story of two possible realities. One reality, is that of one of the worst cases of neglect and untreated mental illness I have ever heard. The other reality, is that of an elderly woman being tortured by forces not of this world. This story took place in a very small isolated community in New South Wales, Australia during the 1990s. There was a great deal of embarrassment and grief surrounding the events, so every name used is purposefully false to protect the privacy of those involved. The story came to me by way of someone who had family members directly involved and who had himself claimed to have witnessed some of the unusual events that took place.

In the year 1996, a 73 year old man named Edward Allan Taylor lay dying in a public hospital bed with emphysema. Aside him, the entirety of his short stay in hospital (this time) sat his wife of 50 years, Irene Taylor. Unable to have children and estranged from what family she had left, Irene was entirely invested in Ed as a husband and her soul remaining family. By the time Edward had passed away Irene had actually partially blinded herself from her crying so much, flaring up a preexisting eye condition.

Luckily for Irene, despite losing her husband and having no family to turn to, she did have friends. Immediately a vigilant support group formed around Irene in her hour of need, her friends wouldn’t leave her side. For several months they continued to successfully persuade her to stay as a guest in their homes and each did their part to aide her in her grief.

During this time, however, in the late 90s in Australia, all over the world and even ongoing today, there was a growing interest among certain communities in tarot cards, psychic readings, past life regressions and general “new age” spiritualism. Irene’s friends, many of the women over 50 in her community had taken an interest in this sort of thing. Irene was particularly fascinated and comforted by the concept of being able to commune with the spiritual world.

Eventually Irene felt comfortable returning to her home and became fixated on becoming a “psychic conduit” to be able to perform readings for her friends and attempt to communicate with her deceased husband, Edward. To begin with, it seemed as though having a new interest was a useful tool to help Irene get over her grief and move on with her life. It was also remarked that as far as “psychics” go, Irene wasn’t half bad. She (allegedly) made several accurate predictions that earned her a decent enough reputation as a medium, as far as that goes in a very isolated, small Australian town anyway.

It wasn’t until Irene made one specific claim that suspicions began to rise. She said to one of her friends (the mother of the source of this story) that she knew she would have a wonderful holiday in Fiji. What was interesting about this claim is that while she did accurately predict an “anticipated” holiday, it had been since discussed and canceled for various reasons prior to the visit/reading. Others also were discovering that it appeared as though Irene had an insight into current, unforeseen events, more so than actually predicting events to come.

Upon discovering the unusual nature of Irene’s predictions, it also became apparent that Irene was leaving her home less and less. It was upon this seemingly subtle, inconsequential revelation that some of her friends began to question Irene’s methods and behavior. Irene, laughing and clapping her hands, as though she was letting her friends in on some grand deception admitted to them, that she had made a connection with a spiritual entity which had been providing her with guidance and secret information. The spiritual entity, being the spirit of her deceased husband, Edward Allan Taylor.

Irene claimed that Edward had reached out to her from across the void and that she didn’t have to be alone, not if she didn’t want him to go. Irene’s friends took varying stances on this belief. Some thought it was wonderful Irene felt she made this connection with her deceased husband, others thought it was an unhealthy deviation from her grieving process. A few tried to persuade her to return to more conventional spiritual guidance and start going to church with them again on Sundays.

The mood had soured somewhat, suddenly the psychic readings didn’t feel so enchanting and mystical, but rather eerie and unsettling. As months passed, Irene slowly isolated herself from her group of friends. She was suspicious of everyone she knew, became secretive and detached. Trivial arguments began to arise, she was uncharacteristically hostile. Her appearances in the community grew fewer and fewer still. One by one, her once loyal friends reluctantly began to give up on her.

The concern grew too much for one of her friends to bear, months had passed with no word from Irene. She had stopped answering her telephone, makeshift curtains layered the windows blocking out the light of the outside world. Fearing for the worst, Elizabeth (the mother of the source of this story) called her son (the actual source of this story) to accompany her at Irene’s home, in fear of what she might discover.

After spending several hours tapping on windows, banging on doors and walls to no response, the decision was made. Dan kicked the door in and immediately recoiled to cough and gag. The stench, he said, was utterly unbearable. He noted an array of flying insects even flew out of the home, the moment the door was breached. Struggling to cover their nostrils and mouths to dampen the stench, Dan and his mother explored the filthy domicile.

Dan admitted that he may have been mistaken during the exhilaration and confusion of entering the home where he expected to discover a dead body, but he claimed that he felt as though several objects were thrown at him from various directions. One object being a drinking glass which shattered when it struck the hardwood floor. Elizabeth began tearing down the makeshift layers of curtains, until light began to pierce into the house. She went about opening as many windows and doors as she could as she called out to Irene. Upon flicking the light switches it became apparent that the bulbs in the light fittings had all been burst.

As the fresh air of the outside world blew down the hall into the darkest back room of the home, Dan and his mother Elizabeth heard what sounded like a heated discussion between two distinct voices, one male, one female. As they quickly made their way toward the back room, her screaming began. An agonizing wail shrieked, as though she was being physically tortured by some unseen presence. Dan said he thought he heard a myriad of obscene whispers surround him as he looked down at the sight before him. When Elizabeth got to the room, as all she said was “Oh, God!” and began to cry in horror. Elizabeth grasped the blankets covering the window in the back room and Irene shrieked, “NO!”

Dan helped his mother pull the curtain down, and upon realizing it was a fixed window, the stench was so unthinkably putrid, he used a wooden stool to smash the window out. As fresh air and light entered the room, they could only look down in disbelief at the elderly woman, on the verge of starvation, emaciated and sobbing on the floor, naked and covered in her own excrement. She had been eating her own feces.

Emergency services were contacted immediately…

Days later, in the same hospital where her husband had passed away, Irene lay in a hospital bed, riddled now with various health complications. Elizabeth paid her a visit. Elizabeth asked her, why she had done the things she had done. To which Irene would only say “Edward told me to” and avert any attempts to make eye contact with her. She died two days after that visit.

Elizabeth and others involved directly with what was going on, believed something not of this world preyed on the most vulnerable soul it could find. Irene’s life was rife with sorrow, family life fell apart when her father committed suicide in her youth, she didn’t have friends until she was well into her fifties. Ed was the only one she ever trusted and “something” used that undying trust to take advantage of her, to manipulate her and eventually, destroy her. A particularly malevolent, insidious type of evil targets someone in the state that Irene Taylor was in.

Years ago, I was passing through the region where that little town resides. I decided while I was there, I would stop to pay my respects to “Irene” and “Edward” at their companion plot. I don’t know if it’s true that “paranormal” events led to her unusual behavior and death, I don’t know if Irene just completely lost her senses in an emotional cyclone of grief and confusion. But for whatever reason, the story has always resonated with me. It’s unfair. Mental or paranormal, no one should face such an abysmal fate alone. But there’s another element of this story, which I failed to properly address.

Elizabeth was worried for Irene, more than any of her friends, because she was afflicted with reoccurring nightmares involving Irene suffering at the will of some malevolent force. She told Dan she heard a voice say, “Please help Irene” a voice years later, I’ve entertained the thought, that maybe that was the real Edward Allan Taylor. We fixate so much on the grim elements, we forget her friend bursting through the door, tearing down the curtains, the light of day abolishing the darkness. I don’t know what fate befell Irene Taylor in the end, but I like to think that if there was something supernatural going on, her friend Elizabeth, may have actually saved her from a fate worse than death.