Thursday, October 22, 2009

Beware of Darkness

APPY POLLY LOGGIES: Once again, my music storage site is down. I guess it's time to look for a new site. I had planned to post George Harrison's "Beware of Darkness" (or a Leon Russell version I like) and maybe Bill Morrissey's "Something I Saw Or Thought I Saw."

Go away for a few days and you miss a lot. I was teaching my second class of the day yesterday, kind of warming things up by going around the room to find out what everyone had done over Fall Break. As I neared the end of story time, one of the boys said:

"Save Jeff for last. He's got a good story." And several guys around "Jeff" laughed.

"Ok," I said, and we heard from two or three other guys before it was Jeff's turn.

Before Jeff could start, one of the boys said, "Jeff saw paranormal activity." Now, I like ghosts and demons as much as the next guy, so I was thinking, Cool, some strange phenomenon.

But Jeff said, "It sucked. You couldn't even get scared. The black people were laughing the whole time."

And then I realized, it was a movie they were talking about. Paranormal Activity.

"The black people were laughing," I said.

"Yeah, every time there was a scary part, they started laughing."

"Well," I said, "Maybe if the black people were laughing, it really wasn't scary after all. Or else why would they be laughing?"

"No, it was scary, but...

"And did the black people laugh collectively as a race?" I asked. The other students got where I was going.

Jeff didn't. "There were like these two gangs, and there was a gang on each side of us and...."


****


I had a paranormal experience once. It happened in my neighborhood during lunch. I often go home for a bowl of soup, where I can sit quietly and read the paper.

Typically, when I'm my house at lunch, there is no one around. A modern neighborhood at noon has very little activity. Maybe a contractor or a HVAC person working in a home nearby, but you don't really see any people, at least where I live. The only person I was looking for was the mailman.

Tired of looking at the paper, I walked to the front door to see if I could see the mail truck coming. Nothing coming up the hill. Glancing over to the right, I started!

Standing across the street from my house was a person with no head! I jumped back from the small window. I took only one step and leaned forward, just enough that I could twist my head and slowly check across the street again. Even though it had no head, I could sense it staring at me, like it knew I was there.

It stood there and did not move. It looked to be an old person, man or woman I couldn't quite tell from the loose fitting black and white clothing it wore. It stood at the corner with a cane.

I could not stand near the window anymore. I admit it--I was scared shitless. Embarassingly, I carry with me just enough acknowledgement of Cotton Mather's "unseen world" to be both shocked and not surprised when I encounter a person with no head standing before me.

There are people in the world with torticollis or other diseases, which result in the neck muscles being unable to support the head. In an extreme case, the head would be completely over on one side, farther than we can even try to simulate. I saw this afflicted gentleman in the neighborhood several times before he died, but I was never able to shake the idea that the first time I saw him he had no head at all and was glad I never encountered him at night.

2 comments:

jed said...

nice try with George. Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoofs coered it on their 2nd "under the covers" cd. excellent. yikes?

Anonymous said...

I think the version from Concert For Bangledesh, where George sings it, but gives Leon the middle verse, is my favorite version.