Archive for the ‘Mystery’ Category

The Aliens Are Warning Us

Posted: September 12, 2018 in Humor, Mystery, Science, Space, The Unknown

The Sun: Artificial intelligence searching for alien life in the universe has discovered dozens of previously unknown radio bursts. The Breakthrough Listen program found 72 new fast radio bursts – mysterious space signals – coming from a galaxy 3-billion light years away. 

Scientists have named the source of these newly discovered signals, way outside the Milky Way galaxy, as “repeater” FRB 121102. FRBs are single, bright pulses of radio emission from extremely distant galaxies which last just milliseconds.

But FRB 121102 is the only one ever recorded to emit repeated bursts.

The source of FRBs are still a mystery and the nature of the object emitting them is still unknown. The theories range from highly magnetized neutron stars and super-massive black holes to signs of an advanced civilization.

Son of a bitch. Here we go again. More proof that aliens are out there, just shooting FRBs at us like you read about in all those Science Fiction books as a kid. And don’t tell me 3-billion light years is too far away to be a threat to Earth. Who knows what kind of spaceships those aliens possess? Hell, they may be so advanced they just snap their fingers (if they have any) and transport themselves wherever the hell they want like Captain Kirk and Spock. And these FRBs may be a warning, telling us the army of planet Nugoohoo will be arriving shortly to enslave us all and send Trump to Uranus. Terrifying really.

PS- Scientists continue to be the worst at naming stuff. FRB 121102? Really? Why not Hank or Sally or something? Scientists are not creative, man.

PPS- Seriously, if an alien civilization were that advanced don’t you think they’d just decipher our language and shoot us a text? Maybe create a Facebook account or something? Up your game, aliens.

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Listen, I’m the last guy who should be poking fun at somebody’s head lettuce. But man, politics aside, WHAT THE HELL US HAPPENING WITH TRUMP’S HAIR? I mean, seriously? Is he bald save for a small patch that he just grows out to comb over everything else? I honestly can’t figure it out. It’s a mystery inside a paradox under a puzzle. Trump, man. He’s never boring.

Writing for a website is weird. Sometimes you write something that you think is really good only to find out that people have zero interest in it. Other times you sort of throw something out there that you think isn’t worth much and people love it. The story I wrote called Regarding Beach Midgets is one of those blogs.

You know how the Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon stayed on the charts for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988? That’s sort of like what Regarding Beach Midgets is to Shoe: Untied and I know not why. Just take a look over there to the left of this page under the “Trending” heading. That shows what story on Shoe: Untied is getting the most attention or views at any particular time. More often than that, Regarding Beach Midgets will be on that list, and I first wrote it in the summer of 2014.

Again, it’s weird to me because it’s just a short little anecdote about something that happened on the beach at Oak Island many, many years ago. I wrote it while I was sitting in a cottage there and it took about 20-minutes to type it up and publish it. Still, for whatever reason, it struck a nerve. Strange.

Anyway, for those of you who haven’t read it, here ’tis –  my own little Dark Side of the Moon:

Regarding Beach Midgets

 

 

 

You’ve all heard of the 1980s movie Gremlins, right? What you may not know is that the little creatures in the movie were based upon allegedly real entities which, during the World War II and even before, plagued pilots with all manner of mischief and outright vandalism. In the skies of WWII crews of various aircrafts from all sides described seeing essentially the same thing –  bizarre impish beasts that were there with the sole intent of causing enough problems to bring down airplanes from the sky.

One of the first mentions of the creatures can be traced back to the early 1900s in a British newspaper called the Spectator:

The old Royal Naval Air Service in 1917 and the newly constituted Royal Air Force in 1918 appear to have detected the existence of a horde of mysterious and malicious sprites whose whole purpose in life was to bring about as many as possible of the inexplicable mishaps which, in those days as now, trouble an airman’s life.

Yikes. That’s wild stuff. The legend of the gremlins really took off in 1923 when a British pilot crashed his plane into the sea and later reported that the accident had been caused by tiny creatures which had followed him aboard his plane, created havoc, sabotaged the engine, messed around with the flight controls, and ultimately caused the plane to crash.

That story spread, and it wasn’t long before other British pilots began to complain of being harassed by similar miniature troll-like creatures with a mastery of technology and machinery which caused engine failures, electrical malfunctions, communications shutdowns, bad landings, freak accidents, and pretty much anything else that could possibly ever go wrong with an aircraft.

Gremlins were also said to engage in such a bunch of bad behavior like sucking the gas out of tanks through hoses, jamming radio frequencies, screwing up landing gear, blowing dust or sand into fuel pipes or sensitive electrical equipment, cutting wires, removing bolts or screws, tinkering with dials, knobs or switches, jostling controls, slashing wings or tires, poking or pinching gunners or pilots, banging incessantly on the fuselage, breaking windows, and a wide variety of other crazy acts.

They were also reported to be seen sitting out upon the nose of the plane or the wings of aircraft in midflight tampering with the wings or even the engines. On occasion the gremlins were said to shout, giggle, whisper, growl, or otherwise make noise so as to distract aircraft crews. Bottom line, by the end of the 1920s almost anyone who flew a plane had claimed to have seen the little beasts.

One of the most famous alleged gremlin accounts from this period was made by none other than Charles Lindbergh as he was taking his historic nonstop solo flight over the Atlantic from New York to Paris in May of 1927. In the 9th hour of his flight Lindbergh reported that he suddenly found himself surrounded by several strange looking beings in his cockpit, and they spoke to him and demonstrated incredibly complex knowledge of navigation and flight equipment. In this case, however, rather than cause mischief, Lindbergh said that the gremlins actually kept him alert and reassured him that he would remain safe on his journey.

Lindbergh kept this experience to himself for years until the account was finally published in his 1953 book The Spirit of St. Louis.

What did Gremlins look like, you ask? Well, actually the little monsters in the Gremlin movie were based on their description. They were said to look animalistic, with hairy bodies, large, pointed ears, deep red or even glowing eyes, and horns. Other reports spoke of gremlins as having hairless grey skin, being sort of reptilian in appearance, and having enormous mouths filled with pointy teeth. Some were even described as having bat-like wings. Holy moly.

One common trait in all reports is that through whatever means, gremlins were known to be able to adhere to the outer fuselage of planes and to withstand incredible temperature extremes, high altitudes, and violent winds.

Gremlins seemed to reach their peak during World War II when reports reached an all-time high. In fact, during the Battle of Britain gremlin reports were so prevalent that the British Air Ministry acknowledged the problem and even made serious attempts to investigate the phenomenon.

Hell, the Ministry even went as far as to have a service manual written up by a gloriously named “Gremlorist,” Percy Prune, which included the creatures’ exploits, how to placate or distract them, and various ways to avoid accidents due to their presence. You cannot make this stuff up, folks.

It wasn’t just the British who saw the little pranksters, either. German pilots saw them, Americans too, and the only common denominator was that they were almost always seen over European soil or water. Strange but true.

One of the stories told by an American pilot is a rather chilling one. He said he looked outside to his right and saw a freakish “entity” outside of the plane’s window and latched onto the plane. He described a creature that was about 3-feet tall with abnormally long arms, grey hairless skin, deep red eyes, a gaping mouth full of teeth, and pointed ears with tufts of black hair at the ends like “owl ears.” He said it was just staring in at him from beyond the glass. When the terrified pilot looked to the nose of the aircraft he was astonished to see yet another one of the creatures apparently dancing about out there and pounding away haphazardly at the fuselage. He said that the strange creatures appeared to be laughing maniacally, and that they gleefully cavorted about outside of his plane pulling on whatever they could get their clawed hands on, banging on the aircraft with all of their might, obviously trying their best to bring the plane down.

Good God almighty.

Crazy stuff, man. So what are gremlins? A figment of a bunch of pilot’s imaginations? What were all of these people seeing or experiencing? It’s been pointed out that the lack of adequate pressurization of aircraft back in those days may have led to hallucinations, but why would so any people have basically the same hallucination? Some have said that gremlins may have been an excuse for human error, with pilots blaming accidents on these creatures. “Captain, I was doing one helluva job flying my plane until those damn gremlins made me crash.” Seriously?

To this day nobody knows for certain, but one thing is undeniable – to thousands of pilots who flew back in the early 1920s up through to the end of World War II, gremlins were real.

So, next time you’re flying somewhere and feel a little turbulence or bouncing of the plane, or maybe you hear a strange noise outside, take a gander out the window. You just might see a gremlin peering back at you.

PS: You know the old Twilight Zone episode where the monster is on the wing? It was inspired by gremlins. A couple pics above were taken from the 80s remake of that episode.

PPS: Disney even had a book about gremlins. That’s cray-cray.

 

Science Now: The origins of the Himalayan yeti myth have been revealed at last — thanks to science. Big furry animals, larger than humans and capable of walking on two legs do indeed roam the highest mountains on Earth, according to a study published Tuesday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a biological sciences journal.

But they’re not yetis. They’re bears.

After analyzing the DNA of nine purported yeti specimens, scientists found that five of the preserved “yetis” were in fact Tibetan brown bears, two were Himalayan brown bears, and one — a relic which looked like a fossilized hand — originally belonged to an Asian black bear.

The ninth specimen — part of a tooth belonging to a stuffed yeti in the collection at the Reinhold Messner Mountain Museum, turned out to be from a dog.

Man, this has got to be a historic letdown of epic proportions for the mythical folklore crowd, amirite? All those stories we’ve heard for years about hairy man-beasts roaming the Himalayas and terrorizing the countryside, only to find out they’re damn bears. And a dog. Bad day for ape-like entities I guess?

What’s next, we find out the Sasquatch is really a damn Irish Wolfhound? Good God.

PS- I’m not sure I’m buying it. This Proceedings of the Royal Society B sounds shady as hell.

 

 

 

Remember that big story yesterday where we found out the US government has been investigating UFOs for years? Well, now we have some actual, real video of a goddamn UFO. Did you read what I just wrote? We have video of an alien spacecraft. Watch the video for yourself, man. That spaceship flies off like a damn bumblebee at the end. What the hell moves like that? An alien craft, that’s what. Seriously, the pilots witnessing this are just dumbstruck. I’ll tell you something else, folks – being able to fly like that means they have the technology to travel at the speed of light. Which means they can bend time. Which means they are probably bending time in space so they can’t be seen. Which means we are beyond screwed and we’re all gonna die soon because we would totally lose an intergalactic war. Hey, I’ve seen movies. Those alien transformer freaks don’t mess around. Meanwhile we’re still trying to put a person on Mars while these ETs are cruising from universe to universe like it ain’t no thang. It’s all over but the dying.

PS- The chances of us being alone are as infinitesimally small as the universe in exponentially big. That’s just science.

PPS- No way I’m getting captured either. Nobody’s probing me, man.

NY Times — In the $600-billion annual Defense Department budgets, the $22-million spent on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was almost impossible to find, which was exactly how the Pentagon wanted it.

For years, the program investigated reports of unidentified flying objects, according to Defense Department officials, interviews with program participants and records obtained by The New York Times. It was run by a military intelligence official, Luis Elizondo, on the fifth floor of the Pentagon’s C Ring, deep within the building’s maze.

The Defense Department has never before acknowledged the existence of the program. 

“Hmmm. Is it aliun or alien?”

Well, well, well. For years our government has denied that UFOs exist, yet all the while operating the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program deep within the bowels of the Pentagon. Guys just investigating aliens like you read about. And you just know they’ve found something and aren’t telling us. I guarantee they have photos of alien craft or maybe even have knowledge of aliens among us. Then again, I think they have to brief the president on this stuff, right? If so that really clouds the issue because you just know that upon hearing anything cool Trump would tweet about it within minutes. No way he could keep that knowledge to himself. Trump, man. Shoots out tweets like a 5th grader, except with poorer grammar.

PS- I’m sure you read my acclaimed blog titled Aliens Among Us. In it I laid out my theory that they’re here and living with us. We all know a couple. With that in mind, here are my top 5 possibilities of aliens living among us:

  1. Oprah. Of course Oprah’s an alien, except when they made her up to look like a humanoid they made her head too damn big, a dead giveaway. Clearly not human.
  2. Ryan Seacrest. You know how I’m certain he’s an alien? It’s those

    Seacrest, man.

    staring, soulless eyes. Chills, man.

  3. Tom Cruise. Come on man. He’s a Scientologist. They believe that a galactic being named Xenu brought billions of people from a “Galactic Confederacy” to earth in spaceships shaped like jet airplanes. Xenu then stacked the people around volcanoes and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. The people didn’t die though, they became spirits that have caused harm to humans for 75-million years now. Dead serious. Look it up. Anywho, alien. Duh.
  4. Steve Buscemi. Obvious choice, amirite? Please. Dude has eyes that bore right through you. And I’m pretty sure a young apprentice alien was in charge of his mouth. Just a poor effort there.
  5. Christopher Walken. Ever notice how he really tries to talk normally but struggles putting sentences together? Yeah, me too. And once again, the eyes give it away. Not only is Walken obviously an alien, he may actually be their leader. It’s definitely him or a former administrator at the school where I taught. Anyway, Walken? No brainer there.

You guys know how all these wild conspiracy theories interest me. JFK, the supposed death of Paul McCartney, hell, I even posted about cartoons and the movie Back to the Future predicting 9/11. And have I mentioned that Stevie Wonder may not be blind? Anywho, this stuff make compelling reading even if you’re 99% certain it isn’t true.

Still, there’s that 1%. That’s what makes it all fascinating.

Anyway, what you’re about to read and see may be the wildest, most outlandish theory of all – Elvis Presley was an extra in Home Alone.

Because of course he was.

There is a scene midway through the film, where Catherine O’Hara’s character is bartering with an airline employee over a ticket counter in a Scranton Airport. A bearded man in a sports coat and turtleneck hovers over her left shoulder, occasionally expressing his impatience with his body language. This man, many believe, is played by none other than The King himself. Let’s take a gander . . .

Huh. Well, Elvis grew a beard for the movie Charro back in the 60’s. Let us compare:

Damn, that is a close resemblance. But oh, there’s more.

Well, now I’m all shook up. Say no more. I’m convinced. I know suspicious minds won’t concur, but Elvis was in the movie Home Alone 13-years after his alleged “death.” Come on Elvis. Don’t be cruel. It’s now or never. It’s time for your big comeback.

Have a blue Christmas everybody!

PS- If you know that actor’s name please don’t tell me. Let me keep on believin’.

 

People Magazine: Mugsy the dog still lives in Severna Park, Md. Given the eerie events claimed by his owners, it’s surprising that Mugsy lives anywhere at all. On Oct. 27, they say, the 4-year-old Jack Russell terrier went to that cold, dread place that Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King have written about—and he has lived to wag the tail.

Mugsy’s brush with the beyond began about 3 P.M., when he was hit by a car outside Viola Tiszl’s house, where her boyfriend, Glenn Maloney, was taking care of their two children. “I picked Mugsy up,” says Maloney, 30, a restaurant worker, “but he died in my arms.”

Maloney told the children—Megan, 5, and Kevin, 3—to stay in the house. He carried the body to a corner of the wooded lot, dug a hole he estimates was three feet deep and buried him. “I know a dead dog when I see one,” says Maloney. “This one was real dead. He was not breathing. He had no heartbeat.”

Later that evening, after Viola got home from her job at a cable TV company, they took the children—including Raymond, 8, Viola’s son by her ex-husband—to view the grave. Megan said a prayer. They planned to put a wooden cross on the spot next morning. At 5:30 A.M., 14 hours after Mugsy’s interment, Glenn and Viola were awakened by scratching at the door. Glenn went to the door. “I couldn’t believe it,” he says. What he saw was the not-so-late Mugsy, with his “little tail wagging at 90 mph.”

“Mugsy was covered with dirt,” says Viola, 27, “and his eyes were bloodshot.” Incredibly, he seemed quite chipper otherwise. For a few days after the night of the living dog, Zeus, Viola’s German shepherd, gave Mugsy a wide berth. As for Mugsy himself, he is back chasing squirrels, digging for moles and eating the brains of small children who wander into his yard.

OK, I made that last part about brains up. Not gonna lie.

Anyway, wow. Just wow. That’s some Stephen King shit right there. I believe I’d have kept a close eye on old Mugsy for a couple days. Zeus the German Shepherd knew what was up. He sensed there might a little zombie action going on. “Kept a wide berth” indeed.

And hey, that Glenn Maloney sure has some nerve, right? “I know a dead dog when I see one.” Uh, Glen? No, you don’t. You don’t know a dead dog when you see one. You know, because that wasn’t a dead dog you saw. Bottom line, dogs? Don’t fall asleep around Glen. You might wake up buried 3-feet deep in the corner of a wooded lot.

And is anyone surprised the dog that came back to life was a Jack Russell? Little dudes are badass. My Sparky has whipped a coyote and brought a Doberman to its knees once. Being buried alive is like a walk in the park to those guys.

PS – What are the odds Glenn Maloney resented Mugsy’s awesomeness and used the accident as an excuse to get rid of him? If so, the dude had no idea who he was dealing with. Jacks, man. Takes more than being buried alive to kill them. Tough as nails.

I’ve been interested in this stuff for years but have only recently started to actually read seriously about it. I’m sure you’re all somewhat familiar with it, because it’s been a popular subject in comics, TV shows and movies. We’ve all seen or read about people who stumbled upon a “portal” that they walk through and enter another space and time, right? Or “Chronicles of Narnia” anyone? My personal favorite is the book by H.G. Wells called “Men Like Gods”, complete with a multiverse theory and a paratime machine. Cool, especially for 1923. Anyway, the examples are endless.

But first, let’s get to an official definition of the Many Worlds Theory:

The many-worlds interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that asserts the objective reality of the universal wavefunction and denies the actuality of wavefunction collapse. Many-worlds implies that all possible alternate histories and futures are real, each representing an actual “world” or “universe”. 

Basically, this is saying that there is a very large, perhaps even infinite, number of universes, not just ours, and we could be in those other universes as well. It also says that everything that could possibly have happened in our past, but did not, has occurred in the past of some other universe or universes we lived in.

Man, that’s just crazy to think about. Parallel universes.

Think about it. Before this theory, reality had always been viewed as a single unfolding history. The Many Worlds Theory, however, views reality as a many-branched tree, where every possible outcome is realized.

For example, say an object’s wave function is both a particle and a wave. When a physicist measures the particle, there are two possible outcomes: It will either be measured as a particle or a wave. When a physicist measures the object, the universe splits into two distinct universes to accommodate each of the possible outcomes.

OK, I’m getting a headache. Forget all the wave and particle stuff, just understand that for everything that happens there are different outcomes, shooting out in different directions, to several universes. Or you could put it this way – we live in an infinite web of alternate timelines, but we can only see the one we exist in. Or maybe we can, but I’ll get to that shortly. So actually, if this is true, we live in a multiverse — where timelines are constantly branching off and creating distinct and coherent worlds, each experienced by a different version of you.

Stick with me while I give you one simple example. Let’s say that yesterday you left your house to go to work. A dog cuts in front of you but you swerve, miss him, and continue on your way. In another universe though, you hit him and kill him but go on your way. However, the dog’s owner is devastated, his life is changed forever and so on. In yet another timeline you miss the dog but hit an oncoming car head on and die. Not sure why I’m sing such morbid examples because they don’t have to be. Wait, I can’t stop there. In another universe you pull over, save the dog because it was a stray and he lives with you happily ever after. Whew. That’s better.

Now, imagine every example I just gave, every single act branching out in different directions like that. There could be countless versions of you out there. If the theory is true, then there must be an infinite number of versions of you out there, each of them experiencing the world as individuals separate from and oblivious to each other.  One may have died at birth, one may be living as a billionaire in New York. Maybe you turned into a mass murderer in another universe. Don’t laugh, remember that kid you hated in high school and wanted to murder? In one world, maybe you did. The possibilities are literally endless, because if this is true you have literally done and/or will do everything you could ever have conceive of doing. Mind boggled.

And think about what other kinds of worlds might exist in another universe. Maybe somebody invented time travel or cured cancer years ago. Maybe a war destroyed the planet and it had to start over. Again, endless possibilities.

Let me throw this out there. What about ghosts? Do we sometimes somehow get a glimpse of an alternate universe? Hey, the chair you’re sitting in right now could be in the middle of an insane asylum or a witches coven, literally anything. That noise you heard last night a couple rooms away? Don’t ask. Anyway, next time you think you saw something out of the corner of your eye only to turn and look but it was gone, don’t be alarmed. Perhaps you did.

But oh, there’s more that has crossed my twisted mind. We’ve all had feelings of deja vu, right? That sense that we’ve done something or been somewhere before, even though we know we haven’t? Maybe we have, it was just one of those many other versions of you. Maybe we sometimes have a sort of connection, or resonance, with the other universes that causes this phenomenon.

Look, I can’t begin to explain the scientific basis for the theory. I’ve read about it and sort of get it, but eventually all the wave function collapse and quantum gravity talk hurts my brain. All I know for sure is that it fascinates the bejesus out of me.

Oh, and one more thing. Do you know who devised the original Many Worlds Theory and Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics? A man named Hugh Everett III, who died in 1982. Like many ahead of  his time, he passed before his theory began to be taken seriously. But here’s my favorite part – Hugh Everett III was the father of Mark Oliver Everett, leader of one of my favorite bands, The Eels. True story.

Now that’s mind-boggling.

Father & Son

We have explored less than 5% of the world’s oceans.

 

I know I post a lot of this stuff but Sweet Mother of God there are some horrific creatures lurking under the surface of the ocean. And listen, don’t give me crap like, “Oh, that’s just a rotting whale” or something. I know a sea monster when I see one, damn it.

[click to enlarge, but at your own risk]

It’s true, man. Sort of. Listen up . . .tut

Although it’s been nearly 94-years since some dude named Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun on February 23rd, 1923, we’re still learning wild stuff about the Egyptian boy king. Get this – Tut’s knife that Carter first described in 1925 is made of a meteorite.

Using X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry,which I use all the time by the way, a team of scientists found the dagger’s blade had the chemical signature of something that came from space. The nickel was a big giveaway, Space.com says. Whereas typical iron ore contains about 4% nickel, it was more like 11% percent in this weapon. Cobalt traces also backed up this idea, because of course it did.

The scientists say ancient Egyptians probably placed great value on these meteoric objects, because, you know, they came from outer space and stuff.

If you want to see the space dagger, take a road trip over to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo where it’s on display.

PS: Admit it. You thought I meant King Tut had an actual alien space knife, didn’t you? Ha-ha! Burn. Still fascinating though, amirite? 

giphy

Roman Fedortsov is a deep sea fisherman who resides in Russia. He’s been taking photos of SWEET MOTHER OF GOD WHAT THE HELL ARE THOSE THINGS?

Seriously, I ran across these photos on the Moscow Times website (seriously, I read the Moscow Times online and it’s damn good) and they’re apparently real. This dude is reportedly based in Murmansk, which is a real place in Russia and not another planet where Hell has opened up and set demons free to roam the land and the seas.

As you peruse these adorable photos, please remember that we as humans have explored just 5% of the world’s oceans. Chills, man. I don’t know the official names of these atrocities so I’ll make some up on my own. Enjoy, and happy swimming!

creature9

Basic Poisonous Ocean Spider. This is a baby.

creature8

Here we have the Aborted Ocean Piglet, the Bug-Eyed Snot Eel and his cousin the Bug-Eyed Turd Eel.

creature5

The rare Laser-Eyed Blackfish from Hell.

creature4

creature3

A run-of-the-mill Giant-Eyed Saw-Toothed Demon Lizard.

creature2

The Loch Ness Million-Toothed Monster.

creature1

I’m sorry but that’s no fish. That’s an alien. Jeebus.

On a related note . . .

alien

gascapSorta sounds like a Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew mystery, amirite? But seriously, I once had a mystery involving a lost gas cap.

I mentioned this briefly in a story a couple years ago, but thankfully this was a mystery that ultimately had an explanation, albeit a bit of a mind-bending one.

Here’s what went down. One year while driving home from vacation, I stopped to get gas on the West Virginia Turnpike. So far so good. But as I pulled back onto the highway and started to accelerate I heard something bouncing on the roof of my 4-Runner.

What the hell?

It was then I suddenly realized I’d put the gas cap on the roof as I filled up (this was before they were attached) and forgot to replace it. That was my gas cap bouncing away, presumably onto the highway and into oblivion.

Although it was an inconvenience, it was otherwise not that big of a deal. When I got home I bought a new one and went on with my life. However . . .

It had to have been 2-months later as I was walking out to get my mail when I noticed something in my driveway. I walked over, looked down, and there on the ground, unmistakably, was my original gas cap.

What the hell? To say I was bewildered was an understatement.

As odd as it sounds, the first thing that raced across my mind was the irrational thought that somebody had found my gas cap, brought it to my house, and threw it in my driveway.

Of course, that made zero sense, and even if somebody had found my gas cap, decided to return it and somehow figured out where I lived, I’m pretty sure they’d knock on my door rather than toss it in my driveway.

After getting my head together and thinking this over for a few minutes, the only thing I could surmise was that it had been stuck on the roof of my 4-Runner somehow, probably on the luggage rack, and had fallen off in my driveway. That had to be it, right?

Still, what are the odds that, after me driving around for weeks, it would fall off right there in my driveway?

That’s one hell of a coincidence.

Ever heard of the Antikythera Mechanism? No? Prepare to be amazed.antikythera-mechanism

Noted physicist Richard Feynman wrote in 1976 that the Antikythera Mechanism was “so entirely different and strange that it is nearly impossible to describe. It is some kind of machine with gear trains, very much like the inside of a modern wind-up alarm clock.

The Antikythera Mechanism was found on a sunken ship in the Aegean Sea between mainland Greece and Crete. The ship was assumed to be Roman and, when it sank just off the coast of the island in the middle of the 1st century BC, it carried a large number of artifacts dating back to as early as the 4th century BC.

In 1900, Greek sponge divers found the shipwreck, which was submerged in nearly 150 feet of water.

The bronze-and-wood object, later named Antikythera Mechanism, was found with a shipload of marble, coins, glassware, and pottery. Since all the other artifacts were more apparently worthy of conservation, the mechanism was largely ignored until 1951. After  two decades of study, the first publication on the Antikythera Mechanism was made in 1974 by physicist and historian Derek de Solla Price. Price’s work was unfinished when he died in 1983, having never figured out how the device actually worked.

However, scientists are pretty sure about this – the Antikythera Mechanism was designed to calculate dates and predict astronomical phenomena, so it was theoretically the earliest analog computer. Remember that it was made sometime in 4-million BC.

Here is the incredible description of the Antikythera Mechanism:

Reproduction of the original.

Reproduction of the original.

Consisting of at least 30 bronze gears in a wooden container that was only the size of a shoebox, the highly advanced clockwork mechanism was thousands of years ahead of its time. By turning a hand-crank, the user could move forward or backward in time. The crank made the gears move and rotate a series of dials and rings on which there are inscriptions and annotations of Greek zodiac signs and Egyptian calendar days. The mechanism tracked the lunar calendar, predicted eclipses, and charted the position and phase of the Moon. It also tracked the seasons and ancient festivals like the Olympics. The calendar is based on the time from one full moon to the next, and a special dial allowed the user to also envision the seasons, which would have been useful for agriculture. Since the ancient Babylonians figured out the cycle of eclipses, the inventor of the Antikythera Mechanism included two dials that rotate to show both lunar and solar eclipses. But the most sophisticated thing the mechanism did was lunar calculations—it could figure out the Moon’s period at a given time and model its elliptical orbit.

Bottom line, whoever built this contraption was a freaking genius.

The amazing thing is, it seems that the knowledge to build such a mechanism was lost through time, perhaps because it was a specialty device or too expensive to create. Similar astronomical clocks didn’t reappear in Europe until the 14th century.

And oh, one more thing – planetary motion in the mechanism was accurate to within 1 degree in 500-years.

Amazing.

And while many (but not all) of its functions have been figured out, how and where it was used are still unknown. ‘Tis a mystery for the ages. Somebody, though, was way ahead of their time. Way, way ahead.

So the wordwide interweb and Twitterverse is all aflutter about the new photo of Nessie, the legendary Loch Ness monster. People just losing their gourds over it. Well, I took a gander and even I know what three seals look like when I see them. See, one has his head above water and the others are jumping around having fun.  Mystery solved. Next I’ll be solving the mystery of Stonehenge. Thank you and have a nice day.

lochness

lost-keys-feature-image-0

Not my keys.

Have you ever had something happen to you that was so weird and unexplainable you never figured it out? Yeah, me too. What follows is a simple, yet enduring mystery of my life that, although it happened nearly 30-years ago, still bugs me to this day.

It was an otherwise uneventful day, as I’d just returned from teaching and coaching at Greenfield-McClain. I drove home to my house in Bourneville, pulled into the driveway, grabbed my backpack, and got out of the car.

About halfway between my car and my front door, I realized I didn’t have my keys. Assuming they were in the ignition, I went back to get them.

Nope.

I then checked my backpack, thinking that maybe I’d dropped them in a side pocket or something.

Nothing.

Puzzled, I proceeded to look on the floor of the car, under the seats, on the ground around and under the car, and of course my pockets.

The keys were gone. They’d vanished.

Trust me, I looked and looked and looked. I was completely perplexed, baffled, and flummoxed. Also bewildered. It made zero sense.

Where the hell were they? Hey, I’d just driven home.

I even looked in places where I knew they weren’t, like in the house after I eventually broke in and retrieved my extra set of keys I had there. I thought maybe I’d had some sort of stroke or something and actually gone inside the house and left them there. And yes, I looked in probably a 50-foot area around my car. I even borrowed one of those metal detectors old dudes use on the beach in an attempt to find my wayward keys.

Gone.

I even considered wacky explanations like these:

  • Had they fallen into a time portal and were actually on the ground, except in 1881 or something?
  • Did I drop them, only to have a squirrel or chipmunk make the heist and scamper away?
  • Did a bird see a shiny object and make the grab?

Then I had an epiphany. They had to be on the top of my car! They had to be! How could I be so dumb?

Nah. Not there either.

Needless to say I never found my keys. For years I expected the meter reader, a local kid, anybody, to come to my door, hold up my keys, and say, “Are these yours?”

No such luck.

My keys were gone. They’d disappeared into the ether and the mists of time.

And occasionally, out of the blue and 29-years later, this thought still pops into my head:

“Where the hell are my keys?”

Ever have something weird and unexplainable happen to you? Just an odd occurrence that sends a little chill up your spine? Not scary or anything, just odd and a little amusing? I had one of those today. You see, I was driving home from Chillicothe and happened to be listening to a song from the Pink Floyd album, “Atom Heart Mother” called “Fat Old Son.”

Anyway, I pulled off at an off-ramp, stopped at a light, when something caught my eye. I glanced to my right and there, looking at me, was a cow. It was standing facing the other way but was sort of turned around looking at me with a look only a cow can give you. You know, like this:

cow

Not the actual cow, but damn I wish I’d taken a photo.

At that point, as the music played, something began gnawing at me but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was sort of a mix of deja vu and confusion, and then it hit me . . .

The album cover for “Atom Heart Mother” looks like this:

floydcow1

I know, right? What are the odds? That’s just cool and a little creepy at the same time. And does this sort of stuff happen to everybody or am I the only kook that notices it?

PS – As it gazed into my eyes I swear that, somehow, the cow knew.

Admit it. It’s 2016, and we should know pretty much everything about the world we live in, right?

Wrong.

The truth is we’re just beginning to understand the world around us, not to mention the world outside us, as in space. For now however, let’s stick to good old planet earth. What follows are four of the most amazing unknown mysteries of this home we call planet earth.

Let us commence . . .

Unclimbed Mountains

nakamura-1

Jonlamapo, Tibet. Unclimbed.

In the 160 years since mountaineering became popular, we’ve climbed most of the world’s greatest peaks. Everest, K2, and Mt. Kilimanjaro have been conquered repeatedly, as have hundreds of others that most of us have never heard of. Hell, climbing Everest has become something of a joke, as it’s basically a guided sherpa tour these days. Still, we’re still a long, long way from getting to the summit of every mountain on earth. The fact is that there are infinitely more unclimbed mountains than there are climbed ones. That means there are hundreds of mountains that have never, ever been climbed or seen by a human being. Amazing really.

Unknown Animal Species

Consider this:

Vampirecrab

Newly discovered Vampire Crab. Yikes.

In 1972, some biologist named Jennifer Owen began to document the species that she found roaming around her suburban garden. By the time 40-years had passed, she’d noted over 8,000 species, 20 of which had never before been seen in England. And of those 20, four were completely new to science. Without leaving her home, Owen had accidentally documented four entirely new species.

Yep. That happened.

This little anecdote demonstrates how little we really know about the species with which we share our planet. There’s such a mind-bogglingly large number of creatures out there that people are stumbling over completely new ones all the time, often in the strangest places. As amazing as Owen’s finds were, they’re not even the most improbable. Dave Ebert, a scientist living in Taiwan, has found 24 new species of shark just by browsing his local fish market.

Mind-boggling indeed.

Factoid: Over the last month a new species of bat, dolphin and shark were discovered. Surprised yet?

Here’s the deal – by one 2011 estimate, the number of undocumented species on Earth stands at 7.5 million. At the time that estimate was made, we’d only cataloged 1.2 million. That means that up to 90 percent of marine species and 86 percent of land species could be utterly unknown to science.

Unknown Plant Species

plant

Attenborough’s Pitcher Plant

Biologists have described and classified 1.7 million plants and animals as of 2013, less than one-quarter of the total species estimated in the world. Scientists figure there are still over five million species waiting to be found.

And I’ve written about this before, but I need to include it here as well. Roughly 50% of all pharmaceuticals we use today are derived from the earth’s plants. Not that surprising. However, we’ve only fully examined and tested 10-15% of the world’s plants. What exists in the other 85-90% of the plants we haven’t studied? Cures for cancer or other diseases? That’s one hell of a reason for saving our rainforests and other plant life, amirite?

This information reminded me of something a very old Montserratian woman told me once. She said that the cure for any disease can be found in plant or animal life right here on earth because the earth created them, and that we just haven’t found them yet. Makes sense when you really think about it.

Unexplored Caves

Caves

Obviously not unexplored since somebody took the photo. Der.

Followers of Shoe: Untied are an educated lot, so you all know that most of the Earth’s oceans remain unexplored. However, there are places right below us that we don’t really know about either. Beneath our feet are literally thousands upon thousands of caves that no human being has ever set foot in. These subterranean worlds aren’t even in the minority. One estimate by National Geographic put the number of undiscovered caves at 90 percent of the planet’s total.

It’s sort of chilling to learn that the vast majority of caves are hidden, with no visible entrances at ground level. Even in a region of the world as mapped and meticulously explored as the USA, it’s thought that only 50 percent of our caves have likely been found.

This means that all of those grand, crystal-filled caverns you occasionally see photos of online or those big tourist attractions like Old Man’s Cave might only be the tip of the iceberg.

There’s a whole undiscovered world down there, a lightless place cut off from the surface for centuries, perhaps millennia. Good God man, there’s no telling what’s down there. Maybe some of those unknown animal species?

And as I mentioned before, we haven’t even begun to study the ocean. Not really. Hell, we can’t even get down there. The Mariana Trench alone (off the coast of Japan) is nearly 7-miles deep, man! Maybe Godzilla is down there.

godzilla

——————————————————————————————

Not Sparky, but there’s a striking resemblance.

Well, this was terrifying.

So I’m sleeping like a baby the other night when I’m dragged slowly from the Land of Nod by a noise. It was a low, growling sound, sounding like a panther as it eyes its prey. I sat up and glanced at the clock.

3:17 A.M.

Damn it, it’s always between 3:00 am and 3:30 am when weird things happen at my house.

Only then did I realize the noise I’d heard was Sparky. There he was, standing at the foot of the bed, growling, and staring at the doorway . . . and the dark hallway beyond.

That’ll wake a man up fairly quickly.

For a few seconds I did the same thing. Stare I mean. Growling would’ve just been weird. Anyway, I have a little sensor light by the backdoor inside the kitchen because I often have to let a certain 4-legged furball out in the pre-dawn hours. As Spark is growling and I’m staring into the darkened hallway, that light comes on.

From two rooms away.

For a few seconds I was indecisive. Sparky? Not so much. He sprung into action like a Hound from Hell, leaping off the bed and tearing towards the kitchen. Whatever, or whoever, is out there is in for a bloodbath. I grab a Civil War era bayonet off the wall by my bed and follow. As Spark makes his charge he’s emitting a noise I’ve never heard from him before. He’s barking, but it’s a deeper, more feral sound, mixed with a growl, really frightening.

I swear to God, at this point I was 100% sure somebody was in our kitchen.

I also thought he’d picked the wrong house, because he was about to meet 22-pounds of pissed-off territory protecting terrier who happens to jump like a pogo stick and has a penchant for going for the throat (just ask that homeless dude out by Walmart). Not to mention the 225-pound guy with the bayonet that was coming, not so much to engage in combat (I’d prefer he run), but there was no way he was going to hurt my best friend.

Long story short, unless burglar dude had a gun he was in for a soul and larynx crushing defeat.

So I follow, through the hallway and back bedroom, into the kitchen. The whole sequence, from waking up to getting to the kitchen, probably took no more than 30-seconds. But when I got to the kitchen Sparky was there, going crazy and pawing at the backdoor. No intruder in sight. I checked the door and it was locked.

Strange.

I then did a quick search of the house, including the basement. Nothing. In the meantime, Spark was doing a search himself, behind chairs, under tables, still growling all the while. After we were convinced we were alone, I figured it would be a good idea to take him out for a quick look around the yard.

Other than dogs barking a block over, nothing. Still, dogs were barking . . .

Did somebody try to get in? Did Sparky hear the doorknob rattle? Could that have made the sensor come on? Was it nothing at all? Whatever it was, suffice it to say it took me awhile to fall back asleep, but I eventually did.

Sparky? He lay by my bedroom door, head on paws, watching. I tried to get him to come up with me on the bed, but he would have none of it. He was still there when my alarm went off at 6:00 A.M.

Man’s best friend? Damn straight.

questionHave you ever had something happen to you that was just completely unexplainable? I’ve a had a few, but usually they’ve been sort of silly, innocuous events that simply made me shake my head. For instance, I once returned home from school on a bright spring day, got out of my car, and walked to my front door carrying my backpack and stuff. When I got to the door I reached in my pocket to get my keys and they weren’t there.

Frustrated, I walked the 20-feet back to my car, opened the door, and looked in the ignition. Nothing. I mean, I knew I’d had them because I’d just driven home 30-seconds ago. Long story short, I looked for those keys for the next hour as well as time and time again over the next few days. I combed through the car, my backpack, and retraced my steps over and over. Luckily I had a spare set hidden near the front door, but I never found those original keys again. They had to be somewhere, either in the car or between the car and my front door. Nope, they were gone forever, never to be found again.

Gremlins? Key fairies? Ghosts? Did I drop them and a chipmunk or bird grab them in the few seconds I walked to the door? I never found out. It’s one of my life’s enduring mysteries, but somewhat amusing and not as intriguing, or unsettling, as one I’ll recount later.

Sometimes weird things happen and there’s an explanantion. One year driving home from vacation, I stopped to get gas on the West Virginia Turnpike. As I pulled back onto the highway I heard something bouncing on the roof of my 4-Runner. I suddenly realized I’d put the gas cap on the roof as I filled up (this was before they were attached) and forgot to replace it. That was my gas cap bouncing away.

When I got home I bought a new one, no big deal, and went on with my life. Weeks later I was walking out to get my mail and noticed something in my driveway. I walked over, looked down, and there on the ground was my original gas cap.

What the hell? After puzzling over this for a minute, the only thing I could surmise was that it had been stuck on my roof somehow, maybe on the luggage rack, and had fallen off in my driveway. Still, what are the odds it would fall off, after me driving around for weeks, right there in my driveway?

Weird.

But without a doubt the most unsettling, surreal, chilling, and to this day unexplained thing that’s ever happened to me occurred another time. It happened years ago when I was dating a girl who worked for a travel bureau. Her job was to act as a chaperone on bus tours around the country. Anyway, she had to work a tour through the south that was departing from Louisville, KY, and asked if I’d drive her to the hotel where everyone was to meet. The plan was that she would leave with her travel group that night and I’d stay at the hotel and leave the next morning.

I checked into the hotel, but at some point after she left I decided that rather than stay there I’d drive up to the University of Cincinnati to see my cousin Mick, who was playing basketball at UC. I called him, told him I was coming, and headed north. But once again something made me change my mind. I’m not sure why but I decided to go home. Remember this was before cell phones, back when if you were on the road you were really by yourself, out of touch with anybody.

So I was a little surprised when I arrived home a few hours later (it had to be around 2:00 AM) to find my father standing on my front porch. Puzzled, I asked what was wrong. He seemed upset but really glad to see me. It was then he told me what had transpired. It seems he’d received a call from Mick, who was more than a little concerned about me. Sure, because I hadn’t shown up in Cincinnati, but also because of a call he’d received a few minutes after my call earlier in the evening. Here’s the call as he told it, word for word:

Mick: “Hello.”

Male Voice: “Did you just receive a call from Dave Shoemaker?”

Mick: “Yeah. Why?”

Male Voice: “Is he traveling alone?”

Mick: “Who is this?”

Click.

Well, as you might imagine my cousin was more than a little alarmed. Had someone been in my hotel room? How did they know I’d called him? How did they have his number? Why did they want to know if I was alone?

What the hell?

After I called Mick and assured him I hadn’t been beheaded by a serial killer, I sat down with dad and tried to figure this thing out. We even called the hotel and questioned the manager.

Nothing. No answers. It just made no sense.

For years I puzzled over that call, and I was never able to resolve, in my mind, what happened that night. I think of it less now, although it still comes to mind from time-to-time.

Still, it lingers, and I still wonder.

Who made that phone call? And why?

Me, circa 1967.

I’ve been wanting to write about this for awhile, but have been putting it off for obvious reasons. You know, I didn’t want anyone to think I was taking a stroll down Cuckoo Street or anything. Still, after the events of the other night and with Halloween coming up, I thought it might be time. Read on . . .It’s no surprise to some of my friends and family that the house I’m living in has a ghost hanging around in it. In fact, after reading my story about Sparky and the backdoor I had more than one person state matter-of-factly, “That wasn’t a burglar. That was your ghost.”

Shoot. In my excitement I hadn’t even thought of that. Hell, that’s exactly who it was. My ghost, just messin’ with me again.

For those of you that don’t know, I’m back living in the house I grew up in. The house and I are the same age, and I’ve lived here off-and-on over my life, although this is my first time back since the Spring of ’98. So, I obviously know this house better than anyone, and trust me when I say it’s haunted.

It is. Of that I have zero doubt.

There’s never been a murder committed nor has anybody has ever died here, as far as I know. Maybe something horrible happened before the house was built. Maybe the house is on Native American burial ground or something.

Maybe.

Yeah, I can hear the chuckles, see the shaking of the heads. I can also see some people nodding knowingly, having had similar experiences themselves. My sisters are two of the latter. They know. Just ask them or anyone else that’s lived here with me. They all have stories they can tell, I guarantee it.

Note: Please leave said discussions strictly to the ghost thing. You know, with the exes.

Anywho, my ghost is not really a scary ghost, although sometimes he can be a little, well, unnerving. All in all I think he’s just having a little fun.

I think.

I believe that because I’ve never really felt “threatened” per se. Thought – I hope that doesn’t change after this blog is posted. Is my ghost looking over my shoulder as I type this? Yikes.

And how do I know he’s a he? I’m not certain. It’s just always felt like a male presence to me.

As a kid he was just that, more of a feeling, as I never really saw him or any of his handiwork. By “feeling” I mean you’d just sort of know somebody was there, maybe in your room at night or following you up the basement stairs, stuff like that. On a related note, typing that just gave me a little chill.

To this day, one of my sisters is afraid to go to the back of the basement where our old coal bin used to be. She swears when she was a kid she heard a baby crying back there. I know, creepy.

Those stairs I mentioned earlier? I have never walked up them in my life without fighting the urge to run the last few steps. Going down? Nothing. Leaving? Freak Out City. I know, I know, it sounds strange, but damn it, it’s true. About halfway up I just know something’s about to grab me from behind. Others have had the same feeling.

Here’s an incident from my youth that my family remembers clearly. It was Christmas morning, and my sisters and I had awakened pre-dawn to open our presents. My older cousin John lived across the street with his parents and twin sisters, and he was always playing tricks on me. As I was opening presents, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. Our front door had a little diamond shaped window on it, and I saw a face pressed against that window, looking down at me from about 20-feet away. I laughed, certain that it was John coming over to see our presents. I jumped up and went to the door, opened it, and nobody was there. Still laughing, I ran across the street in the snow thinking he was messing with us. I went in the front door and asked where John had gone, only to told he was still in bed. I ran to his room and sure enough, he was sleeping. Even then I thought he had run home and was pretending to sleep, until I went back outside and saw just one set of tracks in the snow, mine, leading from our house to theirs.

As I write this I can still see that face, sort of pressed and distorted against the window pane, looking down at me.

Living here in my early 20’s I had several weird incidents that some of my friends witnessed. Things like coming home late at night and finding the stereo on, things disappearing, hell, one night I came home in the wee hours of the morning to find an old porkpie hat sitting smack dab in the center of my living room floor. Dead serious. That was a tad unsettling.

Stuff always happens between 3:03 and 3:23 AM. The Sparky episode the other night? 3:17. Just throwin’ that little fact out there. Also, virtually every single night I’ve lived here I wake up in the middle of the night, glance at the clock, and see that it’s somewhere between 3:03 and 3:23.

Always.

One night back in the 90s my wife and I were awakened by a loud smack on the front door. It sounded as if somebody just hit the wooden door with the palm of their hand really hard. I ran to the door, opened it, and saw nothing. The eerie thing was that the storm door, between the front door and the outside, was locked. Now I’m no genius, but it was obvious the door had been hit from the . . . inside.

On another occasion we were awakened by an ungodly white, bright light shining through our bedroom window. It literally lit up the whole room with this unnatural, humming light. It was as if a UFO had landed right outside the house. We both sat up, and in an instant it went off as if someone had flipped a switch. Again, I went out to investigate. Nothing but crickets chirping.

Note: If you know my second wife you know she’s not prone to histrionics. Ask her about this. It still gives her the heebies to this day.

One of the first things I noticed after moving back in last January was the pictures. As they had in the past, they were moving during the night. Nothing major, they’d just be moved towards the edge of an endtable, maybe occasionally turned backwards. Not every night, maybe once or twice a month. This was so commonplace in the past I’d just straighten them out without giving it a second thought, and that’s what I began doing again. Never gave it a thought, I just sort of fell back into that practice. Nothing is ever broken, it even seems like my ghost takes special care not to do any damage. Thanks ghost!

A couple weeks after I moved back in, I was awakened (a little after 3:00 AM, naturally) by voices that sounded like they were just outside my bedroom window. Remember this was pre-Sparky. It sounded as if a conversation was taking place and I couldn’t make out words, just sort of low mumbles, almost childlike, unearthly in a way. Also, it was two distinct voices, one higher than the other. At first I  thought, OK, somebody is at my sister’s house next door, talking in the driveway. I got up and looked out the window. Nothing. The porch light was on next door so I could see everything, except right under my window which made me a little uneasy. With that in mind I went outside to have a look-see. Everything was normal, or so it seemed. I convinced myself that, hell, maybe it was my sister’s cats, I know cats can make some weird noises at times . . . ah, who am I kidding? No way it was cats.

The next night it happened again. Same time. A low mumbling, sounding like a conversation between irritated elves or something. For some reason this made me mad, and in a very loud voice I said, “HEY! That’s enough! I need to get some sleep!”

Mumbles?

Now you really think I’m nuts, but as odd as it sounds that was the last I heard from the Irritated Mumbling Elf Dudes.

My old dog Poe was here in the 90s and he would sometimes appear to be watching something float through the room. Now Sparky does the same thing. He’ll be on the couch, slowly raise his head, and apparently watch something go slowly across the room. Every once in a while this will be accompanied by a low growl. He doesn’t seem scared or bothered by this, but then again Sparky scoffs at fear, laughs in the face of danger, abhors chickens (and I mean the chicken part literally). Hell, Satan could appear in the living room and Spark would go straight for his throat, then rip off the horns and use them as a chew toy.

So yeah, I have a ghost, or something, in my house. As I said, he seems more ornery than anything, just messin’ with me every now and then. As a matter of fact, I’ve sort of taken a liking to him. Sparky wasn’t happy with the doorknob rattling high jinks the other night but it’s sort of comforting to know he’s on high alert, looking out for me.

So, until I see glowing eyeballs in the closet or hear a blood-curdling death scream in the middle of the night I can live with it. Like I said, he’s been a harmless ghost.

So far.

J-u-s-t a little chilling.

Someone in the Backseat

Posted: October 30, 2015 in Fears, Mystery
Tags:

I’ve never been more scared than I was that night.HoodedFigure_zps55364230

I’d been out with a girl I was dating from Bainbridge. I left her place around 1:00 AM, and as I drove east by Jones Levee Road something made me look out the window to my right. I immediately looked back ahead, but I’d seen something out of the corner of my eye.

Somebody was sitting in my backseat.

Yep, as I’d glanced out the passenger side window I distinctly saw somebody out of the corner of my eye, silently sitting there.

It’s sort of a primal fear, isn’t it? Somebody behind you?

He must have snuck into my car when I was at my girlfriend’s house.

Was it a former boyfriend of hers? A former flame of mine? Random mugger? Serial killer? The Grim Reaper?

Whoever it was, sitting silently there in the backseat, surely had evil intentions.

I cautiously took a peek in my rearview mirror, hoping to do so without letting my unwanted guest know I was suspicious. Hell, maybe my eyes had played a trick on me.

No such luck. There, just barely, I could see a shoulder and a part of a hoodie. Where the face should be was shrouded in darkness.

The radio was off. I strained to hear breathing, anything, from the backseat.

Nothing. The only breathing I heard was mine.

My mind was reeling. What to do? Slam the brakes and hope to send the intruder through the windshield? Get home, pull in my driveway and make a run for it? Start talking, tell him I know he’s back there? Scream like a 9-year old girl at a Beiber concert?

I’m joking now but trust me, at the time I was scared out of my gourd.

I decided to drive home, hit the brakes, open the door and jump out. Only then would I turn and face my adversary.

The drive from Jones Levee to my house took only a few minutes, but it seemed like an eternity. It’s funny how time crawls when you’re expecting an axe to the back of your skull at any moment.

Somehow, as I pulled in my driveway the garage didn’t seem like a good idea. Something about a closed-in space didn’t appeal to me at that particular moment. You know, not enough room to run fight. I opted to forego the garage and park outside.

I turned onto my street, hoping desperately some of my friends had decided to pay me a late night visit. No dice. My house was dark.

Thus, my moment had come. I pulled slowly into the driveway, expecting the worst. There was no going back now. It was time to face whoever, or whatever, was behind me.

After a deep breath I hit the brakes, slammed the car into park, threw open the door, jumped out, and turned to face the terror that awaited.

Curiously, my backdoor stayed shut. Through the tinted window, though, I could see the silhouette of the hoodie wearing intruder, unmoving. It may seem odd but the fact that he was still made him immensely more frightening.

Fighting the urge to make a run for it, I jerked open the rear car door. And there, right before my eyes, was . . .

My parka.

Sitting upright on my backseat.

With its hood laying against the headrest.

Where I’d tossed it before leaving Bainbridge.

It lay there with, apparently, no intention of strangling the life out of me.

To this day I always double-check the backseat before getting into my car, especially after dark.

You know, in case a coat is lurking there.