Friday, February 25, 2011

Activity I Witnessed Was Not Normal in Any Sense of the Word

By: William Corey
The new movie about the paranormal has people talking. It has created quite a sensation in the entertainment world. There will be imitators, no doubt, producing similar movies; I expect friends will be exchanging accounts of their own paranormal experiences.

I used to think that nothing extraordinary ever happened in my life; that changed one night, quite a few years ago ; the memory of that night has stayed with me ever since. I went out with a group of friends after work and we decided to go to a local “food and beverage establishment.” It was rather an unremarkable building, not much bigger than a small, two-bedroom bungalow and not very old.

This building is still standing, quietly, on a corner near the waterfront in the old whaling town of Port Jefferson, Long Island, New York. You could easily overlook this tiny place were it not for a most peculiar architectural feature; an odd-shaped cupola on the roof resembling a short lighthouse tower. It’s located a “stone’s throw” from a popular harbor-side, seafood restaurant.

Inside, it was clean and cozy, not very commodious. There was room for only about eight tables which were arranged in the almost perfectly square room around the central dance floor. At the far end of this space (which wasn’t very far at all) there was a small bar; you could easily see the whole room as soon as you walked through the double doors.

On this particular night, I was enjoying the company of my friends. We were relaxing and unwinding from a busy day at the garden center, where we worked. We were scattered throughout this room, though never very far from one another. Two were having a meal at one of the tables. Another guy and a gal were having a lightly romantic conversation and speaking in almost whispered tones. There was one couple on the dance floor dancing to soft music (we could actually hear each other talk!) The bartender was serving drinks to a few patrons at the bar including two of my friends: Paul and James. They were also engrossed in a serious conversation, probably about sports. I was standing alone near the entry and about eight feet in front of the balcony. I was just “hanging out”; not even a beverage in my hand.

The balcony was the most interesting feature of the interior. While the entire room was exceptionally small for a “pub/club,” the ceiling was high enough to permit a low balcony of the type, in front of which, I was stationed. I am fairly observant and since I was only standing around relaxing, I had ample opportunity to study my surroundings. This balcony was obviously the place where the bands performed on nights when there was “live-music.” On this night the “music-loft” was devoid of any activity. No one was there. There was only a dozen or so gray, metallic, folding chairs stored against the upper wall and some huge speakers. From the size of those speakers, I can’t imagine how loud the music would be in such a small place. The only other objects of interest on the balcony were three or four enormous potted plants. The plants were large and lush and very healthy looking. Considering my work in the garden center it should not be unexpected that I would notice such well-grown plants.

It was turning out to be a very pleasant evening. Everyone was mellow. Friends continued to enjoy quiet conversations; the dancers continued to dance on serenely; I was still fixed in my chosen spot relaxing when the peacefulness of the moment was abruptly shattered. I heard my friend Paul shouting loudly and urgently from across the room: “WATCH OUT FOR THAT PLANT!” I can’t explain how I knew that Paul was shouting a warning for me. I also cannot explain why I knew that he was warning me specifically about one of the oversized plants that I was recently admiring on the balcony. I am at a total loss to explain why I knew I had to instantly take two steps to the left, but I reacted in a split second as one of those enormous plants came hurtling off the balcony and crashed with a deafening impact onto the dance floor (at the exact spot from where I had admired it a moment before,) missing the dancers by yards and me by merely inches.

What a mess! The ceramic pot was splintered into hundreds of pieces. Potting soil radiated out from the violent impact, like a meteor strike on the surface of the moon, and the plant was broken beyond reclamation.

This was high strangeness. It is certainly not normal for a house plant to launch itself across a room with no visible means of propulsion. Friends to whom I relate this story are always quickly forthcoming with logical explanations, one of which is:”….vibrations from street traffic…” No. There was hardly any traffic; it was a quiet night and the plant originally stood, at least, a full four feet from the edge of the balcony. It wasn’t perched precariously on the edge so that the slightest tremor would send it catapulting through the air. This plant was forcefully hurled; I estimate the weight of pot, soil and plant to have been, at least, 150 Lbs.

There was more strangeness to come. While everyone in the place was momentarily startled out of their reveries and stood stunned, staring at the plant wreckage on the dance floor, not one person ever asked: “What happened?” Nor did anyone ask: “Why did that happen?”

No one seemed to have seen the plant flying through the air. The manager came over with a broom and dustpan and nonchalantly proceeded to sweep up the soil and ceramic shards as if someone had dropped a drink and he was sweeping up the broken glass. No one was very surprised. It seemed as though everything had happened so fast that people could not really grasp what had just happened. It was all surreal.

I navigated through tables and chairs to speak to Paul at the bar: “Thanks Paul,” I said, “If you hadn’t warned me, I could have been seriously hurt: or worse.” Paul looked at me with the strangest look on his face and did not say anything. After a long pause he finally said: “I didn’t say anything.” James, who also had a quizzical expression said: “It’s true. He didn’t say anything; we were just sitting here talking.”

I have no explanation for what occurred that night. I never understood it. For me, it’s just one of Life’s many mysteries. To those who may be reading this with an indulgent smirk, perhaps, thinking: “That’s a mildly compelling piece of short fiction; very imaginative:” I can only say that this was not meant as a story to entertain: It’s a report. It actually happened just as I described it. I know. I was there. So, when someone speaks about the paranormal, I always maintain that there is some activity, about which there is nothing normal. Words can scarcely capture the drama of a real experience.

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