Do You Believe?

Do you believe in the paranormal? Aw, c’mon–don’t be embarrassed. We’re all friends here.

*Crickets*

Okay–would it help if I told you that I do?

Yes, I’m a firm believer. I’ve never seen a ghost, shadow people, or anything like that, but I’ve had too many weird things happen to me to chalk it up to my imagination. I mean, I’ve got a fabulous imagination–after all, I write fantasy and science fiction. These events, though, went just beyond the pale.

I’ll tell you about a couple of them. I used to live in a place called Silver Spring, a city in Maryland located right on the line dividing Maryland from the District of Columbia. One night, I was supposed to attend a retirement dinner (I was supposed to speak) in Annapolis, also in Maryland. Annapolis is about 40-odd miles from DC, with some of the busiest highways in the region. Anyway, I was late (as usual). I hopped into my Corvette and high-tailed it out of Silver Spring. I reached the highway and got underway. As I drove, I noticed there was hardly any traffic, which was seriously strange as it was only 6 PM, when it should have been really busy with commuters. I took it as a sign of good luck because that meant nobody would be my way. I reached the venue and pulled up to the valet parking station. Rolling down my window, I asked the valet the time, since I wasn’t wearing a watch. He told me, and my jaw dropped. It had been only 10 minutes since I’d left Silver Spring. I asked him if he was sure. He gave me a kind of annoyed look and showed me his wrist. Sure enough–only 10 minutes had passed since I’d left home. Now I’ll admit I had the pedal to the metal, doing some serious low-flying. But given the distance between Silver Spring and Annapolis, there is absolutely no way I could have driven that stretch in 10 minutes. It was simply impossible. Yet somehow, I’d done it.

So what happened to me? A time slip? Did I drive into another dimension and back out? Tell the truth, I have no freakin’ idea. But it hasn’t happened since.

This one happened years later after I’d moved into my house. I used to have two dogs, a Great Dane, and a Basenji. If you don’t know, Basenjis are 25-35 pounds or so of explosive energy. They chew everything they can get their teeth on. That little shit used to drive me INSANE. I swear, if he hadn’t been so cute, they would have taken me away for killing the sucker. Anyway, my yard isn’t fenced, so I always took them out to relieve themselves on leashes. One night, someone had apparently put a firecracker up the Basenji’s ass, because he was just nuts, pulling and straining at the leash. When he got like this, one of his favorite tricks was to slip his collar, and he did. So I’m standing there with a leash, a collar, and no dog. Well, going after him was out of the question–he was simply too fast. The Great Dane and I returned to the house. I draped the Basenji’s collar and leash over the kitchen chair. Then I went upstairs to fool around on my computer. About two hours later, I decided to get into my truck and go look for the little shit. I picked up the leash and opened the door. There he was, looking all sorry. I let him in, draped the leash back over the chair, and went to bed. The next morning when it was time to go out, I couldn’t find the Basenji’s leash and collar. I looked everywhere. Well, by this time the dogs were dancing, so I grabbed an extra collar and leash for the Basenji and out we went. No problems, and we went back inside. I started looking for the leash again but soon gave up. Later that afternoon, I had to go to the grocery store, I climbed into the truck, and from the corner of my eye, I caught the glint of metal. I turn to look. It’s the Basenji’s collar and chain, lying on the passenger seat. My jaw dropped, and all I could do was stare.

Now tell me–how did the Basenji’s leash and collar get into the truck? I never went anywhere near my truck that night. I didn’t even leave the house. Yet there it was.

Then there was the time I came home from work one day to find one of the religious icons that had been left by the former owners on this shelf-like thing over the wall phone in the kitchen broken in two, and the other gone. Gone as in disappeared–I never did find it. There were times when I felt a cold breeze blow across the back of my neck, and all the windows were closed and the air conditioners and ceiling fans turned off. Or I’d get the feeling I was being watched. And a lot more.

So yeah, I believe.

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