The Hudson valley is no “stranger” to High Strangeness. Witness Whitley Strieber’s experiences with “Super Natural” beings, the Pine Bush Phenomenon, and UFO sightings all up and down the Hudson Valley, most notable those reports by Linda Zimmerman and J Allen Hynek. (Remember: I am not saying the UFOs are real, I am saying the experiences of the observers are real or to put it another way, they are real to the observer and worth studying.)
Putnam County, less than an hour up the river from Manhattan, has certainly seen its share of strangeness, if the reports are to be believed. And just east of the Hudson River in the middle of Putnam county is where I had a couple of very strange experiences that have made me wonder about consciousness, the trickster, and what may be beyond our known world.
The Invisible Stalker
This experience happened in the mid to late 1980s. At the time I was studying with a Native American elder, OhShinnah. As part of her teaching, she had us do exercises to harmonize with the four elements, earth, air, fire, and water. I was working on water so every time I visited near Cold Spring, NY I would go down to this wonder-filled place just below the dam of a manmade lake.
This was a truly magical spot and I always felt the encircling love of nature while there.
One of the most beautiful spots was by a stream, and there I practiced the water ceremony OhShinnah taught us. It was there I first saw (experienced) tiny sparkles in the air—what I thought might be air spirits, but later learned are identified as water spirits.
On this particular day, the sparkles danced in and out of my field of vision and somehow I started to experience the entire area as “separated,” but separated from what I am not sure. I experienced this bubble of sparkles surrounding the stream and the woods for maybe 50 feet in all direction. I sat transfixed.
Whether I started to move first or the sound of something moving through the undergrowth caught my attention and I stood, I do not remember. But I looked all around me and it was as if, off in one direction only, the background was muted out. It was fuzzy and without distinction. That, anyway, is what I experienced.
Then a wave of apprehension hit me. I had never been anxious in this place before. Indeed, it was a place where stresses always fell away from me. Deciding it was “just my imagination,” I ignored it and relaxed. It hit me harder and now I was afraid. I ducked behind a tree and stood stone still. Not a sound, all was quiet again. Come to think of it, not even a bird was singing.
Peeking out, I searched the woods for deer—they often came close when I was there, but I saw nothing. The sparkle was gone, except in the one area up a muted hill. But, as I moved again, the sound of something disturbing the brush returned.
I froze and all was quiet. I moved and it moved.
For a very long time, I stood stock still, the fear mounting. Something was playing cat and mouse with me.
Finally I grabbed my things intending to hurry out of there. The sound of movement returned and now I was choking down panic as I hurried back to the dam. A time or two, I looked back over my shoulder, but saw nothing.
It stopped following me as I neared the dam. I hurried past the dam and up the dirt road—really more a trail with two ruts—and back to the cabins. There, in a more public spot, I sat for a while, waiting for whom or whatever was stalking me to come out as there was no other trail to follow but that one. Nobody and nothing ever came.
It was years later that I heard about Bigfoot and the experiences of others, experiences like mine—as if something was throwing fear at them. The hypothesis put forth by Bigfoot researchers is that Bigfoot uses infrasound to scare away unwanted visits. Infrasound does that, creates that experience of fear.
Was it Bigfoot, or a family of them passing through the woods? I don’t know. All I know is that I experienced something that was both real and unreal to me—something I would come to experience a couple more times in my life. And that lead me on a quest to discover what it is that lies beneath experiences like these. The something, I believe, is the most basic field of all—a field of consciousness out of which we ourselves create experience. And maybe have created the image of Bigfoot to explain those experiences. If that is true, then Bigfoot is becoming very real indeed.
NOTE: No blog post next week–away with friends having fun!