A Nomad’s Notes: Exploring the unexplained

As I write this column, it’s Friday night. This morning, about 9, I got up to use the restroom and go back to bed, because my job affords me the luxury of not having to get up before the sun. I went to lie back down and was in that twilight zone where you know you’re still conscious but also you’re starting to enter the dream zone, when I heard two quick booms in succession.

I shot up because I thought it was my next-door neighbor, who likes to bang on my door like my house is on fire. But something about it felt different, like there was more reverberation to it.

I peeked out my windows because in this day and age there’s always a chance it was gunfire. I saw my neighbor a few doors down open her door to look out, too, and immediately went to a Holden Beach group on Facebook to find out if anyone else had heard the noise.

Already two people had posted about it, so I knew it had to be a Seneca Gun or a sonic boom. I was excited that I even heard it.

One time I got up in the middle of the night at my dad’s house in Kentucky to use the restroom, and later learned there was an earthquake right at the time I was up. I didn’t feel a thing because I was on the third floor.

Another time my stepmom heard a loud boom over our town and many others did, too. It ended up being a meteorite, but I hadn’t heard anything because I was driving home.

So to finally be able to hear something like this was amazing. Someone sent me a link to an article about Seneca Guns and how there’s really no explanation for them that’s concrete. Some have said they’re jets, but they’ve been found in records going back from the 19th century, so we can rule that out.

Others have argued they’re earthquakes so small they wouldn’t register with scientists, but other scientists have said there are none so small as to escape detection.

There’s always something unsettling about the explained, sometimes to the point of spooky but other times in a more fascinating light. As I tried (and failed) to fall back asleep again, I thought about my own theory of a Seneca Gun: perhaps it’s UFOs/alien craft invisible in the sky and their breaking of the sound barrier causes the gun sound. Farfetched, sure, but it’s a big universe. I can’t rule it out entirely.

Finally on the Facebook post I made others commented about seeing military planes in the area. I watched sonic boom videos on Facebook, finding one that sounded exactly like what I heard, so I’m satisfied with that as the answer. It doesn’t make what I heard any less cool.

The whole thing got me to thinking about the other unexplained moments in my life, some that happened when I was so young I probably don’t remember. But here are the top candidates:

The first one happened to me when I was probably 4, so there’s a chance I dreamt it but it felt real; science has, after all, told us our memory isn’t entirely reliable, although I think I have a damn good one. I think I snuck downstairs with my sister to get some food (there’s my downfall right there). There was a gated entrance from our kitchen to the dining room, which always creeped me out at night. To this day what happened when I looked at the darkness beyond the gate that night hasn’t left me: red eyes. Picture two red almost snakelike/catlike eyes.

They were dancing, sort of bobbing back and forth in the darkness. There was a light on in the kitchen, so you’d think I’d be able to see whatever it was that was swaying there, but no. I remember saying “Hello,” to it, or moving closer; I acknowledged it in some way as my sister stood behind me. And as soon as I did I could see its eyes slant into an angry face. I remember saying to Madeline, “OK, let’s go back to bed,” and sprinting up the stairs. It’s become a joke in my family: “The Red Eyes, Lindsay! Beware the Red Eyes!”

Even now at 27, I don’t know what I saw. I don’t believe in demons or the devil, so I’ve ruled that out, but the fact that it remains unknown s enough to make me hate the dark even now.

Probably the two biggest weird things to happen to me took place at my mom’s house in Danville. It’s my favorite place I’ve ever lived. I know I wasn’t the only person to hear weird things on occasion. I’d told mom about hearing creaking footsteps on our stairs, and one time she said she heard them, too, and even our dog looked up like he heard something. But these two moments only I experienced.

The first one happened in broad daylight. My mom, sister and I had just gotten back from the grocery store and we were getting groceries out of the van. At one point it was just me outside when I heard the garage door open and slam shut, and then saw a dark navy blue figure walking on the other side of the van.

I went to go open the garage door, only to find it was already open. I paused for a moment and pushed the door open more before running inside to find my sister and mom in the house. “What? What’s wrong?” Mom asked. But I didn’t answer. I ran outside to look at the van and outside past the open garage door to see if anyone was in our backyard. But there was no one there.

The same thing happened again years later, when I was going through my “Star Trek” phase (which hasn’t ended) and all I did was sit at my mom’s computer in our kitchen. My mother was upstairs with my sister, who was sick. My sister was going to take a nap and my mom and I were going to watch “Pride and Prejudice” together.

I was sitting at the computer waiting for Mom to come back downstairs when I heard someone come down the steps, then I saw a person in white walk through our kitchen toward the laundry room. I even heard the swish-swish of baggy pants. I thought it was Mom, so I yelled out, “What version of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ are you wanting to watch?” No answer. “Uh, hello?” I called out, and got up to go to the laundry room to see why Mom hadn’t heard me. But no one was in the laundry room. I knew right away what I’d experienced with the van had just happened again.

I’m the kind of person whose life is all about experiences. Hell, I got nearly attacked by a dog earlier this week and instead of being scared, I was like, “OK, cool, I have another life experience to talk about.” (Just look at my previous column about getting the rabies shots.)

I went upstairs and told mom and Madeline what had happened again, but this time Mom seemed annoyed. “Someone is in the house, Lindsay!” I smiled and said, “Mom, no one is in the house.” And there wasn’t anyone there but us, as our downstairs search confirmed.

Many people would call these phenomena ghosts, and I’ve not experienced anything like that in any other place since then, so I guess the house could’ve been haunted. But I have another theory: I believe in a soul, or something that is us existing outside our corporeal form.

It would explain other things, like how I was able to know the answer was “vermouth” when my grandma asked me what was in a Manhattan when I was a child. I didn’t even know the answer, it just came to my head. Perhaps it’s like Harry Potter and his patronus: he knew he could do it because he’d already done it. It would also explain those other times when I randomly think of movie quotes and then that movie is on later that day.

The most recent example of this happened this weekend. I thought of a song from an episode of “The Office,” one I hadn’t thought of in months. The next morning, I turned on the TV and there was that scene. Maybe I thought of it the night before because I’d already thought of it. I’m sure that’s not confusing at all.

The last unexplained thing to happen to me only happened a few weeks ago, but it was so heartwarming I figured I’d end on a more lovely and warm note. I was on the bus back home from the teacher’s rally in Raleigh, and I was thinking about two friends I had made in high school back home in Kentucky who passed away in recent years. I was so grateful to have known Emily and Miranda and to have called them friends. I can’t remember what it was that made me think of them, but I was sitting there praying that wherever they were they had peace and joy and were off being as hilarious as they were on earth.

As I rested my head against the window of the bus, I distinctly remembered feeling like someone had put their hand on my head and was patting or rubbing it. I figured I knew what it was, so I just let it happen and shed some joyful tears that it had.

Things like that have happened before, but they don’t happen enough.

I will always wonder why the dead have to remain so quiet and why so many things have to remain a mystery, like my soul-consuming affinity for Egypt or why a certain Hollywood A-lister feels so incredibly familiar to me even though we’ve never met. But at the same time, I sort of like the mystery. It’s like my heart knows a secret that my soul knows one day I’ll have the answers for. It’s like this nougat in my soul that I know I can bite into one day.

I don’t mind being titillated by the mystery. I just hope I have more mysteries to unravel as I go on.

 Lindsay Kriz is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or lkriz@brunswickbeacon.com.