the Wanderling

"If the boy was following the vultures with them acting as guides or they were following him it didn't seem to matter as the young boy walked straight to and into, only to sit down in the middle of, one of the most unusual features in all of the Mojave Desert, a creosote ring. But not any creosote ring the old man said, but a specific one, with a huge diameter the likes of which he had never seen. By all description and location, without knowing it, the young boy had walked to, selected out, and sat down in the middle of what, after it's discovery 30 or 40 years later, turned out to be, and has since been given the name King Clone, the oldest known living thing on Earth, dated as being over 11,700 years old."

Except for an incident that happened during the middle of winter one night around midnight in the cold Arizona desert in the early 1940s that involved a Native American tribal spiritual elder and myself, together with a train I was a passenger on that crashed killing four and injuring over 100, it was for the most part not until months later --- just after World War II with me still being a young boy --- that I began traveling around the desert southwest with my uncle and interacting with Native Americans. As it turned out, more than one of those interactions ended up being highly spiritual in nature.

During the two year lull that existed between the time of the train wreck outside Williams, Arizona, but before I started traveling around the desert southwest with my uncle and interacting with Native Americans, I met a person of similar stripe as a tribal spiritual elder, albeit non-tribal affiliated, called a curandero. Among those who claim to know about such things most would agree, although there are similarities and maybe even some overlapping, there are big differences in the roles of what a curandero can and does in the world and that of a tribal spiritual elder. However, up to the point in my life that I met the curandero I had no call to differentiate any differences because, truth be told, I didn't even know there were differences, and, at the time as things played out there was no need to know.

Not long after my mother died and following at least two on-and-off attempts with me being placed with my grandmother, I was sent down to live with my younger brother in a no sidewalk mostly dirt-street rural area some distance east of San Diego almost right on top of the Mexican border.

The couple's house was built on a corner lot, with the front door facing the street to the north and the east side of the house facing the cross street. Our closest neighbors lived just to the west of us, our houses separated a short distance by a dirt field created by the joining of our two adjacent yards with no fence or markings dividing either of the properties. Toward the end of the neighbor's backyard was a decidedly old rough-hewn trellis like structure with a dirt floor and wide gaps between the boards that formed the walls and roof. Dead grape vines that when alive had crawled all over a good part of the structure covering a large but uneven portion of the the walls and roof, in turn allowing patches of shadow-like dark and light into the interior. The shed or shack or lean-to, whatever you want to call it, had only three walls, the right and left sides and the back, with the front wide open across it's full width and height. At the entrance and inside along the walls were hanging gourds and chili peppers. In the middle of the area on the dirt floor was a roughly built unpainted weathered wooden table and two equally as roughly built chairs.

A very, very old Mexican man, at least seemingly very old to me the young boy that I was, and who I figured was most likely the parent or grandparent of the couple that lived in the house, hung out in and around the structure and the backyard most of the day, sometimes often late into the night. The old man, with long silver gray-white hair with some dark streaks and usually an unshaved face, invariably wore an unwashed looking pullover string tied white shirt with no buttons, baggy white pants with the bottom back of the cuffs heavily ragged along the edges because of always dragging in the dirt, along with a well worn pair of beat-up sandals. However, what struck me the most about the old man was that the pupil portion of one of his eyes was completely glazed over with a gray-white scum. Although initially very scary the first I ever saw him up close, having never seen anything like that to that point of my life, I learned as I grew older that the old man really had no more than what is called a cataract, a clouding of the lens inside the eye.

I had seen him on-and-off from a distance across the lot on occasion, but the first time I ever saw him up close or actually met him was one day I found a good sized black raven or crow-like bird hopping around in the back yard with what appeared to be a heavily damaged or broken wing. As I went about trying to catch the injured bird, with all hopes on my part of helping it in some fashion, the old man, apparently hearing the screech of the crow, came over to see what all the ruckus was and, I guess, lend assist if needed. His assist consisted of taking a long almost staff-like stick he had in his hand that he pointed toward the wounded bird, and when the right time presented itself he barely touched the creature on the fanned out feathers of it's outstretched wing. The bird calmed to such a point I was easily able to pick it up and cradle it in my hands.

Continuing to hold the bird cupped in my hands I followed the old man toward his lean-to shed. Seeing he had ducked his head a little as he went in, as I tried to follow in his footsteps a few steps behind, no sooner had I cleared what would mark the interior of the structure with that of the outside than the bird, which had been calm all along since the old man touched it with his stick, began to make a big fuss, wiggling and squirming and letting out such a screech I thought I was going to loose my hold. The moment I stopped and stepped back out of the lean-to into the more-or-less outside the bird instantly calmed, becoming almost docile. As I waited outside, holding the bird like a football player might hold a football along his forearm against his chest, albeit gently, I began stroking the bird's back, and while I did the bird continued to stay calm. However, the second I made any attempt to enter the structure the bird would become agitated and act up.

Inside the structure the old man took what looked like a small rough hewn stone bowl and put what looked like a few seeds and things he took from a series of little bottles, cans and jars into it. He then began grinding the seeds and stuff with a round smooth stone until the material reached an almost powder like consistency. Dumping the powder into the palm of his hand while slightly picking out or brushing away some of the larger grains, he opened his hand flat placing it up close to the bird's face. Then, filling his lungs with air, with one long, slow, but strong puff of wind he blew the powder toward the bird's face and beak. The bird shook his head a few times from the dust, the cloud dissipating or disappearing almost immediately leaving no residue. Then, standing as best it could, the bird wiped it's beak back and forth a few times across my arm, took cues as to it's surroundings, spread it's wings, and after a couple of minor pre-flight flaps, flew off into the windless sunlit sky as though nothing had ever happened.

The foster couple I lived with was named Freddie and Leona. I remember little or nothing regarding either of them or how I came to live with them or any genuine provable connection back to my onetime family either before or after my mother died. When I eventually moved on to my next living situation I lost contact with them and never saw either of them again. I do know they owned and operated a weekend rodeo type business that had a livestock auction and a carnival sideshow or midway like attraction with popcorn, cotton candy and games of skill --- all of which I had full run of when I was there, which was almost every weekend. In the process, me being fostered to the owner of the rodeo basically in the role of a son, I got to know all kinds of people from bull riders to sideshow entertainers, hucksters, women of the night, rodeo clowns and pickpockets, all of whom and more that became a normal part of my life.

At the other end of the stick, returning to my day-to-day life at home and away from the rodeo, within minutes on the day of the events with the old man and the bird, I ran back to my house as fast as my legs would carry me all excited and telling Leona about the bird and what the old man had done. Not showing even the remotest interest to the contents of the story or what I was trying to tell her Leona said in no uncertain terms, "Stay away from that old man, he's evil." Freddie, only slightly more interested in the events, seemingly able to accept them more at face value, albeit without any response specifically, interjected, "That old curandero, he's harmless." It was the first time I ever heard the word curandero. You could have hit me with a hammer. Just hearing Freddie say the word curandero, with me not having any knowledge behind the meaning, imbibed my soul with deep lingering aftermath of heart pounding results. I couldn't wait to see the old man again. Besides, I thought, healing an injured bird didn't seem anywhere near being evil.

Several years before I ended up living with Freddie and Leona and not long into the early years of World War II, as a very young boy, I was camped out along the Rio Felix in New Mexico with a Native American spiritual elder waiting for my Uncle to show up from Santa Fe. After his arrival he was going to take me back to California to live with my grandmother. On the exact same night I was camping out, a few miles away from our Rio Felix camp, three German prisoners of war who were being held in a Federal POW camp near Roswell escaped. Several hours after their escape the three POW's showed up at our camp, re the following from the source so cited:

"Wondering what we doing in where we were and why, the elder told them he was trying to get me to my uncle and back home. The man who had been speaking in English said they too were trying to get home, that they were German submariners being held in a POW camp close by and around dinner time that day snuck out of an area where they had been being held. They wanted to know where they were and what we knew about the area. The elder told them we weren't from around there and just passing through, which seemed good enough for the three men. Sitting or squatting in front of the fire where I could clearly see their faces they finished their biscuits and left."(source)

At the above linked source I mention that as I laid on the ground in my sleeping bag, bed roll, or pile of twigs I was sleeping on as the case may be, as the three POWs entered the camp, one of the men, apparently not seeing me clearly in the dark, stepped on my foot. What I didn't mention --- because I really didn't want to get into it at the time --- was that the same man, when they got up to leave, stopped to pin something on my jacket. Because it was so cold and he had no gloves or warm clothes on, he was shivering so much he was unable to pin whatever he was trying to pin on me, even dropping it a couple of times. The third attempt he just handed it to me, patted me on the head and left with his buddies. A few hours later the three men came face-to-face with an armed rancher in his barn. One of the men escaped into the dark only to be caught a short time later searching for our camp, a second of the three was wounded, and a third shot dead.

The man shot dead that night had only barely passed into manhood, a 20-year-old enlisted man with the rank of Fireman 3rd Class named Walter Jager. Of the three Jager was the same man that tried to put the pin on my jacket but eventually just gave up and handed it to me as he was leaving. The pin, probably the only physical item of any value or importance he had with him at the time or anywhere else since becoming a POW, was a German U-boat 2d Flotilla cap hat pin, the 2d Flotilla being the unit of which he served with when captured. Of course I knew nothing of such things at the time, although I did covet the pin and kept it with me almost everywhere I went for many years after the war --- even though I was berated numerable times for having it with me because it was German, the conclusion apparently being that if I liked the pin I liked the "enemy." Even though I carried the pin around with me most of the time, for it being German or similar reasons, i.e., being the enemy, it just sort of disappeared one day, a disappearance that was inadvertently resolved or rectified one day by the curandero.

To tell the truth, even though in actuality the submariner was the enemy I never really thought of him in such a context. While it is correct that he was an escaped prisoner of war, the first I saw him he was a freezing-to-death, hungry, not much more than a boy who read comic books with me --- or at least looked at the pictures --- and who gave me the only thing he had of value as a sign of appreciation for sharing what meager provisions we had. Considering the results with the rancher and himself a few hours later and what happened to my uncle a few months after that with foreign operatives, maybe the interaction that occurred in our camp would not have ended as mellow as it did if I was traveling with anyone other than the spiritual elder.

On and off several times a day people of all kinds would come to see the curandero. Men and women, boys and girls. Women with babies or going to have babies. Adults with their ancient and decrepit grandparents. All seeking a remedy or cure of some ailment, create or improve a love life, and sometimes simply to totally just eliminate someone. Freddie told me for the old man's culture the curandero was almost thought of as being a medical doctor. He would put together some mixture or potion using different kinds of indigenous plants and weird stuff and give it to a person after hearing their problems. If they followed his directions, most of the time, just like I saw with the bird, their ills or whatever would be cured.

I started watching him more thoroughly, albeit from a distance at first. Then closer and closer. Pretty soon he was asking me to get him something or hand him something or bring him water from the spigot. One day after having watched him day after day seemingly curing and fixing all kinds of illnesses and maladies I told him I wanted to be a curandero just like him. He threw his head back and roared with laughter. As I ran away, my eyes full of tears I could still hear him laughing. Late that night I heard a slight tapping on my bedroom window and when I went to see what the noise was it turned out to be the curandero. He motioned as though he wanted me to join him outside. It was well into the darkened night, possibly way past midnight heading into the early morning hours for all I knew, and with me still hurting from his laughter, I simply pulled the curtains closed across his face and got back into bed.

Unable to sleep afterwards, a short time later I found myself peering through a slightly pulled back curtain. I could clearly see the curandero sitting on the ground cross-legged in front of his fire pit swigging some sort of a drink or brew, of which he did for quite some time. Eventually he got up and sort of staggering back toward his shack he let the drink container, which looked from a distance and in the dark as no more than a rusted tin cup, slip from his fingers, the contents spilling out on the dirt. In the fire's waning flames once he was inside I was no longer able to see him. After I put on some clothes I crawled through the window and dropped to the ground with absolutely no compunction not to do so, silently wending my way toward the outside of his shed. Inside in the subdued light I could see the curandero sitting in his chair hunched over with his back to me and his chin practically resting on the table, both arms if front of him almost as though he was holding something he was talking to. When I moved closer for a better view I could see he was talking to a crow, possibly the same one we fixed. Instantly the bird became aware I was there, making eye contact. As I spun around in a quick retreat the curandero yelled, "Wait," and as soon as he did I turned back. He had moved in his position to face me but there was no sign of a bird. Except for him the place was empty and there was no way a crow or any other bird as large as a crow could have got past me without me knowing it, even in the dark.

The curandero went to the fire pit and pulled out a partially burnt stick. Using the charcoal end of the stick he made a crude drawing on the table top that looked, even with what little light filtering into the shed, like, albeit roughly like, an upside down or backward capital letter "N" or "Z" superimposed over what appeared to be a submarine. Right away, if it was a submarine, I recognized what he scratched out as being or representing a pin that the aforementioned above German POW submariner gave me a few years earlier, but had long since been misplaced or lost. It was then, at that exact same increment, in a shuddering body-quake breakthrough in time, that my mind raced back in one of my one and only major flashbacks to an instant of an instant before what I give call to as mitigating circumstances. Even though the curandero, inhibited by the inherent limited primative qualities of no more than a burnt end of a charcoal stick on a rough hewn table top, I was still able to immedilately grasp what he was attempting to show me, because I too, years before as a young boy, using no more than a stick scrawling lines in the dirt, drew the exact samething. I was at the Ramana Ashram in Tiruvannamalai south India, sitting on a low wall drawing in the dirt when a man came up and sat down next to me. Then the flashback ended. As I pointed to the drawing and about to tell him I now recognized the sketch and ask how it was he knew of such things, Freddie entered the lean-to all upset and yelling about me being there, especially so late at night. Grabbing me by the upper arm he turned me around, pulling me back toward the house.

Crossing the yard on the way back to the house the curandero, who had been behind us, appeared out of nowhere right in front of us. Freddie loosened his grip on me then let go altogether. The three of us stood there for what seemed like eternity just inches apart looking at each other in the dark. A thick, cold, grey-white low level fog, maybe six or eight inches deep began forming on the ground, around our feet and ankles and across the yard to the fire pit. Freddie snapped at me me to return to the house, go to my room and go to bed. From the window I could see Freddie and the curandero across the backyard standing facing each other almost nose to nose in front of the now knee-high orange glow fog obscured fire pit yelling at each other, both intermittently pointing back toward my room, and I guess, apparently me. As late as it was I soon found it more and more difficult to stay awake, continually nodding off to such a point I eventually fell asleep crumpled up on the floor of my room just at the base of the window.

A somewhat short distance north and east of where I lived with Freddie and Leona was what is known as the Anza-Borrego Desert, a place that in later years would become infamous relative to myself because of an involvement by me pertaining to the one time discovery of a mysterious lapstrake-sided sailing vessel described as having a carved dragon's head found buried part way into and sticking out of a cliff side. The alleged ship was said to be related to explorations by a rugged group of Vikings of the Desert Southwest around 1100 A.D. --- and the remains of their lost Viking ship. However, at this time of my life there was no mention or knowledge of any ships in the desert, lost or otherwise. It had to do with the curandero and a plant that grows in the Anza-Borrego Desert as well as a good part of the Mojave known as the creosote bush.

A few days after the fire ring incident, with no approval or knowledge by either Freddie or Leona, found me riding in the back of a truck-bed of a beat up old broken down pick-up that looked all the same as being on it's last breath. The truck was driven by an old Mexican man who also looked all the same a being on his last breath. Riding in the shotgun side next to the driver was the curandero. We were on our way over the mountains to Anza-Borrego to gather what the curandero told me were magical plants from a special valley --- which turned out to be, at least to me at the time, nothing more than everyday creosote plants. Although I have to admit, as I remember back, the valley we gathered the plants from was an especially beautiful place, so infused with magic as so said by the curandero, they may have been.

The reason I agree with the curandero about the place being infused by magic is because of what happened next after having left the valley with the truck full of creosote. If it wasn't imbued with magic it was either a miracle or coincidence of the nth degree. The on his last breath driver insisted he knew a shortcut through the mountains and in the process, if he knew or didn't know mattered very little as in the end, after being all but lost for most of the day, the last turn he made the road ended almost immediately --- and blocked by a vehicle besides just inches before the road turned into nothing more than a barely discernable rock and dirt foot trail leading up the side of a hill to who knows where.

No sooner had we stopped behind the vehicle, and with me squatting low in the piles of creosote but still able to peer out over the top of the cab in the near waning twilight than the curandero got out of the truck walking toward two men coming our way down the trail. It was obvious the curandero knew one of the men and from my vantage point I could tell I knew the second man. The first man turned out to be one Marshal South who was one of those prospector type desert rats that seem to inhabit isolated far corners of the desert eeking out livings off the land and their own wits. The second man, and where the infused magic, at least for me, comes in, was my uncle --- the same aforementioned uncle above who I was waiting for while camping along the Rio Felix with the Native American spiritual elder. He had been in Yuma for some undisclosed reason and since he was so close decided to visit his old friend Marshal South.

When I got back to the curandero's, reeking with the smell of creosote, we unloaded the truck pushing all the bushes into a pile. The curandero began spreading the creosote from the pile into more or less the shape of a large rectangle ten times my body length at 40 feet or more with the center dirt area swept clean. He had me sit in the center as he completed the sides and ends of the rectangle. Before the curandero was able to do whatever he was going to do Freddie came upon us. He was furious. I thought he was going to kill the curandero and put me into chains the rest of my life. Instead he called the police then my dad, yelling at the top of his lungs telling my dad how screwed up I was, as though I had fallen under some spell of the curandero. My dad told Freddie he would send my godfather down to take me to my grandmother's in the mountains for a few days or forever if need be. Almost as soon as Freddie slammed down the receiver he started building a tall wire fence between the yards. The police came and talked to the curandero telling Freddie there was nothing they could do in that in my case, even though I was a young boy, I insisted everything that I participated in I did so of my own freewill and that the curandero never crossed any lines into an untoward area.

After being put in my room with the window covered such I wouldn't be able to see out, and except for using the bathroom, locked in for two days, my godfather duly showed up driving his spotless 1938 Dodge humpback panel truck. With no goodbyes to either Freddie or Leona or having a chance to see the curandero or my younger brother, my godfather and I left the general San Diego, Mexican border area heading north toward the mountain resorts east of Los Angeles where my grandmother lived, eventually catching up to and using Highway 18, known as Rim of the World Drive, to get there.

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While driving along the Rim we stopped a few times so my godfather could show me close-up some of what he called his handiwork. Seems several of the really lean years during the Great Depression my godfather was a crew chief or foreman of a crew under the Works Project Administration, the WPA, that did a number of projects in the National Forest and along the Rim. His crews, long before the steel guard rails they have now along curves on major highways, built the stone and chain guard rails you see along the edge of the road as depicted in the graphic above. He was one of the people responsible for the proper construction and placement of the actual end product. Those same guard rails, built back in the height of the Depression, as flimsy as they are in their lack of ability to withhold any major incident today, still exist and still stand along many portions of the Rim of the World Drive to this day.

When my uncle was in his early 20s he was traveling with a number of Native Americans around his same age in a then remote part of northeastern New Mexico when he came across a young man age 15 or 16 wandering across the desert alone. That young man, in later years, turned out to be the author of over a 100 cowboy and western novels, Louis L'Amour.

Two of those 100 books, one published in 1976 the other written in 1977 but not published until ten years later, were much different from others he had written. Both were seeped with a heavy mystic quality intertwined with Native American spiritual lore and magic. The books, The Californios and The Haunted Mesa, relied heavily on consultation with my uncle and his indepth strengths he had in both areas, but most surely so in Native American spiritual lore. A lot of what L'Amour weaved through both stories, but especially so as found in The Haunted Mesa, was drawn from the kind of knowledge that my uncle was familiar with and that encompassed what happened to me as outlined in Incident at Supai. L'Amour writes in The Haunted Mesa:

"The Indians the white man met were no more original inhabitants of the country than the Normans and Saxons the original inhabitants of England. Other peoples had come and gone before, leaving only shadows upon the land. Yet some had gone into limbo leaving not only physical artifacts but spiritual ones as well. Often encroaching tribes borrowed from theose who proceded them, accepting their values as a way of maintaining harmony with the natural world."

After leaving the Anza-Borrego with a truck full of creosote and spending the night at the abode of Marshal South located on Ghost Mountain, with morning upon us my uncle, the curandero, driver, and I left. Instead of riding in the back of the truck with all of the creosote I rode with my uncle --- at least until we got near to where I lived. For whatever reason he didn't want to get mixed up with either Freddie or Leona, and as the kid I was at the time I just let it go at that. The aforementioned heated argument that happened between Freddie and the curandero in front of the fire pit the night I returned ended with me being locked in my room for two days after which was followed by me being sent to the mountains to live with my grandmother.

Sometime during those first few days I was out of circulation and locked in my room --- or shortly thereafter while I was at my grandmother's --- the curandero and my uncle met. It seems, as I was to find out years later, the night we were all together on Ghost Mountain the curandero and my uncle went into a deep ritual-like trance state lasting all night, not ending until way into the early morning hours, with the curandero apparently revealing something to my uncle of a deep spiritual significance to both the history and lore of the Native American indigenous population.

The curandero, with forbearers springing from the pre-history of Mesoamerica constructing and building temples for a series of unknown Olmec, Mayan and Aztec kings, had as well, a centuries old unwavering blood-line on both the Spanish and Native American side, leading straight back into the past to ancestors who worked directly for the Franciscan Father, Junipero Serra, during the period Serra was establishing and building the Alta California mission system. Most of his ancestor's efforts circulated around the first of the missions, Mission Basilica San Diego Alcala, and in doing so, as peons, they were not much more than lower level worker bees, doing a lot of the early grunt work digging, cutting, gathering, transporting, moving, and making materials needed in the actual construction and building of the mission.

In the process of that grunt work one of his ancestors, a low ranking member of a work team, was sent out with a group to scout for useful materials and such needed for completion of the mission. In an attempt to cross or find a way around a low-lying marsh or swamp-like area formed around the outlet of the present-day named Sweetwater River where it empties into the San Diego Bay, the work crew came across a remarkable discovery. Returning to the mission to report their find, rather than being commended, the leader of the crew, apparently an officer and a learned man of letters, after a heated argument with mission hierarchy, was said to have been put to death and the rest of the men beaten, being told what they saw and spoke of was blaspheme or worse. The next day mission powers dispatched several workers under armed escort to the site of the find to destroy all traces. Regardless of any pending or potential consequences, even after being beaten or lashed the day before, the ancestor of the curandero, innately sensing something much greater, secreted away a major portion of the find, later interring what he found within portions of the mission walls while it was being constructed following a move six miles eastward up the San Diego River Valley from Presidio Hill or just as possibly, somewhere on the newly established mission grounds. What the present day curandero did was take my uncle to wherever that location was and showed him.

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As the scenario played out, the first crew stumbled upon human skeletal remains of at least two people, including two near fully intact human skulls. The officer in charge was seemingly astute enough to recognize the skulls as being quite ancient and inherently different enough from the typical human skulls, and especially so Indian skulls he was familiar with, to bring the difference to the attention of mission authorities and did so by presenting said authorities with one of the skulls in real life. The next day the second crew, of which the curanderos' ancestor was again a member, returned to the site with orders to carefully search the area and destroy any remains. It was at that point the ancestor was able to secrete away the second skull along with a few bones, returning for them later on his own, then placing them within the mission walls only to be shown hundred of years later to my uncle by the curandero.

In due time the skull found by the officer was sent overland to Mexico City, but, according to how the curandero told the story, somewhere in the middle of the vast wasteland that stretches eastward out across the desert between the Yuma crossing at the Colorado River but before reaching the Mission San Jose de Tumacacori located several miles north of Nogales, those responsible for the skull's safe keeping was attacked by a group of unidentified marauders. Investigators or trackers sent by the church in the aftermath of the attack were unable to find any traces or signs of the raiders or the skull, the skull and all associated trappings having vanished into the sands of the Arizona desert, that is, until 178 years later when the following happened as found at the source so cited:

"In a remote section of the desert southwest, bordering along the upper reaches of the northern mountains, an artifact of deep concern and value to certain segments of the long established indigenous population had been stumbled upon by a ragtag group of grave-robbers and, in turn, stolen from a heretofore unknown to outsiders sacred site. The artifact, although nondescript under almost any layperson's observation, was said to be a potential mind-changer in Native American lore if it surfaced among the general public."(source)

Although the two near fully intact human skulls were thought not to be of Native American extraction by those who saw them, they were human nonetheless and considered by all who came in contact with them to be of normal adult size. What threw everybody into a tizzy was what else was found in close association with the skulls. A giant bone. The bone, of which was taken to the mission and of which many saw, disappeared without at trace and without mention except as passed down by the curandero's forebearers. The military officer reported the bone looked all the same as a femur of a horse only of a giant size, heavy and with a huge diameter. The bone was said to measure longer than the distance from the tip of the officer's finger of his outstretched arm to the tip of his nose. No one had ever seen a bone of such size and how it was connected to the skulls was a mystery. Other bones of such size were either not found or left unreported.

As for my grandmother, who I was being taken to stay with, her husband, my grandfather, had a high-up position with the super exclusive Peter Pan Woodland Club and Lodge, the premier members-only resort in Big Bear Valley and almost anywhere else for that fact. He and my grandmother lived in one of the cabins not unlike the one depicted below that were owned and maintained by the lodge, all or most of which were located within easy walking distance from the main club facilities.

Being under my grandfather's auspices gave me free run of the place, including the swimming pools and any number of other things offered by the lodge. In that there were no movie theaters anywhere near the general area and television was a rarity, on the weekends the club set up a couple hundred chairs in the main hall and showed first run or near first run movies. On one of the weekends I was there the movie was a horror movie with the Mummy or the Frankenstein monster or something like that. Up to that point in my life I don't think I had seen very many horror movies, at least not without a bunch of buddies and/or my brothers.

Earlier in the day I had met a young girl my same age while the two of us were splashing around in the pool and later that evening we sat together at the movie. I don't remember if I was scared or pretending to be scared or if she was scared or pretending to be scared, but at one point in the movie we climbed down and hid under the chairs rather than watch. Eventually we crawled on our hands and knees to the closest door and left. She was with her parents and apparently they had been watching what was going on and almost immediately they were outside on the porch to get her, at least her father was. As they turned to leave a man stepped out of the dark and approached the girl's father asking him for a light. When the man bent lower to shield the flame from the wind with his hands I could see the man was the curandero, all dressed up and spiffy looking, as well as looking all the same to me as being twenty years younger --- but still the curandero nonetheless.

As he was lighting the curandero's cigarette the man asked him if he was from around there, in other words since he was obviously Hispanic and looking sort of out of place, was he a member (i.e., of the Peter Pan Woodland Club). It's not like he was Leo Carrillo or Cesar Romero. The curandero, standing upright out of the light cast from the lighter so his face couldn't be seen clearly and pointing toward me said, "I'm with the boy." With that the man turned holding his daughter's hand and went back inside.

A few years before I ended up at the Peter Pan Woodland Club with my grandmother or went to live with Freddie and Leona in their home near the Mexican border, and for sure long before I ever heard of or met a curandero, I was living in Hermosa Beach in a pretty much normal situation under the guardianship of a foster couple that owned a flower shop in my birth town of Redondo Beach.

The graphic following the end of the paragraph after this one shows the main Redondo Beach business district sometime in the 1940s, looking all the same as it did when I was sent to live with the flower shop people. Shown is the era's downtown main street, Pacific Avenue, looking downhill slightly toward the northwest. Benita Avenue crests up the hill toward the old city hall. The flower shop was located ground level on Pacific Avenue about where the first awning is, just past the telephone pole, center right. As you can see the multi-story building is wedged shaped. The front of the shop faced Pacific Avenue but went clear through the building with a working entrance on Benita. The flower shop couple I was sent to live with didn't live in Redondo however, but in a house not far away that opened directly onto Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach. I attended Pier Avenue school in Hermosa Beach, also on PCH, but almost all of my non-school free time was spent in and around downtown Redondo and the front.

For reasons I don't recall now I ran away from the flower shop people and my pretty much normal living situation they provided. I began holing up with an ex-Marine taxi driver, even to the point of having breakfast several days a week with the taxi driver at the brothel owned by the infamous Fifie Malouf. My grandmother, after being contacted by the school district began searching for me. She eventually found me sometime during the summer after which I bounced between my grandmother, living with Freddie and Leona and my younger brother down near the Mexican border, getting to know my Stepmother, or soon to-be-stepmother as the case may have been, and spending time, which I liked doing the most, albeit put into place at other's discretion, with my uncle more-or-less on an on-and-off basis.

"Not long after my mother died and following at least two failed attempts with me being placed with other foster couples I was sent down to live with my younger brother in a no sidewalk mostly dirt-street rural area some distance east of San Diego almost right on top of the Mexican border."

The above quote constitutes one of the opening paragraphs at the top of this page. It cuts to the quick why my brothers and I were finding ourselves under the care of foster couples in the first place. Months before our mother reached the age of 30, and well before I reached the age to start kindergarten, she was diagnosed as having an inoperable brain tumor. Over a period of time, although starting slow, because of the tumor her health began to deteriorate, eventually reaching a point where she was unable to care for herself let alone my two brothers and me.

At the same time, my father began putting in more and more hours working in order to pay for mounting medical expenses. As my mother's condition continued to go downhill, almost under pure necessity, my father began placing my brothers and me under the care of others. First as needed using day-by-day babysitters, then overnight with grandparents or neighbors, then for whole weekends. One day, a year or so into my mother's illness, a childless husband and wife couple who were really good friends with the neighbors next door, and who just happened to be visiting them for Thanksgiving dinner, a dinner of which we as a family we had been invited to as well, suggested to my father having one of us boys come live with them until things improved.

After first dismissing the suggestion, then mulling over it for a period of time, my father changed his mind and agreed. For whatever reason the couple selected me. I had only just started kindergarten at home when the move to the couple occurred. Then, no sooner had I settled in, in what was to become the story of my early childhood life, I started a new school with all new kids and a new teacher than the two-week Christmas vacation rolled around. With that the couple took me, without my father's consent, half way around the world to India, eventually ending up at the ashram of the venerated Indian holy man, the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharsh in Tiruvannamalai south India, not returning until sometime around the start of summer, in the interim me missing the whole last half of what remained of the school year.

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After my return from India, between the time I left the train station in Williams, Arizona but before I went to live with the flower shop people, I stayed with my grandmother on my mother's side for an unknown period of time.

I had only been with her a short time when we went shopping all day long in town along her daughter (my mother's sister, otherwise known as an aunt) and her daughter's two children (otherwise known as first cousins). Returning at the end of the day we pulled up in front of the garage and I got out of the car opening the two side-by-side wooden garage doors. There, only a few steps from where I stood, right in front of me on the garage floor in the glare of the headlights, in a slowly expanding pool of blood, was what was left of the husband of my mother's sister. The whole back of his head blown out from the blast of a double barrel shotgun he had stuck in his mouth.

My aunt, stunned into disbelief at what she saw, with the car still in gear and engine running let her foot slip from the clutch as she apparently tried to step out of the car and run toward her husband. The vehicle lurched forward in one huge leap, crashing into the swung open garage door knocking it and me down and rendering me unconscious. It took months and months and reasons unknown before I suddenly came out of a nearly amnesia-like walking coma.

Within minutes of stumbling across the suicide nearby neighbors heard all the screaming, commotion, and running around. Several neighbors quickly came over to assist in whatever manner they were able. Shortly after that the police and an ambulance arrived with law enforcement and paramedics running all over the place. Along the way I was attended to with my head wound somehow being dressed. After that what happened is not clear. Apparently a neighbor found me and carried me into one of my cousin's bedrooms and covered me on the bed fully clothed and in the confusion all but forgotten. The next morning I was found wandering in the middle of the desert by an old desert prospector, miles, and miles away from where I had been the night before, with no idea who I was or how I got there. Eventually the old prospector, the honorable man that he was, took me to the authorities who contacted my grandmother as found at the source so cited:

"The sheriff told my grandmother that the old man informed him he was driving along Old Woman Springs Road located down and behind the mountains from Big Bear Lake on the high desert floor when he noticed an unusual group of vultures circling in the thermals. They didn't seem to be zeroing in on an unmoving carcass of some kind, but moving their circle as though following something possibly injured but still alive. Reading the signs of the desert like a book and using his intuition as much as his curiosity, the old man turned north on a dirt road that led toward the old Bessemer iron mine thinking he might be able to get closer and get a better look. When he reached a point about even with the general eastward movement of the vultures he pulled over to the side of the road and standing up on the seat of his open top jeep peered out over the desert with binoculars to see if he could see anything. Sure enough, visually sweeping the area under the vulture's circle through his binoculars he saw some distance off the road what looked like and turned out to be, a young boy all by himself out in the middle of nowhere walking along almost if he had no clue as to where he was or what he was doing. However, the old man said, such it would seem, was not the case. It was as though the boy knew exactly what he was doing, but why he was doing it was a mystery.

"If the boy was following the vultures with them acting as guides or they were following him it didn't seem to matter as the young boy walked straight to and into, only to sit down in the middle of, one of the most unusual features in all of the Mojave Desert, a creosote ring. But not any creosote ring the old man said, but a specific one, with a huge diameter the likes of which he had never seen. By all description and location, without knowing it, the young boy had walked to, selected out, and sat down in the middle of what, after it's discovery 30 or 40 years later, turned out to be, and has since been given the name King Clone, the oldest known living thing on Earth, dated as being over 11,700 years old."(source)

No sooner had the father of the daughter lit the cigarette of the curandero and asked him if he was from around there and returned inside than the curandero stepped out of the shadows putting his hand on my shoulder. Quickly realizing what I was seeing was not a mere product of the subdued light, but not totally discounting me being the unsophisticated boy I was in such things at the time --- I was totally set aback by the so much more youthful appearance and demeanor the curandero projected up close. A major part of that set back was the total lack of the grey-white scum that clouded the lens of his eye forming the cataract that I noticed first thing from day one.

Many, many years later as a grown-up adult and long removed from things specifically curandero, I was reminded of what I saw that night as a young boy and how what I saw may not have been all that unusual in similar or like realms. What I saw as a young boy came to the forefront of my thoughts one day as an adult when I was reading Power of Silence (1987), the eighth in a series of books by Carlos Castaneda. In the book Castaneda writes about Don Juan Matus, the shaman-sorcerer Castaneda studied under, and what Don Juan told him about Julian Osorio, the teacher Don Juan Matus had studied under. Castaneda quotes Don Juan describing Osorio thus:

"His hair was black, thick, and wavy. He had a long, fine nose, strong big white teeth, an oval face, strong jaw, and shiny dark-brown eyes. He was about five feet eight inches tall. He was not Indian or even a brown Mexican, but he was not Anglo white either. In fact, his complexion seemed to be like no one else's, especially in his later years when his ever-changing complexion shifted constantly from dark to very light and back again to dark. When I first met him he was a light-brown old man, then as time went by, he became a light-skinned young man, perhaps only a few years older than me. I was twenty at that time."(source)

The curandero and I left the porch walking the short distance across the property to the frontage road. Prior to reaching the road he asked in a general chit-chat sort of way if I remembered the two of us gathering up creosote, loading it in a truck and taking it to his yard some weeks before. As we passed through the entrance gate onto the road proper and I was nodding yes to his question, we stopped. Waving his hand across the sky emphasizing the unobstructed view of the mountains rising above us a short distance to the north from where we stood he began telling me that beyond the crest of the peaks the other side drops from around 8000 feet to the desert floor almost immediately. As we began walking along the road toward the mountains he told me that northeast from us on that same desert floor just beyond the mountains, probably less than 20 air miles from where we were walking was one of the oldest living things on Earth, having seen it's first signs of life centuries before the first curandero or anybody else had tread the same desert sands. He said he knew I had been within the actual realm of that which he spoke and that the pages of time foretell my need to return.

Without realizing how or noticing the passage of time the next thing I knew, without any effort on my part, I was several miles north of the Peter Pan Woodland Club standing on the very top of one of the highest peaks along that portion of the mountains looking down into the Mojave Desert at the very second the sun was breaking the eastern horizon, the light barely touching me and the peak where I stood with the whole of the desert floor and most of the western sky beyond my left-side still in the night's deepened shadow.

The instant the sun crested the edge of the far eastern horizon the light continued it's rush westward at 25,000 miles per hour racing through the upper sky and across the landscape slamming past me all the while pushing the darkness of the terminator ahead of itself just as fast. In the exact same instant the light screamed across my skin I found myself suddenly no longer on the mountain top but sitting on the gravel and sand strewn desert floor in the center of the same creosote ring I was found in as a young boy, thousands of feet down from the mountain's crest and miles and miles away from the Peter Pan Woodland Club and the curandero.

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Sitting in the center of the creosote ring a number of things transpired. One, the reason why the curandero had gone to the Anza-Borrego to gather creosote in the first place became clear. So too, when we got back, why he went about creating an almost duplicate creosote ring in his back yard for me to sit in. Like some giant huge effigy, I think his plan, spiritually or otherwise, was to translocate me to the actual real creosote ring in the desert similar to what transpired with me on the mountain top. Of course, with Freddie interfering before any results were forthcoming, we will never know for sure.

The reason for being IN the REAL creosote ring in the first place is the second thing that became clear, although the importance of doing so in the overall scheme of things, in my esteem, is highly elusive and has never been made clear. For one thing, the outcome or results as I have always viewed them has never risen to the heights for all of the effort or expenditure of trouble put into place to make what happened, happen. Relative to me I can see the lineage, but on the overall scale of things, questionable.

So what did happen? After being translocated to the creosote ring from the mountain top I found myself unknowingly in a sitting position that I would learn later is known in Buddhism as the Bhumi-sparsha Mudra, the earth-touching gesture. In the earth-touching gesture the right hand rests on the lap while the left hand points toward the earth, although in my case, just below my knee my fingers actually touched the sand that formed the floor of the creosote ring.(see)

If you remember, a few paragraphs back I mentioned I was found wandering in the middle of the desert by an old desert prospector, miles, and miles away from where I had been the night before, with no idea who I was or how I got there. The old man also said, in my wandering, even though I was a very young boy and seemingly lost it was still as though I knew exactly what I was doing...but why I was doing it was a mystery. Speaking of me and a kettle of overhead vultures the old man also said:

"If the boy was following the vultures with them acting as guides or they were following his lead it didn't seem to matter as the young boy walked straight to and into, only to then sit down in the middle of, one of the most unusual features in all of the Mojave Desert, a creosote ring. But not any creosote ring the old man said, but a specific one, with a huge diameter the likes of which he had never seen. By all description and location, without knowing it, the young boy had walked to, selected out, and sat down in the middle of what, after it's discovery 30 or 40 years later, turned out to be, and has since been given the name King Clone, the oldest known living thing on Earth, dated as being over 11,700 years old."

Just like the above quote you may remember from previously in the main text above when the curandero and I were together in his backyard shack he took a stick from the fire pit and using the charcoal end of the stick he made a crude drawing on the table top that looked, albeit roughly, like what appeared to be a submarine superimposed over the letter "Z" or the letter "N." Right away, if it was a submarine, I recognized the scratched out drawing as representing the pin that the German POW submariner gave me a few years earlier, but had long since been lost. Which leads back around to me sitting in the middle of the ancient desert creosote ring and the Bhumi-sparsha Mudra, the earth-touching gesture. As soon I sat down in the creosote ring my hand touched the earth, or the sand as the case may be and in the process of that touching my index finger hit upon something metal. That something, which I scooped up into the palm my hand while allowing the sand that came with it to filter back between my fingers, turned out to be the German U-boat 2d Flotilla cap hat pin given me by the POW and long since lost. I must have had the Flotilla pin with me on the day I was at the creosote ring for the first time when the old prospector found me. Somehow the pin must have fallen into the sand and relative to those who knew of it, me for example, rendered itself missing.

No sooner had I grasped the pin and fully closed my fist around it inside the palm of my hand than I was suddenly overcome by an onslaught of involuntary electrical-like muscular contractions, undulating back-and-forth and in-and-out throughout my whole body. As fast as I was wracked with one spasm than another would hit me just as intense, overcoming the one previous. One instant, as the young boy that I was, I would be sitting in the hot desert sun inside the creosote ring when in the next, overlapping at almost the exact same moment in time, I would be sitting in a like position holding the pin in the same fashion, only as a full grown man in the high altitude cold night outside some ancient Himalayan monastery, knowing full well the thoughts and facts in the heads of each of us as if one. Although it seemed as though there were hundreds of back to back contractions one after the other, as suddenly as the totality of them started they ceased just as quickly, leaving me exhausted, wiped out, and collapsed face down on the the ring floor, sans the Flotilla pin. The pin that had been missing all these years that was found and in my grasp, in a total disregard of the back and forth unstitching in the fabric of space-time followed by a reweaving or healing of the hole, was just as suddenly gone, the adult me in some future or past place apparently having it, re the following as found in The Code Maker, The Zen Maker

"While at the monastery I spent many a cold night meditating outside and on occasion pondering the stars. One night, having a familiarity and strong working knowledge of astronomy it dawned on me because whatever the time difference that occurred or didn't occur inside the walls where I was and that of the outside world --- unless it was a mind game --- there would have to be a difference in star position, if by nothing else the 26,000 year precession of the poles or precession of the equinox, however slight or minor, between the two. From that difference, if there was one, one's place in time could then possibly be determined.

"After passing through the doors into the monastery I went around to the outside front of the monastery and measured off a respectful distance and spent several nights observing the stars and taking note of their positions. After so many days I exited through the monastery doors to the outside world and measured off the exact same distance, sitting in what would duplicate the same spot, again spending several nights observing the stars and taking note of their position. When someone took notice I was doing 'something' I was strongly and harshly reprimanded by the Master and in so many non-understandable words told to cease and desist."

Not long after being harshly reprimanded by the Master for my "western mind set" precession of the equinox experiment, I was sent by him along with two monks into the hinterlands. We came across a woman in a farmhouse who, upon taking my shoulder bag, dumped the contents onto a table. She went through the contents until she found the only item that seemed of any interest to her, a Captain Midnight Photo-Matic Code-O-Graph I had been carrying with me since my brother inadvertently sent it to me while I was in the Army. In the process of her search, uninterested, she brushed aside everything else in the bag including the World War II German U-boat 2d Flotilla cap hat pin given to me when I was a young boy by a POW, some of the items falling to the floor of which the Flotilla pin was one. The thing is, before the pin showed up in the bag it had long since gone missing, having been lost by me years before when I was just a kid. The pin wasn't with me while I was in the Army or left on my journey to the monastery. It only showed up one night when I was outside the monastery walls meditating. Before the pin even hit the floor it was back sitting on the table. When the farmhouse woman saw it still sitting there, although I'm sure she thought she had brushed it off, she attempted to brush it off again, but the pin wouldn't move. Frustrated by being held up by such a minor item in the overall scheme of things as she viewed it, she decided to just pick it up, if for no other reason I thought, than to toss it across the room. The instant she touched the pin it morphed down into a small puddle looking all the same as mercury and disappeared through the cracks between the planks that formed the table top. When the woman decided she was done I gathered up my stuff to put back in my bag and when I did, the pin, which I found on the floor, was whole again.

As for any differences in star positions caused by the celestial motion of the 26,000 year precession of the equinox that I thought might manifest itself between the inside and the outside of the monastery grounds and environs, my suspicions proved correct.


Notice in the above graphic the pole star for our era, Polaris, is placed at the very top center of the precession orbit while curiously enough, of all the stars that could be, straight down and directly below, Vega just happens to be at the very bottom center, one half way away in the 26,000 year precession cycle.

Vega was the northern pole star around 12,000 BC and will be so again around the year 13,727. The creosote ring is dated as being over 11,700 years old, which for all practical purposes is 12,000 years, making it's very inception on earth beginning during the exact same period of time Vega was the north star. During my meditation periods on the monastery grounds outside and in front of the doors prior to any passing through into the monastery, the nighttime sky north star was Polaris, indicating a present day time frame reference. After passing through the monastery doors and exiting outside and around to the front, the nighttime north star was Vega, indicating a time frame reference around 12,000 BC, just at the end of the ice age ... OR in the future as stated above 13,727 AD, making for the creosote ring (and just as important) one full 26,000 year circumnavigation of the precession of the equinox.

When my grandmother came by the sheriff's office to pick me up, strung around my neck was small cloth sack like a Bull Durham tobacco bag filled with 50 or more pieces of buckshot. The sheriff told her that one day when the old man did not return the woman and I went out across the desert looking for him. We didn't find the old man during our search but we did come across a fairly large but barely alive coyote that had been all shot up in the hindquarters and left rear leg by buckshot. We took the wounded coyote, a coyote that was easily twice the size of any normal one, back to the woman's shack. We then spent the rest of night and next day pulling buckshot out of the rear and back leg of the animal, throwing the little lead balls into a pan. The woman patched the coyote up as best she could and nursed him back to health over a couple of days. Then with his regained strength the coyote simply limped off into the sagebrush. However, before she turned the coyote loose she took the buckshot we removed and counted it out into two equal piles, putting one pile into a little cloth bag and the other pile into a second identical cloth bag. Then she put one bag around my neck and the other around the coyote's neck.

Before we left town the sheriff told my grandmother the old man and woman had driven in that day and if she wanted to thank them for caring for me he could take us to see them. The old man was in the jeep on the passenger side alone when we drove up with the woman just coming out of a nearby grocery store. My grandmother said the old man excused himself for not getting out of the jeep during the introduction because he had taken a terrifically bad fall in the desert some days before having scraped up his rear and left leg so badly he could barely move. My grandmother thanked them and we left. She told me before I got home she removed the bag from around my neck because she was afraid because it was filled with buckshot it might upset my aunt considering how her husband died. My grandmother also told me there must be some kind of desert tradition or something because the old man in the jeep had what appeared to be small sack of buckshot tied around his neck just like mine --- a bag that seemed to be an exact same duplicate of the one I had tied around my neck.(see)

My grandmother took me back with her to Big Bear and at first I stayed with her bouncing back and forth between her and my uncle for awhile, even starting school, when, for unknown reasons, I was returned to Freddie and Leona's once again to live with my younger brother. In the short few months I was gone things had changed big time, not only for me but physically the layout of Freddie and Leona's place. For one thing there was no sign of the curandero next door. His lean-to shack was still there as well as the fire pit. The creosote we hauled in from the desert was still there too, in a hard to make out warped wind blown configuration of the rectangle we were building when I was there last, but seeing all the stuff you could tell none of it had been maintained.

Since I had been gone Freddie had taken it upon himself to construct fairly tall wire fence right along the property line between his place and the curandero's starting from the street in front of the house running clear to the back of the yard then turning left along the back property line to the street that paralleled the east side of the lot. In the 10 or 15 foot gap between the side wall that went toward the back from the front of the house to the fence that ran along the curandero's yard Freddie built a fence that would, for example, block access to the street if I were to climb out of my bedroom window.

Besides what had changed physically I too had changed. Even though I hadn't chronologically I had somehow matured, like I was somehow above or better than them in my knowledge of myself and how the world worked. I also knew I had no clue what my future held. I had run away before but I always had something or someone to run away to. Now there was nothing in front of me I could grasp, so if nothing else I felt I would have to make the best of it until I could figure something out. However, before I even had a chance to do much of anything Fate or Karma or something with no name at all intervened.

I don't remember how long, but looking back probably not much more than a month or two, several at the most, out of the blue and totally unannounced, my father showed up all dapper looking and handsome driving probably one of the very first brand-new post-war Pontiac Streamliner fastback sedans off the assembly line, telling my brother and me he wanted to take us to Los Angeles for a few days to meet someone. That someone turned out to be the person that would eventually become my stepmother.

In the few seconds of morning that I ended up several miles north of the Peter Pan Woodland Club standing on the very top of one of the highest peaks along portion of the mountains looking down into the Mojave Desert just before the sun was about to break the eastern horizon was the last time I saw or was aware of the curandero that day. It was years before I saw him again, a meeting that is fully covered in the follow-up or sequel as found in the link below:



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The Case Against "Shamans" In the
North American Indigenous Cultures

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As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.

Now, while it is true that during the time that elapsed between me being knocked unconscious by the garage door following the suicide of my uncle and being left on the curb to live with the flower shop people months and months later, it took years for me to begin to recall anything that transpired between those two events --- and even then only a smattering of coming-and-going fleeting glimpses. However, there is one thing my grandmother said I told her right after she picked me up from the sheriff, and of which other than her telling me, I do not remember. She said when she asked how in the world I ever ended up so far out in the middle of the desert, especially all alone, I told her I got out of bed while it was still dark, and all by myself, walked up to the hill behind my aunt's house. There I climbed up to the top of the highest boulder I could find and stood there. I told her while standing on the boulder a huge bird as dark as the night sky and as big as I was or bigger, landed on the rock just opposite me. I got scared and turned to leave. Just as I began to move the bird swooped down and picked me up.

My grandmother scoffed at the story figuring it was either the run-away imagination and ramblings of a little kid or I was recalling some sort of dream or hallucination. However, I told her one more thing as part of the story. Before I got up and left my aunt's house I had been put into the room of one of my cousins. Following the events of that night my girl cousin would not leave the side of her mother so, unconscious as I was I was put into her room. Her bed was covered with stuffed animals and dolls of which there was a matched set of Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. When I left her room in the middle of the night I apparently took the Andy doll with me, something my cousin noticed missing almost right away when things for her returned closer to some sort of normalcy. Of course no one knew what happened to it and in all the searching nobody was able to find it no matter where they looked. My grandmother, after learning I carried the doll with me when I left my cousin's room asked what I had done with it. I told her I had dropped it on the mountain (i.e., the boulders up and behind my aunt's house) when the bird took me.

While it may be quite reasonable for any person to identify totally with my grandmother's feelings that what I recounted regarding a giant bird was either the run-away imagination and ramblings of a little kid or I was recalling some sort of dream or hallucination, it should be noted what happened many, many months later when my boy cousin was playing, as he often did, in a fort he had built in the same rocks and boulders up behind his house. In the process of his playing, way down between the crevasse of some of the boulders, he found the long missing Andy doll of my girl cousin. The exact same Andy doll that I told my grandmother I had with me and dropped the night I wandered away from the house.

It should also be noted, if nothing else, when I was found it was the next day and I was out in the middle of the desert many, many miles away from the location of my aunt's house in the mountains.