It's failrly late and I'm about to go to bed; but before I do, I just wanted to share with you a very weird experience that happened to me just minutes ago.
During the afternoon today I listened to 2 podcasts where the subject was John Keel and his recent departure from this level of Reality. The first one was a tribute made by the Paracast, who managed to gather a most impressive panel of Fortean researchers: Loren Coleman, Tim Beckley, Jerome Clark, Jim Moseley, Brad Steiger and Curt Sutherly. You can download the entire program here. I strongely urge you to listen to it, because these guys manage to give a very sincere —perhaps too sincere!— portrayal of this wonderful researcher and the experiences each of them had with him; none of them shied away from expressing the things they didn't find agreeable about Keel, both personally and professionally —which might not be the standard thing to do during a "tribute", but one has to admit that approach is more honest when you compare it to the over-the-top Memorial death-fest in honor of Michael Jackson recently broadcast by every form of media in the planet.
The other one was a broadcast by PsiOp Radio 81, with with host S. Miles Lewis, who had Loren as guest again. You can go listen to it here. This one wasn't so good, but that's because Keel was discussed only on the last hour of the show; nevertheless Loren did another great job in discussing the sad circumstances of his late friend and colleague's demise —how he deliberately distanced himself from his circle of friends and family, probably more as a result of him suffering from Dementia, than from his usual excentric personality.
So anyway, after finishing hearing these two podcasts I left the office, and while I was walking to my car I was thinking of going to the gym, although I felt kind of tired. But after going to a gas station it started to rain, really REALLY hard, and that convinced me to go to the gym —which is close to my office— and do some work out while the storm passed.
After I finished doing a very lame cardiovascular session —blogging is oil & physical fitness is water: they don't mix together well— I went to the showers area and entered the sauna; there was nobody so I sat and tried to relax. The time was approx 10:30 pm, and the gym would close down in another half an hour; so I had plenty of time to have a nice long sauna before taking a bath.
The boiler at the sauna was releasing strong and quick bursts of steam —that lasted about two seconds— every 10-15 seconds. The temperature was particularly high tonight, something I actually prefer, since I've always thought they set the temp too low; and although the whizzing sound the boiler makes when it releases the vapor is somewhat annoyingly loud —I have complained about it to no avail— I was really enjoying the experience.
Being alone I started thinking about what I heard on the podcasts, and about Keel & Mothman —Loren said something really interesting in both of them: he thinks that "The Mothman Prophecies" is Forteana's "In Cold Blood", which is a way to praise the impact the book had, but it was also meant to emphasize that Keel embellished and made up some of the things he wrote in the book.
After 10 minutes inside the Sauna I felt I was ready to hit the showers, so I got out of the Sauna room. However —and this is where I get to the whole point of this post— after cooling myself with the water of the shower, I decided to return to the Sauna again and take advantage of the fact that I still had the room for myself, and the temperature was unusually strong.
So once again I sat there alone, but after a minute or two something really weird happened...
As I explained earlier, the boiler was loudly expelling 2-second bursts of vapor every 15 seconds of so —for obvious reasons, i wasn't carrying a watch!— but then suddently and completely out of the blue the boiler bursted vapor, but the burst kept going, and going, and going, and going! All this time I was waiting for the boiler to stop while the hot vapor kept climbing my body in a rather uncomfortable way, and the buzz was beginning to hurt my ears.
I didn't understand what was happening, but at first I thought "I can handle this". But after 40 or 45 seconds the heat and the noise became quite unbearable; the vapor was burning my ears and what was supposed to be a relaxing experience was beginning to feel like a torment. I decided to leave, although "fleeing" might be a more adequate word!
I got up and took a few steps, and as is usual when you find yourself in a Sauna filled with very hot vapor, moving makes you more vulnerable to the heat. I knew I had to leave, because even breathing was becoming difficult! I took a breath and the vapor burned my lungs; this room is actually not very big (it must be approx 8mx3m in legnth, and I was sitting in the middle of it), and there were no more than a couple of steps between me and the door, but I admit it: for a fraction of a second I felt panic.
And still the boiler kept going!
Finally I reached the door, and then, at what seems like the exact same moment my hand grabbed the door handle... the boiler stopped.
And there was silence.
I didn't stay to figure things out. I immediately went to the shower to "put the fire" out; but I was very confused.
What happened? Was the boiler entering some kind of automated mode before shutting down before the baths closed down? After I finished bathing I took a last look to the Sauna room —without entering!— and things appeared to have returned to normal, with the usual quick bursts of vapor and noise coming in intervals.
At that moment, and even right now, I began wondering if this unexplainable incident —to me at least is unexplainable— was somehow related to the fact that I was thinking of Keel & Mothman while I was in the Sauna. All the weird things Keel claimed to have experienced, the strange phone calls, the static sounds, all the high strangeness...
In her contribution to Darklore #2, Regan Lee discusses some weird synchronicity events that she experienced when researching about Mothman; something that has also been reported by other researchers and students of Fortean phenomena.
So, if this Sauna event was also another example of high strangeness... what did it mean?
Was it a warning? Like I said, I've always enjoyed Sauna sessions, and I feel I can endure vapor of higher temperature better than most people —it's something I've done since I was a child— But this event defeated me.
Was there someone telling me that, if I want to enter the hot mist of Fortean phenomena, that I must make sure I'm ready to take the heat?
Maybe it is true what they say: that if you start to notice the weird aspects of life, the weird notices you back...
Damn... another night in which I'll have to leave the lights on :(