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Get Thee Behind Me

by on January 17, 2014

Get Thee Behind Me
by Marco M. Pardi

“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,” the Queen remarked.
Lewis Carroll (1832-1898). Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 5, 1872.

Since the summer of 1964 came to the Northwestern Great Plains on a week-end, I decided to put a task behind me. The young lady whom I had been dating for some time told me of a woman, living in a Black Hills town, who “read cards”. I was told that I figured in a “reading”, with portents of great danger and grievous injury. The “must go see her” was more order than suggestion. My young lady was, after all, the daughter of the base commander. Perhaps she cared about me. Perhaps my frequent and lengthy absences were adding up somehow. Perhaps this woman told her more than she should have. No, that couldn’t be it.

Nominally based at a Strategic Air Command base in the Northwestern U.S., I was in fact actively engaged in a variety of activities. Among these were, in my spare time, taking college and Air University courses and receiving the SAC Educational Achievement Award for 1964. By my reckoning I was a developing scientist. So it was with no small amount of skepticism that I enlisted “Bob”, a fellow Strike Team Leader (Kilo flight, and I was the STL of Echo flight) and close friend to accompany me at least for an outing in the Black Hills.

A hard-bitten rancher’s son from Spokane, Bob was the person I later came to think must have been the model for Clint Eastwood’s characters in later years. With the calm that comes only from proven confidence, he gave his usual inscrutable tight grin in agreement.

Halfway there I remembered that I was supposed to call ahead for an appointment. “Aha,” I sagely said to Bob, “this will be a test. If she’s a fake, she won’t be there when we arrive. If she’s real, she’ll know we are coming and be there.” Science is wonderful at explaining things.

Expecting silence when I knocked on the woman’s door, I stepped back as the door immediately opened and a 60ish small woman beckoned me in. Sweeping the interior for suspicious items, bugles hanging from threads, incense burners, etc., I took the seat she indicated and refused the coffee she offered. Sitting across the small table from me, she pushed a pack of plain playing cards to me and told me to shuffle them while silently making three wishes. Oh, please.

I made three of the most outrageous wishes I could think of and handed her the shuffled deck. She looked at me and said, “You CERTAINLY won’t get wish number one. You will get wish number two, but may regret it. And, you will get wish number three but not in a form you recognize at first.” So, 1 & 1/2 out of 3? Nothing testable here.

She then laid out some cards in ways I do not clearly remember, as I was watching her more than the cards. Over the next 90 minutes she precisely described my past, including details I could only later verify by listening to familial conversations in languages it was assumed I did not understand. She laid out my present in such fine detail I began to question if I should have her arrested or just shoot her. And let’s just say that the future is still playing itself out in precise detail, even down to hair color, etc., of significant players. By no means did her projection of the future merely include events I would want to happen, or that I could make happen. Much of the time, I simply can’t rationally account for why I am here.

While waiting for Bob to complete his turn I thought my experience. I realized that science is not just about describing what we know, making it fit the neat paradigms already laid out for it. Science is about asking what we don’t know and having the courage to admit the limits of the corner into which we have painted ourselves. My misunderstanding of science fell away, though I doubted I would discover similar realizations in the science books I had yet to read. “And the Understatement of the Year Award goes to…” This was an epiphany.

There was something different about Bob when he emerged. His normally “squinty” eyes were round and wide open. He got into the car with nary a glance or a sound. We drove 40 miles back to base.

Time passed, I returned to college and graduate school although still in “government service” in a different form, but refused my Final Vow into the priesthood of what I had come to see as Anthropologism. I had changed.

While retaining the epistemological standards of proof, I was more open to abilities and experiences not measured, or even respected within the cloister of science. Thus, when fellow faculty came to me one morning to get me to join them in a trip to Cassadaga, a Spiritualist camp not far away, I got in the car and went.

Turned away at first by the “minister” who greeted the three of us at her door (the appointment had been made for two), I was starting to walk into the little town when the minister called to me and, with an odd look, said she would see me after all. Either way, okay.

Sitting down with her, I had no idea what she would do, but cards were not in evidence. Instead, she doodled on a note pad and told me of three people with me. Before I could muster skepticism she went on to physically describe the first one, down to hair color, cause of death, and nickname. She then relayed a “message” from him. Turning to the next one, she called out the name of a person I did not yet know was dead. Still, she again precisely described him, the mementos he had given me when we parted, and the assurances that he was happily with his (pre-deceased) wife now. And, finally, she asked me about a specific family member. I answered that to my knowledge she was remarkably fine. The minister looked at me and reminded me that this family member was quite old. She then described a surgery she had just had done, how and where it was done, and told me the family member was quite free and happy now. Good. Except that I didn’t “get it”.

On my return home my then wife greeted me with my suitcase and sent me on my way to my familial home. That family member had died while I was standing on the steps to the minister’s house, being suddenly told to wait.

It seemed that when the door opened, everyone ran in. I met several others claiming these medium abilities. While studying “witchcraft covens” across the State I attended a “seance” conducted by a woman who was a regular in the National Enquirer. My close friend, an Air Force Intelligence Officer, and I sat back for a night of watching the rubes get taken by this carny act. When it seemed it could get no worse she announced that she heard a roaring, whirring sound…… a helicopter…..and a gun battle…….. She heaved her bulk into a straight up position, glowered at me, and accused me of killing (him/her, I wasn’t sure which). Everyone turned to see the evildoer. I turned to my friend, and in a voice I didn’t realize would carry so far said, “Shit happens.”

But the most significant event in those years came when I had the opportunity to conduct an analysis of a woman who had not yet become a national figure. A sort of independent Spiritualist, having parted ways with the Cassadaga camp, she claimed not only to communicate with the dead but also to, with the help of “spirit guides”, assist the living with mundane issues such as lost pets. Details of the analytical protocol would be far too cumbersome to present here. Suffice it to say that, with multiple single-blind subjects (they knew who she was, but she did not know them) at remote locations with call-in communication selected randomly by me, she provided precise, specific, name/description detail over 98% of the time through a study period of 30 two hour sessions (60 hours total study time). She was subsequently recruited into and accepted a contract position with a federal intelligence agency. Later, she figured prominently in research conducted in Arizona.

Years passed as I moved into other positions. Then, I met Jamie Butler, then in her twenties. Again, while I used the well practiced interrogation persona I had developed, Jamie performed with “beyond expectations”. The various professional scientists and legal practitioners I subsequently sent to her agreed: complete and precise accuracy, with delivery of veridical information (not obtainable through any other means). Still, having accepted the veridical reality (I do not “believe” anything) of what she and a few others do, there are concerns.

In the years that I have observed Jamie and some few others perform their art, I gained the impression that most people see the “other side” as being a grand and loving reunion with family and friends. But what of those of us for whom family is a painful memory, and true friends were few? Do we have to be reunited with people we have spent our lives, and in some cases countless hours of therapy, trying to forget? And are there people waiting to “settle the score”? For some of us, that could put new meaning in “eternity”; the line would be long.

Some years ago Jamie and I were doing some audio-taping in my basement. She exclaimed, “There must be 25 people here.” Getting over my worries about not having enough chairs, I began to realize I could not think of 25 people I would ever again want to see. And, I wondered if they were there for her, or were they just a vanguard of those who would have an issue with me. I go in my basement often.

When Jamie comes into a room and says there’s someone here, are they just hanging around? Dare I say, “Get a life”? In another setting Jamie told me of the presence of a man, and described him. The description perfectly matched someone I had to deal with years ago, in a way most people would find unpleasant. I assumed it was him and simply said, “Those were terrible times.” Later, I realized the description could also have fit another man, who also died in an unpleasant manner.

More recently Jamie informed me of the presence of a man, describing him in fine detail, that I could not place. I swallowed the urge to ask how I knew him. And, she described yet another man unmistakably, a man I do not want to see (and the feeling seemed mutual). So bugger off! Not Jamie. Those pesky nose-ins that keep popping up. Life’s hard enough the first time, I don’t need the needle to stick in the groove.

My “loved ones” are comprised of far more non-human animals than human ones; my horses, dogs, and a very special cat. Yes, one or maybe two human ones are important to me, though I’m not 100% sure if that’s reciprocal. And, they aren’t family. If having to “reunite with a family” is the Standing Order, I’m hoping adoption is still on the table. They will have to take me with all my four legged family, or not at all.

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  1. I just can`t say how many LIKEs i wanted to give to this post, but they let me LIKE only once …too bad ! i so enjoyed the whole read here, and had to laugh at a few passages!

    I was not as lucky as you in some of my `psychic` readings, but i do believe we have the ability to connect with people who went `through` before us, so it all made sense anyway.

    Must say that i have given thought too to your concerns about meeting …`not-so loved` ones LOL ! and what happens to people with lots of `vengeance/revenge thoughts `on their plate (but was thinking mainly of historical figures actually, you know, like Templars being tortured and having the pleasure of meeting their torturers in an after-life …! how good can it get ??? 😉 )

    Am happy to say i hope i don`t have too many of these to worry about, and well, in your case, it seems I`ll really have to pray hard for you to find ( and be accepted by 🙂 ) a good adoption family there !! 🙂
    And never say YES if they dont accept our four legged family as well ! they are the most trustable souls and don`t know how to hold a grudge in this life or the other! You will be safe !!


  2. Dana R. Seiler permalink

    Marco, other than wondering if I might once again see my dogs, prior to meeting you I never really gave much (or perhaps enough) thought to what will happen after I die. Now it’s something I think about quite a lot. I also hope I will have the chance to visit with you more there than I have here.

    What a wonderfully interesting post. The more you share about your life, the more I long to hear.



    • Thank you, Dana. Years of experiences and careful analysis tell me that there is no difference between our four legged family and us. We will be together. And, yes, I am sure you and I will be hanging out together. Of course, we never know about timing. But, I’m patient.


  3. Rose Palmer permalink

    That the soul can leave the body intact is without dispute by those who have had either a near-death- or out-of-body-experience. My own NDE was so classic as to be cliche’. Moving through the pure and peaceful darkness in which I found myself, I was drawn to the brightest of white lights. There were beings within that light, but I was stopped by a spirit guide before I could enter it myself. Whether or not these were the spirits of friends and family, members of my soul circle, or just random energies will remain a mystery; at least until I am allowed into that light.

    I don’t believe in ghosts of the boo-saying, chain-rattling variety, but I do believe some disembodied spirits remain on this side of the light. I have experienced several forms of contact with these energies, including the soft touch of an ethereal hand on my cheek. These contacts were repeated, and defied all forms of normal explanation. The house in which I have lived for the past 21 years contains the spirits of two cats (one black, one white) who seem so solid that we sometimes trip trying not to step on them when they suddenly appear in front of us.

    So, what really happens to our life energy when its’ container ceases to function? Do we remain intact forever on some unknown “other side”, reincarnate, or eventually dissolve into a pool of universal knowledge? Will we meet again on that other side; have we met there before? The possibilities are many, and beg questions we will not see answered this side of the veil. I hope we will see each other beyond the darkness; that all those we love (human and otherwise) will join us in their proper time, and that any and all negativity will be left behind.

    Marco, if you find yourself in need of a family in whatever comes next, I’m sure that Lory, Dana, and a few others including myself would be more than glad to create one for you. Rose


    • Thank you, Rose. The house I owned in Winter Haven was big time haunted. My Huskies knew it. Marta and I enjoyed the various manifestations. Most visitors were unable to handle it. What a marvelous idea for a family. Has me looking forward to Going Behind Door Number 4.


      • Rose Palmer permalink

        Don’t be in too much of a rush; some of us would like to keep you here with us a while longer.


  4. Rose, i so enjoyed reading your post !! and by the way, didnt know you had aNDE. but what i liked most is the last part, of course ! what a nice idea !
    Family is not only about blood bonds after all 🙂 , and I`d like to hang out with all of you guys in that other level too !


    • Rose Palmer permalink

      Yes, the NDE happened about thirty years ago, and the memory of it seems as fresh as the morning it happened. Having achieved that level of peace, I find it hard to imagine that anyone would truly wish to return to mortality. However, it’s easy to imagine that someone would wish to linger there before moving forward into the light.


      • Which, of course, calls to question what “moving forward into the light” means. So many fear oblivion of the self. Is love of the self a fatal attraction warned of in Buddhism? Can one be happy if no longer one? Presuming for a moment (which I do not) that there is something to the ideas of reincarnation, is that driven by a need to continue the ego in some form, even if not recognizable?


  5. Rose Palmer permalink

    Presuming for a moment (which I do not) that I could give you a coherent definition of “moving into the light”, it would simply mean progressing in the direction of the unknown. Oblivion of the soul sounds very much like my idea of dissolving into the universal pool, and as such is an end less to be feared than anticipated. I have not found enough happiness in this lifetime to want another. When I make my pleas to the universe, it is simply to be allowed to stop being; and the sooner the better.


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