Go Ask VALIS, Pt. 1: The Special School

I recently looked up my old college honors program, the Ford Colloquium. It’s pretty much scrubbed off the internet, with a couple of dead links, a brief mention in a random university memo PDF from 1998, and this paragraph in the 2003 Brooklyn College handbook:

The “Ford,” as it was known, paid the bulk of my academic education. Since this was a CUNY (great autocorrect for the preceding, btw) college circa the mid-Nineties, the tuition was relatively negligible. But at the time my mom had just pulled my funding because I wanted to major in English Literature rather than Education, and I was pretty desperate for cash. (I’m still pretty desperate for cash. Mom was probably right.)

So basically, a whole series of inexplicable events & synchronicities happened within a very short timeframe & I eventually received the scholarship (as well as a job in the college’s PR office). It’s like that stuff you read about in “Law of Attraction” books.

I quit the Education program & dropped all my classes, instead opting for whatever basic humanities courses were still available on such short notice. This led me to CORE History, which at the last minute was being rescheduled to a Professor Ruiz. The professor had—by coincidence!—taught my late godfather, so he immediately recognized my last name. He said he saw great great great (great) potential in me, and recommended me for the Ford Colloquium.

My professor with a person you may know

The Ford’s mission was literally to shape the next leaders & thinkers of Tomorrow (which is now vaguely Yesterday). I had no idea why I was there. Maybe Ruiz was just doing a solid for my late godfather Johnny. At any rate, I felt completely outclassed. It was a weird, high-profile, dreamlike situation in which I was constantly stunned I was there; just one of many (many) since that time.

But there was an entire parallel experience of “education” going on for me at the school during roughly the same time period—esoteric education. And that’s not all a euphemism for sexy stuff, I’m talking instead of weird, weird shit.

I remember sitting at one of the reference desks of the Brooklyn College library, eating my sad-ass soggy ham-on-wheat sandwich. This notion popped into my head: what if any of those stories regarding the paranormal & psychic phenomena were true? What if even only one of these stories were true? Wouldn’t that essentially re-write reality as we know it…science as we know it?

What if it was possible to use the rigors of Science to test & prove the existence of this phenomena? My mom was herself an instructor & microbiologist at the same college I attended, and was always talking about “the scientific method”…what if I could apply the scientific method to like ESP & stuff like that?

I suddenly, silently, “made a deal” with God (or, a god) at that faded beige Formica reference desk: I would ask for nothing else in Life if only I could have it proven to me, even just once, that the paranormal was real. I wanted it more than sex. I wanted it more than money. And I certainly wanted it more than being one of the “future minds” of the United States (whatever the fuck that meant).

Within less than a month of that wish, I began to have dreams that seemingly came true. I am not lying to you. I kept very detailed dream journals (part of my “scientific method.” I guess) during that time period. And I began to notice, starting in February of 1994, that I was increasingly “anticipating” future events & situations in my dreams.

But the very first dream I have a record of, from 11/18/92, did not anticipate a near-future event. Instead…it uncannily described in detail (including the fucking sonic screwdriver) an episode of Doctor Who (of all fucking things) that would air TWENTY-TWO FUCKING YEARS later.

It’s at this point that I have to pull a Philip K. Dick & list out all the alternate “explanations” for what I have just asserted was a “psychic” event:

  • I misinterpreted things, assuming causation for what was really meaningless coincidence
  • I interpreted coincidence as meaningful when it was just the random “luck of the draw”
  • I’m boldly making the entire thing up, hearsay in the place of true Scientific Method checks & balances
  • Brain aneurysm, approaching dementia, residual organic brain damage
  • This is all a simulation anyway
  • We are all still stuck in 100 AD

***

As I’ve said, I have detailed records of my dreams from the last 25 years…especially the period from the early Nineties to early Aughts. And I have detailed exegeses of many of these dreams, especially in regards to any (so-called) predictive information. It was, you can say, My Great Hobby.

But the dream I’m going to reference now to close out this post, from 1/19/05, is not a “predictive” dream. It is instead, I suppose, a “diagnostic” dream. And it references a movie that would be quite important in referencing my experiences in college, 1996’s “The Craft.”

“The Craft” features two diametrically opposed characters:

Sarah, representing Good

Nancy, representing Evil

And this dream informed me that I was neither Sarah or Nancy. Instead, I was Bonnie (as portrayed by Neve Campbell):

Bonnie, the dream went on, was neither Good nor Bad. She was on “the Middle Path.”

And so I was on the Middle Path. The “grey” path. The liminal path.

Which is to say, “wishy-washy.”

It was not really what I wanted to hear.

To be continued