BITS and PIECES # 55

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November 15, 2014 by palamow

BITS and PIECES # 55

Hello again from Luquillo,

Well, here it is – the final segment of ‘Paranormal Intermezzo’ – I hope you find it to be a satisfactory ‘wrap-up’ of the story…

I’m already at work on another story ‘Backstage Redux’, one more Broadway memory from years long past…

In the meantime, when you have a spare moment, please share your thoughts about my three part ‘Paranormal Intermezzo” story, and its conclusion – I’d love to hear from you…

A PARANORMAL INTERMEZZO – PART III – THE DOUBLE BLIND TEST

Having nothing better at hand to while away the hours until dawn, we decided to investigate – we would employ the fabled ‘Cock Lane Ghost’ method to prove or disprove our joint psychic encounter. Like the eighteenth century Cock Lane investigators, we cobbled together a small list of questions that could be answered yes or no, with which to probe the hypothetical spirit’s actuality…

If the ‘spirit’ failed to reply in its ‘ghostly’ voice, we would instruct it to reply using one thump or knock to indicate a yes answer and two for a no answer. We would then ‘prove’ the result of the enquiry – one of us go below and ask the questions in a low voice while the other remained in the cockpit out of hearing range. Then we would repeat the process after switching places. In other words, a sort of slapdash, unskillful ‘double-blind’ experiment…

After so many years have elapsed, I cannot bring to mind an exact list of the queries we concocted – I recall that each item was short and to the point – I’m certain we asked if our eerie vocal phantasm was indeed a ghost, and if so, had he (or she) perished on this boat…

Since Scotty was on watch, I went below and settled myself at the boat’s mid-ships dinette table and quietly established the rules our ‘spirit’ and I would observe – one knock for yes – two for no, and then softly began to ask the first of our list of questions…

My hair literally stood on end as a single sharp thump which appeared to mysteriously emanate from the far side of the dinette table, echoed in response to my first question – our eerie singing companion professed to be a ghost – and another resounding thump revealed that its last breath had been drawn on this very boat!

Thoroughly spooked, I hurried through the remaining questions – I wish I could recall them all, but I distinctly remember enquiring if our ‘spirit’s’ death had been the result of foul play, and receiving one very firm knock in reply!

With my questions asked and answered, I rather unsteadily climbed back to the cockpit, and traded places with Scotty, anxious to see if his half of the experiment would mirror mine…

He emerged fifteen minutes later and we quickly compared notes – our results were identical in all respects. The ‘spirit’ had ‘answered’ both our lists without any discrepancies!

What were we to think? Keeping in mind that Scotty had suffered a mild concussion, and we were both dehydrated and sunburned a few points short of sunstroke, we were certainly not functioning at full mental or physical capacity. Judge for yourself the likelihood that our experiment proved that we had experienced a ‘true’ paranormal event – quite a stretch, but still…

The next morning we cleared our minds and, as best we could, packed the bizarre events of the previous night away for the moment, setting about the various tasks necessary to get the boat to St. Thomas…

In the early morning of the next day, we sighted St. Thomas. Shortly after noon we were securely anchored in the roadstead off the red-roofed town of Charlotte Amalie, waiting for a launch to ferry us to Yacht Haven Marina. We had studiously avoided discussing our ‘spirit’ encounter – it seemed so fantastic and farfetched that we began to wonder if we had imagined the whole episode – until we recalled the eerie results of our hastily composed ‘double blind’ test…

Once on shore, we re-connected with Peter and Bob, who had arrived in boat number two a day or so before us. We secured both boats and I arranged to have them picked-up and moved to Red Hook on the island’s east end to be hauled out, sprayed for cockroaches, have their bottoms cleaned, fresh coats of anti-fouling paint applied, engine parts replaced on boat number one, and both boats temporarily stored ashore until such time as Baltic charters was up and running in St. Thomas…

Scotty, Peter and Bob flew home the next day, while I spent the next few days at the Yacht Haven hotel, finalizing arrangements for the boats, and investigating the sailboat chartering business. When this was done, I flew home to Boston…

Today, over three decades later, I’m still unsure of what actually happened on that voyage – or if it really happened at all. Scotty and I never attempted to contact authorities in St. Lucia to determine if our story fit any missing person crime, although if there had been, it would have gone a long way to corroborate our paranormal escapade. We were convinced that we would be laughed at and branded as cranks or crazies. So, eventually, as time passed, we filed away our shared adventure as just another whimsical, albeit bizarre ‘sea story’…

Still…

© 2014 – Alan Mowbray Jr.

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