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The measure of a man...

“The true measure of a man is not his intelligence or how high he rises in this freak establishment.

No, the true measure of a man is this: how quickly can he respond to the needs of others and how much of himself he can give.”

– Philip K. Dick


“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

– Winston Churchill

Can you help?


Encounter with the Trickster

By Ignatius F. Makarevich

In the course of a human life, there come occasions when the humdrum of everyday existence is temporarily shattered. Have you had an experience that was so startling, so far removed from the mainstream that you changed the way you think because of it? Many people have experienced things that beggar belief. Do you find yourself reluctant to talk about it with strangers? You would really rather not think about it, right? It makes you vaguely uneasy, even after all this time. Well then, come along now and read a true tale of just such an event, and discover the extent of the change it made in the very cosmology of the experiencer, your author.

I had asked Cindy one rather mundane evening to go out for coffee, and she had said yes. Cindy, a feisty, red-haired, lass of thirty years from Brooklyn, possessed a rather charming physiognomy, and the fact that she attended an audio engineering school was truly icing on the cake.

One night, after two or three months of enjoying her company, I decided to create a piece of art for Cindy on my sporty little Macintosh computer. It was to be a greeting card, a very beautiful greeting card, made with the enthusiasm of a man wanting to inspire intrigue. Hours went by as the work took shape on the display. The image went through countless revisions, deletions, recreations, and nit-picky modifications. Who knew a simple image of a stylized woman amongst the stars could take so long to fully render on the canvas of my mind?

The image finally came to be in the wee hours, and the forlorn printer finally came to life and did its work, fulfilling its simplistic mechanical dreams. Hard copy in hand, I trimmed the paper to fit the image to the choice card stock that awaited it. Next, a plaintiff moan played throughout the land, on the realization that the can of nifty spray adhesive was absent. “Typical,” I lamented.

To the art supply cabinet I went, only to find disappointment. Everything was in its place, but there was no spray can present. This absence was most odd. The can was nearly new, having only been used a couple of times. Suddenly, a strange, edgy unease took over. Adrenaline started pumping and confusion reigned supreme. The ingenious plan of getting a few hours of sleep in vanished as getting the project done suddenly and inexplicably became an imperative. There seemed no other course but to search for the missing can.

Fervently opening cabinets, drawers, and finding them empty only built upon the high levels of emotion now swirling about. Moving on to the next room, the search continued, although it was hard to visualize a way for the can to have ever been there. The small kitchen area and the adjoining dining area followed. There was no can. Concern grew exponentially as to why this anxious overreaction had taken control, but no avenue of assistance would reveal itself. Then it was down to the basement, feverishly searching through its darkened nooks and crannies, on its shelves, and even behind the oil burner. No can turned up down there, either.

I was beaten, I was confused, and I was upset. Questions teemed like snakes. “The house is small, so where in hell is the can?” “Did I just not see it, and if so, how could that be?” “What is causing the bizarre ambience permeating this mess?” “Why has this become such a big deal?” Forced to abandon all hope of finishing the card, and dejectedly thinking that tomorrow, another can was obtainable at the art store during lunch, I trundled up the stairs to the bedroom. Looking around again on the way, I was finally able to sleep the very few hours available. The sleep was not restful, no; it was instead most fretful, with much tossing and turning.

Arising the next morning, feeling emotionally exhausted, my muscles ached. Fortunately, there was enough time to take a shower. Leaving the bedroom, heading out through the living room, I entered the kitchen, and instantly came to a sudden, screeching halt. The sight that presented itself sent a terrifying chill down my spine. For there, front and center, atop the kitchen sink, on its thin outer wall, was the spray can, bold as brass. The bright red and white 3M Company label was facing forward in a blatant, eerily mocking way.

I was petrified. Events had caused fright before, but this incident was very different from all of the others. Unable to come to grips with how this can, this singular can, could have come to be where it now sat, I stared, nailed to the spot. Perched as it was, the can suddenly reeked of an almost evil, sarcastic, and arrogant force. The effect was as if an entity had been closely watching the entire course of events from last night. This can was its way of playing with my mind, of scaring the living daylights out of me. The Trickster’s macabre plan had succeeded.

It could only have been the Trickster, an otherworldly being, known for thousands of years by myriad races and tribes of humanity for causing rude disturbances of just this sort. No other explanation seemed plausible. There had been no one else in the house for days. There was the nagging fact that spray cans had long been recognized as inanimate objects. If the can had been there all along, what was the mechanism that caused its invisibility? All the explanations, mundane or not, seemed equally incredulous. Something was not right.

The event fostered a rethinking of the very fabric of reality. Engender it did a serious ramping up of my ongoing study of forteana, the study of happenings, misplaced artifacts and creatures, strange people, weird societal beliefs, fish falls and all the other anomalies in their vast diversity. These things happen with alarming frequency all over the globe. Charles Fort was right to chronicle thousands upon thousands of extraordinary occurrences and bring them to the attention of the modern world. Forteans harbor no preferences as to explanations for such things. We gather, read, digest, and attempt to fit them into the puzzle we all perceive as reality. Science tends to shy away from events such as our featured fright. Science is mistaken in this approach, for to understand the anomaly is to achieve a much more complete and encompassing knowledge of what is in truth going on. I do feel strongly that any ultimate explanation of anything will not be arrived at by answering questions, but discovered by the questioning of those answers, to paraphrase Dr. Bernard Haisch, former director of the California Institute for Physics and Astrophysics.

The world we live in offers frequent reminders to humankind that our level of understanding of the universe is very elementary. From meteorology to social behavior, from biology to quantum physics, remarkably surprising discoveries occur nearly every day. One can see from this tale of a deeply unsettling incident, and countless thousands like it teeming throughout the entire folklore of all peoples, that inexplicable phenomenon cry out for understanding. Although much good work has brought some meager results over the years, there remains a vast chasm of uncertainty to cross. As if to confound us, when a question is answered, ten more take its place. On the highest level, it is vital for the lasting future success of humanity that all necessary exploration is brought to bear on matters of this sort. If nothing else, it will bring us all that much closer to God.