Healing

Foreword

The events presented here are true as written.  Some were witnessed, others were not but they occurred exactly as told to the very best of my recollection and investigations.  That being said, I don’t expect all who read them to believe them and, frankly, I don’t really care.  I’m not here to prove anything to anyone, I’m simply here to tell what happened to me.  Accept it or reject it as you will.  So long as respect is maintained, I will discuss anything with anyone, but I will argue nothing with anyone!  Lest one think I may have overstated the case, when I contacted Jeff Rone last evening to clarify some points and help me remember correctly some others, he stated to me… “You may add that I had expressed to Jim the first day we got to Broken Arrow that I told him you didn’t look good at all and I thought would be taking you out of there in the back of his truck.  Then the next day you appeared out of your tent like a new person…”   –  Thom Cantrall

The Miracle of Broken Arrow

“Jim,” Thom said In response to his query, “I’m not feeling well at all. My heart is in fibrillation and it’s not running well today. In fact,” he continued, with pain evident in the strain showing on his face and in his demeanor, “I think I will be going home tomorrow. I simply cannot stand much more of this as it’s happening now. I have a feeling I’m going to the hospital before long.

It was July of 2013 and the scene was at Camp Broken Arrow, a gathering of friends, most of whom were, or had been, part of the Oregon Bigfoot group headed by Autumn Williams. We were met at a remote site in the Cascade Mountains southwest of Oregon’s Mt. Hood. Ten of us were camped at the end of a retired logging spur in the vicinity of the Collawash River. The sun was shining on those gathered on this landing amid the tents pitched against possible inclement weather… never to be discounted in this region of the west.

We were to follow up on a prior investigation of the area that yielded more than a little evidence of the enigmatic and elusive sasquatch. With one exception, we were all experienced with the big ones and our efforts had been well rewarded in the past. Our afternoon had been eventful and fruitful with sufficient evidence having been gathered to yield a happy, satisfied group as evening fell and the sun disappeared behind the far western ridge.

A superior dinner was followed by some hours of impromptu music from a variety of hand drums, Indian flutes and one whoopee whistle (thank you Jim!). Some fine and fun rhythms were enjoyed that night between sessions of listening to the resident fauna. We identified sounds of our sasquatch hosts as well as the lesser creatures of the night. One of the more spectacular was the buzzing of the leading wing feathers of the diving nighthawks.

Anyone who has not heard these night divers in their high speed descents that actually causes the airflow over the leading edge of there wings to break the sound barrier, which, in turn, yields a loud, unique buzzing sound in the Stygian depths of the night needs to do so. It is unique in nature and is worth whatever price asked to witness it.

Perhaps a description of the layout of our camp would be in order. The access to the landing at the very end of the road where our camp was established was a small spur road that ran from the east in the vicinity of our camp, directly west, connecting with the roughly circular landing at its southeastern corner.

On the south side of the road immediately adjacent to the landing were the tents of, first, Nancy and, immediately west of Nancy, Peter. Across the tiny road from Peter and Nancy was the A-frame tent trailer occupied by Robin and Maggie. West of this trailer was a sun shade. Several feet west of the shade and about ten feet further north into the landing was the firepit with our seating and dining area around that. This is the area where Wilson, our camp mascot resided. Just beyond the area of the firepit and slightly to the northeast of it, was the large tent that housed our resident bachelor herd. Jim DeMain, Jeff Rone, our host, and Ernie Wargo where housed in that tent. At the extreme southwest corner of the landing and about forty feet from the firepit was Danielle’s tent. She had claimed the spot at the very edge of the landing overlooking the young trees growing in profusion below her site. The last… the one soon to become the center of attention, was approximately thirty-five feet due north of the firepit at the north edge of the landing, just where the ground tips off into the canyon that was logged from this landing. This last tent was home to me and my research partner, Sue Funkhouser.

Our tent was large and comfortable. Sue had her air mattress and sleeping bag at the east end of the tent with her head oriented to the north, away from the door of the tent which was on the south side, opening toward the landing and the firepit. My sixteen inch high air mattress was at the west end of the tent with my head oriented to the west in a T formation with Sue’s bed.

The first night in the tent, we heard bipedal steps outside just before daylight. Subsequent investigation after daylight revealed approximately fifteen inch humanoid tracks where we had heard the walking during the night.

As we retired to our individual beds for the night, hopeful for even more meaningful interactions during our night, we were relaxed and comfortable with our situation.

Sue and I both dropped off to sleep quickly that evening, probably because of our activities of the day and expectations for the night. The night sounds were like a tranquilizer to anxious nerves and served to render our calm minds comatose in very short order.

It was before three am when I awoke to a strange sound and set of circumstances. Outside the tent, immediately by my head, I could clearly hear footfalls… distinct, clear, bipedal footfalls… Back and forth, I heard them walking when clearly I heard my name uttered. It was in a low, deep tone and quietly done… “Thom…” Then again… “Thom.”

My eyes flew completely open as I heard this. To this day I have no idea if it was said aloud or if it was something I heard only in my mind. It could have been either.

Just as the sound of my name was ebbing, my chest began to vibrate! It began silently but as amplitude increased, a low, growling hum began. Soon my entire chest was vibrating and the hum had risen in volume to an eerie, buzzing drone. I didn’t know the outward extent of the sounds, nor did I really know how long this was occurring. It felt to me like this had occurred over the course of only a matter of several seconds.

When the volume had risen to a level where it felt like the very air was vibrating and my chest felt like it was about to explode, Sue came out of her bedroll to ask, “Where is that noise coming from?” She leaped to the door of the tent, on the south side of the tent, the side nearest the firepit, while the walking sounds and the origin of the cause of the buzz seemed to be on the north side of the tent, next to the new growing trees. She unzipped the door only sufficiently to be able to pass her head outside in order to look around as much as possible in the dark of the night.

I looked at the girl and answered with a measure of the amazement I was feeling, “It’s coming right out of my chest!” At this time, I thought maybe ten to fifteen minutes had elapsed from the onset of this spectacular event, but subsequent conversation with Sue revealed that she had been lying in her bed for over two hours listening to it before she mustered the courage and felt the need to arise and check it out.

When I made that statement, she looked at me like she didn’t totally understand all that was happening nor even what she was hearing. The look on her face told me that she would probably have been just as happy to have spent the entire night without ever having experienced it!

Eventually, the vibrations ebbed and the sound tapered off to a minimal hum and finally could not be heard at all. In the delicious silence, I laid on my bed and tried to absorb all that had happened to me while trying to assimilate the fact that I felt totally refreshed and highly renewed!

As I laid there in the silence, I realized the pain I had felt in my chest all evening of the night prior was gone! There was no shortness of breath as before and, though the fibrillation could still be felt, I felt so very much stronger and more able!

In the aftermath I drifted off into a calm and restful light sleep for just a few minute until the sounds of a feeding nighthawk aroused me. While listening to this unique sound, I realized that the world had turned bright with the coming day. Sue had fallen back to sleep and I could hear the smooth, even breathing rhythm of deep slumber.

By this time, I was much too excited to even consider returning to sleep, so when I heard the sounds of someone making a fire in the central pit, I left my bed, donned my clothes, including my extra warm jacket to ward off the early morning chill typical of these high mountains and made my way from the tent toward the firepit. While I reveled in the “new me” that had emerged this morning… the me without the lethargy and pains of only the night before, the first thing I saw, other than Jim busily building a fire in the pit was the spoor of what appeared to be two large, barefooted beings walking the same general route I was now using to traverse the area. A quick perusal of the area indicated that they circled it two hundred and seventy degrees and exited the landing by walking the access road directly between the tents and then exiting to the east.

My initial plan to chronicle the trackway and investigate it more fully was interrupted by a question from the area of the growing fire… “What were you and Sue doing up walking through camp and talking just before daylight?”

The thought of the spoor left my mind in a rush as I pondered Jim’s question and began to realize the ramifications of this action. Turning from the vision of two large sets of tracks traversing the route from our tent to the firepit and thence out the road to the visitor from the mountains of norther Idaho, I answered slowly, “Jim, I never got out of my bed and, although Sue was up and around, she never left the tent! We talked to one another in the tent, but not loudly because we knew the big guys were all around us and did not want to disturb them from what they were doing.”

“Well,” he responded with a hint of confusion in his voice, “I heard you and Sue talking loudly as you walked from your tent to the fire, then out the road from camp!” …again my eyes returned to the tracks in the duff…

Jim had barely finished his interrogation when Jeff emerged from their tent. Almost immediately he asked, “Why were you and Sue up and wandering around while talking this morning?”

We went through a similar routine as that with Jim. The difference here was that by this time I was suspecting collusion… except there was that trackway staring me in the eye… Knowing these two as I did, I knew they were not above getting together on a good joke, though I had never seen them ever use the big guys as a cause of the joke. We had always held him in too great of respect for antics like that. There was, always, a first time for everything! And there were those tracks…

We had just finished our discussion on the subject when Peter came forth with the very same question, followed shortly by Robin, then Maggie. Nancy was the last to make her appearance and ask the very same thing. Sue had joined us at the fire and by this time I had abandoned all possibility of a joke as I had never known either Peter or Nancy to perpetrate any kind of a spoof of any kind, and certainly nothing where the sasquatch people would be involved in it. When all had had their say, only two, other than Sue and I, had not heard it. Danielle had set her tent up away from the route and had heard nothing. Ernie was in the center most tent with Jeff and Jim, but he had taken a sleep aid and had not roused until all but Danielle were up and about.

When the eight of us, the entire group less Ernie and Danielle were gathered around the morning fire discussing the events of the early morning, it dawned n me to ask, “What were we saying? If we were being so vocal, what, exactly, were we talking about?”

As one looked at the other around the circle, it was obvious that a question had arisen… What exactly was said? “Well,” Jeff said hesitantly, “I couldn’t make out individual words. It was more like we could hear utterances that had the form of words and sentences.”

Jim added, “That’s right… and you and Sue both have very distinctive voices that are easy to recognize.”

The others in attendance uttered phrases of agreement and generally supported the statements made by Jim and Jeff. It seemed all others had exactly the same experience. It made sense that if they were making vocalizations in voices approximating Sue and me, that we not hear them as, if we had, we would have been out of the tent immediately to determine how we could be inside the tent and talking outside it as well. HOW they did it, I will probably never know.

After the morning’s events, we decided on an outing as a group. This outing kept us away from our camp for much of the day and we only arrived back in camp in the late afternoon. Since this was the second week of July, daylight held sway until well after nine pm so, even though the afternoon was well advanced, it was hours before sundown. A warm afternoon sun soon sent us in search of shade to relieve us of the rigors of the day. For this purpose, we retreated to the awning we had erected for the purpose beside the road and between the tent trailer and the big tent.

At this point, by way of explanation, Sue and I had teamed with Brian Bland to investigate and research the written language of sasquatch in our research area in British Columbia, Canada. One of the glyphs we were able to identify with a high degree of confidence was the symbol they used to identify me. We called it a “Banner Glyph” and found it often in our primary area. We had identified other glyphs in our Canadian area that we found in other regions as well, but we had never found my Banner Glyph outside of our core area.

It was a jubilant group who returned to the camp, there was a large volume of good natured teasing and joking as each of us found something to eat and made our way to the shade of the awning to eat and continue our conversation over a late lunch. Large in the conversation were the events of the prior night and early morning. Also, much was being made of how much better I was doing… how I was getting around much more confidently. The fact that my health had been markedly improved overnight was the center or our attention as I seated myself in my chair beneath the awning. I was amazed at the difference in how I felt and was pleased to share this with my companions.

I had just seated myself with my lunch when I let my eyes wander over my nearby environment where they locked on something very special… there on the ground within inches of my feet was a glyph… but not just any glyph… there on the ground at my feet was my Banner Glyph! Not only was it a banner, but it was twin to the one I had found in our B.C. Research area the prior May!

I immediately pointed it out to my fellows and, while most were enthusiastic, it was only Sue who recognized the full impact of what happened as she is the only one of the group who had been aware of the original Banner Glyph in Canada!

As evening fell, I was anxious to see if our healer was going to return. I think it was this anticipation that drew me to my bed when the sun had barely left the sky and darkness had not yet fully claimed the land. For quite some time I could hear only only the laughter and chatter from the other nine in camp. It was this happy noise and the whirr of the occasional nighthawk that sang me to sleep on this final night of a very special outing.

Some time during the dark hours of night, the buzz returned. It was not as intense as it had been the night prior. It was not of a volume or intensity to disturb my tent partner, but it was there! It was not as alarming as it had been the first night and, truth told, I had been looking forward to an encore and knew more about what to expect from it. The duration was much less as well. On this night the treatment did not exceed fifteen minutes in duration.

I awoke on our last morning in camp with a feeling of such strength and calm as I had not felt in quite some time. I was happy, I was in balance and I felt like I was strong enough to face whatever the world had to throw in my path. It was a sad time when we had to part that Sunday morning, but we knew that most of us would be reuniting in a very short time at Antler Creek in northern Idaho.

In the first week of August, Jim, Ernie, Jeff, Sue, Maggie, Robin and I were trekking through a night so dark I thought we could well have been inside of a cow! Joining us this week were Tom from southern Oregon and Greg Walker from the Boise, Idaho area. Both of these men were part of the Oregon Bigfoot organization.

Antler Creek lies very nearly on the Continental Divide in the region where the divide also serves as the border between

Idaho to crest of ridge… Montana is beyond… Rain falling on this side of the ridge flows to the Pacific… that which falls on the other side flows to the Atlantic!

the states of Montana and Idaho. Our camp was situated at the mouth of a small creek just short of a locked gate leading to a popular fishing lake. The only amenity to civilization available there was a standard U.S. Forest Service outhouse and table. There was ample space for our tents and the motorhome of a couple, friends of Jim and Ernie, who had been invited to join us there. Sue and I had chosen to erect our tent a bit away from the others as I had no desire to restrict the big guys’ access to me or too my tent. Since it was so late when we finally arrived on this night, we simply found a spot that had no one between us and the wild areas… a spot that would work, even if it was not, possibly, the best or most advantageous for our purposes.

That first night passed fairly quietly. I heard the sound of footfalls around the tent sometime in the dark of the night but nothing more transpired. There were some calls just before sunrise, but they were far off and did not have anything to do with us directly, so I just listened to and enjoyed them for what they were!

Morning arrived with fits and starts. The long ride in had exacted a toll on us and we were paying that toll this morning! Breakfast was a hit and miss affair that stretched over most of the forenoon period without a great amount of organization being exhibited or, truth told, expected.

I took special care to check around my tent for sign of the predawn perambulations I had witnessed earlier. The first thing evident were several single tracks over fifteen inches in length behind the tent. The grass was high and quite thick so definition in the prints was non-existent, but they were very evident by the pushed down stems. It was a comfort to see them there! It was like I had been welcomed home! …To a place I had never been…

Conversation during that day turned to an incident from the prior year. The outhouse was located just off the main road which dead ended at a locked gate just a bit further on which made it very lightly traveled except for the occasional Four Wheeler going in the few miles to a lake. The table and a firepit were just thirty-five or so feet from the outhouse. It had an enclosed entryway that had, in the side facing the table and the pit, a triangle shaped opening at the top which would allow a very tall person to see through it into the camp area. I, at six feet four inches, by standing on my tiptoes could only barely see through it!

It was mid-afternoon of that early August day in 2012 and there was a group of six or so people encircling the pit to enjoy

Thom stretching his 6’4″ frame as far as he could to see out the opening…

a warm fire and pleasant company. In the midst of conversation, Jim DeMain looked at the triangular opening only to see a large haired face looking back at him! Jim maintained his composure and quietly got Maggie’s attention and without raising the his voice nor with placing any unusual stress or emphasis on his voice, told her to remain calm and serene and stay totally quiet but to look at that opening very casually. Jim was able to repeat this with Robin who was also seated next to him on the side of the fire away from the outhouse. When he attempted to alert those across the fire from him who had their backs to the outhouse, the sasquatch person inside became alarmed and bolted from his viewpoint. Jeff leaped up and hurried around the outhouse just in time to hear him disappear into the brush on the river side of the road.

Friday afternoon brought a vigorous, if short lived, mountain thunderstorm that ran us under our awning one more time with hopes that the thunder and lightning would pass quickly. While it may have taken a bit longer than we would have wished at the time we were not long inconvenienced and the first efforts leading to a delicious dinner were seen to emerge.

The evening was, as usual with this group, was convivial with the discussions of the day’s events, a trek to the nearby fire lookout and a hike into the back country by some or the group, being the foremost in importance. Still recovering from the rigors of the prior night’s drive in to this remote spot, I felt that an early retirement was called for.

Jim DeMain

It was not late when I left the fire and made my way to my bed and I assured everyone in the group that there was no need for them to adjust their schedules to accommodate me in any way. I felt strong and able, just tired and in need of a night’s rest. It was with a broad smile and a glad heart that I retired that night. I think, after my night’s ritual of medications, testings and injections, that my eyes fell closed as my head found my pillow and sleep followed as soon as my body had burrowed itself into its comfortable place.

I roused only enough to realize Sue had retired as well, sometime later. As always, she was considerate and held noises and disturbances to a bare minimum, but this night I didn’t even come alert enough to acknowledge her being there… Until some time in the darkest hours of the night…

I have no way of knowing what time it was but the camp was quiet… even the fire had been quiescent long enough that not a snap nor a sputter was to be heard. But, sometime I awoke… totally and with clarity my eyes came open and my senses registered the night sounds… and the, they were no more! Even the ambitious rambling of Antler Creek seemed to mute itself… then it came… “Thom…” Then pure quiet… as silent a the p in pneumonia or the b in Danube… then again… “Thom…”

Quietly, I answered… “I am here. What would you have of me?”

Silence prevailed. Not another word was heard, but there began a quiet buzzing like I had heard only one other place… inside my tent at Camp Broken Arrow on Oregon’s Collawash River! For just a short time the hum was steady but not intrusive. The palpitations it precipitated in my heart were as they had been before. I don’t believe the duration was as long as it had been on its prior administration at Broken Arrow. It came, it did its work and it went.

No one else was disturbed by the ministrations. Not even Sue who was just across the tent from me was disturbed by the

Tom and Greg

activity. There in the quiet of a peaceful Rocky Mountain night, my large, hairy healers had come. They had ministered and they then left as quietly as the toddler with that extra purloined cookie thinks he is!

There have been other nights in my tent in other camps all across North America, from B.C., Canada to far western Georgia. From the mountains of California’s Bluff Creek country to high in the Blue Mountains of Washington but there have been no more night calls of that type. Have they stopped their ministering to me? No, they have not. They have simply stopped with that methodology.

Today, in this era of my relationships when them, I still get treatments of this sort from them, but it is in a simpler, more direct form. The hum or buzz is gone, but the sensations, the palpitations are not. Now, when I start

Drumming in the Evening

feeling down from this malady, I feel a flutter begin inside my chest and the condition merely shrinks away like an icicle on a sunny day. The symptoms may feel quite severe at the onset of treatment but only minutes of their magic causes my heart to calm and my strength to return.

Periodically, whenever I need it, this sequence recurs, effectively treating my symptoms. It does not put my heart back into sinus rhythm, thereby eliminating my Atrial Fibrillation, but it effectively eliminates the negative effects of that fibrillation.

I was at my cardiologist’s office recently and, as he perused the EKG he had just run and listened intently to my heart, he said, “If I could not see this trace and hear the telltale, I would swear by the strength of the other indicators that you had no arrhythmia… your heart runs, in all other ways, just too strongly.”

I smiled but said nothing… it’s a sasquatch thing, he wouldn’t understand… But I do— Oh, yes I do!

Addendum I – I

High Anxiety

It had been an extremely stressful morning.  My anxiety level was outrageously high.  I don’t recall now what had me so askew this morning, but my heart was fluttering and my hands were literally shaking with this strain.  I had wished for some relief from this but not knowing the cause was interfering with my ability to counteract its effects.

Since September 25th, 2010, I have had a “Teacher” in my life.  This teacher I met on the south fork of the Touchet (pronounced two-she… a French language word used in geological contexts) River in the Blue Mountains of southeastern Washington… the state, not the city…  His name is Akanneesha but he is more familiarly known as Red Stripe for the rust-red stripe that runs from his left shoulder area diagonally across his chest to a spot just above his right hip.  This banner is an indicator of his status within his

Spot Where I met Akanneesha

people.

Red Stripe is quite large, even for his people, at over 9’3” in height and weighing nearly 900 lbs.  As my teacher, I had been in his presence several times in the years since I

Akanneesha

had met him.  Usually, he had information of a specific nature he wished to impart to me, but at times it was just his continued teachings.  One other thing he could do, I was learning, was to help me when I had physical problems.

My mentor, the person I went to for answers, or, more commonly, routes to answers, when quandaries arose was, in fact, Arla who had led me to meet my teacher on that late September day in 2010.  Whenever I had a physical problem, her first question was always the same… “Have you asked Red Stripe for help yet?” and she’d then glare at me from the chat screen on my computer until I admitted that I probably had not thought to do so.  After all, I had only recently learned that I didn’t have to travel the seventy miles from my home to his home in the mountains to converse with him.

This was a totally new concept to me.  Whatever I had, I had received as a result of my own actions.  Connecting to others and asking for, or even worse, relying on them for help was a totally foreign concept to me.  It was against this background I was trying to change and learn that I had an ally who was capable of making a difference in my life.

“No,” I spoke softly into the telephone, “it never occurred to me to do so.  I didn’t even think of doing that.”

Without a pause of hesitation, Arla said aloud, “Red Stripe, Thom has a very high anxiety level and needs help to calm down!”

The ONLY picture Akanneesha has ever allowed of himself

Immediately, even before I could begin to formulate a response or a disclaimer… before I could even think of an explanation, I was asleep!  My chin was on my chest, my eyes were shut and I was sound asleep while still sitting up in my chair!

I have no idea how long I slept.  It could have been thirty seconds or it could have been thirty minutes, I could not say.  If Arla had said I had slept for two hours, excepting my neck was not hurting and I think it should have been if had I slept in that position for that time, I could not have argued with her.  That she was still on the phone waiting for me when I awoke would seem to argue against any prolonged period of coma.

But, when I did awaken from that deep, intense sleep, no matter the duration, the anxiety was GONE!  My hand was not trembling.  The flutters in my chest were gone and I was totally and completely relaxed!

I quickly said my good-byes on the phone and just sat in my chair in front of my computer relaxing and marveling in the events of that precious morning.  Come what may, my stress and anxiety had been relieved in a moment’s time by a force totally unseen, wholly unfelt and of a source that one can hardly imagine, let alone explain and certainly cannot reproduce!

Part II

Georgia On My Mind

The pain was brutal! On a scale of 0 to 10, it was a solid 7 with gusts that could lift your hat from your head! It was mainly centered in my right shoulder but my lower back was also contributing occasionally to my over all misery. The shoulder was so painful because the rotator cuff had been eroded over my decades of misuse and abuse until it was actually bone-on-bone inside. As with my post surgical spine, arthritis had settled in and was doing quite nicely. It was growing at a rate that would have made the best of farmers envious of my production levels!

That right shoulder was in such a condition that a full replacement of it had been scheduled for 29 November. Since this was late September, its not difficult to imagine what the near future held for me! While the right shoulder was that in question, the left was nearly as bad and would probably require the same procedure when the right and recovered fully. My fervent hope was that, since I was right hand dominant, having been converted from the left side in early youth – it seems one lefty at a table of seven people really threw things out of sync – that when the surgery was done and rehabilitation complete, I would retire my currently overworked left shoulder back to its semi-retired position it had enjoyed before the demise of its partner on the right, thereby precluding the need for any surgery in the future.

On the last Wednesday in September of 2016, my friend Bob Gimlin and I flew from Pasco, Washington to a gathering of friends in west Georgia. We were picked up at the Atlanta airport Wednesday afternoon by our friend and chauffeur, Keith Bearden and transported to Carroll County in far western Georgia where we met others of the group for a pleasant evening at a local dinner house.

Of course, dinner was an event when in the company of such fantastic people, some of whom I had not seen in far too long and others I was meeting for the first time! I cannot tell you what I had for dinner, but I can tell you it was a great time! From dinner we were driven to our accommodations at Banning Mills, an historical site of particular significance. Bob and I were sharing a very comfortable and pleasant cabin in this complex. This area was the sight of a major textile mill prior to the Civil War and a textile mill and paper mill after that war. By the time modernization (called electricity and electrical powered machinery) led to its demise shortly after the turn of the 20th Century, it was home to five textile mills, two pulp mills, a grist mill and a sawmill… all water powered.

I was no more more than in my bed with my eyes drifting slowly shut when “Bang”, I heard something hit the window in the slider that allowed access to the balcony outside my bedroom! I had not investigated there prior as it was obviously dark as it was past midnight and I was exhausted from a full and active day. This circumstance did, however, deserve at least a cursory inquiry. To that end, I removed all the paraphernalia that allowed me to sleep and extricated myself from the seemingly miles of hoses, tubes, wires and straps that constitute “sleep gear” for me. When I came clear of that, I slid my legs over the side of the bed and executed the contortions required to render me vertical. Slowly, not having my walking stick close at hand nor wanting to turn lights on lest there be some critter afoot and I might scare him off before getting to see him, I eased around my bed to the glass door and, when there, flipped on the light switch, illuminating the balcony and stood quietly watching… thoroughly expecting a raccoon or opossum to be staring in the windows with “hands” extended in a plea for largess from a delighted city-dwelling, animal loving Disney-phyte (was he ever in for a surprise! – of course, being in this part of the U.S., he may have had a greater worry over being an integral part of tomorrow night’s dinner menu). I did not see this… there was NOTHING1 I searched very closely and that was it… there was absolutely noting on or near a balcony more than ten feet off the ground with no manner of access or egress other than my slider door or, perhaps, wings. I reached for the small flashlight I carried with me in my luggage and searched more diligently. There was not a limb nor anything within nominal range of that balcony that could have been the source of any which could have fallen into my window.

My Room — Notice the Slider Doors

When it finally dawned on me to look, then, for a missile of some sort, my light found its way to a small pine cone, only about three inches in diameter laying there on the deck. Obviously, I had located the tool, but I was unable to find he who plied the pliers… I had my suspicions but, without more data I was not going to be able to get any closer to the answer.

I laughed quietly to myself concerning my suspicions as I returned to my bed. I had not been back in my bed but a very few minutes when, while I was laying in contemplation of tonight’s event… “Plop…” another pine cone hit the window gently and fell to the deck of the balcony.

I was highly amused and I am sure that humor was apparent in my voice when I spoke out aloud saying, “Okay guys, I know you’re there and I thank you for the welcome, but I need some sleep now as it’s very late and I’ve had a very full day, so, would you kindly knock it off for tonight and we can get together tomorrow?” Almost unbelievably, I felt a distinct presence in my mind. I had the impression of humor flooding me and I was suddenly very sure of the source of the pine cones finding their way to my balcony.

Thursday started a bit later than I had anticipated when Bob and I slept until Jonathan Goble arrived in Keith’s truck to pick us up and transport us to the venue where the gathering was to be held. Since we had not had breakfast yet, Jonathan set about making that oversight a part of history. I had felt a quick stop at an AM/PM or a Circle K would serve to assuage my hunger and set me at peace with the world, but our host had other ideas and a few minutes later we were filling our plates to overflowing at a perfectly wonderful “Southern Style” breakfast buffet. The selections were uniformly delicious. Eggs in a variety of dishes and styles… potatoes, ham, bacon as well as other meats. Hash at its finest and aisle after aisle, each loaded with foods competing to make one superior to all its neighbors. And, if that was not beyond the best, here came our waitress to ask if we wished french toast, pancakes, waffles or other delectables straight from the kitchen!

There was one dish in quantity which I avoided with great dexterity and aplomb. My seven years residence in Virginia and South Carolina taught me that, to my way of

The Author in Meditation

thinking, grits were simply the white part of chicken manure and were to be avoided at all costs! For some reason, the natives in the area we were now guests like dining on these inedible viands so I was diligent in leaving my share to them… made me wonder if they ate the cow’s grain too?

We spent the day Thursday with the others who had also traveled distances great and small to join here. Bill and Laurie from Michigan had probably traveled the furthermost of anyone there save Bob and I, although Kay and her family, having come from Kansas may have an argument with that assumption.

After a full day of wonderful fellowship and learning, Bob and I had dinner with with the gang at a local Chinese restaurant. After a great evening, they sent Bob and I back to our cottage in Keith’s truck to preclude the need for someone to have to manipulate and juggle the gates in and out of Banning Mills and the area where the rest were camped.

Once again as soon as I retired, “clunk”… a pine cone thunked against my window precisely as it had the night before! The same story prevailed this night as had on the night prior. Again, I asked them to allow us to allow us to rest and was answered with a second cone and that same feeling of welcome and great good humor.

Dinner Wednesday Night

The major difference for the night was my pain level. From the time of boarding the aircraft in Pasco through midday on this Thursday, my pain level in my shoulder on that scale from 0 to 10 where 0 is no pain whatsoever and 10 is pain severe enough to send one to the emergency room, I had been in the range of 4 to 6 with particular times rising to 8 and even 9 which were obvious to those around me by watching my eyes cross and my breath leave me! At no time I was out of bed was the level ever under the 4 level.

By the time dinner was complete and we were back in our cottage, my right shoulder was creating a real problem with a constant ache at an 8+ level and my back was at a constant 6 with twinges higher. While I understand doctors maintain that the brain cannot recognize pain from two places simultaneously but I will simply say that those who believe this need to spend time in the condition I was enduring. I had no problem whatsoever feeling both my right shoulder at an 8, my left shoulder at a 4 and my back at a 6.

While laying in my bed for that first half hour, willing my pain to pass at least enough to sleep some, I felt a wave of energy pass over my body… then a second followed by a third. For several minutes these pulses caressed me. When, at last, the feelings ebbed, my pain level was much, much lower. If I did not move, my left shoulder had no pain at all and my right shoulder had diminished to less than a 2 which I could tolerate. My back pain was the least affected, only dropping to about a four, but I have lived with this pain level in my back since 1991 and felt it would not preclude my from sleeping the night through.

Morning came early after a fitful night’s sleep and my pain level was holding steady so far. Today we were scheduled to travel north to Cherry Log, Georgia and the

Bob ‘n Bear at the Museum

“Expedition Bigfoot” museum there. David and Melinda Bakara had invited us to appear there, sign some books and meet some fantastic people!

Of course, Bob was the major draw. He is a magnet for people and he had the opportunity to meet and speak with hordes of very patient people. A line of people reached across the room we were in and out the door from the time we began at two pm and continued until we stopped at seven pm. Everyone there got the chance to spend time with him and learn, as we have in the past, just what a fantastic man

Bob really is! I cannot begin to people precisely how honored I am that I can call him my friend. Believe me, that is no simple platitude! I am truly in awe of the man.

It was late by the time we found our cabin this night and there was no danger of either Bob or I being found out carousing in the night air! It was immediately to bed… with the same result as Wednesday and Thursday nights… “Clunk”… a pine cone hit my window! As exhausted as I was, I took a moment to thank my young visitor for remembering us. I explained how tired I was and how high my pain level had risen so high over this extremely long day and that I simply could not play tonight. It’s strange that there were no feelings of humor tonight… only of concern. It was as if they could feel my fatigue. Although my pain level had risen significantly over the day with the time seated at a table and the long hours of driving to and from the site, it was not as high as it had been the previous night. Again, that energy wave passed over me and I was greatly comforted in the process. In merely minutes, my pain level dropped to near the level of Wednesday night, allowing me the chance to rest well that night!

Saturday was probably my favorite day of the entire gathering. We did practically nothing of significance but spent the entire day in conversation and communion. It was a time of getting to know those I had not known before… The Chandlers… Theresa… Kay and her family, including the darling, Savannah… The Chikn and Mrs. C…. Jim… and renewing friendships with old friends.

It was during this time that Bob told the story of Charlie, his pet rattlesnake. Anyone who has not heard the history of Charlie and his antics in protecting the Gimlin Ranch really should not consider their lives complete! A Nobel prize in Physics would not further one’s satisfaction as much as learning from Charlie directly from the source.

I had heard Bob’s rendition of Rene Dahinden when he heard of the Patterson-Gimlin film and considered that to be superior to a Pulitzer prize, but tht recitation would not reach the knees of the many lives of Charlie the pet rattlesnake and his love of country music!

“Now Keith, I guarantee you this is the STRAIGHT poop…”

I knew how I felt about Bob spending this time with us at our annual gathering. I am always pleased with any time I get to spend with my friend… but I was not sure how others felt. Oh, I knew there were having a good time and all, but how did they REALLY feel?

It was not until the gather time was past and we were back home with our usual and normal lives unfolding that, while looking at a photo someone had posted on Facebook of Bob seated by the fire with a few of the guests and the conversation was just casual and normal that one of the new friends I had met there commented, Wow, I could not imagine how wonderful that weekend could be, or words to that effect but he finished with this… “I could never have imagined I’d be just sitting around the fire and chillin’ with Bob Gimlin and Thom Cantrall!”

While I am sure it was Bob he really meant, it just does not get any better than that! As wonderful as our afternoon “Splenda Daddy” concert had been… As rare as the day at

the museum had been, even getting to meet a Georgia State Trooper on the way home and Keith even getting his autograph (I still think he recognized us and wanted a signed book…)… As fulfilling as renewing old friendships and creating new ones had been… Even the honor of encountering our large and hairy friends had been for those who had been so blessed this weekend… It all paled in comparison to the sheer pleasure of just BEING with Bob G. in that scenario…

At last, the day ended and with it our time with this amazing group of people. Of course I will not attempt to name them for I’m sure I would forget circle the most important one or, with my memory being what it is, even more and I would never wish to light any of these warm and wonderful friends. It was with a heavy heart that Bob and I were delivered back to our residence with assurances that Keith would be there early enough to insure our delivery to the Atlanta airport in good time to begin our trip to Washington.

Our Gang

I was in bed by 10:30 pm, awaiting my nightly ritual of the pine cones while anticipating a lowering of my pain level. Believe me, it needed abatement. My left shoulder, that not awaiting November surgery was throbbing due to over use. The pain level in it tonight was a solid 7 or so, My back was aching at a level of 6 to 7 but my right shoulder was causing agony at a very solid 9 with pulses after an injudicious move to a nearly unbearable 10. I was not sure how I was going to get through this night, but I hoped by taking one of my prescribed 10 mg Hydrocodone pills it would take the edge off enough to all me to sleep. I had not taken a 10 mg tablet the entire time I was here, having limited myself to my 7.5 mg dosage and not even this much this close to sleep time. I avoided the 10 mg dose as much as possible because it tended to knock me out and I had been in a general situation where it was more important to be able to interact with people and think and respond coherently than to have lower pain but be asleep.

My pine cone tossing friends did not appear this night, but the pill did its job sufficiently that by 11 pm or just after, I was able to fall into a light sleep. My sleep was not deep, but it was affording me the rest I needed until 2:30 am when, “WHAM”… a pine cone hit my window so hard I thought surely it would break!

I shot up in bed as if from a catapult. I was instantly awake and my cpap machine was torn from my face without it even have been shut off. When I realized this, I reached to my bedside table to correct that oversight. That accomplished, I grabbed my small hand light to see if I could find evidence of the event that had aroused me so suddenly. At first, I could find no evidence and wondered if it might not have hit so hard that it had rebounded off the close confines of the tiny balcony. A closer scrutiny of the deck revealed not a larger cone,but a smaller, more condense, more tightly closed cone… one that had not yet begun to open to disburse its seeds. In fact, as I looked more closely and could make it out better as I came more fully awake and into focus, it was a green cone… one that would not yet have fallen from the tree… one from next year’s crop.

As I made this identification, a lethargy overcame me, causing me to want to lay back and relax. I was sleepy, certainly, but I had been roused from a deep sleep often for one

Bob with his entourage

reason or another by these peopl and had not been affected like this. Normally, the urgency to find the cause passed quickly and I just drifted back to sleep… not so this night…

I was compelled to lay back on my bed, even without my cpap machine and I do not believe I could have roused if I had been threatened. As I drifted back to sleep, I got a feeling of great industry, many people were very busy accomplishing many things… none of which I could begin to identify as it was merely a feeling I was getting. I heard my name being whispered quietly in my ear… “Thom…” it said then waited a short time, then again, “Thom…” Of course, this drew my attention away from any other sensations I might be having and allowed me to fall into a deep, pain-free sleep.

Then it began…

I was asleep, I knew that, but I was seeing activity… or rather, I was sensing it more than I was seeing it. There were people moving about and doing things but I could not actually see them. I could not tell what kind of people these were. I sensed an aura of great foreign power and presence, but I saw no one. What I could, and did, see was a control board. It

Missile Launch Panel in Submarine

looked like the type of board we had in the Missile Control Center on board the submarine I rode for five years.

Toggle Switch

There were panels of buttons, some lighted, some not. There were lines of lights… just small bulbs that blinked off and on in a order that reminded me of registers counting in a Octal – Base 8 – numbering system. These were also present on the test panels I used to test the Polaris Missile during that time on board. There were also toggle switches with long, flat actuators on them. I could see fingers reach to activate various switches and prominently displayed on the upper left corner was a register that clearly read 017 and 019 alternately.

The entire scene was hazy and indistinct. I could tell it was a finger that came into my view to flip a switch, but I couldn’t see if it was long or short, bare or hairy, light or dark or even, human or alien. It was just a digit and something was manipulated.

The most important factor was my pain level was decreasing. For more than two hours, it continued. I laid in my bed, unable to move as my muscles twitched and jumped. My skin alternated between very warm and as cool as if ice had been applied and help in place for several minutes. As much as I tried, I could not avoid that which was being done to me. I was the patient… the victim, perhaps, but as long as my pain levels ebbed, I would play the victim for a bit longer.

For about ninety minutes, or until just before 4 am this routine continued. It was not long underway before I realized it w here to help and I could relax and enjoy the procedure while awaiting the result. Just before 4 am, it disappeared and I fell into a solid, sound sleep until the alarm awakened me after just few minutes of this deep sleep.

With the alarm came a feeling that I was not supposed to have seen that control board. I sensed that I wasn’t supposed to have remembered as much about what happened as I did, but especially the control board! To this day, I have to refer back to my initial notes to extract the facts of what transpired that night. My mind will not retain in clearly. Rereading my notes will refresh my mind, but I am convinced that if I didn’t return to these notes, the entire incident would disappear from my presence.

Keith arrived directly on time and transported us to the airport in good order and we flew home. It was a very tired pair of old guys who got off that plane in Pasco, Washington that evening! I had only had a couple of hours sleep that night and Bob, at 85 years old was helping me get where we needed to be in our journey. The positive was, I was virtually, in comparison, pain free. No, it was not a 0 pain level. My back remained at a level of up to 4 and my left shoulder about 3. The real treat was my right shoulder. From that night until going into surgery on the morning of 29 November, it never exceeded a level 4 and usually held to a level of 2 to 3. Surgery went as scheduled and I have not had a pain register in that shoulder of over a low 2 since. Not at any time.

I am more than totally amazed by what they did for me that night in Georgia… a night that will forever keep Georgia on my mind!

 

Addendum II – I

The Day the Pain Died

Most people who know me, know that my heart is in Atrial Fibrilation 100% of the time.  What they might not know is exactly what that means.  By way of a short explanation, it simply means that the top half of the heart does not beat in rhythm with the rest of the heart.  It is a dangerous condition, one I have to monitor continuously.  There is a very real possibility of a pool of blood forming in an area that is not being pumped clean and clotting.  If that happened, and that clot then attempted to leave the heart it would lodge in the aorta and that would stop blood flow to my body with a likely fatal outcome.  To preclude this possibility, I take a large amount of rat poison daily.  The rat poison, sold as Coumadin by the medical industry has an effect of killing the rats by thinning their blood so much even a very light scratch will result in them bleeding out.  That lesion could even be internal… it does not matter, the ingredient in it stops the blood from clotting and thins it to the point that it runs like water and the rat is no more.

Now, of course, I don’t take a dose of it large enough to do the same thing to me… I am substantially larger than any rat I’ve ever seen or heard about.  But, what it does to my blood is exactly what it does to that rat, though in lesser proportions.  It keeps my blood from clotting and makes it run smoother and easier, keeping my body potentially clot free and in fine fettle.  Another thing that will happen from time to time with my condition is I will get heart pains very like those a person suffering a heart attack would get.  I’m told they are not the same, exactly, but I’m also told to not try to make the differentiation on my own… Get to an Emergency Room A.S.A.P and let them make that call.  I must say, I have had to do that on a couple of occasions, but, as one can probably see, they have been of the non heart attack kind so far.

One day, a bit before the incident described in Addendum I – I above occurred, but in the same era, I woke up suffering debilitating chest pains.  They were severe enough that I was contemplating calling 911 (and the innuendoes that the reason I didn’t was because I could not remember their phone number is wholly untrue and defamatory!).  I kept hoping they would ease off as was often the case, but this simply was not happening this time.  about the time my shoulder had decided to enter into the fray and it was time for me to do what I needed to do, my phone rang.

“Hello,” I responded, “What’s up?”  Having recognized my mentor, Arla’s phone number on my phone display.

“What is wrong with you?” she asked quickly and with some heat.  “There is something wrong with you and I can feel it!”

Oh my… she’s done THAT again… she’s read me from 2,000 miles away and I am in trouble again!  “Uh…” I stuttered a bit, “I’m having some pretty severe chest pains and I’m thinking I need to get to the E.R. again, but I sure don’t want to do that.  My arm is starting to be part of it and I don’t really care for that!”

Rather than the Butt-Ectomy I was expecting about now for still being in my apartment and not on my way to the hospital, I was surprised to hear, “Have you asked Red Stripe for help yet?”

I must admit that this was not the first time I had heard this as I kept avoiding calling on him to fix something that was probably my fault to begin with.  I paused pregnantly and said calmly… “No, I haven’t, I was just thinking about calling 911…” When she just came out with…

“Red Stripe, Thom is in a lot of pain around his heart!  He needs your help!’

INSTANTLY, that pain died!  The pain in my heart was GONE!  The pain in my chest muscles was virtually gone… there was a very minor bit that lingered for a couple of hours but eventually disappeared as well… the pain in my shoulder and arm just LEFT… all of this took maybe 1/2 of a second to accomplish!  Before I could say, “Oh my gosh,” I was totally pain free!!!

I told her what had happened, thanked my large, hairy teacher profusely and very quickly ended that conversation to contemplate the enormity of what I had just learned!

Now, I have described in narrative form, four major healing events that are, without DOUBT, the work of our large friends.  What more can they do? I have no idea if they even HAVE a limit… I’m sure they must, but I certainly have no idea what it is!  I have been told they have no powers that we did not at one time have, and I tend to believe that, but in light of this, I wonder just how much we have lost?

Understanding the events above, when someone calls me the “Pope” for saying they have “powers”, can anyone imagine how LITTLE I care what they think, in light of what these people have done for me?  Think about that next time someone tells you they don’t exist and you’re foolish for saying they do… or when they squirm thinking they might get hurt by one… then tell me what you would think…