Monday, November 14, 2011

compelled to sleep out under the stars


A map of the area near New Paltz, New York, known as the Shawangunks

At one point in my life I had dedicated myself to rock climbing, this happened while living in New York City. This little story took place in the summer of 1993, and at the time I was 31 (I am 49 as I write this).

I had a secret spot where I liked to sleep out under the stars. It was on top of a dramatic cliff system known as the Shawangunks. This was just a few miles outside of the town of New Paltz, (noted on the map with a RED marker) this is about 90 miles north of New York City. It was near the “hair-pin-turn” if you are at all familiar with the area. I would sneak into the woods and camp alone on the Mohonk Preserve, a protected private park. This is a perfectly lovely spot with a delightful wilderness feel.

The spot where I slept was out on a big expanse of lumpy white rock, this is the same rock formation that makes up the cliff system where all the climbing takes place. The rock itself is a hard, silica-cemented conglomerate of white quartz pebbles and sandstone. My sleeping spot was simply a shallow flat spot, exactly the size of my sleeping pad, and it was absolutely beautiful.

One night (I am quite certain it was a Friday) at about 11:30, I was in my little apartment in Greenwich Village. At that late hour, I was sort of “compelled” to get in my car and drive north to my little secret spot. It was an easy drive that late at night with minimal traffic. As I was on the FDR, I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, they're pushin’ pretty hard tonight.”

It was a 90 minute drive and I parked my car at around 1:AM. I took my sleeping bag and pad into the woods and went to sleep. I have no unusual memories at all. The next morning, I met with some of the local climbers and enjoyed a day of rock climbing.

Now, this “event” can easily be dismissed as just me wanting to get out of the crowded city and get an early start the next morning, I recognize that. Or, just me wanting to sleep outside under the stars in a pretty place; this is something I still do a lot in the summer.

All that said, I’m still confused about that little voice in my head that just kind of blurted out: “Wow, they're pushin’ pretty hard tonight.”

I had read Whitley Strieber’s COMMUNION a few years earlier, and he gave some details about his cabin, and I realized it was rather close to my secret spot, maybe just a few miles away. I only thought about this years later when UNKNOWN COUNTRY noted that Whitley’s cabin was quite close to those cliffs. When I read that, I had a sinking feeling. But why?

I have pin-pointed my secret sleeping spot exactly on a map (noted on the map with a YELLOW marker). I later learned that Whitley’s cabin was near the little town of Accord (noted on the map with a BLUE marker). The town is less than four miles from my sleeping spot. I don’t know the exact location of the cabin, but it could be as close as two miles from my sleeping spot.

I’ll add that some years later, I went up to that spot, but not to sleep. It was the middle of the day and I was visiting New Paltz. I was curious if I could even find it again on the big open expanse of white rock.

I walked straight to it, and on this one lone spot, someone had spray painted a pentagram in a circle. (it may have been an “A” in a circle, I can’t remember exactly). This bit of creepy graffiti was right exactly where I slept! Nothing else was noted anywhere on the huge area. Weird!

That’s it, overall it’s nothing all that eventful, but upon reflection some of the details sure feel strange to me.
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3 comments:

Brownie said...

Oh yes, that's ufo country - smack dab in the Hudson Valley. New Paltz is about 65 miles so. west of me. During the "flying triangle"
flap of the 1980s into the 1990s the big triangles were seen coming out of that area, traveling east near Hartford Ct. and then meandering back or just disappearing.

I have a cousin who lives slightly west of New Paltz and his attitude is that the ufo sightings as well as lights and orbs at night are best ignored because there's just so much of it, but no authorities seem to do anything about it (nor have answers).

~ Susan

Red Pill Junkie said...

I was reading your post and the moment I got to 'Catskill' on the Wiki page I thought of Whitley's cabin.

So when did you exactly start to visit that spot to sleep under the stars?

I'm trying to picture the place from your description. Sounds like a small flat zone where one could plunge and fall to your death if you just rolled over a few inches to the wrong side! You must be the kind of guy who doesn't move a lot during sleep, Mike ;)

I remember reading in Whitley's books the terrifying howlings he sometime heard during the night. Specially that one night he described in Transformation when he willed himself to meet the Visitors alone in the dark woods, and he could finally lost his nerve and retreated. Did you ever hear or see something odd during those stays at the Shawangunk?

Mike Clelland! said...

1) I first started sleeping at this spot in around 1987 or so (maybe 88?) not sure. But I slept there plenty of times each summer for a series of summers.

2) No, I could not roll off. Don't worry. It was a giant flat expanse of beautiful white rock. The cliffs themselves were a short walk away.

3) I never heard anything at all odd that I remember. I did see fire works on the 4th of July, and agin on 20th anniversary of WOODSTOCK.

4) Looking at GOOGLE MAPS there is a bunch of roads that snake into the woods just south of Accord. I suspect Whitley's cabin is in among these roads. This could put my sleeping spot as close at 1.5 miles from his cabin at the closest.

5) There is also a funny (and I suspect false) story of a gray alien being arrested by the local police and taken to the jail in New Paltz New York. In the mid-60's I think.