Thursday, May 20, 2010

irrational fear inside our tent

Dream image inside a tent, where I felt myself floating up above my pad with a glowing flat mandala circle off to the side.

I just returned home after spending two beautiful weeks in the four corners area. A close friend, Natascha, flew in from Germany specifically to explore and camp in the canyons and sandstone of this amazing part of the West.

During our trip we had a collection of curious happenings, and this posting is one of the more dramatic experiences. Natascha is here with me as I write this, and she’s been adding details she remembers as we try and make this written work as accurate as we can.

We were on our way north back to Idaho when we noted some issues with the brakes on my car. We went into a small mechanic shop in Cortez Colorado and they pretty much said we would die if we drove on the broken brakes. So, we were stuck down in the four corners area for five more days waiting on parts. We rented a cheap car and made the best of it.

Late in the afternoon of Thursday May 13th, Natascha and I asked the very nice coffee shop girl (wearing a very groovy hippy dress) in Cortez if she knew of any spots to camp near town. She said there was open camping on the BLM land outside of the town of Dolores, just a few miles up the road.

We followed her directions and ended up in a secluded area of tall trees a short ways off the forest service road. We found a secluded spot with an old fire ring and some broken beer bottles. Perfect for our one-night camping needs.

We set up our tent and headed back into the town of Dolores and ate pizza at a cute local brewery. Our table was situated right next to the window and it looked out on the very quiet corner of a VERY tiny town.

During dinner, Natascha was quite emotional. As I write this she explained that she was very much in crisis, she was feeling sad and didn’t quite know where these emotions came from.

After pizza we went back to the camp site and climbed in our small tent. It seems like we quickly went to sleep. This is where things get strange.

I was suddenly jolted awake because Natascha had screamed. It was just a short shriek of fear. My instantaneous response was to bolt upright and scream with an intensity that would be hard to describe. I was screaming in fear, sure enough, but it was also a primal outburst of defense.

I've slept in the mountains for decades, and I've dealt with some scary stuff in the dark. Bears in camp, moose tangled up in my tarp strings, rats crawling across my face - but I have NEVER been frightened in a way that would come close to those moments in that tent.

I switched on my headlamp and held it in my hand. I asked Natascha what happened. I actually had the wherewithal to say, "Tell me the first thing that comes to your mind. Don't think, just tell me what happened."

She said almost nothing, simply stating, "I saw a face."

Natascha later explained that she felt blocked, like it was simply impossible to tell what she had actually seen. She also tried to articulate that she was perhaps still in a lingering realm where time had a different meaning, and I was firmly in our time reality, and it created a sort of disconnect between us.

While in the tent in the moments after our screaming session, I stammered to Natascha, in a voice on the verge of panic: "Look - if we need to - we can just leave - right now - we can leave the tent set up and just drive to town and get a hotel room - we can do that if we need to..."

I was freaked-out, and it came out in my voice. This is something I would never say in any normal circumstance.

She asked me, "Do you believe in evil ghosts?"

I thought carefully and replied, "No." My response was less out of honesty, and more an attempt to keep the mood from getting any scarier.

At some point I looked at my watch, and it was only 11:40 PM. My reaction was, oh sh*t, it's so early and now we have to worry about scary stuff for the rest of the night!

I had one arm over Natascha as we lay there. We sat in silence for a short time, we must have spoken a little, but I can’t remember anything of what we said. Perhaps we were both silent. I know my heart was pounding, and my thoughts seemed trapped in a kind of horror.

I lay there thinking, "This is f*cking terrifying. This is insane. How could I EVER camp out here? How could I ask for this kind of f*cking sh*t!" My mind was spiraling out of control.

I ended up chanting a repetitive mantra in my head, "Love and Light, Love and Light, Love and Light..." Over and over and over. This is how Anya Briggs ends her emails, and it might seem corny, but I really MEANT it!

At one point I put my arm back in my own sleeping bag and promptly fell asleep. I have to say it seems weird as I write this that I could slip back into sleep after being SO freaking' terrified. It seems impossible that we could both simply doze off again.

Later that same night I had a dream. This was a weirdly vivid dream. It took place inside the same tent, no dreamlike distortion, it was very accurate to the interior of the tent. (see the illustration above) I'll add that this dream was NOT scary in the least, it was curiously void of any emotion - good or bad.

I saw a big round mandala figure up and too my left, situated in a very specific point in the tent. It was a simple circle about the size of a large pizza with a lone dot in it's center. It looked very much like the blurry cataract image in my right eye, and strangely flat unlike a 3D orb. (more on that below).

Then I was floating up off the floor of the tent. The elevator-up sensation of slowly up rising felt strangely familiar (more HERE). I thought to myself, "I need to remember this - I need to remember this - I need to remember this..."

Then the the environment of the tent changed to a backdrop of white light. I thought, "Am I on a table? Am I on a table?" I didn't understand where I was. It was a mysterious realm with a uniform white glow around me. Was I on my back? Was I upright?

The dream abruptly ended when Natascha spoke up and said, "Mike, you are floating!" I don't think she actually said this, but I remember it clearly in that dream state. Her words sort of pulled me back down onto the sleeping pad, and the dream ended.

The next morning we immediately began to talk about the events of the night and more details emerged.

I asked Natascha what she saw that made her scream, and she explained that she saw a face within a circle. I pressed her for more details and she said, "I can’t say, but the only thing that seems to match is that drawing you did, of the face in the circle from your blog." [ link ]

This was very curious, she didn't know about my dream yet, and she described something very similar to the round mandala I saw. The way it looked to me was like the image I see in my right eye.

I asked where the face was positioned, at the time I assumed it was directly over her, centered above her face. She instead pointed up and off to her left, at an area in the wall of the tent - exactly where I saw the glowing circle in my dream. Again, I hadn't shared the events of my dream yet. More weirdness about this mandala shape HERE.

Notes from my small sketchbook, written the morning after the experience in the tent.

What actually might have happened is very difficult to say. I cannot dismiss the irrational fear that overcame both of us. This feeling of terror was entirely different than any emotion I have ever experienced, amplified in a way that seems extraordinary. I must have sensed something beyond a jolt of surprise when Natascha woke me with a short scream.

What is even more bizarre was the extremely vivid nature of my dream, along with the matching details to whatever Natascha witnessed. This is also extremely curious.

NOTE: I modified the swear words so the automatic blog format doesn’t add a extra blocking window when readers try and log on.

Part TWO to this story inked HERE

Follow-up posting:
There was an odd mark on my chest that appeared, as far as I can tell, from this experience in the tent. Click HERE for more on this disturbing story.

Mac Tonnies and friends yukking it up in Wyoming

Additional info added Jan 28, 2012:
I found this image on-line, it was posted by a member of the film-crew from Canada that traveled with Mac in 2009 to produce a documentary for CBC television. I was struck by the orb in the photo, and it immediately reminded me of the floating mandala shape I saw inside the tent. Now, this floating orb in the photo could be nothing more than a speck of dust in front of the camera, but who knows? I am sceptical of these kinds of orb photos, but I suspect that some of them represent a genuine unknown.

Max Ernst, The Twentieth Century, 1955

Text added Feb 11, 1012:
I found this image on a Secret Sun posting about Max Ernst. The mandala sphere in this painting seems to closely match my memory of the glowing circle in the tent.

Text added March 13, 2013:
This experience shows up on a curious map with other odd events all lined up in a straight line in southern Utah. (linked HERE)

Text added March 25, 2013:

In June of 2011 I had the honor to sit in as the guest host for Whitley Strieber's on-line subscribers and inter view Dr. Janet Eizebeth Colli. I had done my own interview with Dr. Colli just a month earlier. During this follow up interview we talked about this event in the tent with Natascha. This all ties back into the yellow line on the map of southern Utah, the tent experience was the Eastern most of the three points on that line (that's it's own bag of worms).

This conversation seems a little bit like a client and a therapist, where I ask for help and she shares her insights.

one-click audio download HERE

Thanks to Whitley for letting me post this 30-minute interview here on my site. His site is Unknown Country.


Natascha said...

What would interest me most is:
Is there anybody out there who had any kind of experience where she or he felt this irrational fear? This is not the first time where it happened to me ... but the first time where I had in a way direct confirmation.
And I tell ya': I'm more than surprised that Mike was freaking out like this. This is not how I know him.VERY curious stuff!!!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

This is a pretty amazing experience, you two. I've felt that kind of irrational fear a couple of times, waking from dreams. But the texture was different from what you describe here. Could we re-post? Also, Mike, your Neutrogena story made it into the final copy of 7 secrets. If you can email your snail mail address, we'll send you a copy.
Best -

Regan Lee said...

I have had that terror feeling with dreams; connected with a sighting, and missing time...

and one time I had a completely irrational, unexplicable feeling of sheer terror... I had stopped at the side of a road, one I"d been on before, to look at the view. It was pretty isolated, a wooded area behind me, below, the valley. I felt fine, perfectly normal, happy, glad to be out, etc. No reason at all to explain what came on me so abruptly.

I was just standing there, enjoying the day, the view, and it was like someone turned on a switch, I suddenly felt such deep, overwhelming, physical fear! Terror! It was a presence, I couldn't literally see it but on another level, like something being overlaid onto my vision, I could "see" a translucent light gray mist, or shadow, coming from that direction. I was scared out of mind, and had to get the hell out of there fast! Feeling both terrified and incredibly stupid at the same time for being so silly, I jumped in the car and got out of there.

I have no idea what that was, except that, there was a very real presence of some kind that did not want me there, or, was after me...

Mike, I wonder what Anya would say about your experience?

Something that struck me when reading your account was what Natascha said about the face being "up and off to her left" -- the three times I had the telepathic awareness of entities in the room it was always to the left, and always "up"...

Anonymous said...

Mike & Natascha, I enjoyed reading the earlier blog entry about how Natascha came to America and the mysterious (and romantic) red balloon!

I think the two of you definitely were meant to meet!

I don't have any words of wisdom or advise for what you experienced in the tent, but feel it's a good thing you two were together for this extraordinary experience, which I think will make you both stronger.

Red Pill Junkie said...

I'm a very cowardly person, with a lot of imagination, but I've never felt that kind of sheer inexplicable terror —thank God.

it seems that your vivid-like dream wasn't scary, though.

I wonder if you two could enter a state of 'shared dreaming'. Maybe you should give it a try.

Ed V. said...

Mike, did you have any 'clear conscious experiences'? I've been following your blog on and off for a few months now and that is something that's not quite clear to me.

I also wonder about something and I hope you don't take it the wrong way but there seems to be a kind of theme surrounding your experiences. I'm searching a bit here for the proper words but the impression I get is that they "kind off" fall into a certain "category." (Sorry if I'm being vague.)

Often your experiences fall into that dream / subconscious realm. That in turn makes me wonder about how much coloring or input is done by the experiencer and how much possibly can be external. Difficult matter, but I wonder how you look on that yourself.

Mike Clelland! said...

Reply to Ed V:

You ask about the dream realm, and if you read my stuff carefully you'll find I am struggling with exactly these vague dream-like experiences.

I am trying to be as honest as I can possibly be in my writing, and I work hard to articulate the quandary of the fleeting nature of my experiences.

gibbsonline said...

Mike - As you know I first look for a naturalistic explanation before I consider one that is more "occult". In that connection the last thing you and I talked about in our discussion was a paper I sent you called "Encountering Alien Otherness"

I wonder if you had read it or thought about it before your trip with your friend? If so there is a concept called over identification which your picture strongly suggests you may have been in the grips of.

Additional factors have to do with the heightened emotionality the two of you were experiencing together.

A third factor may possibly have been a delayed reaction you both had hearing about the dangerous situation you were in because of the 'break' issue.

At any rate my best wishes to the two of you who are obviously "survivors.".

gibbsonline said...


As you know I first try to find a reasonable naturalistic explanation before considering one that is more "occult". In this connection the last thing we talked about in our conversation was a reference to a paper I suggested you read an article concerning Aliens.

If, perhaps, you read it before going on your trip you may have been in the grips of something called over identification. The image you drew that was scary did not look like your typical earthling.

Additionally you and your friend were hyper emotional for various reasons. Your fear may have resulted in part from a delayed response to the information received about your 'brakes.'

Put it all together and you have the psychological atmosphere to have such an upsetting shared experience.

Peter Bernard said...

Well, if someone happened by and shined a high powered flashlight on your tent, it would make a circle of bright light on the side of the tent, which could have startled both of you. Natascha's scream would have frightened them off. You both would have been likely to have nightmares resulting from it.

I used to live with a woman who had very realistic night terrors of a disembodied hand crawling up her bed and things like that. Dreams can be terrifying things. Couple that with the fact that both of you went into the wilderness looking for something to happen, and it's only natural that your subconscious would have filled in the details.

I think you two make a cute couple, I'm happy for both of you. I hope you keep having adventures together for many, many years and are happy for the entire trip.

Ed V. said...

Ok, thanks Mike. I was curious if you had any abduction experiences like missing time, unexplainable scars, etc. That's why I basically asked.

Mike Clelland! said...

Reply to Ed V:

Ha! I have missing time, unexplainable scars - and i saw 5 gray aliens in my yard in 1993.

Dig a little deeper into this blog.

Review the TIMELINE on the side bar for mor stories that bother me...


Anonymous said...

~ Hey, Mike!

This wasn't by any chance the same night I felt compelled to call you rather late, was it? You told me you were having car problems when you emailed back.

You said here, "Late in the afternoon of Thursday May 13th..."

**pauses to check emails between us**

YEP! THAT'S the night I totally felt, out of the blue, like I needed to talk to you rather later than I normally would. It's not like me, and yet I couldn't stop thinking you and I needed to be talking that night. It would have been midnight? One am? for you I think.

I see by the comments that people are eager to pounce on the idea that this was just a weird dream. Personally, the fact you both remembered a light with a face off to the same side of the tent seems suspicious to me. Knowing that some aliens (of the Grey variety) use a light beam to float people out of bed from houses and cars may be something to consider, but I'm guessing you've already thought of it.

My bizarre need to contact you that particular night is an odd synchronicity for sure. I am not prone to up and calling people late at night. It's rude and totally unlike me. Yet I felt compelled. Huh..!

Red Pill Junkie said...

May 13th, eh? Any of you fond of the Fatima mystery? ;)

Mike Clelland! said...

Reply to Peter B:
It sorta does look like a flashlight on the side of the tent, but it was strangely vlat and vivid in my dream memory.

I have camped in a LOT of campsites, and I have dealt with a LOT of other people outside my tent - and this felt decidedly different.

Not sure what to think, but I don't wanna avoid the simple explanation, at the same time - I can't quite wrap my head around the WEIRDNESS of the whole thing.

Natascha said...

Hi folks,
nice to read your comments. I wanna add that I remember one time (a few years ago) where I woke up screaming and I was in deep terror and I thought it was because of a DREAM. But then I had other times, where I screamed because I felt something was really THERE. So although Mike mentions his dream - for me there was no dream. It was real, like the fingers on my keyboard right now. I wonder if our mind plays tricks with us and makes us believe that we were dreaming because THEN some things might be easier to take.

Ed V. said...

Ah, the timeline explains a lot Mike. But in my defense, you make such good drawings that everybody is looking at the pictures. O-o

Mike Clelland! said...

This was a very curious experience.

The terror was profound, but after-words (the next morning) both of us were calm and pragmatic. We both talked about the experience with a even-keeled sense of calm.

So strange.

Thanks for all the comments!