He said his name was Bob Hall and he worked for, of all things, the Telephone Company in Los Angeles. I say "of all things" because he then asked me if I had ever read a book called "Telephone Between Worlds". I said I couldn't recall it having been sent to me by AT&T. He reached into his briefcase and produced a copy of it, saying that it was about a "capacity" that certain people are born with that enables them to communicate with "entities" - which are residual or undissipated energies of deceased people. He said he was a "sensitive" and capable of "picking up the presence" of such entities, or what some people called "spirits", and from the moment I had boarded the plane in New York he could vaguely sense their presence. But once we were airborne and things had quieted down a bit, he became fully aware of what those presences were -- my invisible, and apparently quite dead, Indian friends.
Bob Hall said: "Indian entities are not uncommon here in the States."
"Even 30,000 feet up?"
He smiled, "Well, they've been known to attach themselves to some individuals and travel with them... as protectors, of sorts". For a fleeting moment, I thought again about the need for being protected from my new acquaintance, but damn, he was sincere. He must have sensed my ambivalence, because he took out a little pad and a Montblanc fountain pen (That impressed me) wrote down a telephone number and the name "Audrey" saying "She's a friend who's especially good with Indian entities ... She might be able to give you some clue regarding what this is all about." I asked him what he meant by "what this is all about?" realizing as I did, that I was now actually asking this possibly - uhm - disturbed person, questions."Frankly, I've never seen this many of them at one time." Oh great, now I felt better. I had a whole tribe of these guys... and girls?... hanging around me. I slipped the piece of paper into my shirt pocket, thanked Bob Hall and said, "I hope my friends won't think I'm rude, but I'm gonna grab a little shut-eye."
And I did.
Driving up the San Diego Freeway at 3 ayem in the morning, the vestiges of the now jumbled montage of scenes from the trip slowly started to fade. As I got closer to Malibu, they were replaced by other much less pleasant ones that I'd managed to keep submerged during the trip, all of them having to do with the reality of the divorce I was then in the midst of ---a very painful reality that had been dragging on for almost two years and was made even more painful by the fact of our little son Michael who was barely 3 when I moved out of our beautiful home and into my little Malibu apartment. Lord, how he must have been inwardly torn apart, when he began to realize that he now had two homes and that his mother and I would never both be there in the same one at the same time when he woke up in the morning again - ever. It's not easy looking back at all the madness that he must have watched happening between the two people who were the very foundation of his world. Not that we were oblivious to his feelings, but our cognizance of the inner confusion and misery we must have been causing him, never stopped us from what we were doing, either.
Just prior to my trip, I had written a note to Krishnamurti, in which I reminded him of the time my wife and I had been invited to lunch at Mary Zimbalist's Malibu home, while he was staying there. Michael was about six months old at the time, and I was holding him upright in my arms when Krishnamurti greeted us as we entered the house. I reminded him of how he had taken Michael's little hand, stared deeply into the child's eyes for more than a few seconds before saying: "And then we throw them to wolves." I ended the note by telling him of the divorce, and writing these words: "Since that day Sir, I have learned that we are the wolves."
It was about a week later when my travel stuff came back from the cleaners, that I found the note pinned to one of my shirts. The telephone number and Audrey's name were now a little blurry but still readable, so I said what-the-hell and called her.
She lived in Venice, a rather colorfully populated beach community just south of Malibu. I pulled up to the little A-frame house not really knowing what to expect. Audrey had sounded like a nice sweet old lady on the phone, not the kind one might associate with Indian spirits. I knocked on the door, it opened and there stood Audrey looking exactly like what Central Casting would have sent me, if I told them I was looking for someone to fit the voice I had heard on the phone -- a bit younger, maybe in her early 60's, her diminutive apron-clad figure topped with real white hair - not the blue-tinted kind - and simple wire-framed glasses that enhanced the equally simple beauty of her face.
She ushered me into her house which looked just like a set designer might have decorated it, had I also told him/her about the voice on the phone. Clean, orderly, filled with the kind of knick-knacks that one would expect. A few non-descript pictures of children, painted kitty kats and flowers. A rather striking picture of Jesus on the wall. A cuckoo-clock that had earned a permanent place on the opposite wall, even though it had stopped working who knows when. A plaster of paris dog - the kind you win at the carnival for hitting enough balloons with darts.
She motioned me to take a seat at the oil-cloth covered table in a little room adjoining the kitchen. She sat in a chair opposite me, and began by telling me that our mutual aquaintance had already called her about me so she knew I was a TV writer, which she thought was "Wonderful!". Then she started asking about all the different stars I had worked with. Just about the time I was beginning to feel uncomfortable with her fan magazine questions, she asked about my personal life. I don't know why, but I found myself pouring it all out to her.
I told her about the divorce and about Michael who'd been caught in the middle of the battles. She seemed genuinely concerned for the child as well as for me and my wife. At one point she cried, and said she would do what she could to "help".
I then told her about my recent trip and all the luminaries I had met. I asked her if she had ever heard of Krishnamurti. No, she hadn't. I told her about meeting Bob Hall and what he said about Indian entities and asked her if she sensed them too.
She smiled and said no, that's not what she did. So then what did she do, I asked. That's when I heard the word "transmedium" for the first time. Now, 40 years later transmediums are regulars on Oprah, but back then, few had even heard the word - including me. And what Audrey the transmedium did, was "channel" a voice -- but not like those that most present day transmediums claim to channel, who are usually 2 or 3 thousand year old omniscient beings from forgotten cultures. Audrey's other voice belonged to a Wagon Master of a wagon train that was crossing this country in the mid 1800's.
Wait folks, there's more.
Over the years a small group had formed around Audrey, the transmedium /Wagon Master. The group consisted of people she had met one way or the other, and each of them had - in one of their past lives - been members of, or somehow connected with that same wagon train. Which means if we were to create a present-day TV series out of all of what Audrey was telling me, it would be legitimately unique -- the world's first "Virtual Reality Series". But back then, as I listened to Audrey, although what she was saying was beyond strange, my own life was in such turmoil that, for me, it was just another piece to add to a puzzle that was unsolvable and didn't make sense anymore, anyhow --- so I just nodded and listened, perking up a bit when she asked me if I'd be willing to attend a special meeting she would try to put together of the wagon train group, saying that maybe, as a group, they might be able to provide me with the answer to why these Indian entities were hanging around me. How do you say "No" to an offer like that?
As she said goodbye at the door, she not only didn't ask me for a penny for her services, such as they were, she even thanked me for acquiescing to come to the gathering she'd try to put together in about a week -- her parting words being, "And if we're lucky White Cloud may even show up." I had no idea whether she was referring to a live person or a dead one.
Turns out White Cloud was dead. I was told he might manifest by way of a voice of one of the people who were gathering in Audrey's living room that night. So there would be more than one "transmedium". But as the half a dozen or so who had showed up and were beginning to seat themselves around a table that contained refreshments which were now being removed, there was no way of knowing, just by their looks, who was a "receiver" (my word) and who was just a plain vanilla type "non-entity-picker-upper" (also my word) like me.
I was definitely the youngest person in the room. The other mortals were somewhere between 50 and maybe 70 or 75. An almost equal number of men and women. Ordinary-looking middle class California types, like the kind who stood in front of you on the checkout line at RALPH'S or THRIFTY. What separated them from the others, was these periodic gatherings at Audrey's where they would "ascend to a higher plane" and "await the appearance of one or more entities."
Once the lights were turned off, the "ascent" began by everyone taking long, deep breaths, as Audrey slowly counted "One , Two, Three...". I too, took long, deep breaths while wondering, at the same time, what the hell I was doing there, taking long, deep breaths. After what seemed like an eternity Audrey stopped counting, I hadn't even noticed at what number, and everybody got very quiet. I don't know what was going on inside the other heads in the room, but inside mine, I was anywhere but on "a higher plane."
Suddenly Audrey said, "There's someone here. Someone has come to visit us. Will you tell us who you are?" One of the other people at the table, I believe his name was John, started to speak, but with great difficulty, and in a voice that was definitely not like the one he'd said "Hi, I'm John" to me with, a little earlier.
"I... White... Cloud."
All the the others at the table said, "Welcome, White Cloud." I said, "Oh come on, now.", but to myself. Like most cynics, I'm also a coward.
"White Cloud" proceeded to speak in movie-Indian English to each of the people at the table, answering their questions about this one's sciatica, and that one's mother-in-law. "He" finally got around to me, so once again I figured what the hell and started asking him questions too. "Why do I have Indian entities around me?"
"You special to Indian people" said the voice. "You special to me. You once Indian in another time. You my son in that life."
I was beginning to like this. After all, he hadn't said he was related to anyone else in the room.
"What his Indian name in other life?" asked Audrey, unconsciously or consciously slipping into that same kind of movie-Indian English.
"His name Blue Moon".
That did it. I was hooked. "Blue Moon" just happened to be one of my favorite old songs. It was a Rodgers and Hart classic from way back in the '30's. Whoever or whatever "White Cloud" was, he (or it) and I had something in common, even if it was just our taste in music.
"Indian spirits now with you always, to protect you".
Protect me? Protect me from what?
"You soon have important mission. Important for all Indian people. You not be afraid. You be strong. Indian people need you. When they ask for help, you not say 'No!" You say "Yes!" Indian people suffer much. Need your help. Ask soon.
Soon? How soon?
" Two moons. I go now."
And he went. And Audrey turned the lights back on and filled the table with refreshments again.
I won't lie. I felt very strange, if only because although everyone else in the room was talking, no one was talking to me. All I got was an occasional glance out of the corner of someone's eye. They weren't being hostile, it was more like they were giving me some needed space. They were right. I needed to get back into my Mercedes 250 SE, put the top down and ride back up to Malibu to my little apartment-by-the-sea. So I bid them all a general goodbye, shook a hand or two, kissed Audrey on the cheek and thanked her as she walked me to the door. But right behind us was that guy John.
"Thanks for coming, Bill" he said.
"Thank you for inviting me!" I said, my one hand shaking his outstretched hand while the other grasped the knob on the front door.
"They told me what White Cloud said to you."
Told him? Wasn't he listening?! He explained that some transmediums are unaware of what's happening when what's happening, is happening. Meaning John wasn't "there" when White Cloud was .
" So, what do you think?" he asked.
I scanned my brain, quickly finding my all-purpose, guaranteed-not-to-fail one word non-committal answer that I used for situations like this.
Only this time the one word was followed by a palpable awkward silence which I felt compelled to fill with more non-committal stuff.
"Two moons, eh?"
"That's Indian time", said non-Indian John, explaining that "Indian Time" was somehow always slower than and never as specific as "our time". I opened the front door and as I stepped out into the lovely California night, John added, "I'd say that within six weeks you'll be surrounded by Indians."
And within six weeks, that's exactly what happened.
(TO BE CONTINUED)