Month: February 2006

Magnificent Magic Minnesota Mushroom

By Ken Korczak
Note: The following events, which happened in Caribou Township in northern Kittson County, Minnesota, were described to me by a Lancaster man by telephone.  He wished to remain anonymous.

The year was 1959, it was mid-summer, and three young men from the Lancaster area were enjoying a weekend of camping and hunting in the deep woods of Caribou Township.  Walking through the woods, they happened upon something that astounded them. In the caller’s words:

“It was a gigantic mushroom about three feet high … it had a thick stem, like a tree stump, and a perfect round top that I guess was four feet in diameter.  It was about waist high.  We could have played a game of cards on it. It was magnificent!”

Upon closer examination, they noticed the giant ‘shroom’ gave off what the caller described as “a tantalizing, savory odor.”

“The only way I can describe it is that the thing smelled like a delicious broiled steak to me.  But here’s the weird part.  To each of us, it smelled like something different.  One of my friends swore it smelled like fresh baked bread, and my other buddy said it smelled like strawberry-flavored cotton candy.

I was astounded when one of my buddies, the one who said it smelled like bread, reached out, tore off a bit of the mushroom and popped it in his mouth!  I shouted at him:  ‘Are you nuts!  It might be deadly poison!'”

But his friend chewed and swallowed the tender chunk of mushroom quickly, and immediately declared it was the most delicious thing he had ever eaten.

“I’ll never forget the way he described it,” the caller said.  “He said it tasted like fresh bread that had been baked in heaven by sweet angles.”

We both shouted at him: “How could you be so stupid! … You might be dead in an hour! … mushroom are deadly poison, and other stuff like that.

“But amazingly, my friend was not persuaded by us.  He said:  ‘I don’t care if I die.  I just have to eat some more of this — it’s so good it’s worth dying for!’

He then tore off another large hunk of the the tender mushroom meat and stuffed it into his mouth.  He chewed and swallowed, and again exclaimed it was like nothing he had ever eaten before — that it was delicious beyond belief.  Using his large hunting knife, he began slicing off  slabs of the mushroom to take back to camp.

“He didn’t stop until he had cut nearly half the thing cut up,” the caller said. “He took off his outer shirt and used it to wrap up the pile of mushroom meat.

“We returned to our camp, and we kept a close watch on Ben (not his real name).  We were certain he would at least get violently ill, but he seemed fine.  And to be honest with you, both my other friend and I felt an almost irresistible urge to try the mushroom ourselves … I mean, this was more than a curious desire … we felt absolutely compelled to eat this thing!”

The caller said it was almost as if the mushroom was emitting a subtle hormone, or some kind of scented chemical attractant that was affecting their brains.  The urge to eat it was “like a command,” he said.

About an hour later, Ben was not only feeling well, he said he felt “absolutely wonderful and even light hearted.”

Back at camp, Ben proceeded to do something that would drive his two companions wild.  In the caller’s words:

“Ben took out a frying pan and placed a large dab of butter on it and put it over the campfire.  When it had melted, he put a large slab of the mushroom on it an began to cook it in the butter.  He cut up some fresh onions and tossed them into the butter alongside the sizzling mushroom steak.

“The savory aroma wafting out from that black frying was just too much. My mouth was watering, and all I could think about was sinking my teeth into that tender, ivory white mushroom steak. My friend and I broke down.  We decided to try a hunk of the mushroom.  Ben cooked it a bit more, cut the large slab into three parts, and we each settled back and began eating.

“I guess I have no words to describe to you how astoundingly delicious it was!  I mean, my mouth and tongue were bursting with flavors that flooded my mind with sensations of taste so varied and so scrumptious, my entire consciousness reeled off into a state of bliss.  Imagine the best broiled steak you have ever had, the best pizza, the tang of ketchup, the sweetness of a chocolate shake, the salty crunchiness of hot french fries, the warm white feeling of fragrant homemade bread on your tongue — it tasted better than all of them combined!”

After finishing off the first slab, the three men ate another, and another.  Although they ate an enormous amount, their stomachs hardly seemed to register it.  They washed it all down with cold Grain Belt beer, and then they all lit up a cigar, sat back and felt perfectly contented, blowing smoke rings and listening to the hushed sounds of the deep Minnesota woods.

For the rest of the night, the three campers felt “amazingly light and happy.”

“We weren’t high or drugged, or anything,” the caller said. “The only way I can describe it is that we felt light hearted in a way we never have before — as if there were no problems in the world, and that everything in the universe was not just okay, but filled with a subtle joy.”

The caller said that night he slept deeply and remembered having a dream of “floating inside a silver sphere.”

The next day, the three men went back to find the rest of the mushroom, but when they returned, they found that the giant had shriveled into a clump of black fungus.

“We realized it was gone,” the caller said, “but we had no regrets.  That experience we had — that amazing feeling of light happiness — is something the three of us never forgot.”

The caller added that he has never had any signficant desire to eat wild mushrooms again, and wants to stress to others that they should not dare do what he did, since certain mushrooms are highly poisonous and can cause serious illness or death.

“I just think what happened to us was something that was not normal,” he said.  “It was what I would call a paranormal experience.  It’s been 40 years, but in a strange way, I would say the day we ate that mushroom was the most remarkable thing that has happened to me in my life.  I’ve never seen a mushroom like that again, and as far as I know, they don’t really exist in nature, at least not here in northern Minneosta — it’s all just a big mystery, and probably always will be.”


Out-of-Body Travel: Key is to Accept Strangeness

Editor’s Note: Today we here from famed out-of-body travel expert Cory Gann! This is a fascinating tip on out-of-body travel.

By Cory Gann

Once you develop the ability to have frequent out-of-body experiences, you start getting accustomed to strangeness. In fact, your ability to meet and handle unworldly, weird, bizarre, inexplicable and even nonsensical situations will be a measure of how successful you will be at exploring on this frontier.

Of all the things you need to handle the nonphysical environment, flexibility of mind is the greatest. You need to accept things which your “normal” sensibilities will just not want to.

I have had occasional trips which are so bizarre that it would be impossible to describe them in words. I don’t mean that as a cliche’ — I mean some experiences literally have no translation into terms which are describable with human language, except perhaps for some kind of experimental poetry.

I think most human minds have a strong tendency to simply ignore some of the most outlandish inputs that greet them. Because of that, many experiences out-of-body travelers confront are not counted as valid and are often forgotten. This is a mistake. Staying with the very strange and struggling to understand what these experiences mean is where the cutting edge of new knowledge is, and perhaps points the way toward higher evolution of the human mind.

Besides the bizarre beyond-sense experiences, there is one particular trip I went on which I count as especially strange, and I’ll share it with you here:

I went to bed setting my intention to have an OBE. I woke up sometime in the middle of the night feeling my body swaying from side to side. I waited, stayed with the motion. Soon I was swooped up into an exhilarating ride through a very speedy starry tunnel. I traveled what seemed to be great distance before I popped out of the tunnel way out in the middle of vast, empty outer space.

I was just out there — alone and adrift among billions of unimaginably distant, hard, unblinking stars. I thought to myself: “Well, here I am out in space … so what?”

I don’t want to give you the impression that I was bored. I was actually feeling quite awed, and I had a tremendous feeling that I was many, many light years away from Earth. It was a remarkable sensation.

Then I suddenly noticed I was not alone. Drifting into view in my upper left hand field of vision I saw two large patches of light that sort of looked like blurry, fluttering snowflakes. It was difficult to tell just how big they were or how far away they were since I was just out there in space with no physical reference objects against which to judge size and distance.

I really had a sense, however, that these two globs of light were intelligent living beings of some sort, although utterly inscrutable. I watched them for a minute or two and they seemed to be watching me. Then I tried to establish communication with them. I arbitrarily formed thoughts of love and peace in my mind and tried to project these thoughts through space at the light creatures, assuming they were something alive.

Nothing happened.

I just floated there and they floated there. They flickered and hovered about a little bit. The most exciting thing that happened was when one of the giant snowflakes flew away suddenly out of my field of view. A few minutes later it came back. The one that stayed near me really seemed to react to the other snowflake when it came back. I got the impression they were communicating with each other, but were as confused and stumped by my presence as I was about them.

After a short while I was blasted back into my body, and I awoke instantly with my trip into outer space fresh in my mind. I was very clear-headed throughout this trip. I recorded the event in my dream/OBE journal and went back to bed. After I dozed off, I found that I was slipping in and out of my body a lot. I floated around my room, but this time I was unable to find a tunnel to get me out of the house. I had extraordinary control of my movement in and out of my body that night, but with the exception of my journey into deep space where I visited the two inscrutable energy forms, I couldn’t get get beyond my living room wall.

I don’t know why I offer this particular story as one of the strangest things that has ever happened to me in the out-of-body state. Although it was a rather simple experience compared to others, that particular trip had a quality of wonder about it that has remained special to me.

There’s one more strange but brief out-of-body experience I want to tell you about.

I was sleeping soundly, in a very deep sleep, when I felt myself starting to come awake, and it seemed a long journey from my deep level of sleep to where I was going. Suddenly I popped out of my body and found myself floating above my bed in the darkness of my room. I could clearly see my body in bed, covered with blankets. As I looked away from my body, I was startled to notice a large triangular doorway looming at the foot of my bed.

It was a large isosceles triangle with sharp edges clearly marking its border between my normal bedroom space and the penetrating blackness of its interior.

I was feeling a strong invitation coming from this portal, but I was also filled with doubt about where it might lead. I was intimidated by the profound blackness inside the large triangle so I decided not to plunge in. I went scurrying back into my body instead, like a frightened squirrel running for a hole in a tree.

I woke up immediately and got up from bed. I stepped around to the foot of my bed and sort of passed my arms through the air in the space where the triangle had been floating. It was an exceedingly odd feeling. I almost felt as if the the doorway was still there, although in another dimension — the dimension of the nonphysical world.

I wish now that I would have thrown caution to the wind and entered. God only knows what kind of adventure I might have had. I’m sure it would have been strange.

But the point of all this is, and what I want you all to think about this month is that whether you know it or not, you are in a constant state of filtering your reality. At every moment you accept certain information perceived by your senses, and reject other information that is all around us.. It’s not that you don’t “see” or contact this other information. You do. But because it does not fit your “model” of what you believe reality to be, you ignore it, and you ignore it so well, that all this other information is invisible.

It is the brain which sees and not the eye. It is the brains which hears and not the ears. It is the brain which feels and not the fingertips. It is the brain which tastes, and not the mouth. If your fingers touch something, but your brain refuses to process the information, you will not feel it. If a certain kind of light enters your eyes and strikes your retinas, it is up to your brain — the ultimate gatekeeper — as to whether that light signal will be accepted or not.

The brain imposes order on chaos by grouping sets of signals, rearranging them, or rejecting them. Reality is what your brain says it is. The great German philosopher Wittgenstein said: “You see what you want to see.”

We all hold models of reality in our mind. Most of us have not made our own choices about what those models are; rather, they were given to us by our parents and society. I’m not saying you must reject these model. Rather, I encourage you to open up your mind to information which is outside your hardened view of reality.

I said your brain is the ultimate gatekeeper, but that’s not quite true. YOU are the keeper of your brain, and you can program your brain to be more flexible, train it to be more liberal about what it lets through, and what it tries to keep out.

Dreams and imagination are two keys to reprogramming your brain, and making it open up the gates wider to the greater experiences of the universe. Meditation is a third, powerful key to getting beyond your “ordinary” mind to a more expansive and accepting perception of your reality. Next time, I’ll talk more about freeing your mind to help it perceive the greater universe.

Aliens Visited Him in the 1930s

Note: The following story was told to Ken by an elderly  northwestern Minnesota dairy farmer.

By Ken Korczak
They were in his bedroom, and they were not human.

It was late in the 1930s, long before reports of UFOs and visitations by alien beings has became a more common cultural phenomena.

Andrew, lying bed, opened his eyes and was stunned to see “two gray beings” standing near his bed, gazing down at him with “scary” eyes that “penetrated.”

“There was something about those eyes … I guess they could concentrate powerfully … they could penetrate,” Andrew said in a telephone interview. “This was 60 years ago, and this is the first time I have told anybody about this.  I’ve kept it to myself for 60 years. I haven’t even told my wife.”

“I would say they had normal, human sized heads.  They were about as tall as a regular human … they appeared to be wearing clothes, but they were something that was not normal, do you know what I mean?  To see beings that are gray it’s just … there’s something not right about it. They are not something that is normal … not something from around here.”

Andrew was a boy of about 11 at the time, and he quickly activated the defense that all frightened boys in all dark rooms everywhere have employed — he plunged under the blankets and slammed his eyes shut.

It worked. When he dared to peek again, the gray beings were gone. But this would not be Andrew’s last encounter with the strange.

Today Andrew is 71 and still lives in the rural Warroad area. He keeps a dairy farm and owns land not far from the shores of Lake of the Woods. He has had so many encounters with UFOs, he speculates that “They” — who or whatever “They” are — maintain a base underneath Lake of the Woods, or perhaps beneath the Rainy River.

“Several years ago I was clearing land using explosives, when a friend of mine stopped by,” he said. “It was a nice day in May. We were just visiting a little bit and suddenly we heard a sound like rushing air coming out of the west, and moving east.”

Andrew said that while he and his friend could see nothing, they definitely heard and felt something pass not far above their heads.  After moving over them from west to east, it turned and went back west again.

“You couldn’t see it, but there was no mistaking that it was there … there was a big volume of air movement,” he said. “We could hear it clearly and almost feel it’s presence … it felt like an invisible object passed right by us. I think they were probably curious about my use of explosives .. they just wanted to check out and see what I was doing.”

On several other occasions Andrew and his neighbors in the area have seen strange object rising from swampy areas, and from near Lake of the Woods.

“Several years ago, it was the middle of winter, in 1967, I think … it was a cold night, I saw an extremely bright light rise up out of the swamp. This was northwest of Pitt and northeast of Graceton near that area of Cedar trees.”

Andrew said his neighbor reported seeing a “funny looking” black, metallic aircraft about two miles from the Zipple Bay area. The object seem to rise up from the lake area and fly west.

Andrew is convinced that whatever these flying crafts are, they have the ability to be invisible.  Much like the U.S. Military’s Stealth aircraft which are invisible to radar, the aliens may have a way to make themselves invisible to all wavelengths of the light spectrum.

“But they make a peculiar noise,” Andrew said.  “The only way I can describe it is that it sounds like ice or snow sliding off a metal roof … it’s a very distinct sound. You can’t see them, but you can’t mistake that odd sound. Nothing else sounds like that.”

In speaking to Andrew, I got the impression that he was a man who has a higher sensitivity to sound, and perhaps a greater sense of perception than the average person.

For example, notice the wonderful detail of sight and sound he provides in this next example of yet another UFO sighting:

“I got about 2:30 one night … it was extremely cold, but a nice, pleasant evening. Walking over to the barn, I could hear the cows masticating their food … I was feeding my cows with regular hay, but I was being cautious because cows can sometimes get on their backs if they get feed that is too bulky … I love cattle, they all make their special noises and particular sounds … suddenly about a quarter mile to the northeast I saw an extremely bright light that lit up a whole grove of trees … it was like a ball game was being played over there, like a whole bank of floodlights … then the light began to move, but there was no sound. As I continued to watch, an engine-like sound came up. Then the lighted object  flew off and it was gone. I really couldn’t tell if it had any shape to it because it was so bright.  Seeing it just made me think.”

Andrew thinks that his many sightings of UFOs and his encounter with strange beings in his bedroom are not as uncommon as most would have us believe.

“I think a lot of people are having these kind of encounters, but of course no one likes to talk about it. It’s not considered normal to see these kind of things, so it is just ignored.”

Andrew also thinks that our remote northern Minnesota area could be prime real estate for an alien UFO base.

“We live is a cold, thinly populated area,” he said.  “They would be seen less often up hear, and the even when they are seen, most people won’t talk about it.  But even so, you still hear about so many cases of strange lights and people that see things they can’t explain.  I think it happens a lot more than people are willing to admit.”

Astrology and the Stock Market: “Astro Investing”

By Ken Korczak

Can the stars help you strike it rich in the stock market?

Can an astrologer give you advice as good or better than your banker or an Ivy League financial analyst when it comes to picking winning stocks?

Well, believe it or not, one of the hottest — and winningest — trends in stock trading today is called “astro-investing,” a method which employs the precepts of astrology to buy and sell stocks.

Thousands of people today are checking star charts instead of price charts and financial statements before they invest their hard-earned money in stocks.


To help them out, dozens of so-called astro-investing newsletters are being published at truly astronomical subscription rates. One of the most expensive, the Astro Trend Newsletter, charges a stellar $7,000 per year for 12 issues of astrology-based stock investment advice. At seven grand per subscription, the Astro Trend Newsletter is not begging for subscribers. Business is great, its publishers say.

Most other astro-investing newsletters are a bargain by comparison, running between the $250 and $350 range. Some examples:

Market Systems — $366 per year for 10 issues using both astrology and technical analysis to produce a stock market timing system telling you when to buy, sell or hold.

Whole Earth Forecaster — a mere $195 per year for 12 issues that look at solar activity and its electromagnetic effect on earth activities, including the stock market.

Carolan Spiral Calender Research — $279 per year for 12 issues which uses lunar timing techniques to predict stock market peaks and valleys.

And a real bargain — the Astro Investor — just $45 a year for 12 issues that use planetary configurations to predict market wave patterns.

How do these newsletters perform in comparison to the dozens of other Tip Sheets and stock investment newsletters being published today? Well, it may interest you to know that a publication called Hubert Financial Digest monitors just about all stock market advice publications, rating them on success and failure rates. Several of the astro-investing publications rank consistently among Hubert’s top 100 performers.

One of the best is Crawford’s Perspectives, an astro-investment tip sheet which scores high on several Wall Street rating systems. Crawford’s uses astrology along with a variety of other traditional technical market analysis methods to predict stock market activity.

Does it work? How can the configurations of the sun, moon, planets and stars possibly have anything to do with the financial markets down here on earth? Well, the connections are many and scientific, so say astro-investing proponents.

First of all, it’s obvious that the sun and the moon exert powerful direct influences on the earth. A giant solar flare event on the sun, for example, sends massive waves of atomic particles slamming into the earth’s atmosphere, stressing all kinds of electrical systems on the earth. Sometimes large-scale radio communications on earth can be blocked by solar flares. Space-based satellites can be knocked off line. Because communications are such an integral aspect of financial markets, and the timing involved in trading, it seems only natural that astronomical events like solar flares can directly influence markets.

The moon also has vast influence over many earthly activities. We all know the tides go in and out by gravitational influence of the moon. But the moon also plays a huge part in large-scale biological activity among billions of insects, animals and even human beings. Since all this activity is linked, the influence of the moon has a powerful impact on such things as the grain markets, and other agricultural productivity fundamentals, which underlie many financial markets.

Some astro-investors make this point: all of the planets in the solar system exert a gravitational and electromagnetic affect on the sun. Those electromagnetic factors play out on the surface of the sun, and are then blasted back to earth by the solar wind. The solar wind is perpetually playing with the earth’s own electromagnetic field, which is generated by the rotation of our planet’s iron core.


But how could the impact of this energy be related directly to what stocks are doing on the New York Stock Exchange? The answer is fairly simple, astrologers say. By making long-term statistical comparisons of stock market trends with that of planetary activity as indicated by astrological methods, many causations and correlations can be observed — statistical artifacts which can be isolated and applied to future market behavior.

I hope you’re catching all this.

Anyway, what it all gets down to is that the price of IBM or Microsoft or can be predicted with great accuracy if you consult an astrologer. Those who are convinced that astrology is absolute bunk-o face the task of explaining the exceptional performance of the dozens of astro-investing newsletters.

But some say explaining away the astro-investing phenomenon is relatively easy (emphasis on the “relative” as you will soon see).

The astro-investing success rate can easily be explained away, nonbelievers say, by this simple fact: the stock market represents such a huge number of mathematical, technical, fundamental and human incidental variables, it is only mathematically obvious that some astro-investing systems are going to be successful — not because they are meaningful — but because they are simply lucky.

After all, the stock market has been going nowhere but up for years, so no matter how good or bad the investing advice, your chances of making gains are excellent.

Take the famous “dart board investment method” as an example. Every now and then, a prominent group of Wall Street financial advisors decide to trot out the old dart board and give it another test.

Here’s how it works: The names of several hundred stocks are placed around a dart board. The financial “advisor” then stands back and lets the darts fly. Whatever stock a dart punctures is acquired and held for a specific period of time.

The result? More often than not, the dart board beats the traditional, technical analysis methods of trading stocks! One group of dart-board investors beat the S&P 500 without fail for 12 consecutive years, and realized an impressive 23.4 return on their dart board stock selections!

Not bad. Almost as good as, say … an astrologer!

What this means is that even a person wearing a blind fold and throwing darts at a random selection of stocks has a chance to pick winners as well as any astrologer — or any Harvard-trained financial advisor!

The fact is, the stock market at its core represents not only a nearly infinite amount of mathematical variability, but even more significantly, the vast unpredictability of the human mind.

More than anything else, the stock market is a reflection of the biggest mystery of them all — the riddle of mass human motivation. People act and react according to deeply internalized motivations, most of which they don’t even understand themselves.

More than 80 million individual trades are made each year on the New York Stock Exchange alone. Each of those trades is made by individual investors using their own tips, tricks, methods, advice, information, theories — all of which add up to a kind of chaos — and clearly, many people trade using nothing more than “dumb luck” as their method of choice. If you don’t believe this, then you’ve never heard of the latest stock market craze — day trading.

Because of all this, stock market predictions based on star-lore may be just as legitimate as market predictions based on “sound” financial lore. So be it astrologer, banker, broker or Wall Street analyst — choose your dealer in illusion well. And remember:

“Buy low, sell high!”


From Minnesota to Vietnam: Gravity = Love

By Ken Korczak

He had know her for only an hour or two.

They met in the Roseau City Park at a picnic party of a mutual friend. Now he could scarecly believe she had agreed to go alone with him out into the summer night, all the way to the shores of Hayes Lake State Park, Minnesota.

From the moment their eyes connected, all normalcy ended. Both of them instantly perceived the force that powered reality — love — at it’s most fundamental level.

For them, to obey the love that now compelled them seemed more sane than sticking with the proper conventions of correct society.

Perhaps the American genius R. Buckminster Fuller was right — maybe love and gravity are one and the same force! Irresistible powers of attraction both!

What can oppose them? Gravity caused all the matter of the universe to come together, to combine, to cling tightly, to cause heat, energy and all life! And love … we all know it does the very same! Often the terms of gravity and love are used interchangably: we “fall” in love, we are “attracted” to each other, we “pull” together …

But let’s get back to our stricken couple.

They experienced a crackling electricty which came from the fact that they were near total strangers, yet they undeniably loved each other beyond imagination, beyond hope, with abandon and energy.

The night air pressed soft agianst their skin as they walked through the pine-scented environs of Hays Lake. Millions of liquid-white moon diamonds melted and reformed on the satin surface of the water. Gentle wavelets rippled musically, more lovely than Mozart.

They walked together, not touching, not holding hands, which took supreme effort. There was yet a tiny bit of “properness” infringing their desires after all.

They soon found themselves on a wooden deck suspended high above the silver dappled water, looking out. They turned to face each other. It was time to confront this astouding power. It would almost have been more easy to run from it, but that they just couldn’t do.

He said: “Maybe it’s this enchanted night that is working so much mischief on us. Maybe it’s what I have to do tomorrow. But this here now, is like a dream place, a fantasy forest by an unreal lake of light.”

She said: “I’m aware of it too, but what can I do, what can we do? I can’t leave.”

With that they both weakened a little. He drew his arm around her shoulder. Touching her sent currents through his arms, through his body. She became supple and relaxed herself into his embrace.

She pulled away just slightly and turned her face up toward his. He kissed her delicately. He kissed her again. Then a third time. Then she kissed him back even more tenderly, and then she kissed him again.

They clung close to each other and looked out onto the shimmering lake a perceived a stillness that mysteriously filled everything. It was a dynamic stillness.

Glancing over at her was astonished to notice for the first time that she had rich brown eyes, almond in shape – she was oriental! Astounding!

How could he have not noticed something as fundamental as her race all this time! Such a distinction was just so meaningless in the glare of their open souls! He touched her silken hair, jet black, absorbing moonlight with a sheen.

Her physical beauty was almost more than he could grasp. So much could not fit into his heart!

Finally she said: “I can’t tell you how stunned I am to find myself with your here. On one level it seems such an outrage. I don’t even know who you are! Is this real? What will we say tomorrow?”

The thought of tomorrow intruded into his mind like a shard of dirty glass, suddenly stabbing into the warm tissue of his heart.

For tomorrow he would be leaving for the jungles of a far-off land where he would have to fight a deadly battle with a determined enemy he knew near nothing about.

Tomorrow he would leave for Vietnam.

From somewhere, an irony he could not yet understand prodded at him: this overpowering, irresistible love for an oriental woman, possibly of the same race as the people he must fly off toward tomorrow — to kill.

How could this be an accident? He pushed the feeling out of his mind. He was too young and innocent to think through such intellectual subtlties anyway. What he preceived with his heart he could not get around with his mind — yet this ironic meaningfulness would never leave him.

A moment passed. Tomorrow he would be going to Vietnam, but here now he was with her, this stunning woman — the completion of his all his unfinished parts — suddenly materialized magically before him.

Why would God do this? Why complete these two people, only to rip them apart hours later?

They stood holding each other, possibly thinking the same thought, though neither of their young minds were trained to handle such tangled intrigues of fate.

She broke from him and walked off the wooden platform and moved toward the beach. He was still for a few seconds, then followed her. He came to stand behind her on the beach, close by the water in the sand. She turned, and again they embraced.

He took off his jacket, and her cloak and spread them on the sand. On the shores, under the stars, under the moonlight … like the Earth hugs all people warmly and safely to herself with gravity, so they held to each other warmly and safely with love.

They never saw each other again.

The next day, if a haze of fatigue and unimaginable heartache — with the severe pain of separation from mother, brothers, sisters, home, home town, and total love that cruelly vanishes — he flew off to his military base, and numbed himself for war.


… in the oldest city in Minnesota, Winona.

Long returned from the jungles of “Nam,” he now found himself a broken “old man” among a group of frisky college kids working part-time evenings selling newspaper subscriptions by telephone.

Every time a sale was made, the supervisor gave the telemarketer a quarter. The quarter was taken to a tall, fat jar filled with water. At the bottom of the jug was a shot glass. If you dropped the quarter into the water and your quarter lilted down into the shot glass — you got double the commission on your sale.

For our Vietnam Vet, it was a humiliation, but he made six sales that night, and everytime, trudged up to the jar for a chance at doubling his commission. He couldn’t come up with a good reason not to do it, so he just did it. He dropped his six quarters into the water and smiled lamely when two of the six hit the mark.

The college punks watched his facial expressions with wry amusement — or maybe it was pity. Even a bunch of comfortable college kids could see that he was a wreck, a shabby dresser, a loner, most likely a drunk.

He was pasty white, balding, and wore thick glasses that were always smeared. He was a 40ish chronic underachiever of some kind, a geek, in their eyes.

But the carefree college kids didn’t know this: he had spent two years of his life in the nightmare jungles of Vietnam, confronting death, and the wild, senseless chaos of war.

The first oriental person he had ever met, he had loved enormously with all his exisetnce — the next several thousand oriental people he met all carried the face of insane death, insane fear, and perhaps worst of all, a kind of alien “otherness.”

Furthermore, college boys and girls didn’t know this: In Vietnam he was shot in the head. His brain was damaged, but he retained most of his “normal” mind and facilities. His soul was another matter. It was damaged beyond his ability to heal itself completely.

After the war he didn’t go back to his home town in Northern Minnsota. He didn’t want everyone to see what he had become. He drifted from job to job and drank a lot of alcohol every night. At one point he finally got enough control over himself to get a job as a cab driver in Winona.

After a couple of years on the job, while transporting a passenger, an artery inside his brain burst, rendering him unconscious.

Luckily for him and his terrified passenger it was wintertime. When the cab veared off the street and plowed out onto the barren ice of Lake Winona, it was thick enough to prevent the cab from plunging through, possibly sending driver and his fare to frigid deaths.

After the incident, his driver’s license was suspended, and he was reduced to the kind of jobs where the best incentive to be hoped for were to be given a quarter which could be droppred into a big jar of water to see if you could get lucky to be granted an extra three dollars.

One night at the newspaper job during the coffee break, our Vet was sitting off to the side and alone, when he overheard one of the college guys say that he was from northern Minnesota, from Greenbush.

In the parking lot after work, he approached the young man and said: “I overheard you saying you’re from Greenbush?”

The young man said: “Yes. It’s hard to believe I’m 500 miles from home, yet still living in the same state!”

The Vietnam Vet said: “I’m from northern Minnesota, too, from xxxxxx. You want to go out for a drink?”

The young man said: “Sure, why not.”

They went to one of Winona’s numerous blue-collar corner bars, redolent in the kind of shabby seediness that makes them irresistible in character, atmosphere, and lost Americana.

After a couple of beers and exhanging some stories about their former northern Minnesota stomping grounds, the Vet learned that the student was a journalism major, and was thinking about a career in writing.

He became strangely silent after this, saying next to nothing through a couple more beers. The student started to get a bit restless, although he took a sympathetic liking to this man, obviously soaked in sadness and tragedy. There was also that certain camaraderie felt between to displaced people who grew up in the same corner of the world.

Finanally the Vet said: “You know where Hays Lake State Park is?”

“Of course,” the student said. “It’s only about 35 miles from Greenbush.”

Again, the Vet was silent for a long period of time, and he seemed to be struggling with deep, inner feelings. The student knew that he was attempting to open up in some significant way, and though he felt a bit uncomfortable, he decided to see what he had to say.

Finally, with a trembling voice, the Vet mentioned a certain picnic in Roseau which seemed like an endless eternity of years ago, at which he met an achingly lovely young woman who agreed to go with him to Hays Lake State Park that same night.

For moe than an hour, the student listened to his story — poorly told and rambling, and often filled with pathetic, drunken, teary digressions — yet with a genuine emotion and conviction that made the garbled tale strangely effective and difficult to forget.

At about midnight they were both fairly drunk. The watery 3.2 tap beer began to taste like the afterwash from a dog basin. They finally stepped out of the bar, and on the dark street under a purple mercury-vapor light fluttering with insects, the Vet grabbed the student’s elbow and said:

“Anyway, if you’re going to be a writer some day, maybe you can write about her and me, our one night at Hays Park together … you know … about love, about what love really is. Somebody should know about it. Even though my life is a mess now, I know there’s something big out there in the universe, something big and powerful, something to do with love. Do you think you can ever write about that, about my girl? About love? About love being a force .. some kind of energy force?”

The student said: “I’ll try someday.”

“You promise, Ken?” he said.

“Yes,” I said. “I promise.”

Fairies and UFOs — Are “Aliens” Earthly Halflings?

By Ken Korczak

The most common belief today is that UFOs are spaceships piloted by aliens from other planets and other solar systems.

But another good theory which never gets as much press is that which says UFOs may, in fact, be right here from earth.

Instead of being Extraterrestrials, UFO aliens might be Ultraterrestrials — a species that has always been here, which evolved on earth along with homo sapiens, but which represent a species far superior.

These Ultraterrestrials are so superior to us it’s almost impossible for us to comprehend their existence. All we know of them are fleeting glimpses of light in the sky, occasional bizarre encounters between human beings and so-called aliens, and other unexplainable phenomenon.

Think of how a group of monkeys in the wild perceive human beings. Because their own level of consciousness is so limited, they cannot comprehend what we humans are beyond being just another kind of animal. They may see a jet or a helicopter or a car, but to the monkeys, nothing in their consciousness can explain these amazing things.

A monkey may think of an airplane as some kind of magical, giant bird. They relate to it with the level of understanding they have about their environment. The speculation of the monkey, at best, is a crude idea about the total truth of an airplane, and the fact that it represents entire levels of consciousness that are so advanced, they are literally invisible to monkey mind.

Now think of a human being who encounters a UFO. To us a UFO seems to be some kind of flying, mechanical aircraft — but the true nature of the UFO may be as different from a spacecraft as a bird is from an airplane. Like the monkey, we just don’t have the advanced levels of consciousness we need to comprehend the true nature of a UFO.

As humans, we make the naturally egotistical assumption that we are the species at the top of the heap — we see ourselves as the peak achievement of evolution. We even make the bold claim that God, the supreme architect of the entire universe, created us in his own image!

But it’s not a big leap to consider that we are just another link in a vast chain of species, many which are below us, and some which may be above us.

People who support the Ultraterrestrial theory point out that supernatural beings seemingly superior to humans have been reported throughout history. In previous eras they were called gods, angels, ogres, fairies, brownies, little people, demons, and more.

The Bible is filled with references to supernatural creatures, including giants, “wheels” flying in the sky out of which incredible creatures emerge, and more.

But references to flying disks were recorded centuries before the texts of the Bible. Cave drawing dating to 30,000 B.C. depict numerous drawings of disks floating around in the sky, remarkably similar to modern UFO photographs.

Some maverick UFO investigators have pointed out the amazing similarities of modern UFO aliens to that of elves, fairies and the various “little people” famous in the folklore of many cultures.

Fairies are well known for kidnapping people, the same irritating habit UFO aliens have. People who are abducted report incidents of missing time, a phenomenon very similar to time lapses reported by people taken to and returned from “fairyland.”

Fairies, like modern aliens, tend to be diminutive creatures with large magical eyes. Many reports of alien abduction even include “power rods” used to paralyze abducties, just as fairies wield “magic wands.”

One of the most interesting comparisons between aliens and fairies is that both are interested in stealing babies. One of the most common fairy activities is swiping babies from cribs, and sometimes replacing them with a false double, or “changeling” as they are sometimes called.

A large part of modern UFO literature involves aliens abducting women, impregnating them, and then later abducting them again, only to remove and take the unborn baby right out of the womb.

Clearly, both UFO occupants and fairies have a strong affinity for the baby stealing business.

Fairies are closely associated with nature, just as modern aliens also display a certain obsession with environmental issues. One of the most common alien abduction scenarios involves aliens who force people to watch “movies” depicting massive environmental degradation caused by modern human civizilation. The aliens then give them a lecture on environmental issues and let them go.

If aliens truly are a superior species from earth and evolved on earth, it would make sense that they would be concerned about another species wrecking the planet.

But then you might ask, why don’t the Ultraterrestrials simply step in and “manage” us the same way humans “manage” wildlife, including chimps and other large primates? The Ultraterrestrial theorists answer: “They are!” That’s what all the abduction and experiments are about!

Just as human beings capture and tag various species, UFO abducties report experiences of extreme similarity. Many people report being “tagged” during frightening sessions on a UFO operating table. Some of these “tags” have even been recovered, or show up on MRI exams, and remain unexplained.

It’s also possible that Ultraterrestrials comprehend and operate within higher levels of dimension than we experience at the human level. A monkey, for example, does not comprehend the dimension of time like humans can, and a monkey could never understand that time and space are actually two parts of the same dimension, as scientists have discovered.

Mathematicians tell us that many additional dimensions of reality exist — dimensions which only the most brilliant math minds can glimpse through numbers, although they cannot experience them psychologically in any meaningful way.

If Ultraterrestrials can exist “above” or “beyond” spacetime, that means they can easily see us, trick us and manipulate our existence, while we can’t see them at all, or only in the most crude manner, or perhaps only when they allow us to see them.

Imagine when a bear is shot with a drugged dart from a helicopter hovering above him. Imagine how terrified the bear is of the bizarre flying monster and the noise and lights that come out of it. Now imagine what the bear thinks of the strange beings that come out of the flying monster. The strange beings poke and prod him, look inside his mouth, apply a tag to his ear, and then let him go. Why?

How can a bear understand or interpret the meaning of this incident on its level of consciousness? It can’t. It just doesn’t seem to make any sense. Human beings are so advanced and superior as to be incomprehensible.

Is it be so difficult to believe that the ongoing bizarre and seemingly incomprehensible phenomenon of UFOs and their activities are the actions of an earth-born species far advanced and superior to human beings?

Just ask a bear or a monkey.

Let Me Take You On a Journey …

By Ken Korczak

It’s 4:30 a.m., dark in my bedroom, and my mind snaps awake, but my body does not.

I feel my consciousness — or something — sway from side to side like a helium balloon in a shifting breeze. I loll back and forth, pivoting on my physical body, and move farther away with each swing of the pendulum. Going with the momentum of the next thrilling swoop, I command myself to “roll” out and away from my body and to detach.

First I plummet — right through the floor! — then I recover and soar upward, butterflies exploding in my stomach. I can’t help but feel a deep satisfying laughter. I’m free!

Then comes the inevitable, breathless circus ride — a gasping, exhilarating roller coaster trip through what I have come to call the “starry tunnel,” although the whining, electric “bugs” that zip all around me inside this worm hole aren’t really stars, at least I don’t think so. I’m not sure what they are; perhaps the firings between the neurons inside my own brain.

The best thing about the starry tunnel ride is that I never know where it will end up. It’s a cosmic crap shoot that could deposit me in outer space, or on the shadowy carpet of some dense rain forest, heavily shrouded in foliage, shrieking with exotic birds, humming insects and the organ notes of reptiles.

But this particular time the tunnel exits into my own room, as the tunnels often do, where my sleeping body lies peaceful and breathing gently, evenly.

There I float a meter above myself — how? — in a dream body, looking down on a dream representation of my physical body? As an actual detached consciousness? A soul? A doppelganger?

If you ask sleep researcher, such as Dr. Stephen LaBerge of Stanford University, he would say that what floats above the physical body is a “detached body image,” which has not actually left my physical brain, but rather is a dislocation hallucination resulting from all sensation being cut off between body and brain by sleep induced paralysis.

If you would ask others, such as the researchers at the Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia, they would argue that what floats above the physical body is true, objectively detached consciousness, free and functioning independently while the physical body waits in stasis, warm and safe for the “essence of you” to return.

In the meantime, there I am, floating with the weightlessness of an astronaut in a space station, wondering if LaBerge at Stanford is right, or if others are closer to the truth. Or maybe the ancient dream yogis or Sufi masters — and then I laugh at myself, a heavy, hearty laugh, because I’m there — a hovering sphere of star dust — but still very much myself, caught up in foolish intellectualizing about the fundamental nature of my existence.

They are the questions which never tire me: What am I? Who am I? Why am I?

Suddenly, the questions begin to fill my being like expanding spheres of light, and I’m abruptly swept away — right through the window! — without opening it! without breaking it!

Outside, about 200 feet in the air, I’m cruising smoothly, briskly through the silent, pre-dawn darkness. I’m heading north, looking down at the gentle silver sheen of the snow-covered plains.

There’s no moonlight this morning, but the starlight is somehow enhanced. The world is bathed everywhere in exquisite silver-white illumination. Every blade of withered prairie grass sticking above the snow stands out sharply, and I think: “So this is how owls see their nighttime world. Gorgeous!”

My speed increases. I have the feeling that someone, somehow is carrying me along or guiding me with unseen hands, a subtle presence just behind me.

I pass swiftly north from Minnesota over the vast plains of Manitoba, and soon find myself in the scintillating snow and ice landscape of the Arctic.

I peer down with my new owlsight and pick out the slippery movement of a white Arctic fox trotting across the snow. From above, it looks to me like a curious fish sliding through a crystal stream.

I feel powerful, even smug, in the fact that my floating, unprotected body is immune to the frigid cold that would turn my physical body numb within minutes.

This is freedom, I thought, as I took in the aching beauty of the crisp night. Freedom from gravity, freedom from painful environmental stimuli, freedom from subjective perceptions of time, freedom from endless artificial limitations.

I look up at the dome of the Arctic sky and see indescribably vivid colors swirling up there. Beaming stars and dancing rivers of aurora borealis, like a melted rainbow poured across sequined velvet.

I’m stunned. I feel a gasping sensation and I reel. I feel I will rip apart in an explosion of rapture and delight.

I float up and merge with it all, losing myself into everything.

To awaken back into my physical body is like emerging slowly from a deep well of mild electricity. The atoms of my body focus to become me. I open my eyes slowly. I feel peaceful and rested. I smile.

I can’t wait to go again.


Mushroom Soup

I think homemade mushroom soup is underappreciated. Don’t think “canned cream-of-mushroom” soup! That’s not really soup! That’s glop! Spend some time making your own, home-cooked mushroom soup, and you’ll become a fungus fanatic! (That’s a good thing in this case).

8 ounces mushrooms
4 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon white pepper
1-1/4 cups water
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) chicken broth
1 cup half and half
chopped parsley for garnish

Slice enough mushrooms to measure 1 cup, chop remaing mushrooms. Cook and stir sliced mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of the margarine in a 3-quart sauce pan over low heat until mushrooms are golden brown. Remove mushrooms with slotted spoon.

Cook and stir chopped mushrooms and onion in remaining 2 tablespoons of margarine until onion is tender. Stir in flour, salt, and white pepper. Cook over low heat , stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in water and broth. Heat to boiling stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in half and half and sliced mushrooms. Heat just until hot (do not boil). Sprinkle with parsley.

Yield: 4 servings; about 1 cup each; 260 calories per serving

The Magnificent Minnesota Nun Brains

By Ken Korczak

By slicing up the brains of an obscure order of Catholic nuns in Minnesota, scientists are unlocking the secrets of long life and higher intelligence.

It seems that nuns belonging to the School Sisters of Nortre Dame, a branch of which is located in Mankato, live an average 20 years longer than the rest of the population — and also stay happy, active and mentally lucid right up the end.

The Sisters, devoted to education and the pursuit of spiritual and scientific knowledge, donate their brains to researchers, who carve them up and examine every facet of brain structure and brain chemistry.

All evidence points to the same thing: these nuns are remarkable!

Gerontologist David Snowdon of the University of Kentucky in a recently told the Associated Press: “My impression of the sisters whom I first met in 1985 when I began the study has not changed. It shattered all my stereotypes of how 80- and 90-year-old people are supposed to behave. They seem so mellow after a lifetime of contemplation. They are living saints and sages.”

Snowdon compares the sisters to the mystics of Eastern religions, saying these nuns should be viewed as mystics of the Catholic tradition.

Most of the Sisters of Notre Dame stay vital and active well into their 90s. There are almost no symptoms that are typical of age-related brain disorders, such as senile dementia, strokes and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Amazingly, some of the nuns maintained clear healthy minds even though their brains showed the scars and deterioration characteristic of severe brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and strokes.

In the case of the brain of one Sister Mary, who died well into her 100s, scientists were astounded to find large-scale deterioration of brain tissue, and even lesions associated with strokes and progressive Alzheimer’s Disease — yet she remained clear-headed and lucid to the end of her life.

Sister Mary’s brain apparently defeated the effects of these brain diseases by countering them with an unusually rich growth of interconnection between her brain cells, or neurons. Her extra dendrites and axons were able to bypass damaged areas of her brain to keep her lucid and healthy.

In addition to providing remarkable scientific data, the Sisters had a powerful personal effect on the supposedly cold and analytical researchers who studied them. Here are some of the published comments of the scientists:

“These women radiate beauty and a special serenity, even into their 80s, 90s and 100s.”

“It’s difficult not to feel very good just to be around them — they have a spiritual energy that is palpable!”

“Sister Mary at age 101 could still talk about her first Mother Superior as well as she could talk about the book she was reading that afternoon.”

“They have a sense of enjoyment of life and of each other. They’re like anybody else–they laugh, they get annoyed, have political opinions, read novels, enjoy sewing and going to the mall. They have been very open and warm with us.”

“I now understand what is meant by being blessed … these women have led stoic, disciplined lives, yet they show none of the hardness of deprivation — just the opposite! They are soft, intelligent and blissfully happy.”

After examining and dissecting dozens of brains, scientists have come to several conclusions. Interestingly, the secret to the long lives and clear minds of these nuns may be attributed to a couple of simple things.

After looking at dozens of different variables, researchers discovered that the Sisters of Nortre Dame all did one thing that the majority other people do not do — they kept a daily personal journal recording their deepest thoughts, emotions, impressions and ideas.

Also, the Sisters Of Nortre Dame condemn “mental idleness” as sin. They did not allow themselves the frills of mental down time. Most of the Sisters have college degrees and some graduate degrees. They also play a lot of brain teaser games, solve puzzles and engage in rigorous debates at weekly seminars.

Keeping a rigorous daily journal is also required by the Order, and is considered as important as daily prayer, work and devotion to their primary vocation, the education of children. The Sisters believe in thorough, critical self examination.

The journaling aspect of the nuns intrigued scientists so much, some went looking for independent confirmation that daily journaling or diary keeping may be the secret to defeating the brain diseases of old age, and longer life.

Well, they not only found confirmation, but some scientists determined that frequent journaling may be a sure way to raise the IQ of any person, and may even springboard some people to genius level.


• A woman by the name of Catherine Cox studied the habits of 300 geniuses — folks such as Isaac Newton, Einstein, Thomas Jefferson — and discovered that all of them were “compulsive” journal or diary keepers.

• A study determined that only 1 percent of the world’s population habitually engaged in daily journal writing. The study also found that that same 1 percent were almost always super high achievers, and that they almost always lived longer than the average for their time, place and era.

• Thomas Edison wrote an incredible 3 million pages of notes, letters and personal thoughts in hundreds of personal journals throughout his life.

• The brilliant cosmologist Steven Hawking contracted Lou Gehrig’s disease more than 30 years ago and was give just two years to live. Hawking is a shriveled up lump of a human being confined to an electronic wheelchair. He cannot speak, write, or even move more than just a trifle. But 32 years after contracting his disease, Hawking is considered among the world’s greatest thinkers. He recently remarried after a divorce, and shows no signs of slowing down with his contributions to cosmology and quantum relativity theory.

Although unable to physically keep a journal, Hawking has used computers and other mechanical aides to constantly record not only new ideas and scientific theories, but his own inner reflections.

Now here’s some good news: to get all of the longevity building and IQ building effects of daily journaling, you don’t even have to write down anything that is brilliant or meaningful!

This fact is demonstrated in the the journal of one of the great minds of the 19th Century, English inventor Thomas Faraday. Faraday filled thousands of notebooks with seeming utter nonsense. Many have studied the journals of Faraday hoping to discover the key to his brilliant mind. All have been frustrated. In Win Winger and Richard Poe’s recent book, The Einstein Factor, one researcher wrote:

“(His) Diaries have the irritating form of ideas jotted down, repeated and forgotten … a morass or articulated and unarticulated principles, concepts, observations and physical facts.”

Getting back to our Sister in Mankato, researchers pointed to many other facets of their lives which may have contributed to their longevity:

• They belonged to a religious order and prayed daily. Recent independent studies have suggested that people who go to church or belong to any kind of religion, tend to live longer and be happier than those who do not.

• They felt comfortable in the fact that they “belonged” to a supportive group of like-minded human beings. This longevity factor has also been noticed in independent studies on peoples in Japan, Pakistan and Crete.

• They stay physically active as well as mentally active, not slowing down when reaching ages 70s through 100s.

• They actively cultivated positive attitudes.

• They lead selfless lives, and devote themselves to caring and giving to others.

• They rarely worried or fretted over material things such as money, mortgages, taxes and the like.

• They accept death as being a part of life. Funerals for the nuns are said to be almost occasions for joy among the Sisters.

So, if you want to live a long happy life and get super smart, take a page from the School Sister of Nortre Dame — keep a journal and, maybe, wear a lot of black.


My Angel Encounter

By Ken Korczak

A friend and fellow journalist invited me a while ago to attend an “angel encounter,” which was to be conducted by an acclaimed Texas radio talk show psychic, who was also a noted spiritual healer.

The encounter was to take place in a remote but modern cabin located near a pristine lake, all but hidden deep in Minnesota forest country some ways east of Wadena. The purpose of the event was to help us come into contact with our personal guardian angel.

The psychic’s name was Kathleen Bittner, who also has a popular call-in radio show in Texas. In addition to her mental and hands-on healing powers, Ms. Bittner also claimed a close rapport with angels — yes, actual angels — those bewinged beings from the higher spiritual realms we lowly humans can only wonder about and struggle to comprehend.

As we drove the winding, evergreen-lined dirt road to the out-of-the-way cabin, I asked my friend how she had come to know about Bittner and her ability to commune with angels. It turns out that my friend had engaged Bittner’s services frequently in the past as a psychic counselor, and judged her abilities as “extraordinary.”

As always, I was skeptical, and also reminded myself that I was coughing up $35 for this personal introduction to an angel. On the other hand, I paid $50 to see the Rolling Stones a couple of weeks earlier, and that turned out to be one hell of a spiritual experience, so I tried to keep and open mind.

Anyway, we arrived at an enchanting site deep within the pine-scented forest. We climbed a long set of stone steps which snaked their way upward to a magnificent lodge made of blackened timber and rough-hewn stone. The structure was high above a calm, emerald lake surrounded by hushed greenery. Looking down at the lake I saw a half-dozen cormorants preening and perched atop some broken trees sticking up liked gnarled fingers from the water. The ghostly call of a loon peeled out through the fresh air. It promised to be a magical summer evening in northern Minnesota.

Several people had arrived ahead of us, and we waited in line to be greeted at the door by our host, Angel Guide Kathleen Bittner. I had a chance to get a look at her as she shook hands with the others. I was astonished! I poked my friend with my elbow and asked: “It that her?” “Yes,” she answered.

Frankly, I was dazzled by Bittner’s appearance. She was a woman of astounding beauty. Trying not to stare, I marveled. Her hair was clover honey gold. She had sparkling, mercurial eyes that could have been blue, green, aqua or lavender. Her skin was like polished alabaster, yet evinced softness. Her full cushion lips were painted a tasteful strawberry red.

I elbowed my friend again and whispered: “I thought you said she was about 45 or 50?”

“She is!”

I could only look again at Ms. Bittner in wonder, a woman of no apparent age. I said to my friend: “Well, you said I’d encounter an angel, I just didn’t know she’d be greeting us at the door!”

Irritated, my friend said, “Oh try to get a grip on yourself!”

Soon it was my turn to shake hands with Kathleen Bittner, angel guide. She grasped me hand firmly, smiled, and in one fluid motion, reached up with her other hand and fixed my collar as she said in a silky Texas accent: “Why, hello there!” A waft of lilac perfume touched my nose, as I stammered, “Hi…I mean, yes, hello,…uh…” My friend gave be a quick rude shove from behind, obliging me to stumble along.

I entered a large room with an entire wall made up of a huge window pane that overlooked the mysterious lake below. About 25 people were already there, sitting and standing around, chatting as if they were at a cocktail party. I never learned who owned this magnificent place, but it was furnished with tasteful lavishness. There were many plush, comfortable chairs and sofas to sit in. I was soon rejoined by my friend, and we choose a couple of chairs opposite the big window.

More people trickled in until there were about 35 in all. We were of all ages, both male and female. I quickly did the math in my head: “$35 x $35 = better than 1,200 bucks! Hmmm, not bad for an evening of angel introductions…” I mused with perhaps a touch of cynicism.

Presently the breathtaking Ms. Bittner glided into the room and perched herself atop a high stool. When most people hop onto a stool they land with a thump, but Bittner veritably floated into place and crossed her legs with the silent, silky finesse of a cat.

All heads turned to her and all eyes focused on her, women and men alike. She was clearly one of those rare individuals who possessed a natural, Rasputin-like magnetism that filled a room with energy, causing everyone to naturally align with her.

Before she began speaking, she paused for a few seconds and looked absently out the window. She seemed to be watching the antics of the cormorants below, and ruminating some pleasant inner secret. But soon she flashed her eyes, shimmered a smile, and unleashed her satin southern voice upon us.

Bittner told us several stories, including how she came to develop a facility for communing with angels. I don’t remember the exact details, but it began after she had become seriously ill and was in the hospital. One day, she suddenly found her hospital bed surrounded by angels, who had come to help her out.

One of the things she said was that angels don’t really have wings, but that they are surrounded with incredibly powerful arcs of spiritual energy which emanate or flow behind their backs in a way that can give the impression of wings to us puny humans.

Anyway, after telling us about angels and talking about her work as a spiritual healer, Bittner then invited us all to get relaxed and get into a comfortable position so that she could lead us through an exercise that was part group hypnosis, part meditation and part creative visualization. It was through this exercise that we were to all make contact with out personal angel.

I saw my friend adjust herself and get relaxed in her chair and close her eyes. The others did the same. Some people got down on the floor and laid flat on their backs. One young man even took a large crystal of some kind and placed it on his forehead, an aid for tuning in an angel evidently.

As for me, I pretended to go along with the program, but what I really wanted to do was stay outside the program, so to speak, and maintain my objectivity so that I could observe the night’s events as a journalist.

This was difficult. Bittner’s voice, accompanied by taped New Age music, washed over me like an exquisite drug, coaxing me to let go and explore the blissful inner realms. Yet, I resisted and remained watchful.

I noticed that all of the women had eyes closed and were quickly settling in for their spiritual journey, but about half the men were gazing with dreamy moon-faces at Bittner, as if they had already found a true angel. Bittner seemed pleasantly unaware of the extra attention as she continued her narrative, steadfastly leading her flock to Angel Land.

After a few minutes, even from my platform of objective observation, I began to perceive a subtle, electrical feeling building in the room. I theorized that the effect was due to what physicists call “entrainment.”

Set the pendulums of 20 grandfather clocks in motion at different times in the same room, and after a few minutes, they all magically synchronize with each other, swinging in unison. Scientists say it’s not magic, but rather, the air-wave and sound vibration patterns produced by the clocks coming into synchronization with each other as they obey what is known as the “conservation of energy” law.

Just as ticking pendulums naturally seek synchronization with each other, this room full 35 spiritual seekers were becoming entrained as they matched each other’s deep breathing patterns, and perhaps even brain wavelength patterns.

I redoubled my efforts to remain cool and objective, but for a just an instant, I let myself go with the energy flow bathing the room. My eyelids grew heavy and thudded shut — AND THEN! FEATHERS! THE FLUTTER OF WINGS!! A BRUSH OF AIR NEXT TO MY FACE! THE FLOWERY SCENT OF LILAC! A DART OF GOLD LIGHT IN MY FOREHEAD!!

I snap awake again! An instant of confusion. It seems I only blinked, but it was extremely difficult to tell what had just happened. That sound of fluttering feathers, that sensation of the closeness of …what? … what was it?

Instinctively I looked toward the window — maybe one of the cormorants flew up from the lake, and for some reason had beat its wings next to the window? Unlikely. Inconclusive. Night had come. All I could see outside was the outline of pine tree bathed in moonlight.

I looked at my friend next to me. She was deep into her personal trance. A glance around the room found all others the same. Then I made sudden eye contact with Bittner, who gleamed at me with a sweet smile, which I nevertheless found curiously unsettling. We were the only two in the room who were awake, or so it seemed.

I looked away from her and closed by eyes, pretending to get back into the guided meditation, but now biting the inside of my lip to stay alert. Bittner led us toward a point where we were to meet out personal angel, and she encouraged us to write down the name of our angel, if such a name happened to pop into our mind.

She visited each one of us in turn, looking at the name of the angel each had written down, making comments and giving advice. I had written down nothing and when Bittner came to my chair, she looked at my blank sheet, laughed lightly, while saying to me cryptically in a sing-song voice: “You are such a one, such a one, such a one.”

Bittner allowed no Q.& A. after the angel encounter, no debriefing. With name of personal angels clutched in our hands, she ordered us to file out in silence, and encouraged us to hold onto our “feelings of imminence” for as long as we could, although to be careful driving. She encouraged us not to speak for the rest of the night, not even to the people we would be riding home with.

After 20 minutes of driving through the shadowy forest of the deep Minnesota night, my friend broke the silence rule and asked me: “So what was your angel’s name?”

I thought about it for a minute. For some reason, it seemed a sacrilege to break my own silence, but I finally answered her cryptically in a sing-song voice: “Such a one, such a one, such a one …”