VISIONS - IN MY MIND'S EYE
BY ARTHUR HOWE
I first started to have visions when I was about nine or ten years old.
This was about the first time my Mom allowed us to go down to the beachfront without her. Before my brother and I became responsible enough to walk the half mile from our cottage in Brally Road, to the steps which led down to the beach.
Before that, my brother Tim, who was two years older than me, was considered just a little bit too irresponsible, having once been struck by a car, albeit not too seriously, when he was around nine years old.
My Mom said Tim walked around in a world of his own. Maybe he was having visions too? He certainly never spoke to me about them.
It was on the beach when I first saw the pictures inside my head.
Quite a few people who read this will be familiar with the build up to the visions, and maybe some will even realise what has happened to them, once I've explained what is really going on.
I was lying back in the sand where I'd scooped out a depression for my body and laid a towel down neatly inside it. I closed my eyes and shuffled my body, forcing the sand to mould to my shape.
It was a warm day by British standards with temperatures expected to get into the seventies.
The light permeating my eyelids glowed a golden orangey-red.
There's no perspective, no dimension to what you see when you look at the inside of your eyelids with the sun shining through, but if you focus carefully, you can see all kinds of objects floating around inside your eyes. Little black bits, translucent shapes, amoeba-like object, which follow your eyes around as you move them within your sockets.
I asked my Mom once what they were and she very cleverly told me that they were the cleaners, put there by God to destroy any harmful bacteria that tried to get into your brain through your eyeballs.
The black bits, she said, were those objects, bits of sand, grit, and poisons in the air, hell-bent on getting to your brain and making a zombie out of you. It's funny what you'll believe when you're that age.
I must explain here that my state of consciousness was 100%. I wasn't falling off to sleep or dozing. I could hear everything going on around me, kids playing in the sand and the surf. I could smell the sea air and Ice cream and even someone's egg mayonnaise sandwiches, which I could hear being unwrapped from their greaseproof paper.
No, I was fully conscious, aware of everything going on around me.
At the same time, I was focusing on the amoeboid like objects inside my eyelids, trying to see if they were really moving or if it was just my eyes relaxing that made them appear to move.
There was no flash of light or suddenness to what happened next.
In the bottom right hand corner of my vision, a shape materialised, complete in its form. I could clearly see a girl maybe twelve or thirteen years old, a knitted hairband holding back her long plaited hair. I wasn't looking directly at this image but rather seeing it in the periphery.
I turned my inner gaze towards the little girl who was smiling to someone. She suddenly stopped whatever it was she was doing and turned her head and looked straight towards me. It was as if she had felt me intruding upon her private world and didn't like what was happening.
She looked straight towards me, a look of shock on her pretty face and then she faded away.
Even though the actual image had gone, I held on to that mental image for quite a while trying to recall exact details of what she looked like and what she was wearing, hoping later to recall where I had seen her before and to work out why she suddenly materialised inside my head.
That didn't happen until about three weeks later.
This time, I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep at about nine thirty that night.
In the darkness of my bedroom, I'd been rubbing my eyes rather hard, trying to work away the tiredness. When I closed my eyes, the area where I had been rubbing was much lighter and brighter than the rest of my darkened eyelids. Like little stars inside my eyes, I watched as they too, followed my drifting eyes around inside the sockets.
There, in the bottom right hand corner, it happened again.
The little girl, hairband and all, was now standing out vividly inside my eyelids, only this time, she was very different. Her eyes were�leaking tears�and were scrunched up. Her mouth was bound by some sort of flower-patterned cloth that had been tied tightly causing her chin to hang down, probably by her trying to get more air in her mouth.
Or to scream maybe?
She had on the same blue cardigan and white blouse that now looked a little dirty and crumpled. Her eyes held a look of tortured fear.
I didn't want to look directly at the image for fear of losing it again, but this time, I could feel the little girls eyes, trying desperately to call to me, to get my attention.
I looked slowly towards her and she looked directly in front of her using her eyes to direct me, telling me to look, not at her, but at what she was seeing.
I followed her gaze until a new image formed in my head.
A man was there, in the same place with her, tall and broad, balding at the back of his head. Only his back was visible as he scratched at something on the long table he was working at. He was standing as he worked and I could see the texture of his tweed jacket and worn collar of the shirt that sat above it. I could see there were spots, yellow pimples on the back of his neck and a ruddy, patchy, sort of complexion running from the back of his neck, around to his ear.
He turned around suddenly, mouthing something through broken and stained teeth, as his hand swung forward and smacked the little girl hard across her face. I almost felt the smack as it connected and tensioned my body where I lay in the bed. The vision faded completely.
I must mention here that I was�pretty good with a pencil or crayons and in fact, always got very good marks for my artwork at school.
I sat up, switched on the bedside lamp, and eased out of bed so as not to make too much noise.
From my dressing table desk, I took out a set of pastel crayons my Aunt Myrtle had given me for a birthday. She said she saw my artistic talent and handed me a whole bunch of pens, inks, crayons, and different types of paper. " Maybe when you get famous, you'll remember me" she'd joked.
I first started sketching my Mind-girl, taking care to get the eyes and facial colouring just right. The position of the hairband and the gag around her mouth took a little longer to recall, but eventually, I was happy with the results.
I then sketched the Baldy-man who was in the room with her. I couldn't quite get the face right�and focused more on the hair, lank and greasy, as well as the blotchy patches on his neck and side of his ear. I wasn't entirely happy with this one but decided to fine tune it, next time I got one of my visions.
Eventually I fell asleep, my mind confused by what I had seen a few minutes earlier and thought about the abrupt ending. I decided that I must not react physically if ever I saw something that shocked me like that. I didn't want to lose contact with these visions.
There was nothing more for the next few weeks.
I'd gotten up early that Friday, wanting to get to my Friend John's house to trade some D.C. comics. I had gone downstairs to rush through my obligatory bowl of cornflakes and two slices of marmite toast.
My Mom's portable black and white TV was in the kitchen nook, tuned at this time to the breakfast show, which later became Coronation Street and Top of the Pops.
I glanced at the screen as the news rambled on.
There she was! My Mind-girl! Right on my TV, right in my Kitchen! They were showing what looked like a School photograph of her, complete with the very same hairband I'd seen in my visions.
I leaned over and turned up the sound, trying to catch the balance of the story before the article ended.
"………….Police are working around the clock in the desperate search for Annie McLachlin who disappeared from her parents home in Barrydale last Thursday evening. Fourteen year old Annie had gone to the local shop to get a loaf of bread for her Mom and has not been seen since. Anyone having any information as to the whereabouts or circumstances surrounding Annie McLachlin's disappearance, should contact their local Police station or dial 0272 26692 and ask for the case Officer. In other news today…"
I switched the sound off.
"That's her, Mom," I screamed. "That's the girl who keeps coming into my head."
My Mom turned around and looked at me as though I'd gone stark raving bonkers.
"What's all this nonsense about a girl inside your head?" she asked doubtfully.
I realised then that I hadn't told anyone, probably out of fear of being mocked about it and agreed to myself that I must have sounded half mad shouting at the top of my voice like that.
"I didn't tell you Mom, because I thought no one would believe me," I explained.
I then told my Mom all about the visions I'd had and how the missing girl had been identical, right down to the hairband she wore in the T.V. photograph.
"And where did they say this girl was from then" she asked.
"A place called Barrydale, wherever that is" I replied, expecting some sort of acknowledgement from my Mom.
"Never heard of it. Did they say which County it is in?" Mom said with just a hint of humour in her voice.
That's right, humour me, I thought. That's exactly why I didn't bring it up in the first place.
"No they didn't," I said sulkily into my chin. "but let's get an atlas out and have a look shall we?" I perked back into action mode.
I found the big Collins Atlas on the bookshelf in the Dining Room and immediately turned to the index of place names.
I scanned down the "B's" until I came to "Barrydale" and saw four entries. Two were outside of the U.K. and two were inside, one in Ireland and one in County Durham, almost two hundred or more miles from where we lived.
"If this all happened nearly two months ago, how come this girl has only gone missing a few days ago?" My Mom asked, suddenly showing an interest.
"Why would you see things happening months before they took place?" she asked incredulously.
"I can prove it Mom, I'll show you my drawings" I said rather loudly, suddenly remembering the contents of my desk drawer.
I ran up the stairs in record time, eagerly leafing through the pages of my sketchpad as I ran down the steep flight of stairs.
Which is when I slipped.
I'd been so engrossed in the sketchpad, trying to find the sketches of my Visions, that my left foot just slid right off the next stair, throwing my whole body backwards, and my head sharply against the metal trim that held the stair-carpet runner�in place.
From thereon, I remember nothing except waking up on the couch in the lounge with a headache second to none, and an icy wet feeling at the back of my head.
My Mom was sitting on the floor next to the couch and had dozed off in her attempt to be attentive.
As I sat up, my head throbbed, and my moaning woke Mom rather suddenly.
"My God, my boy, you gave me something of a scare you did, you little blighter" she said smiling. " You're not bleeding or anything, but I put an Ice pack at the back of your neck, just in case there was any swelling."
Resting in her lap, was my sketchpad, opened to the page where I'd made my sketches that night, many weeks ago.
"I found these and have asked your Uncle Ronny to come over and have a look at them" she said, no longer doubting my visions and my mad ranting of earlier on.
Uncle Ronny, my Mom's brother, was a Detective Sergeant in the local Police force and although Mom had thought it important enough to call him, I couldn't quite see the connection at that stage.
Mom went off into the kitchen and came back with some sugar water, "To make you feel better" she insisted.
About fifteen minutes later, I heard Uncle Ronny's Ford Sierra pull into our driveway.
I could hear them in the hallway, whispering and laughing at the same time, continuing into the lounge.
"It's alright Lad, I'm not going to arrest your Mom for pushing you down the stairs" he said seriously.
"I came to give her a hand to do it right this time." He burst into his inimitable laughter, stopped briefly to make sure I'd got the joke, and then guffawed to himself again.
I liked Ronny because in spite of being a Copper, he was always joking and fooling around, bringing a nice feeling into the room, even if his jokes were somewhat stale and slack.
He explained to me that Mom had gone through everything with him and, even though a lot of people would laugh at the idea, he truly thought that the images I'd drawn were too coincidental to be ignored. He was friendly with the Detective Inspector who was handling the case and asked if it was O.K. for him to show him the sketches.
I agreed, not putting too much significance on anything. A couple of more minutes of idle chatter and Ronny said his goodbyes and left.
The rest of the night was a bit of a blank and I slept very well with my slight concussion and two "strong" headache tablets from Mom, helping me nod off very quickly.
Mom woke me the next morning by shaking me rather than nudging me.
"Come down and watch the T.V." she said. "Your Uncle Ronny says that they're showing your sketches of the man. Come quickly, come downstairs" she tailed off as she walked briskly out of my bedroom.
When I got downstairs, Dad was sitting there, glued to the T.V.
"I'm not sure what you're up to my Boy, but someone's very excited down at the Police Station" he smiled, not taking his eyes from the set.
The News was showing on I.T.V. and every time an article ended, Mom and Dad both started "shhhh-ing" and "Wait,wait,wait-ing."
" Police in Barrydale believe they have made a breakthrough in the case of missing schoolgirl, Annie McLachlin who disappeared from her parents home in Barrydale last Thursday evening." The announcer said, most seriously.
"Detective Inspector Gary Philips declined an interview or to release any further information at this stage, but asked the Media to assist in trying to track down this Man, possibly wanted for questioning in connection with the disappearance". The announcer droned on as My Sketch came up on the T.V. screen.
" Police declined to disclose the source of the informant, but ask that anyone who knows of anyone matching the picture, to contact their local Police with information".
The rest of the day went very quickly and at about five, I arrived back from school to see Uncle Ronny's car in our driveway.
He wasn't smiling when I entered the lounge, but gave me a quick "Hiya" and returned his attention to the T.V. around which Mom and Dad were both glued.
I only caught the tail end of the broadcast, but the announcer was going on about the response to My picture and the arrest of "one Michael James Porter" at his smallholding just outside Barrydale.
It seems that, acting on a tip from a neighbour, the police had arrived to interview the Man resembling my sketch, to be greeted by a hostile Porter, brandishing a shotgun. The stand-off had lasted an hour or so before he was overpowered by two Policemen who had gained entry from the side window.
The search had revealed the body of young Annie McLachlin who, by first report seemed to have been asphyxiated.
Police were searching the cordoned off premises and said that Porter had been questioned previously regarding the disappearance of three other teenagers over a four year period.
A couple of days later, they announced that four other decomposed bodies had been found in shallow graves around the smallholding and that they didn't discount the possibility of finding more.
I'm 37 now and all that is a vague memory.
Over the years, my visions have come to haunt me more than any one man deserves in a lifetime.
The really, nasty thing about this ability of mine, is the fact that there is no timeline, no perspective and no indication of when or where these visions will happen.
An example of this is a vision I had in the late nineties, I think 1998, when, once again, I was dozing off, lying next to my Wife in bed at night.
The scene was most vivid.
A darkened house. No, not a house, a dwelling. No windows, no doors that I could see, no furniture, nothing familiar about the scene. A couple of wooden crates serving as furniture perhaps were scattered around the dwelling. A thin cheap candle was burning on one of these crates.
A Man, oriental in his facial features, was sipping out of a clay(?) cup and talking, to a smaller, shrivelled, oriental lady sitting cross legged on the dirt floor, just to his left. Two children, clearly a boy and a girl, maybe ten or twelve, were eating what looked like wallpaper paste out of small plastic bowls.
The next thing, the dwelling starts shaking, and the two adults in the dwelling, suddenly stand up, looking confused and agitated.
What happened next, happened so quickly. I'll try to replay it in slow-motion to give you the total picture.
The wall of the dwelling suddenly started to bulge. The faces of the adults changed shape, not for any other reason than out of total shock at what was happening. The wall bursts inwards and a wall of what appeared to be rock, mud, and water, poured into the dwelling. The adults didn't even have time to move as the wall of debris quickly filled the dwelling, totally covering the occupants.
Then there was a total blackout. Nothing more.
This one vision only played out in reality in 2002.
I was watching Sky TV News when the article came on describing how an entire village of what they referred to as, "Squatter shacks," had been buried in a mudslide during severe rainstorms, just outside of Kowloon in China.
The camera played out scenes with villagers running around, digging with their bare hands, crying, screaming, trying to find someone left alive in the quagmire that remained.
A translator was interpreting a young Chinese man, who was describing how he had been looking for work in the city, heard the news, and raced home to find his village obliterated. He was hoping that his Family had not been at home at the time, and held up for the Camera, a crumpled photograph from his wallet, of his Father, Grandmother, and his younger Sister and Brother.
The translator was asking that anyone who had seen these people must tell them to meet at the local community centre.
I had seen these people.
Four years previously.
In my Visions.
I�started screaming. Sobbing and screaming.�
My Wife consoled me after a while, but Doctors later said that I'd had a nervous breakdown and needed medication on a long term basis to pacify my "Ravings" as they called them.
I've been here in this Hospital since that night, obediently taking my medication and acting out a calm exterior for those that come to visit me from time to time.
It hasn't stopped my Visions. It hasn't stopped my screaming and sobbing.
Over the years, since that very first Vision, I've seen it all.
Murders, rapes, suicides, car smashes, plane crashes, drownings, muggings, shootings, knifings, burglaries, overdoses, people jumping off buildings, bridges, mountains.
People dying in just about every way you could ever think possible.
I've seen planes crashing into buildings, buses, and trains blown to smithereens, kids with guns shooting other kids. People burning, people freezing, people disintegrating right before my very eyes.
My visions have never been wrong. Just the timing differs. Sometimes the events take place days after my vision, other times, weeks, even months. Sometimes, like now, I wait anxiously for confirmation of yet another tragedy.
People have called me "gifted." They've described my visions as "wondrous." They've even likened me to a "Modern day Nostradamus."
The torment is huge. The pain enormous. The frustration, more than I can handle.
Why am I telling you all this, you may wonder?
Because I've seen the end.
The end of Man and of Life as we know it.
How does it come about? Let me tell you of my Vision or should I say, Visions.
Sometimes, I get just one vision and that's that. Other times, I get small snippets, which patch together to make up a bigger picture.
I must say here, that this is my summary of a series of visions. Each of the scenes, I describe, I have seen in real, live colour, playing out right before my eyes.
I closed my eyes to see nothing except a blur, a streak, like a paintbrush stroke, slightly rounded at one end. First one man, then many men and women, all with telescopes sitting on tripods, are lined up next to a stone wall. The sun seems to be setting and they focus their scopes on this blur. I realise that this is a comet and judging by the animated talk, the sketches changing hands and the smiles all round, this is a new phenomena. This is a one-off, unexpected phenomena. The newsprint splashes it across the headlines, " Previously Unknown Comet Paints the Western Skies."
The next scene that plays out, is a high speed, fast forward collage of scenes, earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanoes erupting, extreme weather conditions, storms floods, lightning, hurricanes and tornadoes, all thrown into turmoil by the unpredicted, close encounter with the Comet.
Famines, droughts, social upheavals around the World, cities desolated and evacuated by those seeking the safety of the unknown.
Civil strife, rioting, political turmoil as Governments collapse under the burden of a financial collapse and a demolished infrastructure.
The flashing of torn and shredded Stars and Stripes litters my visions. America is decimated, the nation is flattened from end to end. The scenes are of conflict, despair, and total misery.
My minds camera flashes on famous, big-screen icons, reduced to rags, torn and bleeding, dying in the cracked and broken streets.
The US is bankrupted attempting to deal with its disasters whilst fighting power-wars all over the world.
During all these visions, a "young, short, dark complexioned man" appears often, smiling. In Trafalgar Square, bearded protesters carry banners that warn of the coming of the Antichrist.
This man, reveals himself as the leader of a country who has been able to obtain nuclear weapons. Their neighbours, fearing a lack of support from the U.S.A, pre-empt his attacks with a nuclear weapon.
One of the bombs mushrooms in the Mediterranean Sea, and devastates marine life which I see floating on the surface. Passage through the region is now impossible. People are so cut off and desperate for food that they eat the fish anyway. All this happens near the east coast of the Mediterranean where I see large stretches of dark-coloured cliffs.
Another nuclear weapon is dropped by one of the Middle Eastern countries and sparks off yet another war, on top of that war.
European nations spurred on by the American Government, try to interfere to diminish the threat to oil supplies. When the European countries try to interfere, this "young, short, dark complexioned man" uses the rest of his arsenal on Europe, most of them striking the Italian Peninsula.
The European Mediterranean coast, particularly that of Italy and France, becomes almost uninhabitable, and Italy is wiped out.
In central Europe, southern Europe, and in the Middle East, around the eastern end of the Mediterranean, there are massive and severe floods. As a result of the disruption to local governments by the natural disasters and the nuclear fall out, this "young, short, dark complexioned man" moves his troops in under the guise of helping the people restore civil order, but really uses this as a device to take over countries, and to use the populations like slaves.
Serious economic problems persist along with great social unrest, contributing to the ease with which the "young, short, dark complexioned man" can seize power.
Martial law is declared in most countries to stop rioting and looting. The Middle East, the source of his power, is not as devastated as the rest of the world. He offers assistance to other countries trying to recover but only to eventually stab them in the back.
Through a breakdown in global communications, U.K. and European troops involved in "War Games," whilst trying to restore order to Europe, cause a "real-world" situation to play out instead of a simulation. As a result of the error, actual nuclear defences�are activated and real bombs are seen mushrooming on Europe, the U.K and the U.S.A. with final, tragic consequences.
The big Nuclear winter has begun.
And that will be the end of life as we have known it.
My latest visions show me only pain, suffering, and a slow painful extinction of man.
That is something I can not face myself.
But who can I talk to? Who will listen to the ravings of a loony like me who says, "I saw it in my minds eye, In one of my Visions?"
I'm stepping out now. The quick, easy, cowards-way perhaps, but for me, one that makes me feel as if I still have some control.
By the time you read this, I'll be dead. Gone.
Hopefully, someone will heed my warnings and try to prevent the inevitable.
The only problem is that, until now, I've never been wrong.
"In some local news today, An unidentified Man wearing Pyjamas under his overcoat and carrying a black leather briefcase threw himself in front of an express train travelling between Newcastle and London, killing himself instantly.
Witnesses say that the Man, in his thirties, stood at the edge of the platform, smiling to himself and dropped his briefcase seconds before throwing himself into the path of the oncoming train. Police are investigating the contents of the briefcase, looking for clues as to the Man's Identity. Other witnesses say that the Man may have escaped from the Mortonlee Sanatorium prior to the incident.
In International news today, Observers at the Sutherland Observatory in South Africa have spotted what appears to be a previously unknown Comet which they say should be visible to the naked eye in the Western skies towards the end of January 2007.
This new comet was only discovered�in August 2006 by RH McNaught and will be know as "Comet McNaught". Although the Comet will be deemed a "Near-miss", the Scientists say that the Comet's path will take it many millions of Miles from planet earth where it will pose no real danger and have no effect on other celestial bodies………….."