Old Tales… Where There’s Smoke…


You may not be a believer in reincarnation. You may think this is the only shot we’ve got. In that case you can take this as some sort of psychotic embolism or whatever.

In 1969, I lived in Los Angeles, California, with my family. I was sixteen and was not a believer in reincarnation. I thought it might be a nice idea to think we keep going after… well, you know.

Anyway, the family had gone out to eat at a nice Cuban cuisine restaurant in the Rampart district about a block from the Police Station where the television show “Adam 12” took their exterior shots.

In was dark when we exited the restaurant and my older brother glanced up and said, “Look at that.”

I did not know what I was going to see but what a saw sent an icy rush down my back and a heavy, sinking feeling. Up in the dark sky was a bank of lights, some twenty rows high by what must have been a hundred across. Almost like the portholes in some giant spacecraft.

My first thought was: “Damn! They’re back so soon!!”

And then I stopped to wonder where the heck that thought had come from.

But before I could run down the street screaming like a complete lunatic, the lights turned off and flashed on again before dissolving into the word: “TESTING” as the craft turned toward the south and its silvery side reflected the lights from below, delimiting its many ribs and the large painted letters that spelled “GOODYEAR”.

Yes, it was just a blimp, not an invasion from outer space.

Still, the feeling that had struck me first got me to wondering who was I afraid was returning? And where did I get such a cockamamie idea?

Later, when I read some rather far-fetched accounts of ancient astronauts – yes, even in the Holy Bible – I began to wonder if I had some personal memory or even some racial memory of something of that sort having happened so long ago.

But why should I fear their return?

Enter “the smoking man” from the X-Files.

You could have knocked me down with a feather.

It was the same feeling I had experienced years ago in front of a Cuban restaurant in Los Angeles.


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