So, I'm eating breakfast at my kitchen table this morning when I notice something that scared the shit out of me.  From my vantage point at the table, I could see through my dining room - and into the living room, beyond.  The lights were off in every room but the kitchen, so the rest of my house was shrouded in morning shadows.  And there, in my living room, in the eerie start of dawn, I saw a gargoyle sitting on my love seat - and it was almost embarrassing how much it frightened me.

Of course, once my heart stopped racing I realized it wasn't a gargoyle - but rather my cat, perched on the edge of the armrest.  My cat is black, and she was sitting near two throw pillows with lots of black in them.  Between the kitty and the pillows - and the early morning lighting - the resulting silhouette created a dark, skeletal monster on the sofa.  I chuckled at the tricks my mind played.  I felt like I had seen an animal in the clouds, or Jesus on a piece of toast.  But what really got my attention was that, even after I knew it just was my cat, when I purposely looked to find the "little being" again, I jumped just as hard.  There is something inherently frightening about these figures - the gargoyles, ghosts, and Grays of folklore - and we human beings are hardwired to react to them negatively.  And I say this because I consider myself a pretty intelligent guy, but when I mistook my cat for something more sinister this morning, all I wanted to do was to run from it.  Or kill it.

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Jeff Long's The Decent is one of my all-time favorite novels.  It's premise mirrors what I felt this morning: the things we see as monsters have been ingrained in our DNA for a very, very long time. In Long's book, we're afraid of any creature that looks like a devil, gargoyle, or monster with horns - because since the beginning of time, unbeknownst to everyone, humanity has actually shared the earth with a second species of evil-looking (but benevolent) subterranean humanoids.  Like the ghouls, ghosts, and grays that make us lock our doors at night, Long's cave-dwellers are root of almost all human superstition - and acknowledging their existence forever changes the way we see ourselves.  I thought about this as I stared at my cat on the couch.  The Decent nailed it: people are afraid of change.  And by change I mean, learning with an open mind what exists in the heavens beyond today's blue sky - or coexists within other dimensions, sharing the same space as us. Suddenly, gargoyles seem a lot less frightening.

Picture"Eck," from The Outer Limits
Different dimensions are a hard fact of science, but many scoff at their existence. Humanity lives within a three-dimensional world - a world with height, width, and depth - but science acknowledges five separate dimensions, with the possibility of many more.   The movie Interstellar attempted to show what a fourth dimension might look like, but despite its best efforts (and great special effects), it fell short.  Of course, it wasn't the film's fault.  It's nearly impossible to explain a fourth dimension to those who live in the third.  We can speculate and imagine.  We can look at the stars and imagine our galaxy - and then a universe full of galaxies.  But we can't grasp what's beyond our universe, or what type of "space" might hold millions of other universes.  Our minds are too primitive.  Human beings can't yet comprehend such incredible concepts.  But still, those concepts are there - and even though we don't understand them, we know they exist.  So it only makes sense that other beings exist as well, living within higher dimensions.  I suspect that many "ghost" and "alien" sightings are actually inter dimensional beings that are momentarily visible within our reality.  And I genuinely believe that these beings have been with us since the dawn of humanity.  They're our gargoyles.  And they're as real as a cat on a couch.

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It seems like not a day goes by without some UFO story appearing on a credible news site. From John Podesta's devastating announcement on Twitter, to Fox/CNN video of craft over Phoenix, Seoul, and the Dome of the Rock, reports that stop short of saying "alien craft" are as common now as election coverage.  This afternoon, I found this link on Drudge: "NASA Beefs up its Team of Alien Hunters and we may be on the Verge of Finding Extraterrestrial Life."  NASA's original estimate (from an official July 2014 press release) stated that they anticipated finding alien life within two decades.  But in less than nine months, that time was cut in half...and at the growing rate disclosure is appearing in the news cycle, it will probably be halved again before the end of summer. 

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Acknowledging the existence of extraterrestrial life is an important first step to understanding higher planes of dimensional existence - and our place in the galaxy.  Once we accept that the universe is populated with many alien races much older than ourselves, we'll begin to open our minds to those superstitions that have always scared us...and we might stop jumping at the site of a cat in a dimly lit room.  We'll realize that little green men are just a fraction of "unexplained" phenomena - from lights in the sky to ghosts in the attic.  

And as we grow to understand our universe's dimensions, we'll learn to accept those beings who might not look like us - in the same way we grew out of our racism, and learned to coexist with people of every color.  In this case,  the little green men.  

Chuckling...as Kermit the frog once said,  It's not easy being green.

 


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"Sometimes I feel the only way I can get a major publisher interested in mental illness is if I find a character who has bipolar disorder and is also a love-sick vampire attending an English school called Hogwarts. But I'm not giving up."…Pete Earley