By Steve Hammons
Friday, March 29, 2013
By Steve Hammons
As Easter Sunday 2013 approaches, it seems like a good time to explore theories, beliefs and personal accounts of the afterlife and Heaven.
The book “Proof of Heaven” by neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, M.D., is one of the most recent reports about near-death experiences (NDEs). Alexander was previously an atheist who relied on medical and conventional scientific explanations about the human brain, body, life and death.
Alexander experienced an acute brain infection and was in a coma when he had an experience that changed his view about human consciousness and a larger consciousness in the Universe. He now believes that there is an afterlife and it is beautiful.
Alexander has been reported as saying, “It is the most comforting thing beyond any kind of comfort and joy and bliss you could ever feel in this world.”
Since his experience, Alexander has explored the vast literature on near-death experiences and now realizes that he took the same journey as millions of other human beings, though his experience was also apparently quite unique. He has also looked into other research efforts about these kinds of topics, such as those at the Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia.
MERGING HEAVEN AND EARTH
If we believe that people like Alexander, children as well as adults, have experienced a larger consciousness deep within our souls, and visited others who have passed on, it surely must resonate with many of us. And the contrast between that reality and some of the very difficult situations on Earth seems particularly important.
People like Alexander and the youngster Colton Burpo have put their experiences in recently-published books that have been immensely popular. Young Colton’s NDE was described in the book “Heaven is For Real,” written by his father, Todd Burpo.
Respected researchers like Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D., and Raymond Moody, M.D., Ph.D., have long been known for their thorough and credible explorations and analysis of NDEs and what they seem to indicate.
Other credible groups and organizations such as the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) have also tackled the crucial questions involved.
Researchers like these have helped educate millions of people around the world about the apparent reality of another dimension. Apart from enhancing the spiritual faith of many people, NDE research and education have introduced millions of others with more secular viewpoints to the evidence about Heaven.
Over the centuries, there have been predictions by many indicating that a day will come when our troubled Earth and the dimension we call Heaven will merge in a significant way. What might that look like? How would it play out?
Are we getting close to that emerging development? And, are there things we can all do to help that miracle take place?
The distance between our everyday reality and what neurosurgeon Alexander described as “the most comforting thing beyond any kind of comfort and joy and bliss you could ever feel in this world” may not be as vast as we might think. In fact, Heaven may be close at hand. Sometimes that distance is described as nothing more than a "veil,” a very light curtain or membrane.
Are there angels and our other loved ones and ancestors nearby? Are they working toward a miracle to help transform this troubled Earth of ours into a better place? It is comforting for many people to feel this way and to hope for such a positive change.
Between the efforts and goodness of many people in our world, and the plans and activities in the place we call Heaven, maybe we can achieve the breakthrough that many people hope and pray for. And again we might wonder how such a change would occur. Will human consciousness just gradually evolve or might there be some type of event that gets us past the goal line?
What better time than Easter to think about the ideas of the afterlife and the higher Force, God, Great Spirit or whatever name we give to the Creator. It’s a time of forgiveness, family love, healing, mutual community support and transcending the problems of the everyday world.
Easter of 2013 could bring us closer to a tipping point, a paradigm shift, a new day when the old world is transformed – maybe a little, maybe a lot. Joy and peace could expand significantly.
And every tear will be washed away.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
By Steve Hammons
For the past several decades, there reportedly have been robust secrecy and security within the U.S. and international defense and intelligence communities about UFOs and extraterrestrial visitation to Earth. Military pilots and others who had close encounters or were curious about these topics were often told they did not have a "need to know" about what might be going on.
Now, however, that situation may have changed. Today, our duty might be to learn more and become appropriately informed about extraterrestrial visitation and other leading-edge research topics.
In the past, national and global security may have depended on total secrecy. Or at least that was a viewpoint for many years. If you didn’t have a need to know, you were probably expected to deliberately remain uninformed for national security reasons as well as for your own personal career.
Yet, in November 2012, it’s possible that national and global security could be enhanced by greater awareness and understanding about UFOs and related subjects. People in the defense and intelligence communities certainly bring important and valuable skills and perspectives to these challenges.
What is the current situation report or “sitrep” about UFOs and extraterrestrial visitation?
TRYING TO HANDLE THE SITUATION
This past summer, a respected 35-year veteran of the CIA went public with his claims of seeing materials at CIA headquarters that demonstrated to him that the 1947 Roswell incident really was the crash of an extraterrestrial spacecraft.
This CIA officer’s statements follow several years of increasing public discussions and forums involving retired military personnel who have reported multiple close encounters involving apparent intelligent spacecraft or other objects interfacing with military aircraft, personnel and facilities.
But these kinds of reports are not new. Several high-ranking military officials publicly stated decades ago that UFOs are real. During World War II, glowing orbs flying near U.S. military aircraft were dubbed “foo fighters” and reportedly were photographed and investigated. The Army’s alleged Interplanetary Phenomena Unit (IPU) was reportedly formed to research the situation further.
Another group, often said to be called Majestic-12, was allegedly formed at the highest levels of the U.S. government following the Roswell incident. This group of scientists and defense leaders coordinated investigations and secrecy on the UFO topic, according to many researchers. When military personnel or others had close encounters of some kind, reports were sent through certain chains of command to Majestic-12, researchers allege.
Witnesses were sometimes told to keep quiet and that the incidents they encountered “never happened.”
Even the Air Force’s Project BLUE BOOK, formed in 1952 and based in southwestern Ohio at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, was actually somewhat of a cover for other levels of activities regarding UFOs, according to some investigators. Reports sent to and investigated by Project BLUE BOOK personnel may have been forwarded on to Majestic-12 for further analysis.
Certain military and intelligence personnel may have been screened and recruited to be part of the efforts to handle the extraterrestrial visitation situation. People involved in special operations, search and rescue/recovery, covert/clandestine activities as well as scientific experts may have been brought into the compartmented loop of UFO and extraterrestrial activities, and given an alleged MAJIC security clearance level.
AWARENESS AND UNDERSTANDING
While previously there may have been a perceived duty of military and intelligence personnel to ignore and not know about UFOs, today our duty may lie in gaining greater awareness about this important area. This is probably true for the general public as well.
But beyond simple awareness that something very interesting is apparently going on, the task of understanding what it all might mean seems to be a greater challenge. How do the puzzle pieces fit together to give us some reasonably comprehensive picture of the current situation? What do we have a need to know, or not know?
It has been widely speculated that U.S. aircraft and spacecraft development may have been enhanced by what has been learned in the study of UFOs that may have been obtained and examined. Naturally, the details of secret aircraft development are not appropriate for public disclosure. However, the broader overview of this possible scenario might be worthwhile for us to be aware of.
Are there dangers or risks to average people that are somehow related to the UFO phenomena or other outside-the-box discoveries? That seems to be an area where we would have a need to know.
Likewise, can our lives be improved – maybe very significantly – by greater understanding about these kinds of developments? Certain advanced technologies and knowledge could help human understanding about a number of crucial issues facing humanity and Planet Earth.
Thanks to valuable research by people associated with and within the defense and intelligence communities, we seem to be more ready to move forward to the next stages of disclosure and education about UFOs and other advanced knowledge.
Our duty to not know may have morphed into a duty to know … and understand.
Friday, July 13, 2012
By Steve Hammons
The claim by veteran CIA officer Chase Brandon that the Roswell incident really was the crash of an extraterrestrial craft is sparking interest and controversy. Some researchers in the field suspect there is more to this story.
Is Brandon just promoting his new book – maybe hoping for a movie deal?
Is he putting out false information for some reason? Is he framing true information within a false story about finding a box marked “Roswell” in a secure vault of the historical documents area at CIA headquarters?
Is this part of public education and preparedness? Is his book itself actually fact-based fiction and a cover method to put out important information the public has a need to know?
Many of these elements could be in play. There could also be other factors to consider.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Some researchers with defense and intelligence backgrounds have noted that if essentially true sensitive facts are released and adequately mixed with inaccurate information, there may not be a violation of security procedures and requirements that Brandon and others are certainly subject to.
This idea was repeatedly brought forth by researchers regarding the so-called Project SERPO information releases. To some experienced researchers who looked at the Project SERPO claims, it seemed that true information was mixed with inaccurate statements. In that case, the alleged sources were reportedly from the DIA – the Defense Intelligence Agency.
This method is used in disinformation or manipulation activities – a skillful mixing of truth and lies, and framing information in certain ways to help achieve a desired outcome.
Another reasonable point has been brought up by researchers regarding Brandon’s statements: Wouldn’t he need to at least get permission from CIA to make such public statements? You would think so. If that is the case, is there more agency involvement than meets the eye?
A few researchers appear to suspect that Brandon’s statements may be part of a deception operation that we may not fully understand at this time.
Another reasonable view seems to be that this could actually be a way to release more information to the public about the truth of extraterrestrial visitation to Earth.
The fact that this experienced covert operations professional was also the agency’s liaison to the publishing business and Hollywood certainly seems relevant. He has been a technical advisor on many major movies and TV shows and apparently is involved with key people and media projects.
SAFE GRADUAL DISCLOSURE
Some people may feel that those involved in the UFO and extraterrestrial situation fall into two camps: those keeping secrets from the public, and those trying to discover and release such information to the public.
The truth is that some people are charged with doing both. These activities are probably not mutually exclusive. Disclosure of interesting information about extraterrestrial visitation may be thoroughly linked with appropriate safety and security considerations about certain aspects of the situation.
Additionally, certain methods of framing key points about the extraterrestrial visitation topic, such as “fictional” movies, TV shows and novels, could be considered very helpful in educating and preparing the public. If elements of Brandon’s new book are truth within the context of a fictional novel, as many novels are, then those elements are both a standard story-telling technique and possibly a way to release more information and improve our perspective.
Do CIA agents sometimes lie? Are they involved in deception operations? Is the sky blue?
Are they also committed to the United States of America and the American people? In most cases the answer would be yes. When dealing with complex and sensitive topics like extraterrestrial visitation and activities on and around Earth, dedicated Americans in the defense and intelligence communities are certainly involved.
What their involvement is probably varies among individuals, groups and organizations, and how the overall situation is evolving. And, their methods, tactics and strategies may also vary somewhat.
It’s clear that Brandon’s statements have already received widespread media attention, including major mainstream media platforms. This in itself seems to be quite helpful in getting us all thinking deeply about what might be going on.
(Two recent related articles on Joint Recon Study Group site: “Roswell was ET crash, says ex-CIA officer – what’s been going on since 1947?” and “CIA veteran says Roswell was extraterrestrial crash.”)
(Two recent related articles on Joint Recon Study Group site: “Roswell was ET crash, says ex-CIA officer – what’s been going on since 1947?” and “CIA veteran says Roswell was extraterrestrial crash.”)
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
By Steve Hammons
Two new shows exploring the UFO phenomena – “Chasing UFOs” on the National Geographic Channel and the online program “Spacing Out” from OpenMinds.TV in Arizona – attempt to find interesting, fun and credible ways to present information related to the UFO topic.
These programs join a long list of fictional (including fact-based fiction) and documentary-type TV shows and films over the years and decades.
The end result of these new efforts and the many other media projects that have gone before is that the general public has grown more aware of known UFO cases and elements involved, and what they might mean.
By being more aware, the public is also better prepared.
Improving general understanding about such an apparently complex situation is not always an easy task. To do it in a way that does not “dumb down” the topic and the audience has been an ongoing challenge for creators of TV and movies, researchers and writers.
At the same time, today’s audiences include adults, young adults, teens, tweens and even kids. Subjects like extraterrestrial spacecraft and intelligent visitors from elsewhere can be scary. The viewpoint of Earth humans about the Universe could change. In fact, this viewpoint is changing due to ongoing “edu-tainment” programs like “Chasing UFOs” and “Spacing Out.”
JOURNALISM AND NEWS MEDIA
Responsible news and journalism professionals also seem to be trying to bring objectivity to coverage of the UFO situation. Lee Speigel of the online Huffington Post is an experienced researcher and writer on this subject. His regular articles on HuffPost offer reasonable, down-to-Earth perspectives.
Actually, American journalism has been doing a better job of covering this subject over the decades than many people realize. In fact, newspaper reports and news media accounts of a range of UFO incidents have been important in much of our current understanding of the phenomena.
A review of newspaper articles going back to the 1800s and early 1900s include those describing mysterious “airships” seen by witnesses.
Other cases like the national and international press coverage of the Roswell incident in the summer of 1947 showed that, generally, news reporters did a decent job under the circumstances.
A few years later in the summer of 1952, headlines again appeared in newspapers about the multiple apparent objects over Washington, D.C. These objects were reportedly tracked on radar and chased by U.S. military aircraft. Coverage of this incident in newspapers was fairly thorough. (Interestingly, a member of the newly-formed Air Force “Project BLUE BOOK” at southwestern Ohio’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base was in Washington at the time.)
Other cases large and small were covered by the news media over the years. For example, the 1973 “Coyne Incident” in the skies above central Ohio involving an Army Reserve helicopter crew is one very credible case that received solid coverage, at least by the local media.
And in 1997, the Phoenix, Arizona, incident generated intense local media coverage, as well as national and international news reports. A huge V-shaped or boomerang-shaped object or craft gently glided over the metro Phoenix “Valley of the Sun” region one evening. Later that evening, military flares were apparently dropped over a nearby Air Force practice range.
In 2006, it was Chicago Tribune transportation journalist Jon Hilkevitch who reported that multiple witnesses at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport claimed to have seen a gray, metallic-looking, disc-shaped object hovering over the airport, then zipping away into the clouds.
The 2008 Stephenville, Texas, sightings also credit good news coverage to local reporting. Small-town newspaper reporter Angelia Joiner followed up on reports from reliable local citizens. Before long, major national and international news media also provided reasonably thorough coverage of a series of incidents and sightings in the region.
BLENDING JOURNALISM AND ENTERTAINMENT
Is it possible to successfully integrate the factual reporting of conventional journalism with more creative and engaging media approaches?
It seems to have been done well in many films, TV shows and books. Elements of fact-based fiction can come into play to tell the story, explore the possibilities and prepare ourselves for further developments on the UFO topic.
Speculation and creative leeway may be needed in some cases because conventional journalism is usually limited to that which has been determined and is factual – the “who, what, when, where, why and how.”
Behind the scenes, there might be much more going on but that information is too sensitive to be released to the general public, probably for a number of reasons. National security or global security could be involved. Gradual public preparedness and limited public information might be considered a wise approach. And some aspects of the situation could be so complex or even troubling that they should be closely held or disseminated on a need-to-know basis only.
Various kinds of approaches in TV shows, movies, books and other media platforms can sometimes help fill in gaps about UFOs and what they might mean. Some scenarios and perspectives in some media activities appear to be quite credible and others less so. But most such projects and products seem to help move the ball forward in public understanding.
“Chasing UFOs” and “Spacing Out” seem like two more examples of reasonable efforts to try to find effective and fun ways for more Americans to learn about the apparently complex and sensitive topic of UFOs.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
By Steve Hammons
Because there is now more awareness about indications that Earth is being visited by intelligent beings from elsewhere, maybe it’s time to read the new, updated version the book of “A.D. After Disclosure” by Richard Dolan and Bryce Zabel. The updated book is due to be released in May by New Page Books of Career Press.
Publication of the original book in October 2010 presented a rich overview of the state of research into the UFO phenomenon and apparently-related activities. According to the authors, the revised book will have additional information, more photos and “new thinking.”
The new version of the book also has a revised subtitle: “When the Government Finally Reveals the Truth About Alien Contact.”
And, the authors focus on how greater understanding by the general public about these circumstances might affect people around the world. “A.D. After Disclosure: When the Government Finally Reveals the Truth About Alien Contact” will be available as a hard copy as well as an e-book.
HISTORY, HOLLYWOOD, AWARENESS NOW
Historian Dolan and Hollywood writer and producer Zabel teamed up to write the book in their ongoing efforts to learn more about this intriguing situation and pass on what they have discovered. They explore the effects of secrecy and security about the UFO phenomena and how this has played out in American and international society.
Dolan is a well-known speaker and the author of the historical book series “UFOs and the National Security State.”
Zabel is a former TV journalist who later transformed into a Hollywood writer and producer, serving as past chairman of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Leveraging their backgrounds and years of research into the fascinating and somewhat concerning topics surrounding the UFO phenomena, Dolan and Zabel created a comprehensive view of the complex and sometimes surprising elements apparently in play. "A.D. After Disclosure" looks at facts, alleged facts and possibilities that we should probably consider.
Are intelligent beings from other planets and/or dimensions visiting Earth? How long have they been doing so? Are they friendly, neutral or hostile? What are their activities here? Have the U.S. and international governments been handling the situation in a competent way? What are the scientific implications? These are some of the questions the authors ask and attempt to answer.
Importantly, how does this situation affect all of us, our children and families, our communities and the human race on planet Earth? What changes will occur as understanding increases about these circumstances?
Dolan and Zabel explore various possible developments from public announcements by government officials to the less dramatic but equally-significant gradual improvement in public awareness about these topics.
Because the UFO situation and related factors are reportedly sensitive national security concerns, readers will note that the authors take safety considerations into account. They freely admit that the truth about some aspects of the situation may be challenging or difficult and robust secrecy and security are understandable.
Yet, they also seem to recognize that the separate and probably complementary issue of increased public knowledge is also very important. Dolan and Zabel seem to have reasonable faith that the American people and humans around the world will be able to handle these discoveries. So, they lay it on the table for readers to see, to consider and to come to their own conclusions.
How we respond to the ideas and facts about this UFO-and-visitation situation will depend on human psychology, emotions and spiritual viewpoints. Another important factor examined by Dolan and Zabel is how the entertainment and news media have handled this subject so far and how their treatment of it could change significantly.
Being prepared for developments, whether sudden or gradual, about UFOs and visitors is something that the authors appear to believe is important for safety and positive outcomes for humanity.
For more information, visit http://www.afterdisclosure.com/.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
By Steve Hammons
If some unidentified flying objects (UFOs) are related to intelligent visitors from elsewhere, what is the impact on national security and global security? This is a question that may have faced U.S. and international officials at least since the World War II era.
Wartime security and secrecy procedures probably would have been implemented in such a case. The alleged Roswell incident reportedly occurred in that climate when “Loose lips sink ships” was one of the mottos to remind Americans to keep information about sensitive military activities secret so it would not fall into the hands of enemies.
Many elements of American society including industries, scientists, journalists and others understood the reason for this kind of security related to defense matters and gladly cooperated. American lives were at stake and the outcome of WWII hung in the balance.
And, the “need-to-know” guideline used to maintain security was (and is today) widely accepted as reasonable and necessary in many cases.
During and after WWII, loyal Americans were helping make sure that necessary secrecy was maintained to protect the country and our friends around the world. Most people probably assumed that this was a united group effort that benefited everyone in the long run.
Today, concerns exist about finding the balance between certain security situations, including UFOs and other anomalous phenomena, and making sure that this balance is a united group effort that benefits everyone. Is secrecy at the appropriate levels? Do Americans have a need to know about certain developments?
Many researchers and others have weighed in on these kinds of questions. In fact, there may be different kinds of views within the defense, intelligence and scientific communities about how much and what kind of information and awareness should be made available to the American people.
Additionally, how the information is made available may be a key factor.
It’s hard to make a judgment without knowing more about what we might be facing. Is there a threat from hostile adversaries from elsewhere? Are there friends and allies who want to help the human race? Are there just explorers, visitors and those passing through who are neutral and unconcerned one way or other about the human condition on Earth?
Managing relationships with our international human friends, allies, “frenemies,” competitors, adversaries and flat-out enemies is quite challenging. Maybe we can think about how more complex it would be when dealing with unusual visitors from elsewhere.
Gathering intelligence might be a lot more difficult. As in dealing with other human groups, communication and cultural differences could also play a part. In the case of certain extraterrestrials or other anomalous beings, actual physical and biological differences could also be an element. Gaps between humans and others in technology and/or deeper knowledge might be significant.
If unusual visitors are actually interacting with Earth and humans, who are friends, allies, frenemies, competitors, adversaries and flat-out enemies?
And, what if some visitors want to “save us from ourselves?” That is, they look down on the Earth, gather intelligence about how it is functioning and being run, and note that there is vast poverty, hunger, suffering, disease, ignorance, injustice and overpopulation.
What if they note that the Earth’s ecosystem and climate are in grave danger? Or, maybe they know that Earth may face some other threats that we do not fully understand at this time.
And, they may see that the human race has the potential to rise to a higher consciousness and deeper understanding, but is not there yet.
These are quite complex dynamics that could actually be facing us now, if you believe the many credible researchers looking into these topics.
Maybe we can understand how difficult it would be for insiders in the defense, intelligence and scientific communities to sort it all out and make sound decisions. Their missions include protecting and helping the American (and other countries’) people in various ways. Maintaining appropriate security is part of this.
And standard intelligence tasks do not just include gathering information and keeping it secret. They also include interpreting and organizing the information, then disseminating it to the right people in the right way.
In the case of the UFO subject, providing information to the people about what they need to know may be a legitimate and important part of this intelligence mission.
The people, for their part, probably must take the responsibility for being open to new information, including that which is subtle, complex, “between the lines” or presented in relatively general ways. We might also need to use our own judgment, perception and gut feelings about what we are told.
We might need to find understanding within ourselves about what is going on. Human consciousness is undoubtedly a key factor that is part of the overall situation.
As we move forward, there will be more research into UFOs and what is going on. Many people will learn more, one way or the other. This ongoing educational process can contribute to national and global security, as well as enhance the development of the human race.
Friday, April 22, 2011
By Steve Hammons
Sometimes things like government documents, news accounts and scientific investigative reports don’t always convey the deeper potential of forward-leaning research into human perception and awareness, as well as other interesting phenomena.
For example, the open-source files on Project STAR GATE provide plenty of educational information about research into extrasensory perception (ESP), anomalous cognition, remote viewing and transcendent warfare.
Much of this material seems quite helpful. And, it seems to be associated with several other types of anomalous, unconventional and leading-edge topics.
ESP research with dolphins seems particularly fascinating. Other studies indicated that humans might be able to perceive across time. Actually, there are several other aspects of “integrative perception,” “complementary cognition” and "transcendent power" that appear to open up new potential for many people around the world.
Yet, when we see these kinds of approaches in real-life practice, they may take many forms. While many modern researchers try to use scientific methods, other examples follow another path. They may be rooted in ancient understanding.
In my novel Mission Into Light, published in 2001, elderly Navajo and former U.S. Marine Corps “Code Talker” Joe Bear is thinking about his association with the Joint Reconnaissance Study Group, a 10-person joint-service military and civilian team based in San Diego. The son of Joe’s former World War II buddy is now an Air Force colonel and commanding officer of the group.
Below is an excerpt from Mission Into Light, Chapter 10, called “Navajo Intel.”
CHAPTER 10, NAVAJO INTEL
Joe Bear and his wife Maggie had returned to their home in the Navajo Nation in the northeast corner of Arizona. Their visits with friends in San Diego had been fun, but the trip was tiring. He still drove his pickup the full distance to San Diego and back.
He felt a need to make arrangements with certain friends. Code Talker friends. But for now, he sat on his front porch.
Joe thought about the things he’d seen and done in his time on Earth. As a young man, he and other Navajo Code Talkers were part of the networks of OSS, intelligence, and cryptography experts fighting the Japanese military in the Pacific. The Code Talkers went on dangerous missions and were often near, on or behind the front lines. Many of them did not make it back to the Navajo Nation alive.
The Code Talkers still alive sometimes got together. Some of them belonged to the VFW post in Gallup, New Mexico, just across the Arizona state line. A small modest museum in a Kayenta restaurant displayed memorabilia about the Code Talkers.
And yet, Joe often felt his duty as a Marine was not yet done. Old OSS and intelligence buddies from World War Two kept in touch from all over the country. Some of them helped put together the meeting they had planned.
Tom O’Brien was the son of one of his old Marine buddies. Grown up from the boy Joe remembered. And now an Air Force colonel in charge of an intelligence and research team in San Diego. Joe had a feeling this group was going to accomplish something good.
As he was thinking about these things and looking out toward the rocky hills in the distance, his wife Maggie opened the front door and came out on the porch with lunch time plates of mutton stew and two glasses of cold lemonade.
She put the food and glasses on the table nearby and silently sat down next to him. They had raised two sons, now grown and married with children of their own. Joe and Maggie were the grandparents of three girls and two boys.
They lived comfortably in a newer double wide factory-built home that had all the amenities. A satellite dish on the roof brought in dozens of TV stations to the new thirty-two-inch TV their sons had given them last Christmas.
Joe and Maggie had lived almost their entire lives on the Navajo reservation. When Joe was recruited for the Marines at age nineteen, Maggie went to San Diego briefly to be near him. Joe had often sent her letters from strange places in the Pacific, and the letters were frequently edited by military censors for security reasons.
Maggie took bites of the stew, sipped on her lemonade and reached over to touch Joe’s hand.
“What are you thinking about, old man?”
“Oh, those people on Thomas O’Brien’s team in San Diego. I think about what they are doing and what they might accomplish. I feel hopeful, but sometimes worried,” he told her as he picked up his lemonade and took a sip.
“They have enemies, don’t they, Joe?”
“Yes, wife, they do. Dangerous enemies.”
“They’re coming up for your meeting?”
“Yes. We’re going to take them to that old kiva in the hidden canyon we discovered. Maybe it has some power from the ancient times,” Joe speculated.
Maggie would also attend as well as their two sons, who would help with all the guests.
“Eat your stew, old man. It’s getting cold.”
Joe reached out and took the nearby plate and a fork. He held the plate of mutton in his lap and started to eat. He’d been eating mutton since he was a small child.
As a young boy he helped his family with the herd of sheep the family had. Both Maggie’s and Joe’s mothers, like many Navajo women, used the wool to weave beautiful clothes and blankets on old-style traditional looms.
Joe remembered the horses and dogs the family had when he was a boy. It was a good life. They lived in a traditional hogan back then. No modern kitchens, bathrooms, and carpet in those days.
Many Navajo families still lived in hogans, or kept one nearby their more modern homes. Even today, many did not have electricity or phones.
As they finished their lunch, Maggie started to clear away the dishes to take them inside to the kitchen.
Joe then made some phone calls to a couple of friends and confirmed a sweat ceremony for that afternoon. These men had known each other since childhood and through World War Two service in the Pacific. After the war, they had grown older, raising families, living out their lives on the Navajo Nation and sometimes traveling around the Four Corners area and the Southwest.
From their home in the Navajo Nation, they had watched the turbulence of the Cold War and Vietnam years shake the larger society of the United States. Assassinations, racial troubles, terrorist threats, had come and gone. They had also witnessed abuse of natural resources, extinction of animals and plants, weather changes, and natural disasters. Technology had made quantum leaps in their lifetimes.
Later that afternoon, Joe and three friends met at a small hut-like sweat lodge. The rocks to be used for the sweat lodge were sitting on a campfire outside. Using a shovel, the four each carried one large, hot rock to the center of the small hut, then sat in a circle. From a bucket inside, water was poured on the rocks, causing great clouds of steam, and filling the lodge with heat.
Joe had suggested the meeting, and he led the proceedings.
“Great Spirit of all life, hear our words. We seek guidance from You. Our friends and our people want Your Path to be made clear.”
The four good friends then began a song, an ancient song of special medicine words. More water was added to the hot rocks. White clouds of steam again filled the air.
Joe closed his eyes and listened to his friends’ songs. Sometimes they took turns, or joined one another as the feeling moved them.
After twenty minutes or so, Joe started to see something in his mind’s eye.
Clouds. White clouds against a deep blue sky. From inside the clouds, something stirred. Joe tried to see what was inside, but could not. Then he relaxed, and watched, and waited.
Very slowly, a large, white bison stepped out of the cloud and looked straight at Joe. The huge animal then looked down, and gestured with his front leg, as if pointing down. In Joe’s vision, he looked down and saw the shape of the continent of North America. The bison then spoke to him.
“See how the land has changed, my brother.”
And Joe saw North America as it was long ago. Thick forests across all of the eastern half of the continent and into the central plains. This was the land long before the Europeans discovered it.
The only humans were the thousands of native tribes, clans, communities, and families. These people had spread and populated the continent from coast to coast, and from the frozen north to the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.
This vision triggered many feelings in Joe Bear. Strange feelings were swirling inside him. Sadness, grief, anger. But something else was moving him. The white bison again was looking at him, as if trying to communicate.
Joe tried to focus his vision on the face, the horns, the powerful body of the buffalo. The animal was calm and looked at Joe again, then started to glow, radiating a strange light. It again spoke to Joe.
“My brother, beautiful days are ahead. Nature and the Spirit have brought us along this river of life. Our land will be beautiful again.”
The buffalo was happy, Joe thought. That was a good sign.
The bison then gestured again to him.
“Your friends can help us, brother. They may take us home. Look here and see them.”
As the bison gestured down again, instead of North America, Joe saw a large cloud, swirling gently like a slow-motion cyclone. Inside the circling mass were millions of people. A brilliant golden light was shining on one part of the slowly spinning cloud. Part was in darkness.
“Your friends are here,” the buffalo said, pointing to a small bright spot in the cloud. Joe noticed other points and regions of darkness and light.
Joe had questions.
“How can I help them?”
“Look closer, brother.”
Joe then saw the faces of Tom O’Brien and the others as he did when he spoke to them in San Diego. He remembered looking into the faces sitting around the small table in the JRSG office at Point Loma. Joe heard his own words as he talked to the group about the Code Talkers and World War Two.
Then the scene suddenly changed. Those young people were now in Arizona. Joe could see pine trees. It felt like north central Arizona, south of the Navajo nation, maybe the Apache lands to the south. Or maybe he saw the Four Corners region of the southern Rockies. Maybe Ute country. Joe wasn’t sure, but he somehow felt it was Indian land.
In his vision, he saw Thomas O’Brien and these young people involved in a struggle. He saw danger and heard the sound of weapons. He heard O’Brien call out Joe’s name. Joe saw injured and dead people lying on the floor of a pine forest.
He then heard soothing words.
“All is well, my brother.” It was the white buffalo again. “Do you see?”
Joe then looked down and saw North America, the slow swirling cloud of people, and O’Brien’s people of the JRSG, all in one scene.
The play of light and darkness slowly changed, and the darkness faded away like the dawn of a new day. The swirling of the cloud gently stopped. The cloud and the picture of North America started to glow like the white bison.
Joe slowly opened his eyes. He was laying down in the sweat lodge, his body and the towel beneath him were soaked. His friends were also lying down and silently sleeping, dreaming, or having their own visions. One of his old friends was snoring loudly.
Joe slowly got up and walked outside. It was almost sunset now. A warm and gentle breeze dried some of the moisture from his body and hair. The old man raised his arms above his head and stretched. His old body had many aches from eighty-five years of life.
He drank from a canteen of water nearby and ate from a bag of food that their wives had prepared. One by one, his friends slowly awoke and came out of the sweat lodge to join him.
They passed around the canteen and the bag of food. As the four old men sat in the setting sun and relaxed, they started an informal debriefing. What kind of visions did each have? What was seen or learned?
Each had an unusual dream or vision that day. They compared the messages they had received. They tried to interpret images and words. They revealed to each other what their buddies had a need to know.
Joe told his friends about the bison, and looking at North America as if he were up in space.
The Code Talkers had once again completed an intelligence mission, like the days of their youth in the Pacific.