For a brief and all-too-memorable two years of my life, we lived in Sedona, Arizona. It’s a beautiful place, red rock country that will dye your white socks a nice shade of rust whilst hiking. It’s also a total magnet for oddballs.
When we first moved there, back in the late 80s, an alarming number of the populace was convinced a space ship was going to emerge from Bell Rock, which to those who don’t think it’s shaped like a bell believe it’s shaped like a UFO. This, of course, meant there was a UFO in it, and if you had the right crystal, you could summon the space ship that was to emerge on an auspicious day, and the aliens who had (for reasons I never learned) parked their ship under that mass of old sandstone would pick you up and give you a lift to some sort of very spiritual destination somewhere out in the universe.
Vendors set up roadside markets where quartz crystals lay on tables, sparkling in the sun. I found myself browsing at one on a fine day, because I love crystals and was hoping to find a bargain. Alas, all I found were overpriced rocks and one woman waving a fistful, exclaiming to her friend, “This one was cold, and this one was kind of warm, but this one’s hot!” The fact that relative warmth may have been due to the fact there was a sun shade over part of the table didn’t seem to occur to her. No, she was after something that would vibrate at just the right frequency for thumbing a ride with extraterrestrials.
I gave it up as a bad job and left. Perhaps that day in my tweens was a harbinger of my future skepticism. Or maybe I’d just been exposed to too much New Age schlock.
The Great Day came, but the spaceship didn’t, and all those who had paid far too much for some decent quartz, sold their earthly belongings, and camped out in the desert waiting for Bell Rock to open would have had to slink despondently home if they hadn’t sold said home.
But even that rather spectacular fail didn’t shake their faith. They still babbled on about wise aliens from other worlds and crystal magic and vortexes like the one by the Post Office that caused all the horrible car crashes. No, cars didn’t crash because it was a badly designed, extremely busy t-shaped intersection with the worst visibility in town. No, silly skeptics! It’s obviously the malign influence of a bad vortex, not at all like the good vortexes out in the hills, where one could – well, do whatever it is New Agey folk do when communing with good vortexes.
Psychics and so forth continued selling their New Age kitsch downtown. I should have got round to telling them to aim a sun lamp at the trays of crystals so they could sell more “hot” ones.
Years later, after I’d moved away, a pagan friend came to visit from parts east. His friends had told him he had to see Sedona. “It’s so spiritual,” said they. They babbled on and on about its mystical powers and so forth, and sent him out on a mission: he just had to go, and report back.
He’s skeptical enough he took my warnings to heart, and tried to steel himself against disappointment, but his jaw still dropped when he saw what the spiritual mecca really was: no more than commercial kitsch slathered thick along the main drag, a tourist trap laid for the sensitive soul. Nothing I’d said could quite capture the shock of the reality. It’s really that bad.
On December 21, 2012 Mr. Peter Gersten plans to hurl himself off of Bell Rock in Sedona, AZ. It is his belief that a cosmic portal will open at this time and in this place, and that he will be delivered into a new, unfathomable opportunity. He is fully willing to die if he is wrong about the portal.
Ah, yes, I can say with some certainty that “he will be delivered into a new, unfathomable opportunity.” It’s not every day the local coyote population has a smorgasbord plop down from the top of Bell Rock.
Let’s just hope all of the negative vibes from all the skeptical people laughing at him cause him to change his mind. I mean, you know what negativity does to portals. I mean, look what happened when a few locals poked fun at the idea a spaceship would emerge – no spaceship. You can’t tell me that’s a coinkydink.
We’ve already broken your portal, Mr. Gersten. I’m sorry. It won’t open due to all those bad vibrations. You might as well stay home.