The fish is out of water

Posted in Uncategorized on October 16, 2013 by claycoleman

When I made it to high school in the spring of 1984, I was a small fish in a big ocean. Seniors would try to sell us incoming freshman tickets to a rooftop swimming pool which did not exist. And everyone spoke of the other “Fish”. “Fish” was the nickname of a legendary upperclassman. For all we fish knew, “Fish” was big man on campus. The buzz around Fish was legendary. He got his name by swimming across the pond at Peter’s Colony and Josey on a dare. He took a mannequin to prom. He would do anything.
In the eyes of a little fish, he was the king of the big ocean.
He was 3 or 4 years ahead of me, and he left Newman Smith shortly after I got there. I never got to meet him. But I never forgot about the legend. Fish left an indelible mark on my high school years. He was a character that stood out from the masses. That was what stuck with me. He was a true nonconformist in every sense of the word. And in my high school years, nonconformity carried a lot of weight with me. It still does. It always will.
Fast forward to 2013. I am browsing Facebook, looking for any type of Newman Smith page that might have information about my upcoming 25-year reunion. I wasn’t invited, probably since I flew under the radar of most of the Jocks, Preppies, and Douchebags. But I was going anyway.
I stumble across a page for Newman Smith grads of all years. The very first post that I read says “Fish is in Brookhaven Nursing Home. He is going to the VA Hospital on the 16th of October. He loves to have visitors.”
My first thought is, “How can someone so young be in a nursing home?” My second thought is, “BINGO. My time to meet him has come.”
I drove out to Carrollton on a Sunday morning. I was in a great mood; we were leaving on vacation in a few hours.
I arrived at the nursing home and went in. Elderly people were in wheelchairs in the hallways. Moving at a literal snail’s pace. Just glad to be out of their bed, this was probably the highlight of their day. I feel guilty for walking.
I knew that Fish’s real name was Scott McElvane, so I asked directions to his room. The staff wondered if I was there to pick him up? No. Was I family? No. “Just visiting.”
I walked into room #310, and saw Fish in a fetal position watching the television. He looked up at me and asked where I was from. “Newman Smith. I am here because I always wanted to meet the legend. I saw on Facebook that you like to have visitors.”
A smile broke across his face.
He leaned up in bed, a pillow below his bent knees. He was obviously in a lot of pain. He was wearing the kind of diabetic tennis shoes that are oversized, loose, unconstricting.
I proceeded to explain why I was there, and he came around quickly. I asked him about prom. “Who did you take to prom?” “I had four girls that wanted to go, and I couldn’t decide, so I took my mannequin,” he said. Confirmed. HIS mannequin? Nice.
“How did you get your nickname?” I asked. He told me that he was in the sixth grade and got caught in a rainstorm that included not only rain, but minnows. He proceeded to eat some of the minnows that fell from the sky, and the nickname “Fish” was given to him, and it stuck. It certainly did; I never met the guy and here I am 29 years later.
I asked him if he swam across the pond in Carrollton. He said that he did, and he also swam across Lake Lewisville.
“This guy really is a Fish,” I thought.
What he told me next hit me like a ton of bricks. He was waiting for his wife to pick him up in a few minutes. They were going to see his Mother’s viewing at the funeral home; she died last Thursday. Of all the years I had the opportunity to meet Fish, I pick the worst possible time. Stunning.
I am taken aback, and I apologize for picking such an inopportune time. He told me that his mother was at peace now.
He told me that he had married a Japanese woman that he met while overseas in the Marines. He had two children. One died last year at the age of 20.
So he loses his child, his mother, and gets put in a nursing home in the matter of a year? Life is not fair. We all know that.
But sometimes life just deals you blows, over and over, as if testing how much you can handle. In his position, I would have folded up. Completely.
But not Fish. He was having a jovial conversation with someone that he didn’t know five minutes earlier.
“If you could have anything to make you more comfortable here, what would you want?” I asked.
“A new wheelchair–my wheelchair is really uncomfortable.” He lays back down, stretching out his legs and lowering his head to his pillow. He is in a lot of pain.
He tells me that he is friends with the current principal of Newman Smith, Mr. Pouncy. Mr. Pouncy was a teacher when I was there, and in the ensuing years, he has established himself as one of the most respected administrators to ever call himself a Trojan. I have never heard a bad thing about him. Interesting.
I talked a little more wth Scott, and I decided to let him have some time to himself. His wife was on her way, and he needed to clear his thoughts before going to his mother’s viewing. I shook his hand, and let him know that I was sorry about his mother, and I would come and see him when he gets to the VA. Count on it.
I got to the parking lot, my mind a blur from the preceding conversation. I felt guilty for getting in my truck and driving. Freedom. Something we all take for granted. For me, a lot less now.
After our vacation was my 25 year reunion. Friday night was a football game, and Ashley, Owie and I went to Standridge Stadium. I was intent on finding Mr. Pouncy. I wanted him to know about Fish. Screw the football game.
I finally saw him in the third quarter, standing by himself against a wall. I introduced myself and told him about Fish.
He knew that Fish was in a nursing home, but he had not had the time to see him; he was too busy. Understood.
“What happened to him? Does he have a crippling disease?” “No, he was working on a pool with his son and a pressurized piece blew off and hit him in the head, causing a traumatic brain injury.” I told him about Fish’s request for a wheelchair, and wondered how we could get something together. He urged me to go back to Facebook and see if I could round up some support.
So I will.
Fish thinks that the VA will be a lot better than Brookhaven Nursing Home. And that may be the case. And it may not be. Our government is currently SHUT DOWN. Bastards.
Fish thinks that he will get a better wheelchair at the VA. That may be the case. And it may not be. Our government is SHUT DOWN. Fucking bastards.


I wanna be just like Daddy…..

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2013 by claycoleman

I recently had that fatherhood moment when it all comes together.   My four-year-old said that when he grows up, he “wants to be just like Daddy.”  Wow.  I must be doing something right.  I am still looking for the owner’s manual for that thing we brought home from the hospital. 

But, hey, if Owie wants to be a head-bangin’, paranormal researchin’, male pattern baldin’, cat lovin’, Aggie building materials salesperson, who can blame him, right?  This is the dream life, no doubt.

Owie, I am flattered. Thank you.  But you know what, it is a two-way street:

I want to not be afraid to run through the mud.

I want to be so creative that I can change a plane into a submarine with a few quick switches of the legos.

I want to be universally trusting.

I want to be always funny.

I want to be fearless.

I want to be inquisitive.  I want to find the wonder in acorns, and leaves, and twigs.

I want to be care free.

I want to be excited by the RED balloon.

I want to never be too reserved to spontaneously walk like a robot.

I want to never be too inhibited to tell someone that I love them.


You know, Owie, I think I want to be just like you when I grow up.

the sounds of silence.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 22, 2013 by claycoleman

I am reading another great work by Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now.
Tolle says, “Every sound is born out of silence, dies back into silence, and during its life span is surrounded by silence. Silence enables the sound to be. It is an intrinsic but unmanifested part of every sound, every musical note, every song, every word. The Unmanifested is present in this world as silence. This is why it has been said that nothing in this world is so like God as silence. All you have to do is pay attention to it.
…You cannot pay attention to silence without simultaneously becoming still within. Silence without, stillness within. You have entered the unmanifested.”
“Just as no sound can exist without silence, nothing can exist without no-thing, without the empty space that enables it to be. Every physical object or body has come out of nothing, is surrounded by nothing, and will eventually return to nothing.”

As paranormal investigators, we live in the world of no-thing. Silence is a river we navigate. We long for something to come out of no-thing. We listen intently for sound to manifest out of the unmanifested silence.
We seek the cyclical nature of spirit, of soul. The human form that comes out of nothing, is surrounded by nothing, and eventually returns to nothing again manifests itself. The soul reconnects with us by the way of sound. The form that was born, died, and is born again. We are navigators on the river of no-thing. Of silence.

Common sense. Suspend it.

Posted in Uncategorized on May 15, 2013 by claycoleman

At this point in my life, I am reading at a breakneck pace. My mind is a sponge, especially when it comes to researching the field of paranormal studies. Every book I read references another, and the chain of works continue indefinitely. Today I read a quote that sums up the mode of thinking that one must employ in this field of study.
When it comes to researching the paranormal, we must suspend common sense in favor of un-common sense.
G.N.M. Tyrrell states in the book Apparitions: “The common sense view of time must be utterly inadequate. Modern science agrees with that, and the best of modern science deals with un-common sense.”
This was written 60 years ago, and it still applies. The truth is that man does not know as much as he thinks he does. Little is absolute. Paradigms of thinking constantly evolve. Science and technology lead us down a road that is longer, more populated, and probably more winding than we think it is. Thousands of years ago, we did not know what happens to the soul upon death. And today we still do not. More questions than answers.

the boneyard tour and the 3rd bullet theory

Posted in Uncategorized on April 26, 2013 by claycoleman


The architectural group that I am loosely affiliated with, the Dallas Center for Architecture, has a special program running throughout April 2013.
“Place a day” architecture involves a tour and program at a different architecturally significant Dallas location per day for the entire month.
I have toured the Old Municipal building and retraced Lee Harvey Oswald’s doomed path to assassination. I have toured a Sears coffin factory converted into a boutique hotel. I have toured a 1950’s era Hilton hotel, believed to be the first “self-sufficient” hotel in the Southwest US.
And today, I got to tour the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department boneyard. The boneyard is a repository for salvaged architectural elements from demolished Dallas buildings. It is a graveyard of sorts; a fitting tribute to a ciy that loves to tear down it’s history. It was a very cool opportunity to see a collection of artifacts that is off-limits to the public. Additionally, this was the first tour of the boneyard ever given. Yep, I was on it along with 34 other paying guests.
We were told that our tour would end with the signature piece of the collection.
And as we entered the small metal building, we really didn’t know what we were looking at. A long, tubular, black metal pole of some sort. Set behind a perimeter of chains that clearly said “observe from behind these.”
When I found out what it was, I was stunned.
There was a significant event that happened in my city 50 years ago this year. Easily the darkest day in the history of Dallas and an equally dark day for the modern US Presidency. And certainly the quintessential event that most lends itself to the conspiracy theorist.
There is a theory about a third bullet that was shot at JFK. And the theory states that the view of the passing motorcade from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository was obscured by a traffic signal post at the corner of Houston and Elm street.
Supposedly a fired bullet ricocheted off of this signal post and missed its target. Incidentally, this post is known to be the last original post at this intersection; all others have been replaced at some point over the last 50 years.
A few years ago, a car knocked down this post. The Dallas Parks Department got a call from the city streets department and took posession of the post before it was removed.
News of this somehow got out, and a man who has dedicated over 20 years to establishing the third bullet theory heard about it. He made contact with the parks department, and arranged to make a trip to the boneyard to examine the post. He has made seven trips to date. Some of the trips have included members of the FBI.
The post has been visually analyzed, millimeter by millimeter. It has been stripped of several of its ten coats of paint, bringing to the surface the paint that was on the outermost layer the day of the JFK assassination. The post has been laser-analyzed.
A piece of metal, the size of a speck of dust, was removed. This was thought to be a remnant of a bullet casing. Based on this, there have been some preliminary conclusions drawn about a possible spot where a bullet might have hit the post. Certainly forensic architecture at its finest.
And we were the first group to see it.
As a side note, the parks director who guided our tour mentioned that the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination would be bigger than five Presidents visting Dallas. Interesting. Because that was pretty big.

Long time, no blog.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 16, 2013 by claycoleman

It has been a busy time in my neck of the paranormal woods for the last few months.  Bravo Paranormal has a great project in the works.  We even got a Halloween fluff piece produced on the local news.   We have the ship aimed in the right direction; with some hope and a lot of luck, we can bring our method of investigation to the masses. 

This blog will continue to serve as a way for me to talk about some of the more unusual things I run across in the paranormal field.  I want to provoke thought.  My goal is to invite discussion of things paranormal.  I want to spark interest in the previously uninterested.  I want to bring the ultimate question to the forefront, and show some of the results we have obtained in seeking answers to that question.

The question is, “Does the human soul continue to exist in some manner upon the death of the physical body?”  This is what guides our research.  It is the bold words written across the top of the legal pad, underlined, and underlined again for good measure.  It is the question that got us to stop spending countless hours in “haunted” locations, capturing EVP’s, and calling it a night.

I want to know who is speaking the words that frequently and predictably show up on my recordings.

Rule #1–always carry the recorder and headphones with you at all times.  I learned this the hard way in photography, and in paranormal research.

So I am going to dinner last Sunday night.  Grabbin’ some pho, at my favorite pho place.   And Greenville avenue is barricaded at 6PM.  I look past the barricades and see a wrecked motorcycle in the center lane, with two police cars beside it.  And the ominous orange spray paint trail leading to the wreckage.  We know what that means, and instantly the opportunity to do some research presents itself.  Someone’s soul left this plane in the VERY recent past about 100 yards from where I am parked.  So I proceed to record for about 3 minutes. I get out of my truck, and walk past a police detective interrogating two groups of people, presumably involved in the fatal accident.  I go to dinner and grab a window seat. 

I pull out my book “Mad Man in Waco” about David Koresh and the Branch Davidians.  I pulled this book out of the stack because April 19th is the 20th Anniversary of the apocalyptic fire, and I wanted to relive the story.  But I find it increasingly hard to read; I am instead drawn to observing the human reaction to what happened in the street in front of me.  Most of the reaction consists of the slow driver craning his neck to get a view.  A girl grabs her cell phone and starts snapping pictues of the bike carcass in the street.  I am immediately taken back by this; is this behavior a product of this instantaneous socitey that we live in?  Is there this urgent need to document everything as it happens?  Even when someone loses their life?  Is this in a sense what my paranormal group is doing?   The thought of it upsets me.

As I looked closer, I began to realize that a fatal traffic accident requires a lot of people doing their jobs, in a professional manner, somewhat oblivious to the stark reality of what just ocurred.   The police have to direct the traffic, question the witnesses, spray paint the trajectory and final resting place of the vehicle, coordinate the entire scene.  The tow truck driver comes to pick up the remains of the vehicles and clean the scene so that the road can get back to being a road as quickly as possible. And before I got there, the ambulance driver had to take the deceased to the morgue.  And once this is all done, and all evidence, save the orange spray paint, is removed from the scene, it is back to the usual.  And then I hit record on my recorder and ask the question that guides our research.  Hopefully, I can start a dialogue with the soul of the departed and find out a little more of what happens at the moment that life as we know it in this plane comes to an end.  This is macabre work, no doubt.  But I am not ashamed of it.

In the same way a medical examiner conducts an autopsy to find out what caused death, I am trying to pick up from the point of death and press forward.  Only my research does not require me to probe the physical body.  I simply ask questions into the ether, and hope to be able to use my ability to understand what the responses are.  And try to connect a puzzle piece to the adjacent one, while staring at a pile of a thousand pieces.


here’s an idea.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 26, 2012 by claycoleman

One of the books that I am reading is “Voices of Eternity” by Sarah Estep.  Sarah was the founder of the association that is currently known as “Association Transcommunication.”  I am a card-carrying member, and I even just received my membership renewal form; it must be that time of the year again.

There is a fantastic quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne to lead off Chapter 5:

“We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream; it may be so the moment after death.”

What an amazing concept.  What if our “life” as we know it is a dream that we are living, and upon our transition from this spiritual plane to the next, we “awake” to realize that it was in fact a dream, and another phase of spirituality then resumes. 

I have had dreams in this life that were so vivid, so lucid, that all of my senses seemed to be engaged.  I could see, taste, touch in the dream just as if I were alive.  The dream was so “real” that upon awaking from sleep, I was even convinced that it was reality.

So I think that Nathianiel Hawthorne’s concept is not that much of a stretch. 

For now, I will continue to “row, row, row my boat.”  Because, as we were all taught from an early age, “Life is but a dream.”