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The Changing Picture: A Paranormal Fake-Out?

Is this story a paranormal one? I don’t know. Probably not, but I thought I’d mention it just because it was weird and random and we’re called Random Weirdos here. A lot of weird stuff happened during the Covid pandemic, mostly because people were home to see it.

A hunting dog appeared where a man had been.

It all started in the summer of 2020 when I went to change the wall calendar to the next month. The calendar had a hunting theme, so each picture showed someone with a rifle, bow, or other weapon. This time the picture featured two men with hunting rifles stalking ducks in a swamp.

I remember the picture well. One of the hunters was a young man in his twenties who was sitting in a duck blind while watching birds in the tall swamp grass. Next to him was a balding, middle-aged man who was a little big around the middle. He was saying something to the young man while working on his gun, and they were both focused on something in the distance.

This was the picture I uncovered when I changed the calendar, and it was the same picture that remained for the next two days. That is, until Mom asked me what kind of dog was featured in the picture.

“Dog?” I asked. “What dog?”

“The one on the calendar,” she said.

Thinking my mother had gone completely nuts, I turned to look at the picture on the calendar and felt a chill. Sitting in place of the middle-aged man was a solid liver German shorthaired pointer in a hunting vest. The young man was still there, but the older man had vanished into the ether. In fact, as far as I could see, there was only one human being in this picture and that had always been the truth.

So what exactly happened? My first suspicion was that I was going stir-crazy. This was July of 2020 and we had been in Covid lockdown since March. It would stand to reason that I might see things that weren’t there when I was stuck at home all day and night. But would this really make me see an entire person that later vanished into nothingness?

I’m going to dismiss this idea right away. For one thing, I work from home, anyway, so the lockdown was nothing new. Also, I’m an anti-social introvert, so quarantine was nothing for me. I was actually happy that I now had an excuse to do what I always did, anyway. I certainly never got restless or tired of being at home.

There is a strong possibility that this was some sort of seizure. Temporal lobe seizures, in particular, include hallucinations. At the time that this picture phenomenon occurred, I was suffering from strange freezing episodes, where I would suddenly became immobile for a minute or two. Sometimes I was so frozen that my legs would tingle and I’d drool. Though I never caught myself hallucinating during the episodes, that doesn’t completely dismiss the idea.

Only a day after the picture incident occurred, I happened to glance outside into the neighbor’s back yard and saw a large, blackened pile of ashes. I ignored it, thinking the neighbor was using his lockdown time to clear his back acre. However, when I finished my yard work and came back inside, I glanced into the neighbor’s yard and there was no sign of the smoking ash pile. It was just gone and there was no sign that it had ever been there in the first place.

These incidents, and the freezing episodes, encouraged my trip to the neurologist in 2021. They ran several tests, including a complete brain MRI and an EEG. There was no sign I was having seizures, but she could not dismiss the hypothesis, either.

I don’t have a history of seizures. It is rare for people to develop epilepsy in adulthood without haven’t some incidents in childhood first. The things that would lead to seizures in an adult (i.e. brain tumors, certain diseases, head injury, etc.) were all ruled out by the tests and history. Whatever was going on, the freezing episodes stopped after I went on medication for an unrelated condition.

So what happened to the picture on the calendar? Could this have been a paranormal event? Was it related to the time phenomenon I discussed in my last post? It could be, but it could’ve just as easily been a complicated hallucination. Why I would’ve hallucinated the image of a balding middle-aged man, I can’t say for sure, but I have an idea.

The man had a very strong resemblance to Maurice Krafft, a famous volcanologist killed at a Japanese volcano in 1991. This brings up another set of theories, some of them paranormal and some of them more mundane. The mundane explanation is that, as a volcano nerd, I am very familiar with the man and my brain generated an image of him during a hallucination.

Whatever the cause, I can’t declare this incident a paranormal event. However, I can’t completely dismiss the idea until I have more of an understanding of what happened to me in 2020 and 2021. It remains a strange mystery of the pandemic with no answers. At least for now.

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