Vision To a Murder
What you are about to read will challenge your senses. It will not leave you unaffected. One way or another you will have to decide whether the paranormal exists or is there some other logical explanation that our sciences have not yet managed to decipher. There are no other choices. There is no refusing to believe this story because I can verify that it actually happened because it happened to me. The story made its rounds in the late eighties and early nineties thanks to the publication of Extraordinary Experiences; the Paranormal in Canada. It was written by author Robert Colombo, and if you go to page two hundred and sixty, you'll find the short version of what I'm about to tell you. You see, Robert wrote the story long before it impacted on the populace. Long before the radio shows, the public reactions and subsequent trail of groupies that refused to accept that it was a one-off situation and no matter how long they waited and watched, it was unlikely that I would be involved ever again in a similar situation. Robert Colombo released the story again in 1996 in a book entitled Ghost Stories of Canada but by this time I had moved out of the country and I didn't have to deal with any reactions it may have stirred.
Before I discuss the details I'll provide you with my dilemma. I'm a scientist. The world to me is black and white for the most part. Having to explain the paranormal is not something I'd be comfortable with. So instead I search for some basis of scientific explanation that can at least provide me with some degree of comfort. In my mind, I had suffered a time slip; I had an experience with time progression slipping whereas everyone else was claiming I had a paranormal experience. The difference is that wheras people search for ghosts and supernatural hobgoblins to explain what they can’t explain, I could now explain it in a completely different context. No supernatural, no calling from the graves. I was merely a spectator to one of time’s screw ups; an accident of physics. But I'll tell you the story and you can decide for yourelf.
The time was January 9, 1987 and it was an awfully slow evening at my clinic and I decided to close the office early. It was around 5:30pm, already dark as is typical of a Canadian winter. You get up in the dark, go to work in the dark and you come home in the dark and then you go to bed. Pretty bleak existence when you think about it. Just another reason why I left the country. On my way home I was driving up Woodbine Ave north of Steeles and there wasn’t a lot of traffic, but that’s okay. It’s two lanes both directions, so I’m making good time and figure I’d be home in less than half an hour. For those of you that live in that part of Toronto, you will already be wondering how there could be so little traffic on that particular road. There's always traffic on Woodbine Ave. At the time it didn’t even strike me as unusual when suddenly it happened. It was as if it was midday again. Everything was bright and what snow had been on the ground was suddenly gone. But then, even stranger, Woodbine was no longer two lanes each way. It was back to being a single lane both directions and the buildings and offices that lined the road were no longer there. It was open fields, as if everything had disappeared and urban had been replaced by rural. Up ahead I could see a car pointed in the other direction just sitting on the side of the road. Now I knew I had been driving at eighty kilometres an hour but now it felt as if I was driving through Jello. Everything was so sluggish, as if I was barely moving at all. There was movement from the passenger side of the other car and a very tall woman, easily six feet, stepped out and proceeded to open the back door. All I can remember is thinking when I saw her was how strange she looked. Not only tall but dressed all in black, a really long dress from high necked collar all the way down to her ankles. And her hair, it was platinum blonde in a bee hive style, straight out of the fifties.
She opened the back door of the car and pulled out a child. I’d say about six years old, with a prince Valiant hair style, down to the shoulders. The child’s crying; I can hear the crying but I can’t tell whether it was a boy or girl. The child was wearing a light cotton blue jacket, but you have to remember that there’s now no snow whatever this particular day happened to be and it was actually quite warm. I watched in bewilderment as she dragged the child from the car and I thought to myself that the child must have needed to go to the bathroom, so they’re only making a wilderness pit stop. Simple explanation but you have to remember I'm feeling quite confused at this time. But then the woman starts doing something odd, as if this all wasn't strange enough, she started pulling the child out on to the road. Crossing to the other side, my side of the road, and over to a field. When she get to the middle of the road it appeared as if she saw me coming and stopped. It seemed to me like an eternity before I passed by her and all the time she’s staring at me, not with surprise but with this odd look of contempt. A look as if I was annoying her. The child is crying and wailing and by this point my mind is finally clear enough to suggest somehting isn't right here. Next thing I realised, I’m almost alongside their car. It’s a pale lime green. Actually the colour of guacamole. And I see the name on the side in chrome letters, or at least part of it. It says Bel, and right away Belmonte or Bel Aire springs to mind. There’s a man in the driver’s seat. Balding head, large partially hooked nose, moustache. I can tell that he’s of Mediterranean origin. Perhaps Greek or Italian. Again, he’s looking at me with this unemotional mask but I can see it in his eyes. It's almost as if he's surprised to see me. It appeared as if I was more of a mystery to him than he was to me.
Once I was about a hundred meters past them, I convinced myself that something definitely wasn't right. The child was in trouble. I knew it beyond a shadow of doubt by that point. I had this overwhelming feeling that if I didn’t do something right there and then, they were going to seriously harm the child. So I pulled over to the side and stopped. I looked into my rear view mirror to see what they’re doing next. But they’re weren't there. I swung around in my seat to look through the back window and there was absolutely nothing. No people, no car, and then blink, it was dark again and Woodbine was back to what it should have been that evening with cars going up and down the road, and there I was, parked on the side.”
I made it home but I’ve lost a good two hours of time that I couldn’t explain. That entire night I tossed and turned. My mind was racing a mile a minute and I could not get the faces of those people out of my head. Even now, over twenty years later I can still see them clearly.
The next day I was still jittery and so I decided to tell a couple of friends of mine about the experience. Bev and Avril listened intently but they didn’t know what to say or do. I mean, what do you say to a friend that you think may have completely lost it? When I suggested to them that I thought I may have witnessed a murder that was about to happen, they did what any friend would do, they agreed to watch the the newspapers over the next few days to see if there were any reports of a kidnapping or murder of a little boy. I was relieved in one way when we acknowledged that there was nothing reported but worried in another way that my mind had snapped. Perhaps I had fallen asleep at the wheel. Dreamt the entire episode only to wake up a couple of hours later and drive home. I couldn’t really say any more what did or didn't happen. But the images weren’t going away and I certainly wasn’t getting a good night’s sleep.
Physically the lack of sleep was beginning to have its toll on me. I must have looked a wreck because Bev said I had to do something and that's when her and Avril came up with a plan. We had a common police acquaintance that worked at 41st Division, Bob Adams. They called Bob and told him that I had to see him about, as they labelled it, an incident. That was an awfully strange meeting. Bob sat in my office and I laid out the details of everything I had witnessed. He didn’t flinch, but that was good, because he also didn’t get up and walk out the door. He could tell from my expression that I wasn’t spinning him a yarn and he decided to hear me out. By then I had come to a realisation that what I was describing wasn’t in my own time frame. Something weird had happened and I knew that I was somehow watching an event that occurred back in the fifties. I don’t know how I knew, I just knew. And Bob must have thought the same thing.
Bob did me the favour of going up to York Regional, since the crime would have taken place in that division if my report had been accurate. He asked at the desk if anyone knew of a young boy being killed up by Woodbine Avenue and the old highway seven back in the fifties. But the entire system had been changed over to computers over the years and a lot of the old files were simply discarded in the changeover. They had nothing on record. Bob was about to leave when one of the desk sergeants that overheard the conversation piped up. “There’s something about an unsolved murder back then,” he recalled. “Harvey Carps was the detective on that one. When he retired he still regretted that was the only unsolved murder in his files. Had his suspicions but could never prove anything.
The crew up at York Regional took it upon themselves to make it their mission to find out more. Harvey may have been retired but he was still alive and was more than happy to tell Bob what he could. “There was this young girl,” he told Bob. “Judy Carter was her name. About six years old when she disappeared from her Sherbourne Street home on January 9th, 1955. She was found face down beside a creek at the juncture of Woodbine and Old Highway 7 two days later. Except it wasn’t a highway back then. Just the sixteenth line. No motive, no ransom request, nothing. Still had on her blue cotton jacket when they found her.”
It got even more interesting when Harvey mentioned to Bob that his prime suspects were the housekeeper and her husband. A Greek couple, but no one could find the proof to pin it on them. So the case went cold and finally it was dropped. No point reopening they said, too late. Practically everyone involved was dead now, so for a second time the case was dropped.
It just so happened that John Robert Colombo was writing a book on paranormal events. He received my story and gave it a lot of early book release publicity. Not too many stories from the paranormal can be corroborated from police files and all the discussions they had with me were now there as part of the public record. So he was making certain that he’d get maximum mileage out of it. And where he had a fairly successful release of his book, especially since he could confirm what he claimed was a real live "sensing of a murder," my life as a result started taking a turn for the worse. All the crazies came out. My office had become a three ring circus once the media mentioned my name. They even went as far as stating that I was a veterinarian in the Toronto area which was easy enough to find in the Yellow Pages. People lined up in my office wanting séances performed. I started receiving calls from people in Los Angeles for the television show Sightings, wanting to discuss doing an episode based on my experience. The event was taking on a life of its own and it was becomeing overwhelming. I decided I had enough and my comment to the television editor was simply, "What do I get out of it?" He was surprised that I would want anything more than the publicity. I had to explain to him what I saw as the value of the publicity I had received thus far. He'd have a nice television show, Colombo would have his royalties, radio talk shows would have sound bites to last a lifetime but what did I have other than a major mess to clean up and attempt to restore order to my life?
I raise this story once again obviously not for publicity but for closure. As I said, I still see the faces and I still wrestle with exactly what happened that night in January 1987.
My scientific mind has focussed entirely on certain key elements of the vision. The loss of time, the slowness of movement, etc. Everything was so sluggish as if moving through molasses. The expressions on the faces of the two kidnappers. But I don’t think they were experiencing it the same way that I was. I suspect I may have been moving at a blur to them. Fleeting seconds, at the most. That would explain that look of annoyance mixed with astonishment that I thought I recognised on their faces. Like a gnat buzzing around you, irritatingly but you can’t do anything about it. You think you have a glimpse of it, but before you can even swat at it, the gnat is gone. They may have just been able to visualise myself and the vehicle, and then I was gone. Who knows what they thought afterwards? An apparition? A ghost perhaps? I can’t really say. Perhaps for the briefest of moments they were looking through a window into the future and I in fact was looking through that same window into the past. A fracture in time, where time itself is out of sync and though spatially we are in the same reference points, timewise we definitely are not. That is at least how I want to believe it occurred. A scientific if not necessarily rational solution. The alternative is to accept that a world filled with specters and poltergeists actually exists. And that would mean accepting what has been written for centuries about my family. As you see, if you've read some of my other hubs, I am Kahana, a descendant of the House of Phiabi, or one of the 24 priestly families described in the bible. Even today, the Cohenim are forbidden to walk in graveyards and must remain outside of the cemetery. Why? Because it is said we are sensitive to the spirit world and if a root of a tree should pass through a grave and then under our feet, a connection is made between us and the world of the dead. Two theories separated by over two millenia. I choose to believe in the former, guided by science but it's still hard to escape the thought that perhaps they knew something over two thousand years ago when the wrote the laws in Leviticus governing the Cohenim.
You decide. As I said, the story leaves you with no choice but selecting one belief or the other. You can't dismiss it. It really happened and its fully recorded in several places including the York Regional police files. Scientific Phenomena or Paranormal Event? You decide!
Take the Poll
Was the above experience Scientific Phenomena or Paranormal Event
FAQs to Help make your decision:
1. Was I born at the time Judy Carter was kidnapped and killed? No, I was born afterwards and therefore would not have read about it any newspapers that may have stuck in my mind.
2 Did my description of the kidnappers match the couple in the gardener's house? Yes, it did.
3. Why weren't the police willing to prosecute if the description matched? As Bob explained it to me, no one has ever been convicted on the basis of a vision and no one ever will. So when you watch these "sensing murder" shows, they are of very little relevance to the police case.
4. Why couldn't you tell if it was a girl or a boy? It was the Prince Valiant hairstyle that threw me. I felt it could have been either from the clothes she wore.
5. Has anyone else talked about the scientific explanations- these so called timeslips? Yes, there is a book written about them appropriately entitled Time Slips.