From the Archives: The Case of the Mystery Cap
Those who have a copy of our book, The Risen, may have noticed in the dedication in the front:
~ Who Witnessed the Red Hat ~
Several readers have asked about it. Here is the story behind it, as reported in this blog in October of 2006. Zoë, now a little older and wiser, still remembers it, and has herself experienced her own odd events similar to this since then, and also still has the appropriate response: she laughs.
The week I spent camping on Lake Champlain in the Adirondack Mountains went by faster than I thought, but I'm glad all the same to get back to the place I call home. (and 2 kittens are especially glad!)
While I never saw "Champ" - the alleged "Loch Ness Monster of Lake Champlain" - I did have a very intriguing experience that was unique in my already very strange life. I have yet to figure it out, but haven't really pursued it yet, just letting it rest a bit. There doesn't seem to be any of the "psychospiritual amnesia" effects that I've cited in The Risen and are usually associated with Risen contact, as the details are crisp and clear in my memory; nor did I have to struggle to retain the information. Of course, it was observed and corroborated by another person, so perhaps that "solidified" it in some way.
I was traveling in a car with 2 friends and their 9 year-old daughter, Zoë -- who's also my fairy god-daughter (long story) when we stopped for gas in one of the many small towns in that part of the state. We noticed that they had firewood for sale, which we needed, so I started to get out of the car to go buy some. My red baseball cap, which had a large "Strand Bookstore" logo on the front, had been lying on the seat next to me, and I reached over and put it on my head as I got out of the car. Immediately I found that for some reason, it wouldn't fit on my head -- it was too small! I took it off and looked at it, to discover that it wasn't my hat; rather it was a plain hat with no logo on it. True, it was red, but a very bright, new-looking red; my hat was a faded red, and the Strand logo was sewn directly into the hat. Z. was still sitting there, so I asked her if it was her hat. She looked at me and laughed, and said no. I countered with that it wasn't mine, so whose could it be? Did it belong to Mom or Dad? Nope. Did she ever see it before? Nope. Hmmmm. So where was my hat?
I carefully explained to Z. what my hat looked like. I put the strange hat down on the seat where I was sitting. While she looked for mine, I got out of the car and showed it to her mother who was walking towards me. All I got was strange laughs when I complained that somehow my hat got switched with this little inferior one; it was just assumed "August was having one of his 'spells' " --they are used to my trances and other nonesuchnesses, and usually don't ask too many questions. "Look at it," I insisted, "it doesn't even fit on my head! I'm not crazy!" Taking it in stride, my friend continued to walk towards me and said that the firewood was inferior, so not to bother, we'd get some elsewhere.
That was fine with me. I turned around and got back in the car and picked up the hat I had left lying on the seat. Only it was my hat, the Strand hat! I looked at it in disbelief. I stopped Z from her searches and said I'd found mine. But where had it been to begin with? And now where was the other one, the smaller, redder, plain one?
It was nowhere to be found.
Immediately Z. and I began tearing the back seat apart and then the far back of the car, looking for the hat. I kept my own jammed firmly on my head. We never found the mystery cap. Not then, and not the next day, nor the next. And my friends continued to insist that they didn't own such a cap to begin with.
Z. and I went over and over this event for the next few days; and then she would go to the car and search for the cap we had both briefly seen before it disappeared. We felt bonded by this mysterious trip to the Twilight Zone, and will probably remember it as one of the main highlights of our camping trip -- even more than our visit to Santa's Workshop!