Umpqua National Forest, Oregon, USA-Pacific Standard Time Zone
~~* Pilgrimage to the Golden City-Page 3 *~~
~~*A Bad Trip*~~
An eerie foreboding swept over me. Amidst the din of rock and
roll and flashing lights, wave after wave of anxiety swept over me. Like a
raving maniac I ran out of the auditorium and sought refuge in San Francisco's
Golden Gate Park. By the time I arrived I was in a helpless state of dementia.
Terror surrounded me on every side. First, a tough looking group of Gypsy
Joker motorcycle gang members approached me in a menacing fashion.
They could see I was tripping and thought they'd have some fun. I could barely
hang on. Quickly succumbing to boredom, they left. Soon after, a fellow with
long hair and sorrowful eyes handed me a card with the picture of his guru on it
that said, God is love and silent.
The crowds in the park were watching some women dancing in
the nude to bongo drums playing in the background. I managed to literally crawl
behind some dense shrubbery and collapse. I lay on my back, arms crossed up on
my chest and lost all sense of the outside world. Unlike my very first experience,
this one cast me powerless into an abyss of absolute darkness. No sound, no
light, no form; only the fathomless, endless reaches of a lonely void of darkness. I don't know how
long I was there. Gone were the visions of elves and spirit beings. Gone were
the joyous flood of colors and sounds. I had entered death and was not able to
leave. I wanted to leave. Death and terror were no friends of mine.
~~*...And in Search of Help*~~
During the night consciousness returned once again. My eyes opened to a
different world. Wearing only blue jeans without shoes or a shirt, I managed to
make it out of the park in search of help. I was terribly disabled by the drug.
I could barely speak and my appearance was as one lost and mindless. I recall
approaching a lady who was carrying groceries.
"Please help me!"I tried to say. She screamed and fled. I
walked further down the street and found a group of people sitting on the tall steps
to their old San Fransisco house.
"Come on in man. You're just having a bad trip."
They sat me down in a chair between two large speakers and handed me a
"joint". Soon loud raucous music was blasting in my ears. Again the
terrors gripped me. Quickly I fled. Babbling like a mindless idiot I sat in a
heap in the middle of a downtown San Francisco Market street sidewalk, weeping and unable to
communicate. I remember so many people walking by, side glancing the oddity
Night was upon the city. Shelter was needed. I roamed
through the about trying to find some safe haven.
A series of old condemned houses seemed to serve the purpose. The door was
open to one of these. Upon entering I found a strange person had already taken
up permanent residence there. He mentioned that there was a place to stay in one
of the rooms. Each room was filled with debris but the water and electricity
still worked. The walls of the little enclave were scribbled with the sayings of Bob
Dylan and various other prophets, philosophers and sages of the day.
~~*Driven to Run*~~
I lay on a used mattress contemplating the visions of
darkness that continued to rush through my mind. Unable to sleep, I arose to
look out the window only to see what I thought was a warning of impending doom.
The buildings and streets were heaving under the undulations of a massive
earthquake. In the middle of the night I was again driven to run. I managed to
get a ride out of San Francisco to Berkeley across the Bay. Along the way
I picked up a copy of the San Francisco Oracle, an underground newspaper
of the time. On its back page was a copy of Psalm 23 out of the Bible,
super-imposed on a faded image of Jesus with a crown of thorns. I began to
frantically repeat the psalm over and over.
My arrival at Berkeley overwhelmed me. By a quirk of fate I
found myself on Telegraph Avenue, the main thoroughfare to the University of
California's Berkeley campus, right in the middle of the first and most
intense night of the famous Berkeley riots. Black Panthers, the SDS, the SLA and
the general populace of the area were menacingly looting and destroying
everything in sight. Explosions, the crack of firearms, the condition of wanton
abandonment to destruction shocked me all the more. In my drugged stupor I
clutched the twenty-third psalm. Driven again by panic I began hitchhiking out
~~*The Horrors of Realms Unseen *~~
Like a dead leaf fallen from the autumn tree I was set adrift
by the raging winds of the times. My psyche was rendered vulnerable and that
vulnerability was taken full advantage of by elements I could not see.
Forces far beyond the scope of my insight devoured my soul with the horrors of
realms unseen. Now I was not only compelled to seek answers for a dying world,
but also to keep the whisper of life that remained alive in me. I was a
part of the death I was seeking to relieve. Somehow the drugs I had hoped would
catapult me into spheres of spiritual power, that in turn would give me insight
into the horrible catastrophe that is the human condition; these only served to
cast me into the bottom of the human race and beyond. I had mutated into the
problem while seeking an answer for it. How could I find a way out?
~~*The Glow of a Spiritual Light*~~
In three days I found myself in Portland, Oregon. Wandering
about the city I came upon a park that was the main gathering place for the
hippies. Hungry and exposed to the elements and in a state of near incoherence,
I managed to discover a Christian "crash pad" not far from the park. Crash pads
were a common event in those days. No one really knew who paid the rent or where
the food came from, but it was usually there. A Christian prototype was a
curiosity to me. I had often eaten at the Hindu temple in the San Francisco bay
area or perhaps at the Sufi food bank, but this was new.
Bedraggled and somewhat shy I entered what I found out later
was the men's house. Though meals were taken together, sleeping quarters were
separate for men and women. Upon entering, the atmosphere of the place and
serenity of the occupants left a sure mark on me. Although it may sound strange,
the definite glow of a spiritual light shown from the faces of most of
the attendants. It so struck me that I was immediately desirous of shining in
such a manner myself. It was a curious but understood sign of life to me.
I stayed. After several weeks I began to gain some semblance
of living again. I had acquired a job and vaguely grasped the message that my newfound
friends said, was the source of their joy and the peculiar light that emanated
from their countenances. ( as a side note I will mention that often I
went to a mirror to study my face to discover if perhaps I was also beginning to
The man William Giersdorf was in charge of the activities
about the house. He often studied the scriptures and taught in the evenings. He
took me under his wing and also began instructing me. The year was 1968. Down to
the Columbia River I went to be immersed in the waters. I had committed my life
to Jesus and was beginning to gain ground. Not long after I began to stabilize,
my concerns began to focus on the shattered pieces of life I left behind in
Philadelphia. No one knew of my whereabouts. Surely it was right to return and
34620 Tiller Trail Hwy.
Tiller, Oregon 97484