by Andrew Arnett

“Did you find the monster?” Lyndon asked, “Did you get a picture of it?”

“No, no,” I answered, “Not in the literal sense. We didn’t ‘find’ the goat man, in that sense. But, in a metaphorical sense, in a Greek mythological sense, yes, we did find a kind of goat man.”

“I see,” Lyndon said, thoughtfully. “These shows on cable TV, the ones that go searching for creatures like Big Foot, stuff like that, they never find anything. They’ll call out in the woods, and you hear something calling back, but they never prove anything. Disappointing.”

“In discussing our project,” I said, “we talked about all those paranormal shows and, our intention was to make a film decidedly unlike all those fake shows.”

I scooped out a spoonful of orange shrimp and placed it on my plate. There were five of us, eating family style at The Eternal Birds Nest, a fine Chinese dining establishment in midtown Manhattan.

“They’ll get out there with all their gadgets,” Lyndon added, “they’ll have Geiger counters and heat detectors and all sorts of devices but I’ve never seen them once come up with any scientific proof.”

“We’ve got those devices too,” I said. “We’ve got the spirit box, the M2 Ghost app, all the cutting edge machines.”

“The AP sent me out to cover the search for the Loch Ness Monster,” Ellen said. “Remember that, when they used the sonar to photograph the bottom of the Scottish lake?”

“No kidding,” I said, “ that was a big media event.”

“Did they find anything?” Lyndon asked.

“Nothing,” said Ellen, “Pass the tilapia please.”

“I could sit here, in the clear light of day,” I said, “and tell you confidently that ghosts do not exist. But if you dropped me off at the Stanley Hotel in the middle of the night, and there was nobody else around, I would be convinced there was a ghost around every corner.”

“Our imagination runs wild,” Lyndon said. “Sure, if you’re in that situation, you’ll think it’s a ghost every time the wind blows. But that’s just human nature.”

“That’s what I’m referring to when I said we ‘found’ the goat man in Kentucky,” I said. “In Greek mythology, the half man half goat god is Pan. Pan is the root word of ‘panic’ and, in a symbolic sense, refers to that panic one can experience when alone in the woods. Or anywhere for that matter.”

“We went to this train trestle at midnight,” I continued, “where this goat man allegedly lives, and we panicked. We got out of there fast.”

“Sure, it’s creepy in the forest at night,” said Lyndon. “You’re imagining all kinds of monsters running rampant.”

“This orange shrimp is good,” Rick said. Rick Tron, famed war photographer, was in town for a couple of days.

“Johnny Lambert sent me photos on Facebook,” Rick said, “He just transitioned into a woman. You remember Johnny, don’t you Ellen? He worked for AP in Saigon in ’70 and ‘71.”

“I think I do,” Ellen said, “Let me see his pictures.”

“I want to see,” said Sally.

“Not a bad looking woman,” Ellen commented.

“How old is she?” asked Sally.

“I think she must be eighty now, right Rick?”

“Yeah, she around eighty.”

MRI image

“The mind can play tricks on us,” Lyndon said, bringing us back on the topic of ghosts. “For instance, when I’m having an MRI, sitting in one of those tubes, I am convinced I hear voices.”

“What do you mean you hear voices?” I ask.

“Words, actual words. Usually a repetitive word. It’s very loud in those machines. Have you ever been in one?”

“No I haven’t. How long does it go on for?”

“Oh, you’re in there for a while. On average maybe forty five minutes.”

“Is that similar to a cat scan?”

“A cat scan is different. A cat scan uses X-rays to produce cross-sectional images of the inside of your body, while the MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce these images. Both of these technologies revolutionized the medical industry when they were introduced in the ‘70’s. Before that, the only way you knew what was going on inside of your body was if they cut you open.”

“That’s an odd coincidence,” I said. “Just the other day I came across a post on Reddit which asked ‘Is the MRI a portal to another dimension?’ It also noted that some people encounter ghosts in the MRI machine.”

“Well, I don’t know if it’s a portal,” Lyndon said, “but it’s sure cramped in there. Some people liken it to a coffin. It’s very constricting. It doesn’t bother me but, if you’re claustrophobic, you’re not going to like it.”

MRI image