December 2006

I'm no stranger to strange events, but between work and family responsibilities, it's very easy for me to get caught up in the busy "here and now" world. At times I kind of "forget" that everyday life is just the proverbial tip of an apparently immense and multi-layered reality-iceberg, but on the morning of November 30, 2006, I had a very unusual "wake up call" that I'm still trying to understand....

I'd been really tired all week and so when the alarm clock went off at 5:35 a.m. (my normal time to get up on school days, ugh) I slapped the snooze button and rolled over on my left side. In what seemed like seconds, the alarm started beeping again, and with a sigh and in all one motion (based on years of experience!) I started rolling from my left side to my right, with my left arm extended, to hit the snooze button again to silence the alarm.

As I opened my eyes to check the time (still turning towards the clock) there was a "transparent" black and white photograph of an incredibly beautiful woman between my moving hand and the clock. Because my hand was in motion and this all happened so quickly, my hand passed through the photograph (with no sensation) and the image dissipated much like smoke would, with wisps of blacks, grays and whites blowing out of the way as my hand moved through it. Just as my hand made contact with the clock to silence the alarm, in my head I distinctly heard the words, "Hedy Lamarr".

Instantly awake, I sat up, turned the light on, turned the alarm button (and not just the snooze) off and said to myself, "Hedy Lamarr?!"

My only conscious association with this name was knowing that Hedy Lamarr was an actress during the 1940s. I didn't know any movies she'd starred in and I didn't really know what she looked like--though I assumed that it was a "photograph" of her that my hand had passed through just moments before.

I got out of bed, let my small dog outside and back in, gave the cats some food and got on the computer to start "Googling." My first attempt wasn't too successful as I typed in "Hettie Lamarr". Google asked if I meant "Hetty Lamarr" so I clicked on that. That led me to several eBay auctions of photographs, so at least it confirmed my most basic knowledge that Hedy Lamarr was a beautiful actress--and most likely the person in the "photograph" that I'd seen.

Further down on that page, I saw the name spelled "Hedy Lamarr" and when searching with that spelling, I first went to sites that talked mainly about her work as an actress. After that, however, things took an interesting turn....

Yes, Hedy Lamarr was a very beautiful actress in the 1940s BUT she was also an inventor; an inventor of a "Secret Communication System"....


You can read the full story at wikipedia.org and on other sites, but short story here is that she and a composer friend developed and patented a "frequency hopping" device with the idea that it would make radio-guided torpedoes harder for enemies to detect or jam. They developed this in 1942 during World War II and gave it to the U.S. Navy--which promptly ignored it.

The idea of "frequency hopping" was a concept ahead of its time, and since the "Secret Communication System" was developed by an actress and a composer, that probably didn't help its credibility. It wasn't until the late 1950s that engineers at Sylvania Electronic Systems started working with Lamarr's idea, which soon led to the concept--and not the actual, physical device (which originally used player piano rolls)--being used in military communications systems on U.S. ships sent to blockade Cuba.

"Frequency hopping" (which you can read more about on the web) is the basic foundation on which spread-spectrum communication (such as cellular phones and wireless internet) is built. Lamarr and her composer friend received no financial compensation for the development of their device or their concept (the patent expired before Sylvania engineers started working on it), but in 1997, three years before Lamarr's death in January 2000, she received an award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Upon receiving the award, Hedy supposedly said, "It's about time."

So what does this all mean? Why on earth would I see a transparent photograph of a beautiful woman and hear "Hedy Lamarr" in my head, while doing something as routine and mundane as rolling over in bed to turn off an alarm clock?

One possibility that comes to mind is that this was a pretty startling "reminder" (or "wake up call," if you will!) that there's far more to life than the "here and now," and that our abilities to perceive the "here and beyond" have a lot to do with frequencies. In the late 1980s this was shown to me when I developed the intense (and pretty unusual...) fascination with aircraft communication and navigation (as I documented in Far Journeys) and in the ongoing curiosity I have regarding our ability to sometimes "receive" various radio transmissions, including Morse Code (as documented here).

As to why this happened NOW, perhaps this explains it: I recently received an email from someone in Nevada who had questions about one of the other experiences I've included in this section of my website. As part of my emailed reply to him, I included an affirmation used at the Monroe Institute:

"I am more than my physical body. Because I am more than physical matter, I can perceive that which is greater than the physical world. Therefore, I deeply desire to Expand, to Experience; to Know, to Understand; to Control, to Use such greater energies and energy systems as may be beneficial and constructive to me and to those who follow me. Also, I deeply desire the help and cooperation, the assistance, the understanding of those individuals whose wisdom, development and experience are equal or greater than my own. I ask their guidance and protection from any influence or any source that might provide me with less than my stated desires."

While I still don't know what I'm to learn from this experience, perhaps by sharing (and again using) this affirmation and by recently discussing my experiences, I somewhat inadvertently welcomed the "elephant" back into my life.

Hedy Lamarr--though not the actual "photograph" that I "saw."

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