For that “glitch in the matrix” thing going around



Not me, but my mom.

In 1972, she ran away from home. She was gone for several months, and when she got home my grandmother started shaking her and screaming about how someone had told her my mother had no shoes and my grandmother was sure it meant my mom was dead.

She finally calms down, and they piece it together: my grandmother had gotten a phone call from someone who breathed two or three times, said “Cathy’s in bare feet,” and hung up. Except that’s not what they said–my grandmother had written the date in on her calendar, and on that date my mother was in Bare Feet, Arizona. She knew definitively that she was in Bare Feet because on that date she called home to talk to my grandfather, who told her Uncle Jim had died–“got himself shot”–and that she had missed the funeral. Ready for the glitch in the matrix part? Here we go:

–My grandfather had no recollection of the conversation–which would have been a strange conversation indeed, since Uncle Jim was still alive and, in fact, didn’t die until 2009, eight years after my grandfather. However, my mom did miss the funeral, thanks to a delayed flight. Cause of death? Supposedly, it was suicide, but there were enough indications for the family to believe that was a pile of horseshit, not least that shooting himself in the head with the rifle indicated would’ve been near-impossible.

–My mom was going by the name Patricia Danko when she was on the run–she had a fake ID and everything. She hadn’t called herself “Cathy” since leaving home and nobody knew she was traveling under an alias.

–According to my mom, she never gave a name for herself–either Patricia or Cathy–when she was in Bare Feet, and she would’ve had no reason to. Bare Feet had maybe a hundred people in it, and they were just stopping for food and gas.

–This isn’t just an account from my mother–my dad was with her at the time, and he remembers both the phone call and the truckstop.

But that’s not the weirdest nor the creepiest part, which is this:

–I’ve been trying for three years to find Bare Feet, Arizona–on the Internet, on old maps, by talking to old Arizona cowboys, and there was never a Bare Feet, Arizona. My mom convinced my dad to drive “through Bare Feet” on the way back from Texas in 2013 and there was no town anywhere along the highway, not even the abandoned bones of one. I’ve looked for Bare Feet, Barefeet, Bear Feet, Bare Feat, Bare Foot, Barefoot, and Bear Foot. None of these exist.

My mother stopped in a town that doesn’t exist, ate in a restaurant that never was, made a phone call that could not have happened and was apparently answered by a ghost from 40 years in the future, and later that night someone called my grandmother from a number that turned up on her phone bill only as a pay phone in Arizona to say that single sentence, “Cathy’s in Bare Feet.”

I didn’t initially want to reblog things here, but this is just too far up my alley. I think I’ll start collecting stories of incidents like this, weirdling magic at its most potent.

It’s an odd place. Small areas have different names according to who you ask and who is doing the asking (because if you’re from out of town, it’s obvious and people will treat you differently, especially near the reservations). There’s an area called Bear Flat 🙂

There’s also A LOT of Indigenous people in Arizona, so not only do we have Hispanic names for a lot of areas and streets (because this used to be part of Mexico), there’s also a lot of names like Hohokam and Silverhawke and Squaw Peak (which was recently changed to Piestewa because Squaw is offensive), etc.

There’s also an area called Tortilla Flat that is SUPER tiny (like it’s literally just this little restaurant and the surrounding area) but has his great little restaurant and is on a stretch of road that’s beautiful and nice to riding on motorcycles in the winter time. If you do it in the summer time, you’ll probably die of a heat stroke.

People who travel through here and aren’t native to the area or have never been here have a hard time because of the heat. It gets so hot here that people will hallucinate without even realizing they’re overheated because it’s a dry heat, and once you hit that heat stroke area, you don’t feel hot anymore, and it really messes with your head because you’re basically frying your brain.

People come here to hike the trails, thinking they’re experienced enough to be fine, and they’ll just bring a single water container. We have at least one person from out of town die every summer here on the trails, usually more. There’s helicopter rescues for the same reason. People just can’t fathom how hot and dry it is here and also how quickly the sun can hurt you.

We have warnings every summer on the news about how quickly you’ll burn. It’s very common for the UV index to be well over 10 (10 is considered extreme) and 7-12 minutes is all it takes to get a sunburn. They even warn us to wear sunglasses because the sun will burn your corneas even if you’re not looking at it here. Out-of-towners also burn their dogs feet because they don’t realize how hot the pavement is, let along the blacktop.

We even get sunburns when we’re in shaded areas because the sun reflects off other things. If you want to swim during the day, even under an umbrella, you have to wear sunscreen because the sun hits the water and bakes your skin from across the pool.

So yeah, a lot of people report very strange things here. There’s delusions and hallucinations and strange people and weird things in the sky and don’t even get me started on haboobs because they’re fucking awesome 😀