Friday, March 12, 2010

Vanished Without a Trace: Clowser, Hurricane Hunter

Podcast / Audio recording: http://www.beyondutopia.net/podcasts/clowser.mp3

Tinguely Querer had decided to buy old Clowser's farm. She still remembered the night old Clowser's barn burned down and the stories that were told. It was now on the market, and Tinguely sensed that the unsolved mystery of Clowser's son's disappearance could be solved if only she could take possession of the farm, and the new barn they built on the ashes of the old. His plane went missing in the Bermuda Triangle years ago.

"Why cash? Why not a loan?," said Evalina Baugrozen.

Evalina was an attorney, but not a very confident one. But, something about Tinguely gave her new-found "brass" and spunk. She was not experienced enough to realize that Tinguely had made her a fantastic deal -- not because of generosity, but because of sentimentality.

"I want to get this done. I want to close quickly," said Tinguely.

Tinguely had just advised her father not to sell his wheat farm in Grant County, Oklahoma, with a "take or pay" contract with a pipeline company to sell the gas produced from the Red Fork sand. The wells were in the middle of the Cherokita Trend.

"You've got a good deal, Dad. It's rare any more that the minerals go with the surface." It was something she said often to her father. In fact, she had used his wheat farm and oil production as a case study for one of her courses in her MBA program.

Evalina looked at Tinguely.

"What is it that you see in the old Clowser place?" asked Evalina.

"It's complicated," said Tinguely. It was not really complicated at all. She wanted Clowser's farm.
Tinguely's judgment was compromised by her sentimentality. She liked to idealize her childhood. Her early years were lonely. She learned to read music before she could read words. She was four and reading music, playing the piano in recitals. Mrs. Crow, her teacher, considered Tinguely her prodigy. Things might have progressed, but Mrs. Crow's husband graduated from the University of Oklahoma, and he and his wife, the lovely Mrs. Crow, moved to a town that had offered Reverend Crow a position in their parish.

Did either one have any idea? Of course not. Their psyches had been tainted by "righteousness" -- they were just so convinced of their moral authority, and that they had taken the "high road" -- even though there was not one scrap of evidence to support them.

Flash Memory. Return to the summer her parents moved to the house at the end of a isolated cul-de-sac, positioned like a strange apostrophe to a developer's fantasy, between wheat farms and a strange, overgrown set of fields, farm ponds, farm house, and big barn.

No one ever saw anyone at old Clowser's farm. Rumor had it that his family had homesteaded the 160-acre patch of South Canadian River bottomland. He owned it outright, being the only child of the original homesteaders' only child. Old Clowser himself had an only child - a son -- who, sadly, disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle while flying his instrument-laden small jet into the eye of a Caribbean hurricane.

He was a "Hurricane Hunter" for NOAA, and he paid the ultimate price for poking the eye of the hurricane. No one even remember the name of the hurricane that took him into some unknown dimension -- probably shattered to bits, but the conspiracy theorists preferred the idea of alien spacecrafts sucking in trespassers into "their" airspace. Some scientists liked to conjecture that the Bermuda Triangle is a place where space warps back on itself. Dark energy becomes a force that pushes time and space, not just wind and rain and hail... Several scientists hypothesized that the atmospheric conditions resulted in tunnels of dark energy, and a virtual space warp.

Some suggested that Clowser's son's plane was pulverized by the high winds, and Young Clowser himself fell to earth (or water, as the case might be), like a twentieth-century Icarus, whose hubris was not his own, but was inherited -- by brazen, transgressive folk who believed that just by casting their eye on a particular place or space, they could "own" it -- regardless of previous or existing claims.

Clowser's son was an Amelia Earhardt without the glamour and publicity. He was a risk-taker. He went solo. He was an aviator for reasons other than the love of soaring on rivers of air. He loved punching into the place beyond the edge. Kick into another dimension. Smack life into your truest heart. What does that mean? Don't look. Don't care.

******************
Stats and Facts:
Eighty-seven percent of missing aircraft go missing in the Bermuda Triangle.
Intense super-cells develop between high and low-pressure air masses.
In the transition zone, it is not uncommon to find "electrical fog" -- static electricity so thick it looks like fog.
Some scientists have speculated that horizontal electrical tornadoes form -- they are tunnels of dark energy.

*******************

When Clowser's barn burned, someone said a fireball shot out of the barn door. It occured because of hay dust.

"You know, hay dust is as flammable as gasoline," said one of the firefighters who was interviewed for The Norman Transcript. "It's the same thing that can happen in a grain silo. Static electricity can ignite it. It can happen at any time."

Tinguely read about St. Elmo's Fire. It was static electricity that dance along the sails in old clipper ships and the galleons favored by buccaneers. Tinguely wondered if there might be more St. Elmo's Fire in the Bermuda Triangle than in other places.

Was "electric fog" something you could find in windy places on land as well as sea? Could a tornado churning through the Texas Panhandle be accompanied by roiling electrical fog?

She had the feeliing that there was some sort of energy triangle that came together right where Old Clowser's barn burned to the ground.

There had to be a connection between the barn, the fireball, the Bermuda Triangle, and Old Clowser's only son, that intrepid young "Hurricane Hunter" who vanished without a trace.

********************

"Tinguely, you'll be happy to hear your offer was accepted," said Evalina.

"Thank you, Ms. Baugrozen," said Tinguely. She pronounced Baugrozen so it sounded like a large mastiff's bark.

"Now that you have the land, do you have any plans?" asked Evalina. "Do you plan to put in a housing addition?"

"I'm going to build a barn."

"Farming? That doesn't seem like you, if you don't mind my saying so," said Evalina. She snapped her black patent clutch shut after replacing her pen and her BlackBerry.

"Not farming. Hurricane hunting," said Evalina.

"Well, I think you may be barking up the wrong tree if you plan to build a barn to do that. Unless, of course, you fill it with computer link-ups to weather satellites."

"I'm still working out the details," said Tinguely.

"Well, do what you like. The Clowsers were well thought of in their day. They homesteaded the place, you know," said Evalina.

"Yes."

It was done. The deal was inked. Now all was left was to slip into a horizontal tube of dark energy and seek the place where space warps back on itself.

Then she could do it again. Watch that ball of fire, that fireball of inflammable hay dust, and determine if it happened the moment knowledge itself sparked -- or perhaps self-awareness -- sparked, ignited, and caused the seekers of consciousness and perception to vanish without a trace.

Highly recommended blog: Jefferson Hansen
twincitiesjazzscene.com

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