Some of you may remember him from my 1995 personal "Best of Phoenix" column, in which I selected him as "Best Cat." You may recall the photograph that accompanied the story; he was a furry, gray kitten with large eyes, reclining on a carpet.
As many have correctly observed, Chimpy was--and is--an extremely cute animal. His habits are as follows:
1. Long naps in the sun, usually on the couch, sometimes on top of the stereo or perhaps under the coffee table.
2. The occasional romp in the backyard.
3. Annoyed yelling in the predawn hours when desiring of attention from sleeping humans.
4. Inspired, enthusiastic sniffing of genital areas belonging to other cats.
5. Deep enjoyment of kibble.
As you can see, Chimpy embodies all of the qualities associated with what any expert will tell you is a "nice pussycat." Then, roughly three weeks ago, something occurred that I have since come to refer to as "The Occurrence."
Chimpy went out to play in the yard, and did not come back.
One day passed, then two, then three. I made numerous trips throughout my neighborhood, frequently yelling, "Chimpy! Chimpy!" Like a worried, sleepless parent keeping vigil as prom night becomes prom morning, I found myself making periodic trips from the front door to the edge of my driveway, in the middle of the night, standing there frowning, hands on hips, squinting down the road.
All to no avail.
I began to lose hope. I thought he might have been hit by a car, or even stolen. Many's the time I cursed myself for not buying him a collar with my phone number and the name "Chimpy" stamped into a small piece of metal in the shape of a heart.
Five days came and five days went.
And then. It was nearing midnight when a feeling came over me that I have since come to refer to as "The Feeling." I walked across the living room, through the kitchen and opened the back door.
In shambled Chimpy.
Yet this was not the same Chimpy who had disappeared nearly half a fortnight ago. He was thin, he was filthy, his movements awkward. I picked him up and said, "Chimpy!" Then I said, "Chimpy?" for he acted as if he did not know me. He had a look of confusion, of anxiety, of fear in his eyes that were as wide and round as dimes. Though I am no doctor, it appeared as if young Chimpy was experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) combined with some level of psychic numbing.
Parting the fur on his right side, I noticed an odd, perfectly circular mark that I have since come to refer to as "The Wound." Though, initially, I was referring to it as "The Mark."
I bathed him, noticing the unusual shade of the dirt that gathered in the sudsy water. It reminded me of an ancient, or futuristic, rust. After a five-minute session under the blow dryer and some vigorous rubbing with a basic terry-cloth towel, Chimpy went into a deep sleep that lasted for some 72 hours.
I must admit, at that point, I was just glad to have my cat back. It wasn't until later, when I began piecing together facts, asking questions and questioning answers, that it became apparent to me that Chimpy was yet another unwitting victim of abduction.
Some of you may remember the headline on page B1 in the Arizona Republic edition of March 18. No, not "Gay-pride parade short 2 marshals," but the one right next to it: "Object seen over state a puzzle--was it UFO?"
The story detailed multiple reports from citizens who'd seen a "strange cluster of lights moving very quickly across the night sky. . . . the bright red-orange lights formed in the shape of a boomerang." Calls came in to Luke Air Force Base, the National Weather Service, and the National UFO Reporting Center in Seattle, Washington. Peter Davenport, director of the center, was quoted as saying he thought that the object was an "'ultra-sophisticated craft' that did not come from this planet." As the UFO moved south toward Tucson, it allegedly "appeared to send out a red beam of light."
And, as it moved south toward Tucson, sending out the "red beam," it passed directly over my house.
The house where Chimpy lives.
The house from where Chimpy went missing on the night of March 18. The government, of course, has since denied any involvement whatsoever.
Animal mutilations are a common theme in the canon of UFO lore; thousands of cattle have been found strangely, surgically eviscerated, with genitalia and certain vital organs carefully removed.
And human abductions are as regular as Swiss trains. The highly regarded work Close Extraterrestrial Encounters by Richard J. Boylan, Ph.D., and Lee K. Boylan states that, according to "a 1992 Roper Poll Survey on ET contact, we can estimate that an average of more than 3,000 close encounters (CE-IVs) occur in the United States every 24 hours."
Clearly, that is a lot of close encounters. And that survey does not include such countries as England, Russia or France.
Yet my research turned up no previous evidence of animal abductions. But, prior to the declassification of certain government documents dating back to 1947, who would have thought that some of our highest-ranking military personnel had been examining, monitoring and perhaps even interacting with alien beings from outer space?
If civilizations with levels of intelligence so much greater than our own are undertaking a truly comprehensive study of Earth's humans, what better viewpoint than through the animals we keep in captivity?
So, does pet abduction still seem so outrageous?
In my search for the truth, I placed the still-bewildered Chimpy into his carrier, and brought him to the Psychic Fair at Jan Ross Books last Saturday for a debriefing with a qualified pet psychic named Annie Wright.
I had explained my abduction theory to her over the phone, and Wright told me that she would try to help, if Chimpy was willing to communicate.
We sat down at a card table covered with a luminous violet material that I could not immediately identify, and she cradled Chimpy, gone wide-eyed and rigid, in her arms close to her face. She shut her eyes. I could tell she was concentrating. Using her heightened powers of human/cat communication, here are a few of the things she was able to reveal to me:
Chimpy had traveled very far, but he had not left the planet. He had seen bright lights, probably headlights. "The Wound" was from a sewer drain. He was an old soul, and had been a feline in most of his incarnations. Maybe a leopard, maybe a puma. She asked me if we were doing any construction in our yard (no), and if we lived near a military base (no, but I couldn't help but think that this--along with the unexplained "headlights"--dovetailed into the UFO hypothesis). Wright began reading my cat's tarot cards. She studied them solemnly. She said that if I was to put a leash on Chimpy and ask him to lead me, he would show me where he had been.
She gave me back my cat, and I gave her $20.
Though I doubt Wright would have agreed with me, I still felt that in order to fulfill her last prophecy, I would need a leash long enough to stretch to another galaxy.
They do not sell these at PetsMart.
Before I left the Psychic Fair, I purchased an illuminating volume by one Michelle LaVigne titled The Alien Abduction Survival Guide. LaVigne "comes from a family that has had a long history of abduction by the little gray ETs. Some of her relatives, as well as her youngest daughter, are all involved."
This extraordinary woman was told by her alien mentor, "Hetar" (they have "shared sexual pleasures several times"), that she was to "teach others living in this world about their place in the Secret Community. The best way to do this is by showing them ways they can help themselves understand the details of their particular experiences."
Utilizing information in the Guide, I have tried to sort together clues to "The Occurrence."
As for "The Wound," this could have been caused by "Control Wands. These wands are used by ETs to control things like pain and pleasure." Were the aliens probing Chimpy's pleasure centers in a spacecraft high above the Arizona desert?
Was he experiencing pain as a result of an Unidentified Flying Operation? LaVigne writes that she's heard "experiencers say, 'They did something to my ovaries, and the next week I developed a cyst.' . . . this is only a matter of perception." Plus, Chimpy doesn't even have ovaries.
I eventually found a great deal of helpful information in chapters like "Living in Fear," "Controlling the Fear," "Getting Help" and "Taking Control." I talked to Chimpy about his experience, stroked his back and read to him in soothing tones LaVigne's cryptic, comforting closing words:
You are a member of the Secret Community. You are living in blue light. What is happening to you is real. It is not a dream. It is not a lunatic's delusion.
It is part of what you are.
Remember, you are a very special [cat] living in a time of wonder. May light and love follow you.
He just stared at me with those wide yellow eyes. Then I gave him some tuna, and that seemed to help.