2013 - visit to natural history museum
I've let more time pass before writing this one than I like to. I don't usually go looking for experiences, but a few weeks after I moved back home from living out of state I wanted to see what kind of spirit hot-spots were in my area.
Museums are a big draw for me, as I've always had interesting impressions when touching old objects. I went with my friend, telling her it was just for fun (I don't tell many people about what I see and feel), and we enjoyed looking at the mounted dinosaur displays, the fun games for kid visitors, and other things.
There was a large fossilized femur of a massive plant-eater sitting on a low stand. It was one of the few actual fossils in the museum, as most of the displays were fiberglass castings of the real things. The sign said "please touch", and it was positioned nice and low for little hands to feel the stone surface. I gave it a shot too, kind of hoping to feel some dinosaur spirit energy.
Instead it was exceptionally unpleasant. At first, it was calm and curious, but it felt like the longer I held my hand there, the more I became aware of its role in the beast's body. I was impressed with mental images of muscle tissue, cartilage, blood vessels, and a throbbing pressure and pull. I felt nauseous and dizzy for several minutes after letting go of the fossil. I wouldn't touch it again. It could be that, if I held it long enough, I'd feel the beast die and decay. That would definitely make me vomit.
Since this is Arizona, specifically the city of Mesa, the "old west" portion of the museum is a big draw. This was a frontier town, not quite so wild as Tucson, but still on the edges of civilization for many years. The location of the museum rests on the same location as the old town hall and material for old west displays is abundant!
My friend and I navigated the lower floor of the museum, enjoying the displays about Native American life, frontier law, and gold miners. She's got an issue with claustrophobia, so I went through a cave-like display alone, loving the information about our state's local mystery treasure, the Lost Dutchman Mine. Nothing unusual about this at all. However, when I met up with my friend at the end of the tunnel, and the start of the frontier law portion of the museum, I found myself facing a pair of old iron jail cells.
No idea these were there when we came to the museum. I'd never heard of them. Initially, I was just as excited as the kids that were hopping in and out of the open cell like it was a playground. I told my friend I was going to go in and she should take a picture. The moment I took a step toward the cell, my stomach clenched up terribly. My head spun, my heart raced, and I wanted to either cry or scream. The pull of anger, hopelessness, pain, on top of a gut-wrenching blend of shame and pride hit me like a punch to the chest. Looking at the cells, it seemed like they suddenly deepened in length into a dark, gaping tunnel with no light at the end. I wanted to yank the kids out, shocked they didn't see the danger.
No one did, apparently, but me. My friend later told me I turned white as a sheet. All I could say was, "No, no... No no. No, I need out. Out. Right now." I don't remember what I said, but that's what she told me happened.
We ducked out into a connecting courtyard with more dinosaur-related displays and activities. As soon as I was out of the immediate area of the cells, the pressure was gone, my color was back, and I was composed again. Composed enough to refuse to go back through that hall the way we came. Luckily, the place is built in a kind of circle, so we could get around to the front again without going through the displays again.
The only lasting effect was I questioned my motives for visiting museums and didn't go looking for activity for a couple of years until a home tour this year. On the tour, a guide for the haunted tour by the museum mentioned the jail cells were included. I did some reading in articles published about the tour and found that these cells are always one of the most active sites. I'm not surprised at that. I am surprised I hadn't heard beforehand.