My One-Time Minor Superpower

on September 12, 2011 in Misc

Once, just once years ago, I very possibly, very briefly exhibited a kind of action hero superpower.

I know what you’re thinking. Did I fly through the air? Pick up a car? Bend a steel bridge in half by means of pure mind power like Magneto does, or whoever that X-Man is?

Um… not quite.

What I did wasn’t much, but it was really weird.  I made a picture on the wall vibrate and rattle for about 10 minutes.

Yes, I thought that would astound you.  Let me explain.

I was not touching said picture, which by the way was a large, framed poster that weighs about a pound, maybe a pound and a half.  I’d had it since I was eighteen (a Beardsley print I got in London), still have it, and never before or since has it moved a fraction of an inch.  Also, at the time of said vibration I was at least several inches away from the picture.  The thing was hanging on the wall above and behind me as I sat on the sofa.


The reason for this was that I had just learned via phone from my sister that her teenage son, my fave rave nephew, had just been subjected to a truly cruel, outrageous injustice.  I mean, it was so over the top it was mentally hard to grasp.  Only a few days later would the ugly mess be resolved.

In the meantime, my nephew was extremely upset and suffering and my blood was boiling.  I was also paying almost no attention to the way the metal frame of the picture near my head was doing a non-stop tap dance.  After a while I reached up and stopped the rattling by touching the picture.  I vaguely assumed that the refrigerator in the kitchen, which had cycled on, was vibrating the floor which was vibrating the walls, etc.  Within seconds, the picture again started rattling away.  When the refrigerator cycled off the picture kept moving, and it didn’t stop until I got up and moved away and forced myself to calm down.

All the while, NOTHING else moved, not the other pictures and art pieces on the wall, not a single knickknack or paddywack or give a dog a bone in my entire place gave any indication that something was making them do a jitterbug.  The news never reported the tiniest earth tremor – very rare in Denver anyway.  And in the following days and weeks I found myself waiting for that picture to shake rattle and roll again.  But it never budged.  And that’s when I realized that my out-of-control emotions may have been the force that had moved it.

Now before you chalk me up as a nutcase, let me tell you that I only made this mind-over-matter connection ‘cause I’d seen an old science show on the topic.  In it, the scientist-cum-science-fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke investigated cases of so-called psychokinesis or telekinesis, and his simple conclusion was that small objects can “be thrown around” with no apparent physical cause other than by powerful emotions.

“Usually there is a disturbed adolescent in the background,” he stated (shades of  Stephen King’s Carrie!).  He went on to say that “labels such as ‘psychokinesis’ are only fig leaves to conceal our ignorance” when instead we should look for a scientific explanation for a phenomenon that has made for a “persistent pattern over so many cultures and such a long period of time.”

Hot damn!  Who knew there were so many watered-down versions of Carrie out there?  As for myself, all I can say is that I wasn’t a disturbed adolescent when I made that picture rattle.  But I guess I wasn’t exhibiting any latent superpowers either.

Darn it.

4 Responses to “My One-Time Minor Superpower”

  1. Ciara Knight says:

    Wouldn’t be cool to have super powers. The obvious choice would be to fly, but I think I’d like to be invisible. :)

  2. Helena says:

    Ciara – It’s flying for me. That’s a childhood fantasy that’s never left me.

  3. Robert L. Read says:

    I’d like to be able to make people laugh or cry, just by arranging some words in a certain order.

  4. Helena says:

    Robert — So you want a literary superpower. Very smart.