From the Archives: Ray A. Young Bear's "The Lone Swimmer of Henry County, Virginia"

Ray A. Young Bear










The Lone Swimmer of Henry County, Virginia

ESP? We're not discounting anything at this stage.
Undersheriff Earl Tassel, The Roanoke Messenger 

Undersheriff: On a belated experimental basis,
after missing persons investigations have stalled,
like the Anna Goodchild case of Vallejo, California,
or the high school cheerleaders' dual internment
in acrylic in Washington state, I reluctantly
proffer my observations to authorities. Typically,
from the four images, several factors will coincide
with the crime scene evidence. Some departments reply,
while others, I believe, simply take. So, investigations,
like American poetry, if I may opine, can become
political for clairvoyants and poets alike. While
Western civilization pegs Native Americans
as superstitious, there's nevertheless an illustrious
history of ESP. Ironically, in Black Eagle Child
society, any claim "to see things" that others can't
is considered inapplicable because this practice
was apparently misplaced as a gift. However,
Shamanism, to use a quirky noun, isn't earned
through religious teachings per se; it simply
dwells in the psyche until harnessed with
revelations, depending on one's receptivity.
With nay adieu, the lead vehicle, at least for
me, is a La-Z-Boy recliner. Regarding Juniper
Court and her murdered grandparents, enclosed
are thoughts the chair provided on her whereabouts.
But first, there's torment because her uncle who
reportedly failed to take this eight-year-old girl
fishing is like me. Often too self-centered
perhaps, a child's wish is neglected:


Monday, August 26th, 2002

After touching an Internet-posted photograph
of juniper on the computer monitor, I sit
blindfolded in the basement filled with cedar smoke.
The chair cradles me, rocking me as Grandmother
once did. Supported with prayer, the sacred tobacco
has been placed beside a tree for guidance.
The notepad meets my pencil in the cool darkness.
As the first impressions collect I gradually discern:

1. An old-time telephone with separate
mouth and ear pieces that also transposes
as an old phonograph, a record player,
the kind with a cone-shaped speaker minus
the listening-dog logo. This dualistic apparatus
exudes a vortex force capable of attracting human
and non-human substance, going beyond
RCA purpose.

2. Glock model pistol, caliber unknown.

3. A bemused chicken, literally, with
a high-powered telescope, either about
to look into a viewfinder or withdrawing
after a view.

4. The name Clifford Murdoch
or Murdock, followed by 4311 and then EXY.


Tuesday, August 27th

5. Initially, a lone woman submerged
in semi-translucent water, stationary at
first, and then she's diving at an eight
o'clock angle into a river's stone-walled
and bubbling depth. Wearing a light colored
rubber cap with an early '50s one-piece
swimsuit, the woman's body propels
itself like a torpedo.

6. A lone woman swimmer reappears, only
this time she's on the surface, swimming
rapidly. She soon dissolves and is replaced
with a cartoon-like rabbit whose face and ears
are stretched back and distorted due,
apparently, to high rate of speed.

7. From high above the swimmer's perspective,
there's an orange train on a bridge; it resembles
a passenger-type bearing the graphic 401.
Unsure, though, if it's speeding, since
the markings are clear.

8. Out of her previous element, the nameless
woman kneels beside the foam-edged river,
presumably below the railroad trestle, and she's
lifting a small lifeless bird from the debris
lapping rhythmically on the rocky beach.


Wednesday, August 28th

9. An image of a shower-in-progress, by itself.
Then view pans to shower drain holes. Before
a tangent of an aircraft intercedes, a question
arises: could a bullet shell casing squeeze
through the drain?

10. A baseball batter in a nearly completed
swing reminds me of an old trading card
that's been color-enhanced. Later, the number
22 is seen on the posed batter's short­-
brimmed cap.

11. A shiny helicopter propeller in motion.

12. A sitting person who is unable to
walk, but it's unclear if individual is female
or male and even what age.

Note: That night I dreamt of lily white hands
held as if in Christian prayer. Like
a sculpture, they're crafted from soft fabric.
Are there landmarks of such in vicinity? Also,
I should mention a Glock pistol can be fitted
with a .22 caliber barrel; and the chicken,
as a voyeur, could've made an obscene
telephone call to the courts as the media
reported, qualifying to an extent
the non-ordinary  RCA  speaker.


Thursday, August 29th 

13. An oversized gorilla holding a female
who's attired in a white dress with loud red
flowers. Said creature dips her delicately
into the religious water, with the focus
shifting to his cupped hands.

14. Walford. 

15. 1606 Walford Avenue.

Saturday, October 5th synopsis—after the discovery
of Juniper's remains in Booneville, North Carolina.
When I faxed the first images with numbers to your
office and after haphazard cartographic research,
I thought a body was wedged in the Hillpott Reservoir
turbines or in the tunnels under Martinsdale. In retrospect,
had I Internet-searched "4311" for North Carolina instead
of Virginia, Highway 311 might have emerged, which
was 411 historically. This is the road that passes
through Lockingham County, near where she
was found and close to the prehistoric rock-lined
fish dams. Of the female swimmer-could this
be the famous college swimmer known simply
as Princess? Is she still alive? And "EXY"
backward signifies the Saskatoon Airport.
This is the direction a suspect allegedly
fled on his way to the Yukon Territory. Right?
And "1606" may pertain to early American
settlers. This area resonates with impassioned
secrecy. Sadly, there are times when I, too, as
actress Annette Benning once script-recited,
"need an interpreter."  It's interesting how
my children are unusually vociferous today
about fishing. They're banging gear upstairs,
while their mother is making a shore lunch
of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
and Kool-Aid. Into a small plastic jar
I carefully pour sacred tobacco which
the Underwater Deities will receive from
each child before the bait is cast. Sir, from
the hinterlands  and in Juniper's memory,
I politely take leave for an overdue parental
obligation. Ifthis case is ever solved in our
lifetimes, could you please let me
and the La-Z-Boy know?  Signed—
Edgar Bearchild.