Lou's Place in Cyberspace
On the evening of August 27th 1973 I visited my old friend Jerry Pavan (deceased) whom I had known since the 7th grade. While sitting around the table discussing various things, he stood up and said, " Oh, I made you something", and walked into another room returning shortly with an object in his hand.
He placed the object in front of me awaiting comment. It was a balsa wood carving of a strange birdlike creature with outstretched square wings and a long curving beak that touched its mid-section. It stood on two legs that curved outward, as if the legs were bowed.
"What is this?" I asked, not quite sure why he was showing it to me.
"I made it for you, I thought you would like it".
He said he didn't know what exactly it was but that it was something he saw in a book. I asked him to show me the book so I could find out what it was supposed to be. The book, as I recall it may have been a National Geographic. He found the page and showed it to me. I read the photo caption.
The object he had carved for me and painted in bright blues, reds, with white outstretched wings with blue stars on them was called a Porpianong. The caption said it was a mythical bird that certain tribes in Africa believed transported the soul of a deceased person into the next world.
Though I was somewhat confused as to why he selected this image and went through the trouble of carving it, I was happy to receive this unusual work of art from my friend. After admiring his handiwork for a while I set it aside and continued my visit. When I left his house that Monday night I took the Porpianong home with me and set it on a shelf, and went to bed.
During the night I had a strange dream that was very detailed and I described it to my wife Joanne in the morning.
The dream began with me in my home, and I began to hear loud thunder coming from my dining room. As I approached the doorway leading into that room, I could see a raging violent sea, with high storm waves, and rain. In the dream the water was contained in the dining room as if an invisible glass wall held the water in the room and not allow it to spill out through the two doorways. In the dream it was obvious to me I had to wake my wife and get us out of the house for the storm was about to destroy the entire house. I ran to the bedroom and woke her and told her to run out, and we both made a dash for the front door. As we cleared the front door, a huge wave came crashing out, spilling into the yard and leaving a layer of sea foam all over the lawn.
While standing there trying to understand why this storm was in our house, I noticed a body of a young boy lying on the ground at the rear line of my back yard. As I approached the body, I realized the boy was dead. Then with what seemed an incredulous act for me, I knelt down and began cutting the boy's scrotum open. While doing this I kept asking myself why I was doing such a despicable thing, but continued to do so.
Each time I cut the scrotal sack open another appeared, and when I cut that open another would appear, all the time I was feeling disgust with myself for doing such a thing, but felt compelled to continue.
Suddenly, a blue car pulled up my driveway. I paused and looked at the car not recognizing it. It was new, light blue, but not recognized as a car owned by anyone I knew. I stood up and began walking towards the car. As I approached the car the dream faded and ended.
In the morning I discussed this dream with my wife trying to understand the images presented, but they made no sense. I was never interested in the ocean or storms at sea so this seemed strange to me, especially the part of the dream concerning the dead boy and the cutting of his scrotum. I passed it off as just a strange dream, but vivid enough to make me sit down and write it down so as not to forget it.
Tuesday August 28, I spent most of the morning anticipating a phone call from an investment group. I had floated an idea to this group the day previous regarding a proposal for funding of a recording studio I wanted to develop.
The early morning passed in anticipation of a call from them, but the morning turned to afternoon and still no call.
Finally near 2:30 the phone rang. On the line was a man announcing he was a State Police Trooper from the State of Pennsylvania. He said there had been an accident. My mind raced to the fact my older sister was going to Pennsylvania for a day trip in the country with her children.
I immediately asked if my sister was hurt. The trooper said it was not a woman that was hurt but a young boy, and then another man came on line. He stated his name and said he was a Catholic priest, and that a boy had been swimming and was seen by witnesses to be drowning and was presumed lost. His body was not yet recovered. Perhaps he said he may still be found alive, but he felt witnesses saw him go under three times and he never surfaced again. The priest said it was a tragedy but he felt the boy was lost.
I asked about my sister, who was in extreme shock as she had witnessed it before her very eyes. The Priest said there was a young boy of about ten years old with his mother who had also witnessed the tragic scene.
From this description, I realized my 16-year-old nephew, Guy LoIacono, had been the person who had drowned. He was my sister's first born son, and to me he was, besides being my nephew, a person who I loved as my own son though at the time I had no children. He was often at my home for he would visit almost every weekend and we played guitar together for hours.
I suddenly realized the horror of what was becoming a reality in my mind. The priest started giving me directions to get to the site where my sister and her younger son were being cared for. I was shocked and confused, unable to believe what I had just been told. Catching myself, I asked the priest to repeat the directions as I wrote them down.
Could this be true I asked myself? How was I to tell my parents about their first grandchild's death? What about my sister, who was described as being in hysterical shock. I had to get to her as soon as I could.
As I pondered this, I walked out into my driveway. At that time my car was not running and I had no transportation. I didn't know what to do about transportation I would need for the remainder of the day.
Suddenly, a new light blue Saab pulled up my driveway. I didn't recognize it until I realized that my friends who also lived in our 2-family house were driving it. They could see I was in shock. As I approached the car I began telling them what had happened. They knew I needed a car and immediately offered their brand new blue Saab, which they had just picked up from the dealer. They stepped out of the car, and I drove off to tell my parents of the tragedy, and then head to Pennsylvania to comfort my sister and her youngest son. The day was turning into night as I drove through Pennsylvania reading the directions the priest had given me. I arrived at a Boy Scout camp in a place called Laxawaxen.
The details of that terrible day will remain forever with me, but there are certain events of that day that made me begin to realize something beyond my understanding was unfolding. Though this tragedy was changing my life forever, I was becoming awed by the sequence of events that began unfolding with the visit to my friend and the dream I had the night before. This sequence of events seemed too great to be a mere coincidence, but was more a life lesson, an understanding I would come to accept, and believe as a life philosophy. The tragic loss of my wonderful nephew changed the philosophy of my life forever.
CIRCLE OF BIRDS
After the events of that day, and the funeral, the day of my nephew's burial had arrived. Needless to state it was a sad event. My sister remained in a serious state of shock. She kept repeating and reliving the last few moments of the tragedy over and over. She seemed like a recording stuck in perpetual looping playback. I doubted she would ever recover. I was convinced the shock had destroyed her mind, for she loved her children to the point of being too over protective. I had visions of visiting her in a mental institution for the rest of her life.
After the burial, our family returned to my parent’s home in Clifton, New Jersey. The day was hot and everyone sat around in the finished basement with silent stares. My mother sat crying, asking "Why?"
I decided I had to get away from this sad scene for a few minutes and went outside and lied down on the front lawn gazing up at the clear blue sky.
In a few moments, a group of birds began to form a circle or ring above my position. They were flying overhead in a clockwise direction, head to tail, in a perfect circle. As I watched in wonder, I noticed that every few moments a bird would fly off, and another would take up its position and they continued to circle. Using a telephone pole as a reference I estimated they were about 2 pole lengths high. I was amazed, as I had never seen anything like this.
After about ten minutes of this, I decided to go inside and call others out to witness this event so as to prove to myself I was not losing my mind.
My wife, Mother, Father, nephew and a few others all confirmed what I was seeing. All remarked they had never ever seen birds do this before. All were impressed with what they were seeing. There was no doubt that there was a circle of peculiar birds flying over our position. The type of bird looked unusual also. They were about the size of a pigeon, perhaps a little smaller, with wings similar to a swallow, but not exactly the same. As a bird left the group another would fly into the ring to replace it. After 15-20 minutes of this the birds began to break up the pattern and flew off in different directions. I had never seen this happen before, but unknown to me, it would not be the last time I would see it.
DREAM AND THE REALITY
As the days passed it became clear to me that what had occurred in the dream I had, had unfolded in reality almost exactly as the dream presented it.
-In the dream there was a storm in my dining room. At the time of this dream my dining room was used as a rehearsal or practice room for a band I then had. My nephew and I would go to that room to "Jam" and play music together whenever he came to visit.
-The storm was definitely a message as that water was to create a storm in my family’s life. Water was to create a violence that I was to endure. Water was to end the life of someone I loved. The waves crashing out of my front door was a symbol that what had been happening in that house was to be washed away forever.
-The dead boy lying in my yard was now obvious to me that it symbolized my young nephew, though the boy in the dream was younger than 16, the age of my nephew.
-The cutting of the boys scrotal sack I interpret as a symbol that life or generation of the male principal would go on forever. And the following day when I went to identify my nephew's body at a funeral home in Milford PA, he was lying naked on a stainless steel table. He had just been embalmed and I could see the incisions, and felt bad that he was lying there exposed. I felt a sense of shame for him in death. But that also explained the exposure of the genitals I had seen in the dream. I recall that as I was approaching that room with his biological father, his father broke down and fell to the floor crying. He could not bring himself to enter the room. I walked in alone to be sure it was the body of my nephew. After leaving that room and getting back into my car, for the first time I cried intensely, shocked by how I was to see my nephew, and only a day before I was talking to him. His last words to me were "Take care of that kid." He was referring to his younger brother Glenn, for whom I had gone to his house to take for a motorcycle ride. Those were the last words he was to ever speak to me as we drove off, leaving Guy standing on his front porch.
-The car in the dream was an unrecognizable blue car. Unknown to me on the day of this tragic event, my neighbor and co-owner of our two-family home had gone with his wife to pick up a new blue Saab from the Saab dealer. I had no previous knowledge that they were planning to buy a car and absolutely no knowledge of what color it was they had picked. Yet the dream clearly presented a new blue car pulling up my driveway, exactly as how it happened in reality.
-And finally the Porpianong, the wooden bird my friend Jerry had carved for me and gave me the evening before this tragedy occurred. He had never carved me anything before or since. He felt compelled to carve it for me even though he himself did not know why. And the symbolic meaning of this bird from the caption under the picture of it clearly stated it was the bird certain native people of Africa believed would " transport the dead into the next world." The meaning of the symbol was a clear message, though at the time I did not realize this. I was being "told" that someone was going to be transported to the other world, the world of the dead. It was to happen the very next day and I would see a "circle of birds.".
One other event occurred the day of the burial. Guy's youngest brother, Greg, who was with us at my parent’s house, suddenly started choking and gagging. He was to spit out a large moth that had somehow got into his mouth. We were never able to understand how this happened, but it did occur. Later I was to learn the moth was long associated symbolically with the spirit of the dead. As unusual as this was it did in fact occur.
20 YEARS LATER
At a family gathering 20 years later, my mother was no longer with us. At some point I heard my father call to me and tell me to look up in the sky. There over my yard was again a circle of birds. My father clearly recalled that they were similar to those that flew over his house the day of the burial of his grandson. He remarked about this and most of the others present recalled that strange event of years earlier. As I looked at the birds flying in the circle, I wondered what this was to mean. As the years passed I came to know. For this was to be the last time all those present would ever be together. A few years later the family became divided over the marriage of my sisters youngest son, the one who had found the moth in his mouth, and my father was to pass on. So it was true that as a family we would never be together again. I understood the second message of the birds, but again only after the events unfolded.
There was clearly a system at work here telling me of the future, yet I could not perceive it until after the events unfolded.
But the message is clear to me now.
There is some great wonderful system underlying our existence…
And it is ETERNAL, and NO ONE knows WHY.
Photo of Guy c-1972, Guy playing drums at my home in Roseland N.J., he was a guitarist primarily but could handle the drums also.c-1971