I may have told this story before…in fact, I’m pretty sure I have, but I can’t find it, and it’s probably been quite a while.
When I was a young lad, one of my friends decided he wanted to hold a seance.
He had dabbled in magick. Not “pick a card, any card” or “hey Rocky, watch me pull this rabbit out of my hat” magic. We’re talking cast spells, invoke spirits, pentagrams-and-candles magick. None of it had ever worked.
So a few of us figured we’d play along. None of us took it too seriously. I’d heard that some of them had played with a Ouija board once, and been freaked out by it, but I wasn’t there for it and they laughed about it when they talked about it, so I figured it was just a case of nerves.
We got going, sitting in a circle, candles lit, a pentagram made of string in the center since his parents would’t let him draw one with chalk, an open book in front of the “warlock” of the group. I don’t remember the words he used, but at one point he stopped and looked at the front door.
I looked up at it too, and I swear you could see the outline of a giant eye on the door. A water stain on the ceiling, which had always been there as far as I could remember, suddenly looked like a hand reaching down at us.
We broke off the seance.
I went outside and climbed the tree in his back yard, where I would often go to escape reality for a while. I felt like I was up there for maybe 10-15 minutes, then I came down to rejoin the rest of my friends.
They said I had been gone for hours.
To this day I don’t know what happened…if I maybe fell asleep standing on a branch and somehow didn’t fall, or if I just zoned out for a while, or found some way to travel a couple hours ahead in time, or what, but that tree became forever known as Kenny’s time warp.
I did later find out that the house had quite a history. The original owner, who built the house himself, died of a heart attack as he laid the final brick. Another family who lived there had a child run over by a drunk driver in the front yard (and the house was most definitely not on a major road). Another owner was said to be a devil worshiper, who had murdered a child and smeared the blood on the walls in some sort of rite. My friend’s family made it out alive, though.
And the town itself has a sordid history…partly from the fact that it’s a refinery town and there had been accidents at the refinery over the years, and partly because of the racist past of the town. I’m told that the “welcome to our town” sign that had all the rotary club and local association logos on it also used to have a “no blacks or Jews” sign on it as well, and black people who ignored this warning were said to be run down in the street.
There’s a reason Redd Foxx hated the town so much. From Wikipedia:
Besides mentioning Watts, Fred G. Sanford (Redd Foxx) often referred to El Segundo on the 1970s hit TV show Sanford and Son. In one episode, he refers to his Ripple wine as coming from “the vineyards of El Segundo.” He also references El Segundo after he tells a soldier about remembering “crashing into the Pacific during WWII.” The soldier asks, “You were shot down by a Japanese Zero?” Fred says: “Nope, a bigot threw me off the pier in El Segundo!” In another episode - titled “The Reverend Sanford,” he says he was “having a religious picture painted on his ceiling next week, like Michelangelo. It’s going to be Moses partin’ an oil spill in El Segundo.” Finally, in another episode, when Lamont says the cologne he is wearing is called “Days In Paris,” Fred says: “Smells more like “Nights In El Segundo.”