My favorite experience with Myles was in Great Barrington in 1990. it was my first year as an apprentice jock and I was tagging along behind Lanny on his tour of the Mass. Tri-County Fair circuit. That year was a short-lived comeback for Marshfield, Northampton and Great Barrington. *
The first few nights we were there we slept in the horse trailer. No, it wasn’t one of the ones with a living quarters. We slept on the rubber mats that the horses shipped on. After that, Lanny and I managed to get a room in a boarding house.
It was a nice sunny room, painted white, but there was something sinister about it at night. Lanny would sleep fitfully yet never waken and I would sleep not at all, and would feel completely at the mercy of the most awful angry thought processes. Lanny was mostly drunk and passed out and I was mostly depressed anyway, it was true; but I can honestly say that this was not the typical dynamic. I sensed an energy outside of myself that seemed to be manipulating my thoughts and gaining power the more I filled with dread.
I told Myles what was happening and he became very interested, which was my plan. I knew that he wouldn’t be able to resist investigating the supernatural.
Because…of all the horsemen in all my travels, Myles was the least typical; there was always far more going on in there than just getting a horse to a race, winning a race, shipping somewhere or what’s on TV during the few hours a week that horsemen actually got to ponder the wonders of the universe. He was well-read, curious and mentally quick. If he had one hand on a horse at any moment, I bet the other was on the pulse of the universe at the same time.
I wanted a witness and hopefully some protection from this Beast., and Myles was the perfect person. The boarding house charged by the head, and we were all so broke that we decided to let Myles in after the landlady left for her separate residence. He came in through the fire escape, which he could access without being seen by any other boarders.
He spread a sleeping roll out beside the bed. Both he and Lanny were nodding off long before me. This was about my third night here and I was beginning to really freak out. I worried that whatever it was wanted me and me alone and would absent itself in the presence of Myles. But just as I was ready to give in to another night in silent terror, Myles suddenly sat up.
“I felt it” he said.
Oh joyous relief! And somehow Lanny managed to awaken after a vigorous shake. We decided to try to call whatever it was in. Myles suggested that we use a small bedside table, place our hands on it, séance-style, and see if we could communicate with it.
I swear on my helmet, the table began to rock as Myles asked it questions. I can’t recall if it it was rock one way for yes and the other for no, or rock for yes, do nothing for no. But the responses I remember clearly that we got were 1) that it was a male, and 2) that it was angry. To ice the cake so to speak, Myles asked it to give us a definite sign of its presence. I asked him if it could harm us and he said that as far as he knew, if you called on it to leave, it had to obey.
So there we were, the little table rocking in a feeble lamplight from the bureau, and I thought to myself;”I’m scared, but I really, really want to know whether this spirit is here”. I wanted a sign, so I mentally commanded; “show yourself to me”.
What happened then was a cold chill sensation ran up my spine and spread across my torso. Not down, but up, and not diminishing, but growing. I was shocked. I started screaming “get out of me goawaygoawaygoaway” and I opened my eyes and just kept repeating go away! It was long gone before I quit.
That kind of broke the session up. I don’t remember who fell asleep first after that, but I don’t think it was me.
I didn’t sleep any better, even when the landlady moved us to another room , which happened to be the one to which the fire escape was joined. Myles got to stay with us the rest of the time, and though I felt validated, and even a little safer, I was still aware of every noise and every movement in the air at night. How could the guys sleep so well knowing there was an angry entity slinking about? Lanny was always passed out, but Myles? He wasn’t scared. He was just matter-of-fact about it.
When the fair concluded, I met the landlady to settle up for the last time. As I handed her cash for the final week of our stay, I mentioned casually that “there is something in that room” and gestured to the first room we stayed in. Her reply raised my eyebrows; “do you think it’s a man or a woman?”
“Uh…a man”, I said.
She replied; “At first we thought it was my husband. We thought he came from New York to watch over me, but when we moved out of here into the house we now stay in, he didn’t follow, so we figured the spirit must have been here all along.”
She began to expound on guardian angels for a minute. She said one of her relatives had been snapped from the jaws of death by one. But somehow her sense of the presence in this house disagreed with mine. She seems to think it was a benevolent spirit. If it was, then it definitely disapproved of us.
Say what yo like about about Ghosts and paranormal stuff. I have no comment about what happened except to say that there was no intentional human deception involved. Myles didn’t move the table on purpose, nor Lanny. So the point is not whether the tale is true or valid or any of that. the point is that if you want to talk about anything, or try anything, or if your own off-the-wall musings could startle you, they probably wouldn’t startle Myles. Not too much. He’d just get really curious.
That story is my favorite Myles tale by far, but there are other times that I laugh and cry about. I spent a lot of time around him when I was with Lanny, and he was just one of my favorite people – because he had an open mind. And that is something I think few people have, even if they think they do.
I didn’t even know he was ill. I always thought I would have another bottle-of-wine-conversation with him. I really looked forward to that. I had a lot of places left to go with Myles. I don’t think I ever said that to him and I am sorry I don’t get to now. I can only hope his spirit will pay me a visit and fill me in on the Other Side; if anyone in my life were to do that, he would surprise me the least of all.
His energy resonated on more levels than the horse trainer one he showed up as. I feel lucky to have known him.