TELEPHONE INTERVIEW — TAPE #13, SIDE #1
Q: Mark Russell Bell (interviewer in Los Angeles)P: Paul Russell (my father in California)M: Maxine Mc Wethy (the mother in Centrahoma, Oklahoma)L: Ellen Russell (my mother in California)
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THIS TAPE SIDE BEGINS WITH MYSELF SPEAKING INTO THE TAPE RECORDER AS I PREPARE TO TALK TO MY FATHER AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MORE THAN A DECADE.)
Q: I am getting ready to call my father. My mom said not to let him know that she’s getting Social Security because that might cause problems. She called him a “human demon” and I asked her what she meant. She said Paul is “a human who has made himself into a demon out of only caring about himself.” When I called to find out where I could locate my father, my Uncle Bob claimed that Paul had experienced breaks with reality and there had been a period in his life when he thought Hell’s Angels bikers were after him. This should be a very interesting call.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: ‘N’ SIGNIFIES THE NURSE OR OPERATOR WHO FIRST ANSWERS THE PHONE.)
N: Thank you for calling The Meadows of La Habra. This is Michelle. How can I help you?
Q: Room 314.
N: You need to speak to someone in that room?
Q: Right. Paul Russell.
N: Okay, can you hold on just one second?
Q: Hello, Paul?
Q: Hi —
P: Mark. Mark?
Q: This is Mark.
P: Mark. Hello — I see — I hear your voice now.
Q: I’m so glad to speak to you.
P: Yeah. I’m glad you called. You finally called Bob but I only told him to tell you a couple of things. Anything else he tells you is probably exaggerated.
Q: Well, I didn’t really speak very much with him.
P: You talked to his wife — I know. Are you on vacation and where’s Mikey?
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: ‘MIKEY’ REFERS TO MICHAEL, MY TWIN BROTHER.)
Q: Oh, we’re both great. I’ve been working non-stop until now so I’m taking some time off to write a book.
P: You’re writing too?
Q: Well, I’ve been writing. I was working for Paramount writing press kits —
P: I called — that’s good — Michael Eisner up there. Tell Mikey there’s two Mike’s ahead of him now. Eisner and Ovitz.
Q: There are more than two. (laughs)
P: So when he goes back, it’s too late. (laughs)
Q: Let me first tell you the most important thing is that we all send you our love. Ellen’s doing fine too.
P: She’s in Florida?
Q: It doesn’t matter where she is —
P: Is she coming out here for a vacation?
Q: Why do you care?
P: I don’t care.
Q: Exactly. I mean there’s no —
P: Well, don’t worry about it. I tried to get through to Mikey at a bad time of the strike and get you some money, which was too late and not enough, and I couldn’t do it because —
Q: I’m very philosophical when it comes to money.
P: Well, you’re doing fine. That’s (laughs) —
Q: Whenever or where I’ve been in need of money, I’ve always had it. I mean God, I think, leads us to money when we need it.
P: Well, I was going to add a few hundred and then went broke and then the business — never did get the store — the business started and then after that I had a few thousand but it was too late for — when I called you from Sears and took you to —
Q: How are you, though? I mean, you’re all right for money now?
P: Oh yeah. I got some VA money.
P: Extra money.
Q: That’s the main thing that we all —
P: And write me a letter here and I’ll answer it briefly but I know everything that happened.
Q: Well, there’s nothing that I really need to find out about that. I mean —
P: Yeah, that’s okay, but I want you to write me so I can send a couple of things to you to clear a couple of points up.
Q: What points do you need to clear up?
P: Are you going to write?
Q: We’re talking right now so what do you need to say?
P: Have you or Michael got a phone? I’ll call you sometime.
Q: Right now I’m taking time off to devote myself — I mean I want to have contact with you —
P: I won’t bother you.
Q: That’s what I’m saying —
P: I was bothering Mike at the wrong time and I —
Q: Right. Exactly —
P: He didn’t want any money.
Q: How about if I call you from time to time instead of writing because right now I’m working on a book, so —
Q: — it’s not good to write letters because it takes away from the book. Why don’t I just call you periodically? Would that be nice?
P: Okay — no, you can’t really reach me here, Mark.
Q: You can’t?
P: I’d like to have you write me.
P: I tried to check on you on the phone — at the employment office and TRW credit report. I talked to Miss Webb at the wrong time. It took me about three or four —
Q: You spoke to who? Miss Webb?
P: — months to get through to her after you left and she couldn’t give me anything or didn’t want to.
Q: I stopped working with her, you know?
P: I know. You left there. I was calling for months after you left there. Okay, well, I’m glad you’re fine. I’m having a little trouble now with — I’ve always had, with my age, a little infection and heart palpitations from it. I’ve got to be careful of infection getting into the blood stream but it’s —
Q: Oh dear. Then, I’ll pray for you too.
P: Okay. Thanks for calling and if you want to reach me at eight o’clock some night I’m always around this front desk.
Q: So you don’t have any questions or anything, really? Well, I’m so glad that you sound great and everything. Is there anything you want me to tell Michael? That you love him or anything?
P: Yeah. I want to clear up a couple of things about Bob too.
Q: Well, like what?
P: I’ll tell you later. Bye.
Q: Okay. Bye.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE NEXT RECORDED CONVERSATION IS WITH MAXINE.)
M: I went into the bedroom where the washer and dryer are. And there was a blue blanket laying there with a gray thing sitting on it. It looked like it had three propellers on it. (laughs) It looked crazy to me. I thought it was a snake at first. And then all at once it just rolled off under the dryer. It was as gray as it could be.
Q: Was it some kind of animal?
M: I don’t know what it was. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Q: Oh that’s interesting. You might make a sketch of that.
M: Yeah, I did. I wrote it down and I’ve got a tape. We put that tape player in Bill’s room last night where I sleep now and there’s a man’s voice on it going, “AHHHHHH.” Isn’t that spooky?
Q: Well, yeah, but again — I mean, basically, I do have a heightened awareness of things so I do understand what is going on. The screenplay, by the way, is going to be for the best movie ever made.
M: Is that right?
Q: I mean it’s going to be fantastic.
M: So you’re going to do that?
Q: I’m going to — well, listen — I mean it’s my calling in life. I’m sure I’ll do a book and a screenplay. I’m not quite sure which one will come first. I’m just going with the flow. I have probably 100 single-spaced pages just from my interviews with the family, which is sort of miraculous in itself because I didn’t realize there was that much time. It was almost like time stood still and I was able to get more information than we realized. It’s just amazing.
M: We had three college kids from Norman, Oklahoma tonight. And they’re taking that parapsychology in college so they came and asked a bunch of questions and took some pictures.
Q: Well, if you ever have any questions — I mean now that I realize that we’re cousins. If you have something overwhelming happen or if somebody calls you and you don’t know how to deal with them, why don’t you just refer them to your Los Angeles cousin since I do have a public relations background.
M: Yeah. Sure.
Q: And then I can work back and forth with you. I did try calling ABC again to see when they had scheduled “Put It To The Test.” This time the person who answered said they’ve never heard of it so maybe I’ll just call LMNO. You know, I used to be worried because I think it’s going to be really shoddy — I think it’s going to be really embarrassing but, again, you have to remember that Michael can do anything he wants because he can control everyone through their subconscious minds. So if he doesn’t want the TV show to air, it won’t air. We always have to remember we don’t have to worry on this one. It will do whatever is best. Now about Bill — how is Bill?
M: He’s doing real good. I went down there yesterday and they’re giving him antibiotics. His throat’s clearing up and everything.
Q: It is — and so he’s getting better?
Q: Did you pray for him?
M: Oh yeah.
Q: Well, that’s it, then.
Q: That’s it.
M: So he might get out — I might just get him out.
Q: I don’t know because God does take — I mean, at times there are people who die. I mean we all die. So if it’s his time — it’s his time but I think prayer does help. Especially since Michael is an angel.
M: I was supposed to go down there this morning but I got up sick.
Q: Oh really?
M: Ohh. Sick all morning. I came down here to the post office and Sharon was sick with the same headache.
Q: I’ve noticed — I mean literally, the entities do draw upon us for their power. In fact, one of my closest friends and one my closest working associates at Paramount have both had strange seizures. And it relates to the earlier case because I do think that the entities need to draw upon various people in our dimension in order to stay here. There is a synchronicity here in terms of the supernatural aspects — in terms of the scary part. There is a duality within that but I think God does the best He can with what He has to work with at the time. So I pretty much understand everything. I don’t really quite know how He’ll choose things to fall into place. Some of the tapes I can’t really hear very well so I probably will come back out to get more information in a few weeks. Why don’t you just keep calling me once or twice a week — whenever you want to.
( . . . )
Q: If you do want to go back to church you might tell your minister, “Don’t worry about Michael any more because we’ve realized he’s an angel and he’s worked a miracle.”
M: Well, he says they’re trying to get me to come back anyway.
Q: Isn’t that good?
M: Bill’s going to church down there.
Q: If anyone’s worried about Michael, just say he’s an angel. That’s all. He’s not a poltergeist. He’s an angel. No one will believe you anyway. (laughs)
M: I know.
Q: Just to give you an example — of course, He is a ten-year-old child too. He’s an angel of a ten-year-old child and he saved my life twice and I didn’t realize it at the time. Once I should have been in a major car accident and to this day I don’t know — now I know why. I mean, I was basically going on the Hollywood Freeway too fast.
Q: There was a massive blockage ahead and I couldn’t stop in time. I couldn’t stop in time. And my car, before it struck, it jumped up into the air and spun around. It came back down without hitting anyone. Now I realize that Michael had been there.
Q: And there was another incident when I was parked at a corner going home. A bum with half of his face burned off had come up to my car begging for money. Well, I’ve sort of been victimized by people like that before so I didn’t really offer him any money. He picked up a huge brick and threw it right at my face. And it bounced off the windshield. I know that brick should have gone through the window. So it’s just amazing. Now that I think back and think of all the signs it was giving me — and I was so stupid I never even realized. But, anyway, it’s all part of God’s plan. So everything’s good and wonderful. I’m glad Bill’s getting better. Hopefully, he will continue to get better. So, anyway, at some point I’ll come back out. You know what I would like? If you can maybe have Twyla and the others use the tape recorder I gave you and try to remember exactly the words and the situations — what Michael said during some of the events that happened.
Q: Just as much as possible. Or some of the funnier events. Like in the cemetery and things like that.
M: I was going to see Twyla this weekend but I was broke so they stayed all night with me the night before last and something hit the air conditioner outside — real hard with a rock, I guess.
Q: It’s like it never ends — these things. I guess I’ll go ahead and call up LMNO Productions. I’ll just say I’m a local cousin of the family and do you know when it will air yet? Just to sort of stay on top of things.
M: They should have been advertising that already if it’s going to be on.
Q: ABC’s scheduling department doesn’t know anything about it.
Q: I think it probably might even be for the best because you know how it’s going to come off if they do it — like the possessed girl and I can just imagine. My attorney, who I was having do up the contracts — not that it really matters — I really don’t care if I make any money or not with this at all. But he’s so freaked by everything that I don’t even know what he’ll do. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens. He was at the party when — oh, by the way, the light bulb in the projector blew up.
M: The light?
Q: The light bulb in the slide projector. And I said, “Michael probably touched it.”
M: I’ll say.
Q: You know what else he did? This is just one of the signs. My brother and his friend James have this little metal owl on their patio. I looked at it closely and it’s been changed into a parrot.
M: Is that right?
Q: And so I told everyone, “Look. See that over there?” And they all said, “Oh, you mean the owl?” And I said, “It doesn’t look anything like an owl.” They all could remember seeing it as an owl before but now it doesn’t even look like one. He’s showing Himself in ways that are evident but He’s, like, daring people to believe in him.
Q: In my living room he made a penny appear in front of one my friends. I heard this WHOOSH and it hit me in the leg.
M: I’ll say.
Q: And then he saw it and he said, “Oh, that just fell out of your pocket.” So I put everything away and he was looking at the carpet and it was, you know, bare. And then when we looked again there was a dime there and his eyes got so big. He said, “Well, that wasn’t there.”
Q: And then the next time I saw him I said, “James, Michael made that dime appear for you.” And he said, “Unless you threw it there real quick.”
Q: Even though they see it, they just can’t believe it.
Q: I really do feel at peace with everything. It’s no longer — I did think it was an overwhelming responsibility to tell the story as a book and a screenplay but I don’t any more. I’m just going along with it. I’m glad everything’s going well with you.
M: I’m burning up right here now.
Q: You are?
M: Yeah. (laughs) It’s hot out here.
Q: Right. I know. I’m sure it is. And, you know, I think the entities make it hot too because sometimes I get really hot flashes.
M: We’re down here in this sun at this phone booth.
Q: Oh, okay, well I’ll let you go then but feel free to call any time.
M: I love ya.
Q: I’ll check with LMNO. I don’t know what I’ll say. I never know what I say but He seems to be speaking through various people’s subconscious so I’ll just say whatever is appropriate.
M: Well, drop me a letter. Let me know.
Q: Let you know when I plan to come back out and things?
M: Whatever. Whatever you find out.
Q: I definitely want to come back out but I just want to finish transcribing. Why don’t you check in with me next Monday or call me if anything else profound happens.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I RECORDED THE FOLLOWING AFTER THE NEXT TIME MAXINE CALLED ME.)
Q: When Maxine called me, she was with Kim and when they found out we were cousins she jokingly said, “Change your name.” But now I think it was the spirit speaking through her subconscious to tell me to change my name. I have to think about this matter more.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: SOON AFTER THIS, MY FRIEND MARIE WAS CROSSING THE STREET AT THE INTERSECTION OF SUNSET BOULEVARD AND LAUREL CANYON WHEN SHE HEARD A DISEMBODIED VOICE SAY “MARK RUSSELL BELL.” SHE IMMEDIATELY WENT TO A TELEPHONE BOOTH TO CALL ME. DURING THIS PERIOD, I WAS BEGINNING TO FIND MYSELF BECOMING OVERWHELMED BY MY INTERPRETATION OF THE RECENT OCCURRENCES. I BEGAN TO THEORIZE THAT I MIGHT HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED AS A CHILD, SOMEHOW CAUSING A SPLINTER OF MY PERSONALITY TO MERGE WITH OR FORM A SEPARATE, EXTERNAL ENTITY AS A RESULT OF THE EXPERIENCE. THE NEXT RECORDED CONVERSATION IS WITH MY MOTHER.)
L: We were living at 1206 Altadena Drive.
Q: When I was eight? Did we ever even see Uncle Bob?
L: No. The only time you ever saw Uncle Bob was after he took Paul in when you were older and he gave him a car and put him to work.
Q: You’re sure of that?
L: I’m positive.
Q: You are?
L: Well, I don’t know.
Q: Well, make up your mind.
L: When you were eight years old?
L: Never. Never.
Q: Would Mike remember?
L: You can ask him.
Q: Okay, I will.
L: Never. You didn’t see Bob.
Q: Well, don’t people usually see their relatives during holiday get-togethers?
Q: So we never saw our Uncle Bob?
L: Well, not after I left Paul.
Q: Well, what do you mean? When did we see him?
L: Remember when we lived on Del Rey and Paul had this beautiful new car? He used to come over —
Q: No, I mean when we were young children.
L: Oh, well, you mean when we lived on Slauson Avenue? When you were babies?
Q: Yes. Any time.
L: Oh yeah. He used to come over all the time.
Q: So how old were we when he came over?
L: That’s when Bob told me one time — you were babies — and he wanted to help Paul even then. And he said to Paul, “I want to write this book about a ball player. I have no talent and I know you do. I will pay you.” Of course, Paul said, “Now now now now.” And he didn’t want to. There was another time that he came down once and he said, “I’m sure you and Ellen can get back together.” And I said, “No.” I said, “Absolutely not.” And Paul said, “Well no. No. No.”
Q: But what did he do for us kids? I don’t care about you and Paul. Was he a good uncle to us kids? Because I think Paul wants to tell me something about Uncle Bob and I’m just trying to figure out what it is. Before I hear it from him I’d like you to tell me.
L: Well, what, there was nothing wrong with — Bob was wonderful to Paul.
Q: I didn’t say there was anything wrong with him. I just want to find out what it is Paul wants to tell me.
L: Well, it was you kids that told me Paul told you that Bob printed pornography.
Q: Who did?
Q: Who printed —
Q: Bob did?
L: You and your brother told me that Paul told you when he was working at — I’m sure it’s in one of those letters that I gave you.
Q: Oh, I didn’t even read them.
L: Well, I’m sure — I mean he worked his business. I still have his phone number.
Q: No, I’m talking about Bob’s relationship with Michael and me.
L: There wasn’t a relationship.
Q: Did he ever visit us? Or take us to the park or anything?
L: No. Good grief. He had three kids of his own.
Q: Well, if you can think of anything, let me know because I need to do a scene in my script I think.
L: Uncle Bob has three kids of his own.
Q: That has nothing to do with — what are you talking about? What does that have to do with anything that I’ve asked you?
L: It’s nothing, but he had a life of his own that he had to worry about. He didn’t care about you and your brother, for God’s sake.
Q: What are you talk — why are you doing this?
L: You asked me.
Q: I mean you’re answering questions that I’m not even asking you.
L: Well, I’m telling you my side.
Q: Your side? What’s the other side?
Q: Michael who?
L: The angel. (laughs)
Q: What is Michael’s side?
L: I don’t — you asked me a question.
Q: You know, you have a big problem with honesty.
L: Oh, yes, I know. Well, first of all —
Q: I know you know.
L: How long is that? You’re starting — it comes back —
Q: I’m not bashing. I just want to know the truth. The truth is wonderful.
L: I’m telling you the truth. No —
Q: But you haven’t told me anything.
L: I’ve told you — what? I — Mark —
Q: I asked you specifically when did we see Bob as children?
L: When your father and I lived on Slauson.
Q: Okay, I wrote that down. Slauson Street. In Culver City. Is that where — where was it?
L: Slauson Avenue. I believe it’s still there. Culver City, California. (sighs) I think that Jeanne and he did — yes, they did come by. I remember now they did come by one time. They brought Paul by. He once — and that was about it. Jeanne came by. Jeanne and Bob. That’s it.
Q: Did anything happen?
L: (little girl voice) No.
Q: Did you and Paul have a big fight about something?
L: Of course not. Why would I fight with Paul?
Q: You fought so much about everything. I’m just trying to figure out —
L: Mark, after I left Paul I didn’t need to fight any more. And I’m getting a little tired of fighting right now.
Q: I’m not fighting, though. Don’t you understand? I need to find the truth out for my screenplay.
L: Well, I know, but I — I’m your mother.
Q: I know. I said, “I love you.” I only ask for one thing from you. And that’s the
truth. That’s all I ask.
L: And I’m sorry but I am terribly truthful.
Q: But the way you hem and haw and aren’t plain about anything — it bothers me. Did you and Paul ever fight about Bob abusing Michael and me?
L: Never. Well, don’t — we — he abused you?
Q: I don’t know. I’m trying to find that out.
L: Uncle Bob abused you?
Q: I’m trying to find that out.
L: Well, my God, if you don’t remember when he abused you —
Q: I don’t remember.
L: Well, you can remember every time I seem to have abused you. Isn’t that —
Q: I never said you abused me.
Q: Did I ever say you abused me?
L: Oh really?
Q: You know you have a big problem with denial.
L: Yes, I know.
Q: Your whole life has been a problem with denial.
L: I know. Yes. Well.
Q: I’m just giving you the benefit of that.
L: Well, that’s sweet of you, honey, you know, I, honey, I would tell you anything you want to know —
Q: Well, then tell me. Did Bob abuse us? That’s the only thing that I’ve ever asked from you — the one thing that’s the most important thing in our relationship — in our life — through this life and many lifetimes — is just to be truthful for that one question. Is there any doubt in your mind that Bob abused Michael and me?
L: In my mind — knowing what I know?
Q: Not in your mind. Just if there’s any question whatsoever.
L: As far as I’m concerned —
Q: Not as far as you’re concerned! Oops —
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE LISTENING DEVICE SLIPPED OFF THE PHONE AND I PUT IT BACK ON.)
L: . . . ever, ever abused you, and I would stake your life on it. I would stake your brother’s life on it, I would stake —
Q: It’s not about that, is it though? Did Paul and you ever fight about alleged abuse?
L: No. No. No. No. The only thing Paul and I ever fought about was why didn’t he leave me and you kids alone.
Q: Okay, well — I give you a chance. Remember, I gave you the chance.
L: Oh, honey, thank you very much but I’m kind of —
Q: And you weren’t — you weren’t honest.
L: No. Mark —
Q: Honesty is Godlike.
L: Mark. I’m really —
L: (crying) — getting sick of it.
Q: Why are you getting sick of it? If you know you’re telling the truth why would you be upset? I have an angel who’s revealed to me certain things and one of the things He’s revealed to me is that Uncle Bob abused me. I can’t say it in any other words. And you’re not being honest about it. I’m not mad at Uncle Bob. I’m not mad at you. It isn’t your fault. I just want to know the truth. That’s all I ask.
L: (sighs) I’m telling you the truth.
Q: To be human is to make mistakes.
L: He never — Bob never, ever abused you. Ever. Ever.
Q: But the way you were answering — it made me —
L: Never. It wouldn’t have meant — Mark.
Q: Then, why are you getting so upset?
L: Because you treat me like a dirty piece of shit.
Q: Well, then, maybe that’s what you are. Until you’re honest you are just a dirty piece of shit.
L: Well, I’m (breaking down again) —
Q: The only thing I’ve ever asked from you is honesty.
L: Well, what have I ever given you?
Q: Nothing — if you haven’t given me honesty.
L: When have I been dishonest?
Q: About Uncle Bob, I have a feeling — the way you’re acting. The way you’re answering my questions makes me think that there was something going on.
L: Mark, if there’s been anything that has to do with Bob, don’t blame it on Bob, it has to do with Mark.
Q: Mark who?
L: Russell — who do you think?
Q: Then why are you so upset?
L: Because —
Q: Why don’t you just say it and get it over with?
L: At this time in my life, Mark, I don’t need — I don’t need —
Q: Well, it explains a lot — like your alcoholism, your break-up with Paul —
L: Well —
Q: Is that the truth?
L: Mark, I’m trying to tell you the truth. I might need a little comfort myself.
Q: Yes, but you don’t get comfort by denying reality.
L: I love myself. Me. Well, don’t you think I deserve a little consideration?
Q: Not if you’re lying. I have to find out the truth.
L: When have I lied?
Q: About Uncle Bob.
L: I — ohhh. Bob is a — Bob was always a wonderful person —
Q: Well, I agree with you. He’s a wonderful person.
L: He never abused you that I —
Q: Are you sure?
Q: I know he did.
L: Well, Paul took you — well, if you know, why are you asking?
Q: Because I can’t believe you would lie.
L: Mark. He — ohhh. You used to go out with your father to visit Bob. I wasn’t there.
Q: Oh my God.
L: Did he abuse you there?
Q: I — yes. He did.
L: What did he do to you?
Q: I don’t remember.
L: I mean — I wasn’t there.
Q: I don’t blame you.
L: Don’t you re — I mean, I wasn’t —
Q: I don’t blame you.
L: You would come home. Why didn’t you say anything? Because you do have a big mouth — both of you do. Why didn’t you say —
Q: We were children.
L: Mark, when Paul —
Q: Children don’t know.
L: Mark, you were in your teens, for Christ’s sake.
Q: I was?
Q: When he abused us?
Q: How old was I when he abused us?
L: Ask Michael.
Q: He told me but he said I was eight.
L: Well, if that’s what Michael says — that’s what Michael says. I mean —
Q: What do you know? Do you know any information on the subject? I mean did you and Paul fight? What happened?
L: About what?
Q: About the abuse.
L: There was no abuse.
Q: The way you just said — we were teenagers at the time.
L: I said when Paul used to — the only time that you ever went out to visit Paul was when Paul came by —
Q: Yes, but it was framed in the form of when did the abuse happen?
L: I’m asking you. It never happened. It never happened.
Q: No, but I knew you fought with Paul about that. I know you have.
L: Mark, I never, ever, ever fought with Paul.
Q: I guess I have to read all the letters. Okay.
L: I never, ever, ever fought with Paul about that. Ever. Ever.
Q: Are you sure? Well, maybe, did you know that something was going on? I mean, I don’t understand.
L: Mark, why don’t you call — I’ll call Bob and ask him.
Q: Okay, you do that.
Q: Okay. Bye.
L: I want him to know exactly because I’m going to tell him to get a bed ready.
Q: Okay, fine.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: MY MOTHER SOON CALLS BACK AND I PICK UP THE DOWNSTAIRS PHONE WITHOUT THE LISTENING DEVICE AND TAPE RECORDER. AFTERWARD, I RECORD THE FOLLOWING.)
Q: (speaking into tape recorder) Ellen just called back and suggested I call Paul and ask him about Uncle Bob so I guess that’s what I’m going to do.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE NEXT RECORDED CONVERSATION IS WITH MY FATHER.)
N: Thank you for calling The Meadows of La Habra. This is Mary.
Q: Yes, I need to speak to Paul Russell.
N: Hold on, please . . . Hold on. I’m waiting.
Q: Okay. Very good.
N: Um-huh . . . May I ask who’s calling.
Q: Yes, it’s Mark.
N: Mark from —
Q: I’m his son.
Q: Paul Russell’s son.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE SONG BEING PLAYED ON THE PHONE LINE WHILE I’M WAITING IS “ONE MOMENT IN TIME.”)
N: He answered. You can call him at eight o’clock.
Q: Oh okay.
N: He’s getting ready for dinner and everything else.
Q: Tell him it’s very important that I speak to him right now.
N: Okay. Right now?
N: Okay. Hold on.
Q: Hi, Paul.
Q: I know what you’re going to tell me about Uncle Bob but I have to hear it from you and I have to hear it now.
P: What’s that?
Q: What you have to tell me about him. To clear up the misconceptions.
P: I wanted you to call back at eight.
Q: I have to hear it now.
P: I didn’t mean for it to sound —
Q: No, I need to know now, Paul.
P: Well you can’t — you can’t call Bob —
Q: No, I don’t want to call Bob. I want you to tell me what he did to us.
P: The thing is I’m glad you called him before but, you see —
Q: No, I called him to get your number. You need to tell me what happened to us as children.
P: I know that. I know that. That’s okay.
Q: Tell me now.
P: I’m glad you did.
Q: I know but you have to tell me — you have to explain to me the misconceptions you want to clear up about Bob.
P: Oh, the misconception is — has been going on a long time. I was trying to get Bob to help me write to your mother and she bawled him out. And then she bawled me out when she finally called.
Q: No, I’m talking about another misconception.
P: Now, wait a minute. And then — ahhhhhh — then I gave him a check for Mikey — trying to get Mike to accept the money. I think he accepted one check for him but then he wouldn’t accept this to give to you.
Q: This is all pointless.
P: Wait a second.
Q: You know what I really want to find out about.
P: Yeah. This is what I’m telling you.
Q: No — when we were children.
P: Now, I’m all through if you’ll listen.
Q: I know — but when we were children.
P: And then I had the rest of the money. I made a furniture deal with him. And it’s gone. He wouldn’t even acknowledge it. Then, he tries to run me down. When he came over here a couple of times he tried to make me look worse because —
Q: Let’s go back to the real traumatic events.
P: So, what’s that?
Q: Of our childhood.
P: Oh, no. Not now.
Q: I have to know it now.
P: Well, I gave some of it to you in the letters.
Q: I know. I never read the letters for various reasons.
P: I know it. You probably didn’t get them.
Q: You’re right.
P: How are you doing on the book?
Q: Wonderfully. It’s a wonderful book. I’m going to be very famous.
P: What’s it about?
Q: It’s about the supernatural.
P: Oh come on, Mark.
P: Oh that’s good. That’s good.
Q: It’s a good one, isn’t it?
P: You better let me proofread it.
P: No, I’ve — I have never —
Q: Have you ever heard of the Bell Witch?
Q: Have you ever heard of the Bell Witch?
P: I think so.
Q: Well, guess what? You’re a Bell.
P: I — I don’t know.
Q: So you better not mess with it and you better tell me what it wants you to tell me or I don’t know what’s going to happen.
P: Mark, I’m glad you’re interested in something.
Q: Well, I’m interested in you telling me about Uncle Bob right now.
P: I was afraid — I was afraid — what?
Q: I want you to tell me the truth about Uncle Bob right now.
P: And so he’s got all the money and he —
Q: No. You know what I’m talking about.
P: Look. The thing is — it’s not the money —
Q: When we were eight years old.
Q: When Michael and I were eight?
P: When you were eight?
Q: What happened?
P: With Uncle Bob?
Q: What do you mean — nothing?
P: The only thing is when I took you out there in —
Q: What have you and Mom always argued about?
P: Not — not him. It has nothing to do with — he was out in Orange County.
P: We were in L.A. Listen, Mark, call me at eight o’clock. If I had your address I could answer a couple of questions but I didn’t go into a bunch of that stuff in the letters.
Q: I just want to know — just answer one question. Okay?
P: You don’t need all that —
Q: Just answer one question.
P: What’s that?
Q: You have a heart of gold and you’ve always had a heart of gold.
P: No, I have — I don’t know.
Q: Just answer me yes or no.
P: I’ve been generous and nothing to be generous with.
Q: Just answer me one — I love you — and I want you to answer this one question.
P: What’s that?
Q: Did Bob? Yes or no?
P: Did Bob what?
Q: Exactly. Well, if you know you would say yes.
P: Did he what?
Q: I’m not going to say it. I don’t have to say it.
P: I’m not — I don’t know about eight years old. I took you out there — which I shouldn’t have done in a little bitty — an old Volkswagen.
P: When he was going broke in this big company that he left. And all he told you was that if you needed anything you could contact him — as if — I would never — I would — he thought that I would never make it anyway.
Q: Do you think that anyone in our family ever abused Michael and me?
P: You and —
Q: And Michael.
P: No, I don’t think so. Except your mother threw a bear bottle at me. Hit me on the head but not you —
Q: So far as you know, no one sexually abused us —
P: You’re the one that cried though. When we had a big argument, you’re the only one that cried. Mike just kept on looking at the TV or whatever he was doing. You cried.
Q: Were you ever suspicious that maybe some sexual abuse had occurred?
P: No. No. Nuh-uh. None. None. I was worried about the boys’ club in Pasadena but I couldn’t get back there at that time. I was running out of gas on another deal and I couldn’t keep coming out Tuesday Thursday Saturday.
Q: So far as you know Bob never abused either Michael or me?
P: He never was around you.
Q: Okay. I didn’t think so. Okay. I — just to find out.
P: Well, okay, listen — call me at eight o’clock.
Q: I can’t call you tonight but I’ll call you at some point.
P: No. No. Yeah. It — it — days, weekend.
Q: I will.
P: I’m here every evening. I’m the night manager. There’s no one around so I’m in charge.
Q: Oh, that’s great.
P: They’re all in bed.
Q: So call you after 8 p.m.?
P: Two hundred people in bed. So I’m the manager.
Q: That sounds like an easy job.
P: I move the wheelchairs around.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE FOLLOWING WAS ADDED ON SEPTEMBER 1, 1996 AT THE TIME OF EDITING AND WAS NOT TRANSCRIBED FROM A MICROCASSETTE.)
Q: This was a very traumatic time in my life because I realized that Michael had been with me during every moment of my life. I felt ashamed by some of the things I had done over the years — or failed to do in terms of helping those less fortunate than myself. I needed a new commandment: You Shouldn’t Take For Yourself More Than You Give Back. The range of regrets encompassed disgust over never having done anything to stay in shape, embarrassment over cheating on exams a few times over the years, and I was especially sorry about having stolen a valuable comic book as a child. I couldn’t conceive what the angel’s morality could be so I even imagined my sexual fantasizing had been sinful. Most disturbing of all was the impression upon listening to the interview tapes that they sounded like a motion picture soundtrack. I felt that these transcripts were momentously important, presenting stark evidence of the existence of God and life after death. The only path I could choose was to go on a journey with Michael and to be completely honest working on this book. I am happy to have this opportunity to do something for others. Although I couldn’t find anyone to help me with my work, I found comfort in the awareness of the loving nature and playful Spirit God had manifested in my life. When I spoke to my family and friends on the phone and heard them express uncharacteristically profound truths, I became convinced that the Spirit was occasionally expressing His/Her/Their thoughts to me through the subconscious minds of others. I began feeling overwhelmed when I mistakenly concluded that the Spirit wanted me to transcribe the tapes in three weeks. In trying to accomplish this by working without sleep, I experienced times of heightened consciousness. When I look back at that time, it seems like my own conversation was coming from a source other than my own consciousness. Some of these experiences are described in following interviews and journals. My most desperate moment occurred in a sudden perceived change from the state of warmth, peace and joy that had accompanied my spoken revelations to others about reincarnation and Judgement Day. I no longer felt connected to this greater Presence and abruptly felt myself separate and alone in a familiar yet barren physical reality. I was convinced that the Spirit had been controlling my thoughts and actions for a brief period due to a motive I was still trying to ascertain and I understood it could do this again at any moment for any purpose. I called my brother and told him, “The possession is over. I want to die.” I was worried this Spirit that had been called witch/alien/poltergeist could be demonic and the love and goodness that I had recognized was my illusion. Soon, my brother and friends James and Fiona showed up at my condo with a large black man from a mental facility. During my stay there, many bizarre things occurred as Michael continued to reveal Himself to me. In order for me to be released from the facility, I had to find a psychiatrist and begin therapy. My brother located one experienced in the paranormal. I was released after five days although this had seemed like a much longer period. At this time, I began going to the gym and became a volunteer at Aids Project Los Angeles.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: SOON AFTER RETURNING FROM OKLAHOMA, I REMEMBERED THAT I HAD EXPERIENCED TWO ‘RAPTURES’ SEVERAL YEARS AGO. WHAT FOLLOWS ARE THE IMPRESSIONS I SPONTANEOUSLY WROTE ON THE MORNINGS AFTER. THE FIRST COMPUTER FILE IS DATED 6-14-92.)
LAST NIGHT I EXPERIENCED A NIGHT OF GOD
Last night I experienced what were once called raptures of Christ. I had asked God to allow me to encounter him in some way and so he did. It was the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. Every previous experience culminated in the dream.
I call it a dream because I don’t know what else to call it. In it I experienced the most horrible potential and the most brilliant success possible for my life; my life as if I were the most important aspect of all life. I do not write this lightly. My life as if I was Christ. And then my life as if I were the Antichrists; power of evil; possessed by demons; not for the moment; but for all the years of my life.
You don’t believe me. I’m not Catholic. But I’ve lived like a monk and so ecstasy and depression became as one. I don’t want to forget this wondrous night but I find it impossible to experience the emotions of this night even as I write it down.
Disbelievers will say that I’m lying. Why? To seek attention. No. I hadn’t been able to fall to sleep until 3:30 a.m. after a night of writing, reading and I watched some television—it was strange that I noticed my neighbor was also awake; our bathrooms adjoin—and now it is 6 a.m.
Recalling, I had felt something of a strange expectation of exhilaration; but also was very depressed, I had reached the absolute nadir of the depression that had recently engulfed me. I had been writing about strange people in my work and only now do I understand this as my purpose as it has been justified. Julia. Catherine. Kate. These are each of us and none of us.
How can you prove the lie? Why would you so bother? As I said, I am not Catholic and believe just as much in flying saucers as I do any other portent of the miraculous.
But my experience of the night showed me that God is eternally with us, if even we are unaware; as with us also is His fallen heart. Even as my memories fade, I recall that those who suffer the greatest miseries in this life are those that God loves the most — those who don’t fall from His grace, as we each come so close to doing every day.
It wasn’t self-aware expectation that compelled me to think that maybe I desired to masturbate before my rapture, but in avoiding the temptation I can only speculate that I earned God’s respect at last in such an humiliating victory. And so he showed me His full domination of my world and in so doing also revealed to me His complete perversion. Don’t be offended by this word used in correlation with God — it is precise. I made myself eligible for such a rare experience (but who can know this for sure) in ways no individual would rationally select. And even now cognizance of God’s immensity of vision persists—His unmeasurable power for invention and change as well—as also does His wicked humor as I find myself doubting in all. People usually comment about His sense of comedy only in satire but they are correct in essential truth.
To allow someone as ordinary but as socially vague as me to become Christ and also know the madness of the demoniac for a lifetime for a night strikes me as something only God could do and probably not something I might have invented. Although I write about some bizarre things, I never would have imagined a fiction as ludicrous as that.
Even now the Sunday newspaper is delivered and the noise of it striking my door helps bring me back into the commonplace. It happened. It was remarkable. I remain Agnostic.
But I am less depressed; or only for a short time will imagine it thus. Today is Sunday. I wonder how many others have experienced such an event as this; perhaps Dickens did—suddenly A Christmas Carol seems suspiciously similar—and also Kafka: it would explain his mysterious vision. Perhaps the damned, deformed and dying also are rewarded with such an experience without boundaries and the constraints of daily life are the illusions of those other than God. They are rewarded who are the meek, the desperate, the vigilant, the dedicated — even if to what they are not certain. I am dazed. I am not tired but should be weary. I am boastful. How could I not tell my few relatives and friends? I see everything in a new light but even so nothing is more clear. Not even God. Recently I had decided that life would always be mysterious and that the realm of the holy would always exert an influence.
To me this God has proven.
I am still shocked by it.
Yet the experienced chaos fades back into the disorder of the conscious world.
I am beginning to consider how otherwise such an act of the most profound creativity could occur but I don’t want to make you any more of a disbeliever than you already are.
No arguments would explain all the facets of my experience and aspects of this holy phenomenon are parallel to some—now I see them as potential omens—expressions I have noticed recently, but is this night also some kind of call to action in the face of dread. Is not that our challenge of every day?
It is 7:00 a.m. Sunday.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE COMPUTER FILE WITH THE IMPRESSIONS OF MY SECOND ‘RAPTURE’ IS DATED 3-26-93.)
You go there in your mind. In your dreams. In your heightened state of reality. You visit the room of ever-changing reality. It is what people adapt to their own pre-conceived notions, the fairies, the abductions. It is a room of surprises. Where dolls become beings and you wander on. Where art and possibilities collide. There is a place where you don’t choose to wander. Uncanny parallels abound. You are spoken to on your visit to the room of ever-changing reality. It is like shopping at some wondrous antique store of ideas. The only explanation necessary—or is it a reminder—that in God’s mind, everything is possible, everywhere, but most obviously so in the room of the ever-changing reality. It was what people confuse as being in an unearthly spaceship. It could become this for a moment’s miracle but there are so many things to browse and ascertain. Those who have described it as such are finding other’s words. And even now my memory fades on this morning of October 26 after the hour of 6 a.m., 1993. I hope—I think—that the ill also visit this place because there is no rhyme or reason, speaking in terms of the ordinary philosophy, to keep them out. Why did I suddenly find myself there is the mystery, if there is any. Maybe imagining is the Godliness. All truth, all myth, all religion, all chaos are only attempts to capture some minute truth of existence on the colossal physical realm. During sleep, the visit to the place of ever-changing reality shows that the possibilities are as endless as the universe and this is conceived by one who only tarried briefly in the place. I am one of those who chose not to take one thing back with them, as may be permitted by a visit. The prank allowed me to remember, so that this was the thing I chose, even as memory goes dim. A doll becomes a more fantastical being becomes only a passing delight in this transitory place. It can be compared to anything because there is everything to crave and to be suggested. Why do the doors of perception open without warning to reveal the benevolence lurking behind the facade of life? This was a dream, which is not the correct word — better expressed as my second night of revelation. And again I feel at peace. The night lamps still are reflecting on the surface of Echo Park Lake and Sharon’s painting of an angel watches over me, as does one of the patron saints of art — a movie poster on the wall with Hanna Schygulla. It rained somewhat during the night. Again, I am cleansed. My waiting is endurable. My expectations increase. My hope persists. To share the unthinkable is like a visit to where I’ve been. Exposed to me was that every historical act of religion-forging is just one aspect of countless variations to be shared with all through one’s experience but not to be so ruthless as the only single truth. Good and evil have no place where I visited. There was no need for evil there. But we all should try to be good browsers of possibility in the physical world or I hesitate to think of what may be found whose name is illusionary and the memory of which continues to decline. Selection. Mystery. Looking. Finding. Knowing. Not knowing. Patience. Healing. I recollect an act of healing that was also an act of hurting. Unreal but an event in the place. Maybe my soul was diseased and in a manner experienced as a more explicable process was left unhindered. At 6:53 the lights outside blink out. I still have a plethora of recollections. It is more faceted and important in scope than first remembered even as it seems more and more like only imagining. One has to remind himself that it is through imagining that the power of God—not a singular word—is revealed. It is a cold morning. I must go back to my itinerary after putting something on my cold, bare feet. The rain has stopped.