I never imagined typing the headline above. But I felt obligated to after last Tuesday's efforts to launch extraordinary: the stan romanek story on altPOV.tv went awry. It's share-worthy because the events surrounding our editor Patrick are now part of our story.
Rewind to Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 5:22 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. We experienced challenges with upload speeds throughout the day — speeds that were more than adequate for handling the file sizes we were transferring suddenly moved glacially slow, so Patrick went to a FedEx location near his home to use a faster wi-fi connection. But at 5:22, Patrick called (while I was on the Google+ Hangout with Lisa Romanek) to share that his computer just froze … at 95% of the transfer completion. Patrick is a low-key guy, so when his voice was hitting soprano levels, I knew something was wrong.
"It just froze! It just froze! I can't believe it. It froze at 95%. This is horrible. I can't believe this!"
The panic in his voice was piercing, and a day I had been looking forward to for five years was turning into a day I'd rather forget. I immediately reached out to our webmaster in Belgium to see if Plan B was available — the same Plan B which failed when we tried 20 minutes before the 3 p.m. launch time. About 10 minutes later, the word from Belgium via Skype was not good:
"It timed out again. Plan B is not going to work."
At 5:36 p.m., I got what would be my last communication from Patrick for nearly six hours:
"Did you get a link? If not, I got jacked."
At this point, I realized our window to get the film online Tuesday was closing fast, and I was about to pull the plug when I received a Skype ping from Belgium at 5:45: "Patrick is heading to a new location. Will attempt to finish the download."
I took a deep breath, jumped back into the Google+ Hangout and hoped for some good news shortly. At 6:30, I checked in with Belgium. No word from Patrick. We could see that he was on Skype, so we tried messaging him. No go. Calling him. Nothing. Texting him. Nada.
My first thought was our 24-year-old wunderkind editor was so upset about what had happened that he didn't want to talk about it. I asked Belgium to keep trying to reach Patrick while I informed our Hangout crew we were pulling the plug on getting the film on the site on Tuesday. The shutdown was frustrating by itself, but my attention quickly shifted to "what happened to Patrick?"
I reached out via phone, skype and text for the next few hours.
Text at 6:59: "call me! wanna make sure still alive!"
Text at 8:13: "worried sick over here!!!!!! please call me!!!!"
I even tracked down a family member on Facebook and tried connecting to see if anyone had heard anything. By 10 p.m., I realized the only thing left to do was wait.
I finally got a text at 11:18 p.m.
"My phone was dead it trying to charge. idk where ive been dude. I dont remember today much. My computer is here saying 30% still and that shouldn't be. makes no sense
"man, I've been freaking out! are you okay?"
"Idk I just woke up in bed. dont remember getting here. my upload says 30% still and that makes no sense."
"can you talk?"
Over the next 10 minutes, Patrick shared that he remembered freaking out about the computer freeze at 5:22 p.m., but he did not remember telling our webmaster he was going somewhere else to upload the file. He was disoriented and confused when sharing what happened after talking with me at 5:22 — "I don't remember anything." Then he woke up in his bed a little after 11 p.m. — more than five hours after our last conversation. He was most confused by his laptop being operational and uploading when only hours earlier it had crashed and wasn't functioning.
We continued to talk and he said he last remembered being at restaurant with his roommate, which prompted me to ask: "Restaurant?" In a panic to find faster upload speeds, Patrick relocated to a restaurant where he was joined by a roommate. I was puzzled by this at first because it was the first I was hearing of it, but asked what his roommate recalled happening. He called me back a few minutes later after talking to the roommate who said they left around 6 p.m., came home and Patrick went straight to his room.
Patrick had no recollection of this at all.
Then I asked the obvious: "Given the project you're working on, I have to ask — do you think you were abducted?" His response was quick and firm: "No. No. I think I was drugged. I was knocked out."
I told him I felt responsible for everything that happened to him, and he assured me that wasn't the case: "It's not your fault. I know what I signed up for."
Wow. It was then that I ran through the events of the past 24 hours one more time. Slower than normal Internet speeds, Plan B failing twice and Patrick getting "knocked out." My initial thought was May 13 was not a very lucky day for us.
The next morning, still searching for answers, I contacted an intuitive friend who also happens to connect to the energy of a braided walk-in and asked for her opinion. She said, without a doubt, an intervention occured in an effort to "slow you down, because that's all they really can do." Her advice: "Keep pushing. Don't stop."
So we pushed. And the film went live Wednesday, one day later than intended. But now it's out there for the world to see. And it's up to those who have seen it and believe this is a story worth sharing to help get the word out. To help facilitate awareness. To start conversations. To question whether or not things like this really do happen.
It's nearly a week later and Patrick continues to be a little foggy on what happened. Was he intentionally taken out or did he simply shut down after suffering through a highly stressful day? While I'm not convinced there was an intervention, I'm open to the possibility.
What do you think?