EDIT: JULY 3 - I am not a famous para celebrity so no one who matters will see this or give a fuck, and those who troll, will see *even more* insight into my life. Congrats for you! Point being: I'm re-re-publishing this, in a public, accessible space, because it is all true. This is my life and my truth, draw your own conclusion.
March 15th: This planet. This whole damn planet is going through something together, right now. Not something we can even see, either. We're existing with an invisible entity on Earth that hasn't interacted with humans before. Singularly microscopic, but incalculable in effect.
The big thing is the COVID-19 virus, which, if you're reading this from the far future, that gives me hope that humanity survives the great toilet paper shortage, AND the pandemic. (Drop a comment to tell me how the future is, though, cuz this shit right now is bananas and not the funky Gwen Stefani kind.) This sounds so much like the paranormal - Earthlings side by side with a thing they KNOW exists but cannot see. All the visible signs of a haunting or this illness are symptoms of the thing itself. The problem gets addressed in only the best methods we have for now, but (at the moment concerning science and the virus anyway), we can't get a clear picture of the final outcome, but the possibilities scare us shitless. Well, it scares me shitless. And I've been known to be calm in a crisis while others are actively freaking out, so this is...new.
-- 1 week --
March 23rd, morning: Things have gone from bananas to full on shithouse. Most unnerving is how NYC has become the epicenter of the pandemic in one week. Within the last 7 days I said to the dog, "You stay here, I've got to drop off my taxes in the apocalypse." Which, as it stands now, feels still very true and applicable a statement. The world is slowly shutting down, by town, city, state and entire nations. We will not see Europe this year. We may see it next year, we may not. There's an entire cycle of emotion from uncertainty, to resolve, to terror-stricken angst, to rage, to helplessness, and an entire array of further indescribable emotions wrought from synapse to synapse, thought to thought.
It is very difficult to focus on the paranormal. I have two projects open on this computer which are fully filmed, and ready to work into full videos. The Shanley Hotel in Napanoch, NY, and 3 haunted locations in York, PA. We filmed at both of these in February, and in the beginning of March, just before the virus hit our news cycle claiming positive tests in our country. My creativity wanes with the increase in my fear of dying from this virus. Only Ryan goes for groceries, once a week for ONLY fresher necessities until we can plant our own supply. He's in a mask, gloves, and disinfects the truck and the grocery packaging before coming in the house. We put his hoodie and pants in the wash immediately. We disinfect the reusable grocery bags. We leave his shoes in the garage to kill the virus over several days.
This is fucking horrible. So, for now, I guess I will go ahead and try to edit these videos. I can lose hours upon hours searching for EVPs.
-- 1 day --
March 24th, late evening: So which of us with a high IQ is going to build the bartering app? You know, the one we're all going to have to use in our post-apocalyptic, collapsed-American future to procure necessities.
For example, I would post something like-
*WTB ("want to barter") 2 sticks of butter and 4 eggs for 3 rolls of TP, negotiable*
-and I would mark on a map within said app a public meeting place, in open air, to do a 6 foot distance drop of said goods. Then someone with TP who's fresh out of butter and eggs would respond with an offer of 2-ply, we'd meet at the designated time and place, and voilà, 'Mericans have the shit they need again.
I'm just saying. As a (mostly) stable, (wannabe) genius, I think this would assist us all in these most fuckedly dark times, and the months to come. Also, I'm at the end of the York, PA video and audio analysis, so it's time to remember that I am in my home, I am healthy, and I edit videos. So get the fuck back at it, kid.
-- 2 weeks --
April 8th: I guess we're just stuck slowly eating our way through groceries, and letting our anxiety increase over those two weeks until it's time to plan another one-person run in homemade PPE gear for now. Ryan found an off-brand bottle of hand sanitizer the other day, it's like liquid gold. I think we have enough rubbing alcohol in the house to make our own, but I'd need the aloe plant to actually grow enough for me to use some of it. Never really thought of that plant as vital before, weird. Poor thing's fallen over, been snapped, crushed and broken since 2013. I'll be damned if I'm letting it die. I've saved its parts and I'm trying to root them too. Our potatoes are growing already, and peas have sprouted; so an edible garden is on the way. I sound like a fucking homesteader, (which I love, but I see myself as more of a part-time, spooky hippie, not a full out off-grid warrior-farmer), but I'm literally trying to keep us from having to go to the store at all costs this year. Kinda been forced into that, and I have zero excuse not to.
I mean, straight up, I'm still on board to barter for items with neighbors, and meet people in open, empty parking lots to exchange larger items. I'll be the one with the potatoes you want.
-- 5 days --
April 13th: It is a very big shit show, on earth, and in my head today. And I suppose now it is obvious that it has only been 4 days and a complete 180 from the last time I put words into this thing.
It's 12:45pm and I am JUST NOW on a first cup of coffee. But I am also almost out of stevia packets, so, it's great coffee plus the dread of running out of my life-juice components, so...more shit. And then there's the guilt from not dressing until....whenever, if at all. I cannot win today. I look happy often. And often, I really am. I don't like anyone being upset or sad and try to alleviate that in others constantly. Usually at the risk of sounding like the worst-written line in a Hallmark Channel movie, but I try.
Also obvious by now about my predictably basic, white girl, emotional issues is that I hate asking for help or feeling helpless. And this situation, globally, leaves people with the most massive helplessness and out of control feelings most of us have experienced in a lifetime. Writing helps. I suppose now though, it's typing. Typing helps. If it were 1820 and I had to do this by hand I've have stabbed myself with the feathery quill by now. And it probably would have broken instead of inflicting any damage and I'd just. Still. Be. Angry.
Fuck Mondays, eh?
PS: I would like to point out that I went out and dropped off my taxes on 3/24, the DAY BEFORE the state lengthened the deadline to July 15th. At least they're filed?
PPS: I do not write this to inspire others, or to give some overall reminder of the power of hope and resilience, and humanity's ability to overcome global adversity. I do not have anything of the sort to give.
-- 1 week+ --
April 22: I can't take it anymore and I have to type this and put it out there. I know Easter went by, but I have no recollection of it besides eating up all the chocolate my mom sent us before the holiday even arrived. Desperate times, normal measures. The days blend into each other a whole lot at this point. I have to write something here that I just need to put into the world in some way, just as a record.
The other day, Kris Williams (yes that Kris Williams 👻) tweeted that she's seeing articles about how long the virus has actually existed, and how she and her family were incredibly sick last APRIL, a YEAR ago, with something they all recovered from, but couldn't identify as an illness they'd gone through before. This tweet, even from a fellow (former) ghostly weirdo, hit me right in the brain, because I've been stuck on something from last year too.
I just...have to say this: I think, I mean I really REALLY think, like 90% sure think, I had covid-19 in 2019. Yes, I'm one of those people who's going back through recent, significant memories and having a personal "OH SHIT" moment. I think I had it in August, and that it lasted into the end of September of 2019. Lemme get through this before you call me Conspiracy Karen and tell me why I'm WRONG AND SCIENCE KNOWS. I hear those arguments, I do - because I'm also scouring the internet for reputable, new, informed sources of info on this thing, and what we know so far. But I also know we are all globally lacking significant information and data on the current planetary fuckery of this virus. And I'm one of a whole hell of a lot of people saying similar things, and that's also needling it's way into my reasoning, and why I'm saying this now.
Here we go:
Ryan's kids came to visit last July into August - for just shy of 3 weeks. They left from Boston back to Milwaukee on August 14th. What happened within those almost-3-weeks is significant. Youngest kiddo, only 7, started coughing a few days into arrival here. He had a cough that sounded like he'd been a smoker for a decade. To reiterate - kid is only SEVEN. We noticed it progressed, got a little more ripping and deep as the days went by.
We kept asking him:
Bud, is your throat sore?
Does your chest hurt?
You coughing stuff up?
Do you feel sick at all?? Fever? Feel hot? ANYTHING?
His energy wasn't even deterred. He just had to stop running around and rip a deep cough now and again. It was downright puzzling. Ryan even spoke to his mom to inform her of this cough, and wondered if we'd need to bring him to Urgent Care just to be tested for...anything?? I reiterate: He was his normal energetic self. JUST a deep, dry cough.
So August 14 rolls around, the kids fly back home. Two days later Ryan complains that his throat feels funny. Not that it's sore, or hurting or swollen, just "weird". He has a cough that starts. "Ugh," I thought, "I'll be next of course." I crossed my fingers and hoped my body wouldn't be felled by this weird throat thing and cough he had, but sure enough, I woke up the NEXT day with the same symptoms. My throat felt funny, like it just wasn't right. Maybe a very mild swollen feeling and just the slightest scratch of uncomfortable. My symptoms, however, progressed, and went HAM on me.
We both remember thinking, "Oh no, Ryan can't get sick, he's got oral surgery coming up and they can postpone it if he's too sick." And yet by the time of his appointment, he was barely coughing, and went and had his surgery. I, in the waiting room for an hour and a half, coughed the entire time!! That deep, ripping cough, but with NOTHING coming up. Just a very bothered throat and esophagus.
At that point, with whatever I had, I infected the waiting room of patients in and out of an oral surgery office in Albany, NY that day. That horrifies me. How could it not?
My cough got worse. And it would not change at all, or get slightly better, just stayed really strong, and dry. I barely had phlegm or blockage or symptoms of anything else, just this horrid cough. I kept waiting to see the gross green stuff come on up. It never did, and I never woke up saying "oh good I'm on the mend finally". I woke up with slowly increasing symptoms like a low fever that stuck around for about a week and a half. At this point it was the end of August, and Ryan had still only had about 4-5 days of cough, headache, and then nothing. My fever never got so high that I sweat profusely or got the shakes and chills, it just sat at an uncomfortable, warm, annoying couple degrees above normal. Enough to feel achy, have fishbowl head feeling, and want to just lay still, scrolling on my phone. The next symptom to roll in: extreme fatigue. I couldn't go up the stairs in our house without feeling exhausted! And I knew I was getting slightly less air by that time as well. The last few days of August through the first week of September was the fatigue. I remember being so excited for it to be Autumn and the Spooky Season, and being so bummed I couldn't even enjoy it without just wanting to sleep.
By early September I'd lost about 5-8 pounds, and then the next thing happened: I lost my sense of smell and taste completely. It was the kind of thing that took about a few hours for me to have the realization. Coffee was water, and nothing was appetizing anymore. Eating was boring, and a chore of moving textures around my mouth until my blood sugar increased enough to stop feeling hungry. Hunger without motivation to eat is a godawful experience, and a terrible diet plan.
By the second week of September Ryan and I discussed how I needed to see a doctor - something I usually refuse to do until I can't fight whatever it is off myself, and leaning into the 4th week of sickness, it was starting to get *just* scary enough to wonder if I had pneumonia. I cannot stress this enough: I kept remarking to Ryan about how I'd NEVER had a sickness like this before, this didn't feel or progress like the flu at all, and I've had inner ear infections, strep, and bronchitis. THIS FELT LIKE NOTHING I'VE EVER HAD. It worked it's way through my system for almost 2 entire months. WHAT HEALTHY HUMAN HAS THE FLU FOR 2 MONTHS?! I've been sick as all shit with the flu when I quit smoking in 2012. It sucked a TON, but it was all entirely familiar symptoms and progression. This time, I said it over and over to Ryan, how it was so weird, the whole thing was weird, this cough was weird. You know your own body, and you remember your illnesses, the big ones, the ones that laid you out longer, the way they feel, the way the symptoms feel. This was different.
I finally went to the doctor some time in the middle of September, because the very last weekend of that month I know we were in Salem (touching everything, shopping, crowds...omg). My doc gave me an Albuterol breathing treatment through the steam tubes, said my asthma that was UN-diagnosed (no issues for years) can come back with respiratory infections that are bad, and I likely had a small case of pneumonia. I was prescribed a Zithromax Z-Pak, or Azithromycin treatment, and after 4 days of those daily pills, and 2 fresh Albuterol inhalers, I FINALLY, FUCKING FINALLY, started to feel and see relief from these symptoms. (Goddamn funny how that drug's been in the news lately.)
Listen. I know I sound like a total conspiracy nut, or just plain shithouse crazy, but I think I had Covid-19 between August and September of 2019. In all our Sleepy Hollow and Salem videos we filmed just as I was recovering, you can still hear how messed up my voice is from it. I had "sick voice", you know how it sounds - dusky and low for a while - for those videos we filmed in September. It was the last bit of throat symptom to finally find it's way in (and out) of me. My smell and taste came back after about a week and a half to two weeks, and it was gradual. I could eat spicy foods for a hot minute there and actually enjoy it for flavor. Under normal circumstances I run from spicy. My breathing was only on the edge of typical asthma symptoms - I *could* get a deep breath in, but it took conscious effort. That's when Ryan and I started to really worry, and then made the call to my primary care physician.
Think about it this way: if I called up my doctor today, with the symptoms I had 6-7 months ago, of a deep, relentless dry cough, low fever and headache, extreme exhaustion, no sense of taste or smell...you know damn well they'd tell me to assume I have Covid-19, and to stay home and monitor my symptoms. If I hadn't gotten the Z-pack and Nebulizer when I did, would I still be okay? Would I have crashed overnight in the coming days as has been reported for so many people now, as my breathing worsened? Would have had my third Near Death Experience? I'm really running out of chances here, so if anyone out there wants me dead, with my history, you probably don't have long to wait.
I think Ryan's youngest son must have gotten the illness somewhere between his elementary school, or the airport and plane ride from Wisconsin to New York. I think it took the entire 2.5 weeks to incubate in Ryan and myself. The other two kids are older, and had no symptoms, (which we know can happen). I also think that in several more months, even a year, we'll possibly find out how early this fucking disease was actually spreading around the planet. I think we'll learn the curve of a pandemic in our modern, connected, global society has an extremely low curve at first - so low on a graph it's nearly a straight line at the bottom. Then, after some months, it shoots upwards and arcs to where we are now, taking just a month to rise to the level of confirmed infections in the hundreds of thousands, and subsequent deaths in the tens of thousands in one country.
I can't believe we're going through this. But if, IF, I did have the coronavirus, how many people did I infect? How many people all over died from it months ago, and no one knows the real reason why?
Fuck. I hate this. But all of this, every last word, I swear on my parent's, Ryan's, and my life is true. We'll find out, won't we? Maybe? I know I might not have had it. If not, it'll make me wonder until I die what I WAS sick with for so long.
I was going to wait to publish this. I can't wait anymore.
Thanks for reading, I'm sorry this is not paranormal and it devolved into something else, but this is my life. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Go watch our videos or something, what else you got goin' on in your busy-ass pandemic schedule? You have time, we have YouTube.
-Amy Leigh Bennett, NY
-- 1 week+ --
May 2: My parents think they had this thing now too, the very end of February. My dad went to the doctor with an unshakable cough after 2+ weeks, wasn't tested, just given meds, and sent home. My mom got sick within days.
And now they're getting on an airplane the beginning of June to get back here to NY - to the epicenter of the virus, for the entire planet. Omg what gives? 😩 Although, now that I think about it, I wonder if they think they're safer traveling now, believing that they've had the virus already. I sometimes feel emboldened by that thought as well. I go back and forth in my belief of whether or not I had this thing last year all the time now. And I have only that back and forth to ping-pong through my mind, because there are no tests, I will not be tested for a long damn time yet to come, and I have not gotten re-sick. I just don't know. The news is not promising, just monotonously depressive with a meager peppering of good news like a drug finally worked to bring the thing to heel, mostly...or the death rate has dropped, but is still godawful high overall. I don't want them to travel, but, I don't have any way to stop them leaving Florida in 5 weeks.
Maybe by then my potatoes will have really come in more.
*Welp, I did it. I redacted this from the public/unpublished. It's my log of thoughts now, I guess.
-- a few months --
August 19th: It was one year ago today I started feeling the first symptoms; an uncomfortable, not painful throat feeling, and a cough that was deep, constant and dry.
Now we're at the point some people still think it's a hoax or fake, or not deadly. God damn, what a nation this is. What a selfish, narcissistic, cruel nation. Put a mask on, assholes.
PS: My potatoes are doing well.
-- a few more months --
December 1st: Holy shit, guys, it's starting to come to light. I AM NOT INSANE. Not that anyone accused me of insanity, but I don't feel as untethered to reality over this whole "I've had it" experience as I was. The Wall Street Journal, not some odd off-brand news or reporting site, has confirmed this thing was here last year.
Screenshots from my iPhone just now:
Hello, I'm even more inclined to believe my name is "One In 53 Million". Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.