The next morning was not an ASPR working day. So I went to visit Ruth Hagy Brod and told her of the situation. I had a certain amount of savvy regarding all of this, of course -- and Cleve Backster had certainly hinted at it earlier.
But I needed to talk it out with someone whom I knew did know how things like that worked.
And now it is my great pleasure to introduce Ruth (and her husband, Al Brod,) so that they do take their wonderful place among all the other people who were so kind and supportive during my early years in the "field" -- and without whom I would have been scrambled into soggy fish cakes long ago.
Even in her matronly years, Ruth was an exceedingly beautiful woman, with jet black hair parted severely in the middle and drawn tightly into a large bun in the back -- in a Spanish style kind of way.
She was also extremely elegant and stylish and liked to wear vast amounts of bold and very good quality jewelry, none of which was too much or out of place with her affable nature.
Al had a seat on the stock exchange, and dealt with money people, while his dark, piercing eyes could get his points across all by themselves.
In her earlier years as Ruth Hagy, she had been a quite famous journalist during the 1940s up through the 1960s.
The walls of their small apartment on Park Avenue were papered with dozens and dozens of framed photographs of her with just about every famous person who had existed -- presidents, cultural and religious leaders, and various important culturati.
She and Al were thick inside things in Washington, and were often invited to presidential dinner parties and balls. And it was through Ruth that I was eventually to be introduced to various Washington types of all kinds -- mostly under the veil of secrecy, though, for no one wanted openly to be seen talking with a "psychic."
Ruth listened to my tale of woe regarding the two guys, and then smiled. "Don't worry too much. They have been tracking you. This is a good sign."
"What the hell does that mean?"
"THEY keep track of all notable psychics. They have for years. They've had dark programs for a long time. Everyone knows that. They're probably just interested in your progress at the ASPR. They ALREADY know everything else about you."
I mulled this over. "You mean some kind of surveillance? In psychic stuff? But who ARE they?"
Ruth smiled calmly. "Well, one never knows for sure."
Ruth then took me to lunch at the Press Club just near her apartment. Once there, I had collected my senses enough to ask: "But surely THEY can do their stuff without anyone knowing about it, can't they?"
"Oh, yes. So they WANT you to know you are under scrutiny. That's how they work. They want to find out how you will behave."
After I had worked my way through this bit trying to decide if it was true or not, I decided it represented a challenge of some kind. I was angry, and embarrassed, but this mysterious event did constitute a perhaps positive scandal -- if interpreted the way Ruth had done.
The problem was that with only a few exceptions, those who inhabited the field of parapsychology would not interpret it in this light.
The upshot of this was that I determined to begin the FORMAL OOB experiments at the ASPR -- and let hang out whatever was to flutter from them.
Perhaps this was because of the martinis though, THREE of them Ruth and I had each imbibed BEFORE lunch was served. (In those years I could still drink martinis.)
Ruth spent the rest of the luncheon bowling me over by narrating a litany of who's who in Washington and which psychics they consulted -- in their closets, of course.
She mentioned that someone should write a tell-all book about "The Psychic Connections in Washington, D.C." She herself could not write it -- because she and Al would be stricken from all invitational lists down there.
As it turned out, Ruth, who knew every journalist of any standing, couldn't resist talking up this situation. And Zelda and Buell Centrals went haywire with the news that "Ingo is being monitored by the CIA" -- which I doubted, and still do.
But the same news was busily being "leaked" in whispers from the ASPR itself. The only bad thing about this is that I, at least, was quite certain that parapsychologists would shortly become alarmed -- as some of them did.
I wasn't stupid, even if I had naive pockets here and there. I fully understood that in a short time I would be News -- IF the formal OOB experiments succeeded.
If they did not, I knew I would be mud and fodder for skeptics and TIME magazine's infamous "Fraud Box" -- which in the past had featured the eminent J. B. Rhine, and even stooped so low as to feature his wife, Louisa. I hated that "Fraud Box" without reserve or limitations.
I think it was this "Fraud Box" hatred which compelled into existence a factor which was to serve me very well ahead.
I developed a kind of DETERMINATION for which English has no precise word. Perhaps that kind of determination soldiers must arouse in the face of going into deadly battle -- the "well, here we go for better or worse."
Somewhat in this way, I now fancied myself not only as a lean, mean fighting machine, but as a warrior on behalf of the subtle perception potentials of our species.
So I told Zelda, mostly to pump myself up a little, "Well, I now have to make myself into a Warrior, not just into a test-subject."
And indeed, barely two years later, the somewhat startled media were to publish articles about such imaginary psychic warrior creatures.
No one ever found out who THEY were, those two cretins who dared so openly to challenge my nerves at the ASPR.
Yet, far, far worse lay ahead.
And at this point, we were but six months distant from the first infrared photos. To me, it already seemed like a lifetime.