ou’ve probably heard of the homeless communities forming in disused sections of the in NYC. It’s a sad story! But I don’t think you’ve heard about the other residents of these areas of the NYC subway; unless you’ve been homeless – as I was for two years as a teen, when my parents threw me out for being a lesbian – and unless you’ve been homeless in precisely the right spots, you haven’t heard the stories. We didn’t exactly have a newspaper we could circulate, so it’s not like everyone knows this stuff. I learned about this in the Mission in San Francisco in 2006. I don’t know how much the stories have traveled since then, but I haven’t seen a trace online yet.
The portions of the subway where people made homes were, as I’ve been told, high-ceilinged and almost completely dark. People brought in lights and stuff, though I’m not sure where they found the power. No one WANTS to live in a place like that, but even beyond the obvious, people started talking about freaky visitations: frequently, something which looked like a naked human figure, but very very far away, high above, too faint and far away to make out the sex or the features – floating in the air, the way a swimmer might look from below. It didn’t make a sound, and it would fade away after a few moments.
Those sort of situations are perfect for mass hysteria, so who knows if they were seeing something real? At any rate, some people really began to believe that there was a god sort of figure out there in the tunnels. These people started meeting together to talk about it. Maybe because obsession like this appeals to unpleasant types, these people were all sort of hostile to begin with – and people started avoiding them even more when they stopped talking about anything but the white god. Eventually, the group broke off and stopped speaking to the others entirely.
People become homeless for lots of different reasons. It’s a myth that everyone homeless started out as a drug addict. But lots of homeless people BECOME drug addicts. It’s a blessed escape. I became an alcoholic myself. I’m five years sober this June. So there are always drugs circulating in these types of communities. The grossest types of drugs, the dregs of everything else, ends up with society’s castoffs. You’ll just take anything at a certain point.
An unusual drug turned up in the tunnels around the type the devotees of the white god broke off from everyone else. I’ve heard lots of different names for it. I guess you mostly smoked it. I’ve never tried it. It sounds kind of like peyote – it involves lots of visions, and it makes you sick. Why would you want a high like that? But it turned up in the tunnels, and soon the devotees were using it. None of the “normal” people (I mean, people who weren’t worshipping a ghost) used it after the first couple of normals started throwing up and stuff. No one knew where the devotees were getting it. But you could smell it being smoked, and you could tell a devotee was under when you came on them lying face-down on the ground, apparently seizing. They lay like that to imitate the way the god appeared.
People disappear for no reason when you’re homeless. People are arrested, or they move on, or their parents find them, or whatever. Like I said, we don’t have a newsletter, so you just get used to people being there one day and gone the next. You might say, “Where’s Jen?” or something, but you won’t make a whole thing about it. So when the devotees started disappearing, no one really noticed – besides, they weren’t around that much to begin with. The reason it became notable was that once a normal was coming back down to the tunnels after scavenging, and he saw a guy he used to know and like before he became a devotee, lying naked on the ground in one of those weird highs. The normal goes to talk to him, but then he sees that the devotee is actually floating a couple of inches above the ground. The normal runs off.
The reason I heard this story in San Francisco is that someone saw a white thing in the Bart tunnels. Around this time, we were all scared because some kids pretending to be Satanists had apparently actually taken to hurting people. We were all getting kind of paranoid, and stupid urban legends were circulating like never before. I mean, Satanists! Everyone and his brother had a story about a UFO. But anyhow, we were ready to believe anything, so this story about white things in the Bart really upset us. Then one of the Satanist kids (they were identifiable because, I kid you not, they had sweatshirts made up for themselves with a recognizable logo) was seen running on top a chain link fence like a cat. It seemed like a stretch, but people were saying it was part of the white god’s whole weightless thing.
I know this isn’t a satisfying story. No bloody hands popping out of anything. No, “AND THERE WERE CLAW MARKS ON THE COFFIN INSIDE!!!!” But I’m sharing it because a friend of mine living in London called me all shaken up the other day. I’m a normal person now. I have a job and I’m working on a college degree. My friends are normal people too. My friend in London was all freaked out because, in the mostly-deserted tube, she’d peered down a tunnel to look for oncoming trains, and she clearly saw a naked person climbing a wall like a spider, and disappearing into the dark.