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Have you ever walked into a place and felt like you are being watched? Sensed an overwhelming feeling of sorrow? Or just picked up on what can only be described as “a really bad vibe?”
Pretty much everyone has experience with locations that have a bad vibe. Hotel rooms with a dumpster view (and scent), for example. Prisons. The DMV. It’s easy to understand why these places might have negative energy associated. Bad smells, florescent lighting, angry and impatient humans. This is the sort of “bad vibe” we are familiar with. It doesn’t strike us as unusual. We either steel ourselves or avoid these places. We know what to expect and we prepare accordingly.
If you close your eyes right now, and imagine a place, you probably can also imagine how it makes you feel – good, bad or neutral. This is likely a factor of the impact on your senses, your sense of safety and your feelings about who else is there, as well as the mood and energy projected by these people. Most of these factors are somewhat tangible. Retail establishments and theme parks play on our emotions by manipulating our senses – pumping in smells, colors and sounds crafted to conjure up good vibes.
But sometimes bad vibes happen in supposedly good vibe places. No bad smells, no angry old uncles, and no dirty floors to blame for what one relative of mine has named “The Dread”. The Dread makes all your hair stand on end, and makes you want to find your childhood blanket. It can make you weep, and bring you to your knees. If you are driving, you’ll have to pull over.
The cognitive dissonance of experiencing sudden, overwhelming bad vibes, in what should otherwise be a good vibes setting, is a jarring and disturbing experience. It’s incredibly difficult to explain, and can even be embarrassing for the person who experiences it. There’s no way to explain it really. Not without sounding like you are crazy. Unless you’re chatting with someone else who has also inexplicably experienced “The Dread”.
Surprisingly, there are a lot of people who have experienced this phenomenon. It happened to me in a church in Estonia. It happened to another friend in Upstate New York, and a third friend in a famous NYC bar.
In this episode The Dread struck my friend Angela, who blogs over at Queen Bee Latina. I sat down with her to hear about her unexpected experience when she went to meet a friend for dinner in Petaluma.
Angela had agreed to meet her childhood pal at the Chicago Pizzeria, in the historic Lanmark building. She was happy and excited to see her friend. But from the moment she walked into the building, she sensed something wasn’t quite right. She had an overwhelming sense of fear and despair.
None of it made sense, and so she tried to ignore this overwhelming feeling and enjoy her meal. But it was pointless. She couldn’t shake the feeling.
Finally after her friends left she asked the waitress for the history of the building. What she discovered left her shocked.