Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Desperate Cry For Help

The following story is an account of actual events that happened on the days following the crash of Egypt Air 990 on October 31, 1999. All names have been changed out of respect.

Maria had the same routine every night. She washed her face, brushed her teeth, checked all the locks and windows and snuggled in for a good night’s sleep. But this particular night was about to be different. At about two o’clock am on October 31, 1999. Maria awoke to the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs to her bedroom. The sound was unmistakable on the wooden staircase. She lay paralyzed by fear convinced someone had broken into her house. When the footsteps reached the top of the stairs and into her room she saw an attractive woman, fairly young in age, clad in clothing from around the 1950’s era. The woman looked at Maria and beckoned her to follow her back down the stairs. Maria was frozen. She rubbed her eyes and looked again. The woman then appeared to look at her more intently and beckoned her to follow again. The attractive woman turned to leave the bedroom and Maria heard the footsteps going back down the stairs. Maria forced herself to get up and go down the stairs to see what the woman wanted so desperately. She proceeded to search the entire house for the woman, checking the doors and windows for any sign of break-in or entry. The house was as secure as she had left it upon retiring. It was then that the full impact of her experience was realized. This woman was not “real”, she was an entity and this was a vision or paranormal visitor of some sort. Or, as she finally decided, it must have been a dream.

Maria recalled that night very vividly and was explaining her experience to me now that she had finally reached me on the telephone. It was the morning of Monday, November 1, 1999 as we spoke. I had called Maria to ask about her weekend. Curiously, her answering machine didn’t pick up after 3 rings. The telephone rang 6 times before I hung up and realized she was probably talking to someone and chose to ignore the call waiting tone. Thanks to Caller ID, I knew she would call me back when it was convenient. She called me back a few moments later and asked if I had just called her. Maria pressed me to find out exactly what happened when I called so I explained that it rang at least 6 times before I hung up. Amazed, she asked if I heard anything unusual. At this point I was curious. Maria excitedly began to tell me that the phone rang only twice at her end and then stopped. But when she picked up the receiver downstairs in her office there was no dial tone. The red light was lit on the cordless phone she discovered up on her bed, as if it had been answered. Her cat was outside. There was no other explanation but that the phone had answered itself. In fact, for the past 24 hours or so, as she explained, there had been some very strange things happening around her house. I could hear the terror in her voice and noted that she was fighting back her panic. Now, Maria made the decision to leave her house. I agreed to call her on her wireless telephone.

I called my other friend Cheryl and we decided, for lack of a better idea, to see if Maria would agree for us to all meet at her house with the Ouija board and see if we could find out what was happening. I’m not sure why I suggested the Ouija board as I rarely used it. It just seemed an appropriate tool to try to discover what was happening in her home.

Something was definitely afoot and Maria was scheduled to leave that coming Wednesday morning for a vacation in Costa Rica. What if this was a warning for her not to go on her trip? What if this was a premonition that something would happen to a friend or family member? I reached Maria on her wireless telephone and in the meantime, Maria had called everyone she knew to make sure they were all right. Afraid to return alone to her house, Maria agreed for us to come over. She had tried all day on Sunday, Halloween, to convince herself that the woman was a dream. Now, she was certain that the woman was trying to tell her something.

When we arrived, we cleansed Maria’s house with sage and sweet grass to rid the house of any negative energy and to infuse positive energy. Maria was clearly the most frightened I’d ever seen her since I met her. Participating with us on the Ouija board wasn’t particularly appealing to Maria, but she decided it was the best alternative. She lived alone and as a homeowner moving was not an option and the vacation was already planned. So, with the true desire in our hearts to try and help Maria, we began preparations.

The three of us set up the Ouija board at her dining room table close to the base of the staircase leading up to her bedroom. Candles were lit to create a peaceful setting in which to begin. The events that followed both that evening and the next evening are, at best, the most incredible that I’d ever experienced. We were convinced that we were going to discover that this was a warning for Maria not to take her trip to Costa Rica. We couldn’t have been further from the truth. You see, at approximately two o’clock am on Sunday, October 31, 1999 at precisely the time that the woman visited Maria, Egypt Air flight 990 had plunged into the Atlantic Ocean killing all of the 218 passengers and crew on board.  Reports of the horrific crash had been broadcast by the media but we didn’t make the connection to Maria’s encounter. 

It has been over 3 years now since the days following the tragic early morning hours of Halloween 1999. The memory, however, is as fresh today as that first chilling evening when we sat down at Maria’s dining room table. It’s impossible to forget the impact of such a bizarre phenomenon so easily. 

Upon beginning, we asked if the woman was with us and had a message for us. The window on the Ouija board began to move slowly. With our fingers ever so lightly placed upon the window it glided smoothly to the yes response. Was this about Maria’s trip to Costa Rica? Was she in danger? The window now slid rapidly to the word no. As we all relaxed a bit in relief, Maria asked for her name. It was an unusual name and appeared to be French in spelling. The window on the board spelled out, letter by letter, Anne Larouche. What was Anne trying to tell us? Over and over again it spelled out a series of responses that didn’t appear to be English. They seemed random, yet urgent. These included LAX, YAMA, AMEX and AM. Maria became afraid for her friend Amy at that point. Was this about Amy? Was Amy in danger? No, this wasn’t about Amy. We pressed on. Then, what was happening? MPH, MASKA and AMEX were the next messages to be spelled. Was Anne communicating to us in English? Yes, then these must be acronyms. Did MPH represent miles per hour? Affirmative. Would someone be in an accident at a high rate of speed. No? Would someone with a mask hurt Maria or one of her loved ones? We were way off base and it wasn’t making any sense. Ok, back to Anne. Where was she from? YAMASK, LAX, AM—was she in danger? YES! That was certain. 

All at once the sound of Maria’s telephone made us jump out of our seats. As Maria rose from the table, the telephone stopped after the second ring. Reluctantly, Maria went up to her bedroom and like the day before the red light was lit and a recording began...if you would like to make a call, please hang up and try your call again. 

Badly shaken, she returned to the table. At least we had been witness to the strange telephone phenomenon. Had Anne been answering Maria’s telephone? Did she want us to call and let someone know she was in danger? The window slid over to the yes response! Number by number we were provided with a ten--digit telephone number to call. This was bizarre. I didn’t recognize the area code. Picking up the telephone, Maria dialed the number. It was an International call. She redialed the number adding the International calling code in front of the number. There was no answer, but it had gone through. Who were we trying to call? More importantly, what would we say? 

We had been on the Ouija board now for hours and were exhausted, unnerved and confused. It appeared that neither Maria nor her loved ones were in imminent danger. But, this woman was desperately trying to tell us something. The facts were that Anne had come to Maria on the night of October 31,1999, seemed to remain in her house and had some type of urgent information that she wanted Maria to know. Maria’s mother had been the caller that rang the telephone earlier and she would come over to stay with Maria that evening. Relieved that Maria wouldn’t be alone, Cheryl and I packed up the Ouija board and went to our respective homes.

Later that night as I lay in bed with my husband watching the eleven o’clock news, I told him of the results of my visit with Maria. Suddenly, on the news came the updated report of the crash of Egypt Air Flight 990. 

“A Boeing 767 plane with 199 passengers aboard disappeared early on October 31st on a flight from New York to Egypt... Flight 990 took off from Kennedy at one nineteen a.m. and disappeared from radar at two a.m. while flying at 33,000 feet, said Eliot Brenner, chief spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration... Flight 990's takeoff from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport at one nineteen a.m. EST was more than two hours behind schedule, largely due to its late arrival from Los Angeles where, among other things, a tire had to be changed, officials in New York said…”
Flight 990 had come to New York from Los Angeles. LAX is the airport code for Los Angeles! I jumped out of bed realizing what this meant. A cold chill ripped up my spine. The realization of what Anne was trying to tell us hit me like a blast of cold night air. But as I paced around my house I realized it was almost 11:30 at night. I couldn’t exactly call anyone. Well, whom would I call? Maria was exhausted when we left and was hopefully in bed sleeping peacefully. I would have to wait until morning to do some research and confirm my suspicions.

The following morning I took the notes I had from the night before and logged onto my personal computer. I first did a search on area codes, which produced information that the telephone number Anne had provided us through the Ouija board was from the Quebec Province in Canada. I tried the number again and there was no answer. Searching for information regarding the crash of Flight 990 on the Internet, I found a number of news sites. One had posted a preliminary passenger list of the ill-fated flight. As I scrolled down the list a feeling of dread and fear overcame me because I KNEW what I would find. And, unfortunately, I was right. There in front of my eyes was her name, Anne Larouche. I performed a search for Canadian news sources. Finding an article about the crash, I learned that at least 22 passengers from Canada had been lost in that crash.

Maria answered her telephone and I began to explain. We added Cheryl onto the line. I gave them the URL for the news site to access the passenger list. Upon reviewing the information acquired from the previous night, we began to understand what was happening. The three of us set about searching various sites for any information available about Anne specifically. It was making sense now. There had been a soul cry that fateful night and Maria had heard it. Maria looked up Anne’s telephone number on the Internet and found it. Did we dare call the number? Curious and amazed we decided to call. Her sweet voice was on the answering machine...”I’m not home right now but please leave a message.”

I found an article from a Montreal newspaper about Anne. She was from a little town on the Yamaska River in Quebec. Her husband had died and she had finally found the strength to continue their travels, a friend had said. She was in her 60’s. The couple had traveled extensively and she was excited about her trip to Egypt. She had researched the areas that she planned to visit. Anne was survived by two sons in Montreal. Could the telephone number she had given us belong to one of her sons? 

The facts were obvious. She was a passenger on Flight 990 and lived in a town on the YAMASKA River. The jet had crashed into the Atlantic Ocean at a high rate of speed (MPH) and had originated from LAX airport. What else could she tell us? What really happened on Egypt Air Flight 990 and why did it crash?

At this point we didn’t really know what to do. Who could we call? More importantly, how does one explain that a friend was contacted by a woman that died in this disaster and she was desperate for us to call her loved ones? Or, that her spirit was crying out to anyone that would listen? 

At this point, we felt we had to get back together later that day with the Ouija board to see if we could find out more information. In doing so, maybe Anne could rest in peace. I would bring my video recorder and tape the Ouija board session. Cheryl could not attend as she already had family plans. So on Tuesday, November 2, 1999 I went over to Maria’s house and the two of us set up the board and videotaped the session.

I set up the video recorder but it was difficult to get it focused directly on the board. I arranged it the best I could and we began. Was Anne still with us? Yes. She “told” us that she was 65 years old, she was alone and that she was still alive. I AM ALIVE she spelled. In spirit? In body? She gave us the coordinates of 71 and 41 where the plane went down; or at least where she insisted she was located. And, another telephone number was provided. It contained the same area code which we now knew was in or around the Montreal area in Quebec, Canada. Maria tried the new telephone number but there was no answer. LOVE was spelled out. Of course, we all know the power of love and certainly she wanted us to share her love with her family and friends. I assured her that we would continue trying the telephone numbers she gave us.

Exhausted and drained mentally, it wasn’t until after Maria called from the Houston Airport the next morning to let me know she had arrived there safely on her way to Costa Rica that I remembered to try the second telephone number again that Anne had given us. We hung up after I wished her well and insisted she have a great vacation.

Immediately a woman’s voice was on the other end of the line. She was speaking French and although I had two years of French in High School, she spoke rapidly and I could only understand “Bonjour”. I asked if she spoke English and when she replied affirmatively I gave her the following explanation. “I hope I haven’t inconvenienced you this morning but I came across this telephone number. Maybe you can help me. I am calling from Ohio in the United States. Who have I reached?” I inquired. She replied in English in a thick French-Canadian accent, “Oh, it’s no problem, this is Detective Jacqueline Geraud with the Police Department.” I paused to regain my composure. I managed to ask, “In what city are you located?” After she replied I paused. Not certain what to say next, I thanked her and apologized again for the inconvenience. The name of the town where the Detective was located was only twenty to thirty miles southeast from Anne’s hometown.

Anne had provided us with the telephone number to a Police Department. Moreover, it was a direct number to a Detective’s desk. My mind was reeling. Was she indicating foul play regarding the crash? Was it simply a plea for help? I tried repeatedly to call Maria at the resort in Costa Rica but, again, language was a barrier. I wanted to let her know that Anne so desperately wanted us to contact the police. What more could I have said to Detective Geraud? 

I called Cheryl and told her of the unimaginable results from the second night’s session at Maria’s. For every idea we could come up with there was a possible consequence. Specific details surrounding one of the passengers aboard Egypt Air Flight 990 had been revealed to us. Yet we were helpless to act upon any of it without opening ourselves up to scrutiny. 

That week seemed like a year and when Maria returned, she really didn’t want to discuss the event anymore. Costa Rica had been magical and she was trying to put the experience behind her. After all, she was glad to be home and believe that Anne had moved on to a more peaceful existence. 

Not much more is said these days in regard to Egypt Air Flight 990. In fact, to my knowledge, Officials have yet to agree upon the truth about what really happened to that flight. But one woman, in desperation, cried out and another woman heard her cry. And those of us that were touched by that very desperate cry for help, know that a soul can be heard and sometimes seen in the face of fear and injustice.

Copyright ©2003 Anna Webb