This recounting has been years — actually decades — in the making after struggling over how to tell it. The main problem has been that there was nothing to contrast it too – that is until now.
Long before the ‘Mandela Effect,’ or the theory that monsters can be realized simply by the fear they generate, as in the cases of the Rake or Slenderman, there was the ‘Deene Denouement.’
His 75-year-old body was racked with cancer when I met him. He was gaunt, pale and skin so fragile that the vasculature of his face and upper body looked like a fold-up Rand McNally’s road map, but his mind was sharp and he wanted, needed some company.
As an on-call nurse’s aide, assigned to his wing of the nursing home, I spent as much time with Nick Deene as possible, without neglecting my other patients. He sat in a chair rather than lay in bed and so I’d pulled up a stool and we chatted.
“So, you’re a radio-man, too?” he asked with a pleasant surprise in his voice.
“Yeah, but I’m between gigs right now,” I explained, ” So I’m doing this for the while.”
“Oh, I understand,” he offered.
“Figured you would,” I returned.
“I was a pretty well known radio show host back east in the late 30’s and early 40’s, New York to Miami,” he told me, “Had a pretty popular show called “So-Pure Soaps presents Dare Danger with Deene.”
“So, what happened – did you quit, get fired, find another career or something?”
“My fall from grace began in September 1940. I was 27 and we were doing a live broadcast in southern Connecticut when I was snatched up by something,” he said. “Woke up in a swamp and had to crawl to a nearby road to get help. That’s how I eventually lost my foot.”
Deene lifted his right leg to show where his foot was missing along with his ankle and about four inches of his lower calf, “Had a handcuff attached to it and it got tightened down to the point that it cut off the circulation, and along with being broken, had to be amputated.”
“By something?” I asked.
“Something,” he frowned, “To this day, I don’t really know what it was, but I have a theory.”
“I’d love to hear it,” I offered.
“I think that the fear created by my show caused the audience to generate enough energy to spontaneously create the monster I’d described during the broadcast,” he told me.
“That sounds frightening,” I responded, not buying a word of it.
“I also think that once the fear subsided,” he continued, “That energy subsided and the monster dissolved, evaporated, disappeared, whatever you want to call it, and left my laying in the swamp where it first originated.”
“That sound even more frightening,” I said.
“Gets worse,” he chuckled, “Tried to explain what happened and got myself locked up for nearly a year in the loony bin and then the war broke out. Ended up coming out here to Reno, Nevada to see if I could get a fresh start. Never happened. Ended up repairing radios and later televisions for a living.”
“So, did anyone ever believe you?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he answered, “One fella wrote about what happened to me, but he only went so far, and then the story was published in some pulp fiction magazine in June ‘41, which only made things worse. So once out of the hospital, I hightailed it west.”
“That’s some story,” I said, adding, “You ought to write all this down, get the truth out there.”
“Nope, done trying,” he stated, “I’ll leave it to someone else to do.”
Nick Deene passed away early the following morning. And that ‘someone’ he spoke of, turned out to be me, a believer.