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George Ledo
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NOTE to moderators: this topic has nothing to do with religion... I hope. Smile

The term "religious experience" has come to mean something that really grabs you, whether it has to do with religion or not. A couple of days ago I thought it might be fun to see what members here might consider a "religious experience." For instance...

When I was a kid, I was glued to the TV every time an astronaut went up. First it was Project Mercury (the Original Seven), then Gemini. I remember Walter Cronkite commenting on these flights, and how cool the whole thing was. Many years later (around 1999), I was working on a proposal for a museum down at the Kennedy Space Center, and a number of us were driven out to the original Mercury control room, which is way out in the middle of nowhere at the Space Center. So we walked in and saw the controller desks (with built-in ashtrays, no less), the back of the display panel (talk about primitive technology), and all the stuff I saw on TV as a kid. It was definitely a WOW moment and something I'll never forget. Even getting to go thru Stonehenge before the fences went up didn't compare to this.

What do you have?
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

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MagicSanta
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Northern Nevada
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First off I'm begging people not to say "When I saw David Blaine....(Copperfield, the dead Canadian, etc).

I can't say what first popped in my mind but since this is a magic board so many wouldn't understand but I will say it took place at night in a field when I was 15...oh yeah.

The two things other than that one that comes to mind are as follows.

It was my first day in Israel and I had travelled from Tel Aviv to Haifa. We had to stop so someone could finish blowing up a group of women and children and it was around sunset. The sun was setting behind this hill and on top of the hill was some stone ruins and you could make out the shapes of the stones that made up the foundation and just behind that in black silouette (sp?) was a donkey just standing there. I stared at this and realized that the foundation was older than any built structure I had seen as that it had stood silent witness to history. It was beautiful and to this day stands as one of the most important experiences I had been through.

The second still is a mystery to me as to why it was so significant to me. It was during Hell Week in bootcamp. I was on what was called Bird Watch, which is navy speak for a non-watch (watch is like walking or standing a post) that is kind of an unofficial break and it was my first break in about three days so I was just numb with exhaustion. I was in this tower sitting down and looking across the highway at San Diego harbor, a major fog bank was off shore. As I was watching the USS Kitty Hawk, a carrier, cut through the fog into view and then turned to starboard and was about 60 yards from me. I had never seen a ship of that size or even close to it and with the jets on deck I was awestruck by how it looked.

Thar ya have it.
mvmagic
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Standing on the edge of Grand Canyon. I always knew it indeed is grand but I was just not mentally prepared for the sheer immensity of it. Massive, beautiful, ancient...I was absolutely awestruck, tears rolling down my cheeks.

A few years back, I was at my dad's summerhouse. The house is by a lake, on top of a steep hill. There is a set of stairs than run down from the bottom floor terrace to the waterline. On the waterline, there is a large log gazebo, with a few tables, chairs and a fireplace. It was winter, close to midnight, almost -30 degrees and it was dead quiet. I was all alone, had a nice cozy fire going and was enjoying a glass of mulled wine. The lights on the stairs were on and had halos around them as tiny bits of ice kept gently floating down. Thru the glistening icy air the house high above me looked like a jewel amidst the frosted pine trees. The sky was ablaze with aurora borealis. I was just taking it all in when it happened...I saw a pack of wolves running on the frozen lake. That moment, that image will follow me forever. I just can't describe how beautiful and powerfull that was.
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ed rhodes
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Mv - I hear you on the Grand Canyon. Seeing that is on my bucket list.
(Whenever I hear about someone freaking out over the scale of the Grand Canyon, I can't help thinking on a gag on the Flintstones. They'd gone on vacation and one of the sights they were going to see was the Grand Canyon. A shot of them standing in front of a little trickle that worked a small groove in the ground; BARNEY: "That doesn't seem like that big a deal." FRED: "Yeah, but in ten thousand years they say it'll really be something!"
***
My moment was many years ago. (I had a car then, *sigh*)
I was outside the office where I worked (I worked in an office *sob*) and I could hear geese honking somewhere in the distance. I looked in the direction just in time to see about 12-15 geese flying over the building across the street. They were 20-25 feet of the ground tops. Honking in unison and every feather visible. I still don't know exactly why it moved me the way it did, but I just kept watching them until they were out of sight.
"All the world's a stage, but the play is badly cast!" - Oscar Wilde
HerbLarry
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Poof!
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The first time I tasted someone elses lips.
You know why don't act naive.
RS1963
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I'm not sure this would fit exactly but I will give it a try anyway. The first time I had been to Alcatraz (I took the tour wasn't a resident) I was out in the prison yard and it hit me that for many of the prisoners that had been there over the years it was open. This was the last stop for many of them. They would never set foot in S.F. again or anywhere else. Some would of course but for some due to illness, old age, or being killed by another inmate some had never made it out of there once they where put into the prison.
Tom Jorgenson
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A school tour in Japan. I was to do the break in a classical Japanese play, given by a troup of touring actors at night at a community center. It wasn't, it was in the back lawn of a HUGE Buddhist temple.

Walking up a hill at night, a side trail of stones, Japanese red lanterns hung and dangling, barely lighting the way, the temple just a large blackness three feet to my right. It all became electric and timeless. A half dozen of us lugging the show up the hill. Turned a small corner and layed out in front of us, the entire population of a small village, sitting, facing an outside stage. All Japanese, dressed like Japanese, talking Japanese. The play was going on, actors dressed like English Sailors. It was like I was walking thru time, had done this a hundred times before and was doing it again in yet another lifetime.

I was stagestruck by being backstage with real Japanese classical itinerate actors, but even that didn't compare to the shimmering electric intensity of walking up the side hill at night, lit by lanterns. You've heard the term "Be Here Now". Unforgettable when it happens.
We dance an invisible dance to music they cannot hear.
Bill Hilly
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I have held someone's hand, and/or stroked their hair, and talked to them as they died. I've watched their eyes get cloudy, then turn grey, and finally "freeze" into something resembling a marble. I've heard their last moan as the air left their lungs for the final time. (My uncle peed on me as I lifted him onto the undertaker's gurney.) I have listened to their final words, sometimes of contentment, sometimes of fear, once of frustration.

I have done this 14 times.

I shall never forget - any of them.
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