Paradise Burning

Me & SMiles
SMiles and I right after breakfast, photographed by Carolyn Lewis

“The Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history[8] and the most expensive natural disaster in the world in 2018 in terms of insured losses…The Camp Fire is the deadliest wildfire in the United States since the Cloquet fire in 1918, and is high on the list of the world’s deadliest wildfires; it is the sixth-deadliest U.S. wildfire overall.”


In Nov 2018 an online paranormal friend – SMiles Lewis of Anomaly Archives – and his wife Carolyn were going to be in my area, and we decided to meet for breakfast during their visit. I live in Napa, and they were staying in Sonoma.

We’ve been plagued by firestorms in our area since 2017, and firestorm conditions were again present during the Lewis’ trip. As they aren’t from our area, I warned them to be on the alert and to take any warnings to evacuate very seriously. Frankly, I had to restrain myself from calling them up and haranguing them, as I didn’t want to freak them out (SMiles and I met in a very paranoid conspiratorially minded forum, and I was doing my best to come across as level headed for the benefit of Mrs. Lewis, who I had observed had the most salubrious effect on SMiles).

But I was very concerned. In 2017 our home had been without power or cell service for about a week, as we were under threat of evacuation and could watch helicopters dumping fire retardant on homes less than a mile from our house from the dining nook. It was low key terrifying, except for those moments when it was outright terrifying.

The Lewis’ and I met for breakfast in Sonoma and it was delightful, I was very sorry that we didn’t have more time together. We parted and I drove home. I then recall standing in the kitchen talking with my mother, when a feeling came over me – as if a stiff wind tore thru me, a wind made of RISING PANIC. I recognized it as coming from outside of me and the feeling abated.

At that moment, Paradise was burning, though I didn’t know it at the time. The smoke from that firestorm hit our area later that day, and SMiles and his wife watched the smoke traveling south as they waited for their flight home at the airport the next day.  85 people died in that fire, with one person still missing.


Camp Fire from Satellite
The Camp Fire as seen from the Landsat 8 satellite on November 8, 2018 (from wikipedia)


Modern Forteans will be familiar with the importance of names and what they symbolize in unusual events. I am sure I wasn’t alone in the sinking feeling I got as far as the immediate future of the United States of America when I learned that Paradise, of all places, was destroyed in such an awful manner. While the weather conditions were deadly, corporate corruption in service of human greed was largely to blame: “…PG&E pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for those that died in the Camp Fire…”

I had a similar reaction when I heard of a double murder in 2017. On Valentine’s Day, the bodies of two young girls were found murdered. The friends had gone missing after hiking in the Delphi Historic Trails park. Their names were Abigail Williams and Liberty German. Though they captured video of their murderer following them on a bridge, their killer remains at large and their deaths unavenged.


Coda: Today (June 21, 2020) I wrote up this incident (Ray Grasse had a post on Facebook about similar experiences which inspired me to do so) and sent the doc to Miles and Carolyn for an okay on publishing and verification of details.

Carolyn read my doc to SMiles as he was driving (I told you they are adorable). I received this response from them: “Carolyn just read this out loud to me in the car, and I swear I was sitting at the exact intersection I was sitting at yesterday when I first heard PG&E were found guilty of manslaughter – when she read those words just now!”

Anomaly Archives does amazing work preserving documents on all things weird, as well as sponsoring lectures and events. Check them out and consider supporting their efforts.



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