Chapter 8 – A Dangerous Pastime

In 1988 the auto companies finally rebounded, and my husband returned to work for better wages. We bought a home and moved out to the suburbs. I was able to quit the small cake business I had started. I couldn’t do all the work myself anymore, and I couldn’t afford to hire anyone. But it kept our heads above water financially for several years. And I enjoyed being an entrepreneur. It was so much work but a great experience. Now, back to the music journey, which sadly turns into a horrid nightmare.

(This chapter is very stressful for me to write because it’s about the most depressing, anxious, and scariest several months of my life. I have to recall how I was haunted, abused, and stalked in bizarre ways by my old friend Carl and his associates. It was a clear case of intentional infliction of emotional distress, but it was done in a way that I couldn’t prove in court. I was a victim of gaslighting ambient abuse, or psychological abuse and that is by far the most dangerous kind of abuse there is. Ambient abuse is difficult to identify, which makes it all the more damaging, and roles get reversed where the victim is considered to be unstable and the abuser to be the suffering soul. Psychological abuse targets thoughts, feelings, and perception and is known to impact a person’s psyche and sense of wellbeing to the same extent as physical abuse.)

It was 1992, and a new Emerson, Lake & Palmer album titled Black Moon was released on June 27th. I was naturally curious about the band’s new music, and I bought the cassette. I was wondering if it was better than their album Love Beach. But then anything would have been an improvement.

The cover art shows an image of a merry-go-round, which seemed to hearken back to their song “Karn Evil 9” from the Brain Salad Surgery album. Karn Evil is an oronym of the word carnival.

The song “Affairs of the Heart” struck me immediately, and I was shocked. After going over the song many times, just to make sure I wasn’t mistaken, I finally had to admit that it’s a shortened version of Carl’s and my story of how we met and how it ended. I had no doubt whatsoever. The first few lines alone were enough to convince me, especially the “chandelier,” from our intimate conversation about where and how we met. The lyrics about the eyes of a fox are precisely the words he said to me, “You have fox eyes.” Also, there is a reference to green eyes. He said my eyes were green, but I said they were blue. Towards the end, the song is about that horrible night I left and didn’t come back. Hearing what sounds like a door closing many times was eerie. One day I heard the song playing in the background over the PA at the Mall and I just froze up with fear and had to clear it from my mind.

“Affairs of the Heart” was written by Greg Lake and Geoff Downes from Asia. The track originated in summer 1988 under the project name “Ride the Tiger.”

The lyrics tell parts of the story exactly, but they turned that awful night In 1973 into a simple masquerade where he was just a victim. I was the victim of a planned takeover. I don’t want to ask for permission to use that song’s lyrics here because they used me to write them. Anyone can search the internet and compare how the song tells the story that I’ve written here in previous chapters. It was not a fleeting love affair. I knew him for three years, and he didn’t love me at all. I loved him. The song made me believe he loved me all along. Why would musicians use a love song to lie to someone and hurt them? That would be a horrible thing to do, and it was. And about the “promises” lyric, I told him that I’d probably follow him forever, he responded with “promise”? I didn’t respond to that. I didn’t promise him anything.

When I read that Downes was a co-writer, I immediately thought about the Asia songs that I kept brushing off as coincidence throughout the years. I also thought that if Carl wanted me back, he would have written something himself.

All the strangeness was becoming much too much to forget. I wanted some answers. So, I started writing to Carl at Victory Music, the record label that Emerson Lake & Palmer used for the Black Moon album. Victory Music’s address was printed on the cardboard sleeve for the cassette with the artwork and lyrics. It also had published on the sleeve “Official ELP Video Biography Available from September 1st, 1992.

In my first letter, I wrote who I was and how I knew him. I wasn’t even sure he would remember me. It was all so weird. It was like talking to an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. I mentioned how I was looking forward to the new ELP video that hadn’t yet been released. I wrote about the musicians I had met back in the ’70s and how I hung out with Pink Floyd and Rod Stewart and the Faces. I remember noting how David Gilmour wasn’t at our little party, but for some reason, out of all the musicians, he was the one I would trust the most because he was so down to earth. I mentioned meeting Led Zeppelin and how meeting Robert Plant was the coolest thing that ever happened to me. I wrote about all the rock drummers I met and how I played drums in an all-girls band.

It was strange why I was saying all these different things in letters. I found closure about Carl years ago, but his music seemed to be following me, and I wanted to know why because it was rather scary. I was wondering if he did care for me all those years. If someone brings up your past, you’d like to ask them why they’re doing it. I was trying to get answers by being a friend again.

I kept writing to him from then through 1993 and sent pictures of myself including the one below.

1971 England ..Myself, facing the camera with the long hair surround by friends.

I wrote about how the Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit was always my favorite place to go as a kid. I’d pretend I was a princess, and it was a palace. I mentioned the beautiful chandelier there. It is a lovely theatre.

At this time in my life, I had a good secretarial job at a family-owned Property Management company. The owner was very kind and generous. He had great connections and would give me and my family tickets to Detroit Tigers and Detroit Pistons games. I enjoyed that job. The reason why I had to leave it is coming up next.

I believe it was still 1992, and a local radio station Classic Rock WCSX in Detroit was advertising a rock memorabilia show where fans could buy rock band albums, T-shirts, bootlegs, posters, etc.

I decided to see what it was about, and the second table I looked at had some bootleg VHS tapes. I noticed they had an ELP tape. I asked about it, and the seller replied that it included behind-the-scenes filming. Right away, I mumbled, “I hope I’m not in that.” I had a strange feeling about it and wanted to know more, so I bought it.

Later that night, my husband and I were watching the bootleg Emerson Lake & Palmer Manticore Special. It was bringing back a lot of memories, and I had a strange feeling that I was in it. Then I saw the inside of Mario’s restaurant in Detroit. I was shocked and yelled out loud, “That’s the restaurant we were at!” Then I saw myself in the movie and Carl was talking to me. They filmed while we were all eating and when I wasn’t looking. The waiter had asked about salad dressing, and Carl turned to me closely, and he told me, “Why don’t you get the kind that I got” then I told the waiter, “yeah.” I heard my voice. It didn’t really look like me because it was faded and a bit blurred, but how weird to see that after 20 years. Later I found out it was shown all over the U.K. in 1973.

At that time, I didn’t know if I should think it was cool to be in the movie and that Carl did like me back then, or that I was just being used to look like his date. I always wondered why he seemed so interested in me while we were eating. Months later, when I found out the truth of everything, I realized he only cared because the camera was on us, and he was acting as if he cared.

I thought about the past and wondered if there were any older ELP songs that I would find strangely coincidental. And I found “Tiger in a Spotlight” with the lyrics “Drums listen here she comes hammerin’ the plastic” and “to dine with…” How many girl drummers from Detroit did Carl dine with? The Detroit baseball team is called the Tigers. That song was no coincidence. I was the tiger in a spotlight. I had cameras on me. The music was intended to turn my time at the restaurant into something special, but it wasn’t. I couldn’t believe Carl and his friends would intentionally use music to lie to me and cause me horrible stress. The only alternative was to think he cared. Carl Palmer is listed as one of the writers of that song.

(How I finally found out the truth of it all and from whom, will be revealed in the next chapter)

After that, I remembered all of the Asia songs that I kept brushing off as coincidence throughout the years, like “Heat of the Moment,” “Eye to Eye,” and “The Heat goes on.” I realized they weren’t coincidences. Sadly, listening to all the songs day after day, I sometimes thought that what was happening to me was very cool.

I bought the 1990 VHS called Asia in Moscow and heard Carl say my first name during his interview, and it was announced over the PA system, and he looked around. I thought, how creepy is that! While he said, “I think Denise, this is sufficient for me to express myself,” he touched his nose with his finger, and he was wearing a wedding band. Was he giving me a message? Anyone can look for the video on YouTube and see it. It was like a marriage proposal. In his interview, he strangely compared his drumming to driving a car. I immediately thought about how I gave him a ride in my car and how Detroit is the car capital.

I was so depressed; sometimes, I cried all day. I lost the job that I liked because I didn’t know when I’d be able to concentrate again. I struggled so hard to keep myself together mentally and not to fall apart entirely. One day I passed by a mirror and got scared of my reflection. I thought, who is that? I had lost weight and looked awful. I felt pain all over my body like my guts were on the outside. It was a stressful time for my son too. He didn’t have my full attention, and I felt terrible about that. I did manage to do some basic things like some cooking and cleaning.

It was so irresistible going through the old songs believing that Carl loved me all along, and I blamed myself for leaving years ago. I wondered if I was still in love with him or was it just the music making me think I was.

I was still writing to Carl and asking why he wouldn’t reply to my letters and why he wouldn’t talk to me. I kept saying that I was afraid and needed answers. I wanted to know if he was getting my letters, and I wrote, “just give me a yes or no”. That was a funny thing to say. I was obviously not thinking.

I mentioned that with all the music and videos I was buying, I felt like the lady in the song “Stairway to Heaven.” It was eerie how an old song like that could almost come alive in my confused mind. It made me more afraid than ever that somehow there was evil involved in it. At times I was so sure that what I was seeing and hearing was the truth. I thought if it all glittered, it must be gold. And with each song, I took another step up, but I kept wanting to be sure because the lyrics could have two meanings.

It was early 1993, and the new Emerson Lake & Palmer Video Biography was finally available. It was several months late being released; it is called Welcome Back. When I watched it, I was shocked to see the restaurant scene again with Carl and me together!! They used that old clip from the 1973 Manticore Special. It was all getting even weirder. It was like ELP was welcoming me back by putting me in a new video.

In that video, while the song “C’est la vie” is playing, Carl can be seen jogging down a residential sidewalk passing by a hedgerow, and then he looks down the driveway at the house. It was so creepy for me, considering that I have a double driveway and a hedgerow that goes all the way down the driveway. I have two hedgerows on both sides of my property. No other property in my neighborhood is like mine.

I thought, how does he know about my property and where I live? Then I remembered how I put my address on all my letters. Could that have been the reason why the video Welcome Back was released so late because they had more to add to it? I started writing in September of 1992 when it was said to be released, but it was released the next year. Was I physically stalked? It was also like another line from “Stairway to Heaven.” “If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed now.” It was as though Carl knew I had a hedgerow and that I shouldn’t be alarmed now. It made me feel like Carl got my letters and was strangely replying with the video.

It was strange that they chose to use the song “C’est la vie” during that scene in the video. I thought about the ELP Detroit concert in 1977, and that maybe Greg Lake did sing my name when they played “C’est la vie.” It seemed as though I didn’t imagine it after all. I interpret the title to be Say Denise. They obviously couldn’t use my name. “All I needed was a rhyme for you, C’est la vie,” and they did use a rhyme for my French name. It’s a love song, but there was no love for me.

There was no one that I could talk to that knew about Carl. As I wanted a simple life and the years went by, I lost all my old connections with musicians and their friends. Only my son and husband knew what was going on, and they said he was messing with me because I knew too much, and he didn’t want me telling about him because it could hurt his career as a macho drummer. I was very naive years ago and ignored some obvious signs.

I felt sick all the time and sat looking out my front window like I was waiting for someone to tell me the truth. On rainy days the raindrops falling down the window pane matched the tears running down my face. When I’d go to church, I’d pray to God to send me someone who knows and can help. I couldn’t believe anyone would intentionally cause someone such horrid fear. I couldn’t imagine that I was hated that much. I kept going back and forth, wondering if it was love or hate. I couldn’t stand the feeling of being hated so much by someone. I was very near to losing my grip on reality. But I believed in myself, and I needed to hold on and stay strong for my son.

When I ran away from Carl years ago, I knew that I was taking something of his with me, but I was never quite sure what it was. It was like he and his friends were trying to erase my mind of the things that I might know.

My husband told me that he heard on the radio that ELP would be playing at the Fox Theatre in Detroit on February 17, 1993. Immediately I remembered how I wrote about the Fox theatre in my letters. It made me feel that this was my chance to see Carl again after so many years finally. But, would I be “Welcome back”? I wasn’t sure if he was even getting my letters because the band was on tour.

I had to use our second car that was ten years old because my husband took the newer vehicle to work. I was afraid of going into downtown Detroit at night by myself in the snow and below-freezing temperatures. Strangely, everything seemed to be working out, and I’d see my old friend again after 20 years. I figured it was all just a way to get me to come back and that it was all true that Carl loved me and I’d finally get all the answers as to what was going on. I believed in the magic of music my whole life, and it wouldn’t let me down, would it?

When I arrived at the back entrance of the theatre, the parking area was all dark. There wasn’t anyone around except for a couple of people walking the streets alone. I started to second guess myself. I thought, am I suppose to be here? I was an old friend and am in the band’s movies, why wouldn’t I be welcome back? I recalled how in the past, I would give my name at the backstage door, and I’d be welcome.

I opened a door and went into the security guard room. I asked if someone could tell Carl that Denise is here. I waited, and then the security guard had opened a stage door and was talking to Carl. I couldn’t see Carl, and he couldn’t see me. The guard was the middleman between us and relayed the questions and answers. The guard asked me, “What is your name”? I said, “Denise,” then he told Carl what I said. Then he asked me, “What is your last name”? At that point, I knew something was strange with this setup. I gave my last name, and he relayed my response to Carl. The whole time the middleman seemed very eager to get us together, but then when Carl gave him his reply, the guard looked at me very disappointingly and, in a sad voice, said, “No.”

How horrible. I thought there had to be some mistake. So I tried asking a roadie to tell Carl I was there like I did in the past, but he was so mean and kept saying, “Listen, Lady, listen” and “Hey lady.” Then I got angry and just gave up trying.

The brutally cold wind hit me hard as I ran out of the building. For several moments, I forgot where I was. All I knew is that I had to get home and fast! I was angry and crying, and a man on the street asked me if I was ok. And I said “yes.” I was embarrassed to be seen. I got into the car and prayed to God that it would start, and it did. I was shaking from fear and the cold. Driving down darkened side streets, I was trying to find my way out of the downtown area, and then I saw the landmark church near the expressway that led me home.

When I arrived back home, I felt safe, and I was glad to see my son. Whatever was hurtful to me hurt him too.

I was mostly angry at myself for trying to talk to Carl in the first place. But how was I suppose to get answers? I was smart enough not to buy a ticket and watch the show. I was duped, and I bought into a horrible mind game. When I thought I would finally make sense of it, my best hope of getting answers was gone, and it made everything worse. I couldn’t believe that anyone would intentionally play such sick games with someone’s heart. At one point in my letters I asked “Can we just forget this whole thing? I promise I won’t say anything about you, if only you’ll stop these sick games”. The games continued. I tried.

I thought about how the roadie kept calling me lady and said, “Listen, Lady Listen.” Then I thought, listen to what? His words haunted me, and I thought, listen to “Stairway to Heaven”? Was I like the lady in the song again? “When she gets there, she knows if the stores are all closed, with a word, she can get what she came for.” The doors were all closed at the theatre, but I thought that with a word, I could get what I came for.

After a few days, I decided to call CarI by phone. I left a message with the record company that if he didn’t call me right away, I’d sue him for invasion of privacy. Filming me without my knowledge in a private room of a restaurant and showing it all over the world invaded my privacy. I knew I was being used in songs, especially “Affairs of the heart.” I wanted answers.

After I called the record company, less than 20 minutes went by, and my phone rang. It was the band’s manager of many years, Stewart Young. I knew Carl wouldn’t talk to me. He was guilty of these horrid games he was playing. I didn’t know then about the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress. That is used when one acts abominably or outrageously with intent to cause another to suffer severe emotional distress. And that’s precisely what he and his friends did to me.

I answered the phone, and Young asked for me by name. I asked him why Carl was using me and doing weird things. I said that the song “Affairs of the Heart” is about Carl and me. He said, “That song was written by Geoff Downes and Greg Lake.” I said, “yes, I know Downes from Asia, Carl’s other band.” He said, “Well, the song could be about someone else.” He wouldn’t come right out and say it wasn’t about us. He wasn’t about to give me any straight answers at all. He seemed to enjoy the fact that I seemed anxious and angry. It was all a waste of time. I clearly remember saying, “What do you want from me”? And “You bastards” then I hung up on him. He was playing games, too, and just protecting his client. (In the next chapter I tell about a strange incident when he phoned my new job where I was the receptionist)

It was the end of the ELP tour, and they were playing two nights at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles. On March 17th, the last show, the concert was broadcasted over the radio all over the country.

I listened to the concert. It was strange to me that they were even putting this show on. While listening to the concert, I didn’t hear anything out of the ordinary, because the audience was loud, but I knew there was something. Carl wouldn’t leave the country without giving me another dose of his craziness.

After a few days, I called the radio station that hosted the concert and asked about it. They asked me if I’d like a copy of the show on cassette tape, and I said “sure.” I received the copy in the next several days, and I still have it.

I used headphones with my Sony Walkman cassette player, and I could hear very well. During the song, “C’est la vie, “Carl yelled out my name, “Denise.” At another point, he yelled, “I love you,” and then later, “When do you want your wedding.” He had a microphone near him.

There is a part during “Lucky Man” where he sang a long drawn out “uh-huh” to suggest that he had been a lucky man with me. I knew it was his crackly voice because it sounded awful. Ever since that night, whenever Greg Lake would sing “Lucky Man,” he would sing the “uh-huh” to cover up the fact that Carl sang it originally. I still have the cassette tape of the entire show. It was so creepy and a horrid bunch of lies. My son also heard “When do you want your wedding” when I played it on our Fisher stack stereo.

The band left the country, and I was left to wonder without the truth. I became more depressed and confused. How could someone lie about love like that? The only thing that made me feel better was sunshine. I’d sit out in the sun, even in colder weather. The sun was my focus. It was very healing. I continued to pray for someone to tell me why Carl was doing this to me.

At my most depressing time of this ordeal, in May 1993, Sting’s “Fields of Gold” was released. When I heard it, I thought, now what the hell does he want? The song was so eerie for me to listen to. “So she took her love for to gaze awhile. In his arms, she fell as her hair came down”. I could interpret that and the entire song too well. It reminded me of the night Carl and I were alone together when Carl pretended to care for me. I wrote about it in Chapter 6. But why Sting? Why would he help Carl to put me over the edge?

Then I thought back to when I first met Carl and the first words I said to him. In chapter 4, I wrote about how I said, “Do do goo goo da da” when Carl asked me if I talked. I wondered if that’s where Sting got the idea for his song “De do do do de da da da.” Did Carl tell him about our story too? Now things were getting really bizarre. I never even met Sting before. It seemed like he had a connection to Carl, though. It seemed as though I was stumbling upon more secrets more musicians didn’t want me telling.

Around this time, I read an interview Sting did for Rolling Stone magazine. On the cover is a photo of Sting and his home, which is a castle. I remember reading Sting saying that he wrote “Fields of Gold” about other people. Everyone knows it’s a very haunting love song about a long past relationship and that the guy in the song swears that they’ll be together again.

The video for “Fields of Gold Ten Summoner’s Tales” was filmed inside Sting’s castle home. At the very beginning, you see the words Saturday 11 am in white lettering on a black background. After that, you see a tree outside his window, then you see Sting looking out the window at the tree, then he turns, and the song begins.

I immediately thought this is similar to more lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven.” “In a tree by the brook, there’s a songbird who sings.” Sting looking out the window at a tree. Sting was like the songbird who sings. And “Fields of Gold” was like the lyrics “All that glitters is gold.”

I was afraid of what other lyrics to Stairway would come to life next. I know for sure that Robert Plant did nothing wrong. And that Carl Palmer and Sting were using his lyrics to frighten me, but I had no idea why.

The 1987 song “Fragile” by Sting has the same melody but a slightly faster tempo than the 1977 song “C’est la Vie” by Emerson Lake & Palmer.

Myself, at the manor House Hotel, Castle Combe England 1971

The world radio premiere of “Stairway to Heaven” was recorded at the Paris Cinema Theatre in London on April 1, 1971, in front of a live studio audience, and broadcast on April 4th on the BBC. I arrived in London on the 3rd, but didn’t hear it. The photo above was taken several days later. Purely coincidental and strange.

(The next chapter I will be writing about the Pink Floyd album The Division Bell and The Publius Enigma. But before I post it here and give all the answers, read all the previous chapters here and then listen again to The Division Bell lyrics and look closely at all the artwork on the cover, in the CD booklet, and the tour guide and watch the DVD Pulse. See if it will all come together for you. Judge for yourself first as to how it is all connected. I’ll be telling how it’s all connected in the next chapter.