DINNER AT THE TILLER'S
8 JUNE 1972
I didn't know Bill Tiller very well, having just briefly talked with him in New York, and I'll treat him more in depth later on.
But I did know he had already upset his peers at Stanford University by commencing experiments with Kirlian photography--which had been developed by Semyon and Valentina Kirlian at Kazakh State University in Alma-Ata, Kazakh, USSR.
Tiller had become a very energetic Kirlian researcher, one of the first of many others.
Puthoff dropped me off--but I think he was somewhat
impressed that I was going to dinner at the Tiller's.
I mentioned that I was also going to meet Shafica Karagulla there.
He said: "Gosh!"
The Tiller place was somewhat palatial--by my standards,
anyway. But then the entire Menlo Park residential areas are somewhat palatial.
Bill is about five inches taller than I, and he seemed to tower down at me in the entry hall when he said: "Shafia is like a hawk; I hope you two get along."
Jean Tiller emerged from somewhere and we greeted
as if we'd known each other for years.
Then we went into the living room.
The lights hadn't been turned on, but the beautiful sunset was reflecting off the swimming pool just outside.
Karagulla was sitting in a big couch silhouetted
against this light.
I could make out a white blouse, black skirt, a shock of black hair--and two eyes gleaming, piercing and narrowed--with suspicion it turned out, because Karagulla did not accept surface appearances about ANYTHING.
Bill and Jean took orders for drinks--and then
nervously rushed, it seemed to me, out of the room to fetch them.
I sat on the couch somewhat apart from The Woman.
I wasn't quite sure what to say, or if I should say anything. I fully anticipated talking about higher sense perception.
Karagulla took the initiative. "So, Mr. Swann, what do you think of parapsychology?"
"Well, Madame. That depends. Do you want a
social answer or a frank one?" I don't know what possessed me to say
that, and I winced as it came out of my big mouth.
"Whatever suits you," she replied.
My next words also came all by themselves. "Well, with a few exceptions, parapsychology sucks." I was certain now that I had wrecked the whole evening.
"Oh," she replied. "I've never heard
it put quite that way."
"I apologize. I shouldn't have said that word."
THEN! A saw one of Karagulla's hands flutter up
to her mouth to hide a smile beginning to form.
THEN! I felt a big laugh forming in my belly. I started giggling--and she did too.
We both started laughing--hard, those hard laughs that bring tears up.
The Tiller's came rushing into the room with the drinks, looking quite worried, to find their two guests sort of bent over to their knees shaking with laughter not very well under control.
Taking her drink from Jean, Karagulla commented:
"Well, as you said, he chooses his words well."
At which she and I lost it altogether, gulping down the liquor between spasms. Additional drinks now had to be fetched--with Jean leaning down saying: "What did you do to her? She hardly drinks at all?"
Meanwhile, I espied a young boy (the Tiller's son,
Jeff) riding a balanced bicycle across a length of two-by-four stretched
across the swimming pool.
I pointed this out. Bill said "Oh, shit," and rushed out onto the patio.
Karagulla asked me: "What do you think of conspiracies?"
"Oh," I said, "they're everywhere, aren't they?"
"WELL! Shall we compare some notes?"
"Yeah! But I think Bill and Jean want to talk high etheric and spiritual stuff. They might find that topic crude."
At this, Bill returned to the living room and began
turning on the lamps. At the third lamp, all the lights in the house went
Bill said: "Oh shit!" He went to fix the fuse box.
A voice in the dark, Karagulla's: "What about occult conspiracies?"
There was a huge crash of some kind in what I took to be the kitchen--and a wail, Jean's: "Bill, they're discussing conspiracies ALREADY." The lights came back on.
All in all, Dinner At The Tiller's seemed successful
enough. Karagulla limped toward me and gave me a big hug as I was leaving.
Bill drove me to the Hal/Adrienne set-up. "You and Shafia seemed to
get along well," he said.
"I think she's just wonderful. I hope we can meet again to talk about higher sense perception."