June 25, 2009 vs. June 25, 2014: What I Know Now That I Didn't Know Then

"Good night sweet prince. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."
“Good night sweet prince. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

A lot can change in five years. It doesn’t seem as though it has already been five years since that shocking day I was driving home from work, bopping along to “Thriller” because I had run across a radio station that was playing it. I had no idea it was being played as a tribute, until the song ended and I heard the dj say the words that froze my blood cold: “Michael Jackson died today at 50.” As it turned out, I was listening to a COUNTRY station. And as I began switching stations feverishly for news (or in some faint hope that it would all be proven a ridiculous hoax!) I began to hear more and more Michael songs, on radio stations whose formats normally ranged from hard rock to country to easy listening. Every station, it seemed, regardless of format, was turning their programming over to Michael Jackson music, at least for a good 10-20 minutes; in some cases, longer. I never knew this to happen with any other music star’s death. I don’t think it even happened when Elvis died, and I was fourteen when Elvis died-plenty old enough to remember if such had been the case. It wasn’t.

In fact, there was only one local radio station in our town that refused to pay tribute that night, and even made a point of proclaiming-as if it were a chest pounding badge of macho honor- that no Michael Jackson song would ever be played on their station. Of course, Michael Jackson music wasn’t their format, but on a night when almost every radio station in the land was breaking format to pay tribute, their stance struck a peculiarly hateful chord.  To this day, I still refuse to listen to that station, although it had been one of my favorites up to June 25th, 2009. But this was only the beginning. The events of June 25th, 2009, would soon open my eyes about a lot of things-and would forever change my perceptions and the way I view the world. I have since come to associate that station with the general hatefulness that I attribute to all people and things who hate Michael Jackson. I have come to realize in the last five years that, generally speaking, people who profess hate for Michael Jackson or his music are just hateful people-the kind I probably wouldn’t want to associate with even if I wasn’t a fan. And, to be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan on June 25th, 2009. I would have considered myself then as someone who had always liked his music, or at least his greatest 80’s hits. After all, I grew up with Michael and his music. He was always there. But for most of my life, I had always been someone who went through “phases.” There had been my disco phase as a teen; then came my Stones/Doors/Hendrix “rock” phase in the early eighties; my blues phase in the early nineties, which gave way to my grunge phase a few years later, and so on. Like the rest of the world, I had paid attention when Michael suddenly emerged from the cocoon of bubblegum child stardom to full blown, mega stardom. “Wow, little Mikey is all grown up, and boy is he hot now!” The “Beat It” video was my favorite. I loved the part where it would show him sitting on top of the pool table, doing that mimed panting thing (or whatever the hell it was). Boy, that was steaming!

My favorite part of "Beat It." There Was Just Something About That Little "Panting Thingey," LOL
My favorite part of “Beat It.” There Was Just Something About That Little “Panting Thingey,” LOL

I also remember very well the night of the Motown 25 performance. Unfortunately, being as young as I was at the time, I had more important matters on my mind that night. My date was late, and boy was I pissed! Even the great, historical moment of seeing Michael do the moonwalk for the very first time could not alleviate the fact that I was stuck at home, watching TV with my grandmother, and wondering if I was going to be stood up.

Funny how time changes everything. Now I would give a fortune, if I could, to be back in that time and moment, being able to watch Michael and that magical performance on TV as it happened, and being able to share that moment with my precious grandmother. Now they are both gone.

But that’s how it so often was, in reality. For me, Michael was always “there.” Sort of like the furniture, or the air. If you turned on the TV, you saw him. If you turned on the radio, you heard him. If you went to the roller skating rink, he would be blasting out of the speakers.

But then came Prince. And then Motley Crue and my “hair band” phase. My attention drifted again. Years went by, and life rolled on. Before too long, it seemed all we ever heard about Michael Jackson was some scandal or some weird tabloid story or rumor. I remembered what a huge deal it was when he was “missing” in late 1993. (The more recent media mystery over the whereabouts of Casey Kasem somewhat put me in mind of that time). I remembered the raw, emotional pain of his face and voice as he went on national TV to discuss the strip search. (As my sister said, “That took some balls!”).

The media told it was supposed to be "awkward" and "weird." But I didn't recall FEELING awkward or weird. I was thinking, "Go Michael!"
The media told us it was supposed to be “awkward” and “weird.” But I didn’t recall FEELING awkward or  weird. I was thinking, “Go Michael!”

More years went by. I was watching the VMA’s the night of “The Kiss.” The funny thing about it was that I didn’t even realize until the media headlines came out the following day that I was supposed to find that moment “weird” or “awkward.” I don’t remember having that impression at all; in fact, I remeber thinking it was kind of cool. “Whoa, Michael! Go, Michael!”

But by the time the “You Are Not Alone” video came out the following summer, I remember thinking the whole thing was just…I don’t know. Kind of “weird.” And “awkward.” Maybe I was already learning to become conditioned to what the media fed.

More years went by. There were tabloid rumors that Michael had become a father. It was about the same time that Madonna was pregnant for the first time, and photos of her sporting her bump started showing up with regularity in the newsstand tabloids. There were crude jokes that we might get similar shots of Michael. It was all calculated in such a way that by the time the kids were born, we were even supposed to think it was “weird” that Michael Jackson had kids. Wait a minute, who’s the mother? How were they conceived? How much money did he pay her? (Oddly enough, there really weren’t too many speculations at the time about paternity; all of that would come later).

Then I came home one day to find CNN repeatedly showing footage of Michael “dangling” a baby over a balcony. Now, heck, here I was, I didn’t even know he’d had a third kid, so rather than being shocked by the “dangling” I was too busy thinking, “Wait a minute, he’s had ANOTHER kid? When the heck did this happen?”

Funny thing was, I watched that footage over and over and I didn’t see any “dangling.” I saw that he very briefly held the child up while keeping a firm grip on it. So I failed to see the big deal about it.

By the time of the Martin Bashir doc, I was too busy in grad school to even remotely pay attention. All I recall was a lot of talk afterward about some documentary where Michael had supposedly said he liked sharing his bed with kids (I would learn many years later, after actually watching it, that he said no such thing).

I remember when the “Man in the Mirror” TV movie was being promoted on VH1. I tried watching it in my dorm room, but it was so god awful that I lost interest and studied instead.

Life went on. My grandmother passed (which, for me, was the same as losing my mother). To alleviate my grief, I threw myself into my work. I was still finishing up grad school in Mississippi. I had started a novel. I was accepted into another graduate school writing program in Georgia. I didn’t have much time to think about Michael Jackson. By then, he was going through a trial; another accusation of molestation. I didn’t keep up with the news on it religiously. What I knew of that trial was mostly what everyone else knew, via the CNN sound bytes we would get or what Nancy Grace had to say that night. I remembered the uproar over “Pajama Day.” I was supposed to think that was very bizarre-that’s what they kept telling us repeatedly-but, to me, seeing that footage just made me sad.

What had happened to our mythical, magical Michael Jackson? How had it come to this?

The media wanted us to say, "How weird!" It only made me sad. What had happened to our beautiful, mythical, magical Michael Jackson?
The media wanted us to say, “How weird!” It only made me sad. What had happened to our beautiful, mythical, magical Michael Jackson?

By the time of V-Day, I was home on summer break. I kept the TV on CNN to hear the verdict read, while doing chores around the house. I wasn’t really invested. Like millions who had tuned in that day, I was merely curious. What would happen to Michael Jackson? Would he go free, or would he be sentenced? Thanks to an ever steady diet of media sensationalism, I think a lot of us were fully prepared for a guilty verdict. I really felt in my gut that the verdict would be “guilty.” So why was I watching? Did I really want to see Michael led away in handcuffs? No, not exactly. I think for me-and for a lot of people if they were honest with themselves-it was more about the curious detachment of watching a modern tragedy play out. Michael Jackson had once been our “invincible” king, and now it had come to this.

I wasn’t by any means rejoicing in the thought of a possible guilty verdict. My feelings were more akin to a kind of neutral, inexplicable sadness. I didn’t really know anything as far as the issue of his guilt or innocence. At the time, I felt that he was “most likely” guilty. But I also had an unsettled feeling that, with the whole lynch mob hysteria being what it was, did he even have a shot at a fair trial? Or would he be sentenced just to appease the masses; to make a statement? To be made an example of?

Either way, my life would go on. If he had been convicted that day, I probably would have shaken my head in sadness, but other than a bit of momentary reflection on what seemed like a modern classic tragedy playing itself out, probably would not have given it another thought.

But the verdict was “Not Guilty.” A part of me was stunned, as I think most of us are with all high profile cases when the verdict does not come back as we expect-or at least, as we are led to believe by the media that we should expect.

And a part of me, deep down in my core, was happy for him. I can’t explain why, even now, because I didn’t know the details of the case back then as I do now. All I know is that when they replayed the footage of him addressing the people of Santa Maria outside the court house, I felt happy for him that he was going home.

Except that would not be the case, either. Michael would never go “home” again.

After that, he pretty much dropped off the radar for me; for a lot of us. I saw the occasional tabloid stories, usually showing a photo of him swathed in veils. I gathered he was living abroad. The impression I formed then was of a sadly ruined figure who would probably spend out the rest of his days in exile, probably somewhere in Europe, hidden away from the madness that had been his world.

Who knows, maybe that would not have been a totally bad thing.

But that didn’t happen, either. From time to time, I would still look up his videos on Youtube. I still loved best my favorite songs from the early 80’s-“Wanna Be Staring Something,” “Billie Jean,” “Human Nature,” etc.  I still loved to see him do that panting thing in “Beat It.” It was then that I started paying attention to the comments from fans-the hard core ones; the ones who DID follow his every move; the ones who had always been there for him. I started to hear rumors of a huge concert comeback in London. And then…the rumors became reality.  I still remember the fan on Youtube who wrote in all caps, “I’M GOING TO SEE HIM IN JULY!!!”

Michael had been on my mind again a lot. I had bought a copy of Thriller 25. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that my ever fickle taste buds were once again developing a nostalgic taste for the 80’s pop I had once loved. Or perhaps something was just in the water; in the air. A lot of us were feeling it.

And then he was gone.

I spent days; weeks; months trying to process it. Like so many others, I was trying to understand why I had been so inexplicably affected by this death. I had never been one of those who followed him religiously. But I cried for days. I thought it was something I would get over. I thought I would mourn a few days, then life would go back to normal.

It never happened. Five years have passed, and though the tears have dried, I still feel the aching emptiness every day of knowing he’s not here. I remember how sometimes all I had to do was think back to some classic moment from one of his films; a certain smile, a certain wink; a certain gesture, and I would feel that familiar pressure again crushing my chest. It just didn’t seem real. For a long time, the world without Michael Jackson in it felt surreal to me. The moon didn’t look right; sometimes I would even question how it could still be there. And some nights, yes, I thought it looked brighter than before. Silly, sentimental thinking, I know. But not crazy. After all, if Michael had represented anything to our generation, it was magic.

If He Represented Anything To Our Generation, It Was Magic.
If He Represented Anything To Our Generation, It Was Magic.

Thus, began my serious education in Michael Jackson. I began to research in earnest, trying to piece together the puzzle of a man I thought I knew so much about-but for whom I quickly realized I knew absolutely nothing. The journey of discovering Michael Jackson has been an amazing five years. And, no, contrary to what I thought in those first awful days after June 25, 2009 when I assumed this was something I would quickly “get over” and life would get back to normal, my life has never been the same. (And now I am hearing an echo of his sweet voice: “My life/will never be the same…” No, my life was cleanly and evenly divided, as if an invisible meat cleaver had neatly sliced my life into two distinct halves: Before June 25th, 2009, and after.

So, in reflecting on all that I know about Michael now, on this June 25th, 2014, what have I learned since June 25th, 2009? Hmm. That would be a long list indeed, but to answer it honestly, I would have to go back in time and look at some of the things I actually believed or thought about Michael in June of 2009.

On June 25th, 2009, I believed:

That Michael was a good-looking “young” guy who had butchered his face with uncountable plastic surgeries. It was only after I started going to the fan forums, and seeing so many of the beautiful photos fans posted there, that I began to see that mature Michael was just as hot as young Michael.

He Never Lost "It"...That Was A Media Myth. His Fans Always Knew Better!
He Never Lost “It”…That Was A Media Myth. His Fans Always Knew Better!

That Michael’s best albums were Thriller and Off The Wall, and that he hadn’t really done much that was worth listening to after Bad. I now not only have a vast knowledge and appreciation of the rich diversity of his mature music, but in many instances, actually prefer it. The depth, complexity, and increased social consciousness of his later work is something I could have certainly appreciated at the height of my “rock” and “grunge” phases, and as Joe Vogel once said, “Stranger In Moscow” has every bit as much angst as anything that ever came out of Seattle.

That Michael had largely spent his last years as a wasted away wreck of his former self. Now I am continuously amazed at the sheer productivity of Michael’s last decade-and the rest of the world, it seems, is finally catching on as well.

That Michael “could” have possibly been a pedophile. Like so many, I simply didn’t know. I started reading what the fans were saying. Granted, fan opinions can be biased-in fact, they are almost always biased. But through them and their recommendations, I came across many very reliable sources. From there, I started to do my own research, through court transcripts and every scrap of material-both pro and anti Jackson-that I could get my hands on. Within months, I had pieced together what I came to realize as one of the most horrific examples of a witch hunt in recent history.

That even if he was not a pedophile, he still had some very weird sexual hang-ups. This was pure and simple media conditioning. Michael certainly was not viewed as “asexual” by his female fans. What did they see-so plainly-that the rest of the world could not? I realized I hadn’t really allowed myself to think of Michael in that way in a long time. Yet I remembered how we accepted it as perfectly normal and natural when he danced in the streets with Ola Ray; we didn’t question it when he chased Tatiana through an alley, or when Dirty Diana said, “He’s sleeping with me.” So what happened? And why had I wasted the last decade thinking of Michael-when I thought of him at all-as some anatomically incorrect Peter Pan-thingey? I mean, where the hell had that come from? How could I have so completely forgotten about the pool table shot and that pant thing that used to make me weak in the knees? I must righteously thank the fans-and especially the ladies of Lipstick Alley and their endless supply of entertaining “tea”-for de-brainwashing all of the media gunk from my gray matter.

That even if Michael had some of the coolest tunes of the 80’s, and was a great singer and dancer, he was not a real innovator. He didn’t write his own songs; he didn’t play any instruments. On the contrary, I quickly learned that Michael was a genius who composed hundreds of songs, including most of his biggest hits. And many of the ones he did not write alone, he at least co-authored. He was a true shaker and innovator in the industry who owned publishing rights to songs by some of the biggest names in the business, including The Beatles. He was  proficient on many instruments, especially piano. But I also learned that his voice alone was his greatest instrument-in fact, why the need to play an instrument, when you can beatbox an entire orchestra?

The track “Don’t Be Messin’ Around” Featured Michael On Piano:

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6c4Q0AS-Jo[/tube]

MJ The “Beatboxing Machine”-Who Needed An Instrument When They Could Recreate An Entire Orchestra?

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQuKbzWHvIo[/tube]

That Michael “claimed” to have a mysterious skin disease called vitiligo, but in truth, no one really knew why his skin had gone from dark to white. Needless to say, I couldn’t educate myself about Michael without learning the truth about this disease and the impact it had on his life. I started to educate myself on the facts of vitiligo-its causes; how it works to destroy skin pigmentation, and the psychological repercussions it has for those afflicted. I also educated myself on the various treatment options for vitiligo patients, and learned that complete depigmentation is often a last resort treatment for those afflicted with severe cases. Most importantly, I finally saw many of the photos that both the media (and Michael himself) really didn’t want the world to see, revealing just how badly splotched his skin was. Within weeks of his death, the autopsy report further confirmed this truth. In fact, June 25th is now officially recognized as World Vitiligo Day.

http://25june.org/

What Was Going On? Did We Honestly Believe  This Black Man Had Suddenly Developed Freckles? Were We That Blind? Honestly?
What Was Going On? Did We Honestly Believe This Black Man Had Suddenly Developed Freckles? Were We That Blind? Honestly?

That Michael didn’t really have a sense of humor. Where did I get this? When I think back to the Michael of the 80’s, I remember someone who had a dazzling smile, and a shy but infectious giggle. It was a side he showed often. But somewhere along the way, as the image had toughened, the smile had become a near-permanent sneer. By 2001, it seemed that even his ability to smile had been permanently lost (though, thankfully, this would not prove to be a permanent condition, as evidenced by his dazzling smile in the MTV awards pic above). And as tragedy and scandal had seemed more and more to consume his life, I guess it became sort of easy to think of him as some goth-like waif forever cloaked within some remote, cobwebby castle, where we can presume there was little to amuse him. And because he had become such a reclusive, private individual, there was little to counter this image. I once heard someone say that Michael should have just lightened up; maybe done the talk show circuit and tossed in some self-deprecating jokes about himself-in other words, to “own” his own “weirdness.”  It might have done wonders to deflate the image of him as a vulnerable target. Instead, it seemed in his last decade especially that with every interview, he was intentionally setting himself up as a kind of wounded “Bambi” figure. So it became easy to think of Michael, especially later era Michael, as this morose figure wallowing in self-pity. But this was not the man I discovered as I finally began to learn who he was. The first time I heard a video where he let loose that wild, hysterical laugh-oh my god! I couldn’t believe a laugh like that existed. I watched videos where he had me howling, my sides splitting from laughing so hard. They were wonderful, healing respites during a time of mourning. I learned that washing your hair and taking a shower makes you a nice person. Really. And dancing in the backseat to R. Kelly’s “Ignition”-I mean, does it get any more adorable?

That Laugh!

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXNBmQptCL4[/tube]

That Backseat Dancing!

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQ1vOVoChS8[/tube]

That Michael was a goody-goody who never cursed, drank, ate meat, or did drugs. Actually, all of the above was true and not true, depending on the time period. But I can say that I have found the very human and complex man that I’ve come to know to be much more interesting than any public image. I have heard that he liked his occasional cannabis; I am sure he did drink wine out of those coke cans. He sometimes veered off the vegetarian diet, especially if there was a KFC around (I also heard he had a weakness for a certain barbecue joint in Birmingham-for those of you who didn’t catch it on the first go-round, I will revive my series of “Michael’s Alabama Adventures” soon).  The Michael I came to know was someone who would have been just as comfortable at a Nine Inch Nails concert as a Diana Ross concert, or a Walt Disney movie.

That Michael talked a lot about healing the world, but was essentially just another rich superstar who talked a good talk. Yes, sure, “We Are The World” was very moving and all that jazz; “Man in the Mirror” was a great and catchy anthem. But I had hardened into one very cynical young adult by that time. Pop stars were always giving big concerts for charity; it was the 80’s “in” thing to do. It was only after June 25th, 2009, when I began seriously researching Michael’s life, that I realized just how deep and selfless his philanthropy actually was. I learned that Michael wasn’t just someone who wrote big checks; he literally gave of his time and saved the lives of many children. His deeply held beliefs-about the world, the ecology, about the plights of children in war torn countries and endangered animals-as well as his profound spiritual beliefs, were not lip service or fancy talk, but ideals that he truly set for himself and strove to fulfill.  376110_568785739819489_1441201221_nDiscovering and reading his book Dancing The Dream changed not only my outlook on Michael, but of my entire life and the way I view the world around me.

That Michael’s life was a tragic life. Yes, it was in many respects. But it was also an amazingly rich and extraordinary life, full of many experiences both profoundly joyful and profoundly tragic. He soared incredible heights and endured horrific lows. I often think of the line he sings in “I Can’t Wait Another Day”: “My life has taken me beyond the planets and the stars.”

There are many more things I could mention, but time is running out and so I suppose I had best wrap this if I have any hopes of getting it posted for the 25th.  Suffice it to say that the last five years has been an amazing journey of discovery, and it is still only just beginning. In some ways, writing about him has been therapeutic. It has helped me get through a difficult time that I could not entirely understand. The downside is that it sometimes keeps the grief alive. But it also keeps the energy alive. And one thing I never want to lose about Michael is that amazing energy. Or the magic.

I still eagerly anticipate reading every new book, and every new article (when they are good ones, but even the bad ones often have something that I can take from them, if nothing else, to help remind me of what he put up with; what he endured).   I received a tough, crash course in all things “Michael.” Hard to believe that as of June 25th, 2009, I really didn’t even know the names of Diane Dimond, Martin Bashir,  Tom Sneddon, or Evan Chandler. I remember thinking, “Who is that woman that all the MJ fans keep bashing, and why?” I learned quickly who the real villains were. I learned there was an entire cast of characters, all of whom had played their roles in enacting this modern tragedy.  I also received a very eye opening crash course in just how polarizing the fan base can be. I learned that most any individual associated with Michael Jackson could be either “good” or “bad”; “friend” or “foe” depending on which community one aligned themselves with.

Eventually, I learned that one pretty much has to search things out for themselves and to make up their own minds. With Michael, it has become almost as complicated as opposing political parties. Somewhere along the way, we have to remember what it is to simply love someone, and to celebrate their life and work. That is what it’s all about.

Losing Him Gave Me The Impetus To Get To Know Him.
Losing Him Gave Me The Impetus To Get To Know Him.

People often ask me, “How can you keep writing about a guy who’s been dead for five years? What could possibly be left to write about Michael Jackson?” Well, almost five years and over a thousand posts later, I’m still at it. Obviously, it never gets boring! There is always something “going on” in the world of Michael Jackson. Sometimes it’s very rewarding, especially when I can report on exciting new projects that are keeping his legacy alive. Other days, however, it’s not always so good. There are the days when bad news again dominates the headlines. On those days, it’s very frustrating and sad, and I am reminded again that all of the crap he put up with in life has only increased tenfold in death. But through all the peaks and valleys, all the tears and the laughter, it remains, as Michael said, “a great adventure.”

I still miss Michael every day. But if I’m grateful for one thing, it is that losing him gave me the impetus to get to know him. I liked him once. Then, for many years, I was mostly indifferent. Then, for awhile, I liked him again. But after June 25th, 2009, I found that I no longer liked him. I loved him.

They always say that every end marks a new beginning. June 25th, 2009 was the end of Michael’s physical life on earth. But it was the beginning of a whole, new global expansion of love and awareness. The energy shift was seismic. I continue to meet so many who say, “You know, it’s strange, I never even really liked him that much, but when he died I cried.” They can never adequately explain why, and though many have attempted to analyze the reasons, it remains what is it-a beautiful but indefinable mystery.

Maybe the religious zealots are right. Maybe he wasn’t something “quite” of this world-or at least, we might safely say that his energy certainly wasn’t. He was, for sure, imbued with something. Whatever that “something” was, we didn’t always know quite what to make of it when he was here.

We only knew that we missed it terribly, terribly when it was gone.

Five years on, we still do.

65 thoughts on “June 25, 2009 vs. June 25, 2014: What I Know Now That I Didn't Know Then”

  1. I am crying already, didn’t want to, but here I am nonetheless doing it. I sooo relate to your story, its like a mirror image of mine. I am thankful to you for all the blogs and posts you have given us over the past 5 years. That IS the total BEAUTY of Michael Jackson, the FACT that we now KNOW him so much more and not just like him but TOTALLY LOVE HIM UNCONDITIONALLY. Thanks for being there always.

    1. Thank you. I read through all of the comments yesterday but have not had time yet to respond individually to everyone. I will try to catch up as many as I can today, as I feel it is important to connect with all of you and the love we share. It’s very tragic that it took losing him to give so many of us that impetus to search him out more, isn’t it? Yet it is what it is and I suppose it happened for a reason, a designed plan that only God knows. Thanks for being a loyal reader and supporter.

  2. Ever since I first saw him as a precocious little bundle of energy with the Jackson Five, he’s intrigued me. I never followed his career as dedicatedly as many fans, but I always paid attenion to news about him, loved hearing his music and was absolutely mesmerized by his videos and dancing. I always liked him, never believed the terrible lies and I, too, fell in love with him after he passed. Fascinated and drawn to know more, I’ve been researching his life ever since. There will never, ever, be any one like him again. I chuckle when I read some of the comments by people in response to various articles comparing him to the likes of Justin Bieber, etc. He’s beyond comparison. Yes, there are talented people in the music and entertainment industry but it’s ludicrous to even think about comparisons. He is “the one and only”, a once in the cosmos creation. So many special facts were confirmed during the last five years, one in particular is that he truly loved and held unfathomable compassion for children. Thank you, Raven, for creating your blog and for your undying devotion to keep writing about him. I always look forward to your posts. I often think he’d find them so interesting and no doubt read every one and reach out to somehow to thank you for being so truthful and loyal. Your photos here are so memorable and to hear him laugh? Well, it’s like being enveloped in warm sunshine after a long, dreary winter. He just makes you laugh, too. The mere mention of his name makes me smile and raises my excitement quotient. I believe he sees the love, the devotion and is over-the-moon delighted. And though I know there’s not supposed to be tears in Heaven, I know that a gentle tear slips down his cheek when he sees that unforgettable display of love and devotion expressed by thousands roses at Forest Lawn. I’m reading Remember the Time and it reminds me of the unmatched devotion his fans have for him. Everyone else may have failed him in life, but he knew his fans would NEVER abandon him, never disappoint him and never stop loving him. His legacy will always be his love expressed in his incredible music, reflected back through the love and devotion of his fans. Thank you, Raven! This journey is a never-ending love story. Michael Jackson is forever!

    1. Lol. I often do wonder what Michael would have made of some of my posts if he were still around. I am a very spiritual person, though, and I do believe that Michael has his ways of communicating with me. I don’t mean that in a crazy kind of way (no, I don’t “hear” him or “see” him, lol) but I very often feel him. Sometimes when I wake up at three in the morning with a certain desire to write on a certain topic about him, I think that is his way of poking at me to get something out that he wants said. It’s weird, but it’s as if I can tell the ideas that generate from me, and the ones that generate from him. When I feel it is coming from him, there is more urgency. It can’t be put on a backburner; it can’t wait until tomorrow (and I am a terrible procrastinator because nothing is so intimidating as staring at that white, blank box waiting to be filled!).

      On this topic, I will tell you an interesting dream I had just a few nights ago. Of course, I’m sure the approach of June 25th had everything to do with it. But in my dream, I thought that I had been writing this blog for a long, long time-long before June 25th, 2009 (in reality, of course, I did not start this blog until November of 2009, five months after he passed). But in my dream, I had been writing this blog during Michael’s lifetime. Then it was June 25th, 2009, all over again and I was thinking, “Oh my god, how can I write this post? It will be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. How will I be able to carry on this site with him gone?”

      Well, for some reason, the dream then jumped time to 2014, and I was searching desperately through the archives for a post dated June 5th, 2009. The reason I wanted to locate this post was because, in my dream, it was the last post I had written while Michael was still alive, and for some reason I was wanting to re-post it (as a commemoration, I suppose). So I was searching high and low for this June 5th, 2009 post (which, dreams being what they are, I never found).

      When I woke up, I kept thinking, Okay, what is the significance of June 5th, 2009? I couldn’t recall anything specifically, except, of course, that it would have been during the TII rehearsals right about the time when things were really starting to go downhill. There are many dates on that timeline for which significant events are attached, but I knew of nothing on the 5th specifically (which would have been on a Friday that year, a rehearsal day I would assume).

      I then remembered, however, that June 5th was also the day that Paris attempted suicide last year. Talk about a “shudder” moment. It probably doesn’t mean much (other than maybe that I spend too much time thinking about dates associated with Michael, lol) but, still, things like that make you wonder sometimes, ya know? What’s really going on out there? I think there is a whole dimension beyond us that we can’t even begin to comprehend, and that the energy of those departed are always still with us, communicating in ways so subtle we are not even aware.

      Not very long after Michael died, I had a very vivid dream in which I was actually in his consciousness in that bedroom at Carolwood, in the moments before his death. It was as if he was allowing me to see it all through his eyes. (My sister, weirdly enough, had the exact same dream, down to the most minute detail). We were both shocked later when the pictures were published in the media of the bedroom, because we had already seen all of those details in our dream! I still don’t like to talk too much about it. I sometimes feel as though maybe I was given that vision for a reason-that he wants me to tell the world about it-but being the rational person that I am, I know it would just sound kooky to most people. It’s not exactly the kind of thing that you could call up the LAPD with. “Oh, yes, I know how Michael died, I saw it in a dream.” They would be like, yeah, right. So…I don’t talk about it. But I do think about it often, and wonder why it came to me.

      1. Raven, my dear, thank you for sharing this with us.

        I’ve often had the same experience about dreams and in particular, I remember I told you, the dream in which I viewed Thome without knowing who he was or what he looked like in reality. Michael ran away from him with a baby in his arms … I still shudder about this dream.
        I, on your hand, I’ve never been a very spiritual person … but Michael’s death has opened a window of things for me to first indifferent; even in this he is for me a great gift!

        1. Yes, I remember you telling me the dream about Thome. I believe he was one of the figures I saw in my dream as well. Anyway there were two men, Murray and a man with a very large, bulky build, who had thinning hair on top and longish curls in the back. They were both signing papers in a black binder-many papers. They had their backs to Michael; every so often, he could hear them laughing, like guys will do when they’re telling dirty jokes. The man wore an unusual colored suit, like a champagne beige. When they were finally done signing all of the papers, Murray saw this man out into the foyer. The man went downstairs, presumably to leave the premises; Murray stayed in the foyer area because he intended to go back into the bedroom. Michael, though semi-conscious, saw them leave the room and go out to the foyer. He was looking toward them when he lost consciousness completely. This would have meant he was looking to his left (he was lying on the right side of the bed and the foyer would have been to his left). It was later revealed in court testimony that this was the position in which he was found lying, with his head tilted to the left. But the sensation I got from the dream was that he was in only a semi lucid state, like someone who is half awake and half dreaming. He was no longer sure of what he saw, or if he was dreaming. At times, he thought he was under water and drowning; other times, he would surface and become lucid, aware again that he was in his room and who was there. He couldn’t breathe (this could have represented the moment when his respiratory system was beginning to shut down) and was trying to let Murray know he was in distress, but he was immobilized and could emit no sound or gesture. It was a state very similar to sleep paralysis, where one is conscious or semi conscious but the body cannot respond. And Murary just kept talking to this man and paid him no mind. They were acting like they assumed Michael was out of it or already dead. It was still very early in the morning; sometime around dawn. There was a hint of gray in the sky outside. A dim lamp was burning on the right side of the bed, casting shadows in the room.

          That is what I saw and five years later, the details are still vividly etched in my mind. I always tell myself it was just a dream, but many details of it still puzzle me. Who WAS that other man in the room? What was he doing there, at that hour? What were they signing? What was in that black binder?

          These are questions I can’t help but ask, although I know that trying to raise them would be futile. Spectral evidence, after all, went out with the Salem witch trials.

          1. Raven, I believe you had a dream transfer. The details are so precise, no doubt.
            Even the feelings of anesthesia really match what happens physically in the real world, “he thought he was under water and drowning, He could not breathe, It was to have been very similar to sleep paralysis, where one is conscious or semi conscious but the respond body can not. ”

            I studied a lot and I asked many opinions on the case of Michael and really what you describe is exactly what Michael may have felt.

            I strongly believe that there has been a mental projection, a lengthening of consciousness toward you, as I am sure that Thome was in the room!

          2. I believe that is who it was, too. Don’t know if he owns a champagne beige suit (lol). It would be interesting to find out.

            The one detail that doesn’t seem to jibe is that Murray was also wearing a suit. Later that day, when he was captured on camera leaving Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, he was dressed casually. But he could have easily changed in the hours between Michael’s death and then. I don’t know why he would have been dressed up so early in the morning, but he had allegedly been out clubbing at a gentleman’s club earlier (maybe he dressed up slick in order to attract women?). But, also, every photo I had seen of Murray up to that point always showed him in a suit and tie so it seems as though maybe I only saw him dressed in a suit because that’s how I had always seen him in the media. But there are many other details I saw that I could not possibly have known (remember at this time I had not yet seen any photos of the bedroom, or the house’s interior or the death scene). I knew there were beige drapes over the windows, and a white fireplace with what looked like either a mirror or flat TV screen above the mantle. If you look at photos of the room that were later released, those details are there, but I had not seen those photos when I had the dream. Murray and the man who may have been Thome were standing in front of the fireplace, facing it, with their backs to Michael. It looked as though they were using that surface as a prop or leverage surface for signing the papers in the binder, though it looked as if they could have also been bending over a small table.

            Whatever this dream or vision was, it will always be a mystery to me.

            If it was a true dream transfer, it is disturbing on several levels because it would mean that Michael died conscious (which Dr. Shafer had said was pretty much impossible) and with some degree of suffering. It would also mean that he witnessed something very underhanded going on, which with any degree of consciousness at all, would have only heightened his distress. It could mean that he died with knowledge of “something” going on, even if he didn’t quite know what. The last thing he saw in a conscious state was the two men parting ways in the foyer. This is why I find the dream very disturbing because there is definitely no comfort in it (not like when we can at least think that he slipped away peacefully).

            It could well have just been a very disturbing dream, or it could be something more. I wish I had those answers, but I don’t.

      2. “Not very long after Michael died, I had a very vivid dream in which I was actually in his consciousness in that bedroom at Carolwood, in the moments before his death. It was as if he was allowing me to see it all through his eyes…I sometimes feel as though maybe I was given that vision for a reason-that he wants me to tell the world about it-but being the rational person that I am, I know it would just sound kooky to most people.”

        Raven, are you familiar with the murder of Teresita Basa? The case was solved because her ghost came to a colleague in a dream and told her details she had no way of knowing, including the name of the murderer. When confronted with the details, he confessed.

        http://www.historicmysteries.com/ghost-of-terisita-basa/

        Your experience may be kooky, but it isn’t unprecedented. I’m not particularly spiritual, but I have seen and felt Michael’s spirit at work in the world.

        1. Yes, I do know there are some documented cases where murders have been solved through the use of mediums. And it gives me hope that it is not impossible, but the likelihood of getting authorities to act on such information is pretty nil. In Basa’s case, her colleague at least had some personal connection to her, so the police may have been inclined to take her claims more seriously, I don’t know.

          I didn’t know about this particular case before reading your article, but like I said, I have heard of others. I definitely believe that such occurrences are within the realm of possibility. A person who is murdered is apt to have a very restless and active spirit (as well as a trapped one) and a person who is receptive to that energy is bound to pick it up.

  3. Thanks Raven, please, you never stop writing about Michael! Five years sounds like a lot, but in reality they are not, it is true, but the memory needs to be nourished.

    Your points are so clear and so well guessed the reality of everything that has happened … we needed it! On this day so sad, Raven, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  4. Thank you, Raven. So many similarities, so many equal feelings. Your story reflects so many of ours, it’s great to have you as our voice.

    1. You are most welcome, Susanne. I don’t know about being anyone’s voice, lol. I just open up the floodgates of what’s on my mind-or on my heart-and let it pour. But it’s great to know what I do is appreciated. It’s all for love.

  5. Hi,

    This is my first time posting a comment on this wonderful site. Sorry if my
    grammar is a bit off, cause English isn’t my first language.

    Thank you, Raven, for this insight. I have loved Michael, though I come from a country where the entertainment industry wasn’t focused on. So I’d rely on rare tv shows and radio stations that would play Michael’s songs. I never was exposed to the tabloid rumors and sensationalism (except once when they said on the news that “he wears a mask to support his nose-during the 2005 trial) which I found to be so ridiculous, yet I was 7.

    I enjoyed reading the article, because you’ve stated facts and also shared with us your feelings…also because I read it with my mum, who is a big fan of Michael too. She also loves the panting part in Beat It, and after reading this she was like “Wow!, so I’m not the only one who loves those Michael moments” (well, muuuuum, can’t you see I’m right beside you, silently drooling at that gorgeous pic).

    Anyway, I loved it, cried, laughed (watching him laugh is just the best thing that happened today)

    keep it going!.

    1. Lol, your mom and I are probably from the same generation!

      It is interesting that once you get outside the U.S. and U.K. you find that a lot of the sensationalism and what I call the “tabloid caricature” of Michael simply isn’t as prevalent. Cultural differences will determine how celebrities and entertainers are portrayed-and, as you say, the values of that culture will also determine what is considered “news.” The U.S. and U.K. are still closely aligned cousins. As a citizen here, it’s sometimes hard to see past that bubble. Michael is loved here, of course, as he is loved everywhere. But sometimes when I see the level of support he has in Asia, or eastern Europe and Latin America, it really swells my heart and yet makes me sad, wondering why his own native country cannot embrace him with the same unconditional love. But then, this is a place where nothing is sacred. As I’ve often said, in America, you can even make fun of the president on late night TV. That is one of the things that’s great about this country, but maybe also one of its downfalls, as well. Freedom of the press, for example, is both a virtue and a curse.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the “laugh” clip. There are a lot of great clips of his laughs on Youtube. I chose this one in particular (even though it’s from the Martin Bashir doc) because I love it when he just lets loose with that howling cackle. There’s the “hee-hee-hee” giggle, and then there’s his howling guffaw. That’s the one that kills me, lol!

      Not everyone can make me laugh. I have been around some people whose jokes fall so flat that I have to force myself to crack a smile, just to be polite. And then there are some people who can just make a certain face, and it cracks me up. There are some people with laughs so contagious you can’t help but laugh along.

      Michael was one of those.

      1. His laugh makes my day, from the heart and so genuine.

        I’m Kenyan, sorry I forgot mention that. Now, the entertainment industry is getting more recognition and serious here (i’m glad some of our artists here attribute their passion for music to Michael, it makes my heart glow), and we even have channels like E! here that only air celebrity gossip and stuff. I’ve just read the dream you had, and it got me feeling sad, and for some reason anxious (probably wanting to know more or also ‘seeing’ through your words the state of his physical being at that time).

        I believe dreams are there for a reason, and my mum always tells me Michael is more powerful than ever given how his presence is felt by so many people, from all walks of life, even after his passing. and I can see where her thoughts are coming from. you never know, there’s a reason for it. Whenever I dream of Michael (which happens at times) I write them down, first thing when I wake up, to keep then fresh in my mind.

        “The last thing he saw in a conscious state was the two men parting ways in the foyer. This is why I find the dream very disturbing because there is definitely no comfort in it (not like when we can at least think that he slipped away peacefully).”
        -It broke my heart 🙁

        Thank you, I’m grateful you shared that with us.

        1. Writing the dreams down is a good idea. I have many interesting ones that I forget over time, not just about Michael, but in general. Keeping a dream diary is something a lot of people recommend, but I’ve never had the discipline to keep it up-or if I start one, I’ll do it faithfully for a few nights and then quit.

          The miracle of the internet is something that never ceases to amaze me. I am able to connect with people all over the world. Of course, that is due to the fact that people all over the world know and love Michael. Greetings to Kenya, and thanks for commenting.

  6. Thank you Raven, for sharing your „Michael-Experience“ on this special day… there are so many similarities in your story to mine…. and I’m sure there are many, many more people out there who experienced the same. We’ll never know how it happened that he touched so many hearts when he died – but I know that it is something very profound and it will last forever.

    1. It is indeed a phenomenon. I am still trying to catch up all of the tribute articles that were posted yesterday, and so many have said the same thing. It’s also interesting when you look at the explosion of websites and blogs that sprang up after his death. I’ve heard a few conspiracy theorists trying to cast suspicion on that phenomenon, but in truth, there’s nothing shady and certainly nothing too puzzling about it. I think what you had was simply a tremendous surge of like minded souls who were so astounded-and, in some cases, so outraged-with all that they were learning, and all of the lies they had been fed (which so many were just discovering) that there was this driving compulsion of energy to share this knowledge with the world. God gave me a gift, and after June 25th, 2009, I decided that at least part of what I wanted to do with it was to share what I was learning about Michael with the world. I still wish we could be more united as a community. But I am still amazed and touched every day when I see the level of love that people have for Michael. Just this morning, I was looking at some of the pics from Forest Lawn, and it made me emotional to see such an outpouring from all over the world.

  7. Raven,I hope you never stop writing about Michael!!

    I know it’s been 5 years, but I still cry for Michael. Maybe it’s silly, but if I read a post (such as yours), or if I see pictures of the flowers at Forest Lawn, see his children out and about, hear Michael’s voice talking or singing, I just cry. I so wish he could have lived and enjoyed his life with his children in peace – he gave us his all – so much joy – he deserved to be respected, loved, admired, cherished. I hope those who betrayed and hurt him get their just desserts.

    Thank you for all you do.

    1. Karma seems to have a strange but effective way of coming back to those individuals. Many of them, it seems, weren’t punished directly for what they did to Michael, per se, but have paid terrible prices in other ways. We know that Evan Chandler, for example, was tortured enough that it drove him to suicide. Martin Bashir was forced to resign from MSNBC. Eventually, I think, we all reap what we have sown.

  8. As I prepare to go to Forest Lawn this morning, heart heavy and unsettled but also in awe of how much I’ve some to love him, you told my story. Almost to the word. Exactly my story (minus the Grunge period). In the months after 6/25/09 and after 5 years of relentless study, Michael Jackson crawled inside my heart and will rest there forever…

    1. The pics of Forest Lawn looked absolutely gorgeous yesterday. I hope you had a lovely visit.

      I am thinking that I may try to make it out there in 2016. That will be the 7th anniversary of his passing. That would seem a good time to go (the number #7 always had special meaning for Michael). I don’t know if I will make it, but it’s a realistic goal to shoot for.

  9. It’s like you are inside my head, Raven. Oh, how I can relate. Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to write so much of what many of us felt and feel.

  10. Travelling in Cuba but wanted to be connected today.Was looking for a fan gathering in Habana, but didnt find any, so here we are at our hotel listening to his music.
    This time its more like a celebration
    . His life was large he lived 7 lifes in one. He finished his work on earth.
    We should be grateful for what he left usl and let his soul be at peace.

    Thank you for your beautiful words Raven.We feel the same.

    1. I had a very quiet day yesterday, also. A somewhat sad one, too (for reasons other than the obvious). One of the new kittens died last night, but I guess it was coming. It was the runt of the litter and, frankly, looked very premature to me, though the others are healthy. It probably had complications. Anyway, another little angel gone on a June 25th.

      I didn’t even tune in to any Michael programs yesterday. Most of what they show on TV every year is stuff I’ve already seen a million times anyway, and in most cases, own. Either that, or it will just be some tabloid type show interviewing the usual ignorant idiots blathering the usual ignorant nonsense (you know, the ones that make me want to toss a shoe through the TV). And I definitely wasn’t about to watch CNN’s interview with Murray! I would much rather just listen to his music or spend the day in quiet meditation. I did listen to the Huffington Post program and am still catching up a lot of the other tribute articles and interviews. But Michael is a huge part of my life 24-7, so it’s not like I set aside one special day to “honor” him. The only thing is that I usually feel much more reflective when June 25th rolls around. I find that I have a lot less patience for all the drama. I just want to tune in and tune out.

  11. Hi Raven, Thank you for your words. Just like you my life is split; before that day, and after. I know that I commented here before about the ways Michael changed the way I perceive the world around me as well. All your thoughts tonight struck me, but your last thoughts on Michael’s philanthropy really get to the heart of the mystery he holds for us. He taught us, and still is teaching us immensely. What was it Raven? It still baffles me; that special thing that Michael had that still has a hold of us. Sometimes it’s just too much to fathom.
    There are many days now that I simply can’t get myself to read something, or watch youtube videos because like you said, this type of activity keeps the grief alive. I was such a wreck for so long that sometimes I am afraid to go back there. I haven’t even watched my Wembley dvd. I think about him every day and miss him dearly. Tonight I listened to History while walking my dog (consequently, felt such an invigorating energy rush after not listening for a few months), then we laid down and looked up at the stars in my yard while I finished off with Earth Song. As I did, I started thinking of my all time biggest wish for Michael (actually after my wish that his children be forever happy, loved and safe)which is that he somehow has reached a cosmic knowing of how much love is emanating from the planet for him and that it will be here as long as humans live. It’s kind of a Major Love Prayer.
    Thank you Raven.

    1. Thanks for sharing, monica. It is definitely good sometimes to step back. While I can never let go completely (and I love what I do here on the blog) there are times when I have to take a bit of a hiatus, if for nothing else just to re-focus my energies on other things that are important in my life. Michael is gone but his music, his energy and his essence isn’t going anywhere; it will always be there when we’re ready to re-connect again.

      This was a good article that was shared with me yesterday, and I think it helps put a lot of things in perspective: http://sylmortilla.com/2014/06/25/prophet/

      Although I am a supporter of the release of new music and, of course, want to see Michael’s music continue to be appreciated by the masses, I nevertheless do agree with many of her points about what Michael truly stood for. At the end of his life, his only real motivation for doing the TII concerts was to provide for his kids; under heavy sedation, he wasn’t talking about chart positions or how much money he would make, but rather, of building a children’s hospital. I often remember the words of one of my own students who said that she believed God intended Michael to do His work (that this was the source of his gift) and that maybe God was displeased that he did not give up secular music and entertaining. Of course, there is a whole other argument to that, which is that maybe his singing and dancing was very much a part of carrying out that purpose. (I still intend to publish her essay on here at some point). However, I do believe that towards the end of his life, his priorities had shifted tremendously. Whereas before, the stage and music had co-existed with his philanthropy (and had also served as its platform) I wonder if maybe he was finally reaching a point in his life where he could reasonably foresee himself giving up the stage for good to fully dedicate himself to fulfilling his true mission.

  12. Thanks for that story. I also love Michael, for who he REALLY was.
    I’m not interested in what media says about him. I think we’re lucky he shared a part of him with us. And If we’re able to look close enough we could see beyond and notice a human being…

  13. Thanks so much for your lovely post, Raven. It’s hard to know what to say as we remember that day, but you did it so very lovingly. Thanks for this one and for the rest of the work you do, on behalf of the world.

  14. Thank you for your fascinating post and tribute to Michael. I believe that he was very special and almost too sensitive to be here in the physical – that his immense creativity and magical qualities were the very thing that made his journey so difficult. Some people are just not cut out for the often cruel realities that the world throws at us –
    I know he is at peace, totally loved and accepted and honoured for his uniqueness and his love for the world. It is people like you who keep his memory alive and good. Michael you are loved by many – we remember …..

  15. Raven, this article was absolutely beautiful. Although I was a youngster, 13 when he died, how you felt exactly describes me to a T. I couldn’t understand at the time why I felt this way about a particular person. It really has been fantastic learning about him! Thanks for sharing your experiences and change with us! And thank you for this blog! Haha:)

  16. Thank you Raven for the wonderful post as usual. I love the way you write, it is so truthful & straightforward, not overly ”flowery” or overly sentimental.I came onto your post thinking I would ”save” it to read when I had more time as I am determined to get to bed a bit earlier tonight (LOL!) but I started the first few sentences & just had to keep going until the end :)Like a good book I couldnt stop until I got to the end! 🙂
    Yes, it has been a strange five years & like you I feel like my life has been chopped into two episodes – pre 2009 & post 2009.In fact I find as you get older you can lose concept of time, like things that happened I used to think ”Now when was that? When did that happen? Was it 8 years ago?” Then I find out it was 12 years ago & I have thought ”I’m losing concept of time, HELP! ” 🙂 But since June 2009 I mark time with that date, now if something happens I think ”Now did that happen before Michael died? Yes it did, so I know for a fact it is over 5 years ago”.

    Many thanks again & I look forward to your next post.

    1. It’s easy to somewhat lose the concept of time as we get older.I find that things tend to blur together for me now, whereas when I was younger I could tell you exactly what occurred on what date (even down to the exact time). But now I will have to stop and think: Was that in 2007, or 2008? Sometimes when I read about something Michael did, I’ll try to go back and think, “What was I doing on that same date?” In Remember The Time, the bodyguards specifically mentioned New Year’s Eve, 2007. Michael took his kids to see a magic show in Las Vegas. New Year’s Eve is also my birthday, so when I read that passage in the book, I was trying to think back: What was I doing on my birthday in 2007 while Michael and the kids were at the magic show?” Honestly, I couldn’t remember, lol! That’s how bad all of my birthdays blur together for me now!

  17. Hi !
    I would like to write as easily as you do, Raven. Unfortunately, my first language is french and I am not able to express myself as I would like it to be. So, I’m thinking of writing my journey (in french) since June 25, 2009.
    As you and so many others, this was and is a kind of journey that never happened to me before.
    It brings sadness, anger, uneasiness… but mainly so many tender smiles, laughs, admiration, magic, rapture, happiness, etc… and, in my case, a strong desire to dance (and I’m no longer young…). The story of my discovery of Michael Jackson resembles yours and that of so many others… but ultimately, for me, it is also a deep introspection. By the years I forgot Michael Jackson, I also forgot to keep a place in my life for my passion : dance. No matter what happens in your life or what you do, always keep a place, even small, for your passion.

    When Michael died, it was the end of the school’s year. So, I was packing quietly to move in another apartment.
    His videos were playing non-stop on tv. I was mesmerized by his energy, beauty, grace, fluidity. And there I was with energy, happiness, dancing around the room. What followed was the discovery of his immense talent and versality and of course, the disgusting truth about the media’s lies.

    So, I will end my comments here. I have been reading you for a while, Raven. It’s always a pleasure.
    Thank you and don’t stop (’till you get enough…) !

    1. Much love to you and France!

      It is interesting that you mention the love of dancing. Unfortunately, the love of dancing knows no age limit but as it’s a physical activity, an ageing body sometimes “rebels” against what we want it to do, lol. But oddly enough, I was in my 30’s when I discovered I had a talent for dance. Having come to this discovery so late in life, I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I would never have a professional career in dance (and besides, writing was always my first love) but I did dance for a number of years on the Southeastern powwow circuit (I am Echota Cherokee). I still love to just go to a dance studio, lock myself in, and throw down. My style is probably closest to Isadora Duncan. I’ve dabbled at some point in just all about all styles of dance, from Irish folk dancing to belly dancing to hip hop.

      Lately I’ve begun a serious study of Michael’s choreography. I started doing Zumba awhile back and loved it. It also inspired me that if I could learn to follow that choreography, I could learn Michael’s choreography. My dream is that in a few years I might be good enough to teach an MJ dance class or something, but I wouldn’t want to even attempt to do so until I knew the moves perfectly. I may never reach that goal because, in all honestly, I’m a perfectionist like Michael and I will probably never believe that I’m “good enough” to teach his moves. There are five year old kids who can do those moves better than me, LOL!

      But the thing is, I have fun doing it. “The Dance” is all about the spirit and the heart-and it’s good for the body, too! And dance can be modified to suit any age and level of flexibility. When I go into the dance studio and crank up Michael’s music, I don’t stress over whether I can do it “just like him.” I just try to relax and have fun. And when I do, weirdly enough, that’s when I’m most apt to glance in the mirror and say, “Wow, that looked pretty good!” Michael used to say that the biggest mistake a dancer could make is trying to think too hard. You can’t “think” your way through a dance. You have to feel it.

      Michael’s music is the best for doing just that.

  18. Raven
    what you say is very true. I think you should also think about the fact that Murray had given Michael a lot ‘of drugs over the course of the damn night.

    It may also be that Michael saw the two men in a state of semi-consciousness, – before the final injection of Propofol and, at this point, you can believe that the injection was not required but given purpose.

    Raven, have you never tried to talk about your dream with a researcher of such phenomena?

    1. I haven’t talked to anyone, but I would like to, if I knew it was someone who had the expertise to really help me. There are so many charlatans out there that you have to be careful, but I would love to discuss it with a serious researcher.

  19. Raven your article..is spot on! I did not think the kiss was akward either but the media just kept saying that..after a while everyone believes that..I didn’t know his death would affect me so much either..but it did..and I feel badly,that during his trial,we didn’t all band together and tell the media to stop their lousy reporting..and what a waste of money having a trial! Micheal was the most bullied person on earth..and it makes me sad..Thanks for writing your blog..and maybe your dream will shine a light on something that needs to be known… hope so !

    1. Thanks. You know, I have felt a tremendous relief the past couple of days even from just posting it here. I know it’s just a dream, but I’ve felt it as a burden on my heart for a long time.

      Yeah, I actually thought the kiss was pretty hot! I didn’t know the story until much later of how pissed LMP actually was that night, lol. The whole thing WAS a bit calculated and manipulative on his part but I could see that, Michael being Michael, he would probably think this was the best way to make up! Do it with a bang.

      LMP obviously didn’t agree.

  20. Thank you Raven. My life too is split in two. June 25 2009 is for me day ONE. And I did not even know at that moment. My story is similar to yours, maybe even more to this of Ladypurr

    “I never followed his career as dedicatedly as many fans, but I always paid attenion to news about him, loved hearing his music and was absolutely mesmerized by his videos and dancing. I always liked him, never believed the terrible lies and I, too, fell in love with him after he passed. Fascinated and drawn to know more, I’ve been researching his life ever since. There will never, ever, be any one like him again.”

    That is exactly how I would put it for me too.
    5 years later and thousands of hours research later, and still researching daily, for hours…..

    One thing I never came upon is your Cannabis story Raven. Where did you get that ?

    Just some minutes ago a asked myself a question, and I was not able to answer it properly.
    “Would I want to go back to my “old life” before June 25 ?” I definitely would like to answer NO,not in a million years. But then, I have to realize that before June 25, Michael was visible in this world. He had his life with his children. I have decided to prefer what HE would like, and if he would like to be “back” like it was before that life-changing date, then I would go back too. I would never know what I would miss…..

    Raven, have you ever thought why you (ànd your sister) had that dream ? Could it have been for a purpose ? I think so. Michael would think so I guess. If you saw a picture of this man, would you be able to recognize him ? Why were the security tapes destroyed ? Who was at the house hours before ? None of the trials have given me an answer to many questions. So many things did not add up. I wonder, for the thousand time, if we will ever know what really happened. We don’t even know what is happening now.

    Thank you again for all the effort you put into this blog. Keep it going….

    1. The mention of cannabis comes from Frank Cascio. It has been said that he first smoked it with Barry Gibb. A small amount of marijuna was found at the Carolwood house. It may or may not have been his, of course, but it was found in his bedroom-a place so private that I don’t think even Murray was allowed access there, so most likely, it was his.

      Personally, I don’t think it’s any big deal. I am one of those who finds it kind of stupid that it is illegal, anyway, as there are many legal substances that are far more harmful. I also never got the impression that he was a heavy user (i.e., he wasn’t a “pothead”). Most likely, something he indulged in occasionally to help him mellow out.

  21. I recall that soon after Michael was killed, TMZ posted a story about a stripper who claimed that Conrad Murray used to take her to the Carollwood mansion and show her an unconscious MJ in his bed. No one ever followed up on that story, not even TMZ, but if it’s true, it means that Murray could bring other people into the house without security knowing, or perhaps knowing but not caring.

    No one has ever investigated Prince Jackson’s testimony of seeing Randy Phillips and some unknown man in the house at night, either.

    1. I recall that story, too, now that you mention it. Since it came from TMZ, I don’t know how much credence to give it but, honestly, it would not surprise me. It seems Murray was given far too much access to come and go as he pleased.

      There is a story in Theresa Gonsalves’s book about a well known cosmetic surgeon who apparently took advantage of an opportunity when MJ was unconscious to sneak a peek at his “stuff.” I would imagine there are many such incidents if one really dug for them. It’s outrageous and sad to think how little dignity or privacy he was allowed, even from those he trusted, ESPECIALLY those he should have been able to trust most-his doctors.

  22. Well, sorry to have to say that, but I knew this from the Frank Cascio book. It says very clearly that they used it 2 times. So, could it be that you remembered something from the book, but you were not sure about the numbers and you wrote “occasional” ? I know it is maybe not a big deal IF he used it, but we cannot afford to write something that is not correct, because of our own opinion that it is no big deal. Tabloids make a big deal out of it ! We, as MJ fans, have to be specific and correctly, otherwise we will do no justice to Michael. I know it is difficult to always have exactly in mind what was said, when writing a piece. For that, I usually look it up first before I write it. I will try to look the page up (not easy in a hard copy LOL). But I am pretty sure it is not mentioned “occasional”.
    And was the Marjuana in Carolwood not old and stale ???

    1. I would say even two times counts as “occasional.” Why split hairs over numbers? If he did it, he did it. Doesn’t matter if it was twice, or once a year on his birthday or whatever. Besides, if the story is true that he also smoked with Barry Gibb, then we have that occasion to add to the couple of times that Frank mentions. I would still count that as occasional use. As for the small stash of marijuana found at Carolwood, it may have been old and stale but it doesn’t change the fact that it was there. It would mean he most likely had it in his possession, but like I said, I definitely don’t think he was any kind of “pothead” who felt the need to indulge on a regular basis. This seemed more in the realm of experimental use, if anything. He probably liked it, but since he was not a smoker (never smoked cigarettes to my knowledge) he may not have enjoyed it as much for that reason. Also, we know how conscientious he always was of anything that could affect his voice. For that reason alone, I couldn’t ever conceive of him doing it on a regular basis. (Of course, there are other ways it can be ingested besides smoking it, but I never heard any accounts of him doing it that way, either). That Carolwood pot, as you said, could have been there for God knows how long and definitely seems to indicate someone who was not a heavy user. But my point was that there was a time when I would have never even conceived of Michael as someone who would smoke a joint. As I’ve read more and learned more, I have had to adjust a lot of my perceptions and to adapt a more flexible view of him. It’s kind of hard to explain, because it’s not to say that I find him more interesting or whatever because he may have smoked pot; that’s not what I’m saying at all. I just think it has more to do with being able to think of him as someone who maybe had a more daring personality than I had heretofore envisioned before June 25th, 2009; as someone a little “dark” and “dangerous” (but not too much, lol). I like bad boys, what can I say? That probably stems from my early infatuation with rock musicians and that culture.

      In those days, most of us never thought of Michael Jackson as someone who would be cool to party with. He really wasn’t, as far as that goes (it seemed he was always a workaholic who would rather be in his room rehearsing than joining the party) but I kind of like knowing that he had a naughty side of him that wasn’t always so strait-laced.

      1. In the crazy days after June 25, 2009, it was suggested that the pot found at Carolwood was “black tar heroin”! When everyone calmed down, the LAPD determined it was just ordinary marijuana, so old and moldy it was undoubtedly in the house for a long time, well before Michael moved in. Lots and lots of people smoke a little weed now and then. People were so eager to think ill of him. Remember when television pundits like Dr. Drew declared that Michael had been ingesting thousands of pills a week?

        1. Yes, I remember those early reports trying to claim it was “black tar heroin,” lol. That’s a good point that it may well have been in the house long before he moved in. It was a rental house, after all. Heck, for that matter, the furniture, drapes, rugs and most everything else was there when he moved in. Of course, with the stories of him actually having smoked (even if only a very few times) it would make it more plausible to believe it could have been an old stash of his but in the particular case of the Carolwood house, not a certainty by any means.

  23. I am sure it was not his in the house. But that does not matter. The point is that Barry Gibb bragged that for him smoking something was inspirational. And that laid to the point of Michael wanting to see if that was the case for him too. So he tried it out, like two times. His conclusion was that it did not do anything good to him. He did not even like it. That’s all I had to say.

  24. Raven,

    Your journey with Michael was similar to my own. I ignored the 2004 hoopla and 2005 trial after seeing a couple of 2004 National News reports. I found them to be acutely distasteful and to be dishonest on a subconscious level. When I finally read of the not guilty verdict I was not surprised, although I cannot tell you exactly why when I had not heard either side. The few reports seen were that all important first impression for me. They were so contrived I thought who would possibly believe these people who speak mournfully of molestation, but their eyes gleam with enjoyment. In any case what drove me to post here today was a phrase you used. It is “Media Conditioning”. I have struggled to find just the right words to emphasize what is done to us, not only with Michael, but everything that shapes each person’s reality. Thank you for this excellent article and for helping me to find the words needed to express an important psychological mechanism. Other than Charles Thomson’s 2009 article about the Media’s conduct I have yet to see an article or series of articles written in depth about the Media’s mentality and its abuses, but it should be explored and written about by accredited professionals in the field of psychiatry.

    1. It is an absolutely fascinating subject, and one I will be exploring even more in the latest series as I address the current conspiracy.

      “Media conditioning” is as apt a phrase I can think of for how the media shapes our perceptions of people and events. It’s no secret. Everyone, for example, knows what propaganda is, but few realize just how they are affected by it every single day. Every time we form an opinion about someone, based on what we read or see-be it a tabloid or the nightly news-we are subjects of media conditioning.

      When Michael Jackson became such a media caricature, it impacted our perception of him, in every way. I realized what began to happen for me after his death, as I read more and learned more, was a complete de-programming process.

  25. 8 years have passed, and i am still at that point in life myself. i cant agree more with what you write.
    and the road to the truth is eternal – there will never be enough to discover about mj and there’s still so much to do for him. the vultures, sadly, are all still there.

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