THE 37TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MAJOR ERUPTION OF MT ST HELENS. MAY 18, 1980 AT 8:32 AM PDT
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You can also read most of it by reading the link on this blog, “Who is Charlotte King ?” Sorry for the delay in posting to the blog.
Today this update is dedicated to numerous persons both known and unknown to me. First is Volcanologist, David A Johnston who lost his life seconds after the volcano erupted that May 18th morning in 1980 at 8:32 AM.
I also dedicate it to the 57 who lost their lives camping in and near the mountain when it blew.. and Harry Truman the tough old man and his 16 cats who lived at Spirit Lake and who refused to leave preferring to stay near the wife he lost and was buried on the mountain. I dedicate this to all the scientists both living and passed, who spent hours on the phone or in person talking with me about the mountain and allowing me to share my thoughts with them and to all the reporters who took the time to interview me and allow me to bring my story to the many other sensitives out there..
Finally I dedicate this poem to my mom Mary Bowder, deceased, who told me to sit down and write about what I was feeling after the eruption because I was so upset and sick and ancy. The poem below is the final outcome.
This is a day I could not let pass without an update. It was 37 years ago this morning, 1 hour ago that Mt St Helens erupted with the first major eruption in the United States in over a century. After months of activity, “The Mountain” as she was called by all involved, when they were talking in general terms had finally done what she had awakened to do, back in March of 1980. For me, it was the beginning of the understanding of what was later to be known as “ The Charlotte King Effect “ I had been in sync with the mountain since my headaches which began in early January and really picked up in March, accumulating with the major migraine symptoms that hit me when I was doing an interview with Ivan Sharpe of the San Francisco Examiner.We had finished lunch and he wanted to do a interview so I suggested we go to a local park.
We were sitting at a picnic table, discussing how to show my symptoms cause pain without having to grimace and or make other kinds of faces. Then it hit, it was almost exactly 12:30 PM on the afternoon of March 27th. As I said, I was sitting there trying to make Mr. Sharpe realize that I was not going to make faces for the camera. The mountain had been active since the 16th of March and that activity continued sometimes more and sometimes less.. but this day, the migraine was intense and was centered at the base of my skull on the L side. So when all the sudden the pain became almost unbearable, I said “It’s the Mountain “ and ran for the car. I unlocked the car and turned the key to activate the radio and the announcer on the radio was on KXL radio in Portland and just as I turned on the radio the announcer was saying “ Yes folks we can now call it a volcano, St Helens has just had its first confirmed ash eruption “ This was confirmed by a pilot flying over the area and saw the gray ash around the dome of the mountain. So from that time on I was linked to St Helens activity.
All the next weeks were a blur of activity on the mountain. Even I was getting tired of hearing about it day in and day out. I had been getting some testing done and was in contact with one Rick Tell from the USEPA who was coming up our way from Las Vegas where he was based and after many weeks of chatting with him on the phone, he decided to come up to Salem and stop by and do some testing in my area. So he went to the State School for the Deaf here in Salem and checked the audiological attenuation booth and found the booth had a ambient sound of 59 dbl above their ultimate measuring ability. He believed that I could hear down below 10 hertz and that could be infrasound levels. This means that their ‘sound proof ‘ booth was anything but quiet at the low frequency levels which is what I was hearing.
So then he came to my home, he had his ‘ sound truck’ with him and did all kinds of measurements all confirmed that there was something I was hearing as the booth confirmed. So when he left Salem he decided to head the Washington and St Helens. It was my ‘ if you want to see the mountain erupt you better come now “ that brought him to Salem placing him at my home on the Thursday the 15th. While Rick was at the house, the blue skies of May suddenly became overcast and there was a brief strong hail storm. I remarked that there seemed to be a hail storm about 2-3 days before each ash eruption. After leaving my home, he went to Washington and was checking out things there. It was providence that put him within sight of the eruption 3 days later, where much of the USGS equipment was destroyed, he had all the equipment of the USEPA at his disposal. He was there for several days helping out.
The following day Friday May 16th I had to go to Portland and meet with Sandy Poole of KATU,a friend made through St Helens activity for a early lunch, and I was going to pick up a tee shirt from an appearance on one of the shows I had been on.
I was having problems keeping my balance, walking into things, bumping things and mostly walking at an angle, meaning I was tilting to my L. If I tried to stand up straight, things were totally off, so I was listing at a strange angle.. where the clock hands are on the 10. I had a major headache and did not stay long to visit after lunch. I had to be at Lake Oswego High School as I was a guest for the science class.
One of the students, had asked me to be their ‘ science project ‘ so I went to the class and had a short question and answer session and noticed sitting at the metal lab tables, they all appeared to be vibrating to me, when I placed my hand on them. I made a statement, “ Something major will be happening on the mountain within the next 24-48 hrs.“ It was 2:30 PM when I left Lake Oswego High School.
Arriving back in town, things were about the same till after dinner Saturday night. Then the headache began to build again. It was getting into the migraine strength and my daughter had a friend spending the night and I could not be unavailable. So I took Vanquish ™ my headache medication of choice and the girls after some chatting and laughing were quietly playing. I was laying on the sofa and got up to change the channel and instead of walking to the TV in the corner, I walked straight across the room and into the fireplace hearth. My husband and 2 sons were out of town camping and I was alone with the girls.
I looked at my hands and noticed that they were showing signs of bleeding under the skin, the same thing had happened back in April when there had been a quake of 4.0-5.0 at St Helens on April 30th. I sat down on the carpet and started laughing. Mostly it was my way of dealing with the intense FEAR I was beginning to feel building. So I decided to do as I had promised, I was supposed to call KATU Channel 2 in Portland.
I called and Doug Crombie who was my main contact there, he was not in, as it was a weekend. Then I asked for Tom Brown, Tom was a great guy and photo person, assignment editor, and he took my call, I told him that you wanted to know when the mountain was going to go, I said it will go within 12 hrs. Then I was able to get through to Stan Wilson the night news anchor and told him the same thing. So I had fulfilled my promise.
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May 18, 2017
- This was posted on May 19th at 3:05 AM PDT