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Of Odd Strangers and Raymond Burr’s Island

Posted by on September 3, 2011

It was one of the oddest things that ever happened to me… and I swear, IT’S TRUE!

I was attending college at Southern Oregon University (then, Southern Oregon College) in Ashland, OR in 1975. I was getting ready to go to church with some friends on a Sunday morning, but had taken a stroll beforehand on the campus.

It was a beautiful, sunny morning.

Suddenly, she walked directly toward me.

A girl dressed in nice clothing – a nice blouse, skirt and nylons walked up to me and asked in broken English, “Is this… campus?”

I replied, “Yes.”

“I have always wanted to see campus. I live on island in Pacific. We are Indians and I am princess. Do you know… Raymond Burr’s island?

Strangely enough, I had just read in a TV Guide that Raymond Burr (TV’s Perry Mason) owned a 4,000 acre island in Fiji.

“Yes,” I replied.

“I come from there. Native men from my village row me here in canoe to see campus. I walk here from coast.”

“o-KAAAAY!” I thought to myself.

I told her that, yes indeed, this was a campus.  But being Sunday morning, there wasn’t too much activity.

I asked if she wanted to attend church with my friends and I. She was non-committal, but wanted to follow me back to my dorm room to see more “campus.”

So, I showed her the different buildings and explained some of the classes I attended.

When we got back to my room, she followed me right in. I called my friends to see if they could make room in their car for my Raymond Burr Island visitor. They were puzzled, but said they could accomodate her.

My visitor began to tell me about a strange multi-stringed instrument she played and that she was one of the few people in the world who could play it. She mentioned that some people from America had visited her island and invited her to come to America to perform in concert with this instrument.

I told her I played guitar.

She asked, “What… guitar?”

I had an eight-track player on my shelf with a John Denver tape in it, so I pushed it in to show her what a guitar sounded like.

Her eyes got wide and she exclaimed, “MAGIC BOX!!!”

I knew I was being put on in some way, but still decided to play along with her.

About this time, my friends showed up to take me to church. My strange visitor from Raymond Burr’s island became very uncomfortable and used her visit to ‘campus’ as an excuse to stay behind. I never saw her again.

To this day, I have these questions… was this someone who had delusions and was off her medication? Was it a drama student using me for some drama class assignment about staying in character? Was I the victim of some dubious psych student’s experiment? Was she truly a native from the island that Raymond Burr purchased in the Fiji Islands? Please feel free to share your thoughts with me. And have a blessed day!

2 Responses to Of Odd Strangers and Raymond Burr’s Island

  1. Larry Short

    That happened to me, too. But I had the presence of mind to snap a photo with my smartphone. Is this her?

    (Safe for work … honestly.)

    • Mark

      There’s a resemblance, Larry. But it’s not her. It must have been a different Fiji Islander. : )

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