August 6, 2005

Start: Salem, Oregon
End: Bend, Oregon
Miles traveled:
116 miles
Route taken: Route 22 east to Route 20 south to Bend

        Working in a small cubicle for a governmental agency in
Oregon might just be the solution for earthquake preparedness.

        Charlotte King, who lives in Salem, Oregon, has been claiming for years that she can predict earthquakes in different regions of the world by the type of pain her body feels.

        That claim has earned her skeptical looks from the public, some of whom question her mental facilities, the usual responses from people who don’t want to believe something they don’t understand.

Looking at King it is hard to envision someone with a mental problem. She is three weeks away from her 59th birthday and looks like a grandmother right out of a 1950s television show. She is rubenesque, with soft hands and warm blue eyes that compliment her infectious smile.

But King has not lived the typical suburban life.

        It began in 1976 when King was reading a book and heard something that sounded like a fog horn. No one else heard the sounds and Oregon State University came out and did tests, verifying a low frequency sound.

        King’s hearing has been tested and she can hear sounds well below what most humans can hear. King also noticed that every time the sound changed, there was an earthquake.

        “I didn’t know where,” King said. “I just knew there was one.”

        King called the local television station but they weren’t interested. She was persistent and after she said to have made 60 correct predictions, the station listened.

        So did scientists and doctors, who tested King to see if there was any validity to her claims.

        In 1980 King experienced excruciating migraines and predicted it was associated with Mt. St. Helens. She called the television station to tell them and 12 hours later the mountain was in full eruption.

“I was watching television and got up to turn the station,” King said. “I walked across the room in to the fireplace. I had no control of where I was walking. That was scary.”
        The Charlotte King effect was coined by scientists who noticed the correlation between her picking up changes in sound and seismic activity.

“Part of my body pertains to a certain geographical location,” King said. “Every time that part of the body is in pain, that is the area that will be affected. The window is always between 12 and 72 hours.”

It has long been known that animals have this ability, so why is it not possible for a human to have the same gift? The only difference is King is able to communicate it, but that doesn’t mean people want to hear it.

“Absolutely people looked at me funny, they still do sometimes,” King said. “I went to the hospital once by ambulance and I was telling them it was due to solar flares and they put on my chart, “delusional.” That is what the emergency room treated me as. I just told them to give me something for the pain and let me go home.”

Even her own family didn’t want to believe her.

“Let’s put it this way,” King said, “it ended an 18-year marriage, lost my kids, my home my job. I lost my health. There is no doubt in my mind this could kill me.”

King has set up a website CLICK HERE   and now has a network of people who experience the same pain and suffer the same doubts from the public.

“We found that everyone was having the same symptom at the same time, no matter where they lived,” King said. “There are several people that email or call me.”

        King said the official agencies haven’t been very receptive to her claims.

 “The government said it wasn’t possible to make earthquake predictions and now the USGS (United States Geographical Society) has a site predicting earthquakes,” King said. “They aren’t all that accurate.”

King’s website helps people become more prepared by predicting seismic activity.

“I work for the Oregon Department of Transportation,” King said. “It’s not the job I want, but I am doing until I can do what I really want to do which is some kind of preparedness. I want to make a difference in the world, I am not doing that now.”

        Society is quick to dismiss people like Charlotte King and before I met her, I was ready to do the same. As I rode from Salem towards Boise, Idaho I thought about what she talked about and the doubts were definitely still there.

        I haven’t verified anything she said, except for the Charlotte King effect, and I guess the doubt will stay there until I have total proof, but is that really possible?

        As I was mulling that over, I passed through a stream in the Williamette National Forest. It was right off Highway 22 and there were people fly fishing.


        Fishing is one activity that escapes me. I have never enjoyed it, though that is due to my incredible lack of patience.

        In a results oriented world, which I am trying to break out of, I demand a fish hooked within five minutes of casting my line or I am ready to abandon the pursuit and move on to something else more exciting.


        I am heading towards Idaho and Montana, though and am seriously thinking about giving it another try.

As I near Bend, Oregon I haven’t been on the bike for very long, but the afternoon heat is taking its toll. The temperature is about two degrees cooler than the seventh circle of Hell and by the time I reach Bend I am wiped out.

The Cascade Mountain range that I passed through, combined with the 103 degree temperature have caused me to surrender for the day after less than three hours of riding. I find a motel, take a cold shower and relax for the rest of the evening.