The Story of Heine
An Excerpt from
Travel Tales Monthly No. 12 June 2015
I’m about to complete a new ebook and audiobook in my Travel Psychologist Travel Tales Series on the best of my collected travel stories so far on the paranormal and the strange. It’s interesting as hell! I’m so proud of this ebook. Why not have a looksee or a listenhear?
Sirens that Lure Sailors & Ships
in the Night
to Death & Destruction
Urban Legend? Mythological Tale?
The Story of Heine
An Excerpt from
Travel Tales Monthly No. 12 June 2015
Is it an urban myth that sirens throughout history have lured poor sailors to their deaths, who could not resist the allure of heavenly, mystical seemingly ethereal music?
What happens when the lines of life criss cross in such unbelievable bizarre ways? What happens if a life event—during a visit to Ibiza—possibly involves not only the paranormal but also the ancient and mythological? How do you reconcile in your mind that what happened to Heine, a young German violinist, may have truly involved ancient mystical energies, that for most of us are simply beyond acceptance and belief?
Ibiza is, indeed, a very special, if not mystical place. In the normal course of daily life amongst young visiting Europeans and Americans, mostly no one ever experiences such odd events, but every once in a while, when someone does, it stretches and boggles the mind with such incredulity.
I’ll tell you an experience I [Curtis] had with a man that came to Ibiza two years ago , and his name was Heine.
He came from Germany, from Berlin. He was an artist. He studied at the Academy in Berlin, drawing and painting, and along with it he was learning violin since he was very young, I think—since he was about 12 years old.
He came to this island, and he was completely taken by it. He didn’t return to Germany. I think he found his life here. In Germany he had very promising things to do. He was just getting a band together that was very successful, and they were talking about records being produced. But he decided that Ibiza was going to be his home.
You could describe Heine as being a real genius. I mean, l’ve never come across a man that had so many aspects of a genius that he did. You could just feel it. He was not the kind of man that would wrap you up in a conversation or something. He’d just . . . he would just nod his head or just simply grab his violin and play, but not when he was asked.
At the end of the evening, when everybody would play his music and everybody got over his ecstasy (the drug), Heine would come and play the violin. Already when he was living on the island he was some kind of a fairy tale legend.
If there was a party, people were asking, “Do you think Heine will show up?” because Heine was the man who played the violin. He was the only man who played the violin.
The first time I met Heine it was in San Carlos, Ibiza. He Lived there with a girl and he had this dog called “Tilo” that was a dancing dog. Whenever Heine played the violin Tilo used to turn and bite his tail and made a lot of dust in the room. It was a very unique impression to see Heine and his dog perform.
The first time I saw Heine there was a whole group of musicians. It must have been about two years ago. Whenever there was a happening, especially at full moon parties, the whole crowd, the people, the insiders would come together and they played music.
And of course there was a certain hierarchy amongst the musicians. There were some people that could play and some people that couldn’t and some people that shouldn’t, but Heine was the man; he was the coronation of any of the music sessions.
He would come, and whenever he came with his violin, it was always quite a unique performance.
We got to know him. A friend of mine by the name of Glen was a singer from India. A small boy with a very, very angel-like voice. And Heine, who could not play with many musicians, liked Glen very much.
They went to a little place on the mainland in Spain to practice music together. And then Heine left for Africa, for Morocco, I think. The next year he came back to Ibiza rather late. The music scene had already gotten together and there was another violin player now on the island. Another very, very good violin player from Norway. I’ve forgotten his name now, but he was a very beautiful man with long blonde hair and he played very beautiful violin also, but there was a difference. When Heine was playing, it seemed to be more a thing coming from his soul, from inside his whole blues. He was really playing a German kind of blues, whereas the other one was a studied violin player that could play Mozart and so on.
So, at that time when Heine came to the bazaar, the music scene had already gotten together, and he seemed to be a bit left out. It wasn’t really so, because he still was Heine.
One day I saw him at the bazaar with a big collection of his drawings, and I said, “Heine what are you doing?”
He said, “Oh, I’m selling my paintings.”
“Yes, these are all the paintings I made in all my life, and I‘m just selling them.”
“How much do you want for all of it?” I asked.
He said, “I want as much as I need to buy an electric violin.”
I replied, “But you are nuts. You can’t sell these precious, beautiful paintings that are quite unique!”
The tourists were just grabbing at them right and left and taking them out of his hands, and you could see that he was not at all a salesman.
The woman would ask, “How much do you want for this?” and he would just smile at the woman with his big lips and he would say, “Well, how much is it worth to you?”
And the woman would say . . . you could see her getting all nervous. You could see she was grabbing a fish. She was getting something and she would quote a very low price, a price where I would have been ashamed and hidden if I had to name a price like this.
But he was just laughing it off and giving it all away like some little child handing colorful pebbles out to the people.
So, he was getting an electric violin.
And then there were plans of us all playing music together, and Glen and I wanted to go into different tourist clubs and just play some music for the people.
One day on a Friday we were supposed to meet up with Heine, but we sat there and he didn’t come. I remember I said, “You see these fake musicians, you really can’t depend on them.”
Before I go on, I must go back a Little bit.
There was a full moon party with the eclipse, since Ibiza is a very astrological place. People always referred very much to the constellations of the stars that they think now the moon is going to be in Leo or in Cancer, or something like that. They were heavy into that sort of astrology on Ibiza.
So, that was the night of the eclipse, and so I had a full moon party at the house for Glen, who I think had just become 21. There was a lot of people around, but again, Heine felt a bit left out, because they had formed already their musical group.
And the music that had happened on that night, I recorded part of it. When the musicians played, Heine would just simply stand in the corner and smile or do nothing or just simply hold his violin or even leave it in the case.
And then something very strange happened: a child cried. A little child. I think it was the child of the painter, James Taylor. The child cried, perhaps because it was tired.
And Heine would come with his violin and would tune in to this crying baby, which really frightened me. I never heard a man really intonating the human voice and capturing and mimicking the human pain so much as he did with his violin.
So, that evening Heine didn’t play very much, and you could see when he did play it was just like two animals fighting over a bone or something.
One of the other guys, the other musicians, has written a song about him called the “Song for Heine,” which I’ll tell below. And this guy, Michael, who was a very professional musician, could literally see that there was something going on inside head of the violin player, Heine.
Heine never made many statements, but he did say—he came out with a very odd statement. He said, “Curtis, there’s something strange. “I hear the most incredible music playing where I live.”
I said, “Where?”
He said, “Out in Vedra.”
“When do you hear it? At night or during the day?”
“I hear it all the time, and I come to the point, that I really don’t want to be there anymore.”
Then he came over to this side of the island.
We all knew that this island is divided into two parts; the so-called “mythological” part, because on this side from San Miguel from the center and San Carlos there were “the good vibrations,” as they say, coming from the goddess, “Tanit,” which is a goddess from the Phoenicians that came to the island.
And then, from where Heine had come, the god, “Bes,” that had lived around the area in Vedra. It was in Vedra where he claimed to have heard the strange music.
Some people might jump to conclusions by drawing a line from Vedra to San Vicenzo—and we divide the island diagonally into two parts, so the other end of the diagonal would be the vibrations of Bes’s “Vedra.”
Now, Vedra is the whole area and is where the big rocks known as “Es Vedra” stick out of the water, and there is a little channel passing between there and the mainland.
The mainland, there is a very sudden drop of the mountain going at its highest point about 200 meters down from the watchtower to the land underneath and the beach, where sometimes people go down to have mystical experiences. The beach is called “Atlantis.”
So, Heine lived in Vedra near the house of the tower. The tower was owned by an American who had a long lease on it, by the name of Michael. They call him the “Tower Michael.”
And he has access to the tower. He put a wooden door into it, and sometimes people would go up and just live and stay overnight in the tower.
Heine at the time was involved with two girls. He was quite the ladies’ man. As a matter of fact, he would play his violin, and in the middle of a concert he would just see a girl and he would put his violin away, and if there was a place he could “do it,” he would do it. You could see Heine dashing off into the bushes with a girl during the full moon parties.
Yes he was the kind of guy; he was quite handsome, a lean, tall man, and very quiet actually, but all his passion and all these things came out when he played the violin.
Heine had been involved with one of two women, who some people on the island called witches, because both of them have been thought to be the cause, they say, for the sudden death of people. They lived in this mystical part of Ibiza called Vedra.
For example, one guy, that was a French writer, died of an over dosage of an injection, which could have been heroin or something, in a house near San Lorenzo, and he was dying in the lotus position and was left alone by the remainder of the people.
The others had gone upstairs and didn’t know that the poor guy was having such a hard time and he died. The main concern of the people at the time, which is another story, was the Guardia Civil (police) coming and arresting them, so they all left the place.
And one of the two women, named Marie, who lived there at that time, had recently rejected Heine.
Marie must have mentioned something to the effect that Heine at the time had “a sore foot.” I remember that very well. He said he was complaining at a party that he couldn’t walk very well. And he needed a lift to go over to the one of the other houses.
They all knew Heine and played music with him. So, you can see, it’s a very much like a network on Ibiza.
Heine must have felt that if he goes back to Vedra, he’d go through experiences that he didn’t want to go through.
[In Vedra there was this other girl, another so-called ‘witch.’ She was living in this house in Vedra.]
We call this whole area “Vedra.” The rock called “Vedra” is not of concern. It has nothing really to do with the story. The rock is there. The rock is out in the sea. Nobody walks on the rock, only ships might go around, and every year they say in the springtime the farmers they put some goats there and they leave them there all year round. They eat the little grass that is left there, and they pick them up in the fall.
So, Heine goes back to the house where he stays with an American man by the name of Gordon, this one girl, and Tower Michael, a fellow American. All the people are very interested in music, that’s probably why they have Heine around.
Heine spends the days painting, and one day they are going through some mystical experiences by means of LSD. They are all doing a session of LSD in the morning. By the time noon comes, they want to go to a party in some other part of the island, and Heine, just in his swimming trousers, without the violin, goes for a walk.
He was never seen again after that walk.
The girl got a bit worried and she stayed. She didn’t go to the party, but the others went to the party.
The whole night, Heine did not return. The next day they think, well, there must be something strange, so they start looking all over, and they can’t find him or any evidence or anything. They realized he had never done that before. Then they realized he had been on acid and that they probably realized a little too late.
So anyhow, Tower Michael is checking and he is going down a very difficult pass that actually no one usually takes. It takes him hours and he looks and looks, and he finally finds a body, totally shattered, that just fell and collapsed, and it’s dead on the ground.
Of course, it was Heine. He must have been lying there two or three days in the heat of the sun. Then, they, of course, realized that he had fallen down, for nobody knows why.
The following thing is to call the Guardia Civil. In these cases they make a thorough investigation at the houses all around.
They were very calm. They were very helpful. They carried Heine up in a special coffin. It took about three hours to get the body up from where they found it.
And the rest is another Ibiza story.
It’s the story of a large community realizing that they have lost a very important person. And they might have realized that they have lost it through their own fault.
And one of them, Heine’s friend, Tower Michael, who by the time was probably becoming a big pop star in his own right—I know he got picked up by a famous musician of the time—wrote this for Heine—
The “Song for Heine”:
“A child learned to fly the other day for his very last time. Sent his soul off a very hard way cause things weren’t right and now we are all mourners. We, I think we, his friends, contemplating reasons for his flight. No, don’t feel so important because of anything I say. I feel bad like the rest of you do. But it’s not wrong that he’s dead. But let’s not do too much talking ’cause we are all hanging on a thread. So, I stand here playing music that the man was dying to play. Something he found confusing, but the man sure could play. So, let nobody think I am using him if I play just for him today, ’cause I know he would do it for me too.”
So, that’s how a musician would feel about Heine.
The next thing was that all his friends, like Phil, who was more or less the ‘Prince’ of our community, a young American that now has joined the Guru Maharaji organization, that was a very fine musician, and he tried to organize a funeral near in the area where Heine lived in. It was a cemetery, near San Mateo.
But then, the problem was the family. There wasn’t enough money because Heine’s body would have to be transported, since it’s been dead for a few days already, in a special coffin of aluminum, and that would have cost 30,000 pesetas. So, Phil and the rest of us that morning were in a very strange mood. We all had the feeling that we had to go to a funeral yet.
I went by the house that I mentioned before where Heine was staying with this girl and then was rejected and was not allowed to stay there any longer.
And they picked some flowers and we all were supposed to meet on the San Mateo road. There was a car parked, a bus, and Phil is saying, no, the funeral is not taking place here, and it’s not at all taking place in the morning, it’s taking place in the afternoon.
So, all the people went elsewhere in Ibiza for the time being, and nobody really knew what was happening.
Meanwhile, the sister of Heine had arrived and the other girl as well, and they were both crying, and their eyes were red, and I just saw them coming from the graveyard, and they said that there was a chance in the afternoon, so the whole thing was delayed until the afternoon.
And somebody had an idea to go to the graveyard, and that was the most incredible Ibiza-like ceremony happening, because all the cars, also one very old American Chrysler from the year 1920, that was driven by Tower Michael, and some other luxury cars came to the cemetery.
And they were all waiting for the funeral to take place. Since nobody really knew what was going on, finally they went into there and spoke to the man who had dug the holes for people to be buried.
The man said, “Well, we haven’t dug the hole yet, so if you come back in two hours, I will have done the job and you can proceed.”
I think people in Ibiza had never been faced so intimately with the phenomenon of death, because usually around a cemetery, around a funeral, there are funeral homes to take care of it, and the whole situation is not to be dealt with by other people.
So, nobody said, “Let’s go to the beach.” (it was a hot day in June.) Instead, people came and brought their instruments and got their joints ready and they were playing music, rhythm and blues for about two or three hours. Playing for Heine.
You would never think that there was actually a funeral taking place, even though the man was dead, lying there in the graveyard: rather, it was more like the people have decided to just be with him, and they were playing music together, and they were all in very high spirits.
And the night before, they had all gathered. All the people who were in the house, where Heine had been living at the last moment, and they were reading all night together from their Tibetan books, the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
So, by 5:00 or 6:00 o’clock the funeral finally took place, and for me it was the most incredible sight I have ever seen. All the people, all the friends, all the same people that you see usually at full moon parties, were all standing around this hole that just recently someone had dug.
There were still some bones around from the guy that was lying there before. Lying actually around. As a matter of fact, there was a big bone about 25-30 centimeters. Must have been the bone of the leg, and the parts of the old coffin you could see there.
The moment this happened Tower Mike came, and he was so angry. I don’t know if he was angry about the bones or he was angry about Heine being dead or just basically angry. He just expressed his sorrow by kicking the bones and swearing.
A lot of people were crying, and at the very point the sister came and all the people put their hands . . . they put earth over the coffin that had been carrying Heine to his hole—to his hole in Mother Earth, and then he was let down.
But, the man that was digging the hole there could have been standing somewhere on the road to San Miguel digging a hole or putting cement or something. He was totally uninvolved, and that was a very strange but a very characteristic thing for the whole setting.
And our friend, the ‘Prince,’ Phil, was saying some very nice words about this friend of ours, Heine, having gone into the next reality, and then at the very point, the man, the beautiful man with the violin, was coming.
And just at the moment the coffin was let down, the sister laid Heine’s precious violin—his favorite violin—onto his coffin with a lot of flowers, and then slowly earth was put over the coffin by the guy that worked there in the cemetery.
At that very moment, the violin player took out his violin, set it down and wanted to play a song. And the moment that the man that was filling in the hole. He interrupted his work and said, “No, no, no, no aqui en Espania, no aqui en Espania,” and he wouldn’t let him play the violin.
“Not here in Spain.”
That’s all he said.
But the people were very high at that point, and they left the funeral, and the violin wasn’t playing, but everybody realized that there was an immortal person actually being put into the ground, being given back to nature, but that Heine was actually still around, and ever since Heine has died, has gone off, people are telling about him the most speculative stories . . .
Such as, what did he do? Did he just jump off? Was he a suicide? Some people say, no, never Heine, no, he would have never have done it.
I would say, no, because I understood his mental state at the time, which was hearing that strange music in Vedra. Then, I even went back myself to the location a few times, and I must say the magnetism on that spot where he fell down, where you could see down to “Atlantis,” was incredible.
You have the feeling . . . You just have the feeling . . . I couldn’t stand there. I had to lie down. You had the feeling that you are being hypnotized, that something’s calling you into it. That’s one of the reasons I don’t go to Vedra myself, because it is too strong there. I went there once, and I must say I had . . . I could visualize Heine, I could hear his music, and I could also hear music.
And after he was buried, the day continued, and the celebration for Heine did not end at all. All the people—there must have been about 60 people, afterwards, came to my house, and we were playing music the whole night till the morning, and the people were at this still the next day.
So, that was the great wave-off and goodbye to our friend Heine, but he is still around, and he is still implanted in all the heads of all the people that had been here at the time in Ibiza, and the mutual knowledge around him and having known Heine even strengthens people’s friendships today, I feel. The mutual memory about Heine, the death, and that some great spirit of the island has gone and had to leave, perhaps.
That’s the story of Heine.
Did you say you, too, also wrote a song about Heine?
“Yes, I wrote a song.”
It goes like this:
“You found the wings that carried you so far beyond your mind. And for the price of loneliness, your future did unwind. Now your body’s reached the ground that no one walks upon ’cause you’ve been following the sound that led you on and on and on. Man, why didn’t Icarus teach you his only lesson? He’d tell you if you have to go, you ain’t got no time left for you here.”
That’s the story.
What is this myth about the Vedra area?
The myth about the rock is that people on Ibiza that are in high spirits around full moon time, they would go to Vedra. They would get a ‘call’ from there, and they would have an experience there.
They think that Vedra, perhaps, is the place where the Odysseus of Homer’s Odyssey came, and the sirens were calling him, and that all the boats that were smashed against the rocks, because they were following the beautiful sounds around there, and Odysseus was said to be tied up against a pole against the mast of the ship, and the rest of the people on the boat, the crew, had to put wax in their ears, and he was going through Vedra, and he said, “Untie me, untie me, untie the rope, I want to go out. I want to go on to leave now.”
You heard the story? That’s the story of Homer and Odysseus, and some people say that this has taken place in Vedra.
And I’m sure that one day, with the means of science, we will be able to find out that there are very special spots in this world that have a very special energy that can create situations for human beings that they are not used to and they probably will not be able to manage.
And the last thing, my great friend Chris, when I saw him the very same day at the bazaar, I said, “Chris, did you hear that Heine died, he fell off the rock, flew off the rock?”
And Chris just closed his eyes and said, “Man, what a way to go!”
Ever since people began coming to this island, there was one mystery on this island. Something everybody knew. That was Vedra. Whenever anybody speaks about Vedra, you get some very special emotions. You think not only about a nice place where you can go and go around with a boat or take a swim on the beach. No, no, it’s the place where something is happening. Where something mystical is happening—something that can bring great fortune or death to somebody.
In the case of Heine it had brought him his death. Maybe.
We don’t know. We don’t know for sure what it was, but he was definitely attracted very much by the place, himself, and I think that the music he played at the end was the music that he must have heard there—the music of the sirens.
Heine was playing his music always in ecstasy. He wasn’t playing just a tune, and he wasn’t the kind of guy that just came and played a song if you said come play a Beatle song for us.
And you may believe it or not, but the very moment now when I was telling the story, there was a thunderclap. Thunder coming—and believe—me we’re now in August and there hasn’t been thunder for five months!
Did the musical genius, Heine, who could even mimic the cries of a baby on his violin, actually not only hear the music of the sirens, but also learn to play it as well? Did such paranormal, mythological, and mystical lines actually intersect in the case of Heine?
Or did he simply slip, possibly because of maybe an overdose of LSD, or simply a sore foot, and fall to his death? Could he have been depressed over a failed relationship and even taken his own life?
There’s a very strong suggestion that something very mystical has happened in the case of Heine—a suggestion that maybe there is a grain of basic truth and reality to at least some of the ancient myths or legends.
And maybe it took a genius like Heine to either, because of happenstance or fate, stumble upon, descend (or ascend?) into the crosshairs of some very odd synchronous, aspects or weird forces that surround human existence with rare, unexpected lethal consequences there in Vedra on the island of Ibiza.
Urban Myth or Legend?
Is the story of Heine merely an urban legend, or myth—i.e., a tale that is told that is presumably true, but which often takes on a different setting and character and evolves somewhat over time, but tells a fairly consistent similar story?
Or is it an indelible truth that lives on over time and manifests itself now and again, here or there? Sometimes a story like this goes on for so long, that it is hard to tell whether it is based on any reality at all, but it does seem to take on a life of its own.
In the case of Heine, what makes the story so bizarre and so interesting is that there is a distinct possibility of an ancient mythological legend actually being somewhat true! Mix in the paranormal with a rare form of human genius on top of a truly ancient myth and almost anything could be possible.
To most of us, the tale told of sirens luring sailors and their ships to their deaths and destruction would seem to be merely ancient sea lore and mythology, relegated to the heaps of such similar fables of old, enduring sea stories.
But given the rare genius of Heine and his ability to capture and mimic sounds that no mere mortals have been heretofore able to do, and considering the mythology and mysticism as well as psychedelic drug cult rampant on Ibiza at the time, one has to wonder if but some truth and reality of some aspects of this ancient mythology has come into play and caught poor Heine in its grip.
Legends and mythology
“The island is said to be home to sirens and sea-nymphs, who tried to lure Odysseus from his ship in Homer’s Odyssey. It is also thought of as the holy island of the Tanit, the Phoenician lunar goddess, worshiped as the patron goddess and of fertility, which became Ibiza’s patroness. Legend has it that specific sacrifices were made to Tanit during full moons on the shore of the island.
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