Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Amazing Tale of Jonathan Winston - Chapter Three

June 29, 2014 - The Georgia Gazette

By the summer of 1987 news of what was happening to Jonathan Winston had spread across the globe. On June 6, 1987 this paper, the Georgia Gazette, published an article entitled "The Man Who Never Sleeps." Within days, the requests for interviews numbered over 300.

What Jonathan Winston feared most, as he passed 100 days without sleep, was not death. He now seemed certain that whatever was happening was not killing him. Nor did he worry that he was losing his mind. His time in the Glen Oaks mental facility in the spring of 1987 had calmed him down and made him stop questioning his sanity. What would have kept Jonathan awake at night (if he had been able to sleep) was the overriding thought of becoming a freak show.

Jonathan had spoken with the Georgia Gazette for the article because he knew the story would get out no matter his wishes, and he wanted the record to be correct. He told the paper that the doctors had been unable to find the cause of his "problem". They could see some unusual brain activity happening every night at almost the same time, but had no explanation for why it occurred nor any suspicion as to what it was doing. The brain tremors seemed to make it unnecessary for Jonathan to sleep. Each morning he felt much like you or I would after a full evening of shut-eye. And yes, he was actually apparently completely healthy.

The Gazette's piece was filled with expert opinions on what ailed Mr. Winston. From around the globe there were diagnosis and cures. "Give me 72 hours with him, and he will be sleeping like a baby" was the pronouncement of Dr. Walter Postman who had won universal acclaim for his study on sleep ailments. He postulated that there was a triggering mechanism in Winston's brain that could be turned on and off, like a light switch. His theory, like every other one that came before and would come after, was incorrect.

Jonathan's bookstore business had been in shambles in the early months of 1987 as he was shunted from doctor to doctor, and then to Glen Oaks. While friends tried to help out, they could only do so much. After he returned to work, and the Gazette article was published, Jonathan Winston's bookstore became a tourist attraction. Within weeks, business was exploding and Jonathan hired his first full time employee since he opened his doors eight years earlier. While he welcomed the financial relief, he despised why it was occurring.

In July of 1987, Jonathan Winston disappeared. It would be 18 months before he resurfaced. There were reports during that time that he had died in an accident, committed suicide, become a monk, shaved his head, grown a beard. There were thousands of sitings and endless conjecture. In his absence, his fame only grew larger. If Jonathan Winston hoped would come back to find his story nothing more than yesterday's news, his wish would not be fulfilled.

Where had he been during those months?  Jonathan would not divulge this information nor what had prompted his return. One would have thought this secret would long since have been revealed, if not by Jonathan, than by someone, anyone, with whom he had an encounter, by chance or purpose, during that time. But, like other great mysteries of the universe, no one knows where and how Jonathan Winston lived from July 1987 until January of 1989. And he was soon voted one of the ten most famous persons on the planet for the decade of the 1980's.

After giving the interview to the Georgia Gazette in the spring of 1987, Jonathan Winston would not grant another request to speak on the record for 27 years. As  he neared 10,000 consecutive days and nights without sleep, he decided that he would grant one, and only one more request to tell his story.

To discover Jonathan Winston's personal thoughts on the odyssey that has taken him to places he never dreamed of going (and., literally, could not dream about) you must read the July 6, 2014 fourth, and final, installment in the Georgia Gazette of "The Life and Very Strange Times of Jonathan Winston"

No comments: