The Afterlife Interview with Howard Hughes, Part Two

I’m pretty much ready for Christmas. Although not as impressive as Kristina’s and her in-laws decorations, we have lit garland just about everywhere and little motorized Christmassy things we’ve gathered over 3 decades, many of which barely work. One of the Santa Clause statues has suffered a dislocated shoulder, but I just tell the kids he had a stroke and can no longer use his right arm. A pity, since that means he won’t be able to carry as many presents. Bah Humbug. Not really. I always go overboard on the Christmas gifts. When Rune gets our Amex bill, he ain’t the least bit pleased. Fortunately, I’m a Scrooge during all the other months and rarely buy anything. 

We finally have the December Ask Erik column in. Check it out HERE! Also, the radio show Monday will be a special one. Pro-wrestler and motivational speaker, Jamin Olivencia, will be discussing who needs the help of a spiritual life coach and why. He’s my son, Lukas’s, life coach and has helped him so much. Lukas loves the fact that he’s besties with John Cena and will introduce them one day. When he told me that, I was like, “Who in the hell is John Cena?” Turns out, everyone knows him except me. Check out this latest video of Jamin and reach him through

And now for the second part in our interview with Mr. Hughes transcribed so generously by Leah H.

Me: Okay. You had many near fatal crashes in airplanes. Can you talk about that? Is it like you weren’t that good of a pilot, or what?  I mean, my husband, he was my flight instructor by the way, and I could do some 45° turns and get into my own wake turbulence. I was very good at that. It was just the landings that I wasn’t too good at. Anyway, that’s a whole other story.

Emma:  It’s so amazing that you’re a pilot, you know? I’ve always wanted to do the flying thing…

Me: I did solo cross-country. I just didn’t do the check ride with the examiner because he was such a letch. Every time I went upstairs he’d look up my skirt. Anyway, that is also another story.

HH: Well, that’s what I would do with the ladies too,

Me: I’ll bet you were a ladies man!

Emma: What was the question again?

Me:  Why did you have so many near fatal airplane crashes? Were you just not a good pilot?

HH: (Laughing) No, it had nothing to do with the way I would maneuver an airplane around. However, I would push them to the limits.

Me: I knew it!

HH: And my team would always say don’t do this, don’t do that. Just take it for a nice run; take it for a nice spin. But, I just couldn’t do that. I just couldn’t do the sane bit. I needed to push it and see how fast it could go, you know, how much weight could it carry? I needed to always push it to the limits, and so in that way I always got myself in trouble.

Me: But it seems like after one or two of those, you would’ve pulled the reins back a little bit on yourself.

HH: No, no, because being in control, in some way, it made me feel like I was in control of my own destiny, that rush that you get, from playing with life and death…

Me: Oh, okay.

HH: It gave me a rush. It gave me an adrenaline shock, and I was really an adrenaline junkie.

Me: Okay. Why did you become so reclusive? And was that difficult for you? And why didn’t you get treated? I mean, toward the end, you really became majorly so.

(Bella comes in and says hi)

(Naked baby Easton flashes the screen.)

Me: Mommy, come get Easton!

Michelle is supposed to keep him out of my office while I am in session but…

HH: Why so reclusive? I did that a couple of times in my life. Again, whenever the pressure became too much, whenever I felt like I was stuck, whenever I felt like there was too much pressure from the outside on me, I would run; I would flee; I would hide. It was just my way of dealing with not being in control of a situation.

(Arleen comes and gets baby Easton.)

Me: Thank you Arleen! She’s rescuing us.

HH: So whenever I felt out of control of the situation or out of control with what was going on, I would hide, and I would have these episodes where I would completely get off radar and I would lock myself in a room. Now, let me explain something to you. You know I always had OCD because of my mom, however, I did have a really bad crash where doctors told me or told the people around me that I wasn’t going to make it. My heart had shifted in a different place in my chest. My whole body was broken, and really, basically they were waiting for me to die. However, I was such a stubborn person, that I didn’t die. But what it did do is that it caused a lot of brain damage. So if you combine your brain damage with OCD then you have a really, really unstable person. And so, not only did I have the OCD that became worse, and worse, and worse over the years, the older I got, the worse it got. You know, it got to a point where I was paranoid of dust, and, the whole world is dust! (He laughs) I would even shut down productions of movies or projects until they cleared the dust. So, you can imagine what those people had to go through with me! But, the older I got, the worse it got, and when I got in that last accident, schizophrenia and paranoia were added to it due to the blow to my head, and I had skull fractures. Everything was inflamed, swollen, and broken. Like I said, the doctors, they gave me a week and that was it, but I made it through. However, like I said, it increased the paranoia and it increased the schizophrenia. I started seeing people that weren’t there; I started seeing things that weren’t there, and so I started to lock myself out more and more because I didn’t trust what I saw. And people around me would say there’s nobody there. They would confirm to me that there was nobody there, and so I knew that I was seeing things. So I stopped trusting myself. I started locking myself away more and more. Now, there were a lot of people around me, and I paid them a lot of money, and they all just wanted to please me and keep me happy, but, if you have a paranoid person with OCD and you are giving in to everything that person is asking, then you’re only asking for trouble. You’re asking for an enhancement of the illness.

Me: Wow.

(I’m so witty with my retorts. Sigh.)

HH: And so eventually I stopped allowing people into my room, because they were carriers of illness; they were carriers of diseases.

Me (jokingly): They could’ve come in with a biohazard suit.

HH: Right, and because I didn’t believe the illnesses came from me, but that they came from outside of me, I would completely seal my room and stay in there for months or even years. So even when people tried to communicate to me, eventually it was with little notes that they would shove under the door, and that is how I would sign contracts and make decisions. But, in the meantime, because of my paranoia and because of my schizophrenia, I started not seeing clearly about myself either, and I really just started focusing on one thing at a time just to keep my attention away from the things that I thought I was seeing that might have not been there.

Me: Okay. You were quite the inventor having built the very first HAM radio in Houston, and the very first motorized bike in Houston. Do you have anything to say about that? So mechanically minded! Wow.

Just like my Erik.

HH: I also invented the automatic bed.

Me: Really? What’s an automatic bed?

HH: The beds that go up and down for the patients.

Me: Seriously? I did not know that. That is awesome!

HH: Yes, because when I was in that hospital for a long time trying to recover from that almost deadly accident, I needed to find a way to go up and down, so I invented a special bed for me. I’m the one who invented that. I invented a lot of things, and you know I’m very proud of every single one of them, but the thing I’m most proud of, really, is the medical institute that I founded. Because of my paranoia of illnesses, I really wanted doctors to find cures for everything, and so I invested tons and tons of money into this research facility for all of these different illnesses. So, I like to think I contributed to modern medicine today in discovering where certain diseases came from, what the solution was and so on.

Me: Well, why didn’t you ever get treated? Or maybe you did! I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong.

HH: People had hired doctors for me. However, since I didn’t allow them in much…. (He laughs)

Me: But couldn’t they have thrown some pills under the door?

HH: Well, after my accident, I did become addicted to codeine, and so I had a severe codeine addiction on top of everything else. So, they kept me happy with the codeine, but I didn’t want them to touch me.

Me:  But you were never into psychiatric drugs, ever. Or were you?

HH:  No, just on codeine.

Me: Maybe they didn’t have them back then, I don’t know. What was your best business investment?

HH: Let me explain just a little bit before you go on, why they never put me on any of that medication. Because they were benefiting very much, from me not being all there so that they could more easily make me sign deals, contracts and paychecks while my mind wasn’t 100% there. So let’s just say they benefited from me not being in my right mind, in a very profitable way.

Emma: Now, what was your question?

Me: Your best business investment, just briefly.

HH: My best business investment? (He laughs) My hotels. That way I didn’t have to move.

Me: Who was the love of your life?

Emma: He’s laughing. I don’t know if he’s serious, but he’s laughing.

HH: The love of my life? That would have to be Ms. Hepburn.

Me: As in Katherine Hepburn?

Emma:  Kathy. He calls her Kathy.

Me: Aw!

HH: She was just as crazy as I was—

Me: She was a spitfire!

HH: —without the illnesses.

Me: Yeah, she was a spitfire.

HH: She accepted me. She accepted me with my illnesses. It did eventually become very hard for her to live with the OCD and the paranoia and all of that. It did become very hard for her, so I do understand why she needed to move on. However, she was the only person that I felt connected with.

Me: Well did y’all have an intimate relationship? Did you ever get married?

HH: We had a very intimate relationship, but we never got married.

Me:  Okay. Tell me about your relationship with Gene Tierney and what you did for her daughter. I think Gene Tierney is an actress, but I’m not sure. I think that’s from a blog member.

(Emma thinking)

Me: If you don’t want to say, that’s fine.

Emma:  He’s just shaking his head. It just feels like it was just an exchange of resources, is what he is saying. I’m not really sure what that means.

Me: Can you elaborate, Mr. Hughes?

(Long pause)

Me: Or Erik, you can jump in and help if you want.

Emma: Yeah, there doesn’t feel like there’s any romantic involvement in it, but it feels like there was an assistance of funds. They keep showing me money in order to help a child.

Me: Okay.

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Elisa Medhus

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