Extra Sensory Perception: What is it for?

The other day I was watching a special on the 911 terror attack. Many people ask: Where were you when Japanese Zeros bombed Pearl Harbor while our soldiers were busy on the Sabbath swabbing the deck? Where were you when a bullet collided with President Kennedy’s skull? Where were you when Janet Jackson’s boob was exposed during the Super Bowl halftime show?

For my generation the question is: Where were you on the morning of September 11th? Well, I was in geometry class taking an exam, but that’s not when my road to September 11th began…

In August of 2000, my family and I were on a bus tour through New York City. We were celebrity-chasing. “That house is owned by George Clooney.” “That is where Matt Damon goes for his Latte.” “This is the apartment of Donald Trump.” “This is the wine bottle that Charlie Sheen used to bash over the head of his hooker.”

I found the whole thing about as interesting as wet cardboard. After about a half an hour of this time-wasting, my eyes shut involuntarily and I fell asleep on that overcrowded bus. When the bus stopped, I woke up and literally had to wipe away the drool that had accumulated on my shirt. This was part of the tour when we disembarked and went sight-seeing. The site was the World Trade Center.

Really? This tedious tour climaxes at a tall building? What, are we going to ask the receptionist for her autograph?

But for me, this was the beginning of a tour that lasted one year and one month. I grudgingly got out of the bus and walked into the WTC’s spacious lobby. This is when things got eerie and I experienced something that I hitherto had not experienced and heretofore have yet to experience again.

Suddenly, I heard an inaudible voice in my head say clearly, “Remember what you see, because you will never be in this building again.” At first, I assumed the voice in my ear meant that I would never be on that miserable bus tour again. But I immediately sensed that it did not mean that. So, I scanned across the lobby with my eyes and saw the receptionist’s desk to the right and a bank of elevators in front of me.

Then my parents suggested that we do the tourist thing and ascend to the top deck at the 110th floor. The elevator door closed and climbed to the top in roughly ten seconds. I think we were pulling two G’s and my ears popped three times. We finally came to rest at this rotating restaurant. Admittedly, I thought this was pretty cool; however, the observation deck was closed. We looked out of the windows instead, at the toy cars and the little ants below.

It was unbelievably high. We were towering over the nearest skyscraper by what looked to be a mile. Then a deep and profound weight came over me. A sadness. A helplessness. I peered out the glass window again and saw in my mind’s eye a plane flying. A passenger plane. Not particularly out of the ordinary because I could imagine that from this height one could get a good look at planes. Then it did something highly unusual. The image of the plane banked into our building. I saw this image of a plane banking in my head multiple times.

I wasn’t aware of what I was doing, but my Mom later told me that I started, softly… crying. She asked me what was wrong. I didn’t actually understand why she was asking me this, but then I felt myself crying. I turned to look at her and said, “We will never be in this building again.” My family continued to look towards the ground outside, but I only wanted to do one thing: Get out of that tower and get out fast.

We returned home. I went about my life for a year without further incident.

Then came a random Tuesday morning. I hadn’t studied for our Geometry test but I consoled myself in the fact that I wouldn’t understand it anyway. Something about Sine and Cosine. I didn’t have a clue what that meant but it’s a good thing my TI84 Plus calculator already had the functions programmed in. Now all I had to figure out was how to type in the variables while I hid the calculator under my desk.

We were nearing the end of the class, and I had just figured out the answer to question number two, when a dread fell over me like a blanket. It was the same dread that I had felt when I was standing on the top floor of that tower in lower Manhattan. Something is going on, I said in my head, something not good. This feeling got closer and closer to my face until it felt positively suffocating. Every part of me wanted to say to our teacher, “Something is going on. Something is happening. Please turn on the tv.”

I was too scared to utter those words though. If I was wrong and nothing was happening I would be seen as a total kook. So, in order to cover my tracks, I made an agreement with myself. I will look at every student in this classroom and if it appears that someone else is feeling the same way, I will direct the teacher to turn on the damn television.

Predictably, no one else looked up at me. It was 7:45 am, 8:45 in New York. Then a short time later, the clock ticked to 8:03–9: 03am in New York. Still, I could not muster the strength to alert, not only our teacher, but the entire classroom that something was going down.

The bell mercifully rang and I started off for my next class. Two girls walked in front of me. I heard one of them say, “Did you hear? Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center.” I thought she was talking about some kind of movie she had just watched. Ironically, my next class was AP U.S. History. For some inexplicable reason, our teacher did not turn on the television. When I again heard the news of the plane crashes, I immediately thought to myself, how have those towers not collapsed yet?

A short time later a rush of moral wind came over me, Oh God oh God please help me God. I saw this coming over a year ago and I had done nothing about it. Notified nobody.

For the rest of the day and for months afterward, I felt guilty. I knew through logic that terrorists had commandeered those planes. But I felt so horrible, so personally responsible, that I almost felt like I had flown those planes in myself. Now I have 2,977 Americans to answer to once I knock on the Pearly Gates. And once I come before Saint Peter, it will be too late to hope for forgiveness.

I am not the only one to experience this phenomenon. I hear stories of watches stopping at the exact moment a loved one dies. I know that twins can sense the emotions of each other from miles away (or kilometers if you are reading this in Djibouti). Even animals have built-in ESP. Cows, before turning into leather belts or my cheeseburger, can sense storms coming.

This all begs the question, what is ESP for? Sensing something while it’s happening or before it happens doesn’t seem to alter the outcome. It’s like knowing your dog is going to poop on the carpeting. You know it’s coming, you mentally prepare for it, but the pooch is hellbent on lighting up a stink bomb in your living room.

Even though extra sensory perception is by definition, supernatural, there is too much evidence to be ferreted away out of mere skepticism. It is not an ability since no one asks for it to occur. Is it a subconscious offshoot like a dream? Is it something that can be harnessed for good? Are angels or demons whispering in your ear, playing with your fate? For me, this fleeting experience fell when those towers fell.

Just to come full circle, Muslims have a saying — “Allahu alam.” Which means, “Only God knows.” Yes, of course that omniscient being knows. We can’t ask God from whence ESP comes… but maybe we can ask the cows.