I grew up in a small Midwestern town. It was founded in the mid 1850’s and up until the 1940’s was a bustling little place. It had a fancy hotel, a first-class library and even a dormitory for the girls who came to work as seamstresses in the local silk mill. This was back when silk stockings were all the rage for those who could afford them. My grandmother was one of those girl seamstresses.
After WWII, my father came home from the service, met a school teacher (who was new to town) and married her. After a few years and two kids later, they bought a big old house on a corner lot. The house was old, really old. It was built in 1873. I liked the house and the oversized lot, which gave us plenty of room to play. Growing up as a child, I don’t remember anything spooky or out of the ordinary — that is until one autumn evening. The year was 1962. I was lying on the couch in the living room, alone, reading. My mother was in the kitchen, washing the dishes. I remember being very engrossed in a book, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a figure. I dropped the book. A man was sitting in the corner of the living room, expressionless, staring directly at me. I froze! I couldn’t do anything but stare back, then within a few seconds he simply disappeared.
I don’t remember exactly what he looked like or what he was wearing, except that he was maybe in his thirties and that his clothes didn’t seem out of the ordinary. Too many years have gone by and specific memories fade, but I will never forget him. He wasn’t translucent like Casper the Ghost and he wasn’t a shadow. He was a fully materialized man. I realize that there is no logical explanation for what I saw. People don’t just appear and disappear. There is nothing for science to test. It can’t be replicated in a lab or explained with mathematical equations. A Psychiatrist might call it a lucid dream or hallucination. Regardless, of what others may think though, I know what I saw.
It was the summer of 1968. I was taking an afternoon nap, lying on a couch, in the same living room location as before. While sleeping, I experienced a very vivid dream. In this dream, I was walking into a house. From the foyer, you could either go left which took you in the living room, or right, to the bedroom wing. Straight ahead was a door which led to a walkout basement. A picture was hanging to the left of the door. I walked down the stairs. To the left was a pool table and a full wet bar. A picture of dogs playing poker hung on the wall. Straight ahead were sliding glass doors leading to a patio. Outside and to the left was a retaining wall. Looking out past the yard, was a golf course fairway. I wasn’t alone in this dream, I was with, of all people, Tony Curtis.
Fast forward to the summer of 1971. I was in college taking summer classes. I had made friends with one of my suite-mates in the dorm. His name was Tony and he lived in Thornhill, Ontario. One weekend, he invited me to his house. As soon as I walked through the front door, I commented to Tony something unbelievable: “I have been here before!” Everything was exactly as it had been in my dream. The picture, the carpet, the walls, the layout. We walked down the stairs and the recreation room was the same. The pool table, the bar, the dogs playing poker, the sliding glass doors. The outside was also the same. The retaining wall, the lawn, the trees, and the fairway. There was one difference, however, no Tony Curtis.
One afternoon in the summer of 1972 I was again taking a nap on the living room sofa. I woke up to the sound of fluttering wings. When I opened my eyes, there was a bat hovering inches from my face. I looked at him, he looked at me and after a few seconds flew away. When the initial shock wore off, I went to the utility room, found a tennis racket and chased him down. I admit that this may not qualify as paranormal, except that the bat hovered in my face for an unusually long time. I bring it up because when relaying these events to my cousin (who is far more experienced in these matters), she informed me that the location in the living room where I was lying may have been some sort of portal.
The Big Coincidence
I graduated from a small liberal arts college in southern Michigan. The college was in a small town without a lot going on, so I joined a fraternity. In my fraternity, there was a mentoring program, where a freshman would select an upperclassman, who would become his “big brother”. In my senior year, a freshman from Boston named Bill was my “little brother”. Several years later, my wife and two daughters were vacationing in South Haven, Michigan. While at the resort, we became friends with a couple from Chicago, also with two daughters. We made arrangements to see them in Chicago for a weekend visit. So, we packed up the car, left Grand Rapids and drove to Chicago. Friday evening, they took us to a popular Mexican restaurant on the west side of Chicago. While standing in line, a co-worker of my friend approached us to say hello. But, before my friend had a chance to introduce us, my “little brother” Bill and I were already hugging and exchanging greetings. As it turned out, Bill had an unresolved issue with not being invited to our wedding, some 12 years earlier. I don’t think it is possible to calculate the odds against running into a college friend in a big city, and having that meeting multiplied by two co-workers simultaneously meeting in the same location and at the same time, forming a coincidental triangular meeting of independent friendships.
A friend of mine once told me that he believed everything in the universe is knowable. That eventually if given the proper technology and know-how all the mysteries of the universe can be unmasked. I disagree. These experiences, and others, have led me to believe that there is a limit to human intelligence and our ability to understand the complexities of the universe, the sub-atomic world and even life itself.