The White Tower

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“Where do you get your ideas from?” That’s the question people often ask novelists probably more than any other. I never know quite what to say when I hear it. Since Trish and I are headed to a writer’s conference in Tallahassee this coming weekend, where we’ll be featured speakers, I probably should come up with an answer.

Whatever my answer might be, it won’t compare to the astonishing answer to that question that Liz Whittaker can provide for her latest novel, The White Tower. Liz, a resident of Wales, has written numerous novels set in the British Isles. Our friend Jane Clifford explains the fascinating story of how this one came about. (Jane has offered some unusual stories, charged with synchronicity, over the years of our blog. However, this one might top them all.)

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“My friend Liz, who is dying of cancer, launched her last novel, The White Tower, which she originally wrote in 1975. It’s very strange how she came by the story.

“A friend of hers got a message through a ouija board: “Tell Liz to go to Pencarreg.” That was it. No reason given.

“Liz didn’t tell me about the message, but came to me with an ordnance survey map and asked me to dowse it with a pendulum to find where she should go for a day out. The pendulum indicated Pencarreg. Then Liz told me about the message. She went to another dowser friend and repeated the question, again without revealing the reason. Likewise, the pendulum indicated Pencarreg.

“So she went there with another friend, where they visited the remains of a Roman fort on top of a small mountain. Whilst there the weirdest thing happened to her. She felt the presence of a girl from centuries ago step into her and Liz began to channel an unknown language at the same time as this girl showed her events from centuries before.

“Liz didn’t feel too comfortable with what was going on, since although clairvoyant she wasn’t used to mediumship. Her friend was astonished to see Liz gabbling away in a strange language. There was an extraordinary noise in the air and to their astonishment a pillar of bees above Liz fell on her and covered her, bees crawling inside her clothes, in her hair, all over her. Terrified, she ran shrieking down the mountain.

“Amazingly, the bees left her unharmed and the spirit girl had gone! During the whole experience Liz downloaded the story for the White Tower. Back in the ‘70s, I read it chapter by chapter hot from the type writer. However, it remained unpublished until I encouraged her to re-write it in recent years. She has dedicated the book to me.

“Last Tuesday, we were discussing the bee incident and Liz told me a friend, who is not psychic, had trouble believing the events that led to the story. A short time later, I was sitting at an outdoor café, while Liz had gone to order coffee, and I watched a woman walk past me with a bee buzzing inside a wine glass. She was holding a card over the top and was walking purposefully up a busy high street taking this bee somewhere. I have never seen someone rescuing a bee in a busy town before!

“Liz returned with the coffees and another woman stopped to chat to her about the book and of course the bee incident was discussed again. The novel tells an extraordinary story of when the Romans brought Christianity here and Druidism and the old ways went underground. So there is mystery and magic in this novel, and it seems that Liz had literally channeled it from a spirit from the past.

Below is the cover image for The White Tower.

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Now You Know Everything

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Carol Bowman sent us this list as a fun thing to read to a friend in the hospital. It piqued my interest, so I started googling the statements and discovered the original source for this list.

Some of these statements are true, some are true but with caveats, and some are wrong. I didn’t check all of these, but have noted the ones I did check. Fun trivia, for sure. I did check snopes. com to see if they knew about this list. I have to say that I grew disenchanted with snopes when we were writing Synchronicity Highway and found that snopes dismissed the JFK/Lincoln parallels outright, basically writing them off to random weirdness. I think snopes is actually a skeptic site. That said, here’s their take on this list.

For the sake of brevity, I’ve eliminated some of the items on the original list. Feel free to find your own supportive or contradictory evidence as to what’s true – and what isn’t!

A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.

A cat has 32 muscles in each ear. – Yes, but in the outer ears.

A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue.

 True

A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.
 True but…It turns out to be about 5 months.

A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours. Well, no.

A “jiffy” is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.

A snail can sleep for three years.

 Apparently true.

Al Capone’s business card said he was a used furniture dealer. Sounds about right, like John Gotti calling himself a plumber.

All 50 states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the $5 bill.

Almonds are a member of the peach family.

 True

An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.

Babies are born without kneecaps. They don’t appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age.

  Sort of true.

Butterflies taste with their feet.
 True!

Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds. True.

Dogs only have about 10.

“Dreamt” is the only English word that ends in the letters “mt”.

February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.

In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

If the population of China walked past you, in single file, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.

If you are an average American, in your whole life, you will spend an average of 6 months waiting at red lights.

 Didn’t check this, but it sure feels true!

It’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.

Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors. DaVinci invented a lot of things, but not the scissors.

Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.

On a Canadian two dollar bill, the flag flying over the Parliament building is an American flag.

Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.

The Peanut is one of the ingredients of dynamite .

Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.

 True

“Stewardesses” is the longest word typed with only the left hand and “lollipop” with your right.

The average person’s left hand does 56% of the typing.

The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.

The sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every letter of the alphabet.

The winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid.

 I believe that Niagra Falls – or parts of it- also froze this past winter.

There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.

There are more chickens than people in the world.

There are only four words in the English language which end in “dous”: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous

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Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.

TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

Winston Churchill was born in a ladies’ room during a dance.

 Well, maybe and maybe not. If you google this, you’ll find that he was – and that he wasn’t.

Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks; otherwise it will digest itself.

NOW you know everything

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E3 or E-Cubed

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One of my great joys in life is visiting bookstores, browsing the aisles, discovering what’s being published and by who, and paging through books that seize my attention. Sometimes, I jot down the names of the books and download them later onto my iPad for a fraction of the cost of the print book. But other times, I feel that I want to take the book home in physical form, plop down on the couch, and get lost in it. On a recent visit, one of the books I brought home was E3 – (E cubed) by Pam Grout, a sequel to her wonderful book E-Squared.

None of the ideas in either of these books is new. The ideas have been around for decades, maybe centuries, but I was first introduced to them in 1973, when I began reading the Seth books by Jane Roberts. Esther and Jerry Hicks and Louise Hay have also popularized these ideas. The basic premise? You get what you concentrate on. You create your own reality. It all begins from inside.

 But Grout excels in the way she presents the material. She’s funny and sometimes irreverent and the nine experiments she poses are fascinating. So I decided to try one of the activities in Experiment 5: Your New BFF Corollary (or Money: It’s Not Complicated).

The “sub-hypothesis” of this particular experiment is, to quote Grout, “If I give money away, I will receive even more money. It’s an unalterable principle. What you give comes back to you multiplied and running over. She and her daughter tried this experiment when they were in Chicago. They took a stack of $5 bills and left them at bus stops, taped to park benches. Pinned them into clothes in stores. With each bill, they left an anonymous note about the abundance of the universe and how this was just one small sign of how much the person who found it was loved. What happened to her within a few weeks of conducting this experiment was that E-Squared hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

 OK, I thought. I’ll give this one a try. I dug through my wallet for all my $1 bills – I had just five – and thought about the anonymous note I would tape to the bills. I decided Grout’s note would do just fine. There’s a photo at the top of the note and one of the bills. The universe is ever abundant. This is just one sign of how much you are loved. I typed several copies of the note, cut them to size, taped them to the dollar bills, and dropped the Scotch tape in my purse.

Rob and I went out to dinner that night and I taped the first one to the inside of the restroom door at the restaurant. The second one went under a container on our table that held condiments. The third went on my neighbor’s windshield. The fourth was taped to the windshield of a random car in the parking lot. The fifth one was taped to the inside door of the restroom at Barnes & Noble. I thought about how I would feel if I found one of these – startled, amused, a really good WTF? moment.

Within 48 hours, I received a $150 rebate from ATT that I wasn’t expecting until May. That afternoon, Rob and I got a call about a possible ghostwriting project. My next foray will be with $5 bills and I’ll expand my venue beyond restrooms and car windshields! But first, there are some other experiments from this marvelous book that I intend to try. I’ll report back from the field of potential!

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Time Is Art: a Film about Synchronicity

Brooklyn-based independent filmmakers and husband and wife team, Joél Mejia and Katy Walker, are close to completing a three year project that documents a mysterious phenomenon called synchronicity, first discovered by renowned psychotherapist, Carl Jung. Their documentary film, Time is Art, follows the journey of a writer trying to make sense of the recurring symbols and strange coincidences that she began experiencing after 9/11 and the death of a loved one.

 

 

The filmmakers did not set out to make another “new age” film, instead their film aims to merge science and spirituality, and to address the very real phenomenon of meaningful coincidences. What the filmmakers discovered is that around the world there is a growing ecosystem and culture inspired  by synchronicity that is eager to make sense of a world ravaged by environmental destruction, corruption, inequality, and social unrest. Together with some of the leading voices in psychoanalysis, parapsychology, biology, and activism in art, the filmmakers explore a reality where time is transformed from a unit that can be measured and commodified, “Time is money”, to an experience of oneness with the natural rhythms of nature and the universe. It is here that the filmmakers discover that time is, in fact, art.

The filmmakers aspire to bridge the gap between the format of the cult classic film like Richard Linklater’s “Waking LIfe” and the documentary, “What the Bleep Do We Know”, by taking an unconventional approach that allows audiences to experience reality as Jennifer Palmer, a corporate IT specialist turned writer, begins to see it – one less concerned with linear storytelling, and more open to the cyclical patterns of nature, the hidden meanings of symbols, and the dreamlike overlapping of people, places, and moments. Visually captivating images of urban and natural landscapes, visionary art and street murals, excerpts of Jennifer’s writing, and compelling conversations with fellow seekers and mystics like Toko-Pa Turner, Richard Tarnas, Ph.D, Graham Hancock, biologist, Rupert Sheldrake, and visionary artists, Allyson & Alex Grey, guide us through the underlying premise of the film: perhaps we can tap into a way of being that is not ruled by a finite sense of time, but rather by the ability to live in harmony with the true creative nature of our existence.

Here’s more on their ambitious project. And take a look at the trailer:

 

 

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Memorial for Kathy Doore

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On the evening of April 8, we met Lynn and Bruce Gernan and ten or twelve other people for a memorial service for our friend, author and intrepid explorer Kathy Doore.

The service took place on a catamaran that Lynn’s sister, Holly, owns. Kathy wanted her ashes scattered at sea, so that was the point of the boat. Also, Kathy was a sailor who spent a lot of time on Lake Michigan, where she had some strange other worldly encounters, and it seemed fitting that she should have a memorial at sea.

The catamaran is docked at the Boca Raton Hotel & Resort, a landmark in Boca. The pink tower in the photo has existed since 1926 and was designed by architect Addison Mizner, whose signature buildings – or copies of them – can be seen all over Boca Raton.

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Lynn put together a beautiful memorial pamphlet that she entitled Celebration of Life. It included photos of Kathy, some biographical material about her and her love affair with Peru, and Markawasi, and a piece I’d written about her. The weather was beautiful and as we headed out to sea, I remembered something I’d said to Bruce the other day when I ran into him at the gym – that Kathy might put in an appearance. It would be right up her alley to do something like that – as an orb or something else that was unusual.

When we were maybe a mile or two out, Rob and Bruce told me to come topside to see something. It was an unusual cloud formation in the shape of a V, against a sky so blue it made your heart ache. It was as if it was pointing the way to the place where Kathy’s ashes would be scattered. Or, as Lynn said, Kathy left us a farewell message. Lynn later enlarged the photo and said that it appears there’s a white orb in the bottom left-hand corner of that cloud formation in the middle of the V.

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Kathy’s closest friend, Marcia, came from San Diego for the memorial. She last saw Kathy when they spent a week together at Chichen Itza in Mexico. Before the ashes were scattered at sea, Marcia pressed her hands against the beautiful biodegradable box Lynn had bought for Kathy’s ashes. It moved me, seeing this close friend of hers speaking to her in the moments before.

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Rob also placed his hands on the box and uttered a tribute to Kathy that he uses at the end of his yoga/meditation classes. “May the long time sun shine within you, all love surround you, and the pure light within you guide your way home.”

Then the first mate took the box, removed the top, and began scattering her ashes. It was an unbearably sad moment, close to sunset, the close of the day.

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And yet there was a poignancy and triumph as well. Kathy Doore left her mark and was ready to go. She’d completed what she came here to do.

My tribute to Kathy:

Lady of the lake, lady of the stones,

Your nomadic spirit forever searched

For the essential myths, the very bones

of the mystery of human experience.

 

You listened for the pulse, the heartbeat,

In every world you explored,

Fog, mountain, time, space, every feat

Etched against skies where you soared

 

Lady of the lake, lady of the stones,

We will remember you for

Wisdom you imparted and loaned,

All those strange, invisible doors

You flung open for the rest of us

Proving we’re more than dust to dust

 

You and Markawasi, joined at the hip,

Endure as enigmas of what might be

Of what we might discover and see

Cruising the sunset on this final trip.

 

Lady of the lake, lady of the stones,

You left much too soon

For the far side of the moon,

So we’re asking that you please phone home!

 

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A Romantic Crush Synchro

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The contact form on the blog often brings in fascinating email from people with questions about synchros or with synchros they’ve experienced. We recently received an email from Karla McNeese from Topeka, Kansas.

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So I have a massive crush on a guy. It has been several years since it started and it’s one of those “he doesn’t even know I am alive” sort of things. I recently discovered I have the same rare-ish disease that his father died from. This is interesting to me because it is rare enough to learn someone has it, let alone like this.

Also, I share the same birth date (different year) as a dear friend of his. Not sure if this lines up to anything other than an astrological alignment. So what say you? Are these synchronicities? Am I simply grasping at things? And what does this mean??? Thanks in advance.

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I asked Karla if she’d ever experienced a synchro before. Her response: To the best of my remembrance, this is the first time I have experienced anything like this. Ever since learning of the phenomenon of synchronicity I keep my mind and my eyes open for the experience. When I learned this fact about my “crush” I got cold chills, then a feeling of warmth came over me. Hard to explain but it was sort of a “knowing” deep down.

My take is that both incidents are synchronicities. But figuring out what they mean is more challenging. Does it mean something will develop between her and this man on whom she has the massive crush? Or is there some other meaning altogether? All opinions and ideas are welcome!

 

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Coincidence and the crime novel

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Trish and I write a lot about synchronicity, both here on the blog and in our non-fiction books. But what about our novels? Do we ever use synchronicities in our stories?

Actually, not so much.

It’s tricky for writers. You have to be very careful, because readers usually don’t like it when a mystery is solved by a chance encounter, an overheard conversation, or a mistaken turn on a road that leads to a neat resolution. Readers consider such methods of resolving a mystery as a shortcut, and they feels cheated. They want mysteries solved through cause and effect, not through mysterious, unexplainable circumstances. Right?

But wait. There’s something else here.

The fact is, real life investigators often make use of coincidence in their detective work.  An investigator just happens to get assigned to a case that is suspiciously similar to a case he looked into last year. He takes what learned in that case and is able to solve the new one. If the case had gone to another investigator, it wouldn’t have been solved. Or at least not in such a neat and timely manner.

How many crimes have been solved in this manner outside of cause and effect? Former private investigator Steve Gore notes that if it were not for these kinds of coincidences, many suspects, witnesses, and pieces of evidence wouldn’t be found and crimes would remain unsolved, perhaps even be unsolvable. Except investigators typically call it experience or street knowledge, not chance and coincidence or synchronicity. Yet, another experienced investigator might not have the same sources and experiences.

Here’s a story from Gore’s own experiences:

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“Shortly after I opened my private practice, I was contacted by a criminal defense attorney whose client had been arrested for aggravated mayhem. The victim had been badly beaten and lost part of his ear and underwent hundreds of stitches to repair his torn and slashed skin. The client, like the other three men arrested, denied that he was involved or even present. If convicted, under California law the client faced a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

“The police report said the victim and two women had walked out of a bar and gotten into an argument with four men. The men then assaulted the victim and fled. Police located four men in a parking lot a mile away and detained them. The women were brought to the scene and identified all of them.

“The client, held in the county jail without bail, told me he happened to be in the parking lot when four men drove up. He knew two of them and they began talking. One of the four walked off the lot and into the neighborhood. The police drove up, detained the four remaining men and brought the women to the scene. The client assumed he’d be released right then. He wasn’t.

“Since the three others were claiming innocence, they refused to tell the client who the fourth man was, both because they were afraid he might cut a deal and inform on them and because they were afraid he might take revenge on them for informing on him. However, one afternoon in the jail exercise yard the client overheard the three talking and learned that the fourth man was nicknamed Boo, that he was a drug dealer, that he was about five years out of high school, and that his mother, name unknown, used to live in a pink apartment building on a wide street in Richmond, California.

“I was faced with a number of problems: I didn’t know whether the client was telling me the truth about the event. I didn’t know whether he was telling me the truth about what he claimed to have overheard. I didn’t know whether Boo actually existed and, if so, had really been involved in the crime. And assuming everything the client told me was true, not only were there Boos by the dozen in Richmond, there were dozens of pinkish apartment buildings on the many wide streets in the city’s fifty-two square miles–larger than San Francisco.

“Moreover, there are many of shades of pink and too often what is described as pink turns out to be a shade of red or brown. Beyond that, even if I found the right building, I needed to find someone who knew Boo’s mother, which meant they’d also have to know her son’s nickname was Boo.

“What were the chances of that?

“Even as I sat in the interviewing room at the jail with the client I recalled that two months earlier, when I was still working for the county, I had been to a pink apartment building on a wide street in Richmond looking for a witness. I drove straight out there and spotted a woman sitting on the steps and drinking a beer. I walked up to her, identified myself, and said, “I’m trying to get ahold of Boo’s mother.”

“And she said: ‘Mary moved away about two weeks ago.’

“No reader of fiction is going to believe it.

“And something almost as coincidental: I later found Mary had gotten a traffic ticket in Oakland a few days earlier and the citation showed her new address.

“Over the next few days I drove by that address until I spotted someone out front who matched Boo’s description. He was standing with some men about his own age and selling drugs over the low front fence.

“I showed up the next morning, hoping to catch him still a little groggy and before his crime partners showed up. A woman who identified herself as his mother opened the door. The fear in her eyes suggested that Boo might be the one. I say ‘might’  because it was likely she knew that Boo had been involved in other crimes and that someone, sometime would be coming for Boo. She stepped back and let me in and said, “I’ll go wake him up.”

“I sat him down at the dining-room table, set out my recorder, and the story came out. (The various and contradictory reasons people talk to investigators and confess to crimes is a topic for another time.) He not only admitted to his part and cleared the client, but implicated the other three in a hit by hit, punch by punch, slash by slash account of who did what.

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Good story, right? I’m going to mention it in a talk at the Tallahassee Writers Conference later this month, a talk about synchronicity and writing. How did I get it? Did I have to go interviewing detectives, did I search the Internet with crime and coincidence keywords or detectives and coincidence? No.

Someone sent it to me just as I was starting to put together the talk. It came from a mystery writer actually, Nancy Pickard. She knows Trish and I write about synchronicity, but she had no idea either of us would be talking about it at a writer’s conference in a few weeks. So that’s another example of how things fall together.

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Conference speakers…..T&R

 

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Renie Wiley & Adam Walsh

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Adam Walsh

 

This post originally appeared on our blog during the first month of its existence. The psychic mentioned in the post, Renie Wiley, died in 2002. She was a wonderful friend and an amazing empath.

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Synchronicities often occur during highly charged emotional periods, when we’re experiencing major transitions in our lives. For a psychic, this kind of emotion is like skimming cream off the surface of milk.

This story is from Renie Wiley, a friend who lived in Cooper City, Florida. She was an empath, a psychic who tuned in to the emotions and physical body of whoever she was reading. Renie sometimes worked with cops on difficult cases. We observed her on several occasions and wrote an article on her psychic detective work for Fate Magazine. She died in 2002.

The following story illustrates an aspect of synchronicity – precognition. (Note: I think precognition was the wrong term for this. Clairvoyance fits better; she was tuning in on an event that already had happened).

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In early 1982, Renie and a cop from the Cooper City police department were driving near a mall in Hollywood, Florida, where Adam Walsh had last been seen on July 27, 1981, while shopping with his mother. The cop hoped Renie might be able to pick up something psychically about Adam – where he was, what had happened to him, who had abducted him. At this point, the police suspected he had been kidnapped, but didn’t have any leads. Renie often had an object that belonged to the victim she hoped to tune in on, but she didn’t have anything of Adam’s. Yet, posters of the boy had been plastered across South Florida, his huge, innocent eyes supplicating, begging for help. His face had been burned into the collective consciousness and that seemed to be all that Renie needed.

Within a few miles of the mall, Renie’s hands suddenly flew to her throat. She started choking, gasping for air. The cop had worked with her often enough to understand she was picking up something related to Adam and quickly sped away from the area. Several miles later, he swerved to the side of the road. By then, Renie was sobbing.

“Adam,” she whispered, “was decapitated.”

Not long afterward, the head of the six-year-old boy was found in a field in Vero Beach, more than a hundred miles north of the Hollywood mall.

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Joni Mitchell

Ther are some musicians, artists, writers, who typify an era. Joni Mitchell is such a musician. I read tonight that she’s 71  and is in the hospital.

Here she is, singing one of the great folk tunes of the late 60s and early 70s.

Here’s an update on her condition.

 

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Making contact

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Could watching a television show about spirit contact enhance one’s chance to make contact with a deceased loved one? That’s what Mandy Moo of the UK wondered, and then decided to see for herself. Here’s her story, which first appeared on the Unexplained-Mysteries.com web site.

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“Three years ago, my dad passed away suddenly from a heart attack in his sleep. I was devastated and still miss him terribly. Last week, I had been watching Ghost Adventures, and feeling a little inspired, I thought I’d have a go at taking some camera shots using my iphone. I turned off all the lights in the lounge and talked to my dad as if he were still here, telling him that I was attempting to capture a photo of him.

“I pointed the phone at the spot on the sofa where he used to sit when he came to my house and started clicking away. The room was in complete darkness apart from when the flash would go off on the camera. After about 5-6 shots I switched on the lights to review the pictures, and there was an orb above the sofa on one of the shots.

“I still thought it might have been questionable so I turned off the lights and began clicking away again. After repeatedly clicking for about another 15-20 shots, I saw a figure of a man sitting on my sofa. It happened so fast on the pre-flash light, I was so shocked that I gasped out loud. A split second after I saw him what felt like a massive ball of heat hit me in the chest and radiated from my toes and out of my head. I immediately switched on the lights and sat there a bit dumb-struck and tried to process what had just happened. The image had not been caught on camera, but I know what I felt and saw was real.

“I would like to know if anyone else has experienced anything like this. I don’t know if the figure I saw was my dad, I really hope it was. I don’t know whether to feel scared or relieved. The next morning whilst I was vacuuming my hallway, I heard a voice call out ‘MUMMA!’ for a split second. I thought it was one of my children but I was alone in the house. Then about an hour after that I was coming into the hallway again when I saw out of the corner of my eye a black shadow that moved exactly like a cat coming down the last 3 steps of the stairs and into the kitchen. It moved really quickly and even though I tried to follow it, I knew it wasn’t a real cat.

“To say I’m a bit scared now is an understatement, can’t tell anyone about this because I know how crazy it sounds. I don’t want anyone to tell me things that are going to frighten me more….I just miss my dad and wanted to know if he was watching over us. I would be grateful for any info, thanks.”

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The Often Eerie Synchronicity of Names

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For the last 15 years, we have lived next to a Haitian family on our right and, for the last decade, next door to Annette and her family on our left. For awhile, Annette’s twin sister and her husband and son also lived next door.

The Haitian family has five daughters. The dad speaks good English, but the mother’s English remains broken and since none of us speak French or Creole, our communication with the mother has been somewhat limited. Whenever Annette and I see her, though, we call her Mommy, and that’s what she calls Annette and me.

“Hi, Mommy,” she says, waving enthusiastically at one of us.

“Hi, Mommy,” we call back.

Occasionally, the three of us congregate on the sidewalk in front of our homes and try to carry on a conversation about our kids or our cats. But because of the language barrier, the conversation never gets very far.

Oddly, none of us ever asked what Mommy’s first name is nor has she ever asked us our first names. Until today.

Mommy stopped by Annette’s for something and while she was there, asked what her name was.

“I’m Annette,” she replied.

Mommy drew back in surprise, her eyes wide and startled. “I am Annette.”

“What? No way.”

They both got a big laugh about that, but with the next piece of the conversation, things veered into the very weird. Mommy touched her daughter’s head. “Jannette.”

At this point, Annette was probably hearing chords from The Twilight Zone. Her twin sister’s name is Jannette.

So, what’s with this weird synchronicity with names?

But even more to the point, I think the three of us – both Annettes and I – got lazy because of the language barrier and it was just easier to refer to each other as Mommy. Tomorrow when I see Annette who lives on the right, I’m going to make a point of calling her by her name and introducing myself as Trish.

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When the Unlikely and the Unbelievable Collide

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Whitley Streiber recently asked us to write something for his website, Unknowncountry.com. It’s a big site with lots of departments and we thought we were writing a column for Insight. But, to our surprise, the article showed up in headline news, the top story for the weekend.

Essentially, it’s a summary of our thoughts on synchronicity, and it leads off with a story about how we met Charles Fontaine, the Quebec man whose UFO encounter inspired our book, Aliens in the Backyard. What we didn’t realize was that Saturday, the first full day that the article appeared, was the fourth anniversary of Charles Fontaine’s early morning encounter. So an article about synchronicity leads to another synchronicity.

You can read the story here.

 

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Into the Zone

We’re working on a book about creativity and synchronicity and one of the  chapters is called Into the Zone. Here’s what we’d written (in part)  in the proposal about this chapter.

Stephen King calls it “dreaming awake.” We call it being “plugged in.” Whatever you call it, you know when you’re there. You’re in the flow, the groove, and the rest of the world disappears. The zone is where you go when life is your canvas.

So Rob was about to begin work on this chapter, but before he started to went to one of the Facebook synchronicity group pages he occasionally visits and what popped up but a picture-quote featuring a blooming flower and the following quote.

SYNCHRONICITY happens when you align with the flow of the universe rather than insisting the universe flow your way.– Akemi G

It was a perfect nudge for him to get to work on it. It was also a synchronicity about synchronicity – we have those occasionally – and getting into the flow, the zone.

You’ll notice that the picture-quote at the top, the one I came upon, lacks attribution. But a quick Google search of the quote found that it was from a book called, Why We are Born: Remembering Our Purpose through the Akashic Records, by Akemi G.

 

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Storyboard

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My storyboard.

A storyboard is supposed to be a visual representation of a script, play, novel, comic book…Whatever the venue, the storyboard is the writer’s visual guide to plot, characters, scenes, the entire banquet.

Some years ago, I remember Rob telling me about the storyboard at LucasFilm that dealt with Indiana Jones. It was, he said, probably fifty feet long, with multiple paths jotting out from each entry. In comparison, my storyboard is kindergarten.

The yellow cutouts at the tops of the first, second, and fourth columns and midway down the fifth column are part headings.   I just added that fourth part last night because I realized that the event happening at the end of part three s actually plot point two in the story. If this were a movie, PP2 would be the event that pivots the story in a new direction – usually the last thirty minutes or so of a film.

The yellow index card on the far right is the pitch. It reads: A serial killer. An animal communicator. A homicide detective who talks to the dead. When the lives of these three individuals slam together, nothing is what it appears to be.

 U Я miNe started because of a conversation with my agent in August of 2014. I played around with the idea of a dog walker who is being stalked by a serial killer. Nothing too original there. But the dog walker is a young woman who communicates with animals- the dead and the living – and whose relationships have gone south because of it. The detective investigating this whole thing is the only son of famous mediums , who communicates with spirits to help him solve his cases. His personal relationships have suffered because of it.

I use a different colored Post-It for each viewpoint character. Green belongs to the dog walker, Laurie Brautigan, 27. Lavender is for the detective, Nick Finley, 33. Hot pink is for the killer, Gabe Angeles. In retrospect, I wonder if I should have written this novel from the points of view of the dogs involved in the story – Maia, a Border Collie mix who belongs to Laurie; Dusty, a Rhodesian Ridgeback who witnessed the murder of his human, Donna O’Connor; Randy, an aging Golden Retriever who belongs to Laurie’s closest friend, Colleen Larson; and Fiddler, the lab mix that belongs to the killer, a dog who is the love of his life. Now THAT would be original.

It might also be impossible to write.

That said, the dogs in the story are the ones who ultimately determine the ending. These dogs illustrate what animals can do when their instincts are harnessed, directed, and focused, and there are humans around them who can interpret their actions. There’s even a hamster in this story who witnessed the murder of his human and yielded his testimony to Laurie.

For me, the storyboard has become more essential over my thirty years as a novelist. I like that I can turn my head to the right and see the scenes laid out in order, all so tidy – and meanwhile, the kitchen in my actual home is falling apart, dishes piled in the sink, the fridge screaming for food. I like the fact that my storyboard is my anchor. It may not be a fifty-foot-long archetype like Indiana Jones, but it’s completely mine. My world, my good guys and bad guys, my love story, my psychic magic, my weirdness in hot pink, green, and lavender.

On these various squares of paper, I jot notes about the high points in each scene/chapter. It’s a great way to uncover your weaknesses as a writer. You look at those notes and think, Huh? Nothing happens. What am I doing? Way back when, someone at LucasFilm told Rob that a conflict must happen on every fifth page. In terms of a movie script, that’s every five minutes. When I discover I haven’t done that, I go back and rewrite.

The irony with this storyboard, though, is that I created it after the fact, during my rewrites instead of while I was writing the first draft. Back in October, about a month after I decided to go ahead with this idea, I decided to alter my structure. Instead of doing alternate point of view chapters, I did longer sections with a single viewpoint. I thought it worked.

But when my agent read my summary and the opening, he called and we talked about the story. He felt it lacked tension. “Trish, this is a stalker story, a kind of horror story. You need tension on every single page. Try it with alternate chapter viewpoints.” He made some more suggestions, I went back to the manuscript and realized he was right. I tore apart the manuscript and began rebuilding it, a step at a time, with the help of the storyboard.

This is my fortieth novel and doesn’t include novels I have ghostwritten or novels that have been sitting on my closet floor for twenty years. Isn’t the process supposed to get easier with practice? While some parts of the creative process of writing have gotten easier, other parts seem to have become more challenging. One thing I’m absolutely sure of now is that with my next novel, I’ll START with the storyboard; it won’t be a revision postscript. I will also do what I’ve done with most of my novels and DIDN’T do when I started this one: write the pitch for the story.

 

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Big Sur- Cabin by the Sea

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One of the first posts we did in February 2009 when we started our blog was called Big Sur- Cabin by the Sea. It happened to Dr. L. Daryll Amstrong and illustrates, I think, what can happen when we feel strongly connected to a particular place. It remains one of my favorite stories.

This synchronicity happened to Dr. L Darryl Armstrong. It beautifully illustrates what can happen when we feel strongly connected to a particular place.
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Several years ago during the first days of establishing our business, I had the occasion to work on the west coast and visit a friend in Carmel. Having always wanted to tour the area, especially Big Sur, and to get a massage at Esalen one day, I trucked off to just spend some time driving and exploring the coastal highway.

By chance I happened upon a real estate sign noting a house for sale or rent, I don’t recall which. The “house” was actually a large cabin – 2 stories that hung off the side of a cliff with the most remarkable view of the Pacific Ocean I have ever seen from a private residence. It was obvious someone had spent a great deal of their personal time and money carving out this homestead. I was mesmerized, and could imagine what life might be like in a “cabin by the sea”. Every time since then, when I have been out that way, I have driven by the cabin. These days it has a fence on the road and a gate but you can still get a glimpse.

A few years later, late one evening, I crawled on to a Southwestern flight headed home to “my own cabin in the woods” on Lake Barkley in Kentucky. I don’t recall where I was flying from, maybe Phoenix. Anyway, I got my always enjoyable exit row seat and stretched out because I was exhausted.

I normally “hibernate” on a plane and rarely strike up conversations as I prefer to read, work or sleep. The plane was not very full but sure enough this fellow chooses to sit in the exit row with me. For some reason I was drawn to his smile and immediately liked him. Eventually my southern hospitality overcame me, I guess, and I offered him a drink since I had plenty of coupons and he smiled and offered me one as well.

We chatted and I found out he was from California. We started talking about how we both liked certain areas (I mentioned Big Sur, Carmel, Monterrey) and when I got to the story about the cabin on the side of the road overlooking the ocean he got a strange expression on his face.

I thought nothing of it. I just continued describing the setting and how much I would love to live there with the view and the peace and quiet despite all the inconveniences. He finally said something to the effect, ‘You know, I understand how you feel. We obviously both work hard and have a lot of stress. It sounds like when we get home we are both ‘hermits’ in parts of our lives. I have always enjoyed my peace and solitude as well. Let me show you where I live.’

And this man, whom I had never met and yet instantly took a liking to, reaches into his briefcase and pulls out a photo wallet. And yes, you guessed it. This was the man who owned the cabin I have always cherished in my mind. We were both surprised yet it seemed as if a “loop” had been closed because I left the plane that night knowing that someone I could share mutual empathy with enjoyed the “cabin by the sea” as much as I did.

 

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Ghostly Road

Ghost Road

It’s not unusual for someone to report seeing a ghost in an old house or building or a graveyard. I’ve also heard of hitchhiking ghosts, the most famous are the stories of a young Elvis in his uniform hitchhiking to Graceland…and apparently getting rides. Elvis stories, though, are often fan-based, which no doubt raises red flags for many.

This story from the British Isles (Pembrokeshire, Wales)  is unusual for a couple of reasons. The ghost appears on the side of the road and darts in front cars. It happened at least three times in four days in February, all three incidents happening on the same stretch of road, and all apparently reported to the Paranormal Chronicles website. So if these stories are real, and not made up by the website for our entertainment, how many more incidents have occurred recentlly that weren’t reported?

The site says this about the reports: “The road has witnessed some terrible and tragic accidents over the years and one can speculate that if there is a paranormal world veiled over our own reality that local drivers are witnessing chilling and disturbing hauntings replayed in the darkness.”

It’s also interesting that at the top of the map, probably the north side of the haunted stretch of road, is Merlin’s Bridge. Nice.

For the full stories of the sightings, take a look here.

Thanks to Jane Clifford for alerting us to this story. Jane, who lives nearby the road in question, says this about it: “I didn’t know about these stories about that stretch of road that’s spooky locally, and yet have avoided using it for over 30 years…never liked it!”

 

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Bill Cosby?!

2014 American Comedy Awards - Press Room

I don’t usually follow celebrity scandals. But the allegations against Bill Cosby, sometimes referred to as America’s Dad, deserves some sort of commentary.

To date, 16 women have publicly stated that they were raped – and/or drugged and raped – by Cosby. Two or three…okay, you might think they were after a lucrative settlement. But SIXTEEN?? This is the sort of number that demands an investigation of some kind. Unfortunately, many of these allegations happened in the 70s and 80s and fall out of the realm of the statute of limitations.

From the Washington Post:

The accusations, some of which Cosby has denied and others he has declined to discuss, span the arc of the comedy legend’s career, from his pioneering years as the first black star of a network television drama in 1965 to the mid-2000s, when Cosby was firmly entrenched as an elder statesman of the entertainment industry, a scolding public conscience of the African American community and a philanthropist. They also span a monumental generational shift in perceptions — from the sexually unrestrained ’60s to an era when the idea of date rape is well understood.

The saga of the abuse allegations is set in locales that speak to Cosby’s wealth and fame: a Hollywood-studio bungalow, a chauffeured limousine, luxury hotels, a New York City brownstone. But it also stretches into unexpected places, such as an obscure Denver talent agency that referred two of Cosby’s future accusers to the star for mentoring.

The allegations are strung together by perceptible patterns that appear and reappear with remarkable consistency: mostly young, white women without family nearby; drugs offered as palliatives; resistance and pursuit; accusers worrying that no one would believe them; lifelong trauma. There is also a pattern of intense response by Cosby’s team of attorneys and publicists, who have used the media and the courts to attack the credibility of his accusers.

What seems very clear in this whole thing is that Cosby believed himself to be untouchable, beyond impunity, and that some of these women were incredibly naïve, accepting his attention, the pills he offered, the wine. The women were ambitious and OMG, this was the famous Cosby and maybe he could pull some strings…

The other thing that is quite clear in all this is that because Cosby is so famous, such an icon and philanthropist, law enforcement looked away. He has never been charged with anything, except in a civil suit that was settled in 2006. Martin Singer, Cosby’s attorney, issued a statement recently about the whole thing:

“The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity,” he said. “These brand new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years.”

What Singer doesn’t address is that the attitude of law enforcement in the sixties and seventies, and perhaps even now, is that the woman must somehow be at fault. She must have enticed the rapist, come onto him, seduced him first, showed her boobs, did something that inflamed the man’s insatiable libido –  and rape was the logical end result.

This argument is so patently absurd that it defies rational explanation. Rape is the most violent transgression against another human being – except for murder, but at least with murder, you die. You don’t suffer for years afterward, reliving every horrible second, wondering what you might have done differently. Rape is a violation not only of a woman’s body, but of her soul, her spirit, her very humanity. Rape is a Neanderthal’s response to the power structure. It’s the man’s demand in Cave of the Clan Bear to “assume the position.” It’s about physical and psychic power gone awry.

Again, from the Washington Post:

If his accusers are to be believed, the earliest allegations against Cosby remained hidden for decades, private artifacts of an era when women were less likely to publicly accuse men they knew of sexual misdeeds and society was less likely to believe them. But they have flared periodically throughout the past nine years, both because of changing attitudes and, particularly over the past month, because of social media’s ability to transform a story into a viral phenomenon almost impossible to suppress or control.

The allegations represent a stunning reshaping of Cosby’s legacy. Cosby built his fame on a family-friendly comedic persona. He has lectured black youths about proper behavior. He has been honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom and been lauded for making the largest donation ever by an African American to a historically black college, Spelman College in Atlanta.

Now an ex-NBC employee, Frank Scotti, comes forward with his role: he often stood guard outside Cosby’s dressing room.

So is Bill Cosby several people? The comedian, the avuncular advisor to black youth and a serial rapist?

I haven’t found any synchros yet in this story, but given the media attention I’m sure there are some. The problem is the story disgusts me. When I wade through all the material, looking for the synchros, I feel disdain, sadness, revulsion – not only at Cosby, but at the structure of American life, where celebrities are revered like Olympian gods.

No telling where Cosby will end up. A number of his shows have been cancelled, but he recently received a standing ovation in Melbourne, Florida for his standup routine. We Americans are the kings of denial. We don’t like it when our celebrity gods are revealed to be dark forces, liars, perverts. It’s when our schizophrenia as a nation,  a people, a collective reveals great schisms.

 

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What Would You Do If…

These conversations are rarely pleasant but  in the greater scheme of things are probably necessary.

Rob: What will you do if… I die tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month.

 Rob and I were in the car when he said this, returning from a trip to Whole Foods. For our international friends, Whole Foods is an organic market  where so many samples of foods are set out that you can graze your way through lunch and dinner free of charge. We go there once a week or so because they carry foods that no one else does. Strange conversations seem to occur to and from Whole Foods.

 “What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked. “You planning on checking out?”

“Well, no, but would you know how to access our bank records?”

Not long after we got married, Rob took over finances. I was always tardy on paying bills, I am terrible at math, our credit sucked. I was happy to turn this over to someone else.

“I would go immediately to your  computer. I would figure it out.”

Not long after Rob and I first met, we had a reading with a Cuban psychic named Aura. She lived in a small apartment in Miami’s Little Havana, didn’t speak much English, and her predictions turned out to be startling accurate.

She told me I would become Rob’s second wife and would be married to him for a very long time. She said I would write many books under an abbreviated “genderless” name (TJ MacGregor) and that we would be creative partners. All that is true. She said I would die when I was 74 – don’t know about that one yet!- and that Rob would marry for a third time, but his second wife wolds always be the love of his life. I really liked that part.

So when Rob asked this particular question, my thoughts immediately went way back to Aura. “I’ll kill you if you die first,” I said. “That’s not how Aura said it would happen.”

It’s not that I believe 74 is the checkout date just because a psychic way back said it was.  What was important was the idea of it all, the way our lives ultimately play out.  I always suspected that my mother would die before my dad did but was sure of it when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, her way of exploring the afterlife without actually having to die. My dad was more intellectual in that sense,  he had to be able to mentally connect the dots first.    And he eventually did and died five years after my mother did. 

But the exploration Rob and I have taken during our 30 years together  has been radically different from that of our parents. We have explored and written about many  aspects of psychic phenomena. So it’s not death that either of us fear. I’m not even sure if fear figures into it.  We all die. Death is  the ultimate unknown.

If consciousness researchers are right , then we choose our deaths in the same way we choose the circumstances of our birth and it may nor may not have anything to do with genetic predisposition. Free will. Choice. When we came into this life, we knew where the chips lay. And at each step in our journeys, we make choices, we exert our free will.

When you talk about this stuff openly, it comes down to this:

Trish: If you die first, I wouldn’t stay in our house.

Rob: Me, neither.

Trish: I would move closer to Megan.

Rob: Let’s go eat that vegetarian lasagna you bought for lunch.

And so this very strange and important conversation ends over food, what we will eat for lunch.

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Appreciation & the Dog Park

Many spiritual texts talk about appreciation, about how it’s a powerful aspect of mindfulness, of living in the moment. So when Rob and I arrived at the dog park the other day, I asked myself how I could appreciate the dog park.

Okay. First off, our golden retriever loves coming here. This place is where he gets to run free – no leash – and to hunt for squirrels along the fence and to chase balls and Frisbee that Rob throws him. This park is where, during the hot summer months, someone brings plastic kid swimming pools and all the dogs plop down in these pools to cool off. The dog park is where you, the dog, are allowed to be, well, a dog.

Noah has a routine once he enters the park. I can appreciate that. I have my routines, too. His routines involve smells; mine involve words. Both get us to that same place.

Some days, Noah is interested only in squirrels, parallel to the days when my interests are primarily with whatever I’m writing. Other days, Noah is strictly focused on the ball or Frisbee that Rob tosses him. Or, he wants to mingle with  dogs and could care less about ball and Frisbees.  On those days, I tend to receive more emails, Twitter followers, more Facebook friend requests.

Then there are the days when Noah throws his weight around, 110 pounds of muscle and speed who dislikes Boxers, German Shepherds, and large poodles who get in his face. On those days, I tend to feel impatient or irritated and he reflects it.

On this particular day, though, Noah was most interested in sniffing his way along the periphery of the fence, as he’s doing in the above photo. He’s presumably hunting for squirrels, and Rob and I followed him.

The acacia trees were in full, glorious bloom, the branches hanging low enough so that I could actually touch the flowers. One of these blossoms captivated me and I stood there a few moments, touching it, admiring the colors, appreciating the perfection of it all. Then I snapped a photo of it with my phone and it became the thing I appreciated most about that day.

A week or so later, we were at the dog park after a big thunderstorm and heard the squawking of wild parrots. They apparently like the seeds in one of the trees that provide shade for the humans and I snapped this photo:

So now my daily habit is to find at least one thing to appreciate. When I do that, my perceptions are altered and everywhere I look, I see something or someone to appreciate.

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Animals in Our Lives

I take a lot of photos of our pets and the other animals in our area and in our travels. Some of them make me laugh out loud, others drive home the point that animals live so completely in the moment that their capacity for joy seems infinite. Here are some of my favorites:

That’s Noah, retrieving the morning newspaper

Copper, our neighbor’s cat, looking quite regal in the yard fountain

Nika and Noah, chilling together

Nika and Noah, true love

Simba and Powder, sniffin’ butts, kitty style

Nika, helping Rob drive

Megan & a goat by side of the road in Costa Rica

Hey, humans! Wait for us! Florida Keys

Cuban tree frog paying homage to frog pastie on Rob’s office window

Ball!

Black goose & Megan, Orlando

SQUIRREL!

Stephanie, the macaw of Arenal, Costa Rica

Megan & the sparrow hawk of aruba

Kali, the conure

the owl in the Amazon whom we rescued for a tube of lipstick

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Cabin by the Sea: Big Sur

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In going though our early archives, I ran across one of my favorite synchronicity stories. We originally posted this on February 25, 2009. This synchronicity happened to Dr. L Darryl Armstrong, It beautifully illustrates what can happen when we feel strongly connected to a particular place.
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Several years ago during the first days of establishing our business, I had the occasion to work on the west coast and visit a friend in Carmel. Having always wanted to tour the area, especially Big Sur, and to get a massage at Esalen one day, I trucked off to just spend some time driving and exploring the coastal highway.

By chance I happened upon a real estate sign noting a house for sale or rent, I don’t recall which. The “house” was actually a large cabin – 2 stories that hung off the side of a cliff with the most remarkable view of the Pacific Ocean I have ever seen from a private residence. It was obvious someone had spent a great deal of their personal time and money carving out this homestead. I was mesmerized, and could imagine what life might be like in a “cabin by the sea”. Every time since then, when I have been out that way, I have driven by the cabin. These days it has a fence on the road and a gate but you can still get a glimpse.

A few years later, late one evening, I crawled on to a Southwestern flight headed home to “my own cabin in the woods” on Lake Barkley in Kentucky. I don’t recall where I was flying from, maybe Phoenix. Anyway, I got my always enjoyable exit row seat and stretched out because I was exhausted.

I normally “hibernate” on a plane and rarely strike up conversations as I prefer to read, work or sleep. The plane was not very full but sure enough this fellow chooses to sit in the exit row with me. For some reason I was drawn to his smile and immediately liked him. Eventually my southern hospitality overcame me, I guess, and I offered him a drink since I had plenty of coupons and he smiled and offered me one as well.

We chatted and I found out he was from California. We started talking about how we both liked certain areas (I mentioned Big Sur, Carmel, Monterrey) and when I got to the story about the cabin on the side of the road overlooking the ocean he got a strange expression on his face.

I thought nothing of it. I just continued describing the setting and how much I would love to live there with the view and the peace and quiet despite all the inconveniences. He finally said something to the effect, ‘You know, I understand how you feel. We obviously both work hard and have a lot of stress. It sounds like when we get home we are both ‘hermits’ in parts of our lives. I have always enjoyed my peace and solitude as well. Let me show you where I live.’

And this man, whom I had never met and yet instantly took a liking to, reaches into his brief case and pulls out a photo wallet. And yes, you guessed it. This was the man who owned the cabin I have always cherished in my mind. We were both surprised yet it seemed as if a “loop” had been closed because I left the plane that night knowing that someone I could share mutual empathy with enjoyed the “cabin by the sea” as much as I did.

 

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Neighbors

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This is a post about appreciation.

In the summer of 2000, during a Mercury retrograde, we moved to our present home. The move itself was pretty much a disaster, trying to close on two homes on the same day and to move all our stuff. It included several thousand books, pets, and my dad, who was in a wheelchair at the time, with Parkinson’s. Our neighbors were a single mom with two young boys.

Megan and the oldest boy became good friends, but his mother had some strange concepts about animals. In the five years they were our neighbors, she went through numerous pets – dogs, birds, rodents – and discarded them as though they were Kleenex.

Her last dog, a gorgeous German shepherd she’d imported from Germany, lost out when a guy moved in who eventually became her second husband.  She stopped exercising the dog and his hips went bad and she simply had him put down. A few days before she and her new husband were going to move, she told me she was going to release her son’s guinea pig into the wild. I told her that was cruel. The guinea pig had never been wild. I convinced her to give me the rodent and I eventually took it to a pet store and it was sold to a family that really wanted a guinea pig.

After they left, a new family moved in and for nearly 10 years now, they have been the best neighbors we’ve ever had, anywhere, ever. Annette is a Gemini, like me, born on the same day as my friend and script co-author, Hilary Hemingway. She’s a nut, like me, about animals. They have two dogs and two cats, mice, fish, and two snakes. Her husband, Kevin, is a commercial airline pilot and can fix anything. Their son is probably going to be a famous biologist some day and their daughter is a gem, who periodically drops by to ask for something good to read.

When we go away, Annette and her kids take care of our cats. When she goes away, we take care of her critters. But I don’t do snakes. They creep me out. I mean, I’ll do them if Annette and her family are going to be gone for an extended period, but it’s not my favorite thing.

Annette is an identical twin and she and her sister have had some stunning synchros over the years, especially in the telepathic area, and we’ve posted some of them and used a couple of their stories in our synchronicity books.

Annette, like her daughter, is a big reader and has pretty much exhausted the MacGregor library. She has a great eye for what works in a novel and I’m going to give her this current novel to read after Rob goes through it. A fresh perspective can’t hurt.

There is something comforting about meeting up with someone you like in the space between your yards, and sharing stuff from any given day. When we meet between our houses, our dogs invariably play, with Noah chasing Fergie, their German short-haired pointer, around the yard, the two of them playing tug-of-war with a stick, a Frisbee. Quite often, Annette’s orange tiger cat darts into our house for some catnip and Copper looks so much like our orange tiger, Simba, that I mistake one for the other.

What I have learned from good neighbors is that you never know where the friendship will lead. Given my political leanings, it’s strange that Annette is the only Republican woman with whom I have any interaction at all. We are at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of politics, but in terms of kids, animals, and life in general, we seem to be on the same weird page.

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Fevered: An Airport Synchro

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In going through the archives on our blog, I came across another one of our earlier posts about a synchronicity that happened to Rob and me in an airport in Caracas, Venezuela. It blew us away.

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Here’s a story from 1988 that has always fascinated me. Trish and I traveled to Venezuela, where she was born and raised, and visited the Gran Sabana, one of the most fascinating wilderness regions of the planet. I remember carrying a big clunky Radio Shack laptop computer into the jungle, and finding time to work on the re-write of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the novel adapted from the script.

Our adventure among the soaring buttes, waterfalls and forest went by too quickly and we soon found ourselves back in Caracas. At the airport, we headed to customs where we were surrounded by guards with machine guns. Colombian drug dealers had begun using Caracas to export cocaine and the government was cracking down. The guards were particularly interested in the man in front of us. He was a tall, middle-aged Venezuelan, who wore a dark, three-piece suit and carried a briefcase. They told him to open it up. Slowly, the man unlatched the briefcase and the guards leaned forward to see what was inside. Everyone seemed really tense.

We were right behind the man and had a good view. Surprisingly, there was only one item in the briefcase, something I found quite astonishing. It was a paperback copy of one of Trish’s novels, FEVERED. Of course, the man had no idea that the author was standing right behind him…and we didn’t tell him, either.

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Name Synchros

Myriad-of-Murder-web

David Wilson at Crossroad Press recently emailed us his latest story bundle. This is a term used for ebooks that are bundled together and sold for an incredibly low price. Murder of Mysteries is a compilation of 20 novels, including several of ours, for $2.99. In order to get exposure, we put it o our Facebook pages, tweeted it, and so on. I also asked my friend Hilary Hemingway and her husband, Jeff Lindsay, if they would put the flyer on their Facebook pages. Now, here’s the synchro:

Jeff wrote the Dexter novels. Dexter is a blood spatter expert who works for the Miami Dade police department. He’s also a serial killer. For anyone who hasn’t seen the TV show or read the books, Dexter’s full name is Dexter Morgan. He has a sister named Deborah Morgan. If you look at the list of authors on the flyer, you’ll see the name Deborah Morgan. Rob and I got a good chuckle over that. I emailed Hilary about it and she replied: Wonder how often she is asked about her bro?

Name synchros. You gotta love them.

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