Weird Coincidence Survey- and Happy Thanksgiving!


Bernard Beitman, whom we’ve written about before on the blog, is a visiting professor of psychiatry at University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He’s studying coincidences and has written a book on the topic, Connecting with Coincidence.

He emailed us today that his site on coincidence/synchronicity has gone live and asked visitors if they would take the Weird Coincidence Survey. I spent a few minutes this evening taking the survey. It was fun! Anyone at all familiar with synchronicity will see he’s hit all the salient points.

You can also read about Bernard’s book  and visit his blog.  What I really love about all this is that Bernard is the first psychiatrist since Carl Jung to attempt to systematize the study of coincidences. As you’ll see when you poke around his site, it’s partly because of his own experiences.

I can’t wait to read the book!


To all our American friends, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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Mysteries of the dream world


I received an e-mail recently from a man who said that he’d had forty years of encounters with mysterious beings. Jim Finn wrote me after listening to a radio interview I’d done about BUMP IN THE NIGHT: Ghosts, Spirits & Alien Encounters. He said that he agrees with me that there’s a blurring at times between spirit phenomena and alien encounters. Sometimes they appear together. Other times it’s difficult to tell whether a being is from the realm of the dead or from an alien craft.

Jim also questions whether dreams of such beings are just that – dreams – or are they actual encounters with entities of various stripes? One thing is certain though, when three people who don’t know each other well, all recall the same mysterious dream character, it’s truly a synchronicity, a meaningful coincidence.

Here’s one such story from Jim.


One day years back, I was talking with some friends and one of the women said she had a weird experience, waking to find someone in her room one night. The description she gave was of a tall male wearing what seemed to be a top hat and cape. He didn’t do anything, he didn’t say anything – he was just there.

Time passed and I had forgotten all about it, until one night I was having what I would say was a common sleep paralysis dream event. Except that mine always came with a complete bodily vibration effect (which does seem to be a normal part of the SP picture in some cases).

Anyway, I was consciously fighting to move, and the more I fought the stronger the vibration and the paralysis became. I seemed to finally manage to move to a slightly bent “L” position on the bed and I fought to open my eyes. What I saw shocked me. There was a light coming in through the window, and the shadow of a tall man with what seemed to be a cape and – some kind of hat, just standing at the foot of the bed nearer to the wall.

Nothing was said, nothing happened, but according to what I had written in earlier notes, I shouted at him in my head to get out of my room, at which time there was a fearful screech like a big bird. At that point it was over and I woke up in a more normal position. Did it happen? I eventually remembered what the woman had told us that day. But I just dismissed it as typical residue from my daily life – until….

I was subbing at schools in North Carolina some years later, when a girl in one of my classes was talking about her odd phobias. She feared this, she feared that – and, she had a fear of – Abe Lincoln. Abe Lincoln?

I asked her later why and she began to tell me about a very strange event in her life. She woke up one night, and there at the foot of the bed was this (you guessed it) tall man with a cape and a hat, and he reminded her of Abe Lincoln. Same story, he didn’t say anything, he didn’t do anything – he was just there.

This young girl’s life was not connected to either mine, or the woman I had originally talked with as we were in another state at that time. Yet she had the exact same experience.

Was it all real? Did we ALL see the same person? Or was this just more residue of the day, fed from a source that was seen or heard somewhere, but not remembered?

There is enough information all around to say that sometimes these experiences just may be real, sometimes not. What we need is a conscious effort to create a dividing line; we need to question the event. For me today, breaking things down to a least common denominator begins by asking – what was learned?

If I can’t figure it out, if nothing is learned, I just log it in my head as entertainment only. Like a cool movie, it was just that. I never had a dream where I learned anything, where I was told anything, so it has to be logged as entertainment only because that’s all it is – entertainment.


Jim is somewhat dismissive of his experience, but the fact that he encountered two others who had similar strange dreams seems to suggest that it’s something more than mere entertainment. But maybe some synchros occur just to show us that there is more to life—a deeper reality—than our everyday world.

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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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A Synchro with Aliens in the Backyard


Synchronicity has a way of bringing people back into your life who you haven’t seen or heard from in years but played some pivotal part in your past. This happened recently for us and concerns one of the first – perhaps THE first- abductee we ever met, Don Estrella.

Don retained partial memories of an abduction that occurred one Halloween while he was wearing a pirate’s costume and his companion was dressed as a clown. We wrote about his abduction in Aliens in the Backyard:

 It was the mid-1980s and Don was essentially lost and homeless. We were intrigued by his colorful background. He had worked as an assistant to author John Keel at the time Keel was delving into the chilling Mothman saga in West Virginia, which later became a book, Mothman, and in 2002 a movie, The Mothman Prophecies, starring Richard Gere.

Estrella reveled in telling stories related to the giant red-eyed flying beast. He had also worked in a clerical position at the United Nations, where he started a UFO club. He recalled that then-UN secretary-General U Thant had sent someone from his office to attend the initial meeting.

Curious about his abduction experience, we persuaded Estrella to undergo a hypnotic regression with psychiatrist Dr. Bethhold Schwarz, of Vero Beach, Florida. The author of UFO Dynamics, Schwarz had interviewed or regressed hundreds of contactees or ‘UFO observers,’ as he often called them.

During the session, Estrella recalled a bizarre scene in which he was abducted on a North Virginia highway on a Halloween night, while he was wearing a pirate’s costume and his companion was dressed as a clown. They never made it to the Halloween party. The engine in their car died and wouldn’t start. That’s when three small beings appeared and escorted them to a waiting circular craft. They joined seven or eight other abductees standing in line in an obvious stupor.

 Estrella sobbed throughout the regression as he described being taken aboard, placed naked on a table, examined and probed. While those procedures are now common descriptions by abductees, Estrella also recalled seeing strange symbols on the interior wall of the craft. During hypnosis, he drew several of the alien symbols.

While Estrella was haunted for more than two decades by his experience and seemed lost because of it, author, researcher and Harvard psychiatrist John E Mack pointed out that some abductees have experienced physical healings and spiritual transformations as a result of their abductions. Estrella apparently developed psychic abilities in the aftermath of his experience and, as we recall, was happiest sitting in a restaurant with a cup of coffee and a cigarette and giving free readings to the waitresses. He was fairly talented at tuning into near-future events and reading a person’s past.

Over the years, we wondered what had happened to Don. Then last week, we received an email from Raum, a writer and UFO researcher in Massachusetts, who had experienced a synchronicity that had prompted him to write us. In the subject heading of his email were the words: Don Estrella.

Hello Rob and Trish,

Synchronicity abounds!  A couple of weeks ago my significant other (Ruth) and I had been discussing Don’s condition as he’d recently been hospitalized.  That evening I picked up my Kindle and I happened to be reading “Aliens in the Backyard” when I exclaimed to Ruth, “Hey, these ‘synchno’ writers are writing about Don!”  Was a complete surprise. 

I read the three or four pages of you reiterating what you remember of his case.  There were a few, more or less, insignificant errors but I was bowled over seeing his name out there with what I know about the man. I’d love to hear Schwartz’s tape of their session.  Before Schwartz died Don wrote and asked him for a copy of the tape, to which I understand he complied, but I never did hear it myself.

I was fortunate enough to have Don as a close friend until he dropped out of our lives a few years back.  Ruth liked and understood him, now visits in the nursing home daily as he named her as his proxy.  She today mentioned your names to him and he remembered you.  His mind is confused and groggy but old memories die hard as I’m sure you know.

We’ve traded a number of emails with Raum and learned that Don had helped Ruth uncover her memories of repeated abductions since age 10. We also discovered that Don was actually in hospice and wasn’t expected to live very long. We sent Raum a copy of Aliens in the Backyard to give to Don. Then, on November 18, we received another email from Raum:

Hello Trish, As I just wrote to Rob, Don passed on at 4:03 this afternoon.  Ruth was there holding his hand —she was in hospice with him as she has been since early yesterday with hardly a break.  For me, her selflessness to Don is for him being our friend—but more than that, a fellow abductee,  a man of love and peace. He’s a reminder there are good people in the world.  With him we saw other realities.

The book we’d sent him arrived the day after Don  died.

In a subsequent email from Raum, he nailed the synchros  beautifully:

Hi Trish,

The more one thinks on it, the more incredible this ‘meaningful coincidence.’  A ‘syncho couple’ (you) receives the very thing that you have written two books about.  A researcher (me) happens to be reading a book on UFOs that you wrote several years ago which included a story about a ‘psychic experiencer'( Don ) who, because of his UFO experiences, becomes the focus of this ‘serendipitous coincidence’.  Unfortunately this also involves his last act before leaving this plane of existence permanently.  His proxy, the researcher’s ‘other half’ who is herself an abductee, had been brought through hypnosis into this UFO realization (among others) years ago by ‘the psychic experiencer (Don).    The ‘braiding’ is exquisite.

RIP, Don. Many thanks for all the fascinating insights you shared!


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Accidental awareness


The taboo in mainstream science against the study of UFOs and alien encounters has been on-going for more than 50 years. It’s well known that the fear of ridicule and the label of charlatan has kept scientists who might otherwise take an interest in the subject from actively pursuing it.

However, if your intent is to assume alien abductions don’t exist, it’s apparently acceptable to create poorly researched studies to explain away the phenomenon. One example of such biased science and questionable science journalism appeared November 11, 2014 on the Scientific American website.

The article  suggests that alien abductions might be the result of trauma related to ‘accidental awareness.’ That’s a term for patients who wake up during surgery and are aware of what’s happening to them. Those patients sometimes experience various psychological problems in the aftermath of their experiences during surgery.

So why are alien abductions linked to poorly administered anesthesia? It’s because the bright lights and the masked medical team working over the patient supposedly look similar to what abductees experience when aliens perform mysterious procedures on their bodies. A study on the subject was published in a psychiatry journal in 2008 by David V. Forrest, a Columbia University psychoanalyst.

Scientific American picked up on the subject because of a recently released report on accidental awareness by the Royal College of Anaesthetists. The report documents the potential for lasting, perhaps permanent, psychological damage to afflicted patients. However, when the Royal College inquired about alien abduction, none of the hundreds of patients interviewed said they had any such experiences.

Yes, none.

Amazingly, Scientific American reported that fact, but continued on about the supposed link between accidental awareness and alien abductions.

The article’s contention, based on David Forrest’s study, hangs on the thinnest thread of so-called evidence. Here it is: Barney Hill, who along with his wife Betty are considered the first modern abductees, mentioned in an interview that the experience he underwent while on the alien craft reminded him of the time he had his tonsils removed. That’s it. No mention of any previous surgeries for Betty, who also was subjected to alien medical procedures.

Beyond the lack of supportive evidence for the claim, there’s also the assumption that alien abductions aren’t real. So much for the scientific method. To quote from the article: “Assuming Barney Hill wasn’t actually brought aboard a spaceship that night in 1961, he may have experienced a flashback to his tonsillectomy.”

Since such research eliminates the possibility of actual alien abductions,  then they must be something else: fantasies, hoaxes, and hidden memories of traumas, such as sexual abuse or now accidental awareness.

In other words, anything but a real alien abduction. Our take: When it comes to alien abductions, don’t assume anything.


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Spiritual Capitalism & Angel Investors


If capitalism to you is synonymous with greed, then spiritual capitalism might sound like an oxymoron. But there are actually benevolent capitalists who are willing to use their wealth to help others. I’m not just talking about donating money to causes with the intent of getting a tax break, but applying spiritual principles to their work.

According to an article in ODE Magazine, spiritual capitalism is based on the recognition that every businessperson–whether you’re the CEO of a major multinational or the head of your own small firm–is in the service industry, and the services rendered must benefit not just yourself and your shareholders, but the planet and other people as well. The first commandment of the growing spiritual-capitalism movement is: Taking care of business means taking care of others.

I was surprised to discover that a book called Spiritual Capital, by Michael E. Hendren, was published in 2007. Hendren lays out ‘ten commandments ‘of spiritual capitalism. Here they are:

# l Define Business as a Spiritual Experience

#2 Don’t Shrink or Play Small in this World

#3 Dare to Love and the Numbers Will Follow

#4 Embrace Leadership as a Sacred Responsibility

#5 Develop Management into an Art

#6 Empower Them with Ownership

#7 Transcend to the Higher Level

#8 Don’t Take It All So Seriously

#9 Count Your Blessings

#10 The Truth Will Set You Free

The concept of spiritual capitalism attracts ‘angel investors,’ who help small start-up companies that show potential, and usually are out of the mainstream – ones that would have a difficult time getting money from traditional sources. A small but increasing number of angel investors organize themselves into ‘angel groups’ or ‘angel networks’ to share research and pool their investment capital, as well as to provide advice to their portfolio companies

It’s easy for cynics to trash the idea of spiritual capitalism and angel investors as concepts to allow rich people to feel good about themselves. Yet, if there’s anything that’s needed in the world now it’s benevolent investors and capitalists who are willing to try to spread the wealth in a time when the rich are getting richer and the rest of us are mucking along.

One such angel investor is a wealthy Chinese woman who you probably never heard of. Her name is Katherine Yip. She was born in China and moved to the U.S. as a baby. She grew up in America and went to Harvard. Then she moved to Hong Kong and took on the challenge of being a woman in a sector of the Asian business world dominated by men.

Katherine is best known for co-founding two of the largest investment firms in the Asia Pacific region, VinaCapital Group and Pacific Alliance Group (known as PAG Asia). She’s involved in private equity, the same financial territory as Mitt Romney. Private equity deals, especially those involving the forced take-over of companies, are all about vulture capitalism. Possibly as a counter to such criticism, Katherine Yip has gone out of her way to help small companies with good ideas, as well as supporting a variety of worthy causes, such as sponsoring a scholarship program.

We learned about Katherine from a friend in publishing.  To our surprise there was very little about her on the Internet and she had only recently given her first ever TV interview to Bloomberg News. That’s amazing for someone in her position. Our research about her broadened our knowledge about the better side of the financial industry—the realm of the angel investors and spiritual capitalism.





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Spiritual Socialism


I’d never heard that phrase – spiritual socialism. But that was what came to mind after I finished a meditation one recent morning. I’d been concerned about finances and focusing on abundance. So what was that term telling me?

Did it mean there’ll be pie in the sky when I die? That’s a line from an old socialist folk song from the 1930s called The Ballad of Joe Hill. The idea of the song was that religion is a tool of the rich, another way of oppressing workers.

But maybe  you don’t have to wait until you die to get the benefits of spiritual socialism.

But is there really any such thing? How does it work? Is it like a government program on the other side? How do I sign up?

Are some beings on the other side against it? Do they see it as another big heavenly program that will cost them in the long run? And why should we help those physical beings, anyhow? They’re not like us. I suppose if there’s spiritual socialism, there’s also probably a spiritual Tea Party carrying on their routine. But if heaven has many dimensions, I suspect those spirits are on one of the lower planes.

But let’s get back to the question, how do we sign up for this program if we need it? And really, what evidence is there that it even exists?

I look to the lives that Trish and I have led over the past three decades when we decided to quit our jobs as teacher and journalist for a freelance life.

Over the years, we’ve always been provided for. One way or another we’d always paid the mortgage, and lived a good life. We still do. But things have gotten tougher and we attributed it to changes in the publishing industry that were making it more difficult for people like us. Publishers were baffled by the emergence of the digital world in their industry and found the old ways weren’t making it any more and they better clean house.

Part of the housecleaning involved dumping writers they’d supported, especially ones with high ‘returns.’ Returns in the publishing industry doesn’t mean profits. It means the opposite…returned books from the bookstores. Fifty percent returns is not a good omen for writers who want to keep getting published by mainstream publishers. Of course, the failure of giant bookstores, like Borders, comes into play as well.

With all that happening, we began scrambling for new options in the digital world, e-books. But without advances the game changes. That led to my meditation on abundance.

And the answer…spiritual socialism. Here’s how I think it works. It’s more like social security than a giveaway program. You need to work for your benefits.

Here’s how:  1) Consider all that you have in your life. Be grateful. Be grateful every day, every hour. 2) Don’t focus on lack. Stay positive. 3) Don’t feel sorry for yourself. 4) Don’t get angry at others who have what you want. 5) Instead, imagine over and over that you already have your dream. 6) Create that new reality firmly in your mind in the present. Don’t think of it as coming, but as already here. 7) Wish others well. Send them light and happiness. 8) Expect help from higher sources, count on it. 9) Nurture your dream with appropriate actions that might appear as unexpected opportunities. 10) And, of course, watch for synchronicities showing you the way.

Okay, you might say these ideas are not new. They’re not. But there they are, the tenets of spiritualism socialism. Well being for all.

Coming next: Spiritual Capitalism

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Not a Wild Guess

Derren Brown is the new Uri Geller. He’s amazing…but is this synchronicity? How does he do it? He claims it’s all logical perception, but it certainly seems that there’s definitely a psychic element here.

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Bump to the Bumper Sticker


Several months ago when we were visiting our daughter in Orlando, we picked up some bumper stickers at a bookstore that read: If anything can go well, it will! In other words, the opposite of Murphy’s law. Rob wrote up a post about an experience he had with one of our cars and this bumper sticker, now here’s another story about this bumper sticker on our other car.

We were on our way out of the neighborhood the other evening to go to dinner. The road outside the neighborhood is usually fairly empty of cars, except during the winter season, when the tourists and horse people are here. There’s no stop light, just a stop sign, and you really have to lean forward and check both lanes of traffic before pulling out.

This evening, there was quite a bit of traffic on the road and Rob started to pull out, then saw a car coming in the opposite direction and stopped. Suddenly, we were struck from behind, a loud crash, and I heard the crunch and thought, Aw, c’mon. Rob and I got out of our car and the driver of the truck exited his vehicle and came right over.

“Oh, wow, man, I’m so sorry. I thought you were going to turn and then I got distracted and wasn’t watching.” He handed Rob his insurance card.

We debated about whether to call the police, but the driver – Phil – said he was clearly at fault. And in Florida, if you rear end a car, the law says you’re at fault. So Rob jotted down his insurance info, we talked some more, and it turned out he lives in our neighborhood. In the end, we didn’t call the police or the insurance company. We agreed to get two estimates on the damage and Phil said he would pay cash for the repairs. That way, his insurance rates won’t go up.

I stared at the trunk of my car, where the bumper sticker has ridden for so many months. The beginning of it was squashed in and it occurred to me that the trickster was laughing. I snapped a photo of it. (See where the bumper sticker appears to lift up?) Phil apparently thought I was taking the photo as evidence and asked if I wanted to take a picture of his insurance card, too. I laughed and pointed at the bumper sticker.


“Just photographing the irony,” I said.

And actually, it could have been much worse. We could have rear-ended someone. Or the driver of the truck could have been moving at fifty miles an hour and the trunk and back seat could have been shoved into our laps. So, trickster, chuckle away. We drove on to dinner and had a wonderful evening!

PS Today, we got a call from the garage that had done the work on the car. The total was around $2,200 and change. Rob called Phil, and he drove over to the garage and paid for it, just as he’d said he would. A decent guy, a man of his word. I like that, and am grateful for it. If we were going to be rear-ended by anyone, Phil was the guy to do it!

So in the end, the bumper sticker proved true: If anything can go well, it will!


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Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is a phrase that is being tossed around quite a bit these days. The FCC is supposedly going to rule on  this soon.President Obama recently came out with a forceful statement that the Internet should be considered a public utility – equal playing field for all. However, the man he appointed to head the FCC – Tom Wheeler – is a former lobbyist for cable companies. Scratching your head over that one?

In a nutshell, should Internet providers be able to create a two-tier system for Internet traffic? Those who pay – big corporations like Netflix, for instance – would be in a hyper-fast download lane. Smaller companies – and websites and blogs that are run by ordinary people like us – would be in the, well, VERY SLOW download lane.

Here are two incredibly different takes on the issue – the first by the head of a Tea Party organization that says all websites should NOT be handled equally, and the second by HBO’s very funny John Oliver, who actually explains the issue well.

And now, the other side of the issue, with John Oliver of HBO:


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Serendipity, Synchronicity, Scientific American, & Scorpio


Recently, someone on Facebook, I think it was, mentioned that the current issue of Scientific American had a cover story on the neuroscience of meditation. I figured this would be a great resource for Rob, who teaches meditation, so I looked for the issue at Walgreens, then at our local Barnes & Noble, but couldn’t find it. This afternoon, I had to be in a town south of us for a hair  appointment and stopped by the B&N there. And found the issue.

The article on meditation is terrific and delves into the actual brain changes that come about as a result of meditation. It makes the case for why everyone should meditate daily- an altered volume of tissue in some areas of the brain, beneficial psychological effects, a faster reaction to stimuli and becoming less prone to various forms of stress. And that’s just for starters.

I was delighted to find several other articles that were informative. The first was on rooftop solar panels, which are proliferating in Arizona and California, and should be abundant in Florida. But the power companies are balking because they stand to lose a lot of customers – and, therefore, revenue – if these panels become the norm.

Then there was an article called Pluto and Beyond. This one caught my attention because I’m working on a book now for Page Street Publishing  called Unlocking the Secret to Scorpio. Pluto is the planet that rules Scorpio. While I didn’t expect Scientific American to delve into the astrological aspects of Pluto, I thought there might be something in the article I could use in the book. Sure enough, there is.

A little background first.

Every astrological sign is ruled by a planet and some signs, like Scorpio, also have a co-ruler. These rulers are associated with mythological gods and goddesses whose lives and personalities match the tone and texture of a particular sign. Before the discovery of Pluto in 1930, Mars was assigned as Scorpio’s planetary ruler.

To the ancient Greeks, he was Ares, a savage god who was little more than a thirsty SOB. In the Illiad, Zeus says it as he sees it, that he finds Ares, his son, completely odious because his primary enjoyments are nothing but “strife, war, and battle.” On Olympus, Ares was disliked for his blind violence and brutality. He was all about aggression, physicality, survival.

The ancient Romans looked upon Mars more kindly. They called him by the name we know him and he was first and foremost the god of agriculture, the protector of cattle and the preserver of corn. As the husband of Rhea Silvia, a vestal virgin, he fathered Romulus and Remus, who were suckled by a wolf.

The connection between Mars and sex probably came because of Ares’s affair with the goddess Aphrodite. At the time, she was married to a cripple, Hephaestus, and compared to him, Ares was a dashing suitor, handsome, utterly fearless, all the things the Olympians looked for in a mate. Ares, naturally, too advantage of the situation. Their lustful encounters were eventually discovered by all the other gods when Hephaestus ensnared the adulterous couple in an invisible net.

These ancient mythological gods had strange and dramatic lives, fraught with all the sexual and emotional tension of soap operas, and Mars/Ares certainly had his share. He was assigned as the ruler of Scorpio until the discovery of Pluto in 1930 by a young astronomer named Clyde Tombaugh.

Tombaugh and his fellow astronomers were certain he had discovered the long suspected ninth planet in the solar system, the mysterious Planet X. In classical mythology, Pluto governed the underworld – or Hades as it was known when referring to an actual place. For the Greeks, Pluto was seen as more benefic than the ruler of hell; he was the god who reigned over the afterlife. Like all these mythological gods, his life was tumultuous and he is probably best known as the dude who abducted Persephone and took her to the underworld. Hardly a stunning endorsement of his character. That said, though, he apparently turned into a loving husband for Persephone.

Pluto’s underworld and afterlife connections fit well with Scorpio’s ability to delve into the unseen, the unknown, the mysterious, and also fits Scorpio’s natural home, the eighth house in a horoscope, which governs death, the afterlife, reincarnation, and the occult. So, eventually, Pluto became the modern ruler of Scorpio.

Then, in 2006, Pluto was demoted as a planet and astrologers were thrown into something of a quandary. Did that mean Pluto no longer counted in astrological configurations?

The Scientific American article explained why Pluto had been demoted. It isn’t as dense as originally calculated and by 1992, astronomers began discovering objects that rivaled Pluto in size – around 1500 to date – but which add up to only a tenth of the mass of Earth. All of these objects are in the Kuiper belt – a band of billions of icy asteroids beyond Neptune described as “nearly pristine examples of the solar system’s ingredients.” Astronomers have been studying this belt ever since.

In 2005, Michael E. Brown, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology, discovered a Pluto-size Kuiper belt object – Erin – and this discovery led to Pluto’s demotion the following year from planet to “dwarf planet.” Pluto is the largest object in the belt and in July 2015, NASA’s New Horizon probe will end its nine-year journey with a close flyby of Pluto and its five known moons.

Ironically, when New Horizon was launched, Pluto was still a planet.

One goal of the flyby, says SA, will be to “seek signs of a subsurface ocean… The idea that life could exist inside Pluto it utterly speculative – but because liquid water is considered a necessary ingredient for biology as we know it, its discovery would at least make such speculation legitimate.”

So, I’m not sure if this is a synchronicity since someone had told me about the meditation article that prompted me to buy the magazine. But the fact that I found information relevant to the book I’m writing, info I could actually use, may be serendipity or a form of the library angel. I’ll have to ask psychiatrist Bernard Beitman what he thinks, from a medical/scientific standpoint.


Bernard  said it was a form of the library angel synchro. But because of the information available on the internet, he is now calling it an information angel.

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Interstellar is one of those rare movies that will stick with me years from now. Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, released in 1968, is still vivid in memory. So is the 1997 movie Contact.

Interstellar combines elements of both of those movies, but may surpass both.

Writer and director Christopher Nolan (Memento, Dark Knight Rises, Inception) is a master of non-linear storytelling. He does this, in part, by keeping the story tightly focused on the characters, who come across as completely genuine, the kind of people you or I might know. But it’s the relationship between single parent Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and his daughter, Murph (MacKenzie Murph at age 10; Jessica Chastain in her 30s) and Ellen Burstyn (old age) that seizes the emotional center of this film and pivots the plot again and again.

Here’s a plot summary from IMDB:

In the near future Earth has been devastated by drought and famine, causing a scarcity in food and extreme changes in climate. When humanity is facing extinction, a mysterious rip in the space-time continuum is discovered, giving mankind the opportunity to widen their lifespan. A group of explorers must travel beyond our solar system in search of a planet that can sustain life. The crew of the Endurance are required to think bigger and go further than any human in history as they embark on an interstellar voyage, into the unknown. Coop, the pilot of the Endurance, must decide between seeing his children again and the future of the human race.

One element of great storytelling is to have a small subplot of some sort that threads throughout the story, often some odd human quality or experience. Then, by the end of the story, you suddenly realize it was never small, that it’s the very thing on which the story hinges. Nolan does this with Murph, the daughter, and Cooper.

Murph is convinced that a ghost is communicating with her, sending her a message of some sort. She keeps a journal filled with lot of weird lines that she’s convinced contain the message. Sometimes in their library, books fall off shelves for no apparent reason. Her dad tells her there’s no such things as ghosts and it’s not a poltergeist or anything else that’s supernatural. It’s science – gravity.

I don’t want to spoil the film for anyone who hasn’t seen it, so you’ll have to see it to find out how pivotal this is to the story, the nature of space/time, wormholes, the quest Cooper undertakes, and how it figures into the final moments of the film. I hope McConaughey is nominated for an Oscar for Interstellar. His emotions spill into the theater. When he’s choked up, so are you. When he cries, so do you. You don’t just feel what he feels, you experience it.

Anne Hathaway plays Brand, a scientist who works with her father, Michael Caine, Professor Brand, in a secret NASA facility. Like McConaughey, she’s a Scorpio and her emotions are nearly as intense as his.

The archetypal themes in the movie are classic. The father/daughter relationship is especially powerful and propels the film. The other theme that is so prevalent is that of self-preservation versus personal sacrifice to save humanity. And then there’s the supernatural element, which turns out not to be supernatural in the way we think of it but a product of messing around with space/time.

Rob and I had had two minor irritatants about the film. Food and nearly everything else is scarce in this near-future world. But people are driving trucks and cars. Where does the gas come from? We never see anyone filling up.

The other point is more subtle. Throughout the film, there are references to Murph’s “ghost” and also to “they,” the people or entities who are responsible for the wormhole that has appeared just when humanity is desperate for options. One of the characters refers to they as humanity’s protectors.

Who are they? In the universes on the other side of this wormhole, are there other species? Other beings? Other inhabited planets?

It’s one of two central questions in this intelligent, spectacular movie. And, yes, there’s synchronicity! And a line straight out of one of our recent blog posts about how a parent should never outlive his/her child.


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Loss & Synchronicity

- fro Loss_by_vkacademy



Nancy Atkinson sent the following story.  She and her husband, Rob, Megan, and I met in 2009 in Oregon when Rob and I were working on our first synchro book. At that time, we’d been blogging for four or five months. Nancy and I had gotten to know each other through e-mails and the lunch was like a continuation of where we’d left off with our last written communication. It was great to actually meet a fellow blogger with whom I felt an immediate kinship.

In the five years since that lunch, we have continued to correspond. Nancy divides her time between Lake Tahoe, Portland, and Hawaii. She has two daughters who certainly understand what synchronicity is and, as you’ll see in this story, that understanding may have saved a young boy’s life.


My daughter, Jill, is a special education teacher and has children with a variety of needs. One cute little guy needs a small, close, place to “hide” during the day to decompress. He had been showing up to the nurse’s office on a regular basis during a class that was especially hard for him.

The nurse, office staff, and my daughter were trying to figure our where he could go for some quiet time when it was suggested that the file room would be a good place. It’s quiet and they thought maybe they could put a box or something in the room for him to curl up in for the needed “time out.” His father had offered to build a box.

As soon as Jill saw the room filled with fling cabinets she freaked out. Her best friend when she was eight was a tiny little girl, who after a fight with her mother, crawled into a file cabinet at their place of business to hide. The file cabinet was fireproof. By the time they found her several hours later, she was gone. It was horrible. The mother and I were Girl Scout leaders together and she lost her little girl. It was beyond devastating.

Jill believes that had she not had that experience the file room would have been the obvious choice for this little guy to go- a small child that likes to hide from the world in small, tight places. Even Jill realized it was a synchro and, needless, to say, they found another place for the boy.

While the girl was missing, her mother had called me and asked me to watch for her to come home. Police were combing the woods and the river area behind their business. They thought she had fled into the woods and that somehow she may have made her way home. She was a really smart little girl.

So even though it was a long shot, I was watching for her in the neighborhood.   Their business was far away from our neighborhood. She was only eight, after all. Then the next call was that they had found her, and she was dead.

I was the first person the mother called with that news. It was horrible. Jill still calls the mother every year to reach out on that day. The mother and I had months of long walks as I tried to keep her from going over the edge and committing suicide. Years later, she told a mutual acquaintance that I had kept her sane during that time.

All I know is that it took everything I had to help hold her up. Long talks on the nature of life and death. My belief was and is that we never really die – that we just move on, go “home.” I related all the near death experiences I knew about at that time and I think that really helped her. She did make it – a divorce – but she is doing okay now.

Could another synchro have been that I was in the picture? I mean, it was 1995 and not many people believed in life after death. She was not someone who had any interest in that kind of stuff. My beliefs were really different from my friends (still are) at that time. Maybe she needed me to tell her everything I knew about life after death to keep her going. I guess we’ll never know.


This story may actually have elements of spirit communication to it. Is it possible that Jill’s friend from so many years before reached out across time and space and death to remind her of the devastating results of that filing cabinet?

One of the things I’ve learned from more than five years of blogging is that parents who have experienced the deaths of their children are made of much stronger stuff than I am. No parent is supposed to outlive a child. Our friend Mike Perry and his wife, Karin, of the UK  lost a daughter. Debra Page whose story we included in at least one of our synchronicity books, lost her daughter to a rare genetic mutation.  DJan Stewart, who hosts two blogs, lost two sons.  How does any parent continue after that kind of devastating loss?

I suggested to Nancy Atkinson that her friend might benefit from a past life regression with Carol Bowman.  Carol has done a number of regressions for parents who have lost children. Her books, Children’s Past Lives and Return from Heaven are classics, and her philosophy is that past life regressions are healing. Nancy said that the next time she sees her friend, she’s going to suggest a regression with Carol.


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Synchro Workshop in Italy


David Peat, author of The Bridge Between Matter and Mind, will hold a four day seminar on synchronicity, June 12-16, 2015 at the Pari Center for New Learning in Pari, Italy, where Peat resides. The name of the seminar appropriately is The Bridge Between Matter and Mind.

We’ve corresponded in years past with David Peat, and when The Seven Secrets of Synchronicity came out, he invited us to speak at the Pari Center. We haven’t made it there yet. But maybe some of our readers will journey there next June…and, who knows, maybe we’ll see you there.

Here is how David describes synchronicity:

Synchronicities are those mysterious and inexplicable coincidences that occasionally erupt in one’s life. At times we may feel that those around us are confined to a narrow world of logic and physical law, a world that admits no hint of mystery. This can give rise to a feeling of isolation within an indifferent universe and in an increasing complex society whose members are reduced to ciphers. Synchronicities, by contrast, open a doorway into a very different world: a world that also has resonances with the deep insights that have been revealed by the new sciences.

True synchronicities are more than mere chance occurrences. They are characterized by a sense of meaning and numinousness. They provide a bridge between inner and outer worlds, between our private thoughts and external, objective realities. Within a synchronicity, patterns of external events mirror an inner experience; likewise dreams and fantasies may seem to flood over into the external world. To distinguish synchronicities from mere chance occurrences Carl Jung stressed that they must always involve “meaningful coincidence” that lie beyond any explanation involving causal links and connections. They reveal to us an underlying world of patterns, forms and connections that transcend any division between the mental and the material.

Of course, attending this seminar is also about a trip to Italy, unless that’s where you live. Pari sounds like a very interesting place to visit.

Here’s from the Pari Center website:

The medieval village of Pari, located some 25 km south of Siena is a particularly appropriate center from which to consider the future. The village is located on a hill top and surrounded by magnificent views of the heavily wooded Tuscan countryside. The surrounding area is given over to olive groves and grape vines and small-scale farming. In winter wild boar are hunted in these woods.

The surrounding area has been occupied for well over 2000 years. The Etruscans certainly made use of the curative properties of the sulfur hot spring located below the village. In addition to burial areas close to Pari the remains of a major Etruscan town can be visited at Roselle some 40 km away.

One thousand years ago Pari had become a walled town of several hundred persons grouped around the central castle, the residence of the Counts of Ardengheschi. By the 14th century the region had come under the government of the Sienese.

Until the 1950s life in Pari had continued unchanged over the centuries. Moreover it was totally self-sufficient for its food, heat, furniture, shoes and clothing. Wool, for example, was made from the fleece of the local sheep and a form of very durable linen was made from the local ginestra plant. Mulberry trees surrounding the village attest to the use of silk. Very little money circulated in the village and its economy was based on a system of exchange and barter for goods and services. What little money did enter the village came from the sale of its wine and, later, though the contraband smuggling of tobacco and salt (for preserving meat).

Here is how David describes Pari today:

The village of Pari is slowly becoming a community of the Arts. First there was the Pari Center with its strong commitment to artists—we’ve had visiting writers, painters, photographers, musicians, composers—staying in the village working on projects or simply taking much needed time out before embarking on new work.Then Ferdinando Lucchesi, a local painter, retired from teaching and formed a cultural association, Le Belle Arte. He fixed up a cantina (a large room at street level below the living quarters that is used to store oil, wine, produce, firewood, etc.) and, as you can see from the photographs, he’s done a beautiful job. Since its opening last summer he’s had exhibits of paintings, jazz and classical music concerts with performances from young musicians from the conservatory in Florence, poetry and literature readings. At the moment he’s hosting an exhibition of African art and artifacts (we had African drumming at the opening).
Next was Otto Alexander Jahrreiss, a German filmmaker who bought a house in Pari a couple of years ago. He too opened a cantina and put on his first exhibit to coincide with Pari’s sagra a few weeks ago. His main interest is in contemporary art and art installations and photography. He has also produced an enormous collage from the hundreds of black and white photographs that he took at the 2012 sagra.
We also have Paolo Chionio living in Pari, a painter and writer who has published Volume I of an ‘alternative’ Italian dictionary based on his life of sogni, pensiri, fantasie e ricordi (dreams, thoughts, fantasies and memories). If you read Italian then it’s a very original and amusing view of the world. Part II is now ready for publication. Paolo opens up the entrance hall to his house every Christmas so that people can drop in and see his crèche or Nativity scene. He has dozens of figures that he places in a different background and setting each year. We’ll post a photo at Christmas time.
Within walking distance of Pari is the house of filmmakers Paul and Bernadette Howard who own Imagine Films based in Dublin. Their intention is to spend more time here now that their children are grown up and to become active in the community. They have a number of ideas as to how Pari, which is situated in a particularly depressed area of Italy, can be developed without being spoiled. One of Paul’s ideas is to bring his post-production work to Pari and train any of the young people who might be interested in this type of employment. Wouldn’t that be great!
We should also mention Andrea Barbieri, a graphic artist and animator, who of course is called on every time the village needs a notice or a poster and always very generously provides his skills.



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The Voodoo priestess & the hurricane


Amazingly, the Weather Channel is taking tips from the History Channel and now has a program on Sundays called American Supernatural, a blend of the paranormal and – what else? – weather. Of course, it’s the Weather Channel.

One of their first programs was about small Louisiana town along the banks of the Mississippi River, named Frenier. Don’t look for it on a map. It no longer exists and some folks say the reason the town vanished was that a voodoo priestess named Julia Brown said over and over that the town would die  when she died. Amazingly, she was right.

In the early evenings, Julia would sit on her front porch singing and playing her guitar. One song that she sang over and over again, day after day, had these strange lyrics:  “One day I’m gonna die, and I’m gonna take all of you with me.”

On Sept. 28, 1915, Julia died and the next day all the town folk were gathered at the wake for Julia. That was when a devastating hurricane struck, wiping out the town and killing all but two or three people, who lived to tell the eerie tale of Julia Brown.

Good going, Weather Channel. Who would’ve figured that mediums and meteorologists would mingle together on that channel.


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Dear President Obama

Dear President Obama,

The election results of November 4 were undoubtedly depressing for you. With the Republicans now controlling the entire congress, it means you’ll be much grayer by 2016. It means you will be using executive veto more often. It means you’re being blamed for events and circumstances over which you had little or no control.

This is the first time that a sitting president’s hometown governor has lost since 1892.

In 2008, my husband and I waited three hours outside a Fort Lauderdale venue to hear you and Joe Biden speak. Your audience was hungry for change. We were blown away.

By 2012, when you were re-elected, when we voted for you again, we were disappointed that many of the changes you had promised had not panned out. You set the bar too low for health care coverage. Instead of setting the bar at Medicare for all, you included the insurance companies by making health care mandatory. The insurance companies salivated at the opportunity to sign up 50 million new clients. Gitmo remains open to this day. Yes, you got us out of Iraq – sort of – and are supposedly going to get us out of Afghanistan. But you were too conciliatory with the Republicans, too willing to engage them, and all they did was stonewall you and everything you stand for.

The media pundits are calling the Republican wins tonight “a wave,” as in a tsunami. It’s going to be a wave, all right, a wave of utter disaster for the middle class, for health care, for any hope of a raise in the minimum wage, for more tax loopholes for corporations, for more of the middle class descending into poverty, for more war, more of the U.S. as the world cop, for more stonewalling on climate change. It’s going to be a tsunami for the unborn, who will claim “personhood” even though they are no larger than a comma in a womb. Well, you know all of this.

So, while greedy capitalism is going to flourish, when trickle down economics will resurge, the planet will drown, the economy will shrink, the Republicans will cut Medicare and Social Security, the elderly and the poor and the young will stagger. As one of my writer friends emailed me tonight: “I will never understand this country. If I didn’t already feel half dead, I’d hang myself.”

I know what he means. In the next two years, we may find ourselves living in a Philip K. Dick novel like Blade Runner. It’s one of the grimmest Dystopian novels ever written, where corporations are the true kings and the rest of us are as disposable as Kleenex.

The media pundits are calling this a “rejection of the president and his policies.” But as a Republican strategist said, “The Republicans don’t really have an agenda except to reject everything that Obama wants.”

We are pretty much screwed for the next two years. The old paradigm, it seems, is not going out with a whimper. And unless the Democrats run a powerful candidate in 2016 – Elizabeth Warren instead of Hillary Clinton, for instance – we’ll have four more years of Republican policies that benefit the one percent. And in the end, the one percent will be the only ones who can afford bunkers they’ll run to when the oceans rise, when the planet rebels, when the poor and the disenfranchised take to the streets. It will be the opening paragraphs of The Road, a Dystopian novel by Cormac McCarthy that won the Pulitzer prize and that might be more depressing than Blade Runner.

 If I could afford to move to another country, I would.


Trish MacGregor

P.S. I apologize for the tone of this email. Tomorrow when the sun rises, when the perfect Florida weather dominates, I hope it will be easier to look at the bright side.


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Midterm Elections 2014


It’s election day in the U.S. – midterm elections. Typically, fewer people turn out to vote for midterm elections than for presidential elections and yet, there’s a lot at stake with this one – whether the Republicans will take over the senate and control the congress.

In recent history, this has happened three times with two-term presidents – under Reagan, Clinton, and Bush. During Republican Reagan’s second term as prez, the midterm elections turned the tide and the Democrats won enough votes to control congress. During Democrat Clinton’s second term, the Repubs took the congress. Under Repub Bush’s second term, the Dems took the congress. Now Dem Obama, in his second term, faces the possibility that the Repubs will take the senate and control congress. The Repubs expect to win and are already fighting over who will be majority leader.

If history repeats itself, I suspect the top priorities of the Repub congress will be to:

1) Impeach Obama – but for what? The conspiratorial suspicion that he was born in Kenya?

2) Overturn the Affordable Care Act – so that 10 million people or so lose their health care

3) Overturn the federal minimum wage increase to $10.10 an hour. Do the math on that one. Can a family live on $404 a week? And that’s before taxes and social security are taken out.

4) Overturn anything and everything that helps people.

5) Vote to make marriage between one man and woman the law of the land

6) Declare that personhood begins at conception

7) Try to institute more draconian laws concerning the right of women to govern their own bodies in terms of birth control and abortion. Give these mostly white men enough power, and they’ll hurl the country back to the Dark Ages.

Rob and I voted on Sunday, the last day of early voting in our county. It was held at our local library and there seemed to be a lot of hoops you had to jump through to do this. First, you had to fill out a form with your name, address, precinct number. Then you sat in front of one of perhaps ten poll workers, who asked for your driver’s license or voter registration card. Your name was run through a device and when it showed up on the screen, you signed your name and were directed to one of the printers, where your ballot was printed out.

Now: the ballot. Since the 2000 voting debacle in Palm Beach County that ended up in the Supreme Court, the county has redesigned their ballots several times. Now we’re back to paper ballots and a pen. A felt tip pen. Next to your candidate choice, you use the pin to darken the line between a broken arrow. It sounds ridiculous. It IS ridiculous. But, hey, okay. We get it. The Diebold voting machines used in 2004 were rigged and that election was stolen. When I punched in John Kerry’s name, Bush’s name came up. Not once but three times before my vote registered for Kerry.

At stake for Floridians is the governor spot. Our current governor, Rick Scott,  was convicted of Medicare fraud some years back, has been against everything that might benefit the state –Medicaid expansion, which would enable more Floridians to get health insurance for a reasonable price; the restoration of the Everglades, and job creation. The man is a jerk with a big dopey smile.

Charlie Crist, the Democratic challenger, has been governor of Florida before, as a moderate Republican, who was socially liberal, and was actually a decent governor. He was on the short list for VP when McCain ran for the prez, got raked over the coals by the party, and eventually changed his party affiliation. Flip-flopper in that regard, but the alternative would be much worse.

One of the amendments on the ballot was for the legalization of medical marijuana. Rob and I voted yes on that one. Twenty-three states have now legalized pot for medical use. There’s plenty of evidence that it helps mitigate nausea in chemo patients, relieves pain from glaucoma, nerve pain, headaches, helps in the treatment of seizure disorders and in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. Colorado and Washington have made it legal for recreational use, and I suspect that’s going to happen in even more states. It shouldn’t be classified in the same category as a drug like heroin.

In Colorado, the first state to legalize weed for recreation use, the crime rate is down more than ten percent from 2013, with a drop of more than five percent in violent crime. That pretty much shoots a hole in the argument that legalizing pot would spell the end of the civilized world.

But if the Repubs sweep the senate and control congress, you can bet they’ll try to overturn all these state laws. In their worldview:

1) Pot leads to the use of heroin and oxycontin- but hey, alcohol and guns are just fine.

2) Women are too stupid or hormonal to make decisions for themselves

3) Minorities shouldn’t have the right to vote

4) All immigrants should be denied the right to become citizens

5) Climate change is NOT happening

6) Corporations are gods

This list is actually pretty long, but I’ll end it here. You get the idea. If you live in the U.S., please vote in this election for the party that actually speaks for the people, for the party that instituted Medicare, Social Security, the minimum wage and just about every other law that actually helps people. For us, but especially for our kids and grandkids, the stakes have never been higher.

Obama hasn’t been a perfect president, hasn’t been the agent of sweeping change we had hoped for. But can you imagine where we’d be if McCain/Palin (wink, wink) had won? Or Romney?

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Weird Synchro Trip to Barnes & Noble


This afternoon, after working for several hours, I asked Rob if he felt like going to Barnes & Noble. I was hoping to find the newest edition of Mountain Astrologer and to peruse the current releases.

When we walked into the store, there was a guy sitting at a table to the right, a bunch of books stacked in front of him. When I first saw him, I thought his eyes were shut, that he was actually snoozing. Then I realized he was an author doing a signing that consisted of: We’ll give you a table near the door, you stack you books on it, and sell whatever you can sell.

 Rob and I stopped at the table and the author said, “Interested in buying some great books?”

Let’s call the author John Smith. In the late 1990s, he sold an unusual novel for which he was reportedly paid a million bucks. The only reason he registered on my radar was because at one time, we shared the same publisher – Pinnacle (Kensington) Books and he and Rob had had some sort of email interaction in the past. “We’re also authors,” Rob said, and introduced us.

No response from John. He has these large, dark eyes that stare and stare, but seem empty of almost everything, like he’s shell shocked or suffering from PTSD- which is what many authors are suffering from these days. He obviously didn’t remember the email exchange he’d had with Rob, in which he eventually tried to convince Rob to buy into his wife’s Acai juice pyramid thing.

“Who was your editor at Kensington?” I asked.

He named an editor whom I had met.

“Nice guy,” I remarked.

No response from John.

“My editor at Kensington died,” I said. That was Kate Duffy. I did 12 books with her.

”Who’re you with now?” he asked.

“Not them,” I replied. What I should have said, what he would have understood, was that my last three books were with TOR/Forge.

“We’re at Crossroad, a small, independent publisher,” Rob said.

I tapped the table. “This is depressing work.” Meaning that signings like this were depressing work.

John’s smile was quick – there and gone. “Yeah, it is.” Yeah, it really is.

 I hurried off to the magazine section, remembering one of the first signings I ever did at a Walden’s book in a mall. Four excruciating hours at a table, people coming over, picking up my novel, reading the back cover, asking how long it had taken me to write the book. I sold two copies. I never did another signing like that.

I never found my magazine, either, but did buy Russell Brand’s book, Revolution, and returned to the table where Rob was still talking to John. I flashed the cover of Revolution. “Love this guy.”

“Did you see him on Howard Stern?” John asked.

“Nope. On MSNBC.”

I stood there for a few minutes afterward, listening to Rob trying to engage this guy in a conversation. But John’s face was a blank. He seemed shell-shocked, as if he’d been through a war. I think he has realized he isn’t Stephen King, JK Rowling, John Grisham, or any of the other bestselling authors displayed on the shelves at B&N. He has realized that he doesn’t have a movie platform like King, Meyers, Rowling, and all the other author whose books are so prominently at B&N, that his million dollar advance nearly 20 years ago was a fluke, that he is just another writer with a story to tell that may or may not find an audience.

As Rob and I later walked into the coffee shop to buy a couple of cappuccinos, I said, “He’s a brick wall.”

Rob shrugged. “He doesn’t want to reveal anything about himself.”

“No, he’s traumatized.”

I had wanted to go to B&N to find my astrology magazine but had encountered, instead, my mirrored self from three or four years ago when I stopped by B&N to see how many copies they carried of Esperanza, or maybe it was of Ghost Key. I felt these novels were the best I’d written, complex characters with a mythological backdrop, paranormal and yet real in the spectrum of human emotions. B&N carried two copies of Esperanza and zero of Ghost Key.

When we left the store, I glanced toward John and waved. And I have to say, he’s more courageous than I am, sitting there at that table, hoping that readers stop by and actually buy his books. It’s demeaning that so many of the people who generate the stories, the people who are the fuel for agents, publishers, and bookstores, for an entire industry, go home from a signing like this feeling like crap.

But it is what it is. One way or another, writers write, storytellers tell their stories, and every day new, independent publishers find ways to sell books and promote their authors.

The publishing paradigm is shifting, for sure.

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Analyzing the ‘library angel’


Bernard Beitman is a visiting professor at the University of Virginia and former chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He attended Yale Medical School and completed his psychiatric residency at Stanford. He took a look at me  library angel post from a couple of days ago, dissected it, making some interesting points.

We’ve written about Dr. Beitman on a few occasions because he is one of the few academics who not only takes synchronicity— meaningful coincidences—seriously, but is developing an interdisciplinary study of coincidences.

“I am a kind of invisible father of coincidence studies,” Beitman told a reporter for Epoch Times.

Part of what that means is that he categorizes coincidences. Initially, Beitman divided coincidences in the following five categories:

  • Synchronicity – when a thought is mirrored by a meaningful exterior event;
  • Serendipity coincidences – finding what you need right when you need it;
  • Seriality – a string of similar events that are noted
  • Simulpathity – feeling another’s distress at a distance
  • Instrument – synchronicities or serendipities that motivate you to make a change or changes that work out to your benefit.

Now he has a different means of grouping coincidences.

Form:  Most come in pairs, usually a mental event surprisingly matches an event that is taking place in the environmental. Some come in a series of three or more like a string of butterflies.

Process: Or how they happen. Like “sitting down next to a stranger”, or “doing something different” or through public and personal media  or through encounters with nature.

Explanation:  Many people think they are caused by God. Others believe they are nothing more than random events.  I have noticed that some coincidences are unknowingly created by the person or persons involved. Better classification will produce specific explanations for the various types instead of broad generalizations.

Use:  Coincidences can help with decision making, psychological understanding, interpersonal relationships, creativity, spiritual development, employment, scientific discovery and health. They can also be funny, or inconsequential. They can also lead to negative consequences.

When Dr. Beitman read my ‘library angel’ synchronicity, he took an interest in it because the library angel phenomenon is something that he has experienced himself. It’s not surprising, though, that he also went about categorizing the two coincidences in a series of e-mails.

Essentially, he took away the angel’s wings! Here’s why.

“I’m thinking about this-Rob’s two synchros are more mind-matter matches (synchronicity) than library angel, to me. Your Ecuador time travel find is more library angel–finding needed information rather than matching mind with book.


“I have thought  about it more. It is a perfect example in the range of the problem of similarity between mind and context. He got an exact match. The trouble with some coincidences is that the similarity is stretched, more in the mind of the beholder than actual.

Still later…

“There is more to Rob’s coincidences.

1) the smarty pants was psi like.
2) the second was influenced by his having a book of the same name. So he more readily could pick it out. Why you had it in your book shelves, etc., is another question.”
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I had considered these two synchros as ‘library angels,’ because they both involved books. But Beitman seems to be suggesting that a library angel synchro is one where you are actively researching a matter and the appropriate book falls off the shelf at your feet, or some similar unlikely situation. But wouldn’t that be also be serendipity?
That’s the problem I have with categorizing coincidences. There seems to be a lot of possibly overlaps among categories. That’s why Jung lumped all psi phenomena under the  umbrella of synchronicity. For example, incidents of telepathy or precognition can also be seen as meaningful coincidences. That said, I think it’s great that Dr. Beitman is attempting to shift synchronicity into an accepted academic study.
As followup,  Beitman said he agrees that there are cross-overs in categories with coincidences. Some of them fit all of the categories.
He also notes: “The reason for library angel is related to the meaning of angel as a messenger. Maybe Rob is right to call each of his synchros library angel if there is a message for him in them. Not sure what the smarty pants message was and i think the second one was more a confirmation than information.
I appreciate Bernard’s perspective, especially since most academics might say something like: “It was bound to happen sooner or later. Chance events.”




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A Bump for BUMP…


Tonight, Saturday, Nov. 1,  I’ll be on Coast to Coast again to talk about BUMP IN THE NIGHT. Actually, it will be early Nov. 2 for me – 1-3 a.m., since Florida is three hours later than Oregon, the site of the broadcast. Coast to Coast is the largest late night paranormal talk show. It’s also available on the Internet at the Coast to Coast site.

This will be the third time in less than two years that I’ve been interviewed for C2C, once with Trish for Aliens in the Backyard, once with Bruce Gernon, my co-author of The Fog. We talked about the lost Malaysian Airline Flight 370. Oddly enough, I had written Dave Schrader, host of Darkness Radio in Minneapolis, about BUMP, not the producer at C2C. It turns out Dave was scheduled to sub as host there Saturday and invited me to join him.

Here’s the kind of story I’ll be talking about on the air, and the kind you can read about in the book.

During the making of “Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance,” Nicholas Cage supposedly got so into character that he decided to spend a night in Transylvania’s infamous Bran Castle, aka, Dracula’s Castle. In the movie, stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze (Cage) hides out in Eastern Europe where he is called upon to stop the devil, who is attempted to take human form.

“We were shooting in Romania, Transylvania, and he just went up there to spend the night,” recalls costar Idris Elba. “True story.”

When Elba asked Cage about it the following morning, he told her he’d stayed in the castle to ‘channel the energy’ in preparation for filming the movie.

It’s not the first time Cage has been associated with the paranormal. In 2011, a photograph of a man from the American Civil War era went viral on the internet because the man looked nearly identical to Cage. Bloggers speculated that Cage was a time traveler or even possibly a vampire. Supposedly, the original of the photo was offered for sale on eBay for $1 million.

Between 2007 and 2009, Cage lived in a haunted house that he had bought, hoping the ghosts would inspire his efforts to write a horror novel. The house had once belonged to Madame Lalaurie, an infamous 19th century socialite, who was notorious for murdering her slaves.

Apparently, there wasn’t much ghostly encouragement for his creative endeavor. In spite of the estate’s eerie past, Cage admitted that he didn’t get very far with the book. Hm, possibly he needs a ghost writer!

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BUMP has a surprise at the end, a lengthy chapter of a future book called Alien Light: The Better Side of Contact. The chapter describes in depth the story of  ‘Sandy,’ a retired vet who has experienced alien and spirit contact much of her life.


From Trish: I’ll be serving coffee and Cuban pastries. Do stop by!


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Adele’s High Strangeness


This story certainly fits the spirit of Halloween!

We recently put up a doppelgänger story and one of the comments,by Adele Aldridge,  was so intriguing we told her we would like to bring it forward as a post. Her story seems to underscore how little we actually know about the nature of reality.


I never experienced a doppelgänger for myself but had a most interesting experience with what seems like one.

At the time I was emotionally and psychically obsessed with a man who was unattainable for a variety of reasons. The connection was powerful which would be a long long story in itself. The man never left my mind and sometimes I felt it like a buzzing in the center of my forehead, where the third eye is supposed to be located.

One time I had a meeting with him for a day. He lived in another state. The next day I had a dinner date with an old beau. I’ll call him Joe which was not his name. Joe knew me well. We had our love affair that had ended badly and then eventually became friends. Seeing him now as a friend was easy for me because my mind was occupied all the time with this other soul connection that made me feel crazy. I could not discuss this with anyone.

Joe and I went out for dinner, had a very good time, came back to my place. All of a sudden Joe looked startled and said, “I just saw someone sitting in that chair.” I looked at the chair which was quite obviously empty. Joe continued to stare at the chair. Joe does not remember his dreams, did not have psychic experiences, was not interested in any of the subjects you write about here on this blog. In other words, Joe was not prone to even thinking about such a thing as a doppelgänger or any such related far out subject.

My mind was still buzzing with the soul mate connection that I could not be with and not talk about. I asked Joe to describe what he was seeing. What did the man look like? What was he wearing?

I was wondering if Joe maybe just had too much to drink or smoke so was surprised when he responded with a clear answer that described the other man, including how he sat and the hat he was wearing. After a pause, while I listened in astonishment, knowing exactly who Joe was describing, he said to me, “Adele you go to far! You go too far with this psychic stuff. YOU GO TOO FAR!” Joe was very shaken by seeing this ghostly image in my living room.

I wasn’t DOING anything. I thought Mr. Mystery man, if anything, was going too far. After that experience I stopped worrying about the buzzing in my head – or whatever was going on. All this remains a mystery to me to this day which was years ago. All I know is that when we have an unexplainable experience that sounds unbelievable it doesn’t matter because no one can erase the experience no matter how illogical it sounds to the so called “normal” people. And no, this never happened to me again.

As you might imagine, that story has more story behind it. There has to be a lot of two-way energy going on to have an experience like that. Long before that happened I had been invaded by the sense of the presence of this ghost man who was very much alive but miles away. We did not write or talk on the phone.

I constantly questioned if I was losing my mind. This was something beyond love as well as inclusive of love. But when Joe saw this ghost image of the other man, he was freaked out, while I stopped thinking I was crazy and accepted the fact for what it was. If another person saw what I had been feeling for months, that was fabulous. I never told Joe who the man was.

This event just proved to me that our energy does go out and perhaps some of us have more energy than others and more at different times and for sure, a lot more with a few special people.


Lauren Raines commented in Adele’s post and her comment is also fascinating:

I completely believe Adele’s story, because I had something similar, in that there was a time in my life when I was “in love” with a married man, and he also was obsessed with me. Our connection was so inexplicable, and I came to the conclusion we must have a lot of past lives together or something………We worked together, as did his wife, and we never openly talked about it or became physical. The situation did not lend itself to any kind of discussion. But a number of times I felt him next to me in bed. It was very disturbing, and I since have met half a dozen women who had a strong emotional/sexual issue with a man and had the same kind of experience.


Supposedly, something similar can develop through deep meditation, in which a being created by the mind manifests into temporary reality, seemingly as a physical entity. Monks in Tibet have called these beings Tulpas.



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