The Solar Eclipse and Politics

For those of you interested in politics, the solar eclipse on January 5 in Capricorn looks ominous for trump. But then again to keep this in perspective, I’ve felt that same thing a number of times in the last two years. However, given where we are with the recent Mueller reports, this one strikes me as a major blow to his reality bubble.

Capricorn and Saturn, its ruler, are representative of government, authority, power and, oddly, Saturn rules the Democrats. With the new Congress and Dems in the majority in the house, trump is going  to be held accountable. Since all this Capricorn stuff falls in his 5th house of love, romance, creativity, and kids, the first thing that’s going to bite him is the payoff $ to the women with whom he allegedly had affairs. His long-time attorney, Michael Cohen, already pled guilty to campaign finance violations in that regard. There may well be another woman (or other women) out there who come forward.


Trump’s kids – in particular Don Jr. and Ivanka – may be hit with implications or indictments. Jared may be hit, too, given Uranus in the final degrees of Aries in his 9th house, which also represents in-laws. In trump’s natal 5th house (the inner circle) he has one point – Vx. It’s called the Vertex and addresses agreements we made before we were born. Given the house placement and sign, the agreement for trump apparently involved children and power, romance and love. On the day of the eclipse, Pluto in Capricorn at 20 degrees is hitting his 22 degree Vertex in Capricorn. The literal translation for this is a power struggle. The shit may hit the fan. 

So, we’ll see. 

On the 4th, there will be a post going up about how this eclipse may affect the rest of us.

Take a look at what astrologer Alex Miller has to say about the 116th Congress and trump. Alex’s specialty is asteroids.

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Your Cosmic Stars

I spent two days attempting to create a new blog that was supposed to be called Your Cosmic Stars. I tried Blogger. I tried Word Press. I couldn’t make either of these platforms work to my satisfaction. There’s a certain irony in that, since we originally started this blog on Blogger, then got hacked and migrated it to a Word Press blog hosted elsewhere. Blogger was nearly 10 years ago and this blog on WP came about in 2011. My conclusion is that I should probably take a course in coding or hire someone to walk me through the complexities. Or: create space for the astrology stuff on this blog. So that’s what I’ve done.

Now, in the masthead, you’ll find monthly astrological predictions for each sign. These aren’t the 4000-word predictions like astrologer Susan Miller does each month. I’ve kept them shorter, with the significant highlights. Each month, I’ll ask readers to send me their birth information for a lottery and the one that’s selected will receive an in-depth analysis for that month. That info must include your place, date, correct time of birth, and where you live now (for transits). That time of birth is critical. I’m not sure yet how that lottery will work – maybe the dogs will pick!

 

Along with our usual synchronicity posts, there will be posts on significant astrological events that are coming up. Like the January eclipses. The new and full moons, unusual patterns.

Someone asked me what astrology has to do with synchronicity. Well, everything. Carl Jung studied astrology. It, like the I Ching, is a divination system. Jung wrote the intro to Richard Wilhelm’s translation of the I Ching and it was the first time he mentioned synchronicity publicly. That was in 1949. Natal astrology is also a blueprint of potential for your life. It’s the map you chose before you were born.

Astrology is a language – like math, neurology, Swahili – but also a landscape of symbols. Metaphors. Observations. When I meet people, I often peg their sun signs correctly. When I’m wrong, I discover they have a rising or a moon in that sign. I suspect many astrologers do this. You’re not a color or culture to me, you’re not affiliated with any religion or political party. You’re a complex bundle of attributes, a Scorpio or an Aries, an Aquarius or a Capricorn. You’re fire, earth, air, water.

This point hit me some years ago, when I ghostwrote a couple of books for famed astrologer Sydney Omarr. The connection was that we had the same literary agent. Then, for a decade, when he was bedridden and after his death, I wrote his series of annual astrology books – 13 books a year – with my husband, Rob, who took a crash course in astrology. In my first conversation with Omarr, I made a remark and he laughed. “Spoken like a true Gemini.”

He pegged me with just one comment – and that comment was about how Virgos are such perfectionists. My daughter is a double Virgo, sun and moon. Rob has a Virgo moon. My first editor was a Virgo. Some of my closest friends are Virgo. My long-time agent is a Virgo.

When we act on the potential in our birth charts, then we evolve and flourish and achieve what we came in to do. When we resist that potential, a vital part of us withers up. The potential screams for expression and when it’s ignored, we get sick, our relationships become disruptive and toxic, we feel lost or lonely or miserable, our lives don’t work the way we hope. We become shadows of who we might be.

So, these are my thoughts. I wish I could direct you to a fabulous new Blogger or Word Press website that I built when the moon was heading toward a full moon in Gemini. Even though that full moon in my front yard was incredible, it was a techie disaster. The full moon often reveals what pushes your buttons and since it was in my sun sign – well, Gemini is about communication.

And check out the masthead every month!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! May 2019 be your best year yet!

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Review of 11/9

We saw Fahrenheit 11/9 on the opening day, September 21. In all fairness here, I’m a fan of Michael Moore’s films. I cheered after watching Fahrenheit 911 in 2004. I think Sick-O, on the U.S. health care system, helped bring universal health care into public discourse and Bernie Sanders was its political voice. Bowling for Columbine brought out attention to guns and the 2nd amendment. At the end of  these movies, I cheered. I felt hopeful.

At the end of Fahrenheit 11/9, I wanted to weep. I wanted to move to another country.

This movie is Moore’s most powerful and disturbing depiction of the U.S. and of democracy as a system. It scared me. It underscored everything I’ve felt about trump since he announced his candidacy – that he’s a conman, a sham, a lover of authoritarian leaders who would like to be prez for life. He’s a crude narcissist who doesn’t give a shit about anyone except himself – and maybe his family.

But as Moore drives home in the film, trump and the republicans aren’t entirely to blame. The democrats haven’t been blameless. They’re the supposed “old guard” of democracy, but have manipulated things according to what the party wants. Case in point. In West Virginia’s primaries, Bernie Sanders won all 55 counties. But at the Democratic Convention, the delegates from that state declared their candidate as Clinton. In other words, since the democratic party wanted Clinton, it rigged the count in WV  so Clinton would become the candidate.

Sanders appears in Fahrenheit 11/9, talking with Moore about  his campaign, and these scenes were moving for me. I got choked up seeing all the incredible energy he triggered among young people.

There’re scenes of Obama in Flint, Michigan, where he supposedly sipped from a glass of Flint’s water…and basically gave a pass to the state’s governor, who created the situation that led to lead poisoning of more than 10,000 young kids. I Googled it when I got home and it’s depressing.

The water in Flint is still undrinkable. The film also notes that Obama took more contributions from Goldman Sacks than any other candidate, that he detained more immigrants than any other president, and stepped up drone attacks considerably. On all counts, my respect for Obama plummeted.

The film shows a fundamentally broken political system that screams for the electoral college to be abolished so that the voice of the people, through the popular vote, elects the president. It underscores the reality that if the democrats hope to win the majority in anything, they need to get rid of the old guard – Pelosi, Schumer, the ones who have been in politics for decades –  move to the left of center, put term limits on congress, and that rigging by the party should be illegal.

As a two-party system, democracy is doomed to failure. In a system where corporations are recognized as people – Citizens United – democracy becomes the world of Blade Runner and results in more tragic debacles like Flint. When science is put forward as fake news, when facts about melting ice shelves  are deemed to be hype by the Chinese or some other foreign power, when the commander in chief’s daily lies are documented, when the president is an admitted sexual predator (Hollywood access tape), when 3% of Americans own nearly 170 million guns, when the largest voting block is non-voters, we’re in deep trouble as a democracy.

As Moore asks at the beginning of the film, “What the fuck happened?”

The one hope in this film pertains to Parkland. The Parkland survivors invited Moore to join them at their activist headquarters. These scenes were powerful on a visceral level.  The fact that these high schools kids galvanized a movement – March for Our Lives – and are political activists is encouraging. And some of them will be voting in the midterms. The hope they symbolize is embodied in the powerful speech by Emma Gonzalez.

Moore has captured the heart and soul of the tumultuous times in which we live right now. Every Dystopian novel I’ve ever read, from Fahrenheit 451 to Hunger Games seems not only plausible, but hasn’t imagined the vast scope of where we may be 10 or 20 years from now.

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The Power of Titles

I’ve written before about Inktip, the site where people can upload their scripts for a modest fee, and expose it to industry professionals. They can view your logline, resume, synopsis, and the script. You’re notified at each step of the way.

I recently uploaded a script for Black Water, the second book in my Mira Morales series. It’s been one of my personal favorites ever since I wrote it. The logline pretty sums it up: A mother follows her daughter’s kidnapper back 50 years in time and must find her before the portal closes, trapping them both in 1968.

My dilemma, at least with Inktip, was about the genre where this story fits. Once you upload your script, you’re given many options about what category/genre the story is. I initially chose crime/mystery (an abduction) but time travel seems to be more sci-fi than anything. But wait, maybe it’s also a family drama (mother/daughter). In the end, I put it under sci-fi, but in the Inktip magazine, it went in as crime/mystery. Whatever. It’s a story. Let someone else figure out the genre!

The script for Ghost Key is also on Inktip. Hilary Hemingway and I wrote it several years back. It’s based on my novel of the same name, a different series. Here’s that logline: A single mother discovers that the quarantine of the island where she lives is due to ancient ghosts – “brujos” – that are seizing and inhabiting the bodies of residents, and she must find a way to defeat them before shed and her son are also seized.

What works for a book may not work as well for a script. What I’ve discovered is that there’s power in titles. Based on views of the loglines and downloads of the synopses and scripts, Ghost Key appears to be the stronger title. It implies ambiguity – is it about what one of those weird ancient keys fits or is it about an island inhabited by ghosts? Or something else? The title Black Water worked for the book, but perhaps to someone in the movie industry, it implies, well, stagnant water? A pond where mosquitoes party in the hot summer months? The title actually refers to an area of black water in the Gulf of Mexico where no marine life is found. Marine biologists are bewildered by it. The area is actually nature’s wormhole, a tunnel through time, specifically to 1968.

So, this is an ongoing exploration. Stay tuned!

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Happy Holidays!

From all of us to all of you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Animal Communicator

Our daughter, Megan, lost her cat, Piper, on October 30. We wrote about it here. Some extraordinary synchronicities that surrounded Piper’s death.  She was distraught. Piper was just 2, and a complete sweetheart of a cat. Megan felt guilty about Piper’s death, as if she could have done something to prevent it if she’d been home. She felt desperate to know about life after death. Was Piper’s soul alive elsewhere?

Several weeks ago, Megan discovered an animal communicator, Heather Bristol,  whose horse she used to ride way back before Heather became an animal communicator. Interesting synchro. She booked a 30-minutes session.

When Megan told me about her reading, I was struck by a number of details. First, Megan was pretty sure that Piper had died on her dresser, where she often sat to peer outside the bedroom window. Some things were knocked to the floor. But Megan found her body in the living room, her fur wet. One of her clients is a vet who “happened” to come by that night to pick up her dog shorty after Megan’s found Piper. The vet examined her, said there were no bite marks, nothing to indicate she’d been killed by a dog. The vet surmised Piper had physical defect – weak heart or something else. This didn’t explain, though, why Piper’s body was in the living room when Megan found her.

Heather told Megan that Piper had died of an aneurysm while on the dresser and had fallen to the floor. The several dogs in the house, including Megan’s dog, Nika, had brought her body out into the living room and tried to revive her, They nudged and licked her repeatedly. That accounted for her wet fur. Just imagine this: the body of a small cat, light gray, a little beauty with wise eyes, is moved from one room to another by a dog or dogs. The lick her to revive her, wetting her fur… Here’s Nika, Megan’s dog, investigating Piper’s grave.

According to Heather, Piper’s previous life had been long and happy, but her death had been planned – i.e. she’d been put down for some old age complication. Her soul had chosen to return for a short, happy life in which she died a natural death. This information gave me chills. It implies that animals have spiritual agendas and reincarnate with intention, just as we do.

Piper and Nika peering though my  office window

I’ve thought about this frequently over the years. I’ve had a lot of cats, each of them special in some way, each of their personalities unique. Yes, most cat owners – pet owners – feel that way about their animal buddies. But I’ve never had a reading with an animal communicator and as Megan related the information Heather had provided, it resonated deeply for me. Piper used to spend a lot of time at our house. She was an old soul, for sure. Pet owners recognize that difference.

Heather teaches animal communication and Megan will be signing up in the new year. I think she’s a natural. She’s a dog walker who also housesits dogs, is an artist whose specialty is pet portraits – most of them cats and dogs- and has an instinctive understanding of them.

Another interesting point. Three days after she was born, my astrological mentor, Renie Wiley, took a look at Megan’s chart. She tapped the horoscope, noting 23 Sagittarius at her Midheaven – that arrow at the top of the chart. It represents your career, your professional face.

Sagittarius rules animals, higher education and consciousness, foreign countries and people, your worldview, and publishing.

“Animals are going to be a huge part of her life. Could be vet school.” Renie’s finger moved to Megan’s Pisces rising. “Or animals as a form of art.” Then her finger moved to Megan’s Virgo sun and moon. “Regardless, she’s incredibly precise, a perfectionist.”

All true.
Heather also told Megan that Piper would be back – soon or not, as a cat or not, Megan would recognize her ,whatever her shape or species the next time around.

The MacGregor clan awaits you, Piper.

Megan’s website: www.artbymmm.com



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The Curious Universe of Instagram

From what I’ve read and learned about Instagram, the protocol seems fairly straight forward. It’s about brands (a word I’ve come to detest), and to further yours, you should strive to get as many followers as possible. Once you’ve got several ten of thousands of followers – or hundreds of thousands – then you’re considered to be “an influencer.”

I’m not exactly sure how influencer translates into sales, but as my social media savvy daughter informs me, it may translate into cash because of advertising. I often receive messages from people I follow about paying them a nominal fee to buy followers. But what do the purchased followers get out of this deal? Are these legitimate followers or bots? Those things aside, this smacks of some high school thing where you vote for the most popular kids in school – not because they’re the smartest or most likely to succeed, but because they’re good looking or pushy in a personable way.

I’ve come to understand that with IG, the idea is to focus on one particular thing – your brand or your passion or whatever moves your blood. You’re a great chef, an incredible parent, dog lover, professional travel photographer, fitness trainer, yoga teacher, real estate agent, life coach, artist, writer, editor, agent, movie producer, gardener. You get the idea. But I’m a Gemini, I have a lot of interests and passions. As a result, I’m following way more people than follow me, and they span the gamut from writers and photographers to dog/animals lovers to UFO trackers, real estate agents, tattoo artists, synchronicity and paranormal researchers.

One weird trend I find on IG is the number of people who “become” celebrities.There are so many “official” JK Rowling IG sites that I haven’t been able to find the real JK. This is rather depressing, People can’t find their own voice, their own personas, so they choose someone else’s. Even trump gets buried in the morass of wannabes.

Stephen King also has impersonators, but his official IG page has 1.1 million followers and he’s following 1 person – “itmovieofficial.” I love his posts about his dog.

Rachel Maddow also has her share of impersonators. One of the funniest is Rachel Maddow Texas, which features 3 posts of a woman falling out of her bathing suit while holding up a drink of some kind

Another odd trend is women and men who flaunt their bodies in some way to attract followers. The men are usually shirtless, prone to selfies that show bulging biceps, chests as hard as iron, bodies that aspire to be like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s. These photos are usually taken against stunning backdrops of sunsets or sunrises. With women, it’s the nearly nude or totally nude yoga poses that are accompanied by some feel-good aphorism: be proud of who you are or claim your power. Really?

If nothing else, IG provides insight into the collective human psyche at this weird juncture in time.

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The Outliers

A collection of short stories

An outlier is something or someone that lies outside of the main group that it’s a part of. In this collection of short stories, the outliers are people who don’t fit into our consensus reality. They’re anomalies, weirdos, individuals whose experiences are vastly different from the rest of us. And yet, they are us in their humanity, their emotions, and in their curiosity that asks, What if? The stories begin with a novella in which a paranormal investigator looks into a bizarre story about a secret federal law enforcement team that pursues their cases while out-of-body. It ends with the story of a First Lady who hold seances in the White House. In between are more tales of outliers, more strangeness.

Rob and I haven’t collaborated on fiction before. But we realized we had some short stories and novellas that could be combined into a collection that would fit the idea of outliers.  These people aren’t quite like those in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success. They’re a a different breed  – psychic misfits, weirdos, people with a lot to lose or gain. Do they succeed in their quests?

Some of the short stories are reprints that appeared first in other anthologies, but there’s plenty of original material in here, too. The writing and organization were fun and now we have our end of 2018 book. Onward into 2019!


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You Can Never Be Sure

 

This is a post from early 2015. It’s a good one to put up again, since it looks  at the issue of coincidence and statistical analysis. It’s at the heart of the question of whether there’s a deeper meaning underlying our everyday world or the universe is random and meaningless. I also like the comic above…9 9 9 9 9…

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Just as there are people who write books about synchronicity, there are others who write books attesting that there is no such thing, invoking randomness, what I prefer to call randomania.

A few such writers discussed their ideas in a recent article in Men’s Health Magazine. The article, called COINCIDENCE, actually is generally favorable to meaningful coincidence and included an interview with Dr. Bernard Beitman, a proponent of synchronicity, whose work we’ve written about here on a few occasions. His comments are both near the beginning and the end of the article.

However, underlying all the good stories and the belief that something unusual and special is taking place when these events happen, is the other point of view that it’s all quite meaningless, and people (silly us) seem to need to search for meaning, even when there is none. To the question of how an extraordinary coincidence with outrageous odds happen, the answer is simply: it was bound to happen.

Instead of ignoring this point of view, let’s take a closer look. After all, these anti-synchro scholars are bright people, even if their contentions take away all the magic many of us find in these experiences.

I’ll quote from the article.

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With 7 billion increasingly interconnected people on the planet, sooner or later things are going to intersect. In fact, as the world becomes “smaller,” expect the unexpected to happen more often. In his book The Improbability Principle, statistician David Hand explains that “with a large enough number of opportunities, any outrageous thing is likely to happen. No mysteries are required to explain [coincidences]—no superstitions, no god. All that’s needed are the basic laws of probability.”

David Spiegelhalter, a University of Cambridge statistician, reached the same conclusion after reviewing 3,500 stories of coincidence submitted to his website. “Lots of people believe some external force leads to all these bizarre events,” he explains. “But they’re what we would expect by chance patterns.”

Do you think being killed by lightning is an unfortunate coincidence? Your odds are actually 1 in 136,011, according to the National Safety Council. That’s just slightly less probable than dying from a dog attack (1 in 103,798). Believe a par-3 hole in one is a rare mark of good fortune? Actually, in a 100-person amateur tournament on a course with four par-3s, the odds of an ace are 1 in 32.

Despite the irrefutable laws of probability, it’s still hard for most people (read: non-mathematicians) to accept that life and lightning strikes are entirely random. Indeed, it takes effort to act randomly. (Admit it: devising secure passwords isn’t easy.) That’s because accepting the concept of a meaningless world requires accepting the fact that maybe we’re meaningless too. “The basic human drive for safety and security induces a fundamental unease with the notion that events happen by chance,” writes Hand.

“…So the brain continually searches for patterns. It even cross-checks information while we sleep, which occasionally enables us to wake with fresh insight. And it seizes on coincidences as possible clues to a new order or way of understanding the world. Linking cause and effect is a basic evolutionary process that helps us adapt. “By creating self-referential meaning out of coincidence, we build a sense of personal order and control in our lives,” says Steve Hladkyj, Ph.d., a psychology researcher at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. “This, in turn, may reduce stress and may increase the functioning of the immune system to fight disease.”

The article’s author concludes: “So the woeful state of your apartment or office aside, you are wired for order. We all are. It makes us healthier and, by inflating our egos with the air of self-importance, more assured. Little wonder, then, that we want to believe in something more.”

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Interesting how the scientists turn around the question of cause and effect. A synchronicity, as we use the term here, is when two similar events come together outside of cause and effect and the resulting coincidence is meaningful to the experiencer. But the scientists say that by applying ‘meaning’ to coincidence, we are searching for the missing cause and effect when, in fact, we are recognizing that a deeper reality exists outside of the everyday world of cause and effect, a reality where everything is connected. The scientists, of course, don’t address that matter, because they don’t believe in any deeper reality outside of the mundane world where there are no mysterious connections outside of cause and effect—except synchronicity, which is what they are dismissing.

At the heart of their randomness argument is the curious theme that more people means more coincidences. Okay, maybe statistically that’s true. Let’s say it is. But what about when there are no people, zero? How did we appear out of the random, meaningless universe? What were the chances of specs of stardust drifting through a black void forming humans, who could ask such questions?

Here’s Hand’s answer, in short: “The tendency to synchronize is one of the most pervasive drives in the universe, extending from atoms to animals, from people to planets.”

Hmm, if there is such a ‘tendency,’ that would indicate consciousness underlying all matter. And consciousness suggests meaning, not randomness. As the cartoon at the top tells us: “That’s the thing about randomness. You can never be sure.”

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Psychic Detective Debacle

Back in the mid-‘80s, we were gathering material for a magazine article on  psychic detectives when our friend Renie Wiley, a psychic detective herself, said we should talk to a man named George Hardy.

George was living in Davie, Florida, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale when we visited him one evening. He told us a disturbing story about his involvement with the Boston Strangler case. I’ve never forgotten what he said, and I have no reason to believe that he was making up the story.

When we asked why him how he’d gotten involved in working with the police, he said that the faces of killers haunted his thoughts when he heard about a crime. If he was watching television or listening to the radio and a story came  on about a missing person or an unsolved murder case, he would suddenly know things he shouldn’t know, and see how things happened.

In the aftermath of a south Florida murder case in 1971, Hardy showed up at a police station and said he had information about the murder of George and Ino Jo Beck aboard their 57-foot catamaran that was docked in Dania, Florida. Hardy described for Dania police the interior of the ship perfectly and gave a reasonable account of the crime. The murder weapon, he said, was a hammer, wrapped in a curtain ripped from a window on the boat and buried behind the killer’s house.

Then Hardy described the killer as a man living near Griffin Road, who drove a bright yellow car and also owned a blue van. He limped on his left leg. The surprised police chief said he knew the man Hardy was talking about. He worked for the local government. When the man found out the psychic had pinpointed him in the murder, the suspect committed suicide a few days later. The police never found the weapon, though, in spite of digging up the man’s backyard.

Earlier, Hardy had volunteered to help detectives investigating the Boston Strangler murders. In all, 11 women in the Boston area were murdered in the early 1960s. He played a small role in the investigation, but the case changed his life. Hardy told us that he provided accurate details of related crime scenes that only authorities knew about. When he had told them all that he had seen in his visions, the police turned on him. They were baffled by the case and decided to find out if  George Hardy was revealing visions or if he was the Boston Strangler and was telling them about his own deeds.

Hardy was interrogated at length, then given injections of “truth serum.” Sodium Pentothal is the best known drug used, but other psychoactive drugs have also been tested and Hardy thought he might’ve subjected to a drug cocktail of hypnotics and sedatives. In the aftermath, he suffered from a nervous disorder that continued for decades. When we talked him, in th mid-1980s, he was clearly upset about how the Boston police had treated him years earlier, and the physical after-effects.

George died Sept. 21, 2005 at the age of 78.

 

 

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Afterlife Encounters with Martin Caidin

Author Martin Caidin was fascinated with psychokinesis—the ability to move objects with his mind. We’ve previously written about how met him at a bookstore in Gainesville, Florida where Marty and I (Rob) and others were doing a collective book signing in support of the bookstore which was under seige for selling X-rated comic books. Afterwards, Marty invited everyone to his house to see his ongoing experiment in psychokinesis involving an assortment of small paper vanes that looked like six-inch windmills.

Marty, who was also an aviation expert and pilot was brash and outspoken, a cigar-smoking macho guy. Maybe his brash behavior was part of the reason that Trish and I were the only ones who accepted his offer. Alternately, the other authors, all science fiction writers, might’ve thought it was a bogus claim.

But why would this accomplished writer—author of the novel that became a popular TV series, The Six Million Dollar Man—boast that he could move objects with his mind if it wasn’t true? What did he have to gain by faking it? Marty mentioned that parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach and a researcher from the University of Florida were studying abilities.

His experiment involved an assortment of small paper vanes that looked like six-inch windmills that were on a table inside a small room about the size of a walk-in closet. Trish and I observered the vanes through a window. The overhead AC vent was blocked.  As we wrote earlier, the vanes did indeed start moving when Marty approached the window to the sealed room. Some appeared to move clockwise, others counter-clockwise.

In the aftermath, I experienced a strange synchronicity related to Marty. I had recently completed my seventh Indiana Jones novel and had told my editors at LucasFilm and Bantam books that I needed a break from the series to write an unrelated novel. Two week later, and just a week or so after I’d met Marty, I got a call from him. He told me he’d been asked to take over the series. He would go on to write two Indy novels.

I was a bit annoyed that the powers that be had so quickly turned to another author, and of course was surprised that it was Martin Caidin. A friend who heard this story suggested that maybe Caidin contacted his agent and told him he wanted to write Indiana Jones novels after meeting me. But that’s unlikely, and even if he had tried that, there’s very little chance anything would’ve resulted, and definitely not in a few days after meeting me.  The more likely explanation was synchronicity. Marty was at the right place in his career at the right time and the offer came about independent of any scheming on his part.

Marty died in 1997, but apparently he didn’t go away. Some of his friends, including Auerbach, reported that Marty visited them in the weeks after his death. I never knew about these encounters until recently when I read about them in Leslie Kean’s excellent book, Surviving Death. To paraphrase Kean:

Nine days after Marty’s death, Loyd Auerbach was driving along a California freeway in his new car when suddenly it filled with the strong odor of cigar smoke. “There was no way to explain this, but Loyd knew what it was. He recognized the distinct smell of the type of cigar that Marty had often smoked in his presence, which lingered in the car for about five minutes. Loyd felt that his friend had come to say goodbye.”

Later that morning, Loyd called a friend who knew Marty to tell him about the cigar smoke. Before he had a chance to explain, the man told him he was surprised to hear from him, because that morning while piloting his airplane at about 10 AM, he felt as if someone was in the cockpit with him, and then smelled cigar smoke. Like Loyd, he was certain it was Marty making his presence known. Making the matter even more astonishing, another pilot and friend of Marty’s reported that he too smelled cigar smoke in his cockpit a few minutes after ten that same morning.

One such incident is an interesting anecdote about spirit contact. Two could be called a meaningful coincidence or synchronicity. And three, well, that sounds like proof to me, providing one or more of the men weren’t making up their version of the encounter from beyond.  Call me gullible, but I take them at their word.

Life continues on it seems.  Keep on smoking those spirit cheroots, Marty! As above, so below.

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Grandmother+cat+book+synchronicity=spirit contact

Synchronicity often proves to be the language of anomalous events. Whether we pay attention or not depends on how closely we’re paying attention to the events in our own lives. This experience involves a cat, a grandmother,  a book, and spirit contact.

In late July, several years after the death of his grandmother, a cat came to Bhairujan’s door, meowing. (The little beauty in the above photo)He invited her – Mishu-  into his house and as he was getting her food ready, she let loose with the loudest “meow” he’d ever heard.

“I chuckled a bit and said, ‘Wow, you’re really hungry, aren’t you? or something like that.  And she responded with another “meow”.  So I said something else, and she responded again.  And again.  This went on for several minutes, it was like we were having a real conversation.  Every time I spoke to her, she sat quietly and listened, and then responded.  I have no idea what she was saying, but I am absolutely convinced that she was understanding me.  Just for fun, I even said something in Bengali, which was my grandmother’s native language. I don’t speak the language at all really, but I’ve heard enough of it to pick up a few words – and the cat looked annoyed and said sternly, “Meow!”, as if my grandmother was scolding me for my horrible pronunciation and grammar of her native tongue.

“I should also mention that this cat is normally very quiet, and this hasn’t happened again since that day. I’m fairly convinced that my cat is the spirit of my deceased grandmother. It was like she somehow broke through for just that moment, and was able to communicate with me. So anyway, that’s what got me thinking about communication from the other side that day.  And then I found your book.

“Later that day I took the bus to visit a friend in NYC.  When I sat down on the bus, lying there on the seat next to me was a book someone had left behind – Synchronicity and the Other Side by Rob and Trish MacGregor.  I picked it up and started reading it.  I read about half of it on the bus trip, but I didn’t feel right taking it with me when I got off, so I left it there where I found it.

“I ordered a copy from Amazon when I got home, and I read the rest.  I had never heard of Rob and Trish MacGregor before, and there was a reference to your blog and web site in the back of the book.  I felt a strong compulsion to go there.  I don’t know why.  Probably because I thought it was weird that I was thinking about communications from the other side that day, and I just happened to find your book on the bus.  It was like something was telling me I HAD to go to your site to learn more about you, I was being pulled so hard in that direction.  So I did.

“There’s so much we don’t understand about this crazy universe we live in.

First I want to tell you how I ended up at your blog.
And (of course), the first post I read was a rant about Donald Trump.

We exchanged a few comments, an interesting discussion developed, so I stayed around.  I stayed around long enough to get Connie’s attention, and that’s why I’m writing to you today.  When she asked me to contact you for her email, it became clear to me why I was so drawn to your blog that day.

I have some sort of weird connection with Connie.  I don’t know exactly what it is yet, but we’ve been exchanging emails and there are enough things in our lives that lead me to believe our paths have crossed before – maybe in another life, maybe even in several.  Some of her ideas are a little “out there” (and I think you know she would readily admit that, so I don’t think I’m betraying her by telling you so), but then again so are some of mine.  She seems to sense things.  She knew things about me before I told her.  I shared with her a series of dreams I’ve had, and she was shocked by some of the connections to her past- (and present) life experiences.  We are connected somehow.  We are still exploring that connection, and you guys are the reason we found it.

So that’s why I wanted to say thanks – in some kind of weird twist of events (synchronicity?) your blog brought us together, and started me down another rabbit hole.  I don’t know what we’ll find there, but like most things in life, it’s about the journey.

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Tracking a Near-Death Experience

We recently wrote about out-of-body travel, which is usually a spontaneous experience, at least the first time. Near-death experiences are another spontaneous way that people travel beyond their bodies. Of course, it’s not the preferred method, since the person is literally dead for a short period of time.

That said, NDEs have become a specialty research area usually involving medical practitioners, who have decided to explore the the nature of these experiences from the stories told by patients who have been revived.

One of the best documented stories comes from medical social worker Kimberly Clark Sharp, who is the founder of the Seattle International Association for near-death studies. In 1977, she was a young social worker at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle when her life was forever changed by the experience of a middle-aged Mexican migrant worker named Maria. She described Maria’s out-of-body experience in depth in an essay published in Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife, by Leslie Kean. Here’s a summary of it.

While visiting friends in Seattle, Maria suffered a massive coronary and was rushed the Harborview emergency room. Several days into her hospital stay she had a coronary arrest. While medical personal attempted to revive her, the heart monitor showed that she had flatlined—she was clinically dead. Fortunately, her heart was shocked into beating again and she was revived, though still unconscious. She woke up several hours later and was breathing on her own. However, she was extremely agitated and a nurse paged Kimberley for assistance.

Kimberly had met Maria and was aware of her recent in-hospital coronary arrest. In fact, she had looked in on the team as they had attempted to revive their patient. Maria didn’t speak much English and Kimberly’s Spanish was basic. But they were able to communicate through Spanglish and gestures. Maria, it turned out, was excited and anxious to tell anyone who would listen that she had left her body and watched the recovery effort from a corner of the room near the ceiling. She accurately described the people in the room, where they had stood, what they had said, and what they had done. She also correctly described the electrocardiogram machine and how it had produced a long scroll of paper that was kicked under the bed.

Maria then said she had hovered above the doors of the emergency room, and accurately described the view of the curving driveway and the direction that vehicles were parked. She had no view of the entrance from her room. What makes her story truly compelling and ultimately documented is what she next told Kimberly.
Maria said that while out of body she drifted to another part of the hospital and saw a single, large-sized sneaker outside of a window ledge on an upper floor. She moved closer to it and described it as dark blue and scuffed on the side near the small toe area. She said a white shoelace was tucked under the heel.
She asked Kimberly to go find it to prove that while her body was dead she was not only conscious, but able to float inside and outside the hospital walls. Kimberly thought it would be a fruitless search, but agreed to take a look. She walked around the hospital on the sidewalk that encircled it, but was too close to the building to see ledges on the upper floors. She couldn’t move away from the building because of heavy traffic and a nearby cliff on one side.

She went back inside and decided to look around on the third floor. “I went into the patient rooms, walked to the window and looked down.” She found nothing on the ledges on the east and north sides of the building. While searching on the west side, she was stunned when she peered out a window and saw a man’s dark blue sneaker. The end of a lace was tucked under the heel, as Maria had described. After she retrieved the shoe, she saw that the area of the shoe near the little toe that had faced outward was scuffed.
She wrote: “I was shocked.Time stopped. For that first moment I could not support my own body weight and slumped against the glass, hitting it with my forehead. This was impossible.”

Kimberly knew that Maria could not have unhooked her IVs and monitor leads and wandered to the other side of the hospital and looked out a window of a patent room. She would’ve attracted immediate attention upon leaving her bed. Another far-fetched explanation that avoided out-of-body travel was that someone planted the shoe on the ledge, then convinced Maria to conspire in a hoax. In fact, Maria had no visitors the day of her resuscitation. Kimberly could not imagine a busy doctor or nurse taking part in such a charade. Besides, why would Maria agree to participate? Beyond that, none of the staff on duty, beside Kimberly, spoke enough Spanish to convince Maria of something so bizarre.

That left Kimberly with one other option: “While unconscious with her eyes closed, with no heartbeat or respiratory activities and a roomful of medical professionals working frantically to resuscitate her, Maria somehow had visual and auditory awareness of distant locations. While I watched her body being thumped and jolted, she was somewhere else.”
Strange as it was, Kimberly realized it was the most likely scenario, and that some people experiencing temporary deaths could remain conscious as they traveled out of their body.

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