“A man once told me if you want a good story just ask any random person if there was ever an event in their life they can not explain. Someone almost always has one weird thing that has happened to them.”
– discussion topic on Reddit
This idea turns out to be pretty true! Have a look at the whole post on Reddit if you want to read all the stories that people contributed to the topic or if you just want one, have a look at my favourite, the story of unexplained darkness, where two people were suddenly plunged from a sunny day into darkness for a few seconds. One of the things that I found fascinating in this discussion is that other people keep saying “Yeah, something similar happened to me.” It turns out that being unable to explain an experience is not that unusual.
I even have a weird experience of my own, although I’m the first to admit it is not earth-shattering. When I was a teenager, I bought a paperback called The Probability Pad (a sort of sci-fi psychedelic romp), but then I misplaced it. After a concerted search of my parent’s house I finally located it, but then a little while later I came across a second copy of the book on my bookshelf. Where did the other copy come from? I still have no idea. A nice twist was that since the book was all about odd happenings and time travel, I kept wondering if the fiction has burst out into my life. Was the world having a laugh?
I like the unexplained, and not feeling that I have to explain it. The world is a mysterious place – go with it!
Patrick Harpur’s brilliant book Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld talks about people having strange experiences, including Saints ascending to heaven, or Iowa farmers climbing aboard UFOs. He says:
“It is, I think, too easy to dismiss the conviction of many of them that they were physically lifted into another realm, such as an alien spacecraft. This, after all, is what it felt like; and it is a conviction shared by all members of traditional cultures – although, as we shall see, with an important difference in viewpoint. Thus, although I do not share the conviction, I want to stress that it is ancient and respectable and, I think, nearer to the truth of the matter than not to believe in any kind of otherworld journey at all.”
Harpur’s book is a great tour of the unexplained, and he manages to throw light on the topic without ‘explaining’ it. His ultimate avoidance of the “So is it real or not?” false dichotomy makes it to my mind an even better book. Sadly out of print, but worth a read!