~Presentation to the Georgia Mountain Writers Club~
Everyone, or almost everyone, has unusual experiences during his or her life. At 73, I am no exception. I have had many such but all save one appear to have some kind of “natural” explanation. (We know that everything is “natural” but we use the word “unnatural” to categorize those events we cannot explain in terms of our experience and belief.)
In the developed world today, most use “science” to explain our world rather than some other form of belief – most not explicitly realizing that “science” can explain only phenomena that lie within some loosely defined boundary: things studied that appear to conform to currently induced “laws”.
Whatever. We try to “explain” unnatural experiences by positing extrasensory perception or fate or something.
Most unnatural experiences that we initially “explain” by extrasensory perception, intuition, fate, etc. on closer inspection can be explained by some kind of unconscious knowledge or unconscious perception: e.g., feeling of motion, observing body language, detecting a smell.
If I eliminate all of my unnatural experiences that have some possibility, however small, of being explained by unconscious knowledge or perception, I am left with only one: it is an instance of distant communication (or unlikely coincidence) and occurred circa 1966 when I was living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
I have only played golf a half-dozen times in my life. I played with my father when I was a teenager but did not develop a liking for it. One night in Chapel Hill I dreamed I was playing golf and injured my ankle somehow (either by twisting it or hitting it with a golf club – I forget which). My ankle hurt so badly I woke up – but went back to sleep. When I woke for the day, my ankle still hurt and I walked hesitantly. My wife asked what was the matter, and I told her about the dream and that my ankle still hurt.
About three days later, we heard that my father had injured his ankle while playing golf to the extent that he required medical treatment and had to walk very carefully. I do not recall how he injured his ankle, whether by twisting or by hitting it with his golf club – but whichever, it was the opposite of my dream.
There are at least two possible “explanations” for the dream: either improbable coincidence (improbable coincidences occur all the time in our chaotic world even though disdained by serious writers) or some kind of distant communication outside the current bounds of science. As would most, I prefer to think it distant communication rather than "random noise".