(Animation from GIPHY.com)
“How strange”, we might find ourselves thinking, when time after time, these odd yet seemingly inconsequential events occur. They stand out to us, like roses blooming in a desert. By all rights, they should not bloom, the event should not naturally occur, but against all odds, they do. Time after time, adorning the linear progression of our existence, these question marks in the parentheses. Compelling many of us to wonder, why?
While some of us may read too much into such proclaimed “strange or unusual” events, others might let the occurrences pass by them utterly unnoticed. Regardless of the interpretations made by the individual, uncannily, unlikely events will continue to unfold, as they always have (statistical anomalies). If and how someone chooses to interpret these events however, that can have varying implications. Certain events, leading an individual to come to their own understanding of God, chance, fate and the very reality (or lack there of) interwoven into our observable/perceivable universe.
(Interpretation of the physical world implicating predisposition of belief. Ailuromancy, divinations made from observing feline behavior. Alectryomancy/Ornithomancy, divination of bird behavior. Myomancy, divinations made from mice/rat behavior. Myrmomancy, divination from reading ant behavior.)
In the book titled ‘Incredible Coincidence: The Baffling World of Synchronicity’ by Alan Vaughan, one particular (alleged) “unusual” case stood out to me:
In 1953, Louisville, Kentucky, a man named George D. Bryson visited the Brown Hotel. After settling into the room he was given, Bryson went down to the lobby and inquired if any messages had been left for him, as he was expecting to be contacted at the hotel. After providing his room number 307, it was discovered that there was a letter addressed to room 307, with the name Mr. George D. Bryson written on it. How unusual, Bryson thought, because even he was only recently made aware of the room number he would be randomly assigned, yet someone had written and sent a letter, addressing him there. It was soon discovered that the last occupant of room 307, was also named George D. Bryson and in his haste to leave, missed receiving the letter on its arrival.
So many variables had to perfectly align, for such an odd event to occur, and they did. The question, the crux of this event and others like it, does chance, cause and effect alone govern our reality, or are there other forces at work, manipulating the trajectory of fate?
If you’re content to believe that chance, choice, physics, cause and effect, “what goes up, must come down”, what-you-see-is-what-you-get, an eggs-is-eggs sort of sentiment governs our perceivable reality, then nothing more really needs to be said. It is, what it is. A roll of the dice, any given meaning superimposed over the outcome is entirely arbitrary (or at the very least entirely grounded by the factors/laws of our perceivable reality).
If, however, you are inclined to believe otherwise, then you’re not alone. It’s estimated that over 84% of the world’s population hold some form of religious faith. You could say it’s almost a human predilection to harbor beliefs that there is more going on than what meets the eye (whether that is actually the case or not). Be it the work of God/Gods/Fate/Karma/Destiny, there is often a religious implication that supernatural forces have a part to play in the vicissitudes of our world, and even the minuscule variables that implicate the fleeting moments of our lives.
Interestingly, it’s these rare strange and unusual events, that allow us to reflect on how we interpret the nature of the world/reality around us. When young separated twins (Case of the Jim Twins) manage to coincidentally live seemingly identical (or very similar) lives, with both choices and external coincidental circumstances. We might think, how is that possible?
A choir at West Side Baptist Church in Beatrice, Nebraska were scheduled to practice on Wednesday, March 1st, 1950 at 7:20 p.m. At precisely 7:25 p.m. a natural gas explosion ignited, destroying the church. Only not a single person was injured in the blast, because every single member of the church group, for varying reasons, was running late for choir practice. It’s alleged that never before had every member of the choir been late to practice. A lucky set of coincidences simultaneously befell 15 people?
Anecdotally, these kind of stories stack up all over the world. But unfortunately, those tales, the ones I’ve mentioned and countless others like them don’t really mean much, they could be exaggerations, misunderstandings or simply false. Perhaps, after all, they are just anomalies, given special meaning by those seeking more than what there really is.
In the end, these unusual events, alike the interpretations made from them, are only truly applicable to those who experience them. The interpretations reveal a great deal about who we are, possibly more so than the events themselves. The question is, could an unusual event, or a series of unusual events change the way you interpret the world?