Coincidence
Home Up Day of Confusion

First Draft of Gypsy Prophecy.  Ignore. 


PART ONE: THE GYPSY PROPHECY

 


CHAPTER THREE:
COINCIDENCE

Written by Rick Archer
 

 
 


GOD'S WILL

 

Rick Archer's Note:

As the crack of dawn approached, I was happy and sad at the same time.  I had the worst fear Marla would leave me.  This fear, of course, made no sense.  After all, Marla had just spent the past two hours in my arms.  With her head placed against my chest, she sighed with contentment.  I was thrilled, of course, but I was also sick in my stomach with anxiety.  Even though Marla was in my arms, I had no guarantee she would ultimately choose me over Chris. 

As far as Vegas odds were concerned, I definitely held the inside track.  But this wasn't Vegas.  When Fate is involved, the overwhelming favorite does not always win.  Just ask Goliath.  In particular, Marla's story about Patrick had me shaken.  As Marla described him, Patrick had it all... nice guy, bright, beautiful house, good-looking, lucrative law profession plus she knew he really liked her.  And yet Marla had returned to Chris, the man who had imposed a suspicious three-month time-out on their relationship. 

To me, Marla's decision to pick Chris over Patrick did not make a lick of sense.  However, no one ever said that Love had to make sense.

 

When Daybreak arrived, Marla would have to choose between Rick and Chris.  Would God allow me to keep Marla or would I lose her to Fate?  God knew perfectly well that I wanted to keep Marla.  So what?  Not all prayers get answered, even when Jesus is doing the asking. 

A well-known story from the Bible took place the night before Jesus was to be crucified.  Knowing the ordeal he was about to face, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to pray.  As usual, His disciples followed close behind.  Upon reaching his destination, Jesus turned and told them to wait.  Jesus suggested the disciples spend their time praying to avoid the dangers of temptation, then left them behind. 

Wishing to be alone, Jesus found a private spot, then knelt down to pray.

‘“Father, if it is your will, take this cup of suffering away from me. However, your will must be done, not mine.

-- Luke 22:42, God's Word Translation

Thy Will Be Done.

 
 


FIRESIDE CHAT 01:  ORIGIN OF THE MAGIC CARPET RIDE

 

Rick Archer's Note:

This is a good time to hit the Pause Button and have our first of many 'Fireside Chats'.  The Magic Carpet Ride is written by two people, my Younger Self and my Older Self.  With a nod to Franklin Roosevelt, my all-time hero, the 'Fireside Chat' is a twist I will use to give voice to my Older Self.  Currently Rick, age 50, is telling the story of how I met Marla.  However, Rick, age 70, wishes to step away from the story to have a heart to heart chat with the Reader. 

This is a good time to explain why I decided to write my book.  Once upon a time, a series of unusual events led me to the door of a dance studio.  Due to my acute loneliness, the stakes were a lot higher than they should have been.  With my love life in shambles, I had decided dance lessons might be my last best chance to help crawl out of this Epic Losing Streak.  Unfortunately, something bizarre took place in my first lesson.  Afterwards, I was so upset I could not drive home.  As I sat there trembling in my car, common sense suggested I should quit.  Clearly I had no aptitude for dancing.  Despite my despair, I suddenly got the feeling that God wanted me to continue.  Considering how badly things had gone in my first dance lesson, this made little sense.  However, the feeling was so strong, I decided to return the next week.  I could not imagine WHY God wanted me to do this, I just knew this was how I felt.

I ended up taking dance lessons for the next three years based strictly on a hunch God wanted me to do this.  Who am I to argue with God's Will?  Then one day out of the blue I was handed a dance studio.  I never saw it coming, but look what just showed up on my doorstep.  Overwhelmed, unprepared, inexperienced, I would have pegged my odds of success at somewhere around 1%.  Nonetheless, overnight my studio became an instant smash hit.  Bewildered by my unexpected achievement, I concluded I had succeeded simply because God wanted me to.  You don't believe me?  Read the book.  It's true.

Thirty years later, I was retired when out of the blue I was handed another dance studio.  This business opportunity was so lucrative it seemed like the Divine equivalent of 'make him an offer he can't refuse.'  I suppose the religious term is 'Temptation'.  I accepted the opportunity because I believed God wanted me to do this.  To my utter shock, I failed miserably.  This made no sense.  Based on the spectacular success of my previous studio, I had pegged my chance of success at 99%.  Nevertheless, I had failed due to a series of very curious bad breaks.  Bewildered by my unexpected failure, I reached the conclusion I had failed because God wanted me to. 

At first I was hurt.  This made no sense whatsoever.  Despite giving this project my best effort, I had gone down.  Why would God want me to fail?  Hey, this was His idea in the first place!   I could have sworn God wanted me to do this.  Did I somehow misread the tea leaves?  After all, the initial omens were so positive that I assumed the Universe wanted me to resume my previous path.  Well, obviously I had guessed wrong.  

Meanwhile, this series of bad breaks troubled me greatly.  It had not been my idea to make a comeback.  I had only accepted the offer because I believed God wanted me back in the game.  I am serious about this.  I was quite comfortable in retirement.  After all, I had once created the largest dance studio in the country.  I had left on a high note at age 60 with no need whatsoever to continue.  But when this new opportunity fell in my lap two years later, I had a very strong feeling this is what God wanted me to do.  Well, if that's what God wants, I will get back in the saddle.  At the start of my Comeback attempt, I had been so sure of success.  But now I was startled.  It wasn't that I failed, it was the way that I failed.  I did not fail for lack of trying.  I did not fail due to any stupid mistakes on my part.  Everything I had control over went smoothly.  It was the things I did not have control over that went crazy.  I failed specifically because every possible thing that could go wrong did go wrong. 

It was the final two events that put the dagger in.  Both events were so unusual I added them to my List of Supernatural Events without reservation.  In life, there is bad luck.  I get that.  But "Supernatural Bad Luck" is different.  To me, that indicated God was making this happen for a reason.  This situation was the exact reverse of what had happened to me long ago when I received one lucky break after another.  Whatever happened to that Hidden Hand which had once come to my rescue time and again early in my dance career?  Now it was just the opposite.  After being hit by one bad break after another, I felt like the cards had been deliberately stacked against me. 

What should I make of this strange turn of events?  Putting things into perspective, this particular failure was not a tragedy.  Actually it was more of an embarrassment than anything else.    Yes, I lost $5,000 and wasted six months of my time.  However, compared to 32 years of wonderful times at my first dance studio, this was a drop in the bucket.  As opposed to the life-altering events of this past, this comeback flop was more like a wrist slap, a rebuke to my pride.  Mr. High and Mighty One-time Owner of the country's biggest dance studio falls on his face.  Stunned and feeling abandoned by God, I went into hiding. 

 

As I nursed my wounded pride with long walks in the woods, I wondered if there was a message here.  There had to be.  My failure was just too weird not to carry a message.  What exactly was the purpose of this?

Then one day I ran across an Arabic saying about Fate.

If it is meant to be,
God will move two mountains to make it happen.

If it is not meant to be,
you will never taste it even if it is placed between your lips.

 

I felt goosebumps when I read that.  This unusual proverb was a direct parallel to my life story.  In a sense, God had once moved two mountains to deliver my studio.  Now by placing what seemed to be deliberate obstacles in my path, God had seemingly ripped success from between my lips.  If God means for me to succeed, I will.  If I am not meant to succeed, I will not.  God's Will, not Rick's Will. 

Once upon a time I led a charmed life, now I was jinxed.  So what is the message?  I believed God had scolded me for taking too much credit for the success of my first dance studio.  Over the years, I had grown so proud of what I had accomplished, the lucky breaks of the past had sort of slipped my mind.  Hmm.  Maybe I needed to rethink this.  Yes, I had the Talent to run a dance studio.  My past success was ample proof of that.  But where did this Talent come from?  It was a God-given Talent!  When I disrespected God by assuming it was Rick's Talent, God removed that Talent to teach me a lesson.  Whoosh!  You could hear the sound of my Ego deflating.

Suddenly it all made sense.  I could have all the talent in the world, but unless I followed God's Will, I would never succeed on my own merits.  In a flash, I became very humble.  I was ashamed of myself, but grateful as well.  From now on, all glory would go to God.  However, if teaching dance is no longer my Destiny, what does God want me to do instead?  Take a quick guess what crossed my mind. 

Instantly I had the same feeling about writing my book as I had prior to my two dance studio opportunities.  Just to let me know I was on the right track, I had barely written two sentences when an interesting thought popped into my head.  Can Failure also be a Miracle?  With a nervous laugh, it sure seemed that way.  The circumstances behind my recent failure were so extraordinary that I was positive this situation had been deliberate.  And now this Arabic Proverb about Fate pops up.  The connection was impossible to ignore.  My instinct told me God wanted me to write a book about Fate, but first he had sent this important lesson to deepen my understanding. 

That gave me an idea.  Over the years, I had collected a list of every event I had felt was out of the ordinary.  I called it my 'Supernatural List'.  The list was very extensive, close to 100 entries.  I went to a cabinet and pulled it out.  To be honest, this was like visiting an old friend.  I had not seen this list in years.  That is because the fireworks had taken place early in my life, then came to a crashing halt about thirty years ago. 

 

The first thing I did was add the two recent events that had 'supernaturally' derailed my comeback to the List.  Then I took a long look.  As I reviewed the various events, I was staggered by the total.  Gosh, over the years, there sure have been a lot of weird things that have happened to me. 

Is it possible my life is stranger than the average person? 

And, if so, could there be a reason?  

It felt to me that I had lived a strange life because it was my Fate to write a convincing book about the existence of Fate.  By sharing these observations, I believed I could open some eyes. 

 

 


FIRESIDE CHAT 02: 
WHY THERE
ARE EPILOGUES AND FIRESIDE CHATS

 

For our second Fireside Chat, I would like to explain the importance of Fireside Chats. 

The Magic Carpet Ride is a collection of true stories which demonstrate how Fate has weaved its thread throughout my life.  To make certain points, I need to step away from the narrative to discuss aspects of Fate in a theoretical way.  A Fireside Chat allows me to give an overview of how I arrived at certain concepts such as Cosmic Blindness and why I think Coincidences are important.  

In addition to Fireside Chats, there are 'Epilogues'.  The Fugitive was a classic TV show that always ended with an Epilogue to recap the evening's show and offer insights into the troubled mind of Richard Kimble.  I love those epilogues because they emphasized Kimble's desperation and what he was thinking after his latest narrow escape.  It brought closure to each episode.

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards" -- Søren Kierkegaard

As the Kierkegaard quote suggests, a book about Fate must include Hindsight.  Many of my so-called Supernatural Adventures did not seem remotely supernatural at the time.  I was so busy coping with problems that the unusual nature of certain situations went right over my head.  It was only later when I reflected on the event that its impact came into focus.  A perfect example would be the decision to blindly follow my instinct that God wanted me to continue my dance lessons.  However, it was not till three years later when I was mysteriously handed a dance career that the impact hit me.  This is why they say "Time Will Tell". 

Here is my problem.  Frequently Event One makes little sense until we know Event Two.  If I were to tell a chronological story, any Hindsight gained through time would appear in a much later chapter.  By the time I got around to explaining what I learned, the Reader would have forgotten the details of Event One long ago.  What I needed to do was give voice to my Younger Self and Older Self in the same chapter.  A simple solution was to offer an 'Epilogue'.  In this way, I could link the story of an unusual event and the impact I gained through Hindsight together.  My Younger Self could explain what I thought as I lived my life forward and my Older Self could explain what I thought as I lived my life backwards.  How else can Fate truly be understood?

 


FIRESIDE CHAT 03:  SHOWING RESPECT TO THE READER

 

At one time I referred to my 'Observation List' as the 'Supernatural List'.  I have changed the title out of respect for the Reader. 

I resent the tendency of some religious writers to assume every Reader is a True Believer who will automatically take their word that their interpretations are sent from God.  That righteous attitude makes me very uncomfortable.  We all know there can no such thing as CERTAINTY regarding the events of this book.  This is a book about the Unknown, it is highly unlikely I will be correct in every conclusion I reach.   That is why it would be an insult for me to insist my Readers believe what I say.  Make up your own mind.

Without going into detail, let me offer an example.  Although I have never seen a ghost, I know a lot of people who claim they have.  I once met a psychic who said the ghost of a friend was apparently standing right in front of me.  This friend had died recently in another city, but only I knew that.  Was there really a ghost standing there?  I stared as hard as I could, but I could not see, touch or sense the ghost in any way.  However, since the psychic had no way to know about my friend or his departure prior to this event, I took her word for it.  Later I dutifully wrote this experience down on my List as a DEFINITE Supernatural Event.  But then I started to have my doubts.  I spent an entire summer wondering what really happened.  How much I could trust the psychic's word?  In other words, if I myself was dealing with considerable doubt, what business did I have expecting my Reader to ignore his or her own sense of doubt? 

When comes to sharing unusual stories such as mine, there can never be Certainty, only conjecture.  However, in my case, as the body of observations accumulated, one day I had a Leap of Faith.  Yes, it was hard to believe that all these coincidences had been caused by Fate, but the day had come when it was harder to believe in anything else.  That was the moment I believed in God with more assurance than any other time in my life.   

That said, I don't feel a belief in God is necessary to appreciate this book.  I invite any skeptic to read along and debunk each Observation to your heart's delight.  I respect that everyone has a right to their own belief.  Furthermore I have no desire to argue with anyone about which one of us is right.  Experience has taught me that no argument on this controversial subject can possibly end with everyone in agreement.   However, I met people who will argue till they are blue in the face.  I am deeply bothered by their insistence.  I am even more upset with the people who use physical intimidation and the threat of death as a way to spread their views.  That is unacceptable.  As far as I am concerned, far too many people have died in God's name. 

Regarding the 100 Observations I cover, I have listed 60 events as 'Suspicious'.  This is another way of saying they are strange, but hardly out of the ballpark weird.  As for the 40 'Serious' Events, these are extraordinary.  Still there will always be a small shred of doubt.  This is why I make copious use of words like Possibly, Potentially, Perhaps, Alleged, Maybe, and so on.  If you want CERTAINTY, Fate is not the right subject.  On the other hand, if you are comfortable with the word PROBABLY, you have come to the right place.

 

No one wants to be told what to think.  For this reason, I would rather not be a Preacher who offers a heavy-handed sermon to his Congregation.  Instead I prefer the technique the Quakers call 'Friendly Persuasion'.  Using the courtroom as my venue, I see my Younger Self as the Witness and my Older Self as the Lawyer.  As for the Reader, you are the Jury hearing my case.

In the tradition of Scheherazade and One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, I will entertain you with some very unusual stories.  I invite you to join my Magic Carpet Ride as I show you how each story acted as a stepping stone on my Path.

One small warning.  You will undoubtedly undergo a sense of unease as my stories repeatedly challenge your sense of Reality.  Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong.  You decide.

 


FIRESIDE CHAT 04:  INTEGRITY AND ACCURACY

 

For this book to be of value, I must convince the Reader of my Integrity and Accuracy.  Trust cannot be demanded, it must be earned.  Considering many of my stories are pretty far-fetched, any suspicion on the part of the Reader that I cannot be trusted ruins the book. 

As an example, the 1993 movie Fire in the Sky tells the alleged true tale of a young man who was abducted by aliens.  Personally, I enjoyed the movie.  Although I have never seen a UFO or met an extraterrestrial that I know of, I remain curious about such things.  In particular, the alien abduction scenes were highly effective.  One critic applauded the "stunning, gut-wrenching realism" of the abduction scenes.  Only one problem.  According to Wikipedia, the scriptwriter admitted the executives found the victim's book account of the abduction 'boring', so they insisted on upgrading the suspense.  Gee, maybe there's a reason we can't trust Hollywood.  For that matter, how much can we trust Rick Archer and his stories?

Are my 'alleged' supernatural stories embellished?   No.  In my case, I could care less how many books I sell.  Since I am too old to enjoy being rich for long, I would much prefer to get my message across.  For this reason, I do not jazz up my stories.  Nor has any detail of importance been omitted.  I have been careful to add every important detail because I know the Reader will want to know WHY I decided a particular incident was worthy of being added to my Observation List.  It is my hope that by sharing the intimate details of my unusual experiences, the Reader will become curious enough to give the existence of God and Fate some serious thought. 

How accurate are these descriptions?   Even at my advanced age, I recall every event.  Due to the unusual nature of each event, they had a way of burning themselves deep into my memory.   Not only is my memory intact, I was able to reconstruct the sequence of long ago events with great accuracy thanks to an abundance of journals, letters and notes saved from each period.  That said, I can only say my book is 99% correct.  I imagine there are small inaccuracies due to the gap of so many years.  Although the fog of time has no doubt dulled my memory on various details, I doubt the discrepancy is enough to matter. 

How accurate is the dialogue in the conversations?  Do not expect my conversations to be word for word perfect.  Because I am able to recall the topics and results of important conversations, I am able to offer my 'best guess' reconstruction of what was said.  Fortunately, my dialogue of past conversations is close enough to what was really said to get the point across. 

Are the people who appear in these stories Real?  Yes, of course.  However, I have changed many of the names for legal reasons.  Unfortunately, in order to enact my promise of accuracy, I had to share details that cast people in a poor light.  Given no choice but to throw some people under the bus, it would be naive to expect these people to necessarily agree with everything I said.  For example, a person might wish to contradict my claim that their actions were caused by a case of Cosmic Blindness.  I have no problem with that.  They have a right to their opinion and I have a right to mine.  The Reader must always keep in mind there are two sides to every story.

 


FIRESIDE CHAT 05: 
CHANCE, COINCIDENCE, AND GOD

 

"Coincidences are God's way of remaining anonymous"
       -- Doris Lessing

It is extremely important to point out that not all Coincidences are equal.  In fact, the majority of coincidences are absolutely meaningless.  They are so boring that over time many people get in the habit of ignoring them. 

On the other hand, once in a while a Coincidence is so dramatic it forces people to wonder if they have just witnessed an act of God.  In my case, my Observation List is sprinkled with dozens of unusual Coincidences.  In fact, one of those Coincidences is remarkable enough to be considered a miracle. 

I started my Observation List in college.  Things were not going well at all.  Deep in depression, I questioned the existence of God.  However, I was deeply curious about six 'Serious' coincidences and three 'Suspicious' coincidences spread over a short time.  One of those coincidences was the life-altering miracle while two others carried a Probability somewhere around one in a million.  Unsettled by the weirdness of these coincidences and alarmed by my doubts about God, I began a search for the Meaning of Life. 

The rational side of my mind said these coincidences proved nothing.  However, every time something weird happened to me, I instinctively wondered if the Hand of God was involved.  After reading a book written by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, I decided my Coincidences did have value.  That is when I decided to keep a close track of each one by making a List. 

At age 21 I was able to recall 20 incidents.  Some were Serious, others Borderline.  One incident by itself could be dismissed, but twenty events was a definite eye opener.  For the next few years I ran across one incident per year.  That changed dramatically in 1974.  Due to a sudden flurry of lucky breaks, my total went from 24 to 50 events overnight.  The influx of 26 new events in a span of four years was startling. 

 

In particular, Event Number 50 was a doozy.  A man I had never met in my life offered me a job as a dance teacher.  This life-changing event was an unexpected answer to a prayer, but it was so weird I began to tremble.  I did not apply for this job, I did not have the dance ability to deserve this job nor did I have the experience necessary to be any good at this job.  So what?  Someone had just quit and this guy needed a substitute immediately.  My only qualification was that I was standing there at the right time and I knew a couple of line dances.  That is how I got the job.  Kind of a lucky break, huh? 

The luck breaks did not stop there.  Against all odds, I hit a phenomenal Lucky Streak which helped me succeed as a dance instructor despite my glaring lack of experience.   Sometime your gut knows the truth before your head can figure it out.  Three years earlier my gut had told me to keep taking dance lessons based strictly on the hunch that God wanted me to do this.  Did I think there was a career in store for me?  Of course not.  I was just hoping I could become a good enough dancer to catch some girl's eye. 

Here's the irony.  During these three years, not once did those dance lessons pay off.  Continually wandering in a fruitless search for a girlfriend, anyone else would have ditched the unproductive dance lessons.  Not me.  Several times I wanted to quit, but the instinct that God wanted me to do this was too strong.  And now without a shred of warning I had just become a dance instructor.  I was thunderstruck.  Not once did I see this coming in all three years, but now it made sense.  Time will Tell! 

Thanks to the gift of Hindsight, it was apparent I had just spent the past three years preparing for my eventual career.  To me, the link between the lessons and the career could not be an accident.  This moment was by design.  This was the moment I made my Leap of Faith.  I was certain this job offer proved the existence of Fate.  Furthermore, now that I accepted the existence of Fate, I concluded only an all-knowing, all-powerful God could create such a complex universe.  So, yes, it was my belief in Coincidence that led me to my belief in Fate.  And it was my belief in Fate that led to me to my belief in God.  And it is my belief in God that led me to write this book. 

 

 


FIRESIDE CHAT 06:  THE CHURCH CHOIR COINCIDENCES

 
 

Rick Archer's Note:

Now that the Reader knows why I take Coincidences so seriously, in the coming chapters I will lay out my case for the Existence of Fate.  Before we begin, I have a question.  Are you confident the way you view the world is the way it really is?  Can you think of an important coincidence or strange event in your own life that is difficult to explain using the accepted laws of Reality?  Do you ever ask yourself if it is possible important events in our lives are manipulated beyond our awareness? 

Although I ask these kind of questions all the time, I don't claim to have the answers.  I am not psychic.  I don't hear voices.  I don't have visions.  I don't see the future.  The only thing that is unusual about me is that I ask a lot of questions.  My bet is if the Reader underwent experiences like the ones I write about in the book, you would ask a lot of questions too. 

"Coincidence is the word we use when we cannot see the levers and pulleys."
       -- Emma Bull, Bone Dance

One of the questions I ask is how Fate works.  Although I firmly believe in Fate, I have never quite figured out how Fate is administered.  What is the mechanism?   When Marla and I met in the Disco at the Stroke of Midnight, that was an important coincidence.  Just exactly how was that meeting arranged with split second timing?  Did God do all the work?  Or did God have assistants?  

According to the Mystics, there is a Hidden World right in our midst.  This world has never been revealed to me, but I don't find the idea of a Hidden World totally far-fetched.  I know that dogs can hear things I cannot.  I know that microscopes and telescopes reveal things I can't see.  And what about ghosts?  Although I have never seen a ghost, there are many who claim they have. 

 

Here is my point.  Just because I cannot see the Hidden World does not mean it is not there.  Perhaps the Hidden World is the Realm of Angels.  Or gremlins.  Or fairies.  Or leprechauns.  Or pixies, elves, sprites, gnomes, trolls and hobbits.  Personally, I have no idea what the Hidden Realm consists of.  Like most people, I am completely dependent on legend and mythology for my ideas. 

Lacking first-hand knowledge about how Fate is administered, my best guess relies on the Christian concept of invisible Guardian Angels.  Folklore suggests we all have a specific angel charged with the responsibility of protecting us.  Given that the concept of Guardian Angels has such wide acceptance in the public mind, I sometimes wonder if Guardian Angels are the ones using the levers and pulleys.

Although I believe Divine Intervention is part of our daily life, I assume we remain unaware because God is very subtle.  However, once in a while, God tips his hand and does something too unusual to ignore.  To illustrate my point, I offer the shocking story of the Church Choir.   

 


THE CHURCH CHOIR COINCIDENCES



Back in 1950, a strange story appeared in the March 27th issue of Life Magazine.  Titled 'Why the Choir was Late', this event consisted of a peculiar series of mundane delays that saved the lives of seventeen different people.

The story took place in Beatrice, Nebraska, a small agricultural community 450 miles due east of Denver, Colorado.  The population in 1950 was around 5,000 people.  If you have any doubt as to the story's authenticity, visit the Internet and decide for yourself.  
 

 

 

The First Delay

March 1, 1950, was a bitterly cold day in windswept Beatrice, Nebraska.  Reverend Walter Klempel knew that the evening's 7:20 pm choir practice would be quite uncomfortable unless he heated the church ahead of time.  Therefore, out of consideration, Reverend Klempel visited West Side Baptist Church that afternoon to light the furnace and unlock the door.  This way anyone who arrived early tonight could come in out of the cold.  Klempel then returned home to change clothes and have dinner. 

At 7:10 pm that evening, as was his custom, he rose from reading his Bible to drive to the nearby church five minutes away.  However, just as he was about to leave home, his oldest daughter Marilyn Ruth, 18, cried in dismay when she discovered her dress was soiled. 

Her mother said not to worry; it would only take a few minutes to iron another dress.

Reverend Klempel, Mrs. Kempel and Marilyn Ruth would be late that night. 

THREE PEOPLE ARE DELAYED ON THEIR WAY TO CHURCH

 

The Second Delay

Ladona Vandegrift, a high school student, did not want to leave until she finished a nagging geometry problem.  This knotty problem had really gotten under her skin.   Ordinarily Ladona was the most punctual member of the choir.  In fact, she was typically early for choir practice.  But not tonight. 

Tonight would be the FIRST TIME Ladona had ever been late for choir practice.

Reverend Klempel, Mrs. Kempel, Marilyn Ruth plus Ladona

FOUR PEOPLE ARE DELAYED ON THEIR WAY TO CHURCH

 

 

The Third Delay

Royena Estes was ready to leave on time.  However, to her dismay, her car wouldn't start on this cold Nebraska night.  Royena's sister Sadie suggested they call their neighbor Ladona Vandegrift for a ride.

To their relief, a phone call revealed she was still at home despite her reputation for punctuality.  Although they were pleased to catch her, they were surprised when Ladona asked them to wait just a bit longer.  Ladona would come pick them up once she finished her frustrating math problem.  Ladona's geometry problem would make all three ladies late. 

Reverend Klempel, Mrs. Kempel, Marilyn Ruth, Ladona plus Royena and Sadie

SIX PEOPLE ARE DELAYED ON THEIR WAY TO CHURCH

 
   

 

The Fourth Delay

Since Mrs. Leonard Shuster was among the most prompt of the choir members, ordinarily she and her small daughter Susan would have been on time tonight. 

However, Mrs. Shuster had received a last minute phone call from her mother asking for a favor.  This forced Mrs. Shuster to make an unexpected detour over to her mother's house to help her mother get ready for a missionary meeting.

The delay caused Mrs. Shuster and Susan to be late for choir practice.

Reverend Klempel, Mrs. Kempel, Marilyn Ruth, Ladona, Royena, Sadie,
plus
Mrs. Shuster and daughter Susan

EIGHT PEOPLE ARE DELAYED ON THEIR WAY TO CHURCH

 

The Fifth Delay

Herbert Kipf was a lathe operator.  He was late to choir practice that night because he wanted to finish writing a letter.   When asked later why finishing the letter was so important, Kipf replied, "Funny you should ask.  I can't think why."

Reverend Klempel, Mrs. Kempel, Marilyn Ruth, Ladona, Royena, Sadie, Mrs. Shuster, daughter Susan plus Herbert Kipf

NINE PEOPLE ARE DELAYED ON THEIR WAY TO CHURCH

 

The Sixth Delay

Machinist Harvey Ahl got distracted.  His wife was away, so he was busy watching his two boys that evening.  Mr. Ahl was planning to take the two boys with him to choir practice, but ended up playing with his sons.  In the process, he lost track of time.

By the time Harvey Ahl looked at his watch, to his surprise he realized he was already late.

Reverend Klempel, Mrs. Kempel and Marilyn Ruth, Ladona, Royena, Sadie, Mrs. Shuster, daughter Susan, Herbert Kipf plus Harvey Ahl and two sons

TWELVE PEOPLE ARE DELAYED ON THEIR WAY TO CHURCH

 

 

The Seventh Delay

Marilyn Paul was the choir pianist.  Due to her importance, Marilyn planned to arrive half an hour early to practice her songs for the evening.   However, Marilyn was feeling tired, so she decided to take a nap after dinner.  Marilyn fell into a deep sleep. 

At 7 pm, Martha Paul, Marilyn's mother, awakened her.  However, Marilyn fell right back to sleep.  At 7:15 pm, Mrs. Paul was annoyed to see Marilyn was still asleep.  She was forced to awaken her daughter a second time.

Mrs. Paul was fit to be tied.  As choir director, she was adamant that everyone be punctual.  Now her own daughter had made them both late.  Mrs. Paul was embarrassed they weren't setting a very good example. 

Reverend Klempel, Mrs. Kempel, Marilyn Ruth, Ladona, Royena, Sadie, Mrs. Shuster, daughter Susan, Herbert Kipf, Harvey Ahl, his two sons plus Marilyn Paul and Mrs. Paul

FOURTEEN PEOPLE ARE DELAYED GOING TO CHURCH
 

 

 

The Eighth Delay

Lucille Jones and Dorothy Wood were best friends in high school.  They were also next door neighbors who rode together for choir practice.

Lucille had a strong reputation for punctuality.   However on this night she had become mesmerized by a radio program.  The 7:00-7:30 pm program of This is Your Life featured the life story of Edgar Bergen, the famous ventriloquist and puppeteer.  Lucille simply could not tear herself away from the program until she knew the complete story.

Meanwhile Dorothy waited patiently as Lucille stayed glued to her radio program.

Reverend Klempel, Mrs. Kempel, Marilyn Ruth, Ladona, Royena, Sadie, Mrs. Shuster, daughter Susan, Herbert Kipf, Harvey Ahl, his two sons, Marilyn Paul, Mrs. Paul plus Lucille Jones and Dorothy Wood

SIXTEEN PEOPLE ARE DELAYED ON THEIR WAY TO CHURCH

 

 

 

The Ninth Delay

It was a cold March evening indeed.  As the stiff Nebraska winter breezes stirred the trees outside, stenographer Joyce Black dreaded facing the cold night air.

Although Ms. Black lived right across the street from the church, for some reason she could not force herself to go outside in the cold for the short walk.  Just thinking about the brief three-minute walk made her shiver.  Short on willpower, Joyce Black delayed leaving her cozy warm house till the last possible moment.  Finally her conscience kicked in and told her to get moving.  Glancing at her watch, it was 7:25.  Since Choir practice started at 7:20 pm, Ms. Black was already late. 

When later asked about it, Joyce Black replied she was feeling "just plain lazy".

Reverend Klempel, Mrs. Kempel, Marilyn Ruth, Ladona, Royena, Sadie, Mrs. Shuster, daughter Susan, Herbert Kipf, Harvey Ahl, his two sons, Marilyn Paul, Mrs. Paul, Lucille Jones, Dorothy Wood plus Joyce Black 

Nine separate delays caused SEVENTEEN PEOPLE to be late to Choir Practice.
 

 

 


EXPLOSION!!

 

 


At 7:25 pm, Joyce finally made herself face the cold.  It was really cold that night.  Fortunately, since the church was right across the street from her house, Joyce didn't have far to go.   

At the exact moment Joyce opened her door to cross the street, the night lit up in fire!! 

Joyce screamed in shock as a massive explosion rocked the church.  The night turned scarlet in a violent burst of flames.  Joyce was knocked off her feet by the sudden shock wave. 

Too stunned to get up, Joyce covered her mouth and shook her head in terrified despair.  Right before her eyes, the West Side Baptist Church had become a burning inferno.  Joyce stared in horror at the overwhelming sight.  No one could survive a blast like this!  Someone had surely been killed, more likely the entire church choir.  Joyce knew this for a fact. 

These people were never late!

As inspectors would later discover, the entire building had been instantly demolished by a gas leak that caught fire.  After the supporting walls were pushed outward, the heavy wooden roof had come crashing down. 

Joyce Black felt sick.  The combination of the fire and collapsing roof would be fatal to anyone inside.  There was no escape possible in an explosion of this magnitude.
 

 


Choir practice was scheduled for 7:20 pm.  The church had exploded at 7:25 pm. 

Any person who made it to the church on time would surely be dead. 

 

 

 

Meanwhile...

At the exact moment Joyce Black was staggered by the explosion, thanks to the various delays, seven different cars carrying sixteen people were late getting to the church.  Every single person had been saved from a fiery death because they were still on the road.  Moreover, they weren't just late, the entire group was at least ten minutes late.  How fortunate to have this life-saving margin.

The powerful roar of the explosion was so loud that it was heard in every corner of Beatrice.  Consequently each choir member arrived in a panic.  All sixteen people had distinctly heard the loud roar as they drove to practice.  Adding to their fear, the sound of the blast had come from the direction of their church.  If it was true the roar had come the West Side Church, the sound suggested someone had been hurt, maybe even killed. 

At the time of the blast, two cars were close enough for the people inside to witness the event.  One woman said she was so shocked she nearly drove off the road.  One by one, the rest of the choir members arrived at the burning church to behold the crimson flames.  Shocked and fearful, it crossed their minds how fortunate they were to have avoided a fiery death.  Grateful to be spared, their thoughts quickly turned to their friends at risk.  They were certain someone had lost their life in that fire.  The only question was how many. 

However, they need not have feared.  Through a very strange set of coincidences, not one person perished in the flames.

 

For that matter, no one was hurt.  Standing in the parking lot despite the cold, they huddled together and kept count with each new arrival.  Once the entire choir group had arrived, the individuals were stunned to realize every single person had been spared.  A profound sense of eeriness overwhelmed each individual.  Tears of gratitude poured out and so did the goose bumps. 

As their nerves recovered, the members of the choir began to compare stories.  It became apparent that each reason for lateness was quite ordinary and completely unconnected.  When viewed separately, the various delays were quite unremarkable. 

Yet when each reason was laid side by side with the other reasons, a strange hush came over the group.  They were in awe as they tried to grasp the enormity of this weird series of delays.  Typically one person in four was late on any given night, but never all 17.  To have everyone be late on the same night was one in a million.  Or maybe one in a billion.  No one had any idea how to calculate the likelihood.  All they knew was this was an unbelievable event.  Everyone in the group was convinced these weird delays had been an "Act of God."

 
 


EPILOGUE

Although it is hard to believe in Luck and Coincidence, sometimes it is harder to believe in anything else. 

 

 

Rick Archer's Note:

This crazy chain of mishaps is a perfect example of how a weird Coincidence can make people shake their head and wonder if there is more to this world than meets the eye.  In my opinion, the story of the Church Choir offers a compelling argument for the existence of external mind control.  A review of the nine delays shows that each person was distracted in some way at the last minute.  Moreover, not one distraction was even slightly suspicious.  No one would ever suspect their mind was being manipulated except for the fact that their lives were spared.  

The concept of Guardian Angels assigned to protect and guide a particular person offers a possible explanation.  Could it be that Guardian Angels planted telepathic messages in the minds of the various church members?  I realize the existence of ESP is in dispute, but I disagree.  I have witnessed several experiences where ESP was the most likely explanation. 

In the case of the girl whose car would not start, is it possible a Hidden Hand disabled her vehicle?  I believe physical things can be manipulated from the Hidden World.  There was an event in my life where my car would not start.  The impact was so disastrous, I became suspicious.  The car had previously given me no trouble nor did it give me trouble later.  I was convinced this strange mishap had been manipulated by a Hidden Hand. 

The story of Church Choir Coincidences demonstrates the possible link between Coincidence and Fate.  By themselves, each of the nine events can be ignored.  However, once they are linked together, this event defies realistic explanation.  When seen as a unified whole, a strong case for the existence of Fate emerges.  The same came be said for my Magic Carpet Ride observations.  Seen alone, any one of the hundred Observations can be dismissed.  But when seen as a unified chain of events, a clear Path I call 'Fate' emerges.

In the next chapter, we return to my story.  Marla has a decision to make.

 

PART ONE: THE GYPSY PROPHECY

Chapter FOUR:  DAY OF CONFUSION

 

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