TWIN PROBLEMATIC GREETINGS
A synchronicity occurring on Wednesday, September 4, 2013. Linked
to from Paranormal Journal.
Daniel W. VanArsdale
This first event is not essential to the story, but was a motivating
factor for one of its elements.
(1) Several weeks prior to Sept. 4, a member of an email list I participate
in had posted a brief request: "I need help". I will refer to this person
as POSTER. I do not know POSTER personally, and we had often disagreed
on the list. But I wondered if he just needed to talk to someone, and even
speculated if he might be suicidal. So I responded with: "Do you really
need help? Maybe I can help you." POSTER replied back thanking me but explained
that he had already gotten the help he needed in dealing with the program
that managed the mailing list (Listserv). That was the only help he wanted,
and I felt foolish for assuming he may be undergoing some personal crisis.
(2) I had been having a frustrating computer problem on Sept. 4,
and for a week prior. In my Microsoft Live Mail email program, if I tried
to send an email it would go to the Outbox instead, and could not be
sent from there either. To get help with this problem, about four days
prior I had subscribed to a one year agreement in which a computer maintenance
specialist takes control of your computer and may at the same time communicate
with you by telephone or an on-sreen Notepad window. Judging from their
accents, these service personnel were from India or possibly elsewhere in
south Asia. Three had tried to solve this problem but had been unable to
produce a lasting fix. But Wednesday evening another employee ("FIXER") was
on the problem, and seemed confident he could fix it. FIXER told me on the
phone to delete all the emails in my Sent file and Junk file, as well as
other emails I didn't need. And he said I should make it a habit to delete
incoming emails that I don't need promptly. This was to play a role in the
synchronicity. I did as he said, and then told him I had to leave right
away. He said to go ahead, and implied he would be through with my computer
fairly soon. I was due at a friend's house at 7:30 PM, and it was already
a little after that. So I hung up with FIXER and called my friend and told
him I would be a little late, and left my house at about 7:35 for the 10
minute drive to my destination. While driving I listened briefly to a National
Public Radio (NPR) broadcast which played a key part in the synchronicity.
But I forgot about this until the next day, so will next describe what happened
when I got back home Wednesday at around 10:15 PM.
(3) Curious to see if my computer could now send emails, I turned
it on and successfully sent an email to myself. Then I noticed a person
I rarely communicate with ("CONTACT") had sent me an email. CONTACT
had included me on emails that he sent to many others, but had never sent
me a personal email, nor had I sent an email just to him. His email read
something like: "I am fine. Thanks for asking." Below this was the email
he was replying to. It was from my computer and bore my name, but it was
not from me. The short message read: "Hi. How are you?" I realized then
that FIXER must have tested my mailing program to see if it was sending
emails correctly. And he must have picked CONTACT pretty much at random
to send it to, and then checked to see if the email was in my Sent file (instead
of the Outbox). FIXER had put "test" as the subject of his email, but this
did not seem to have deterred CONTACT from interpreting the email as a friendly
gesture from me.
(4) The next morning I emailed a friend ("CONFIDANT") about another
matter. CONFIDANT and I communicate about many things, including odd "coincidences".
At the end of my email I decide to tell CONFIDANT about the two email
exchanges described above which both involved misunderstandings:
first my too serious response to POSTER's "I need help" email, and second
CONTACT's thankful response to what he thought was an email from me. In
doing this, after describing from memory the exchange with POSTER, I wrote
CONFIDANT that I would simply forward her the email from CONTACT. My habit
was to save many emails, I had hundreds saved, and did not even permanently
delete those in my "Deleted" file. I sent the email to CONFIDE, but then
realized that, following FIXER's advice, I had recently deleted about every
email I had ever saved, including the very recent exchange with CONTACT.
So I sent CONFIDANT another email saying I did not have the email I told
her I would forward to her. And I started describing the CONTACT exchange
from memory. As I was doing this I suddenly remembered what I had heard
on the NPR station as I was driving to my friend's house the night before,
at around 7:40 PM.
(5) It was an interview with a man from India who was describing
his experiences when he first came to America. I heard only the following
experience, and this only in part. He had gone into some store to pick
something up, perhaps into a pharmacy to pick up a prescription. The woman
clerk asked him: "How are you?" He was surprised by this request since
he said this would never be said by store clerks in India. He misunderstood
this to be a serious question, and decided to spend some time answering
it. But upon leaving the store he heard the woman ask the next customer
the same question, and thus realized it was a routine greeting and not a
serious personal inquiry.
So that is my story. Now consider the synchronism.
(1) At about 7:40 PM on Sept. 4, 2013 I heard a radio interview
that revealed that: An American had asked an Asian man "How are you?"
and the Asian man judged the inquiry to be more personal than it actually
(2) At about the same time: An Asian man sent an email from
my computer (remotely) to an American asking "How are you?" and the American
judged the inquiry to be more personal than it actually was.
Though I have deleted the emails mentioned above (before becoming
aware of the synchronicity), certainly the last key pair from FIXER (using
my computer) and CONTACT could be recovered and the times sent determined.
Likewise the NPR broadcast and its time are verifiable. That means the only
possible error or deceit that could dispute this "synchronicity" would be
that I asked FIXER to send the test email to CONTACT. But that would
have had to happen before I heard the NPR broadcast, which is absurd.
The earlier exchange of emails between myself and POSTER are not
required to describe the synchronicity, but this motivated me to tell CONFIDANT
about the FIXER - CONTACT exchange so I have included it. Also, confusion
about motivations are a key element here, and this was also present in
my response to POSTER.
Possibly I am not remembering accurately the greeting from the NPR
broadcast. Instead of "How are you?" it could have been "How are
you doing?" or "How are things going?", etc. To simplify the above exposition
I made it match the FIXER email ("How are you?), which I think I remember
Now consider the probability of these two events occurring so near
to each other in time to one witness. The account on the NPR broadcast
was certainly unusual, and described an obscure cultural difference. And
I am surprised that FIXER took the liberty to test my email program to a
random person on my contact list. And you would have expected him to just
repeat "test" in the body of the email, instead of putting a greeting into
my mouth. Granted the greeting involved is spoken or written many millions
of times a day; but to misunderstand the intent of such a greeting must
be extremely rare. And in both cases there is an Asian man involved. So
I judge the close proximity in time of these two events, possibly even near
simultaneity, to be extremely improbable. Their verifiability is also unusual.
Modern forms of communication, such as email and cell phone calls, may play
an increasing role in the investigation of the paranormal, particularly because
of their accurate recording of times and places.
Daniel W. VanArsdale, 9/6/2013, Lompoc, California
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