Studying and understanding the paranormal is often a stretch of the imagination. But over the years, I’ve concluded the paranormal has a giant sense of humor.
Now I am asking myself this week, could I have predicted the winner of the 2016 presidential contest in a paranormal short story written 30 years ago – and published by the Huffington Post three and-a-half years ago?
The short story was “The Vintage Lamp.”
During grad school days in 1986 in DeKalb, Illinois, I turned to short story writing while pursuing a masters in journalism. I quickly invented Anita Perkins - a quirky woman with a paranormal past that everyone talked about. The story opens:
“Most folks in town described Anita Perkins with peculiar detail. A few could talk about Anita for up to three hours without repeating a story, many could hold an audience while three consecutive beers were consumed at Taylor's Saloon, but just about everyone held onto one story or another that they could tell to a traveling relative or at a convention three states away.”
The Anita Perkins character was all about numbers - and the author got a swift return message perhaps suggesting he'd gotten it right. Well, maybe.
Word on Anita was like never ending gossip in a mathematical synchronicity where numbers and personal timing played heavy into the story.
“The grade school principal said the Perkins woman tried to talk him out of purchasing a $150 dress for his wife. Anita said it would be embarrassing for his wife to open the gift in two months and, having gained 20 pounds on a family vacation, she would not be able to wear the garment. “Mrs. Graham left Mr. Graham three weeks after her birthday once the weight gain touched off a series of arguments that caused irreparable damage in their marriage. Mr. Graham was convinced Anita was both a tramp and a witch. He tells that story at every haircut on the corner of First and Lincoln. Those who listen repeat it now as the number two story about Anita Perkins, just after Mary Stuart and the rain.”
The story was written over the course of three evenings. And on each of three consecutive mornings I met my then girlfriend - now wife Joyce - at a breakfast restaurant in town where we shared a meal and I read her my next installment.
“Anita Perkins had built herself a reputation for precognition in town. The local newspaper even once reported that Anita had requested and had been turned down by the city for a stop sign to be placed at an insignificant intersection 17 blocks from her own home. The intersection was the scene of 7-year-old Lidia Ketchman's death nine weeks later when Mr. Graham was driving too fast and didn't see Lidia as he was traveling to an alimony hearing. A city councilwoman remembered Anita commenting after the monthly meeting that Mr. Graham’s job loss would be a shame, and that the drinking would only make matters worse. Of course Mr. Graham started drinking after the accident, what with the school superintendent's daughter dead and everything, started missing too much work, was fired, and spent 16 months without work or character.”
During the time the story was being written, Joyce worked evenings for a university professor conducting a local random sample telephone study. Names and phone numbers were generated for this random survey and each night Joyce was given her call list with script in hand detailing the questions she was to ask respondents.
After hearing the story and being introduced to the fictional Anita Perkins, one morning at breakfast Joyce had a fantastic coincidence to report.
The previous evening's call sheet included a woman with the name Anita Perkins who lived in the same town that I did. In fact, aside from the three-digit exchange, Anita Perkins and I actually shared the same phone number. Joyce immediately recognized the final four digits as mine - the area codes of course were the same - and she realized only the three-digit exchange differed.
I had to smile - the story is simply about connecting with the universe and how we're all a piece of the same fabric. I think the universe sent me a message back in a rather humorous way.
And I thought that was the end of the story and its paranormal connections to reality.
Fast forward 30 years later and I began thinking about the story again during a recent Sunday drive. We are in fact in the middle of a Presidential election with the possibility that the first woman will be elected President – something that can only happen once. A woman can only be elected for the first time – once.
I recalled that my character introduced in the final four paragraphs of the story – who grew up to be the first female president – grew up in Illinois. So I quickly returned home, called up the story, and checked the name.
The full married name of my character was Gilda Marie Tucker Coakley. Wow, I thought, not a hit. But based on the hidden paranormal comedy in the story – I looked further.
I compared Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton to Gilda Marie Tucker Coakley – with the following hits.
Gilda begins with G – I – L. Hillary begins with H – I – L.
Gilda has two vowels – I and A. Hillary has two vowels – I and A.
Marie Tucker Coakley is 5, 6 and 7 letters in that order. Diane Rodham Clinton is 5, 6 and 7 letters in that order.
Marie has three vowels – A, I and E. Diane has three vowels – A, I and E.
And my last gasp to connect the dots – both Coakley and Clinton begin with the letter C.
Well I won’t be winning any exact match paranormal awards. Perhaps there are more coincidences in the story than I have yet to discover.
Besides – we all know Hillary was born in Chicago, and at age 3, moved to the smaller town of Park Ridge. Okay, my character – if you read it carefully – is about age 3 – perhaps a year or two older – and in a smaller town in Illinois too. But my town was named Huntersville in the 12th paragraph.
Hardly a clue there. Except – Park Ridge was originally named Pennyville. Ha.
Read the story at the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roger-marsh/featured-fifty-fiction-the-vintage-lamp_b_3165815.html -aPP��q�&�