We’ve had all the experience of someone calling on the the phone just when we were thinking about them, or meeting someone we haven’t seen for ages just after they popped into our minds. Or what about somebody passing on just as the clock stops, or the weather does something strange, or a bird flies into the house and won’t leave. The coincidence can seem remarkable and we often assign a paranormal significance to it, as if randomness or chance can’t possibly be enough to explain the event.
But how many times have you thought about someone and they haven’t rang, or you haven’t met them. You don’t give it a second thought and so it doesn’t register in your consciousness. I’ve lost count as to how many times I had to shunt a bird out of the house after it flew in a window. Thankfully, no one close to me has died while I was doing it and so I haven’t been tempted to lend any significance to it.
Apophenia is the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns in random data and it occurs in a variety of guises. Gamblers seeing patterns in the fall of the cards or the spinning of a roulette wheel, children picking out patterns in clouds, or a face in the grain of a timber door, or finding Jesus staring up from a slice of toast at breakfast are other well known examples.
They say that truth is stranger than fiction, I would love to hear about any strange experiences or encounters that readers may have had that made you think twice. You can email me at email@example.com