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 was.
(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 accurately.

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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