THIS is a true story. In Wagga, I was walking up Morgan Street and about 15 metres from its Baylis Street intersection.
Across the road (on an opposite corner) and waiting for the walk signal was an old friend I had not seen for several weeks – we’ll call him John.
I don’t think I had ever seen him walking around town before – it was a thing not in his idiom at all, unlike me.
Before giving a “Hoy!”, I glanced elsewhere briefly – possibly at my feet so that I didn’t trip over them – and when I looked back up there was the bloke on the other side of the street again: except that I realised that he looked nothing like John in any way; wrong weight, wrong height, wrong age and cloths that John would never wear.
That’s odd, I thought.
It got odder because as I pulled down my about-to-be-waved arm (pretending that I was only scratching the back of my head, as one does) and plodded on to the left, around the corner, there was John walking towards me, up Baylis Street, about 20 metres ahead.
Naturally, I kept a steely gaze on him this time in case he was wont to disappear again until finally we met up and “G’dayed” each other.
As you’d think, I gave him the low-down on my new-found psychic ability which he seemed to dismiss as about as interesting as being told that that sauce tastes good on a pie.
“Well! That’s the last time I go noticing you on the astral plane,” I decided.
I looked around for the dopple-ganger (who wasn’t really a dopple, because he actually looked nothing like John) but he was long gone – probably off impersonating someone else.
There were no physical explanations for what had occurred: I can’t see around corners; there was no “expectation factor” because I’d never bumped John downtown before (nor since for that matter); and shop window reflections involved distances far too great.
So for a while I was convinced that something genuinely spooky had occurred ... until I started thinking about the maths of it.
How many times, to begin with, do we spot someone we think we know and it turns out not to be them – I think it’s fairly common so, twice a week say?
How many times do we bump someone (or get phoned by them) that we’ve “just been thinking about” – once a month?
So if that’s a 100 times per year for the former and 12 for the latter what’s the chance that, once a year, both will coincide (within a minute of each other)?
“Yes, possible”, you’ll say “but not really a good bet”.
But wait, there’s more. What about once in 10, 20 or 30 years?
Over just 20 years that’s 2000 “misrecognitions” and 240 “precognitions”.
This raises the coinciding factor quite a bit – but we still might not like to risk the rent having a punt on it.
But (again with “the buts” you say!): what about it happening once to one of the billion or so people on earth.
In fact, the probability of it happening to someone, somewhere EVERY DAY is more likely than going a day without it happening: a dead cert!
If it happens just once to you then, while memorable, it’s just a case of it being your turn – pure and simple luck of the draw in an everyday event.
Nothing spooky or supernatural at all – dangnab and goldarn it: I always knew I wasn’t psychic!