DEJA VU: (F. deja vu - ad.) literal: 'already seen"
PARANMESIA: something overly or unpleasantly familiar. The illusion of remembering scenes and events experienced for the first time = deja vu
EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION: residing beyond or outside the ordinary senses.
"The fancy is indeed no other than a mode of memory emancipated from the order of time and space." Sameul Taylor Coleridge 1772 - 1834
I've always experienced a sense of feeling connections with something or someone outside the ordinary, as in ESP. It goes back to my childhood, when I was convinced there were spirits (ghosts). Perhaps it was just part of the early development of my writer's imagination. But I do know these feelings have carried over into my adult life, and I have many examples of this. Most recently, there were the dreams, the psychic connections I had related to very close friends who have passed. One distinct event happened five years ago when my close friend and soul-brother Roberto was dying in a hospice in Athens.
I was in the bathroom getting ready to go out for the evening but my thoughts were focused entirely on Roberto, and I stopped what I was doing to project myself to his bedside, praying that he would know I was 'with' him. At that moment something squeezed my hand so tightly that my ring was crushed onto my finger and bent out of shape with the force. It startled me, of course. I had to pry the ring off my finger and was amazed at how it had bent that way. But I knew somehow that Roberto had transfered psychic thoughts to me at that moment and had squeezed my hand tightly. What I didn't know was that was around the time he died.
Late last July, when I had lost track of my friend Anibal but knew something was wrong as people had reported seeing him and said he looked unwell, I had a dream that I was in a community centre where there had been entertainment and people were sitting around at tables eating. I spotted him and his friend H. and went to speak to them. Anibal looked thin and gray and was sitting staring down at his plate, unsmiling. I spoke to them and H. grinned at me in his boyish way. When I greeted Anibal he looked up and held out his hand. When I took his hand in mine it was ice cold. This startled me as he always had a warm touch. A few days later I found out he was in the hospital with terminal cancer. When I went to see him, he held out his hand to take mine, and his hand was ice cold, and he looked thin and gray just like in the dream.
Last week, I woke suddenly at 8.15, looked at the clock and went back to sleep. I had a troubling dream about being in a house in a place called White Rock. There was a lot of noice, tv blaring, music and people talking and I was distressed because I couldn't concentrate to do my writing. I woke, relieved to be in my own apartment. An hour later I got the call from his daughter to say Anibal had died at 8.15. And later, when I told her about the dream, she said her Dad and Mother had once had a house in White Rock.
How can we explain these eerie psychic connections? I knew from the start there was some kind of mental connection between A. and myself. That was what drew us together as friends, and in the same way my friend Roberto and I were very connected, almost like brother and sister - Gemini twins.
There are been many other incidents in my life, and in particular some vividly connected with deja vu or "Paramnesia" in which I have been somewhere that seemed uncannily familiar, as if I have been there before. A lot of these incidents have been connected to my historical fiction writing and travel experiences.
I first began to write about Alexander the Great's world when I was seventeen. At that time I had never been to Greece and only read about it in library books but the characters and places became familiar to me. People used to ask if I thought perhaps I'd 'been there' -- lived in that time in a past life. Perhaps. Because the first time I went to Greece, many years later, then referred back to that original manuscript, the descriptions of the land and other details were uncannily as they were. In fact, the first time I walked into the ancient Agora in Athens, I stopped dead in my tracks and burst into tears, because the whole scene unfolded as if I was back in time and could see it all exactly as it had been. I've had that happen a few places in Greece.
When I began my second novel (a w.i.p.) "Dragons in the Sky: A Celtic Tale" in which I narrate the story in the voice of "Olwen" a girl who has been raised by the Druids, there is also an Alexander connection. Olwen is very much like my alter-ego. She speaks through me to tell her amazing story. When I first went to visit Stonehenge which is part of the setting, I was waiting in the bus depot at Salisbury and learned of an Iron Age hillfort nearby. I walked out to the site, and as I approached the grassy, tree-covered mound, I could suddenly visualize it exactly as it had been. I turned down a path through the fields to explore. But something held me back. I tried a couple of times to pass by, but couldn't, and realized that something foreboding had happened there. Later, Olwen would reveal this incident to me. She had witnessed a murder there!
Another interesting psychic connection with this story was my inclusion of some details about a Druid holy place, Senghenydd, in Wales. When I showed my father the early draft of the MSS to get his opinion on the cadence of the Welsh speakers, he remarked that my great grandfather had been killed in a mining explosion in Senghendd. A couple of years ago, I actually visited there.
While I was researching on site for my current novel "Shadow of the Lion" I was hiking up the road toward Amphipolis, the hill fort where Alexander's son was murdered. As I approached, the sky grew dark, and a bolt of lightening struck right above the place where the citadel was located. I took this as a very eerie omen, and that day I didn't reach the site. But on a second visit a year or so later, I went all the way up to where the fortress ruins were, then climbed down the embankment under the remains of the walls, on a quest to retrace the path the boy (Alexander's son) and his friend might have taken in their attempt to escape. When you put yourself right into the scene, and let your imagination loose, it's surprising what psychic connections you can conjur!
How much of this is imagination and how much is 'real'? I suppose it depends on what you believe in and how you react to incidents -- if you are open and sensitive to accept these paranormal and psychic experiences. I do believe that we are sent signs and messages from the loved ones who have departed, and I have had enough deja vu experiences (especially in Greece) to firmly believe I might have lived there in another time. What do you think?
"And those who have insight will shine brightly like the brighteness of the expanse of Heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever." Daniel 12:3
"The earth's about five m illion years old, at least,
Who can afford to live in the past?" Harold Ppinter 1930 - "The Homecoming" 1965 act iii