Sometimes something really trivial triggers off a profound strain of thought. And such a tiny minor event recently caused my poor brain an unexpected amount of activity. So much so that I’d really like to look into and research this evocative subject in greater detail.
Have you ever wondered about coincidence? Have you ever wondered about the ‘butterfly effect’? Have you ever wondered if a minor happening affecting just one or at most two persons could have had momentous conclusions at a later date if things had gone the other way and the event never took place?
I’m sure you must have considered such metaphysical possibilities, if only fleetingly, at some time during your life.
For instance. You are walking down a London street on your way to work and a rushing man knocks into you spilling the contents of his briefcase. No damage done. You help him retrieve his bits and pieces and off he goes making suitable apologies.
How could this minor happening possibly make a momentous difference to this man’s, and his families’ lives? It did however cause him to miss his train by thirty seconds so he was extremely late to work… on 7th July 2005…the day of the London bombings…
I had planned to write about a more controversial personal experience of about 20 or so years ago but a little discovery I made just last week means this event will have to bide its time for another day.
My father used to keep a few odds and ends in a little miniature cabinet – the type you’d find in a large doll’s house. This cabinet he kept on a table next to his favourite chair. The beautifully made little item had two small doors which when opened revealed a few compact drawers.
Last week, for no particular reason and in the middle of doing something else, I suddenly had an overwhelming urge to inspect this cabinet.
The bottom three drawers contained nothing of great interest… a couple of broken fountain pens and three dead watches without straps and a few small foreign coins.
The top two wider drawers contained similar artefacts and a few cuff links and old shirt collar studs and that was it.
So why had I been compelled to put on hold what I was doing? Why did I feel there was something to do with this little cabinet that just had to be investigated… and right away?
As my thoughts drifted briefly back to my deceased father my fingers found movement in a small thin panel just above the top long drawer. Yes, definite movement. Instinctively I fiddled with the panel and surprise… it smoothly slid outwards. Not a panel at all, but a small drawer. A doll’s house drawer with no handle, designed to look like part of the frame!
I was amazed! I had known this little trinket all my life and never once did I even consider it could have contained a secret drawer.
Inside this drawer was a single solitary object. A small square dark red cardboard jewellery box
Half expecting to find nothing at all, I gently removed the top and looked in surprise at the single object which came to light.
Placed carefully in a bed of soft cotton wool… was a spent bullet!
An old lead bullet with the tip slightly flattened. Didn’t take much thinking to work out it must have been the one he was shot with (nearly died) during the war. He’d kept it hidden away for all that time. Mum would probably have insisted he threw it away if she’d known about it… obviously why the crafty old lad had kept it so well concealed.
This bullet had a lot to answer for!
I knew he had been shot whilst in the army because he told me part of the story when I was about seven years old, then a little more just before his death a few years ago aged 88. A strange very short little story, but a story with an almost supernatural twist.
See what you make of it.
During the early stages of World War 2 my father, then a Captain in the Royal Marines, was shot in the back during training for a dangerous overseas mission. This training with live ammunition took place clambering up steep wooded mountains in what is now known as Snowdonia, North Wales.
He was actually shot by one of his own officers who apparently lost his balance whilst climbing an obstacle and accidentally fired off a round. The part he kept secret until the very end of his life was that there was bad blood between these two men, and the implication was, the shot may not have been quite as accidental as reported to the later enquiry!
The next memory my father had was exceptionally poignant. He was hovering high above a wounded man on a hospital operating table. A surgeon had made an incision in this man’s chest and was endeavouring to extract a bullet which had entered from behind.
“I think we’re going to lose him.” The surgeon was speaking urgently to the anaesthetist as he plunged a hypodermic needle into the dying man. “Do what you can.”
The hovering man nonchalantly realised at this moment that it was in fact himself on the operating table and the surgeon was desperately trying to bring him back to life. Somehow he had become detached from his worldly body and the strange thing was, it just didn’t matter. Not in the least.
A long, long way away someone was calling his name. A tunnel of light now stretched into the distance with its opening just over his head and this was where the voices were coming from.
He recognised his grandmother’s and grandfather’s voices calling out for him to join them. “Goodbye me,” he said and began to drift along this long tunnel of light. An extreme brightness radiated from the far end and, as if looking down a well, he could see multiple faces peering over the top.
“Come and join us George… we’re all here… come and join us. Hurry!”
Next thing he knew he was suffering from a sense of extreme loss having been dragged away from somewhere he had really wanted to go, and his father was sitting on a bedside chair with a mask of concern etched onto his face. He had been there all the last night until well into the day.
Eventually my father made a complete recovery and rejoined the war, serving all over the world.
“Is that it then?” I hear you ask. “Just another boring near death occurrence?
Well, when my father first told me of this I was just seven years old and the great Festival Of Britain was taking place. You’ll work out that this was quite some time ago… a time well before near death experiences had received any publicity and were relatively unheard of, so it was an absolutely genuine description. In fact I never heard anyone else mention the subject until listening to a discussion with a researcher of this then new realisation on Radio 4 in the late 1960s.
So where’s the twist ?
Okay. Make of this what you will.
My grandfather was an Engineer Captain in the Royal Navy. His ship had berthed in Portsmouth harbour and he had made a long journey by rail to be at his eldest son’s bedside. The strange thing was, he had not been informed of the shooting. He had felt an inexplicable compulsion to contact the commanding officer of my father’s regiment to find out if all was well!
At approximately two o’clock in the morning whilst he was sitting at his son’s bedside, desperately willing the young man to survive, there was an air raid over Portsmouth and an unexploded bomb crashed onto his ship ripping through the deck and eventually ending up in the hold where it was defused. On its way it blasted right through the Captain’s cabin completely obliterating the bunk. The bunk my grandfather would have been fast asleep in if his son had not been shot and lying critically ill in Chester Hospital!
So… if my father hadn’t been shot…? And my grandfather hadn’t had a weird sort of premonition…?
And then what of the repercussions if he had died? As I mentioned. This bullet had a lot to answer for.
People he had saved from death during the war would now be dead… more repercussions…
I wouldn’t have been born!
My children wouldn’t have been born.
My second wife maybe wouldn’t have had a second husband… or married a rich man instead!
You wouldn’t be reading this now.
It’s unlikely I know, but the whole world could be a slightly different place.
Have you a similar story to tell? Maybe you’ve made a lifetime study of such events and have reached conclusions, or have a possible theory?
Whichever category you fit into I’d really like to hear from you. Drop me a line through the contact box and tell me all about your weird experience.