This essay was written in September of 2012.
It is part of a book titled The Sync Book Two edited by Alan Abbadessa-Green
Sychronicity and the UFO abductee
by Mike Clelland
Carl Jung coined the term synchronicity; this is his definition:
Synchronicity is the coming together of inner and outer events in a way that cannot be explained by cause and effect and that is meaningful to the observer.
A shorter definition would be a meaningful coincidence. Shorter still would be to just say pay attention. The shortest definition of synchronicity is magic. I mean that literally. It is magic. I know there are psychiatrists and theoreticians that would scoff at that statement as flighty, and they’ll argue their point with terms like causal relationships, probability amplitude and quantum unfolding, but I really don’t know what those terms mean. I do know that I have experienced synchronicity, and I can say that it has forced me to change my definition of reality. Magic is the perfect word to describe what I’ve experienced—I like that word. Here is a story illustrating that magic. I teach winter camping for an outdoor school in the Northern Rockies, and that means living and sleeping outside—in January—in the mountains of Wyoming. After a two-week course, it’s nice to get the stinky smell out of my sleeping bag.
This is no casual undertaking. A negative-40-degree winter bag is enormous—it only fits in the biggest washing machine at the laundromat and it takes forever to dry. I was at the local laundromat on the main street in my little town. I had already washed that down bag and now I was stuck there with it in the dryer. I would repeatedly open the door, feel the dampness and add another quarter. It was a quiet day and I was sharing the laundromat with a family of Mexican immigrants. The young couple had a few kids running around and nobody seemed to speak any English, so all I could do was periodically smile at them. The set up of these big industrial dryers is a little bit awkward, one is on top of the other, and there are two sets of buttons that control the two units. I was using the bottom dryer, and the Mexican family had the one on top. I added a quarter, and I realized I put it in the wrong slot. I had just mistakenly given the family an extra seven minutes of time. It was odd; how could I be so confused about putting quarters in a dryer? No biggie. But, I somehow managed to do this same thing two more times. I just “gave” this Mexican family 75 cents. I wasn’t interested in asking the family for my money—that seemed silly. In the moment, I went through all kinds of weird liberal guilt about what I had done. I played it out in my head: Had I just altruistically helped these poor people? Wasn’t it nice, that I––the privileged white American––could be so selfless? I immediately recognized how pathetic and useless that avenue of thinking was, and I just dismissed the whole thing. Not too long after that, the sleeping bag was dry, and I left. From the laundromat, I went directly to the local grocery store. I got what I needed and stood in line at the check out with my few items. As I inched forward in the line, I noticed the checkout girl. The strange thing was that when I saw her, in my head, I immediately declared, “She’s an angel!” I was awestruck.
She was young and extremely pretty. She had dark hair and dark eyes. I assumed she was Mexican. I watched her as she helped the customers ahead of me in line; she was quiet and smiling, but she never said anything. There was something radiant about her and the silent way she went about her job. Just looking at her left me genuinely touched. When I got up to the cash register, she rang up the few things on the conveyor belt and I pulled out my wallet to pay. But I didn’t have enough cash. She showed me the total, and I realized I was exactly 75 cents short. I was embarrassed and said I would return an item to the shelf. She didn’t speak, she simply pantomimed to me not to worry. Then she reached under the counter separating us and she pulled up her purse. She dug through it, pulled out a little change purse, opened it and calmly counted out three quarters (yes, three quarters) and then put them in the cash register. I was immediately aware that something magic had happened. She smiled. I thanked her and walked away. I have never seen her before or since. It’s been over a decade since that day, but this was one of the most important life lessons I’ve ever experienced. That angelic cashier gave me something I needed, the ability to say thank you. I had been through a lot of difficult emotional stuff in the years leading up to that day, I had been dealing with a lot of isolation and depression. It's sad to admit but something as normal as people being nice to me would induce anxiety; I felt like I wasn’t worthy to receive anyone’s kindness. Even simple things would be challenging. I wouldn’t let friends buy me lunch, or if someone complimented some job I had done, I would awkwardly find a way to deny their praise. I couldn’t say thank you in any kind of honest way. But, on that day in the grocery store, the silent cashier did something nice, and the weird synchronicity seemed to disarm me to the point where all I could do was say an honest thank you and move on.
Since that day, I feel like I’ve been really good at saying thank you. Something had been jarred free from its stuck place inside my head. Something magic had happened, and that something was tailored specifically for me. Not that my life got any easier. At a point not long after that, I realized I needed to deal with some stuff that I had been avoiding. This something was a handful of odd memories that seemed to imply that I have been abducted by aliens. Yes, I know how that sounds. Believe me, this is nearly impossible to wrap your mind around. It’s the kind of thing that can drag you into madness. These unexplained events had been lingering in the back of my mind my whole life, but I had willfully ignored what they might mean. But little by little I realized that there was something there, and I just couldn’t deny it anymore. I needed to look into it. So I did. The act of lifting the lid on this Pandora’s Box unleashed an overwhelming flood of synchronicities that damn near flattened me. My definition of reality was swept away in that frenetic deluge. It felt like I was cursed, and it scared me. I desperately tried to make sense of what was happening, but it wasn’t logical. Each synchronicity was pointing to the reality of what I suspected might be true. I was forced to reexamine everything. The next few years challenged me in ways that I can barely express. Some new clues and memories emerged that, again, seemed to confirm the reality of the UFO weirdness in my life. But it wasn’t these bizarre memories that kept me on the path of self-investigation, it was the synchronicities. This was some freaky shit, and I was barely able to keep my head above water. A ridiculous volume of forceful synchronicities had intersected with my life, and I absolutely knew this was a direct result of me doing self-research into my own UFO experiences. The synchronicities were forcing me to deal with the fact that something had really happened. I think I would have just minimally looked into this stuff and I would have figured out a way to totally dismiss the whole mess as just some mixed-up memories and a few weird dreams. But, it’s was the synchronicities that kept me on this path, pushing me to look even deeper at my own experiences.
I go to UFO conferences as a way to talk with people who say they’ve been abducted by aliens. I also talk to a lot of people on the phone with the same claims. One question I always ask is, “Do you ever experience synchronicities?” I asked that of one woman at a conference, and she didn’t answer in words, she just rolled her eyes and laughed. In the last few years I’ve been keeping a list of answers to that question, and the follow up question, “What do all the synchronicities mean?” The following replies are all from UFO abductees. • When synchronicities happen, it’s like an activator to pay attention. • Synchronicity is like a language to them. • Synchronicity is the language that they use to communicate. • The synchronicities are clues and you need to follow them. • Synchronicities? I have ridiculous synchronicities in my life when it comes to this stuff. What’s that story? Where the little boy puts breadcrumbs in the forest to find his way home? It’s kinda like they are putting the little bread crumbs in your way, so you can slowly but surely go where you are supposed to go. • You know, the synchronicity part of all this is just weird! I’ve talked to lots of folks with abduction experiences and they’ve all pretty much told me the same thing in response to my question about synchronicities. I’ve become rather compulsive about documenting these things when they happen to me. I’ve been posting my synchronicities (even the bland ones) in an on-line blog. This is sort of a sociological experiment, I just feel that declaring these experiences
in such a public way has a heightened resonance, and it gives the overall phenomenon a little more power, at least that’s the sense I get and I’ve been proceeding forward on that assumption.
Christopher Knowles (above) is an author and prolific blogger (he runs a site called The Secret Sun). His focus has been, more or less, how mythic themes emerge from the ever-present soup of our popular culture. While there is no evidence that he is a contactee in the UFO sense of the word, he has certainly been at the receiving end of some weird-ass shit, including lots of synchronicities. I am not sure what title he should have, maybe mystical dude? He shared this advice on his blog: Keep a dream log and sync log, starting today. Keep track of your dreams and the synchronicities you observe or experience. And then see if by the end of the year the two logs haven’t become one. He has made me very aware of the merging of the dream realm and the waking realm, and the role that synchronicities play as a kind of marker to quantify reality. These things are very real and deeply personal, but they need to be absorbed and integrated. I have to share a funny exchange between myself and Christopher Knowles. It deals with a synchronicity involving a book written by a UFO abductee. This book was something I had been pestering him to read. The book in question, UFOs and the Psychic Factor, is kind of over the top in its overt New-Agey point-of-view. A lot of it is channeled material, but the voice of the author, Ida Kannenberg, is just
so delightfully sassy that I couldn’t help but be smitten by her message. Let me add that Chris and I have gone back and forth on the issue of the perceived shallowness of the New Age movement. Here is the conversation from the chat-box on Facebook: Christopher Knowles: So for some strange reason I had to take my son somewhere today. So since I had to go way out of my way I stopped at the used book store. And what’s waiting there for me? An unread copy of UFOs and the Psychic Factor by Ida Kannenberg... Mike C: Get ready, this book is WONDERFUL! That sweet old grandmother has a delightful take on this subject! Christopher Knowles: What are the odds? (a little while later) Christopher Knowles: OK, so I pick up this book, thinking “what's this all about, what’s it got to tell me?” and open the book up at random as I do with new non-fiction books. I open the book up to page 103 and my eyes focus on the second paragraph... I was curious what he was hinting at, so I went to my book shelf and pulled down my copy. Here are the first two sentences of the second paragraph on page 103. It’s a transcription from the channeled voice of Ida’s alien guides: An example of these mysteries may be that we want him to read a certain type of book. We manipulate his path so that he stumbles over certain books, which he feels “inspired” to take up read. So, once again the one-two punch of UFO abductees and synchronicity. All this stuff has created a kind of manic obsession within me. I am absolutely fascinated by the cryptic weirdness of it all. But more than anything, I get the very
real sense that UFO abductees are somehow at the receiving end of synchronicities a lot more than Joe Normal. I played the role of smarty-pants and kind of expounded on this theory to a close friend. I declared that abductees seem to attract more synchronicities than the rest of the population. She (wisely) replied: “But that’s true of anyone on a spiritual path.” I instantly realized she was right. The significance was perfectly clear: UFO abduction is a spiritual path! Yes, I know how high and mighty that sounds, but from everything I’ve seen and heard, I’m left to conclude that it might be true. So many elements of the UFO abduction phenomenon correspond in such a tidy way to the allegorical journey of the student seeking enlightenment. There is a check-list of stuff in the abduction literature (and in first hand conversations) that gets reported over and over and over: The dark night of the soul, a sense of mission, being tested, an initiation, a cracking of the cosmic egg and synchronicity. These same elements are at the core of a long list of spiritual and shamanic traditions. As part of my own spiritual path, I have been seeking out people with UFO experiences and doing interviews with them. This is entirely selfish on my part—I make no allusions to why I do these interviews—they are my own therapy, plain and simple. One of my interviews was with a man I liked a lot named Darryl Anka (left). Now this guy claims to have direct contact with a higher dimensional being that goes by the name of Bashar. He has been publicly channeling the voice of this entity for almost 30 years. This ability of Darryl’s was set into motion by two separate and close-up daylight UFO sightings in 1973. Channeled information is easy to parody, but I take it seriously. It is very much a part of the overall UFO abduction phenomenon. There is
an unmistakable pattern of people who claim the direct contact experience with aliens and then begin to psychically channel information from beyond the veil. I asked Darryl the same question I ask everyone, what is up with all the synchronicities. Here is his answer: I think synchronicity is one of the symptoms of expanding consciousness, because, at least from Bashar’s perspective, synchronicity is linear space time’s way of doing the best it can to actually show you that everything is connected and everything is one thing. But it can only do that in a space time sort of action, and so––synchronistically––when events seem to come together at exactly the right place and at the right time, there is a certain kind of meaning that seems very very specific for you. I think it’s demonstrating that your frequency is accelerating and raising to the point where you are starting to really become harmoniously aligned with a higher vibration level at which your consciousness can clearly see, and more readily perceive, that everything is interconnected and that everything is an expression of the same one creation. So I think that the acceleration of synchronicity is a marker of the expansion of consciousness no matter what triggers it. I see synchronicity increasing in a number of people’s lives, including my own, in almost hysterically surreal and magical ways that are just beyond belief. Sometimes the synchronicities are profoundly bizarre! But I think that is a symptom of expansion of consciousness no matter whether it’s triggered by UFO experiences or by yogic practices or explorations of consciousness. I just think the willingness to move in that direction just results in more and more increased synchronicity in your life because you are just more harmoniously aligned at that higher level of perception.
Now, here’s a guy with close-up UFO experiences and he gives me a definition of synchronicity that is as good as I’ve ever heard. Yes, he uses a lot of New-Age terms that I try (sometimes unsuccessfully) to avoid, but I really think he hit the nail on the head. There is a lot more to this reality than we’ve been taught. Synchronicities seem to play a role in the UFO investigation process as well. Budd Hopkins (left) has been synonymous with UFO abduction research. In 1964 Budd saw a daylight disc (a term used to describe a rare kind of sighting) while on Cape Cod. This was a close-up sighting, and there are some UFO abduction researchers, like Joe Montaldo, who see this as a clear indication that Budd himself was an abductee. Now, seeing a UFO close up in full daylight might be a clue that would make you suspect an abduction event, but that’s quite a leap. I know several very close friends of Budd, and when I’ve asked them if they thought Budd was an abductee, they’ll basically say, “If he was, he never told me.” But what he did say was that the sighting in 1964 had a very real impact on him, and from that point on he took the phenomenon very seriously. Nine years later, in 1975, Budd went to the liquor store across the street from his home in New York City. Budd was friends with the guy who ran the place, and he could tell something was wrong. When he asked, his friend told him that he had seen a landed flying saucer a few nights before in New Jersey. He was quite shaken as he shared a story of seeing little men around the craft. Budd took on the role of investigator. He went to the location of the landed craft, which was at a complex of buildings, curiously enough, called The Stonehenge Apartments. The sighting happened late at night, and Budd was hoping to find another witness, so he checked to see if there was a doorman working the at the apartment complex on the night of the event. He had no trouble finding the man, and when they met, they both immediately recognized each other. Budd had once delivered a great big painting to the same complex and it wouldn’t fit in the elevator, so Budd and the doorman carried the painting up the stairs together.
This man had a clear view from his post at the apartment door, he saw a landed craft and some sort of creature on the ground. I met with Budd on a few occasions, and I asked him about the issue of synchronicity and how it seems entwined with the lives of UFO abductees. When I asked him that question he told me this story, the one I just shared here, and with a sort of puzzled expression, he made the point that on his very first UFO investigation he knew both the witnesses. To me, this synchronicity seems to confirm something is going on at a deeper level than just a flying saucer landing in New Jersey. Budd Hopkins died peacefully in New York in August of 2011. I feel profoundly honored that I had the chance to meet him, and to call him a friend. Raymond Fowler (left) is a peer of Budd Hopkins. Both of them have done monumental work researching UFO abductions. Fowler wrote some of the must-read books on the subject, including The Allagash Abductions, as well as the series of four books on the profoundly strange Betty Andreasson case. In 2002, when Fowler was 69 years old, he published a book titled UFO Testament: Anatomy of an Abductee, where he comes clean and tells of his own lifelong UFO abduction experiences. In 2004 he published a book titled SynchroFile—this is a 282 pages examination of the intense synchronicities he has experienced in his life. His conclusion is that something is afoot that is very strange indeed. So, one more UFO abductee that is plagued by synchronicities. Things get murky when you try to unravel what the term “alien abduction” might actually imply. All I can say for sure it that something is happening, and it’s is a lot more complicated than just a bunch of little scientists coming to earth in flying saucers to collect data on us monkeys. The flurry of synchronicities is a clue, and it must mean something. Are these synchronicities molded too precisely to the
experiencer to merely be the handiwork of off-world aliens? It’s a mistake to assume that the phenomenon originates from outer space, because what’s being reported isn’t just weird, it’s too weird to fit in that simplistic little box. Am I involved this stuff? That’s hard to answer because I don’t know what “this stuff” might be, but I don’t think it is what it seems to be. The overall experience is a hall of mirrors that requires the initiate to re-examine their own fragile belief systems (which will promptly crumble) because whatever is behind it all is, on multiple levels, completely unknowable. This is an indoctrination into a void, forcing you to confront everything––mortality, identity, consciousness, purpose and––ultimately––reality itself. Syncs seem to play an overt role in the lives of the abductees. They have certainly guided my own research and self-exploration and they’ve impelled me to talk about my experiences. There’s no way to fully understand my story unless I fill you in on a few specific events. I think you’ll see how synchronicities impacted the overall picture, as well as my life’s path. Part of it has to do with my on-line blog. This site was created in a flurry in March of 2009, and it was all about some deep need to share some of my unusual experiences. I was hoping that I could make some sense out of my own tangle of memories. At first the blog was just a way of sharing a tidy series of synchronicities, I’ve had plenty, and they are short and sweet, making for a perfect blog post. But I knew there would come a day when I would have to tell about the autumn of 1974 when I saw the orange flash in the sky. It happened when I was 12 years old, just a block away from the house where I grew up. It was in front of the house of a friend—her name is Cindy Gail (a pseudonym). A charming part of my childhood is all wrapped up in that place. My sister used to babysit me and Cindy in that house. I went to kindergarten with Cindy. I’ll add that she was my very first crush. She had light red hair and freckles, and there was something so centered and calm about her. I remember her doing art projects, and they were always tidy and perfect, and I envied her sense of self. Cindy moved away when we were in Junior High, and I had no idea what happened to her.
The orange flash happened on a Friday night. I had been at the local high school football game, and I was walking home before the game ended. It was normal for me to walk the half-mile back to my house. I was with my friend—I’ll call him Mike Lewis (also a pseudonym). We both needed to walk the same way to get home. The event happened on a well-lit but quiet street in a neighborhood of small suburban houses. The scene was completely ordinary and calm. The orange flash happened when we were directly in front of Cindy Gail’s house. I know exactly the spot on the sidewalk where we were when the sky suddenly lit up with a bold and jarring flash. Everything up above us was bright orange for no more than a single second. It felt like God flipped a switch and the sky lit up and then he flipped it back down. As soon as it happened, it was gone. It was completely silent. Both me and Mike were surprised and both responded with, “What just happened?” There was nothing to see, the event was over instantly, but something unsettling had happened. Was it a meteor? Was it lightning? Why was it silent? I know that I saw something, but there’s an odd sort of bump in the way I remember it. The color seemed utterly bizarre, it was a deep saturated orange. To this day, and I’m 50 years old as I write this, when I see a dying campfire and look at the warm orange glowing coals, I’ll think to myself, that's how the sky looked above Cindy Gail’s house. We continued to my house, I said goodbye and Mike walked home to his house a little bit further into the neighborhood. I was excited to get home and watch a television show I dearly loved (KOLCHAK, The Night Stalker) that started at ten o’clock. I clearly remember leaving the football game in order to get home in plenty of time so I could watch this show. But when I walked in the door, my parents were angry that I was out so late. I was surprised because I had made certain to be home at about 9:30, but instead it was well after 11. There was almost two hours of missing time, and I clearly remember thinking this didn’t make sense. The next Monday, a group of friends were all in the cafeteria at my junior high school, along with Mike Lewis, and I told everyone that we had seen something strange on Friday night.
Mike added, “Yeah, a UFO with lights and everything!” What? I hadn't seen anything with lights. Did he see something I didn't? Mike and I never mentioned that night again. Now, let’s fast forward to March of 2009, in the first few weeks of my on-line blog. As I said earlier, up until that point all I had posted were quaint little synchronicities, but I knew I had to post the story about the orange flash from in front of Cindy Gail’s house. The implications of that night are scary, and I was wallowing in insecurities. Was I brave enough to share what happened? I didn’t know if I could go through with it. I had written the experience out as a kind of diary entry, so I had the narrative on my computer all ready to post. I even had a google earth satellite image of Cindy Gail’s house with a bright yellow “X” pinpointing the exact spot on the sidewalk where it happened. I stared at my computer, knowing what I needed to do, but it just felt too ominous. All I need to do was cut and paste a few things and it would be posted. But I was stuck, unable to follow my heart. The implications of that story were so obvious and I realized I was a coward, I wasn’t brave enough to follow through and post it. Right then, with my hands frozen above the keyboard, my computer made a quiet ping. I checked my email, and two messages had come in side-by-side. The first message, received at 10:27 PM, said: Cindy Gail wants to be your friend on Facebook. Oh my God, I stared at my computer in absolute astonishment, was this really happening? I immediately replied to her request. We started talking back and forth on the Facebook chat box, and I was completely overwhelmed. It would be hard to describe how magical and wonderful this felt. It literally felt like there was sparkling “Disney Dust” (the cartoon stuff from Tinkerbell’s wand) swirling around me as I sat at the computer. I sent her the text I was about to post, where I talk about her and her house. After she read it she replied, “Wow, that’s neat! I have a bunch of books on UFOs.”
Okay, and to make things even weirder, the second email right after Cindy’s, that came with the same audible ping, was from the infamous UFO abductee Whitley Strieber. He said he was now following my updates on Twitter. Needless to say, I got the kick in the pants to post the story about the orange flash and the missing time. But more interesting was the follow-up story about Cindy contacting me at the exact second that she did, when I thought I wasn’t brave. Before that moment I was awash in doubts about the reality of the orange flash experience, part of me was convinced that it hadn’t ever happened. This synchronicity changed something––it confirmed the reality of my memories––and from that point on everything was different. I had connected with Cindy Gail, but I still had no idea what had happened to Mike Lewis, the other person who played a role in the events of that night in 1974. In the previous couple of years I had tried to find him using on-line name searches, but his name is common and there were so many listings that the search seemed overwhelming, and I gave up. Later that same year, in July of 2009, I was getting really stressed out by the implications of what had been happening; I was shaky and emotionally fragile. When I get all worked up like this, I’ll go out into the mountains, alone, with the sole intent of asking the Universe for help. I know this must seem corny, but I usually get results. I live right near the Tetons, some of the most beautiful wilderness in North America. I’ll hike as far as I can before the sun goes down, and I’ll lay my sleeping bag out under the stars. Before I go to sleep, I’ll formally ask out loud for help from the universe. I’ve done this fairly often, and I almost always get some sort of curious reply. Sometimes the answer will come in the form of a vivid dream. And other times I’ll wake up without any dreams, but later during that day I’ll get some synchronistic something that seems to be a direct response to my plea. Sometimes, I’ll even bring a tiny hand-held voice recorder. I’ll lie in my sleeping bag and record my appeal to the Universe. If I have a vivid dream that night, I can record it as soon as I wake up.
Here’s a transcript (slightly edited for clarity) of what I recorded that night: It’s about 10 o’clock [I hike without a watch, so this is only a guess], I’m at about 10,000 feet, and there’s a beautiful half moon ... It’s lovely beyond all comprehension, and I want to declare to the universe, that I’m ready for some sort of confirmation. I need to know if this is real or if this isn’t. I used to say ‘don’t make it scary’ but I don’t know what to say anymore. I’m tired and fatigued of not knowing. If it comes to me in a form of a dream that’s okay. I need any little clue, so that I can help others. I think that I can help others better if I am a little more centered myself, with a little more confirmation. And I really care about my role on this planet, and wish I could do more, but I am just so fatigued and I’m tired of this not knowing. I want it to end—I know I can do more. Thank you. Yes, I recognize how perfectly mushy I sound, but this reflects exactly how I felt. I woke up the next morning, just a little before dawn—no dreams, nothing. I packed up my gear and continued hiking up in the calm blue-gray of the pre-dawn light. I hiked along a really pretty ridge system as the sun came up, climbed a nice peak, and then turned around and made my way back to my car. I got to the parking lot at about noon, and back to my house about half an hour later. I sat at my desk, opened my email and my heart literally stopped. There, on my screen, was a Facebook friend request from Mike Lewis. The time of the incoming email from Mike Lewis was 9:38 PM, potentially the exact second I spoke my emotional plea into that little recorder from my sleeping bag the night before. I asked the Universe for help and it answered me.
So, both Cindy Gail and Mike Lewis connect with me after 30 years, curiously, through Facebook. Both of them find me at the exact moment I’m feeling insecure and freaked-out. Both their messages change something in me, they confirm that something very strange is indeed going on. There is some unknowable facet of reality that creates synchronicity, and it has forced me to pay attention. I am impelled to follow this magic compass. I am being given clues and they are telling me to step off the well-worn path and step into the darkest part of the forest.
I need to thank Alan Abbadessa-Green and Erika Earles for there help with this essay. September, 2012