We recently returned from a conference in Phoenix. Like most UFO conferences, it was a combination of the grand and the goofy. There were people who gave wise talks about serious, well-thought-out theories, while other people, wearing white doctors' coats, took people who thought they might be contactees into a booth where they shone a black light over their skin in order to locate implants.
Something else that always happens at these conferences happened to me again: I heard some extraordinary stories. People came up to me and said, "I have something to tell you," and some of them REALLY DID.
The most amazing story I heard was from a man who had recently recovered from triple bypass surgery (in this story, as "Dragnet" used to say, "the names have been changed to protect the innocent"). He was lying in the I.C.U. after his operation, when he noticed a woman there, dressed in a nurses' uniform. "Corinne?" he said. Corinne is the name of his daughter, but he couldn't figure out what she was doing there, since she isn't a nurse, and family members weren't allowed to see him yet.
Then he read her nametag, which had the first name "Sarah" printed on it. The nurse named Sarah told him, "You're going to be all right," then explained that she usually worked at a hospital across town, and was only in his I.C.U. temporarily. After that, she left the room.
But what absolutely baffled him was that Sarah had been the spitting image of his daughter Corinne, and could have been her identical twin. It turns out that when his daughter was born she was one of a pair of identical twins, only one of whom lived. Was "Sarah" the dead twin?
My jaw dropped when he told me this, because I remembered my "Four Days" diary, in which I wrote about learning from a hospice doctor that the dying are often visited by a dead friend or relative four days before their demise.
I said to him, "You almost died, you know."
He said, "I know it."
This reminded me of a story a gay friend told me, about when he was in a VA hospital after he'd contracted AIDS in the military. He felt his mattress move, then looked over to see a "woman in white" lying next to him. She gave him the same message: "You're going to be all right."
It was so fascinating, in the midst of so many speeches theorizing this or that in the realm of what might be called the "paranormal," to MEET someone who had actually LIVED it. Philosophers and investigators can throw around words all they want to, but we all need to remember that, for some of the "ordinary" members of the audience, this is simply their reality.
Jesus said "the meek will inherit the Earth." Is this what he meant?