It might come as a surprise that as an atheist and follower of logic and reason, I believe in the spirit realm.
I’ve never been able to accept the idea of God, an all-powerful all-loving being that supposedly created all living things and yet allows so much suffering, despite having the apparent power to prevent it. But, I’ve also never been able to accept that this is all there is.
When I first learnt about the law of conservation of energy (energy cannot be created nor destroyed… yes, that law), it made sense to me that this would explain what happens to the soul when we die – it somehow transitions to a different dimension.
Near on forty years later there is growing scientific evidence to support this idea. Research in noetic science is showing that consciousness is able to influence matter, is not situated solely in the brain and may be able to exist independent of the body. In other words, that essence of a person which theists and spiritualists call the soul, scientists call consciousness. And thanks to quantum mechanics we have a growing model for how such things as interdimensional portals and cracks in time and space might actually exist so the idea of an afterlife may not be that far-fetched after all, though it’s unlikely to be a fiery inferno or an eternity spent plucking a harp while sitting on a cloud. It’s more likely that the soul, our consciousness is a form of quantum energy that uploads and downloads from a kind of universal cosmic consciousness.
As much as I believe all the theories, mounting evidence and my innate desire for it all to be true, I’m still I’m a sceptic by nature and I’m the first to look for a logical explanation for strange sightings and unexplained events.
I’ve consulted psychics and tried to make contact with the spiritual realm, and scanned the sky for the glimpse of a UFO. I’ve called out loud, asking to be sent a sign from beyond – something; anything – desperately longing for that one thing that would make me shake my head in disbelief, leave me in awe of the bigger picture and help me feel a closer connection to the universe.
I’ve had several strange premonition-like experiences in my life, things that sent a shiver down my spine, but they were all things I could chalk up to coincidence, intuition or subconscious pre-knowledge. There’s never been anything I’ve seen or experienced that I couldn’t explain.
Although, to be fair, if the spirit realm has been trying to reach me they would have to exert considerable force for me to notice. Voices that call my name and wake me from my sleep are simply a dream. Flickering lights? Oh, that’s because I have an old house and the power grid is a bit temperamental out here in the country. Unusual sounds only mildly pique my interest – I can usually identify the source without investigating and if not, I simply shrug my shoulders and go back to what I was doing. Misplaced objects – well, I’m of that age now – I’m always putting things down and forgetting where I put them. Crooked pictures or things falling off shelves – I live in New Zealand, a seismically active country. We have tremors all the time, hundreds we can’t feel, things are always moving, even if imperceptibly, and over time they will eventually hit a critical mass and shift position.
Those beyond the vale would have to up their game to get my attention. And then it happened. The missing bottle top.
I’ve been doing a lot of gardening lately and recently bought some liquid fertiliser. I decided it would be a good idea to make up an extra bottle of the mix so that I could refill my sprayer quickly without having to mix a new batch every time I needed to top up the sprayer. I had an empty water container but had lost the cap ages ago. Luckily, I save plastic caps to use in craft projects and I was able to find an old milk bottle top that fit perfectly. I screwed it on tight and then left the bottle with the cap firmly attached in my garage for when I was ready to use it. Several days passed and each day I’d pass and see the plastic bottle sitting on the floor with its bright yellow cap reminding me to make up the fertiliser mix and feed my plants.
Today was that day. I got everything I needed and headed for the garage. I opened the door and reached for the bottle and stopped suddenly. The cap was gone. I scanned the floor and there was no cap to be seen anywhere. In addition, the bottle itself hadn’t moved and was in exactly the same position as I had left it. It made no sense. Every scenario I ran through that could explain it, just wouldn’t fit.
Perhaps the air in the bottle had expanded in the summer heat and forced the cap off? But, then I would have found it on the floor near the bottle and I distinctly remember screwing the cap on tight so I wouldn’t fall off. Perhaps a bird or rat had taken it? But, they would have had to unscrew it first. Was someone pranking me? But, who? No one knew the significance of the cap and how would they have got in? The garage is always locked and there was no sign of a break-in and nothing else was missing. Had I taken it? I know I can be absent-minded at times, but it’s not the kind of thing I move around without thinking and if I had, I would have had to make the extra effort of fetching the keys to the garage first and that I certainly would have remembered. And anyway, there would have been no need for me to take it. If I needed another cap, I have a whole box full and I hadn’t done any craft projects in the meantime that might have required a plastic cap. There were no leaking chemicals around that might have dissolved it and if that were the case there would have been some kind of residue and the bottle itself would have been damaged. I was stumped. I cannot explain it. It simply vanished into thin air.
Usually when I can’t find something I lose my temper because looking for things is such a waste of my time and I know it’s my own fault for not paying attention to what I was doing, but this case was so bizarre, so completely unlikely to have been my own doing, that I whooped with excitement. Proof in itself that it was not my imagination or forgetfulness. I got it at long last! My personal experience of the unexplained.
Okay, so I’d rather have had a mysterious stranger from another planet with superpowers or a dashing Mr Darcy-style time traveller materialise in my garage, but a disappearing interdimensional bottle top will have to do.