By Sean Casteel
Raymond Fowler is a UFO researcher, abduction experiencer, and an author with several major contributions to the field to his credit. Fowler is best known for his series of books on abductee Betty Andreasson and her family, which began with “The Andreasson Affair” in 1979. The Andreasson series later expanded to include Fowler’s own abduction experiences, experiences that had been hidden from him until he reached middle age and was forced to confront the fact that he too was experiencing the same bizarre visitations that he had been researching in others.
Fowler has often said that whatever his current work in progress is will be his last, but he continues to produce new books nevertheless. His latest offering is called “SynchroFile, Amazing Personal Encounters With Synchronicity And Other Strange Phenomena” (2004, iUniverse, Inc.) and as the title implies, it takes up the task of cataloging and analyzing an overwhelming number of Fowler’s firsthand experiences with what he terms “life-changing” episodes of synchronicity.
But first the basics. Just what is synchronicity?
“The psychiatrist Carl Jung actually coined the term ‘synchronicity,” Fowler said, “and he defined it as ‘an a-causal, meaningful coincidence.’ What he meant by that was that synchronicities are highly improbable coincidences that are seemingly without a known cause. The event itself would be very meaningful to the person who experiences synchronicity. He used the terms ‘numinosity’ and ‘individuation’ to describe these changes that synchronistic events make in a person’s life. They can actually be a radical life-changing experience.”
Fowler sketched in some more background on Jung’s development of his synchronicity theory.
“Jung had a patient he was having a lot of difficulty with during her psychoanalysis,” Fowler explained, “because she was unreceptive to this type of thing, the unusual, the supernatural. Apparently, someone had given her a very expensive piece of jewelry, a golden scarab. During one of the sessions, she mentioned this to Jung.
“And at that very point,” Fowler continued, “there was a clicking at the window, which grew louder. Finally, Jung decided to see what it was all about. He looked out and there was a scarab beetle trying to get in. So he opened the window, took the scarab beetle and gave it to the women, saying, ‘Here is the beetle you were talking about.’ And that caused a breakthrough. She experienced this ‘numinosity,’ as he called it, and she was extremely receptive to his analysis after that.”
Fowler said that “numinosity” is the emotional glow or satisfaction that under-girds and confirms the experience of a remarkable synchronism, a feeling he has often experienced himself.
Fowler considers his present interest in synchronicity to be a natural outgrowth of his UFO research.
“I’ve communicated with many abductees,” he said, “and I find that it’s one of the benchmarks of the abduction experience that I don’t think has been dealt with much by other researchers in the past. So in a sense, I haven’t deviated from my usual path. It may not be as prominent in others as it has in my own life, but synchronicity has certainly played a part in the lives of other abductees.
“Before I wrote this book,” Fowler continued, “I would go around asking people how often these kinds of things happened to them—even my own family, who’d had a number of them, but not many. I don’t know for sure why it happens to me. But I got to the point where I decided that I would make a ten-year diary of these experiences and see if I could find any pattern in them. When I looked at them all as a whole, could I see something? Of course, that’s what I did.
“And when I looked at all this stuff, I said, brother, this should make an interesting book. People are interested in this, and I can tie it in with my UFO experiences and the experiences of others and bring in Carl Jung and his views on UFOs. And I can bring in quantum physics and just pile on this material and try to tie a lot of this together. So that’s how ‘SynchroFile’ came to be.”
The early chapters of “SynchroFile” are an attempt to compartmentalize and give language to the unearthly experience of synchronicity. Fowler manages to create four distinct categories that at least reach a kind of threshold of getting the subject down to a nuts-and-bolts science.
“The first type,” he said, “are concurrent coincidences. These are coincidences that take place simultaneously. They’re sort of mirror images of one another.”
Fowler told the story of a concurrent coincidence to illustrate what he meant. He had befriended some crows that would gather in his backyard and caw until he gave them some food. One day, Fowler was listening to a headset radio, and as he was placing some dog pellets out for the crows, he heard a local radio talk show host say the words, “I’m putting out a doughnut in the backyard for the crows.”
“Exactly at the same time as I was putting down the pellets for the crows,” Fowler said, his voice still expressing a little wonderment at the precision timing of the coincidence.
The second type of synchronicity, according to Fowler, is something called a “corresponding coincidence,” which is identical to a concurrent coincidence, except that it doesn’t take place simultaneously. It is nearly concurrent, but is separated by a small passage of time.
One example Fowler gave for a corresponding coincidence took place when he was vacationing in England and reading a book called “The Holographic Universe.” Fowler decided to flip on the television to see if he could find anything of interest.
“I had just read about the wave/particle nature of light,” he said. “And here I am. I’m holding the book, and I turn on the TV, and the host was talking about the wave/particle nature of light.”
Converging coincidences are Fowler’s third type of synchronicity. This kind doesn’t reveal itself immediately, but instead takes its own sweet time in making itself manifest at some future point, at which time it can be verified.
As an illustration, Fowler told about an experience he had had while in the Air Force and stationed in England.
“When I was in England,” Fowler recounted, “I used to want to see Margaret, my wife-to-be, who lived in London. I asked a friend of mine, whose name was Jerry Dumas—he was also nicknamed ‘Double-Shift Dumas’ because he’d work a double-shift for you for money, so you could have more time off to visit London. So I spent a lot of money hiring him from time to time so I could get into London and court Margaret.”
Fowler and Double-Shift Dumas were discharged from the military in the mid-1950s and returned to the U.S., both going their separate ways and losing touch with each other. A few years later, as Fowler was attending church near his parents’ home in Surrey, Maine, an amazing synchronistic event took place.
“The church had a circular drive,” Fowler said, “and I was driving out one way. I noticed a car coming in the other way. I stopped and he stopped. We looked at each other, and there was Double-Shift Dumas! So it was a renewal of an old friendship. In fact, we visited him not too long ago.”
The foregoing coincidences might be dismissed as mere chance and without the deeply felt meaning Fowler described earlier, were it not for the sheer number of them recorded in “SynchroFile.” The continual re-experiencing of one strange synchronism after another has the cumulative effect of making Fowler’s claims about what has been happening to him very hard to dismiss.
And then there are the “counter-coincidences.”
“I’ve dubbed them ‘supernatural’ coincidences,” Fowler said. “This is when you have two events that should naturally coincide but they don’t. They appear to operate outside the boundaries of reality that we normally experience, and appear supernatural to the experiencer.”
As an example, Fowler told the story of an experience he had one Sunday morning after church.
“I went into the foyer,” he said, “and there were a bunch of Brownies, miniature Girl Scouts I guess you’d call them, that were retarded. They had come to the church service to fulfill something in their handbooks, to get a badge. One of the little girls came over to me, looked up at me and puckered her lips, like she wanted me to kiss her. I felt that [kissing her] was inappropriate, so I just smiled at her.
“And then I felt two strong hands, the fingers on my shoulders. They gripped my shoulders very tightly and pushed me gently down to where she could kiss me. My initial thought was that it was probably the scoutmaster who was saying this was okay. So I kissed her, and I turned around to see this guy. The wall was about six inches from me, and there was no one behind me. Really strange.”
Often the occurrence of a counter-coincidence is something Fowler called “helpful” and “protective,” as the following story illustrates.
“I was bike riding in Rockport, Massachusetts,” he said, “and there was a hill. I loved to get up a lot of speed and go down this hill and take a corner at the bottom of the hill. Just as I started down the hill, I got this premonition that there was a truck in a driveway at the bottom of the hill that I couldn’t see and that was going to back up. I was going so fast I couldn’t have stopped anyhow.
“As soon as I went around the corner, I see the truck that I had a premonition about backing out. The driver had a shocked look on his face as he’s backing out and I’m coming right at him. He didn’t know what to do and I didn’t know what to do. But just because I’d been warned, I was able to sort of get off the road on to a lawn area and get around him. But again, I knew that it was going to happen before it happened.”
Moments of protective synchronicity like the bike example above are fairly commonplace for Fowler. But the way time becomes scrambled in synchronistic experiences, with the past, present and future seeming to manifest themselves simultaneously to the experiencer, causes Fowler to wonder whether the usual perception of human free will is even operative.
For instance, Fowler tells the story of his father’s encounter with retro-cognition, the sudden transporting of the experiencer literally and physically into past events.
“My father was driving down a road in Maine,” Fowler recalled. “A beautiful day, sunshine, the weather report saying it was going to be a great day. All of a sudden, he found himself in a tremendous thunder and lightning storm—wind and lightning and an old-fashioned car careening down the road in front of him with visibly panicking people in it. Then suddenly there was sunshine and blue skies again and no water at all on the car or on the road. He told my uncle, and my uncle told him that that had also happened to a few other people and that there had been a terrible accident on that road at that particular place. So Dad in essence was actually seeing the past occurring in the present.”
Meanwhile, there are also phenomena like precognitive dreams and the timeless realm encountered during UFO abductions and Near-Death-Experiences.
“Now all of these phenomena have really large implications,” Fowler said, “because there have also been reliable people experiencing future events that are occurring in the present. If such experiences correspond with reality, I have to conclude that you have to come up with some kind of theory to explain all of this.
“Let’s compare it to a completed phonograph record that’s always expanding. Our human mind is like the needle on that phonograph record touching just one section of one groove. Normally our mind or that needle only experiences that one tiny point on one of the grooves on that record. In doing so, it experiences an illusion of what is called ‘linear time,’ and in reality only experiences the present where the needle touches. We’re never experiencing anything except the present.”
The notion of time Fowler is describing was set in motion with the Big Bang, he says, at which point everything was determined, even the exercise of any free will we may have had, at that point of ultimate beginning.
“That would mean that what we call the past, present and future occurred at the Big Bang and that all is really ‘now.’ So what we call the past is occurring now, what we call the future is occurring now, and reality is only in the now.”
There are also other realities that coexist alongside our limited human “now.”
“The Big Bang most likely created many realities that exist simultaneously with ours and occupy the same space,” Fowler continued. “They would be vibrating at different frequencies from ours, making them completely indiscernible to us normally. An analogy would be radio or TV or other electromagnetic frequencies vibrating at different rates but occupying the same space.”
The soul or essence of the individual is also a participant in this complicated working model of space and time.
“I believe that some of what we call paranormal phenomena often occur when our essence, our soul or whatever you want to call it, leaves the body during sleep—or even while we’re awake, which we wouldn’t be conscious of—and is able to interface with what we call the past and the future, and then communicates these experiences back to our conscious mind in the form of precognitive dreams.”
Fowler discussed his brother, who often has precognitive dreams and finds them hard to accept.
“He feels that he has free will,” Fowler explained, “and that he doesn’t want to have his whole life determined. I believe that free will is part of it, because everything happened at once at the Big Bang, including our free will being exercised, but we don’t realize that now because we’re just at a tiny point in all of reality that’s already there and is predetermined. We’ve already exercised our free will and we just aren’t aware that we have done it. Very, very confusing, and probably very hard to put down in an article, but there it is.”
Finally the question becomes, why Raymond Fowler? Why is whatever force that is behind the continual synchronicities Fowler experiences paying such painstaking attention to detail, even to the extent of seeming to “micromanage” Fowler’s life and the lives of so many others?
“I can only answer for myself, of course,” Fowler said. “For some unknown reason, these coincidences or synchronicities appear to be connected to my involvement with UFO experiences and my research. I’ve always had these kinds of things happen, and they have always picked up in intensity when I’m doing UFO investigations and during the times I’m researching and writing a book. I mean, they just pile on top of me, and they happen so much that I haven’t even been able to record them all. Sometimes you have them and forget about them. But they’re there. Looking back, in retrospect, they’ve provided guidance and they’ve provided protection, and essentially an education, through my experiencing them.
“Synchronistic happenings in my life,” Fowler said, “leave a strong impression that I’m part of a greater one, unknown reality that controls all things. To me, these uncanny happenings are intrusions from a mega-reality into my particular reality through some kind of para-physical osmosis. These various forms of synchronicity have led me down paths that I never would have imagined treading in my younger days, especially in my early days of UFO investigations. So looking back at it all, and forward, probably, too, it seems as if I’m being schooled by something ‘other.’ We’ll call it something ‘other.’ I get this feeling, this ‘numinosity’ as Carl Jung called it, that I must be doing exactly what someone wants me to do. It’s sort of a comfort blanket when you see this happening. There’s something about it that says, ‘Oh, yeah, everything’s okay.’”