"So, you don't believe in the Supernatural," asked the stranger leaning over the ferry railing beside me.

"No," I replied. I was gazing into the dark billowing water where lights flickered up in futile chases.

"You're a scientist," the stranger persevered. "So you may think that mysterious events should be explained somehow scientifically?"

"Yes," I insisted lifting my eyes to the crests of the hills which guide New Zealandís Queen Charlotte Sound towards Picton. We were on the late afternoon sailing from Wellington and hardly any hue of the dying day lingered in the blackening sky.

"Well, I fly small aircraft and as a simple pilot I might be less biased than you," the man suggested.


There the hills shrouded themselves in heavy mist. Tumbling back into the past, I became aware of an icy wind driving frozen breath from my mouth. A heavy pack burdened my shoulders. Exhausted, I could hardly move my skis through the snow. Sparks were dancing in front of my eyes and I just wanted to sit down and forget everything. It was then that I overwhelmingly felt my wife's presence, her soft, warm lips on my neck, her head gently leaning against it. "You must be strong now," she begged, "I'm here - with you, but I canít stay. I must move on. And so must you to survive!"


"You are remembering an incident," the stranger's voice brought me back to reality. The moon was still hanging there.  The mist had gone and the tops changed back into those of the Marlborough Sounds.

"I've just remembered an odd experience I had a long time ago, ski-mountaineering in the European Alps. The weather was foul and our party had gone wrong. By the time we found the right way to the alpine hut where we wanted to stay overnight, we were exhausted."

"And your wife passed some strength on to you?"

"How do you know?" I asked startled.  "Yes, we had not been married long and it was our first time away from each other. One night, she woke up from a nightmare, tense and sweating, and felt like hugging and comforting me. We later figured out that our experiences must have happened around the same date, give or take a day."


"Because of the time difference between New Zealand and Europe this could even have been at about the same time, couldn't it?"  This sounded like a statement, not a question.

I tried to explain: "If two people are very close to each other spiritually and they know vaguely what the other person is doing and when, they imagine things or worry about a situation. Sometimes they are right."

The man ignored me: "Einstein added time as the fourth dimension to the three dimensions of space. Didn't he claim that there is no essential difference between these dimensions? What if they were just the framework in which our minds work? Take them away and reality is unfettered, your location in space is irrelevant, and past, present and future merge."


"You're not only a pilot but also a philosopher," I mocked but couldnít hide a tinge of admiration.

Not at all perturbed he carried on: "What do you think of this? I can see a motorcycle. The driver is a young man speeding along a metalled road that narrows into a forest. The trees are flying past him so fast that they tilt precariously at every bend. I shout telling him to slow down. He stops and turns the motor off. At once, he hears a woman crying for help. He looks for her below the road and discovers a crashed car. Imagine, she has been trapped inside it for several days.  No one knew where she had gone and no one had seen the accident.  Few people travelled on this road. Those that did were unable to spot the car and the noise of their vehicles would drown the woman's cries for help. What would you say, if I told you that this is a real event and the motorcyclist just happened to stop near the site of the accident, without knowing why?


"This would be a remarkable coincidence," I marvelled.

"Well, if you should ever come across an event you can't explain scientifically, Iíd be glad if you'd let me know. I wouldn't mind keeping in touch with you." And he spelt me his telephone number.

"I haven't got anything for writing your number down," I warned him, "I'm hopeless at remembering such things."

"Don't worry, perhaps this time you will." 

I turned to him but he must have left abruptly, swallowed by the shadows of the ferry deck.


I went inside to tell my wife about the interesting encounter.  We kept looking out for him during the rest of the journey - in vain. Obviously, there were too many passengers on board.


We spent the night in a motor-camp in Picton. The following morning my wife pointed with excitement at a news story in the paper: MIRACULOUS RESCUE OF MISSING WOMAN.

"This sounds like the story the man told me last night," I gasped, "the location, the circumstances, everything fits. The woman was found late last night." We stared at each other in disbelief. I cleaned my throat: "I really would like to ring this guy up once we're back from our holiday. You won't believe it but I still do remember his phone number. I better make a note of it now."


Having returned to Wellington, I rang up. A woman was at the other end of the line. "If this is supposed to be a joke, itís in very bad taste," she scolded me. "My son died several years ago. His plane crashed into the Queen Charlotte Sound."


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