The official website of author

James Tarr

The title of this little piece borrows a bit from Arthur C. Clarke’s famous line, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” which he wrote in 1962.

People might think in this era of smartphones and other technology which, to someone in 1962, would appear magical, that there is nothing left to discover, but they’d be wrong.  Humans still know next to nothing about their own bodies.  We know some of the what, but almost none of the how or why.  And there is observed, documented phenomena over distance—for example between identical twins—that modern science simply can’t explain.

The title of this article is a line used in Fire and Bone, the sequel to Bestiarii I’ve currently just finished.  It is said in reference to the shakes pilot Chris Evers’ gets whenever she’s about to get into combat, expected or otherwise.  The people around her are very conflicted about her shakes—they don’t believe in the “voodoo”, but then again her shakes as an early warning system have never been wrong.  And combat vets are some of the most superstitious people you’ll meet.

I’m going to use two personal examples from my own life (involving sex and violence, of course) to make my case that there’s a lot going on inside us we’re either totally unaware of, don’t believe, or can’t explain.

We know there are such things as brain waves.  You can hook yourself to an EEG and see them.  Brain cells communicate with each other through electrical impulses, causing five different types of brain waves.  Admittedly brain waves are weak, but is it really so crazy to think that, under certain conditions, one brain might be able to pick up the waves coming off another brain?

For Exhibit A I’ll give you me and my now ex-wife.  Not too long after we moved into our second house, my wife’s sister moved into a house exactly 1.5 miles away.  My ex and her sister were just a year apart in age and very close growing up.  They were also very similar physically.

At the time the ex and I were still nearly newlyweds, and we were also trying to have a baby.  Which meant we were having sex frequently.  Not long after her sister moved in, we were having sex, and the phone rang.  It was her sister, we could hear her leaving a message on the answering machine downstairs (this was in the pre-cell phone era).

It happened again, and again, and again, so many times that it almost became a joke. Phone ringing while we’re having sex?  Has to be sissy.  Let’s pause while she leaves a message, then get back to our regularly scheduled programming….  It seemed that if she was home while we were having sex, there had to be at least a 50% chance she’d give us a call.

Personally I think that during sex my ex’s brain started throwing out some more powerful than usual waves, and her sister (being close in every way—geographically, genetically, etc.) was picking up on them.  Not consciously, but those waves hitting her brain would suddenly give her the idea to call her sister.  And leave a message to the effect of “Not sure why I’m calling you, but…” on the answering machine while I was upstairs in the saddle, so to speak.

The other instance is a one-time occurrence, but it involves the death of my father.  The coroner couldn’t state a time of death narrower than a four-hour window, but I know exactly, to the minute, maybe to the second, when my father died.

At 10:52 p.m. on Thursday, November 9, 1989, I jumped up off my bed in my dorm room at Michigan State University and called home, which in a straight line was about 65 miles away.  And got the answering machine.  My father’s murder is what precipitated that call, and I have one hard fact which, while it doesn’t prove my claim, supports it.

My step-mother was carjacked, taken to a park and shot to death.  The two guys who did that then drove to my house, told my father they had my mom and to do what they said and she wouldn’t be hurt.  They drove him to an ATM where he got cash, then drove him to the park and killed him.  Then they went back to our house and stole a bunch of our stuff, including our answering machine.  So when I called the house and got the answering machine, it had to be between the time my father left with them and when they got back and stole the answering machine, among other things.

I know 10:52 p.m. that night is when my father was killed.  He called out to me.  I’ll never be able to prove it, but that doesn’t matter.

Listen to the little voices in your head.  Call it intuition, call it whatever you want.  But listen to them, because they’re there for a reason.