You Just Missed Him

gattino

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I was torn between simply telling my small experience and making it a wider discussion of a phenomenon. A friend says its happened to him on at least 3 occasions. Deciding to get in touch with someone from the past only to find you're a moment too late.

Today I was clearing out bedroom drawers. At least twice a year i have a clear out and every time i put something back on a "I might need" or a "just in case" or a "I'd feel bad if i did" basis. Today i tried to be merciless. If I have no use for it, it goes.

This had to apply to the letters inexplicably kept since the early 90s. Before the internet and social media i had overseas penpals. The Australians survived the transition to the age of Facebook. Others were a correspondence that came and went. The only person in the latter category whose missives i kept was an American with a striking and exotic to my ears name (which i'll omit here for obvious reasons). Joshua X from South Dakota. I have 5 letters, a couple of photos, an audio tape and, to be honest, no actual memory of the content of the correspondence. I kept them, i didn't say i ever re-read them.


The main reason i kept Joshua's letters was he stood out in my memory because he was American (before the internet shrunk the world that alone was hollywood glamorous), looked somewhat native American, and his name was hard to forget. maybe once every 6 or 7 years it might pop into my head and id do a quick facebook search out of curiosity, but to no avail. He has many namesakes, but none were him. Today I started reading his letters for the first time in 27 years before chucking them. He was 19, approaching 20. What would he be like now i wondered. So I decided to do a google search one last time.
And after all these years i did actually find him.

It was his obituary.

From about 3 weeks ago.

He had an additional first name and 46 doesn't look like 19 so I wasnt sure it was him til I saw his date of birth. I'd just been reading him five minutes before telling me that exact detail.

His only other online presence was a news alert that he had been identified as the body found on a walking trail. No foul play but no other details appear anywhere.

His obituary mentions a long list of close relatives he'd lost , so I wondered if it could be suicide. I was reading his 19 yo self planning his future just minutes earlier.

I went to the last of his letters - I'd apparently admonished him for doing a disappearing act - in it he explains his absence as "some close family members " had died of cancer and it had effected him badly.

The obituary mentions his love of music and name checks the Bangles as a favourite to listen to. I had to retrieve from the bin the audio cassette he'd sent me of him singing. In a last touch of the timely , if not uncanny, it says in his hand Side A: Joshua X. Side B: the Bangles.

Neither he nor any of his listed relatives appear to have ever had any visible online presence. The only additional insight into what became of the boy was a lady commenting under the police news about the body. She said he worked in a particular thrift store for years and "he was a nice, kind man".

Reading the boy, I imagine so.

I can have no emotion for a stranger. But there's something ...not spooky, not psychic..just...not quite a coincidence ..about finding your mind on someone so soon after they've left the stage. Maybe he's shouting "remember me!" from the wings.

Goodnight Joshua. I hardly knew ye.

PS...after making that "remember me!" from the wings comment earlier to others i found in one of his letters song lyrics he had just completed, as music was a passion. The last verse has a certain eerie resonance.....

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ChasFink

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I've mentioned elsewhere on these forums that my wife and I have had disturbingly "coincidental" discussions about celebrities almost simultaneously with their deaths. I truly wonder if the departed have some way of shouting good bye as they leave.
 

gattino

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I recall looking up the largely forgotten singer Timi Yuro only to find she'd died a couple of days earlier. (I would have sworn this was in the last 5 years, but it turns out it was 2004).

I remember being told of a woman turning up at a neighour's house, her long lost father she'd never known, a week after his death.

The Australian I mentioned (aptly, the primary survivor from the age of the penfriend) tells me "it’s also happened to me a few times…. I find something of a past friend or acquaintance and I go to contact them and I’ve missed them by a few weeks or even days. It’s happened to me at least 3 times that I can recall… the main one I recall.. and I may have mentioned it to you or I may not, was a guy his name was Steven ******* . Another was my friend Aaron ****** who I used to work at Myer with many years ago. … most recently I went to contact the brilliant resident pianist at The ******* in NYC where I used to work as a cocktail waiter in 2005… Rick *****… discovered he had died of Covid not even 2 weeks before I tried to contact him…"

If we're to elevate all this beyond coincidence and bad timing it would need a proposed mechanism. With the celebrities - and indeed some personal friends - it may well be a case the words telepathy or clairvoyance could apply, picking up random thoughts of the deceased from the minds of others around you who are in the know and leaving you unsure why you were thinking of them.

But in the case at hand - and seemingly the cases mentioned by the Australian ("I find something of a past friend") - its harder to apply that explanation. The trigger for thinking of the recently departed is entirely external. I sought him out because i was about to get rid of his letters, but random recall of his letters was not the motive for my action. I was having a general clear out to facilitate moving furniture around. To invoke the paranormal we would have to imagine that intention itself was somehow orchestrated by another mind.
 

Mouldy13

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I recall looking up the largely forgotten singer Timi Yuro only to find she'd died a couple of days earlier. (I would have sworn this was in the last 5 years, but it turns out it was 2004).
I was listening to Timi Yuro's great Northern soul hit "It'll never be over for me" when I logged on and read this :eek:
 
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WeirdExeter

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One of my favourite posts on this forum was about a man who as a teen at school had an eerie dream about a boy at his school that he didn't know very well or especially like. To paraphrase, he dreamt they were on a sunny beach and then a huge wave swept over them and he and this boy couldn't escape and then found themselves in a grey, featureless landscape. This other boy was now a distance away and was afraid and asking for help/guidance but he knew he mustn't get involved or follow him. Then the following day he discovered the boy had just died, something he had been unaware of at the time of his dream.
 

Zeke Newbold

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I sort of have one of these, but I'm afraid it's probably mundane and not particularly spooky (probably - but you can be the judge).

I need to explain in advance that I have been living outside of the UK for the best part of ten years and don't follow British television.

So a few months ago, amongst all the videos telling me to stop being such a Beta Male or bewailing some latest `woke` outrage, a live performance from the comedian Sean Lock cropped up in my Youtube feed. Now, I vaguely recognised his name and face but otherwise knew nothing about him. I certainly had no idea that he was a household name via his television appearances, still less that he was ill with cancer.

Anyway, I watched the clip of his stand up routine and I chuckled a bit and relalted quite a lot and thought: `Hmmm....I quite like this guy. I look forward to seeing more of his material in the future.`

Then literally a day, or maybe two, after this I saw the news in the online papers that he had just died of cancer.

I suppose what must have happened was that his fans or promoters - knowing him to be on his death bed - has boosted the availability of some of his videos (I have no idea how this works) - and that is how they reached me. Then my own positive response to Mr Lock's stuff was probably just a belated repeat of what had already made him popular with the public in Britain
 
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catseye

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I sort of have one of these, but I'm afraid it's probably mundane and not particularly spooky (probably - but you can be the judge).

I need to explain in advance that I have been living outside of the UK for the best part of ten years and don't follow British television.

So a few months ago, amongst all the videos telling me to stop being such a Beta Male or bewailing some latest `woke` outrage, a live performance from the comedian Sean Lock cropped up in my Youtube feed. Now, I vaguely recognised his name and face but otherwise knew nothing about him. I certainly had no idea that he was a household name via his television appearances, still less that he was ill with cancer.

Anyway, I watched the clip of his stand up routine and I chuckled a bit and relalted quite a lot and thought: `Hmmm....I quite like this guy. I look forward to seeing more of his material in the future.`

Then literally a day, or maybe two, after this I saw the news in the online papers that he had just died of cancer.

I suppose what must have happened was that his fans or promoters - knowing him to be on his death bed - has boosted the availability of some of his videos (I have no idea how this works) - and that is how they reached me. Then my own positive response to Mr Lock's stuff was probably just a belated repeat of what had already made him popular with the public in Britain
I don't think many people knew anything about how ill Sean was. This is why his death came as such a huge shock to most of us.
 
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