Two worlds plainly interacting: Synchronicity and saucepan lids
Posted on 21 June 2020, 13:55
Two worlds plainly interacting
September 1, 1975: I had lunch with Celia Bobby, a friend with whom I shared most interesting synchronicities. She lived in a replica Canadian log cabin in the Christchurch suburb of New Brighton. At lunch she remarked that the previous evening, three stainless steel saucepan lids had simultaneously dropped off a ledge on which they had been balanced, with their lips, to prevent them from slipping, resting on a thin flange of wood along the edge of the shelf. They had dropped off this into a wash tub. The lids were displayed in this manner because they were part of a large set of stainless steelware which had been bequeathed to her by her father, George Wolstenholme, who had been manager of the firm of Thomas Firth’s Stainless Steel of Sheffield in the UK. Her father had died in 1940. They were part of a first batch of stainless steel ware, and had been manufactured for the firm in Belgium. Celia was very proud of her inheritance.
We wondered how the lids could possibly have been toppled simultaneously. The window was shut, so they could not have been blown down. The flange prevented slipping. There had been no earthquake; passing cars do not produce sufficient vibration. I put the lids back in their former places. I had to give a proper push to move one. There was no question of their being balanced delicately in position.
And Celia, dusting a miniature of her father, in another room, heard them fall.
I speculated that it might be a discarnate entity communicating with her. Was it her late husband? As with previous events, I asked for an intuited book reference. Words formed themselves in my head that we should look for a book by Thomas Hardy, with the syllable “ill” in the title, page 13, lines 4 to 10.
Finding such a book was a problem, because Celia has many books. But finally we found Tess of the Durbervilles and the passage indicated, read:
“A difficulty in arranging their lips in crude exposure to public scrutiny, and an ability to balance their heads…was apparent in them, and showed that they were genuine country girls unaccustomed to many eyes. And as each and all of them were warmed without by the sun, so each had a private little sun for her soul to bask in…. They came round by the Pure Drop Inn and were turning out of the High road to pass through the wicket gate into the meadow, when one of the women said “Lord-a-Lord! Why Tess Durberville! If there isn’t thy Father riding home in a Carriage!”
About those words, we might well feel dubious. We are dealing with pot lids not country girls. and so forth. But we can note the “lips” of both country girls and pot lids, and “Pure Drop Inn” could be seen as a pun on what happened to the pot lids and the washtub. And there was a link between Celia and the country, in that she had studied in an agricultural college.
But as events unfolded, the passage seemed increasingly meaningful, and definitely part of the wider dream.
I had guessed that it was her late husband causing what resembled poltergeist phenomena. But the passage speaks of a father. And it was her father who bequeathed the pot lids to her. And as for the book itself, well, it was the only book amongst hundreds in the house, which had been given to her by her father. At her request, he had given it to her after she had gone off to boarding school. She had treasured it ever since. [It occurs to me that her father, George Wolstenholme, may have put that book reference into my mind.]
No, I was not aware that Celia had any books by Thomas Hardy. And then three days later, Celia was listening to Radio New Zealand, and was astonished to hear announced the first episode of “Tess of the Durbervilles” arranged as a radio serial. And she was even more astonished that the first words spoken were “Lord-a-Lord! Why Tess Durberville! If there isn’t thy father riding home in a carriage!” [Was her late father aware of the forthcoming radio drama?]
And there was to be more on the theme of spirit and stainless steel. The following Tuesday at midday, a young man arrived at my place exultant, because he had, he claimed, psychokinetically bent five stainless steel spoons, and he gave me one as a souvenir. While I cannot prove for myself whether or not he had truly been following in Uri Geller’s footsteps, from the point of view of the wider dream, his arrival synchronised perfectly. And no sooner had he left, than a woman called Bonnie Firth phoned me asking for help since she had just come out of hospital after a major operation. I could not forbear asking her whether her late husband had been connected with the Sheffield Firth family. And of course, her answer had to be yes.
But that was not all. For a few days later, Celia phoned me to say that she had been awakened during the night by a crash in the kitchen. Not properly awake she grabbed a torch rather than turning on the light, and went to investigate. There face down on a cake tin on the bench, were two pictures that had both fallen off the wall, one on top of the other, one of them seemingly having fallen obliquely on to the other. Then Celia went into the dining room, where she saw three pictures in front of her, and straightway the middle picture fell. It was a picture of herself.
Some time later, I was telling someone at my home about these events. I then went to bed, and immediately a picture fell off the wall on to my bed. [I can speculate that it was George Wolstenholme knocking down all these pictures, but what has he to do with Bonnie Firth’s operation, or the radio programme, or the spoon-bender? Even less can we suppose that Mr Wolstenbolme had anything to do with what follows.]
In 1982 as I was going over my notes of this event, dream-like events renewed themselves. My 1982 notes read:
“It is true that I did receive a letter this morning from Celia, and that it was the first for a year. But I was busy at the time and didn’t read it. I just went on writing about Stainless Steel Pot lids because I had got to that point after going over the account in a book that I was writing to do with synchronicity on the theme of Ancient Corinth. But late in the afternoon, I lay down for a rest. I picked up a book about an old English sheep dog that had saved the life of its master lying injured in the snow. It was after that that I read Celia’s letter:
“On January 15th last, after six months of correspondence between self and the provost of Sheffield cathedral, Frank C. and old Sheffield friends and relations, my brother Gordon Wolstenholme. and his wife, and Elaine C., my youngest sister, met with five friends to hear the Provost dedicate a plaque in memory of our father, beside a solid stainless steel door, the first apparently ever made, and given in 1940 by our father, with nothing to show that he had given it! Anthea, my other sister, could not join us, as she was recovering from near drowning in the River Stour in Suffolk, beside her house, in icy water in January, trying to rescue a dog belonging to her son.”
As I am considering the Stainless Steel synchronicity, and having taken time off to read about the dog saving a person in the cold, I open Celia’s letter about the stainless steel memorial to her father, and read about a person rescuing a dog in the cold.
One’s mind is baffled in its search for explanations. The events could be seen as coming together in a dream, or as being dreamed up by a playwright. In these cases the Scriptwriter must be at a higher and reality-creating order of consciousness.
“There is a book who runs may read,
Which heavenly truth imparts,
And all the lore its scholars need,
Pure eyes and Christian hearts.
The works of God above, below,
Within us and around,
Are pages in that book, to show
How God himself is found…
Two worlds are ours: ‘tis only sin
Forbids us to descry
The mystic heaven and earth within,
Plain as the sea and sky.
Thou who hast given me eyes to see
And love this sight so fair,
Give me a heart to find out thee,
And read thee everywhere.”
- John Keble
Michael Cocks edits the journal, The Ground of Faith.
Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr and Into the Wider Dream by Michael Cocks are published by White Crow Books and available from Amazon and other bookstores.