Coincidence?

Friday, 6th December.

The next excerpt from ‘For Their Tomorrow’ is reproduced below and introduces a major coincidence into the story, which will have repercussions throughout the rest of the novel and also far into the future.

In the same way Archibald Willoughby had stared down the twin barrels of a shotgun, completely unaware the gun was not loaded, Harry could not possibly have known that the presence of the man in the vicar’s garden had absolutely nothing to do with Jessie. It was one of life’s quirks – an alignment of coincidences; a mere brush of a stranger’s hand in a crowded place. The truth was that Archibald Willoughby had been in Lyverton for a completely different reason. Despite being the keeper of nobility’s dirty secrets, it was a reason that was entirely legitimate – well, at least it had been to begin with.

A group of people were milling about under the yellow orb of a gaslight at the end of the road as Harry approached the main street.

‘Please, sir, he said to the policeman who seemed to have the situation under control. ‘Can you come to the vicarage?  We’ve just found a man in the garden – we thought he was drunk at first, out stone cold, but now the Reverend thinks he might be dead.’

‘Not as dead at the woman in t’ouse over there,’ replied the policeman, nodding in the direction of a row of thatched cottages. ‘Been done to death, she ‘as. Then ‘ad a shovelful of ashes chucked over her to mop up the blood.’

Harry gulped. Could it be that Archibald Willoughby had something to do with the dead woman?

‘What happened?’ said Harry.

‘Her ol’ man caught her wi’ some young toff, by all accounts, then bashed ‘er ‘ead in wi’ the coal shovel when he came home full o’ ale. He was caught down by the quarries. Been taken into custody. Now … what was it you were sayin’?

Take a look at this (click on this link) about some amazing coincidences.  As the story unfolds in ‘For Their Tomorrow’ the reader will begin to wonder if they really ARE coincidences or if something else is at work – something no one fully understands.  In ‘The White Cuckoo’ Tammy has a strong sense of the links with Jessie almost a hundred years previously. 

“Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events, that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, that are observed to occur together in a meaningful manner.”

The concept of synchronicity was first described as above by Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung in the 1920s.

The concept does not question the notion of causality. Instead, it suggests that just as events may be grouped by cause, they may also be grouped by their meaning.”

Throughout time, there have been numerous coincidences that connect the past with the present.

I find the topic fascinating, particularly one of the most famous examples involving Edgar Allan Poe. The synchronicity is manifested in Edgar Allan Poe’s sea adventure novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, when incredibly he appears to have written about an event that will happen in the future. The tale includes a scenario about three men and a sixteen-year-old boy who are drifting at sea in a lifeboat after being shipwrecked. Desperate, on the brink of starvation, they decide to draw lots to determine which of them will be killed and eaten. The cabin boy, Richard Parker, picks the dreaded short straw and is promptly stabbed and consumed. On July 25, 1884, forty-seven years after Poe stopped working on the novel, a 17-year-old cabin boy named Richard Parker was killed and eaten in an identical incident at sea. Richard Parker was on his first voyage on the high seas, boarding the Mignonette in Southampton bound for Australia. In the South Atlantic ocean it encountered a hurricane and sank. A few survivors managed to board a lifeboat, but it had few provisions and after 19 days the situation was desperate. The men discussed drawing lots to choose a victim who would be eaten by the others, but in the end agreed the victim would be Richard Parker, who had become seriously ill from drinking seawater. The remaining crew survived on Richard Parker’s dead body for another thirty-five days until they were rescued by the S.S. Montezuma, coincidentally named after the cannibal king of the Aztecs.

The Richard Parker story is recorded as one the best ‘coincidences’ by author Arthur Koestler. Weirdly, the Richard Parker synchronicities have continued and a relative, Craig Hamilton-Parker, has a web site documenting them.

Yan Martel’s ‘The Life of Pi’ was, of course, inspired by the Edgar Allan Poe story.

Have you any amazing examples of coincidence in your own life? I should love to hear about them if you have!

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1 Comment

One thought on “Coincidence?

  1. Not that interesting, but silly. Just before Christmas my sister had been in an accident which resulted in a black eye. At Christmas dinner she pulled a cracker with me and out popped an eye patch.

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