"And well you ask how can I be
Who that is one, this aether
I am one for I am total
I am the sum of all this life
I am the sum of all your kind
Both here and universal places."
Report for Committee investigating website at http:members.tripod.com/AlynPtdLtd/nd .
I enclose for your immediate attention three incidents our subject, Thomas, has revealed in detail. They are basically unedited because I believe it important you know something of his thinking. These are the strange events we would expect such a person to talk about but I leave it to your judgement as to their reality and importance.
Incident 1 1960.
"I have mentioned the trip I took with Dad to Darwin and there is one incident in it that might relate to your enquiry. [I had led him to believe I was writing a book to be called Strange experiences of the young mind. And that my interest in Nostradamus only arose from meeting him.]
"Dads aim was not just to get to Darwin. We stopped at every town and nearby station. This meant a lot of extra travel. In this part of the country nearby means anything less than 100 kilometres. Our arrival in Alice Springs meant a rest from this travel and we stayed several days in this town. It is here, in Alice Springs that my short encyclopaedia sales career began.
"Alice Springs is a small city or medium town located over a 1, 000 kilometres from any of the major cities of Australia. There are no nearby towns and probably the most recognisable feature in its vicinity is Uluru or, as it was known at that time, Ayers Rock. Even this is nearly a days car journey away. At that time there weret any buildings, not even a tourist resort, at the Rock. The Alice is a remote town and this remoteness bonds its people, but not always with kind, caring bonds.
It was not the first time my father had been in this part of the world and he therefore knew some of the towns people. Although it is not easy to be accepted in towns like Alice, irregular return visitors receive the welcome reserved for the ancient poet or wandering minstrel. This led to us being invited to a party on the second night of our stay.
"This party was a gathering of very unusual people. Alice Springs and most of the Northern Territory was, and I believe still is, populated by a strange collection of people so the party was not unrepresentative. In the time I was in the Territory I met the most incredible characters. There was an old man who claimed to have invented a substitute for oxygen. He also told how during the war he had seen feral figures with kangaroo bodies and human upper torsos just off the road between the Alice and Darwin. Another character was a Chinese-Australian friend of my father in Darwin called Duke Ali who claimed he lived in Darwin because Australia was going to be split in two by an earthquake. Ironically a decade later, Darwin was flattened by cyclone Tracy. Duke also had other theories about UFOs and Darwin that were as improbable as his name.
"I also met Territory legends like Bill Hannan who was famous for his bush tales and bush cookbook. And this wailing lady in a Dickensian darkened house, who was introduced by her proud, frail, trembling spouse as the oldest woman in the Territory.
"I was sixteen in a world of wonderland personalities. In the most part my ability to judge credibility helped me to judge true from false.
"This was not always so. When I arrived at the party my father said there was something special happening that night. There was a tall cactus out the back that only flowered once every nine years for one night when the moon shone upon it. Tonight was the night. Later, as the moon rose, I was taken to look at the flowering of this rather disappointingly small flower atop a prickly stem. In later years I was to question the credibility of this unique occurrence. I was undoubtedly duped but there is a difference between questioning the credibility of strangers and the earnest story of a persuasive father.
"This is not the story that I set out to relate but it shows the background to this party.
"After I had viewed the marvelous cactus I joined a small group of my fathers acquaintances seated on the grass on this warm to hot summer night. There were two men in this party with whom I talked. They would have probably been thirtyish but at sixteen my judgement of the age of adults was not very precise. Both were Australian. The grandparents of one had come from China seeking gold. The grandparents of the other, from Afghanistan, had been part of the original settlement of outback Australia. His grandfather was a camel driver. The immediate predecessors of my two new acquaintances had mostly lived in the Territory and around Oodnadatta, an isolated town in northern South Australia.
"I cannot remember their names but I do remember they were unusual. I think one was Popeye Muhammed but I cannot be sure. This man could open a beer bottle with his teeth by placing them over the metal cap and using the teeth as a bottle top remover. Several times during the evening he performed the feat, afterwards spitting the remnant cap up onto the corrugated iron roof of the house.
"For some reason the conversation swung around to that most dangerous of topics, religion. One, the Afghan was of Islamic faith, the other claimed to be an atheist. As for me, I nominated myself as a marginal Christian.
"This was not an uncomfortable position for me. Debating philosophic issues was something I enjoyed and I was not uneasy with the different views held by the three of us. I have for most of my life held clear positions that are neither black nor white but others, with polarised views would often see me as an opponent. Twenty years later, when studying for a postgraduate diploma in Educational Administration I was responsible for a tutorial debating free will versus determinism. There were two groups and I took part in both; one after the other; in different rooms. The first group had a more religious set of members. As I went to join the second group the leader of this group asked Are you an atheist? The other group was less religious and during it the leader of this group turned to me and said I didnt know you were Christian.
"However at the party no such disunity existed. I was interested in the atheists reasons for holding such views. His logic seemed flawed. I had a little baby daughter and one night that baby was stricken with meningitis and died. I cannot believe in a God that is so unjust. I have not believed since that night.
"This rejection of religion by placing the blame for the worlds evils on a God seemed as illogical to me as believing in special benefits from such a being. There was therefore a lively, animated discussion with the key points being the Islamic faith, Christianity and the influence of a god on human affairs. My memory is that he actually saw sense in the debate. It was possible to conclude that as the evening wore on this much older man was reconsidering the position he had taken.
"There was one other member of this group that so far has not been mentioned, a member enjoying the party and oblivious to the discussion. The man s child was crawling happily amongst the adults squatted on the grass. The child was less than one year old.
"That night the baby died. I was told it was meningitis. We attended the funeral a day or so later. I was incapable of looking the man in the face. I did not feel guilty I just knew that in no way could I influence the mans memory of me and my impact on his life. I could not say. I am not guilty. I did not kill your child. God did not kill your child. This is just coincidence. I could not say it but it was essentially what I believed then and continue to believe today. However the event remains with me and causes me to ponder, to be more respectful of mankinds still imperfect understanding of causality.
This issue of causality was central to another instance that occurred about three years later.
Incident 2. 1962
"This particular incident involved my older brother Roger. He was two years older than me. We were all living in the house at Elizabeth. The same house my parents owned before the familys two year return to Western Australia. There were now eight children at home, from a new baby through to Roger who was then 20 years old. It was a three-bedroom house so two of the small bedrooms were crammed with bunks. I did not have one of these bunks and my bed was outside the house. My father had converted the end of the corrugated iron garage into a small and very private room. This was mine. A place where I could study away from the high noise level of a family where each, in order to communicate, spoke very loudly over the others. I felt very priviliged to have this room to myself.
"Roger did not live at home for very long in this year of 1962 but it would have been three months that we lived in the same house. In only a few years he had held a variety of jobs as jackaroo in quite distant parts of the state. During these difficult time various groups had helped him. They were often church groups and through his links with these institutions he had become a religious zealot. He embraced two religions over a small period; Salvation Army followed by Seventh Day Adventist. He and his family are still Adventists to this day. In 1962, he and I were more incompatible than at any other time in our lives. His missionary zeal and my willingness to challenge, led to long fruitless, aggressive arguments until eventually I at least, learnt one of lifes lessons. Reason and zealotry are too far apart for either to become the other. It was useless to engage in argument, it was better to coexist with less hostility, less challenge, less debate. Of course both of us felt that reason was on our side and zealotry on the other.
"This was the state of affairs when one evening after dinner he, my sister Val and I were together in the small kitchen. The events that followed were so trivial and yet taken together gave me reason to again examine causality.
"Roger had stated that he had recently learned that if you swing a key over the hand of a man it always moves in a straight line and if you swing it over a womans hand it will always go in a circle. Now to me this was not a religious issue but a scientific one and I felt comfortable in challenging it. Its true! he said with the certainty that tended to most easily rouse me to debate. Then, either as a result of my request for reasonable proof or the strength of his conviction he offered to prove it. I was certain of the result of this forthcoming experiment.
"He took a key from his key-ring and attached it to the chain. He then swung it over my hand and yes, it went straight, straight enough that I could not dispute the evidence. He then swung it over my sisters hand and it went round and round.
"I had expected the folktale to fail but it had not. However all this surely meant was that the experiment itself was tainted. You must be doing it, I said Let me swing the key. So the experiment was changed and I swung the key. If there was anyway that a straight line could be disputed and be ruled not entirely straight I would have noted it but watching the key swung by my hand, it swung straight over his hand, in circles over Vals. I repeated it many times all to the same end.
"We must be imparting the motion by our hands. I said The key must be swung so that our motion cannot be affecting the swing. So I used a ruler and a book and suspended the chain and key from the top of the kitchen cupboard. It was set swinging. Every time one of the males put his hand under it, it swung in straight lines and every time Val put her hand under it, it went in circles.
"We had performed these experiments for more than thirty minutes in which time I had done everything I could contrive to disprove this outlandish idea and yet had significantly failed. I conceded that here was a phenomenon worthy of further investigation and retired to my garage room.
"I immediately set up the experiment so that I could test it further. A similar chain, a similar key, a similar method of suspension via a ruler held by an immovable object. I placed my hand under it. It went straight but then round, round, straight and round. The key and chain conformed to normal expectation. Everything was restored to place, the world held to its natural order. Except that the thirty minutes of experiment had occurred. Thirty critical minutes during which coincidence frustrated my every effort to establish the value of rational proof over folklore.
"There is another thing. This same coincidence of evidence going against rational expectation has occurred on a much bigger scale. It has occurred in my research into word patterns in Nostradamus text but that is unrelated to the theme of your book.
[ I did not pursue this point but believe I have established a good enough relationship to draw further details out of him after he thinks I have finished my research.]
Thomas added "I should put these events in perspective. To understand the above incidents it helps to know something about the way I felt and still feel. These previous incidents are common events. They are not common in their nature for they focus on the unusual but they are a universal trait of man. Meaningful patterns are seen by everyone over the duration of their lives. The vast majority of these patterns are coincidences.
"Coincidences?. We probably will never have a basis to judge the meaning of this term and whether a real link lies between the components of the event. I know well the need for repetition in establishing proof and yet some of the biggest events in the universe may be one-offs. The big bang, the start of life for instance. Each is incapable of scientific proof and by the normal standard of proof should be considered as not having occurred. It is only their persistent after-effects that cause us to conclude they did occur. But what if there were no after effects? Would that prove they did not occur? I guess I am posing the question that challenges what was once a common thread in scientific belief. The belief that because one-off events are not provable and outside the realm of science they must be false.
"Such questioning is not something new to me. Today it is much more normal for scientists to respect the mystery of the universe but in the sixties such views caused many science-minded people I met to assume I was drawing on a religious framework. I remember the comments of Mr. Brideson, my class teacher at Gawler in 1960.
"I was sixteen at the time and presumptuous enough to see my views being equal to more established philosophers. Each week Mr. Brideson would select an enlightened saying to write upon the board. During the year three weeks of sagacity were displaced by thoughts of my own. I am certain my teacher knew their author but he did not show it and played along with the mystery of the author. He challenged them, particularly the one that said "In everything there is nothing, in nothing there is everything."
"My teacher saw the statement as ascetic, an extreme religious view advocating denial. I said yes it may be but there is another view, that of science, that of the big bang, where the universe came from nothing. Further there was also the atom where solidity disappears to nothing as it is more closely examined. There is also magnetism and gravity, forces that exist throughout everything, that are apparent in everything but which have no physical form and seem as nothing, yet are everything to our existence. Even Newton had felt the same mystery of this powerful undetectable quality.
"So, I think you see that my thoughts are not the products of New-Age thinking for they preceded it.
"My willingness to question both religious and scientific standpoints was also apparent in my acceptance of the Theory of Evolution. I accepted its thrust but not its detail. I felt and still feel the incompleteness of the process that led to the evolution of organs, species and man. This is not a rejection of the idea nor is it a religious frame. It is merely recognising the time limitations of knowledge and rejecting the arrogant assumption that somehow we know everything about various topics.
"However in accepting evolution there are special conclusions that I reached. If life evolved towards greater awareness, sentience, communication and intelligence then surely evolution of the universe could also be headed to this end. Possibly the stars and planets themselves are becoming something more than their separate parts. Even evolving into an aware being. If so it is highly improbable that the relationship between this being and terrestial life could be easily evaluated. And it is unlikely this alien would care about or be aware of living things. There is a gap based on dimension and this would be especially true of sentient universe and sentient life.
"There is another scope for evolution along the same lines but using a different scale. It doesnt have to be a whole creature that is evolving, it can be its parts.
"The brain is the accumulation of the cells, a corporate functioning but only part of each animal. Yet it is evolving. It seems to me to be a reasonable expectation that every part of every living thing is capable of evolution.
"Why then should we not expect the totality of life to itself evolve towards awareness? I believe it is unreasonable to assume there is no evolution of the totality of earthly life. This thinking led to some unusual experiments that I dont think fit to your theme about strange childhood events but Ill let you be the judge.
[The following incident I was told because it followed on from his telling of his thinking. It is however possibly important.]
Incident 3. 1963
"Deeper, deeper, deeper down. Deeper, deeper, now. Deeper, deeper into the mind. Deeper, deeper, deeper."
"These were the words I placed on the tape to play on the recorder. My room as I told you was in the garage, away from the house. I could therefore conduct experiments to test my inner mind in private. Experiments to reach my subconscious.
"I had read books on hypnotism and mesmerism and many others on the layers of the mind, the ego or conscious mind, the superego or sub conscious mind and the id, the primal unconscious mind. I was attempting to exploit this knowledge by using my mind to explore itself, to go from the ego to the superego and below it to the id. I was in search of the primal stream.
"I deliberately set out to see if I could affect my mental state. No drugs were used but a deliberate mental act to get deep within the mind. I am sure I failed. I dont know whether I am a difficult subject to hypnotise or whether the concept is phoney. Anyhow, in 1962 I believed I could hypnotise myself by playing the same message over and over again and by suggestion take my conscious into my subconscious and unconscious brain.
"Out of earnings from my short sales career I had bought a tape recorder. For this experiment I made a short loop of tape and recorded my message upon it. All through the night I could play it and let its message penetrate my mind.
"The first eight nights went to plan but on the ninth I was woken by a frantic knocking on my door. Wake up! Wake up! Are you alright? Wake up! It was my sister Val. She had heard the tape from her room and this repeated low, dirge sounded like continuous moans.
"I rolled over, turned off the tape, called out Its okay. Im fine. I just left my tape on, rolled over once more and went back to sleep.
"Next morning I had to explain to Val and I was not allowed to run the tape again. Since then I have often tried similar experiments using only my mind to start this journey. Again I do not feel I have succeeded in my search for a terrestrial unifying force that lies hidden beneath each mind. I have not proved it does not exist but my skills have so far proved inadequate. Perhaps I am incapable of being in touch with my subconscious and whatever lies below. "