September 30, 2004

Last night, I went to a lecture on local history. The speaker discussed King Philip’s War, which began in 1675. He said that the war started when an Indian entered John Salisbury’s barn, and was shot. He may have entered the barn in order to provoke the settlers into shedding blood. It seems that the Indians wanted war, but didn’t want to be the first to shed blood; they believed that those who started the war would ultimately lose.

The speaker also mentioned the various names used by King Philip, and his father, Massasoit. He said that the Indians changed their names in order to make it harder for their enemies to find them. In fact, it probably wasn’t a matter of “finding” in a physical sense, but rather in an occult sense; they probably believed that, by changing their name, they could make it harder for people to locate them with evil thoughts, voodoo, etc.

1. Baseball and the Occult

A few days ago, my daughter and I were watching a baseball game on TV. Suddenly, I had a clear feeling that the batter was going to get a hit; I almost said something out loud, it was on the tip of my tongue. Sure enough, he hit a home run on the next pitch. Was it something in the batter’s eyes that told me, or something in the pitcher’s body language? Or was it an anticipation of the future that wasn’t based on any clue in the present?

About twenty years ago, I was playing tennis, and in an adjoining field, a baseball game was in progress. Our tennis game lasted for at least an hour, and we weren’t paying much attention to the baseball game. At one point, however, I stopped playing, and turned around to watch the baseball game. I watched one pitch, and the batter hit the ball over the fence on that pitch. Perhaps that happened only a few times in an entire summer. Why did I turn around on that particular pitch? Was there some sort of electricity in the air, perhaps due to the batter’s excitement?

There must be many examples of people anticipating something related to sports. The high level of emotion that is found in sports makes it a suitable environment for psychic phenomena. Did a batter ever have a clear feeling that he would hit a home run on the next pitch? Yes, one of the legends of baseball is Babe Ruth’s “called shot”, when he pointed “over the fence” then proceeded to hit the ball over the fence.

2. New Edition: Sundry Thoughts

I finally finished revising my book of aphorisms, which has grown to 14 chapters. I’m hoping it will be published in Brazil in late ’04 or early ’05. I’m also sending the manuscript to seven other foreign publishers (if one of them publishes it, it will be well worth the effort). I’ll also try to publish here in the U.S., though publishers here don’t seem as receptive as foreign publishers.

Here’s a new version of “Sundry Thoughts.”

[The rest of this issue is now Chapter 6 of my book Conversations With Great Thinkers.]