Friday, January 19, 2007

My Own Kind of Miracle: Part II

After about two weeks, my ability to foretell winning numbers ceased. I don’t know why, any more than I know why the ability came the first place, but the timing of the cessation may have been related to my preparations to move quite soon from Florida to England in order to continue writing “Saint” books.

My sea voyage to England plays a part in this ongoing personal story of “things that can’t happen”. Before departing on the ocean liner from New York to Southampton I bought an astrology textbook. My fascination with the esoteric had extended to astrology, but I had learned little more about it than the supposed characteristics of my Sun sign, Sagittarius.

So, during those days on the ship I looked through the textbook (my inculcated notion that one should take a book on a vacation or ocean trip almost never results in the book actually being read), and when I had settled into a rented house in Beaconsfield I really began to study it. I bought more publications on calculating and interpreting horoscopes, and before long I began traveling by train to London to attend meetings of the Astrological Association.

There came a time when I could “cast” horoscopes correctly and calculate the transits. For those who don’t know, “horoscope” generally refers to the “birth chart” – a map of the positions of the planets and other factors at the time of a person’s birth. This is interpreted in terms of character traits and tendencies, as well as potential kinds of events. The birth chart never changes, and so when an astrologer wants to discern the most likely trends of events for a particular time, he or she calculates the positions of the planets during that particular time and superimposes them over the birth chart in order to discover the "transits".

What I’ve just said is oversimplified, but those basic ideas are needed to understand what happened to me next.

I decided that I would look at the transits at the time of my experiences at Pompano Park months before, to see if I could find any astrological “trigger”. As I was poring over the charts, concentrating on planetary positions during those days of knowing which horse would win the next race, the words “Hully Gully” popped very distinctly into my head. Hully Gully? To me those words meant a dance. Why would I suddenly think of the name of a dance?

Then the context made me ask myself, could Hully Gully be a horse?

I went down the road for the necessary paper and to my absolute astonishment found that a horse named “Hully Gully” was racing at a track in northern England that afternoon! I couldn’t have been more surprised or excited. I drove to one of England’s convenient betting shops for the first time since arriving in the country and wagered more money than I could afford on Hully Gully, at odds of 12 to 1.

Of course Hully Gully won the race. How could it lose, with all that fanfare? If my attitude toward life had not dramatically and permanently changed at Pompano Park, it changed now. There is a point beyond which lingering doubt and skepticism taught by parents, schools, compulsive naysayers, and scientists cannot survive. The idea that it was a “coincidence” that I perceived the words “Hully Gully” at that particular time, on the day when a horse unknown to me was running a race and won, is ridiculous. The universe was much different from what I'd been taught. Now I was certain of it.

That isn’t the end of the story. I began to think, “I wonder if I could use this ability for something more important than gambling?” An opportunity came soon.

I can place the date of the event fairly closely. On May 21, 1968 the American submarine “Scorpion”, having left the Mediterranean Sea to return to the United States, was last contacted about 50 miles south of the Azores. Within a couple of days the “Scorpion” appeared in the British news for the first time. It was missing. A search was underway.

When I read about the missing submarine, a string of numbers popped into my head, and I wrote them down as quickly as I could.

“What is this?” I asked myself. And then I realized that the numbers might designate latitude and longitude, and therefore could be related to the submarine.

As I searched a map for the coordinates I thought, “This spot is probably in the middle of the Sahara Desert.” But once more I was amazed. The location was in the Atlantic south of the Azores. The only problem was that the location was several hundred miles south of the Scorpion’s last reported location and its assumed course. In addition to that, the navy was speculating that the sub had probably drifted northward in the ocean currents. (I’m basing the report of the drift on memory and can’t find an original source.)

I felt triumph (latitude and longitude not in the Sahara Desert or Australia) mixed with disappointment (far from the Scorpion’s projected course and even farther from the presumed drift location), but I gave my information to the U.S. Navy in London because there was still hope there might be survivors on the sunken submarine. I thought I might be laughed at, but I received a nice letter of thanks, saying, “We need all the help we can get finding this submarine.”

The hull was eventually found on the ocean bottom about 400 miles southwest of the Azores, in the area of my coordinates.


  1. Fleming, I think it's time you shop for a publisher. These are very entertaining posts. Time for a book, I think. You could easily write one from the past two entries. The Scorpion, my God that is so un-real.


  2. ok, so the other day i`m in shop here in burlington more just to bide my time than to buy anything, and i noticed a woman wearing a baseball cap with a very familiar logo on it. the saint stick figure with the halo from the t.v. series that i used to watch as a child......"but the ferry wasn`t running that evening, heavy fog you know....."

    the hat was unusual enough in that it wasn`t something that that woman would seemingly have worn, but there was something more compelling about the whole thing that i couldn`t quite put my finger on.......until i saw your blog.

  3. In the matter of the horse-racing, there is a question I have wanted to ask you for a while. I have never seen the Saint on TV but have read just a few of the short stories, and one of them involved a scam about betting on horses. I just wanted to check if you had written it. (I have no idea of its date.)

    Simon Templar decides to teach a lesson to a conman who takes money from punters based on his uncanny knack of predicting winners. He teaches the lesson by tricking the conman in precisely the manner that the conman uses.

    The conman sets the clock an hour forward, so that when he demonstrates his predictive abilities to a client, the race is already over. The Saint invites the conman to his place, where he has set the clock two hours forward. Conman astonished: thinks Saint really can predict winners.

    It sounds a flimsy plot: did people go around with no wrist-watches, and no sense of the time of day? But whoever wrote it must have had a phenomenal way with words!

    My question: was it you, or Leslie C?

  4. Yves, I did not write that story, and so it had to be Leslie Charteris. A story I wrote about a betting scam that turned out not to be a scam was published in "The Saint Magazine", but of course I can't find that issue right now.

  5. Dr. Alistair, thanks for the intriguing story.

  6. I agree it is time for a publisher :)

  7. you are welcome. there are no coincedances are there?

  8. Serenity, and Anonymous Victor, thanks for the flattering suggestion about finding a publisher. It makes me feel very good when you say that, but it's sort of like saying it's time I found a hen that lays golden eggs. If you ever hear of a publisher that might be receptive, please tell me.

    As you know, many things I wrote were published, but the world of publishing and agents has changed in ways that make it much more difficult for a writer. In the past dozen years I've tried to find an agent and a publisher for a satirical novel and children's books that are at least as good as anything of mine published in the past, with no success whatever.

  9. Dr. Alistair, I do believe as you do, although I can't prove it, that there are no coincidences. I know from experience that MANY so-called coincidences are not coincidences, so why should the rest be coincidences?

    Here my "scientific" attitude butts in: I wonder if anybody has done a systematic study of "coincidences", even in one person's life.

  10. i know that colin wilson has written extensively on the occult and the esoteric and there is a writer who wrote a book specifically on coincedance some years ago. his name escapes me for the moment but i will google about and return.

    the wonders of the internet continue..........