On August 7th 1996, I spoke with Dr Roderick Main about the prediction I made in March 1988 that, "
in the next few days there would be a major news story about something coming out of the sea… something very large, very strange and which had been submerged for a very long time".
This was transformed two days later into a "hit" (see Appendix Two in http://james-plasketts-coincidence-diary.blogspot.com/2006/03/part-two-narrative-epilogues-and.html ).
But, as I told Main, I was very uneasy about this whole business. Synchronicity is one thing; prediction, even prompted by synchronicity, is something else entirely.
(Entry 6 was most exceptional. There I gave a spontaneous outburst, and backed it up, not with my house, but with £7.)
I had done it only because the late Brian Inglis had told me to!
He was the first person whom I approached with the stuff in early March 1988, but it was all untyped and untidy and he angrily returned it to me, without having reviewed it, and his only comment was "The only way that you’re going to be able to do anything with this is through predictions!" (see Appendix Two in http://james-plasketts-coincidence-diary.blogspot.com/2006/03/part-two-narrative-epilogues-and.html ).
So I did.
The one about the sea curiosity went well, but two other predictions that I felt emboldened to venture were not so hot. I suggested (to R.D. Keene) that there would be a major news story towards the end of March 1988, concerning an eagle landing in some form, and I told W.R. Hartston that R. Fischer would soon come out of retirement.
Way off beam… or not? Fischer DID play again… in 1992, contrary to the expectations of just about every chess authority.
And the motif of the eagle having landed was far from played out. Main made some remarks about the accuracy of the extrapolations, though not the timing of the predicted events.
The morning after our conversation (8th August 1996) The Times ran a story on page 11:
Rare catch rises from the deep
On the day earthlings learnt of life on Mars, Californians were regaled yesterday by "the ultimate fish story" – about an 18 feet oarfish whose kind has rarely been seen alive. The incident had occurred the previous month, when Dr William Shachtman, an eye surgeon from Colorado, had been snorkelling in a lagoon off the Baja Californian peninsular in northern Mexico. His wife’s screams from the deck of their chartered boat made him turn round. Breaking the surface and heading straight for him was a silver snake-like creature over five metres long and more than a metre in circumference.
"He swam right past me at arm’s length," said Dr Shachtman. "First there was a huge saucer-shaped eye with a black pupil, then this beautiful red crest went up in display along his back. I was stunned. If I could have walked on water I would have done so at that point."
The boat’s captain, Greg Willis, joined Dr Shachtman in the water and managed to cling briefly to its dorsal fin before being "flicked off like a fly off a horse’s back".
That made him probably the only human ever to have been towed by an oarfish. Icthyologists believe that oarfish spend most of their lives at depths of 300 to 1,000 metres and they have only one compelling reason to surface – to die. The one that surprised Dr Shachtman was bleeding from its gills and appeared to have been attacked by a shark or a sea lion, Mr Willis said. Scientists at the Scripps Oceanographic Institute in San Diego were studying a videotape of its last moments.
About a year later I saw the footage of this enormous fish beaching itself on rocks and thrashing itself to death. The piece mentioned that documented sightings of Regalecus glesne, which may reach nine metres, could be counted on two hands.
An eighteen metre serpent-like fish washed on to a Scottish beach in 1808 is now thought to have been an oarfish. Three have been seen off Baja, California in recent years, all dead.
Accompanying photos showed Mr Willis in the water clutching the oarfish.
In August 1999, I met Teddy Tucker
in Bermuda and he told me that he had once been called to a bay on the island where the truncated corpse of an oarfish had washed up.
He said that it was around eleven metres in length and yet he estimated that a chunk of the tail at least two and a half metres long was missing.