Johan L. F. Gerding (real name) is doctor in philosophy and member of the management team of the Parapsychology Institute in Utrecht, The Netherlands. He is vice-president of the Dutch Society for Psychical Research, and lectures at the SUW Institute in Nijmegen and the JHBC in Utrecht, both training institutes for therapists. He is member of the editorial board of the Dutch Journal of Parapsychology and Prana, a Dutch journal on spirituality and borderlines of science. He is co-author of several articles on experimental parapsychology, of Psi in Wetenschap en Wijsbegeerte (Psi in Science and Philosophy)(1983), Het Voertuig van de Ziel (The Vehicle of the Soul)(1993), and author of a course on Parapsychology (1988), Kant en het Paranormale (Kant and the Paranormal)(1993). His work focuses on experimental psi research, research on spontaneous cases of psi, the philosophy of psi, and on a philosophical counseling practice. In Holland he has lectured and published widely on philosophy, parapsychology, spirituality and altered states of consciousness.
The string of co-incidences (I leave it to the reader to decide what “coincidence” is) described here is both fascinating and frustrating, you’re not sure you want to conclude that it was definitely more than coincidence, but it’s very hard to dismiss…
The Yellow Pilot
Johan L. F. Gerding
February 12, 1997
My friend and co-worker Rens Wezelman and I drove to Irma Verhoeven’s, where we were going to do an Eigensender-Ganzfeld-session (see European Journal of Parapsychology vol 13, 1997). On the way back we discussed a strange experiment. Would we dare to choose an image, and ‘be certain’ that we would see that image when, after 20 years, we would turn on the TV? We talked about how in those 20 years we would experience moments of doubt and moments of ‘certainty’ that we would succeed. Rens said that we’d better do a pilot project first. And he immediately said that his image would be ‘pilot’. I did not yet feel what my image would be. The next day Rens told me that after I had brought him home he had watched TV for one hour. He got a pilot three times (without channel zapping). February 17, 1997
I drove to Utrecht to pick up Rens, for another Eigensender-Ganzfeld session at Irma’s. I was driving behind a truck, on which there was a yellow fork-lift truck. I read the word ‘yellow’ on it, written in black, and immediately I thought of the experiment Rens and I had been talking about. My image would be ‘yellow’. When I looked again I saw that I had misread the word on the fork-lift truck; it said ‘yale’ and not ‘yellow’, but that didn’t change my yellow-image for the experiment. So I told Rens.
February 19, 1997
Again Rens and I drove to Irma’s for an Eigensender-Ganzfeld session. I turned out to be the receiver-subject that night. My target was a man on a horse, riding on the beach. The man wore a yellow jacket and yellow trousers, he was the only human being in that picture and was all dressed in yellow. (The target-pictures had been chosen in 1996).
February 24, 1997
Unexpectedly one of my oldest and best friends, Jos Meijer, living in Buenos Aires then, called me. He was in The Netherlands for his father’s funeral. We hadn’t seen each other for years and talked a lot about death that night (his father died, my mother had died less than a year ago, and a friend of Jos and mine had also died not long before). Impressed and inspired I drove back home in storm and rain. Suddenly I was certain that I would get ‘yellow’ if I turned on the radio in my car. I turned it on, and immediately a woman’s voice said “…take the color yellow, that’s the color of the soul, the color of inner knowledge…”.
At once I turned the radio off and got mixed up in a very strange mood. More and more I became convinced that it hadn’t finished yet. I ‘knew’ that when I came home, the first thing I would see on the TV (my wife Caroline would be watching) was not only ‘yellow’, but ‘yellow pilot’ (a combination of Rens’ image and mine). Entering my house I had to go to the bathroom first, which, I realized, would present me with an other TV picture when entering the room than I would have seen without going to the bathroom. After the bathroom, I opened the living room door and immediately saw that 80% of the TV screen was yellow. The camera zoomed back. The yellow color turned out to be a yellow car which had just been in an unusual accident: it had run into an airplane on the runway. Then the camera zoomed in at the cockpit of the airplane and showed a laughing pilot looking out of the open window at the car and its driver.
Then I looked at my wife, who was busy lighting a yellow candle (up to then she knew nothing about my ‘yellow pilot’). We often light candles, but we always have white ones. Caroline, for a change, had bought yellow ones.
February 27, 1997
I am at my office in the Parapsychology Institute in Utrecht. Rens phoned me from the University of Amsterdam, where he was working with Professor Dick Bierman that day. I told Rens about the yellow pilot. Immediately after that phone call Rens met a girl who gave him a picture he had left at the scanner a week before: it was the target picture of the yellow horse rider. Some time later that day Rens gave a talk for some students about Ganzfeld. For a moment he considered telling them about the yellow pilot, but he didn’t. After the talk, a student came up to him, asking if he knew this book, which she showed him: Real Magic. An introductory treatise on the basic principles of yellow magic, written by Philip E.I. Bonewits in 1971. (Rens had used that book in the preparation of our Eigensender Ganzfeld experiments).
March 24, 1997
Rens and I were invited to give a talk for some people interested in parapsychology. We were going to speak about our Eigensender-Ganzfeld experiments. To our surprise the address for the meeting was “Jacob Geelstraat” (Jacob Yellowstreet) in Amsterdam. Neither Rens nor me knew this street.
April 17, 1997
My ‘yellow magic book’ arrived at the American Bookshop. The woman who wrapped it up for me turned out to be a former parapsychology student of Professor Martin Johnson. My wife and I then went to see my father-in-law. When we entered the room there was a bouquet of yellow tulips on the table. Her father was watching TV. As we sat down, I took my book and opened it at random. I read: “A common type of clairvoyance is when you seem to see an image of a person or thing in your room, often this image is connected with a sudden death”. At that same moment the TV showed a news-item: an accident. An army airplane crashed on the runway and a whole brass band, coming back from a show, died.
November 14, 1997
I had to teach that day. Over coffee I spoke with a student, who is an instructor of flying with a ‘hang-glider-like parachute’ (I don’t know the right word for it). I asked him if he had ever crashed. Yes, just after lift-off, after being in the air for a few seconds he had been smashed back against a rock, and would have fallen down a few hundred meters, if his ropes had not been entangled in a bush. I continued my talk. The students asked for an example of synchronicity. Although I had not intended to, I told them about the yellow pilot. After the talk the instructor comes to me and tells me that the delta-wing with which he crashed had been yellow (most of those wings are multi-colored).
January 4, 2001
The yellow pilot had not been alive for a long time, but suddenly the feeling was there again. While I was driving to Utrecht (alone), to the institute where I work, I was thinking about a speech I had to give the next day at a new years dinner. Especially I was thinking what to say to our director, who was leaving the institute. A few things were passing my mind. Suddenly I remembered that the song “Yellow River” was important for him, being associated with an important period in his life more than 25 years ago. Suddenly I felt a special bond between him and me, because of the “yellow”. This feeling became so strong, within say 20 seconds, that I became convinced that I would hear “yellow” on the radio when I would switch it on. To do this I had to take the “radio-front” from the compartment of my car. While driving, I placed it upside down, realizing that this mistake would give me another word because the moment of putting the radio on was delayed. The second time I put the front right in place, turned the radio on and the first word was “yellow”. I heard a few more words (about an environment discussion), put the radio off, and the front back in the compartment. Immediately I had to stop the car because of a traffic jam of 50 meters. The road was blocked by a huge yellow vehicle (no other color on the vehicle) with a telescope lift up. A man was standing in the lift and replaced a defective streetlamp with a new one. He was standing in it, high in the air, giving me associations with “pilot”. There is also an association with the fork-lift truck on February 17, 1997, on which I read “yellow,” realizing that my image for the experiment would be ‘yellow’.
This was the first time since 1997 that I was actively involved in this yellow pilot synchronicity. Also in other cases I noticed extensions in time of ‘synchronicities’, becoming ‘diachronicities’, called seriality by Kammerer (cit. C.G. Jung Synchronicity. An Acausal Connecting Principle, Collected Works, vol 8, paragraph 825)
Contributor’s Comments on the Experience
Of course I am aware of the fact that ‘yellow’ is not very specific. But especially what happened on the 24th of February had a numinous character for me, because of the anomalous relation with the 12th of February. The other incidents, later, had less numinosity (although they had some), as if the solidifying power slowly faded away.