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Ray C's Experience

Experience description:   

Okay, this is probably going to sound completely crazy to anyone who reads it.  I know that it seemed crazy to me, when it happened, and still does.  But no matter how it sounds, I can guarantee you that it did happen exactly as I am about to describe, and it was an event that was verified by two completely independent witnesses. 

It is this last fact that should lend credibility to the account, for anyone who is skeptical.  Of course, for those who prefer to remain skeptical, I suppose they can just assume that I am either lying or else I was, in some way, delusional or otherwise mistaken.  As to the former, I can say that I really don’t care whether anyone believes this account of what I experienced or not, because I am not trying to convince anyone of anything…period. I know what happened, and whether or not anyone else believes it is their problem, not mine.  As to the question of whether or not I was delusional or simply mistaken, I guess that you would simply have to trust my sanity, as well as that of the two other people who verified the experience, both science teachers.  I, too, would probably smile and roll my eyes, if I had been told of such an incident.  However, again, as stated, this event was verified by two other individuals, one of whom is a very skeptical individual by nature, a person who prides himself as being a purist, in terms of being scientific and objective.  In fact, I would go beyond that label, viewing him as being not just a skeptic, but rather a cynic.

The entire incident took only about five minutes, from beginning to end, and will probably not sound all that interesting to anyone who was not present.  As with anything, hearing about such an occurrence is nothing like experiencing it, firsthand. 

About ten years ago, it was, as it still is, my practice to begin each day with a half-hour period of quiet meditation, so as to calm my mind, thereby “setting the pace” for the forthcoming, hectic day.  Back then, before I retired, it was far more challenging to remain calm, as my days were stressful from beginning to end. The beginning usually consisted of students standing at my classroom door, needing help with either physics or chemistry, even before I had unlocked it;  this, of course, prevented me from being able to mix chemicals, set up labs, or even go down and do some photocopying, all normal, essential preparations for any lab. science teacher.  And, after the last bell rang at the end of the day, there were usually students coming in, wanting help, as well; many of these were not even my students, but rather those from other teachers’ classes.  And so it went.  The stress continued even after I got home, right up to bedtime, when I had usually just finished grading a stack of papers or previewing the next day’s lesson plans.  In between those two daily endpoints, I had to keep my eye on the clock, pacing my every word and thought, so as to ensure that I covered everything in the day’s lesson.  Life in the classroom is literally run by bells which ring every hour, every day, every week.  It is not a laid-back endeavor, if you “teach bell-to-bell,” as the saying goes, in the education game. And so, to lower my stress, I would arrive earlier than anyone else, in order to get this meditation time in.  The only other person on campus at that time was the custodian, who was always way down on the lower end of the campus, unlocking doors and setting up the cafeteria.  The parking lot was empty, each morning, and I would enter the building, go into my lab., and without turning on any lights, go into my office, where I would settle into my chair, close my eyes and just clear my mind for the next half hour.  The outer doors at either end of the hallway were large, heavy, and would shut with a resoundingly loud clang, allowing me to hear, if anyone entered the quiet building at that time of day. 

On the morning in question, I had been sitting there, alone in the dark and quiet, for about the entire half hour, meditating with my eyes closed, when suddenly…I smelled roses.  It wasn’t just a faint, mild scent of roses, but a very strong, powerful smell, as though someone had just thrust a large bouquet of roses directly under my nose.  It was such a powerful smell that it caused me to stiffen in my chair and open my eyes, wondering what was going on.  During the entire time that I had been meditating, I had not heard anyone enter the building.  The whole room now smelled like roses, so I stepped out of my office, into the dark classroom and looked around, then stepped out into the long hallway, looking both directions. The classroom was empty and the hallway was likewise.  It was just at this point that the door far down at the end of the hallway opened, and I saw two of my colleagues, Matt and Gayle, entering from the parking lot, lunches in hard.  They were the first to enter the building, after I had arrived, about a half hour earlier.  I yelled at them, and asked them to come down to my room.  They looked puzzled, as they came into the lab, asking me what was up.  I didn’t say anything, but asked them to come into my office, where I said, “Do you notice anything?” That was all that I said, not wanting to give any further information.  Matt, still looking puzzled, said that he smelled roses, and when I looked at Gayle, she nodded in affirmation.  When they repeated their question about wanting to know what was going on, I had to admit that I didn’t really know what was going on, except that I had been meditating in my office, when I, too, was suddenly jolted “awake” by the powerful smell of roses.  Matt then simply looked at me, grinned, shook his head, as though I was crazy, and walked off, into his classroom, which adjoined mine.  Gayle, the other science teacher laughed, and, as she walked off, jokingly said, “I told you so, Ray.  Somebody’s trying to tell you something!”  This remark came as a private joke between us, as she, being quite the opposite from Matt, is a very devout Christian, who had often joked with me about my unbelief in such spiritual matters as the existence of God, and would often say that one day, sooner or later, I would finally realize the truth. 

By this time, the smell has almost entirely dissipated, and I was left standing, wondering what had happened…as I still do.

  A little background information/perspective: My office was a small room situated within a larger room (the lab/classroom), all located within the science building, so there were no doors or windows leading to the outside of the building.  There was absolutely nobody else in the building, except myself.  The doors to my class/lab were locked, so nobody, even if they had entered the building, could have gotten within at least thirty feet of me, and would have been out in the hallway, beyond the classroom walls.  The ventilation system had not yet been activated. Even if it had been activated and if someone had spilled rose-smelling perfume in the next room, for example, I would not have been able to smell it in my office.  The ventilation system is a good one, and was constructed in such a way that I could never smell the fumes from the adjoining labs, even on days when they were conducting dissections that involved very strong-smelling biological preservatives, fumes that were so powerful as to require them to open their doors, during the dissections. 

I have no idea as to what caused the phenomenon which all three of us had witnessed, and I have no guesses as to what it could have been or what significance, if any, it could have had. 

Much later, it occurred to me that Matt’s parting grin must have been either a nervous grin, due to his own inability to explain what he, himself, said that he smelled, or else he must have thought that I had perpetrated some sort of odd hoax for the fun of it.  It seems remarkable that neither Matt nor Gayle ever mentioned the incident again.  How can anyone, who, by their own admission, has just witnessed something as inexplicable as that, not seemingly give it any thought, afterwards?!    I can understand how, for Gayle, it might simply have been an event that somehow squared with her spiritual beliefs, thus not being anything too extraordinary.  But, even so, you would think that she would have at least reflected back on it, at some later point.  Their nonchalant, indifferent attitude toward something that can only be described as being paranormal is, to me, anyway, almost as incredible as the event, itself.

Any associated medications or substances with the potential to affect the experience?     No      

Was the kind of experience difficult to express in words? No       Not difficult to express, as it was not ineffable; however, it is totally inexplicable via any logical paradigm.

At the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event?          No      

What was your level of consciousness and alertness during the experience?           I was meditating, so was very relaxed and in what would be called an "alpha state," to use neurological terminology.

Was the experience dream like in any way?   No, not at all. One moment I was sitting in a very relaxed frame of mind, and the next I was startled into a sudden state of wide-eyed alertness by what I was smelling. If it had been a dream, the smell would have gone away, upon awakening, but, to the contrary, I was not asleep, and the smell was just as strong after I had opened my eyes as it was, upon sitting with them closed; indeed, it then completely filled the room.

Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body?     No      

What emotions did you feel during the experience?            amazement, incredulity

Did you hear any unusual sounds or noises?           No, this anomalous experience was 100% olfactory-based.

LOCATION DESCRIPTION:  Did you recognize any familiar locations or any locations from familiar religious teachings or encounter any locations inhabited by incredible or amazing creatures?    No           

Did you see a light?           No      

Did you meet or see any other beings?           No      

Did you experiment while out of the body or in another, altered state? No      

Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later?          Yes     I am answering "Yes," here, with the qualification that the term "observe" is being used in a non-visual sense; i.e., I "observed" what I did by smelling what I smelled, as did those who, likewise, smelled it.

Did you notice how your 5 senses were working, and if so, how were they different?          Yes     My senses were working normally, as were those of the two colleagues who verified the entire bizarre incident.

Did you have any sense of altered space or time?   No      

Did you have a sense of knowing, special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose?    No      

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure?             No      

Did you become aware of future events?       No      

Were you involved in or aware of a decision regarding your return to the body?       No       I never left my body, to begin with.

Did you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience that you did not have prior to the experience?         No      

Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience?   No response            Most definitely. This experience, although probably not sounding too sensational to anyone else, was the most life-changing thing that has ever happened to me.  I say this because there was absolutely no possible explanation for its occurrence other than admitting the existence of some sort of paranormal influence.  Admitting such a thing is not something that I would have even considered, beforehand.  My entire life has been one of mainstream science.  Anything that smacked of the paranormal would have been cause for me to roll my eyes, smile, and think "ridiculous New Age stuff."  This experience was completely beyond any explanation, using standard scientific views.  It was verified by two other science teachers, who were asked to report if they "noticed anything," without any further prompts as to what it was that I was referring to. I still have no idea as to what it meant, but my attitude and belief about the nature of the universe now includes the idea that there are things which can be "paranormal," even though I might not know anything about them.

How has the experience affected your relationships? Daily life? Religious practices? Career choices?       It has made me open-minded, now, to just what might be real or possible.  I no longer am such a cynic, although I still remain skeptical about some of the more ludicrous things which are often seen/heard, things that are normally the result of those who seek gain/profit from their claims.

Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience?         Yes     As stated in question #24's answer, it has--forced me--to acknowledge the existence of a much greater reality than anything I would have considered possible, beforehand.  I now am certain that there is some kind of reality which transcends that of the narrow, objective constraints found in mainstream scientific rigor.  I still don't know anything about that reality's nature, but I now am certain of its existence. That may sound like a small step, but, for me, it was a huge one.

Have you shared this experience with others?         Yes     Some people shrug and try to explain it away, whereas others react with surprise and amazement. I don't think that it really has influenced anyone, except myself, because, as stated, it was not as sensational of an event as, say, a near-death experience.

What emotions did you experience following your experience?  I guess that I have to say that it has left me with a sense of the numinous, a rather comforting feeling that there is more to this existence than what meets the eye.

What was the best and worst part of your experience?      The best part of the experience was the feeling mentioned in the last question.  The really was no bad part to it, only initial shock and disbelief as to what I was experiencing...which was quickly verified by two separate people.

Is there anything else you would like to add concerning the experience?        I would certainly like to know what it meant...if, indeed, it had any really "meaning"/message.  What was it all about, anyway?  Have there been any others who have experienced such a thing?  (This last question is the main reason that I am taking the time and trouble to fill in this questionnaire.  I would love to hear from any others who have had a similar experience)

Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience?         No      

Did the questions asked and information you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?               Yes     You have constructed a well-thought, comprehensive questionnaire that seems to cover all areas of relevancy.