On Synchronicity, or Meaningful Coincidences

Brescia Piazza della Loggia Torre dell'Orologio Ziffernblatt

Synchronicity is a concept I knew nothing about before watching Hellier, a documentary show about a several years long investigation of Kentucky goblins and other strange events. According to the investigative team, synchronicity is what drew them to the investigation and provided an impetus to keep going even as they faced challenges along the way. In fact, the word “synchronicity” is mentioned so often on the show that my friend and I once joked about turning it into a drinking game.

Synchronicity by Carl JungHellier has renewed my interest in the paranormal and the weird, leading me to want to explore more about the concepts and books discussed. Trying to better understand synchronicity seemed a good place to start.

The term “synchronicity” was first coined by Dr. Carl Jung to describe the concept of meaningful coincidences. Inspired by classical Chinese texts (such as the Tao Te Ching), Gottfried Leibniz’s monadology, astrology, and quantum mechanics, Jung first introduced the concept in the 1920s. Over the years, he continued to refine the concept and published a paper on the subject in 1952, titled Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle. This work is also connected to his theories regarding archetypes and the collective unconscious, acting as a determining principle as relevant as space, time, and causality.

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‘Hellier’: A Syllabus

Hellier is a paranormal documentary series (produced by Planet Weird), in which a team of researchers — Greg and Dana Newkirk, Karl Pfeiffer, Connor Randall, and Tyler Strand —  conduct a several-years-long investigation that begins with a strange case of Kentucky goblins (possibly aliens) and leads to a greater expansive discussion of synchronicity, the Mothman, and other strange phenomena.

As Cassandra Rose Clarke writes in her excellent discussion of the show:

“Hellier isn’t really about proving or disproving anything. It’s about following a trail. The trail starts with the doctor’s email but doesn’t track to a single line; rather, it fractals out, so that what started with an email about aliens ends with a ritual to the god Pan inside an Appalachian cave.”

Part of the trail that the team follows is research, including the reading of books and articles to expand their knowledge of the paranormal, the occult, and magic. One of the first things I wanted to do upon finishing the series was to gather together a list of all the books and media mentioned, so that I could explore them myself as an entry point into learning more about experiences of high strangeness.

Here is that list — combing works that were key to the series (such as The Mothman Prophecies and Secret Cypher of the Ufonaughts), while others were only mentioned briefly.

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Experimental Paranormal Investigations in ‘Spirits of the Stanley’

Spirits of the Stanley

The concept of the paranormal, of something beyond what we see and hear, has always fascinated me. Over the span of my life, I’ve watched a number of shows about ghost hunting and paranormal investigations.

Most recently, I’ve been captivated by Hellier (YouTube/Prime),  a show in which a team of investigators are asked to look into a strange case of Kentucky goblins — only to have the investigation spiral off into progressively weirder territory.

Two of the investigators in Hellier, Karl Pfeiffer and Connor Randall, began their work as paranormal investigators at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, a site well known for having paranormal activity and for being the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shinning. From the period of 2009 to 2016, the hotel hosted five-hour paranormal investigations for the public, which Pfeiffer and Randall participated in as guides.

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