The Petticoat Problem: Synchronicity, Time Travel, & Boundaries

Petticoat at Pieve Camino


This incident illustrates the sheer perverse cussedness of paranormal events, especially intentional ones. It occurred at the end of the psychic influencing experiment Steve Ray and I performed in 2014-15. Communicating exclusively through date and time stamped electronic means, we set target words with the intention of inducing synchronicities related to these targets on live broadcasts of the Radio Misterioso show (dive into the spreadsheets of all of our back and forth here, with links to the relevant shows when available).

We’d had some successes over the several months of our experiment and the time came to choose our last target. Steve and I had no system for choosing targets, picking whatever moved us. I decided to choose the word ‘petticoat’ for our finale.

I liked this target from two angles. First, this word is amazingly unlikely to show up on a paranormal/weird music show, so if it did it’d be quite impressive. Indeed, in a decade of voracious listening I’ve only heard it spoken on one paranormal podcast episode. Second, I had a fair amount of mental/emotional energy accumulated around this word and wanted to see if that force could help me get a ‘hit’. I’m a seamstress and have sewn most of my own clothes for 40 years; at the time I was obsessed with Krista Larson’s clothing line which features petticoats and was scheming to make some garments inspired by hers. I mention this in our notes. What I didn’t mention, I’m not sure why, is that in those days my husband was singing the theme to “Petticoat Junction” a lot, too.

Heading into the live show, which featured Aaron Dabbah of the outstanding blog EsoterX, I held my hopes high. Yet, we had no hits at all. With such a specific target word failure was an easy call. I was disappointed, but turned my attention to other matters.

A few weeks later, I was listening to the paranormal podcast “Where Did The Road Go”, hosted by Seriah Azkath. He was interviewing Chad and Alta Dillard about their strange experiences, which included synchronicities. Imagine my delight when I heard the word ‘petticoat’ uttered on the show not once, but twice! What’s more, the Dillards were comparing the small town to which they’d moved to the location in the show “Petticoat Junction”, echoing my husband’s serenade.

This juicy synchronicity went beyond the word ‘petticoat’. Parallels between the shows, the hosts,  Chad & Alta Dillard and Steve & I added depth to the ‘hit’.

List of the Parallels

Both “Radio Misterioso” and “Where Did the Road Go?” shared, at the time of these events,  the unusual circumstance in the podcast world of being broadcast on radio waves as well as disseminated in digital format. Both hosts, Greg Bishop and Seriah Azkath, share an interest in niche music as well as with paranormal phenomena – and this musical interest is reflected in their radio/podcast shows.

Greg Bishop and Seriah Azkath both have a self-stated philosophy of open-minded skepticism towards claims of paranormal phenomena, and are known for their easy going conversational style whilst interviewing guests.

The pair of senders – Steve Ray and Stephanie Quick – share qualities with the married couple interviewed in the “WDTRD?” show in question, Chad and Alta Dillard. Both pairs comprise an older woman and younger man who share a deep interest in the study of strange experiences – including synchronicities. On a lighter note, all people in these pairs are childless but feel as Alta Dillard puts it on this show that “…our critters are our babies!”

The focus word ‘petticoat’ occurs during a discussion of a very compelling synchronicity experienced by Chad and Alta.  In sum, the Dillards had moved from New Orleans to a very small, ‘Petticoat Junction’ style town and, wanting to make a friendly impression on the locals, they threw a house party.  As the Dillards had had a satellite dish installed (a bit of a treat in such a remote area) they turned on the TV to share this extravagance with their guests….only for the entire party to see a news spot featuring local color Chad Dillard onscreen with the couple’s dogs.  So much for trying to come off like ‘normal people’! Not only did the focus word come up during discussion of a synchronicity, but this synchronicity involved broadcast media communication (as did our psychic influencing experiment).

Because we’d set our rules at the beginning of our experiment, the appearance of ‘petticoat’ on Where Did the Road Go? did not make it into our report of results. Our experiment only counted results which showed up on the Radio Misterioso live shows. In another twist, according to Seriah Azkath, the interview with the Dillards was recorded on April 23, 2015 – the day before I chose the ‘petticoat’ target.

So did I simply pick up on the word ‘petticoat’ out in the aether when I chose it as a target? Or did I sense an echo of my future self delighting in a very solid hit while listening to the Dillards? If so, then how did my obsession with petticoats and my husband’s incessant singing of the Petticoat Junction theme song figure into this topsy turvy model of time and thought influences?

I found all of this irksome in the extreme. The most blatant, easiest to comprehend ‘hit’ of our experiment just had to show up slightly out of our own, self imposed rule structure. However, it’s exactly what any long time observer of paranormal phenomena would predict. George P. Hansen did not title his excellent book after the trickster on a whim. These events love to cross boundaries and confound expectations, human ideas be damned.

Needless to say, this frustrating experience influenced my subsequent synchronicity efforts. My experimental partner Steve Ray came up with a nice metaphor for the way psychic induction techniques manifest in the material realm. He compared the ‘charging’ efforts of psychic influencers to the build up of differential electrical charge in the atmosphere during a thunderstorm – you know that when it reaches a certain threshold lightning will effect the discharge of that energy.

But – if you’re an average human being –  good luck predicting exactly where and when it will strike. That ability lies with shamans, weather workers, and Ted Owens.

More interviews with Chad & Alta Dillard on their many fascinating experiences

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