There are paranormal phenomena that seem to defy any explanation – for example, Sugar the cat.
In 1950, the Woods family in Anderson, California had to move to Oklahoma. They had a beige cat, Sugar, who was a tough customer – he routinely fought with dogs – but he had a phobia of riding in cars, so they were afraid of taking him on the drive to Oklahoma. But a neighbor offered to adopt him, so they left him when they headed off to their new home.
Unknown to the Woods, Sugar disappeared 3 weeks after they left. The neighbors remained in communication with the Woods, but they were afraid to tell them what happened to Sugar.
Almost a year later, a beige cat jumped in the window of the new house in Oklahoma, landed on the shoulder of Mrs Woods and began purring. Sugar had had a hip deformity, and so did this cat. He had the same personality too, even fighting with Oklahoma coyotes now. As impossible as it seemed, they decided that this was Sugar.
The neighbors from California came for a visit, still worried about Sugar, and were astounded to meet him there.
Now, what exactly happened here? What is this?
This is not telepathy, or clairvoyance or precognition. Cats, like many other mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, have a strong homing ability, but this is not that either, for Sugar was not trying to find his way back home – he was trying to reach a place 1500 miles away that he’d never been to before. Even if he had a telepathic connection to a member of the Woods family, how could they direct him, unless, I suppose through their eyes he saw the route.
There are other accounts of Sugar. The one in Wikipedia says Sugar was a female, and part Persian. I get my information from Denis Brian’s 1982 autobiography of parapsychologist J. B. Rhine (The Enchanted Voyager: The Life of J. B. Rhine). Not just an ESP card experimenter, Rhine was an accomplished investigator. He visited the Woods family, met Sugar, interviewed witnesses, and concluded that this did happen.
The usual assumption is that Sugar was a supercat, that he had some phenomenal powers of perception, such as remote viewing, etc. And there is always the favorite explanation of the skeptics, that everyone here was lying.
There is another possibility, and that is that Sugar had assistance.
Think of Odysseus trying to find his way home from Troy. He doesn’t get there using only his wits. The goddess Athena comes to his rescue again and again, sometimes redirecting him, sometimes by protecting him from dangers that he doesn’t see. The people of the past took such ideas seriously. Guardian spirits come into play in all the old mythologies, and they remain in the beliefs, thinking and practices of mediums and shamans today.
Looking at a map, it looks like Odysseus had to cross maybe 300 miles (450 km) of the Aegean Sea, and he started out with ships and his own troops. Little Sugar had to go five times as far, cross mountains and deserts, yet he set out alone. The details of his odyssey are unfortunately unknown. It is hard to imagine him doing it with no help. Maybe he hitched a ride along the way? A cat walking alone along a highway might get exactly that. I have no trouble imagining a car driven by someone who likes cats, or maybe a tractor-trailer driver, many of whom like animals, stopping for him.
But, some will say, why would a cat be more important than a human to whatever God or gods/goddesses, angels or spirits exist? My answer to that – who put us in charge of determining the hierarchy of importance? If helpers exist, why shouldn’t they care as much, or more, about the fate of one little cat than about any of the 7.7 billion humans who are currently messing up the planet?
But I don’t know the answer. The answer may be a long time coming. In my novel Skol, these things are only properly investigated in the 22nd century, when AI computers with vastly greater thinking powers than us become interested in phenomena like this.
Nothing is going to happen until we give up this idea that we can avoid such problems by simply denying that they exist.