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From the mailbag:
WHEN 'PRESENCE' IS FELT IN AN EMERGENCY, IT MAY BE AN ANGEL OR IT MAY BE SAINT JUDE
Recently we carried an article about a book called The Third Man Factor -- accounts of those who have felt an otherworldly presence when in extreme circumstances (that is, extreme danger).
It's called the "third man" phenomenon simply because in many cases two people are in distress (perhaps scaling a cliff) and a third invisible presence seems to suddenly be with them. This has occurred from Arctic explorers to Charles Lindbergh!
We received a few interesting responses from those who have "felt" the same.
"I was in the Air Force and stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, the summer of 1977," noted one, J. Bill Whitecavage, of Ringtown Pennsylvania.
"There was a heat wave and I got off duty at 11 p.m.
"I had decided earlier that I was heading to a friend's house, which was by a lake in northern Texas. Because of the heat I left immediately after work, as I was taking a motorcycle and it was a cooler drive at night.
"I left my apartment and as I had done countless times before got on the entrance ramp for 35 North. But this time, somehow, I was heading into traffic the wrong way!
"I did manage to pull over without being hit and regained my composure and headed north. After a couple hours I stopped at a McDonald's in San Marcus. When I came out and got on the motor cycle I heard a voice say very clearly 'You are going to die!'
"This really scared me as no one was around me to say anything.
"I chalked it up to my imagination and started the bike and again headed north toward my destination. I got off 35 and was on a farm road. The only light for miles was my headlight. I was going pretty fast and after some time I noticed a glow on the horizon in the distance.
"As I got nearer I realized there was a building up ahead. And as I approached I again heard the voice say 'you are going to die!' This really scared me and all I could remember at that moment -- from serving Mass as an altar boy when I was young -- was, 'Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy'!
"As soon as I finished saying the prayer, a car pulled out directly in front of me. The driver turned out to be a woman who was drunk and going to the building (a bar) I had seen illuminated.
"Everything was in slow motion. I laid the bike down and could see the sparks flying and myself slamming into the car which after I hit blew my helmet right off my head! The driver continued into the parking lot of the bar, dragging my bike with her.
"I was lying dazed in the middle of the road when the bar emptied out and people were standing around me, asking if I was dead. The woman got out of the car and I could smell the liquor on her as she approached. The owner of the bar began yelling at her -- calling her a drunk for getting into an accident in front of the bar! A struggle ensued with me lying on the ground in pain; when I lay the bike down, the pipes burned my leg and I did have a slight concussion as well.
"The owner and the drunk literally fell on top of me and a man pulled me off to the side away from the fighting women. The man said I was very lucky to be alive and then I remembered what happened with the voice telling me I was going to die. That little prayer I said had saved my life! I believe it was my guardian angel prompting me and perhaps helping with the memory from my childhood serving Mass. I had fallen away from my Catholic faith in high school and continued away in the Air Force. I began to go back to Mass and yes went to Confession. I have been a regular ever since. Believe me when I tell you that if I ever hear that voice again I donít care where we are going or who I am with, I will not be going!"
From a viewer named Mike Occhibone we hear:
"I had a dream. I was in a courtyard. The courtyard was brick and at the end of it was a larger door or the entrance to the building with wider stairs.
"In the distance I 'saw' a dome of what appeared to be another building. On the stairs stood a group of men. They were dressed in attire that reminded me of Jesusí time. They were gathered looking at something and crying.
"I walked across the yard and behind them to see what they were looking at. One of them was holding an image of Christ that was three dimensional. He was wearing a Crown of Thorns and was bleeding.
"All of a sudden the men disappeared and I was alone back at the place I originally stood. From the right side of the building, facing the building, a door opened and a man walked out of the building down the stairs and over to where I was standing. He looked like Jesus except that he had some gray in his hair, beard, and mustache.
"He asked me what was troubling me. I told him that I was very distressed over my brotherís health condition and that we really did not think that he was going to make it. There then appeared to be four-foot candles about three feet in diameter. He asked me to light them and offer the first for my brother's intentions and the second for my family. He told me that my brother would make it.
"I then lit both candles and the flames went up to the sky and I woke up from my dream.
"Shortly after this time, my sister had asked me to attend a St. Jude novena with her. When I went I realized that St. Jude was the man I saw in my dream! I also learned that St. Jude was one of the apostles and that he was known for carrying around the image of Jesus! Another factor is that St. Jude is depicted with an image of a flame on his head. Thus some of my 'dream images' were the apostles' perspective of Christ.
"The following summer I was watching Pope John Paul II in Mexico when he was traveling the world for the Catholic Youth rallies. On that broadcast I saw the two large candles that were in my dream!
"In 1999 my wife and I went to Europe for a month to visit friends and relatives. While in Rome we went to the Vatican and visited the Sistine Chapel. We walked down stairs to the outside of the building into a walkway where they have shops with Vatican souvenirs. As I turned left, there was the courtyard in my dream with the dome of the Vatican in the distance!
"There were slight differences: in the middle of the brick walk is a patch of grass with a modern sculpture on it. And the doorways surrounding the courtyard are enclosed with cement blocks. The stairs are gone. But you can see where they used to be. It was as if I saw this place many years ago...
"The last thing I learned is that St. Jude is entombed there!
"He came to me right from his resting place and I feel his presence with me often. St. Jude is my third person."
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