Speak of the Devil

I’ve had something bugging me for years. It’s been so long that I can’t even remember specific dates anymore. It all started when I was in high school. I think it was about 10th grade. Fall; so November 2000 perhaps.

It all started at a Hunter’s banquet at the church I went to at the time. A bunch of us were volunteers to help serve and bus tables.  A friend, Ethan Bennicoff, and I were working together most of the night and were having a fairly regular conversation– until it got really weird.

Through the process of conversation various people’s names came up– people we didn’t even know were at the event. Moments after we brought the name up in conversation we’d look up and see the person walking past. The first time it happened we gave each other a funny look and Ethan said “speak of the devil.” From there it only got worse. It happened at least 20 times that night, each time with us looking at each other and saying “speak of the devil.” Each time getting creepier and creepier.

For those that don’t know, or didn’t click the above link– “speak of the devil” is a short form of the idiom “speak of the devil and he shall appear.”

This continued through high school, happening fairly regularly. By the time I had graduated I think it had happened at least 50 times. We didn’t really keep count, but it was enough for it to be a running joke. We could talk about people and they would show up. (If only we could harness this when we needed somebody!)

It happened on and off over the years since even though I’ve had little interaction with Ethan other than my first wedding in 2005, and a friend’s wedding in 2007. Recently it’s begun to happen more frequently. Unfortunately in my old age of late 20′s I haven’t kept track.

Most recently this week it’s happened a few times. I was talking with a friend the other evening about the cost of Air Force One. I noted how it came up to my area and did touch and go practice at MDT on occasion. These practice sessions are always unscheduled so there’s no way I could have known. The next afternoon, guess what plane I saw circling around outside my window?

I laughed to myself and immediately went to tell another mutual friend that was in the know since the other person wasn’t online. No sooner did I tell the mutual friend, the other person signed on. This was all within a matter of two minutes. It was a double “speak of the devil” — and quite creepy at that.

Tonight after dinner I was talking with my wife and continuing a conversation from earlier in the day. A person’s name came up and not 30 seconds later my phone lit up– a twitter notification from that person. The tweet was not a reply, but a random question. The timing was a bit odd to say the least.

Maybe I’m reaching a bit with the whole online scenarios, but it still happens IRL too. Perhaps I should start a blog to log the occurrences. I don’t know. What do you think? 12 years later and it’s still happening and still freaking me out.

One thought on “Speak of the Devil”

  1. I believe the proper description for this phenomena is synchronicity. Coined by Carl Jung in the twenties of the previous century. Joseph Jaworski wrote a very nice book on the subject from a layman’s perspective. You know, if you’d like to learn more.

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