1. News & Issues
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

The Floating Matchstick

BY GLEN P.

By

I'm from in Southampton, U.K. Many years ago, while I was a student nurse, I had an odd experience. One bright sunny morning a matchstick fell from my matchbox. As I went to pick it up, to my amazement it "jumped" several times before launching itself into the air. There it stayed, stationary, parallel to the floor and accompanied by "clicking" sounds (like static electricity). I guess it stayed there for around 6-8 seconds, about a foot away from my face.

I was dumbstruck and I sat motionless watching it, feeling no fear. It then moved slightly toward me, and at that point my calm demeanor evaporated. After a shriek, I lashed out with my hand, hit the floating matchstick and fled from the flat.

I always regretted doing that and later I swore that if I ever had another strange incident, I would not panic. I related the incident to my father, who I was very close to. I knew what I had seen actually happened, but was well aware that others may not believe me, or might be concerned for my mental state! I trusted that my father knew me well enough to be sure that I wouldn't concoct such an odd story, so I was disappointed when his verdict was that he believed that I thought I saw this event. Not exactly the same thing as unconditional belief.

Over the years that followed this event, it would be the subject of further discussion between us, but I could never get him to budge from his view. Whenever I related this incident to others, I always felt that the story was "unfinished," that it didn't have an appropriate "punch-line." Incidentally, I lived in this flat for a further five years and never had another strange incident.

My father died on Friday, 14 January, 1994. I was devastated. I cried constantly, lost two stone in weight and couldn't really see the point to life. One afternoon, my daughter came round and the two of us sat quietly chatting. We suddenly heard the sound of shattering glass coming from the kitchen. We went out to check, could see nothing on the floor to account for the noise.

We were just about to leave the kitchen when I happened to glance over to a set of Pyrex tea mugs, each with a different coloured plastic holder. Mine was the red one, and to my amazement the glass had shattered, apparently spontaneously, into small cubes of glass. As I went over -- it really is very difficult to compare what I saw with something familiar, since I have no real point of reference -- I could see that these hundreds of cubes were moving, wriggling like maggots. The cubes then formed into what I can only describe as a mini "volcano" with a caldera on top. Some glass cubes were rolling around the base of the "volcano," others were being spewed from the top. There was the same accompanying sound of clicking or static.

My daughter and I watched in amazement and, remembering my regrets from the matchstick incident many years earlier, I told her to go get the video camera. I filmed the event as best I could, although the camera didn't seem too keen to focus on the broken glass and kept readjusting its focus to a jar of coffee behind the glass.

As we continued to watch, we both felt that the clicking sound might be Morse code. My father was a Morse code translator in the RAF during WWII and he had taught both of us Morse. Unfortunately, neither of us could remember enough of it to translate any message which might have been there. We did address this seething mass, asking if my father was there. As we did so, a tiny cube of glass would float up and travel toward the asker, gently touching her then falling to the ground. We timed the incident and it lasted exactly one hour on the dot. At the beginning, the movement of the glass was frantic, but over the hour it lessened until, at the end, there were just a couple of cubes still moving, then none. It seemed to have a limited amount of energy and once that was used up, it was just an ordinary pile of broken glass.

Incidentally, I still have the glass fragments but they have never moved again! After the event, my daughter exclaimed, "Oh my God! Do you know what day it is?" I replied it was Friday and she filled in the rest of the date: Friday, 14 October 1994 -- exactly nine months to the day since my father had died. We checked the calendar and discovered that in 1994 there were only two Friday 14ths - the day my father died and the day of this incident.

I can't help but believe that in the absence of rational explanation, my father was sending a double-edged message. Firstly, "Stop grieving. I'm ok." Secondly, "Now I do finally believe you saw that floating matchstick." The truly odd thing about this is that it would seem that the purpose of the first matchstick event was simply to validate the second volcano event all those years later. An example of cause following effect in essence. Time working in reverse maybe? Anyway, it had the desired outcome. From that moment my grief started to subside and I returned once more to the belief that life was worth living. It was a cathartic turning point for me and my family.

Previous story | Next story

Back to index

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.