The oddest thing I’ve ever experienced happened this afternoon. I’ve spent my life hoping to encounter something supernatural that I couldn’t dismiss out of hand as the result of some highly improbable yet entirely possible set of circumstances, and I very nearly got it today thanks to my psychokinetic child.
The facts of the matter are these: My mother-in-law treated us to pizza for lunch. Lizzie, my wife, drank a glass of Coke during the meal. While we were waiting for the bill, my daughter leaned over and lightly touched the empty glass with her fingertip. And the glass literally exploded.
This is one of the few occasions in which the word ‘literally’ is used accurately, because we’re not talking a slight cracking here, no; we are talking about an incredibly loud bang that shattered the glass and sent a thousand razor-sharp fragments flying in every direction across a circle with a diameter of six feet, one of which cut open my mother-in-law’s finger, but luckily left the rest of us untouched. Bewildered, confused and a little bit apprehensive, but unharmed nonetheless.
It didn’t sound or behave like a glass on a table top falling over and breaking, and nor did it sound or behave like a glass being knocked off a table to smash on the floor. Instead, it sounded and behaved like a glass being dropped onto a table from the ceiling. Every conversation in the restaurant instantly died as fifty diners turned as one to work out what could have caused such a violent breakage. A waitress who saw it happen was shocked and seemed wary of approaching the table, casting sideways glances at my daughter as she helped us clear up.
My first thought was that somebody had shot the glass, such was the energy of the explosion. My second thought was that my child has psychokinetic powers and released a burst of energy that shattered the glass. As I said, it was the weirdest thing I’ve ever experienced.
Alas, being something of a sceptical rationalist, a saner head started to prevail. The glass had contained ice, which caused it to contract; as the restaurant was on the quayside at Portsmouth, the sun reflecting off the sea and pouring in through the window caused the glass to expand; and the resulting tension between these two opposing thermal forces created a wellspring of potential energy awaiting the tiniest impetus to release. When my daughter touched the glass with her fingertip she exerted just enough physical stress to trigger all the pent-up tension, which caused the glass to explode. Nothing supernatural or special. Unusual, granted, but not beyond the realms of scientific possibility.
So I won’t have to check my daughter’s scalp for a suggestive birthmark when I give her a bath this evening.
Unless it happens again, of course…