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Jul 08, 1996 06:18 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

BCS asked about spiritually charged places and/or uncanny links
to particular places.  This summer, my brother spent his first
extended European vacation riding and driving around France.  A
few years ago, my sister did the same with her husband.  A few
years before that, I spent several trips exploring most of
France.  I had not discussed the place with my siblings, and
their choice to go there was motivated by another person;
nevertheless the fact that we all gravitated to the same
place-- and felt very much at home there-- strikes me as
relevant to two propositions: 1) We tend to be reborn among
those who have been family members before and 2) We tend to
have unconscious attractions to places we have lived.  I could
go on and on about France, but will change the subject to
India.  While reading Old Diary Leaves for the first time 19
years ago, I was particularly struck by the part about Jammu
and Olcott's 1883 journey there with Damodar-- having a very
clear mental picture of the approach to the maharaja's palace.
In 1990, when I finally went to Jammu to do research on the
maharaja, the last hundred yards or so coming up to the palace
was precisely as I had envisioned it while reading the book
years ago.  The whole time in India was a non-stop succession
of weird "coincidences" that made it feel like a magically
charged environment.  

I have been in 14 countries at last count, but only France and
India have had that strange deja vu feeling that indicates some
kind of unexplained link.

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