History, traditions

Measuring miracles by the percent

Miracle by percentDo narrow escapes really occur by chance? Moscow researchers have tried to measure the influence of supernatural powers on the fate of the people.

Accidents claim thousands of lives. But every tragic case has a few people who miraculously escape the Grim Reaper because somebody or something stopped from boarding the plane, bus etc.

A bus crashed while carrying Russian tourists from Khourghada to Cairo on April 27th. Two people were killed, twenty were badly injured. I heard the news twice. First time I saw it on TV. Then I got a call from my pall. He and his wife were on vacation in Khourghada at the time. He called me up one day after the crash.

“Listen, a woman who stayed at our hotel got killed. We could have got killed as well.”

“Were you riding on that bus?”

“We were supposed to be on that bus. But we canceled our tickets because I broke my rib two days prior to the sightseeing trip. A speedboat was towing a tire with me in it. Somehow I fell overboard and hit the water real hard. Therefore, I did not fancy a bumpy trip to Cairo.”

My pall had originally planned to sue the owners of the speedboat. Having learned about the bus, he changed his mind and wanted to thank them instead. In fact, he should have thanked his guardian angel.

“The belief in the supernatural is one of the most popular believes in the world,” says Valery Isakov, a candidate of mathematical sciences and head of a small team of researchers which does a research on the statistics of abnormal occurrences. He says the number of believers keeps growing day by day. Especially when another case of miraculous escape comes to light. Somebody has a food poisoning and cancel a flight that is doomed. Another persons rides in a car and the car’s tire goes flat just a few miles away the terrible traffic accident. Or that friend of yours that gets his rib broken and cancel the ill-fated bus trip. Was it really a coincidence or something else? Maybe somebody caused that minor incident and thus saved the man’s life?

“You can never find any answers if you consider such cases as individual occurrences,” says Mr. Isakov. To see coincidental factors behind the miraculous escapes you should  analyze them from the point of view of mathematical statistics, says the researcher. Other researchers also made attempts to measure the intervention of the supernatural in the life of human beings. Back in 1958, an American sociologist James Stownton made analysis of 200 railway accidents reported over the period of 30 years. His research shows that trains involved in the tragic accidents were filled with passengers to 61 percent of their capacity on average. On the other hand, accident-free trains were filled to 76 percent of their capacity at the least. Having arrived at those shocking results, Mr. Stownton concluded that only the existence of divine intervention could explain the mysterious 15 percent gap.

The church has long straightened out the issue of heavenly hierarchy. The church placed the angels according to their orders. There are nine orders of angels. Seraphs and cherubs are the angels of the highest order. Guardian angels who watch over the people are ranked among the archangels and angels who belong to the lowest order.

According to some popular beliefs, ghosts of the dead can also join the lowest order of angels. Alternatively, they can act on their own.

Mr. Isakov and his team carried on with a research that was started in the last century. The Russian researchers also used a tip from Stephen King, the famous American author of chilling suspense and horror stories. Stephen King was the first one to pay close attention to aviation. A passenger plane from Denver was bound for Boston. It crashed. Stephen King called the airline following the crash. He found out that 16 passengers never boarded the plane because they canceled their reservations. Three more were late for the fight. According to regular statistics, the number of cancellations normally does not exceed 10 cases per fight. Being late for the flight is something extraordinary.

“Our request for data regarding ticket cancellations was denied by the Russian airlines, it must be a state secret,” says Mr. Isakov. The researchers had to use the Western statistics on the subject. The statistics were quite impressive. They show a 18 percent increase in the number of passengers who cancelled their reservations for flights which ended in a crash over the period of the last 20 years. It can not be a sheer coincidence, according to Mr. Isakov.

“So who are those mysterious saviors? I just do not know. We are the mathematicians who spotted a clear anomaly in terms of statistics. Those who believe in mysticism might as well regard it as evidence showing the existence of some supernatural powers.

Religion does the trick for those who do not know much about scientific theories explaining the phenomenon of miraculous escape. Those who believe in God also believe in the so-called guardian angels. Supposedly, everybody has one or even several guardian angels. An American author Linda Georgian even wrote a book about angels. She cited a few concrete cases featuring angels helping people carry out things. Help provided by angels can vary depending on a task. Angels can help put you through to somebody’s number that stays busy for hours. All you have to do is ask: “Angels, help me out!” And they do. Give it a try and you will see. You should not forget to thank the angels afterwards, they do appreciate the words of gratitude, according to the writer. Asking them for trifles like telephone connections is not recommended, though.

Linda received thousands of letters from the readers of her book. The letters contained amazing accounts of the divine intervention. It is about time the writer put out the letters as a sequel to her book.

At the end of the day, why people keep perishing in all kinds of accidents if guardian angels do exist? Religion gives a simple answer to that question: Man proposes but God disposes.      

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