Randonautica synchronicity: A look at the connection between strange synchronicities and Randonautica.

Plus, I explore some unusual synchronicities that happened to me while just talking and thinking about randonauting. Can Randonautica cause synchronicities when you aren’t even actively using the app? I’m not sure, but I’m ready to speculate wildly.

Highlights include:
• Stumbling across a piece of art called “Synchronicity”
• Conspiracy thinking
• A higher-than-average number of references to 80s music

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Episode Script for Strange Randonautica Synchronicity (Randonautica Series)

DISCLAIMER: I’m providing this version of the Strange Randonautica Synchronicity script for accessibility purposes. It hasn’t been proofread, so please excuse typos. There are also some things that may differ between the final episode and this draft script. Please treat the episode audio as the final product. 

Intro (Strange Randonautica Synchronicity)

  • As usual, this series is going to be a little longer than I planned for it to be!
    • I wanted to cover synchronicity, memetics, the despair meme, and my own experiences with Randonautica all in one episode, but once I sat down to write it, I ended up with way more material than I expected. So this time, I’m just going to talk about synchronicity. 
    • Next time, I’ll cover memetics and the despair meme, and I’ll also touch on more of my own experiences, including some weird stuff surrounding the Hell Gate, which I’ve talked about a lot in prior episodes.
    • Then I’ll have probably just one more episode after that, where I talk about some of my randonauting experiences in more detail.
  • Also, about a year ago, I switched this podcast to become biweekly, but I’m finding that lately, my episodes have been going pretty long, so I’m going to try switching back to weekly and ideally like to keep the episodes more in that 30-45 minute range. Let’s see how that goes!
  • Before I get into this, I want to give a quick summary of what Randonautica is, since I see the download numbers and know y’all listen to series out of order. (Which, by the way, is totally fine, you should listen to whatever you’re most interested in!)
  • Anyway, Randonautica is a free app that you can download. You set an intention in your mind, and it uses some science-y algorithmic whatsits to direct you to a point. You go to the point, and you’ll often experience strange things en route or at the point. It’s a great way to go outside and have adventures in your area. If you want any more detail about how to use it, listen to the previous episode.

Randonautica synchronicity

  • Synchronicity a really important part of both Randonautica and paranormal investigation and research in general. If you’re really into paranormal stuff, you’re probably used to hearing synchronicity mentioned all the time. Right now, both synchronicity and liminal spaces, which I talked about a few episodes ago, seem to be really hot right now. 
    • I can certainly see why they’re popular. 
    • A quick definition of synchronicity is: a meaningful coincidence that doesn’t seem to have an obvious cause.
    • Looking for, and finding, synchronicities can be really personally impactful. In paranormal investigation, a lot of people interpret synchronicities as an indication that something strange is going on, or maybe that they’re on the right track or about to find something important.
      • This is a sidenote, but it’s something that popped into my head while thinking about this concept. So, synchronicity is a meaningful coincidence with no obvious cause. But nowadays, on social media and elsewhere, it’s very likely that we’re running into coincidences, maybe even meaningful coincidences, that do have a very real cause: an algorithm. 
      • Obviously, these algorithms are made to drive up engagement, get you to spend more time and attention on platforms, and better target you with ads. They do this by hitting you with the things they know you’re most interested in, in a moment that you’re most emotionally vulnerable to succumbing to what they’re trying to get you to do.
      • It’s actually pretty interesting to think about that in comparison to synchronicity. I wonder if there’s an unconscious part of our brains that, even though we know an algorithm is at work, still responds to that sort of targeted “coincidence” as if it was a synchronicity, or a sign from the universe.
      • I don’t have any answer there, but it is an interesting thing to consider. 
    • Anyway, back to synchronicity. The idea comes from Carl Jung, the famous Swiss analytical psychologist. 
      • You probably know who Jung is, and I’ve talked to him before, but just in case: it’s worth mentioning that in addition to being a respected psychologist (he and Freud were close for a while before having a dramatic falling out), he also wrote some influential stuff about paranormal topics, like UFOs, alchemy, etc.
    • To put this into a concrete example, here’s a weird synchronicity that happened the other day.
      • My friend and I were at St. Michael’s Cemetery here in Queens, and I was telling her about how I was working on these episodes for the podcast about Randonautica, and she’d never heard of randonauting. So I was explaining it as we were walking around, and I started talking about synchronicity. 
        • Maybe 30 seconds later, we walked by a tombstone that marked the graves of a family whose surname happened to be Jung. 
        • We had a laugh about that, and then less than a minute later, we came across two tombstones marking the graves of some folks with the last name “Freudenburg.” That was a synchronicity that really stood out to me because Jung and Freud are connected, and because Jung is the synchronicity guy. 
      • I’d also like to put forth a theory that I have that synchronicities happen more often when thinking or talking about randonauting. A lot of striking synchronicities tend to happen to people while randonauting, but I don’t really think you need to be randonauting to have these synchronicities happen to you. You just need to be engaging with the idea of randonauting.
        • Now, I say this with just a few personal experiences as my very anecdotal evidence. But I’m curious if other people have had the experience of weird synchronicities while thinking or talking about randonautica but not actively using it at the time.

 

  • One more thing I’ll say about this is that while re-reading The Official Guide to Randonautica during a trip to Austin last month, I encountered a couple odd synchronicities. I’ll talk about one of them in a bit, but I wanted to talk about a quick one that, to me, has a sort of sense of humor that I feel like Randonautica-related synchronicities often have, to me at least.
    • My wife and I were in Austin, walking around over by Zilker Park, about to go to the airport. So I was already planning what I was gonna do on the plane, which was to draw episode art for the Randonautica episodes and keep rereading The Official Guide to Randonautica.
    • We needed to call a Lyft to take us to the airport, so we walked up from the riverside walkway and ended up near the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, so we went to the parking lot and requested the Lyft from there. 
    • From the parking lot, you could see a few sculptures and installations, and I saw one that looked kind of like a fairy ring. It was a ring of blue and white tiles set into the grass, next to this beautiful babbling brook. I’ve always been fascinated by fairy rings, and it was such a nice, peaceful moment on a day that had been pretty stressful (we’d been supposed to fly out the day before but our flight got canceled, etc.)
    • As I was standing there looking at it, I thought, “oh, this is such a nice synchronicity.”
    • And then I second guessed myself and thought maybe I was using the term too loosely, maybe me stumbling across this meaningful piece of art wasn’t a synchronicity, etc.
    • Then I went up to the placard that had the artist name and title of the piece, and it was literally called “Circle [Synchronicity]”. In case you’re wondering, it’s a 2014 piece by Margo Sawyer.
    • But that’s really emblematic of the type of synchronicities I find while using or thinking about Randonautica. I couldn’t help feeling like it was very pointed and directed at me. We could have stopped anywhere and waited for our Lyft, and that’s where we went.

Randonautica Synchronicity Randonautica Synchronicity

Randonautica synchronicity while researching

  • I had a weird synchronicity while researching this episode. I was on an airplane, re-reading the book and listening to music. I was listening to a 7.5 hour long playlist, which was on shuffle. 
    • While reading the part of the book about how studies have shown that people can psychically have an effect on random number generators, I thought about how I wanted to listen to a particular song. I didn’t want to exit out of the app where I was reading the book to switch the song, because I didn’t want to get distracted, so I thought, well, this says you can have a potential impact on random number generators using your mind, so why don’t I try to influence the algorithm on spotify’s shuffle feature so the song I want comes on?
    • It was a quick thought. I wasn’t holding it in my mind or really focusing on it, I just mentally stated my intention and kept reading. And sure enough, the next song that came on was the one I thought of.
    • In case you’re wondering, I’d been listening to “Dreamland” by Pet Shop Boys featuring Years & Years, and the song that I wanted to come on was “Smalltown Boy” by Bronski Beat. 
      • I definitely thought of “Smalltown Boy” because of “Dreamland,” since Pet Shop Boys and Bronski Beat are both queer 80s bands.
    • Now, maybe you’re listening to this and thinking, that’s a weird coincidence, but not an impossible one
    • I can’t see how many songs are on the playlist because Spotify hides that for some reason, but if we assume the songs average about 4 mins long each, it’s probably about 113 songs, so that’s a 1 in 113 probably of any one song playing, or about .1% (1/113=.0088496) So not likely, but not the longest odds either.
  • Spotify shuffle is actually less random than you think. There are a number of articles, which I’ll link in the shownotes, about different issues with the shuffle algorithm not being truly random. I can tell you, I listen to this playlist pretty often and I don’t actually believe their algorithm is random. I assume they favor songs where they get better royalty rates, though who knows. But I can tell you that “Dreamland” is not one of the ones that plays more often than others, and I looked it up and it’s on a different label than the tracks that play more often. (There are a handful of songs published by Interscope that I’ve noticed play more often, but maybe that’s just coincidence.)
  • But all of this kind of doesn’t matter. I did want to address the most low-hanging objections to this synchronicity, though the important thing is just that a lot of weird synchronicities happen around randonautica. Like, more than usually happen to me in my daily life. And for me, each weird thing that happens in randonautica has a possible rational explanation, of course. However, when you thread all of these many synchronicities together, then it starts to look interesting.
  • But if this is true, then I do need to bring up last week’s episode, where I talked about using a modified version of the Estes Method, using pre-recorded questions on shuffle. 
    • The goal of doing the Solo Estes Method this way is so that you’re less likely to just hear what you want to hear from the spirit box, since the song has come up randomly.
    • However, if a human can potentially psychically have an effect on random number generators, then that means it’s possible that maybe you could unwittingly have an effect on what question comes up.
    • I don’t have a real solution for that, aside from saying that it’s something to be aware of and it’s an argument for being in a sort of meditate state while doing the Solo Estes Method, rather than thinking about what the questions might be, etc.

 

  • Now, you could argue that I just think that I run into synchronicities when thinking about Randonautica because thinking about randonauting makes me think of synchronicities, and makes me more likely to notice them.
  • Just to be clear: I always have an eye out for synchronicity, it’s not just something I have in mind when thinking of Randonautica.
  • I think synchronicities are really cool and interesting, and I like thinking about them, trying to interpret them, etc. But I do want to give a word of caution here.
    • I’ve said this before, but as you make connections and spot synchronicities and make meaning from the world around you, just make sure that you’re using your judgment.
    • I talked about this in more detail in my episode The Demon in the Basement, but I do think it can be easy to fall into conspiratorial thinking.
    • In particular, in paranormal investigation and experiences like randonauting, there is a focus on looking for patterns and following your own emotions. I think there’s a time and place for that. But be careful, because while those are important muscles to develop for interacting with the paranormal, they’re the same muscles that are used in conspiratorial thinking. 
    • I do worry that it’s possible to get really used to looking at every facet of life in the same way that you look at synchronicities, for example, and I just want to caution you against that.
    • If you want to hear me talk more about that, listen to The Demon in the Basement, but I wanted to at least mention the subject here.
    • Also, while I was working on the script for this episode, the YouTuber Philosophy Tube, or Abigail Thorn, released a really awesome video about Transhumanism that has a great bit about conspiracy theories. 
      • Honestly, if you’re interested in randonauting you’re probably also interested in transhumanism, so you should check it out.
      • Search Transhumanism Philosophy Tube to watch that, or I’ve got a link in the shownotes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqPd6MShV1o 
      • In the video, Thorn has a great metaphor for what conspiracy theories do, like how they’re different from other theories.
      • Basically, the way she put it is that conspiracy theories are about expressing something emotional, rather than a statement about how the world is. If you’re a scientist saying that the Earth is about 93 million miles away from the sun, then other scientists can take that fact and how to measure it, etc. But if you and a friend go to see a movie, and you say, “I think that was a good movie,” it doesn’t really make sense for the friend to say, “how can you prove it?” Because you weren’t trying to express a objective truth, you were trying to have a social interaction. And she argues that conspiracy theories are that second sort of statement disguised as the first kind, so, opinions disguised as truth. 
      • And because you can’t really argue with opinions the way you can argue with facts, and you don’t need to prove opinions the way you’re expected to prove facts, conspiracy theories become very fluid and vague and difficult to debate.
      • So the reason why I mention this here, is if I say something based on my own subjective experience of randonauting, or anything related to the paranormal or anomalous, I’m really just talking about my experience. And I may theorize things, and find patterns, and talk about things using somewhat scientific terms, I can’t prove or measure what I’ve experienced. I also don’t come at this with the automatic assumption that you will, or should, agree with everything I say, or take it as truth.
      • I would also suggest that you apply that same standard to yourself. It can be easy to fall into patterns of fear or superstition, and to see patterns and assume some sort of specific intent, when it comes to the paranormal. To some extent, that’s fine, and any sort of engagement with or interpretation of the paranormal requires you to do a bit of that. But it can be easy to make an assumption, or hear a theory that someone has, and start to believe it to your own detriment, or to the detriment of others.
      • I especially think this is important to think about this in relation to randonauting, because a lot of randonauting is discussed in a sort of scientific, or at least science-adjacent language. We’re looking at quantum points with z-scores, etc. I have a suspicion that because randonauting has more of a science-y vibe than, say, and urban legend, it might be easier to fall into a pattern of taking things too seriously and maybe even spreading a sort of superstitious thinking into your own daily life. 
      • You’re smart, so use your discretion. If you feel like you’ve lost the thread, talk to a trusted friend or, even better, a mental health professional.
      • I think that if you’re feeling consistent fear relating to your experience with randonauting or the paranormal, that’s probably the time to look for trusted, grounded, external help. But you know your own needs better than I do.
      • Oh, and obviously, all of this is just my own opinion. While I’ve been referencing the Randonautica book a lot, I’m obviously not speaking for the creators of Randonautica in any way.
  • With all that said, I wanted to dive into what The Official Guide to Randonautica: Everything You Need to Know about Creating Your Random Adventure Story by Joshua Lengfelder and Auburn Salcedo (2021) had to say about synchronicity and randonauting:
    • “Due to synchronicity being an essentially unconscious phenomenon, the repressed or unconscious parts of people can reveal themselves while Randonauting. But as with all ways of understanding darkness, the method is blamed. People assume Randonautica itself is picking creepy and negative locations, when in reality the users are given precisely what their intention is. In truth, owls are the perfect symbol of the Randonaut’s experience: They go out into the unknown in search of things with a wide-eyed curiosity.”
  • The book calls randonauting a “sort of waking-dream space” because synchronicity logic is much like dream logic, where things are connected based on how they’re related, and the experience is full of signs and symbols that can be interpreted much like signs and symbols in a dream.
  • The book talks about how there’s a sort of alchemical process that happens when randonauting, where you undergo an inner transformation and see things differently. Theoretically, you’re exploring your blind spots, going to places you haven’t been before, and taking the time to pay attention.
  • Synchronicities are slippery, so you definitely want to make sure to write them down and keep a good record of randonauting. I don’t follow my own advice all the time, but often when I look back at my randonauting notes, I see stuff that I didn’t really notice before, and themes start to emerge throughout trips.

 

Outro (Strange Randonautica Synchronicity)

  • Also, I just wanted to remind you that I do have a Patreon now. 
    • Right now, you can download my Solo Estes Session kit from there.
    • Also, by the time this episode is out, I will have posted a draft version of an interactive google map I’ve been working on since January or so.
    • It’s still very much a work in progress, but I’ve designed it to be a resource for people who are researching the paranormal or anomalous in New York City. To that end, I’ve been working on adding information that I think would be relevant to fellow researchers.
      • Right now, the map has:
        • 47 paranormal encounters
        • 1 UFO sighting
        • 57 historic structures and cultural sites
        • 11 important events
        • 153 urban legends and rumors
        • 73 burial grounds and famous graves
        • 26 natural and industrial landmarks
        • 46 indigenous villages, trails, and names
      • The way it works is you go to this map, and all of these things are marked on the map. If you click on any of the points, a little box will come up with pictures and a description, as well as sources and other information.
      • A lot of the places I’ve marked no longer exist. So my thought is that if you have something strange happen or are researching a place, ideally you could go to the map and see that maybe there used to be a cemetery there, or there used to be a mansion there, or a conflict happened there, or whatever.
      • Filling out this map is a huge undertaking, so like I said, it’s a work in progress. As you might guess, my focus so far has been mostly on the Bronx and Queens, but I’m continuing to work on filling it out.
      • It’s been a really fun project, and I’ve been hesitant to share it because it’s going to continue to be a work in progress, so I decided that the best place to keep it is behind patreon rather than shared with the wider world.
      • So if you want access to that, or the Solo Estes Method kit, subscribe at patreon.com/buriedsecretspodcast, and keep an eye out for other cool stuff that I’m working on and will post there.
      • And a huge thank you to my friends at the Lunatics Radio Hour podcast for joining my patreon. 
        • If you don’t already listen to the Lunatics Radio Hour podcast, definitely check them out. They’re focused on the history of horror and look at both horror movies and paranormal stuff, including a lot of NYC paranormal things. They also have a patreon, where they have all sorts of cool stuff, like bonus episodes about horror movies, stickers, issues of their magazine, etc. They’re at https://www.patreon.com/lunaticsproject

 

 

Sources consulted RE: Strange Randonautica Synchronicity

Books consulted: Strange Randonautica Synchronicity

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