Novelist wondered if phone call from the dead saved his life
When I interviewed Dean Koontz for a biography about his life and work, he told me a number of interesting stories. The following one is appropriate for a spooky fall season blog:
On September 20, 1988, Dean had an experience that he would not write about for nearly a decade, but he claimed it in his essay for Beautiful Death as his one possible encounter with evidence for life after death. He was at work that day in his office when the phone rang. He picked it up and heard a female voice that sounded far away. She spoke with a sense of great urgency. “Please, be careful!” she said.
A bit startled, Dean asked, “Who is this?” He received no response. The woman repeated the warning three more times, and each time she said it, her voice became more distant.
When the line fell silent, Dean sat there listening for a while, uncertain what to make of it. The voice had sounded eerily like his mother’s, but she had been dead for nearly two decades. “A voice is much harder to remember than a face,” he said, “so I thought I was being melodramatic.”
His number was unlisted, so it could not have been a prank call aimed at him. Perhaps it had been a number simply misdialed. He mentioned the incident to his wife, but told no one else.
Two days after this call, Dean went to visit his father at the facility where he lived. The staff was dealing with Ray’s behavioral problems, and they had asked Dean to come and talk with him. Ray had punched another resident, a man on a walker, and the nurses were worried. …
When Dean came into the room, Ray moved fast. He grabbed the knife from a drawer, and Dean had to try to wrestle it away from him. He just managed to avoid being slashed. There were many witnesses to this altercation, and one of them called the police. Finally Dean got the knife without incident and carried it out into the hall—just as the police arrived.
SEE COMPLETE TEXT