by Robert M. Stone, M.S.

I have pondered this over the years and can say, YES. You see, there have been more than the average number of times in my life when I should have been killed but was not. Each time, it seemed as if some force was altering the environment and people in the environment, if they were around, to protect me. I will relate three such incidents.

1969 was the year hurricane Camille, the most powerful hurricane since records have been kept, tore through the Gulf of Mexico. Ten days after the storm passed by our area, fortunately, my family went to visit some friends in the Ft. Walton Beach, Florida area. Their friends had a 30 foot cabin cruiser and the men decided to take the boys fishing. Their was my father, myself, my father's friend and his two sons.

The water of the Gulf was still displaced even ten days after the storm. The surge was still pushing the tide higher than normal. Also, the water was very disturbed. We went through the Destin pass and into the Gulf. The pass at Destin was like a funnel and the waves were pretty rough in it. Once out in the Gulf, the waves were large but more rolling. Everything went fine until we started to come back into the pass.

Literally, the propeller quit spinning. The motor ran but there was no motion. Without power, the oversized waves were beginning to wash over the stern. We were taking on water. In addition, we were heading towards the rocks and sharks were all over the place.

The boat was not equipped with a radio. Quite far away, we could see a large commercial boat. We attempted to signal it but the noise of the waves and wind were high. Strangely enough, they quickly started coming towards us. There was no way they could have heard us. They would have had to be paying close attention to see that we were in trouble as the boats integrity was still in place. Yet, this very large boat was moving in our direction. When they got within shouting distance, we could hear them yelling to throw a rope.

The owner of the boat quickly got out a heavy rope, secured one end and threw it to the large commercial craft. The water was really washing into the boat now. He missed with the rope! But then, the biggest wave I had seen in the pass that day washed through and raised the rope up to where a sailor on the bow of the commercial craft reached out and caught it!!!

We just watched in stunned silence as this sequence of events unfolded.

The commercial craft tied the rope to their bow and backed us out of the pass. Once out of the pass, we stopped taking water and the commercial craft then attached the rope to their stern and towed us through the pass to safety.

I will never forget that strange wave that all but handed the sailor the rope that our throw had missed and allowed us to be rescued.

The next event I wanted to mention happened in 1976. I was in Graduate school at the time. I lived in a small town about 45 miles from the college and commuted to classes.

One afternoon, I was going to the school to do some research for my thesis. It had been raining fairly hard but had slacked up. The road that I had traveled several hundred times up to that point was a good road and although wet, was not slippery.

I had entered a long straight stretch on the road when my attention was drawn to a strange motion that the back of the car made. Other than a light sprinkle, it had stopped raining. I was doing the 55 mph speed limit. At this point in my life, I had been driving for eight years and had never felt this before. A few seconds later, I discovered what it was. The back tires had lost traction.

The road was straight, there was no traffic, I wasn't speeding and the back tires now had no traction. Very shortly, I was sliding sideways down the highway. Then the car started to spin. At first, fairly straight down the road but then it started moving to the side.

Everything seemed to slow down. As the car left the road, I pushed the brakes, knowing it wouldn't make any difference but just to do something. I looked at the speedometer and it was reading 50 mph. I thought to myself, "Well, this is it."

But it wasn't. It was like the car was in jello. It went off an incline into a wet ditch and in 15 feet, decelerated from 50 mph to 0! Water was not flying everywhere as you would expect. The car just stopped.

I sat there rather stunned. I looked around. Fifty feet in either direction, I would have hit a telephone pole or a large tree. Fifty feet at 50 mph is nothing.

Neither the car nor myself were injured. In fact, the only damage to the car was where the wrecker attached the hook to pull it out of the wet ditch.

I knew that day that it was NOT my time to die. There is no question that something externally prevented it because the rules of physics were broken that day.

The last incident I will relate occurred in 1982. At that time, I was into automobile repair and enhancements and was working on a very large, 1976 Oldsmobile 98.

The car was up on ramps and I was working on the exhaust system. To get to parts of the exhaust system, I had to remove some parts such as the started and automatic transmission linkage.

I had been working on it for several hours and was having difficulty getting a bolt loose. About that time, my 14 year old son came out of the house to chat. Usually, he was out with his friends doing the normal teenage thing. As a matter of fact, I wondered why he was home on an early afternoon.

However, I shortly found out.

I was on the driver side of the car lying on my back at a 90 degree angle. From my position, the middle of my ribcage was centered with the tire. My son had been there less than 5 minutes when I accidently hit the transmission lock out and unlocked the transmission.

The car rolled right down the ramp onto my side. As it was coming down I had time to think that I was going to die and had a blur of images flash before me. The car rolled onto my side pinning me to the driveway. Needless to say I couldn't breath. Of course my son was in shock. With difficulty, I told him to get in the car and press the brake. The car was inoperable because the starter was off. But he got in and pushed on the brake. Pushing on the brake stopped the car from rolling further.

Then I proceeded to get out from under the wheel which had pinched my ribcage. I still don't know how I got out. I do know that my shirt was still under the tire when I got out. Just my t-shirt was on.

I got a brick and put it under the back wheel to stop the car from rolling further. I then went in the house and collapsed.

I went to the emergency room at my wife's insistance but the doctor could find no damage. There were no broken bones and no bruising. The skin was even abraded where I had scrubbed against the rough concrete of the driveway to get out from under the wheel. My side was sore but that was about it.

When I closed my eyes for several days afterwards, I could see that car rolling down on me.

My teenage son, who like most teenagers, was never home in the afternoons was guided to be home that day. And I still can't explain how a very heavy car, rolling down a 3.5 foot ramp on an inclined driveway did not seriously injure me. Not to mention how I got out from under the wheel. Again, there was some external force at work.

There have been several other equally as dramatic interventions in my life that have kept me from dying but I believe I've illustrated the point. There CAN be an external force that protects you.