The Phoenix

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

41 Signs From Beyond The Grave?

Is it possible for those that have died to come back and visit us? Maybe give us signs that they are still around us? You hear stories of such visitations all the time. Or is that just grief? Is it just the way for the living to deal with the loss of a loved one, looking for signs all around?

One young victim of the terrible Rhode Island club fire of 2003 seems to be reaching out to his family from beyond the world of the living...from beyond the grave. And the number 41 is significant to him and his grieving family.

Nick O'Neill was 18 years old, and was a member of a metal group, Shryne. His young band was to open for Great White at The Station on February 21, 2003. Nick had decided to go to the club the night before to check everything out. That night, the pyrotechnics were ignited and burned the club down. More than 200 were injured, and 100 people died.

Growing up, Nick's loved ones joked about the boy's fascination with the number 41. He'd point out the numbers all over the place - on a sport's team jersey, on TV, on a license plate, everywhere. It seems after Nick's untimely death, he's using the number 41 to communicate to his family.

The signs are so compelling, Nick's father, Dave Kane (pictured upper right), wrote a book titled 41 Signs of Hope. It tells of his family's loss and the profound signs all around them from their departed Nick. Dave Kane points out just a few of the signs:

* Nick lived to be 18 years, 23 days old; 18+23=41

* The club, The Station, is at latitude 41.41

* A song Nick wrote for his girlfriend, found after his death, runs 5 minutes 41 seconds

* Nick's brother, David, new cell phone number ends in 41

* Nick wrote a play called "They Walk Among Us" about three teens that die and become angels in order to protect a gay teen being harassed. Nick's parents had never seen the show performed at the local Woonsocket theatre, so they decided to attend a performance in Nick's honor. During the intermission, the power went out and the 600 audience memebers were told to exit. Suddenly the power came back 8:41. One of Nick's brothers was actually staring at his watch, and knew the electricity would return right on the minute.
* A plaque installed at the Woonsocket Theatre where Nick performed and wrote a well-received play for was randomly placed on Row 4, seat 1 (no one at the theatre knew of the significance of 41)

* A music box Nick's mother received as a gift started playing by itself, with no prior winding, at 9:41. The song that played was titled, "You'll Never Walk Alone." Interestingly, the song is from a musical called "Carousel" which is a show about a young guy that dies and comes back to watch over his grieving family. That gave me a chill.

*Nick's other brother, Bill, was recently trying to decide which music college to go to - one in San Francisco or one in Connecticut. When visiting the school in California, he went to a restaurant and was seated at table 41. Lookng out the window, he noticed a bus going by - it's number: 41. When his check came, the seriel number ended in 41. When he visit the school, he studied the college's plans for renovations which included 41 practice rooms, 41 studios, and a recording studio that measured 411 square feet. (I did some digging and found that there's a second new stuidio built that measured 414 square feet).He later realized San Francisco's area code is 415 and the zip codes begin with 941. How many signs does a guy need? Bill enrolled in the school shortly thereafter.

Is this all just coincidence? Or is the work of so much grief, that the family is simply more aware of the number 41? Rabbi Earl Grollman, a grief counselor and author of many books about dealing with the loss of a loved one believes that people naturally look for signs from the departed. "They need to feel the person is still with them. It brings them a lot of comfort and a lot of hope. It's a very natural thing" Grollman says.

It's not just the immediate family experiencing the signficance of the number 41. Cousins, uncles, aunts, and Nick's friends have all had some sort of communication with Nick. In fact, Bella English, a reporter for the Boston Globe had her own weird experience during her interview with the family. Nick's parents showed Ms. English a video of Nick's play, "They Walk Among Us." When the video was over, the time on the machine read 4:11. After the interview, she waited until the newspaper's photographer arrived before leaving. When she started her car, she glanced at her clock and it was 4:41.

But again, is this simply a case where the mind is more aware of something when it's pointed out? Think about it. Someone ever tell you about a song or TV commercial, and it's something you've never seen or heard. But after having it pointed out to you - it seems that damn song or commercial is coming on every 5 minutes? Or how about after you buy that new car. After your awareness is peaked, now you notice your same make and model of your car all over the place!

Whether it's a brain recognition thing, a grief thing, or a spiritual thing, it's still important to Nick's family. No amount of arguing is going to change their minds. They believe their son is still with them, and gives them plenty of signs to let them know he's there. Even when they least expect it. Like this one final example for instance:

After Nick's death, a relative was showing home movies from years ago. In it, Nick is still just a baby, and his mother is lifting him up, lovingly for the camera. He's wearing a cute baseball outfit, and he's smiling happily. The baseball cap reads...41.


Blogger Grafs said...

I've been wondering about this. It makes sense. I have a repeating 4 digit number in my life that I can't disclose because it showed up on my credit card and license plate. Of interest, I recently heard about a boy born of the 7th of the month, at the 7th hour. He weiged 7 pounds. Cool!

5/24/2006 10:52 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...


The time-stamper for this post is 10:41

5/24/2006 10:55 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

That is a lot of coincidences to be just plain coincidence or is that just a coincidence.

5/24/2006 11:12 AM  
Blogger ozymandiaz said...

It's amazing what the mind can achieve when trying to justify something. It can percieve signs anywhere. Choose two digits and if you to walk around and really pay attention you can find them everywhere. (This comment has forty one words)

5/24/2006 11:27 AM  
Blogger Perplexio said...

I tend to agree that it's a trick of the mind, the awareness of certain trivial details gets heightened-- it's not a matter of those numbers appearing more frequently, it's a matter of the brain noticing that number and being more aware of it.

5/24/2006 11:43 AM  
Blogger michele said...

There is a lot of coincidence's
going on,but i think when you're
dead you're dead.

5/24/2006 11:45 AM  
Blogger Tai said...

I'm of the mindset that regardless if it's true or not, it does bring a sort of peace to the family.
I think THAT alone is valuable.
Though I hope it's him...I really do!

5/24/2006 11:54 AM  
Blogger Pixie said...

That makes you think...

5/24/2006 12:10 PM  
Blogger BrianAlt said...

Cool, but maybe it's just the number five? After all 23 days is 2+3=5 and of course 4+1=5. The cell phone ended in 41? Ok, but there were other numbers too, right? 4:11 and 4:41 also have the numbers 11 and 44. San Fransisco's area code is 415? There's the 5 again! And a zip of 941xx? What about the 9?

Tom Seaver's number was always 41 also. I had a friend at work that had the extension of 4141. He would tell everyone that his extension was Tom Seaver-Tom Seaver.

I'm glad they have something of their son-brother-friend that they can hold onto. That's what's important.

5/24/2006 12:19 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

Fuzz, you have a dizzying intellect.

ozy and perplexio, My favorite example is a new song. Someone points it out to me, it seems to be playing all the time. It's my mind focusing on it, pulling it out of the rest of the stimulus around me.

michele, that is a lot of coincidences. Apparently, there's more examples too. I'm not so sure about being dead and that's it. I have my own story...I might tell it someday.

tai, and the family has reached out to other families that have lost loved ones.

pixie, yes, it sure does.

brianalt, It's the family picking out the 41s in all those combinations that seems to speak out to them. It brings them comfort, it seems.

5/24/2006 12:24 PM  
Blogger DaBich said...

I do believe in a hereafter. And it seems that Nick is trying to comfort his family. WAY COOL!

5/24/2006 1:26 PM  
Blogger Curare_Z said...

I tend to believe that there is a lot about this world (and beyond) that we don't understand. This story is a good example.

What has always puzzled me is this: if people/spirits can communicate from the hereafter why wouldn't they just appear and tell you so? Why do they have to be so cryptic?!

5/24/2006 1:52 PM  
Blogger Fated said...

I think that they just notice the number 41 more often now. But I think it's really nice that they have a way to feel close to their son even though he has passed.

5/24/2006 4:08 PM  
Blogger O Ceallaigh said...

I think ozymandias and perplexio have it down. I tried searching Pubmed for primary literature, but in the few minutes I could spend on this now I wasn't able to hit upon the right search string to call up the papers I reckon are out there. But memory is screaming at me that this is a classic example of differential perception, of "seeing what you wish to see". But, as brianalt and fated have said, don't go out of your way to tell the family. Grief is hard enough to deal with without dissing what helps you cope.

5/24/2006 5:00 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

Sounds uninspiring to me.
I mean, good if his family finds comfort, but the truth is, 24 times a day the clock says something:41.
I think they're just hypersensitive, but if it helps their grief, then good.

5/24/2006 5:47 PM  
Blogger starbender said...

C R E E P Y ~

5/24/2006 7:40 PM  
Blogger jay lassiter said...

goosebumpy. really it is.
i totally believe in this stuff, so maybe i am biased.

5/24/2006 8:16 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

dabich, I think for those that share their beliefs, it's pretty profound.

curare, I thought about that a lot and asked a couple people well versed in this sort of thing. They said that those that die exist on a different vibrational plane. In order for them to communicate with us in any way, it takes an incredible amount of energy. Like holding your breath can only do it for so long.

fated, it must be tough to lose an 18 year old son.

o ceallaigh, I'd like to do some research as well on the topic.

jay, uninspiring? I wouldn't go that far. Healthy skepticism is good, but I think burying your youngest child is going to fuck up even the most put-together person.

starbender and jay, i agree...there's one more twilight zonish thing that happened. look below at my next comment.

5/24/2006 9:23 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

With the tragic fire at the club, many of the bodies hadn't been identified even after 4 days. Nick's family hoped he'd be found alive.

His parents received a phone call from Nick's cell phone...I think it was on that third or fourth day. It showed up on their caller ID as Nick's phone.

At the funeral home, the father claimed the cell phone, and it was utterly destroyed and filled with water.

The parents had assumed one of the firemen had maybe accidentally pressed a button or something, sending the call from Nick's phone.

But it was not possible...the phone wasn't even remotely usable.

5/24/2006 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I'm not a mathematition (or a good speller) but 4 and 1 showing up "randomly" happens about 20% of the time in life right? The issue here is that all these people KNOW the number 41 and relate it to him. Therefore they look for it. Just like when I see a guitar I think of my grandpa, or hear an old song and think of an old flame.

There is a psychological construct behind this, I can't remember what its called (its linked to Psychometrics though - I tried looking through my old notes but the hard lump in the middle only let me get through one box) but its basically saying that our brains look for patterns and meanings in everything (see dream research and after death experiences for some explanations). Once a number is "sacred" in our minds we search it out subsconsciously.

Chances are good that if they did a study on this family and looked at the mere volume of numbers they are exposed to every day, they would fall on the curve of normalacy.

Now, that being said, I do beleive in the afterlife. When my grandpa passed last year, the next night the Rugrat was giggling and talking at 3 or 4 am, I went into her room, and covered her up and settled her back down. On my way out of the room, her Leap Frog table went off. It was in the corner of the room, far away from me. One of the colored keys went off in a sing-song voice. The color? Yellow. Sounds like hello dosent it? It didn't freak me out, if anything I thought of my grandpa. It's kinda interesting considering he was a "music" guy, loved it all his life, makes sense he would use the only musical instrument in the room to reach out.

For me, I can rationalize it using logic I was taught and psychological constructs. However I prefer to think it was his way of saying he was OK now (he was suffering from Alzheimers and in an almost infant like state before he died).

You know what? Thats all that matters to me. I'm at peace with his passing, I miss him, but I don't try and convince myself that it was just a shift or jiggle that set it off (that night and the next night, same thing). It just was.

Great post Jay.

5/24/2006 9:40 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

I believe our passed loved ones try to send messages. That is a lot of 41's. I believe it. But at least one of those 41's has to be coincidence.

My hubbys pop died 2 years ago and more than one family member has had experiences where he is trying to send messages. The situations are just to strong to deny.

5/24/2006 9:43 PM  
Blogger phred said...


Phoenix, you mentioned you have your own story..don`t keep us hangin..tell it now.
Inquiring minds want to know.

5/24/2006 10:04 PM  
Blogger mollymcmommy said...

8 seems to be our magic number around here. my son was born 08-08, at 8lbs exactly, my daughter 12-28, my husband and i are 8 years apart, our bdays 8 days apart...had another daughter that was 8lbs.....just a couple examples of 8 in our lives.

i'm not sure, you do pose a good question though, are we just looking for these coincidences?


5/24/2006 10:07 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

makes that "rosebud" thing seem kinda lame

5/25/2006 12:37 AM  
Blogger Keshi said...

I really dunno if we can still hang ard when our body died and have been buried/cremated...but there is some concept of the soul...just cos we dunno much abt it, that doesnt make it unreal...

Sad ending to a life of a young boy...41 thingy could be a coincidence but surely not so many times!


5/25/2006 1:04 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I have the same thing happening with the number 3....

5/25/2006 1:06 AM  
Blogger Carmel said...

NOw I will see 41 everywhere! Actually that was really interesting, I do believe that sometimes it's more than coincidence, especially when it serves a purpose.
great post!

5/25/2006 3:29 AM  
Blogger Curare_Z said...

Dude -- that cellphone bit is really creepy.....and they could have evidence of that by having Prez. Bush or the NSA provide the family with their phone records...

5/25/2006 5:30 AM  
Blogger Cari said...

I member watching the club owner getting sentenced for this...

I think when we lose a loved one we always look for "signs of hope"

It makes living a little easier.

It makes you believe that there "another place and time" where you will meet them again.

VERY sad. :{

5/25/2006 7:25 AM  
Blogger Ben Heller said...

Great post Phoenix. I can remember this tragedy being on the news in England. There does seem to be more than a passing coincidence.

I've done a number of personal Numerolgy readings for bloggers, friends and family, and you'd be surprised just how important certain numbers are in your every day life.

5/25/2006 8:02 AM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Are you serious? a good kind of way.

5/25/2006 8:10 AM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

OK, how wierd is this? I finished reading your post at 10:41....

5/25/2006 9:44 AM  
Blogger Sherri said...

I think that, if you try hard enough, you can really pick a pattern out of anything.

5/25/2006 11:05 AM  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

hmmm, I think its a heightened awareness thing too.

5/25/2006 11:24 AM  
Blogger Yawn said...

Check out that legendary Chi Psi Philip Spencer and the mysterious number 13.

5/25/2006 11:40 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

I think all of that is amazing. I would never presume to know if it is all coincidence or not. Who are we to act as if we really know?
I am so glad that Nick's family is finding some comfort.
May 41 show up around them until they see him again in the afterlife!

5/25/2006 11:42 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

You all bring out good points. Like I said before, I think a healthy skepticism is the best way to approach things like this.
To utterly dismiss it completely or to fully believe everything you hear is the same to me.

I think with matters of life and mystery, only personal experience is the real truth.

For this family, burying their youngest son was such a nightmare. But they are reaching out to the families of the other victims, and how can that be a bad thing?

Nick was talented. He was a playwright, a musician, a singer, and a songwriter...all before the age of 18. He accomplished stuff many older adults never get to do.

5/25/2006 11:50 AM  
Blogger Jenna Howard said...

Holy moly. I got chills reading this, especially the bit about the jersey when he was a baby.

There's coincidence and then there's stuff like this.

I recently lost my dad and found myself waking up a lot at night, every night at 2:24 am. One night I was up, prowling around when I found my notebook I had with me in the hospital. In it I found a letter I had written to him and for some reason had written the time in the corner. Letter written at 2:24 am. I had typed the letter into a private blog for my dad and stared at the time stamp. It read 3:26 am. Dad had died at 3:26 pm. I'm no longer waking up at 2:24 am.

There's too much unexplained out there. And this was truly goosebump material. Glad I stalked O'Ceallaigh here.

5/25/2006 12:00 PM  
Blogger Carae said...

I have nothing new to add in the sign vs. psychological construct debate, but to my mind, to a family that's grieving, it really doesn't matter. If 41 gives them comfort, strength, and a smile, then it's really a sign, random or not. Reality is partially what we make it.

I echo the others- great post.

5/25/2006 12:45 PM  
Blogger Carae said...

My clock here was at 1:41 when I posted the last comment.

5/25/2006 12:46 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

jenna and carae, I agree with you both. Sometimes, profound occurances are best left unexplained.

I have a friend that worked in a hospice...she dealt with death every single day. One story she told was that of a watchmaker.

The guy was a sweet old man, and still loved to work with watches and clocks until his physical disabilities no longer made it possible.

He died in the middle of the night, with the nurses trying to revive him. But it was no good. The clock he had made and that was at his bedside stopped at the exact moment of death. The nurses were stunned, and it still gave my friend the chills everytime she tells that personal experience.

5/25/2006 2:04 PM  
Blogger O Ceallaigh said...

Phoenix, you posted this at 10:41, and that last comment of yours was the 41st. You bought any lottery tickets lately ... ?

Jenna's story is spooky. I've never had a stalker before. Especially not one who writes, or claims to look, like that...

5/25/2006 3:20 PM  
Blogger Will said...

I'm not a religious person by any means - though I feel a little spiritual sometimes. I, too, have a number I find significant. It is a tough one - while I think that it is easy to misconstrue something or simply spin the facts to fit what you believe, I can't help but feel like there is some energy out there. Then again, maybe that's just life...

5/25/2006 4:16 PM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

I remember reading a story once about how anyone looking hard enough at all the digits associated with everyday occurences can find amazing apparent reepeating digits.

And guess what? This comment has exactly forty-one words, once I add this one ... here.

-- david

5/25/2006 6:58 PM  
Anonymous the weirdgirl said...

This is so funny, I was just about to write a post about my son and numbers. (Sorry, I'm so late. I'm trying to get caught up on my blog reading now.)

5/26/2006 3:48 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

I think I want to do another post on numbers...I find this topic fascinating.

5/26/2006 5:15 PM  
Blogger Jillian said...

Wholly crap that is a lot of coincedeces that i don't think are just coincidences...

Or are they?

Yeah and I noticed the thing about the time for that post: 10:41!! :-O

5/28/2006 7:46 PM  
Blogger ObilonKenobi said...

I tend to think that it is a series of coincedences but I'd never tell the family that. Then again, 42 is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything.

5/30/2006 2:40 PM  
Blogger christine said...

me and my best friend have seen the number 41 EVERYWHERE, and now i finally found someone else that has seen it too.

2/15/2009 3:21 PM  

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