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In the Zone

by Mike Masterson | November 20, 2022 at 1:45 a.m.

Valued readers know of my interest in sharing accounts of mysterious happenings, some of which I've labeled GodNods. Others, like the following event, are about the inexplicable events that occur in day-to-day life.

An extremely close (and far saner than I) friend who didn't want her name used for fear of being accused of having leaned too far back in her rocker had an experience straight from "The Twilight Zone" the other day.

And when you hear her story, I can see where you could think she was experiencing hallucinations. I suspect she will puzzle over the event throughout her remaining days.

She told me she was traveling from Harrison to a subdivision about 20 miles north, just outside the little community of Omaha.

Her destination that morning was a home she'd visited several times located in an upscale subdivision known as Stonegate. To get there, she'd passed the few stores that comprise Omaha's business sector. She was keeping watch to her left about two miles farther along the two-lane highway for the sometimes difficult-to-spot Stonegate entrance.

After several minutes she realized she'd missed that turn and wound up well past the entrance, so she turned around and headed back along the same highway.

That's when things became, well, downright spooky in the days before Halloween.

Instead of finally encountering the turn into Stonegate, it was as if she'd entered some form of time warp and instead was entering downtown Omaha from Harrison just as she had done 10 minutes earlier.

"I didn't believe or understand it," she said. "I left Omaha behind initially, drove well past the subdivision entrance, then turned around and drove back toward Omaha after realizing I'd gone too far. So now I expected to see the Stonegate sign on my right.

"But the next thing I knew, I was driving back through town again on the very same road," she said. "That sort of thing freaky thing has never happened to me before. I still can't believe it did."

She drove on a short time until spotting the Stonegate marker on her left, as she'd originally expected, and finally arrived at her friend's house.

There are many stories out there, both told and yet-to-be, that defy time, space and the known laws of physics (well, except for the mysteries of quantum physics).

Readers may recall my column from a few years back about the Fayetteville family on a road trip to Texas who were about to run out of gas as darkness settled after they'd taken a seldom-traveled 12-mile shortcut across a rural, desolate area.

The road had been suggested as a time-saver by a stranger along the four-laned interstate during their last stop for gas.

In what seemed like a miracle, especially at that time of day and in such a unlikely spot, they spotted a dilapidated gas station sitting just off the road. And it was open.

An older man sat inside, illuminated by a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling. Thankful to be saved by this strange place, they vowed among themselves to stop and thank him again on their return trip.

Yet they weren't able to find a sign of the station several days later, or on future trips and careful searches along the road. It was as if the station never existed.

Of course, they knew better since it had been in the right place at just the right moment to rescue them with fuel.

Then there was the couple I read about several years back who were touring Europe and said they discovered a quaint bed and breakfast inn with people who dressed and spoke somewhat oddly.

When they returned to stay at the site a year or so later, they said there was nothing there to show the inn had ever existed.

If nothing else, these make for good stories. But I know my friend was explaining exactly what happened to her in Omaha, and the Fayetteville widow and her now-grown son (who was a witness as a child) had to have visited that dilapidated gas station one night far off the beaten path.

"It's been years, but I'll always remember that man and the single light bulb hanging from the ceiling," he said.

I've come to believe there are many such inexplicable happenings in this world, and many who experience one don't care to discuss it for the very reason my friend didn't want her name used. If you've had one, send it to the email address below. I'll listen.

Leading the nation

Looks like folks are going back to work here in the Natural State. The website WalletHub reported the other day that weekly unemployment claims for the week of Oct. 24 decreased by 35.10 percent compared to the previous week, which marked the second-largest decrease in the nation.

WalletHub also reported weekly unemployment claims in Arkansas were 9.93 percent lower than in the same week last year. And weekly unemployment claims were 28.45 percent lower than in the same week pre-pandemic (2019).

Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist, was editor of three Arkansas dailies and headed the master's journalism program at Ohio State University. Email him at

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