Have you ever lost an object only to find it days, weeks, months or even years later right in front of your eyes? It is a phenomenon that happens so often that it has been given a name: JOTT – Just One Of Those Things.
The term JOTT was coined by paranormal researcher Mary Rose Barrington who has published a fantastic book on this subject called “JOTT: when things disappear... and come back or relocate - and why it really happens”
Barrington classified this weird occurrence into two different categories:
Jottles are then further broken down into subcategories:
If you are not familiar with the term JOTT, you may be familiar with the term DOP which stands for Disappearing Object Phenomenon. This term was coined by Australian psychology professor Dr Tony Jinks in his book "Disappearing Object Phenomenon: An Investigation". The terms used by Jinks to describe this phenomenon are similar to Barrington's term, but go by a different name:
What we do know is that this a phenomenon that has been reported for decades. So what could behind this?
In Barrington's book. she details 74 cases which were selected from a pool of 180 in the Jott File. Here is a snippet:
9. The chewed gramophone record (O3)
A gramophone record (a 10- or 12-inch disk made of shellac, 10 inches in this case) that had been chewed by a small child disappeared when the child tossed it in the air! It came back after five years absence, complete with tooth marks. This is surely too bizarre for anyone to make up with an expectation of being believed.
23. Pendant found in a case (TP2)
Another small item of personal adornment the sort I usually accuse of clinging to clothes or disappearing down cracks-was a pendant, found in a very odd place, and found not by the jottler but by her neighbor, a rather unusual feature. "Anne .. found a pendant of mine in the cage of her guinea-pigs. I didn't even know she had those animals." This senseless story was briefly related by MMO, a Dutch lady who in replay to questions said that she did not attach any particular significance to the wandering article. Just one of those things.
41. Reading glasses take a breather (WK20)
"It happened...on the 24th November, 1982, in the afternoon. My wife went for her glasses which she left on the kitchen table. They were not there. When our visitor left, a full-scale search was made, but without result. Outside the house we have a large sink, not used as such, but filled with earth, which is used for raising seedlings and small plants. On the following morning, the glasses, neatly folded, were found, obviously carefully placed on the soil in that sink, between two plants. They were not folded when they disappeared." It has to be said that the visitor was Melvyn Harris, a well-known paranormal denier, and I have to wonder if he organized a psuedo-jottle. Such things have been known. But speaking from personal experience, this was not a house in which visitors were entertained in the kitchen. Tea was served in style.
47. The postage stamp (FY1)
The first of the flyaway cases concerns a very small item, one of the sort that is normally cosigned to the unselected. But it is closely described by the very reliable Frank Ducker, whose slighted watch (WK7) was noted in the previous chapter, and its mode of departure is very unusual. FD was firmly grasping a stamp of a particular value, and he was very determined not to lose this one specimen. As he crossed the room to unite it with its intended envelope, holding it carefully between thumb and index finger, he felt it dematerialize (not slip) and though he had kept his eyes on it as well as his grip, he saw no sign of it falling to the floor, and it was never found. This is not the only case in which jottlers have felt something cease to have substance while they are holding it, and it is relevant here to refer to one of the Owen comeback cases.
JOTT: when things disappear... and come back or relocate - and why it really happens
Mary Rose Barrington (2018)
So are spirits moving our items or bringing them back to send us a message or a sign? Is it just memory fog? Do our items fall into some sort of weird alternate dimension or invisible black hole only to find their way back to us? What if it is somehow being teleported from place to place? Maybe a poltergeist is playing tricks on us? Many suggest that it could be our own consciousness that has something to do it with. By being upset or frustrated with losing an item, are we unknowingly mentally willing it to appear? While we can theorise over what actually causes it to happen, it is a real phenomenon that is common enough for parapsychologists and paranormal researchers to take notice.
There is a great lecture online by Dr Tony Jinks which has been uploaded by UFO Research (NSW) incorporated if you would like to delve into this further. It goes for about an hour but will really get you thinking!
Barrington makes several connections to psi (esp) and it being a form of spontaneous mental phenomena among other things. I am not going to go into too much detail here, rather I would encourage you to pick up the book because it really it is interesting with some thought provoking theories.
Barrington was a very well respected researcher of the paranormal and sadly passed away at the beginning of 2020. She will be featured in a future edition of Ladies of Paranormal Past. In the meantime, I highly recommend her book. It is a fantastic read!
I myself have been ‘jottled’ so many times that it is difficult to pick just one experience to talk about. From medication going missing from my cupboard only to find it literally at my feet in a car park days later, through to my precious jewellery falling into my hand from inside my hairdryer, I myself have no shortage of strange stories.
So I want to hear your stories! Tell me your experience with an object going missing and suddenly reappearing. Fill out the survey here and share your experiences which may appear in future articles or a book (no names will be used)
Disappearing Object Phenomenon: An Investigation by Tony Jinks (2016)
Jott: When Things Disappear by Mary Rose Barrington (2018)
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