It was 2001. I was working my most challenging projects at a fortune 500 technology company then. I was razor sharp, at the top of my game.
I had a little bathroom routine. After using the bathroom, I'd thoroughly wash my hands and dry them with a paper towel. I wouldn't touch the handle of the door on the way out. So, after drying my hands with a paper towel, I'd use the paper towel to open the door, then roll it into a ball and do a little basketball-type shot into a nearby trash can. If I missed, I'd always pick it up and put it into the trash can.
One day, very deep in thought, I did my restroom thing and on the way out, I took my shot and hit the rim of the trash can. But, in a hurry to get into a nearby elevator to retrieve something on another floor, I left the ball on the floor. It stuck in my head and I had a mental picture of the shot going through the air and hitting the rim of the trash can. Over and over. I entered the elevator and hit the button. Don't recall if I was going up or down a few floors. I was alone. I was very zoned out, intensely replaying the ball thing over and over and over in my mind. Very deep thought. Just before the elevator reached my floor, I felt something smack me from behind on the muscle that runs from neck to shoulder, left side. I turned and saw a slightly damp paper towel ball hit the floor. Exactly like the one I'd been seeing in my mind. I was stunned. With no witnesses, I picked it up and took it back to my office. I was speechless. I held it, squeezed it, put it on my desk. I slapped my face a few times. Then I closed the door and sat back in my chair and stared at it for about 10 minutes. I told myself, I'm not crazy, this ball is real. Finally, because I had important work to do, I tossed it into my trash can. I was too busy and under too much pressure to dwell on it.
I told my wife the story later that night.
I'm sharing this publicly for the first time, 18 years after the event. It really happened.