Bid Time Return

IS OUR LITTLE FAMILY, is our meeting here, is it ever a remarkable experience? Is it warmer and closer than most Facebook families or Twitter’s? Some say it’s just the same, others will feel there’s something about this place that touches us, in a way we can’t quite define.

Last night I took some time off and watched a favorite film. Have you seen Somewhere in Time?  It’s a 1980 love story about a journey across time, with Chris Reeve and Jane Seymour.

There’s such a lovely feeling about that film, it’s close to me, just as in this website. There’s a site for those who love it: Often the creators of the film talk about the strange and beautiful feeling they had, playing Richard Matheson’s screenplay of his book Bid Time Return. (They changed the title, since it sounded like “Bedtime Return,” the title for a sexy B story.)

Somewhere in Time was filmed at Mackinac Island, and at the grand old hotel there. No cars on the island, just horses and carriages, and the people there became bit-players, wearing their 1912 clothing, remembering what the hotel was like in those times. They said that it was magical, shooting that film, and I heard that word for the time, over and over.

I had just a brush with the film industry, and I hadn’t heard that word from anyone there. Magical. And sure enough, I said the word again, having seen the film for maybe the fourth time last night.

I met Chris Reeve in the early ’90s, when he and Ned Beatty flew up to Oregon In Chris’s Beech Bonanza, and we talked about a film of Illusions. Both them had this same lovely sense. We sat under a tree on the lawn one summer day, and talked about how to make the film happen. Chris had some quality, he could make anything happen, and by the time they flew away, I was sure the film would be made.

Not long after that, he had some difficulty with a horse. We still talked about the project, and he said. “My problem is not that people think I can’t do things; it’s that people think I can do anything!”

He wrote a screenplay about a man who was paralyzed, but every night, in dreams, he was perfect…which one was real? I know what happened to Chris, of course, he’s become his own character, real and perfect once again.

There are little flashes of magic that remind me of Chris in this site, when someone mentions a word about the spirit of love that connects us together. It’s reflected in people, in films, in stories and music. Can you recall other times when they touched the same magic, in films and events that sparkled their light upon us?

I’m probably not alone. I’d be grateful to see that enchantment in stories we never knew existed.


One Message, and One Reply

Dear Richard,

I have never e-mailed an author, so forgive me for my brief note. I enjoyed your work, The Reluctant Messiah.

At first, I questioned why someone had slid this under my door as I worked in the Child Protection Field, I never knew who had provided me this gift. I should say it sat unopened on my desk for months before I chose to open it. The questions it posed were wonderful. I am not a religious person and to be honest I believe only in a something greater than me, but not sure what or who that may be.

This book hit home with me as it reminded me of my childhood and the people that saved me. I was disappointed when as quickly as it had been given to me it was taken away. I am not sure who took it, but glad it was mine briefly. I have obtained another copy and I recently gave it to a young man in a mental health facility that stated stress had made him snap. I laughed as I explained the stress of being chosen to be a messiah.

Thank You.


Hi (unnamed reader),

Such a strange life this little book is leading!  I’ve heard from readers who were given Illusions as a gift on a yacht anchored off Monaco, and from a man who found it when he was homeless and drunk, sleeping on a sidewalk in Manhattan.

I may not know the person who slipped the book under your door, but I know her motive: she thought an idea or two, if you read the story, might bring you a moment of happiness.  Was that your motive, too, when you gave it to the young man?

Like so many others, readers or not, you are a part-time angel, lifting lives just a little bit.  You have no idea what will happen to your gift, or how it will affect people you’ll never know.  It isn’t God that touches our lives, and yours, it is love.


Is the Handbook a Divine Document?

Steve Stocker sent this comment to us:

I remember you saying in an interview once (and I think Shimoda said the same) that you could use almost anything in the same way; an old newspaper or whatever. Maybe so, but I’ve never mastered it. With the Messiah’s Handbook, it works beautifully for me. As usual, my biggest problems are forgetting that and “arguing for my limitations”. And I just realized that I love the humor mixed in with profundity! So many things lack that playfulness; for me it’s a necessity. :)


I had to reply.

Hi Steve,
Thank you for seeing that a little humor works well.  Yet it’s important for me to _believe_ that the Handbook is just part of a story, that there’s no chance that some divine intelligence was using me to write what it wanted to say.  So when I found your comment, I was frightened.  What if the Handbook turned out to be inspired text, after all?
I picked up the first thing I could see, a telephone bill, concerned still about what I thought you said.  My finger came down on the following sentence, and the words “…you’ll never have to worry…”.
So, thank the Maker, I’m not worried.  But why does the Maker use so many more words than I do when I write?  I guess she does that so that I can pay my phone bill.

Remembering the Messiah’s Handbook


THE LAST TIME I SAW the Messiah’s Handbook was when I threw it away.I had been using it as I was taught in Illusions: hold question in mind, close eyes, open handbook at random, pick left page or right. Eyes open, read answer.Always before it worked: fear dissolved in a smile, doubt lifted by sudden understanding. Always had I been charmed and entertained by what these pages had to tell me.

So that dark day I opened the book, trusting. “Why did my friend Donald Shimoda, who had so much to teach that we so needed to learn, why did he have to die such a senseless death?”

Eyes open, listen to the answer:

                             Everything in this book may be wrong.

A burst of night and rage, I remember, instant fury. I turn to it for help and this is my answer? I threw the book as hard and as far from me as I could, pages fluttering above that nameless Iowa hayfield, the thing tumbling in slow motion, shuddering forever down toward the weeds. I didn’t watch to see where it fell.

I flew from that field and never flew back. The handbook, that senseless hurtful agony-page, was gone.

Twenty years later came a package to a writer in care of the publisher. In the package a note:

Dear Richard Bach, I found this when I was plowing my dad’s soybean field. The field’s a quarter-section used to be in hay and he told me you landed there once with the guy they killed they said was magic. So this has been plowed under I guess for a long time else it’s been disked and harrowed every year and nobody’s seen it till now. For all that, it’s not much hurt and I figured it’s your property and if you’re still alive you ought to have it.

No return address. On the pages, my own fingerprints in engine oil from an old Fleet biplane, a sifting of coarse dusts, a stem or two of grass falling out when I fanned it open.

Rage gone, I held the book a long time, remembering.

Everything in this book may be wrong. Sure enough. But everything may be right, as well. Right and wrong’s not up to a book. I’m the only one to say what’s true for me. I’m responsible.

I leafed through the pages, wondering. Is the book returned to me the same one I threw away, so long ago? Had it been resting quietly underground or had it been changing to become what some future reader needed to remember?

At last, eyes closed, I held the handbook once more and asked.

Dear strange mystical volume, why did you come back?
    Riffled the pages for a moment, opened my eyes and saw.

    Every person,

                           all the events of your life,

                   are there because you have drawn them there.

      What you choose to do with them

                                                    is up to you.

I smiled, reading that. And I chose, this time, instead of throwing it away, to keep the Messiah’s Handbook.

And I choose now, instead of wrapping it in silence, to let you unwrap the whole of it and listen to its whisper for yourself, whenever you wish.

Some of the ideas I’ve found in this book I’ve said in others: There are words here from Illusions and One and Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Out of My Mind and The Ferret Chronicles. A writer’s life, like a reader’s, is fiction and fact; it’s almost-happened and half-remembered and once-dreamed. The smallest part of our being is history that somebody else can verify.

Yet fiction and truth are friends; the only way to tell some truths is in the language of stories.

Donald Shimoda, for instance, my reluctant Messiah, is a real person, though as far as I know he’s never had a mortal body or a voice that anyone else could hear. So is Stormy Ferret real, flying her miniature transport through a terrible storm because she believes in her mission; so is Harley Ferret throwing himself into a midnight sea to save his friend; so are all these characters real who have brought me to life.

Enough explaining. Before you may take a handbook home, however, test this copy, be sure it works.

Hold a question in mind, please. Now close your eyes, open the handbook at random and pick left page or right,

— Richard Bach


Life In The Afterworld, and Maybe Here, Too, Someday

WE CAN LEARN A LOT about the world that follows after we’re done living in this one. Just reading, and we’ll know. And talking with others and then putting things together, one after another.

There used to be a problem for me with heaven. They said that animals come to visit us there, or maybe they just live in quiet places where the frogs and raccoons live, where there are little rivers and quiet ponds where they can relax after a difficult lifetime on earth.

But deers and antelopes, I thought, they’re tired of being dinners after a while, for the lions and tigers and hyenas. And of course for being targets the humans around here, that enjoy shooting animals for sport. Once you’ve lived with the animals in a forest, you get to know them. Day after day. They’ll sleep in the meadow, once they know you’re not out of shoot them, and when your dog learns to be friends and play with them.

Live a life here, be a kind human to the deer (and antelopes, in other places), and you realize they have a right to live here, too, just like us. It goes on through the seasons, in the winters when we can put little things for them to snack on.

Begin a life with them like this, and all of a sudden you can be distressed by some guy you’ve never seen before, walking on your land, and the deers land, in a camoflage suit and a rifle. He intends to kill a deer!


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Introduction to _Part Time Angels_ (not quite published yet)

THE DAY I WAS PLANNING to delete my website, someone screamed, “STOP!”

She got my attention. So startling the voice was, that I said, “What?”

And when she knew I was not going to light the fire that sudden astonished instant, she calmed, and said, “Are you sure you want to delete the website, all these stories?”

“Yes, that’s true.” My heart started beating again. “I know that.”

“These are your own sheep,” she said, “and you’re destroying them? And you don’t care?”

“They’re not sheep, they’re words. They’ve been read. So I’ll just sweep the ashes, make room for other words.”

Whisk? All gone?”

“That’s what I’m planning. Do you mind?”

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Why Does This New Book Have To Be So Different?

EVERYTHING’S DIFFERENT, when I’m writing.  I thought today that it’s like living in a dream world, and a writer must orbit, in his dream ship, around the story-ideas that drive the book.  I’m maybe half-done with this one, and maybe It will never be published.  If it is, it will be the strangest book I’ve ever written.

For a while I was considering shutting down this website, since everything I wanted to say was in this book.  What a silly thought, yet nothing else seemed to matter.  Then things switched totally around and I learned about a way to have a business site on Facebook.  My friend Anne Louque, after we had talked about it, almost instantly had it up and running there: The Official Richard Bach site on Facebook.  I don’t know how it will work, but it seemed a good idea to publicize the earlier books, which I shall ever love.

Still writing.  I pray that these pages do not take forever to finish.

Thanks for your patience with me, and for being here.


I Didn’t Dream This, Did I?

SOMEONE, NO POINT IN SAYING WHO, wrote a message to me two or three days ago, about the ExtraTerrestial chapter that I put on the website.

She wrote and said that the ETs would enjoy the chance to talk with me.   My Ferret Chronicle books taught me to be courteous to practically anyone. “That’s a kind thought,” I wrote back to her. “I’d like to talk with them, too. Would you care to tell me who they are?”

She did, next message. She said that she had a recent connection to the Sirian B extraterrestials, the  Arcturians, and Pleiadians and that she has spoken for years with angelic and some spirit guides, too.  She’s a lightworker.  She mentioned that she was connected with a group called the Ascension Alliance. She’s a medium (of course), she listens to them and translates their thoughts into to our language.

What would you have done, with an email like this? Yes. I did, that too. I went on the Internet to read about the Ascension Alliance, and found that they’re a religious group, there are rites and an organization of apparently wise people, they wear white robes…

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How Long Have I Waited to Hear This Message?

Way too long.

This was sent to me from Roger Fisher, who said,  I believe this is worthy of a read.

I agree.

Alien Message to Mankind: “Do You Wish That We Show Up?”

He claims to have been a military jet pilot, air traffic controller and airport manager, and to have a masters in economics. He also claims to have had a number of anomalous experiences since the age of six, which later included a number of UFO sightings and ET contacts.

He writes: “… after having learned how to mentally project myself to a place in the presence of benevolent extraterrestrials, I received the following message…”


Do You Wish That We Show Up?
Each one of you wishes to exercise your free will and experience happiness. Your free will depends upon the knowledge you have of your own power. Your happiness depends upon the love that you give and receive.

Like all conscious races at this stage of progress, you may feel isolated on your planet. This impression gives you a certain view of your destiny. Yet you are at the brink of big upheavals that only a minority is aware of.

It is not our responsibility to modify your future without your choosing it. So consider this message as a worldwide referendum, and your answer as a ballot.

Neither your scientists nor your religious representatives speak knowledgeably about certain unexplained aerial and celestial events that mankind has witnessed for thousands of years.

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