The Fifth Window by Canadian poet Russell Thornton was out of print for years. Then, a TikToker’s psychic dream went viral and shot him to fame.
On 31 December 2021, TikToker Ohmarni posted a video about her “hunt for a rare book that she dreamt about.” Ohmarni, who claims to be a psychic, detailed her visions of a man asking her whether “the fifth window [was] open?” A couple of Google searches later, this experience led her to Canadian author Russell Thornton’s poetry collection, The Fifth Window.
The video — which went viral and has been viewed over 3.4 million times — shows the TikToker’s struggling in accessing the novel, except from reserved sections in universities such as Harvard. “Now explain to me, why is a book about the psychic world and the real world meeting in the reserves/request section, like super locked up tight? That’s weird, that’s suspicious,” she says.
Author Russell Thornton became aware of the original video through email correspondence with a fellow poet, and the writer subsequently sent Ohmarni his remaining copy of the collection. That, he thought, was the end of it.
@ohmarni Yall, if my search for this mysterious book leads me across the world, netflix better create a series about it. #dreams #psychic ♬ Paris – Else
However, in the time since TikToker Ohmarni’s original video was posted, Saskatoon publisher Thistledown Press has ordered a reprint of the title, citing a massive influx in demand.
As reported by CBC Canada, “At 3m+ views, the video has inspired thousands to search for the book and eventually find Thistledown Press,” said the publisher’s managing editor, Caroline Walker. “The response has been huge, with orders coming in not only from across Canada but from 33 US states and countries as far away as Ireland, Norway, Australia, Germany, Bulgaria and Bermuda. Not bad for a poetry book published by an indie Saskatoon publisher.”
@ohmarni Not me having a dream of The Fifth Window poems when i was a kid \ud83e\udd74✨ These divine coincidences are wild. #russellthornton #thefifthwind ♬ original sound – Oh Marni
In a statement to CBC, TikToker Ohmarni expressed her gratitude and surprise at the success of her hunt for Russell Thornton’s poetry collection. “It was all a divine coincidence and I’m so grateful for it. It was honestly relieving to know I’m not crazy and the book existed and had a connection to me,” she wrote. “The internet is a valuable source, but the network social media creates is immeasurable. I don’t think I would’ve found that book as soon as I did if not for TikTok. It would’ve drove me a little crazy if I hadn’t.”
As for the writer, Thornton said that he had, at first, thought someone was playing a joke on him. “And then I just thought it was comical. I thought it was funny as hell,” he said.