Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Haunted Shoe of Matson, Gloucs.

Charles II at the time of the Siege of Gloucester
A ghostly grey lady lurks at Matson House, just outside Gloucester. This wraith does not seek to guard a prized object, but to find it. She was a young lady of fortune and dignity who came here in the summer of 1643 along with the King, court and main body of the royalist army then fighting against Parliament in the English Civil War. Bristol had just been captured by the King. In all Gloucestershire and the southwest, only Gloucester still held out for Parliament.

The town garrison was held by Colonel Edward Massey, a youthful professional soldier with an eminent career of soldiering on the continent behind him. Although he had been appointed by Parliament, nobody was entirely certain what were the political views of young Massey. The King decided to test him. On 10 August, King Charles appeared outside Gloucester with most of his army and asked Massey to admit his king to the city.

Massey refused, so a siege began. It was during this time that Matson House was commandeered as a residence for the two young princes, later to be kings as Charles II and James II. Now 12 years old, Charles was allowed to view the siege though not to get within range of the enemy guns. James was kept safe at Matson. Not surprisingly, James got bored and, among other mischief, carved his name into the windowsill of his room. It is still there for all to see.

On 5 September the main Parliamentarian army appeared on Prestbury Hill, within sight of Gloucester. Unable both to conduct a siege and fight a battle, King Charles marched his army away, hoping to ambush the Parliamentarians later in the campaign. The royal children were hurriedly bundled into a coach and sent off to Oxford. With them went the servants and gentry of the royal household.

It was one of these ladies who left behind a quite beautiful blue shoe of kid leather and satin silk, embroidered with seed pearls on what we would today call a cuban heel. It is this shoe that the ghost seeks, wandering the rooms of Matson House peering here and there, bending down to glance into corners. Sadly she will be forever out of luck. The shoe is now in Gloucester's Folk Museum.


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Reincarnation in England, 1957

In post-war Britain the concept of reincarnation was considered to be an alien idea peculiar to the exotic Eastern philosophies of Hinduism, Shintoism and Buddhism. So when, in 1962, a Catholic father announced that his daughters were living proof of the existence of reincarnation it was seen as a challenge to the authority of the Church which had declared the concept heretical.

John Pollock had lost his first two daughters, Joanna, 11, and Jacqueline, 6, in May 1957 when a driver lost control of her car and careered into the children near their home in Hexham, Northumberland. Pollock assumed that God had taken his girls to punish him for believing in reincarnation, but a year later, when his wife learnt that she was pregnant, Pollock became convinced that the souls of the two girls would be reborn in order to demonstrate that the church was wrong to deny the natural process of death and rebirth. When his wife’s gynaecologist informed the couple that they were to expect a single child Pollock assured him he was wrong – there would be twins, both girls. On 4 October1958, he was proved correct.

The twins were monozygotic (meaning they developed from a single egg) yet the second twin Jennifer, was born with a thin white line on her forehead in the same place that her dead sister Jacqueline had sustained a wound while falling from her bicycle. Her parents were also puzzled by the appearance of a distinctive birth mark on her left hip, identical to the one that Jacqueline had.

The girls grew up in Whitley Bay, but when they were three and a half their father took them back to Hexham and was astonished to hear the girls point out places they had never seen in this life and talk about where they had played, even though they had left the town before they could walk. They knew when they were approaching their school although it was out of sight, and they recognized their old home as they passed it although their father had said nothing.

Six months later, they were given Joanna and Jacqueline’s toy box. They identified all their dead sisters’ dolls by name. They were also observed playing a game that their mother, Florence Pollock, found disturbing. Jennifer lay on the floor with her head in Gillian’s lap, play-acting that she was dying and her sister would say, ‘The blood’s coming out of your eyes. That’s where the car hit you.’ Neither parent had discussed the accident with the children. On another occasion their mother heard them screaming in the street. When she came out she saw them clutching each other and looking terrified in the direction of a stationary car with its motor running. The girls were crying, ‘The car! It’s coming at us!’

The possibility that they might be the reincarnation of their elder, deceased sisters brought no comfort to their mother who could not reconcile the evidence of her own eyes with the Church’s edict that belief in reincarnation was a mortal sin. For this reason she made an excellent impartial witness. To Florence Pollock’s relief, however, the incident with the car marked the end of the affair. At the age of five the girls abruptly ceased to seem conscious of the connection with what seemed to be their former lives and developed into normal, healthy children.

This is consistent with a belief that at the age of five all children lose their link with the other world. At this point, to borrow an expression from the esoteric tradition, ‘the veil comes down’. Children cease to play with imaginary friends and become grounded in the ‘real’ world. And perhaps something of the magic of childhood and worldly innocence dies with it. As with most evidence for reincarnation, the case of the twin girls rests heavily on the personal testimony of the family, and many researchers do not view this as entirely reliable.

Monday, 23 January 2012

The Orang Penank Cryptid is debunked - temporarily

In 1932 native hunters presented what they said was the body of a young Orang pendek to the Sumatran newspaper the Deli Courant in return for the reward that newspaper had offered for proof of the creature’s existence. The newspaper gleefully printed the story of the mystery animal’s arrival, its appearance, its condition and the fact that it was being sent to Dr Dammerman of the Zoological Museum at Buitenzorg for study.

When the report came back it was a crushing disappointment. The supposed Orang pendek juvenile was simply a hoax. A fully grown langur monkey had been shot, then had its fur trimmed to match the usual description of an Orang Pendek’s hair. The nose had been stretched with a piece of wood, the teeth filed to shape and the cheekbones carefully fractured to alter their shape.

The hoax had a most unfortunate effect. The Dutch colonial authorities lost all interest in this supposed rare member of Sumatra’s fauna. The whole thing became something of a joke. Anyone who mentioned the subject was treated as a fool and subjected to ridicule - rather as if they had declared that they had seen Father Christmas passing by in his flying sleigh. In 1941 the island was invaded by the Japanese, then liberated in 1945 and returned to Dutch rule before in 1947 joining the newly independent state of Indonesia.

The whole subject of the strange human-like ape in the southern forests got forgotten, except by the local people who claim to have come across it frequently.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Hertzke UFO Lands

While UFO reports had been piling up for some time in the later 1940s and early 1950s speculation was rife as to what the objects were. Some thought that they might be secret weapons being tested by the military of the USA or USSR. Others thought that they might be natural phenomena of some kind. Increasingly popular was the idea that the UFOs were alien spacecraft.

This latter idea began to gain some support when evidence started to be reported that the UFOs were solid, mechanical objects and that they were crewed by intelligent beings who were very definitely not human.

Early on a bright, October morning in 1965 Bill Hertzke was out riding on the Circle Jay Ranch some miles northwest of Calgary, Canada. He was a working cowboy given the task of bringing cattle down from the hills to the low ground for the winter. As he drove a small herd of cattle along a minor valley his horse suddenly shied. Looking round to see what had caused the problem, Hertzke saw what at first looked like a crashed aircraft. Hertzke rode up to investigate.

The object turned out to be a silver-grey craft about 16 feet long and 12 feet across. The sides had flanges or small wings shaped like those of a stooping bird of prey. On top of the front of the craft was a dome made of glass or some transparent material. There did not seem to be any obvious joins between the dome and the craft, nor were there any panel edges or any markings on the object itself. The craft seemed to have a single seamless skin of material. Inside the dome were two seats, each big enough to hold a child. There was a door about three feet tall set into one side of the craft. It was slightly open as if the two crew members had just popped out for some reason and would soon return. The craft was making a faint humming sound.

Hertzke was by now intrigued. He had a good look around the area for the crew, but could find nobody so he returned to the craft and began to study it more closely. In front of the seats was a flat screen about 14 inches across, though nothing was displayed on it. Along the top of the screen was a row of five dials with markings on them which did not look like any sort of writing with which Hertzke was familiar. Below the screen were more dials and some switches or knobs. Behind the seats was a wall with a closed door in it. Beside the door were what might have been lights. Hertzke looked to see if there were any jet exhausts or rocket outlets, but there were no holes or apertures other than the door.

At this point, Hertzke became suddenly unnerved as if he were being watched. “I was scared,” he later reported. “I figured that if I didn’t bother them, they wouldn’t bother me”. So he left the craft and drove the cattle down the trail. When he got home a few days later it was to learn that sightings of an orange-coloured UFO had been made nearby a day or two before his encounter.

From ALIEN ENCOUNTERS by Rupert Matthews - Kindle edition available

Monday, 9 January 2012

Why the USA Air Force set up Project Sign to investigate UFOs

When Kenneth Arnold reported his flying saucer sighting in the summer of 1947 he went to see the FBI because he was concerned that the objects might be some type of secret weapon being tested by a foreign power, specifically the USSR. It was this worry that prompted the USAF to set up Project Sign to investigate the flying saucers.

Sign was prompted into being because of a letter sent by Lieutenant General Nathan F. Twining, commander of the Air Materiel Command to the head of the USAF, Brigadier General George Shulgen. The letter summarised the short initial investigation undertaken by Twining on the instructions of Shulgen.

Twining’s letter briefly reviewed the sightings known to that date and gave an estimate of the size and capabilities of the aircraft being seen - the assumption at this point was still that flying saucers were aircraft. It then stated that “The phenomenon reported is something real, not visionary or fictitious.” Although it accepted that “some of the incidents may be caused by natural phenomena, such as meteors” it concluded that “There are objects approximating the shape of a disc and of such appreciable size as to appear to be as large as man made aircraft”, while cautioning that a lack of any hard evidence - such as a retrieved crash - meant that there was nothing to “undeniably prove the existence of these objects”.

The letter put forward two possible origins for the saucers. First was “The possibility that these objects are of domestic origin - the product of some high security project not know to this Command.” In other words that some private business or government agency within the USA had secretly produced aircraft of the size, shape and abilities of the flying saucers. Second was “The possibility that some foreign nation has a form of propulsion, possibly nuclear, which is outside of our domestic knowledge.”

The report went on to make a number of recommendations. One was for the USAF high command to make enquiries that would rule out an origin for the saucers within the USA. If that could be dismissed, then the letter suggested that the USAF should “issue a directive assigning a priority, security classification and code name for a detailed study of this matter”.

The USAF did as Twining suggested. Having ruled out a US origin for the saucers, it set up Project Sign on 30 December 1947. The investigatory team was based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and was given authority to use members of the Air Technical Intelligence Centre (ATIC), which was also based at Wright-Patterson.

from UFOs by Rupert Matthews

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Why Roswell was so important to the US Military in 1947

The presence of the large air base near Roswell is important as there were two events unfolding in the background that would have been known to all residents of Roswell and may well have affected their reactions to what happened.

The first of these was the international situation. World War II was over, but tensions with Communist Russia were rising fast. Today we know that these tensions led to four decades of Cold War between the USA and Soviet Russia. We know that several small scale wars were fought in Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere that had as much to do with the superpower Cold War as with local antagonisms.

In 1947 nobody knew this. They did know that Soviet Russia was a hostile power of growing might and impressive military abilities. It seemed likely then that the USA and Russia might face each other in open warfare within a year or two. The most likely flashpoint would be in Europe, then recovering from having a savage war fought across it. Soviet tanks might roll into western Germany and France, with the USA and its allies responding in kind.

Soviet spies were known to be active in the USA. How many there were and how widespread their activities might be was unclear. They might well have been active around any military base. But the USAAF base at Roswell was no ordinary base. It was a very special and secretive place indeed. It is not generally recognised today just how special Roswell Army Air Force (RAAF) base was in the summer of 1947, but everyone living in Roswell would have known.

Stationed at RAAF was the 509th Bomber Group of the 8th USAAF. This was the only unit in the entire world that was trained, equipped and ready to deliver atomic bombs. This was only 2 years after the world’s first atomic bombs had been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The awesome power of the weapon was still new and deeply terrifying. And the bombs were almost unbelievably secret. Only the USA had atomic bombs, which gave them a huge military advantage over every other state on Earth.

The citizens of Roswell were fully aware that they had the 509th based barely a ten minute drive outside of their town. They knew that the 509th was the atomic bomb group. Even though they did not know the details of how many aircraft or atomic bombs were kept on site, the civilians of the area did know and understand the sensitivity of the base. They knew also that it was their patriotic duty to protect the air base and its secrets.