Tuesday, 31 July 2012

A phantom monk in Hereford

A phantom monk has been seen often at St Peter’s Church in Hereford. This figure is tall and wears a long cloak that reaches to the floor and rises up to form a hood that hides the phantom’s face. The ghost is seen most often in December. In 1926 a pair of policeman spotted a hooded figure walking up to the door of the church, and then vanishing into thin air. Thinking that the figure was some miscreant hiding from them, the policemen searched the area thoroughly and only then accepted that they had seen the ghost.

There are two stories to explain this ghostly monk. The first is that he was a monk cut down at the altar of the church by marauding Welshmen on one of their periodic raids into England. Alternatively he is thought to be the ghost of Sir Walter de Lacy. It was de Lacy who built the church for the use of the monks back in the 13th century. de Lacy always intended that he would retire to become a monk when he reached old age, but he never lived long enough. One December he was visiting St Peter’s to confer with the abbot when he met with a tragic accident. The two men had gone up the tower so that the abbot could point out some features of the city to de Lacy, when the knight slipped on a patch of ice and fell to his death. It is said that the ghost is the shade of de Lacy returning to walk about the church in death as the monk that he never became in life.

On balance the story about de Lacy is probably to be preferred, if for no other reason than that the story of a monk killed by the Welsh is repeated in rather more detail about the ghostly monk at the cathedral.

from HAUNTED HEREFORDSHIRE by Rupert Matthews
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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Civil War Ghosts in Gloucestershire

The marshes at Aust with the Severn Bridge beyond
Distinctly unlucky were the two gentlemen sent by King Charles to cross the Severn to make contact with supporters in South Wales. With a Parliamentarian army under General Massey holding Gloucester, the bridge there was unavailable so the men used the ferry downstream at Aust. Unknown to them, however, the ferryman was a staunch supporter of Parliament. On the return trip, the ferryman landed the cavaliers on what appeared to be the muddy foreshore, but was in fact an isolated sandbank. When the notoriously fast tide came running in up the Severn, the two hapless messengers were cut off and drowned. Their sad spectres wander the muddy foreshore to this day, perhaps seeking the way through the treacherous reedbeds, swamps and marsh to the dry land. These days, of course, Aust foreshore is dominated by the soaring heights of the Severn Bridge, carrying the motorway between England and Wales, so the ferry is no more. Though the ghosts remain.

from HAUNTED GLOUCESTERSHIRE by Rupert Matthews.
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Saturday, 14 July 2012

Mysterious places - Stonehenge pt1

The towering, mysterious circle of rocks that rises out of Salisbury Plain has inspired awe in millions of people over the ages. But the reason for its existence baffles archaeologists to this day. Various theories suggest a ritual site, an astronomical observatory, or a focus for some mystical form of ‘earth energy’.

Rocky Evolution

In piecing together the complex Stonehenge jigsaw, we can at least be confident of some basic facts. Using radiocarbon measurements, scientists have dated the earliest work on Salisbury Plain to around 3,100BC. At this time the site was far more primitive, comprising a circular 97.5m diameter ditch, a single entrance and a central wooden ‘temple’ or sanctuary. Around the edge of the ditch were fifty-six holes, each containing cremated human remains. On the summer and winter solstices the whole structure aligned with rising and setting points of the moon.

By 2,500BC, the wooden sanctuary had been replaced with two circles of the  famous bluestones that had been transported 390km from the Preseli mountains of south-west Wales. An entrance avenue of parallel ditches which aligned to the midsummer sunrise was added, together with outlying single megaliths such as the Heel Stone, Slaughter Stone and Station Stones. However, the bluestones were pulled down within a century and recycled for a new design.

The new Stonehenge had a very different emphasis. At its centre was the Altar Stone (now fallen), a large sandstone shipped from the Cleddau Estuary in Pembrokeshire. Over the next 500 years, some of the re-used bluestones were raised around it in a horseshoe shape. Beyond these were placed five massive sarsen trilithons (two uprights bearing a horizontal), a ring of bluestone pillars and an outer ring of sarsen uprights linked by lintels. The bus-sized sarsen blocks are by far Stonehenge’s largest, typically weighing 30 tons and at least one as much as 50 tons. Most are thought to have been transported from the chalklands of Marlborough Downs, some 32km west.

from The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal by Rupert Matthews.
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Thursday, 12 July 2012

Why has nobody found a Sasquatch body?

The one thing that all sceptics and scientists say would convince them that the Sasquatch actually exists is a dead body – or at least a significant part of one such as a skull or several bones. Before moving on to look at the evidence that does exist, it would be worth spending a bit of time looking at the evidence that does not exist. Why is there no Sasquatch body?

One explanation that all researchers have to face is that no Sasquatch bodies have ever been found is because there is no such thing as a Sasquatch. This would be a perfectly logical and rational explanation as to why no bodies have ever been found. But it would be false logic to argue back the other way and state that because no bodies have been found it can only be that there are no Sasquatch. There are other possible explanations as well.

Assuming that the Sasquatch exists as a real animal, individuals must die from time to time and leave their bodies. However, we know that the Sasquatch is a relatively intelligent creature – certainly it has the edge in brain power over other large North American wildlife such as cougar or bear. It may prove to be more intelligent than the gorilla and other large apes. Some researchers believe that it is but as yet this is uncertain. It is not impossible that the Sasquatch do not much care for the thought of the dead body of a family member being devoured by wolves or cougar and so take steps to hide the body from such scavengers. Perhaps they bury the body, perhaps they hide it. Either way the body would not only be hidden from wolves, but also from humans.

If this sounds a bit far fetched, it is worth bearing in mind that archaeological evidence shows that respect for the dead began very early in human evolution. The neanderthals certainly buried their dead, and there is some evidence that the much more primitive Homo erectus might have respected their dead.

An alternative explanation that would also see the dead bodies being deliberately hidden takes it that the Sasquatch would seek shelter when it felt ill. Thus, a sick or injured Sasquatch would crawl off into a dense patch of undergrowth to be safe from cougar or wolves. If that Sasquatch were to die rather than recover, its body would be left lying in a place where humans would be unlikely to find it.

Sasquatch: True-Life Encounters with Legendary Ape-Men by Rupert Matthews. 

Monday, 9 July 2012

Gibbering Aliens

 William Blackburn of Brand’s Flat in Virginia, USA, was chopping timber with a large axe in the grounds of the Augusta Country Archery Club when he saw two flying objects circling overhead. The objects seemed to be round and slightly flattened.

As Blackburn watched, one of the objects came down to land a few yards away from him. A door opened and out stepped three small humanoids. Each figure was about three feet tall and all were dressed in one-piece suits of a shiny metallic substance. Blackburn noticed that there was one finger very much longer than the others on each hand. Then he was struck by the creatures eyes, which were intensely bright and penetrating.

One of the beings walked over toward Blackburn and began talking to him with some strange, gibbering sounds that Blackburn found utterly unintelligible. After apparently realising that he could not be understood, the alien turned away and walked back to his fellows. All three spoke rapidly to each other before climbing back into their craft and flying off.

from Alien Encounters by Rupert Matthews.
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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Grey Aliens

The creatures that carry out abductions are generally of the type now known as Greys. They are short and have abnormally large heads. Unlike the humanoids that emerge from landed UFOs, however, they do not generally wear clothes nor are they interested in plants and animals. They most certainly do not flee when humans are observed. Instead these creatures seem obsessed with humans, and in particular with their physiology and reproductive systems. They carry out medical examinations and procedures that are often extremely painful, but of uncertain purpose. These creatures seem to treat humans with total indifference, much as a human scientists might treat a laboratory rat.

In a very few instances, these Greys communicate with their victims, usually by telepathy. They indicate that they are from another star system, though how much trust should be put in communications from such a source is uncertain. Abductions are sometimes, but not always, linked to sightings of a UFO.

The Greys seem to be conducting research and experimentation on humans. This appears to be focussed on breeding and, at least according to some witnesses, involves producing human-alien hybrids. Some researchers note that the Greys routinely try to wipe the memories of their victims and conclude that the aliens want to carry out their experiments in secret. A few researchers treat the abduction experience with caution, pointing out that some features of it have much in common with dreams and the human unconscious.

from UFOs by Rupert Matthews
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Sunday, 1 July 2012

The reason for high security at Roswell in 1947

If the presence of the world’s only operational atomic bomber base at Roswell were not enough to make the authorities jumpy about any strange events at the town, there was another top secret facility in the area. Several miles to the east was the White Sands base. Although named after the spectacular, pure white sand dunes that were something of a tourist attraction, the base covered a vast area of desert and arid scrubland that was of little use to the local ranchers. It was here that the USAAF was testing rockets.

Like the atomic bomb, the rocket was in 1947 a new and terrifying weapon. It had first entered combat in the summer of 1944 when the Germans had launched hundreds of V2 rockets against London and adjacent areas of England. These rockets flew at supersonic speed, following a parabolic path high into the atmosphere. They could deliver a powerful charge of explosives on to their intended target. They could not be intercepted by fighters, nor could they be shot down by anti-aircraft guns. There was no defence against a rocket. Fortunately for the Londoners in 1944, the German rockets were unreliable, being prone to go off course in mid-flight or to blow themselves apart.

In 1945 the Americans had captured not only the German cache of unfired rockets, but also their chief designer Werner von Braun. Von Braun was now at work with a team of American engineers seeking ways to build bigger and better rockets that would be both more reliable and more accurate. These weapons were tested on the firing range of White Sands amid conditions of great secrecy.

Nor was that all. Not far away was Los Alamos, the vast engineering facility that had been responsible for producing the first atomic bombs. The test bomb had been detonated here early in 1945. In 1947 it was still operational as the scientists toiled to create better and more reliable atomic and hydrogen bombs.

All in all, this area of New Mexico was of enormous military significance. The civilians of the area may have had only the haziest idea of what was going on behind the locked gates and guarded miles of fences, but they did know that it was of great importance to their nation.

from ROSWELL by Rupert Matthews
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