I am a sceptic let’s get that quite clear, cynicism is virtually a way of life, I am the first one to look for the correct scientific explanation for reports of UFOs, ghosts, cryptids and the like.
My wife has a tendency to believe in everything until proved otherwise and we have had many loud long and interesting arguments conversations about said subjects.
So that’s us sorted, you know where we stand.
About twenty years ago my wife and I with the family dog Sally were visiting a local picnic and beauty spot known as Burbage Common and Woods only a short drive from where we live. A previously shut-off stretch of woodland had been opened and we walked down its length to a stile that led to a field.Not wishing to go further as dusk was falling we made our way back to the car park. My wife was slightly ahead as I had stopped to put Sally back on her lead when I saw something strange.
A man ran between two trees a short distance away, the trees framed him as he moved silently. He had not been there previously and he did not reappear on the other side of the ‘frame’ but it was the manner of his dress that was the most surprising. He had a pudding bowl haircut and was wearing black clothing with a square cut white collar, knowing my history as I do made me think he was dressed as a Puritan. I did not linger but carried straight on as did Sally without a murmur, my wife seeing my face asked what was wrong and I said I would tell her at the car.
Now my wife loving a mystery and possessing a reader’s ticket went to the local library the very next day and checked the Parish Records where she found an entry dating from the time of the Act of Conformity (1662), of the parish constable with his men breaking up a meeting of non-conformists and pursuing the tub man (who would stand on an upturned pail or some such to preach to his congregation) through Burbage Woods, most strange as I had no knowledge of the history of the Common.
Spooky or what?
We have been back there several times on our own and with other interested people and have seen nothing since.
Did I see the ghost of this poor preacher fleeing from the constable’s men and if so did he meet an untimely end at their hands?
Was it the recording of a dramatic event as per the Stone Tape Theory?
Was it just a magpie startled by Sally, my imagination making me see a running figure?
I remain a sceptic but accept I cannot explain the sighting or its remarkable connection to the parish records.
About the author
Born in the 1957 the year the Space Race started when the USSR launched its first satellite and growing up with astronauts and cosmonauts on the TV meant Yuri Gagarin and Gordon Cooper were familiar names to me as a child. I only really started to take notice as the Apollo programme ramped up and remember very well the tragedy of Apollo 1 (as it is now called) then poor Vladimir Komarov in Soyuz 1 and Yuri’s plane crash. Getting up early one morning I was just in time to see a grainy Neil Armstrong make one small step for mankind on black and white British television, that same television showed me Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet then Doctor Who and my personal favourite UFO with the Moonbase girls in their shiny costumes (very interesting to a growing boy!) and the joy of seeing Star Trek on our first colour set, their uniforms in their varied hues like a rainbow palette.
My earliest otherworldly memory is a picture book about mice building a rocket and travelling to the moon for green cheese! I started reading Science Fiction at a young age by way of Kemlo, Tom Swift Jr and the wonderful TV21 with its pseudo newspaper format and the later and lesser Countdown comic. The first “big” read was The Fall of the Towers by Samuel R Delaney my dad’s book and quite a weighty tome. He let me read many others after that. At school my English teacher set us reading John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids, The Chrysalids and the great-grandad of alien invasion stories HG Wells The War of the Worlds.
I was hooked, working my way through the Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Lensman series by EE Smith, anything by Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Edmund Cooper, John Wyndham, Ray Bradbury et al. I read everything of worth and many not so worthy, I wanted to write and I wanted to write what I loved most, Science Fiction! My poor English teacher had several large essays thrust upon him about a secret organisation battling aliens (sorry UFO) and robots that looked like humans and a story about a policeman on an island on a colonised planet with his girlfriend playing the damsel in distress (I might re-use that one) and he patiently read them then gave me criticism, some good!
I made plots and plans drew characters and vehicles but somehow never wrote much down, then the family moved from Grimsby to Leicester and I started an apprenticeship enjoyed a social life and eventually met a wonderful beautiful girl (who would put up with me!). We married had children and I later found myself sharing books with my eldest son in an echo from the past, I had tinkered with writing but still no book emerged, then a year or so ago…
Six months from sixty and the urge to write returned as an old plot from my teenage years re-emerged, the hero remained the same but a minor almost background character pushed her way forward to become the heroine and the original ending is now the beginning. McGuffins and contrivances have moved with the times and with the first book written, the sequel done and being finished off, a third ready for reworking and the bones of the fourth and final of the cycle in existence I am ready to reveal it.
It has been a long journey (and my wife is still putting up with me!) now the struggle to get it published begins…
Are there any publishers out there looking for a new old talent?
Find and follow Kyt
If you have had a strange experience or encounter that you would like to share, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org (or my usual email if you already have it) and we can discuss a guest post.
I am not looking for sensationalism or fictional tales… but in light of the response to some recent posts, I think it would be both useful and reassuring to others to realise that none of us are alone in these strange encounters and experiences and perhaps we can open discussion on what they may be or may mean.
If you would like to share your story but prefer to remain anonymous, we can discuss that too. If you would like to share your beliefs and opinions on the nature of these experiences, I would be happy to talk about a guest post. Through sharing with respect we may learn to understand our world and each other a little better.
You can find previously published encounters with elusive realities here