amazing tale from the West Country, told to us at yet another of our famous
soirées! (As I have mentioned before, the food and wine at our gatherings
are legendary! Both are guaranteed to jolt the memory and loosen the tongue:
on this occasion we dined upon char-grilled Salmon and some fine
Blanc de noir!)
At the point when we had finished the tarte aux pommes (which,
needless to say, was as well received as the main course) one of our guests
leaned back in his chair and, looking up at the ceiling, began to speak:
" Would you be interested
in a tale for your
collection? It is completely true: my wife here can
vouch for that, since
she shared the experience!"
we answered in the affirmative! Not the least since our companion
and his wife are, like so many of our friends, both of the pragmatic
humanist persuasion: Richard (for that is his name) is a professional
scientist, while Brenda, his then partner, was one of that
truly unhappy band: a sociologist!
Richard began his tale: in many ways it bears a striking resemblance
to an experience I have recounted elsewhere!
In the early 1970's, R & B were invited to join another couple
for a few day's break in the small village of St Teath, near the
North Coast of Cornwall. Their temporary residence was an ancient,
yet charming cottage on the outskirts of the village, which belonged
to an elderly uncle of their friend Alan.
One evening the four young professionals enjoyed a pleasant meal
in a hostelry in the village: upon emerging they found the weather
had deteriorated, and they were constrained to walk back to their
cottage beneath a windy, overcast sky that seemed to hold the promise
of a violent storm.
Their walk took them through the village graveyard: the gathering
shadows and threatening sky did nothing to encourage them to loiter,
and soon the cottage door was safely bolted against the gathering
Following a final cognac, goodnights were said and sanctuary was
sought in the arms of Morpheus…..
Suddenly, after perhaps an hour, Richard was rudely awakened by
a terrible keening and moaning that seemed to be coming from Alan
and Alison's room....
rushed across the narrow hallway and into their friend Alan's room:
as they ran, they could hear Alison crying for help, her voice distorted
The sight that met their eyes turned Richard and Bren cold with
fear: Alan was sitting bolt upright in his bed, his eyes wide open
and staring, his body shaking uncontrollably. Richard seized
his friend's shoulders and shook him roughly, all the while calling
After some minutes, a glimmer of recognition returned to the
face of the young man on the bed: even so, he was barely conscious
of his surroundings, and it was a considerable time before he could
articulate answers to the earnest enquiries of his three companions.
Finally he told his tale: and a real chiller it proved to be!
Some time after midnight, Alan had found himself standing in a trance-like
state in his bedroom: he became aware that 'something', some inner
voice or compulsion, was drawing him back to the graveyard……
should be stressed at this point that Alan had never in his life
sleep-walked or suffered from delusions: moreover, none of the young
people had drunk more than a couple of glasses of wine, neither
were any of them drug habitués !)
Of his subsequent visit to the graveyard, Alan, mercifully, had
no memory: his feet and hands were, perhaps significantly, black
with grave-dirt……He returned to the cottage as he had left it: in
a trance and under some form of compulsion.
During the rest of the night Alan would suddenly and violently
revert to terrifying episodes of jerking, spasm and blood-curdling
Suddenly everyone became aware of a presence in the room: Alan once
again sat bolt upright….his normally mellifluous voice became guttural
and harsh and he began to shout in a strange incomprehensible tongue.
This, by far the most violent spell, lasted over an hour, before
Alan slumped back onto his pillow….
Gradually, however, the paroxysms became briefer and less intense,
and some time around dawn, he finally fell into a deep and replenishing
Perhaps I have no need to tell you the denouement:-
the four youngsters curtailed their holiday in the West Country
and returned thankfully to the more predictable nocturnal entertainments
of metropolitan Essex!
Recently my wife Linda was
experiencing problems with her PC. Since (like me!) she runs a thriving
e-business from her home office, she was desperate to restore the system
and get online again.....
Unfortunately the error message she received passed across the monitor-screen
too rapidly to be read. What to do? Half jokingly, I suggested taking
a photograph so she could read the message at her leisure. Fitting the
deed to the word, Linda picked up her digital camera and took this picture:-
As can readily be seen, several glowing 'orbs' are visible, while closer
scrutiny reveals several faces apparently clamouring for attention!
Linda naturally enough immediately took a number of further pictures, but
these were 'normal' in every way! If you have a digi-cam, it could be an
experiment you might like to try!