A backwards glimpse in time?

Some dear friends of mine have long been very keen to buy a property in the Woodbridge area - they are fascinated by the events of December 1980 and visit Rendlesham Forest half a dozen times a year, despite it being a three-hour drive from their Sussex home.
In July, 2011, they finally bought a very plush mobile home on a gated site (where a number of celebrities have retreats!) on a beautiful slope overlooking the River Orwell.

During the weekend they found their holiday home, they explored Rendlesham Forest several times, particularly the region between the famous East Gate and a Bronze Age Tumulus to the south. As they walked along the path, they came across a '...beautiful, quaint cottage, set back from the path in a well-kept garden' (my friend's words!) They spent a while looking at it, discussing how ideal it would be to buy as their holiday home, before continuing along the path. Since my chums know the forest extremely well, they remarked to each other that it was strange they hadn't come across the cottage on previous visits... That night, on returning home, they phoned me for a chat and spoke at length about the cottage. We were invited to the grand opening of their new place in August and took the opportunity to visit the forest: they were keen to show me the cottage and I was keen to visit the Tumulus, which I find to be a fascinating place.

As we approached the location my friend remembered, he called out landmarks: finally he said 'It's here, round this corner...' and then stopped in his tracks. He literally went white! Instead of the 'delapidated cottage' there stood a fairly ordinary pair of 1930s houses with a 'For Sale' sign. Recovering his composure, my friend ran further along the path, calling out 'I remember these gates! This intersection was where we stood!' etc etc. Eventually he calmed down enough to give more details: apparently the 'footprint' of the cottage he'd seen was at right angles to that of the more modern building in front of us: its front wall was parallel to the trackway, not at ninety degrees as were the pair of semi-detacheds.

Had my friends glimpsed a former property, long-since demolished? I have no idea, but I do definitely know that my big, tough friend was VERY shaken by the experience!