The Shared Diary of a Novice Paranormal Investigator, aged 52 and Three Quar

When you believe in things you don’t understand, then you suffer.

(Stevie Wonder)

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamed of in your philosophy.


Ri fol ri fol tol de riddle dee.


It's fun to be 50 (and some...)

I have been exploring magazines.  Apart from tedious professional periodicals, which I hide for two months before reading, I almost never buy magazines, so I had never scanned the shelves before.  I found several magazines with a paranormal theme, and I bought two.  The first read more like one of the less inspiring women’s magazines.  ‘Craft your own angel!’ ‘My son plays in a vortex!’  ‘Recipes!’  The second was different.  Within a couple of pages, I was hooked.  I felt it must have been written especially for my needs.  I was fascinated.  Satisfyingly thick and glossy, it contained a mix of news, reviews and speculation about anything and everything that does not quite fit into the empirical world.  The whole family devoured it, including the adverts.  I had to queue for two days before I could grab it back.  By the time I had finished it all, the next edition had appeared and I had to buy that as well.

One article could not have appeared at a more appropriate moment.  It was a tribute to the thinker and writer John Mitchell.  When I read the article, I realised that I had read his most famous book some years ago.  Reading the article returned me to some of the preoccupations of my younger self.  Perhaps this is what we are like in our 50s.  We return to things abandoned in our busier or more conformist years; we dust them down, give them a shake and check if there is any wear left in them.  LSS has for the last couple of years been surrounding himself with large and complicated pieces of photographic equipment.  As a boy, he learned photography from his Father, but for nearly thirty years he hardly took a holiday snap. Now he is revealed as a talented artist, and he is enjoying a fulfilling obsession.  Being suddenly in possession of leisure hours and disposable income, at 50 we can confidently declare that we intend to dress as chickens, skip backwards around the market or make a model brontosaurus out of hummus without a care for consequences, including the inevitable sarcasm from our loved ones.  The happy half century effect was what began my paranormal adventure.

Mitchell’s famous ‘The View Over Atlantis’, dealt with prehistoric engineering and earth mysteries; just the territory I have been approaching.  While reading the article, which included photos of the book covers, I remembered my copy.  I searched the house for it.  Now, I am covetous around books.  It is unseemly, the way I hoard them.  I declutter cupboards and wardrobes with Stalinesque brutality, but the bookshelves are allowed to harbour useless and damaged drivel for decades.  I even held on to the Byron for twenty years, and the only thing I liked about him was his shirt.  I keep the soggy ones, which have fallen in the bath, the ones with marmalade stains, the boring ones I should never have bought.  There are volumes soaked in spotty teenage angst from my tender years, and there are tatty beloved oldies, re-read each year or two.  I force myself to undertake a minor cull each decade, or we would have to move house.  My copy of the Mitchell, it seems, fell foul of one such cull. I was cross with myself for not remembering Mitchell.  I guessed I had a secret snobbery lurking beneath the surface – I would never have forgotten his name if he had written Literature.  Did I remove him because he was too wacky for my sensible business years?  Had I decided to purge what I felt to be disreputable?  I think so.  Without doubt, a lot of the mental baggage I have been unpacking in this diary must have been put there by Mitchell during my impressionable years; the last time I had this quality of personal time and head space.  I am detecting the sources of my half formed beliefs!

From Mitchell, I had learned to expect an explanation combining the intellectual, the spiritual and the practical for the sensations we sometimes experience in certain outdoor places.  I had absorbed, and I retained, all these years, a sketchy gist which goes as follows: some kind of design went into ancient monuments, which meant that some kind of power could be generated, and it was all connected to things arranged in straight lines across the landscape.  I seem to remember that the sums got a bit hard beyond that. 
I had expected stories like this to be part of the territory of the local paranormal groups, and I had been disappointed. 

Through reading Brill Mag, however, I discovered that there are also other groups to be explored, with much wider fields of interest, and they do not seem to work with mediums at all.  They are keen on UFOs and all kinds of things I have not even thought of yet!  Crypto zoology!  Crop circles!  They have conferences all over the place!  Here we go again.

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