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.


Magical Roslyn and a Ciabatta

The audience rowdiness was followed by much-needed lunch break, during which I discovered that AP fans, like spirit fans, enjoy awful food.  I escaped and found an excellent bakery nearby, where I had tasty cheese and fresh salad on herb ciabatta.  This was cheaper than the fast food gunk available in the conference.  I sat on a bench in the sunshine and ate it slowly, before plunging back into the busy theatre. 

After the break, we were treated to fascinating stories from someone with unusual beliefs about Roslyn Chapel.  The name of Roslyn is well known to anyone fond of weird stuff.  It contains intricate symbols and it has been in some stories, most recently ‘The Da Vinci Code’.  I was riveted.  A myth was growing before my eyes.  ‘Where’s that, then?’ asked the chap in the next seat.  ‘Never heard of it.’  The speaker told us that he had found, hidden in the chapel, a portal to another place, and he indicated his intention of passing through as soon as he could find how.  Some of us wished him god speed.  I have a mind so open you could run a motorway through it, but some theories go just one step too far.  Some go several steps to far, and this one was probably the champion stepper in the whole team of far steppers. 

The next day, I looked at the Roslyn Chapel website.  There was no mention of a mysterious portal.  That is a shame, really, as it could add such extra zest to the life of a parish:

Thursday night: the choir by candlelight, and Mrs Uglyhat will lead us in humming the magic chord to open the portal.
Friday afternoon: join us as we distribute fruit scones to our friends in the next dimension.
Saturday: bring and buy sale – with a new design of peg baskets from beyond the portal.

The last speaker at the conference was my favourite.  A complete contrast to Mr Portal, he was scholarly and meticulous.  The gist of his presentation was that paranormal phenomena are extremely common, but quite harmless and probably not very significant.  I suspect that he was speaking the truth which others fear.  If he had more showbiz, and access to a larger audience, imagine the damage he could wreak on the lucrative Spirit Fan market.  All over the country, punters are splashing out on investigations and equipment.  Countless TV shows are broadcast.  Mediums have huge followings.  There are magazines, books, DVDs and CDs on sale.  A few words in the right places from Mr Final Speaker and the whole food web could collapse. 

Perhaps, somewhere, there is a Godfather of the Paranormal, whose spies have warned him of the danger.  Maybe, they have infiltrated Mr FS’s workplace.  Maybe they have been secretly lacing his tea with a special drug which robs a person of the power to gain attention.  ‘Aha!’ cackles the Godfather in his secret lair, ‘The punters are mine, all mine!’  Perhaps a special ingredient in herb ciabatta enables the consumer to pay attention when interesting ideas are hidden in dull places.

That is the only explanation I have. 

The end of that conference was the end of the summer.  Time to go home, pack away the tent, move into Autumn mode… Goodbye, daylight.  Goodbye, trips.  Hello, busiest time of the year.  Hello, boots.  I like the Autumn, even the murky parts.  I stride towards September with confidence, knowing I have a good stock of candles and cushions.  Wait a minute, what is this up ahead, peeking out from behind November?  It is one big scary thought: it is the end of this journey.

I promised myself a year of exploration, and that year will soon be over.  I need to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion, but I am faced with an untidy mess of half completed threads.  Some ideas are just taking a long time to work themselves through.  Others are languishing half forgotten in the doldrums. Autumn is time to get serious and finish the unfinished business.  I roll up my sleeves

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