Monday 25 October 2010

River Ghost

I’ve always promised you, my HPANWO-readers, that I’d let you know if I spotted anything or experienced anything that was in any way strange or inexplicable. Here are a few examples of my past encounters with the outlandish and otherworldly: and: and: .

This new experience is perhaps not as significant as previous ones. To be honest I can’t be sure that it wasn’t just my eyes playing tricks on me; however I promised I’d report it and report it I shall. Despite the tenuous nature of the event it does bear a striking resemblance to phenomena reported by other researchers which I will detail in due course. It took place last Friday at about 11.30 PM next to the River Isis (Thames) in Oxford. I was walking along the towpath downstream from Folly Bridge in the city centre to Donnington Bridge which is near my home in South Oxford. It happened as I was just passing the University boat sheds which lie on an island at the confluence between the Rivers Cherwell and Isis. During the day this area is a hive of activity; boat crews are constantly launching, mooring and rowing back and forth in their fast racing boats, but at this time of night the place was still and deserted. I was the only person in the area. It was also very dark; I’d even covered one of my eyes for a few minutes before leaving the well-lit street for the riverbank to get my sight adjusted to the darkness. I then saw a strange thing ahead of me on the towpath that made me pull up short. It was a flat blank and homogenous shape without detail, pretty indistinguishable from the blackness of the night around it. It was the shape and size of a man, but it was just an outline of white light, like a chalk sketch in the air. I was thinking of trying to draw it on black paper, but there’s not much point because I’m not a good enough artist and can’t afford to commission Neil Hague! The white outline glinted and rippled slightly like a ribbon or bunting. It actually resembled the outline of The Saint in the TV series, except this was not a stick-figure, but solid. It was about 50 yards ahead of me standing totally still on the towpath. I blinked a couple of times, but it was still there. Unlike my previous encounters with spectral figures I felt a bit frightened and “spooked”. I was suddenly aware that I was in quite vulnerable position, alone and far built-up areas, and I wasn’t sure what this entity was. Was it friendly or hostile? Could it harm me? For a few seconds I stared at this object; unlike with my previous encounters on the train and my bedroom I didn’t get the sense that this entity was aware of me. Then suddenly it began to move. It ran off away from me downstream along the towpath. It accelerated and moved far faster than any human can run. In a few seconds it was out of sight. I stood still for a few minutes gathering my senses; my heart was pounding and I was panting with shock. I almost turned round and ran back to Folly Bridge which was still just in sight. Then I decided to carry on towards my destination. It was in the same direction that the figure had travelled, but I was still had enough curiosity mixed with my fear to kind-of hope that I’d see it again. When I got to Donnington Bridge I called Ustane and told her what had happened.

What has struck me most about this incident was its similarity to the CFZ’s encounter at Bolam Lake, Northumbria in 2003. See: . Here I quote: “Jon again heard the raucous noise of the rooks that he had reported, just before dawn. Suddenly, once again, they fell silent and one of the Twilight Worlds (A TV film crew) members shouted that she could hear something large moving around amongst the undergrowth. Jon ordered all of the car drivers present to switch on their headlights and to put them on to full beam. He did not here any noise in the undergrowth although other people present did. Eight people were watching the woods and five of them, including Jon saw an enormous man shaped object run from right to left, disappear, and then a few moments later run back again.” (“Jon” is the CFZ director Jonathan Downes. see links column). It’s interesting how some of the members of the investigation team also felt “a sensation of intense fear” like I did. Could these two phenomena be related? What was it? Not a Bigfoot-type “Big-Hairy Man” creature. These BHM’s are not only seen in remote places like the Himalayas or Rocky Mountains and are often reported from built-up area where a physical flesh-and-blood creature could not possibly hide. In his autobiography Monster Hunter, Downes describes the Bolam Lake apparition in more detail; he says that it was not a solid object at all, but a flat shape, like a cut-out in the air and it moved with a speed and agility that no living creature could. The fact that they’re related to spectral apparitions means that they, some of them at least, are probably more like what Downes calls “Zooform phenomena” than true cryptids. Another interesting idea is whether the location was important. In indigenous mythology river confluences are very powerful energetic points which thin the veil between our reality and others.

Unfortunately, unlike the Bolam Lake expedition, I didn’t have a TV crew and lots of independent witnesses with me confirm what I saw. In future I might walk along the roads to get home from town at night!

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Alex Robinson said...

Fascinating Ben & very, very strange. Thanks for the telling of it.

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

You're welcome. Thanks, Alex.

Cabal said...

I ain't got any simillar experience to share, yet. Thus I believe in animism - that every living creature has it's "spirit", unique one. And that world of nature is lesser known to human mind that we suspect... It's bit exaggerated hypothesis, but I can bet that about 90% of people living in Oxford would hesitate (read - shit their pants with fear :) from spending even one night in Shotover Wildlife Park. Or near this river. I strolled past this bridge many evenings, while living near Abingdon Road. And past fields and moors near Four Pillars Hotel. Very often I could sense some unidentified power, occupying these grounds. Even next to bright-lighted street, with dozens of cars passing by every hour. Now, imagine yourself living in less civilized country, where "village" is quite severe VILLAGE, with last coach departing around 3pm in the afternoon. And some areas near forest cut out of electricity. I used to live in one of them as a child. Then, I couldn't name many of feelings and strange sights I had there. But yet, these places reappear in my dreams, sometimes. I guess that people in Alaska, Syberia or Aborigens/ native tribes in Africa have more examples of that contacts, yet probably aren't amazed by them - it's their tradition and heritage, after all. Called "folklore" ;). As for Oxfordians... last night (around midnight) I walked on nearest cemetery (opposite White Hart pub), into Cuckoo Lane, The Croft, Bury Knowle Park... No living (or dead) soul in sight. Despite Halloween, all souls sitting by tellys and preparing for next working week. Talking about ancient Celtic traditions, Samhain, heritage... Sad.
PS: Please visit my blog and check pictures in my yesterday's post - I wonder if you'll have deja vu feeling attached to them ;)



Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Hi Jacob. Thanks for that observation. You've identified an important effect that "civilization" has had on the human world. For we modern British city-dwellers the world "folklore" simply means very old and amusing stories. We don't really see it as much different from the paperbacks by Tom Clacy of Dorothy L Sayers that we pisk up in Blackwell's for £11.99. But Folklore is very different. Some of it has been proved mtrue by archseological evidence and often people will encounter folklore-ish characters without being aware of the story behind them.

This world is far more than its physical body and sensorary appearence. It is a crossroads between many streams of unseen and unknown forces and intelligences. Sometimes certain people in certain places can glimpse through this "veil". We see images and shadows of objects that simply do not exist in our own universe. Whatever this thing was that I saw, it might have seen me too. I wonder what I looked like to it. Did I appear to it as a thin white outline too? P&D. Ben

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