Fortean Times - - Blasts From The Past -

1 From www.ha­gley­ The first Lord Lyt­tle­ton was a poet who was sec­re­tary to Fred­er­ick, Prince of Wales, and briefly held the of­fice of Chan­cel­lor of the Ex­che­quer. Ad­vised by his friend Ho­race Walpole, Lyt­tle­ton’s de­signs were drawn up by lo­cal ar­chi­tect San­der­son Miller of Rad­way in War­wick­shire. The tem­ple is a replica of the 7th-cen­tury Tem­ple of Hephæs­tus, the God of Ma­sonry, in Athens.

2 In 1994, for lo­cal TV news item Crimestalker, Bob Farmer and Bob Hart re­turned to the woods to re­call that day. Farmer said he had re­cov­ered the skull from the tree with a stick, which he claimed had pushed in the ma­te­rial that the pathol­o­gist said caused Bella’s death. Farmer’s story has changed over time, as has the lo­ca­tion in the filmed re­con­struc­tion, which was clearly not the orig­i­nal tree. ( Crimestalker Case Book 14 Sep 1994, Cen­tral Broad­cast­ing Birm­ing­ham)

3 The Home Of­fice Foren­sic Sci­ence Lab­o­ra­tory had been set up at Birm­ing­ham Univer­sity just prior to World War II.

4 Min­utes of the No 9 Re­gional Con­fer­ence, Birm­ing­ham, 3 May 1943. Coro­ner’s Re­port, James Web­ster, Pro­fes­sor of Foren­sic Medicine and Tox­i­col­ogy, Univer­sity of Birm­ing­ham 23 April 1943

5 Po­lice Re­ports no 85, 30 April 1943. 6 Ibid.

7 Min­utes of the No 9 Re­gional Con­fer­ence, Birm­ing­ham, 3 May 1943. Coro­ner’s Re­port, James Web­ster, Pro­fes­sor of Foren­sic Medicine and Tox­i­col­ogy, Univer­sity of Birm­ing­ham, 23 April 1943

8 Birm­ing­ham Evening Dis­patch, 30 Mar 1944; Birm­ing­ham Sun­day Pic­to­rial, 2 April 1944.

9 Birm­ing­ham Gazette, 7 Aug 1944.

10 For a con­tem­po­rary as­sess­ment of Mar­garet Mur­ray’s ca­reer, see Ruth White­house’s ar­ti­cle: www. ai-jour­­ti­cles/10.5334/ ai.1608/

11 Mar­garet Mur­ray, My First Hun­dred Years (Oates & Wood, 1998; first pub­lished 1968).

12 Although ref­er­enced in all ar­ti­cles and books about the Bella case, the ac­tual source ar­ti­cle from which Prof Mur­ray’s claims were first pub­lished re­mains a mys­tery. It is usu­ally cited as be­ing pub­lished ‘in a lo­cal pa­per’ and it seems to have been con­tem­po­ra­ne­ous to the Charles Wal­ton mur­der in 1946. Dur­ing the course of re­search­ing this ar­ti­cle I con­sulted Pro­fes­sor Ronald Hut­ton, the coun­try’s lead­ing ex­pert on witch­craft, who said that de­spite his own ex­haus­tive re­search in lo­cal news­pa­per archives he has never been able to trace the ar­ti­cle.

13 A Hand of Glory is also claimed to pro­tect its owner from evil spir­its, put en­e­mies un­der an en­chant­ment and re­veal where trea­sure is hid­den. You can see an ex­am­ple of one, found in Castle­ton, North York­shire in 1935 by stone­ma­son and lo­cal his­to­rian Joseph Ford, at Whitby Mu­seum, Whitby, North York­shire, (see FT357:43).

14­cient­mys­ter­ies-ar­ti­cles/bel­la_in_the_ wych-elm/2/

15 Dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, DS Alex Spooner of War­wick­shire CID drew Fabian’s at­ten­tion to the 1929 book Folk­lore, Old Cus­toms and Su­per­sti­tions in Shake­speare­land, by J Har­vey Bloom. In it, a strik­ing pas­sage noted a Charles Wal­ton who died in 1885 – 60 years be­fore this vic­tim’s death – af­ter see­ing a ghost. The 1945 case re­mains the old­est un­solved mur­der on the War­wick­shire force’s books.

16 A H Hodges, the war­den at St Kenelm’s Church, close to the mur­der site, told Quase­tor: “I don’t think the mur­der was done in the wood. I think she was a gypsy and was tried and con­demned by her tribe for hav­ing the evil eye. I saw some real old types of gyp­sies out here about that time. They don’t ever go to the po­lice if they have trou­ble but mete out their own jus­tice.” This is not a the­ory the po­lice ever had any truck with. The ar­ti­cle ran with a pic­ture of the witch hazel, which although ter­ri­fy­ing in ap­pear­ance, is not the same one recorded in the po­lice files. “The hags of old days used the hazel twigs for di­vin­ing rods”, says the ac­com­pa­ny­ing cap­tion. Ex­press and Star, 19-20 Nov 1953.

17 State­ment of Una Mos­sop to Coven­try city po­lice.

18 Quaestor, Ex­press and Star, 16 Jan 1958.

19 Memo from Not­ting­ham CID to Worces­ter­shire con­stab­u­lary, 6 Jan 1954.

20 See David Tre­main’s Rough Jus­tice: The True Story of Agent Dronkers, The Enemy Spy Caught by the Bri­tish, (Am­ber­ley Pub­lish­ing, 2017) for more on this.

21 Bri­tish Mil­i­tary and Crim­i­nal His­tory, www.stephen-strat­ford. com/jose­f_­jakobs.htm and www. jose­f­

22 McCormick, via his al­leged in­for­mant ‘Herr Franz Rath­greb’ de­scribes Clara as a stu­dent of as­trol­ogy who had per­haps dis­ap­peared in 1941 as a re­sult of Ak­tion Hess, the purge of as­trologers and oc­cultists that was ini­ti­ated in Ger­many af­ter the cap­ture of Her­man Hess in Scot­land on 10 May 1941.

23 There is a copy of this Death Cer­tifi­cate, plus trans­la­tion, at www. jose­f­­nally-laid-to-rest.html. This po­ten­tial Bella’s death was not a pleas­ant one ei­ther.

Many thanks to Dr Mike Dash in the com­pi­la­tion of this re­search.

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