The Gin­ger Po­lice­man

Fortean Times - - Letters -

On an Au­gust day in 2002, I drove up to Dod­ding­ton in the Che­viot Hills of Northum­ber­land to visit the cup-and-ring-marked rocks on Dod Law (pic­tured above). The af­ter­noon was beau­ti­ful, sunny and warm. The rocks are a mys­te­ri­ous place, and per­haps my ex­pe­ri­ence after­wards can be laid at the door of a touch of sun­stroke or the in­flu­ence of the strange lo­ca­tion. I got back to my car, which I’d parked in a lay-by just out­side Dod­ding­ton vil­lage. I opened a bot­tle of juice and ate the last of my sand­wiches. Ev­ery­thing was fine and I felt quite nor­mal, happy with my af­ter­noon’s ad­ven­ture. I saw a move­ment in the road in front of me and glanced up to see a po­lice car com­ing to­wards me. I don’t know what caused me to no­tice the last three let­ters of the regis­tra­tion plate – per­haps be­cause they spelled a word, LET or ART or some­thing – I can’t re­mem­ber. Also, the car was be­ing driven by a red-haired po­lice­man. I no­ticed that be­cause the sun brought out the colour. He drove past me.

I re­turned to my book and my pic­nic and thought noth­ing more of the in­ci­dent... un­til half a minute later, when I no­ticed move­ment in the road ahead of me again. Once more I looked up. An­other po­lice car. Weirdly, the num­ber plate – LET or ART or what­ever it had been – was the same. And, as far as I could pos­si­bly tell in the five or so sec­onds I had to ob­serve as the car went past, it was be­ing driven by the same red-headed po­lice­man.

I didn’t know how to in­ter­pret this. I didn’t know what pos­si­ble sig­nif­i­cance the dou­ble event could have, and for a few min­utes I just car­ried on read­ing, pack­ing up the re­mains of my lunch, get­ting ready to start the trip home. And then I be­gan to feel... weird. As if a shadow had fallen on the sunny af­ter­noon. The hairs on my nape stood up, and a sense of op­pres­sion took hold of me. Ap­pre­hen­sion, al­most. The best de­scrip­tion of the feel­ing I can give is this: that I’d seen some­thing I shouldn’t have, ob­served a “jump in the reel” of re­al­ity, as if a cos­mic tape some­where had hic­cupped and hitched and be­gun to play again. Sud­denly I wanted to get away from there. I had a hor­ri­ble con­vic­tion that if I didn’t put dis­tance be­tween me and the place where I’d in­ad­ver­tently wit­nessed this, some­thing would hap­pen to stop me.

I drove off as quickly as I could. I did check one thing on a map later, which was that there was no round­about or cir­cu­lar con­nect­ing road which could have brought the po­lice car round and past me twice in that short space of time. No – the road the cars had taken, and my route out, was a long straight stretch of the B6525. I don’t know what this means. All I can say is that I didn’t feel calm or safe again un­til I was well on my way home. I’ve spo­ken to a few friends about it, and they have no ideas ei­ther, ex­cept to agree that I had per­haps seen a “re­al­ity glitch”, and in­curred the wrath of whomever/what­ever is in charge of these things! Harper Fox (Ms) By email

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