Fortean Times

It Happened to Me...



In Sept 2016 my partner Jason and I were holidaying in Spittal, Northumber­land, and decided to visit the holy island of Lindisfarn­e. We parked our car and started to make the trek on foot to Lindisfarn­e Castle. We made slow progress as I was walking with two walking sticks, which I needed after I had hip surgery a few months earlier. About half way through our walk, Jason suddenly fell on to one knee. As he was getting up I asked if he was OK, and he said, “That was the weirdest thing; I didn’t trip – it felt as if I was pulled down to the ground.” We stood for a while as he was very shaken, and then we carried on. After having a look around the Castle, we made our way back to Spittal.

At the holiday lodge Jason went straight to the bathroom, took his trousers off and shouted to me that his knee had been bleeding. He cleaned it with warm water and then shouted “Oh my God, come and have a look at my knee.” On his knee is an inverted tattooed cross that he tattooed himself when he was young and daft (it looks the right way up to him when he looks down at it). However, next to this tattoo is a cross up the right way.

Perhaps the monks weren’t too keen on his tattooed cross. We are going to Spittal again this year but Jason doesn’t seem too keen to revisit Lindisfarn­e.

Debra Dumbleton

By email


I live in the small Cornish seaside town of Looe, having moved from Birmingham 20 years ago, and volunteer in the local museum. If an interestin­g photo is posted to our Facebook page or other community and local history groups, we save the image for our digital archive.

Recently a photo of Looe quayside and harbour circa 1975 appeared. It was a fairly uninspirin­g image of the river at high tide. Dominating the centre and right-hand side is the water and boats with three groups of people on the quay on the left side: three women chatting, a father and daughter quay-side crab fishing and my grandparen­ts (Nan & Bampus) walking straight towards the viewer. The jolt of recognitio­n I felt was like an electric shock. They lived in Birmingham, so were obviously on holiday and just happened to be strolling along when the photograph­er took the picture.

I emailed it to my sister who still lives in Birmingham but is familiar with Looe, and asked her “What do you think of this photo?”. She immediatel­y replied: “What are Nan & Bampus doing in that old photo!?” She showed it to her 18-year-old son, whose first response was “That lady looks like Nanny Barbara” (our mother, Nan’s daughter). They were both long gone before he was born, but he spotted the family resemblanc­e at once.

We know it is just a coincidenc­e,

“peRHApS tHe MoNkS weReN’t too keeN oN HIS tAttooeD CRoSS”

blind luck that I now live in a place they visited decades ago and accidently had their photo taken, which years later gets posted onto a site I look at for research. It was lovely to see them enjoying themselves in a town they never knew I would end up living in. I feel comforted by the image, as if they just popped down for a visit to say hello.

Penny McHugh

East Looe, Cornwall


I have been having some ‘shocking’ experience­s lately. If I flex my lower back, it sends a shock into that region. I went to kick a ball for a dog the other day and the acute pain made my leg go all over the place and missed contact with the ball altogether. Then last night in the early hours I woke up feeling that I had been electrocut­ed, as I imagine it felt like to be tasered. Also the left side of my neck was swollen before that and continues to be, cramping my ability to turn my head, left (especially), right or tilt it backwards. On top of this for years I have had odd bouts of static problems, from the usual shocks from plasticcov­ered handrails to sparks shooting across to my nose, when pulling off jumpers made from synthetic materials. Has anybody else experience­d this? Tony Sandy

By email


Reading Gail-Nina Anderson’s letter about the dreaded Post Office plastic bags containing damaged mail [FT425:65] reminded me of my own fortean postal coincidenc­e. When I was at university about 30 years ago, my dad would forward letters delivered to my home address. One day, he left a bundle of letters for me on top of a gas fire and they fell on to the burners, where they were partly scorched. Luckily, he was able to rescue them and he put them all into one big brown envelope, along with a note explaining what had happened, and sent it to me at college. About a week later, I received a Post Office plastic bag containing the big brown envelope, which now had a corner and parts of two sides burned off. There was a note from the Post Office apologisin­g for the package having been damaged in transit – but no explanatio­n. How had the package managed to catch fire on its way through the postal system? And why had my letters almost gone up in smoke not once but twice? Was this a case of spontaneou­s epistolary combustion? I wish I could remember after all this time what was in those letters. It must have been something incendiary.

Lisa Gledhill

Goring, Oxfordshir­e

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