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An Up-Market Poltergeist at Last

Posted on 11 November 2013, 9:57

Are poltergeists class-conscious? I’m beginning to think they might be.

The past couple of years have seen a remarkable increase in reports of poltergeist activity from all over the world. This year alone I have received news of cases from Argentina, Botswana, Canada, Colombia, Dagestan, Dubai, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Paraguay, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, Vietnam and Zimbabwe - that’s more than one a month. I’m sure there have been other cases that have gone unreported, such as a very interesting one from central London that took place several years ago but was only made public in November 2013. More about that later, but first some general comments on the more recent cases.

There are remarkable similarities between many of them. Their main features have been bombardments with stones and outbreaks of fire, two of the most alarming symptoms of the poltergeist syndrome, as I know from personal experience, especially from the Carapicuiba case I described in The Flying Cow. The types of property attacked are predominantly houses occupied by working-class families in rural areas. Again and again there are accounts of showers of stones, often inside rooms with no open doors or windows and no sign of any visible human source. As for outbreaks of fire, these have become more frequent and also more serious. On at least two of the recent cases, houses have been totally destroyed along with most of the unfortunate occupants’ clothing and furniture.

Of all the cases mentioned above, only the Spanish one, in a smart-looking apartment block in Málaga, involved what looked like relatively prosperous residents. Just the other day I was telling a colleague that if we want poltergeists to be taken seriously what we need is a good outbreak in Buckingham Palace or 10 Downing Street, (London homes of British monarchs and prime ministers respectively). It is possible, of course, that the stately homes of the upper classes have been invaded by poltergeists, but we have never known about it. The great and the good have ways of keeping inconvenient things out of the media, but not always, as the following intriguing event indicates.

Chester Square, (below) in London’s ultra posh Belgravia district, is about as up-market as you can get. It is or was home to the likes of Mary (Frankenstein) Shelley, Yehudi Menuhin, Julie Andrews, Mick Jagger, Roman Abramovich, and the late Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first woman prime minister. Following her ousting from Downing Street in 1990, she moved in to no. 73 where she stayed until shortly before her death in 2013.

chester square

While there, she enjoyed the services of the Diplomatic Protection Group of London’s police force, one of whom has now given us a brief but tantalizing account of what happened one chilly night on his watch in the basement control centre directly below the dining room, at around midnight. Simon Crowley, the policeman on duty, ‘distinctly heard movement from the floor above’, as he put it. Lady T was away, and he was sure nobody could get into the building without being seen on CCTV or ‘setting something off’. So he went upstairs to have a look round, and noticed that one of the chairs was not quite where it should have been – under the table like all the others. This was odd, but not exactly life-threatening, so Crowley just pushed it back and returned to the control room.

Ten minutes later, he ‘definitely heard the noise of furniture being dragged across the floor’, as if somebody in a chair had been pulled back. Deciding that this had to be ‘an incursion by persons unknown’, he did what he had presumably been trained to do and called his base for ‘reinforcements’. These were promptly dispatched, and Crowley went back upstairs, pistol in hand, to the room he had only just been in.

It was not at all as he had left it. Chairs had indeed been pulled back. All the chairs on one side of the table had been pulled out and lined up against the wall. Although Crowley described himself as ‘open-minded about things paranormal’, as at least three police officers I have met have also admitted to being, he decided this was a bit too much, and rushed out of the front door to greet the back-up group as they arrived, no doubt feeling ‘for this relief much thanks’. He never set foot in the house again.

This was not exactly a major poltergeist invasion, but experienced researchers will know that the phenomena are not always violent or destructive. Poltergeists can be quite creative - it’s not unusual to find stuff on the floor, neatly arranged as they might be in a shop window, and chairs can be moved just a few feet, as I have seen for myself. So Crowley’s description of self-rearranging chairs is a typical feature of cases that can also develop into major infestations.

He does add, however, in his account of his experience in Fortean Times (308, 2013, p.70), that he was told later that ‘loads of other sightings and incidents had taken place over the years’ including ‘a ghostly figure on the stairs’. I am hoping to follow up this unusual case and will report any new findings.

GUY LYON PLAYFAIR was born in India and educated in England, obtaining a degree in modern languages from Cambridge University. He then spent many years in Brazil as a freelance journalist for The Economist, Time, and the Associated Press, also working for four years in the press section of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The first of his twelve books, The Flying Cow, in which he described his experiences investigating the psychic side of Brazil, was translated into six languages and became an international best seller. His most recent book is Twin Telepathy. He now lives in London and is a council member of the Society for Psychical Research.

His books include:
If This Be Magic: The Forgotten Power of Hypnosis
The Flying Cow: Exploring the Psychic World of Brazil
This House is Haunted
Twin Telepathy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


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The Olympic Twins

Posted on 06 November 2013, 10:29

The Somali-born long-distance runner Mohamed (‘Mo’) Farah CBE (below) endeared himself to the British public by winning two gold medals in the 2012 London Olympic Games and declaring very forcefully that he was running for his adopted country, where he has lived since he was eight, and not for the land of his birth. When his autobiography was published in 2013 I was intrigued by its title – Twin Ambitions – and to discover that not only is he an identical twin, but he has twin daughters of his own and his brother Hassan is married to a twin. As he told an interviewer, ‘twins are in our blood’.

mo

He is an unusual twin in that he has spent much of his life separated from his brother, for complex family reasons I need not go into here. Yet the first eight years of their lives when they lived together were clearly enough for them to form a very strong bond, as Mo explains in the opening paragraph of his book:

“People often ask me what it’s like to have a twin brother. I tell them: there’s a special connection that the two of you have. Like an intuition. You instinctively feel what the other person is going through – even if you live thousands of miles apart, like Hassan and me. It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t have a twin, but whenever Hassan is upset, or not feeling well, I’ll somehow sense it. The same is true for Hassan when it comes to sensing how I feel. He’ll just know when something isn’t right with me. Then he’ll pick up the phone and call me. Or I’ll call him. From the moment we were born, on 23 March 1983, we were best friends.”

Note that he only mentions instances where ‘something isn’t right’ with him, or when his brother is ‘upset or not feeling well’ but not when they are feeling fine and having a great time. His description of how the twin connection is felt is remarkably similar to the earliest such account I have been able to discover, the one given by Alexandre Dumas (below) in his novel The Corsican Brothers (1844) which was very probably based on the author’s first-hand experience:

dumas

“We had to be separated with a scalpel, which means that however far apart we are now, we still have one and the same body, so that whatever impression, physical or mental, one of us perceives has its after-effect on the other. Well, these last few days I have been feeling sad, morose and somber for no reason, and suffering terrible pangs. It’s clear that my brother is feeling profoundly sorrowful.”

Note that both Dumas and Mo only mention the telepathic signal as one conveying bad news. Hassan Farah will know when something ‘isn’t right’, while Dumas’ twin in Corsica picks up a ‘profoundly sorrowful’ message from his distant brother in Paris and reacts dramatically when he is killed in a duel. It’s always bad news; I have yet to come across an account of a good news message transmitted from twin to twin. Not one.

It’s tempting to speculate on what might have happened if Hassan Farah had been given the same chance to develop his running in Somalia that Mo had in England. Could there have been a dead heat in the 10,000 metre race at the Olympics? That would have made history.

There is at least one pair of sporting twins about whom we do not have to speculate since they already have made history. The Americans Bob and Mike Bryan (below) are said to be the most successful men’s tennis doubles pair of all time, the only one to have won all four major titles in the same year plus Olympic gold, as they did in 2013.

bryan


They are one of the minority of pairs who are known as ‘mirror twins’, one being left- and the other right-handed, which I am told means that they have much better coverage of the court than that of a pair of same-handed players. Commentators have also noted that it seems as if the Bryans play like a single four-armed entity, which their many defeated opponents might see as unfair competition. They have often used the taboo T word to describe their on-court rapport, although the Bryans have tended to avoid prolonged discussion of this emotive, much misunderstood and woefully under-researched subject. They seem happier to go on doing what they do best – provide evidence that they have something that non-twins don’t have, and win again and again.

I was interested to learn that although they have been winning doubles matches since they were six, they were never as successful on the relatively rare occasions when they played as singles. In their case, the whole is clearly considerably greater than the sum of its parts. As their college coach recalls, ‘I never got to where I thought of them as two separate people’.

Both twins are now married and live in separate cities. Yet when they get together for another game it is as if they merge their minds into a single entity and become so closely bonded that, as one of them has put it, ‘We’re one complete player, one complete person.’

And a complete person has no need for telepathy.

GUY LYON PLAYFAIR was born in India and educated in England, obtaining a degree in modern languages from Cambridge University. He then spent many years in Brazil as a freelance journalist for The Economist, Time, and the Associated Press, also working for four years in the press section of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The first of his twelve books, The Flying Cow, in which he described his experiences investigating the psychic side of Brazil, was translated into six languages and became an international best seller. His most recent book is Twin Telepathy. He now lives in London and is a council member of the Society for Psychical Research.

His books include:
If This Be Magic: The Forgotten Power of Hypnosis
The Flying Cow: Exploring the Psychic World of Brazil
This House is Haunted
Twin Telepathy


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The Role of Affinities and the Group-Soul by Anabela Cardoso – Affinities seem to play an important role in the next world. We have touched on the subject in a previous chapter and I have discussed it in earlier publications (Cardoso, 2010, 2003). Indeed, the meaning and importance of the Group-Soul described in the mediumistic literature, e.g. the information received purportedly from the deceased Frederic Myers by Geraldine Cummins (Cummins, 2012), have been emphasized in my own contacts. Read here
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