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Strange, but True: More Stories of Curious Encounters, by Chris Aspin

This third booklet by SPR member Chris Aspin, author of Strange Stories from a Lancashire Village and True Stories of Our Local Ghosts, contains further stories from the Helmshore area of east Lancashire in which Chris has spent most of his life.  He has gathered historical and contemporary accounts detailing the mysterious side of the place and its people, and his booklets are building into a small-scale case collection that provides a useful overview of his locality.

The first item is a curious one about a small child who is precocious in language acquisition, and seems to possess knowledge beyond his years and beyond his lifetime, leading to the possibility of him having extra-sensory abilities and possibly even displaying characteristics associated with reincarnation.  Mind you, if I had a child who said ‘I love you Mummy, but you know I’ve had many mummies.  They all died.  The last one fell down the stairs and her heart stopped’, I would be keeping a wary eye on it.  Contact with the family will provide an opportunity to see if the boy, born in late 2011, develops these abilities further (not to mention the fate of his present mummy).

There are various stories of ghost and poltergeist, including a ghostly dog.  One poltergeist was disposed of by telling it firmly to ‘go away!’ three times, which worked, though the now-free victim believed it had simply moved next door.  One newspaper account is from 1857, concerning noises in a church a decade after the suicide of the incumbent in the parsonage, and while the parsonage has changed use, to a laundry, a cinema and finally a bingo hall, ghost sightings have been reported into fairly recent times.

Other brief accounts relate ghostly footsteps, death-bed visions, a fragrant smell associated with a dying person, a phone call from the dead, or at least a call from a deceased person’s mobile phone number (no message though), a death forewarned by a spinning wall decoration, and objects disappearing and reappearing in a house.  Moving outside, other entries cover dowsing, possible time slips – one involving a large but silent propeller-driven aeroplane, another a procession of people wearing mediaeval dress – and lights in the sky.

Copies can be obtained from the author at £3.70 inc. p&p – email chris_aspin[at]yahoo.co.uk.