lights in the lanes in the East Riding
My name is John S. I live on the Wolds in a small village called Kirby Grindalythe, maybe a couple of miles north of Sledmere. I first came across your work through the Mysterious Universe podcast. I always had had an interest in Fortean phenomena, but somehow lost touch with it over the years, not quite clear why. In my mind I had always planned to return to it as an interest. I think the furore relating to UAPs over the last couple of years and a change in personal circumstances has made a bit more space and time for me to think about these things again.
I have lived on the wolds for a fair portion of my life, on and off. When I first picked up your first book, I caught myself thinking, I have been here all this time and I have never seen anything. But then it occurred to me that I did, see something that is. So I am writing to tell you about that experience and to suggest a few unrelated leads to other strange experiences I have heard about in the area. First to my own experience.
This was probably November or October 1989. I was 17 at the time. I had a girlfriend who lived in Scarborough and was traveling back home from visiting her on a Sunday night, maybe around 8 or 9 pm. It was a clear night but no moon I don't think. I was driving my parents' car a Saab 900. I turned off the A64 at Sherburn and traveled roughly south towards Weatherthorpe. After entering some woods at the bottom of the hill (moving I suppose from the Vale of Pickering to the Wolds proper), the road climbs the wooded escarpment in a slight, even curve over maybe half a mile. The hill is concave at the top and has a blind summit, after crossing the top of the hill the road dips down between the top of the first hill and the next summit. I remember driving fairly quickly as I always seemed to in those days. I was just passing through the woods and reaching the crest of the first hill and I noticed what I took to be a motorcycle light close behind me. I cannot remember if it gained on me at all, but do remember it being perilously close to the back of my car as I watched it in the rearview mirror. My first response was to go faster. I thought it was somebody driving recklessly and wanted to put some space between me and them, without stopping (these days I would probably just have slowed down).
Perhaps what played into my decision to speed up as the overall isolated location and the road which had a fair number of ghost stories associated with it (most of which I think were not quite true). So I was also probably not keen to stop or slow down too much in this location.
So I sped up and most have been traveling at at least 70 mph down the road. The light was right on my rear bumper all the way, I was watching it nervously through the rearview mirror. Then about two-thirds of the way along between the crest of the first hill and that of the second the light vanished from my mirror. I seem to remember it fading like a heated element in a lightbulb - although I am not sure about this part. What I do remember is that there was nothing on the road behind me, I could see the road with nothing on it in the mirror.
Suffice to say I was a little freaked out. I drove very quickly to a friend's house in Helperthorpe where I stopped to gather myself and clam down. My friend was out at the time, but his father was in. He said I was as white as a sheet. He suggested it was someone on a motorbike messing around. But to me that just did not make sense. The light disappeared leaving nothing on the road.
I do have doubts about the veracity or otherwise of this experience. Maybe it was a reckless biker? But on reading Truth-proof 1 decided that it was perhaps worth reporting it to you.
My second story is only third-hand. A builder who was working on my house actually told me lots of stories about strange happenings in houses he has lived in or worked on in the area. The one I thought might be of most interest to you was one from a village on the edge of the North Yorkshire moors. I do not remember the details very well, but there was a house that experienced a series of high-strangeness events. Power cuts, uncontrollable weeds in the garden that did not respond to sprays all sorts of odd things. And I do not think instances stopped until a spring or something similar was reinstated, and perhaps some connection to lay lines. In fact, the guy used his experience there to write a fictional story about it. I do not know him personally but I think you might find it interesting to follow up on. The book is called "The Witcher Keys" by I.R.Johnson.
The third story is a bit of a weird one and maybe outside your field of interest. One summer while at university I visited my friend whose whole family had emigrated to Spain. His father was a small businessman and had a very successful business selling second-hand clothes in Spain. He had all sorts of interesting stories. He had also been a Liberal councillor in Bridlington - probably in the early to mid-1980s. He has also run a second-hand/antique shop in the town for some time. My friend's father told me of an acquaintance who lived up the coast towards Whitby. This guy was well off and lived in a large house and it seems like he collected interesting items. He was in possession of something my friend's father referred to as "the vile of hating". This small earthenware pot has reputedly been used in rituals by Aleister Crowley - I would guess something to do with the Silver Star? The owner of this small pot was by this time an alcoholic but claimed he could sometimes hear voices coming from the pot. My friend's father took none of this seriously at all. But he thought it would be a bit of a gimmick if he could put this in the shop window with a small card explaining its provenance to attract customers into the shop. So my friend's father obtained the small pot from his acquaintance and put it in his shop window with a little card with a jovial (and perhaps disrespectful?) explanation of its provenance. Shortly after this, I do not know whether it was the same day or a day or so later, he was up a ladder painting the outside of the shop. In his account it was a fair day and the ladder was on even footing and leaning securely against the wall. My friend's father was either at the top or a fair distance up the ladder and it simply flew away from the wall, toppling backwards to the ground. My friend's father broke both his arms. My friend remembered this incident, he was only a small child and shouted out that his father had been killed.
The thing is, my friend's father insisted that the ladder was secure, it was at a safe angle on firm footing and could not of toppled backwards by itself. He insists that it was if something thrust it away from the wall. He put it down to his not taking the vile of hating seriously. He subsequently returned the item to his acquaintance and does not know what happened to it.
Hope these are of some interest to you.
Paul: Thanks J for your reports. The lights following you in the car fits in with a lot of similar stuff seen in that part of the world over the years. Envy your borrowing a Saab as a teenager!....
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