A Lifetime of Curses

Les Maisey and Jenny Randles
Magonia 5, 1980

The incidents described may at first glance seem not only irrelevant to ‘ufology’, but merely the ramblings of a madman. Whatever might be the facts of this case, we seem to be presented here with the basis of a ‘flying saucer syndrome’, in which many of the familiar trappings of the UFO myth, as it has developed over the past forty years, are used by a possibly psychologically disturbed individual, to structure his view of the world, and his interactions with society and his environment.
On this basis, even if it has no objective foundation, or even if it is a total fabrication by the ‘percipient’, it is important as a study of an apparently increasingly common psychological syndrome. In a context such as this, such labels as ‘hoax’ are largely irrelevant and readers are referred to the article ‘Fact, Fraud and Fairytale’, which appeared in MUFOB New Series 9, Winter 1977-8. Additionally, a number of the incidents and images described by the percipient bear interesting similarities with reports from other sources, both ‘ufological’ and otherwise.

The reporter and percipient of these events is Mr Edward Gardner*, aged 68 [in 1979]. Born. in Worcestershire he has spent most of his life in that part of the world. Most of the details in this account. are based on voluminous written material supplied by Mr Gardner during the six month investigation period; with additional comments by the investigator.

The incident which brought Mr Gardner to UFOIN’s attention was the most recent. It took place in about 1976 and was reported by him to the Daily Express UFO Bureau in Spring 1978. Although the incident occurred whilst the percipient was in bed, he does not regard it as a dream, claiming that it was too vivid. He was suddenly aware of apparently looking up through a long telescope into the sky, where a white speck of light was visible. This grew in size, and seemed to travel down the ‘telescope’, until it appeared in his bedroom as a normal sized, well-built human being. The figure was dressed in white, and looked very old. It came over to Edward’s bedside and shook his hand.
“Now,” it said, “you are on your own, good luck”. Suddenly the whole scene vanished and he was staring at the darkened window into the sky. There was a noise like a roaring jet-engine, and he leapt out of bed to see what was causing it, but there was only darkness.It would now be appropriate to go back, and highlight some of the more interesting experiences that Edward Gardner claims. It is impossible to detail them all in this summary report, as he cites over fifty of them.

When he was only two or three years old (i.e. about 1914) he had his first vivid experience, which seems to have had an effect on him ever since. He was in bed, with his elder brother and sister in the room with him; he was asleep, but they were awake. He awoke with a start, and reacted with terror as he looked at the window pane opposite. Outlined on this was a large and very evil looking eye staring at him – nothing else was visible. Throughout later days his sister often referred to the fear she saw on his face that night.

A couple of years later he ran away from home and turned up late at night at his grandparents’ dairy nearby. They made him stay the night, and next morning, he claims, rather than walk downstairs, he floated down. He is adamant that this really happened – he glided inches from the ground – but nobody believed him, of course.
He was able at any time he liked,
to remove his penis and place
it in his pocket for days on end
and replace it whenever he wished!

These experiences seem to have indicated the onset of ‘out of the body’ experiences. Many times between childhood and youth, he claims, whilst in bed, he would feel a tickling sensation in his feet and he would then feel icy, and shiver all over. He felt himself being filled, like a bottle, feet upwards, right to his head. He was then possessed with the belief that he had wings and he would find himself able to float through the window, (whether open or shut) and hover over the rooftops. These are classic symptoms of the ‘out of the body’ experience.

Whilst all this was going on, he also recalls that he could perform an impossible feat which, rationally, he now feels to have been imagination, but which he still insists was very real to him. He is at a loss to explain it. He says he was able, without pain or discomfort and whilst wide awake, and at any time he liked, to remove his penis. This he could place in his pocket for days on end and replace it, again without pain, whenever he wished!

Childhood also brought many visions or precognitive dreams. In one instance he saw the sky filled with thousands of men wearing parachutes dropping from the sky. Nowadays this is immediately recognisable as a paratroop drop such as those which occurred in World War II, but when he attempted to explain it to his mother in 1919 the experience was almost meaningless.

The age of twelve appears to have been of particular significance in his life, several incidents occurring at this time. He observed what appeared to have been his first ghost. He had been for a day trip to Blackpool with his cousin, and they had returned late and were talking in a recreation ground which had formerly been a graveyard (Fallow Hill, in Worcester) Suddenly, by the church he saw the figure of an old man sitting on a stone. He had white hair and a staff in his hand. He pointed it out to his cousin and a few others who were nearby, but nobody else could see the figure, and they all ridiculed him.

At about the same time he slipped and fell whilst in the swimming baths. He could not yet swim, and he sank to the bottom, sitting down with two feet of water above his head. The schoolmaster on the bath-side saw him, and sent two boys in to pull him out. This they did, but when he had been dragged out he had to be given artificial respiration. When the accident happened he made no attempt to save himself. He said that he felt so comfortable he did not want to move, even though he realised he was probably going to drown. He felt he was in a cinema, with scenes from his life all around him – he was entranced by them.

Throughout the twenties and thirties the experiences continued. Once whilst serving a prison sentence for maintenance default, he found a ‘demonic’ entity in his cell. This tried to lure him towards itself, but he drove it away and it float-ed out through the cell and was gone.During the Second World War he served with the RAF, and travelled about quite a bit. He had some experiences on his travels, including the sensing of a presence inside a holy tomb in Jerusalem.

On being demobbed he found himself wandering, with no memory of who he was or where he came from. This persisted for some time before memory returned. Then he left his wife and family after a series of violent incidents – he claims for no reason. The day he left all was normal, and he was nursing his daughter in his arms. His wife poured out a cup of tea for him, then suddenly threw it all over him and his daughter.For twenty years he wandered as a vagabond – sleeping in a tent wherever he could pitch it. At times he picked up odd jobs here and there, and lived with another woman for several years. This period also provided many strange experiences before he settled in his present home at the age of 55.

In 1948 he saw a white speck in the sky. He watched it descend and transform into a white sheet, which wrapped itself around him, and then actually seeped into his body. In the early fifties he was camping in a field near Evesham. A well-to-do couple came fruit-picking, parked their car and pitched their tent close to him. The first night the wife rushed into his tent, late at night, claiming that her husband had suddenly gone berserk and poured water all over her and the tent, and then fled.
Edward helped the situation as best as he could, drying things out, and putting the distressed wife into the car to sleep. But the next day she came back to him. She wanted some eggs from her tent, but the tent was full of wasps. Gardner, dressed only in shorts, went into the tent, and pulled out the box of eggs. One of the eggs had broken, attracting the wasps. However, as soon as he had got the eggs out into the open air, the wasps attacked the women, stinging her very badly several times. She covered herself with some medication from a chemist’s and lay down for the rest of the day. The next day she decided to set off home in the car.
The day was sunny and hot, but just as she got into the car to drive across the field to the road, the sky darkened dramatically, and it began pouring with rain. The field became a muddy torrent in seconds, which rapidly bogged down the car. As she tried desperately to get the vehicle moving, an enamel bowl which had been left behind the car, exploded as it was hit by a bolt of forked lightning. The woman was by now showing great fear, and shouting about a curse. Edward tried to put a coat under one of the car’s wheels to try and get it moving, but without success. Suddenly a rear tyre burst with a loud hissing noise; within seconds, for no apparent reason, one of the front tyres burst as well. The woman was by now hysterical.

The next day the woman did manage to get away, and Edward never saw her again, however the mysterious ‘jinx’ seemed to follow him. Shortly after he met up with Joan Leyland* and they started to live together. They moved around through several places, but never stayed long because ‘things always seemed to happen’ wherever they stayed. Eventually they took possession of a bungalow, and were plagued from the start by poltergeist activity. Footsteps would sound across rooms with no-one there; they would hear the sound of pots and pans crashing in the kitchen, but nothing was ever out of place; the door would open on its own, with the handle visibly turning round. Eventually they were driven out. The night before they left Edward looked into the spare bedroom, which they did not use. On the bed he saw the figure of a showman (as from a circus). It seemed to be mumified. He walked up to the bed, and as he approached the vision faded away.
What really was going on?
"Summing it all up I can only come to the conclusion that it was forces outside of myself, working for a purpose which we have yet to find out"

Quite what one is to make of all this, is difficult to say. Healthwise, Edward Gardner seems perfect. He has never suffered from any illnesses (including none of the common childhood ailments). His father, who is 97 and still alive, has been just the same. However Edward has suffered continually from accidents – and has been in hospital several times because of these. Just a couple of months after the investigations began, he was rushed to hospital after an accident, and had to have a major operation, from which he fully recovered. When demobbed from the RAF he was given an X-Ray, and the medical team were apparently amazed that he was not dead. Whilst he was otherwise in normal health, his body was so badly shattered internally, that it looked ‘as if he had been run over by a tank”‘

Edward himself reacts philosophically to all these events. He is able to put over his views and ideas very lucidly. “Could it be possible”, he says talking about his experiences, “that they did actually take place, and I was in a state similar to a person with catalepsy, who actually sees what is going on but cannot use any of his senses except sight?” He continues: “Summing up the many things that could have happened, I have decided to accept that I was in some way conditioned … To me the whole episode was reality – it did happen – but the intruder or intruders [into my mind] wanted no publicity”.

He sees all his experiences as meaningful, “Looking back over the years – right to childhood, with a very clear memory, it seems that my place in life was for no other reason than to go through these experiences. The time would come when I could put the puzzle together with the bits and pieces from my experiences.” He speculates – and no more than that – on the nature of the ‘intruders’, which he regards as an invisible force which is responsible for all psychic and UFO encounters He does not place them as coming from anywhere, although he regards them as not physical but spiritual in essence. To conclude he says: “Now you – having read of these experiences – must ask yourselves, just as I am doing, what really was going on. Summing it all up I can only come to the conclusion that it was forces outside of myself, working for a purpose which we have yet to find out”.

* In accordance with what was UFOIN’s regular policy, the names of percipients and their associates have been changed.