In a Wallasey Garden

Jenny Randles
Magonia 3, Spring 1980

On Thursday November 29th 1979 I received a letter from a Miss Daisy J. (1) of Wallasey, Merseyside. It appeared that she had first written to the Society for Psychical Research, a representative of which had recommended that she read the book UFOs, a British Viewpoint, by Peter Warrington and myself.  

The letter was well written and coherent, though the writer admitted that she was and old lady (in fact she was aged 84), and expressed some concern over what was happening to her. On Sunday December 2nd, I called on Miss J, accompanied by Paul Whetnall. Daisy was most concerned about her UFO manifestations, but hinted at previous paranormal experiences.
 
Consequently we allowed her to tell us in her own words what she regarded as the most important things that had befallen her. This is a summary only of what she told us.At the age of eight she had her first encounter with strange phenomena. She was bouncing a ball against a wall, which rebounded into her hands and immediately dematerialised (2). This was by no means the only such incident, she claims. She also observed ghosts on several occasions, although none of these other events in her early life appear to have been memorable.
 
NEW BRIGHTON BALLROOM FIRE
It was in 1967 (when aged 72) that her psychic abilities allegedly went into overdrive. At this time she had decided to have her house converted into three flats, and while the work was being done had gone to live for a year at the nearby resort of New Brighton, in a rather seedy area (although most of this once popular resort is now sadly decaying). One night she awoke to find a middle-aged man sitting on her bed. She sensed great sorrow for him. He disappeared, but manifested several other times, and she also heard footsteps in the room, late at night. Eventually she was impelled to call in a spiritualist friend, who performed a form of exorcism. This supposedly removed the ‘spirit’. While at this house she also had a ‘vision’ of a tremendous fire burning up the street. This did not happen, but shortly afterwards there was a huge fire in New Brighton’s Tower Ballroom, which was gutted. She claims not to recall this, although from my experience everyone in and around New Brighton saw the flames vividly.
 
In 1969, back at her newly converted house, she had a male lodger. Over the course of a few weeks the front doorbell began ringing in the middle of the night. The lodger became ill, and the ringing built up in a crescendo. One night it rang numerous times. The next day the man died. The bell has not rung since. A few days afterwards Daisy believes she saw the form of the man emerge from a grey mist which floated in her kitchen. This was followed by a overpowering sickly-sweet smell, which followed her about for some time afterwards (even on a bus). She has also seen the form of the lodger again.
 
Over the years she has had many of what she calls ‘visions’, similar to the one of the New Brighton fire. However she is puzzled that these do not always seen to come true. About ten years ago she vividly ‘saw’ a young child born, and at the same time a friend die. The child was born within the year, but the friend is still alive today.
 
Her most recent experiences commenced in the Autumn of 1978 when she seemed to aquire a poltergeist. Firstly £60 which she had drawn out to pay a bill, disappeared overnight. It turned up months later under a pile of junk. Other odd things have gone missing (usually of trivial value) and have not reappeared. One day she found a mysterious pile of broken glass on her carpet, with no apparent source. The week before our visit, the plug and flex from her ornamental lamp standard had vanished.
 
It is difficult to separate her UFO experiences from the forgoing, although she clearly does this. She had seen no UFOs before about Autumn 1977, when one night she saw a moving light in her garden. She passed it off as imagination, but it happened again the next night. On the third night she went to the window, and saw that the light was on the head of a silver-suited figure, over six feet tall, standing by a brick wall at the rear of her garden. The figure had two other lights, on the end of each arm. It was stooping forward, and floating a few inches off the ground.
 
Following this, Daisy reacted in what might be regarded as an illogical manner. She regarded the figure as a ghost, and therefore took little notice of it, and went off to bed!
 
Over a two year period since this, she claims to have seen either the figure or the lights virtually every night. She has become very frightened of them, althogh she is not frightened of her ‘psychic’ experiences, and never ventures into the garden at night. No footprints or marks have been left – even in snow. The reason that she now believes the figure is a ‘spaceman’ are twofold: Firstly, she has seen how the figure matches the description fits that of UFO occupants in press reports (on one occasion the figure came right up to her window when she stared at it, giving her a close look, but making her determined to ignore it in future). Secondly she has seen the man and the lights fly from over the top of a tall tree at the end of the garden.
 
The final straw, so far as Daisy was concerned, came in early November, 1979. She saw an oval red light totally unlike anything she had seen before) float down and land in one corner of her garden. It looked like a cigar, and was much than the other white lights she had seen so often. Next morning she investigated, and found weeds in the area the light was seen had been crushed down 18 inches, and were covered in a grey, furry material. This led to her writing to the SPR.

Conclusions

In a case like this, it is most important to discover all one can about the percipient. This led to some interesting revelations.
Daisy has never married, and seems to be something of a ‘loner’. She does not seem to relate to her neighbours, and there is at present only one lodger, in the upper flat, who keeps very much to herself. Her last close relative, a sister, died in early 1978, at about the time of the onset of the UFO and poltergeist experiences. She seems to have felt this loss rather keenly.
 
In her early life she lived in remote parts of Wales and Ireland, including a lonely rock off the coast of Ireland. Her father was a naval officer. She moved to Wallasey at the age of 11, when these formative years must have already had some influence on her lifestyle.
 
The investigators found Miss J a pleasant, elderly lady, with a slight degree of senility. This included memory lapses, but not to the extent that would lead us to feel that this was the entire answer to her experiences. Indeed, she takes pride in looking younger than she is, and her faculties were certainly better than one might hope for at her age.
 
Her belief in Spiritualism seems to be on a low level. She also has a little residual Catholicism, but there was little evidence of this. She reacted rather oddly to the investigators, and especially to the views of myself, as she had interpreted them from the book. As we were leaving, she remarked, rather enigmatically, “You’re much nicer than your book makes out.” This seems to be tied up with her expressed feeling that I regarded the CE4s as psychological phenomenon, as implied in the book. “Those who say it’s all in the mind, they don’t understand”, she said.
 
As an exercise we took samples of the leaves which exhibited the ‘traces’. As expected, they turned out to display a very common fungus, which would almost certainly have formed under the conditions in the garden. Daisy admitted that she hardly ever tended the garden, and a rotted tree trunk close to the site also showed signs of lengthy decay. The probability that the fungus was there before the UFO sighting must be considered. However, it was in a roughly oval shape (8 feet by 4 feet, much like the UFO dimensions she estimates). So, did she concoct the story to fit the traces once she discovered them? Or did she unconsciously adapt her tale to fit the pre-existing traces? The investigators feel the latter is the most plausible. Traditional UFO investigators may say that some form of UFO energy induced the fungus to grow overnight, but we can find no grounds for such belief.
 
Two interesting features of her experiences seem worthy of note. “I realise I am attracting them, perhaps because I’m psychic”, she said, adding “I have my visions most often around 5am. They always seem to happen in the deepest stages of sleep” – her own words. This latter comment is indeed of relevance, we feel.
 
There is little reason to doubt that her psychic and UFO experiences have a common cause. One could surmise that they form a s subconscious cry for contact with others, possibly related to some low-level psychic abilities she may possess. Certainly her home is in a densely populated area, yet nobody else has seen her lights or spacemen. The experiences therefore must be considered to be subjective in nature. Whatever conclusions one reaches in this case (and so far as the present investigators are concerned it is inescapable that it must be essentially a psychological one) the immense importance of obtaining background data on a witness is indicated. In the past ufologists would have no doubt found her a ‘good witness’ and accepted much of her testimony at face value, aided no doubt by the ‘physical traces’, and probably excluded the ‘psycic’ aspects which did not seem to fit.
 
This is a unique case, but it has enough paralells with others on record to be of wider significance. Just a few miles away, in a suburb of Liverpool in early 1978, a middle-aged woman saw a silver suited figure in her garden. This case has so far only been reported in Northern UFO News but the correlation, even to the behaviour of the figure, is quite remarkable. On that occasion however, the figure was seen just once – for five hours, and allegedly was seen by at least five other people, including two police officers. When the policemen went out to confront it, it vanished, leaving them reluctant to make a report to their superiors and hence untraceable. This case also involved background psychic features, apparently catalysed by the female witness.

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NOTES:

  1. Pseudonym.
  2. Early manifestations of apparent paranormal powers in a play situation seem to be quite common in the literature. Dirk van der Werff’s report on a percipient in the north-east of England in MUFOB ns. 15, includes a childhood incident when a dart that the percipient was throwing at a board disappeared. psychic”

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