Blot and Splodge and the missing gadgetry

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R; - -import java. BufferedReader; -import java. IOException; -import java. InputStream; -import java. I like ASDA, and Sainsburys, but both have long been discovered by the general public who spoil the mystique of those perfectly adequate supermarkets by shopping there. Somehow, the Mildenhall Road supermarket stays in profit and open without crowds of customers? It has always sold the most eccentric things, alongside the rows of perfectly good groceries.

There is no logic to it — it seems to change, but specials appear and disappear. Back in those days H. Lovecraft was out of print in the UK — yet one day there appeared a display of maybe two dozen cheap paperbacks, mainly Dr Who titles, and among them was The Shadow Over Innsmouth and other Tales of Terror by Scholastic Book Services, and American publisher. This was 3 years before Grafton reissued the old Pan series of HPL, and here for fifty pence I found this book that was to shape my life in many ways,, juts a few hundred feet from home.

Of course within a week or two there were no more boardgames, or books — but time and time again, odd things would appear on these supermarket shelves, and would be snatched and for a few coins borne home as treasures.

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  • Is there something weird about the supermarket? Do the aisles form non-Euclidean angles and at midnight open portals to other spaces and times? Does the manager just have an eye for interesting remaindered stock and a lovely well trained staff who enjoy working there?

    Tesco on the Fornham Road may have a poltergeist outbreak and a bomb scare, but it does not come close to this place. The Co Op Mildenhall Road Bury St Edmunds has endured while a rash of other supermarkets have gown up around the town, and I confidently expect that when I am as old as my father it will still be there, selling excellent fresh bread and cut flowers and with staff falling over themselves to assist. I find writing about most things nowadays superfluous — people can become absurdly well informed by reading Wikipedia, and people like me belong to an irrelevant generation of people who hoarded books and knowledge the 21st century has made academic in every sense.

    Photographers Matt Frost and Robert Viglasky. I figure this meets that criteria? Despite what the TV show suggests Harry was never a fake medium, or indeed any kind of medium or psychic, and I think it important to say at this point the show is a fiction, and not have much to do with Harry Price the man.

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    Tom Ruffles of the Society for Psychical research has addressed the novel which inspired the series on his blog here, and you will quickly start to see differences between the real and the fictitious Harry Price the fictitious one has more hair! Now Harry was also not the first psychical researcher — the SPR had been going for decades, and huge amounts of work had been done on investigating mediums and researching spooks by the time he got involved. So why is Harry Price important?

    Because he was media savvy, and a colossal show off, egotist and publicity hound.

    Apparitions being the classic — but honestly who has heard of them? Harry Price was at least known, and his books sold like hot cakes. In fact he would have sold even more, had not wartime paper restrictions and his sudden death while engaged on his third book on Borley not severely restricted them.

    Price put his knowledge of conjuring to good use, debunking a number of mediums, and taking part in a number of high profile seances. Dingwall later fell out with Price, after Price met an attractive young lady on a train, a nurse called Stella Cranshaw e. To my amusement Lucy Kay e after she married became Mrs Meeker!

    There may be a less romantic explanation. It is rarely hard to fall out with the SPR, ASSAP or any other parapsychological organisation if you put your mind to it, and Price realised his sensationalism and celebrity seeking had doomed his chances in the rather dry world of mainstream academic research. So he decided to go it alone!

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    Price set up his own organisation, the grandly titled National Laboratory of Psychical Research. Price managed to find some wealthy backers to cover expenses feel free to request my Paypal details if you wish to carry on this noble tradition and set about testing the Schneider brothers, and eventually accusing Rudi of fraud.

    Trevor Hall makes a case in his book Search for Harry Price that Price actually doctored a photo to fraudulently proved the medium was fraudulent, out of jealously when Schneider started to sit for seances for another researcher. I have no knowledge as to the strength of the case — but it is always possible. Harry could get quite narked if you crossed him. Never really getting anything like the respect accorded the SPR Price now tried to set up a university department dedicated to psychical research, and entered in to negotiations with both the University of London, and several German universities.

    Truly, madly, slowly

    No department was ever created but the University of London took his book collection and equipment on permanent loan and it remains there to the present day. He now called his organisation the University of London Council for Psychical Investigation — but it was a sort of affiliated body, not officially part of the university. He did however have prominent friends there. It was probably the closest we had to a proper parapsychology unit in a British University until the founding of the KPU fifty years later.

    He was involved in investigating and debunking many famous mediums.

    More importantly he also got to investigate Gef the Mongoose, probably the most bizarre and splendid poltergeist case of the decade, if not ever. Go read the Wikipedia article — it is worth it! Of course in his adventures Harry had the backing of Richard Lambert of the The Listener , a hugely important figure in the history of the BBC now largely forgotten, and C. Joad the philosopher, so his mongoose-hunt became a public sensation. The high point of his publicity seeking trail was the attempt to use a magical manuscript of the Goetia to conjure a goat in to a handsome youth on top of the Brocken Bloksberg where the witches dance on accursed Walpurgisnacht.

    Price and Joad missed that date, but did conduct the spell on two consecutive nights in June, in front of the news cameras and assembled European journalists. The spell may have failed, but as a publicity stunt it was unrivaled. Image from Wikimedia. No goats were injured in this failed transmutation! I have a tiny family connection with Borley Rectory, so here it is. Bad drains. In fact ghosthunters had a pretty bad reputation locally when I was growing up, as Borley is a hamlet with less than a score of houses, in fact four or five round the church, and idiots driving up looking for ghosts used to cause endless annoyance to residents.

    At Halloween Suffolk and Essex police used to turn car loads away, and today I believe there are cameras linked back to Sudbury police to allow for rapid intervention if thrill seeking legend trippers cause a disturbance. Local residents like Edward Babbs, or my friend Ambi cover the psychical research side for us, and there are far more interesting places to go than Borley. Now I can not begin to do justice to the Borley case here. The case ranges over forty years, and for a year in Price took the tenancy of the haunted rectory, and investigated it by sensing teams of observers up to say and take notes.

    I rather like Marianne, and have a feeling that in Harry and Marianne we do have fertile scope for the novelist — but as to the truth of Borley, I recommend Ivan Banks book, Edward Babbs, and The Borley Companion to the interested party. One to avoid was the hoax confession We Faked the Ghosts of Borley Rectory by Louis Mayerling, which is actually a hoax itself, though it briefly impressed some sceptics who took it at face value. The Borley Rectory case finally made Price a bestselling author, and he achieved the household name status and level of book sales he had always hoped for.

    His sudden death of a heart attack prevented his third book coming out, but he had put Borley on the map, which as anyone who has ever been there will tell you is a pretty bloody impressive feat! Price died near the height of his fame, but critics were not far off. The Borley case was so complex, and some of the stuff in The End of Borley Rectory so questionable, that pretty soon people were asking questions.

    A photo of a flying brick that appears in The End was debunked by a journalist who was there who said it was thrown perfectly normally as Price well knew, and a sinister series of allegations surrounding the death of one Katie Boreham who died in Sudbury and was alleged to perhaps be the spook were proven hogwash — and more importantly Price appears to have concealed that he saw the name in the parish register before it came up during a Ouija board session.

    Doubts were cast on various persons testimony, and Price accused of having planted certain medallions found in the dig he did under the rectory ruin after the building burned down. The attack was not spearheaded by the sceptics, oddly enough — most of whom simply sneered at tales of ghosts in those days — but by the members of the SPR, the Society for Psychical Research. As always in these matters you have to consider the political context of the individuals involved, in the sense of their affiliation to rival camps. What is important to note though is that the SPR does not hold corporate opinions — ,members are free to believe whatever they want, and may were friends of Price.