paranormal researchers specialize in investigating a
particular phenomenon. It might be ghosts, it could be
UFOs or it might be telepathy. I've been in this game
for nearly forty years now, and I gave up on the idea of
focusing on one enigma only many, many moons ago. I
prefer to specialize in cases, not types.
Let me explain myself. Some mornings I'll wake up,
switch on my computer and read about a UFO sighting that
absolutely enthrals me. The next day I might read about
a UFO sighting that leaves me cold. Its the same with
apparitions. Some ghost sightings rivet my attention
whilst others do nothing for me at all, I'm afraid.
Life, I think, is too short to restrict oneself to a
particular genre. Focus purely on apparitions, say, and
you might miss out on cryptozoological stories that
really deserve one's attention. And vice-versa.
Every investigator, of course, has his or her own
favourite hobby-horse. I'm not sure what mine is;
possibly cryptozoology, but I wouldn't bet a fortune on
it. Like I say, I prefer to focus on interesting cases
as opposed to interesting subjects.
Of course, most paranormal phenomena can be neatly
cubby-holed into types. But not all. Some seem to be
“one in a field of one”, and defy all attempts at
classification. Some years ago I invented a
classification for events that simply can't be
classified, and started to call them Random Anomalous
Phenomena. Within the archives of this type are some of
the strangest tales you're ever likely to come across.
Take the case of the remote control with a mind of its
own. A correspondent once wrote to me and told me that
the remote control for her video recorder simply refused
to obey commands that she punched into it. If she tried
to record one program, it would record another. If she
attempted to change channels, it would never change to
the one she wanted.
Of course, my first reaction was that the woman simply
had a remote control that wasn't working properly, but
that doesn't tell the entire story.
Suppose she wanted to video Channel 4, for example. The
remote would switch to BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV, Channel 5 or
Sky. The only channel that it refused to access would be
the one she wanted to record. So reliable was this
sequence that it seemed to me that there must have been
an intelligence at work behind it. If anyone else in the
household tried to use the remote it would work
perfectly, but when Mrs. E tried to use it, it would
immediately start to act mischievously.
Eventually she purchased a new video recorder and it
worked fine. The old one was given to her nephew, who
had no problem with it whatsoever. Two months later,
Mrs. E visited her nephew and tried to use her old
machine to record a program on ITV. The control was
happy to switch to BBC 1, BBC 2, Channel 4, Channel 5
and Sky – but it stubbornly refused to switch to the one
she wanted to record. Her nephew picked up the remote
and pressed button 3; the ITV channel came on
The mystery was never solved.
I recall one incident wherein a woman purchased a new
carpet for her lounge. The fitters came and measured up
and the new carpet arrived four days later. To the
fitters' horror, the carpet was several inches too
short. Baffled, but assuming they'd made a mistake in
the measurements, they ordered her another carpet.
Whilst waiting for it to be delivered, the woman decided
to put her old carpet back down on the floor. She merely
shook her head in disbelief when she saw that her old
carpet was now too short by almost the same number of
inches. It was as if her room had grown – something
that, of course, is absolutely impossible at least by
Random, bizarre phenomena such as these are fascinating
because the very inability to classify them comfortably
only adds to the enigma. I don't pretend to have any
answers; just a deep, abiding knowledge that without
such weirdness the world we live in would be a much
Mind you, switching channels and laying carpets would
probably be a lot easier...
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