Why The 'Case of Kersey Village' Was An Impressive Time-Slip (Suffolk 1957)

Discussion in 'Parapsychology' started by AlbertM2018, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. David Plankton

    David Plankton Antediluvian

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    The Shambles in York dates from about the 14th C, pretty much unchanged and coincidently mostly butcher's shops.
     
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  2. oldrover

    oldrover Justified & Ancient

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    But does it? When you look at a building what features would you use to possibly recognise it later? 30 years later in this case. The Shambles is pretty distinctive, and very pretty, the Bridge House dates I think from roughly the same period, but it's far less distinctive in construction. So what does that leave us to identify it?
     
  3. INT21

    INT21 Justified & Ancient

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    Old Rover,

    ...a frost in August though is in my experience, pretty unusual...

    It was supposed to have happened on a Sunday in October.

    INT21
     
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  4. oldrover

    oldrover Justified & Ancient

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    Thank you. I thought that sounded a bit odd.
     
  5. Carl Grove

    Carl Grove Ephemeral Spectre

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    I have probably given somewhat the wrong impression of MacKenzie's approach; he is a very thorough and careful researcher. The point about Versailles he raised towards the end of his investigation and I think he would have been careful not to lead witnesses prior to getting their stories.
    You repeatedly claim that the two main witnesses had plenty of time to discuss the experience in the 30 plus years between the incident and MacKenzie's investigation. In fact, they had very little contact with each other in the interim, their last meeting being in 1963. Both ended up emigrating to Australia and occasionally phoned each other MacKenzie had asked for witness evidence in his book Hauntings and Apparitions and Laing wrote to him in 1988. Subsequently MacKenzie contacted Crowley and received a letter (which I quoted from) giving a much briefer account of the experience. There are minor differences between the two witnesses' stories, but this is hardly unexpected.

    Some of your points raise significant questions, but on the whole I don't feel that your arguments are convincing; basically they reiterate your position but don't really answer my query about what sort of evidence you want from time slip cases. You seem to be saying that because humans are not on the whole good observers, and have poor memories, then we should inevitably reject their evidence regardless of how good it seems.

    Just to look at this from a different angle, suppose you were attacked on your doorstep and called the police. The officer asks you what happened -- someone pushed you to the ground and ran off when three of your neighbours ran over. So the policeman asks if you knew your attacker -- no, you say. He says that he has never heard a case like this before and he suggests you perhaps tripped over your step, and mistakenly think that someone pushed you. Can you actually prove that a crime took place? You say yes, my neighbours saw the whole thing. Just come over and ask them. And he sighs and says No, we don't do that. Why not, you scream. Well, scientific research has shown conclusively that people are hopeless witnesses and can't remember what they saw anyway, so it would be pointless. But one of them said he recognised my attacker, you cry -- it was Bert Bloggs. The policeman says, he is probably mistaken. In any case it is only hearsay. Do you have CCTV footage of the incident? We might look at that. But of course you don't...

    So I can't help thinking that taken to its logical conclusion, your approach would make researching any unusual phenomena a hopeless cause. It might make life easier for those who want to maintain some kind of mental status quo but would frustrate anyone (such as myself) who has experienced plenty of strange things themselves and really want to find some answers. It would also spell the end of Fortean Times and other mysterious phenomena sites.

    To answer one specific point, yes we do know the backgrounds of the three. Baker was, as we have noted, a Cockney, and in the 50s it would have been quite possible to someone in inner London to grow up in blissful ignorance of life in the country. But the other two were both countrymen and Laing in particular was clearly a good observer and a careful thinker. To my mind the details he provided are sufficient for me to rate this a fairly convincing case.

    I think it is really up to you to say precisely what you would consider objective evidence for Kersey, or Versailles, or indeed any other time slip or similar experience. But you seem to be reluctant to say.
     
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  6. EnolaGaia

    EnolaGaia I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ... Staff Member

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    There was butchering performed at a shop in Kersey in 1957 (Stiff's, the general store), but it was pork / chickens rather than sides of beef. They were known for their hams, which typically were being prepared and hung up to cure during the mid- to late-autumn period.
     
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  7. INT21

    INT21 Justified & Ancient

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    ..In fact the only strange features would be the men failing to recall seeing the church, and the telegraph poles next to the ford..

    What about the difference in the nature of the road and ground in the area ?

    INT21
     
  8. EnolaGaia

    EnolaGaia I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ... Staff Member

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    The tower is not clearly visible from all points in the village. It is most obscured when walking right past it on the Church Hill (using the old, sunken lane).

    Neither is it consistently visible from portions of the village other than those on the central / main lane. I'm trying to ascertain whether it should have been visible from the one butchering shop / site known (so far ... ) to have been operational during the 1950's.

    As to the involvement of Bridge House ... One key detail missing is which window(s) of the Bridge House the boys used to peek inside. If it was the bay window at the front of the addition / wing used for a bakery (northern side of the building), there's reason to believe that didn't exist prior to the 19th or 20th century.

    More broadly, I'm not entirely convinced the Bridge House is the site of the apparent butcher's shop they claimed to have seen. I'm starting to suspect there's been a conflation of specific sites and observations. The boys' narratives mention resting by the stream and seeing the local ducks, but this interlude isn't correlated with the butcher shop sighting. The Bridge House, standing at the ford / splash, would be a good candidate for a building they inspected right next to the ford, but I've seen nothing in the narrative(s) so far that actually indicates the mystery butcher shop was located right there at the ford.
     
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  9. oldrover

    oldrover Justified & Ancient

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    Carl, very recently Australian researcher Mike Williams went a long way to addressing this point, so I'll borrow my main argument from him. And bear in mind this is hypothetical, as I'm not a policeman.

    If that were to happen the police would interview the witnesses and would act on what I said, and for the following reasons. In the case of a physical assault there is an overwhelming amount of objective evidence for this having taken place previously to many people and on many occasions, the same applies to tripping, plenty of evidence for that being a well known and well understood occurrence. Both of these will usually result in some sort of objective physical evidence. Slightly less clear cut, is the possibility that I was making a false allegation, however there'd be several strategies to explore this too, as in could the person I was accusing account for where they were at the time I was alleging the assault took place, do I have any motive for making a false charge, is there any material evidence etc. There'd be known and understood precedents for them to weight their observations against, and objective methods open to them to investigate. In almost all cases criminal investigations involve tangible evidence. This isn't a very apt comparison for an alleged phenomena, based on subjective testimony only.

    To recap, there would be a very stark difference between a refusal to investigate an event for which there are many established and confirmed explanations for, and an unwillingness to accept nothing but eye witness testimony for one for which there is none. Which is what we're frequently asked to accept in paranormal investigations.

    And I've previously asked you to say what you found significant in this matter, so to return to the police analogy, I'm not refusing to speak to anyone. On the contrary I'm doing the opposite, I'm asking you to tell me what it is makes you think this case is significant, which you did and to which I replied that I find the most likely explanation to be a subjective recollection of the events. And that's what I still think.

    I can't agree with you there either, if investigating the paranormal comes up with a more likely, but less exciting, explanation where's the hopelessness? It'd be pretty pointless to engage in if either position was actually just interested in preserving a status quo.

    As for the evidence I'd be willing to accept, anything that isn't better explained by a much simpler and well understood means, that's no big ask is it? Can you provide that?
     
  10. oldrover

    oldrover Justified & Ancient

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    From the ford which I think all agree that their story places them at, the church is clearly visible at the end of the road. My point is that if we're to take the detail that they saw no commercial premises at all is correct, and that's for the sake of argument, then they're unlikely to have progressed far up the road away from it and toward the Bell Inn.

    The date of renovation/extension I have for the 'shop' section at the Bridge House is 18th/19thC.
     
  11. INT21

    INT21 Justified & Ancient

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    Carl,

    ..someone pushed you to the ground and ran off when three of your neighbours ran over. So the policeman asks if you knew your attacker -- no, you say...

    This approach would also mean the police were assuming that the three people who came to your aid were in collusion with you and trying to stitch up Bloggs for some reason.

    But that is, in itself, a crime.

    The problem with time slip cases is that in the end we believe it, or we don't.

    There can be no 'proof'.

    And in these days of hoaxes and scams, what are we ever to believe ?

    INT21
     
  12. Carl Grove

    Carl Grove Ephemeral Spectre

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    I agree absolutely that there can never be proof of anything except within closed systems such as maths and logic. I don't think we should look at these things in terms of belief or disbelief -- rather we should continue to collect data until the weight of evidence points to what is going on. I don't think there are many time slip hoaxes; I am sceptical of some of Tom Slemen's more elaborate cases, and have come across a few probable hoaxes (notably the alleged Rougham video), but it seems to me that 90% of witnesses are palpably honest and trying to find words to describe experiences that they found disturbing and mystifying. Focusing on isolated cases (as we are in this discussion) rarely gets us anywhere, although it does generate a lot of interesting ideas and relevant data. We need to look for trends and clues in the data.
     
  13. Carl Grove

    Carl Grove Ephemeral Spectre

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    I'll cut to the final question, because you have finally stated that you would accept anything "that isn't better explained by a much simpler and well understood means," which does give us a little closure. It sounds reasonable and logical, but the problem is that the decision -- in each case -- rests on a subjective judgment. My judgment is that the totality of details provided by two of the witnesses points to a time slip experience -- not a hugely significant one, but certainly one more thoroughly investigated than most, and including a high percentage of the features of time slips that crop up in many cases. The features that I find significant (sudden change in season, cessation of church bells, absence of any indications that the witnesses were in 1957 Kersey [no signs of life except oddly behaving ducks, no sign of the church tower which would have been clearly visible from the stream area, empty properties, no street lights, no telephone wires, no TV aerials, no cars or other modern vehicles]), and the sudden change back to the chilly autumn season and the sound of bells as they departed. In fact, I find it hard to think of any other information that the witnesses could have furnished, short of interaction with clearly non 20th century people, to make it more significant. What other details would have changed your mind about this case?
     
  14. oldrover

    oldrover Justified & Ancient

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    I suppose to some it might seem subjective to suggest that the gap between experience and retelling led to an exaggerated/distorted version of the events that actually happened is a better explanation than a time slip. But it isn't really Carl, it perfectly objective because one is a well attested, well demonstrated occurrence, the other is purely hypothetical.

    There's nothing wrong with considering hypothetical explanations, but I think it's important to eliminate the more bbasic possibilities first. Something that isn't always done in my experience.

    There's nothing unusual on that list Carl, not unless you'd want to argue that their visit was recalled 30 years later in minute detail, which we both know it wasn't. And there's nothing surprising to me about all these apparent details turning up in the same account.

    In my opinion this case, like the far more starkly illustrative Bampton incident, go to show the worrying lack of care, and the frequent confirmation bias I've come to expect from paranormal research I'm afraid.
     
  15. oldrover

    oldrover Justified & Ancient

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    Let me put my argument a different way. I've no objection to looking at any apparently inexplicable phenomena with an open mind. And I enjoy reading about other people's take on them, but I'm not willing to abandon the same attempt at critical thinking and honest scrutiny that I try my hardest to apply to my own area (which by the way finds very much against the relevant status quo, and I fully expect that if anyone actually reads it there'll be plenty of criticism. And that's fair enough). But I'm not seeing it here in what little I've seen of McKenzie's work, and so far I've seen no evidence of it anywhere else in the evidence in favour of time slips.
     
  16. EnolaGaia

    EnolaGaia I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ... Staff Member

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    Sorry to interrupt, but ...

    Carl, there's one detail (or set of details) that I'd love to know, because the answer could well support or completely negate the notion we have a reliable base of witness testimony.

    It concerns the bell ringing ...

    The standard accounts have it that bell ringing was heard as the boys approached what they believed to be the village of Kersey, no bell ringing was heard once they were inside the settlement they visited, and bell ringing was again heard once they'd exited the central settlement area.

    The accounts indicate they were exploring Kersey for circa 20 - 30 minutes.

    I want to know how many bells were ringing (one versus many), and what the general ringing pattern was (e.g., single chime(s) versus multi-bell ringing versus a full multi-bell extended peal) - for both the periods during which one or more boys reported hearing the bell(s).

    I'd also like to hear anyone's explanation for why a country church's bells might ring either:

    (a) continuously for more than 20 - 30 minutes or
    (b) in two installments or rounds no more than 20 - 30 minutes apart

    ... on a Sunday morning in October 1957.
     
  17. Carl Grove

    Carl Grove Ephemeral Spectre

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    I don't think either of us are going to change our positions on this question. What you see as "confirmation bias" I see as "objectivity." If you don't find all these details that are wholly consistent with time slips "unusual" (actually, to be honest, having studied over 400 time slip cases, I don't find them unusual either!) then short of figuring out how to get you to experience something similar I can see only a stalemate.
     
  18. Carl Grove

    Carl Grove Ephemeral Spectre

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    I hope someone keen on bell ringing might give us an answer. He or she might also have a go at explaining why the church tower, as well as the sound of bells, disappeared after they entered the village!
     
  19. oldrover

    oldrover Justified & Ancient

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    Fair point. I've got to ask you though, was one of these 400 cases Bampton, if so what was your take on it?

    Have you written on the subject? If so I'd be interested to read it. And I don't say that as someone looking to knock your work.
     
  20. oldrover

    oldrover Justified & Ancient

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    I've never been to church in my life and know nothing about them, but I'd guess they're rung before a service, as a throw back to the days when they were used to draw the congregation in?
     
  21. David Plankton

    David Plankton Antediluvian

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    Yes, this is typical on a Sunday, around 9 - 10am.
     
  22. catseye

    catseye Generally strange

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    Noting that all three drank from the stream...

    can we rule out any kind of pollutant that might have caused a slight 'change of state' in the minds of the three? Maybe they drank differing amounts, which might account for why one participant was seemingly less affected than the others. Although I can't, offhand, think of anything which might have given rise to a temporary feeling of 'unreality', I know that water quality back in the 50's was far less tightly policed than it is nowadays and farmers were also using substances like DDT (only banned in the 70's and now being thought to be a possible causative in Alzheimers).

    So is it possible that the water they drank set up a mental state that was then reinforced in a 'folie a deux' ?
     
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  23. David Plankton

    David Plankton Antediluvian

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    Actually, the bells would ring to call for service and then be quiet while the service took place. This might explain why the village was deserted - they were all in the church.

    Would the bells ring again as the congregation left?
     
  24. Carl Grove

    Carl Grove Ephemeral Spectre

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    I thought the Bampton case a bit ambiguous -- aside from the floral display and notice being there on one visit and not on the next no real evidence. The suggestion that the map was burned one day and unsinged the next implies more of a dimensional or glitch experience. Interesting but very inconclusive.

    I got seriously interested while researching a local time slip mystery. The report I wrote can be downloaded from my Dropbox account:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/2bci69we0ji3avi/THE%20ROUGHAM%20MYSTERY.pdf?dl=0

    If this fails, I have uploaded the Rougham Mystery to several sites and a search should find it somewhere!
     
  25. oldrover

    oldrover Justified & Ancient

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    No that's come out fine thanks Carl.

    Thing is with Bampton, as it won won best floral village (or whatever) for the year the incident took place, and the visit took place in the summer, if there was a time slip it'd have been on the following day when the flowers were gone.
     
  26. EnolaGaia

    EnolaGaia I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ... Staff Member

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    I'm accustomed (in the American context) to bell ringing as the signal for an imminent gathering (e.g., Sunday school or the main service).

    As far as I've been able to ascertain so far, the main Sunday service at St. Mary's is - and was - at 1100. This factoid appears to be leveraged in multiple accounts claiming the bell ringing indicates the boys approached Kersey village shortly before 1100.

    In other words, the attribution of the boys' anomalous observations to a timeframe circa 1100 - 1200 most commonly seems to derive from a presumed timeframe of a Sunday service rather than any direct confirmatory evidence relating to the boys' own movements (e.g., a boy's report of a watch reading).

    Carl's quoted text above (post #47) indicates the boys started off from circa 5 miles away (from Kersey) at around 0900. Five miles cross-country in 2 hours is do-able for 15-year-olds.

    As a result, there's no problem with the notion the boys made it cross-country to Kersey village in a couple of hours.

    Why, though, would the bells still be ringing (or resume ringing) after 20 - 30 minutes?
     
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  27. oldrover

    oldrover Justified & Ancient

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    This is what I thought. But then I assumed that church services go on for quite a while, and as I understand it they weren't there that long. Unless they walked out of the village then heard another set of church bells ringing in a later service elsewhere.
     
  28. oldrover

    oldrover Justified & Ancient

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    So, are we not sure of the day?
     
  29. INT21

    INT21 Justified & Ancient

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    ...can we rule out any kind of pollutant that might have caused a slight 'change of state' in the minds of the three? Maybe they drank differing amounts,..

    Yes, we can rule it out as they were apparently aware that something was a bit odd before they drank. And it is highly unlikely that anything in a stream that may 'poison' them would wear off as soon as they left.

    INT21
     
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  30. EnolaGaia

    EnolaGaia I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ... Staff Member

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    That's a good point ...

    It's unclear from the various accounts precisely when and where they took some water. Not all the retellings state they took water from the stream, and there was a public water pump in the central village area (though not on the main lane, so far as I can tell).

    The main counterargument would concern the timeframe. There aren't many pollutants one could ingest in water that would put you in a notable biochemical / psychological funk in less than 20 - 30 minutes. If one accepts the relative sequence of events insinuated in the various accounts, they were already feeling something was 'off' by the time they were at the ford / splash area.

    Can we rule it out? No.

    Is this a viable explanation for their anomalous experience? I'd say 'not likely' if we're talking about water taken in the central village, but 'possible' if they'd drunk any stream water earlier during the circa 2-hour hike to the village.
     
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