SITUation Report 8/97
The newsletter of the Society for the Investigation of the UNEXPLAINED, UK branch
A Note from the Editor
This issue we have a special report from SITU operative John Henry, currently investigating in Oxfordshire. Mr Henry is a journalist by trade, so this is quite a coup for SITUation Report! Any of you other field operatives, whether you're writers or not – we're not critics here! - we'd greatly welcome similar brief accounts of your investigative exploits.
Until next time,
"You see some strange things in my line of work. I'm John Henry, one time reporter, one time BBC hack. Now I write for a living. Maybe you've read my books. I've travelled the world, I'm as sane as the next man, and I don't believe in the paranormal.
"Or at least, I didn't believe...
"This village SITU sent us to doesn't look unnatural - more The Archers than The Prisoner. Until you scratch the surface. Then a teenager goes missing from a cornfield and the locals say something tore her apart. She turns up safe, but she's out of her mind. Some say she took drugs – I'm not so sure. I am sure of the New Age travellers, but why are they drawn to the meteor crater – is it the same force that sends compasses wild? Or is it the Midsummer Festival? I'm not superstitious, but when someone said 'Wiccan calendar' I started wondering. Maybe we should get our hands on the books and run before June 21st comes around...
"The books? They're why SITU sent us here. Our brief: pose as antique dealers and purchase the library of the late occultist Sir Harvey Isaac Bamworth. Simple enough, you might think, despite the stories of witches, madness and suicide that surround the Bamworth family. So Sir Harvey's daughter keeps a black cat? So the old schoolmistress owns some very strange paintings? Someone's been burning candles in the corn? I'm a man of the world and I'm not so easily spooked. There are others who want the books, though, and I'm wary of them. Who do they work for, and why are they following us?
"These villagers are a strange bunch – but you meet some strange people in SITU, too. Professor Twitchin looks like a mild-mannered scholar, but he knows his business when it comes to those occult tomes. I thought the Splendor Solis was a hotel on the Costa Brava.
"Darius McGregor's a dark horse. Last time I saw him, he was breaking into the Bamworth house. Who knows if I'll see him again? For a job like that you need a man like Side-step. He won't tell me his background, but he acts tough and he makes it plain that no one, not even the law, will ever stand in his way. He's hard to like but he could be useful, if things turn out nasty...
"Matt Culver seems a regular bloke – why he joined SITU I'll never know. He's a psychiatrist, so maybe this is fieldwork to him. He should study Benedict Riggs; 'looney tunes', Side-step calls him. Riggs believes every crazy, cockeyed conspiracy you've ever heard of - and more. He thinks the villagers are hybrids of aliens and humans. He thinks 'they' are watching us through TV screens. He thinks someone's trying to kill him. Something happened to make him that way, but I don't know what it was.
"We're all different, but we work well together. On a SITU mission, you have to. There are times you feel its you and your companions against the world: if you can't trust them, who can you trust? But now I'm starting to sound like Riggs...
"What keeps us together is that we all seek the truth. Other Operatives have different motives, of course. They join for the thrills, or the travel. One party I know went cliff-diving in Mexico – nice work if you can get it. A woman I met at a meeting once said she was in it for money, and I suppose you could make your fortune, too, if you found someone to pay for what you've learned. I'm a new member, but I'm not stupid: it's clear that SITU knows more than they're telling us. If I live long enough, I might find out how much."
Note: a version of this article previously appeared in The Postal Role-player magazine. Not sure what Mr Henry was doing submitting it there – anyone would think investigation of the Unexplained was some sort of game! – but I suppose he has to find his markets where he can get them.
It's an UNEXPLAINED, UNEXPLAINED, UNEXPLAINED World
- New Scientist reports that a Californian research team have proven that photons are affected by the behaviour of 'twin' photons instantaneously at a distance of 8-10 miles, which if true demonstrates a non-physical causality which is achronal. I have doubts this is a real event, and not a glitch in their protocols: but, if it is, telepathy, FTL travel, and almost anything else become theoretically possible (writes Operative Chris Romer).
- Secondly, in California (again) some parapsychologist involved in the meta-analysis of previous parapsychological research found a significant factor. Results peak consistently at 11.30 am local time, adjusted by sidereal time. Now Society for Psychical Research data shows crisis apparitions cluster around 3am, as does the research of Dr. Serena Roney-Dougal. So if psi is most significant in my coffee break, it isn't actually imposing much on human experience! (thanks again Chris!)
SITU – Out in the Fields
Europe has been the focus for SITU activity of late, with investigative teams packing their bags to track down vampires in Transylvania, and a mysterious corpse found in Heidelberg.
Closer to home, a group have just left to infiltrate the mysterious Buckinghamshire-based cult The Keepers of the Hidden Circles - we wish them the best of luck!
And the next expedition we plan is to check out stories of messages received by an Essex computer – from the seventeenth century! Any operatives not yet occupied should contact Briefing as normal with their details, if this sounds intriguing.