Nicola Kirk: Author and Collector of Paranormal Stories and Other Strange Encounters

Archive for the ‘chance’ Category

What Is Going On Today!?

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We’ve all had days like it.  You’re out and about, minding your own business when everything just seems to Go Wrong.  I had a day like that at the weekend.  I went to a picnic to celebrate my brother’s birthday – lovely!  The kids were good, the weather was fantastic and we had a great day.  Until I went near my car.

Usually I will be the first to admit if I’ve done something a bit daft (at least to myself, anyway) however on this particular day, things just seemed to happen that were not of my creation.  On the way there, my engine light came on.  Fortunately, I knew it wasn’t anything serious, just a sensor misbehaving, so I carried on.  Then a little light popped up to advise me my tyre pressure was low.  Huh.  My dashboard was starting to look a little Christmas tree-like.  Okay, fine, fine, I can get these bits sorted out, I thought to myself as I trundled over the Dartford Bridge.  Then coming home, a guy quite literally took my wing mirror off as he came around the corner on my side of the road.  That was a bit of a shocker, I can tell you. We stopped, checked we both retained all of our limbs, he apologised, I collected the bits of my mirror from down the road and I thought with slightly gritted teeth, okay, it’s fine, it can be fixed, and I pushed what remained of the now smashed mirror back into place so I could at least get home and went on my way.

I made my way back towards the Dartford Bridge with my car feeling a little under the weather and me feeling a little paranoid that people were looking at my freshly shattered mirror and silently judging me as they went by, when I had a moment of horror as I saw a large stone hurtling towards my face.  Fortunately the windscreen took the brunt of it but the glass was left with two nice big chips in it.  “Oh, for goodness sake!!” I snapped.  “Really!? Anything else?!  Could there be anything else that could happen!?”

Then the petrol light came on.

But epic as my journey seemed at the weekend, it’s nowhere near as bad as this poor chap’s day, so I shall count my blessings:


And then there’s always the times that animals are hell-bent on wrecking your day too:


But then there are the times when… well, there is just no hope for some people, it was destined to not go well right from the outset:




©Nicola Kirk 2016 and



Dreams are curious creatures.  I’ve heard all the usual explanations for dreams: it’s your brain having a sort through of all the experiences you’ve had and so on but what, I ask you, is Kim Basinger doing popping up in my dreams when she is the last person I would be thinking about (no offence, Kim, but it’s been a while).  I’ve always had very vivid dreams, most of which I forget like everyone else, but sometimes I get caught up in a right humdinger (remember the one about Lady Gaga and strange men eating KFC?)  Well this one was kind of in the same bracket but without the extra side orders.

Recently, I was very sad to learn about the passing of my childhood best friend.  We had drifted apart over the years, but you never expect to hear that someone you grew up with has died.  Dreaming about my friend should not have been a shock.  And dreaming about us in a situation that we both had fond memories of (being at school together) seemed like the perfect place to find her.  She was in her school uniform, aged in her early teens, and I passed her in a corridor on my way to a lesson somewhere.  I stopped her and she looked at me with a peaceful expression but she didn’t quite look as if she was really seeing me.  I asked her if she was okay and she said that she was.  I put my hand on her arm and said I had heard that she had died and she laughed, seemingly a bit annoyed, and asked me where I had heard that one.  I told her another school friend had told me and she snorted and said ‘why on earth did she do that?’   My friend looked… different.  I’m not sure what it was about her, whether it was because I was remembering her as her younger self, or I was perhaps having trouble remembering her face and my mind was filling in the missing details (although I can see her as clear as day in my mind while I write this).  It was quite an emotional experience because I knew, of course, deep down, that she was no longer living. Then my grandmother made an appearance too – not sure what she was doing at my old school – but she hardly seemed to notice me and just went about her business.  I moved on to my old form room where some old school friends who I haven’t thought about in a long time were sitting around chatting.  One of them was sporting a black eye.  Well, he had been a particularly irritating child at school, so maybe that was a subconscious wish on my part.


We sat around watching some kind of slide show about clocks – what else? – when I noticed a stack of old looking documents beside me and I thought, ‘ they must be from the asylum!’  Of course.  Where else would a stack of old looking documents have come from?  It’s my dream, and I say they came from an asylum.  I picked up an old white envelop that was busy turning a nice shade of brown and noticed it was dated long ago.  It appeared to be an envelop full of photographs.  I pulled one out to look at it and it was a photo of an inmate taking a bath whilst at an asylum.  The inmate was wrapped in some kind of sheeting and looked for all the world to be… wait, was that Kim Basinger?  I frowned at the photo wondering what on earth she was doing there and then I became aware that there was a figure standing just behind me.  It was ethereal and glowing and looked a little bit curious as to why I was holding an old sepia photo of her having a bath in asylum settings.  The ghost of Ms Basinger looked at me for a moment and, feeling that I was holding something that was very much her property, I gave her the envelope of photos with an muttered apology.  She smiled and I knew that if I looked away for a moment then she would be gone.  And I was right.  I turned to look at my schoolmate with his black eye and then when I turned back she had, indeed, gone.  I felt as if I had experienced something truly incredible.  Although now I am somewhat concerned that something has happened to Kim, so I’m just going to do a quick Google to make sure she’s okay…

I wonder what it is that makes us dream about seemingly random people.  And I wonder if it means anything.  It was nice to see my friend one last time though.


©Nicola Kirk 2016 and


Time Travel There's an app for that,funny pictures,auto,demotivation,time travel,app

Afternoon everyone!

I receive regular newsletters from a paranormal website called Phantoms and Monsters – it’s a great way of keeping up with the latest events in the World of the Weird and I’d highly recommend a visit to the website if you are interested in anything from vampires to UFOs.  It covers everything and then some.

Anyway, I came across the following article in today’s newsletter and it really caught my interest so I thought I’d share it with you lot too.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one:

“A few weeks ago, I received an interesting inquiry referencing an incident that occurred in the vicinity of Baltimore, Maryland in June 1992. The information was forwarded by a now-retired attorney who continues to live in the area. At the time of the incident, he (who I will refer to as MB) had a private practice with several offices in the Baltimore / Washington DC metro area. He also provided pro bono legal services for the State of Maryland, particularly representing clients with mental disabilities. Since receiving the first email, I had 2 more conversations with MB…which were recorded with his permission. I am going to write his allegory as it was given to me…the resulting statement was approved by MB. Many of the specific and personal details will not be included for MB’s confidentiality and privacy:

Statement – MB – Baltimore, MD – 4/5/2013

* In June 1992, I was assigned a pro bono case / client who was being housed, by court order, in one of the State Hospitals located in the metro Baltimore area.

* I interviewed the client at the State Hospital facility. I informed him that he was facing a weapon possession charge (a vintage Marlin Derringer handgun and ammunition were found in his pants pocket) and other local vagrancy violations.

* The client told me that he went by the name Morris Winthrop. He stated that he was from New Jersey and lived most of his life in New York City. The file showed that there was no record of him residing in the State of Maryland.

* When arrested, Morris wore a high collar white shirt and a brown frock coat and pants. I examined the clothes…later I would discover that these were very similar to Victorian era men’s clothing from the 1870-1880s. He also possessed a silver metal case…similar to a cigarette case. Inside the case was a square piece of black colored material that resembled hard plastic. He was allowed to retain this object while at the facility.

* Morris looked to be in his early 30s, though there was no hair or stubble on his face…just thin eyebrows. He had wispy blond hair and a very pale complexion. The eyes were very deep blue…almost violet in color.

* During the interview, he would look directly at me and smile. He answered few questions other than his name, that he was living in New York City and that he didn’t know how he arrived in Baltimore.

* The physician at the hospital stated that he may be suffering from shock and that there may be some memory loss. I didn’t get that impression while in Morris’ presence. It seemed to me that he knew exactly what was transpiring. To this day, I still do not know why I felt that way.

* At the end of the interview, I told him that he was being held at the facility under court order and that I would seek a hearing date. Morris’ reply to me was ‘thank you for your service. I will contact you…I promise.

* The next day I was contacted by the Baltimore County State Attorney’s office and informed that my services were no longer needed in this case. No further information was provided.

* I contacted the physician who was treating Morris. He stated that Morris was no longer at the facility. I asked where he was taken and told that I would need to contact the State Attorney’s office.

* For almost 2 years, no official information was available in regards to Morris.

* In 1994 I was approached by an attendant who had worked at the State Hospital during Morris’ brief stay. I was told that Morris had suddenly disappeared from the ward after his late meal. There was a thorough search conducted without results. Morris’ clothes were retained by the State Attorney’s office. All other items, including the silver metal case, were missing. I have never found out where the weapon was stored…though I assume it is at State Police headquarters.

* At that time, I conducted a private search for Morris Winthrop. I hired a private investigator who found very little information other than that a single 32-year-old man named Morris Winthrop had resided in New York City in 1877…until he went missing without a trace. All his property (in Manhattan) had been left behind. The police found no evidence of foul play.

* After 19 years, I never found another reference to Morris Winthrop. This has become a bit of an obsession for me. I have hired other private investigators over the years but nothing has been found. If Morris was a ‘time traveler’, I wonder if he’ll contact me as promised? MB

NOTE: Like I stated before, this is the final statement approved by MB. Could this be a case of ‘time travel?’ I would have preferred more information but MB is quite wary of how others would interpret his quest into Morris’ identity and deposition. He asked me not to conduct a private inquiry. It seems his long-term investigation has ruffled the feathers of a few local and state officials over the years.”

With thanks to Phantoms And Monsters.


©Nicola Kirk and 2013


Ghost Busting: Alas, it’s never like the films…

The other week I was fortunate enough to be invited to a paranormal investigation, purely as an observer, but it was a treat nonetheless – these events generally are.  I have changed the names of people and places to respect their privacy (and so they can’t hunt me down and lob rotten vegetables at me) but, at the end of the day, it is the experience itself that matters, isn’t it?  And for this particular experience, if I was to play some theme music to it, the Benny Hill theme would suit it down to the ground.

My good friend, Sally, is the curator of a rather nice museum and she had been approached by a paranormal group, let’s call them… Almost Haunted, and was asked if they could investigate.  Sally agreed that they could.  A few weeks before the actual investigation, Almost Haunted‘s medium, (ummm, let’s call her Flossie) and one of her technical chaps had popped along for a pre-investigation investigation.  During this pre-investigation, Flossie and her colleague had a brief wander around the museum while it was still daylight and the medium declared she was in touch with the spirit of a young boy of about six years old called Robert.  She said Robert particularly liked the area of the museum that was full of 1970s artefacts but he was annoyed that Sally had recently moved a clock that had been sitting on top of a television there.  Why that particular item being moved would bother a child considering that the contents of the museum are changed and swapped around on a regular basis, I don’t know.  However, Sally was a little surprised by this piece of information because she had indeed moved the clock.  When she was alone, Sally had a closer inspection of the area around the clock to see if there were any tell-tale dust marks that might have indicated to Flossie that the clock had been moved, but she couldn’t see anything.  A lucky guess, perhaps?  Who knows?

Where’s Casper when you need him?  At least he was chatty…

Another spirit that Flossie picked up on at the museum was  a Victorian looking woman called Emily who was apparently stuck on what Flossie referred to as a ‘loop’, meaning she was carrying out the same task again and again.  Flossie said that the woman was ‘extremely busy’ and didn’t have time to stop and talk because she had people to feed.  Furthermore, there was also a rather unpleasant spirit  called George who was dressed as a farrier.  George was not keen on the little boy, Robert, perhaps because Robert sounded like a bit of a brat.

As well as running the museum, Sally also has the use of an old house nearby where she keeps excess artefacts.  She refers to the house as ‘the store’.  I’ve been to the store myself a few times, and although it does have a bit of a musty smell to it, no carpets and an air of long disuse, there’s nothing particularly horrible about it, but I suppose the sheer fact that a house is unlived in is sometimes enough to give it an uncomfortable atmosphere and Sally particularly hates having to go in there alone.  She told me that she was once downstairs working away in what was once the living room when she heard distinct footsteps coming from the room above her.  She was completely alone at the time.   Yup, feel those hairs rising on the back of your neck, ladies and gentlemen…

During the brief tour around the store in August, Flossie said that she didn’t like Room 1, which is just on the left as you walk in (the old living room).  In Room 2, just behind Room 1, which is currently full of old uniforms and tunics, the medium said she sensed a man called Ted who was dressed in what she thought was some kind of railway uniform.  Upstairs, she found a little girl who liked to play with Robert at times – Robert had apparently followed Flossie and Sally over from the museum to the store, and the little girl liked to watch Sally and her colleagues working sometimes – not creepy at all…

Ghostly Footsteps: Who was stalking Sally at ‘the store’?

Moving  upstairs to Room 5, Flossie discovered the spirit of a chap called Edward who was also on a ‘loop’, sitting at a desk, busy slaving over some accounts.  Now, is it just me, or does there seem to be an incredible abundance of ghosts running amok in the museum and store?  It seems to be packed to the rafters with all things dead and who are too busy to stop and chat.

Flossie’s technical assistant took some photos while they were there but unfortunately they failed to show anything of interest, and the EVP recordings (electronic voice phenomena) were sadly blank too.  Again, I find myself wondering that if there were that many ghosts/spirits/whatever you want to call them, all floating around the place, surely one of them might be a little bit interested in making an appearance on film or voice recorder? But no, not so much as a peep from mischievous little Robert or the ever busy Emily.  It would appear that, mediums aside, no matter how many spooks are allegedly crammed into your abode, getting them to appear or stop for a chat is a mission impossible.  You’d have thought the dead would relish the chance to scare the pants off the living.  I know I would, but then I’m a bit evil like that.

During an EVP session the voice recorder turned off after about 30 minutes and Flossie declared that the batteries had been mysteriously ‘drained’, although Sally suspected the batteries may have just died of natural causes because she had overheard Flossie asking one of her technical chaps earlier if they had remembered their voice recorder – possibly because Flossie’s batteries weren’t very fresh to begin with and she was worried they might die during the preliminary investigation.  Which they did.

Why doesn’t it work? Try new batteries…

At this point my imagination was beginning to run riot over what the actual investigation in October was going to be like…

But I’ll have to tell you all about the official investigation in the second part of this post.


©Nicola Kirk and 2010


Next time your mobile phone rings, you may want to think twice before answering it…

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©Nicola Kirk and 2010


The Grim Reaper Cometh: Appearances Can Be Deceptive

As promised, here is the final part of Kenneth Bailey’s article.  Sometimes there is just no getting away from Death’s peculiar sense of humour and Fate always seems keen to offer a helping hand to the terminally stupid …

“The founder of the famous American Detective Agency, Allan Pinkerton, was walking to work one morning when he bit his tongue.  He later died of gangrene.

Mrs Vera Czermak of Prague learned that her husband was carrying on with another woman and decided to end it all.  She leaped out of her third floor window in despair just as her husband was coming home from work.  She landed right on top of him although she had no idea that he was there and ended up with minor injuries.  Hubby, on the other hand, immediately joined the ‘odd innings’ club.

Constipation: Not for the faint of heart

In 1760, George II died of heart failure brought on by chronic constipation.  He was sitting on his toilet trying to do something about it at the time.  French President, Felix Faure, came to an untimely end in 1899 whilst trying out for the first time a specially designed ‘Sex Chair’.  The records do not show who was the prime witness to this incident.

William Killian, an airline employee, was killed in Denver, Colorado, by a duffel bag.  He was loading it into a plane when a revolver, which it contained, went off and killed him.

In conclusion, there are two sides to every coin, and there are those who would like to join the ‘club’, but just don’t seem to be able to manage it.  Take for instance Yugoslavian Bank Clerk, Jovo Lucic.  When he was jilted by his girlfriend in Belgrade, he too decided to end it all.  He stole a car with the intention of crashing it into a tree, but it broke down.  He stole another, but lacked the courage to go too fast into the tree and just dented the bumper.  He was subsequently charged with theft but while he was being interviewed he plunged a dagger into his chest.  The quick actions of the police officers saved his life and when he had recovered he was sentenced to twelve months in prison.  On the way to his cell he dived out of a window but landed in a snow drift which broke his fall.  To date, poor old Jovo is still with us, but no doubt he’ll try again when he comes out.”

Stupidity: It Knows No Bounds…

Another rich source of unfortunate endings is the Fortean Times Magazine who regularly run a ‘Strange Deaths’ column – always worth a read.  It would seem that for some people there is just no hiding from that inevitable sticky end whilst for others it remains tantalisingly out of reach…



Death: Desperately Seeking The Stupid!

Continuing the theme of strange deaths and questionable common sense, here’s part two of Kenneth Bailey’s article, “We All Have To Go Sometime”:

“A chap called Stratton, from England, recently decided to end it all after a row with his wife.  He made up his mind that gassing himself would be the easiest way out, so he settled himself down by the oven and waited for the ‘big sleep’.  What he hadn’t taken into consideration was the fact that he had been converted to North Sea gas so nothing happened.  When he realised what he had done, he developed second thoughts and decided to think things over, so he lit up a cigar…

Starvin’ Marvin…

Eating and drinking aren’t necessarily safe pastimes either.  An eighteenth century glutton called Biggars had a snack one evening consisting of salad, twelve dumplings, a gallon of beer, a loaf of bread and six pounds of bacon.  He apparently enjoyed the meal, but it was to be his last as he had an attack of apoplexy immediately afterwards and met his maker.  This was hardly surprising considering the amount he had consumed, but even if you don’t overdo it you’re not guaranteed to escape.  The poet Johnson was in a bar in 1902 when he decided to leave after having just one drink.  Unfortunately he fell from the bar stool as he was getting up to leave and died on the spot.

In 1951, A German carpenter was working on a roof when a freak six foot long spear of ice fell from the sky and split him in two.  The origin of the ice was never established, unlike the lump of frozen offal which fell out of an aircraft, fatally striking a German farm worker in 1968.  It seems that if you’re in Germany, it is advisable to wear a crash helmet outdoors!

Here’s One I Made Earlier

In Peru, in 1971, Catalina Ledesma gave her five children some cakes for tea.  Within an hour, four of them were dead.  Local authority investigators concluded that a strong insecticide had got mixed in with the sugar she had used so they destroyed the remaining sugar.  Five days later, the funeral was held and Mrs Ledesma served the mourners a meal which included some more cakes.  One hour later another seven people were dead including Mrs Ledesma herself.  Police discovered that the insecticide was in the flour, the sugar was okay.”

Keep an eye out for the final part of Kenneth’s article where he regales us with a few more stories about the unfortunate and the just plain stupid…



STOP!  Prevent your death…

Some people are lucky enough to die in their sleep.  Some people shuffle off this mortal coil after an illness.  And then there are some who… well, let’s just say that Death must have a very warped sense of humour.

The following is part one of an article written by Kenneth Bailey that was rooted out from the mists of time and passed on to me by Becky Wash of the Essex Police Museum:

“It is a fact of life that we are all going to die!  One of these days it’s going to happen to you.  One minute you’ll be enjoying your pension or whatever, and the next…THE END.

There are a number of people however, who have decided that bowing out in the usual manner is not for them.  They are the ones whose mode of death will be attributed to ‘Other Causes’, let me tell you some of them.

Lightning Strikes…

In Vancouver in 1934, a tombstone in the local cemetery was struck by lightning and subsequently shattered.  Nothing unusual in this, you may think, but the tombstone belonged to one Major Summerfield, who in 1918 was struck by lightning and invalided out of the Army.  He fortunately recovered from this and in 1924 decided that fishing would provide him with a suitable pastime.  No sooner had he cast out his line when he was struck by lightning which paralysed his right side.  It took him two years to recover sufficiently to take a walk through the city park, where, surprise, surprise, he was struck by lightning.  Regrettably, two years afterwards, and as a result of his injuries, he died, but was unable to rest in peace as the tombstone incident indicates.  Who says that lightning never strikes more than once in the same place?

He’s a Fire Starter…Twisted Fire Starter

Next time any of you go dancing, spare a thought for poor Phyllis Newcombe.  She went to a dance at the Shire Hall, Chelmsford in 1938.  The 22-year-old beauty was happily jigging around with her fiancé when, suddenly, and without any apparent reason, she burst into flames.  No suitable explanation has ever been given for her sudden demise and she was not the only person on record to have expired in this manner.  On July 1st, 1951, Mrs Mary Reeser, aged 67, of Florida, erupted into flames and burned up in her bedroom.  All that remained of her was a small pile of smouldering ash and her shrunken skull.  It has been estimated that it would take a fire of about 3,000 degrees to leave her in that state, but she was in a corner of the room far away from any fires or electricity and there was no question of her having received the same treatment as Major Summerfield.  No one has ever found out why it happened.”


Pizza, Karma and The Wonders of Human Kindness – A True Story

On 9th August 2001, an orderly queue was forming in Sbarro on the corner of King George Street and Jaffa Road in Jerusalem.  An American man, standing in line waiting to pay for his lunch, was running late and a young Jew who was in front of him offered his place to the American so he could pay first and head off on his way; a very kind gesture.  The American thanked the Jew, paid and left.  No sooner had the American left the restaurant than a suicide bomber set off a bomb which blew the restaurant to pieces, killing 15 and wounding 130.  The young Jew who had given his place to the American was one of the injured.

The American escorted the poor Jew to hospital and offered to help in any way that he could, only too aware that if it hadn’t been for the Jew’s kindness it would be him laying there injured instead.

The Jew needed urgent medical treatment and the American paid for him to receive the assistance he desperately needed in America.  The American felt it was the least he could do.

The American visited the Jew in hospital on 11th September 2001.  As he chatted to the young Jew while he lay in his sick bed, word reached the American that a plane had crashed into the Twin Towers… where the American worked.  It’s hard to imagine what must have gone through the American’s mind as he realised that if it hadn’t been for the fact he had been at the hospital with the Jew then he would have been at his office at the Twin Towers when the planes hit.

Truly a case of what goes around comes around.

Now, I don’t want any tittering in the audience, but there is also a musical version of this true story which, I thought, relates the tale really rather well.  All together now:


©Nicola Kirk and 2010



This Craving For Jellied Eels and Blue Cheese Is Not Mine! – The Curious Phenomenon of Cellular Memory

It’s generally accepted that our personalities, our memories, the things that make us who we are, are locked deep within our brains and that’s where they stay.  Or is it?  Is it possible that our memories and personalities are also locked into each and every one of our cells, too?

Imagine going into hospital to receive a kidney from a donor.  You go in a strict vegetarian but come out craving a big fat steak (and not just because of the hospital food you’ve been forced to endure).  Or, perhaps you went into hospital a die-hard heavy metal fan and came out desperate to listen to a spot of Beethoven?  What could cause these strange and unlikely changes in personality?

There is a theory (that’s as far as it’s got at the moment because scientists frown at the concept) that if a person undergoes an organ transplant then it is possible that the recipient can take on some of the characteristics of the organ donor.  For example:

In Australia, a young man by the name of Kaden Delaney was killed in a car crash and his heart was transplanted to David Waters.   Not long after the transplant, David developed a serious taste for Burger Rings, whereas he’d never eaten them before.  It transpired that Burger Rings had been one of Kaden’s favourite munchies.

In 1988, a woman called Claire Sylvia left hospital after receiving the heart of an 18-year-old male.  She soon began to notice some strange traits in her personality that certainly weren’t hers.  She found that she would strut down the street like a man, which caused a bit of an issue seeing as she was normally a graceful dancer.  Her diet changed to the point where she would often fancy a nice pint and her dreams were haunted by a strange man called Tim.  Claire discovered that her heart donor had been a man called Tim and her newly acquired habits very closely matched those of her donor.

A further case about a seriously ill woman receiving an organ transplant from a man can be seen here – well, YouTube videos are always a good source of entertainment for the more visually excitable amongst us:

These are just a handful of cases and, even though scientists shake their heads and frown at the prospect of cellular memory, it certainly gives us food for thought (and perhaps even a bit of a swagger, too).


©Nicola Kirk and 2010


Fortean Times 45:8


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