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

Posts tagged ‘Australia’

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


No Rest For The Wicked – Graveyard Guardians

Many people are frightened of graveyards, it’s only natural, but is it the sight of all those headstones and tombs that makes you uneasy or… is there something else watching you?

It might take a bit of time but if you can hunt down the first grave in a cemetery you might just get to meet the Graveyard Guardian.  The legend is that the spirit of the first person laid to rest in a graveyard  remains on the earthly plane to keep an eye on comings and goings and keep the other graveyard residents safe.

Unfortunately, in times of old, some villagers were a little too impatient to wait for someone to die of natural causes and fill the role.  According to an article by Marq English in issue 45 of Paranormal Magazine (p74), ‘it is believed that the early inhabitants of Cheam (in Surrey) butchered the village simpleton by cutting his throat and allowing the blood to spill into the graveyard so his spirit would be its first Guardian’.  So if we learn nothing else today, don’t visit Cheam when they’re opening a new graveyard.

According to there is a legend that people used to be buried alive in new graveyards to create a guardian.  These guardians were known as ankou.

The ankou is also mentioned by Frenchman Anatole Le Braz, who was a collector and translator of Breton (Brittany) folklore in the 19th Century.  In his best-seller, “The Legend of Death”, Anatole writes:

The Ankou is the henchman of the Death (oberour ar maro). The last dead of the year, in each parish, becomes the Ankou of this parish for all the following year. When it has been, in a year, more death than usual, one says about the Ankou:

War ma fé, heman zo eun Anko drouk.

“On my faith, this one is a nasty Ankou.”

The Black Shuck, a strange creature whom I have written about previously, occasionally also takes on the role of graveyard guardian, although whether the shuck is the spirit of the first graveyard resident or a completely different paranormal being in its own right is unclear:

One notable story from Australia perhaps provides evidence of the persistence of the black dog legend beyond its native Europe. In Picton, NSW, there is a wonderful historical graveyard attached to the beautiful church of St Mark. Within the churchyard, the ghostly form of an enormous dog has been seen – even on one occasion chasing people out of the graveyard.”

So if you do decide to visit a graveyard, you’d better behave yourself.  You don’t know who, or what, might be watching.


©Nicola Kirk and 2010

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