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

Posts tagged ‘horror’


Well, we have a nice turn up for the books today – I am delighted to be able to present you with a one off interview with Bloody Mary herself.  Bloody Mary is known by many names (Mary Worthington, Mary Jane, Mary Whales and Mary White to name but a few) and she has taken time out from her hectic mirror stalking schedule to be here with us today.  Just in case you are not familiar with Bloody Mary’s work, take a few seconds to observe the following:

I’ll give you a moment to come out from behind the sofa.

Nicola Kirk: Bloody Mary, welcome to Weirdworld!

Bloody Mary: Hi, nice to be here, thanks for inviting me.

NK: Wow, where to start!  You seem to be doing very well for yourself these days?

BM: (Laughs shyly) Yes, well, there are a lot of mirrors out there.

NK: For those out there who aren’t aware of who you are, would you like to tell us a little about yourself?:

BM: Sure.  Well, I kind of popped up in the 1970s, at least that’s when the folklorists and urban legend people started to take notice of me.  I’ve built up a rather terrifying reputation for myself over the years, even if I do say so myself. I love Googling myself to see what comes up.  There are endless tales of people being terrified out of their wits after having summoned me and then have me crawl out of their mirrors and trying to kill them – ha!  I’m quite the horror celebrity these days.  But people always seem to have found mirrors fascinating, haven’t they?  People try everything with them –  from divining the future to, well, calling up dead people.  You know, historically, young women would try out a little ritual where they would take a lit candle and walk up stairs backwards with a hand mirror at midnight in the hope that they’d see their future husband in the mirror .

NK: Sounds like something exciting to try.

BM: Well, yes and no – if they looked in the mirror and saw a skull looking back at them then it meant they would die before they got married.

NK: Oh.

BM: Yes.  Although, from my point of view, this sort of ritual can be quite entertaining.  Some girls can’t decide which version of the ‘ritual’ to use.  Should they carry the candle, and eat an apple at the same time, whilst walking backwards and trying to brush their hair?  You know, some people just aren’t born multitaskers and the end results can be really amusing to behold.

NK: How have rituals progressed over the years?  Any bloody sacrifices?

BM: (Sighing) Nothing that exciting.  Sometimes, if they’re brave enough, people try to summon me on their own, in their bathroom with just with a candle, and other times, if they’re drunk enough, people try in groups with a bottle of vodka for backup.  The drunk groups are the best.  There’s always someone who runs into the wall while everyone else runs for the door.  Sometimes I don’t even have to put in an appearance, they spook themselves out before they’ve finished the chanting and run away.  That can be disappointing, especially if I’ve been gearing myself up for a grand entrance.

NK: So, if someone was minded to try and summon you, how would they go about it for the best results?

BM: The most generally accepted way is to stand in front of a mirror in a dimly lit room, candles are a nice touch, and to chant ‘Bloody Mary’ three times.  Some people call for Mary Worth or Mary White, I even had someone calling for Mary Whitehouse once – I’m not sure what they were expecting but they looked pretty shocked when I appeared and asked them what they thought about social liberalism.  Sometimes people try calling for the Candyman for a change but I don’t pull off the brutalised black male artist look too well. But a friend of mine, Hanako-San, she has a tough job.  She haunts toilets in Japanese schools.  People are forever banging on third cubicles on third floors and asking if she’s there.  They get horribly frightened when she actually says she’s home – I don’t know why people go looking for us if they’re just going to run away screaming when we answer.  I suppose it could be something to do with the way we sometimes attack them, but sometimes we can be nice.

NK: Hanako- San doesn’t know Moaning Myrtle does she?

BM: Who?

NK: From..uh… Harry Potter – okay, not to to worry, let’s move on.  What’s your average customer like?

BM: Young and female.  I don’t know why, but it’s always girls having slumber parties.  The number of times I’ve turned up to find everyone in a onesie.  It’s like no one makes an effort these days.

NK: What sort of thing can people expect when you appear in their mirror?

BM: Depends what sort of mood I’m in and if they’re interrupting me while I’m doing something important.  I’m not always a bloody faced screaming corpse you know, I do have quite a repertoire.

NK: Funnily enough, I did try to Google reports of people having met you on a good day and I thought I was onto something when the search turned up ‘A friendly welcome and a good Bloody Mary!’ but unfortunately it was just a pub review on Trip Advisor.

BM: (Shrugs) Yes, well, you can’t have everything.  I have to tell you, being summoned all the time by people looking for a bit of a thrill does get a bit tiresome so you can appreciate that I’m not always going to be sunshine and smiles.

NK: Um, not ever by all accounts.  Having read a few experiences left by people on the internet, they’ve reported being screamed at, cursed and apparently you sometimes try to strangle people?

BM: (Holds hands up) Guilty as charged.  Although I did see a piece of viral tat going around on Facebook once that if you didn’t forward a post on to at least fifteen people then I would appear at midnight to slit wrists, throats and pull eyeballs out with a fork.  I mean really…

NK: Bit over the top?

BM: I don’t even own a fork.

NK: Right.  You have become more famous as the years have gone on, haven’t you?

BM: I really have!  I’ve had films made about me and all sorts.  There was Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005), The Legend of Bloody Mary (2008) and I even got in on that Paranormal Activity 3 (2011).

NK: Yes, we featured a clip from that film at the beginning of this interview.

BM: Nothing like a little publicity.

NK: Have you see the doll they’ve made of you?

BM: Seriously?

NK: Bloody Mary Doll

BM: (Recoils in horror) Woah!  That’s… that’s just nasty.  I don’t look like that, do I?  What’s going on with the hair?  I do like her dress though, I think I could make that work.

NK: There are all sorts of back stories attached to your legend, aren’t there?

BM: Oh yes, I’ve got so many possible origins these days, it’s hard to keep up with them all.  The one I like most is that I am Bloody Queen Mary, famous for her violently imposed religious views.  Not that I’m particularly religious but being mistaken for royalty is quite flattering.  Other stories I’ve heard about myself is that I was a particularly vain woman who spent so long looking in mirrors that I came back to haunt them, and anyone who dares to call me up in a mirror will do so at their peril – but I don’t think I’m that vain.  I spend more time looking out of mirrors than into them these days.  One thing I did read (an essay by Alan Dundes called Bloody Mary In The Mirror: A Ritual Reflection of Pre-Pubescent Anxiety) was that elements of my legend could be linked to the onset of menstruation due to the similarities in feelings between that and how people feel when summoning me.

NK: Yeah, I’m not so sure about that one.  When I hit puberty I don’t recall experiencing mindboggling terror – certainly nothing in the same vein as being murdered by something leaping at me from my bathroom mirror.  Getting your monthlies is a bit different, I think.

BM: I think it’s also something to do with the association with blood and the bathroom, too.  An interesting notion but not one I personally like to be associated with.  I still prefer the ‘mess with me and I’ll rip your face off’ approach to my legend.

NK: And finally, do you have any words of advice for people who are considering summoning you to their mirror?

BM: Yes: bring a change of underpants.

NK: So there we have it, coming to a mirror near you: Bloody Mary!

BM: Thank you!  


©Nicola Kirk 2016 and







Cats:  You can’t live with them, they refuse to die quietly…

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©Nicola Kirk and 2010


Next time your child is being a little devil, just thank your lucky stars they’re not really the spawn of Satan…

Click here for a free copy of: The Nameless.

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©Nicola Kirk and 2010


For Sarah, inheriting Grandma’s legacy wasn’t quite what she’d hoped for…

Click here for a free copy of: The Inheritance

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©Nicola Kirk and 2010


Life is generally a fairly quiet affair for writer and white witch, Lena Rowan.  Okay, so she has a major Brownie infestation at home, a neighbour who thinks she is the spawn of Satan and she occasionally suffers from writer’s block but things could be worse…

When Lena arrives home one afternoon and finds a message on her answer machine from a terrified stranger who begs her for help, she suspects her peace and quiet may be about to suffer a devastating hit.

Thrown into a world of undead murderers, zombies and drug lords, Lena soon discovers that there really is no rest for the wicked…

SAMPLE CHAPTER:Terminal Justice – Sample Chapter

Pages: 369

First published: 2010

Language: English

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©Nicola Kirk and 2010


I usually write about strange stuff that has happened to other people, but today I thought I’d share with you a recent experience that my husband, Anthony, and I encountered whilst innocently viewing a potential new house.  I don’t think we have experienced something quite like it before, and I pray to anything friendly listening that we never experience anything like it again…

A few weeks ago we went to look at a house we had seen on the internet.  It seemed nice enough judging by the outside photos and it was cheap enough that we could afford to gut it and do what we wanted with it.

What we weren’t quite prepared for was the internal viewing or the current owners.

Apart from the fact that there was a strange smear on the front door, which I was half convinced was a smudged bloody hand print from someone who had viewed the property before us but had failed to escape after, I was slightly concerned when the man of the house opened the door with a manic grin on his face and eyeballs that pointed in every direction but mine.

Meet the dad:

I hesitantly walked in, followed by Anthony, and of course offered to take my shoes off.  It’s only polite, isn’t it?  The dad just looked at me and grinned.  I’d only offered to take my bloody shoes off, not my top.  Looking down at the floor, which was covered with a curiously sticky wooden flooring and a rug that looked as if it had a decomposing body wrapped up in it at some point, I decided that my socks weren’t thick enough to take the abuse and I quickly moved the conversation on to something else.  The shoes stayed on.

I’ve never met a family quite like it before.  An old woman (mum) came wondering out of the downstairs loo with a shocked expression on her face and started winking at me.  Say hello to mum:

I glanced at Ants who was biting his lip, trying not to laugh.  “Ooooh, ‘ello, luv,” the old woman grinned as she shuffled out of the bathroom and quickly shut the door behind her.  Clearly whatever she had been up to needed to be beaten back with a stick before we could go in there and look around.  She kept winking at me the whole time.  I think she had a glass eye (or perhaps she had had a stroke at some point) but the constant winking because she couldn’t shut her other eye was riveting to watch and I really struggled not to stare.

Dad herded us into the front room where we found the village idiot:

The daughter:

And the sprog:

All of them were sitting in front of the TV with impressively vacant expressions.  I’m assuming the village idiot was either the son, the daughter’s boyfriend/father of the child or maybe all three.  They all seem to be related and I suspect not in completely legal ways (Incest: The Game The Whole Family Can Play).

They had what had once been a nice wooden floor throughout the house but it was now completely wrecked with strange burn marks all over it.  There were fist sized holes in the doors and the main bedroom was one of the only rooms that had a carpet, but when the dad opened the door to the room we were hit with the stench of too much air freshener and dog piss.  I kid you not, there was not one spot of that carpet that hadn’t been widdled on by something that must have been the size of a small horse.  Ants coughed a bit and then walked straight out again.  The dad was completely oblivious.

We stood in the kitchen talking and I had my hand on the worktop until I saw the state of the cooker (oh, there are no words available to describe the state of that cooker…) and then I had an overwhelming urge to run home and scrub myself all over with a brillo pad and bleach.  It really was that horrible.  The dad wouldn’t even let us look in the downstairs loo – Ants and I are assuming this is where they keep their other son chained to the toilet:

Apparently (somehow) they had already sold the house once but the buyer had seen sense at the last minute and had pulled out, so there were packed up boxes everywhere.  In one bedroom there was a hammer sitting on the side.  I tried not to look too closely at it in case I saw blood and hair stuck to the end of it.  I was trapped in the bedroom because the dad was blocking the door and Ants was on the other side of him.  I considered making frantic signs at Ants that it was time for us to leave, but I couldn’t tell where the dad’s eyes were pointing.  He could have been looking at me or… he could have been looking at the back garden, it was hard to tell.

“What’s that vent up there for?” Ants asked, pointing up at the ceiling.  “Part of the old heating system?”  The dad looked up at the vent for ages.  And I mean ages.

“Huh,” he said, “never noticed that before…  don’t know what that might be…” Images of something nasty dripping out of the vent began to manifest in my mind so I didn’t feel too rude when I practically barged the dad out of the way to get out of the Room of Death.

Finally, we were marched out to the back garden so Ants could have a look at the garage.  There were a lot of dog toys about but strangely… no dog.

“Uh… is there a dog buried out here somewhere?” Ants asked.  The dad looked at him.  “Sorry, I meant do you have a dog?” he corrected.  I had to turn away, I was beginning to giggle uncontrollably.  “It’s just that there are a lot of dog toys all over the place but…”

“Dog’s in the car,” the dad grunted meaningfully and carried on to the garage.  In the car… right.  Where else would you keep your dog?

“This is the garage,” the dad said.  “We thought about turning it into a little house but… well, we started to put some plumbing in but…”

It’s a prison, my brain shouted at me. It’s a prison!  He’s been building somewhere to lock up people he’s kidnapped for strange and nasty rituals…

“We used to foster kids, you see…” he muttered.


“You…uh… wanna come back inside the house again?” the dad asked, grinning again, one eye seemingly on me and the other on Ants.  Clever that.

“What?” Ants looked as worried as I did by now.  “Uh… no, actually, if you could just let us out the side gate, we won’t walk mud back through your house…” Like it would even notice.

We made it back to the car and there may have even been a little bit of wheel spin involved as we drove away from that place.  I was so glad when we got home, I had to restrain myself from kissing the hallway floor.

I’m just trying to remember why on earth we decided it would be a good idea to look for a new house now…


©Nicola Kirk and 2010

But I Was Alive At The Time – Part II

As promised, here’s part two of  ‘But I Was Alive At The Time’:


I’d been looking forward to writing a paper on the life of a Victorian maid but I was used to being bullied into doing what Colette wanted.  I suppose, deep down, I didn’t really mind because Colette’s ideas usually produced good results, and as long as I got the grades I wanted, that was fine with me.

“I knew you’d see it my way.”  Colette grinned at me with her perfect smile.  “So, who’s going to be the dead person?”

Maria and I stared at her, aghast.

“Dead person?” Maria echoed.

“Well, we’re going to need someone to bury and test these ideas out on, aren’t we?”

Bury?  What, like underground?” Maria croaked.  “Is that really necessary, Colette?”  I could see in her face that she had already decided there was no way we were going to bury her.  I shuddered at the idea.  “Can’t we just pretend we’ve been buried?  We could lay in a box on the floor or… or something?”

“Hey, this needs to be authentic!” snapped Colette, rounding on us.  “It’ll give us extra marks.”

“Well, I don’t want to be buried!” Maria told her, her voice rising in panic.  “No way!”

“Neither do I,” I added quickly.  Colette gave each of us an icy glare.

“Well, thanks a lot for nothing you two,” she said.

“Why can’t you be the one to get buried?” I demanded.

“Because,” Colette replied, desperately searching for a reason, “because I suffer from claustrophobia.  I’d have a panic attack if you buried me.  Come on,” she coaxed us,  “do yourselves a favour and just do it.  It’s not like you’re going to be underground for long.  It’ll be just long enough to carry out the experiments and then that will be it, you’ll get out straight after.  It’s not like you’re going to be six foot under, only a couple of feet.”  Maria and I looked at each other, unconvinced.  “Oh, come on!” Colette said sharply.  “You two look as if I’ve asked you to donate your bodies to science while you’re still breathing!”

“Yeah, but being buried underground…” I complained.  “I don’t like it.”

“It’s not as if we’re going to leave you there, is it? Colette wheedled.    She realised she wasn’t getting anywhere and decided to try another tack that she knew would guarantee results. “It’s so original, we’re bound to get an excellent mark for the paper.”

“You know how to work me, don’t you?” I sighed.  Colette beamed at me, fully aware that the argument was won.

* * *

“So which one of you is it going to be?”

Colette had driven us out to the edge of the woods and had stood by while Maria and I dug a whole three feet deep in complete silence.  She said she had a bad back and couldn’t help.  Maria and I were hot, sweaty and aching by the time we’d finished.  I’d wanted to go home as soon as we’d entered the woods.  Something didn’t feel right.  Neither of us answered Colette.  She’d bought a man-sized, chipboard box along with her.  I’d felt sick when I’d seen it lying in the back of the car, the back seats pushed forward to accommodate it.  I didn’t want to ask where she had got it.  Where on earth did you just ‘happen’ to get something like that from anyway?

Maria and I climbed out of the hole.  I shuddered as I stood on the edge of the hole and looked down into its depths.  Colette grabbed one end of the box and instructed Maria to take the other.  Between the two of them they lowered it into the hole.

Huh. Colette’s back didn’t seem to be hurting her now, I noticed.

“Well?” pressed Colette as she stood back from the grave, dusting herself off.  I glared at her.  We all knew her ‘claustrophobia’ was a myth but… well, neither Maria nor I had the guts to challenge her.  Maria looked at the box at the bottom of the grave.

“I… I don’t think I can do it,” she muttered.  I was about to argue when I saw her eyes filling with tears.  Oh God, I hated it when she cried.

“Oh, for goodness sake, you two!” I cried, exasperated.  Colette looked at me with a raised eyebrow.  “I’ll do it, okay?  I’ll do it!”

“Great,” Colette nodded.  “Get in the box, then.”  I looked down at the grave, because that’s what it was, and took a deep breath.

“Okay,” I agreed reluctantly.  “But you swear on your lives that you will get me out of there straight after.  None of your messing about or stupid games, all right?”

Maria nodded her head furiously.  Colette just looked at me.  “All right, Colette?”

She let out a hiss of annoyance and threw her hands in the air as if I was the one being unreasonable.

“Of course! Now just get in!”  I lowered myself down from the edge of the grave, suddenly feeling very short as I looked up at Colette and Maria.  Maria did not look at all happy.  Colette heaved the lid of the box up and pointed to the hole in it which was at face level.

“Right, see this hole?  That’s where this pipe’s going to go, yes?  Now, I have a McDonald’s meal in the boot of the car – it’s probably a bit cold now but never mind – and we’re going to feed it down the pipe to you to see how much you manage to eat and how much you manage to wear.” I managed a small smile as I lay down in the box.

“Don’t you dare leave me in here for a joke,” I reminder her.  Colette was the sort of person who’d find it funny to pretend to drive off and leave me there.  I promised myself I’d bloody kill her if she tried anything of the sort.

“Blah, blah, blah,” she teased, waving her hand dismissively.  “Just lie down and play dead.”  I pursed my lips and lay down in the box.   “Grab the other end of the lid, Maria,” Colette instructed.  They lowered the lid down on top of me and everything went quiet.  It wasn’t until I heard the clods of dirt raining down on the lid of my coffin that I realised just how much I didn’t want to do this.  The noise from outside became more and more muffled.

“Everything okay in there?” I heard Maria call down the plastic tube after what felt like hours, but had probably only been a couple of minutes.

“Actually, I wouldn’t mind coming out now,” I replied, trying to keep my voice steady.

“Don’t be such a chicken!” I heard Colette call.  “Now, are you ready for your Big Mac with extra cheese?  The drink might be a bit of a problem,” her voice was closer now.  Then I heard Maria shriek Colette’s name and there was silence.

“Colette?” I called, wondering what on earth was going on.  She didn’t reply.

“Maria!” I called a little louder.  I braced my hands against the roof of my coffin and gave it a shove.  It wouldn’t move.  I had about two feet of earth pressing down on top of me.  I hadn’t realised it would be so heavy.  “Colette!” I shouted, my voice sounded deafening in the tiny space.  Faintly I heard a car door slam and an engine start.

“Maria! Colette!  Don’t you dare mess about!  Let me outNow!” The last word was a scream as I thumped my hands against the lid. I squinted as bits of dust from the roughly cut wood floated down into my eyes.  “Colette!”  I screamed again.

I tried to calm my breathing as I realised I was getting myself into a state.  It was becoming unbearably hot inside the coffin.  The air wafting down the tube by my face wasn’t doing a thing to help.  “Colette!  You bitch!  You wait until I get out of here! Colette!”  I strained to hear them giggling over the thumping of my heart, but I couldn’t hear a thing.  I beat against the lid of the coffin, expecting to hear them laughing as they began to dig me up again.  But I heard nothing.  Nothing but the blood rushing in my ears.

Being buried when you’re dead should be a peaceful experience.  But I was alive at the time.


©Nicola Kirk and 2010

But I Was Alive At The Time – Part I

The thought of being buried alive is enough to make even the bravest of us break out in a cold sweat.  The following short story is in two parts, the second half of which I will post tomorrow.  Whether you like it or not.

Although the story itself is fictional (you will be pleased to note that I do not make a habit of going around burying my friends alive for school projects, although sometimes it was tempting) some of the Victorian devices detailed below were actually tested. The mind boggles…


“And such was the fear of being buried alive,” the lecturer warbled, “that all sorts of devices were created in the event that such a horror might happen.”  The three of us sat transfixed, staring at the projector screen.  “Here you can see an early diagram of a grave.  You will see there is a bell above ground with a cord running down into the coffin itself.  The idea was that should you wake up in your coffin after burial, you just pulled on the rope and rang the bell until someone came and rescued you.”

“What a horrible thought,” I whispered to my friend, Colette.  “Imagine waking up in a coffin!”

“That’s why I’m going to be cremated,” Maria muttered.  “No chance of waking up then, is there?”

“What if you woke up in the oven?” Colette raised an eyebrow.  Maria went quiet.

“I never thought of that,” she muttered.

“Here you can see another diagram of a coffin with a tube going down into it, too,” the lecturer continued.  “If you were lucky enough to be discovered after having been buried alive then they could feed you through the tube until they dug you up again.  This set up was actually tested out and someone managed to eat a full dinner from his coffin.  What sort of a mess he came out in, I can only imagine.”  She paused while a ripple of laughter surged around the auditorium.  “However, once you started to smell, they removed the bell, cord and so on and filled the hole in as it was safely assumed you were well and truly dead.”

“That’s well and truly disgusting,” I muttered, flicking my hair out of my face.

“I find it all really interesting,” Colette disagreed.  “Death was such a big thing to the Victorians.  Imagine burying one of your nearest and dearest but not being completely sure they were dead?”

“I’m trying not to,” I scowled, wishing she would change the subject.

“Do you think that actually worked?” Maria asked as we packed up our books and headed out into the hallway.  “I mean, if you woke up in the dark, trapped in a coffin, wouldn’t you just panic?  I wouldn’t think about looking for a little cord to pull.”

“They probably tied the cord to your finger or something,” I said.  “Besides, I suppose once you’d been down there for a while you’d feel about for a way out and would find the cord then.”

“Feel about for a way out?” Maria snapped.  “Where are they going to go?  Didn’t you hear what she said about people digging up coffins and finding bodies lying in tortured positions and… and nail marks in the lid of the coffin?”

Colette pursed her lips in thought.

“I reckon people just died of suffocation in the end,” she said airily as if we were just discussing the weather.  “I mean, there can’t be much air in those body boxes.”

We walked on for a few minutes in silence, each pondering what it must be like to be buried alive.  It held a kind of romantic horror for us.  It fascinated us in the worst way.

“How’s this for an idea,” Colette tapped me on the arm.  She had a glint in her eye that I didn’t like.

“Go on,” I muttered, rolling my eyes.

“For our end of term paper, why don’t we investigate what it was like being buried alive?”  Maria glanced at me and shook her head despairingly.  It took a moment for Collette’s words to sink in.

“What do you mean?” I ventured.

“Exactly what I said,” Colette replied, brightly.  “I want to know if those daft Victorian ideas actually worked.  I mean, just because that lecturer says you can eat a full dinner through a pipe while you’re in a coffin, how do we know?  Did you see those contraptions ? Did you see the one where a flag pops up to warn the vicar that you’re still alive when he makes his daily rounds of the cemetery?  Come on, what do you reckon a vicar would do if that ever happened?”

“Probably pop the flag back down and keep right on walking,” Maria grinned.

“That’s a terrible thing to say!” I gasped but I couldn’t help smiling too.

“Well, would a vicar really want people to know that his parishioners were being buried alive in his graveyard?  It would be bad for business,” Colette retorted.  “So what do you think of my idea?  At least it would be interesting.  Unlike your idea of writing a paper on – what was it? – the life and times of a Victorian maid?  Thrilling.”

“There’s nothing wrong with that subject,” I said, sounding hurt.

“I never said there was anything wrong with it,” Colette said soothingly, “but wouldn’t my topic be more interesting?”

“It could be fun, I suppose,” Maria conceded reluctantly.  They both looked at me and I wilted under the weight of their combined stares.

“Oh… whatever you like,” I muttered sulkily.



©Nicola Kirk and 2010

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