STRANGENESS IN PARADISE
Opposite the Gulfs of Patras and Corinth there lies an island steeped in myth and legend. It is an enigmatic place of mysterious moving rocks and vanishing waters, a land in which the inconceivable appears possible. For County Durham couple, Graham Beckwith and Angela Vale (real name withheld) one such unimaginable event took place when the hired car in which they were travelling seemed, quite literally, to defy the law of gravity.
It was June 1993, and the peak tourist season on Cephalonia was well underway. Like many other visitors to the Greek holiday island, Graham – a then student with BSC honours in environmental studies – and Angela were drawn to this idyll by the promise of unparalleled landscapes and geological contrasts.
Some 16 kilometres still remained of their homeward journey as they drove down the west coast mountain road, a relaxed mood engendering thoughts of the day’s events. It was late afternoon, the temperature was idling in the low 90s, and the village of Simotata now lay several minutes drive behind them.
As they headed towards the Ionian village of Platie, a roadside shrine, similar to the one shown here, suddenly piqued Angela’s curiosity. They pulled over and Angela got out of the car to take a better look, leaving Graham behind. Shrines to road accident victims are commonplace in that part of the world and Graham had seen more than enough of them that day.
Sitting in the car, with its motor running, Graham soon realised that his companion was taking a little longer than expected. He disengaged the engine and put the gears into neutral, keeping his foot on the brake pedal to prevent the Fiat rolling downhill. As he awaited Angela’s return he inadvertently shifted his foot from the pedal. Contrary to his expectations, and much to his surprise, the car began reversing uphill, covering a distance of 4-5 metres. Alarmed, he called out to Angela who turned to witness the bizarre spectacle.
“If I hadn’t applied the brakes when I did, Graham said, “I’d have rolled over the edge of the mountain.” Undaunted by his experience he drove back to his original position where, once again, the car duplicated its earlier action.
After arriving at their apartment some time later, the couple suddenly realised that Graham’s Sharp camcorder had lain, forgotten in the confusion, on the rear seat of the Fiat. They determined then to return to the spot to hopefully video a recurrence of the bewildering phenomenon.
A Chance Encounter
A further twist was added to the tale when on the following evening, having returned from a prearranged sightseeing tour, Graham and Angela met up with Norwich couple, Jill Palmer and Nigel Ashwood, to whom they related their strange story. Incredibly, the pair knew the precise location and described the area in detail – even down to the broken tile perched on top of the shrine. Mr. Ashwood went on to describe a disquieting episode at the site, which had caused both him and his partner to leave prematurely, with the distinct feeling that there was something “weird” and “threatening” about the place.
The following day, Friday, June 9, Graham and Angela returned to the shrine and, after several abortive attempts, managed to secure on film the gravity-defying Fiat in action. The gradient of the road and its direction of inclination are not readily obvious when viewing the video footage, which might lead the viewer to think that they were perhaps mistaken about it and that the car was, in actual fact, facing downhill. If this was the case, then why did it take several attempts before the Fiat responded? This fact, and the continued assertions of the others involved, can only lead one to conclude that something extraordinary did occur that day… or did it?
Several enquiries were made by this author to independent sources to ascertain whether an electrical or mechanical fault in the vehicle could account for its odd behaviour. They were met with the same swift and unequivocal response: “Impossible!”
Sceptics may theorise that the entire scenario was staged for notoriety or financial gain. Neither of these hypotheses fit. Any notoriety produced by their story could only have served to exacerbate and already troubled personal history, and there has certainly never been any question of payment regarding their tale.
Many years passed following Graham and Angela’s strange encounter, and they had yet to discover the truth behind the mystery that beleaguered their minds with so many questions and speculations. My involvement in this case added further to those speculations, as the following demonstrates:
Spontaneous PK & the ‘Hutchinson Effect’
Perhaps the answer lies in the exhaustive researches of German-born physicist, Helmut Schmidt who has amassed a dramatic and powerful body of evidence for the existence of spontaneous psychokinesis (PK). This apparent ability of certain individuals to exert, consciously or otherwise, an influence over people or objects causing them to move or levitate is well documented in the annals of psychical research.
There may, of course, be a more natural explanation for the gravitational anomaly, involving low-power electromagnetic (EM) fields. Canadian amateur scientist, John Hutchinson has been conducting research since 1981 into the bizarre effects of EM fields. He has recorded a range of phenomena in his laboratory involving the levitation of heavy objects, unusual luminous phenomena (balls of light), magneto-acoustic effects (the sounds of heavy footsteps and cracking whips), the deformation of metal bars, and much more.
Whilst these phenomena are due to the devices he employs in his laboratory to artificially create overlapping EM fields there is a growing body of evidence which suggests something similar occurs in the outside environment. In today’s world the proliferation of mobile phone relay towers, microwave repeaters, CB radios, radar equipment, TV stations and their boosters, radio frequency transmitters and a host of other telecommunication systems, combine to make electromagnetic hot spots. These fields mix with natural energies from the earth such as geological fault lines and subterranean water courses to create an electromagnetic environment similar to those recorded in Hutchinson’s laboratory. Might not this phenomenon also be responsible for the mysterious vanishing waters and moving rocks for which the island is noted?
Finally, it is perhaps interesting to observe that the effect of these intermodulating fields on the human brain can cause individuals to experience a sense of anxiety and menace, as was reported by Nigel Ashwood and Jill Palmer.
You will recall at the beginning of this blog [paragraph 2], the island is noted for its ‘unparalleled landscapes and geological contrasts’. It is this author’s opinion that what was experienced in this case was an optical illusion created by the topographical surroundings. Optical illusions are images or pictures that we perceive differently than they really are. Put another way, optical illusions occur when our eyes send information to our brains that tricks us into perceiving something that does not match reality. In this case the lay of the land isn’t all it appears to be. What looks like an uphill incline is actually a downhill inclined surface. There are many similar geological landscapes across the world that share the same characteristics, but which are know to be optical illusions. One such is “Gravity Hill”.
© David Calvert 2011
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