Of all the people in the world who should believe in ghosts and flying saucers and stuff like that… well it should be me – but I don’t. I have had several encounters of the weird kind but sill can’t bring myself to believe that it is more than just natural phenomena.
I used to work in a radio station where, Charlie, as we called him inhabited the nightly realms. You could hear him walk round the place, and sometimes open doors and on a good night he would play the church organ, which we didn’t have, but no one actually ever saw him. I suppose I can thank him for The Curse of Valdi, a ghostly story very loosely based on truth.
As for flying saucers, well, I’ve had two encounters, and I’m still not convinced. The first – I observed for probably five minutes as it surveyed the railway close to where I used to live. I called several other people out of the house and they saw it too. Eventually it shot off into the distance at unbelievable speed. It looked like a great orange ball that hovered noiselessly over the rail yard. The second one was downtown Hamilton, this one looked like coloured lights rotating in a circle. No one will convince me that a highly advanced race would waste years and million of his own money to travel across the galaxy to come and look at British Rail.
I suppose the reason ghosts and stuff like that do not frighten me is because as a kid I met the spook of spooks. Have you ever heard of Shuck? It’s a farm legend from the flatlands of the East Anglican Fens of England. Brenda and her sister Betty went carol singing with me on this particular night. Towards the end I decided to count our ill-gotten gains, to do this I climbed up onto the top of a pile Stanton pipes. They were at the time building a new sewer system. Suddenly Brenda screamed and then yelled some garbled message about a man chasing us. She used to do that – thought it was funny. I took no notice, but then a feeling of intense coldness swept over me. I looked up, and there stood a dark blob of no particular form. It had eyes that glowed somewhere near the top of the almost shapeless silhouette. In the wink of an eye I made Roger Banister’s four-minute mile look like a Sunday stroll.
The thing was not finished with us and silently it drifted towards us. Being children we made the wrong decision and headed east instead of west. The only refuge at that time was a farm; we quickly rushed to the farmhouse and tried to wake the occupants. No one was at home. The thing continued its gentle drift toward us. We were trapped with no way to go. With a heartbeat approaching 200 I peered round the hedge, and ‘poof’ whatever it was had gone. Taking the opportunity we ran back in the direction of home only to find it blocking our way. Quickly we rushed down behind a row of houses. There were at least three opportunities for the monster to catch us, but it never tried it just moved slowly towards us.
Terrified, we called on one of the houses and the occupant took his shotgun and went after the monster. He saw it and chased it, but… it mysteriously vanished. Four other people saw it that same week, but it was never apprehended. Although it gave me nightmares, I have never been afraid of the dark since. Shuck has given me the urge to write ghostly happenings, but I doubt if he was really a ghost.


It’s not that I walk around looking for damsels in distress, but it has been my privilege to be in the right place at the right time. Even without thanks I still consider it a privilege. Having just finished a course in first aid at the St John’s Ambulance Brigade, I was walking along when a woman suddenly started screaming. Never one to run from conflict I went to her in order to ascertain the problem, which became apparent on my arrival. A girl child was literally blue in the face and choking. “What happened?” I yelled at the panicked woman.
“She swallowed a candy,” Was the reply.
As quick as a wink I whipped up the little mite suspending her head downwards and gently tapped her back, with no effect. Desperately I placed her across my knee and in a jerking motion squeezed her. Pop, and out came the candy. Mom snatched her from me plopped her in the buggy and marched off weeping. Oh well, a good deed is a good deed.
Another time minding my own business I walked along the banks of Crook’s Hollow, a common public picnic spot in the old days. Suddenly I spotted a tiny hand emerge from the water, and then disappear again. I stopped and watched, somewhat puzzled by the event. Two little hands flashed to the surface and splashed momentarily then disappeared beneath the water again. Obviously someone was drowning. Without even removing my shiny amour I leapt into the water and in seconds found a submerged and highly panicked young girl. I dragged her to the shore and lifted her out. A gentleman who I took to be her father admonished me for manhandling his little girl then dragging her off still choking, and he mumbled something about people minding their own business. Oh well, maybe you can collect points for the after life.
Being observant I spotted this elderly woman on one of our busiest streets. She was deep in contemplation and not paying heed to the traffic. A distracted driver looking the wrong way and a mindless senior is not a good combination. Quick as a flash I saw what could be a terrible outcome and right before my eyes.
Again with shining amour and the added strength of adrenaline I leapt into the street grabbed the woman and both of us made it to safety.
“Oh dear, I really should be more careful,” she said and continued on her thoughtless way.
Another day a very pretty young woman from Iran was lost and asked me the way. I gave directions stating that I myself was heading in that direction. She seemed agitated and somewhat annoyed at something. The walk light was at red, but still without thought she stepped into the traffic. Somehow I grabbed her and stopped a very nasty incident. Now I keep my amour polished as I smile. She thanked me for saving her life. I am thankful that I have saved several people, hands on – so to speak. I think it’s repayment for at least twice someone has saved my life, and I can’t remember if I ever thanked them. Thank you wherever you are


You might think that some of Bill Reyner’s escapades are a little far fetched. No, not really. His car accidents for instance, yes I’ve been there in every one. Once I end-over-ended a French Peugeot. Unfortunately it was on a hill and the car tried to make like a golf ball in the rough. Backwards, end-over-end she descended the hill with me clinging onto the steering column for dear life. At the bottom of the hill it stopped and a very dizzy and disoriented driver sat up to discover the car had landed the right way up, no windows, no doors, rear cab roof crushed flat one road wheel missing, no lights, battery or fuel tank. Climbing out I looked back up the hill and saw a trail of debris reminiscent of an airplane crash. My only injuries were a very bruised back and a severely bruised knee.
Another time as passenger we went off a curve in a military truck at just over 75 miles per hour. I remember the edge marker posts bursting off the front of the vehicle like machinegun bullets. We slipped into the ditch and ended up at a tree that stubbornly refused to move. The front of the vehicle buckled and the front window exploded. Again I staggered out, the only member of the three man crew able to walk.
Talking of military vehicles reminds me of the time I was driving an armoured car in Africa coming down a fairly steep and long hill the brakes suddenly failed. Oh boy! Fortunately I had two things in my favour, one; I had been trained to drive properly and two; the gears were manual. Remembering the drill I popped the clutch raced the motor and jammed it into a lower gear. As my heart raced and the bottom of the hill came closer and closer I did it another three times. Fortunately the gearbox took the punishment and I reached the bottom at only thirty miles an hour.
The most amusing was when I was in Africa. At a little shop in Ruiru One of the lads thought it would be a grand idea to buy 5 pounds of Chinese Crackers. For fun we would light one and toss it at a local African as we passed. (I know, hooliganism.) But the laugh was on us. I sat next to the driver with the bag of fireworks on my lap, Tony the driver was the instigator and had the most fun. I would break one off and hand it to him; he lit it with his cigarette and gleefully tossed it out his open window. This particular time the fuse snapped off and still alight blew back into the car, landing in the bag that was on my knee. I looked in with the intension of retrieving it but all I saw was a mass of fire. In panic I handed the bag to the policeman sitting behind me. It was at that time the world ended. In an instant the car was filled with fire and explosions and choking smoke.
All I can say is – we all survived.

Murder most real

The ninth Bill Reyner book seems to be coming along quite well. I’ve reached chapter 12 and typical of Bill, he’s already in too deep to get out without someone getting hurt. This time he’s in search of the fabled King John’s treasure.
Talking about books, I find that factual stories are sometimes more amusing and engrossing than fiction. Although Bill Reyner’s activities are loosely based and actual occurrences and real places, for a real laugh you should read ‘The Torso Murder’ by Brian Vallee. Although murder is not a humorous subject, I think you’ll find that Evelyn Dick’s antics are more than worth the read.
Unfortunately it is a historical fact that in those days the Hamilton Police were – well to be polite – slipshod. I’m sure if you read the book you’ll figure a few other people who should have gone to prison. Today of course our police are among the finest and best trained in the world.