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"Meeting Nicola"

Damien

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jan 10, 2021
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Hi the following is copied from a previous "It happened to me" posted in a 2017 Fortean times. I know the person who it happened to, and can confirm and vouch for his sincerity, I have have been interested if anyone else might know of any similar experiences to this? or offer any other avenues of research, thanks.


"Meeting Nicola"

I have kept an irregular journal and have jotted down some of the more notable incidents and at quiet times it pleases me to flick through the now yellowing pages and reminisce.

One experience bothers me so much that not one day goes past without my thinking about it.

The following is an almost verbatim copy of my journal entry, itself a copy of the original notes I jotted down immediately after the event but which have since been lost: “At approximately 8:30am [on 21 June 1983] I left ––Dudley Road to walk along the River Thames to Walton Bridge and the ‘Cowey Sale’.

I was hoping to see my friend Joe–––, who was selling ice cream for the summer. When I arrived at approximately 9am his van was nowhere to be seen.

I decided to wait and while I did so I walked along the bank of the river, away from the bridge and up to where there was a sloping concrete launch for boats.

I then turned and looked for my friend’s van which I expected/ hoped to be parked in the car park and the usual spot.

He had still to arrive. The day was cloudy and brisk and I decided that the weather had put him off coming down to his pitch.

I started to wander back along the bank and home. Up to this point, apart from the odd car which had sped past, I had seen no other person along what is usually a busy stretch of the river.

The only people I could see were a couple of fishermen who had set up right next to the bridge.

After walking about 50 yards from the concrete launch, I heard a loud ‘splash’ coming from behind me on the left and the river.

Thinking it might be a large fish, I turned and went to investigate.

A fisherman myself (and a lifelong visitor along these banks), I knew the sound was coming from a small, semi-circular area of the bank that had been worn away and allowed fishermen to wade out into the water quietly without having to step down into the river from the bank.

To my shock – I had only passed the spot moments before – standing on the shingle was a girl, probably a couple of years younger than me (18/19), bending down and looking out at a dog that was swimming in the water.

I turned away and started walk back home again. After just a few strides I decided to go back and have a chat… from what I had seen she seemed quite attractive! I opened with the line: ‘Hi, are you an art student on leave too?’ ‘No,’ she said. ‘I’m just walking my Nan’s dog.’

“The girl had jet-black hair, very white, faultless skin and plump, full red lips. Her eyes were stunning and were a true emerald green, sparkling in the murky light and piercing.

Of the dog that was in the water I could only see its head. It was large, menacing and black.

We continued chatting by the bank and she revealed that her name was Nicola and that she lived in Streatham.

I then suggested that if she had nothing on we should go for a walk. She agreed and I thought I was ‘in’.

“We crossed over the road and headed to Broadwater Lake, a great fishing spot for tench and a lake that was supposed to have been created by Capability Brown.

The chat was light and jovial and we brushed shoulders as we walked. ‘Nicola’ seemed to be very relaxed.

It was as we approached the end of the rough, rutted lane which led to the lake that I suddenly became very uneasy in her company.

She was gorgeous, I thought, and must have been chatted-up so many times before; surely she must have been aware of the dangers of going off with strangers… and yet here she was, alone, with a stranger (me) in a dark (even though it was day), secluded spot.

The hairs all over my body stood on end as if I’d touched a live wire and I stopped.

I then – and I really don’t know why – asked the first thing that came into my head: ‘Do you know why the 23rd is called mid-summer although today is the Solstice?’ “It was a pathetic question.

It had come from nowhere and just sounded stupid, but the affect it had on ‘Nicola’ was bizarre.

She stopped in her tracks and her face became contorted and angry. Her eyes narrowed to slits and her nostrils flared. ‘Why are you asking me this?’ she demanded.

‘Why do you think I would know that? Do you think I know?’ “I was shocked, stunned and very disturbed.

I really did think I was with an escaped mental patient.

I was very scared even though I was 12 stone and heavily muscled and she was slim and of average height.

There was an awkward silence that seemed to last ages as we stepped two or three paces forward.

Suddenly she turned round and said: ‘Oh, hi, you’re here?’ “I turned and looked over my left shoulder and stumbled as I looked at something which wasn’t possible.

Immediately behind us, no more than a yard, was a giant of a man standing astride a hefty black and chrome motorbike.

He was dressed in all black leathers and wore a black helmet with a darkened visor.

I couldn’t see his face but could just make out the white of his eyes.

I was terrified.

I hadn’t heard the bike.

Even if he had pushed it along the 150 yards of the pot-holed dirt track we were on I would have heard something.

I thought it might be her boyfriend or an over-protective brother.

‘Frank,’ said Nicola. ‘Do you just want to go on, I won’t be a minute.’ “Relieved, I gladly walked to the end of the lane, some 20 yards, where it turned to the right and behind a big oak.

I glanced back only once and then waited behind the tree for a second. Curious to get another look at the bike and biker, I popped my head around the corner.

There was no one there.

“Refusing to accept anything supernatural, I strained my eyes and ears and sprinted (I am an 11 second 100 metre runner) to the end of the lane and the 100 yard climb up a hill where the lane joins the main road.

Nothing and nobody was to be seen… and then I realised: Where was the dog? It hadn’t followed us on our romantic walk.

We had left it in the water. I ran to the spot on the bank.

Nothing.” The account goes on to say how I ran back home and then to my cousin’s house, and how I described everything that had happened.

It also states how for many years afterwards – at the same time and place – I visited the site… with nothing unusual occurring. The incident was in all probability insignificant; no one was harmed and there was no real consequence, but it was real.

I actually touched Nicola (albeit with my shoulder).

I felt that she was no phantasm, no product of an overactive imagination, but I don’t know what she was… and it frustrates me so.

I came so close, so close to finding out about something which we are, it appears, not allowed to know. I consider the facts and memories every day and I will go to my grave without ever knowing the answer… but the fact that I came so close bothers me more than you can know.

Hopefully this letter will help expunge my feeling of having guessed the six numbers and then lost the ticket.

Francesco S
 
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A fascinating story.

“At approximately 8:30am [on 21 June 1983]
8.30am BST (09.30 GMT/UTC) on 21 June 1983 was actually the day before the Solstice that year, in the sense that the physical clock time of that happening (locally) would be 8 minutes after midnight, about 15-and-a-half hours after this strange experience happened.

I went and checked this exact timing of the Solstice
(see https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/seasons.html?year=1983) because I had the immediate question in my mind as to whether the strange meeting might've coincided with that exact cosmological moment....but no.

I find it interesting that there's no mention of what 'Nichola' was wearing: yet I somehow understand that, if she was so striking facially.

I know the person who it happened to
Do you think he might be able to give us any more details about this amazing episode?
 
An interesting experience that's for sure, I can understand why the episode stuck with him after all these years.
Looking at it from an outsider's perspective the only two things that really stand out are the "missing" dog and the lack of noise from the motorcycle. Perhaps the dog had run off into adjacent fields next to the lane and knew the area well. Maybe the motorcyclist had simply coasted down the lane after recognising his friend and wanted to surprise her or he lived just off the lane. He could have also struck a sore point in the girl's beliefs on the solstice thing. Heightened level of nervousness (he thought he was "in") may have affected his perception.
Whatever the explanation the sequence of events is fascinating, and I can well imagine him being off balance afterwards.
 
A fascinating story.


8.30am BST (09.30 GMT/UTC) on 21 June 1983 was actually the day before the Solstice that year, in the sense that the physical clock time of that happening (locally) would be 8 minutes after midnight, about 15-and-a-half hours after this strange experience happened.

I went and checked this exact timing of the Solstice
(see https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/seasons.html?year=1983) because I had the immediate question in my mind as to whether the strange meeting might've coincided with that exact cosmological moment....but no.

I find it interesting that there's no mention of what 'Nichola' was wearing: yet I somehow understand that, if she was so striking facially.


Do you think he might be able to give us any more details about this amazing episode?
Hi, I have questioned him on the clothing, he says it was something that reminded him of what maybe a art student would wear, he remembers seeing her arms so she was wearing short sleeves, he also thinks there was something around her neck (wouldn't be a pendant else he would have remembered) The person in question as also worked as a professional illustrator and Graphic designer and drew me a picture of what she looked like (See attachment)
 

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Also I wonder whether the route they took could be identified from Google Satellite, so we could get a perspective of the lane in question.
Hi, The lane is the kind that you would notice even a 5 year old (sneaking up on you ) from about 50 yards away, his peripheral vision just a couple of seconds before saw an empty lane, after that there was a 6 foot biker on a heavy chrome bike stood just a yard away from him, they also both disappeared from the lane in a few seconds. Regarding the dog, it was last seen by him in the water (It never came down the lane). There is something very fortean about the whole episode (even when you take the appearing and disappearing) from it, she was walking down a very secluded track with a stranger quite comfortably, she left the dog in the river, and her face really did change, not just angry it was almost like an older person. The person in question finds this not in fitting with what he calls his "reality", he comes from a professional background and his children are all high achieving academics in London medicine and physics, this is something that really did shake up his perception of reality. Would be interesting if anyone else as had similar experiences. I will post the google map (if I can) the new lane runs along the field, the lane this happen in is in the trees. See attachment for lane
 

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Timeslip or alternative dimension slip? Her reaction to the question was very strange, unless she was mental, or came from a dimension where Solstice is different or doesn't exist.
Her reaction really frightend him, it was like it was another person altogether, he did fear sor his safety (even though he was bigger and athletically built.
 
Hi, The lane is the kind that you would notice even a 5 year old (sneaking up on you ) from about 50 yards away, his peripheral vision just a couple of seconds before saw an empty lane, after that there was a 6 foot biker on a heavy chrome bike stood just a yard away from him, they also both disappeared from the lane in a few seconds. Regarding the dog, it was last seen by him in the water (It never came down the lane). There is something very fortean about the whole episode (even when you take the appearing and disappearing) from it, she was walking down a very secluded track with a stranger quite comfortably, she left the dog in the river, and her face really did change, not just angry it was almost like an older person. The person in question finds this not in fitting with what he calls his "reality", he comes from a professional background and his children are all high achieving academics in London medicine and physics, this is something that really did shake up his perception of reality. Would be interesting if anyone else as had similar experiences. I will post the google map (if I can) the new lane runs along the field, the lane this happen in is in the trees. See attachment for lane
Please could you post a Google map ref? That would be interesting, thanks.
 
The person in question as also worked as a professional illustrator and Graphic designer and drew me a picture of what she looked like (See attachment)

My interpretation of the picture is (subjectively) that it has a lot of depictive reality about it, rather than being just some form of idealised construct. The facial ratios are certainly consistent with a younger person, and quite-different from the Elvira-style later-1980s archetype I first imagined from the description. There's also perhaps a hint of Slavic/Steppes ethnicity in the excellent portrait.

Such an interesting story. I cannot entirely share the interpretation of lost opportunity, though....or do I? Whilst curiousity and absence of explanation about the mystery would be my shared primary impressions, I'd have a healthy strand of fear as well, in the sense of having somehow escaped a fate rather than a fortuitous encounter.

This is conveyed via the perceived change in the girl's manner and appearance (on being asked the Solstice question) but: I get the impression this was still just an encapsulated concern, that the sirén's attractiveness (as it were) still far-outweighed the quotient of fear (and- it was ever and often so).

EDIT - sudden wildcard-but-obvious idea: how different/similar to your friend was the girl?
 
My interpretation of the picture is (subjectively) that it has a lot of depictive reality about it, rather than being just some form of idealised construct. The facial ratios are certainly consistent with a younger person, and quite-different from the Elvira-style later-1980s archetype I first imagined from the description. There's also perhaps a hint of Slavic/Steppes ethnicity in the excellent portrait.

Such an interesting story. I cannot entirely share the interpretation of lost opportunity, though....or do I? Whilst curiousity and absence of explanation about the mystery would be my shared primary impressions, I'd have a healthy strand of fear as well, in the sense of having somehow escaped a fate rather than a fortuitous encounter.

This is conveyed via the perceived change in the girl's manner and appearance (on being asked the Solstice question) but: I get the impression this was still just an encapsulated concern, that the sirén's attractiveness (as it were) still far-outweighed the quotient of fear (and- it was ever and often so).

EDIT - sudden wildcard-but-obvious idea: how different/similar to your friend was the girl?

That was my first impression too.
 
Fairy Knowes? Where are they? what do they look like?
They are green mounds and are where fairies live. Traditionally I mean, obviously they don't really exist ahahaha! :freak: They could be ancient burial mounds or be geological features.

The features look like they have trees or bushes there but there could be a mound underneath.

Edit -I have just realised you are probably just asking me where they are on the link. They are sort of north of where the path is marked and are on either side of the single house (farmhouse?) near the top of the frame.
 
My interpretation of the picture is (subjectively) that it has a lot of depictive reality about it, rather than being just some form of idealised construct. The facial ratios are certainly consistent with a younger person, and quite-different from the Elvira-style later-1980s archetype I first imagined from the description. There's also perhaps a hint of Slavic/Steppes ethnicity in the excellent portrait.

Such an interesting story. I cannot entirely share the interpretation of lost opportunity, though....or do I? Whilst curiousity and absence of explanation about the mystery would be my shared primary impressions, I'd have a healthy strand of fear as well, in the sense of having somehow escaped a fate rather than a fortuitous encounter.

This is conveyed via the perceived change in the girl's manner and appearance (on being asked the Solstice question) but: I get the impression this was still just an encapsulated concern, that the sirén's attractiveness (as it were) still far-outweighed the quotient of fear (and- it was ever and often so).

EDIT - sudden wildcard-but-obvious idea: how different/similar to your friend was the girl?
Very interested you mentioning "escaped some fate" he as mentioned to me that instead of finding something out , could I have escaped a grisly end of sorts, (research he carried out years later showed many deaths (nearly all men) occur along this stretch of the river (a Kilometre each side of Walton Bridge) and he has wondered if that, rather than receiving a revelation, would have been his fate?

Re-guarding Ethnicity, she spoke with a middle class, very English accent (no working class slang or upper class distinct pronunciations) southern English accent.

Below is a copy of a E-mail I had from Frank:-

Nicola' was stunning, and for the life of me I cannot remember what 'she' was wearing; my focus was her face and in particular her piercing (true) green eyes. Her skin was pale, white and without blemish and without make-up. Her hair was a true jet-black and only matched in my experience by Sicilian girls of Arab/North African ancestry. Her looks though were not of a particular country but definitely Northern European, with noticeably almond shaped eyes you sometimes find in Dutch and Swedish girls.
Nicola was around 5 feet 3 inches tall. I don't think 'she' was wearing any sort of heeled shoe. I can't remember seeing her legs so I'm assuming 'she' had either a long skirt (which I think I would have remembered) or jeans/trousers of some kind...maybe leggings, as I do remember there was something about her clothes which gave me the opportunity and the idea to open a conversation by asking whether 'she' too was an 'artist'. I seem to remember her hands and lower arms (which were, again, very pale) so 'she' either had rolled up the arms of her top or was wearing a top with half-arms.
When you mentioned jewellery it made something in my memory register but I can't think what it might have been...although for it to make me think back it must have been very noticeable.

The way her face contorted and changed when I asked her about Midsummer Eve was shocking, and must have been quite something to have frightened a tough, Sicilian boy who had, up to that point, experienced in the region of 50 serious fights (read my first book: Sicilian Shadows
*:) happy
). Her guardian - the chap who appeared behind us and astride a motorbike - was huge...but of course he was wearing full black leathers, boots, gloves and a helmet (with black visor); I never saw his face or even an inch of his skin/flesh.


The whole 30 or more minutes of conversation were trivial, mostly centring on me and what I did, who I was and so on. It was her avoidance of details about herself - apart from; she lived in Streatham, was visiting her 'nan and her name - that in the end made me feel so uneasy...and the fact that 'she' was confidently striding and heading into a very wooded area, with a stranger!

...I was so close, Damien. I brushed against her as we walked and 'she' was definitely 'real' and 'solid' but 'she' vanished(!??!!) and I cannot come to terms with how that was possible or why it was me that experienced it. What was the point of the whole episode? What, if anything, is the meaning?
. What happened to me that day made absolutely no sense...and was physically impossible.

Anyway, I've probably babbled on far too much so I'll stop. I hope it helps.

Regards,

Frank
 
They are green mounds and are where fairies live. Traditionally I mean, obviously they don't really exist ahahaha! :freak: They could be ancient burial mounds or be geological features.

The features look like they have trees or bushes there but there could be a mound underneath.

Edit -I have just realised you are probably just asking me where they are on the link. They are sort of north of where the path is marked and are on either side of the single house (farmhouse?) near the top of the frame.
I think they are just trees.
 
Very interested you mentioning "escaped some fate" he as mentioned to me that instead of finding something out , could I have escaped a grisly end of sorts, (research he carried out years later showed many deaths (nearly all men) occur along this stretch of the river (a Kilometre each side of Walton Bridge) and he has wondered if that, rather than receiving a revelation, would have been his fate?

Re-guarding Ethnicity, she spoke with a middle class, very English accent (no working class slang or upper class distinct pronunciations) southern English accent.

Below is a copy of a E-mail I had from Frank:-

Nicola' was stunning, and for the life of me I cannot remember what 'she' was wearing; my focus was her face and in particular her piercing (true) green eyes. Her skin was pale, white and without blemish and without make-up. Her hair was a true jet-black and only matched in my experience by Sicilian girls of Arab/North African ancestry. Her looks though were not of a particular country but definitely Northern European, with noticeably almond shaped eyes you sometimes find in Dutch and Swedish girls.
Nicola was around 5 feet 3 inches tall. I don't think 'she' was wearing any sort of heeled shoe. I can't remember seeing her legs so I'm assuming 'she' had either a long skirt (which I think I would have remembered) or jeans/trousers of some kind...maybe leggings, as I do remember there was something about her clothes which gave me the opportunity and the idea to open a conversation by asking whether 'she' too was an 'artist'. I seem to remember her hands and lower arms (which were, again, very pale) so 'she' either had rolled up the arms of her top or was wearing a top with half-arms.
When you mentioned jewellery it made something in my memory register but I can't think what it might have been...although for it to make me think back it must have been very noticeable.

The way her face contorted and changed when I asked her about Midsummer Eve was shocking, and must have been quite something to have frightened a tough, Sicilian boy who had, up to that point, experienced in the region of 50 serious fights (read my first book: Sicilian Shadows
*:) happy
). Her guardian - the chap who appeared behind us and astride a motorbike - was huge...but of course he was wearing full black leathers, boots, gloves and a helmet (with black visor); I never saw his face or even an inch of his skin/flesh.


The whole 30 or more minutes of conversation were trivial, mostly centring on me and what I did, who I was and so on. It was her avoidance of details about herself - apart from; she lived in Streatham, was visiting her 'nan and her name - that in the end made me feel so uneasy...and the fact that 'she' was confidently striding and heading into a very wooded area, with a stranger!

...I was so close, Damien. I brushed against her as we walked and 'she' was definitely 'real' and 'solid' but 'she' vanished(!??!!) and I cannot come to terms with how that was possible or why it was me that experienced it. What was the point of the whole episode? What, if anything, is the meaning?
. What happened to me that day made absolutely no sense...and was physically impossible.

Anyway, I've probably babbled on far too much so I'll stop. I hope it helps.

Regards,

Frank

This is a very interesting tale, thank you for posting.

One thing has struck me in your latest response: the bit I've bolded here. Could it be that 'Nicola' purposely appeared* in such a fashion so as to attract his attention in order that he would speak to her?

*I'm using 'appeared', rather than 'dressed', on purpose.
 
This is a very interesting tale, thank you for posting.

One thing has struck me in your latest response: the bit I've bolded here. Could it be that 'Nicola' purposely appeared* in such a fashion so as to attract his attention in order that he would speak to her?

*I'm using 'appeared', rather than 'dressed', on purpose.
Well this is the thing, like he mentions , it makes no sense, the psychological profile on the little information we have of this Nicola is very peculiar,her going with a stranger into secluded woodland, leaving the dog in the water, the reaction to his question. You mentioned "Appeared" rather than dressed? could you elaborate on this?
 
Well this is the thing, like he mentions , it makes no sense, the psychological profile on the little information we have of this Nicola is very peculiar,her going with a stranger into secluded woodland, leaving the dog in the water, the reaction to his question. You mentioned "Appeared" rather than dressed? could you elaborate on this?

Yes, what I mean is her appearance - I was thinking that, if she was some - for want of a better word - otherworldly being and she, for whatever reason, wanted to talk to him, she changed her appearance (hence 'appeared' rather than 'dressed') to match his art-student attire, if you see what I mean?

Just my rambling thoughts :)
 
Yes, what I mean is her appearance - I was thinking that, if she was some - for want of a better word - otherworldly being and she, for whatever reason, wanted to talk to him, she changed her appearance (hence 'appeared' rather than 'dressed') to match his art-student attire, if you see what I mean?

Just my rambling thoughts :)
I see LOL , this is going into exotic areas of explanation. Are there any other cases like this on the Fortean record?
 
My impression, taking into account the picture of her, is that she suffered from a personality disorder.
The solstice question triggered something in her.
Such people can change personality and mood in an instant.
I think it is related to past trauma.

I get the vibe she might have been someone who was in care at some point in her life too.

My experience is that women's faces, looks, vibes can significantly change in a very short space of time in a way that men's do not.

If Frank was engrossed on conversation, a "high" on romance, and genuinely not expecting a biker to turn up, then it is definitely possible he simply did not notice the bike approach for rational reasons.

What is of interest to me, is that the biker approached....how did he know Nicola and where to find her if she had not been sending messages to him on a phone, unless she had a "live location" setting on whatsapp?

The absence of the dog on the walk is very strange.
 
I'm surprised no one's yet floated an interpretation fitting the potentially paranormal nature of this episode (or at least an implied twist that would make this a really haunting tale) - i.e., that the menacing biker was a shape-shifted version of the similarly daunting dog seen earlier in the water.

Both were described as menacing and black. The dog was blithely abandoned by Nicola as she accompanied Frank on the invited stroll. Once the dog had finished his swim he would have been likely to follow the human who'd brought him to the river. As he caught up with 'his' human she expressed anger at the man she'd wandered off with. By the time the girl acknowledged his presence and the stranger turned to look at him he'd shifted into an even more menacing form to intimidate the guy who was harassing his mistress. Frank hadn't heard a motorcycle because Nicola's familiar had approached as a dog.
 
My impression, taking into account the picture of her, is that she suffered from a personality disorder.
The solstice question triggered something in her.
Such people can change personality and mood in an instant.
I think it is related to past trauma.

I get the vibe she might have been someone who was in care at some point in her life too.

My experience is that women's faces, looks, vibes can significantly change in a very short space of time in a way that men's do not.

If Frank was engrossed on conversation, a "high" on romance, and genuinely not expecting a biker to turn up, then it is definitely possible he simply did not notice the bike approach for rational reasons.

What is of interest to me, is that the biker approached....how did he know Nicola and where to find her if she had not been sending messages to him on a phone, unless she had a "live location" setting on whatsapp?

The absence of the dog on the walk is very strange.
This happened in the early 80's (no mobile phones or apps) he was very sure of his surroundings at the time. It's all odd in the least
 
I'm surprised no one's yet floated an interpretation fitting the potentially paranormal nature of this episode (or at least an implied twist that would make this a really haunting tale) - i.e., that the menacing biker was a shape-shifted version of the similarly daunting dog seen earlier in the water.

Both were described as menacing and black. The dog was blithely abandoned by Nicola as she accompanied Frank on the invited stroll. Once the dog had finished his swim he would have been likely to follow the human who'd brought him to the river. As he caught up with 'his' human she expressed anger at the man she'd wandered off with. By the time the girl acknowledged his presence and the stranger turned to look at him he'd shifted into an even more menacing form to intimidate the guy who was harassing his mistress. Frank hadn't heard a motorcycle because Nicola's familiar had approached as a dog.
He didn't see anything change (albiet Nicola change into angry hag looking) We can only go on what he saw and heard (or not heard in this case) A Familiar, isn't that just folklore? The event actually happened, the dog was never seen again. Wonder if theres a Streatham group somewhere online, interesting to see if anyone remembers a girl living in Streatham in the early 80's called nicola (include pic of drawing) a long shot I know.
 
a girl living in Streatham in the early 80's called nicola

Considering that Nicola was a very popular UK girl's name in the late 60s/early 70s, my guess is there would be a LOT of them!
 
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