Why The 'Case of Kersey Village' Was An Impressive Time-Slip (Suffolk 1957)

INT21

Antediluvian
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
7,687
Reaction score
6,334
Points
279
HMS Ganges is at Shotley, below Ipswich. Kernsey is about 20 miles to the West of Shotley. So the trio would have been traveling from the East coast area of Suffolk in a generally West to East direction if they had gone directly to Kernsey. However there is a mention that they spent the night previous to the event in a barn. We don't know where the barn was.

The original account also states..

And, as referred above, Baker (who was a metropolitan [Cockney] citizen of London) was totally careless during his brief transit of 1957 in that small country village. For him Kersey looked like many other countryside villages of England, and he devoted but a little attention to the landscape around him..

This seems to suggest that baker was indeed knowledgeable of the general condition of other villages, but surely this village would have been sufficiently different for even him to be able to notice that something was awry.


INT21
 

INT21

Antediluvian
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
7,687
Reaction score
6,334
Points
279
Albert,

..with respect to that brief visit (no more than 20-30 minutes!) to Kersey village,..

If this, I suppose one should use the term 'hamlet' comprised of only a very few houses, then one would be able, in 20 minutes - half an hour, to go over the place quite thoroughly. Half an hour is a long time.

INT21
 

Carl Grove

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Messages
899
Reaction score
975
Points
99
Location
Bury St Edmunds
Well then Carl, I suddenly find this conversation much more interesting. If you wouldn't mind, I'd appreciate it if you could cite the key elements of the men's testimony that you find significant.

As to giraffes v dinosaurs, this isn't what we're discussing here t all is it. We're dealing with impressions recalled thirty years later. And there, as you're knowledgeable on this subject, I'm sure you'd agree that witnesses certainly do add these sort of details in recollections. Especially as in this case two of the men discussed this prior to presenting their versions to McKenzie.

But that's beside the pint to a large extent, as I say, if you wouldn't mind, I'd be interested in hearing which details about this business you consider significant.
1. The general thrust of the narrative is very clearly stated. We know who the witnesses were (very often, especially on the net where most people don't want to reveal their identity, we don't), we know what they were doing (a training exercise), when and where.
2. The sequence of events before, during, and after the time slip (if that is what it was), is also clearly defined.
3. The entry point is marked by distinctive changes in sound (normal country sounds, e.g. birds or dogs replaced by an unnatural silence, sudden cessation of church bells), season (a sunny Autumn day following an early frost replaced by a bright early spring or summer day so hot that the cadets had to remove their jerseys, with change in light level, an absence of shadows, and lack of wind), and human geography (a 1950s village replaced by what appears to be a medieval settlement, the church vanishing, an apparently abandoned village with carcasses rotting in a butchers shop). One of the witnesses (Laing) clearly had disturbing feelings about the place and felt that they were being watched, even though they had looked into windows and found all buildings empty.
4. In some respects this case is similar to Versailles. The oddly inactive ducks, the artificial look of the trees, the lack of smell coming from the rotting oxen, all seem to point us away from the idea of a simple time slip. MacKenzie quoted to Laing Miss Moberly's description of trees at Versailles as "flat and lifeless, like a wood worked in tapestry," and he replied "Spot on." The interaction of the group with the environment was tactile, visual, drinking some of the stream water, sweating because of the higher temperature. But it seems short of full assimilation into the past environment.
5. The identification by Laing of the butchers shop from a picture postcard sent to him by MacKenzie is significant. (Subsequently when Laing returned from Australia they visited the location together.) MacKenzie visited Kersey and knocked on the door of what was quite an elegant house, Bridge House, and showed the owner, Mrs Finch, the postcard. Unsurprised, Mrs Finch said, "But this used to be a butcher's shop."

So I would regard this as a significant case.
 

Carl Grove

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Messages
899
Reaction score
975
Points
99
Location
Bury St Edmunds
Thanks for the Laing quotation ...

I'm still struggling to make sense of the orientational cues (such as they are ... ) in the various accounts / retellings of this incident.

The central lane in the village of Kersey runs roughly north / south, with St. Mary's on the rise or small ridge to the south of the ford / 'splash' in the village's center.

I can't clearly determine what the 3 cadets' path into and out of the village may have been. Some accounts describe the events as if the trio was following the main lane through the village, but without specifying their general direction of travel.

The Laing account you quoted seems to indicate the boys approached Kersey from the east or west (via the fields extending to either side of the main road). This east / west directionality seems to be implied, but not explicit, within some accounts.

Another issue that bothers me is whether the trio was traveling strictly along the established lanes, versus hiking cross-country.

Laing's mention of scaling a fence is one of the few clearcut clues that they were cutting cross-country, and his is the only account I've seen that unambiguously indicates a direction of travel (east to west).
One major defect in MacKenzie's otherwise excellent presentation of the case is the lack of a basic map of the area showing just where the witnesses entered and left the village. There is plenty of verbal description, perhaps the clearest remark being that when Laing sent back one of several postcards MacKenzie had sent him he added some arrows showing the path they had taken within the village, from the direction of the church. The author says that before that he had assumed that entry had been from the North. It seems to me that this implies that the party must have passed through, or at least very close to, the present position of the church.

Yes, the party was travelling cross country, rather than along main roads.
 

INT21

Antediluvian
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
7,687
Reaction score
6,334
Points
279
From the original we also get..

..were sent on a weekend survival exercise, and ordered to find their ways through the village of Kersey (Suffolk), and then reporting all they saw..

This appears to imply that Kersey was their destination, or at least one place they had been instructed to visit and report back their findings.

But it appears they didn't do this.

We can assume that when they returned to Shotley (HMS Ganges) they would have been required to report on their findings. This being, after all, the whole point of the trip.

There is no mention of this 'debriefing' in the text.

INT21
 

Carl Grove

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Messages
899
Reaction score
975
Points
99
Location
Bury St Edmunds
From the original we also get..

..were sent on a weekend survival exercise, and ordered to find their ways through the village of Kersey (Suffolk), and then reporting all they saw..

This appears to imply that Kersey was their destination, or at least one place they had been instructed to visit and report back their findings.

But it appears they didn't do this.

We can assume that when they returned to Shotley (HMS Ganges) they would have been required to report on their findings. This being, after all, the whole point of the trip.

There is no mention of this 'debriefing' in the text.

INT21
Laing says only:

The whole trip was possibly no more than two hours or so, perhaps two hours and a half. On reporting the details to the petty officer in charge, he was rather sceptical but laughed it off about the hare incident and agreed we'd seen Kersey all right.

Later MacKenzie remarks:

The first [possible criticism] is that a report of the experience was not written down at the time. I raised this point with Mr Laing and his answer was that it never occurred to him to do so. [However, he wrote a brief account in 1975 in an account of his training]... The youths probably thought that by giving an account of their experience to their petty officer they had fulfilled their duty..

So it seems they were never ordered to provide a written report of their exercise.
 

INT21

Antediluvian
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
7,687
Reaction score
6,334
Points
279
..Crowley –who described himself as a rather practical person did not attach any abnormal reason in what he saw, his experience left him just curious about the reason why that village was so desolate...

doesn't tie in well with..

...Then the 3 friends hurried out of the lane and left the village. And all at once they heard again the ringing bell of the church (that was totally invisible by them while they had been inside the village), and looking back they could see the church tower and they saw smoke coming out from some chimneys, although no chimney was smoking before, during their brief stay...

if there was nothing 'abnormal, why the need to 'hurry out' ?

INT21
 

Carl Grove

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Messages
899
Reaction score
975
Points
99
Location
Bury St Edmunds
Crowley adds the comment that their assignment was to head for 5 miles in a certain direction, then return and report what they saw. He added some specific points about Kersey:
Street was not overgrown
The street ran downhill with a slight turn to the left
Houses opposite the butchers that they looked in were all empty
No aerials, street lights, telephone wires, posts
No noise
No animals
No church or pub

The latter point is odd since Laing reports hearing the church bells before and after the slip. I wonder if this means that Crowley himself never heard them? And possibly had entered the slip before Laing?
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
16,448
Reaction score
21,482
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
Their excursion has been variously described as an exercise in:

- survival;
- cross-country navigation;
- map-reading; or
- orienteering

At least one account I read claimed the trio had spent the preceding night in a local barn. This would imply it wasn't a day trip.
 

INT21

Antediluvian
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
7,687
Reaction score
6,334
Points
279
If there was only a few houses, maybe the place did not justify a church at that time.

But if it had a butchers (why the need to kill two oxen at the same time in such a small place, or was it two sides of the same beast) one would also expect to find some kind of 'ale house' used as a common meeting place for the locals.

I guess we will never know.

But I am always a bit skeptical when stories appear decades after the event following a call by an 'investigator' for tales.

INT21
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
16,448
Reaction score
21,482
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
Has anyone seen an account that gives a specific date or narrow timeframe for this incident? I haven't found any account that pinpoints the date of the incident any more precisely than some Sunday in October 1957.

Edit to Add:

October 1957 had 4 Sundays: the 6th; 13th; 20th; and 27th.
 
Last edited:

INT21

Antediluvian
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
7,687
Reaction score
6,334
Points
279
..At least one account I read claimed the trio had spent the preceding night in a local barn. This would imply it wasn't a day trip...

I wondered about that.

INT21
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
16,448
Reaction score
21,482
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
If there was only a few houses, maybe the place did not justify a church at that time. ...
The church dates back to the 12th century. The tower was completed in 1481 (following a construction hiatus during the Black Plague period). The oldest currently-installed bell dates back to 1576. However, I'm not sure whether there had been any bell(s) in the tower prior to that point.
 

INT21

Antediluvian
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
7,687
Reaction score
6,334
Points
279
Sundays in October 1957 were 6,13,20,27.

Maybe someone who knows about these things can use one of the social media or Naval old boys nets to try and contact anyone who was on this trip. Or was at HMS Ganges at the time.

INT21
 

INT21

Antediluvian
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
7,687
Reaction score
6,334
Points
279
..The church dates back to the 12th century...

Which would suggest the a time prior to that period.

INT21
 

INT21

Antediluvian
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
7,687
Reaction score
6,334
Points
279
Albert,

I notice that since my response to your rather supercilious comments aimed at myself and eboracum you have not had anything to add.

If you found my direct approach offensive then you could avoid any similar rebuke by discussing this in a civilized manner. That means accepting that if you put up a case for discussion then people who do not follow your beliefs will pick holes in it. It is then for you to present a counter argument.

The use of ALL CAPS is considered bad form. Usually shouting or trying to override, browbeat the person you are responding to.

You may be prepared to accept this story as it stands, that is your choice, and you may be correct in doing so.

Bringing religious quotes into the mix does not help as many are either of a different belief or total non belief; such as myself.

I hope you can find it in yourself to return to this discussion.

INT21
 

Carl Grove

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Messages
899
Reaction score
975
Points
99
Location
Bury St Edmunds
Their excursion has been variously described as an exercise in:

- survival;
- cross-country navigation;
- map-reading; or
- orienteering

At least one account I read claimed the trio had spent the preceding night in a local barn. This would imply it wasn't a day trip.
Crowley:

Our class (no.262) was scheduled to go on a short weekend expedition. We were not informed where we were actually going. The class (20) left Ganges early Saturday afternoon and travelled for about 2 to 3 hours towards Ipswich and then through country roads and lanes. We eventually arrived at a farmyard and were billeted in a barn. The evening and night consisted of the usual meal and get-together.
The night had been cold and on the Sunday morning the sun was shining and there had been a frost, a very crisp sunny morning. When breakfast was over and the barn had been cleaned up we were assembled and then split into groups, our group consisting of three... the time would have been about 9am when we set off as it was still quite cold. As I remember we followed a road for a while and then cut across some fields..
 

INT21

Antediluvian
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
7,687
Reaction score
6,334
Points
279
Carl,

Seems logical enough at that point.

It would possibly suggest that they asked this 'farm labourer' how to get to Kernsey and he directed them off the road and across the fields; take a short cut. That the man was a bit suspicious would fit with the (just) post-war mindset of not giving strangers directions as they may be German spies. But one has to assume they were in uniform.

INT21
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
16,448
Reaction score
21,482
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
One major defect in MacKenzie's otherwise excellent presentation of the case is the lack of a basic map of the area showing just where the witnesses entered and left the village. There is plenty of verbal description, perhaps the clearest remark being that when Laing sent back one of several postcards MacKenzie had sent him he added some arrows showing the path they had taken within the village, from the direction of the church. The author says that before that he had assumed that entry had been from the North. It seems to me that this implies that the party must have passed through, or at least very close to, the present position of the church. ...
Yep - that's the sort of ambiguity I've been trying to resolve.

The most detailed account claims that the tower was visible to their right as they approached Kersey, they had to scale a metal fence to get onto / into a lane, and they were approaching via the fields to the east.

They subsequently checked out the houses in the village center, next to the splash / ford.

Once they got creeped out, they exited the village area - apparently north of the splash - and ran into a field to the west.

This notional itinerary entails the following issues that bug me ...

- They could have been approaching from either the east or from the south or southwest (to have St. Mary's on their right). It's still unclear what their general path / direction of travel had been.

- Under any interpretation of approaching Kersey village with St. Mary's on their right, they would have proceeded to the village center by walking right past the church. If you check the current Google Street View depiction you'll see that the lane immediately beside the church grounds is heavily overgrown and sunken, blocking out any direct view of the church at your nearest approach (on the lane).

- If they knew they were in Kersey, and Kersey had been the target / turnaround point in their planned exercise, then why did they traverse the village center and exit across the field(s) to the west (opposite their direction of approach)?
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
16,448
Reaction score
21,482
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
... It would possibly suggest that they asked this 'farm labourer' how to get to Kernsey and he directed them off the road and across the fields; take a short cut. That the man was a bit suspicious would fit with the (just) post-war mindset of not giving strangers directions as they may be German spies. But one has to assume they were in uniform.
Is there any account that explains who was 'suspicious', and why?

I'm still not clear whether the cadets found the local man to be suspicious, or whether the local man appeared to be suspicious of them.
 

INT21

Antediluvian
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
7,687
Reaction score
6,334
Points
279
I read it that he appeared to be suspicious of them.

Maybe Baker's cockney accent.

INT21
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
16,448
Reaction score
21,482
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
..The church dates back to the 12th century...

Which would suggest the a time prior to that period. ...
I don't think so - at least not and still have the standard version of the story hold up. The butcher's shop was specifically cited as being in the Bridge House. The Bridge House is believed to date only as far back as the 15th or 16th century.

The bay window and shop extension / wing on the north side of the building is believed to have been added in the 18th or 19th century. I don't know whether this is the window / building section the 3 boys identified as a butcher's shop.

https://search.savills.com/property-detail/gbiprscli156990#/r/detail/GBIPRSCLI156990
https://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/101037242-bridge-houseriverside-house-kersey
 

Carl Grove

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Messages
899
Reaction score
975
Points
99
Location
Bury St Edmunds
There are some great pictures of Kersey in 1955 here, very quaint:

https://www.francisfrith.com/kersey/photos
Terrific pictures -- really give a good idea of what the village looked like in the 50s. The church dominates all the photos that include it, which suggests that if the witnesses couldn't see it when they visited, they definitely weren't in 1957! MacKenzie argues that since the building of the tower was delayed by the Black Death in 1349, with the work only reaching between 8 and 15ft high, and work was not restarted until the 15th C and completed in 1481, then the period visited was some time early in the 15th C -- before that time, window glass with a green hue (as seen by the witnesses) was not available. After that time, the church tower would have been visible to them.
 

Carl Grove

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Messages
899
Reaction score
975
Points
99
Location
Bury St Edmunds
I don't think so - at least not and still have the standard version of the story hold up. The butcher's shop was specifically cited as being in the Bridge House. The Bridge House is believed to date only as far back as the 15th or 16th century.

The bay window and shop extension / wing on the north side of the building is believed to have been added in the 18th or 19th century. I don't know whether this is the window / building section the 3 boys identified as a butcher's shop.

https://search.savills.com/property-detail/gbiprscli156990#/r/detail/GBIPRSCLI156990
https://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/101037242-bridge-houseriverside-house-kersey
No way of telling from the entirely verbal accounts in MacKenzie. However, there is a photo of Laing standing in front of the house; he is standing between the door and the right hand window which presumably would be the window that they looked in to see the ox carcasses.
 

Carl Grove

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Messages
899
Reaction score
975
Points
99
Location
Bury St Edmunds
Yep - that's the sort of ambiguity I've been trying to resolve.

The most detailed account claims that the tower was visible to their right as they approached Kersey, they had to scale a metal fence to get onto / into a lane, and they were approaching via the fields to the east.

They subsequently checked out the houses in the village center, next to the splash / ford.

Once they got creeped out, they exited the village area - apparently north of the splash - and ran into a field to the west.

This notional itinerary entails the following issues that bug me ...

- They could have been approaching from either the east or from the south or southwest (to have St. Mary's on their right). It's still unclear what their general path / direction of travel had been.

- Under any interpretation of approaching Kersey village with St. Mary's on their right, they would have proceeded to the village center by walking right past the church. If you check the current Google Street View depiction you'll see that the lane immediately beside the church grounds is heavily overgrown and sunken, blocking out any direct view of the church at your nearest approach (on the lane).

- If they knew they were in Kersey, and Kersey had been the target / turnaround point in their planned exercise, then why did they traverse the village center and exit across the field(s) to the west (opposite their direction of approach)?
I suppose the possible answer to that final question might be (as implied by their breaking into a sudden run as they left) that they had become quite disturbed by the weird atmosphere there.
 

Carl Grove

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Messages
899
Reaction score
975
Points
99
Location
Bury St Edmunds
Carl,

Seems logical enough at that point.

It would possibly suggest that they asked this 'farm labourer' how to get to Kernsey and he directed them off the road and across the fields; take a short cut. That the man was a bit suspicious would fit with the (just) post-war mindset of not giving strangers directions as they may be German spies. But one has to assume they were in uniform.

INT21
Quoting Laing again:

..our little group was ordered to make its way to the village or township of Kersey in Suffolk, over the fields on foot, then reporting all we saw within five hours. [NB Crowley either hadn't heard or registered the target of the exercise.]
We made our way across fields, never by road, or at least only to cross a roadway, then back to the fields and hedgerows...
.... we approached a greyish stone cottage surrounded by large trees, probably oaks, where an obvious farm labourer, his wife and family, stood behind the wall and gate. He eyed us suspiciously and would not have spoken unless we hadn't asked them in what direction Kersey lay. The man pointed and sullenly said "Hold in that direction," which we did, but his obvious suspicion and attitude affected us because I recall us commenting on it.
It was very shortly afterwards, perhaps ten minutes or so, we saw and heard Kersey on our right-hand side...

I'm not sure whether the war would have influenced the labourer's attitude, but I do recall R. V. Morton mentioning in his In Search of England (ch 11) the peculiar attitude of East Anglians towards outsiders, which he thought reflected the effects of centuries of Viking invaders. He asked a local the way to Norwich, and the man said, in an uneasy, suspicious way, "What d'ye want to know for?"
 

dream_decoder

Fresh Blood
Joined
Nov 9, 2009
Messages
24
Reaction score
66
Points
29
My 'romantic' brain finds the story fascinating, my logical brain doesn't believe it for one minute.
I remember, as a teenage boy, going out after dark to the local river mill. It was very spooky and just as we were crossing a bridge we all saw the figure of a Crusader/Templar running at us.
We ran non-stop back to my house, a couple of miles away, and sat for ages going over what we'd seen.
My father was very down to earth but was so convinced by our stories that the next day he went back to the mill with us. It turned out that what we'd actually seen was a white life ring with red markings; it was fixed at chest height.
He never let me forget it!
 

oldrover

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
3,982
Reaction score
1,422
Points
169
Carl, thank you for your reply, I appreciate you taking the time. This is what I think, and please correct me if I'm wrong in any of the details, I am going purely what seem to me to be the agreed and cited relevant points here, I've not read McKenzie's book.

1. The general thrust of the narrative is very clearly stated. We know who the witnesses were (very often, especially on the net where most people don't want to reveal their identity, we don't), we know what they were doing (a training exercise), when and where.
I don't feel any of these points lend anything to the authenticity of the account. A clear 'thrust' of the narrative is just that, but that narrative was created 30 years after the event as I see it. Again, correct me if I'm wrong but one of the men remembered nothing significant about the affair, and the remaining two were in contact with each other for some time before their version/versions were passed on to McKenzie. I won't labour that point as you'll be well aware of how much room for distortion this could have produced.

I don't find their willingness to reveal their identities unusual myself, I'm very used to people doing this and in an area where they will be very aware that what they're saying is certain to be read and seen by those they know.

As to the where and when, do we actually have a date for this exercise? If we do, has anyone checked back on the local weather reports for that day in the area to see how well they correspond with the men's accounts? If not, it's still worth doing as we could see if anything there corresponds with their story. I don't know Suffolk, but the weather in other parts of Britain can change anytime, a frost in August though is in my experience, pretty unusual. Either way it'd be hard to imagine anyone British finding anything strange about their accounts of the changes in temperature, wind, or lighting. Even if they'd recounted it the next day, but they didn't.

2. The sequence of events before, during, and after the time slip (if that is what it was), is also clearly defined.
Again Carl, 'clearly defined' in the story that was passed on 30 years later. Is there any way to check how accurate this was? And as I'm sure you'd agree, for anyone to have a clear idea of the sequence of events after that length of time is a little bit suspicious. It seems more entirely reasonable to me to question whether this clarity wasn't in fact reached as the two men discussed the event in Australia three decades later.

3. The entry point is marked by distinctive changes in sound (normal country sounds, e.g. birds or dogs replaced by an unnatural silence, sudden cessation of church bells), season (a sunny Autumn day following an early frost replaced by a bright early spring or summer day so hot that the cadets had to remove their jerseys, with change in light level, an absence of shadows, and lack of wind)
And again these details were supposedly recalled 30 years later. After three decades they could identify the exact time the bells stopped wringing, when the unnatural silence set in, the weather changed, the shadows became flat? As you've carried out post graduate work on memory, can you cite anything that supports a level of recollection this good? Can you cite any studies that evaluate the likelihood of bias arising from the men's conversation prior to their presenting their story/stories to McKenzie? Or can you tell me exactly by how much their versions differed? Were they dissimilar enough to still essentially the same story but with understandable divergence in detail accounted for the subjectivity of each man's memory, or are they so similar as to suggest they'd been negotiated and 'agreed', unconsciously or otherwise, sometime much closer to their passing them to McKenzie, such as during their correspondence? This is why I mentioned a suspension of disbelief earlier.

and human geography (a 1950s village replaced by what appears to be a medieval settlement, the church vanishing, an apparently abandoned village with carcasses rotting in a butchers shop). One of the witnesses (Laing) clearly had disturbing feelings about the place and felt that they were being watched, even though they had looked into windows and found all buildings empty.
For me that's one of the worst problems in this business, it wasn't like the medieval village of Kersey at all. The church, they claim, wasn't visible yet the 'street view' image confirms the fact that the tower is clearly visible at the end of the road they must have been on as it where the both the ford and the Bridge House are. And according to this site http://www.suffolkchurches.co.uk/kersey.htm the tower was completed by the mid 16thC. So if this was a time slip, and the church wasn't visible, then we can eliminate any date after the mid 1500's. Fair enough perhaps, but if we do accept that they saw the village as it was at that time, how could the shop as it appeared toward the end of the reign of Henry VIII be so unchanged in the intervening 500 years so as to be still identifiable in a photograph? I don't see how this could be the case.

Perhaps the idea though is that the church itself was outside the time slip, allowing for the time period they experienced to be much later, but then what's the evidence for that? It's implied in the account that they had a bit of a look round.

'but in the laneway the windows in every house reflected back darkly except for one where there was a whitish-coloured wall showing inside, but the window-panes were too small to see through properly and mostly greenish in hue. We looked through windows, or at least one window, and I clearly remember a smallish room with a rear window. There was no furniture inside, no curtains, the white paintwork was dingy and had the appearance of ... a distemper or whitewash, certainly not of modern day quality.. There were no gardens in front of the houses, no electrical wires or antennae.'

They failed to spot the pub though, which I believe has been there since the 14th C. The pub is three doors up from the ford. So it sounds to me that either they in fact didn't look around too much, or their recollection is deeply flawed. I think you'd spot a pub looking through the windows.

Had they turned the other way though they'd have found themselves walking toward the church passed what are today smallish residences, so it's possible that this is the way they went and missed the pub. But then if that's the case where's the mystery? Remove their reaction to the place, which isn't indicative of anything objective, their accounts don't sound particularly unlike what you might reasonably expect from a very rural village in the mid 1950's. We read in the Smithsonian Magazine link that arrangements had been made to hide the overhead wiring. Yet the photos at the link provided by dream_decoder show that right by the ford there was at least one telegraph pole, visible in the 1955 and 1960 photos. But is this enough of a detail to favour a some totally fantastic explanation over two of the kids failing to spot something as mundane, and/or recounting it when they were discussing their 'strange' experience 30 years later?

Similarly, the carcasses 'rotting' in the butcher's shop, as I've said previously to get the best taste out of beef you hang it for weeks, the outside isn't going to look too hot. And this is a time before too much regulation, especially if this was done for private use. Do we know that much about the men's early backgrounds, were they rural, or urban, how experienced might they have been with meat handling. Were they witnessing something truly strange, or something which just seemed strange to them?

Laing's feelings were just that, his impressions. I've known people to get spooked over nothing but their own reactions to something otherwise pretty neutral, I think most people have.

4. In some respects this case is similar to Versailles. The oddly inactive ducks, the artificial look of the trees, the lack of smell coming from the rotting oxen, all seem to point us away from the idea of a simple time slip. MacKenzie quoted to Laing Miss Moberly's description of trees at Versailles as "flat and lifeless, like a wood worked in tapestry," and he replied "Spot on." The interaction of the group with the environment was tactile, visual, drinking some of the stream water, sweating because of the higher temperature. But it seems short of full assimilation into the past environment.
I'm not sure it's a very good idea to compare one very suspect interpretation with another, there is as far as I know, as little objective evidence for the Versailles incident as this one so I think it could be dangerously misleading. But I definitely agree this really isn't looking like a time slip.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd have a few concerns about McKenzie quoting the Versailles incident to the men either. Whether intentionally or not, it certainly sounds like he was leading them. In fact it's certain, he provided information to his witness who then confirmed it as being 'spot on'. It makes no difference as to how apt a description this was for the men's experience, it came first from McKenzie. So I think it's entirely reasonable to wonder how much of the rest was?

5. The identification by Laing of the butchers shop from a picture postcard sent to him by MacKenzie is significant. (Subsequently when Laing returned from Australia they visited the location together.) MacKenzie visited Kersey and knocked on the door of what was quite an elegant house, Bridge House, and showed the owner, Mrs Finch, the postcard. Unsurprised, Mrs Finch said, "But this used to be a butcher's shop."
It could be significant if we didn't already have serious reason to be concerned about how possible it would be to retain enough detail from 30 years previously to make the identification. We also have evidence above that McKenzie was at least rather poor at taking care not to influence the men he was interviewing. Further questions arise from this about McKenzie's methodology, such as did he know the history of the house, how many postcards did he send Laing, did he for example use some form elsewhere as a control? Did he check just how many butcher's shops there'd been in Kersey? Did he make any attempt to provide some context for this apparent anomaly? It doesn't look like it to me based on what I've seen, but I'm happy to be corrected.

So I would regard this as a significant case.
What do we have in the way of evidence? An impression of something odd recalled to a researcher who clearly wasn't careful about his interviewing style, and no methodology presented here at least so we can get an idea of to the extent this happened. There's also no clear idea of what sort of phenomena it's supposed to represent in the first place either. In fact the only strange features would be the men failing to recall seeing the church, and the telegraph poles next to the ford. That isn't that weird to me.

So I'd agree this is a significant case, but it's more similar to the Bampton incident for me, the strangest thing for me is that like Bampton it's still considered as strange.
 

oldrover

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
3,982
Reaction score
1,422
Points
169
My 'romantic' brain finds the story fascinating, my logical brain doesn't believe it for one minute.
I remember, as a teenage boy, going out after dark to the local river mill. It was very spooky and just as we were crossing a bridge we all saw the figure of a Crusader/Templar running at us.
We ran non-stop back to my house, a couple of miles away, and sat for ages going over what we'd seen.
My father was very down to earth but was so convinced by our stories that the next day he went back to the mill with us. It turned out that what we'd actually seen was a white life ring with red markings; it was fixed at chest height.
He never let me forget it!
my best mate and I went into a pub in Ireland once, the reception was at worst neutral. To this day he swears we stumbled into an IRA meeting. I swear they were having a quiet pint.
 
Top