Friday, May 22, 2015

Various Strange Encounters - Part III


I recently received a few interesting and lengthy accounts from a witness in Australia. I've decided to present the incidents in 3 separate posts. The previous post - Various Strange Encounters - Part II:

Dear 'Phantoms and Monsters'

I was reminded of my encounter in the forest in Kent when as a Royal Marine I had stood guard and encountered a similar experience of 'something' on two legs yet so enormously heavy that the very ground shook beneath it's obviously enormous weight.

That night, back in 1959, I was standing guard as a Royal Marine and patrolling the perimeter of the 'bivvy site' (bivouac site) along with a fellow Marine who I had not long previously 'knocked flying' into a ditch when he had got onto the 'wrong side' of me, out in that Kent countryside. We had been returning from a previous 40 mile route-march and I was eager to arrive back at my billet a.s.a.p. for two reasons. We had each put a quid (one pound) into the the kitty which was to be shared between the members of the first 'four man' team to arrive back at our barracks I was in dire need of a share of that kitty. My £7 weekly pay was cut by £3 every week due to an allowance I made to Mum (typical of her she never used the money but would save it for me for when I was home on leave). I was also having to pay a weekly court fine for an 'assault and battery' charge after a fight on the platform of Kingston Railway Station around 'twelve o'clock' one night when on leave and I'd severely 'beaten-up' a 'mouthy' railway porter. This guy was about my own age of 'nineteen', a large, tall fellow who towered over me. I had crossed the railway-line at the railway station to check out a chocolate-machine on another platform and he had yelled at me in an insulting manner that I took exception to. After taking several of his punches due to his infinitely longer reach, I went down under his bull like rush and greater weight. He sat astride my chest and proceeded to punch into my face with his fists. My brother, also a Royal Marine yelled out "let me have him Bri?" I shouted "no!" I'd never been beaten by one bloke before and I wasn't going to be beaten now in spite of my present predicament in that I was pinned down beneath him. His knees pinning my arms to the platform. I then feigned a move in one direction then threw him in another and succeeded in throwing him off me and in landing a vicious blow that sent him sprawling backwards, flat on the platform-floor. I got to my feet and made certain he stayed there by planting a vicious kicks upon his body. I then walked away leaving this mouthy porter lying prone and not moving.

In due course I returned to my barracks and life resumed as normal when we were ushered into a lecture-room by our squad officer a 'second lieutenant' by the name of 'Cross' (by name and by nature). We were lectured about how we should behave when wearing the Queen's uniform in a public place and that they had the task of having to give up their valuable time to attend court on behalf of the Royal Marine in question . My mate sitting next to me gave me a dig with his elbow and suddenly 'the penny dropped'. Following that court hearing in which I was told by an angry judge that he wouldn't hesitate to send me to prison (I had a record for fighting) but for the fact that I was in Her Majesty's forces and an assurance from my accompanying officer that I would be 'dealt with' accordingly on my return to barracks from my 'forty eight hour' leave to appear in court. I duly appeared at the Guildhall criminal court. In the circular corridor that surrounded the numerous courts I espied that officer, his Royal Marine uniform like my own, standing out starkly in that crowded court building. He saw me and came up to me and shouted out loudly that I salute an officer. He did this in front of a large number of men and women assembled in that waiting area. I saluted him seething with anger longing to have him in the boxing-ring but without gloves. Then, ushered into the court-room I faced the judge himself. Preliminary questions were asked of 'officer Cross' and then, in hobbled the porter guy. With dropped jaw I noted he was on crutches and 'bandaged like a mummy'. I gulped in apprehension, suddenly the whole hearing had become very serious. He gave his testimony after which the Judge asked if I had anything I wished to say to the porter? I turned to him and I spoke saying 'firstly, would you say that you were a bigger man than I?" (I was about to add that he was large enough to look after himself and how could I have done that to him. The judge went potty, he banged his gavel down loudly and shouted at me saying that if I wasn't in her Majesty's Forces he wouldn't hesitate to give me a custodial sentence. He then asked my officer if I would be summarily dealt with back at my unit? The officer answered in the affirmative and I was given a hefty fine. Second lieutenant Cross was true to his promise and he made my life 'hell' over the ensuing months. Every Wednesday was 'Officer's Parade' in which we were inspected by our squad officer and every time he would sarcastically 'dress me down' saying my brasses were dirty, my uniform a disgrace and with an evil look on his face and in a sarcastic voice he would order me 'on the flank' and I would incur punishment like an 'extra parade' or 'extra drill' I had to prepare for , polish again my brasses, press my uniform, whiten my belt, 'bull' my AP (army pattern) boots etc in order to attend that 'extra parade' or 'extra drill' and then do the whole 'bulling up' all over again for the next morning's parade. The porter had showed-up at the subsequent court appearance, bandaged like a mummy and hobbling on crutches and I'd come a 'hairs breadth' from incurring a prison sentence but for the fact that I was in the Royal Marines. I had to try to 'keep my nose clean' after that, I didn't of course but that is (again) another story.

But, back to the night of the bivvy in that forest in Kent. I'd had reason to knock one of my Royal Marine 'companions' into a ditch earlier when he had angered me by 'dragging his heels' when we were, or should have been 'speed marching' on our way back to camp after an bivvy. That entailed marching at a fast pace 'uphill' and then jogging on the 'downhills.' Considering the elite corp that the Royal Marines was, some personnel were far from enthusiastic about exerting themselves in a manner appropriate to a Royal Marine and this guy had a 'white tab' on his lapel that labelled him a candidate to be classed as a 'section leader'. What a joke that was. He was a 'crawl arse' who curried favour by giving 'smokes' to the 'battle training' NCO in order to curry favour and who were 'recommended' for their 'white lapel strip' that identified them as a potential 'section leader'. Sadly this seemed to work, currying favours from this particular sergeant and that resulted in this guy being made a 'section leader'. What a bloody joke. I disliked him immensely and he must have felt the same way about me (though he wisely kept that to himself) after I'd knocked him flying into a ditch following fruitless attempt to get the four of us 'speed marching' the twenty-odd miles back to camp had failed. That was the modus operandi that we were supposed to follow. It brought protests from the other three men of my group also and this section leader had 'pulled rank' on me by saying "I'm the section leader here and we'll do as I say!" So I had 'answered' him with my all too ready fists then continued on my own. I had a girlfriend to meet that Saturday afternoon and I wanted to get back to shower and shave and that twit really upset me. As a Royal Marine boxing tournament finalist I had a very effective punch and he ought to have known better than to have upset me :)

On the night of the bivvy I was 'teamed up' to share a bivvy with this same guy of all people. Out of forty men I could have been teamed up with it had to be that idiot. I chose not patrol with him, flouting company orders to do so. I patrolled a different area to be on my own. We carried .303 Lee Enfield' rifles with 'fixed-bayonets' as the area had known previous IRA attacks on military personnel to acquire rifles. The track we were to patrol was one-mile-long with water and petrol carriers at one end and the latrines at the other. I was thus 'elected' to patrol the latrine area as my 'buddy' had already set off to patrol in the opposite direction to the petrol and water carrying vehicles in spite of our being expected to patrol in pairs in case of an IRA attack. The path I was patrolling was well away from the 'bivvy area' and was bordered by a long stretch of high bushes, on the other side of which were extremely large open fields. I was wearing 'battle order' which included SV boots (commando boots) with thick, hard rubber soles and which were 'noiseless' to aid 'stealth'. As I stood at the latrines - a six feet deep trench dug out of the ground and with a plank of wood spanning it and the area lit by a brilliant hissing pressure' lantern. A latrine that demanded a good sound sense of balance :) As I walked slowly along the narrow track I suddenly became aware of an 'electric field' that caused my skin to crawl and my whole body became aware of something 'spirit like' in nature and decidedly malevolent! That 'feeling' was similar to that imparted at the haunted property that we first 'moved into' when I was a boy of nine years, back in 1948, a malevolent feeling, a haunted or danger feeling and it was so intense in the area by the latrines that I hurriedly left the area altogether. I could feel 'unseen eyes' riveted on me and certainly not human ones. I headed off into the darkness to continue my patrol along the track alongside the fields well away from the latrines but which I couldn't see into because of the dense, tall bushes bordering the track along which I patrolled.

As I slowly patrolled this track, perhaps half a mile or more distant from where my 'buddy' was patrolling, I suddenly became aware of the sound of 'something' on the unseen 'other side' of those bushes. Slow, ponderous and unbelievably heavy footfalls as 'something' walked' noisily if casually along on the other side of those tall bushes. Strangely I was much later to experience a similar occurrence whilst 'under canvas' with my nephew Trevor in the bush area of the Otway Ranges in 1993. I was puzzled. How could anyone be so enormously heavy as to make that sound on what was a well trodden earthen trail? The line of scrub ran for some distance, obscuring whatever it was walking so ponderously on the other side. I hesitated to investigate. My skin crawled. I vividly recall that my initial inclination was to get out of there and make for the opposite direction, back towards the bivvy area but I resolutely took a grip of myself and decided to overcome my fear, 'to do my duty' and to 'investigate'. Was I not after all a Royal Marine? Thus did I remind myself as I began to quietly follow, pacing quietly those clearly discernible footfalls that could be felt underfoot. Along that length of track alongside the scrub I patrolled, separated from 'whatever it was' on the other side. I knew that some hundred yards (meters) or so further along there was a break in those dense bushes and that was where I would come 'face to face' with whatever it was. I had to make a conscious effort to 'steel' myself for whatever I would encounter. Whatever it was must have 'weighed a ton' to make the ground tremble like it did. An elephant? A dinosaur? On two legs? What in Heavens name could it be? Those thoughts assailed my mind as I prepared to challenge this potential adversary.

Shortly, I could just discern the 'opening' in the scrub ahead of and to the 'left' of me and gripping my Mark 3 Lee Enfield rifle with fixed bayonet tightly in both hands in 'attack' position, my heart pounding, I quietly walked in time with those elephant-like 'footfalls' and very soon I was approaching that opening in the bushes, very cautiously. As I came to that opening I sprang forward through it to the other side to confront whatever was behind those 'elephant like' footfalls and breaking that 'past midnight' hour of silence I barked loudly in a voice that should have alerted my sleeping Marine companions 'buried' in their bivvies. "Halt, who goes there?" I was met with an ominous silence and by nothing whatsoever was visible. Bright moonlight lit-up that side of the tall scrub and revealed an immense sized and empty field of formally ploughed but now flattened, solid under-foot earth and sparse short grass along the opposite side those bushes. Puzzled, I now walked alongside those bushes on that 'other side', retracing my direction and searching the ground close alongside those bushes with the 'twenty-twenty vision' that I had back in those days. For about fifty yards or so I retraced my steps on that opposite side to that which I had been patrolling. To my surprise and admittedly some relief there was nothing visible whatsoever to be seen. Yet my scalp and flesh crawled with the awareness of an unseen and almost malevolent 'presence'. Greatly disturbed I hastily retreated, retracing my steps, unnerved by the experience and with my hair and skin 'crawling' I made my way quietly back towards the bivvy area and waited out my remaining time beneath a tree to await my relief. The time was about 1AM and I had an hour of my two-hour stag to go. I told no one of my experience and back in my 'hole in the ground' on the leaves and bracket and with bugs and spiders for company, still in full battle order including boots as was the order, I allowed the blissfully, long awaited 'arms of oblivion' to overcome me before the hours of daylight all too quickly brought me back to the sobering, strenuous reality of Royal Marine training.

It Was a Dark and Creepy Night: Real-Life Encounters with the Strange, Mysterious, and Downright Terrifying

Phantoms & Monsters: Strange Encounters

Weird Australia: Real Reports of Uncanny Creatures, Strange Sightings & Extraordinary Encounters

Weird Encounters: True Tales of Haunted Places


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