Yesterday I read this book - 'The Strangers' by Matthew Manning (W.H.Allen, London, 1978) - from cover to cover. It is totally fascinating and absorbing. Anyone else here read it?
Manning writes of a period in the 1970s during which, by the method of automatic writing, he was in contact with a past inhabitant of his family home, Robert Webbe. Manning lived with his parents and siblings in the Queens House in Linton, Cambridgeshire, a listed building that was originally built in the early 1600s and extended in the front in 1731.
If you don't know about Matthew Manning, he was forced to leave boarding school because of the dramatic poltergeist activity he caused which terrified the other pupils. He later found that doing automatic writing and drawing made the poltergeist activity stop, as it provided another outlet for his psychic energy.
Although somewhat overshadowed by Uri Geller, Kreskin and others with more desire for fame, Manning is clearly among the most interesting people alive in terms of his purported psychic feats, both mental and physical. He lives in England and is a spiritual healer - see his site MatthewManning.net
I really don't know what to make of 'The Strangers'. The information gathered psychically by Manning, (from several people, apparently), contains extensive, detailed information about various people who occupied the house at various dates, their extended family, and other townspeople of Linton. There is a wall in the study on which are written (purportedly by Webbe and maybe others) over 500 signatures or names of people who visited the house at one time or other. (See these photos from another book. *I wonder if the names are still visible today.)
Later, Manning researched the history of the extended Webbe family and other townspeople by consulting various church records, etc, and was able to untangle some apparent inconsistencies in the information he'd received. This makes his account more believable.
Other family members, Manning's father in particular, experienced the presence/s in the house in various ways. Manning claims to have seen a full body apparition of Robert Webbe on two occasions; once early on, once near the end of his communications. His descriptions of these experiences are most interesting.
If it is true that Manning did the psychic communication first and the research later, then what he uncovered is truly incredible and a total game-changer. At this point, I could start looking into skeptical analyses of Manning's account, but I can pretty well imagine what they're going to be. Naturally I have my own questions and doubts; but I'd rather think about what's in the book, as it is presented, without it being 'ruined' for me by others' opinions (because that's just what they will be). Maybe later.
Manning is an engaging writer. I would also recommend his earlier book, 'The Link' which is his own account of his psychic experiences and life. I would very much like to meet Matthew Manning one day and discuss things paranormal with him.
*Are the signatures on the wall still visible? Scroll to p6 of this PDF for the answer. Hint: someone has been a total and utter clot! (And I wonder if the Steve Webb, painter and decorator, whose ad is at the bottom of p6, is a descendent.)
This Google Streetview shows the house now.
is a blog by James Gilberd - leader and co-founder of Strange Occurrences. Views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the Strange Occurrences team.
James Gilberd is an amateur paranormalist, writer and musician, and a professional photographer, living in Wellington, New Zealand.