Mysterious Events

Have you have any similar unexplained incidents or can you solve these

By W H Diment

The photo of the Grays Co-op brought to mind an incident that happened to me that I have never been able to fully explain.

This does not relate to old Laindon, but to the in between years after the commencement of the new town. The development had arrived in the Laindon area and site clearance was being done to the east of the High Rd. As I went to work one-day bulldozers were clearing an area of hawthorn thicket opposite the Co-op and that night when I returned home after 11pm the High Rd. was deserted.  It was a bright moonlight night and as I walked past the Co-op I became aware of movement opposite in the newly cleared space. When I turned, I saw a large cat with long pointed ears which I believe was a lynx or similar. The cat some 15 yards away was also aware of me but I considered it inadvisable to attempt to shoo it away and continued walking cautiously. The cat however continued to match my pace on the other side of the road and I had the problem of what to do when it became necessary to cross into St. Nicholas Lane, at that instant a car came up the High Road and passed between us, and when I looked back the cat had disappeared. I walked that route several times that week but never saw it again nor did I hear any reports of similar sightings.

Another incident in respect of a wild animal that has always left a question in my mind occurred some decade or so later my family. My daughter who was a Basildon WPC at the time was called on to attend a reported creature in Langdon Hills causing mayhem in a garden and she and a dog handler went to investigate. On entering the garden saw nothing at first and then observed something in the greenery, which did not appear to be that large.  But it had been lying down and stood up to reveal a huge wild boar. The dog attempted to flee the other way and the boar crashed through the fence and ran away leaving smashed fencing and a torn up lawnInsofar asI am aware the animal was never seen gain.

This page was added by William Diment on 13/10/2011.
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No surprise to me about the wild cat sighting by Bill Dement during the site clearance east of the High Road. I can recall walking through what was Inverness Road which by then, about 59/60 was nearly totally overgrown, there were several derelict houses there but the amazing thing were all the stray or feral cats which seemed to my brother and I to be keeping guard. I know we used to hurry through that bit of the journey on our way to the station end of the High Road via the back route. This was during development of early Basildon and Laindon Link had to be negotiated by jumping down a low retaining wall as I remember. Another unexplained thing was one night I was walking in the High Road with my mum and young brother Phil in about November/December 1957 and the upstairs windows of Fair Natal, a house which still exists by the way, were noisily flapping open in the wind, pretty scary as the place did not seem to be inhabited at the time. We walked pretty quickly as I recall. The house all looks ok nowadays though, in the daylight!!

By Richard Haines
On 23/10/2011

Hi John. Thank you so much for confirming that the strange streaks in the sky my dad pointed out to me one evening around 1950/51 were the Northern Lights. I had often wondered if that was really what they were. Our bungalow was literally in the middle of a field with no street lighting around at all, so the evenings were particularly dark. I do recall gazing up in wonderment; however, my memory of them is in black and white. No colour, just strangely shaped streaks of light that were moving and changing shape against the black sky. It is quite a special feeling knowing I did actually witness them with my own eyes here in Laindon. As you say, something that will never happen again. We long longer get the perfectly clear dark night skies that you describe so well. Last February I heard it reported there was a very slight chance of seeing the Northern Lights in the far north of Scotland but I never heard if anyone actually did have the privilege of witnessing them there at that time.

By Nina Humphrey (nee Burton)
On 20/10/2011

Those of us who still survive and can recall living through the absolute darkness created by the wartime “blackout” from September 1939 through until May 1945 will find nothing mysterious about observing the Aurora Borealis since, given the right atmospheric conditions, they were a regular occurrence. Our regret is that the younger generations that follow us so seldom get to see the fantastic display that was the night sky that we could see just outside our front or back doors here in Laindon. No travel involved, we had a vision to delight any amateur astronomer for the asking, sometimes so bright even without the aid of the moon’s presence that it was possible to read print by star light alone.

By John Bathurst
On 19/10/2011

In 1961/2, newly married, we were living in Dunton Road, Laindon. Just past the blacksmiths, there was a little bridge over the brook and just over the bridge on the left was the bungalow "Phylbert", owned by my in-laws. My husband, Claude Peters and I had bought a caravan to live in whilst we saved for the deposit on a house and this was sited at the bottom of the very long garden at the rear of the bungalow. One evening there was an almighty bang, causing the caravan to shake and things to fall off the shelves. On investigation, we found there had been an explosion under the bridge, damaging it slightly. The incident was reported in the local newspaper but I am not aware if the cause of the explosion was ever discovered. I wonder if anyone remembers this?

By Anne Burton
On 19/10/2011

Aurora Borealis (The Northern Lights). My dad, George Burton, was a night worker in London and when finishing a short shift, would arrive at Laindon Station at 11 pm and walk all the way to our home (over a mile). I was told that one evening he arrived home saying he had seen the Aurora Borealis. I also have a vague recollection from when I was very young in the early fifties, of him pointing to some streaks in the sky one evening and telling me "that's the Northern Lights". I have done some research on this and have read that many years ago on dark nights before there was much street lighting or atmospheric pollution, Aurora Borealis could be seen in the UK as far south as Devon. I wonder if anyone else ever experienced them in Laindon. It's not possible to see them in the UK these days but Colin and I had the thrill of seeing them briefly on a short break to Iceland a few months ago.

By Nina Humphrey (nee Burton)
On 17/10/2011
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