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Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Simon says 3........Is there anybody there?

I would really have liked to post this last night but after spending the evening in Portsmouth with Simon it was late when I got back and was just plain exhausted. The younger kids were in bed when I got back and the boys are actually starting to take in interest in the whole bizarre affair, even Emma was curious. Tired though I was, I am still a bit apprehensive about the back of the house after the incident a couple of nights ago and made sure that all lights were on before I took a pee.

Simon had opted to meet outside for our latest rendezvous, and I must say I do love Southsea front or esplanade, or whatever the term is. It was windy, still bright, yet dry. We met at a burger van, Simon had offered to buy dinner I think, and I did feel better after a bacon and egg roll and a cup of hot, sweet tea. Tea always tastes better outside, reminds me of times I’d spent camping with my brother and parents on the North Devon coast and all around Cornwall. I also love the mournful cry of the sea gulls (shite-hawks we call them in the Navy). Today they seemed to reflect Simon’s melancholy mood. We ate and drank our tea in silence sitting on the high wall between the road and the beach, it was some time before Simon launched straight into his story once more.

He had been on the project (Flower’s Barrow) for a few years before they had a major breakthrough. The technical configuration enabled tantalising snatches of dialogue to be received and recorded; they were very faint and seldom had much to say worthy of any notice. Forget the point that they had put together a system that could, apparently, hear voices of the dead in the ether, they had a firm agenda and they were sticking to it, after all the budget remained only as long as there were results and progress was being made.

A new form of modulation was currently being phased in on another communications project, Simon didn’t know which, and it was decided that this would be tried out on the Flower’s Barrow system. Initially the results were similar to those previously seen but one of the designers had the brilliant idea of transmitting into the ether, asking questions to the voices they were only hearing snatches of. Simon had been there when the first subsequent trial had taken place, he was now firmly part of the project as he had engineered the interface to an existing baseband system. An innocuous question was asked and a reply was almost instantly received. The request was made for the voice to identify itself, which it did giving name, rank and number (to coin a cliché) which was duly recorded and checked. It was assumed that this was a stray transmission and, as they had access to military records, would check the whereabouts of the soldier identified in the transmission. The reply stunned everyone present. The soldier had been killed in the first few months of the Iraq war in 2003.  It was also worth noting that as he had been attached to Special Forces at the time of his death and that this news had not been officially released by the Ministry of Defence.

From that point more and more transmissions were made and the responses grew, names and specific configurations were noted and saved so that the results could be reproduced consistently, which they were. At times reasonably lengthy conversations took place with a number of disembodied voices, not all armed services casualties and in a variety of languages, translators were on standby round the clock.

That’s a fair summary of our discussion, Simon did name individuals but as I promised I will not reproduce any of that here for obvious reasons. We visited a curry house for a meal later (Simon did pay) and the conversation turned to other, more personal issues; Simon’s plans for the future, which seemed to depend on a resolution of his current, awkward situation. I asked him about this and he admitted that he did want me to do him a favour but that he would bring it up when the time was right. Frustrated, I pressed him on the matter and predictably he became tight lipped and would only answer direct yes or no questions after that, although he does want to meet up on Thursday. I’m hoping that he will reveal what he wants from me then.

Returning home late I related Simon’s account to Stevie and Emma, Dave decided that his XBOX was more interesting. Emma thinks that Simon wants me to act as chronicler, which I am, and that he has a major revelation. I pointed out that so far everything is pretty much exactly that. Stevie reckons he’s just plain mental. He does however (Steve that is), want to set up a video camera in the lobby outside the bathroom to see if he can capture the ghost on camera, we’ll do that soon.

More later.

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