It's Double Trouble As Danny Robins Tackles Two Interlinked 'Uncanny' Cases

November 23, 2023 1:00 AM ‐ PodcastsParanormalRadio
Wolseley 1950s Classic Car
In the fifth episode of the current series of Danny Robins' supernatural podcast 'Uncanny', titled 'Double Trouble', available on BBC Sounds now, listeners are taken on a spine-tingling journey through two interlinked paranormal cases. In the episode, we hear from Mick and Jen, whose strange experiences are a little different from your average ghost story.

Mick's Story

The first case features Mick, a shipbuilder residing in Nova Scotia, Canada. His paranormal experience dates back to his time in Newcastle upon Tyne and involves a classic car and an unsettling encounter.

Mick, describing his background, says, "I ended up working in Greece, Finland, and Norway, which is where I met my wife." By 1996, at the age of 26, Mick and his wife Magda, along with their four-year-old son, had settled in Newcastle. He recounts, "I bought a house and then needed some form of transport, so I bought an old car from the local Motor Museum in Newburn." The car, a 1955 Wolseley 4/44, becomes central to his story.

Mick describes the car as a common sight in old films from the 1950s, especially as police cars. "It had a lot of chrome on it, it had beautiful black paintwork, it had nice grey leather interior, and a wooden dashboard," he recalls. The car made the family somewhat of a local spectacle, with Mick telling Danny, "Lots of people would recognise us, and we used to get reports of where we'd been and who had seen us."

The spine-chilling incident occurred on a sunny day in late March 1996. Mick explains, "We're heading in towards Newcastle, and about halfway along, where you come to the junction with Hampstead Road, we stopped at the traffic lights." It's here that Mick spots an identical Wolseley. He attempts to make eye contact with the driver, but as the cars draw level, he experiences a shock. "It's actually difficult to say this because the more you say it, the more it sounds fantastical. But the people that were inside the vehicle was myself, my wife, and my son, just looking back at us."

Danny, taken aback, asks Mick, "You are staring at yourself?" to which Mick replies affirmatively, describing the other family's wide-eyed shock. Danny questions the possibility of another similar-looking family in Newcastle, especially driving the same model of car. Mick confirms the eerie similarity, down to their clothing.

The mystery deepens when, six months later, the family experiences a similar encounter. Mick recounts, "So we were going in the opposite direction to last time. And we stop at the traffic lights at the crossroads, it was the exact same spot at the junction of Hampstead Road." Anticipating the bizarre, Mick tells his wife they might pass themselves again. As predicted, they see the same car with its occupants waving at them.

Reflecting on these experiences, Mick tells Danny, "The first time I just thought I was looking at another car with a very similar family inside of it, but in retrospect after we passed ourselves in the same spot, the second time I thought well, yeah, first time we were looking at ourselves in the future. Now we're looking at ourselves coming the other way. It is quite unsettling."

What The Experts Think

As always, Danny is joined by a panel of experts to discuss Mick's case, which this week includes psychologist Professor Chris French and journalist Azania Patel.

Azania offers an insight into the concept of doppelgängers, a phenomenon deeply rooted in various cultural mythologies. She explains, "This word doppelgänger is literally German for the 'double walker,' which is when you see someone who looks exactly like you." She elaborates on the ominous connotations often associated with doppelgängers, citing the example of Abraham Lincoln, who reportedly saw his double and interpreted it as an ill omen. Azania notes the peculiarity of Mick's case, where the encounter seems mundane and not ominous, yet undeniably creepy.

Chris discusses the neurological aspect, acknowledging that certain rare conditions can lead to perceptions of self-duplication. He recounts the extraordinary case of a university professor who saw multiple versions of himself. Chris also mentions historical accounts of doppelgängers, like Catherine the Great's encounter with her double. However, he remains skeptical about Mick's experience, suggesting the possibility of a striking, yet coincidental, similarity between two families.

Azania raises the possibility of a 'time slip', a rupture in the space-time continuum that might explain the simultaneous presence of past and future. She suggests this theory could account for the two instances of Mick's family encountering their doubles from different perspectives.

Chris, however, leans towards a more rational explanation. While acknowledging the unlikelihood, he suggests, "I think they probably did actually see, just purely coincidentally, a car with a family inside that was similar." He emphasises the nature of coincidences, suggesting that while improbable, such extraordinary coincidences are not impossible.

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Jen's Story

Next, we meet Jen, a former nurse from Coventry whose story is as poignant as it is mysterious. Her tale begins with a life-altering health crisis that leads her to a profound paranormal experience.

Jen recounts her active life prior to her illness, "I was a very active person. I wouldn't sit still. I was working a 12-hour shift in A&E, and I'd go home, look after my kids." Her life takes a drastic turn when she contracts meningitis, leading to severe complications. Jen describes the onset of her condition, "I remember going to bed for a little while, getting up, walking to the kitchen, and I knew I was in trouble."

The situation escalates rapidly, "So the infection in my leg was spreading rapidly through my body," Jen explains, highlighting the life-threatening nature of sepsis. Despite a successful operation that saved her leg, Jen faces a new reality, "So I now have what's known as post-thrombotic syndrome in my left leg, which means the muscle is permanently damaged."

Alone in her house while her son and his girlfriend are on holiday, Jen experiences a moment of despair. Overwhelmed by pain and the drastic change in her life, she contemplates ending her life. Jen recalls her mindset, "I just thought, you know what, people are worried about me, and I don't want them to be worried about me. And I didn't want to be somebody that they had to look after."

It's at this critical juncture that something extraordinary happens. As Jen prepares to act on her thoughts, she encounters a startling vision at the bottom of her stairs – an older version of herself. "The person who was looking at me was me, but much older. She just looked at me and smiled," Jen describes. This spectral encounter, far from being frightening, has a life-changing impact on her.

Jen shares the profound effect of this experience, "It took that old lady looking and smiling at me to make me go, 'You know what? You've always been a fighter, Jen, so why are you giving in now?'" This moment of self-reflection, spurred by the eerie vision, becomes a turning point in her life.

Reflecting on the incident, Jen expresses gratitude for the mysterious encounter, "I'm grateful, because I wouldn't have been here otherwise." Her story encapsulates the mysterious ways in which the paranormal can intersect with our lives, offering hope and a new perspective in our darkest moments.

What The Experts Think

Azania, when asked if Jen's case is another doppelgänger experience, disagrees. She explains, "I wouldn't necessarily say so, Danny, because when you look at the way you describe that sort of doppelgänger experience, it's very much seeing a double of yourself as you are in that particular minute." Instead, Azania feels that Jen's experience "feels quite like a ghost, but from the future." She likens it to the iconic moment in 'A Christmas Carol' where Scrooge is visited by a vision of his future self.

Chris, approaching from a skeptical viewpoint, acknowledges the life-altering nature of Jen's encounter. "How much more life-changing can you get than an experience which actually prevents someone from taking their own life?" he remarks. He suggests that Jen's calm state during the experience is akin to a dissociated state often reported in near-death experiences, leading to a hallucinatory experience that conveyed a powerful message of hope and survival.

Azania further delves into the paranormal theory, introducing the concept of a crisis apparition. "We have this notion of a crisis apparition, which is an apparition of someone who, at their moment of death, appears maybe 1000s of miles away," she explains. She proposes that Jen's encounter could be a variation of this phenomenon, where an apparition appears to prevent a moment of death.

Azania reflects on the personal aspect of Jen's experience, suggesting that Jen's independence and self-sufficiency are key to understanding why her own apparition was the most impactful. "The only ghost she would listen to is herself," Azania states, noting that this encounter could symbolise Jen's grief for her life before her illness.

You can listen to the first four episodes of the new season of 'Uncanny', as well as all of the previous two seasons, on BBC Sounds now.

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