Danny Robins Meets The East Grinstead Woman Who Had A Terrifying Premonition About A Fatal Collision
Danny Robins kicked off this week's episode of 'Uncanny' with an update on two recent cases to feature in the paranormal podcast series. The podcast host shared new revelation about the haunted Luibeilt cottage, and told us about an interesting new testimony relating to the haunting of Hannah Betts' childhood home.
Then Danny got on to this week's new case, not a ghost story, but a strange and possibly supernatural happening that occurred 20 years ago in the West Sussex town of East Grinstead. The story revolves around a delivery driver called Amanda who had a terrifying experience while driving home from a night shift early one morning.
Initially fearing she'd been part of a fatal incident on her road, she soon realised that the upsetting event wasn't all it seemed to be. Danny presents the whole story in episode 12 of the podcast, which is entitled 'Fatal Collision' and is available now on BBC Sounds.
Amanda lived in a small house on a Station Approach and drove a white transit van for work, delivery free newspapers overnight. She tells Danny about the event, which took place on her street as she was driving home at around 4am one Thursday in December 2001. She said, "I'd hit a man head-on. He hit my windscreen and I was carrying him on my bonnet and I am now travelling with him down the street and a panic engulfed me, as is in that split second my life it will have changed beyond comprehension, because I truly killed him."
Amanda doesn't really explain in the podcast what happened next. It's not clear if she pulled over, slammed on her breaks, or if the body just disappeared in front of her eyes. All she said was "I looked at the road and there was nobody there," she added, "my brain has quickly told me that there is nobody there."
Despite the fact no one was there, the event had been very real to Amanda, traumatic in fact. She remembered, "the immediate feeling was awful, it was remorse, guilt. It was all of the things you might think if you'd run somebody over, your job, your family or friends, all on top of this sense of possibly killing somebody."
Amanda said, "I have nowhere to put these emotions. I couldn't call the police because there was nobody there, there was nothing to report." She added, "it was like a wave of sadness that just stuck with me."
Danny said what a lot of us might have been thinking at this point, "perhaps Amanda had fallen asleep briefly at the wheel and had a horrible dream about running somebody over and then suddenly jolted awake." It's possible, but it doesn't explain what happened next. Amanda explained, "Saturday morning I went to leave the house to go and get some milk. I opened the door to see the back of a fluorescent jacket and I look up and down the street and it's full of cars and fluorescent jackets. The road was full of police, it was all cordoned off."
The officers were investigating a fatal collision that happened on the street during the night. Incredibly a man had been hit by a van and carried down the street on the bonnet of a van. It happened on the exact same stretch of road where Amanda had experienced the same thing the night before.
Amanda filled Danny in on the full story of the night, which was reported on in the local press. She explained, "there were two guys just walking home from the pub, who began throwing stones at things." After one of the stone hit a passing white van that was identical to Amanda's, the driver jumped out and things became heated and violent. Amanda said, "the man got back in his van and rather than drive off, he drove directly at them, one of the lads was thrown clear and I think cuts and bruises, but the second lad, the man drove deliberately at him in line with the spot that I'd had that sensation the day before, and carried him down the street and as a result, the lad lost his life."
Did Amanda witness a premonition of the young man's death? She said, "I don't know. I would say that it's quite specific. I was physically in that spot and physically behind the wheel." She wondered, "why was able to feel it before the actual event? Is it a coincidence or are things preordained? Was that always going to happen?"
What The Experts Say
Danny was joined by Professor Chris French, one of the UK is leading sceptics, to give his opinion on Amanda's story. He started by saying, "I totally sympathise with Amanda," he adds, "I get the impression that although she was very near to home at that time, in another sense, she was actually miles away and I think that's part of the reason why she feels so guilty about what she thinks has happened."
This is confirmed in Amanda's account of the events, talking about her drive home, she'd told Danny, "there's nobody else around, there's no other traffic to take on board. I'm not thinking, my inner monologue is silent."
Chris then suggested one possible explanation for the experience, "I think there's a very strong possibility that she did hit something, but maybe it wasn't a man, maybe she had some sort of animal, a fox perhaps, it was injured it ran off. So by the time she actually stops her vehicle and looks to find this body that she's expecting to see, there's nothing there. But her mind is immediately gone to the worst case scenario, she's hit a person."
Chris added, "I strongly suspect that if she hadn't opened her door and found a police woman and realise that there had been an accident, that she would have put the initial incident in her mind is a kind of really old instance but wouldn't have given a tremendous significance."
Danny asked Chris, "are there people out there, do you think, who can receive visions of the future? And if so, could Amanda be one?" Chris said, "I am not convinced. I mean, the obvious sceptical counter explanation is it may just have been a coincidence, and coincidence sounds like such an unsatisfactory explanation. What are the chances that that coincidence would have happened?" But as Chris points out, even very improbable coincidences are bound to happen from time to time. He tells the podcast host, "it's highly unlikely, Danny, that if you play the National Lottery this week that you will win, but somebody will win."
More episodes of Radio 4's 'Uncanny' are available on BBC Sounds now and will also be broadcast on Saturday nights at 11:30pm on Radio 4.
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