Danny Robins Delves Into Two New 'Uncanny' Cases At The Hay Festival

June 15, 2023 1:00 AM ‐ PodcastsParanormalRadio
An Incident on the Western Front
In the latest instalment of Danny Robins' acclaimed paranormal podcast 'Uncanny', which is available on BBC Sounds now, listeners are transported to the Hay Festival for a special live episode recorded in the backdrop of a vast festival tent and picturesque Welsh countryside.

The penultimate episode of this, the second season, features a two fresh and intriguing cases. As well as being joined in Hay-on-Wye by regular expert, Evelyn Hollow and a live audience, Danny is also in the company of multi-talented David Baddiel, known for his roles as an author, comedian, and presenter.

The Painting In The Window

Danny introduces us to Tom, a 44-year-old store manager, who shares his bewildering experience in the form of a recurring dream that began when he was about 10 or 11 years old. In this dream, Tom finds himself trapped in an enclosed space that is on fire, accompanied by a sensation of falling – a feeling he likens to the thrilling yet terrifying drop of a rollercoaster ride, only far more ominous.

This would continue to haunt Tom about three times a year for the next 30 years, always remaining a confusing and unsettling mystery, until an unexpected encounter in Hay on Wye in 2021. As Tom strolled through the town, looking at the normal secondhand bookshops, he noticed an art piece in one of the windows – a painting of a First World War dogfight featuring a single-seater plane being pursued by two others.

Looking at the painting, Tom had a sudden, shocking realisation – the confined space of his nightmares was the cockpit of this plane. He described the revelation as looking at an old photograph of a forgotten event, likening the sensation to a wave of nausea and an overall unsettling feeling. His family confirmed that as a child, Tom used to often say, "when I was a man, I used to be a pilot".

The story takes another strange turn when, during a subsequent iteration of the recurring dream, Tom heard the dream version of himself speaking in what sounded like German, despite not knowing the language. When he Google translated the phrase he was saying, it turned out to be "ich will nicht sterben", which translates to "I don't want to die".

The episode then dives into a discussion with guest experts David and Evelyn on the possible explanations for Tom's experience, including beliefs in reincarnation and the idea that one's current personality or fears could be influenced by past lives. Baddiel jokingly questioned whether his own nocturnal noises might suggest a past life as a bull, and wondered if Tom could trace back to the specific fighter pilot he might be the reincarnation of.

The Last Train From Russell Square

The second case of the episode introduces us to Mark, a man in his mid-60s from Oxford, who shared a chilling account from 1987, when he was working on the London Underground. The case, dubbed as 'The Last Train from Russell Square', centres around an eerie encounter Mark had one Saturday night while seeing out the last eastbound train.

Mark described coming across a little girl, about four or five years old, wearing a blue striped summer dress, a beige cardigan with little animals sewn onto it, and clutching a teddy bear. After the child pleaded for help finding her lost mother, Mark set out to look for her, but couldn’t find any sign of a worried parent. After checking both platforms and all train cars, Mark turned back to the girl to inform her of his fruitless search, only to find she had mysteriously vanished.

Baffled, he gave the green signal for the train to leave and reported the incident to his supervisor, who then showed him the CCTV footage of the platform during the incident. To Mark's surprise, the footage showed no sign of the little girl – only Mark, seemingly talking to himself.

While Mark initially dismissed the incident as a possible glitch in the camera, an event a decade later would lend a much spookier interpretation. During a gathering with colleagues who had also worked at Russell Square, a coworker shared a remarkably similar story about a little girl asking for help finding her mother. Realising they had all experienced the same eerie encounter, always on the eastbound platform, they couldn’t dismiss it as coincidence.

Evelyn suggested that places of travel, like the London Underground, are often subjects of ghost stories. She finds Mark’s story particularly compelling due to the combination of the multiple witnesses and the chilling CCTV evidence. David, meanwhile, somewhat reluctantly played the skeptic's role, suggesting possibilities such as multiple lost girls or the result of late-night tiredness, but ultimately admitted to being spooked and preferring the ghost explanation.

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