An Interview with Nabil Shaban
British Actor who played Sil on BBC’s Doctor Who shares his innermost thoughts and experiences pertaining to UFOs and the Paranormal
by: Brent Raynes
NABIL SHABAN is a Jordanian born British actor and writer. He founded The Graeae, which is a theater group which promotes performers with disabilities. He has a son named Zenyel.
Nabil was, in the late seventies, a student at the University of Surrey and contributed to the Students' Union newspaper “Bare Facts." One of his most memorable television roles was that of the vile reptilian alien Sil in the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who. He played Sil in two serials: Vengeance on Varos (1985) and Mindwarp (1986). He has also appeared in several films, including Born of Fire (1983), City of Joy (1992), Derek Jarman's Wittgenstein (1993), Gaias børn (1998), and Children of Men (2006), and has also worked as part of the Crass Collective. In 2011, he played the Roman emperor Constantius II at the National Theater in Ibsen's Emperor and Galilean.
Nabil has books, films and music for sale at: www.sirius-pictures.co.uk.
See his videos on: YouTube
Also on Vimeo which contains his videos that YouTube has banned.
Download his music on iTunes.
Nabil Shaban: These experiences have convinced me that telepathy is a real ability, but I have also had the odd experiences which have convinced me of the reality of telekinesis or psycho-kinesis. For example, back in 1977, when I was a university undergraduate, I purchased in a Woolworth store (in England) an African mask carved out of wood. Although it was a commercial product, it was clearly not produced in a factory, but hand-carved, though I wouldn’t know if it was crafted by a genuine African. I bought two to be Christmas gifts, one for my unofficial foster-mother, Kathleen Hawkey, and the other to the Grenfell family group in my old school, Penhurst. On Christmas Day, when I gave the mask to Mrs. Hawkey, I saw her disappointment when I told her I hadn’t bought the mask in Africa but from a Woolworth shop. Several months later, I returned to her home for the Easter vacation and noticed she had relegated the mask to the bedroom I normally sleep when I come to stay. At the bottom end of my bed was a heavy wooden radiogram furniture, with a large television set on top. Kathleen had placed the mask flat down on the TV. Seeing it there, brought home to me that the Xmas gift was really appreciated. That night, I went to bed with a spot of flu, and as I slept, laying on my stomach, the illness reached a climax, making me feel feverish, which coincided with a frightening nightmare, which I woke from as I felt something heavy hit me on the back. I didn’t think much of it at the time, still being very sleepy. The next morning, when I was fully awake, I remembered that something had fallen on my back, and so, I put my hand behind me to find out what it was, because I could feel it was still there. It was the wooden African mask. I was most intrigued as I couldn’t see how it could have fallen at a forty-five degree angle to land on my back. Even assuming I was tossing and turning, shaking the bed which could have shaken the solid radiogram, which in turn could have shaken the TV, causing the mask to fall, it would have dropped straight down, not “fly” to my body which was about three foot away (I’m so small, I take up half the length of the bed). However, after I replaced the mask in its original position, I vigorously shook the bed to see if it would sufficiently bang into the radiogram to cause the mask to topple. The bed-shaking made no effect. The mask refused to budge. So now I had a mystery. What or who moved the mask from the television set to my back? There was no logical reason for any of the household to have manually moved the mask in the middle of the night, unless it was for the purposes of performing a prank on me. This was unlikely and uncharacteristic since none of the members of the Hawkey family had a history of practising practical jokes at my expense. I could only conclude the mask’s journey to my back was somehow paranormal. Ideas that crossed my mind were that it was a resident poltergeist of the house, or an angry spirit from Africa or the effect of some kind of Voodoo spell, or it was me, in that, the combination of flu fever and disturbing nightmare released a massive surge of psychic energy which psycho-kinetically transported the mask from the TV to my sleeping body. Anyway, I told Kathleen Hawkey about it, and to my surprise she took the story quite seriously, and found it disturbing. Unsurprisingly, her husband, a medical practitioner, laughed at my suggestions, and thought there must be a natural explanation, though he hadn’t a clue as to what it could be, but he had no intention of considering a supernatural cause. As a precaution against the uncanny event repeating itself, Kathleen decided that the mask should be placed further away from my bed, and stood it up on a window sill, nearly 15 feet away. There it stayed for a year. The following Christmas, I was expected to come to stay for the holiday, but as I was behind with my studies, I phoned the Hawkeys and cancelled, at the last moment, and remained at my student digs to catch-up with writing the assignments. When the Easter vacation arrived, I came and stayed with the Hawkeys, and on entering my bedroom, I immediately noticed that the African mask was missing. I enquired of Kathleen as to its whereabouts, and she replied, in a slightly stressed tone, that she had moved it, out of sight, to the attic. “Why?” I asked.
“Do you remember you were supposed to come to us at Christmas, but you phoned to say you’d changed your mind and would be staying at the university, instead? Well, the morning after the day you would have arrived, had you not cancelled, I went into your room to fetch something, and to my dismay, I found the mask lying on your bed where you would have been sleeping.” “Did it freak you out?” I asked.
“I am rather embarrassed to admit it, but yes it did rather. I could not fathom out how the darn thing could have moved unaided from the window to the bed. It must be haunted. I cannot imagine why anyone would move it. I asked John (Dr. Hawkey) if it was him, but he told me not to be silly. And there was no one else in the house at the time. The children were arriving the next day.” I asked Kathleen if she didn’t want the mask anymore, could I have it back. “Are you sure you want it? I thought I would donate it to a charity shop, if you don’t mind.” “Oh no, don’t do that. Maybe it wants to be with me.”
Kathleen immediately brought it down from upstairs, and handed it to me. “Here you are. But are you a little frightened it will keep jumping at you?”
“No, if it did, I wouldn’t be frightened, but I would be fascinated, and study the phenomena. But I have a feeling it’s jumping days are over, now that it has returned to me.” Thirty-five years later, I still have the African wooden mask in my possession, and it has continued to behave itself, never moving supernaturally.
Between 1978 and 1995, there was in 1984 one other profound and dramatic proof of the reality of psychic awareness. Actually, 1984 was one of those years full of extraordinary turning points and signposts for me. It was the year I first played Sil in Doctor Who. Also, one morning in March I awoke thinking about the girl at the university who had received my telepathic plea for help while I was on magic mushrooms. I hadn’t thought of her for several years. Then that evening, having dinner with a friend, I found that two of the guests who I had never met before, and had no idea would also be at the dinner, were the mother and brother of the girl I had been in love with. The mother when she realised I was an old student friend of her daughter, told me that I had been described by the daughter as being very psychic. Then a little later, the daughter rang (from Moscow) to talk to her mother and brother, and was overjoyed when told I was also there in the room, and so we spoke on the phone. We had not heard each other’s voice in seven years. I was very impressed by the fact that I should have first thought of her in the morning and then completely unexpectedly be talking to her in the evening. 1984 was also the year I had confirmation that Britain was being governed by a secret coven of Satanists, and that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was an initiate, along with other top brass in the Conservative government. I met someone who was a survivor and escapee of this black coven from the early 1970s, and he claimed that at that time he saw Thatcher at the rituals, along with top civil servants, politicians, police chiefs, and captains of business and industry. During the late Seventies I was uncovering evidence that Britain and the Western world in general was being handed over to dark forces, and that we can expect an increase in right-wing oppression and enslavement, with the reversal of all the gains in civil and social freedoms, and now my new friend was providing me with support for my suspicions. A Satanic network was weaving a world wide web, which subsequently has now been described as the New World Order. When my friend realised that I was actively investigating his story, and that I knew more than he realised, he warned me that “curiosity killed the cat”, and that if “they” discover I know too much of their business, they will come for me, and cut my throat. A lot of this material I fictionalised in my 2008 crime novel, “THE RIPPER CODE”.
However, the most interesting psychic event of 1984 was a premonition that I was about to come into an inheritance…namely, I was going to inherit land. At the time when this powerful feeling struck me, I thought it rather absurd as I was under the misconception that I had no one from whom I would inherit anything. My father was dead. My mother pleaded poverty, and I had no relations who knew of my existence. And yet, I found myself wondering what would I do if I learnt I had inherited substantial property. Eventually, I decided I was merely indulging in wishful fantasies. However, about six months later, on December 2nd, a Sunday, I became excited like a child on Christmas Eve, wondering what Santa was going to give me the following morning. This is what I wrote in my 1984 diary on that day - “All day today there’s been a feeling – a subtle ripple of excitement. A letter? Is there a letter coming my way? A letter keeps coming to mind. It’s that old certainty. There are times when I know something is about to happen – a telephone call, a parcel, a present, a letter. Throughout my life there have been moments of certainty – and in those moments I’ve been right. Now I sense a letter winging its way to me. What sort I don’t know – but it’s big in its import. I look forward to tomorrow. Tomorrow is a weekday and post may be delivered.” I went to bed early that evening to hasten the next morning, so convinced was I that the new day would bring something important. And sure enough when I awoke, I found the postman had made a delivery. This is what I wrote in the 1984 diary for Monday 3rd December – “The letter arrives. It’s from my sister Suzan in Syria (I have not seen her or heard from her since she was a young girl of 12 years in 1966). She tells me I must go to Syria and Jordan soon – we have an inheritance to sort out. My father’s father left us, the four children, several hundred thousand pounds in property and goods….”
I went to Jordan to claim my share of the inheritance, and the intriguing story that surrounded this business is for another occasion, a separate book, not relevant to the current discussion but what is relevant is that my meeting with many members of my family I did not know existed told me that UFOs were a feature of my family’s history – not just mine. One of my brothers told me that he, two other brothers, a different sister and my mother were all witnesses to a flying saucer incident over the Jordanian city of Amman. In addition, Suzan, my sister in Syria, had seen a UFO flying over Damascus. It seems UFOs are in the family genes…or that all members have a propensity to either see them or attract them or be haunted by them. Fifteen years later in 1999, when considering my father’s untimely death, I asked my mother if she thought he had been murdered. She asked me why did I ask such a question. I replied it was something my brother, Ahmed (a suspected CIA agent) believed, and something I had even imagined when I was a child. My mother said yes, she did think my father had been murdered. I asked for what motive and by whom. Expecting some kind of political conspiracy involving Israel or America (my father was stationed in the Jordanian embassy in London, working for the military attaché, as a wireless operator, intercepting intelligence signals from the Arabs’ enemy, Israel) I was taken rather aback when she replied that our father was killed for his research into UFOs. Someone or something feared he was getting too close to discovering the truth, and arranged for him to die. But wasn’t his cause of death cancer? My mother said that was the official verdict, but she knew differently. I had also noticed that UFO investigators who, too effective in showing flying saucers from space are real, have a habit of dying early from cancer, or they are bought by the covert establishment (perhaps the Masonic brotherhood who have known for centuries that extra-terrestrial visitors have been manipulating our religious belief systems since the beginning of human civilization), turned 180 degrees, and become professional “debunkers”. The most recent likely example I am personally acquainted with, is my friend Betty Myler, 79 year old President of the Irish UFO Society who died in 2010 of brain cancer. What is particularly interesting with her story is that before her death, her oncologist (cancer) consultant had said he knew she was a UFO expert, and wondered if she thought there was a connection between UFOs and radon gas which was responsible for inducing cancer in certain regions in Ireland. He noticed that radon rich areas with higher incidence of cancers were also UFO hotspots. I have since noticed that this isn’t just in Ireland but also in parts of Scotland, for example Midlothian, where mining has caused excessive radon gas to escape above ground, creating above average number of cancer victims, which are also reputed to be UFO hotspots. My girlfriend and I have developed a theory that these non-terrestrial flying vehicles are somehow exploiting radon gas for their propulsion system. If aliens wish to unobtrusively eliminate Ufologists who are being too successful in disclosure, then the ability to precipitate cancer is not beyond their knowledge and means.
The more I think about it, and especially when I go through my diaries, which I have been keeping since 1st January 1980, I realise I have had many paranormal, psychic, supernatural experiences or however you want to describe them. I include in these categories dreams which appear to predict future events in my life. I am able to discover that a dream contained a premonition after the event, because I always write down and date remembered dreams the morning after. So if something happens which reminds me of a dream, I look back in the diary, and find a dream within a few months prior to the event, that appears to foretell.
Below is a sample of some of the apparent paranormal experiences.
1982 July 27
Dream of my mother and brother visiting me in hospital. Until this dream, I do not remember ever having a dream about my mother or brother (who is ten years’ my junior) since I last saw either of them in 1966. When I had this dream in July 1982, while I thought it unusual, I didn’t think it would be significant. But less than two weeks later, completely out of the blue, they return to my life. August 8th mother and brother try to find me at home in Ash, but I’m in London, at the cinema with a friend watching “Pink Floyd’s: The Wall”. A scene in the movie makes me think of my dead father, who I hardly knew. Little did I realize that at that moment my mother was knocking on my home door. When I return home that evening, my neighbour tells me some foreign looking people were trying to find me. They were driving a posh car. Then the next day (9th) the phone rings and a woman’s voice with a strange accent asks me if that is Nabil, I say yes it is, and ask her who is she? She replies this is your mother, and your brother. My brother? He is with you? Yes, she replies. Where were you? We called yesterday and you were not in. Well, I was in London. Will you be home this afternoon? Yes, I said. Good, we will come and see you.
It wasn’t until later when I was reading my diaries that I realized that I had had a prior dream which foreshadowed my mother’s visit to me. Also this same dream had me dying in a hospital, which is interesting because although I was actually in a hospital when my mother and brother visited, it was less than a month later, I receiving treatment for a broken arm…and there, even more strange things came to my attention.
It was September 3rd and I break my arm, falling out of my wheelchair, on a visit to a friend’s house at 63 Esmond Road, Chiswick, London. I am rushed off to the local hospital, and admitted as a patient, and taken to a side-ward. As I enter I wonder why has the door of my room 7 of ward M.D.4 got the number 63 written on it in pencil? That’s the number of the house where I had the accident. I ask the staff who penciled in the number 63. No one could answer my question. It was a complete mystery to them. The whole set up looked predestined. I wondered if dark forces were at work. As I just mentioned there was the mother / brother dream which has me in a hospital, dying from an incurable disease, and in reality, I end up nearly dying twice in the hospital. First, an incompetent doctor injects me with an overdose of morphine (to help with the pain of my fractured bone). She didn’t realize I was smaller than I appeared, because the bottom half my body was covered by the bedclothes. The medical team was very worried when they realized the overdose might kill me.
The second attempt on my life nearly three weeks ago on September 22 – Wednesday – when the Soul Eaters entered my hospital room. Diary entry “They came into the room and wrapped me in a towel of blackness. I looked in horror, helpless as I saw the light diminish as it was swallowed up by the veil of darkness. Then I became paralyzed and I heard this sound of gas escaping at a rapid and forceful rate. With my mouth wide open I realized it was the sound of my breath being sucked out of me. The very essence of my being was being vacuumed out and there was nothing I could do to stop it. In the end I was silently crying out “Help me. Help me.” That worked. Someone, something, some force turned off the taps and my life stopped leaving me.”
At the time, I believed this nocturnal “attack” occurred because I had “talked too much”, that is, I had given away secrets. That day, I had been explaining to another patient, a Jehovah’s Witness, who on seeing me as she passed by my door, had decided she wanted to chat with me, my latest discoveries in my numerological researches into Cosmic numbers and their relationships to gods, goddesses in world mythologies and religions, to demons, angels, and extra-terrestrials (see my novel “Diary of the Absurd”), and End Times. When I saw that she was accepting everything I said as if it were “Gospel Truth”, I began to feel uneasy, because these gematria discoveries were still work-in-progress, and I didn’t want the responsibility of either turning her away from her religion or acquiring disciples, especially as I wasn’t sure I believed completely in what I was telling her. I had a nasty feeling I may be punished for unauthorized transmission, by the guardians of the Forbidden Fruit from the Tree of Occult Knowledge. When they came, there was three of them, dark shrouded figures, like the Ring Wraiths in “Lord of the Rings”. Remember, it was 1982, and Whitley Strieber’s “Communion” had not yet been published and therefore quite ignorant of the alien abduction scenarios, so when I saw these “Bedroom Invaders”, I did not immediately think of ET, and that I was going to be “taken”. I thought of them as demonic or avenging angels. As they swirled into the room, the doorway snapped shut like the iris of a camera. It was as if it were a vortex. It crossed my mind that they had arrived from another dimension. And when they were driven away by my plea for help to a higher power, they left in the same manner, as if through a portal, which swallowed them up, and the doorway opened like the camera shutter, and the light from the corridor poured back into my room.
Another incident which showed me the reality of supernatural world, occurred in 1986, at about one o’clock in the morning on September 2nd. I was talking to my friend, Diane on the telephone. It was just chitchat from what I can remember, when I suddenly felt cold, shivery...I told her it was like when a ghost comes into the room and the temperature suddenly drops. Diane laughed nervously and told me off for trying to freak her out. ....then a minute later, still shivering but trying to continue to chat, I started get images in my mind of coffins, lots of coffins floating... Again I told Diane and we both thought it was all too creepy. She and I agreed to end the phone conversation as I was feeling depressed for no apparent reason. It was now well past one. I go to the bedroom and get into bed. I lie with my back to the door which is open. The hall and front door is just beyond. Just as I’m about to doze off, I become aware of a presence in the hallway....something or someone is standing in the doorway...Inside the front door. He or it is looking at me....Suddenly, I sense who it is. It is Death. It think it has come for me but it is hesitant. I have this strange notion that Death has got the number of the house confused. My flat used to be part of a house. Now the building has been converted into two flats, mine and upstairs. I quickly send Death a telepathic message “Go away, you’ve come to the wrong place. Maybe you need to go upstairs.” At which point, the foreboding presence evaporates and I fall asleep.
Two hours later, 4.15 am, I’m awoken by frantic banging on my front door. It is the old lady upstairs, Mrs Boxall. She wants to use my phone, to ring for an ambulance. Her old man, Fred, has collapsed and gone into a coma. Of course, I let the tearful old lady in and she phones. When the ambulance arrives I go back to shut-eye.
At 9.30 am, she’s knocking on the door again. “Fred is dead” she said, “He passed away soon after he arrived at the hospital.” She was very upset. Poor lady had great difficulty holding back the tears.
I was amazed at how it all came together....here was yet more proof that the paranormal really exists.
Sometimes unexpected thoughts just enter my head, forecasting something interesting is about to happen. For example in 1996 – I was sitting in the cafeteria in the theatre where I was working, daydreaming over a cold mug of coffee. Suddenly the name "Polly" pops into my head. Polly? I don't know any Polly. The only "Polly" I ever met was a nurse, nearly 20 years ago when I was an undergraduate. Why would I be thinking of her after all these years?
Later in the afternoon. my friend and fellow-actor, Mat, tells me he's got a phone number of a girl who is desperate to meet me. I look at him in surprise. "Oh yeah, who is she?"
"Someone I met at a party last night. Really stunning to look at. Her name's Polly" My heart stops. I can’t believe it. I was thinking the name “Polly” just a few hours earlier. This is weird. "Polly?” I ask. “Does she know me?"
"No, she says she's never met you. But she seems to be a big fan of yours. Said she saw you in Doctor Who, and in that Channel Four TV drama “Deptford Graffiti”, and loads of other stuff. When I told her I was seeing you today, she insisted I give you her phone number." “Give it to me, then.” I eagerly demanded.
Mat reluctantly (as he rather fancied her for himself) gives me a piece of paper on which she had written her name and telephone number. To cut a short story even shorter, I pluck up the courage to phone this unknown woman admirer, and we arrange to meet. We go see a movie, and then drive out to the country, and star-gaze, and I fall hopelessly in love with her. We eventually spend the night together in her bed, and make love. Sadly she didn’t love me as much as I loved her, so once she had satisfied her curiosity about having sex with me, she dumped me, and returned to her ex-boyfriend, who had been asking her to come back to him.
There have been other times when I have seen ghosts, apparitions or sensed their presence. Sometimes, I can tell if a place is haunted, and upon enquiry I find I’m never wrong.
In the autumn of 1997 I was acting in a Theatre Workshop stage production, “D.A.R.E.”, a piece of political theatre which I helped devise and write - the aim of which was/is to oppose genetic engineering but more specifically “Genetic Cleansing”, a term I created to describe the new Eugenics, which seeks to remove disabled people from the future gene pool - a neo-Nazi social and medical policy which abhors physical and psychological diversity in the human species.
We took the show on a small tour of Scotland and in November, our cast of four disabled actors arrived in Melrose, to perform two nights in a tiny theatre which by day is a “Teddy Bear Museum” !!!?! I suggested that we filled the seats with the Teddy Bears if there wasn’t going to be much of an audience. At least the auditorium won’t feel so empty. Unfortunately, no one seemed to think much of my idea. Our digs for nights during the Melrose gig, was an old manorial looking hotel, the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel, very posh and imposing, situated in a glorious country estate. I was giving one of the actors in the cast, Darryl, a lift in my car. Jim was bringing the fourth actor, John in his. As I drove into the car park, Jim also arrived. I was enormously impressed by the appearance of the hotel, besides looking like some grand old castle, my intuition told me it was haunted. I just knew it in my bones. It wasn’t that it looked like something from a ghost / horror movie but my skin crawled as warning bells sounded at the back of my head. As I brought the car to a stop and cut the ignition, I told Darryl sitting in the passenger seat beside me of my suspicions that this hotel was haunted. Darryl was not pleased. “Oh shit, we’ve got three nights here.” Interestingly, he didn’t question my belief, probably because he had already experienced my strange, uncanny ability to either anticipate the weird or make it happen. For example, back in October (the 24th, to be precise), we were performing at the Tramway Theatre, Glasgow...and I was driving Darryl along the motorway from Edinburgh to the venue. I was telling him that the previous day I’d gone, against my better judgement, to the cinema to see the appalling “Men in Black” movie. Our director, Robert Rae, was taking his kids to see this total garbage of a movie, and he pleaded with me to go with him, as he knew this pile of shit was going to drive him to despair. So the bastard wanted me to co-suffer with him. But as he was my friend and I felt sorry for him and I knew the film would be so excrementally awful that he could end up slashing his wrists and I didn’t want his kids to have to witness their Dad’s suicide. Besides, he was paying for the tickets....
“So was Men in Black as bad as you expected?” Darryl asked.
“Oh God, it was utter, utter, UTTER CRAP. There are not the words in the English language to describe the contempt I have for that film. Of course, it has to be a conspiracy. The Real M.I.B....”
“Men In Black...well, they don’t want people to take their existence seriously, so they engineer the creation of such a crude send-up, lampooning the whole notion of aliens, UFOs, US and other governments’ collaboration with the E.T. enemy.....” “You seriously think that Men In Black was a deliberately bad movie? To undermine the credibility of the subject of MIBs?” “Too many people are beginning to believe in ET intervention...and if that is happening, well, get Hollywood to do the dirty work of disinformation. Hollywood was exploited before, during the McCarthy years of Red Paranoia...and paradoxically enough, science fiction movies of space invaders, malevolent Martians...note the emphasis of the Red Planet (symbolically the home of the Commie Threat) were used as a metaphor to feed the fears of pending Soviet conquest....”
“Yes, but all that is a far cry from your MIB / alien conspiracy theory....”
Suddenly Darryl stops as I point out to him a car in front I am about to overtake...it’s license plate has the letters M I B. I am equally astonished, having never seen an “MIB” registration number plate before. However, unlike Darryl, I don’t find the coincidence scarey...just amusing and, of course, an exciting vindication of what I was just saying. I then proceed to tell Darryl about the seeming rarity of encountering a number plate with the letters “UFO” on it. I had only come across it once before, about a year ago...and unbelievably, as I was literally saying this to Darryl, we came up behind a car with the license plate “H20 UFO”.....I laughed and laughed. Darryl shouted “Oh FUCK...FUCK...Get me out of this fucking car. How did you do that, Shaban?”
“Fuck knows. I didn’t. THEY must have. Isn’t it wonderful? Fantastic?”
“How can you think these creepy coincidences are wonderful? You are more of a Loony than I realised. Save me, someone, from this nutter. He’s going to drag me into a world of complex realities and all I want is a simple life.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’m sure you’re quite safe. I don’t ask for these things...I just seem to attract them.” “If THEY were responsible for arranging these weird coincidences...How? And Why?”
“No idea. Probably just playing with us, trying to freak us out, warn me not to talk of things that I have no right...to gently remind me that they are ultimately in total control of our Time and Space, and that I am finally powerless.” “Great. You are so reassuring”
So, when we arrive nearly two weeks later at Dryburgh Abbey Hotel and I announce that I feel the building is haunted, Darryl is not a “Happy Bunny”, especially when Jim arrives with John, and before I say anything, also states his belief that the hotel is haunted...(Jim had already told me, he was psychic, so I wasn’t surprised that he had similarly jumped to the same conclusion)...Darryl and John groan and decide to go to the bar to have liberal encounters with spirits they can drink. Later that evening, after a flop of a show...well...actually, there was no show...(Only four people turned up to watch it, so we cancelled the performance. I knew we should have filled the seats with the stuffed Teddy Bears from the museum. It could have been our biggest audience yet)...the four of us miserable actors fled to the hotel bar. And there we stayed until 3 in the morning. When we’d decided it was time for our respective beds, we had to pass the foyer and the night porter’s desk. As we said goodnight to each other, I glanced over to the old guy who was nodding his goodnight to us, and said to Jim, “If anyone knows about ghosts inhabiting the hotel, it will be this here Night Porter”
“Och aye, I think you’d be right” he said grinning.
“Let’s ask him”. We went towards him and he smiled as he saw an opportunity to be of service to us.
“You will be wanting keys to your rooms, gentlemen?”
“No, we already have them. I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a question?”
“Not at all. Fire away”, the porter said with a joviality belied the lateness of the hour.
“Is this hotel haunted?” I asked. Suddenly, the smile vanished from his face and he looked around nervously.
“Why do you ask?” he whispered. “Have you seen something? Which room are you sleeping in?”
“No, we haven’t seen anything. It’s just a feeling I had when I first arrived. Am I right, is the place haunted?”
“Oh yes”, he said, still in hushed tones, “very.”
“Can you tell us about it?” I asked, pleased that my hunch proved correct.
“How long have you got?” the porter replied mysteriously.
“All night, if necessary.”
Darryl and John quickly shook their heads. “Not for me,” Darryl yawned, “my bed is screaming for companionship.”
“Aye,” John hastily added, “I think I’ll also give these Tales from the Crypt a miss.”
After the pair disappeared down the corridor, Jim and I settled in front of the night porter to listen to his ghost stories. “In what way is the hotel haunted?” I asked to get him started.
“And how do you know it really is?” Jim added.
“Well, for one thing...I’ve seen the ghost twice. A young woman....there in that corner...” the porter pointed behind us at a wall.
“Here in the foyer?” I whispered excitedly.
“Aye, both times round about quarter past four in the morning. She was looking straight at me.”
Suddenly, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck raise and tingle.
“What did she look like?” Jim asked
“She was in a white dress, although other people call her the Grey Lady....”
“The Grey Lady....it’s always the Grey Lady. I suppose as my friend Serena would say, grey is such an indeterminate colour....a colour of sterility, bloodless, lifeless...the colour of the walking dead...”,
“Shut up, Nabs” Jim hissed, “you’ll scare the man into clamming up.”
“No, no,” the porter exclaims, “the laddie is right. Good question...why grey?
“And why are most ghosts female?” I pondered.
“She was old fashioned looking...her dress, that is. And she kept moving her hands as if she was trying to push or shoo something away from her.”
“Were her gestures repetitive?” I asked, “as if her image was on a tape loop.”
“Aye, something like that. She kept mouthing something....her lips silently opening and closing. She was probably saying something but I couldn’t hear a sound.”
“I noticed earlier today”, I enquired, “an old photograph on the wall in the restaurant. Its of the hotel with a huge family group, together with servants, posed outside in front of the building. I kept looking at it...was drawn to it. Made me think of the movie THE SHINING with Jack Nicholson.”
“Aye, that’ll be the one in the cocktail bar section. I’m not surprised you had your eye on it,” the porter said, “They say she, the ghost, is in the picture.”
“Your Grey Lady?” Jim asked.
“Funny, I had a feeling the photo was trying to give me a clue, even though I didn’t know there was a clue...so, which woman in the picture?”
“One of the servants. Her name was Ann Easton. They say it’s her ghost that haunts the hotel, especially two guest rooms upstairs.” “Which rooms?” I asked eagerly
“Rooms 214 and 216, on the second floor.”
Damn, I was thinking, why couldn’t I be put in one of them! I’d love to spend a couple of nights in a haunted room.
“So what happened to her?” I asked, “Why has she remained behind as a ghost?”
“Don’t know exactly”
“When was the photo snapped?” asked Jim
“Let’s go and have a look” said the porter, getting up from the reception desk. We followed him into the restaurant. “Says here 1916,” he said peering at the picture frame on the wall.
“During the Great War,” I mused. “I wonder if she lost a fiance at the Front and was so distraught, she committed suicide, not being able to continue living without him....” I felt compelled to say. Was this my idea or was I psychically picking up this story? More likely, it was just my imagination working overtime. “Was that Ann Easton?” pointing to a particular woman in the front row.
“Aye, that’s right. The maid.”
“Has anyone else seen your ghost?” Jim asked.
“No one that I know has seen her where I’ve seen her, in the foyer...but plenty used to experience a strange coldness and vibrations before this bar was renovated...at that spot over there. The vibrations used to get so big that glasses would fall from the racks and smash on the floor.”
“Phew! Amazing!” Jim exclaimed
“You said two rooms upstairs received ghostly visitations?” I pressed him further, “from the Grey Lady?”
“Aye, that’s right. 214 and 216. On one occasion, a French couple stayed in 214 with their pet poodle. On their first night, they were wakened by their pooch growling and whining. It was staring at the corner of the room, shaking with fear. The couple couldn’t see anything that would be disturbing their dog. Then it turned and started scratching and scrabbling at the door, so they opened it. The poodle just bolted out. It wouldn’t go back into the room, so we had to find the Frenchies another room.”
“What about the dog? Was it okay in the new room?” Jim queried, giving me a wink.
“Och aye, nay problem.”
“Any other incidents in that room?” I asked, thirsting for more. I could have stayed up all night but I could see Jim was beginning to flag. We did have a show to do, after all. Better get some beauty sleep.
“Aye, she appeared many, many times,” the porter said as we followed him back to his reception desk.
“When was the most recent?”
“Oh, I don’t know...a month ago, maybe.”
“What happened?” I asked as I nodded goodnight to Jim who was making his way to his room.
“I think it was the time a guest in room 214 was shaving whilest looking in the mirror, one morning. He suddenly saw, reflected in it a young woman standing behind his shoulder, looking at him. He turned to look back, but there was no one else in the room. He looked back in the mirror, there was her reflection still there, gazing back at him. No matter how many times he looked behind him, he never saw her, only her image in the mirror.”
“What did he do?”
“He checked out early.”
“What do you think or feel when you see the ghost?”
“Nothing, really. It never scares me, if that’s what you mean. I’ve been working here in this hotel for years. I’ve got used to the spooks. I often feel sad, I suppose, when I see her. The way she keeps frantically moving her hands. She’s obsessed about something.” “Hmmm makes me think of Lady Macbeth, constantly trying to wash her hands of King Duncan’s blood.” I suggested. “Out, damn spot” I added for theatrical effect.
“Aye, well, you’re an actor. I suppose you would.”
“I won’t be for much longer, if I don’t get some shut-eye. Goodnight and thanks for your ghost stories.”
“Goodnight to you, sir. You’re not in the haunted rooms, so you should sleep well.”
“I probably wouldn’t mind. I’d love to see the Grey Lady. I’ll come again and book room 214. There is a lift, isn’t there?”
“Aye, but those two rooms are on the mezzanine level, so you’d still have to go up four steps in your wheelchair.”
“Oh damn. Oh well, I’ll just have to bring a non-disabled friend to share the room with me, then I’ll be able to negotiate the steps” I resolved
“Aye, as they say ‘where there’s a will, there’s are way”, he said unlocking my door for me.
“I often say “Where there’s a wheel, there’s a way’”
“Well, I suppose you would,” the porter said, smiling at my wheelchair, “Goodnight to you again, sir.”
The next day, when I was in the restaurant ordering some lunch, I asked the middle-aged looking waitress, if she knew about the hotel being haunted. She was surprised I knew anything about the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel Ghost....it was something the hotel tried to keep secret. “Why would the hotel management want to keep quiet about it?” I asked. “Surely, it would be great publicity. Haunted houses are popular tourist attractions.”
“No, we’ve had too many guests being scared out of their wits...”
“I know, like the French couple leaving suddenly.”
“Someone has been talking to you. I expect it was old Angus the night porter. Did he tell you about the woman’s face in the mirror?”
“Yes, and that there was no one in the room but the guest. He didn’t stay long after that, did he?”
“No, he checked out immediately. So you see why the hotel doesn’t want it to be known that we have ghosts making their presence apparent.” “Is it ghosts or just one ghost...the Grey Lady?” I queried.
“Angus told you about her, then?”
“Yes and that he had seen her twice. He also said he thought she was once a maid working for the old family which owned this house at the early part of this century. I believe she is in the photograph on the wall behind you.”
“Ann Easton. Yes that’s one of the theories.”
“Do you know why she haunts the place? Why she is a restless spirit? What’s keeping her here?”
“There are rumours that she was raped by the then Master of the house, and so killed herself. There’s even one story that he had the Gamekeeper do away with her and fed her remains to the hunting dogs.”
“Hmmm, interesting irony. I notice the hunting tradition seems to be the main source of revenue for the hotel. I was sickened to find most of your clientele are of the hunting, shooting, fishing fraternity...”
“You don’t approve.”
“I most certainly don’t,” I said with extreme vehemence. ”I am totally opposed to bloodsports.”
“If it was true that the Grey Lady was murdered by the gamekeeper and her body cut up as meat for the hounds...”, whispered the waitress, “she would have some sympathy for your views.”
“I like the sound of that. An anti-bloodsports spook. Maybe that’s why she’s haunting the place and she will continue to do so until the hotel stops servicing the so called Country Pursuits industry.”
“We’d better stop talking like this,” she says hurriedly but with a cheeky smile. “You will get me the sack. Are you ready to order?” I ordered a poached egg on toast. As she walked to the kitchen, I heard her say “Hello Graham”. This felt odd, for several reasons. First, during the night, I had had a dream about a friend called Graeme. And secondly, Darryl, at breakfast, was talking of visiting Graham Park during the afternoon before our performance in the evening. Coincidences of Graham! Strange.
When the waitress returned with my meal, I managed to persuade her to tell me some more about the ghost. “Alright, I’ll spare a few minutes of my time. We’re not too busy at the moment.” She quickly looked over her shoulder to make sure no one was in earshot, “Did Angus tell you about the Engineer who used to be a regular guest, until the night he woke up to find the Grey Lady in his room?” “No, but I take it the Engineer hasn’t been seen since.”
“You’re not just a pretty face,” she flirted
“Thank you. I don’t get that said to me often. So what happened?”
“Like I said, this fellah was a regular. He was on some contract which brought him to this neck of the woods several times a year. I don’t think he had ever been booked into room 214 before, but on this particular night he had been...”
“Which as it turned out,” I interjected, “was a big mistake on the hotel’s part.”
“That’s right. We’ve never seen hide nor hair of him since. Anyway, during the night, he woke up feeling very cold....yet he was well wrapped up. Apparently, the bed covers were still on top of him, but still, he was freezing. As far as we know the central heating was still working, so there shouldn’t have been any reason why he was shivering uncontrollably. He tried to switch the bedside lamp on, but it wasn’t working. Then he turned round and saw her, a young woman, in the room, staring straight at him. She was pale but seemed to be lit like the moon. She came towards him and the next thing he knew she was walking through his bed, so that the top half...” “Her torso?”
“I s’pose so....yes, her torso seemed to be floating on top of his bed, and she came right up next to him, looked him in the eyes and called him Graham..”
“Graham? Why Graham?” I blurted. How weird, a fourth reference to Graham in one day.
“That was the Engineer’s actual name - Graham.”
“What happened next?”
“The poor chap leapt out of bed, stumbled in a blind panic out of the room in his night clothes and demanded the night porter give him another room.”
“So you got the story from Angus?”
“Yes, but Angus didn’t make it up because Graham the Engineer filed a complaint and described what I’ve just told you.” “There’s a lot of questions here. How did the ghost know the Engineer’s name? Is he connected to her in some way? Or was she thinking of a different Graham? Can ghosts think? Was she really looking at him? Aware of his physical presence? Usually ghosts seem to be unaware of human observers. How normal is it for ghosts to speak directly to the living, especially in non-mediumistic situations? God, I wish I had been there. I’d love something like that to happen to me. What an amazing opportunity. A real ghost who could talk to you.” “You must be mad. I’d be petrified to death.” She shook her head.
“You said there were other theories as to who the Grey Lady had originally been,” I prompted.
“Well, there is one suggestion that the ghost was once a maid who had had an affair with a monk from Dryburgh Abbey and became pregnant by him. When the Church authorities discovered by what he had done, he was executed, I think, beheaded...” the waitress said, getting up. She’d been sitting at the table, indulging in a secret smoke.
“That was a bit severe, wasn’t it? Must have been a long time ago. Three or four hundred years ago at least.”
“I don’t know...but, when the pregnant maid learned of her lover’s fate, she felt so guilty, she committed suicide by throwing herself off a nearby bridge.”
“I wonder why she haunts the hotel then, and not the bridge? That’s the scene of the tragedy.”
“Yes, I suppose that would be logical.”
“On the other hand, perhaps she can’t tear away from the scene where the monk and her had the illicit and ultimately dangerous liason...” I mused
“That’s if they did their naughtiness here in the mansion.” She gave me a sly nudge with her elbow.
“Hmmm. There’s a lot of scope for investigation here. By the way, earlier on you called out “Hello Graham”. Who was that?”
“Oh that was the gardener. Why do you ask?”
“I was just struck by the coincidence.”
“Oh yes, I see what you mean. Well, must shake a leg and show willing. Some of us have got work to do, dearie.”
“Thanks anyway, it was fascinating talking to you.”
“Are you a Ghost-hunter then? Someone said you’re an actor”
“To be honest, I’d rather by a professional ghost-hunter than a poncy actor” I said laughing.
“Where’s the money in ghost-hunting?”
“True. Well, thanks anyway.”
I resolved to return to Dryburgh Abbey Hotel and book one of the haunted rooms. I’d have to bring a friend who could carry me up the few steps to the mezzanine level. I have a girl-friend, Janet, who would be keen to spend the night with me in the company of spooks. Actually, Janet was by then, more of an ex-girlfriend, but she was still happy to share a bed with me. And I knew Janet could not resist a possible encounter with the supernatural. She had often told me she was psychic, possibly with mediumistic powers. She had seen spirits of the departed before, so she said. I thought I could rely on her not to be freaked out. She’d enter into the spirit of things.
It was nearly a year before Janet and I could arrange to spend a weekend together and take the trip to Dryburgh Abbey Hotel. I have two diary entries which read :
Sunday, 12th July 1998. “We arrive at Dryburgh Abbey Hotel and given Room 214, as requested…Janet and I tried a Ouija “seance” in the alleged haunted guest room 214 - to see if we could establish direct communication with the woman spirit, but without success. The glass didn’t move. No supernatural events. I could feel nothing.”
Monday, 13th July 1998. “This morning as I wake up after an uneventful night, I feel someone stroke my nose. I open my eyes but Janet is not in bed - she must be in the bathroom. I close my eyes and something touched my face, twice. I open my eyes and still no one there. Later I tell Janet who says it could have been the woman ghost thanking me for trying to help her find peace. Janet feels that at 5am, she experienced a great calmness wash over her as if our presence in the haunted room with our good intentions had released the ghost from her confinement to our world. Maybe.....”
I’d like to think Janet was right and that we had “helped” the ghost...the Grey Lady? Ann Easton?.. find peace. Then there was the time I was in bed with another former girlfriend, Tina, on an occasion in her flat, and I knew there was a man standing in the doorway of the bedroom, looking at us...I couldn’t see him or hear him but I “knew”, whereas Tina actually saw him. She noticed I was staring at the doorway, and asked if I could see him. I said no, but I know someone invisible is looking at us. “Do you see him?” I asked.
“Oh yes. I see him haunting my flat quite often,” she replied very matter of fact.
I have also seen phantom black cats in my home but only when I had non-phantom cat, called Solar, living with me. I often saw the phantom when Solar was also present. I have a theory that the phantom was an astral double of my cat. My girlfriend, in fact, saw several “carbon copies” of Solar step out of his sleeping body, one after the other.
1997 Princess Diana’s death
May 27th Tuesday 1997 I met Princess Diana, the so-called 'People's Princess'. At the time I was one of the patrons of the Richard Attenborough Centre for art and disability at university of Leicester. “Darling Dickie” had asked me to attend the Royal Opening of his centre by Princess Di. I wasn’t keen, with me being a staunch anti-Royalist, and generally anti-establishment, but Attenborough begged me as it would be a personal favour to him, as he wanted to introduce me to her, since he regarded me as Britain’s finest actors. So, I went but I refused to curtsey or bow and scrape. The Princess and I had a brief chat after she had toured the disabled artists’ exhibition. I asked her what she thought of what she had seen. She thought some of the paintings disturbing, clearly portraying much pain and suffering, even nightmarish. She was told that some were depictions of the artist’s dreams.
I tell her painting dreams can be good therapy. “What about your dreams?” I asked. “Perhaps you too should turn your dreams into works of art.”
"Oh no, I couldn't . They would be just too horrible,” replied Princess Diana. “I have horrible dreams. Nasty car crashes. Dark shadowy figures coming to murder me."
"Really? Tell me about them." She was about to say more when she stopped and looked at me confused and frightened. She quickly went away to talk to someone else.
Afterwards I told people, Princess Di would be dead by the end of the year. No one believed me, of course…until she was dead three months later.
Three months later, August 24th, I have a dream where I visit this very rich, posh upper class woman. Blond and tall with a beautiful daughter in a blue nurse’s uniform, who is a teacher of medicine. Huge mansion stuffed with books - my kind of books - all originals, first editions - even original manuscripts e.g. George Adamski's "Flying Saucers Have Landed" (1953). The kind woman lends these priceless gems to whoever asks. I feel at home in their house - perhaps I hope to marry her daughter. I carry a plastic yellow canister of tear gas. It was leaking and I accidentally opened it even more. I tried desperately to stop the gas escaping, without avail (soon the whole world will be weeping tears). I secretly hide it in the house, under the stairs and tried to leave the premises unnoticed, feeling very guilty. But the good woman stops me with her charms. She shows me some army friends who are having an amazing visual effect being constructed for them. Thousands of feet long (millions of miles in reality) and very wide, a pulsating, star filled galaxy emanating from exhaust pipe of a car (which has crashed), reaching up into space, carrying the two "star-crossed" lovers' souls. The tall boy and his friend gather more books they can hope to read in a weekend. Almost like a student prank, giggling, as Doctor Seuss is finally selected from the highest inaccessible bookshelf and fired from the barrel of a tank. The owner, not realising she will be dead next Sunday, continues to smile.
A week later August 31st. Spending a couple of days with old schoolmate and his family. The picture of a bird falls down behind me, just missing my head. A minute later, my old school pal comes in. “I just heard it on the radio. Princess Diana has been killed. Car crash, they said.”
I thought more and more about Princess Di, who had had premonition dreams of her murder.
“I don’t believe them. Whatever the media is saying is based on lies. It was murder,” I replied thinking about the falling picture just now as an omen of death. “The princess told me that she had been having dreams of her death. I believe she had a premonition of secret power conspiring to kill her.”
Today, I’m more convinced than ever that she and her Arab Muslim lover were murdered by the Establishment, especially as the West were planning a Holy Crusading war against Muslims and oil-rich Islamic countries. The 9/11 Twin Towers atrocity was engineered by the Pentagon – Petroleum NeoCons to provide an excuse for wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, and later Libya, Syria and Iran. If Diana had married Dodi Al Fayad, and had given birth to half-English half Arab children, and raised as Muslims, this would have created problems for effective anti-Muslim wars for the British-American coalition.
As you can see from these various anecdotes there have been plenty of psychic type impressions/experiences in my life outside of the UFO syndrome