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1963 – BRITAIN’S SATANIC YEAR?

Posted on: April 15, 2015

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I read recently in Kevin Gates’s ‘The Paranormal Diaries: The True Story of Clophill’s Black Magic Church’ that 1963 saw an unusually high level of Black Magic activity in Britain, so out of curiosity I thought I’d see what else was going on in Britain that year, both paranormal and otherwise.  The early 1960s are usually regarded as the beginning of the Swinging Sixties here in Blighty, when Brits cast off their inhibitions and let it all hang about, perfectly summed up by Philip Larkin: “Sexual intercourse began in nineteen sixty-three (which was rather late for me) /  Between the end of the Chatterley ban / and The Beatles first LP”.  It was also the era of Profumo which rocked the Establishment to it’s core.

So in the same spirit as I did ‘1947 – The Year The High Strangeness All Began?’ I raided Wikipedia and various paranormal books – plus Albert Rosales’s Humanoid Sightings website for some of the UFO stuff – to see what else was going on that year.  It was certainly an eventful one, not just with devil-worshippers, but big cat sightings, UFOs, Britain’s very own Mothman, and even the Loch Ness monster putting in an appearance.  I’ve confined it to British matters, but have included some international news stories which were so huge you couldn’t really miss them out, or that showed the massively changing times people were living in.

I also find it significant that it was the year that Pawel and Bergier’s ‘The Morning of the Magicians’ was published in English for the first time.  ‘Magicians’ was a seminal work dedicated to the Occult and conspiracy theories.  It was to become hugely influential in the counter-culture movement, and would effectively kick-start what we now think of as the New Age, or the Age of Aquarius, as it was usually called back then.

JANUARY – APRIL

Britain endured one of the worst Winters in it’s history, ‘The Big Freeze’, every bit as bad as the previous one in 1947.

18 JANUARY Hugh Gaitskill, leader of the Labour party, dies suddenly at the age of 56.

11 FEBRUARY

Acclaimed American author Sylvia Plath committed suicide in her London flat.  Thought to be hugely depressed by the break-up of her marriage with fellow poet Ted Hughes.  From biographical material I’ve read about her, it’s clear that The Big Freeze didn’t exactly help matters either.

16 MARCH

A local couple saw two Luton youngsters playing with a human skull in the village of Clophill, Bedfordshire.  The boys said they had found it inside the ruins of St Mary’s Church, at the top of the hill overlooking the village.  On inspection, the inside of the church also contained cockerel feathers, and the tracings of two Maltese crosses.  The vicar, the Rev. Leslie Barker, also reported that the graves of 6 women had been tampered with.  On hitting the newspapers, the story of dark Satanic goings-on at Clophill became a frenzied media sensation, with reports of Black Magic activity up at the lonely ruins.  It’s a dark fascination with this lonely spot which has never truly disappeared to this day.

27 MARCH

Dr Beeching issues a report calling for the culling of British railways.  It was to have a devastating effect, and is now largely regarded as a terrible mistake resulting in enormous repercussions for Britain’s rural areas, let alone from an ecological point of view.

28 MARCH

Mrs L Duffield of Norwich, sitting near Brittania Barracks at 8PM, saw a van pull up  Two men got out, and proceeded to set up a tripod on the ground.  From out of it came a yellow and red light, which shot up into the sky, soared over the barracks and disappeared.  A second light came out, at which the witness decided to leave.  The next day, she read in her local newspaper that similar lights had been seen over the town that evening.

APRIL

Father Albert Davey of Garston, near Watford (about 12 miles from Clophill) told the police he had been receiving Satanic threats because of his refusal to help with Black Magic activities.  He said he had been threatened in the street by four car-loads of people, bundles of twigs with red-stained rags were found on the church lawn, and a valuable rosary stolen from the church.

9 APRIL

What is described in Kevin Gates’s book as ‘The Bluebell Wood Horror.  In a patch of woodland, near Caddington, Bedfordshire, not far from Clophill, an RSPCA worker found the remains of several animals, six cows and a horse.  They had been decapitated, and the bodies taken away, leaving the heads behind.  The jaws had been wrenched apart, and all but two of the jawbones removed, which makes it sound very similar to the cattle mutilation cases in the United States, which have been reported numerous times over the past few decades.

1 MAY

At the ruins of Bayham Abbey, near Frant, the remains of a fire had been found near the altar, and the ubiquitous feathers and bones of a cockerel in the embers.  The date of the finding was significant.  1st May, the day after May Eve, Walpurgis Night, one of the biggest events in the Satanic year.

SUMMER (no exact date)

A schoolgirl was taking a short cut home across fields in Cheshire when she saw a figure staring at her just a few feet away.  This person wore an all-over silver suit, like aluminium foil.  They stared at each other for a few minutes, and then the strange visitor ducked behind a hedge.  When the witness reached the spot he was nowhere to be seen.

JUNE

Police issued warnings to churches across Yorkshire to lock their doors after services, at the risk of devilish intruders.

5 JUNE

John Profumo confesses to misleading Parliament, and resigns.  On the 8th Dr Stephen Ward is charged with living off immoral earnings.

16 JUNE

Russian Valentina Tershkova became the first woman in space.   She returned to Earth on 19 June.

JULY (exact date unknown)

Two men in a boat on Loch Ness, 200 yards from Tor Point, saw something rocking the boat at about 10 PM.  The head of the monster reared out of the water, and then sank back down again.  This happened several times.  The head was described as being like that of a bulldog.  The body was blackish-brown, and also described as hairy.

JULY

Thirteen churches were burgled during a 10-day period in Northamptonshire.  Seventy churches were targeted in Lancashire.

12 JULY

Sixteen-year-old Pauline Reade is abducted by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, becoming the first victim of the infamous Moors Murderers.

18 JULY

A big cat creature known to posterity as “the Surrey Puma” is sighted several times in the Shooter’s Hill area of London.

23 JULY

Londoner Jim Green was woken at daybreak by a loud snarling noise.  He said it sounded like a fighting cat, only much larger.  He called the police, who – incredibly – sent out five (FIVE!) cars to deal with the matter.

28 JULY

Sighting of hooded men by motorists at Caterham, Surrey

30 JULY

Kim Philby defects to Moscow.

8 AUGUST

The Great Train Robbery takes place in Buckinghamshire.

28 AUGUST

Martin Luther King delivers his seminal “I have a dream” speech in the United States.

LATE AUGUST

A Mr P Sherman, holidaying in the Cardigan Bay area, saw what he said looked like a pleisosaur in  a rocky cove.  Seals were fleeing the area as a result.  Later in the week Mr Sherman found the rotting corpse of a seal, which appeared to have been bitten in two.

SEPTEMBER

The Surrey Puma is back in Shooter’s Hill.

8 SEPTEMBER

Christine Keeler, good-time girl, is arrested for perjury for her part in the Profumo Scandal.  She would be jailed the following December.

16 SEPTEMBER

A witness, known only to us as Joelle, was going door-to-door in Castleton, carrying out a market research survey.  At one house she said she saw a number of unfamiliar objects, gadgets that weren’t on the market yet.  The woman she was interviewing said her husband was a scientist, and he was testing them.  Later, in the area of Blue John Caves, she stopped at the roadside to eat her lunch.  A bright light appeared in the sky, landing on tripod legs.  A man got out, wearing a cloth suit and cloth helmet  A man who was parked nearby got out and walked over to him.  Joelle recognised his car as the one she had seen earlier at “the gadget house”.  The two men greeted each other cordially.  Both headed to the car and drove away.  Joelle returned to the gadget house, where the two men told her they were from a planet similar to Earth, which had bases on two of the moons of Jupiter.  She said they were human-like, elegantly refined, with fair skin.

17 SEPTEMBER

RAF Flyingdales radar station on the North Yorkshire moors begins operation as part of the United States Ballistic Missile Early Warning System.

21 SEPTEMBER

Autumn Equinox. At Castle Rising, near King’s Lynn, in Norfolk, more traces of devil-worshipping antics were found.  The 7″ effigies of a man and a woman, made out of modelling clay, were nailed to the door.  Each had a thorn pierced in the heart  A sheep’s head with 13 hawthorns stuck in it was also found.

OCTOBER

The Surrey Puma again.

10 OCTOBER

Prime Minister Harold MacMillan resigns on the grounds of ill-health.

NOVEMBER

Vandals broke crosses in the churchyard at Appleton, Berkshire.

6 NOVEMBER

Ball lightning seen indoors in Nottingham.

8 NOVEMBER

The strangled body of 22-year-old Gwynneth Rees was found on a rubbish tip near the river Thames.  She is thought to have been an earlier victim of the serial-killer known to posterity as Jack The Stripper, who was never caught.  The first confirmed victim was Hannah Tailford, who was found near Hammersmith Bridge on 2 February 1964. Two of the killer’s victims were thought to have been connected (on the periphery) with the Profumo Scandal.

16 NOVEMBER

At Saltwood in Kent, at 9PM,  art student Tony Harrison, accompanied by two other boys and a girl, were walking to the local railway station.  As they passed Brockhill School they saw what they thought was a shooting star falling to Earth.  Passing Slaybrook Corner they saw an oval glowing object hovering above.  Descending the hill they saw a man on the side of the road, wearing a scarlet cloak, and holding a lantern which gave out a white-ish irregular flickering light.  When they reached the road leading to the station, the figure had reached the centre of the railway bridge, and disappeared.

21 NOVEMBER

Back in the Saltwood area at Sandling Park, a reddish yellow star was seen descending from the sky towards John Flaxton (17), Mervyn Hutchinson (18), and two other teenagers.  It passed behind the trees.  Seconds later, a dark figure shambled out.  Descriptions of it sound very similar to the Mothman sightings in the United States.  Some days later a large expanse of bracken was found flattened in the woods, and footprints nearly 2ft long found nearby.

22 NOVEMBER

President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.  The impact of his death worldwide, and for posterity, cannot be underestimated.  I also often think of it as possibly THE single event which started the entire conspiracy theory movement as we know it now.  It brought in an era of shock and distrust which we are still living with today.  The dream was shattered.

On the same day Aldous Huxley, author of ‘Brave New World’, and C S Lewis, author of the much-loved Narnia books both passed away.

Off the coast of Aberdeen, the Captain and crew of a ship saw a bright flashing light travelling 15-20ft above sea level and then vanish.  The ship put out a full alert and turned to trace it.  They saw two images on radar, but there were no reports of a crash site.

23 NOVEMBER

John Kilbride became the second victim of the Moors Murderers.

‘Dr Who’ broadcast on British television for the very first time.

DECEMBER

In Middle Moneynut, East Lothian, a UFO was seen and an unusual crater found.  Similar happenings were recorded at Dufton Fell, Flamborough Head, Kirkcudbright, and Southampton.

The Rev. J L Head found a sheep’s heart stuck with 13 thorns in it at St Clement’s Church, Leigh-on-Sea.

7 DECEMBER

At Westham, Sussex, four “Devil-men” brazenly tried to carry out a Satanic rite at a still-functioning church in broad daylight, on a Saturday afternoon.  They were seen by people who were busy making preparations for a Christmas bazaar across the road in the church hall.  Several men gallantly went over to accost them.  In the ensuing scuffle one of them had his glasses broken.  The 4 intruders fled to a car and accelerated out of the village.

10 DECEMBER

At RAF Cosford, Wolverhampton, 2 RAF personnel saw a strange domed object fall behind a hanger that night.  They said it swept the airfield with a strange green beam.  When they returned with help the object had gone.  A couple of days later, a very large transport plane landed, (which was unusual in itself), and was loaded up with a large hidden object.

27 DECEMBER

At 4PM, in Epping, a white object landed.  It’s left side was brightly illuminated, and the craft was described as being 18ft by 3ft high.  It took off horizontally.  The grass was found flattened into a circle.

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