Friday, 1 May 2015

The ghost at the bus stop

HobbyI was standing at a bus stop recently when I heard voices from a billboard behind me. Now there ARE new devices that allow a tiny number of billboards to play sounds, which could easily give rise to ghost reports, but this wasn't one of them. The voices I heard sounded odd, with a sort of echo to them that you wouldn't expect in the open street where the bus stop was located. It is why I noticed them in the first place. Intrigued, I looked behind the billboard but there was no one there! Nor was there any way someone could have walked off rapidly so that I wouldn't have seen them. I was left with the possibility of multiple unseen ghosts!

Continuing to I look around I looked at the disused office block a few metres behind the billboard. I regularly use this bus stop and have noticed that the building has been out of use and empty for many months. That's when I suddenly remembered that I'd seen people outside the building, near the front door, just the previous day. They were evidently involved in working in the building, possibly refurbishing it. There was a sign at the front door describing the building as a work site. It soon became obvious that the mystery voices were coming from inside the building where there were people working inside. Because of the height of the windows, which were open, it wasn't immediately obvious, to a passer-by, that there was anyone in there. The echo effect was, no doubt, due to the fact that the large open-plan offices were empty. So, mystery solved.

And the photo? Well there's a thought that has intrigued me for years. Sometimes certain birds species, that you would never normally see in an urban setting, turn up at nature reserves in the middle of cities. But in order to get to the welcoming reserve, the birds must have traversed many kilometres of less inviting suburbia. My thought was the incongruous sight these birds must make flying over suburbia.

So, when I recently saw a bird, that I couldn't immediately put a name to, flying low over suburban houses, it made me wonder. If I'd seen the bird in more appropriate habitat I'm certain I'd have recognized it quickly. A little research led me to identify the bird as a Hobby, more usually seen in heathland, woodland edges and marshes. It is migratory species which was probably on its way to its breeding grounds - the dates fit. And that's what the bird in the photo is. It's not a great photo but it was similar to the view I had, without binoculars.

And the point? Well, animals, and other things, can be more difficult to recognise when they are seen somewhere well away from a setting where you'd normally expect to see them. Indeed, they might be misidentified completely. I've done it myself, to my great embarrassment. It could be a contributory factor in witnesses misidentifying things as strange or paranormal when, in reality, they are just out of their normal place.

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