This book is written by a British academic who has sought-out unusual and odd stories that he can ‘prove’ happened through rigorous academic research. He describes himself as a secularist and atheist – and so has no particular religious age to grind. Much of the genre of the so-called ‘paranormal’ is actually highly entertaining ‘fiction’, ‘myth’ and ‘urban legend’, etc. Quite often, people are either consciously or sub-consciously participating in a process of mutual entertainment – a process which appears universal and an important part of human interaction, bonding and learning, etc. In the case of the ‘Carl Edon – crashed Nazi German WWII Pilot’ story – the author researched the Nazi German aeroplane concerned. He found the serial number, its base (which was in the Nederlands at the time), the names, ranks and dates of birth of the crew, as well as the date and time of its bombing run over the UK (January, 1942).
He found the Royal Navy Records of the ships this bomber attacked on the coast and the RN ship that fired the round that fatally damaged the aeroplane. He then discovered the location and crew of the barrage balloon unit whose obstacles finally brought down the Nazi German aeroplane. The bomber crashed in a fierce fire-ball near the back garden of an Air-Raid Warden who a) observed the descending burning aeroplane, and b) was first on the scene and Reported that the fire was ‘intense’ at the point of impact and no one got out alive. The local Fire-Brigade and British Army (Unexploded Bomb Experts) confirmed the retrieval of three very badly burned but identified bodies. The bomber wreckage was buried where it fell and the railway line it had damaged – immediately repaired – whilst the bodies of the three-crewmen were buried (respectfully) with gravestones in a local cemetery (in Middlesbrough).
The author’s research is meticulous in this area and impressive. He then presents the story (from start to finish) of Carl Edon (1972-1994) – who was murdered in 1994. From his earliest days (around two-years-old) he would have nightmares involving an aeroplane falling in flames. He kept saying he ‘died’ in a hail of broken glass and fire – and that he lost his right-leg. He described his Nazi German uniform, its insignia and the medals he had won. He also recalled his parents and the woman he was engaged to in Germany. He could march like a German Airmen and explain the ‘drill’ in minute detail, etc. In 1997, the wreckage of the Nazi German (Dornier) aeroplane was re-discovered by accident (by the ‘Waterboard’) and after it was fully excavated, the skeletal remains of ‘Heinrich Richter’ (minus his right-leg) was discovered in the deepest recesses of the burial pit – as he had died manning the turret gun. The author discovered that one of three airmen already buried in 1942 had been misidentified ‘Heinrich Richter’ and the gravestones were adjusted to correct this mistake. Indeed, when ‘Heinrich Richter’ was buried – his bravery was respected by surviving British and German Veterans of WWII – as well as his surviving family members – all of whom attended the ceremony in the UK.
So far so good. The author objectively ‘proves’ that both sides of the story actually ‘happened’ beyond a ‘reasonable doubt’. The question then remains – are the ‘memories’ of Carl Edon directly linked to the ‘physical’ experiences of ‘Heinrich Richter’? If they are – does this imply a) a genuine ‘rebirth’ experience has occurred whereby Carl Edon was the ‘reincarnation’ of ‘Heinrich Richter’, or b) did Carl Edon manifest a ‘past-life’ recollection of the unconnected existence of ‘Heinrich Richter’? And c) are these events completely unconnected, or d) the product of misunderstood or misrepresented data? Whatever the case, if the ‘paranormal’ exists – this is the type of research required if this area is to be properly researched. Things do not stop here in this fascinating book, of course, as there are many other fascinating stories included with an equally ‘thorough’ and ‘robust’ research protocol being deployed – but I wanted to focus on one story to give the reader a proper ‘taste’ of the expertise of the author. This is a refreshing approach to the subject of the ‘paranormal’ that a priori rejects the usual US anti-intellectualism which seems to dominate this particular genre of human endeavour.