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Showing posts from July, 2018

The Doppelganger of Hugh Astley

Is it possible to encounter the ghost of a person still living? Is is possible to be in more than one place at the same time? These are just some of the questions that come to mind when examining the strange case of the Rev. Dr. Hugh Astley, the village vicar of East Rudham in England's Norfolk County during the early part of the 20th century.

The bizarre tale of Hugh Astley begins during the Christmas season of 1908. Astley decided to spend the holidays with his wife in Algeria, and left his vicarage in the hands of Rev. Robert Brock, whom he first met during a trip to London on December 9, 1908. Though they conversed for less than an hour, the two preachers immediately hit it off and Dr. Astley invited Rev. Brock to serve as his substitute over the holiday season.

On December 26, Rev. Brock received a letter from an English military chaplain stationed in Algiers by the name of Rev. Herbert Muriel. In his letter, the chaplain informed the substitute vicar that Dr. Astley and his w…

The Order of the Occult Hand

Not every secret society involves mystical chants, blood-chilling rituals, and nefarious plots to take control of the world's banking institutions, and members of secret societies aren't always shadowy figures dressed in hooded cloaks. Sometimes, they're trusted local newspaper reporters.

The Order of the Occult Hand is a "secret society" of American journalists which dates back to 1965, when a crime reporter from a Charlotte newspaper decided to spice up a mundane account of a domestic squabble by writing: It was as if an occult hand had reached down from above and moved the players like pawns upon some giant chessboard.

Joseph Flanders, the Charlotte News reporter who had penned the colorful passage, had managed to amuse his journalist colleagues so much that they decided to form a secret society around this phrase, and it wasn't long before Charlotte News staff reporters attempted to slip the words "it was as if an occult hand" into their own writ…