A Personal Account
Simon Murphy tells his own, bizarre story to friend and UFOData contributor, Steve Johnson
Simon Murphy (left) & Steve Johnson (right)
Simon Murphy is not only a good, honest family man, but he is also my best friend. I’ve known him for the best part of twenty years and to say he’s as straight as a die is something of an understatement. He has known of my interest in UFOs for years, but doesn’t really share that interest. Last year, I dragged him to The Great British UFO Show, but he only went so that I didn’t look like a lemon going by myself. His own areas of interest lie in more earthly subjects, such as the Titanic, World War II and writing poetry.
He is also extremely sceptical and this shows in the interview near the end where he tries his level best to explain what happened to him in rational terms. This interview was conducted on Saturday, 28th January, 2006. I have edited some portions of the transcript for clarity and omitted some information, such as descriptions of his home and his wife’s name, but what we have here is basically what he told me that evening:
Steve Johnson (SJ): When did this event happen?
Simon Murphy (SM): I was working at Zedmark (a local firm that specialised in refractories (furnace liners etc.) and heavy clay goods (pipes, roof tiles, bricks etc.) - SJ), so it would have been ‘94 or maybe ‘95. (See Note at the end of the article – SJ)
Yeah, anyway, as I was saying, I worked at Zedmark and I finished work, so it would have been about half past four/ five o’clock-ish.
SJ: What time of year was it?
SM: I can’t remember exactly, but it was dark outside, so it would have been autumn or winter. (coughs) Excuse me. Yeah, it would have been winter-time, but before Christmas, though, so it would have been autumn/November. Something like that. I walked home and it was about a ten or fifteen minute walk, so I got in probably just after five o’clock. I opened the door, walked in, nothing out of the ordinary. I went into the kitchen, put the kettle on, had a cup of tea. [My wife] was at work because she went to work at about twelve o’clock and didn’t get back until about nine. So, I was on my own, put the immersion heater on, made myself a cup of tea, er, had a cup of tea. I went upstairs about six o’clock-ish, ran myself a bath and stayed upstairs while the bath was filling up. So, the bath filled up, I turned it off, then I heard a noise. No, not a noise, more of a feeling. You know, when you think “something’s not right”, yeah. So I came back out because I thought I’d heard something or I had a feeling that maybe somebody had tried the door or something. So, I came down the steps [describes the layout of his living room into which the stairs open] and that’s when I saw my granddad. He was sat on the furthest cushion from me and I'm looking at him and I sort of remember thinking “This is weird”…
SJ: Your granddad had died?
SM: Yeah, my granddad had died probably twelve months before, maybe a bit longer. But when I saw him [on the sofa], he looked really healthy. He looked old, but he didn’t look ancient like he did just before he died. Anyway, he was sitting on the settee on the furthest cushion on the right-hand side of the settee and I noticed the depression in the cushion where he was sitting. And he just looked at me…
SJ: As though he was a real person.
SM: Yeah, as though he was a real person, a proper, physical being sat there. And then he turned and looked at me and smiled. (pause) And I just stood there and thought “This is weird”. But, it’s worthy to note that only a few months before, I had had that episode with my grandma. Shall I talk about that?
SM: Okay, prior to this incident, a few months before, which was the summertime, erm, maybe May/June/July time, I was working at Zedmark, it was lunchtime and I had my dinner and I made myself a cup of tea to have with my dinner and I nodded off. I had a dream about my grandma and I woke up with a start. I knocked my cup off and I was all like “Oh bloody hell” and that. Anyway, I thought, I’ve just had this dream and I'm a silly bugger and stuff. In my dream, she had been like “Are you all right, lad?” and I’d woken up, knocked my tea over and I was a bit shaken up, you know? So I picked my cup up and I never thought anything more about it, you know, I thought “fair enough” and just shrugged it off. I went back to work, doing my normal duties and I had to move a pallet of stuff. Normally, it’s not my job to, sort of, move pallets about because I didn’t actually have a license for driving the forklift, but there was nobody about and I knew how to drive the forklift, so I trundled off and got on the forklift. Now, if you can imagine the area, it’s a wide open area with concrete, but all around it is a large, grass area and the river runs just further down.
SJ: Long, wild grass…
SM: Yeah, with a few trees dotted about and stuff. Anyway, as I say, I was on the forklift, trundling past that area, past some parked cars and stuff and to the right was where I had to get my samples from, so I did that, got a pallet with some stuff on and reversed, starting to head back and [right in front of me] I saw a figure. It was a female figure in sort of a gown, like a white gown, but not like a funeral gown, like somebody might be buried in, but a flowing, large dress like a muumuu (laughs). You know, that kind of thing.
SJ: Like a nightie?
SM: Yeah. Anyway, as I said, she was just stood there in the grass. I eased off on the accelerator, so I was slowly trundling towards her and then I stopped. It took ages, but suddenly recognition kicked in and I thought “I know her. I do know her” and I was watching and watching her and then it dawned on me that it was my grandma. And we just stood there for ages and ages staring at each other. We made eye contact and then she smiled at me and I just carried on watching her. Then, I don’t know why, but I glanced away. I don’t know, I looked down at the steering wheel or something and when I looked back, she’d gone. So, I trundled to that area by the edge of the car park and got out and sort of had a good look because I thought, you know, she can’t have disappeared. But there was, what I took to be a depression where somebody had been standing in the grass, but there were no tracks to or from, as though somebody had walked there, you know. It was quite tall, you know, like scrubland grass, but there was a depression like where the grass had been trodden down, but I couldn’t see any paths off. And obviously, where I had walked, in the grass behind me, you could see where the grass had bent where I had walked…
SJ: How far was it to the depression?
SM: I’d say from the tarmaced bit to there, I would say that it was, like, thirty yards? So it was a fair way from the edge. There was a path further up, but there was no way somebody could have leaped there and then disappeared in the few seconds from me looking down and then looking back up. I’d have seen them because it was that open. Anyway, I just put it down to being a silly bugger. So, anyway, that was done and dusted and I thought at the time that maybe I had subconsciously wanted to see her and my brain created a heavenly image of her for me. You know, as if to tell me that everything’s great. I don’t know. Anyway, puzzled about it for a couple of minutes and went back to work. Anyway, this incident with my granddad would have been about three or four months after. As I said, I saw him there on the settee, saw the depression and, as I said, he looked healthy. My grandma had looked healthy when I saw her – oldish, but probably looking like she was in her early fifties. You know, she didn’t look like she did when she died or like when she was in her sixties. She looked like she had gone to an age like she was in her fifties and she looked nice and healthy and happy. And my granddad looked the same. He didn’t look like he’d gone back to like he was when he was thirty or in his twenties because I probably wouldn’t have recognised him as much. He looked like he had gone back to a time maybe ten or fifteen years when I was young, but I knew him, obviously. And he looked right good and healthy and, again, happy.
Anyway, I thought “Bloody hell, this is weird” and then (pause) nothing. I can’t remember. From that point on, I can’t say anything because I don’t know what I was doing. I don’t remember anything, nothing at all. I don’t remember walking anywhere, I don’t remember any sounds, I don’t remember any smells, I don’t remember any lights or, or any figures. Nothing, I have absolutely nothing there. Just a total blank. The first thing I remember is the fish shop down at the bottom of our road. I was standing there, on the corner. I thought “What am I doing here?” The fish shop was shut – I hadn’t gone to get myself some fish and chips (laughs). Anyway, I started walking back up the road.
SJ: What was your physical state?
SM: Well, I didn’t notice at first. I had a t-shirt on and some tracksuit bottoms and a pair of trainers. No coat or anything and, as I say, it wasn’t over-warm. It was autumn time. So I started walking home (about a hundred yards or so – SJ) and then I noticed that I had dirt on my hands. I thought “Where has this come from?” I had soil and dirt on me and then when I looked down, I saw that my trousers were all ripped and I had scratches all over myself. It was like I had been fumbling about in briar bushes or something, you know, for some reason and the thorns had nipped me and cut me, or something like that. The knees were all ripped, as though I had fallen, and they were ripped up the side. They were not major, but I had cuts all over my legs…
SJ: I know the area in which you live and I can’t think of anywhere where you might have fallen in some bushes like that. There’s Caulm’s Wood way over the other side of the car park behind the chip shop, but it’s a fair way to go and have no recollection.
SM: Yeah. It’s not impossible, I suppose, that I couldn’t go there, because the timescale we’re talking about is between about six o’clock and when [my wife] got back from work, which was about half past nine. So we’re talking over three hours.
SJ: I didn’t realise it was so long, actually.
SM: Yeah. Anyway, I was all dirty and cut and my clothes were ripped. I felt okay in my head, apart from being confused, thinking “Where have I been?” but I wasn’t panicking, I felt quite calm. It was later when I felt a little panicked when I found out how much time had gone by when I looked at my watch at home. I didn’t have my watch on, you see. I’d taken it off when I’d run the bath, so I had no idea how long I’d been gone… It never occurred to me to question how long I’d been gone. I just knew that something had happened. I didn’t feel woozy or sick or wobbly, I just felt like “What the bloody hell’s happened?”, you know.
Anyway, I carried on walking and I passed a bloke, who was walking towards me on the opposite side of the street and he sort of looked at me, as though he as thinking “What’s happened to him?” I remember looking at him, but I didn’t engage him or anything. I don’t know why, well, probably because I thought “Look at the state of me. He probably thinks I'm a druggie or something!” So I thought, well, just go home. Anyway, he was the only other person I saw, there were no other people about, no cars passed me, which is unusual, because there’s a taxi rank up there. When I got [close to home], [my wife] actually drove past me. There were no cars parked on my side of the road, there were a couple on the other side, but anyway, she came up and I started waving at her and she totally ignored me.
SJ: You say she ignored you, but as you say, you were quite noticeable because this other bloke had seen you and your condition was such that he’d given you a good looking over…
SM: Yeah, that’s it, but he was the only other person I’d seen. There was nobody else about and I can’t remember anything about him, except that he sort of looked at me, as though… you know… but [my wife] totally ignored me. Anyway, I was walking up the middle of the road, because it was a bit of a cul-de-sac by now, and [my wife] got out of her car, turned around and then she saw me. And then she basically said to me: “What the f*** have you been doing?” I said: “What do you mean?” And she said: “Who’ve you been fighting with? What’ve you been doing?” And I just said to her: “I don’t know!”
She said: “Look at the state of you. You’re covered in mud, you’ve got dirt all over you and your trousers are ripped to bits.” I said: “You’ve just driven past me.” And she said: “Well, I didn’t see you.”
Genuinely, she might not have seen me. I could have just been another bloke and she might not have thought it was me, because you don’t always pay attention, do you? Anyway, when we went round the corner to the house, the front door was unlocked and slightly open. Like I’d left and not shut the door, only pulling it closed, but not locking it. Anyway, the lounge light was on, the kitchen light was on, the immersion heater was still on, erm…
SJ: It was a good job you’d stopped the bath…
SM: Well, I’d filled the bath, taken my watch off, stopped the bath filling and that’s when I thought that something was not right… and trundled downstairs. Anyway, we went in and I told her about what had happened, with me seeing my granddad and not remembering anything else. After that I went upstairs. The bath was still full, but the water was cold, so emptied the bath and refilled it back up and, erm, had a bath. And that’s basically it. That’s the story. There’s no more to tell that I can think of.
Then when we went to the UFO convention (The Great British UFO Show 2005 – SJ) and I heard him (Philip Mantle – SJ) talk about the green mist. Something triggered and I do remember, very vaguely, a green mist surrounding me. But I don’t know where. It wasn’t in the house and it wasn’t by the chippie, but I have basically no idea where I was. I don’t remember anything else, but when that green mist was mentioned, it did sort of trigger something and I do remember being in a green mist. It wasn’t a sci-fi green mist or billowing clouds, it was sort of like a fog, but with somebody, like, with a green lamp waving it about. It was just a hazy, diffuse mist with, like I said, this green light as if somebody had a lamp with a green filter on it waving it about and that was it.
SJ: Have you ever considered trying hypnosis to try and find out what happened?
SM: There was somebody at work that I mentioned it to, an old bloke, whose wife did hypnosis. Now, either she wasn’t very good at it, but I think I wasn’t receptive enough, because I didn’t really want to do it. I didn’t believe it and I didn’t want to be regressed, so it didn’t work. So, I did try it, but I don’t know if it wasn’t the right settings or… I actually felt quite uncomfortable and a bit fearful, so maybe I wasn’t receptive to what she was saying. I just didn’t want to know. But she did say, though, that there was something there in my mind that was blocking the efforts to try and do it, that I was blocking it. As you know, I’ve had experiences, but I'm still a very sceptical person, so I think my mind was thinking that it was all a load of rubbish. I don’t know.
SJ: But even the most sceptical person would want to find out why they had three hours missing from their lives.
SM: Yeah, three hours is a long time to have no memory of. I don’t know. Maybe the vision of my granddad made me have a brain lock or something and I went wandering off somewhere and I could have done. I could have fallen all over. I could have gone somewhere… maybe I thought I was going somewhere and ended up falling through some bushes somewhere. I’ve no idea.
SJ: But what you describe does fit in with other abduction reports. (Simon laughs) Like you said, the green mist reference at the conference triggered a memory and abductees have reported seeing long-dead loved ones just before an abduction experience, or furry little animals, stuff like that – things to set you at ease. It has been known, it’s quite common.
SM: But, I’ve never had it since. Maybe I am unacceptable. (we laugh, recalling Homer Simpson’s encounter with aliens when they spray him with rum and kick him out of their flying saucer)
Yeah, it is weird, but it’s something that I have never lost a night’s sleep over. It’s never haunted me, it’s never bothered me. It was just something that happened.
SJ: Well, that’s another aspect to so-called paranormal sightings. They’re called ‘incidents of high strangeness’, and they’re so weird that your brain just filters them out, it doesn’t let you worry over them. Like when people report seeing ghosts, they’ll often say that they weren’t frightened at the time, they only became frightened later when they were retelling the story. But at the time, you think “That’s odd!”, or words to that effect, and then carry on with what you were doing.
SM: Yeah. I never got a feeling of terror. When I appeared, or got there from wherever I’d wandered from, I didn’t feel panicked. There wasn’t something screaming out from inside my head asking what’s happened. I just felt calm. I can’t explain it. Since then, like I said, I’ve never lost a night’s sleep over it and I’ve never given it another thought really.
The only time I got upset was at the UFO conference when the green mist was mentioned and I became shaken and had to go outside for a bit of fresh air, but I think that was because it was so unexpected. But I don’t recall anything nasty happening to me. I’ve got no scars or anything and the scratches on my legs were nothing. I mean, for all I know, I could have walked back to where I thought I saw my grandma, because it’s all grass and overgrown there. Plus it’s all dark and there’s no streetlamps, so I could have been wandering about all over there and falling over and stuff.
The thing is, if I was wandering around for those three hours, surely somebody must have seen me. If I have no memory of it, then I must have looked lost or confused or something. But saying that, if I did look like that, would folk go near me? They’d think I was a nutter or a druggie or whatever. I can’t explain it.
Later, Simon told me about another incident that occurred sometime before his missing time event. One night, sometime after 10pm, he was driving in his wife’s car along a lane in the countryside that surrounds our town, when for about five seconds the rear section of the car was brilliantly illuminated from somewhere. He described the light as almost having substance; he could feel it on the back of his neck as though it was slightly pushing him forward. Thinking a car or truck was behind him, he glanced into the rear-view mirror, but the road behind was dark. The road ahead was also dark, save for the beam of his headlights. His dashboard was also not illuminated by the light, only the normal lights of the speedometer etc. Then the light went out and he continued his journey. He has no explanation for this and had almost forgotten about it until I interviewed him about his missing time experience.
Is Simon the victim of alien abduction, or did he witness something else of a paranormal nature and suffer from some sort of temporary nervous breakdown and went wandering off for three hours? Was it all in his mind? Where did he go? How did he get dirty and covered with scratches, with his clothes torn? Why did the mention of a green mist at The Great British UFO Show cause him to become so distressed that he had to leave the room and go outside?
As Simon has no internal need to truly find out what happened to him that evening, it will likely remain a mystery.
Simon said that the events took place in 1994 or 1995. I recall him telling me about seeing his grandmother at work. I even mention it in an article I wrote for my website (http://www.mercuryrapids.co.uk/articles2.htm#ournightofterror ). As the events of that article took place just after the birth of my son, I can positively confirm that the events of Simon’s missing time experience happened in the year 1992 – SJ
© Steve Johnson - 2005
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Updated 16th August, 2012