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King Richard

Robert here, still too busy with the new encyclopedia to write for the blog, alas, but looking forward to getting back in touch as soon as my new duties permit.

In the meantime I’ve heard from Henry ‘Rabbitdawg’ Brand, who has an interesting tale to tell, and in fact just the kind of thing that should interest Paranormalia readers. Thanks, Dawg.   

This is something I tripped across on an NPR radio show called Snap Judgement. It involved the discovery of the remains of King Richard III in a parking lot in 2012. Being a bit of an Anglophile, I already knew the basic story, but was completely unaware of the strongly documented paranormal aspect of the case. I've seen nothing about it on any of my trusted paranormal blogs or websites. Ironically, the only sources of information I've found for the paranormal side of the story are in the mainstream media. By mainstream, I mean 'respected' media, not the Daily Mail or other tabloids where you would expect to find these sort of things.

Here's a brief overview of the details:

Philippa Langley became obsessed with Richard III in 1992 after she fell ill, and gave up a successful career in advertising. During her recovery, she decided to write a film about him. The more research she did, the more she began to believe the House of Tudor had conducted a massive smear campaign on the good king's name. Too many facts didn't add up, logically or intuitively.

As a side note, I thought of Michael Prescott and his theories questioning the authenticity of Shakespeare's play's, when I read that many members of The Richard III Society believe they have evidence of the Tudor dynasty recruiting Shakespeare (or his surrogate) to write a disparaging play about him. Apparently, dirty political tricks and disinformation isn't anything unique to our era.

But here's the kicker, from a Guardian article:

In 2004, as part of her research, Langley visited Leicester, where it was rumoured the king was buried on the site of the old Greyfriars monastery. Her trip proved fruitless, but then as she was about to leave, she noticed a car park with a private barrier across it and felt "an overwhelming urge" to go inside.

"In the second parking bay, I just felt I was walking on his grave," Langley says calmly in the hotel pub where we meet. "I can't explain it."

A year later, she went back to test her hunch (no pun intended) and the feeling returned. This time, someone had hand-painted the letter "R" over the parking bay to mark it as reserved. For Langley, it was a cosmic sign that "I needed to get on with it".

  Of course, the rest is history (groan). Using private funding, the body was found within four hours of digging in the exact place where she said it would be, and this was documented by a television crew. Many of her intuitions about Richard III have been reasonably verified by respected archeologists, although some are still hotly debated.

I'm sure you know how that feels.   What I really like about this is that the more I dig into the story, the more intriguing and convincing it becomes.

The only skeptical response I can find is that Philippa Langley didn't adequately document her hunch beforehand. Still, this critique doesn't explain how she knew exactly where to find the remains, and I seriously doubt she wanted to go around lobbying archeologists and a city council with stories about a "feeling".  This is just an summary of what happened, but the mainstream sourced information I've found online makes a much better case for the paranormal effect than I possibly can. Here are a few links to pursue, for anyone who's interested.     

The Snap Judgement episode.

This podcast is only about fourteen minutes long, but it's informative and compellingly crafted. Brits like Robert might get a little kick out of hearing the story from an American point of view. Definitely worth a listen.

The Guardian article.

A Macleans Magazine interview.

A lame skeptical response:

Or you can Google it yourself. Information is everywhere, except on the more credible paranormal blogs and websites. Go figure.

Henry Brand