Our President, Sarah Pennington, welcomed us all to the meeting. She also welcomed members of the Somborne Society who had been invited to join us for the evening.
Our speaker was Matt Wingett whose subject was the “Mysteries of Portsmouth”. Unexplained phenomena are his speciality and he has written many books on the subject. Matt proved a lively speaker and entertained us with ghost stories from before the Romans came to Britain to the present day and sightings of UFOs. He stressed that even if there had been a grain of truth to begin, with an unexplained event was usually elaborated over time.
The reports were often prompted by the discovery of pre-historic remains such as long barrows. One such find on Hayling Island even made a case for Joseph of Arimathea visiting the Island when an old silver cup was found and tales of it being the Holy Grail abounded!
The Victorians were particularly fond of ghost stories. Victoria Park proved an unlikely source for such a tale when unexplained flickering lights were seen in the Park after dark. It was later found that an arc light had been left on overnight and was being reflected off a monument. At the same time the park keeper’s wife had been locked in the Park by mistake! The popularity of the Park increased tenfold after such happenings.
Our attention was also drawn to the misfortunes that befell Robert Adams, a local man, who accompanied Harold Carter into the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Matt felt that many famous authors who lived in the Portsmouth area including Charles Dickens, Conon Doyle and H.G Wells must have been influenced by local tales of unexplained happenings.
Nola thanked Matt for his entertaining talk and Sarah thanked our guests for joining us.
Our members were all looking forward to our next coffee morning (on zoom of course) the following Wednesday and the A.G.M. which would be held in May. Sarah then closed the meeting and thanked us all for attending and said how lovely it was to see everyone again.