© Copyright davidgsteadman and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
I was born and grew up in the New Forest. Although made into a royal hunting ground by William the Conqueror, who named it “Nova Foresta”, it was previously known as “Ytene.” Some historians claim that William created these grounds by forcibly evicting the resident Jutes, and burning their houses to the ground.
Whilst still at school and starting college I had a Saturday job in a declining “greasy spoon” roadside café on the old main road into the New Forest, the adjacent Motorway having redirected much of the passing trade. On weekdays it was fairly well patronised by lorry drivers and workmen for looking for a plate of cholesterol washed down with a mug of tea, but on the weekends business was slow and I usually manned the café on my own.
One typically quiet Saturday afternoon two men came in. One was short, stocky and unremarkable whilst the other was unusually tall with dark black hair and reminiscent of Spock without the pointy ears. In just his manner and appearance there was something “spooky” about this fellow.
They ordered some food and drinks and I returned to reading a newspaper, greasy to the touch from the fat that always lingered in the air. Spooky Spock started up a conversation with me, the subject of which I can’t remember as it was nearly thirty years ago. But I made conversation back and it was mostly a two-way dialogue with Spock’s shorter companion remaining fairly silent. They left soon afterwards and I thought nothing of it. Then they returned for the following few weeks at around the same time.
Over the course of a few weeks a very strange conversation developed. By day, the two gentlemen were repairing refrigeration units but in their spare time were part of a “Spiritualist” society, involved in activities of an esoteric nature. He claimed this group had transmuted a piece of wood from an 18th Century wardrobe into crystal. “Spock” also stated that they regularly contacted alien beings near the New Forest village of Burley.
For the most part, due to my young age, I was fairly freaked out by these claims and yet also skeptically curious. During one conversation, he explained the basics of astral travel which I went on to practice with some success. It was my pre-psychedelic preparation for the perception altering substances that I was soon to experiment with.
Spock “spooked me out” the most the last time I saw him. He had been talking about how he was in contact with his twin brother who died at birth and who’s spirit followed him. I went into the back kitchen to unload the dishwasher and tray in hand, slipped and fell, breaking a few plates and glasses. Spock laughed out loud and stated that it was his deceased twin that had forced this to happen. Although partly I put it down to sliding on a wet floor I also wasn’t entirely sure if it was just an accident. By this time though I was getting weary of the weekly “head-spin“ and was mostly relieved it was the last time I saw Spock and his paranormal tales.
Years past and I fell under the spell of scoring and smoking weed and organically I’d developed a network of fellow stoners with whom to share the daily “bread”. One evening, two of these friends, Rufus and Sven, went night fishing and returned the following day with what was more than just a “Fisherman’s tale.”
They had been down to Milford on Sea to fish from the shore and drove back across the New Forest. On this return journey, somewhere near Burley they had an encounter of the third kind. They were on an isolated country road when they spotted lights in the sky that they described as “glowing like a car cigarette lighter.” Rufus stopped the car and the “craft” silently moved above them. He said you could make out the black triangular shape against the night sky with huge lights / engines beneath it. Rufus claimed he got out of the car to retrieve his camera from the boot but seemed to have “lost track of time” and when he came to the UFO was gone.
Had I not met “Spock” a few years previous to this I would have probably put this down to a Stoned Encounter of the Baked Kind. But the coincidental link with Burley, which to my knowledge I’d never mentioned to them, as well as the fact that they both, separately gave the same version of events led me to believe theirs and Spock’s UFO encounters.
© Copyright Richard C and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The village of Burley in the New Forest is on the “tourist trail” for visitors to the area. It is a small village with very little to see apart from a public house and some Witch-craft themed gift shops. The most famous shop, “A Coven of Witches” sells all manner of Wicca goods as well as dragon ornaments and Harry Potter themed “wands”. There is another smaller, similar shop called “Witchcraft” as well as ice cream and fudge shops that you might expect to find in a “tourist trap,” all overpriced and catering to the impulse, souvenir purchase.
Behind the tourist attraction, Burley does have a sense of sinister mystery that you would expect to find in such a location and the New Forest has had occult connections since at least the last century. In the 1930s and 40s it was the home of the New Forest Coven, whose initiate Gerald Gardner went on to form one of the earliest tradition of Gardnerian Wicca. Even into the end of the 20th Century it was relatively common to see a Romany Gypsy selling “lucky” heather, cropped from the Forest heaths before being “enchanted.”
The most famous resident of Burley is the self-proclaimed “White Witch” Sybil Leek. Leek claimed to have come from a long line of witches, most notably the 17th Century witch Molly Leigh. Leek, who was born in Staffordshire, associated with famous family friends such as Aleister Crowley and H.G. Wells as a child. She moved to the New Forest in the 1930s and later settled in Burley, living in the house behind the picture gallery, “Lawfords”. During the 1950s she became well known as a witch but this attracted journalists and notoriety to the small village so she emigrated to the US.
MKOFTEN was a side project of the better known Department of Defence program MKULTRA. Behind the MKOFTEN project were the Collins Elite group, formed as a response to a theory that Jack Parsons and L.Ron Hubbard had opened a portal to hell. As stated by Gordon Thomas in his book, “Secrets and Lies” the goals of MKOFTEN was too;
“explore the world of black magic” and “harness the forces of darkness and challenge the concept that the inner reaches of the mind are beyond reach”
Sybil Leek first became involved with Governmental Secret Services during the Second World War. Author Michael Salazar claims that she was recruited, by Ian Fleming, to create fake horoscopes alongside Aleister Crowley, to lure the occult obsessed Rudolf Hess to Scotland where he was captured.
After moving to the USA, Leek was again back in Secret Service, this time acting as a consultant as part of Operation [MK] Often. In his book “Final Events”, Nick Redfern writes;
When approached by Operation Often, Leek was thrilled and happy to help. She related all she could about sorcery, black-magic, the number of witches and warlocks active in the United States, where the most active covens could be found, and much more. As to why Leek was specifically chosen by Operation Often, it may very well have had something to do with the fact that during the Second World War, she was secretly recruited by elements of the British Government to provide phony horoscopes to the astrology-obsessed Nazis. In other words, Leek had already been exposed to the clandestine operations, had seemingly proved her worth to British authorities, and thirty years later was still perceived as being a valuable and profitable asset….
What has remained largely unknown until now — outside of official circles, at least — is that, according to Robert Manners, during the second or third meeting with Operation Often staff, Leek, quite out of the blue, expressed her firm opinion that the flying saucer mystery was probably somehow linked to the occult.
Leek reported to the Collins Elite that UFO sightings were actually manifestations, a “slight of hand trick” by a demonic entity named “Caxuulikom” who is farming earth for soul energy to feed demon kind. Her own soul was eventually harvested too in 1982 when she died, after a train derailed near her Florida home and she was poisoned with toxic gas.