Since I’ve started paying more attention to them (as a result of a long-running debate that I’ve been having with John) coincidences have been popping up everywhere. In this blog I’ve previously recorded a particularly intense sequence of these revolving around Thelema but there are many others including the recent Gwendolen connection which may or may not develop into something more than a hilarious ‘weird customer’ anecdote.

The following account is slightly different in that I first deliberately went ‘fishing’ for psychic information and later did the research to back it up. Unfortunately, I didn’t say anything to anyone at the time as my credentials as a psychic are not convincing (to say the least) so you only have my word for the sequence of events. Those of you who were there, however, may recall James commenting that ‘Simon looks as if he’s about to embark on a psychic quest’. He was only trying to wind me up but actually he was exactly right.

The following events took place at Larchill on Saturday 4th June 2005. When we were at the fake grand entrance down by the lake, which was is really just some columns and porch with seats built into it, I decided to “put my money where my mouth was” and do a typical psychic questing meditation. I just (and as I said nothing at the time you’ll just have to trust me on this) began to try and pick up vibes and start to create a little story in my head.

What came to me was the following:

A party is going on in the house. A couple, dressed in old-fashioned party clothes slip away from the house and come down to the lake. They are merry and laughing and have glasses of wine in their hands. They come to the fake entrance and begin kissing and caressing and eventually they end up on the lawn under some bushes making love. The girl is not entirely happy and protests but the guy overwhelms her as much by words as by brute strength. I get the impression that the girl certainly does not consider this a “rape” and although it gets out of hand she believes that if she really wanted to stop it, she could. Time moves forward and she now has a child. She often comes down to the same place by the lake and gazes out across it, but her overriding emtion is regret, not bitterness or anger. She wonders what her life would have been like had she not given in to the man’s (and her) passion.

OK so that was the story that I had in my head. It’s not going to win any prizes for originality and it provides plenty of material for the armchair Freuds but I must tell it like it was. I reckoned that it was pretty uncheckable (charlatan psychics everywhere would have been proud) but I reckoned without the dedication of local Kildare historians and their worthy mission to put everything they can online. Thus when I did a little bit of digging, I quickly found that the name of the owner who believed he was going to be reincarnated as a fox was Watson and from this I was further able to trace a little bit of the history of the house and family.

Imagine my surprise (as they say) when I came across the following excerpt from Oughterany magazine (the journal of the Donadea Local History Group):

‘The community was not without its scandal when in 1775 Mary Watson, the eldest of the family, was expelled from the Quaker religion because she had dishonoured the community. The following is an account of this affair from that year:

Whereas Mary Watson, Daughter of William Watson of Baltracey, near Timahoe, was Educated in Profession of us the people called Quakers and did some time frequent Our Religious meeting but for want of taking heed to the Spirit of Truth in her heart which would have preserved her, Did join with the Temptation of the Enemy of her happiness so as to cohabit with a man in A criminal manner by whom she has had a child. Wherefore in order to clear the Truth we profess from the Reproach Occasioned by her Disorderly and Wicked Actions and for a Causion [sic] to Others We are concerned thus publicly to Testify against her and Deny her to be of Our Society nevertheless We Sincerely Desire that she may come to a true Sight and Sense of her misconduct and Witness that Godly Sorrow which Worketh True Repentance and thereby Find mercy with the Almighty.’

As I read this, I had a total surge of adrenalin and a weird prickling sensation all down my spine (I know that is another complete cliché but that’s exactly how it felt). I had started with something completely ‘imaginary’ and without much stretching (of myself or the facts) had corroborated the information, at least to a partial extent.

As I calmed down a bit and mulled it over, I realised that there are a few problems with this. Firstly there is a problem with the timings in that the scandal took place 11 years before the girl’s brother actually leased Larchill (although there is nothing to say that they couldn’t have been guests there before they moved in as tenants). Also the document refers to her as cohabiting with a man whereas in my mind’s eye the girl was definitely on her own with the child. Lastly, my mental picture had the people dressed in clothes suggesting a much later date than 1775.

One possible solution to some of these inconsistencies is to suggest, like Daniel Pinchbeck in Breaking Open the Head, that certain issues might reoccur, generation after generation, until they have been dealt with (“I suspect I am working through some business left over from my heritage, as if mystical yearnings run, like rogue genes, in family trees..”). If that is the case then maybe the tragedy of the unmarried mother was to appear several times through the history of the Watson family. I guess our local historians might be able to shed more information on this suggestion by looking at the more recent records.

The final point is whether the scene relates in any way to my uber-Quest, The Icon Trail. If so, I’m tempted to think that the Quakers must be the link. But other than them being known as “children of the light” and accepting direct, mystical contact with God, I can’t really find a way to link them into St John (the Evangelist, aka Lazarus) without resorting to outright invention.

And for the moment I want to keep that to a minimum and see if any other psychic material that comes my way “checks out” in an incontrovertible way.