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This section contains descriptions of unexplained facts provided by eyewitnesses or published in the media, as well as the results of their analysis by the group.

Parallel world. United Kingdom

ID #1706697451
Added Wed, 31/01/2024
Author July N.
Sources
Phenomena
Status
Hypothesis

Initial data

Initial information from sources or from an eyewitness
Incident date: 
09.12.1873 04:00
Location: 
Отель «Виктория»
Бристоль
United Kingdom

The Times newspaper of December 11, 1873 reported on an elderly Campston couple staying at a hotel in Bristol. At night they heard some sounds. Mr. Campston got out of bed and started looking for his night shoes on the floor, which suddenly seemed to open up, and he began to fall into a black void, but his wife managed to grab him and pull him into the room. In a panic, they climbed out of the room through the window; they were found at the railway station in their nightgowns when they were looking for a policeman.

__________

An unusual circumstance came to light at Bristol Police Court on Tuesday. Mr. Thomas B. Campston and his wife, Ms. Ann Martha Campston, of Virginia Road, Leeds, were prosecuted for disorderly conduct at the Victoria Hotel and for the use of firearms.

The hostess of the hotel, Ms. Tong, testified in her testimony that the defendants rented an apartment in the hotel on Monday evening and went to rest around twelve o'clock.

Around four o'clock in the morning, she was woken up by loud screams and screams in their bedroom, followed by the sound of gunfire. She went downstairs to find that they had both jumped from their bedroom into the courtyard below—to a depth of over twelve feet—and then headed for the train station opposite.

Mr. T. Harker, the night supervisor of the Bristol and Exeter Railway, said that the participants in the incident broke into his office, partially dressed, shouting "Murder" and were in terrible agitation.

They told him that they had escaped from the den of robbers and thieves and had to defend themselves.

They got the impression that someone was watching them, and forced him to search the waiting room to make sure that no one was there. When Mr. Campston sent for a policeman, he was searched and a revolver and three knives were found on him.

When the judge asked what he had to say in explanation of the case, Mr. Campston, who had speech problems, replied that he and his wife were staying in Clifton; but, intending to go to Weston-super-Mare that morning, they went downstairs and rented a room at the Victoria Hotel", located near the railway station.

At about four o'clock in the morning, they were alarmed by terrible sounds that they could not explain and which scared them very much. The bed seemed to open up and did a lot of strange things.

Paul turned around too, and they heard voices. They were so scared that they opened the bedroom window and jumped out. Campston also shared her version of what happened.

She said that around four o'clock in the morning they heard terrible noises. The floor seemed to give way. It opened, of course, and her husband fell from some distance, and she tried to pick him up.

What they said was repeated every time they spoke. Very scared, she asked her husband to fire a pistol, which he did, at the ceiling. The noise continued, they got out of the window, but she didn't know how.

When they went outside, she asked her husband to fire the gun again. Then they ran towards the train station. In response to the judge, the lady said that she did not hear the noise as clearly as her husband.

In the end, Mr. Butt was present in court, who was telegraphed from Gloucester, and in response to the panel's opinion said that the parties had taken very good positions in Leeds.

He offered to take them under due responsibility if they were handed over to him, which was eventually done, and the accused were released from custody. It is impossible to give any explanation for this strange incident, and it is believed that it was a hallucination on the part of the husband.

_______________

"Emptiness in bed"

Category: Space-time anomaly.

From: Bristol Mercury ; London The Times ; Davis, pp. 116-119

Where: Victoria Hotel, Bristol, Avon, United Kingdom

When: Around 4:00 a.m., Tuesday, December 9, 1873

Who: Thomas B. Campston and his wife Ann Martha Campston

​​How close to the source: Modern newspapers and census reports.

Phenomenon: On December 8, 1873, Mr. and Mrs. Campston of Virginia Road, Leeds, were traveling from Clifton to Weston-super-Mare. They decided to spend the night in Bristol and head to Weston-super-Mare in the morning. They checked into the Victoria Hotel, located opposite Bristol and Exeter Railway Station, and went to bed around midnight.



Around one o'clock in the morning, the Campstons found the owner of the house, Mrs. Tong, and complained about voices that seemed to come from the next room. When Mrs. Tong entered their room, of course, nothing could be heard. The traveling couple went back to bed, but sometime between 3:00 and 4:00, according to the usually conservative London Times, they were disturbed by "terrible sounds that they could not explain and which scared them very much." The bed seemed to open up under them "and did a lot of strange things," which are not mentioned in detail. According to the Bristol Mercury newspaper On December 13, Ann Campston later testified that "the floor seemed to give way and the bed also seemed to open. They heard voices, and what they said was repeated after them. Her husband wanted her to get the floor, of course, as if it had opened, and her husband fell some distance away, and she tried to pick him up.



Helping her husband out of the black void in the bed and floor, Mrs. Campston asked him to fire a pistol. He fired at the ceiling, but the terrifying sounds continued. The terrified couple climbed out of the window and fell twelve feet into the courtyard below. Mr. Campston fired his gun again, after which the couple in night clothes fled to the train station.



The Times continues: "Mr. T. Harker, the night supervisor of the Bristol and Exeter Railway, said that the parties burst into his office partially clothed, shouting "Murder," and they were in a terrible state of excitement. They told him they had escaped from the den of robbers and thieves, and they had to defend themselves." They asked Harker to search the waiting room to make sure no one was following them.



Harker called a constable, who searched Mr. Campston and found not only a gun on him, but also three knives. The Campstons were immediately taken into custody and appeared at Bristol Police Court later that Tuesday.



Oddities: Reports of disappearances are a kind of "negative messages". Instead of someone seeing or experiencing a strange phenomenon, there is simply a void where someone or something used to be. Observations of real "holes" in which people or things can disappear are rare, but not unknown.



Ending: The Campstons told their story to an incredulous court. Mr. Campston, who had speech problems, could barely speak due to his distraught condition. Fortunately, a telegram was sent to a Mr. Butt, presumably at the Campstons' request. Mr Butt appeared at the hearing and "in response to the panel's opinion stated that the parties were in a very good position in Leeds. He offered to take proper responsibility for them if they were handed over to him, which was eventually done, and the accused were released from custody." (Article in the Times)



Legend: Nothing like this seems to have ever happened to the Campstons or the Victoria Hotel before.



Explanation: The prosaic newspaper "London The Times concludes: "No explanation can be given for this strange incident, and it is assumed that it was a hallucination." The Bristol Mercury Newspaper Agrees: "There is no doubt that all this was a hallucination." The Bristol Daily Post newspaper of December 10 mentions that the police searched the hotel room and found nothing unusual, so they shared a common opinion. A century and a half later, others suggested that the Campstons narrowly avoided falling into some kind of passage into another dimension.



Comments on: Some writers have wondered why Mr. Campston took a revolver and three knives with him on this tour. The fact is that Victorian England was not such a safe place. British writer Rodney Davis explains that in 1873 it was still legal in the UK to buy pistols without a prescription.



Davis, with a little help from Elizabeth Shaw of the Bristol Central Library, uncovered several facts about the Campston case. The Victoria Hotel (owned by Josiah Brown) was located at 140 Thomas Street and in 1876 became known as the Bute Arms. It was demolished in the 1920s. The railway station across the street is now called Temple Meads.



Charles Fort, in chapter 18 of LO!, calls the Campstons an "elderly couple." However, Thomas Campston was only twenty-five years old at the time of the incident. He and his wife lived at 35 Virginia Road, Leeds. According to the 1881 census, Thomas was "a flax producer employing about 90 people"—a "very good position" to which Mr. Butt referred. Between 1876 and 1879, Ann Campston gave birth to two boys and a girl.



Davis, Rodney. Supernatural Disappearance (New York: Sterling Publishing Company, 1996).



"An extraordinary hallucination." London The Times , December 11, 1873, page 11.



"An emergency at the Bristol Hotel. Bristol Mercury, December 13, 1873.

Original news

A singular circumstance came to light in the Bristol Police Court, on Tuesday. Mr. Thomas B. Cumpston, and his wife, Mrs. Ann Martha Cumpston, of Virginia Road, Leeds, were brought up for being disorderly at the Victoria Hotel and with letting off fire-arms.

It was stated in evidence by the landlady of the hotel, Mrs. Tongue, that the defendants took an apartment at the hotel, on Monday evening, and retired to rest about twelve o’clock.

About four o’clock in the morning she was awoke by loud screams and shouts in their bed room, succeeded by a report of fire-arms. She went down and found that they had both leapt from their bed room into the yard below—a depth of upwards of twelve feet—and then made their way to the railway station opposite.

Mr. T. Harker, the night superintendent on the Bristol and Exeter Railway, said the parties rushed into his office, partly dressed, crying out “Murder,” and they were in a terrible state of excitement.

They told him they had escaped from a den of rogues and thieves, and they had to defend themselves.

They were under the impression that someone was following them, and they made him search the waiting room to see there was no one there. Upon his sending for a policeman, Mr. Cumpston was searched, and a revolver and three knives were found upon him.

When asked by the magistrate what he had to say in explanation of the matter, Mr. Cumpston, who had an impediment in his speech, said he and his wife had been staying at Clifton; but, intending to proceed to Weston-super-Mare that morning, they came down and engaged a room at the Victoria Hotel, being near the railway station.

They were alarmed at about four o’clock in the morning by terrible noises which they could not explain, and which frightened them very much. The bed seemed to open, and did all sorts of strange things.

The floor, too, opened, and they heard voices. They were so terrified that they opened their bed-room window and leapt out.Mrs. Cumpston, also, gave her version of the affair.

She said they heard terrible noises at about four o’clock in the morning. The floor seemed to be giving way. It certainly opened, and her husband fell down some distance, and she tried to get him up.

What they said was repeated every time they spoke. Being very much frightened she asked her husband to fire off his pistol, which he did, into the ceiling. The noises continuing, they got out of the window, but she did not know how.

When they got outside she asked her husband to fire off his pistol again. They then ran up to the railway station. In reply to the Bench, the lady said she did not hear the noises so plainly as her husband.

Ultimately, a Mr. Butt, who had been telegraphed for from Gloucester, attended the Court, and in reply to the Bench said the parties occupied a very good position in Leeds.

He offered to take proper charge of them if they were handed over to him, which was ultimately done, the defendants being discharged from custody. No explanation can be given of this strange affair, and the belief is that it was an hallucination on the part of the husband.

__________________

This story appeared in the London "Times" on Dec. 11 1873.  It reads like a real-life version of William Hope Hodgson's story "The Whistling Room."

Pity Yelp was not around in those days.  I'd love to see the reviews this hotel would've gotten.
 

A singular circumstance came to light in the Bristol Police Court, on Tuesday. Mr. Thomas B. Cumpston, and his wife, Mrs. Ann Martha Cumpston, of Virginia Road, Leeds, were brought up for being disorderly at the Victoria Hotel and with letting off fire-arms. It was stated in evidence by the landlady of the hotel, Mrs. Tongue, that the defendants took an apartment at the hotel, on Monday evening, and retired to rest about twelve o'clock. About four o'clock in the morning she was awoke by loud screams and shouts in their bed room, succeeded by a report of fire-arms. She went down and found that they had both leapt from their bed room into the yard below—a depth of upwards of twelve feet—and then made their way to the railway station opposite.

Mr. T. Harker, the night superintendent on the Bristol and Exeter Railway, said the parties rushed into his office, partly dressed, crying out "Murder," and they were in a terrible state of excitement. They told him they had escaped from a den of rogues and thieves, and they had to defend themselves. They were under the impression that someone was following them, and they made him search the waiting room to see there was no one there. Upon his sending for a policeman, Mr. Cumpston was searched, and a revolver and three knives were found upon him.

When asked by the magistrate what he had to say in explanation of the matter, Mr. Cumpston, who had an impediment in his speech, said he and his wife had been staying at Clifton; but, intending to proceed to Weston-super-Mare that morning, they came down and engaged a room at the Victoria Hotel, being near the railway station. They were alarmed at about four o'clock in the morning by terrible noises which they could not explain, and which frightened them very much. The bed seemed to open, and did all sorts of strange things. The floor, too, opened, and they heard voices. They were so terrified that they opened their bed-room window and leapt out.

Mrs. Cumpston, also, gave her version of the affair. She said they heard terrible noises at about four o'clock in the morning. The floor seemed to be giving way. It certainly opened, and her husband fell down some distance, and she tried to get him up. What they said was repeated every time they spoke. Being very much frightened she asked her husband to fire off his pistol, which he did, into the ceiling. The noises continuing, they got out of the window, but she did not know how. When they got outside she asked her husband to fire off his pistol again. They then ran up to the railway station. In reply to the Bench, the lady said she did not hear the noises so plainly as her husband. Ultimately, a Mr. Butt, who had been telegraphed for from Gloucester, attended the Court, and in reply to the Bench said the parties occupied a very good position in Leeds. He offered to take proper charge of them if they were handed over to him, which was ultimately done, the defendants being discharged from custody. No explanation can be given of this strange affair, and the belief is that it was an hallucination on the part of the husband.

______________

Early in the morning of Dec. 9, 1873, Thomas B. Cumpston and his wife, “who occupied good positions in Leeds,” were arrested in a railroad station, in Bristol, England, charged with disorderly conduct, both of them in their nightclothes, Cumpston having fired a pistol. See the London Times, Dec. 11, 1873. Cumpston excitedly told that he and his wife had arrived the day before, from Leeds, and had taken a room in a Bristol hotel, and that, early in the morning, the floor had “opened,” and that, as he was about to be dragged into the “opening,” his wife had saved him, both of them so terrified that they had jumped out the window, running to the railroad station, looking for a policeman. In the Bristol Daily Post, December 10, is an account of proceedings in the police court. Cumpston’s excitement was still so intense that he could not clearly express himself. Mrs. Cumpston testified that, early in the evening, both of them had been alarmed by loud sounds, but that they had been reassured by the landlady. At three or four in the morning the sounds were heard again. They jumped out on the floor, which was felt giving away under them. Voices repeating their exclamations were heard, or their own voices echoed strangely. Then, according to what she saw, or thought she saw, the floor opened wide. Her husband was falling into this “opening” when she dragged him back. The landlady was called, and she testified that sounds had been heard, but she was unable clearly to describe them. Policemen said that they had gone to the place, the Victoria Hotel, and had examined the room, finding nothing to justify the extraordinary conduct of the Cumpstons. They suggested that the matter was a case of collective hallucination. I note that there was no suggestion of intoxication. The Cumpstons, an elderly couple, were discharged in the custody of somebody who had come from Leeds (Fort, 1941, p154).

Those stuffy Victorians generally considered it to be in bad taste to fire off your revolver in a hotel room during the early morning hours, as well as running about railway stations in one’s pajamas.  You know, Monday night in modern New York City.  The Cumpstons were taken into custody and charged with disturbing the peace.  Two days later the London Times published a detailed account of the courtroom proceedings.

A singular circumstance came to light in the Bristol Police Court, on Tuesday. Mr. Thomas B. Cumpston, and his wife, Mrs. Ann Martha Cumpston, of Virginia Road, Leeds, were brought up for being disorderly at the Victoria Hotel and with letting off fire-arms. It was stated in evidence by the landlady of the hotel, Mrs. Tongue, that the defendants took an apartment at the hotel, on Monday evening, and retired to rest about twelve o’clock. About four o’clock in the morning she was awoke by loud screams and shouts in their bed room, succeeded by a report of fire-arms. She went down and found that they had both leapt from their bed room into the yard below—a depth of upwards of twelve feet—and then made their way to the railway station opposite.
Mr. T. Harker, the night superintendent on the Bristol and Exeter Railway, said the parties rushed into his office, partly dressed, crying out “Murder,” and they were in a terrible state of excitement. They told him they had escaped from a den of rogues and thieves, and they had to defend themselves. They were under the impression that someone was following them, and they made him search the waiting room to see there was no one there. Upon his sending for a policeman, Mr. Cumpston was searched, and a revolver and three knives were found upon him.
When asked by the magistrate what he had to say in explanation of the matter, Mr. Cumpston, who had an impediment in his speech, said he and his wife had been staying at Clifton; but, intending to proceed to Weston-super-Mare that morning, they came down and engaged a room at the Victoria Hotel, being near the railway station. They were alarmed at about four o’clock in the morning by terrible noises which they could not explain, and which frightened them very much. The bed seemed to open, and did all sorts of strange things. The floor, too, opened, and they heard voices. They were so terrified that they opened their bed-room window and leapt out.
Mrs. Cumpston, also, gave her version of the affair. She said they heard terrible noises at about four o’clock in the morning. The floor seemed to be giving way. It certainly opened, and her husband fell down some distance, and she tried to get him up. What they said was repeated every time they spoke. Being very much frightened she asked her husband to fire off his pistol, which he did, into the ceiling. The noises continuing, they got out of the window, but she did not know how. When they got outside she asked her husband to fire off his pistol again. They then ran up to the railway station. In reply to the Bench, the lady said she did not hear the noises so plainly as her husband. Ultimately, a Mr. Butt, who had been telegraphed for from Gloucester, attended the Court, and in reply to the Bench said the parties occupied a very good position in Leeds. He offered to take proper charge of them if they were handed over to him, which was ultimately done, the defendants being discharged from custody. No explanation can be given of this strange affair, and the belief is that it was a hallucination on the part of the husband (London Times, December 11, 1873).

___________________

The Void in the Bed

Category: Space-Time anomaly
From: Bristol Mercury; London Times; Davies, pp. 116-119
Where: The Victoria Hotel, Bristol, Avon, UK
When: About 4:00 a.m., Tuesday, December 9, 1873
Who: Thomas B. Cumpston and his wife, Ann Martha Cumpston
How close to source: Contemporary newspaper and census accounts
Phenomena: On December 8, 1873, Mr. and Mrs. Cumpston, of Virginia Road, Leeds, were traveling from Clifton to Weston-super-Mare. They decided to stay overnight in Bristol and continue to Weston-super-Mare in the morning. They checked into the Victoria Hotel, just across from the Bristol & Exeter Railway station, and went to bed about midnight.

At about 1:00 a.m. the Cumpstons sought out the landlady, Mrs. Tongue, and complained of voices that seemed to be emanating from the next room. Naturally, there was nothing to hear when Mrs. Tongue entered their suite. The traveling couple went back to bed, but sometime between 3:00 and 4:00, according to the usually conservative London Times, they were disturbed "by terrible noises which they could not explain, and which frightened them very much." The bed seemed to open beneath them "and did all sorts of strange things" that are not elaborated on. According to the Bristol Mercury of December 13, Ann Cumpston testified later that "The floor seemed to be giving way, and the bed also seemed to open. They heard voices, and what they said was repeated after them. Her husband wished her to get out of the way. The floor certainly seemed to open, and her husband fell down some distance, and she tried to get him up."

After helping her husband out of the black void in the bed and floor, Mrs. Cumpston asked him to fire his pistol. He shot into the ceiling, but the terrifying noises continued. The frightened couple climbed out the window and dropped twelve feet to the yard below. Mr. Cumpston fired off his pistol again, then the couple fled to the railway station in their nightclothes.

The Times account continues: "Mr. T. Harker, the night superintendent on the Bristol and Exeter Railway, said the parties rushed into his office partly dressed, crying out 'Murder,' and they were in a terrible state of excitement. They told him they had escaped from a den of rogues and thieves, and they had to defend themselves." They asked Harker to search the waiting room to make sure no one was following them.

Harker called for a constable, who searched Mr. Cumpston and found, not only the pistol, but three knives on his person. The Cumpstons were promptly taken into custody and brought up before the Bristol Police Court later that same Tuesday.

Oddities: Accounts of disappearances are sort of "negative reports." Instead of someone seeing or experiencing a strange phenomenon, there is simply an emptiness where someone or something used to be. Observations of actual "openings" into which people or things might disappear are rare but not unknown.

Ending: The Cumpstons told their story to an incredulous court. Mr. Cumpston, who possessed a speech impediment, could barely talk due to his distraught state. Fortunately, a telegram had been sent to a Mr. Butt, presumably at the Cumpstons' request. Mr. Butt appeared at the hearing and "in reply to the Bench said the parties occupied a very good position in Leeds. He offered to take proper charge of them if they were handed over to him, which was ultimately done, the defendants being discharged from custody." (The Times article)

Legend: Nothing like this seems to have ever happened to the Cumpstons or the Victoria Hotel before.

Explanation: The prosaic London Times concludes: "No explanation can be given of this strange affair, and the belief is that it was an hallucination." The Bristol Mercury concurs: "There is little doubt that the whole was an hallucination." The Bristol Daily Post of December 10 mentions that police scoured the hotel room and found nothing out of the ordinary, so they echoed the general sentiment. In the century and a half since, others have speculated that the Cumpstons barely escaped falling into some sort of opening into another dimension.

Comments: Some writers have wondered why Mr. Cumpston carried a revolver and three knives with him on this excursion. The fact is that Victorian England was not all that safe a place. British author Rodney Davies explains that it was still legal in Great Britain to buy handguns over the counter in 1873.

Davies, with a little help from Elizabeth Shaw of the Bristol Central Library, uncovered a few facts about the Cumpston case. The Victoria Hotel (Josiah Brown, proprietor) was located at 140 Thomas Street and became the Bute Arms in 1876. It was torn down in the 1920s. The railway station across the street is now called Temple Meads.

Charles Fort, in Chapter 18 of LO!, calls the Cumpstons "an elderly couple." Thomas Cumpston, however, was only twenty-five at the time of the incident. He and his wife lived at Number 35, Virginia Road, Leeds. According to the 1881 census Thomas was a "linen manufacturer employing about 90 persons" -- the "very good position" alluded to by Mr. Butt. Ann Cumpston gave birth to two boys and a girl in the years between 1876 and 1879.

Davies, Rodney. Supernatural Vanishings (New York: Sterling Publishing Company, 1996).

"Extraordinary Hallucination." London Times, December 11, 1873, p. 11.

"Extraordinary Occurrence at a Bristol Hotel." Bristol Mercury, December 13, 1873.

Hypotheses

List of versions containing features matching the eyewitness descriptions or material evidence

Hallucination

A hallucination is a form arising in consciousness without external stimulus, i.e. the perception of non-existent real objects (objects and phenomena).

Negative hallucinations represent the opposite-perception of actual objects.

Hallucinations appear as ordinary people in stages of extreme psychological exhaustion in the extreme fatigue, the absence of external stimuli, lack of sleep, high temperature, intoxication, dehydration, etc., and also in the use of alcohol, psychotropic substances, various injuries and diseases, and some mental and neurological diseases.

Deliberate falsification

This version includes any falsifications that imitate unexplained phenomena both from the outside: practical jokes, flash mobs, fake news, witness fraud, staging, etc.

There are many ways to make something similar to a ghost or a flying saucer from improvised materials, without using video and photomontage.

Many homemade things made for the sake of a joke, a practical joke or a direct imitation of a mystical being or event can be taken as unexplained not only in photos and videos, but also in reality.

Investigation

Versions testing, their confirmation or refutation. Additional information, notes during the study of materials
Not enough information

Resume

The most likely explanation. The version, confirmed by the investigation
Not enough information

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