Looks like our current case may have links to an older - unsolved - mystery. Carol in the website team who - for those of you who haven't met Carol yet, joined us from the DPSR a couple of months ago - has been doing some research to try and find reports of any incidents bearing a similarity to what we now know about the case we're currently looking into.

There are one or two which are possibly worth following up - the body of a French national, Philippe Barthier, was reported as being washed up on a beach while on holiday in Sicily in 1978; he was apparently covered in sucker marks, and we're trying to find out more about that. Also, a resident of Providence, Rhode Island, reportedly died in similar circumstances to those of Phillip Truelove in the early 1930s. However, nothing out of the ordinary was reported; it seems to have been a simple house fire - the only reason it came up in Carol's searches, it seems, is because the deceased was an author. The connections to the current case seem tenuous at best, but it's worth bearing in mind in case it turns out there's a thread we can pull.

Carol struck gold a lot closer to home. Trawling the DPSR's database index she found references to some incidents which all took place in 1926. The brief details she found don't give us enough to make a definite connection, but I've been in touch with Jim Gilman to ask if he can release any related documents languishing in the DPSR records room.

In the meantime Carol's managed to find a contemporary news report about the case. Check out the item below:

Due to the size of the file, this is the best we can do to display it here - enlarging it would cause the image quality to degrade, making it effectively illegible and defeating the purpose of the exercise. So I'll reproduce the text here:

“A body was found in a farm field yesterday by Geo. Thompson of Lansdale Farm. The police have released the name of the boy, confirming rumours that it was the missing teenager, Fred Winslow.

The cause of death has not been determined but the police have stated that foul play is suspected. The community was still in shock from the death six weeks ago of Albert Trebor and questions are being raised about the safety of our children.

The police are considering a local curfew of 8:00 since both boys went missing while out of an evening to visit friends.

Once again, townsfolk are pointing the finger at the members of the Starry Wisdom Church, but the police…”

What makes this particularly interesting is the reference to the Starry Wisdom Church. Although it had antecedents in the New World, the Starry Wisdom Church gained a foothold in this country in the 1880s when an offshoot group known as the Scarlet Wisdom Church established itself in North Yorkshire. Led by a "Dr Flagg" - who may, or may not, have been Dr Raymond Flagg, the leader of the original American church - the Scarlet Wisdom variant was short-lived, but nonetheless notorious; numerous disappearances were reported in the area around Guisborough, where it was headquartered in a deconsecrated and abandoned church building.

The esoteric and occult landscape was crowded in the late Victorian era, and this, together with the relatively small size of its membership - estimates put it at between 40 and 60 - meant that the somewhat sudden dissolution of the Scarlet Wisdom Church went almost unnoticed, even by those with a more-than-passing interest in such matters. It predates the establishment of the Department of Para-Scientific Research in its modern guise (although not by much) so Scarlet Wisdom is usually classified by the DPSR as "Be aware of..." rather than "An Organisation of Active Interest."

So it's interesting to see that either it re-surfaced, reverting to the parent name, or that the main Church established a second "beachhead," as it were, in the 1920s. It was clearly on the DPSR's radar, but by the time I joined it had definitely dropped off. I wonder how it ties in to what we're looking at now?

Great work Carol - thank you for finding this! Let's see what Jim can give us.