During August 1981 my wife and I were driving back to the UK through France after I had completed a work assignment in Spain. On the journey between Alencon and Rouen, the precise location of which I do not know other than it was closer to Rouen than Alencon. We were travelling along a very straight stretch of road that was lined with tall planes on either side; I had the feeling that something was telling me that I should take a break from driving. I pulled off onto the grass at the side of the road. We had a bite to eat and a drink, after which I got out of the car to stretch my legs, the road had little traffic and the area was totally quiet. I walked around to the back of the car and stood looking back along the road from whence we had come and thinking to myself how peaceful and quiet it was.
I had been stood there only a few seconds when I had the distinct and eerie feeling that I was not alone. Sure, my wife was in the car, but this was outside. It was as if there were several others there with me, as if I was in the middle of a small group, I looked around me � not a soul in sight! The feeling would not go away – the group would not leave me, I felt that I was surrounded, nothing aggressive, just calm and peaceful. I shivered slightly as if there were a chill in the air, yet it was quite a sunny warm day.
It was nothing that I could touch, just a presence. Feeling a bit foolish and self-conscious I shuffled back to my door opened it and sat down. �They�, only went away as I shut the door. Not wishing to sound foolish or invite ridicule, I did not mention anything to my wife, other than how peaceful and quiet the area was and we continued on our way to Boulougne. The incident has niggled away in the back of my mind for many years.
Research shows that in WW1 there was a major military hospital in the area and there is a vast military cemetery also.
Was the presence I felt at that time indeed spirits from those times; if so, then I salute their memory and their sacrifice, one serviceman to another.
Or, was it that I was already subconsciously aware that the area and ground upon which I stood had been heavily fought over in the recent WW2 fighting and many lives had been lost? Was I more receptive due to my allegiance to those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom?
I do not know, other than it felt real enough at the time, it was and still is, a little disconcerting. I have never believed in ghosts or the like, but I could not then and cannot now explain that feeling away.
After all the intervening years I can still only say that there definitely was some kind of presence around me that day.
More intriguingly, did �They� suggest that I stop?