Ep 76: Otherworldly People: Encounter on the Thames

Jo Hickey-Hall speaks to Frank Scannella about his encounter next to the river in Walton-on-Thames in 1982. His story ‘Meeting Nicola’, was published in the, “It Happened To Me…” section of The Fortean Times (Issue 350, 2017).  This episode was also released as a video on YouTube.

The sense of uncanniness about this meeting has always stayed with Frank. There are many liminal aspects to consider: the proximity to water, crossing a bridge, the time of his life between studies. As well as this, various folklore motifs abound: black dog, dark man, strange stillness in the environment (Oz Factor) and the way that the beings appeared and disappeared in a mysterious manner.

Most of all, there was a sense that one cannot fully describe. But you will know, if you’ve ever had a brush with the Otherworld.

The main image is Frank’s own impression of ‘Nicola.’

In the bonus episode on Patreon I share related folklore about river-related merfolk, we hear some comparable encounters submitted to Simon Young’s Fairy Census and we end with a particularly unsettling story that was posted on Reddit. It is a strikingly similar experience of a young man who came into contact with a strange man along the river in York, England, featuring lost time and other very strange factors Both men view their experiences as near misses with beings from the Otherworld and feel lucky that they lived to tell the tale.

Warning: These are not fairytales. The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast is designed for viewers and listeners 16 years and older. This show is unsuitable for children or anyone who might be sensitive to creepy content.

Podcast intro music: Transmutate by Snowflake (c) copyright 2020 Licensed. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


Frank is the author of Sicilian Shadows – a compelling memoir of his struggle for survival in the heartland of the Mafia as a young boy.

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