Monthly Archives: February 2021

Hindu Reincarnation Memory Club (HRMC)

This is an extract from the book 40 Strange Groups which is currently on sale for 99p

Reincarnation – known as Punarjanma – it is one of the core beliefs of Hinduism that is generally accepted by many of its practitioners. Reincarnation is the natural process of birth, death and rebirth. Hindus believe that the Jiva or Atman (soul) is intrinsically pure. The HRMC attempts to provide their clients with information about their previous lives via a series of hypnotic trance sessions, where the client speaks about their previous life experiences.

These sessions are quite intense and should last no more than half-an-hour as the emotions that come to the surface can sometimes be disturbing, especially if the client finds out they were something really ugly in a previous life such as a snake or a camel.

One client, Rohit Ganguly, spoke about his session: “I was hypnotised and then I just remember a series of flashes in my mind as my previous lives as a fly, worm, crab, tree, and fish came out – I am not sure why I was a tree, but I was – and then I became bigger and bigger fish, before becoming a fly again. This upset me at some deeply subconscious level and I awoke from the trance. I will be back next week, because I have to know why I went from a tuna to a fruit fly. I must have done something really bad when I was a tuna – what could a tuna do that was so bad? Did I attack a fisherman that was trying to catch me? ”

The Camel Appreciation Society (TCAS)

This is an extract from the book 40 Strange Groups which is currently on sale for 99p

Most people dislike riding on camels due to the animal’s terrible attitude, bad breath, and yellow teeth. Some people overlook these obvious problems in favour of the smooth ride offered by these idiosyncratic animals in the hotter climates of the world.

TCAS has linked up with holiday firms across the globe to promote camel safaris in remote parts of the world such as the Empty Quarter in Oman, the Gobi Desert, and The Sahara.

Their longest trek is the 51-day crossing from Zagora in Morocco to Timbuktu in Mali, where twenty camels are needed to transport the tents and food supplies for the ten travellers on the trip. Travellers on the longer trips report that their attitude towards camels changes during their time together, which may well be the traveller’s equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome.

Madeleine Stokes of TCAS explains the attraction of camels: “Camels have a similar attitude to cats and yet people love cats, but dislike camels. I don’t understand why that is, given camels can actually help you enjoy a trip across a desert. I wouldn’t want to rely on a cat for anything.”

The Edward de Vere Society (EdVS)

This is an extract from the book 40 Strange Groups which is currently on sale for 99p

The Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship holds that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, wrote the plays and poems traditionally attributed to William Shakespeare. It is recognized by Oxfordians and Stratfordians alike that writing about royal courts, Italy and law required a certain prerequisite level of education.

Edward De Vere fits the bill here since he is known to have graduated from Cambridge University at age 14, becoming master of arts at age of 16. Furthermore De Vere studied law at Gray’s Inn and had an extensive library underlining his qualifications to write as knowledgeably as Shakespeare about Bohemia, Denmark, and Scotland. At court, Edward De Vere was nicknamed “Spear-shaker” due to of his ability both at tournaments and because his coat of arms featured a lion brandishing a spear.

However, some conspiracy theorists maintain Edward de Vere wrote far more than just Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets. They believe he wrote Christopher Marlowe’s plays as well as the early poems of Ben Jonson, Edmund Spenser, and John Milton.

William Wimpole, a member of EdVS, understands the problems these ideas raise: “The evidence for these assertions is rather thin on the ground other than an educated man wrote the poetry and that Spenser’s and De Vere’s first names both begin with ‘E’. What is known is that Edward de Vere was a very quick writer and didn’t need much sleep, giving him many hours to write those wonderful pieces of high literature. It’s extremely difficult to prove this and naysayers always show how different all these writing styles are, but what they don’t understand is that Edward de Vere was a brilliant man who was capable of astonishing changes in literary style at the drop of a hat. One day he’d be Shakespeare, the next Spenser, and then Marlowe.”

The Eight Wives of Henry VI society (EWH6)

This is an extract from the book 40 Strange Groups which is currently on sale for 99p

This society, known familiarly as the “The Eight Wives”, is an umbrella organisation for groups who believe a number of conspiracy theories regarding English history, including the theory Henry VI had eight wives, a record that Henry VIII tried to break without success. Other theories include one where Elizabeth I was really a man called Ethelbert, which is why she/he never married as she/he didn’t want her/his secret to be revealed. Another interesting theory is that Alfred the Great was really called Alfred the Grate and was a baker who killed Alfred the Great when he burnt the cakes and assumed his identity.

Roger Evans is the co-chair of the society and believes that it provides a valuable outlet for people’s doubts about history: “We never suggest to any proponent of a new theory that it is total rubbish. We ask how this idea came about and suggest ways its case can be further improved. Alfred the Grate is an interesting one because the skeleton people are searching for will be of the impostor baker, not the real king, Alfred the Great. The descendants of the real Alfred the Great will provide DNA samples, which come from the king’s line, not the baker’s line, so how will we ever find a match with any of the skeletons found near Winchester, when one of the skeletons is of Alfred the Grate and none of the skeletons will be of Alfred the Great, because according to the theory, Alfred the Grate threw Alfred the Great into a river and drowned him – his body floated off downstream? The longer no match is found, the more the theory gains credence.”

The secretary of “The Eight Wives” Heather Randall talks about Elizabeth I and the theory about her being a man: “We believe she was a man and that’s why there were no babies and no records of her ever having intercourse with another man. The heavy white makeup covered any remaining bristles after shaving. A woman’s body was substituted in the coffin after he died, just to preserve the myth of Elizabeth. We are combing through the records trying to find proof, but people have been very careful in the past to cover the tracks. We will keep searching until we find something proving our theory.”

Broken Umbrella Menders Association (BUMA)

This is an extract from the book 40 Strange Groups which is currently on sale for 99p

After a rainstorm the one guaranteed sight is a profusion of broken umbrellas strewn around on the wet ground. Most of the time these items are thrown into the rubbish. However, in Leeds this is not the case. Members of the local BUMA collect these discarded umbrellas and fix them with a combination of welding gear and hammers, so that the brollys are stronger than they’ve ever been.

The head of the Leeds BUMA, Brian Farr, explains: “Some of the umbrellas are inherently weak, so we strengthen them with wire and occasionally old stair rods and then they wouldn’t turn inside out in a hurricane. The best thing is we then sell them in our shop and we know we sell the umbrellas back to the very people that discarded them, but they don’t recognise them because we’ve changed them so much. 50% of our profits go towards providing bus shelters around the city and so far we’ve helped build 14 of them.”

BUMA started in Leeds and has since spread to Motherwell, Pudsey, Barnsley, and Dundee. It’s estimated that BUMA has rejuvenated over 14,000 umbrellas since its inception, 15 years ago, a number which provides a solid amount of work. As Farr says “We’ve had one or two of the lads retire, but their sons, and in one case their daughter, come into the business and carry on the family tradition. Long may it continue to be rainy and windy – that’s how we like it.”