Strange Phenome-gnomes…

Okay so it isn’t technically Beeston but did you really think we’d do a supernatural feature without mentioning this gem of local(ish) folklore? September 1979. The largest indoor shopping centre in Britain has just been opened in sunny Milton Keynes, Gary Numan has beaten off Cliff Richard from the number one spot, and in Nottingham a strange event has gripped the populace.

At the far end of Wollaton park on a balmy evening in late September a group of children were playing together when quite suddenly they began to hear bells. Paranormal enthusiasts will know that the sounding of bells often announces the start of some kind of magical encounter. All at once the children were surrounded by sixty gnomes, around two feet tall with long white beards and nightcaps with bells on the end, driving in tiny cars. For fifteen minutes the children watched agog as the gnomes drove happily around (the cars weren’t steered but guided with a handle), their cars gliding across the grass and over logs. Then, as quickly as it had begun, the gnomes were gone.

The Nottingham Post (then called The Evening Post) reported the story aided by interviews performed by the children’s headmaster who wanted to record the event for posterity. He also had them draw pictures of the bantam phantoms. Despite wide disbelief (by their parents, teachers, friends and the media) the children maintained that it was all true and with such voracity that the headmaster apparently was led to believe them. This sceptical reporter can’t help but see similarities between the children’s descriptions and a popular children’s television programme of the time; Noddy.

But then I was always a gnomic agnostic.

There have apparently been other such sightings before and after.

Dear reader, have you ever had such an encounter, and not when you were half tippled trying to find a shortcut home from the city centre in the middle of the night?