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John Michell Mysteries

~ MYSTERY ARCHIVES ~
~ BOOKS BY JOHN MICHELL ~


Welcome to John Michell, a best-selling author and world authority on the mysteries of existence. John writes regular weekly articles for my page in the Daily Mirror newspaper. Now those articles can be read on this site. It is a thrill to have John writing for us about unexplained phenomena. I have been an admirer of his work since I was a teenager. I hope you enjoy his thought-provoking work. Jonathan Cainer


Archive for Thursday 13th March 2003 - The 10 World's greatest mysteries...
No. 8 The mystery of confused identity

Some people believe they are really somebody else. That can be a sign of madness, but sometimes it is a genuine mystery.

A famous example was the case of the Tichborne Claimant. In 1854 Sir Roger Tichborne, the young heir to a large, ancient estate in Hampshire, was lost at sea off South America. So it was reported. Twelve years later he turned up in Wagga Wagga, Australia, and returned to England. His appearance and manner had completely changed. The old Sir Roger was slim and refined, with straight, black hair. The new one was fat and coarse with fair, curly hair. Yet Roger's mother recognised him, and so did old friends and servants of the family. Others denounced him as an imposter.

The dispute was taken to court. A hundred witnesses swore for the claimant, but he lost the case, and was sentenced to 14 years' penal servitude for fraud.

He was not the real Sir Roger. That was proved beyond doubt. He was a cockney butcher, Arthur Orton, who had emigrated to Australia. But there was something about him that persuaded honest people to accept him as the missing heir. He died in 1898, disgraced and ruined, but still insisting on his claim.

This perhaps was a case of psychic possession. If Arthur Orton was taken over by the spirit of Roger Tichborne, that would explain his delusion, and his persistence. There are similar cases of confused identity where that may have happened. We shall look at another one next week.

John Michell


If you have a favourite mystery subject - from spontaneous human combustion to ancient Celtic ritual sites, write to John, suggesting a theme. And if you have any answers or theories about the mysteries John will be highlighting, he would particularly like to hear from you.

Email jon@cainer.com with subject heading: John Michell
Please note, we regret that due to time restrictions personal replies may not be available.


John Michell is a prolific author. Below are just two of John's books which might interest you. We have arranged with our friends at The Daily Mirror for website visitors to order books mentioned on this site.

This service is for UK orders only.

Unexplained Phenomena, A Rough Guide Special
(co-author Bob Rickard, rrp 12.99) at the special Mirror Direct price of 9.99 + p&p.
Who Wrote Shakespeare?
(Thames & Hudson, rrp 8.95) for the Mirror Direct special price of 6.95 + p&p.
Call 0870 165 8587


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