Elements or Lower

Tue, 22 Jun 2004

In Memoriam

It was with some shock last week that I discovered my namesake and recent friend Andrew Green, the “Spectre Inspector”, had died aged 76.

Andrew was probably the UK’s foremost ghost hunter, having written extensively on the subject for many years. I first encountered him as a reviewer in the Fortean Times — you can imagine the surprise when I saw my own name on the page!

When my thesis became part of Fortean Studies 7, I was aware that it would have been wise to adopt some kind of pseudonym to avoid confusion with him, but couldn’t settle on anything I liked. Andrew then became aware of me through a review of the journal which assumed he’d written my piece, and set about finding me.

For a short time last year, we exchanged letters, and about this time last year managed to meet up at his home for Sunday lunch. We discussed his biography, which was currently in being written by an old colleague of his from his days as a journalist. We also spoke considerably about our shared view of the phenomena we both studied. Andrew was very amused that two people with the same name should be working in the same, obscure field, and both living in South-East England. We promised to meet up again.

To my very great regret, that never actually happened. He was kind enough to invite me along to his next meeting with his biographer, but I was on holiday when he left the ansaphone message about it, and arrived back too late to be able to make the necessary arrangements. At about this time, the Woking CMS project really started to kick in, and our correspondence trailed off as I became busier and busier.

I only discovered of his passing when we boarded a train to meet some friends in town. There were a couple of newspapers left abandoned on a seat, and the chap in front of us cherry-picked the Metro from the pile, leaving Shelley with a supplement from that day’s Times. Neither of us ever read the Times, and neither of us ever read the obituaries. But the one time we found ourselves doing so was the one time we’d ever notice the obituary of an erstwhile correspondent on the subject of post-mortem survival. Somehow, I find that entirely fitting.