“When Strange Things Happen….”

So, on Saturday 10th November: my friend at work posted this:

And the best thing is, they’re both true and yes, I was there on both occasions!

Both happened at work on Ascot Drive, in Derby, UK.

Sat 10th November 2017:

There are four of us in our team, three of us were in a meeting in the office, except for the third member, who was serving customers. Towards the end of the meeting, I elected to make a round of toast and as I was about to head out of the office, Mr. Dy headed his way back to the office, so we passed each other. I heard the kettle begin to boil in the kitchen next to the office. As I was getting the toaster ready I realised something slightly odd…. there were three of us in the office: myself, Mr. D and Mr. S had carried on the meeting without Mr. Dy as we could easily fill him in. Mr. Dy didn’t go into the kitchen and he wouldn’t have turned the kettle on (he’s one of those weird people who doesn’t like hot drinks….. ever!). So, to be sure, I shouted out ” Mr. Dy, did you put the kettle on?” He said he did not, puzzled I would even ask him this question. So I pointed out to everyone that the kettle had switched itself on….. and yes, I made sure that nothing had fallen on to the switch to activate it. Nothing had, it takes some force to actively move it. Even if you were to hit it accidentally, it would take an absolute gymnastic fail with digits sticking out to even make it work. If it was the old kettle, with its switch that was knocked easily, I would have simply discounted it to Mr. Dy calling into the kitchen and grabbing a cheeky biscuit and accidentally catching the kettle on his sleeve…. but the new kettle is a lot more hardy. So with the kettle boiling of its own accord, I did what any decent person would do: I made a cup of tea for the spirit and left it as an offering!

Friday 10th November 2017

Me and Mr. S were finishing up, I was at the counter, counting the till and Mr. S was in the office sending the evening figures (we only started being able to send figures automatically this year, before that we had to collate the figures ourselves, enter a form which we had copied and pasted and then email out to flagship store).

At some point, I heard Mr. S say something, and due to the echo of the store, I couldn’t hear him properly. I can’t understand echoey calls very well, so I approached the office asking what was up.

He asked if I had snuck in to the office and pressed the button on the printer to open up the ink cartridge door as a laugh.

I explained that I was at the counter the whole time, and had just completed the cash count.

Mr. S went on to explain he was completing the figures and felt what was like someone breathing down his neck, during which the printer had opened up. Now, the printer doesn’t simply open up. You have to pull drawers out to refill the paper trays, and if there’s a jam (even when there isn’t because printers are arseholes!) you would have to press the release button to open the cartridge door to remove the ink cartridge to get to the “jam”. We tried it then and I’ve tried it since, unless the cartridge door is clicked in fully, it will open up due to its own weight. It isn’t light enough to be ‘nearly closed but not’.

I found it funny that Mr. S thought that I had snuck in, pressed the button and scarpered. I thought he was having a joke on me at first, but he was quite perturbed at the time.

Apparently Ascot Drive is haunted, I’ll look at this in more detail in Part 2. Although, since discussing the subject of ghosts and writing my previous posts, both Mr. D and Mr. Dy have been more open in sharing their encounters in the store: something seen in their periphery vision and footsteps when there are no customers around, that kind of thing. In fact, in telling him about my cousin’s concerns in my ‘Dealing With Ghosts’ series, Mr Dy told me of the things he’s heard in our store late at night, this was another reason that prompted me to write about it.

Part 2 is currently under construction.

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A Moment of Stillness…..

There is nothing that makes me feel connected to both the world and magic itself than to see a star on the horizon of dawn or dusk between skeletal trees……

With the Blessing of the Hawk of Dawn, soaring through the clear blue sky…..

Can you see it too?

Photo taken by Locksley2010.

St Ann’s, Nottingham, 10/11/2018, 06:27

Dealing with ghosts Pt.3- Doing it Wrong!

Welcome to the last of my ‘Dealing with ghosts’ series. If you haven’t read my previous posts, you can check them out by clicking here and here.

I was inspired by my relative asking for advice and thought it would be a good subject to write about during the Halloween/Samhain season. I apologise in advance because this last post is going to be a bit of a rant….

The Ignorance of Youth

Back when I was living in London in my mid to late twenties, a friend of mine in her late teens/early twenties was exploring Paganism and Witchcraft with new friends of hers with similar interests. I got a little concerned when she described some of their activities as “Visiting a haunted graveyard and Smishing the entity that resided there….” Smishing was their word for attacking the spirit of that place.

More recently (this year), the younger crowd who come to the open ceremonies held at every festival went into the caves of the pub we drink in after to hunt for ghosts and spirits. Within 30 mins I feel a “….disturbance in the Force” and head down there to find two of them shouting and screaming at whatever they supposedly found. The energy they shared (fear, panic) was palpable. I talked them down, spoke to the “being” one of them was in contact with until it quietened down. I used the Druid Peace Prayer and that seemed to help a lot. Once everything was calm, I told every one to get out of the cave and stayed behind, apologising to the spirits bothered about what had happened. The younger members are still banned from going down there when we hold our ceremonies.

Ok, in the latter, it was irresponsible to have let them down there in the first place. They’d done it before and there was never anything bad recorded previously. Except that one time when one of them got a stone thrown at them, to which I chided: “Well, don’t piss the spirit off then” or similar.

Respect

Two very different occasions, but one concerning outcome: these were young people who have been drawn to Paganism and Wicca and Witchcraft through books teaching them how to do things themselves. This in it self is not a bad thing, I myself, went down this path and then got my real experiences later and during my “education years”. The difference was they decided to go and try something out in a known haunted location and then see what was there…… with no respect or concern for the spirits who might not want their attention. The spirits in question certainly wouldn’t want any youths who, after maybe a couple of spells that worked and now thinking they were all-that-and-a-packet-of-crisps daring to invade their space, start doing shit and telling them what to do!

What happened to common sense? You might have read a couple of books, tried a few things out and then you get all panicky because this spirit in that haunted place didn’t behave as expected then you lost control of the situation. Who the fuck did you think you were?

I was lucky, I guess. I was interested, as a child, in ghosts and the paranormal before I discovered Paganism or even heard of Wicca. And yes, I know Wicca and Witchcraft are not the same thing. Back when I was reading those books on ghosts, I came upon lore. Such as a spirit known as a ‘Graveyard Guardian’. My memory is blurred, but this was either the spirit of the first or last person to be buried in a cemetery and supposedly protects the site from robbers and other undesirables, possibly to keep any other spirits in check? I might have made that last up. It was this entity that my friend was involved in “smishing”. The problem here is lack of respect as well as no guidance.

There’s a reason our ancestors had a respect for otherworldly beings, there’s a reason other cultures leave offerings.

We assume whatever spirit we come across was a person once and will behave as such. What about those that don’t behave as we do? Spirits of animals are one thing, elementals, spirits of the place, woodland and cave entities are quite another.

A ghost, a real ghost is just that. It’s an echo of someone doing the same thing over and over again. These are sometimes called “Repeater Ghosts”.

A spirit is interactive to a varied degree. And not all of them are Human. Not all of them are even dead, most never had a physical body to begin with. Spirits, to my limited understanding, can include, but are not restricted to:

  • People
  • Animals
  • Elements (spirits of the place, forces of nature- such as storms, water, the wind, earth etc)
  • Elementals (Type 2) beings that elicit a response to feed off emotional energy of a certain kind, e.g. fear, lust, anger, sadness.
  • Poltergeists
  • Barghasts (sometimes called Boggarts)
  • Woodland and household spirits

In fact, I’ve come to look at spirits like animal pests: they are only considered a nuisance when they start interacting and interfering with our world. It only becomes a “haunting” when it interacts with our everyday existence, sometimes with subtle or terrifying results.

And this brings me on to my next point: say there is a spirit present and you want it removing….. performing a Catholic exorcism isn’t going to work on a being that has A: been there for a very long time. B: it neither recognises or respects the religion now being pushed on to it. And C, really doesn’t like these beings of flesh telling it what to do.

With a few exceptions, those few spirits I have encountered have responded positively to being treated respectfully and as beings in their own right. For anyone who wants to give “Smishing” a bash, please remember you are dealing with either someone who was alive once, or you are dealing with something else…… neither of which deserve you disturbing it nor do they deserve you shouting and hollering at it because you want to play at being “spooky” and think you have a right to prod something you know nothing about.

NB: Please note that not all spirits are neutral in nature and some can not only be quite volatile, they can be harmful too, there are those that even seem to thrive on it. If you come across one of these, unless you know what you are doing….. leave it the hell alone and get away from it.

Merry Samhain and Happy Halloween!

Dealing with ghosts Pt.2- How Do You Know If One Is There?

Photo by pxhere.com
Photo by pxhere.com

As previously stated in Pt.1, 99% of phenomenon in hauntings and ghost hunting vigils are everyday experiences within buildings heightened by excitement, imagination, and expectation of something happening.

But what about that 1%?

How do you know if there is something there?

Well, chances are if something is definitely there, it will make itself known.

The Physical With my physical senses, I have heard footsteps, voices and felt hands upon my shoulder. Each of these was in different locations was ultimately quite ordinary until I realised with a “Did that just happen!?” The touching was in a seance and there was definitely no physical person behind me.

With my own eyes I have seen things I cannot explain, each time was very unlike a Hollywood ghostly encounter. If anything, they were so ordinary, that at first I just assumed they were either a customer or a colleague, or even my own mother (see below). But in all cases, they seemed as solid as you and me, which is why I discounted them until I realised there was no one actually there. And each time, they were slightly blurred, a bit like when I’m looking at someone without my glasses or contact lenses. It was as though I could see them, but wasn’t able to see them properly…. perhaps wasn’t supposed to see them, but at those points my perception must have changed. The examples I gave in the first post were other things I had seen and experienced, all occurred when I wasn’t looking for anything, I wasn’t even thinking about such things. Except for when I was in a seance.

One, which stands out, was from childhood. When we were kids, me and my brother shared a bedroom and slept with the light on. Yes, I was I scared of the dark….. anyway, I awoke one night and heard my brother stirring and my eyes were drawn to the figure of my mother standing at the doorway, she wore her green and blue jumper and her hair was long in those days and because of the way it fell, her face was in the dark. I turned to my brother and told him it’s ok, Mum was there. I asked her the next day why she was standing at the doorway and she claimed she didn’t. Mum was never one for sleep walking, and even if she did, she never went to bed wearing a jumper, especially in spring. So who or what did I see? Year’s later, Mum confided that many years ago, she awoke to see a little boy and a little girl dressed in turn of the century (early 20th Century) clothing standing at the end of her bed. Even if these are descriptions of being in a hypnogogic state, I still get chills thinking about the apparition at the doorway.

Another way, would be for a spirit to do things, open cupboards, move objects, slam doors, throw objects. I can’t say I’ve encountered these, except that one time my hole-puncher decided to leap from the back of a shelf and to the floor for no reason, but I know others who have….. especially when one of them (best mate, very down to earth fella, not one for making things up) lived alone in his grandmother’s flat (she had died a few years previously) and he came home to find all his cupboards wide open. Years later, back in 2016, I was visiting as we were doing a show together and I praised him for having a self boiling kettle…. turns out it didn’t self boil and had never had a history of switching itself on….. I made sure I thanked his gran and made myself a cuppa. Might as well.

The Psychic

Sometimes you walk into a place and it just feels odd. I’m a big believer in emotional resonance and that if an emotional reaction is strong enough, it can stay in that particular room. The rest of a building might feel placid, whereas one room might make you feel sad, afraid, angry etc for no reason whatsoever. Sometimes whole places feel like this, be it a building or even an outdoor space.

Though you might not see any spirits, you might get any of the following. Please bear in mind this is not an exhaustive list and I’m only going on what I have experienced myself:

  • Hairs standing on end and the feeling of not being alone.
  • Feeling emotional in one particular place, even though you were feeling fine and focused seconds before.
  • Images, faces, names, dates repeating themselves over and over and over again.
  • Voices in your mind that are not your internal monologue.
  • Your aura and personal space being “touched” despite no physical thing being there.

I’m sure there are plenty more ways to detect a spirit of some kind, you might have found your own ‘sensors’ in different ways.

A Note On Psychics: I would never go so far to say that I am a psychic. The genuine ones, or at least the ones I have met, tend to be very quiet about being such. And some of those people can’t switch it off, they live with it and carry on with life as best as they can. Others, have some ability of varying degrees and can sense some things, but even then only when something is being active (I would class myself in this category). Then there are those who want to stand out and be special and declare to the world about how they see spirits all the time and how they see “orbs” left, right and centre, yet are strangely quiet when someone needs help of a spiritual kind.

I believe the quiet, respect the unassuming and have no time for the loud.

Click here for Pt.3

Dealing with ghosts…..

Janine Melnitz: Do you believe in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP , clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis?

Winston Zeddmore: Ah, if there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say. – Ghostbusters, 1984.

Throughout my childhood, I was both fascinated and scared of the paranormal. I was all too ready to watch ‘The Real Ghostbusters’ cartoons, read the comics and shared the toys with my younger brother. (Ok, I hogged them, sorry Bruv.) Although when watching the film for the first time when I was 7 (I think?), I totally freaked out! I would loan books from the local school library about mysteries, ghosts, vampires, werewolves and all things generally spooky. Worry not, these weren’t ye olde demonick tomes in easy access of children, these were all children’s books printed by Osbourne, Hamlin, Penguin and others, all with photos and drawings (some of which kept me awake at night!) and were a little old fashioned, even back then- the most recent of which was circa 1982! I was very happy to believe ghosts were real and I could see them (safely) in children’s shows and in books….. I’d have been absolutely terrified to have seen a real one in my own house!

So, growing up looking into these things and wanting to be a real life ghost buster (at 8 years old, I had high aspirations!), earned me a bit of a reputation as being a bit weird. To me, that was interesting. Way more fun than football and sports! Even when I decided to become Christian, I couldn’t help but take notice that there were things in this world that people tended to…. ignore. That fascination stayed with me and so began my journey from Christianity to Shamanism, to Wicca, to Hedgewitchcraft and of course to Druidry. Even today, the partner of one of my older cousins refers to me as “Merlin” and jokingly asks “What’s Merlin up to now?” It’s a laugh and I often tell my cousin “Tell him Merlin says Hi!” And that’s as far as the “Merlin” thing goes for me. But, I digress.

And it was a member of the family who sought my advice on this very subject: One of my younger cousins messaged me recently, telling me she and her long-term boyfriend are putting a deposit down on a rather nice looking flat….. in a reconverted mental hospice from 1880. And she wanted to know if she had to be worried about anything spooky being there…..

Now, I resisted all urges of my sense of humour kicking in and making stuff up stuff about her having to watch out for her being possessed, climbing walls and seeing the patients in the mirror as well as messages of “REDRUM!” bleeding from the walls…..that would have only fueled her worries. I got the idea she wouldn’t have seen the funny side.

Instead, I did the decent thing and told her the truth: There was nothing to worry about. Truth is, a lot of it is all hype and expectation. Yes, you get reports of haunted hospitals and hospices. And yes my young cousin has had her potential future neighbours say there’s been a few strange things going on. But this doesn’t mean that every building of the type has to be haunted by spirits of the dead.

I haven’t followed the ghost hunter route, but I did take part in a few seances, ghost hunts and even carried out my own investigations. I’m not an expert in this field, there are others who are way more experienced than me. But what I found when it came to going around looking for ghosts was: a lot of it is down to what people bring with them.

99% of a haunting is in fact quite mundane in what causes it: houses move and creak, as do pipes and wood. Pockets of temperature occur in buildings, as do damp and dry spots. Even vibrations from a road can affect a building in some way. When you take these things into account, these are everyday things that go on in every buildings everyday. It’s amazing how terrifying they can be when you become all excited about being in a reputable place and suddenly the sounds of the automatic ventilation switching on become “psychokinetic phenomenon feeding on the collective psychic energy and interfering with electric machinery”. When looking for ghosts, people want things to happen and will jump at the most simplist thing when they are primed for an encounter or disturbance.

But what about that 1%?

What about when you are in a dark room with a group of others and the dark actually gets physically thicker, the air gets colder?

What about that time you walk past a door and you see the figure of a person and you discount it as one of your colleagues until you realise no one else is in the same area?

What about that dark shape that flies past the living room and not only do you see it, your housemate asks if you saw it too?

What are those lights you see in and above the trees after a Druid ceremony?

Those are my experiences, and they happened and I saw them, felt them with my own eyes and body. Do I know what they were? No. Ok, the palpable dark thing was most likely the fact no one’s eyes were adjusting to the dark as there was no dusk light to allow us to do so. And you know what physically happens when you become afraid? Your hair stands on end, and adrenaline is all ready to kick in that flight response. If you’re already expecting something to happen, then you’ve wound yourself up before you gotten started.

Do I believe in ghosts? Not quite. I have seen things but I don’t know what they were. Do I believe in energy? Absolutely! Do I believe that energy from people can not only be shared, but also affect a place where there is already a strong energy resonance? Yes I do!

So, how did I explain this to my younger cousin?

I told her that they’ll be fine. That Hollywood has a lot to answer for in terms of making what happens in hauntings waaaayyyyy bigger than what really happens.

I told her that if she wants to make absolutely sure, she can burn some smudging sage, taking it to every corner in every room whilst chanting:

“with this smoke I bring peace, for this space we bring peace, for this home we live in peace”.

The idea being that even if there is the remote chance of something there, if you let it know you are there and don’t want to bother it, it should leave you alone. Plus the smudging helps with ridding any negative energies. I did also recommend that if anything did happen, she is to keep a log, recording of any instances….. and to keep me informed. Just in case I’m wrong.

I am no expert on this subject, but I have found it is easier to make peace with a spirit (human, animal or other) than it is to attempt to force one out.

Click here for Pt.2 .

Alban Elfed 2018

Personal ceremony performed on Sunday 23rd September. Moon: 6th Waxing Gibbous (Pisc).

Today had seen me getting down and dirty….. I’d been weeding Devi’s garden and taking today slowly. We were blessed with a warm sun, so we took to working the gardens since noon. At just after 7, I went into the back garden and stood facing the centre. Fig trees and houses to the North, the hedge and distant trees to the East, the plum tree and black lace elderflower bush and distant birch trees to the South, a Mountain Ash with bright red berries to the West. A see of green all around and below me, a sky of pastel blue amid blazing pink and dark grey cloud all above.

The breaths were taken and the circle cast, I called to Fox of the North as Devi had caught foxes playing in the garden at summer.

Once sitting on the grass, I let the Awen take me and began speaking to the gods about summer’s end: the baleful eye of Balor now closed. For the exceedingly hot summer had dried out much of Great Britain’s green to a dried out yellow. Lugh was indeed victorious against Balor, for as July ended and August began, the heat started to decline and the rain came!

Like the last sun of summer, Lugh had led the Tuatha Dè Danaan to a time of peace until they were finally overtaken by a new race, the Milesians. After a last battle with these new people, Lugh and the Tuatha Dè Danaan had agreed to surrender the Isle of Destiny and take refuge in the hills of the land. Their memory remaining thereafter.

I told of Oisin’s return from the Otherworld to find his people and his warrior band, the Fianna, now gone after 300 years when he had spent only 3 years away. Telling his tale to a traveller before he died also, after coming into contact with the land.

I told of Arthur’s fatal wound and how he had asked Percival to return the Sword of Power to the Lady of the Lake. How upon telling Arthur the truth (after the third time, because Percival could not surrender the Sword the previous two times), Percival then saw Arthur being taken by Morgana Le Fae and her maidens on to a boat, carrying him to the Isle of Avalon, where he now supposedly sleeps until he is needed once again.

Things end, the cycle turns and things begin once again. I began to reflect on my own harvest for the year, I gave thanks for:

Gaining my flat.

Devi and I growing closer, for her being in and a part of my life.

My successful entry in the Monologue Jam.

I declared to the gods that I would use the autumn and winter to hone my skills as both actor and Ovate. Finding a way to balance the two.

And then I closed my eyes and listened…… to the wind in the trees and felt the specks of rain falling upon me, the blessings of the season; not a cleansing of renewal, but a cleaning and tidying of sorts.

Without seeking, visions came to mind telling me to say goodbye to the past, that I am safe and a toast to the future……

Upon waking and coming to, the sky had given way to dusk, and the garden’s solar lights had come on, like distant stars on the ground and in thr trees. At the time of recall I looked to the dying sunlight saying:

As the sun goes down, may it’s light and heat remain within my heart….

Alban Elfed, the Light of the Water indeed.

Fire and Water

I’ve been lucky this year. I wasn’t actively seeking acting work after adapting to my new home and making it mine.

But, so far this year, I have been asked to do a storytelling spot for the Keyworth Festival in July, here in Nottinghamshire. I was put into a link conversation via social media for another storytelling gig, this time in Derbyshire. The last was a no go, but I learned to respect my craft enough to put a value to it rather than do it ‘for the love of it’.

I have just finished filming a short film project, the main bulk has already been filmed, and we recently filmed the last scene on Monday, and I got to utilise my make up skills. This will go to making my showreel, so others can see my acting and I can gain more work.

In the Pagan scene, I was asked by a friend of mine to do a talk for one of the local Pagan moots in May, so I revisited the talk subject and will be doing it again for another Pagan meeting later this month!

I was also put in contact with a director who is making an independent series about Druidry in Derbyshire….. we’ll be filming in 2019.

Through my acting circles, one friend contacted me about a mutual friend selling his microphone and interface, knowing I want to start voice acting, he told me about it….. I now own them.

I was even contacted by a theatre company asking if I’d be interested in acting for a university course in the exam held for the students: I learned much about thinking on your feet and improvising on the fly. This also taught me what ‘acting is lying truthfully in imagined circumstances’ is really like. It was awesome, draining but fun.

I have recently become involved in another filming project, involving AI and depression.

I make it sound easy don’t I?

None of these have fallen into my lap, they have all come from work and effort I have put out already.

The Way of Fire

My earlier life as an adult was all about getting things done. NOW. I had the energy, I had the vision and I had the fire to do it. Even if my know-how wasn’t great, I still went ahead. And I had the burning desire to get everything going before my thirties. I envisioned myself as being in Hollywood blockbusters by the time I was 36 as I’d already be ‘doing it’. I had the raging and burning fires of the heart to do everything.

Then I sacrificed it for another dream…. which I wanted to believe was my calling, it wasn’t. But I learned a lot about my genuine self and about life outside the world of performance. Sadly, I had doused my inner fire until I reigniting it years later…. only this time, it wasn’t a blazing bonfire to be seen from miles around, this was a carefully made fire to keep me warm.

After moving into ‘Project Potter‘ I was afraid. I didn’t have the urge to pursue any acting at all. Was I kidding myself? Did I really want this? Why wasn’t I actively doing it? All I had done was ask a couple of actor friends of mine for advice on how to proceed and what is to be done. And that was back in the last weeks of January; Ha! Just writing that bit made me realise….. this was the voice of the fire of my twenties. The voice that had an energy I can no longer keep up with. I am a fiery and impatient person, and I always have been.

However, life in my thirties has taught me a lot that the me in my twenties didn’t know…. such as: you can burn yourself out and make yourself ill. You can’t just jump into making your dream a reality so soon after moving home.

The Way of Water

My friend, Dumbledore, as well as being a Druid, follows the way of Zen. And through the years I have known him, I disagreed with the teaching of “by doing nothing, you are doing something….“. This was anathema to me. My lesson of 2017: “Nothing is accomplished without action” was the result of things I had pushed to happen that year. In fact, in pushing my way back into acting, I made the effort of getting myself out there: I joined an Am-Dram group to get myself back into the swing of things, I took up storytelling, got new headshots done through generous friends of mine (Thank You. All of you), became part of a story telling trio, performed at open Mic nights and events, joined the Actors Workshop to regain and learn new skills, attended networking nights and went for the opportunities presented. Some I got, others I didn’t. On the latter it’s not about what you didn’t succeed in, it’s what did you learn and take away with you? I’ve discovered. I also asked more experienced actors for their advice….. which resulted in me, now owning the equipment for beginning my voice work.

And so, yes, because of the actions in the way of fire, the way of water has now brought me projects to work on and go forward. The way of water is to let things come forward. Even though you may have done something, you might not get the results of that until another time….

In doing nothing, you are doing something“…… or in my case, in doing nothing I have allowed the actions of my past to bring things into my life, now.

Conclusions

It’s not about life owing you a living (those who believe otherwise are kidding themselves), it’s about opportunities arising and you making the choice to take them. By putting the work in you increase the chances of the opportunities to come, and by the time they arrive you make the effort to take them. Feed the energy and keep the momentum going. There is no free ride, it’s all work.

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