Bright Sparky

I recently revisited the podcast by the Loremen which in 2019 featured a discussion on the Hexham Heads.

The two presenters, James Shakeshaft and Alasdair Beckett-King reference my site quite a few times during the broadcast. One particular part of the programme concentrates on my research into the Robson’s budgie called Sparky. This is the cause of much mirth amongst the presenters, as admittedly a budgie in the middle of a paranormal story is always likely to raise a few laughs. However, I believe that the budgie story is one of the more intriguing aspects of the Hexham Heads mystery and doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Sparky the budgie was the pet of Colin and Leslie Robson. I include his name in my index of people associated with the Hexham Heads story. Admittedly this might seem quite a bizarre thing to do, but in the absence of other animals in the list, and the fact that Sparky was deeply involved in the strange goings on at the Robson house, I thought it would make sense to include him with the rest of the Robson family.

So why is Sparky so important? Well for a start he died during the period of strange events when the Heads were brought into the Robson family house. Colin Robson does not attribute his death to the Heads directly (something he mentions in Paul Screeton’s book, and subsequently confirms in an interview I did with him in 2017), but the events after his death are important. The Robson brothers buried Sparky in the garden at exactly the spot where the Heads were found.

It is at this stage of the story that we have several possible supernatural occurrences. Once Sparky had been buried it was reported in Paul Screeton’s Tales of the Hexham Heads that during an unspecified winter a flower appeared on the spot of the burial (and of course the spot of the Heads’ discovery) which glowed at night. It was also reported that around midnight one night the boys saw a bright light in the sky a short distance above the ground (p.3).

This account was fleshed out in Screeton’s Quest for the Hexham Heads in an interview with Colin Robson:

Well, what I can remember is, I know not long after we dug the heads up this flower appeared, and it would be almost luminous. It was almost as if there was a spotlight on it. When you went out – there was no light there, you couldn’t see the flower. When you went back indoors, when you looked outdoors, it looked like this flower was glowing somehow. Now, strange … there was strange noises coming out from the back garden and it sounded something like … you know, it could have been a cat, I don’t know. But it sounded like a baby crying. We used to get that kind of stuff.

(p. 231)

I believe that under normal circumstances these incidents alone would have made a genuinely intriguing paranormal story, but due to the other myriad goings on in the Hexham Heads case, they have been somewhat overlooked. This may also be due to the fact that the foundation of the story revolves around a budgie. When you have tales of were-sheep or werewolves suddenly appearing in a house, the appearance of a glowing flower on a budgie’s grave somewhat pales by comparison.

I can fully understand why the Loremen podcasters saw the comedy potential in this part of the story but I believe Sparky the budgie has rightfully earned his place in the Hexham Heads tale. If glowing flowers, bright hovering lights and mysterious crying baby noises aren’t enough to unsettle you then you have a sterner constitution than me.

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