My name is Heather and I have a story to tell you. It’s a story I’ve told a handful of my friends over the years, but I’ve always been nervous about telling too many people as I don’t want to get sued (or worse). I think now is the right time to share it though, so deep breath, and here goes…
My Uncle Guy was always a hero to me. He could fix anything, was full of general knowledge (he’d watch quiz shows and sports continuously) and had a wicked sense of humour. I used to spend a week each summer at his cottage in Scotland…we’d fish and cook together and he’d tell me stories about when he was young. His stories invariably involved heroics and women and I always took them with a pinch of salt.
The year before he died, something pretty odd happened. We were in town picking up things for dinner and a car backfired and Uncle Guy panicked. I’d never seen him like this – he literally burst into tears and shook like a leaf.
That night, he got very drunk and told me one of his stories – but this one was different. He pulled out an old shoebox containing a letter, pages from an old diary (from 1953) and several other items. He told me that an old University friend of his, Marcus, had left him the letter and shoebox in his will. Uncle Guy said he got the shoebox in late 1963 after Marcus died. Evidently, Marcus was killed in a car crash – but Uncle Guy was convinced it wasn’t an accident.
Uncle Guy told me that Marcus was a journalist who was writing a book on the British Government’s ‘Project Chronos’ and that Marcus claimed Chronos was the code name for the Ministry of Defence’s research into time manipulation. According to Marcus, the government had spent millions on the research and its origins were in the pre-WWII work of two Cambridge-based scientists plus the work of at least one German scientist who was brought to England just as the war was ending.
I stayed up all night poring over the contents of the shoebox. The next morning, Uncle Guy took the box and hid it away and refused to talk about it. He never mentioned it again.
When Uncle Guy died (2002), he left me the shoebox in his will. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share what was in that box.
Lastly, I do want to tell you why I am (finally) telling this story. Years ago, I showed a friend of mine the shoebox and then in late 2009 he told me that he and his wife were planning to make a film. They asked if they might base the film around Marcus’ research and, knowing I was nervous about publicising the story, they suggested making a fictional film loosely inspired by some of the people and events that preceded the shoebox memorabilia. I agreed, and Ant and Sloane went on to make a film called Dimensions: A Line, A Loop, A Tangle of Threads, which focuses on the 1920s and 1930s part of the story.
It wasn’t an easy decision, but after watching them pour their hearts and souls into the film, I have decided to support them by finally sharing the contents of the shoebox. On top of that, it’s been fifty years since Marcus died and over ten years since Uncle Guy, so (hopefully) it’s safe to come clean. I have to admit, I’m shaking as I type this though!
The first item I am going to share is the letter that was sent to Uncle Guy along with the shoebox.
P.S. I have blacked out some of the names in the documents to be safe – I’m not sure of the legal implications and really don’t fancy spending time in jail!
>>> The Shoebox