Is there anyone else here? After the great ouija escape, no way.

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Is there anyone else here? After the great ouija escape, no way.

The incredible story of two POWs who conned their way to freedom by enlisting the help of the spirit world…

As Cedric Hill and Harry Jones repeatedly pushed themselves down the long, hard staircase, yelling and groaning at the tops of their voices, like men possessed, chunks of plaster were shattered off the ceiling of the decrepit house.

The Ottoman soldier in charge of keeping them imprisoned in the building deep in the Turkish mountains was so terrified by the sight that he raced right into a ten-foot-high brick wall before attempting to climb over it.

The jailor, dubbed “The Pimple” by Cedric and Harry, was certain that the awful, demonic entity that had taken over his two inmates also wanted to murder him.

Upstairs, the men proceeded to throw each other down the stairs, struggling not to chuckle at the audacity of the scheme they were enacting – a scheme that would eventually lead to their escape.

“It’s obviously a greed story,” author Margalit Fox adds. “However, there are other more factors. It’s a perfect storm of conflict, trauma, spiritualism’s resurgence, and a reluctance to discount the possibility of connecting with the dead.”

Fox has published a genuine narrative of one of the most audacious and improbable displays of British soldiers’ wartime resourcefulness. She describes how, in 1918, First World War prisoner Harry Jones of Wales and his Australian companion Cedric Hill devised a plan to arrange their escape from a POW camp using a homemade Ouija board in the distant, hilly town of Yozgat in Anatolia, now Turkey.

Jones and Hill were among hundreds of Allied soldiers captured during a doomed advance on Baghdad who were forced to march hundreds of miles to reach detention camps where they were expected to spend the rest of the war imprisoned in ruined houses that had been home to Armenians prior to the 1915 genocide.

“Playing with Ouija boards and spiritualism was quite popular in Victorian times,” Fox explains. “Most people dismissed it as a harmless pastime, but it was taken seriously by a significant number of people. The large number of people who died in the First World War contributed to a resurgence, primarily on behalf of bereaved family members who wanted to contact their loved ones who had died.”

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