An SOS Message to the Future

Blue Peter presenters in early 1970s (left) and (right) in the year 2000, unearthing the 1971 time capsule

I withhold a lot of stories from readers, simply because they seem too far-fetched, and this tale is one of them, but I've decided to tell it anway. People can dismiss the tale if they wish, or they can open their minds and think about the possibilities this story hints at.
In May 1971, a Prescot woman named Maureen was combing her hair back with a brush, ready to tie it into a pigtail when he felt a small hard lump on the nape of her neck. Her husband Mike looked at it and said it looked like a small pearl. Maureen decided to go to the doctor. His diagnosis was that the lump was just a blocked sebaceous gland. Maureen began to feel ill, and a few weeks later she returned to the doctor. He examined her again, then examined the lump on the back of her neck, and he became very anxious. He referred Maureen to specialist at the local hospital. After several tests, the specialist said Maureen had a form of cancer known as Hodgkinson's disease. The treatment for this condition in 1971 was radiotherapy, and Maureen was soon at Clatterbridge Hospital. Mike travelled from Prescot to the Hospital every day to see his beloved wife.
Maureen had two children, Katie, aged seven, and 13-year-old Thomas, and they were naturally hearbroken when their father broke the terrible news about their mum's condition. That day, as the children wept in their father's arms, there was a knock at the door. Two tall smartly dressed men in black suits, white shirts and black ties stood there. They said they were Mormons, and asked Mike if he had considered the Mormon religion. Mike yelled at them and told them to beat it. He slammed the door in their faces and then returned to comfort his children.
Little Katie said, 'Can anybody help mummy?'
Her Dad said, 'Only God now sweetheart. The doctors at the hospital say mummy is very ill.' He was so choked up he couldn't say another word.
Katie said, 'Well we'll have to just keep asking God then.'
Maureen's condition worsened, and she was allowed home to die. She was put to bed in her room, where Mike kept attending her so loyally.
On Monday 7 June 1971, Thomas and Katie sat in front of the television after they'd had their tea, and they watched the children's programme Blue Peter. The programme's presenters Peter Purviss, John Noakes and Valerie Singleton were talking about a so-called time capsule. They were about to bury a metal box containing a 1971 Blue Peter Annual, several of the new decimal coins, and photographs of the presenters, plus other items. The box would be buried in the Blue Peter garden and was meant to be unearthed in the year 2000.
Thomas was fascinated by the thought of burying something that would be found perhaps a hundred years or more in the future. The year 2000 seemed so far away in time in 1971. Then he had the amazing idea. He told his father but his dad didn't seem to listen or understand, but his sister Katie understood first time. Thomas said that if he buried a time capsule, or better still, three capsules, with a note in each one, then maybe someone in the future would one day read them. If time travel becomes a reality in the future, then perhaps the people who find the note in his time capsule would visit him.
Then Katie had an amazing idea. Perhaps they should ask the people in the future to come back in time and make her mum well.
Thomas became excited at Katie's brainwave, and he said, 'Yes, we could ask them to cure mum.'
A biscuit tin was found, and a note was put in it, along with Thomas's map of where his house was, and even his full address. A copy of the note was put in his an empty Golden Virginia tobacco box he'd cadged from his uncle. Then Katie found an old tea caddy, and a copy of the note she'd made was put in it. The two children then left for the wide-open green spaces near Knowsley Hall. Thomas carried the spade and two time capsules, and Katie carried the tea caddy. Three holes were excavated at three locations and the time capsules were buried there. Later that day Thomas was involved in a fight when he discovered that a boy had seen him bury the last time capsule, and he had unearthed it and brought the note it had contained to school. Thomas considered the boy a saboteur, and viciously punched him. The headmaster contacted Thomas's father, Mike, and showed him the note and described the fisticuffs. Mike didn't understand who the note was intended for, and the children at school taunted Thomas and said he was an idiot.
On the Sunday afternoon of July 4th of that year, Thomas and his father went fishing, and Katie and her grandmother stayed at the house to look after Maureen, who was hardly ever conscious. At three in the afternoon Katie's grandmother left the house to fetch a box of Quality Street chocolates she'd bought for Katie, and she told her grand-daughter not to open the door to anyone while she was gone. At 3.20pm, that front door opened, and a tall smartly-dressed man in a black suit with a white shirt and a black tie came into the hallway. Katie was very startled, but the man's kind face and gentle dark eyes allayed her fear. He smiled and then walked up the stairs. Katie followed him, and she saw him enter the room, and then sit on her mother's bed. He said one word in a soft-spoken voice: 'Maureen.'
The woman opened her eyes, and the stranger put his hand on her forehead for a few seconds. He then stood up, patted Katie on the head and left the room. When Katie went outside she saw no one there. Her mother was now sitting up in bed and said she was hungry. Katie excitedly rushed away to bring her soup and as she came down the stairs she saw her grandmother come into the house. Katie told her about the man who had just left and how he'd made her mum better. The grandmother had seen no one pass her on the quiet Sunday street outside. Maureen made a full recovery from Hodgkinson's disease, and the doctors were unable to explain how. Mike was of the opinion that one of the Mormon's had visited the house that Sunday and had somehow cured Maureen through hands-on healing. Thomas and Katie believed some kind man somewhere in the great unknown future had found one of their time capsules from 1971 and had decided to answer their begging letter from the past.

©Tom Slemen 2003.