Transcript – John Smallman on The Light Agenda with Stephen Cook Part 1/2
Here is Part 1 of my interview with John Smallman, channeller of Jesus and Saul, from The Light Agenda on July 25. Part 2 tomorrow. Again, big thanks to Ellen for transcribing.
You can listen to the full interview here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/inlight_radio/2012/07/19/the-light-agenda
Stephen Cook: Hello, and welcome back to the Light Agenda. This is Stephen Cook, and hot on the heels of my amazing chat with the love-filled, 82-year-old Suzy Star last week, I’m delighted to say my guest today is a man who has a direct connection to two, incredible Ascended Masters.
Their names are Saul and Jesus, and his name is John Smallman. And today’ you’re going to be hearing from John about his very own light agenda. But first, let me tell you a little bit about John Smallman. John was born in England — hence, his accent, I might add — and he now lives in the United States where, after almost 20 years of living there, he has finally received his US citizenship, earlier this year.
John stumbled into channeling quite by accident and only set up his first blog, johnsmallman.wordpress.com, in 2009, which I found quite remarkable. And, since then he has brought us all much assistance as we return to full consciousness with his twice-weekly channeled messages from Saul – who, I might add, nagged him into writing a book; and also, more recently, his weekly messages from Jesus.
Now, John is an intensely private man. By his own admission, he does not seek the limelight. So, I am really delighted to welcome him to The Light Agenda today, and for being so brave as to come and chat with us all.
John Smallman, welcome.
John Smallman: Thank you, Stephen, and good evening.
SC: Your first real venture into the spiritual realms occurred in 1978, when you first read the book Seth Speaks by channeller Jane Roberts. Can you tell me about that first intro and why you suddenly picked up that book?
JS: Yeah. It was kind of interesting. I was at my parents-in-law’s house over a weekend, I think it was, and a friend of theirs brought this book in for my mother-in-law to read. And my mother-in-law tried it a bit, wasn’t interested, passed it on to my wife Eugenie, and it was just lying around. And I thought, ‘what is this? Seems kind of strange’. I picked it up and started to read it, and I was just captivated.
Seth spoke so wisely, from a spiritual point of view, and he seemed to be so accepting and so wise. And everything he said resonated with me. It was just fantastic. And as a result of that, I went out and bought all the books as they got published, and read all of them.
I can’t remember much about them now, because my memory is not that good on books. I remember what I’ve read, and if somebody talks about it, it’ll come to me, but if you ask me to, say, “What did you learn from that book?” I have no idea.
SC: But it was also how it made you feel at the time.
JS: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. It was a very nice confirmation that my belief in a loving, spiritual God was there for all of us – having had a Catholic upbringing where I was told basically that I was a bad sinner and I’d be damned lucky if I went to heaven.
SC: [laugh] Well, we’re going to talk about that Catholic upbringing in a little while. But after the Seth books, you then found the Theosophical — is that the correct pronunciation? — Bookshop …
JS: I think so.
SC: In New York? Yeah? … And you found the works of Deepak Chopra, Bernie Siegel, Joan Borysenko. And that really ignited your interest in reading about spiritual life and about spiritual life.
JS: Yeah. Deepak Chopra was great. I think his first book was Quantum Healing, and it really resonated for me. And again, I don’t remember very much about it, but at the time I thought it was great. And Bernie Siegel… with his sort of very spiritual, loving attitude to patients who were dying of cancer and in dire straits, basically.
And it was lovely to hear of people like that out there, who were so concerned for people and for the suffering they were going through. One’s most experience was, you know, you see someone suffering, you say, “Oh, dear. I’m sorry to hear that.” And that’s it. And these guys were so into helping and listening and encouraging. It was, you know, quite a new idea for me.
SC: Now, the other really interesting book for you, at that time, was Helen Schucman’s A Course in Miracles, which of course Marianne Williamson now talks about. But Helen was the original writer of that book.
JS: Yeah. Fascinating woman. In the mid ’60s, Jesus started to talk to her in her mind, and she was kind of taken aback. And he said, “Please take notes.” And so she started taking notes of what he told her, and over about seven years, the book A Course in Miracles was created.
SC: Aahah… And what effect did it have on you in 1986?
JS: It had very little. I read the introduction where they talk about Helen’s first getting introduced to Jesus. I mean, psychotherapists talking to Jesus? Hey!
And it was just, wherever I read it, the words just made so much sense. And I just felt I had to have the book, as I say. But then, picking it up was never the right time, until 2003, and found there was a local group meeting and discussing it. That’s when I really got into it.
SC: Right. Back in the early 1990s, you actually started wondering what it would be like to talk to one’s guides. So, how did you get to that point, from having read all those spiritual books and suddenly waking up one day and going, “Well, I want to talk to my guides, as well”?
JS: Well, I think I thought it right off with Seth. Jane Roberts used to go into trance and he used to speak through her in a very strong male voice. And as a result of those books I then went out looking for other channeled information. And there were quite a lot of books out there — Bartholomew, Kryon, Orin. And I read them one after the other, and the more I read, the more fascinated I became.
SC: And were you a bit jealous? [laugh]
JS: Yeah! Absolutely. I thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have one’s own spiritual guide? You know, as a little boy I used to pray, especially when I was at school, for guidance and help to put up with the environment I was in. Never got any reply, you know. You just sort of think, “Oh, well. Hopefully God’s not too busy. Maybe he heard my message but he didn’t respond.”
And so, the idea of having a guide who actually talked to you and that you could converse with was very captivating. So eventually then, in 1995, I thought, “Well, I’d better give this a go.”
SC: Now, at that point in 1995, which I think was April 1995, you were just about to go to bed, you were reading a book called Opening to Channel at the time …
SC: … and you wrote in your diary, “I started reading Opening to Channel again a few days ago, and I read some more getting down here today.” And you went on to say, “I do want to channel, but I’m apprehensive of what I don’t know. I want to experience it clearly in my mind, though, so that I can write it down like this or type it on the word processor, so here I sit.” And then you asked, “Please, may I make contact with a guide of high spiritual development to help me with my growth and my purpose and anything else that would be beneficial to God’s will for humanity.”
JS: Right. Well, that’s what I wanted.
SC: And then you just sat there?
JS: Yeah. And …
SC: And what happened?
JS: Two or three words popped into my mind, and I wrote them down. And as I was writing them, the next three or four came. And that’s how it was.
SC: And that was the very first time that anyone had ever tried to channel through you?
JS: Oh, yeah. I have no sort of sense of the spiritual. I don’t feel … you know, a lot of people seem to feel energies, they feel spiritual energies, they feel all sorts of stuff. I don’t feel any of that at all. So, yeah, it was just words dropping into my mind. There was no sensation much, except I think I did get a sort of tingling in my body. But apart from that, nothing.
And it just flowed. And I read it afterwards and it made total sense. It was very warm, it was very accepting, and I thought, “Yeah, this is good. This is what I want to do.”
SC: And how did you know who it was, though?
JS: Well, at the time I just accepted it, and it seemed wise and sane, and the sort of thing I wanted. And I continued to regularly talk to this guy, or, rather, I would invite him in. And I would say, “Dear Guide, I’m ready. Would you please start talking?” And then I’d write.
And after maybe four or five sessions I thought, “It’d be nice to know who this is.” I’d assumed it was a man. I guess being a male, I’m a bit of a chauvinist myself, and I just assumed all those people who talk to us are men. And …
… so I asked for a name, and the name that popped into my mind was Saul. And that did not appeal to me. And so …
JS: You want to know why? It was …
JS: … because of my upbringing, again. When I was at school we used to study the New Testament, and they used to particularly get us to read the letters of St. Paul the Apostle, who was Saul before he became St. Paul.
SC: Yes, indeed.
JS: And we tended to deal with the rather harsher messages that he pushed out, which didn’t appeal to me at all. And I just didn’t like the guy. He just didn’t resonate with me at that time. And I didn’t really want to be talking to a guy called Saul, who, as far as I was concerned, was St. Paul.
But I was stuck with it. Here’s this guy, his name is Saul, and I love what he’s telling me, so I’d better get over it.
SC: [laugh] Now, that’s 1995?
SC: But you … for whatever reasons, either you were uncomfortable with it, or you were just happy with it, or you felt it was something you needed to keep close, you only ever shared those messages originally with friends and family.
JS: Absolutely. Yeah. I had no way of getting …. I mean, you know, the internet wasn’t going to any great extent then. It never occurred to me to publish it. Saul said to me that we would do a book, and when we had enough stuff, that was the idea. And round about 1998, ’99, I think I started to get together and do a book.
SC: And you did actually put a book out, but it was like 12 copies, photocopied down at Kinko’s. And you only gave it to your family, including one of your sons — because you have two who are now 42 and 44 — and he was about to get married. But that book — literally 12 copies, and that’s all you did.
JS: That’s all I did, yeah. And so I continued channeling after that, and I was also thinking, well, who the hell’s going to publish it? Right.
SC: But from 1995 through until 2003, you were continually channeling on a regular basis, and it was …
SC: … Saul each time?
JS: That is correct. And I did buy some books on self-publishing and did a lot of research on that. And I think they had a sort of writer’s conference in Maui at one stage when I was there, maybe in 2000. Paid $150 and you could send them a quick view of your book and your interest in publishing it. And if somebody there liked it and picked it up, then you would get an agent and/or a publisher.
So I paid my $150, and when the whole thing was over nobody was interested. So, I just let it go.
SC: [laugh] Now, speaking of letting it go, in 2003 Saul told you that there were big changes coming.
SC: What were those changes he said at that time?
JS: He said we were going to move into full consciousness. And that basically is that you, as a person, have full awareness of everything there is to know. It’s like you have a God-like brain. Everything you wish to know is available to you, and you have total contact with every part of creation, everybody who exists anywhere. It’s like a melding of our souls as one, which is how we were created originally.
JS: And that’s what I’ve been looking forward to ever since.
SC: But he told you in 2003 it was going to happen by Christmas 2003, and you got very disillusioned at that point.
JS: Well, indeed I did. It’s very disappointing. For about three months before Christmas he was, you know, I was channeling regularly and he would confirm that by Christmas it was all going to happen. And I even told my children who aren’t that keen on … you know, interested in the spiritual world at all. And I thought, well, if something major like this is going to happen, I think they should have a little bit of advance warning.
SC: Mmmm. [laugh]
JS: And they, “Well,” and said, “Oh, yeah, Dad, right.” No more interest at all. And then, of course, nothing happened. So yeah, it was a bit of a shock.
SC: So, did you stop channeling, though? Like, were you really disappointed? Because, like recently, of course, Blossom Goodchild had actually stepped away from channeling because she felt very disappointed by messages and timing she was given. You were given quite clear timing. But that didn’t make you want to stop at that point?
JS: Oh, yeah, I did. I stopped for two or three months. I thought, well, you know, the message he gave basically about love, forgiveness, the sort of general spiritual, philosophical advice he was offering was, I thought, invaluable. I loved it. But I was very disappointed that we didn’t suddenly ascend or get into full consciousness. I’d been looking forward to that.
I remember one of the things he told me at one stage. You know, I was sort of wondering, “Well, what would happen?” It was like it was all going to happen very suddenly, and I was thinking, “Well, there’s somebody driving a 10-ton truck down the road and suddenly he’s lifted out. What’s going to happen?”
And Saul said, “No, no, no. It won’t be like that at all.” You know. “Everybody’ll get a sense, and they’ll pull in and they’ll park. There won’t be any accidents. It’ll all happen very, very smoothly.”
So, I was reassured with that. And I thought, great, so, we are going to move into a New Age, where all the stuff, all the nonsense that causes us problems here is just going to evaporate. It was a wonderful thought. But then, as I say, it didn’t happen, and for two or three months I didn’t talk to him. And eventually I started again. And I asked him what went wrong, and he didn’t give me a very clear answer at all.
And of course the more one reads today, this thing of timing is very, very difficult. Because time is part of the illusion. And for somebody outside of time to give us a timeline is, to a large extent, I think meaningless. But we want timelines: ‘When is this going to happen? How long before I can go to heaven?’ So, it’s a catch-22 situation, really.
SC: Mmm. So, what made you restart?
JS: Well, just because the wisdom that he offered was so good. It was so uplifting, it was so encouraging, it made me feel better. Absolutely convinced me that there is a loving God who is aware of us and who wants only our best to happen. These messages that I got from him just informed me that this was the case.
SC: Now, all throughout this process, though, he had been saying you were going to write a book, you were going to get, you know, get more public recognition for his messages.
SC: You actually didn’t go public until early, I think, 2009, when you finally got a blog together. So …
JS: I was nervous. I kept putting it on the long finger and thinking, you know, who wants to read this stuff? And, yeah, it’s great, but … I had a, you know, I have all my own doubts about it. The channeling comes through, I take it down, I read it, it’s great. And then the skeptical human comes in and says, “You really believe that?” So, it’s a sort of balancing act I do, I guess. And …
SC: So, are you saying you … every time you get a message you sit there and question it in a very 3D kind of illusionary reality?
JS: I think what I do is I re-read it. And I think, “Oh, yeah, here we go again. It’s more of the same sort of stuff,” and, “Yeah, that’s okay.” And then maybe I’ll come back and read it the next day and think, “Yeah! That is great! That is wonderful!”
It’s a funny sort of dichotomy, that. When I’m actually writing it, it’s fine. I read it afterwards, I think, “Yeah, that’s not bad.” And then I go away for 12 hours, 24 hours, and come back and read it again, and it’s almost like it’s new. And I think, “Yes! That is wonderful.”
SC: Wow. Now, when it comes through to you, you said it comes through in almost like three-word phrases. And sometimes it comes through within an hour, an hour and a half. But at other times you may not get a message instantly. It may take several days for it to come through. I find that fascinating.
JS: Well, basically, I think it’s me, an ego thing — I’m not sure. I just … you know, sometimes I sit down, I’m quite relaxed, and the words flow. And other times, I say, “Good afternoon, Saul. I’m here, ready for dictation,” and nothing happens. And …
SC: And what do you do then?
JS: Well, I sit with it for five, ten minutes, and if I don’t get anything I go off and have a cup of tea or something, and come back to it maybe the next day.
SC: And do you meditate or go into a trance beforehand? Or do you just literally sit and go, I’m opening my mind, down you come?
JS: Basically, yeah. The second. I just … I probably say a little prayer, you know, “Dear God, I’m here and ready. Let Saul come through,” something like that, and then away we go.
SC: All right. So you finally went public in 2009 with your blog. And, were you nervous? Were you worried that people were going to sit there and go, “Oh, here’s crazy John Smallman”? Or, what actually evolved? What actually happened in your head at that point?
JS: Yeah, it’s kind of interesting. I think the reason I didn’t go public sooner was just that. I thought, “Oh, people will think it’s crazy. Oh, God. Yeah. What am I going to say to people?” And then this friend of mine, this shamanic healer who I was talking to, when I told her about Saul, she said, “I really get the hit, John, that you need to get that out there.” And it was like the impetus I needed.
I think Saul possibly wanted me to get it out there, and I was digging my heels in. You know? “Don’t want to go there. I don’t think so. I’m not ready.” All that sort of fear thing. And once she sort of gave me that message, because she can see the sort of spirit side quite well, I thought, “Yeah, I’d better do it.”
So I went out and bought a book, WordPress for Dummies.
And studied that, and then set up the blog, and started to put out some of the stuff I’d already channeled. And as a result of doing that, then I got back into more regular channeling. And basically after the first dozen or so they have become new messages each time.
SC: And you got very positive messages back quite quickly, didn’t you?
JS: Yes, I did. Basically people saying, “This is lovely. This is something I want to hear.” “This was something I just needed to hear today.” “Oh, wow, this is great.” That sort of thing.
SC: And then suddenly, at the beginning of 2011, Jesus contacted you.
JS: Yeah. I got this intuitive sort of sense in my mind that Jesus wanted to come through me, and I thought, “Come on, John. That’s your ego. Saul’s fine, you don’t need somebody else. Jesus comes through so many people. Just leave it alone.”
And maybe a week or two later I got the same sort of sense again, and I sort of sat down. I said, “Hey, Jesus, do you really want to come through me?” And I basically got, “Yes, I do.” That was all. I thought, hmm. And I left it another couple of weeks.
And I tried again, and again, the same answer, “Yes, I do.”
So, finally I sat down — it must have been the end of May, early June, 2011 — and said, “Okay. Good morning, Jesus. If you’d like to talk, I’m here, ready, willing and able to take dictation.” And away we went.
SC: And how did you know it was him?
JS: Well, this is a good question. I don’t. I mean, I got the intuitive sense initially that Jesus wanted to talk to me, and when I decided yes, I’ll do it, I sat down and I said, “Good morning, Jesus. I’d like to take dictation, if you’re ready,” and the words popped into my mind. So, I’m assuming it’s Jesus.
The same thing with Saul. You know, I sit down and say, “Good morning, Saul. I’m ready to write.” But I don’t get any sense of either Jesus or Saul, so I don’t … you know, I’m assuming I get Saul when I ask for Saul and that I get Jesus when I ask for Jesus. But …
SC: What happens if you’re wrong?
JS: What indeed!
SC: And so, literally, it’s you asking and then they come in. So, you don’t see anything, you don’t have a vision, you don’t hear a voice, it’s just, what, a thought process?
JS: I say, “Good morning, Saul. Thank you for the last post. It was really very uplifting. I’m ready now for some more dictation.” And if I’m relaxed and everything works, he just promptly comes through. “Good morning, John.” Relax, allow, and the words will flow. And that’s what happens.
Quite often, I will write maybe two paragraphs and then I’ll take a break. It’s like … I don’t know, it’s … I don’t get any sense of his presence. The words come into my mind, but … I guess my body gets a little tired, so possibly I’m running energy or something like that. So, I go off, take a break and come back a couple of hours later, read what I’ve written, and then it’s very easy to continue.
Sometimes I find getting the first two or three sentences is difficult. Because he often starts off the same way, “As I’ve told you many times before,” or, “Your awakening is soon going to happen.” You know, the first few words can be very similar to what he’s said before, and I think, “Oh, God, here we go again.” You know, and I put up a block, I guess, and it just doesn’t work for me.
SC: Now, some people listening may go, “Oh, he just … it’s part of his own mind talking back to himself.”
JS: Well, I’ve wondered about that, too! But I don’t think in those sort of terms, and nothing that I have ever written from Saul or Jesus could possibly have come from my human 3D form. If I have a higher self who is wanting to come through, I suppose it could be. But, hey, at that level ‘we’re all one’ anyhow. You know, how important are names?
And I’ve had the odd letter or comment from people who think I’m absolutely insane. “Who the hell do you think you are, calling yourself Jesus?” And, I say, “oh well”. You’ve just got to take it as it comes. I’m sorry.
SC: And you mentioned, before, your children. So when you actually first … or you tell them that, “Yes, I sit here and I take dictation from Saul and Jesus,” what do they say?
JS: They just ignore it. They are so, “That’s Dad.” I went over to England in 2000 — last year, 2011 — and took my laptop with me so that I could continue to do my postings. And my son has a house down in Sussex, not far from the sea. And he had wi-fi, but that … the wi-fi was down. So he had to drive me to a local hotel where I could do wi-fi and put Saul up online as, you know, I was about 12 hours late because of that.
And he just happily took me into a town nearby. And we went into the hotel, I paid 50p or 5 pounds or whatever it was and got wi-fi time, and put Saul up, and we went back, and we didn’t talk about that at all.
SC: That’s too funny! But I’ve got this, I have this very funny vision of you sitting in one of those traditional English country pubs with, you know, maybe a ploughman’s lunch sitting on the table next to you, and there is an Ascended Master coming through.
JS: Well, no, I don’t need wi-fi to get Saul… It’s just a question of going online, putting it on the blog and closing it up again. So I …
SC: Yeah, but even the thought of having to drive that far to get it up and onto the thing is quite a … [laugh]
JS: Oh, yeah. It is. I was, you know, very impressed with my son. He didn’t sort of complain at all. He quite understood. Very apologetic that the wi-fi was down.
SC: Thinking about England, and speaking about children, you were born in England in 1940. You were an only child. Tell me a little bit about your parents, your mother and your father.
JS: My mother was a good Irish Catholic, and basically she was brought up in Ireland during the Troubles, if you know anything about Ireland. They had the civil war in 1916 and finally got independence in 1922, I think it was. She was born in 1908, so she was a child growing up when all that was going up.
And she was the youngest of five. They were all musicians, and her eldest sister, who was about ten years older than her, taught her the violin.
And anyhow, she had a good friend whose brother committed suicide, and the friend was very upset. So my mother said, “Let’s go for a cruise.” And they went off to England, and they took a boat from somewhere on the east coast which took them to Hamburg, I think it was, on a two-days-each-way across the North Sea.
And my father happened to be doing the same thing with a friend of his, and they met on the boat. And it was love at first sight. And so my father chased my mother frantically, and she ended up marrying an English Protestant, and came over to live in England, and hated the English.
SC: But she was a very strict Catholic?
JS: She was very much into accepting the authority of the Church. She wasn’t strict, but she was frightened. I guess both my parents were kind of fearful people. The Church was very strong in Ireland at that stage, and you had to get permission from the Bishop to marry a non-Catholic. She had to get this permission so that she could marry my father, and he had to promise that any children would be brought up Roman Catholic.
So, it was very strict. So, when I was born I was immediately christened, because my mother was terrified that if I died I wouldn’t get into heaven, because if you weren’t baptized, you didn’t get to heaven. No way. Had to be baptized. Crazy! But that’s how it was all taught back then.
SC: Very early on your father went to war, and your mother was a very talented violinist and she went traveling with the orchestra. And even though you were an only child you were kind of left with your aunt, your cousins or your grandmother. So they really didn’t have a big role in your early, formative years.
JS: That is correct. Yes.
SC: And they then, even at three and a half, you were sent off to a convent school. I mean, that’s extraordinarily young to just be sent away.
JS: Well, it was daily. It was just in the morning. So, you know, she used to take me and then she would collect me and bring me home. And then when I got to about four, we actually rent … we were staying with cousins initially in Ireland. Then when I was about four years old she rented an apartment on her own. And I used to catch the tram, as it was then, from our house to the school, all on my own at that age.
SC: At how old?
JS: Age four.
SC: At four?! [laugh]
JS: Yeah. There wasn’t much traffic over there.
JS: You know, they had very little petrol. There were practically no motor cars around at all. There were just the trams and a few delivery trucks and that was it. So the roads were not too busy. It wasn’t a frightening experience at all.
SC: No, but it just seems ironic in some ways that at four you were being sent off by yourself to a convent school that you then stayed at ’til you were eight. And you didn’t really, from what I can see in that, have a massively influential family around you.
JS: This is true.
SC: Did that make you feel lonely?
JS: Yeah, I was kind of lonely. But, you know, you accept what you’re born into, right? So, it didn’t seem strange to me, it just was.
SC: Yeah, it just was. And then at eight you had quite a life-changing moment, and you were sent to a Jesuit Catholic boarding school.
JS: Yeah. That was quite funny, because my parents decided it was the thing to do. My mother decided and my father agreed. And I had to go and do a little entrance exam, so my father rushed out and bought a notebook, lined notebook, and wrote something on the top line and got me to copy it about ten times. And he did this three or four times before I went for the little exam that they gave to children before they would decide whether or not to accept them at the preparatory school.
And that kind of intrigued me at the time, you know, suddenly all this enthusiasm to get John writing neatly.
SC: Were you a poor family, or …?
JS: No, we were average, middle class. My father was a solicitor. They never talked about money. So, I sometimes wondered if my grandfather might have paid my school fees? I don’t know. We lived in rented accommodation until I was about 16 or 17.
SC: Right. But you … in being sent off to boarding school at that young age, that school was amazingly only five miles from your parents’ home, but you still only saw your parents three times a year because the school was quite strict, and the only other communication you had with your parents was by letter.
JS: No, not three times a year, three times in a term.
SC: Ah. A term. Right.
JS: But a term was 13 weeks. And I remember, you know, the term seemed to go on forever. It was infinitely long at that age.
It was funny, because when my parents first used to take me out, they could pick me up at twelve-thirty on the Saturday after all the classes were finished. And they could take me home, give me lunch, and they had to get me back by six in the evening. But the first term or two they used to pick me up about two thirty in the afternoon, take me to the local town Windsor, and we’d have some tea somewhere. Then we’d wander around the toy shop and I would look at various toys, but nothing was ever bought for me. Then we’d go back to school.
And I used to beg them to take me out earlier and, you know, take me home for lunch. And they wouldn’t. And years later I was asking my mother, “Why did you always just sort of come in the afternoon and just take me for tea?” She said, “Well, we were very worried that if we actually took you home you wouldn’t want to go back.”
SC: Ah! But what seems strange as well was, even though you had this incredibly limited visitation, or visits from them, your parents always seemed to be on vacation and you kind of got post cards all the time whilst you were kind of entrapped in this school.
JS: Yeah. You know, I was thinking about it recently, and basically I was sent to prison at eight and I was there for nine years.
SC: Mmm. And you hated it, didn’t you? Like …
SC: … I know that’s a horrible word to use, but you really ‘hated’ it?
JS: Absolutely. I begged them to take me out, and they wouldn’t. And I had one rather horrendous experience. My mother’s mother died when I was about 10 or 11, and she went over to Ireland, to the funeral. And it was just coming up to the start of the autumn term. And a friend of mine got measles, so I was in quarantine.
So, we called the school, or my father did, and they said, “Well, keep him at home for…” two weeks, I think it was, or ten days. So I was kept home to make sure I didn’t have measles.
So, I was taken back ten days, two weeks late — I can’t remember. And it was just my father and me and our little dog in the car. And I did not want to go back. Normally you go back and everybody’s rushing in together, it’s not too bad. But this time it was just me.
And we got back on a … I think it must have been a Sunday afternoon. And we went to the school about tea time, and he brought me in. And the headmaster met us and invited my father to go and have tea with the priests, and I went in to have tea with the boys. And I was just heartbroken.
SC: So, do you think that you … that that loneliness was just … do you think that that was scarring?
JS: Well, that’s a good question. I guess it gave me a feeling of that I wasn’t really worth anything. Nobody really wanted me around.
And on that particular occasion, I slipped out of the dining room during the tea and climbed back into the car and hid on the floor behind the front seats, and hoped that my father after tea would get in and drive home.
But we had this Cocker Spaniel that was very bad in the car. And as soon as my father appeared it was up and down and jumping and yapping and yapping and yapping. And so he opened the rear door of the car to let it out — he was going to give it a short walk — and saw me lying on the floor and was a bit shocked.
So, he tried to get me out, and I wouldn’t. He had to go and get the headmaster, and the two of them dragged me out together. I was bawling my head off!
SC: And what else about school did you really dislike? Because the Jesuit way, the instructional and the continual telling you you were worthless, was really quite dramatic and traumatic.
JS: Yeah, I guess it was. You know, it was just, “Hey, you’re naughty little boys.”
You know, they had very strict rules there and it was very hard to stick to them all. I was quite shocked when I first got there, and, you know, I was going to go off and play after lunch. And one of the other boys said, “No, you have to go and have a rest.” And I said, “I’m not having a rest.” “Oh, yes you are. You have to.”
And we all had to go up and sit in our little cubies (cubicles). We weren’t allowed to go to sleep, but we were supposed to read a book or something for half an hour in the afternoon. I thought, oh, that was strange. And I …
SC: So, just completely controlling?
JS: Oh, yeah. I wanted to join the Boy Scouts. They had a Boy Scouts troop there. And you had to put your name on a list, and the headmaster had to approve it. And every time I put my name on the list, I was crossed off. He, for some reason, couldn’t stand me, and I really felt that. So, it was very unpleasant there.
SC: You also hated learning?
JS: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.
SC: Why? [laugh]
JS: I guess it wasn’t presented in a very interesting fashion. I used to just sit dreaming, looking out the window and wishing I wasn’t there.
SC: And what did you dream of?
JS: Just being out of there. Going out to play, doing … just not being there. I hated being there. You know, while I was at school I was counting the days ‘til the term would come to an end. And then when the holidays started I would count with dread, the way the days were being eaten up and I was going to have to go back.
SC: Talking about limited by time! [laugh]
SC: But contrasting to all that, during your younger years you also had dreams. And you remember one that occurred first when you were two or three.
JS: Yeah, that was kind of intriguing. I know I was that sort of age because I woke up out of it and I was in my cot or in the pram or something like that.
But I was asleep, and there was some pinkish smoke or mist or something appeared. And it was very, very small, and it was buzzing gently. And then it started to get bigger and buzz more loudly, and it would get bigger and bigger and buzz louder and louder. Until I got the sense I was going to be totally enveloped in it, and I’d wake up screaming.
And I remember having that — oh, I don’t know — three or four times when I was very little. And then when I was about nine years old, I had it two nights running at school in the dormitory – and was quite shocked when I woke up screaming with a nightmare and feeling very ashamed at myself.
SC: Well, it sounds like, though, it was just a pink cloud that made a noise. So, I wonder what was so scary about that in your dream.
JS: I often wondered about that. I couldn’t make head or tail of it, didn’t make any sense at all. But it was just sort of … it felt like something that was just taking me over, if you like? I really have no idea what it was.
SC: I’m surprised you can remember that it happened at two or three, because many of us don’t have any vivid memories of that time.
JS: Well, I guess the dream was so intense that it imprinted itself on my memory. Because I don’t remember anything else from that sort of stage.
JS: You know, three and a half is probably about the earliest coming up, three and a half, four, when I pushed the little boy off the railway platform.
SC: Oh, tell me about that.
JS: Yeah. My mother was bringing me home from school at lunchtime, and we used to catch the train from very close to the convent back to where we lived. And this little blond boy was standing right on the edge of the platform. And I didn’t like him. I don’t know why. I just didn’t. So I pushed him, and he fell down on the track. And that was great, but then my mother jumped down to save him. And then I panicked because I thought the train would come and crush her.
SC: Do you think that was projected anger, though, because they were sending you off to the convent school at that time and it was almost like, well, you couldn’t actually take it out on her and you took it out on that little boy you didn’t know but thought you didn’t like?
JS: I don’t think so. I didn’t … I didn’t dislike the convent. The nuns were very nice to me. That was in Ireland during the war. I was three and a half, four, going up to five. And they were all very, very nice to me. I, you know, basically that was not an issue. I say, I just saw him there and didn’t like him, and I pushed him.
SC: [laugh] Well, you were pretty … you were pretty definite about the fact you didn’t like him!
JS: Um-hmm. And then some months later, when I started catching the tram from where we’d moved to, I was standing by the tram stop one day and a woman came along with two little girls aged about seven and eight, I suppose. And she looked at me and she turned to them and said, “What a nice little boy!” And I stuck my tongue out at them — I remember that vividly! — and she immediately said, “Oh, what a nasty little boy!”
SC: [laugh] Oh, you cheeky thing, you!
Now, eventually you talked your parents into letting you leave school. How old were you when you eventually managed to get out of what you said was just not a nice experience?
JS: I was 17. I was 17 and a half. I’d done nine and a half years. And in England we have two levels of education. You go up to 16 and you take what’s called Ordinary Level and you get the general certificate of education. And I’d done that. And then you go on and do the advanced stuff, A Levels. And I was doing English and history for A Level. And I was just bored out of my mind. The teachers weren’t making it interesting.
And for English we had studied the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar three years running — not very exciting at all. I was just bored. I wanted to get out. I wanted to go and fly, and I had just had it.
SC: Had you had any really bad experiences, though, with any teachers or any of the priests there?
JS: Well, people made you feel small. I remember, once again, about 14 or 15: I was sitting in the classroom in the front row, and the priest who had been in charge of the dormitory I was in when I was in the junior school — and I was sitting in the front row with another boy — and he suddenly addressed me and said, “Smallman, your hair’s dirty and you stink!” Wow, I just burst into tears.
SC: Wow. And …
JS: And the guy next to me was very upset, and said, “You know, you shouldn’t talk to him like that.”
But, you know, they just had overall authority there. It was a strange system. We accepted the authority, which was the strange thing. And, you know, I didn’t get any back-up from my parents, so I just sort of knuckled down and accepted it. Yeah.
SC: At one point, though, you wanted to be a priest yourself.
JS: That’s true. I had a feeling that I should be, when I was about nine years old.
The preparatory school used to take us to Olympia, which was a big exhibition hall in London, every year where they used to have a vocations exhibition. The Catholic Church of England would come in with priests and nuns from all over the country touting their orders, you know — the Franciscans, the Jesuits, the Carmelites, the Dominicans. And they’d have all these brochures and they’d all smile and they’d try and persuade us to become nuns or priests.
And we were taken up to that one year. And we rushed around and grabbed all the leaflets and so on, but it didn’t really have any effect on me. It didn’t appeal to me. It was just a day out from school. But at some stage I did have this sort of sense that I should be a priest. And the other side of me said, “I don’t want to do that,” and I grew out of it very fast.
SC: So when you finally left school, though, your dream job was to fly planes. And that was because your house was near the airport and you just loved watching the planes land and take off. Is that right?
JS: Yeah. It was … actually the school was near the airport. And there was a classroom there I used to sit in twice a week, I think during Latin, that looked out and I could see the planes coming in to land. And I used to think, “That’s where I want to be.” And I just wanted to escape, anything to get away. And the thought of flying was, “Wow! I could go off, see the world, meet people, have a marvelous time.” And that was my dream.
SC: And you never, ever wanted like an office type job? Your father was a solicitor, you didn’t want to cop, you know, follow in his footsteps?
JS: I just didn’t have any intellectual ability that way. And I, you know, I do things quickly. I think if today I was at school they’d say, oh, he’s got ADD, you know, attention deficit…
I just don’t focus at all well.
SC: [laugh] They say that to every child that doesn’t want to be in the class these days, don’t they?
JS: But I think today they’re much more advanced in how they cope with children who have that sort of disability.
SC: Umm, exactly. Umm.
JS: I mean, the whole idea of school is just to help you learn so that when you are adult you can learn the stuff you need to do to earn your living, whatever it is. But we were just sort of … you know, all of this learning by heart stuff, and it was … oh, it just bored me to tears, and I wasn’t very good at it.
SC: All right. So then you went off and studied to be a commercial airline pilot, which you did and were for 42 years.
SC: In that time, and going into a complete different area here, did you have any UFO experiences?
JS: Yeah. Finally, after about 40 years. I was coming home across the Pacific from Japan to Hawaii one morning. And the sky was just brightening a little bit, and a bright light appeared coming towards us. You know, quite often people flying across the Pacific at night put their landing lights like headlights in the car on, so you see people coming the other way occasionally.
JS: But it’s a vast area, so you don’t frequently see very many airplanes going the other way. And, anyhow, this thing was coming towards us. And I thought, what’s that? And it got very bright, and I drew the attention of the other pilot to it. And we watched. And then it turned across the front of us, which is most unusual, and as it turned and made a sort of 90-degree turn I could see the side of it. And it was like a railway carriage, or something like that, lots of little windows with lights. And it continued the turn and disappeared into the distance. So, it was obviously going very, very fast. I mean, flying a jumbo jet, we’re going at 600 miles an hour. So he was approaching us, turned across us and accelerated away.
I have no idea what it was.
SC: And you didn’t see any figures inside? Or what were the colors of the lights?
JS: Well, sort of a yellowish color.
SC: And when you … the other pilot, or your co-pilot, saw that, you actually didn’t talk about it again, though.
JS: I said, “What do you think that was?” And he said, “Oh, I’ve no idea.” And he didn’t want to go any further. I said, “You know, it could have been a UFO. It could have been an alien spaceship.” And he just sort of looked at me and just didn’t want to address the issue at all.
SC: And of course, you didn’t report it because the airline you were working for at the time actually didn’t want to have those sort of reports filed.
JS: It wasn’t so much that, it was just, what is there to report? And there was no legal requirement to do so. It was just something that we saw. I mean, so, no, I didn’t …
Part 2 tomorrow…