My short story “The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller” has been re-published in Suspense Magazine

Bonsoir les lecteurs!

I’m back from my long bank holiday weekend in Disneyland Paris, but due to a big rush of copywriting busyness on my return, I’m afraid a new mystery/conspiracy article will have to wait till next week.

In the meantime, I come bearing news about my short story, The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller. The second of the Million Eyes Short Stories to be published, it initially appeared last summer in Issue 11 of Tigershark Magazine.  Now it’s been re-published in Suspense Magazine, a popular and long-standing mystery/horror/thriller magazine that is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. It’s been named one of the 100 best book and magazine markets for writers by Writer’s Digest.

Click on the extract below to read a PDF of the magazine. The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller is the first story in the issue.

For those of you who don’t remember, the story is inspired by an urban legend about a bonus feature on a Charlie Chaplin DVD, an extra containing something rather out of place. The story stars real-life Irish filmmaker George Clarke, the man who made the discovery, as he embarks on a dangerous pursuit of the truth.

I actually showed the story to Clarke himself prior to publication and he gave me the thumbs-up, even mentioning he might turn it into a film one day! 😀

Even more exciting is the fact that the editor of Suspense Magazine has said they want to publish a further story of mine. I don’t know which one yet but I’ll keep you posted!

Happy Thursday!

Next week: the mystery of the ‘Broad Haven Triangle’

Talking time travel, Charlie Chaplin and Donald Trump with filmmaker George Clarke

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George Clarke is an award-winning film director, screenwriter, producer and founder of independent film company Yellow Fever Productions. Best known for his micro-budget zombie horror flicks, his sixth feature film, The Blood Harvest, won two awards at the 2015 Freak Show Horror Film Festival in Florida.

But back in 2010, George shot to worldwide attention for an entirely different reason. He found what he believed to be a time traveller in a Charlie Chaplin DVD extra and posted his discovery on YouTube, sparking a 21st-century urban legend.

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Today I’m interviewing George in order to get to the bottom of his thoughts on the time travel conspiracy happening all around us…

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Hi George. Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. How have you been and what are you working on right now?

Thanks for the interest and support! The past 6 months have been pretty crazy on a personal level, which in turn has scuppered the latter half of 2016 for me. We’ve had some major delays in the production of my 7th feature film, Mindy Has To Die, which is based on the novella by US horror comedy writer Jeff Strand. It began shooting in June but with so much having happened in between I’ve still got 3 days to schedule for completion. This meant that at the 7th Yellow Fever Independent Film Festival in November, it was the first time in all these years I didn’t have a premiere of my new film. But we’ll get there! I’ve had worse thrown at me over the years and I’m still going…

One of the things you’re known for is the ‘Chaplin’s Time Traveller’ YouTube video, which is approaching 7 million views. In it you talk about how you’d spotted a possible time traveller in an extra on the DVD of Charlie Chaplin film The Circus. Can you talk me through what was going through your head when you first saw this clip?

It’s almost 7 million on my YouTube channel, yes, but I still can’t get over the fact that it was shown on most (if not all) major news channels, breakfast shows and media websites around the world. Crazy! I had noticed the video about a year before I made my discovery public. In fact, a few months earlier, I did a live reveal at our 2nd film festival to an audience and left most people speechless by what they saw. It led to some amazing debates of course!

When I first found it, I remember sitting on the couch just casually watching the premiere footage of The Circus. I’ve always loved old footage so I was watching intently at what was happening on screen. And as you become comfortable watching things in 1928, something as odd as someone talking on a handset really stands out. I jumped up off the couch and rewound the footage to double check, then started calling people to take a look.

Why did you conclude that this woman was a time traveller?

It was 1928 and the woman seemed to be having a fun chat on a mobile phone! What else could I think? Plus, I love the romance of it being a time traveller. Perhaps Chaplin himself went back in time to attend a personal event that made him very happy, but of course, had to be in disguise.

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Time traveller spotted in Charlie Chaplin DVD extra

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Whoops. A time traveller has made an epic boo-boo and got themselves caught on film in 1928. And now filmmaker George Clarke has exposed their clumsy arse to the world.

I’ve mentioned this particular urban legend a few times recently. That’s because it inspired my short story, The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller, which was published last month in Tigershark Issue 11. In the story, facts and fiction are mixed, so let me now present the uncooked facts.

In 2010, Belfast filmmaker George Clarke posted a video on YouTube explaining that he had discovered evidence of time travel in a Charlie Chaplin DVD extra. The extra was a short behind-the-scenes clip of the premiere of The Circus at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood in 1928. The Circus is one of Charlie Chaplin’s most popular movies, the seventh-highest-grossing silent film in cinema history, and still attracts high praise today. So it’s a wonder it took seven years for someone to notice this (the DVD came out in 2003).

Anyway, 20 seconds into the clip, you see a bunch of circus animal statues outside the Chinese Theatre. Walking behind a fake zebra is a large woman in a hideous dress, hooded coat, pointed shoes and a black top hat. But her terrible fashion sense and looking a bit like a man in drag is not what caught George’s eye. It was the item she was holding to her ear and talking into.

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How to write flashbacks in fiction + story updates


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Hello hello! Welcome, on this stifingly hot and sticky September day, to my monthly round-up of news, including the latest on Million Eyes and the Million Eyes Short Stories. And this month I also come bearing tips for writing flashback sequences in fiction—not as easy as it sounds!

I’m being interviewed on Spaced Out Radio!

Last month I was contacted by Spaced Out Radio in Canada, who want to interview me live on one of their shows and get my take on conspiracy theories and the paranormal! It’s currently scheduled for 25th October, and as soon as I know more re times and topics, I’ll announce it here.

New story published – The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller

Last week I announced the publication of the second Million Eyes Short Story, after Who is Rudolph Fentz? was published in Scribble, Issue 68 last winter. The story is called The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller and appears in Tigershark Magazine, Issue 11, which can be downloaded for free here.

The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller was actually written in early 2015 and entered into the Rushmoor Writers Fullbrook Competition. It received good feedback and was subsequently submitted to a number of short story magazines and competitions. It was retained by Mystery Weekly magazine as a very close contender for publication. The editor of Mystery Weekly asked me to flesh it out a bit, but ultimately rejected the newer version. She said it was far superior to the previous version but wasn’t right for their readers at that time (which could mean anything—perhaps they already had a story that was similar).

So, at long last, The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller has found a home at Tigershark. As mentioned in my previous blog, the story’s main character is a real person—Irish filmmaker George Clarke, who specialises in horror and zombie movies. It follows his discovery of something out of place in a bonus feature on a Charlie Chaplin DVD, which sparked a media storm and 21st-century urban legend.

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“The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller” now available to read in Tigershark Magazine

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My short story, The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller, has now been published in Tigershark Magazine, Issue 11! You can download the PDF of the issue for free right here! Just click the link below. (The story starts on page 18.)

Tigershark Magazine Issue 11

The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller is the second of the Million Eyes Short Stories to be published, after Who is Rudolph Fentz? in Scribble, Issue 68 last year.

The story is based on an urban legend about a extra on a Charlie Chaplin DVD, an extra containing something rather out of place. Irish filmmaker George Clarke made the discovery and released a YouTube video about it, which became a runaway hit and was discussed and debated by the world’s media. At the time of writing, the video’s attracted more than 6,870,000 views.

The story stars a fictionalised version of Clarke as he investigates the mystery and embarks on a potentially dangerous journey to find the truth…

Here’s Clarke’s original video. See what you make of it!

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“The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller” to be published by Tigershark

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I come bearing news! The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller is about to become the second of the Million Eyes Short Stories to be published.

The story will be part of Issue 11 of Tigershark Magazine, a free e-zine of flash fiction, short fiction and poetry that’s been running since 2013.  Issue 11 should be out at the end of the month. Latest updates from Tigershark Publishing can be found on their Facebook page. I will obviously post any updates about Issue 11 on “Behind The Curtain” as soon as I have them, too.

The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller is based on a time travel urban legend that captured the public’s imagination in 2010. I touched on it in a previous blog, but I’ll be writing a more substantive article about it soon.

The story stars a fictionalised version of George Clarke, an Irish filmmaker best known for horror and zombie movies. I’m pleased to say that I’ve been in contact with George and he’s read the story—and given me his seal of approval! 🙂

In future blogs, I will talk more about George, his films, and his role in the Charlie Chaplin time traveller urban legend. And I will try and get to the bottom of whether this particular legend is fiction or fact…

Watch this space in the meantime. The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller will be available to read soon!

The first Million Eyes Short Story was published last winter in Issue 68 of Scribble Magazine and is called Who is Rudolph Fentz? (and is also inspired by a  famous time travel urban legend). You can read this story by purchasing a copy of Issue 68 from Scribble’s website.