It must have been late 1970 or early '71 when this occurred; we were still living in our old 'mine house' at the time. Night had fallen and the children were all asleep. I was tidying up odds and ends before retiring, when there was an unexpected knock at our back door.
To my surprise, I found my father-in-law standing on our back step. Through the screen door, by the glow of the outside light, I noticed that his face was white and drawn. I became alarmed, and hurriedly admitted him to our back veranda, asking him what was wrong. He replied in a slurred voice, that he was in extreme pain. There was no smell of alcohol on his breath - I concluded that his slurred speech was from taking a lot of pain-killers.
Years before, in his youth, my father-in-law had been a motor-cross fan and eager participant - until he had an almost fatal accident. His back had been broken and only a big operation had saved him. A specialist had fused a part of his spine with a metal plate, held in place by screws into the vertebrae. We did not know it at the time, but somehow, these screws had worked loose - hence the excruciating pain that he was feeling.
I ushered 'Dad' to the couch in the lounge, where he gingerly sat down to wait as I rushed to make tea - the only thing I could think of to calm him, while we waited for my husband Ray to come off shift. Ray was a traffic officer at that time; his shift ended at 22:00.
As we were sitting on the couch, sipping tea, Dad did something very unexpected and startling. He reached up to the lapel of the tweed jacket he was wearing, turning it to expose a long darning needle secreted there. He extracted the needle from its hiding place, to plunge it into his trousered leg, in an effort to show me how much pain he was in - that he didn't even feel the needle! I nearly had a cadenza! He shoved that needle in so deep, that I had visions of an operation to remove it. I managed to extract the needle, with some effort.
Not too long after, Ray arrived home. After a short discussion between the men, it was decided to take Dad to a "healer". I roused our girl's nanny from her bed, with instructions not to leave their room until we returned. Ray, his Dad and I piled into our car to go in search of this healer.
The roads were quiet, as we drove in almost silence to where Dad directed us. We came to a halt in front of a corner house in West Porges. All the lights were out in this peculiar house that had no front garden - the front door was directly onto the pavement in front of the house. Ray alighted from the car and pounded on the front door. After a few minutes, we noticed lights flick on, and the front door was opened. A huge shadow blocked out the light from inside.
After a short murmured conversation between Ray and the shadow, Dad and I were invited in. We trooped into the house to discover we were in a spacious, sparsely furnished lounge. Everything was scrupulously clean, but strange pictures hung from the wall. I wish I had taken more notice of what they were, as I don't remember now; only that they struck me as - odd!
Prayers were said; incantations were murmured for what seemed hours, as we sat around the lounge. Eventually, the "Man" asked that we all concentrate on the "Great White Spirit" and ask for healing for Dad, which we did. This was extremely strange to me, as I had never encountered anything like it before in my life - or since!
Well, the upshot of this all was, Dad literally and figuratively Danced his way out of that house. If ever anyone witnessed a miracle, I did that night! The "miracle" lasted a good few years.
When we returned to that house, some years later, we discovered that it had been taken over by an upholstery business. They had no idea who or where the previous owners were.