Thursday, May 24, 2007

(208) The Three Imposters

In March 2004 I had sent off an Internet order from Amazon UK of the Celador DVD Magic Moments and More which is about their Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? phenomenon.

I understood that it contained the complete performance of Judith Keppel as she became the first person in the UK to win £1,000,000 on the show, and had wanted to analyse it to see if accompanying coughs could be made out when she annunciated what she thought to be the correct answer to a question but before she had committed herself by saying "Final answer"; in other words, she could still change her mind.

I had thought that, if so, this would constitute the key point for a possibly successful defence of the three people who had, in my judgement, been the victims of a miscarriage of justice when in March 2003 they had been found guilty of conspiring to cheat Celador out of the top prize when Charles Ingram had won it in September 2001.
For it would support my point of view, which was that the coughing to be heard when Ingram had won the money was really nothing more than a kind of nervous tic; an innocent response, and not a signal.

I noticed shortly after I sent off the order that an e mail had arrived from Amazon saying something about a delay or impossibility in locating "your order."

I assumed that this was to do with the DVD, but it turned out to be about an order which my wife had placed with them for something quite different; a book by Arthur Machen called The Three Imposters.

This was a suspense and mystery novel published in 1895. She had read it about thirty years before and now wanted to re-read it. Her father had lived near Machen in Amersham as a boy, and had seen him and possibly even exchanged a word. It had only come out in paperback a few years previously, and there was some detail within it upon which she wished to check. It was shipped to her a week or two later.

My analysis of Ms Keppel´s performance did indeed indicate that on six of her last ten questions an audible - although not even amplified - audience cough did accompany her first suggestion of a correct answer to a question.
The same number as with Ingram.

The anticipated communication from Amazon - as I awaited the arrival of the Celador DVD with the confirming and exonerating evidence for the three falsely convicted people - turned out to be about The Three Imposters.


NB.
At a car boot fair on the morning of May 10th 2008 a stall holder brought up with me the subject of Ingram´s win and mentioned the signals "... whenever the guy coughed".

At the adjacent stall was a lady, a smoker, who had earlier that morning, with myself, helped herself to one of the first guy´s chips.

At the word "coughed" she coughed.

I never noticed her cough again at any point during the whole morning.

I pointed this out to them whilst outlining my above explanation as to why coughing correlating with what somebody else says might be a wholly innocent pattern.