It seems only right that ‘Conspiro Media’ should bring some closure to an article published here just over a year ago that’s full of loose-ends but which can now, to an extent, be tied-up thanks to some new information that‘s since come to light. Furthermore, given that it centres around a horror-movie hit, it’s quite fitting that it should be posted so close to Halloween. You might recall it?…
Back in March 2013, this site posted an article based on a series of terrifying incidents that are said to have affected people associated with ‘The Omen,’ the 1976 movie that follows the exploits of Robert Thorn (played by actor, Gregory Peck) a US ambassador to Great Britain who begins to realise that his adopted infant son, Damien, is the anti-Christ after investigating the circumstances behind the gruesome deaths of a priest and a nanny. It’s long been suggested that some of those linked to this big-screen project became the victims of a demonic curse after they were either injured, killed or nearly killed in seemingly bizarre real-life episodes that on one or two occasions mirrored scenes from the film. These were documented in a TV-documentary in 2005 titled, ‘The Curse of The Omen.’ This television-programme, which aired on the UK’s ‘Channel 4,’ has never been screened since (as far as ‘Conspiro Media’ is aware) and wasn’t widely available on the ‘net at the time the March 2013 article was written and posted, meaning that much of the information posted here was based on hazy memories of the original broadcast and a few scraps of data gleaned from various websites. You can read that here:
You might be pleased to know that the TV-documentary has since been posted onto ‘YouTube’ by someone operating under the username, ‘mike halton‘ and that it’s been embedded below for your perusal. Much of what’s documented in the programme does largely correspond with the above article in spite of the lack of information on offer at the time it was being prepared. Additionally, having viewed it again in full after all these years, ‘Conspiro Media’ has now been able to explore some of the claims made in the documentary in a bid to check out their validity. There are sceptics out there after all, who’ve concluded that these horrific incidents were dreamt up by the film-makers for promotional purposes.
*Did a plane originally hired by the film-crew to shoot aerial-shots over London actually crash at the end of the runway and hit a car, resulting in the death of the vehicle’s occupants, none other than the wife and two children of one of the airfield‘s pilots?…
In the documentary, which features lengthy contributions from most of the movie’s main players including producer, Harvey Bernhard and executive-producer, Mace Neufeld, we’re informed that the plane they’d hired for the aerial-shots was instead rented out to “Chinese businessmen” because they’d offered, so says director, Richard Donner, “a better deal.” The film-makers were told they could take it out at a later date for a “discount.” They agreed. On take-off, a flock of birds apparently flew directly into the engines causing the jet with its Chinese passengers to crash. Six people were killed according to the documentary’s narrator including the wife and children of one of the airfield’s pilots.
‘Conspiro Media’ has located information to verify many of the details behind these claims. According to a website titled, ’International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice,’ and which is operated in conjunction with the UK’s ‘Open University’ and Robert Bartlett, a former British police Chief Superintendent, a plane (an HS125) “taking off from Dunsfold Airfield struck a car… killing the woman and five girls travelling inside. On a dark, late afternoon in 1975, at about 4 pm November 20th, Sergeant Robert Bartlett… was sent by Control to the A281 Guildford to Horsham Road at the end of the Dunsfold runway, where a plane was reported to have crashed. The plane had hit birds, lapwings, on take-off and came down at the end of the runway. The speed was so fast that there was no time to brake and the plane shot through the perimeter fence across the road hitting a car… there had been five children and an adult in the car, all killed, as the vehicle was crushed and completely destroyed.” According to another witness at the crash-scene, Clive Stanbury, “I was called back from temporary inspector duties… to conduct grid-mark and document the crash-site. I may not have this exactly right but I think the pilot of the crashed aircraft was a friend of a fellow pilot who was the father of two of the children who were killed being passengers in one the two cars (sic) the plane hit…” His claim that the car-victims were connected in some shape or form to the pilot of the plane is echoed by a colleague who’s quoted as stating, “I attended with Chief Constable as his driver. The aircraft careered through a hedge and struck a passing car containing the wife and children of a test-pilot from Dunsfold. All the occupants of the car were killed.” Incidentally, it might interest you to learn that this particular witness-account was made by a man going by the name of John Thorne(!). What’s also strange is that, in the words of the documentary’s narrator, “essential safety equipment” on the plane “had been switched off” on the day of the crash. Footage of what appears to be a TV news-bulletin is shown that seems to corroborate this. “One spokesman told me Dunsfold does have bird-scaring devices,” says a reporter. “But at the time the executive-jet took off, these were not in operation.” It’s at this point that the entire incident takes on a whole new twist – if you investigate it closer still, that is and approach it with an open-mind, irrespective of whether or not you believe the plane was downed by demonic forces. Actually, don’t even think about the ’curse’ for a few seconds and consider the crash from a geo-political perspective instead. You see, if Robert Bartlett and his colleagues are to be believed, the “Chinese businessmen” onboard the plane were actually visiting the UK incommunicado to buy military aircraft. He states, “the Chinese… were passengers on a top-secret mission to consider the purchase of Harrier Jump Jets.” John Thorne concludes, “I do not know if the following contravenes the Official Secrets Act. The aircraft was being demonstrated to members of the Chinese delegation” all of whom survived the crash. “They were all taken to the hospital to get them away the site (sic), where it is said they all gave as their names and addresses as the Chinese equivalent of ’John Smith, 1 High Street, London’” states Bartlett. Assuming the above witness-accounts are true (and who’s to say they’re not), it could be that the ‘switching off’ of the plane‘s “essential safety equipment” was neither accidental nor the work of a demonic hand (well, not strictly speaking any way), but instead instigated by covert forces of a more Earthly nature – namely, Western Intelligence figures out to assassinate members of the Chinese Military Industrial Complex? Note that the crash occurred during a decade in time when the so-called ‘Cold War’ was in full swing.
Of course, sceptics could argue (and most probably have) that the movers and shakers behind ’The Omen’ film were in no way personally involved with either the incident, or the airfield where it occurred, but weaved themselves into it regardless for the purpose of plugging their movie after watching TV news-bulletins reporting on it. That’s quite possible. However, it can also be argued that the circumstances surrounding the nature of the crash are wide open enough for question as it is (as well as highly unusual) – curse or no curse.
* Was a special-effects man on ‘The Omen’ in a real-life car accident that was almost identical to one of the film’s goriest scenes?…
‘The Omen’ is littered with grisly death scenes, but perhaps the most graphic is the one where the character of photographer, Keith Jennings has his head decapitated by a sheet of glass which mysteriously flies off the back of a truck. In the documentary, we’re told that John Richardson, the creator of that stunt, was involved in a road-smash in Holland where he was working on his next movie. He survived but his assistant, Liz Moore, died instantly after the front-wheel of his car came right through it, cutting her in half. Interviewed for the Channel 4 programme, he says, “it was certainly very odd, because it happened on Friday 13th.” Odder still, as he lay there seriously injured, he noticed that “right opposite the point where the accident happened was an old mile-post with nothing but sixes on it… what spooked me even more was when I discovered it was on a road to a place called, ‘Ommen.’” His claims are backed-up in the documentary by George Gibbs, an Oscar-winning special-effects artist who worked on ‘The Omen.’ With regards to the spooky road-sign, he says, “the accident was on the road to a town called, Ommen. And it had ‘66 km’ on the sign.” He knows that, because he “drove back over the place when the accident happened.” But why was he in Holland at the same time as Richardson? Well, no explanation for that is put forward, although, presumably, it’s because both men were working there together on the same film? A quick scan through the movie web-source, ‘IMDb’ would appear to confirm this. The pair were involved in the making of the 1977 war-flick, ‘A Bridge Too Far’ which was partly shot in the Netherlands. Incidentally, a stuntman on ’The Omen’ was seriously injured on the set of this WWII adventure after he jumped off the roof of a building and missed the large air-bags that were positioned to cushion his fall. This is noted in the documentary (and in the earlier ’Conspiro Media’ article).
Of all the grisly and ghastly incidents that occurred before, during and after the making of ‘The Omen,’ the road-crash is perhaps the most compelling, and it appears to be all-true – well, almost. There’s some dispute to a claim made in the documentary by the narrator that the Ommen road-sign actually read: ‘66.6 km.’ It’s been parrotted since on countless websites. However, according to a forum-poster at ’HorrorExpress.com’ who declares himself to be Liz Moore’s son, “there was no 666 crap.” All the other details of the crash though are accurate. “The person in question is my mother Liz Moore,” the message begins. “She was not John Richardson’s assistant, she was one of the designers on ’The Omen’; A special-effects sculptress. She was decapitated, and it was Friday 13th, and she died next the ’A’ sign for Ommen… the facts given by me are correct as they can be.” On the face of it, it would appear that the forum-poster is genuine. If you check out their username – ‘dandickenson’ – you’ll soon discover that there is indeed an individual by that name whose mother was Liz Moore – and, yes – she was a sculptress who worked on a number of movies including, the Stanley Kubrick classics, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and ‘Barry Lyndon.’
She’s also credited for her contribution to ‘Star Wars,’ having modelled the C-3PO suit and the helmet for the Stormtroopers. The website, ’LizMooreSculpts.com,’ meanwhile, states that she died on August 13th 1976 (a Friday) “leaving a son Dan.”
*Was an employee of a safari-park killed by tigers shortly after ’The Omen’ film-crew finished work there?…
If you’ve watched ‘The Omen,’ you’ll no doubt recall the part of the movie where Damien and his adopted mother (played by actress, Lee Remick) are attacked by baboons in a safari-park. According to the Channel 4 documentary, a further two scenes were shot at the same location, one of which was set in a big cats’ enclosure, although it never made the final cut. Assisting the crew was a young man who, Richard Donner says, worked in the lions’ section. The director claims he “was attacked and killed” the very day the film-makers left that section of the complex. Harvey Bernhard states that the 22-year-old victim met his end when he “was in-between two wire fences… Unbeknownst to him, he thought the tiger was on one side.“ However, “the tiger was on top, and when he stuck his head out, the tiger grabbed him by the head, pierced his skull and just killed him.” The documentary gives out the name of the young man said to have been killed that day, although – thanks to the not-so-excellent audio-quality – it’s not exactly clear if the narrator is saying, “Sidney Banford,” or “Bamford.” This is important if we’re looking to verify the film-makers’ claims. What we can ascertain (according to Donner, ’Wikipedia,’ and IMDb), is that the baboon-scene was shot at ‘Windsor Safari-Park’ in the English county of Berkshire. Armed with this knowledge, ‘Conspiro Media’ went digging for more information and it wasn‘t long before it found some…
There’s a message posted on the forum/website, ‘Windsor SafariPark.org’ dating back to 2005 and credited to an individual by the name of John MacLaverty, a “director/producer.” It reads:
I’m currently finishing a documentary on the filming of ‘The Omen’ for Channel 4.
As I’m sure you know, part of the film was shot in Windsor Safari Park in 1975. Shortly after the filming a member of staff (Mr. Syndey Bamford) was killed by a tiger…
As a result, we’re trying to get in touch with Mr. Bamford’s next of kin, to make them aware that the programme will be broadcast later this year. We don’t want to interview them, or upset them, merely to make them aware that we mention the incident in the documentary.
I’ve been unable to track down any contact numbers and wondered if you would be able to point me in the right direction or suggest a way of getting in touch with his family?
Thanks for your help.
You can read the post in full here:
Of course, you will no doubt have noticed that the said victim of the safari-park attack is referred to as ‘Syndey’ in the post. Is this a typing-error? It could well be, because after conducting a search for the name, ‘Sidney Bamford’ in the indexes of the website, ‘UK Archives,‘ ‘Conspiro Media’ located some data that seems to match the details put forward by those involved with the documentary. There in black and white is ‘Sidney Thomas Bamford’ of the town of Bracknell in the county of Berkshire. Year of death: 1975. Year of birth: 1952, which means he was either aged 22 or 23 when he died.
Further still, there do appear to be press-cuttings available on the web dating back to that time (November ‘75) reporting on his death. Unfortunately, they’re only accessible on one site (’Newspaper.com’), a site that requires you to part with $79.95 a year or $7.95 a month in subscriptions. That’s a heavy price to pay for the pleasure of reading a small paragraph in an old clipping. (Hey! This blog is run on a shoestring in case you haven’t noticed!) So, instead, here’s a scan of ‘Google-search’ where you can pick out clues of what’s in those old pages. You’ll make out that “the tiger leaped on Sidney Bamford as he patroled (sic) the tiger compound” at “Windsor Safari Park, 21 miles west of London…”…
Do note though, there’s at least one discrepancy with regards to the film-makers’ accounts of this incident. In a six-minute featurette enclosed within the collectors’ edition of the DVD re-release of ‘The Omen’ titled, ‘Curse or Coincidence’ (and available to view in the earlier ‘Conspiro Media’ article), Richard Donner says the “young guy” at Windsor Safari Park was killed by lions. He makes no mention of tigers. Why?
It’s not the only point in the featurette where we can detect a differing version of events when compared to accounts made earlier in the Channel 4 documentary. You’ll spot another inconsistency if you check out what those involved with the movie have to say in relation to claims that two commercial airline-flights carrying members of the cast and crew from LA to London in 1975 were struck by lightning, within days of each other. Gregory Peck was on the first, on his way to Britain to begin filming ‘The Omen’ so we’re told – but there’s some conflict as to who was on the second. In ‘Curse or Coincidence,’ Richard Donner tells us it was the movie‘s screenwriter, David Seltzer. In the Channel 4 documentary however, Mace Neufeld says it was him. “On my way over, we went through a tremendous thunderstorm, I mean really shaky,” he claims. “All I know is that it was the roughest five minutes I’ve ever had on a commercial airliner. We were hit by lightning… It was very, very scary.” We’re either being led a merry dance here (for whatever reason), or it could just well be that these incidents did occur, but the exact facts surrounding them have been forgotten by the ageing memories of those involved? For example, according to sources not connected to either the featurette or TV-programme, David Seltzer was indeed a passenger on a London-bound plane that was hit by lightning. In the book, ’Technomage,’ author and occultist, Dirk Bruere notes that some hours after Peck boarded his flight to the UK, “the plane carrying the screenwriter David Seltzer was also hit by lightning.” Some websites claim that all three (actor, screenwriter, and Neufeld) – and even Donner – were subjected to this chain of extraordinary occurrences. Unfortunately, ‘Conspiro Media’ has been unable to locate any information to substantiate these accounts.
As you might be aware, as well as the plane crash, the car-smash, the lightning strikes, the safari-park mauling, and the stunt gone wrong, members of the movie-crew and production-team are also said to have narrowly-missed being killed in an IRA bomb-attack, and yet another road collision. As well as this, Gregory Peck’s son committed suicide shortly before the actor began work on the film.
In the Channel 4 documentary, Mace Neufeld refutes accusations that many of these incidents were created for the means of hyping ‘The Omen’ on its release in June 1976. “There were reports in the newspapers of things that were going on,” he says. “They were actually going on.” Donner concurs, however, in the DVD-featurette, he does also claim that these real-life tragedies and near-misses were capitalised on too. “We had all these things happen,” he states. “Are they ‘omens’… is there something bigger? I say ‘no.‘ It’s just an incredible coincidence. There are those that would like to think about it, that it’s something more, and when the publicity-department at Fox (Studios) got their hands on it, we all said, ‘yes. It’s the omen because we’re selling our movie.’” This version of events conflicts with what Harvey Bernhard has said though. He would have us believe that – as far as he’s concerned – there was indeed a demonic hand influencing the making of the film. “The Devil was at work, and he didn’t want the picture made,” he says in the documentary. Really?… Then how come it was completed – and followed rather swiftly by two sequels? So much for a ‘curse’… Whilst scouting around on the internet, ‘Conspiro Media’ has discovered that this is one of the more popular points of contention with sceptics. Perhaps the producer has an answer for that however? In the Channel 4 programme, he says quite plainly and simply, “when you prevail over evil, it’s a blessing. And we prevailed.” While we’re at it, another common strain of dispute popular among the less-convinced is the fact that some of the incidents that affected the cast and crew occurred after the film hit the cinemas when – presumably – the curse would have lifted… surely? Well, that train of thought doesn’t appear to correspond with the view of pastor, Bob Larson, a broadcaster, author and exorcist who was interviewed for the documentary. He says, “if there was a curse on the production of that movie, and I’m fairly convinced that there was, then that curse is still there. And demons are still following everybody who is involved to this day.” Of course, there’ll be sceptics reading this who’ll refuse to entertain any of these explanations purely because to do so would be to accept that a (for want of a better term) ‘invisible force’ might – or does – exist (whether it‘s ‘the Devil’ or not). And it’s at this point where the debate surrounding this issue (which rages on various internet-forums and websites) hits a dead-end. You either believe to some extent that something of a supernatural nature is a real possibility, or you don’t, and our opinions regarding ‘the curse of The Omen’ hinge on this fundamental point to a large degree. Any one who’s genuinely interested in breaking through this impasse and continuing the dialogue with those of a differing view should perhaps consider suspending any preconceptions they might hold (whether they’re of a sceptical persuasion or not) and then allowing their minds to open to all potentials, however outlandish or unacceptable they might seem. Only then (surely?) can we begin to see a whole instead of a part?