10.2 The Branch

Here's a remarkable story sent to me by Dean, a carpenter in his early thirties and a local Christchurch resident. He's not in any way an HC fanatic - he hadn't even seen the film before - and yet ironically he stumbled across a remarkable artifact from it. It was only though sheer random chance that he realized what he had. Here's his story - and after that is the photo evidence of his amazing find!

I live in Christchurch, NZ. I was up at Victoria Park the other day, walking my six month old puppy, when I decided to jump a stone wall and proceeded down a zig-zag track. I walked for about fifteen minutes and decided that I'd given the dog enough exercise. I was rather out of breath and picked up a stick about five feet long to use as a walking stick, as going back up was very steep and hard going.When I got back to the top where the old tearooms once stood, I just threw the dog and the stick into my van.

Some days later, I could not sleep at all, and flicked on the TV. Just at that moment a strange film with two bloody screaming girls immediately caught my attention. I recognized the landscape, and ended up watching the whole film. I recognized the zig-zag track that I'd only walked a few days prior and it occured to me that I must have stopped that day only inches from the murder scene.

The following day, I went to my van and got the stick. Later that day I went and hired the HC video and paused it on the scene when Kate Winslet grabs the branch just before they do the murder and guess what... I have that branch she grabbed in the film some twelve years ago, and it has every single detail as it had in the film. I can show exactly where Kate grabbed it. I had never seen the film, and had no idea what made me take that track.

I went back to Victoria Park today and took the stick. I walked down that hellish track again to the location. I am already certain for sure its genuine, as all the features are exact. The good news is that, by using the film as a reference, I was able to locate the large tree to which it belongs. The branch fits perfectly at the base to the main tree. It actually holds itself in place as it has only been broken for a short time. When you stand back three metres down the slope,the branch looks perfect as if it was plucked from the film.

The actual tree is “rimu” red pine, and takes a minimum of 100 years to mature.There is no doubt in my mind that the actual tree and branch existed at the time of the actual murder, 50-odd years ago. I am going to go back for a third time with a digital camera and take accurate film-like shots for your viewing pleasure and to see for yourself. I will shoot it like you see it in the film, and show it fitting at the base, etc.

That steep path will never be the same for me – it has a spooky, airy vibe, it's dark and wet, and you can't wait to get to the top. What will i do with the stick? Its priceless! I (share) this for the pleasure of the HC worshippers, as I am not.

The branch is in great condition considering its been twelve years since filming.  I suppose if I was a raving fanatic of the film, I might appreciate this weird encounter. The freaky thing is why did the stick pick me?

I've created these "picture in picture" images to show that indeed, he does have the very stick used in the film which Kate so dramatially grasps just before the murder. The large images are in sequence from the film. Click on the "inset" image to see an enlargement of the stick as it looks today (it will open in a new window).

If you have any questions about the stick, please send them to me and I will forward them to Dean.