This Europe: Army investigates strange case of the sleepwalking soldiers

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The Independent Online

The Austrian army is turning to the powers of divining rods to help to solve the mystery of the sleepwalking soldiers.

The Austrian army is turning to the powers of divining rods to help to solve the mystery of the sleepwalking soldiers.

It started last year at the end of May when a young man on national service in the southern state of Styria fell out of an upstairs window at an army barracks just after 1am. He suffered serious internal injuries, but made a full recovery and the case was closed. Or at least it was, until the end of last month when another young man at the same barracks fell out of a window just after 2am. This time the sleepwalker injured his head and broke several bones, but is recovering in hospital.

The parallels between the two incidents do not end there. Both the young men were sleeping in the same room and in the same bed at the time of their falls. The room was evacuated, the windows sealed and an army investigation was launched. It found that neither of the soldiers had shown suicidal tendencies and there were no suspicious circumstances.

But a divining rod enthusiast has found that the bed in room 82c lies bang in the middle of a negative energy field. An earth-ray expert has also concluded that there were disturbances in the area and is investigating further.

Lieutenant-Colonel Johann Heritsch at the barracks in Strass believes the mishaps are no more than a strange coincidence. But he added: "We will take the findings of the earth-ray experts and diviners seriously and take them into consideration for further measures."

There's one more interesting detail. The barracks at Strass are housed in a 450-year-old castle. Colonel Heritsch dismisses talk that it could be haunted. "Soldiers have been billeted here for 150 years and this is the first time anything like this has ever happened," he said.

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