A New Dimension
Following my visit to Christchurch Park, I heard no more from Marlin that week. I spent the time considering what I had discovered, and what, if anything, it may mean. My encounter with 'John' had altered my opinion considerably. Until that point, I was happy to believe that Marlin was no more than a hoaxer, motivated by a simple desire for attention. The tree carving alone merely proved that the man was willing to create a few intriguing scraps of evidence, but having already found myself in receipt of a severed finger the previous week, this could hardly be considered news. John, on the other hand, added an entirely new dimension to the case. If I was the victim of a hoax, then clearly I was not alone.
John evidently knew more than the tree carving alone could ever have told him. He was no mere idle spectator. Though where, or from whom, he had gained this knowledge, I could not say. At the very least his existence proved that Marlin had a wider audience for his stories than just myself. At most, it may have proved a great deal more. For the first time the case appeared to have some real substance.
I should break off momentarily here and mention that it has been suggested to me on more than one occasion that John may have been Marlin himself. This was a possibility which occurred to me at the time, and which seemed perfectly plausible. Later events would muddy the waters somewhat. I would therefore ask that visitors to this site read the entire story before arriving at any conclusions. I will add however, that whilst I tend to believe Peter Marlin and John to be two distinct individuals, I have not ruled out the possibility of a link between them. (See also the Symbolism page). I am not prepared to discount any theories until evidence proves them unfounded, and whether the Marlin case is a hoax or not, one cannot rule out the possibility of confederates.
John's mention of "the Matthew's Street boys" was my obvious next step. I had little definite idea who he meant by that, nor indeed could I be certain of the location to which he referred, but given John's own apparent circumstances, one explanation seemed most likely.
Less than a quarter of a mile west of Christchurch Park in Ipswich lies St Matthew's Street, situated close to the town's main shopping area. At one end of the road is a large roundabout, beneath which lies a pedestrian underpass. I am certain John made no reference to the 'saint' part of the name, yet it seemed the obvious answer to this riddle, for one simple reason: this subway is known locally as a popular gathering point for the homeless, who often seek shelter there at night. I could well believe that John himself had spent more than the occasional night there, and that perhaps there existed a group of 'regulars' known for frequenting the place.
This was my theory, and I had every intention of investigating further. I planned to visit St Matthew's Street that weekend.
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