When journalists ask about the biggest mysteries in my life — the UFOs, the telepathy, the bent spoons and materialisations and out-of-body experiences — I want to explain that the truly inexplicable riddle is… how did I have such scholarly children?

That doesn’t begin to do justice to how weird my week has been.

The supergroup are Japan’s top boyband, SMAP, and it’s impossible to describe how famous they are. Almost unknown in America and Europe, they are treated like gods by the Japanese, who are obsessive about celebrities.

The boys are in their thirties, but unlike Westlife or Boyzone they haven’t grown up, and unlike Take That they have never slipped in and out of public affections. The five heroes of SMAP have been writing and performing platinum hits since their teens.

When they wanted to explore their talents beyond pop, they devised a brilliant TV concept for a cookery show that has exploded all the ratings records. Pop stars, politicians and movie celebs are shown to a table in Bistro SMAP and invited to order any meal they can imagine. One of the boys plays head waiter, and the other four team up in two competing pairs to create gastronomic fantasies. Naturally, they can’t only sing, dance and write infectious pop. They can also cook like a supergroup of Gordon Ramsey, Hester Blumenthal, Marco-Pierre White… you get the picture. The intensity of their fame struck me as we drove from the airport to our hotel ˜ in every Tokyo square there are vast advertising screens, and the boys from SMAP seemed to be on every one, in close-ups 100 feet high, advertising mobile phones and electronic gadgetry. Shipi and I were spending a week in Tokyo ˜ it’s too far to go for the day and we decided to go in search of crystals and strange stones to take back to the garden. This was a marvellous excuse to poke around the city’s most bizarre corners.

In Shinjiku Street we found a store of wonders where a glistening boulder seemed to be drawing my attention with a hypnotic force. I put my cheek against its smooth surface: the rock felt ice cold and filled with electric energy, and I had a strange sensation that it contained something living, like a stone egg.

The shopkeeper explained that this was a meteorite, one of the biggest ever found. When it hit Earth, tens of thousands of years ago, it must have struck with the force of a nuclear explosion. It was a space rock like this one which wiped out the dinosaurs ˜ perhaps this was the very stone. I had no idea how I was going to get it home, and I couldn’t begin to think what Hanna was going to say, but I had to have it.

“I don’t care what it costs ˜ buy it!” I told Shipi.

He had a brief conversation with the shopkeeper, and grabbed my arm. “It’s three million dollars,” he muttered, as he dragged me out of the shop.

When I told the SMAP boys this story, they were thrilled. All of them were fascinated by space, and they seemed to think $3m was a bargain price. We stood outside and started talking about extraterrestrial theories to explain human mindpowers, and one of them took a spoon and held it in his teeth.

Could I bend the metal while he was holding it in his mouth, he asked. And then, with a crack like a whip, something ricocheted off the spoon.

We all leapt back. There was pandemonium for a few moments as aides rushed around us. And then one of the boys found a blackened, melted fragment on the floor. It looked like a minute meteorite.

This was a synchronicity too extraordinary for me to comprehend. I had been talking to the band about stones from space, and then one appeared to hit us. What were the odds? I immediately called the only person who I could trust to believe this incredible story, the astronaut Captain Ed Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon.

Ed’s mind flashed back to our experiments at Stanford Research Institute in California, in the early Seventies. “Do you remember my tie pin?” he asked. The memory left me weak at the knees: it was an even more astonishing story.

In a corridor at SRI, a fragment of metal had materialised in front of Ed and me. That was weird, but what happened in the canteen was much weirder ˜ I bit into my ice cream and almost broke a tooth on a lump of metal. When we washed it off, we found it was a perfect match for the first piece. They fitted together to make a tie-pin with a ram’s head.

I looked at Ed, and he was ashen and trembling. This was a fearless man, who had risked his life in space, reduced to speechless amazement by a tie-pin. “It’s mine,” he told me at last. “The ram’s head is unmistakeable. But I haven’t seen it for years. I lost it on a beach in Florida.”

Ed wanted to know whether I could make metal materialise at will. The test object we chose was his Hasselblad camera… the one he’d left on the moon. “There are a number of camera up there,” he explained. “When we’d finished shooting pictures, we removed the film and left the camera behind, to save weight.”

I strained my brain trying to bring that camera back, but it never appeared. Now I wanted to know if the SMAP object could be part of Ed’s Hasselblad. Using my Blackberry we emailed pictures of it to him on the other side of the planet, but Ed couldn’t identify the fragment ˜ his best guess was that this was part of an antenna from a space satellite.

The synchronicities did not end there, though. A few minutes later, one of the Bistro SMAP producers approached me, bowing politely. An unexpected guest was waiting in my dressing room. He very much wished to meet me. His name was Noguchi Soichi, and he had explored space with Russian cosmonauts ˜ he was, in fact, Japan’s most famous astronaut.

At the GMTV studio these two young ladies threw their arms around me for a cuddle. They certainly live up to the name of The Cheeky Girls!




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