Sunday, 8 January 2017

Sunday January 8th 2017

Within the last couple of days, we have been informed that Andrew Homer - long-standing 'paranormal researcher' and author - has released a fascinating, new volume on specific aspects of the Black Country and its surrounding area. 

Published in late 2016 (by Tin Typewriter Publishing), 'A Black Country Miscellany' - utilising a series of thoroughly referenced 'snapshots in time' - explores a variety of topics as diverse as the Black Death and Brutalist architecture......

Students of Black Country and West Midlands local history will find detailed references and extensive bibliography to aid further research on the subjects discussed.  Readers with a keen fascination for the history of this region will discover much of interest within these pages.  Chapters cover the Black Death, English Civil War, rural life, aristocracy and industry, hop picking, art and architecture, the chainmaking womens' strike of 1910 and the extraordinary story of Black Country chainmakers kidnapped by the Germans before the First World War!!

'A Black Country Miscellany' focuses on some of the events, places and people who helped to forge this area of the West Midlands.

Now available on Amazon (via this LINK) and from the 'Black Country Living Museum' in Dudley, West Midlands.

Anyone who is familiar with Andrews work will also know that he has previously released two excellent volumes on the haunted pubs of the Black Country - 'Beer And Spirits', available HERE - and also 'Haunted Hostelries Of Shropshire', available HERE.  However, the latter are only available on Kindle currently, save through 2nd hand stockists for actual 'book' editions.  On top of these, we have previously mentioned Andrews VERY popular 'GhostNav: Black Country Ghosts' app for mobile phone users on this page, offering over 160 haunted locations for the region covered!!  (Available HERE)

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Thursday 22nd December 2016

Here's wishing a 'MERRY CHRISTMAS' and a very 'HAPPY NEW YEAR' to all of our visitors, new and old...!!  However you intend to celebrate over the festive season, please do take care, stay safe, and we'll see you all in 2017.....!!!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Monday 19th December 2016

The W.M.G.C. were recently sent news of an absolutely fascinating account by someone who expressed an interest in possibly finding a 'plausible explanation' for something that they had experienced the previous day?  While the situation concerned couldn't really be construed as 'ghostly' in nature, it still presents us with an utterly bizarre - impossible? - scenario that, at face value, must surely fall into the 'paranormal' bracket....!?

And so, without further ado.....

On a visit to town, our correspondent had parked their car.... finding a small gap between a lorry and a blue Clio.  Their car was facing the front of the lorry, with around 6 inches between them.  The lorry itself was the last in the line of parked vehicles, situated 'on' the corner... so the only thing behind it was space, the end of the kerb, and a turn into another road.  When they first parked, they had gone round to the front of the car to make sure that there would be enough space for them to 'get out' afterwards.  In the process of checking, they looked up at the lorry cabin, noticing that there was a black curtain and blue pendant hanging in the window. 

Approximately halfway through their shopping trip, they came back to the car to put bags, just amassed during their visit, in the boot ...  They report that there was nothing 'untoward' about the general scene at this point in time.  They simply put the bags in the boot and went back into town.

After spending about an hour with further shopping, they returned to the car once more and discovered..... a silver, Mini Cooper in the spot where their car had been!?  It was facing the lorry - as their car had been - situated six inches from the lorry.... as their car had been!!  Their car was now parked BEHIND the Mini Cooper... with the Clio still situated directly behind it, as it had been when they'd parked up.  The lorry was still in the exact, same position it had been all morning......

Our confidant admitted that they had been pondering the matter all day long, afterwards.... finding nothing that logically explains the situation?  They tell us that they had recently heard about a phenomenon called the 'Mandela Effect' and wondered if 'time' had possibly been altered somehow, somewhere.....!?  In driving home after the event - with this' effect' in mind - they had pondered over:  'What if I get home and the lounge has completely different furniture?  My family members have changed.... and we have a pet dog instead of a rabbit??!!  Now I am the most rational and logical person you could ever meet; intuitive and analytical... but this experience will never be explained!?  Funny thing is, I'm not scared by it... just bemused and, in a funny way, think it's kind-of cool!!  The truth is definitely out there, but I don't think I'll reach it on this one.....!!"

Needless to say - we're utterly befuddled by the experience above and wonder whether any of our visitors might be able to shed some light on such a scenario at all? 

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Sunday 4th December 2016

Following a recent appeal for 'local' ghost stories, we were kindly sent an account concerning a 'poltergeist-like-effect' in the Black Country region.  Our correspondent has  kindly given us permission to repeat the details here, on the blog....

The matter concerned happened over the space of a number of years in a house that the family concerned moved into in 1949.  At the time, our confidant was 7 years old and moved into the property with their mother and father, 2 older brothers and 2 younger sisters. 

As far as 'activity' is concerned, it appeared to start with the sound of banging coming from the attic area that used to wake the two brothers up during the night.  They were apparently told to go into the attic and find out what the cause could be.... perhaps something as innocent as a bird, a stray cat, or maybe a rat?  They were - of course - scared by the prospects of such an investigation, but, together, they went into the space concerned.  It was pitch black - no light whatsoever in there - but  they both came tumbling back out, reporting that they could find nothing at all to account for the sounds!? 

Only a few weeks after this, the bedroom doors in the property were seemingly being 'banged on'.... so the family members, logically, all began blaming one another... thinking it must surely be some form of joke being played? 

However, this particular 'effect' eventually went on for some years.......  

Family members would sometimes see black shadows running along the hall of the house - though this seems to have been the only 'visual' activity reported in the entire case.  The two brothers went into the army and the activity seemed to get worse.  The bedroom doors were now being opened;  it was a cold house, so they were always kept shut at night!  The mother of the family was so scared, she would put a brick behind her door at night... but, the next day, the brick had been moved... along with the door! 

Our correspondent tells us that she would hear heavy feet at night, walking into her bedroom and stopping by her pillow.  She asked her father if he had perhaps been in the bedroom, but he had said 'no'.  The brothers eventually came out of the army, but then left home to get married.  With the father having recently passed away, this now left the mother, and three sisters in the property.  

At this point things are said to have started 'going crazy' in the house.  Someone was heard walking upstairs - heavy foot steps - and our confidant would get so mad at the sounds, because her mother was so afraid to stay in the house on her own!  She would run up the stairs shouting, always looking to find someone to blame for the happenings, but there never was anyone there!!  At night, the mother started to put her dressing table behind the door to her bedroom and had one of the younger sister staying in there with her.  A mass of different activity occurred over the space of some weeks:  banging on doors, doors opening, etc:  it was a most scary time for all of the remaining witnesses!  Eventually, the mother became too afraid to go to sleep upstairs and actually began sleeping in a chair for years!

Towards the end of the occupancy of the house, there was only our correspondent and her mother still living at the property.  This carried on until the former eventually got married and moved out.  The mother said that she could not possibly stay there any more, so, in 1963, she also moved out and went to live as a house keeper for a friend. 

Apparently, the house in question is still there.... not at all far from where the W.M.G.C. is currently based.  Our confidant tells us that she has not been back to the site since, as she can't bring herself to return and have a look at the house.... She is too scared!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Wednesday 16th November 2016

Almost 20 years ago now, a West Midlands household hit the National press with tales of 'ghostly goings on' in their, otherwise typical, Council home.  It seems that the 'activity' concerned had initially started up some 5 or 6 months before media sources caught on to the story;  that, in itself, something of a mistake, following the head of the household contacting a member of the local press - asking if they might suggest someone to help - and the reporter concerned allegedly 'ran an article' on the matter without permission!?  (*The W.M.G.C. have also had this happen on a couple of occasions at least in the past, it has to be mentioned).  In this instance, the 'interest' generated numerous press-related responses, TV requests and 'glossy' magazine appeals, etc.

Initial activity at the house - beginning in the July of the year in question, without any obvious stimuli(?) - seemed typically 'poltergeist' in fashion, consisting mainly of the, sometimes 'threatening', movement of objects, inexplicable messages being left and so on.  In this particular case, events only really seemed to happen at night - seldom during the day - and ONLY occurred when the family head was around.  Phenomena apparently travelled to the homes of other family members if he visited and mainly seems to have been restricted to the downstairs portion of their house....

Coincidentally - some 5 months after the activity began - an Aunt of the family involved saw one of our appeals in the local press for 'ghostly experiences' and the like and passed our contact details on.  We received a phone call from the family, who filled us in on some of their experiences....

With regards to the movement of objects, it seems that - as in a lot of such cases - certain items seemed infinitely more 'popular' than others.  In this case, one particular knife seemed a VERY active item indeed and was said to have always 'found its way out of places' where it had been purposefully hidden!  Somewhat worryingly, this knife was sometimes discovered sticking out of a wall, or kitchen cupboard door on occasion!  Other objects had regularly been found moved, smashed and stacked up in piles around the home.  Paintings fell off walls, scissors, remote controls and other utensils thrown around..... and a spoon hit a family member hard in the shoulder!!

Quite typically, for some cases, 'strange messages' are said to have been left around the house at times, being discovered on mirrors and walls.  The name of the family head had been discovered, written in washing up liquid in the bath!  A visitor to the house has apparently left a piece of paper lying around and 'something' had 'written on it', while they weren't looking....!!

We were told that NUMEROUS sources had been approached for help with the matter.... everything from the local Council, to the clergy.  The former had been asked for somewhere else to stay, until the problem could be sorted out..... so the family sought alternative intervention.  A variety of local churches were called upon; self-styled 'exorcists' spoken to... and even the Mormons were asked for help!  (The latter are said to have 'chanted' and just made the matter even worse!!)  One local clergyman, who visited the property, advised the family to leave their home and no go back....      

Intervention from psychic / mediumistic types suggested that the culprit for these goings-on was a relative of the head of the family, called 'Thomas', who had only recently died....  Typically - and perhaps quite conveniently - it was suggested by the same sources that 'Thomas' was, unfortunately, a completely 'unknown' relative to the household head....!!  ('Thomas' was apparently identified as the 'haunting element' by two, separate, psychic sources..... though, of course, the 2nd may well have been aware of what the previous one had suggested!?  It was stated that the 2nd had basically 'confirmed' that the entity was 'Thomas'!?)  The second psychic, using a pendulum, is said to have openly asked 'Thomas' if he would be willing to 'go away' and leave the family in peace..... but the response was a resounding 'NO!'  The pendulum used apparently 'went absolutely wild' in the process!

This latter, seemingly determined, standpoint was revised immediately afterwards, however, when - in the same conversation - the 'spirit' then decided that he would probably 'go away' if the family might learn a particular 'secret' about him and discuss the matter....!?  Needless to say, this kind of, wholly unreasonable, reasoning is quite typical of alleged 'conversations with spirit' at times!!  Thomas was seemingly unprepared to budge if this matter couldn't be settled as he'd asked.  (*It's often suggested by various sources that we should never really 'trust what a spirit might say', as they are frequently found to be 'liars'....  However, if they're not, it could be accurately said that they ARE often found to be a momentous 'pain in the backside' at the very least!?) 

Monday, 14 November 2016

Monday 14th November 2016

Around 2 years ago, an old school friend of mine happened to mention to me that he possibly had some 'strange goings-on' in a shop that he was running......  The property itself - which shall remain nameless - is situated in a bustling, 'Black Country' town; a reasonably old and historic building in a fairly old and historic section of the area concerned.....  The site has been quite dramatically altered (structurally), within the last decade or so, parts being rebuilt, replaced and so on..... though with original, wooden beams retained as a charming feature!! 

At the time that the matter was first mentioned, the friend had said that he and his partner were working late one evening, so the shop, window shutters were down and the light was off in the front of the premises.  They were working in the back of the shop and he was busy printing some documents related to an order that had to be filled out.  Several sheets had already been printed, when another came through... but stopped half way out.  The sheet was 'half blank', so he tried again and the printer just sent through a blank sheet in response...  He then turned everything off at the socket ('as you do', he says!!) and tried again with the same results!!  A 3rd attempt revealed exactly the same results!! 

It was at this precise point that his partner happened to look up and said: "Ive just seen a little boy in the shop.....!!" 

She described the figure as around 8 or 9 years old, with brown hair and wearing what she took to be 'Dickensian-style' dress!  At this point, the shop went icy cold and still!!

After composing themselves, his partner suggested 'trying the printer again'...... and it worked without problem!?  (My friend openly admits that he is 'pretty sceptical', when it comes to ghosts, but couldn't help 'feeling something' might have now been afoot....!?) 

At this point - understandably - curiosity 'took over' and he instantly 'put the laptop on' and tried to find out something on the general history of the place....!?  Ironically, he found himself thwarted in this task, as a site which apparently contained data on the region returned only 'smiley-face' emoticons when he clicked on images supposedly corresponding to the area of the shop!?! 

Finally - because they'd worked so late - they decided to visit a local 'chippy' for their tea, and, while there, they became engaged in conversation with the woman behind the counter.  The woman said that she'd 'seen them working late' and my friends partner admitted that they just happened to have had something of a  'strange occurrence' while doing so!!  Before any more could be said, however, the woman interrupted with the query:  "Oh - so you've seen the little boy then!?'

It transpires that the woman used to work in another shop on the site and said there was -  regularly, it seems - the ghost of a boy in there... 'causing mischief'!! 

My friend had contacted me on the matter the following day.....

It seems that, two years further on  - coming back to the present - 'strange things' are STILL occurring at the shop....  It is reported that sensations of clothing being 'tugged', shoulders being 'tapped' and objects generally 'going missing' - then reappearing again, in plain site - are relatively common happenings!  Normally, most reliable, equipment is said to sporadically 'malfunction'... mostly, for whatever reason, on Thursdays, it has been noticed!?  

The business concerned has been run from the property for some 3 or so years now and the wife and daughter of the family had always suspected that 'something' was 'in the premises' -  tugging at or touching them - prior to the aforementioned events of 2 years ago.   More recently, my friend mentioned that he was in the back of the shop working one day, while his partner was in the front, talking to a customer.  While going about his business, he had glanced towards the front.... and believes he, fleetingly, saw a young boy moving around on the shop floor.....   His partner then called through regarding a job inquiry and - now seeing NO small boy running about - he asked where the lad had gone!?  Apparently, there was no boy there!! 

Only a week or so ago, both were in the back of the premises and heard a 'clatter'....  When they went to investigate, it was found that a 'hook' had somehow fallen off some racking.... though this was deemed 'impossible', as they are firmly 'hooked in' and wont fall out, even if you physically 'bang' the display stand involved?  Even more recently, after the shop had closed, my friend was sitting in the premises, talking to a couple of friends....  He went to put the kettle on for some tea, and - when he returned - his acquaintances were both found to be in the process of 'looking around some boxes' on the shop floor.... When asked what was going on, they said they thought they had just heard something 'fall'...!?  He investigated and discovered yet another hook had fallen off the racking.  At the same time, one of his friends said they got the impression that 'someone had just run past him'!?!  

When I asked about the hooks and racking concerned, I was informed that the 'offending ones' had been in place for about a month - before starting to fall - but others had been hanging in place for as long as the shop had been open.......!?

Having had our interest in this matter re-kindled of late, a local historian (for the town) was approached on the subject and - when the address was mentioned - the authority concerned had blatantly said 'Haunted!!' before anything else could be described.....!?  In response to our puzzled looks, he explained that friends of his had once run a property in the row concerned and, in his words, they'd reported 'all sorts of strange happenings there!!'  The historian went on to say that they had related something about the 'murder of a woman' to him at the time..... a topic they claimed to have read about in an 'old' diary, some while earlier!?

In our own research into this latter-mentioned subject, it does indeed seem that there was a woman killed in the immediate area in the early-Victorian period; a fairly sordid killing, where she was discovered beaten - and her throat 'slit' - by an opportunist thief!!  (Who was soon caught and hanged for the crime!!) 

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Sunday 13th November 2016

An intriguing story reached the ears of the W.M.G.C. recently, when a good friend of the group told us that she had 'had a strange experience' while shopping in her home town (West Midlands region) with her mother....

She informs us that - feeling a little tired by their outing - they visited a local 'food court' and, after finding seats, our friend went to visit the nearby toilets.... finding the block to be completely empty as she entered.

After entering one of the cubicles, she says that she heard someone come into the toilets.... seemingly 'banging' all the doors and generally 'shuffling around'; a somewhat annoying 'display', given the simple act of 'going to the toilet' peaceably, involved... something everyone does on a daily basis!!

Exiting her cubicle again, and going to the sinks to wash her hands, our friend says she realised that the place had - seemingly - been empty all along.....!?  She then felt the hairs on the back of her neck 'prickle' and, in her peripheral vision - in the cubicle next to where she'd just been - she saw the figure of a woman wearing an old fashioned, 70's style, parka jacket...!!  Somewhat bizarrely, she couldn't see any legs to the figure.... she was just 'half' there!?!

She fully describes the woman she saw as having a lined, weathered face; a dark complexion... and seemed to have a lacy shawl or scarf placed over her head.  She appeared to be in the process of 'looking around' - very much as if she didn't know where she was....!?

This entire incident occurred in a matter of a few seconds, because, when she looked again, the figure was now completely gone!?  It was then that she suddenly felt a heavy, not-very-nice atmosphere - brooding, almost - and, in her own words, she 'got the hell out of there!'

Seating herself immediately afterwards and telling her mother what had just occurred, it was suggested to her that, maybe, recent / ongoing building work around the complex concerned may have somehow 'caused' the experience, perhaps?  Whatever this incident was, our friend tells us that - despite having had other paranormal experiences over the years - this was the first time she'd actually 'felt scared' or 'threatened' by (what she terms) a spirit.....

Only a matter of a couple of days after her encounter, she spoke to a close relative about the incident and was told that he recalled a terrible accident in the 70's, where an 'old lady' had possibly fainted and fallen into the path of an oncoming, speeding bus...  He believed that the vehicle may well have been said to have 'cut' the unfortunate woman 'in half'.....

Needless to say, this detail resonated with our friend, given that she had seen only 'half' of the figure in the toilets....!

In attempting to learn more of this matter - if at all possible - it was suggested that we advertise for information on the locality concerned.... and it wasn't long before a gentleman kindly came forward with some very interesting information.

Not only did the man concerned recall an accident with a bus at the spot in question..... but he actually 'witnessed' the incident at first-hand, as a school boy!!  He had been standing waiting for his mother at the time of the occurrence and places it at (around) the mid-1970's.

He had been standing around 15 yards in front of a small, elderly woman, when she was hit, full-on, by a bus and killed....  However, contrary to the reminiscence of our friends relative, the woman concerned wasn't 'cut in half' by the vehicle, but was knocked backwards, striking her head on the floor and seemingly dying almost instantly.  Another discrepancy to the main story related here is a description of the lady concerned, as the victim had been wearing a light, brown coat and had grey hair, clearly visible....  

Our confidant - understandably - says the tragedy was 'as plain as day' in his mind, even now.....

As mentioned numerous times in the past, the W.M.G.C. aren't known as particular advocates of the 'historic event / tragedy = ghostly remnant' equation, but it is interesting to note the general tone of the initial encounter, coupled with such a tragic happening on the same, general site!?  The more 'psychically-motivated' among us might, no doubt, suggest some form of 'confused' type of 'spiritual existence' being generated, in place - a direct result of the accident / instantaneous death - which would adequately negate any trifling details as discrepancies in clothing / appearance and so on....!?