Friday, 26 June 2009

Another Peculiar Image??


The peculiar photograph (above) was taken by W.M.G.C. member, Steve Chew, during an investigation at an allegedly haunted stables complex in Warwickshire in late Sept. 2008.

The site concerned has been well known for instances of alleged ghostly activity for some 20 or so years at least. Poltergeist-like happenings have been reported in a cottage which stands on the grounds of the stables, while sightings of a number of different apparitions have been reported from the surrounding area. The region in which the stable complex stands - a semi rural setting - appears to be something of a 'paranormal hot-spot', with reports of peculiar activity spanning the length and breadth of the village concerned.

With regards to the apparitions associated with the riding stables themselves, one in particular is of considerable interest and was - amusingly - described to group members as 'looking just like ‘Zack Dingle’ from the T.V. show ‘Emmerdale’!!'.....

He has allegedly been seen by a number of staff and visitors to the site.... including group sightings - involving 2, 3 and sometimes more people - of the figure concerned. 'He' has been witnessed on numerous occasions, at first being taken to be a real-life person.... He is frequently seen seemingly in the process of ‘loitering’ around one specific corner of the stable yard. When challenged by witnesses, this figure has been seen to vanish over a nearby ‘muck heap’ or make off along one edge of a paddock before disappearing…..

During our initial recce. of the site, Steve Chew reported seeing ‘something move’ in the general area indicated in the above experiences. At a later point in the night, Steve took this perplexing photograph, shown above, of the area concerned.

Of passing interest was the fact that the resulting image was (obviously) rather blurred; the first (and so far only) blurred picture ever taken with this particular camera. The second, obviously more intriguing, feature of the image is the ‘figure’ to be seen standing in the right-hand corner of the shot….?

Only 4 people were present on the stable yard at this point in time.... 2 inside a distant building and – as well as Steve – one other standing (out of shot), in the process of setting up in a video recording session….

While W.M.G.C. members are at odds to rationally explain away this image, we do find the presence of an inexplicable 'extra' to be something of a puzzle....? Is this image simply something of a photographic anomaly - a by-product of the distorted image and misinterpreted data, perhaps - or did the Dingle-esque apparition so frequently seen at the yard put in a split-second appearance for the benefit of Steve......??

Best wishes to all,

The W.M. Ghost Club

Haunted Phone Box???


A recent post placed on a ghost related thread of a local forum raised a query concerning the (by now, somewhat famous) 'haunted phonebox' of Erdington, Birmingham. The question concerned related to a particular aspect of the ghostlore that has - quite erroneously - become associated with the box in question over recent years:

"The ghost of the woman in the phonebox in Erdington, does the phonebox still stand?

Also, does anyone have any light on the story about the housefire that killed her family?"

For those that aren't familiar with the case in question, suffice it to say - for the moment at least - that the ghost of a woman has supposedly been seen using the box..... Local legend has 'now' come to dictate that this poor, unfortunate figure is the apparition of a local woman who, in vain, tried to call the firebrigade as a raging fire burned down her house and killed her family......

A most horrfic story, to be sure....... but is there any truth to it all? Firstly, lets go back to basics, return to the very beginning of this legend and see where such a dramatic tale originates.

Firstly, the box in question came to public attention - via the local press - during the mid-1970's, when tales of a 'solitary', alleged 'ghostly experience' was reported by local, paranormal investigator, Colin Smith. The tale was later, widely publicised in the books by the late Andrew Green, who was honorary president of the ghost hunting society run by Smith.

The original published data from Colin - the story being related directly to him at 1st hand by witnesses involved - ran as follows:

The incident concerned occurred in December 1975. Three people, a Catholic priest and a couple, were waiting outside the phone box - situated in Station Road - intending to use the phone. All present reported seeing a woman inside the box and described her as perfectly normal / contemporary looking, 25 to 30 years old and dressed in dark blue costume, with reddish polo-neck jumper. After waiting for a while, the priest, somewhat impatiently, opened the door of the box, intending to use the telephone directory......

At this point, the woman is said to have 'vanished' before their eyes...... there one second and gone the next!!

As far as is known, this is the ONLY, first-hand sighting of any ghostly figure or alleged apparition associated with the site in question (in almost 35 years). Nowhere in the original news stories / book entries are there ever mentioned any further sightings of the woman...... and all references found for a number of years deal solely with the aforementioned experience. (Colin himself had suggested that the figure seen was that of a 'living person' and possibly fell into the category of 'apparitions of the living', etc).

The phone box, which features in the original story, was removed when the change from the old red boxes was made many years ago. Of course, as with such matters, this hasn't stopped subsequent phoneboxes / boothes in the area being attributed with 'haunted' status - a silly situation which hasn't been helped at all by sensation-hungry reporters and investigators over more recent years! This 'updated' story has now appeared in numerous publications and such places as Richard Felix's 'Brum Ghosts' DVD!!!!

Unfortunately, it is 'now' strongly suggested that the whole matter is indeed a case of 'haunting' and suggested that a 'number of people' have also seen the figure of the woman over a prolonged period of time, etc. Typically with such myths, no witnesses have ever actually come forward to relate these experiences 'personally', of course, suggesting that the professed ghostlore concerned is nothing more than the propagation / continuance of a 'friend of a friend' tale based on the original encounter.

As it turns out, the story involving the tragic house fire, etc, is clearly nothing but one of those embellishments that you frequently find being associated with such tales..... As mentioned re. the 'fire' related aspect of the tale, such stories - with each re-telling - gather momentum (description-wise, especially) like the old snowball rolling down hill.......

In reference to the alleged 'apparition' itself, the woman described has - within recent years - apparently become 'dressed in period costume' in many re-tellings.... mainly being referred to as 'Victorian' in style. (Some references advocating this detail even go to lengths to outline how many telephones were present in the Erdinton area during the Victorian period and so on! It's a great pity that more effort wasn't employed in checking out the basic story concerned, before any endeavours towards technical detail employed!! Laugh!!). Also - erroneously - she is now frequently found being referred to as 'the lady in the pink cardigan' and 'the woman in the red dress' for some reason(???) The basic tale has also been embellished at one point with the details that she apparently smells of 'pear drops', indicating that she has been 'poisoned with prussic acid'........ this detail appears in at least one newspaper article and is almost certainly a mixture of two ghost stories associated with the Brum suburbs (the other case being from the Hockley area, but also appearing in the press around the same time as the phone box case, etc).

As with a great many such tales, the above mentioned information appears to be in a continual state of flux..... leading us to recognise that 'Chinese Whispers' certainly have a lot to answer for in the research world!! Laugh!!!

Regards,

The W.M.G.C.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Horsehay Visit - Telford


News of a recent ghost hunt at an old railway station in Chehalis, USA, set W.M.G.C. minds racing back to our own, similar excursion of a few years ago in nearby Telford, Shropshire.....

Members of the W.M.G.C. first came across a mention of the Horsehay, old loco shed haunting during the mid-1990’s while perusing the book ‘Midland Spirits and Spectres’ by Anne Bradford and Barrie Roberts. We had to admit that the case instantly caught our attention, not simply due to the phenomena reported, but also because the site itself struck us as a somewhat ‘offbeat’ location for ghostly activity. Spooky castles, ruined abbeys and haunted pubs are ten a penny in the annals of ghost-lore, but a haunted shunting shed – well, this was certainly a new one on us!

Stories associated with this historic site mainly revolved around the sound of disembodied footsteps being heard in the shunting shed. Sometimes tied in with such encounters are sightings of an 'engineer' or 'train driver' style figure, dressed in what has been described as typical 1930's engine kit: blue overalls, denim jacket and peaked cap. (Disturbingly, one witness said that the figure they saw was perfectly clear, except for the face, which appeared 'crinkled'.... as if in an old photograph!?!?)

Some years after reading of the site, we were reminded of the happenings at Horsehay when members attended a lecture by our old friend David Taylor of ‘ParaSearch’ and discovered that his group had paid a recent visit to the site. Again, we were intrigued, but also being conscious of one of the major unwritten rules of ghost research – ‘STRICTLY NO POACHING!’ – the case once again settled to the back of our minds.....

During early January 2004, a club member happened to tune in to an episode of the Sky T.V. series ‘The Why Files’ and found, to their joy, that part of the show in question was given over to the Horsehay haunting. It couldn’t help but be pondered whether the site might still be accessible to serious investigative groups and suggestions were made towards taking steps to contact relevant authorities during the next club meeting. Within a brief period of time, we found ourselves in touch with David Angell and, through his kind ministrations, an overnight visit was arranged for Sat. Feb. 7th 2004.

It has to be said that, upon arriving at our destination, a tangible ‘boys toys’ effect seemed to instantly overtake the bulk of the group members and all notion of ‘research’ was momentarily forgotten! It's bizarre, but a whiff of diesel and a dab of axel grease can work pretty strange mojo on even the most mecha-phobic of men.

One particular researcher - who shall remain nameless – appeared to be firmly ‘glued’ inside the cab of the engine named ‘Rocket’ for the duration of our stay. Even during the ‘manned vigil’ periods that make up part of our investigation procedure, he had (somewhat feebly) insisted that he would have a much better view of proceedings inside the shed from this slightly elevated position…..

During our stay at Horsehay, a number of video recording sessions and manned ‘vigils’ were carried out by team members. Temperatures inside the building – certainly not helped by the external blizzard conditions – were tested periodically throughout the night using a digital thermometer and ranged between 1 and 4 degree’s (C.). Nothing of an obviously paranormal nature was reported by any of the attendee’s during our stay. Only two, mildly inexplicable, events occurred throughout the entire visit. These were a solitary, metallic ‘clang’ which was heard within the body of the shed at 2.09 am and a members digital camera refusing to work properly - continually registering zero battery power – despite 4 changes of brand new batteries.
Subsequent scrutiny of video footage obtained during the visit revealed nothing at all of potential interest......

For anyone interested in checking out the Telford Steam Railway - it's ghostlore or just going for an enjoyable day out - their website can be viewed via this 'LINK'

Regards to all,

The W.M.G.C.


Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The Walsall Poltergeist

From The Archives...

Introduction

*For the sake of privacy, real names and the actual address of the site in question have been withheld from this account……

Kelli Smith* called the Ghost Club in February 2003 to say that she and her family believed that their Walsall council house was haunted. Kelli, her partner and their three children had lived in the property for some two years when they contacted us and, almost since the date that they moved in, they had experienced sporadic, poltergeist-like activity. (Noises; light related phenomena, etc).

Unfortunately for Kelli and her family, the occurrences concerned had allegedly become more disturbing of late and, having seen a recent newspaper report about the W.M.G.C., she called to see if the group might be interested in looking into what had been going on.

A Primary Visit - and Investigations

An initial visit was paid to the property concerned on Feb. 22nd, mainly for the purpose of cataloguing the alleged happenings. It has to be said that the group member concerned felt quite impressed by the genuineness of the situation being presented to him and, as in all endeavours to record the proceedings as accurately as possible, a hand held cassette machine was utilised for the duration of the visit.

Upon later checking through the recording, it was found that an anomalous sequence of ‘knocking Sounds’ appear on one section of the tape. The group member concerned is certain that no such noise had occurred during the interview and, upon checking, neither Kelli nor her partner could account for the sounds.

What is significant about these noises is the fact that they appear at a point in the interview when Kelli is relating a recent ‘knocking’ that she and her partner had heard at their bedroom door at around 11.30 one night. (However, the knocking referred to by Kelli involved only ‘two’ knocks – unlike the sounds caught on our recording. Kelli had intimated that the noise on her bedroom door had been akin to the way in which her Mother habitually knocked at their front door when calling by). The bedroom door incident had been mentioned a number of times during the interview because of it’s startling / frightening impact on the family and, at the time that it occurred, Kelli’s partner actually believed that someone may have broken into the house. Needless to mention, the sound recorded during the interview appears to be a definite knocking sequence – just like someone knocking at a door?!

Also, of significance, is the fact that the microphone of the cassette recorder concerned is of fairly poor quality. For a knocking sound to have been picked up at such a level, the sound would have had to be both very loud and originating with a source close to the recorder.

In the days following the initial visit, Kelli’s Mother and her partner began staying at the property in an endeavour to allay some of the family fears. A recording made during this period (by family members, on the upstairs landing of the house) contained a sequence of seemingly anomalous sounds, but, given the poor recording quality of the session concerned, it was impossible to distinguish exactly what these noises might be. The recording was made around 1.15 a.m. and both Kelli and her Mothers partner – situated nearby – believe that they heard sounds around this time.

At the very beginning of March, Kelli asked if the Ghost Club might visit the property in an investigative role. She informed the group that a weeks supply of electricity had just been mysteriously used overnight, with nothing to account for such an effect, save for the fact that their stereo had been found switched on a number of times within a short period of time.

At the suggestion of a group member, a local Vicar had been contacted and was due to pay a visit to the family the following day. Upon his arrival, he apparently blessed the house after telling the family that he detected a ‘disturbed spirit’.

Three days after the above mentioned, the Club was informed that Kelli and her family had now left their home and were staying with a Sister who lived nearby. At this point some concern was now voiced by Kelli regarding the possibility that the effects being experienced by the family might now manifest at their new, temporary address. (A motif certainly not unknown in poltergeist-lore).

This query had arisen following the fact that, since their move, Kelli’s young niece had apparently had a disturbing dream about being physically attacked in her bed by a little girl. Upon waking from the dream the niece had been hysterical for some time and peculiar marks were found around her neck and chest.

Of possible significance regarding this episode is the fact that, some while earlier, Kelli believes that she may have seen a little girl in the bedroom of their own house. (This matter was mentioned to a Club representative some time before the aforementioned dream). To her credit, Kelli admits that she wasn’t at all sure whether she was awake or dreaming when she thinks she saw the girl. (To some people, this would undoubtedly have been a prime chance to report the matter as something ‘spooky’!) She did however say that her description of the little girl tallied with that given by her niece.

At around the same time as the dream experience, ‘two loud knocks’ (akin to the bedroom door incident) were clearly heard at a rear window of the Sisters house by a number of family members. (A sound which had previously been heard on a rear window at Kelli’s original address). The former mentioned knocking so disturbed the family members present that they apparently called on the local Vicar for assistance during the early hours of the morning.

In the meantime, Kelli’s partner and a group of his friends spent a night at their former home and reported having heard knocking sounds during the early hours. On another occasion, a video camera was set up on the landing of the house, positioned on top of a sturdy cardboard box. The house was vacated just after the recording began and, upon returning in the morning, it was found that the camera had inexplicably been switched off (early into the recording) and the ‘flaps’ of the box on which it stood had been moved……..

At this point Kelli repeated her request for a Ghost Club investigation and, under the circumstances, a visit was arranged for March 14th. The vigil was to be conducted in the absence of any family members, with only group representatives present on site.

Vigil 1 : Friday 14th to Saturday 15th of March 2003.

Investigators present: Len Jackson, Darren Simpson and Nick Duffy.

A series of recording and manned vigil sessions began approx. midnight and proceeded throughout the night until 5.15am.

A number of ‘clicks’ (of varying intensity) were detected throughout the recording sessions – though these were wholly nondescript and, more than likely, were naturally occurring sounds simply generated by the house itself.

During the 1st video recording session on the landing of the property – 12.00 to 12.30am – the distinct sound of a cup or brittle plastic beaker being dropped on a hard surface, and subsequently rolling, was found. This sound was fairly loud on the recording.

Around this approx. time, a group member did actually pay a visit to the kitchen for a glass of water. Because of this event, the aforementioned sound does, it has to be said, have a most obvious and probable cause. However, it has to be pointed out that no one present can recall having heard a drinking vessel being dropped at this point and the researcher concerned states that he did not drop anything while in the kitchen. The kitchen itself is situated right next to the living room – where the other investigators were seated – while the camera was some distance away on the landing.

The property itself was found to be very warm throughout the night, despite the fact that the central heating had been purposefully switched off. The temperature dropped 2 to 3 degrees throughout the duration of the visit.

The physical construction of the house appears rather flimsy and sound does tend to carry exceptionally well within it’s confines.

Due to the circumstances mentioned above, the Ghost Club sought permission to carry out a second night of recordings at the house in question.

Vigil Two – Friday 4th to Saturday 5th April 2003

Investigators Present: Nick Duffy, Len Jackson, Frazer Smith and Darren Simpson.

A series of manned vigil and video recording sessions were staged throughout the night from midnight to 5.00 a.m.

In comparison to our first vigil, all members present commented on how cold the premises seemed throughout the stay. Temperatures averaged four to five degree’s lower than those during the previous visit and fluctuated within a single degree overnight.

At approx. 12.03 a.m., a muffled ‘Clump’ sound was heard by all of the researchers who were seated in the sitting room. The noise sounded very much like someone shutting a car door outside the house and Frazer went to the kitchen window to check the street, but could see nothing.

Upon checking through the video recording made on the landing of the house between midnight and 12.30 a.m., a loud ‘clump’ sound was found. This noise appears on the tape at precisely 12.03 a.m. and was evidently the sound heard by the investigators.

Interestingly, the sound appears to originate from ‘inside’ the house….. upstairs, but in one of the rooms leading off the landing, out of sight of the camera.

Evidently, the sound was of sufficient volume to be detected by all downstairs, though it certainly couldn’t have been made by something ‘hitting’ or ‘falling onto’ the upstairs floor. Such an event would have undoubtedly been identified by researchers seated below, instead of appearing as a fairly ‘distant’ sound.

Nothing of a potentially paranormal nature was found on any of the other recordings made during the night. The stay went exceptionally quietly and everyone present commented a number of times on the quiet and peaceful feeling of the house.

Summary And Conclusion?

For some weeks following our investigations, Kelli and her family were still living with relatives and awaiting news from Walsall Council regarding possible re-housing. Under the circumstances, the latter mentioned eventuality appeared to be the only option open to the family, as they found that they were no longer happy to stay in their home. It has to be said that the idea of approaching the Council over this matter was never regarded as an option by Kelli (who continually said: “They’ll just think I’m daft!!” whenever the subject was raised) and this avenue was only explored after considerable insistence from a Ghost Club representative.

Unfortunately, whether due to a genuine manifestation or some psychosomatic reaction within the family cell, Kelli’s aforementioned fears regarding a transference of the haunting effect eventually became real and both her sister and mother began experiencing activity at their respective homes. To the credit of the local clergy, 3 separate properties were blessed within the space of a few days and the key Vicar concerned did physically respond to at least one 3 a.m. phone call without too much ado! Unfortunately, any hoped for beneficial effects that – in an ideal world - might have been generated by the blessings appear to have been non-existent with regards to family comfort and safety.

While it has to be said that the events experienced in this case were comparatively ‘mild’ to a great many such effects, the genuine ‘fear’ being generated by the situation was all too apparent not only in the immediate residents of the property, but by other family members too. The situation had eventually become so desperate that relatives felt driven to sleep ‘en mass’ in the same room for comfort.

The above mentioned factors were one of the main points of argument put forward by the W.M.G.C. when we were contacted directly by Walsall Council in April 2003. Somewhat simplistically, the Council representative seemed more concerned with our personal findings – recordings, etc – than the general condition of the family concerned. A W.M.G.C. spokesman pointed out many times that our findings were of no consequence whatsoever to the case – we would never presume to claim that a property was haunted or not – and the concern of the Council should be solely based on the well being / quality of life of their tenants…..

In June 2003, Kelli and her family were eventually re-housed.

Regards,

The W.M.G.C.

Witchery in Lancashire!!!???


The following item is something of a 'blast from the past', but we have recently received a number of enquiries from different people asking if we have ever 'strayed' from the West Midlands area in our ventures(?) While the 'West Midlands' in the group title indicates that we are a dedicatedly 'provincial' concern, we have, on occasion, indeed travelled a little further afield......

First and foremost, it has to be stressed that the visit mentioned in the following account was made a considerable time prior to ‘Most Haunted’ having anything to do with the area in question!!..... So - please - don't ever think that we've taken a reference from that god-awful programme!!! Laugh, laugh!!

Also, the report stands to illustrate the point that paranormal research can often be a gruelling, painful experience!! You people just don’t understand how we have to suffer for our passions at times, you really don’t…..!!

Read on if you dare…….?

FIELD TRIP REPORT

Pendle – Lancashire - October 31st 2002

“You shall go hence to the Castle from whence you came, from thence you shall be carried to the place of execution for this County, where your bodies shall be hanging until dead. And God have mercy on your souls”

The Case Of The Pendle Witches: Brief Notes:

In 1563, Queen Elizabeth I introduced an act against witchcraft, threatening a years imprisonment and public ridicule in the stocks for anyone found using sorcery with the intention of causing harm: i.e. in order to damage crops, kill livestock, etc. Anyone found using witchcraft to commit murder would be duly executed.

When the Scottish King James I came to the English throne in 1603, his obsession with witchcraft brought with him even harsher penalties for those found to be using sorcery.

Unfortunately, because of these new statutes against witchcraft, local Magistrates – in an endeavour to please the King – now became increasingly zealous in the pursuit and prosecution of potential offenders……..

In 1612, nine years after James I came to the throne, the petty squabbling of two rival families from the Pendle area – the Demdikes (Southern) and the Chattox’s (Whittle) – would ultimately result in the deaths of 10 people and give English history it’s most infamous Witch Trial.

Both of the families concerned were poor, locally detested and – from the confessions given at their trial – evidently demented. The head’s of both of these clans - ‘Owd Mother Demdike’ (Elizabeth Southern) and ‘Chattox’ (Anne Whittle) – were around 80 years old and both hated and feared in the Pendle area.

Events ultimately leading to the Trial itself would seem to have started with a simple accusation of theft by the Demdike family against one of the Chattox daughters. This matter being brought to the attention of the authorities, it is almost certainly here that the first claims and counter claims of witchcraft began between the warring factions.

It would seem that Alizon Device – grand-daughter of Demdike – was the first person to have been directly accused of witchcraft (charged with causing a pedlar to have a stroke) and it is through her testimony that members of both her family and the Chattox clan came to trial.

Considering their delicate situation and being the well balanced people that they were, practically all of the accused were soon regailing the court with tales of meeting the Devil, suckling familiars on their own blood, murdering people through sorcery and even turning the ale sour at a local tavern!! By all accounts, the proceedings would very much have, at times, resembled a competition to see which family could out-do the other with claims of their own evil deeds!

Owd Demdike, Alizon Device, Chattox and her daughter Anne Redfearn are incarcerated at Lancaster Castle to await trial for witchcraft. On Good Friday, 1612, twenty people are alleged to have attended a Black Mass at the Demdike home and plan to blow up Lancaster Castle. Subsequent investigations at this site recover human bones and a clay image.

Justice Roger Nowell questions nine year old Jennet Device – sister of Alizon – who names all of the people who supposedly attended the Good Friday meeting. The accused witches are sent to join the others already in Lancaster Castle.

Owd Demdike died in her cell in prison, before she could stand trial.

On August the 17th, 1612, the trial begins at Lancaster. (The accused have no defence lawyer). Chattox, Anne Redfearn, Elizabeth, James and Alizon Device, Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt, Jane Bulcock and her son, John, are convicted of witchcraft and hanged in Lancaster in front of huge crowds……

Pendle – The Visit

Described in the brochure as a ‘Pendle Witch Tour’, it has to be said that the Ghost Club excursion into Lancashire was more like something out of a ‘Carry On…’ film. Due to the total ineptitude of the coach firm concerned – no names mentioned, but we won’t be using HARRY GRAYBOULD TRAVEL again – the entire day was a seemingly never ending display of cack-handedness and incompetence. (We should have guessed that we were in for a bumpy ride when, upon first boarding the coach, we overheard the driver telling some other passengers that this particular trip was ‘Crap’!! As it turns out – from the general planning and execution side of the tour – he was totally spot on!!)

Despite the above mentioned, the day was not a complete loss. It has to be said that this portion of Lancashire must easily be one of the most beautiful regions in the country and anyone who might find themselves in this general area at any point should certainly take time to explore a little.

An unplanned stop in picturesque Clitheroe became the highlight of the day. It afforded us the welcome chance to visit the town’s castle ruins and Museum.

The former mentioned comprises of a 12th Century, Norman Keep and short section of rampart, standing atop a steep, high mound. Gazelle-like, the lithe, athletic members of the Ghost Club party quickly sprinted up the incline to take advantage of the magnificent views the ruins command over the town and surrounding countryside. (Unromantic version: 4 fat blokes take 20 minutes to crawl – mainly on hands and knee’s – 50 yards uphill. Get to top – cry a bit and generally roll around fighting for breath).

The Castle Museum, a hundred or so yards downhill from the ruined Keep, is – at the time of writing - playing host to a ‘Witchcraft’ exhibition, which ran until the end of 2002. (Apparently, this display is based on the highly popular exhibition at the Museum Of Lancashire).

Despite a notice board at the bottom of Castle Hill advertising ‘The Clitheroe Ghost Walk’ – as seen on T.V. (?) – the group could actually find little information on the Ghost-lore of this region. (A member of staff at the Museum told us of a particular haunted manor house situated some miles away). Had we any prior knowledge that we would be visiting Clitheroe, the group would doubtless have conducted research into the ‘paranormal history’ of this area. (We were completely oblivious to the stop unfortunately – courtesy of Mr. Graybould again folks!! Remember the name and run like hell if you see it anywhere!)

Our date with the coach and Tour Guide came all too swiftly and the insanity soon began again! Once our Pendle Witch Tour was under way, some 10 minutes of the guide's narrative was actually dedicated to the aforementioned subject – the other hour and a half being given over to the history of church halls in certain villages; how messy the local cement works were; how nicely the leaves were browning at that point in the year, etc.

Because of the general ineptitude of the tour operators – remember the name folks: HARRY GRAYBOULD TRAVEL – our intended 6pm arrival home now became 8pm…. The final leg of our journey made all the more painful by almost an hour and a half of Daniel O’ Donnell warbling on about his lost loves via the crackly coach sound system; Danny Boy, etc!!

A painful end to a fairly pain filled day…….

Note* For a full list of entertaining, well planned tour destinations – please contact any coach company except for HARRY GRAYBOULD TRAVEL…..

Best wishes to all,

The West Mids Ghost Club

Sunday, 14 June 2009

More ‘Orbs’ – Seen With The Naked Eye….?

For anyone intrigued by ‘Orb’ related phenomena, the following account - sent to the W.M.G.C. by e-mail in 2002 - will, no doubt, be of considerable interest.

The details concerned were forwarded by Donna of Bedfordshire, who kindly gave us permission to repeat the (edited) facts here:

“On Sunday night of this week, I had got up to feed my baby daughter who is two weeks old. I was very alert as I wake quite easily. I felt quite uneasy downstairs so put the T.V. on and was watching when I heard noises which sounded like furniture being moved upstairs. I then saw what I am sure was an orb, which moved from the bottom of the T.V. area to the top. I was transfixed by this but scared at the same time. I then saw what looked like a shadow reflecting on the T.V. I woke my partner and asked him to come and sit with me; I explained why I felt uneasy and he said he had also seen a ball of light about the size of a 50 pence moving diagonally near the fireplace, the night before at around the same time.

We have for some time heard noises which sound like people walking around the house. We heard a noise one night and, when switching on the bedroom light, I found my bedside drawer had been opened. I also once felt a cold spot all around me in the kitchen; to touch the air one side was cold whilst the other was warm and there were no doors or windows open. My 12 year old son, who was 9 at the time, came downstairs one evening and said there was a man sitting behind him on his sisters bed, but you know what children are like!!

The first orb to be seen was the one near the fireplace. My partner saw this on 07.09.02 at around 3am. The second was the one which seemed to move from the bottom to the top of the T.V.. The program concerned was only ‘Casualty’, so there should have been no orbs there! It definitely was not on the actual screen; this was seen the next night at around 3am by myself. My partner did not tell me about what he had seen until after I had told him about the orb that I saw. The one that moved up the T.V. was then followed by a shadow…..”

Donna tells us that she was somewhat perplexed at actually seeing (what looked like) an ‘Orb’ with the naked eye!….. The Ghost Club – and, I’m sure, Donna herself – would like to hear your views on the above mentioned experience?

Best wishes to all,

The W.M.G.C.

'A (Lost) Episode of Cathedral History.?'


From The Archives...

On August 22nd, two W. M. Ghost Club members embarked on a fascinating journey to the City of Wells in Somerset. One of the key points of interest which inspired our visit was a 'ghost related' story associated with the staircase - situated in Wells Cathedral - shown above.

With regards to Wells itself, it is situated only four miles from mystical Glastonbury and dates from the early 8th Century, when King Ine of Wessex founded a church - dedicated to St. Andrew - near a large water supply at the foot of the Mendip Hills. In 766, it was officially recorded that one King Cynewulf had graciously granted land to "the Minster by the great spring which they call Wells".

While the region was once famed for its textile production, and in particular the manufacture of 'stockings', Wells’ biggest industry since 1950 has been the 'Tourist Trade'..... Laugh!!!

Construction of the present Cathedral began in 1180 and took some 250 years to complete! The stone used in the construction of the Cathedral was brought from the village of Doulting some 3 miles from Wells and, to this day, any materials needed for repairs to the structure come from that very same source.

But, anyway - on to the 'ghost story'....!

In his book, 'Haunted Houses' (Batsford Ltd. 1956), Author Joseph Braddock makes a most intriguing reference to this magnificent site:

"I possess a beautiful colour print of two ghostly figures on the steps going up to the Chapter House in Wells Cathedral, Somerset. There are two figures a small child and a much taller, perhaps maternal figure in white standing framed in the archway at the entrance to the covered archway leading over the road to Vicars Close.."

The gentleman responsible for the image described above was an old friend of the Author, one H.R. Hardy of Edgeborough, Frensham. An account of how the photograph was obtained, along with some of the photographers observations on the picture itself, were also included in Braddocks text:

"The facts are that I went to Wells on Easter Monday, April 19th, 1954, in the afternoon. I should think the photo. was taken about 4.30pm. Seeing that there were a lot of people going around, I thought I should fail to get an uninterrupted exposure of the steps going up to the Chapter House. However, I set up my stand, and, seeing a lull, pressed the shutter and gave it an exposure of 14 seconds, watching very carefully to see that no one should walk in to spoil the photo. I counted fourteen, and did not look at my wristwatch as I was afraid I should not see if anyone did walk into the picture. I heaved a sigh of relief when nobody did."

"The fluffiness on the steps may have been caused by light coming in from a window out of sight on the left, though it does not really look like that. It reminds me very much more of heads going up or down the steps. I can give no explanation of the two figures framed in the archway. I might just emphasise that if the cluster on the staircase was not caused by light, there certainly could not have been any people there without my seeing them. I agree that the cluster looks less like any natural flow of light, than a projection of the two figures forward one seems to see the different levels of the heads."

So, precisely where is Mr. Hardy’s picture today? Why do we not see it regularly appear in paranormal related publications, alongside all of the other examples of what could be referred to as 'Classic' ghost photographs..?

To the best of our knowledge, the image has never been reproduced or publicised in any form whatsoever over recent decades, leading us to believe that Messrs. Hardy and Braddock - and perhaps a small circle of close acquaintances - were, most likely, the only people to have seen it? Should such a photograph ever have been made known to literally anyone within the field of paranormal research, it simply wouldn’t have been allowed to remain in the state of obscurity that it has most certainly languished in for the past 45 years(?)

Following our return from Somerset, we e-mailed the folk at the 'Weird West' web site - dedicated to the paranormal heritage of Southern England - and asked if they had ever come across a mention of the photograph?

No reply was ever received........!?

It should go without mentioning that – despite a ban on photography in the Cathedral – the W.M.G.C. members concerned neglected to see any such warnings until after our photographs were taken!! Ahem!! The shot at the top of this post shows one of our founder members, Darren ' born poser' Simpson.......

Needless to say, group members would desperately like to hear from anyone who might be able to shed some light on this fascinating subject?

Best wishes to all,

The W.M.G.C.

Oh, Orbs....!!!!


Details from an interesting note recently sent in to the W.M.G.C.:

Debbie wrote in to us from the West of Scotland to enquire what we thought of a 'bright red orb' that she and her chidren had witnessed recently, while watching the TV one evening. She described the sphere as solid looking and around 10 inches in diameter.... moving rapidly above the television for 20 to 30 seconds before disappearing. The curtains to her sitting room were closed at the time of the incident, so she says that the effect couldn't possibly have been from outside the house.

On asking whether there had ever been any other effects witnessed inside the house that might be construed as 'peculiar', or 'potentially paranormal' in nature, we were told that the family concerned regularly experienced distinct noises, things appearing from nowhere, doors opening and closing of their own volition and so on. Footsteps had also been heard, along with a wire doorstop being 'pinged' in the night and problems with their telephone. 'Too much stuff to mention - honestly!' Debbie says.

She asked us if there could possibly be any significance to the orb being red in colour, as she had read lots of differing points of view on the internet. Most of these, she added, were evidently nonsense. Having spoken to others about the effect seen, she had been told that it was possibly 'demonic' in nature (What????) or the ghost of her grandmother showing her protection for Debbie.........

A group in Scotland which Debbie had previously approached regarding the orb had actually told her that there was possibly 'something wrong with her TV remote'!!!!

Our views on the subject of orbs in general can be viewed at the following 'LINK'...

Best wishes,

The West Mids Ghost Club

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The Darlaston Poltergeist(s)

From The Archives...

" All the time you are sitting there and you are thinking: these things don't happen - well, at least they don't happen to me! These things happen on T.V.; these things happen in cinemas; these things happen in videos - they don't happen to me. This isn't real, it can't be real…. You know it's there, you know it's happening, but you don't want to believe it".


Mr. Thomas Whatmore

Introduction

In early June, 2002, the Ghost Club learned of two poltergeist hauntings which took place in Darlaston during the mid-1990's.

What is remarkable about these hauntings, from a research point of view, is the fact that there are not just similarities between the hauntings, but certain elements within the cases would appear to undeniably link the two outbreaks together…….?

The accounts presented in 'Part 1' and 'Part 2' are constructed from interviews with Mr. Tom Watmore and Mr. Ray Selman (respectively) - key witnesses in both of the cases concerned. Information pertaining to the death of Andrew Lees, found in 'Part 3', is derived from newspaper reports contemporary to the dates concerned.

Part 1: "You cannot touch it or feel it, but you know it's there…"

At the time of the Whatmore poltergeist outbreak, the family were living in a council house in Herberts Park Road, Darlaston. The family consisted of Mr. And Mrs. Whatmore and their three daughters.

In hindsight, Mr Whatmore now believes that some form(s) of minor paranormal activity may have actually been occurring for up to two years before the main (brief) effect. However, as these events were mainly limited to such matters as small object movement - putting something down and finding it in a completely different place when you came back for it, etc - he tended to regard such occurrences (at the time) as sheer absent mindedness.

The first incident that actually caused concern for Mr. Whatmore was when a lightbulb fell from an overhead socket and landed on him as he lay in bed one night. Upon going to put the bulb back the next day, he found that it had already been replaced. No one in the house admitted to having touched it.

This innocent enough incident would seem to have been the precursor for what Mr. Whatmore terms the 'Violent' or 'Frightening' period and, over the next one and a half months, the family experience a wide range of disturbing activity.

Within a short period, knocking noises and disembodied voices - those of a man and a woman - were heard about the house. Often, these voices would appear to be arguing, though the conversation was invariably muffled and you could never quite make out what was being said. If you were downstairs, you could hear the conversation upstairs and vice versa. Sometimes, the voices could be heard calling out the names of people within the household - always a male voice calling a female name and a female calling a male. Mr. Whatmore suggests that the voices were unfriendly; something in their tone held an air of nastiness.

The T.V., radio or downstairs lights were often found to have been inexplicably switched on after the family had gone to bed at night and strange smells - some pleasant, some like rotting vegetables - regularly flooded the house. An unnatural darkness would envelop a room, even on the brightest days, and extreme temperature changes turned the air icy cold.

Family members and visitors to the house began reporting varying degree's of physical contact from something invisible.

A friend of the family was once pushed into a bath full of water while visiting the toilet. Despite the fact that they were drenched from head to foot, the bath was found to be completely dry upon investigation. Some while later, the same friend reported the sensation of someone stroking her hair. Mr. Whatmore says that you could actually see the girls hair moving, as if something were touching it. Another family friend fled the house after feeling someone touch her on the shoulder and both Mr. Whatmore and his eldest daughter found themselves violently shoved against walls and pushed to the ground.

Somewhat typical of even the most vicious poltergeist effects, some of the phenomena experienced could be uncharacteristically playful or helpful. Following an argument over which family member should make a drink, Mr. Whatmore entered the kitchen to find a piping hot pot of tea already waiting for him! No one had been into the room for some time and he admits to having immediately emptied the pot straight into the sink! (The poltergeist also enjoyed making tea disappear from freshly made cups!)

On another occasion, the Whatmores eldest daughter asked for a school blouse to be ironed for her. Although no one touched the blouse, it was found waiting for her, freshly ironed, as she left for school the next morning.

One amusing incident occurred as Mr. Whatmore was idly flicking through the T.V. channels one day when he came across a programme featuring Elvis Presley. Mr. Whatmore absolutely hates Elvis, but his wife is an avid fan! As Mrs. Whatmore was upstairs at the time - out of earshot - he quickly changed channels again, intending to say nothing about the matter. Only seconds later, Mrs. Whatmore came back downstairs and, as she stepped into the living room, the television suddenly changed stations of it's own accord…… back to the channel with Elvis on it!!

As well as poltergeist effects, some 'apparitions' were also seen around the house. Mr. Whatmore saw an old woman in their kitchen one night and his wife once saw the figure of a man in the same area. When she came to describe the latter mentioned to her husband, Mr. Whatmore believes that the man's appearance fitted that of his father who had died when his son was only 19. Mrs. Whatmore had never met, or so much as seen a photograph of, Mr. Whatmore Snr.

One particular apparition that Mr. Whatmore was understandably most reticent to mention was that of a half man-half horse creature that he saw snarling at him from the corner of the living room one night. Mr. Whatmore points out that, at this point in time, he was already at his wits end from the effect of the haunting and, as a result, almost constantly in a confused state of mind…….

One of the younger Whatmore daughters - a mere toddler at the time - was often heard holding long conversations with someone. Her parents constantly asked who it was she was talking with and the girl would simply reply: 'friend'….

It is only recently that the Whatmores daughter has actually described her visitor. She claims that a young boy - apparently covered in blood - used to sit at the foot of her bed and speak with her. (If this image sounds rather unbelievable - see 'Part Three' at the end of this section).

Two visits from the (then) Vicar of Darlaston brought no relief to the Whatmore family and an attempted blessing ended prematurely when a sound like 'furniture being thrown around' was heard from upstairs during the early stages of the rite. The Vicar is said to have abruptly left the premises. (Previously, a bottle of Holy Water, which had been brought to the house by a family friend, inexplicably shattered of it's own accord).

As matters worsened, the Whatmores took to sleeping downstairs in the living room. (Mr. Whatmore admits that he didn't even dare to visit the toilet by himself for some while). One night, Mr. Whatmore detected the now familiar sound of a muffled altercation taking place, seemingly on the landing at the top of the stairs. As he listened, he suddenly heard a sound - like that made by an object travelling very fast - and something struck him hard, just above the right eye.

Initially thinking that his wife or eldest daughter had thrown something at him, his first reaction was to cross his arms in front of his face. As he peered out from behind his arms, he saw what he can only describe as a 'black cloud', that seemed to stretch from floor level to only a few inches below ceiling height. Mr. Whatmore says that this is a sight that will remain with him forever and, at that point, he actually believed the form would kill him….

This turned out to be the final straw for Mr. Whatmore and he and his family fled the house that night. For the subsequent 3-4 weeks, they stayed at the home of friends. The Whatmores still visited their house on a daily basis, but only to check the property over and occasionally retrieve clothing and other essentials.

Still, even during these brief calls - always made in company, never alone - some form of activity usually occurred. On one such occasion, the visitors were approaching the house when they saw the bedroom curtains 'billowing' into the room of their own accord. Mr. Whatmore and his eldest daughter were violently pushed against a wall while retrieving food from their deep freeze and a neighbour saw an 'unnatural darkness' at the top of the stairs. Mr. Whatmore went to the house one day with a group of friends and was pushed to the living room floor while one of his companions fought with the front door which seemed intent on closing itself……..

While staying with their neighbours, a friend of the family suggested that they contact a 'Born Again Christian' group from the Walsall area for help. Remarkably, this advice turned out to be something of a positive step for the family as certain advice proffered by the group proved to be of benefit. Mr. Whatmore says that he now became able to take control of some of his fears - a step which made him feel more relaxed and positive about their situation.

Whether as a result of Christian guidance - or the simple fact that the activity may now have run it's course - the effect itself appears to have soon begun losing momentum. (Generally, poltergeist effects are fairly short lived affairs). The Whatmore family eventually moved back into their home and remained in the property for a further 6 - 12 months. Mr. Whatmore admits that things were much better after they returned, but, quite understandably, he always had the feeling that something was still there - waiting. As with such cases, the local Council would not recognise the Whatmores problem and, because of this, refused to re-house them. As a result, the family eventually sought private accommodation and Mr. Whatmore currently resides in the Dudley Port area.


Part 2: "Now you tell me there was no sort of malicious intelligence behind that…!"


Ray Selman and his wife had lived on the 10th floor of Great Croft house, Darlaston, for 6-7 years when they first started noticing 'odd happenings' around their flat.

Remarkably, at the time that Mr. Selmans activity began, he had only just recently struck up a friendship with Mr. Tom Whatmore. Mr. Selman had only previously visited the home of his new friend on a couple of occasions and a third visit happened to correspond with the virulent period of the Whatmore activity. Upon being informed of the latter mentioned, Mr. Selman actually joked with his friend, saying that he 'hoped no ghosts would be following him home that night'….

Almost immediately, Mr. Selmans own 'odd happenings' began.

Objects were found to have been inexplicably moved around the flat - or blatantly hidden - while the Selmans experienced a constant feeling of being watched. Doors closed of their own accord, inexplicable noises were heard, and a pile of loose change left lying on a sideboard was found to have been neatly stacked up in a vertical column.

Mr. Selman was cooking one day, when his wife suddenly burst into the room and angrily accused him of almost scaring her to death. Her husband evidently had no idea of what she was talking about. Mrs. Selman explained that she had been watching television, when, from her peripheral vision, she suddenly became aware of a head poking through the kitchen / living room partition. As she turned to look at it fully, the head quickly withdrew into the kitchen. Mr. Selman maintains that he had been busy cooking at the time and had, at no point, looked through the partition.

On one occasion, Mr. Selman once had a pen bounce off the top of his head as he lay on the floor watching T.V. one night. The pen in question had been resting on top of the television set only seconds earlier and had to travel some feet 'across' the room in order to land where it did.

While some physical interaction was light, almost playful at times, Mr. Selman also found himself suffering inexplicable scratches on his arm and, one morning as he lay in bed, something slapped him hard across the face.

Unfortunately, life in the flat was becoming increasingly disagreeable and Mr. Selman eventually turned to the Church for help. (He was advised to contact the vicar of Darlaston by Mr. Whatmore). Unlike the Whatmore outbreak, the blessing actually seemed to have a positive effect on the troublesome activity and it abruptly stopped.

Sadly, this respite was not to last however and, only a month later, Mr. Selman claims to have witnessed an exceptionally tall, dark, transparent form float across his hallway from the living room to the kitchen area. This proved more than enough for Mr. Selman and he sought alternative accommodation immediately.

Having soon cleared his former home of all furniture and belongings, Mr. Selman took one last look around the flat with a friend. As they made to leave, the friend pointed out that a front door alarm had somehow been overlooked during the removal. Endeavours were made to unscrew the device, but, with all of the tools having been taken from the flat, their ministrations were in vain. Angered and frustrated, Mr. Selman admits that he finally ended up taking one of his shoes off and smashing the alarm to pieces. Upon finishing, Mr. Selman decided to take one last glance around the flat. There - sitting dead centre in the middle of the bedroom floor - they found a solitary screwdriver…..

Part 3: Speculation And Potential Foundation Stones?

The concept of 'paranormal activity as a form of contagious effect' is quite rare, but certainly not unknown. (Members of the W.M.G.C. may have experienced a mild form of this kind of influence during our 1997 investigation of Northycote Farm). Believers in this type of occurrence maintain that the 'contracted' phenomenon somehow becomes 'attached to' - or somehow 'rubs off on' - visitors to the haunted site in question. Both Mr. Whatmore and Mr. Selman are convinced that this sort of effect was the cause of the Great Croft house outbreak. This 'residual' activity is generally restricted to poltergeist manifestations, though instances where other ghostly phenomenon has been 'transferred' have been recorded. Invariably, the 'residual effect' is considerably weaker than the original activity, as with the Whatmore / Selman outbreaks.

Both households were experiencing considerable levels of 'stress' prior to their respective hauntings - a state constantly associated with poltergeist outbreaks. (Sadly, Mr. Selmans marriage broke up while he was still living at Great Croft House and Mr. Whatmore separated from his wife following their move).

The general area in which the Whatmore family lived has something of a chequered past. The canal which runs within 20 yards of the former Whatmore home has no less that three separate female ghosts associated with it; the first at Wards Bridge (300 feet from the house in Herberts Park Rd), the second at the rear of the old Moxley Isolation Hospital (approx. 0.75 miles distant) and the third at the Broken Bridge in nearby Bradley. (Around 1.5 - 2 miles away).

On Saturday the 14th May, 1977, eight year old Darlaston schoolboy, Andrew Lees, was discovered lying in some bushes on a piece of waste ground known locally as 'Wardies'. He was found to have been savagely beaten about the head with some heavy, blunt object, resulting in horrific injuries. (The 12 yr. old Bentley schoolboy who found him said that he couldn't actually see Andrews face because he had been bleeding so badly from his head. *See section of 'Part 1' concerning the description of the 'ghostly friend' who allegedly visited the Watmore's youngest daughter). The boys hands had been tied behind his back, a rope placed around his neck, and he had been covered over with his own duffle coat.

Still alive when he was discovered, Andrew was rushed to Walsall Manor Hospital, but died four hours later from a brain haemorrhage caused by depressed fractures to the skull.

The ensuing manhunt lasted just under a month and a local 15 year old was eventually charged with killing Andrew. (The implement used had been a hammer).

The patch of land known as 'Wardies' lies only 100 yards distant from Herberts Park Road and the Lees family lived next door to the house occupied by the Whatmore family some 20 years later.

Regards,

The W.M.G.C.

Warwick Castle Report....

This post is in reply to an email enquiry from Dave Drew of Sheffield, who wrote in to us recently expressing an interest in the events surrounding our recent 'What Do You See?' segment.

Thanks very much for the interest Dave! Reproduced below is a brief version of our report from the Warwick Castle investigation of October the 19th 2007.....

Investigation Report: Warwick Castle – Warwickshire.

Duration of visit: Approx. 6 hours.

Attendee’s:

6 W.M.G.C. members. Also, Danny Kelly, Radio WM DJ and three BBC staff.

Investigation:

Three separate sections of the castle - places allegedly associated with numerous reports of paranormal activity - were made available to the group for the sake of the visit: the Barbican, the Dungeon and the Fulke Greville Tower.

The group split into two separate teams for the sake of the first part of our visit.

Team One: Steve, Danny and BBC staff.

Team Two: Kevin, Claire, Julie, John and Nick.

10.20 pm: All visit Bedroom area of Fulke Greville Tower in order to set up equipment.

(Two piece) thermometer – left (a) in centre of four poster bed and (b) on left hand side of bureau / dresser. (Reading 17.4 degrees upon leaving the room).

Mannequin with audio alarm attached – situated in middle of floor between foot of four poster bed and wall directly opposite.

Piece of paper with coins (ringed) on it – situated on right hand edge of bureau / dresser.

Video camera 1 situated at entrance to left hand alcove, just in front of monk figure.

Camera 2 situated on right hand side of four poster bed – next to bureau / dresser – in front of stair well.

10.34 pm: Team One begins vigil in Dungeon, while Team Two begins vigil in Barbican.

During this period:

10.50 pm: Team Two notice a flash of light – akin to a distant camera flash - seemingly coming from the direction of the Barbican room containing the figure of the Knight. (Or possibly from the rooms / corridors beyond). Kev experiments with his own camera flash at different distances along the corridor concerned and the light – although diffused - is capable of being seen even from the farthest end of the corridor. Noted that there were also perspex windows in the walls of the corridor concerned – translucent – so there was some potential for a strong external light being able to pass into the area, etc.

11.09 pm: All enter Fulke Greville tower to retrieve equipment. It is noted that the temperature inside the bedroom has fluctuated between 13 and 21 degrees during this session.

11.39 pm: Team One situated in Fulke Greville Bedroom while Team Two visits Dungeon area. A recording session is set up in the Barbican area, with Camera 1 recording in room containing knight figure and Camera 2 in room off staircase.

Thermometer units are situated on long bench in room off staircase and on a stone ledge in ante-room to corridor. Temp upon leaving area was 15.5 degrees.

During this period:

Just prior to Midnight: Kev is standing in Dungeon, in front of the window. He reports having heard a sound coming from just behind him - far left hand corner of room if standing with back directly to entrance to stairs - which sounded like a brief ‘clump’.

12.26 pm: The combined groups enter the Barbican together - except for Julie and Claire who remain in the Undercroft (base room).

During this period:

A ‘baiting’ session is initiated, but no obvious responses are forthcoming.

Kev and some of the others present witness a split-second flash of light coming from the bottom of one of the wall mounted light fittings. (Which are switched off). Two to three minutes later and a similar flash is seen to come from another fitting on the wall directly opposite the first.

As a (radio) recording session is underway in this period, the attitude of the group is causal, with members leaving / returning to the area sporadically.

John and Nick leave the main group and enter first the Undercroft area and then the bedroom of the Fulke Greville Tower where they remain for some minutes.

Approx. 1 am – Danny Kelly and his companions leave the castle.

Around this time, Steve and Kev investigate a sound (reported by both Kev and Nick earlier in the night) like ‘footsteps’ seemingly coming from a floor above when travelling along the Undercroft corridor to the toilets. They discover that the noise is the result of water falling from an overflow pipe on an upper floor, onto the glass roof above the Undercroft corridor.

Minus the BBC crew, we decide to split into three groups of two people to investigate the three previously mentioned sections of building.

1.40 am: Nick and Kev enter Fulke Greville Tower; Steve and Claire visit the Barbican and John and Julie enter the Dungeon.

After this session ends, we speak with the two castle security men in the courtyard for a while regarding some of the allegedly paranormal / historical aspects of building and it’s history.

2.30 am: Kev and Nick enter the Barbican; John and Julie visit the Fulke Greville Tower; Steve enters the Dungeon, while Claire remains in the Undercroft area.

During this period:

2.51 am: Kev and Nick witness the peculiar flash effect from the wall mounted light next to the stair door. Both happened to be looking in the direction of the light concerned when it happened. Kev theorises that this effect may have been the cause of the flash witnessed by Team Two during their vigil of 10.50 om.

The security guard had previously been questioned by the group regarding this flashing light effect, but, despite some years experience of the site, he admits that he has never experienced this himself, nor heard of any such happenings.

While discussing this effect, Kev mentions that he has gone exceptionally cold indeed. While this subsequent matter is being discussed, both hear a dull, solitary ‘thump’ sound seemingly come from the area above the room they are in. (A locked off area).


The final vigil of the night - ? – All go into the Barbican, except for Nick and claire who remain in the Undercroft area.

Visit to castle ends approx. 4 am and we leave the site.

Regards,

The W.M.G.C.

More Sightings.....

From The Archives...

Following our recent mention of first-hand, ghostly encounters in the post 'Capers At The Mansion', we now relate another tale of a bizarre experience, specifically associated with a W.M.G.C. investigation.....

This particular incident occured during an overnight visit to the Assembly Rooms in Tamworth, on Halloween 2008.

The building concerned, situated in Corporation Street, is steeped in tales about ghosts, apparitions and 'things that bump in the night'. Activity reported includes sightings of an elderly man and a 'Lady In White', footsteps (heard crossing the stage) and instances of 'physical interraction' with staff members. (Involving the latter, one cleaner refused to work in the building any longer and gave up her job after being 'touched' by something invisible in an ante room, just off the stage).

On the night of the investigation, a five-strong contingent from the W.M. Ghost Club had attended the event, along with staff member Jock Ross. As with all of our investigations, a number of vigils and recording sessions were carried out during our stay, with particular emphasis being put on sections of the building which had been pointed out to the group as 'significant', with regards to alleged paranormal incidents.....

An hour before the team were due to finish the investigation and call it a night, group members Steve and Nick were conducting a vigil in the front row of the auditorium when Nick twice had an impression that someone was in the process of creeping very quietly along the corridor to their right hand side.....

Some five minutes later, Steve happened to look over his right shoulder and saw a peculiar 'shape', seemingly in the process of walking into the auditorium from the corridor..... being seen to travel a distance of some seven to 10 feet (approximately). Nick instantly turned upon seeing Steve react, but the effect had already ended by this point in time. Steve displayed a considerable problem in putting what he had seen into words, saying that it resembled an effect like looking at someone with a bright light shining onto one side of them, but with only the reflected light / highlighted portion visible. It had not been a discernible figure, but around six feet in height, blurred and having a vague khaki / brown hue to it.....

Steve was highly perturbed by this experience and went through the process of trying to re-create the happening by experimenting with lights, his vision, etc. However, he could not replicate the effect.

The rest of the groups stay was spent in the stage front / auditorium area but nothing else was experienced.

Discussing Steves encounter, and checking details with Assembly Rooms staff about the ghost-lore of the building, it was discovered that the ghost of the old man said to be seen walking around the auditorium and corridor area was that of a former caretaker.

In pondering over the peculiar khaki / brown hue seen by Steve, it was suggested by group members that this may possibly relate to the same colour frequently used for the old-style cow gown, long smock-like garments frequently worn by warehousemen and caretakers in times gone by........?

A follow up investigation was held at the site by the W.M.G.C. in January 2009, but - on this occasion -the visit passed without event......

Regards to all,

The W.M.G.C.