Whatever antics our visitors and friends might be 'getting up to' tonight..... here's hoping you all have a VERY happy and safe Halloween 2016....!! Best wishes to everyone from the 'West Midlands Ghost Club'....!!
Earlier this month, the little-known 'Back-To-Back Museum' in Birmingham hit local headlines when a photograph was taken inside the property, which - it is suggested - potentially contained a somewhat 'strange' detail......!?
Speaking directly with the visitor who took the photograph concerned - Ella Reeves, from Wolverhampton - we were told that she decided to visit the museum in early October. The purpose for her visit was the simple fact that her grandfather - who passed away in his 90's, a couple of years ago - was raised in similar properties as a boy.... and she had basically wanted to see how he may have lived.
Visitors to the National Trust site are conducted around the properties in guided tours and, on the day in question, Ella tells us that she was a member of a party of 8. The bulk of the tour itself went without issue, eventually visiting the bedroom where the photograph in question was taken. After hearing a description of the area concerned, the part began to move on, but Ella says that she had suddenly felt 'weird'.... tingly and cold!?
She admits she was only alone for a very brief time, but had her phone out and so snapped a photograph. She hadn't seen anything with the naked eye at the time, but, later that day, on looking through the shots taken, she spied a strange 'shadow' on the wall in front of her!? (*Image shown above is a completely unedited version of the photograph, as it appears on Ellas phone. Needless to say, the image concerned appears here courtesy of Ella Reeve and remains her intellectual property).
As far as Ella is concerned, there was no one else in the room to be casting such a shadow in that particular position, as all other members of her party had vacated the area concerned by that time. It is also very unlikely - if not impossible - for the shadow to be hers.... as it is clearly cast from a different direction entirely to where she was standing and Ella has long, straight hair, which was falling down over her shoulders that day. (While the shadow clearly shows the shape of a head / neck / shoulders, etc).
When the photograph concerned shortly came to the attention of media / social networking sources, something of a 'meal' was made of the situation in different quarters.....! The 'better' offering from the newspaper reports (the 'Express And Star') can be read via this LINK, and local radio also picked up on the story in the days that followed......
Sadly - and inevitably - some of the media sources concerned have seemingly misrepresented / misreported data mentioned by Miss Reeve.... the main point in question being the emphasis 'put on' her deceased grandfather, when it came to the image in question. We are assured that at no point did Ella suggest / hope that the 'shadow' was the 'ghost of her grandfather', such notions being a result of 'spin' by the media sources concerned.....
In studying the image concerned, also in conjunction with observations made by other parties, Ella admits that she is puzzled by the potential mechanics of the situation. As a result, she plans to return to the site within the coming weeks and endeavour to 'put her mind to rest' on the situation, one way or another....?
Needless to say, we very much look forward to hearing from Ella again and shall - hopefully - be able to report on the matter here. Our thanks go out to Miss Reeve for taking the time to speak with us so fully on the matter and sharing her images with us!
'HANDS TO THE HOMELESS' is a West Midlands based, charity concern run by local 'ghost researcher' Tracie McMeekin - and friends - which is primarily aimed at helping the homeless, people on benefits and low-income families.
Tracie explains: "I was just fed up with seeing people 'throwing things away'.... when they could just as easily be used to help others! We had covered the subject of 'women on the streets' and the simple fact that they were not allowed any extra money, once a month, for such basic staples as female, personal items..... The venture just 'took off from there'! I hate seeing anyone suffer when some have so much waste......"
H.T.T.H. is a completely non-profit-making concern, with all proceeds going to the relevant causes via the Glebe Centre in Walsall, who work hard to look after people in need in the surrounding areas.
The official Facebook page for the charity can be accessed via this LINK:
PLEASE take a few moments to visit the page mentioned above, where you can learn more about the stirling work that Tracie and Co. does, take part in raffles.... and generally purchase items from a truly VAST array of different gifts on offer!! If you still have to buy for Christmas - or any other presents, for that matter - please - pleasantly surprise yourself - and make the page your first port of call!! All items on offer are at ridiculously low prices, to boot!!
If anyone has any items to donate to this most worthy cause, then Tracie is looking for such items as: hats, gloves, scarves, coats, sleeping bags, boots, trainers - men's and ladies - small size undies, deodorants, ladies personal items and so on.
Alternatively, if you have any items that you do not need - unwanted gift sets / presents, quality items of clothing, handbags, books, bric-a-brac, etc - anything that can be raffled or sold on, basically..... then PLEASE contact Tracie directly at: email@example.com
Needless to say, other donations such as food item - tins, packets and so forth, for the creation of much needed 'food parcels' - are also desperately needed!
H.T.T.H. volunteers can collect donations, within a reasonable distance. Please contact Tracie directly for advice on donations and so forth.
Just a general re-cap of some of the projects that the W.M.G.C. have been donating a little time to recently and, as always, some of the more 'historic' cases from the region feature quite heavily in our research.....
*In one of our more recent dealings, a group member met with a (lovely) gentleman to speak to him concerning a 'strange experience' he'd had some 50 years ago, in an area local to the investigator concerned....
As a 17 yr old, the man had found himself missing the last bus back to his home to (reasonably distant) Birmingham and had - in desperation - chosen to 'doss down' in a derelict building that he'd spotted while walking back from his girlfriends house. Selecting a moderately clean, upstairs room in the property to 'use' for the night, he'd pushed the door closed behind him and had situated himself in a corner of the room, hoping to get a 'decent nights kip'......
However, not long after seating himself, he'd heard what he describes as the noise of 'old hob-nailed boots' coming through the property and mounting the stairs! He said that the disturbing noise had paused briefly at the top of the staircase.... before starting again in the direction of the room he was sitting in!! He admit that he was in a state of terror by this point in time, not at all helped by the fact that the door of the room was now slowly opening....
Thankfully, the door only moved some 8 inches or so, before there was a pause, followed by the clear sound of the foot-falls going back the way they had come.... down the stairs and back through the house! He said that he had looked out of the window into the street below, but there was no sign of anyone, anywhere!? Within the space of 20 seconds, he had decided that enough was enough and he made his way downstairs and out of the property..... We were told that he'd looked keenly around throughout this exit - as you would, needless to say - but there was no sign of anyone in the property at all. Similarly, there was no one in the rear yard of the site (the way in and out of the house) and no sign of life anywhere surrounding the place as he went back onto the street...?
The man tell us - quite interestingly - that he simply has 'no idea whatsoever' as to what he actually did for the remainder of the night!? He has no recollection of his actions or whereabouts after leaving the property involved!? He personally puts this fugue-like state down to a matter of shock, brought on by his experience, but - of course - more pro-paranormal thinkers may suggest that something 'preternatural' could have adversely affected him immediately afterwards!? Whatever the cause, the overall encounter has to be regarded as highly interesting to the W.M.G.C. as the area involved has a considerable number of entries in our local files, dating back over the space of some decades.......
*We've often said that there's nothing more rewarding than turning up something of potential, 'historical relevance', associated with an allegedly 'ghostly matter' and such research features quite heavily in another case that we'd been looking into of late.
A few years ago, the name of a particular house was forwarded to the group, with the suggestion that the site concerned was haunted.... because of a murder that had taken place there some years ago!? We had not previously heard of the place, but it was said that a man had murdered his wife there and passers-by had, apparently, seen 'ghostly activity' in the room concerned 'through' one of its windows... While no actual description was given, it was suggested that what was being seen was some form of re-enactment of this crime, perhaps? As a result, the particular window had been 'bricked up'.
Being only a rather brief reference, the details involved were added to our files and pretty much forgotten about. However, in recently chasing up some information on a completely unrelated site, a W.M.G.C. researcher happened across a mention of the site again recently - purely by accident - and, with some time to spare, they thought they should just take a look into the 'murder' claim involved?
As it turns out - exactly the same with a lot of these cases - there was no historical reference found to a blatant 'murder'..... but there was an (albeit VERY suspicious sounding) 'accidental death' recorded at the site!?
It seems a young girl - visiting a friend, who was the daughter of the family living in the house - was 'accidentally' shot and killed by a son of the family! Upon being questioned about the shooting - which he claimed was a matter of pure accident - the youth had been very sketchy indeed about what had occurred: initially saying he didn't fire a gun and actually lying about hearing 'another' shot in the area concerned; later claiming that the discharge of the weapon was purely accidental, but lying about the position he was standing in when the gun went off and so on. Amazingly - given the lies and conflicting claims - the youth was eventually 'let off' with a 'ticking off'...... the inquest incredibly accepting that he had not acted in malice, but simply 'discharged the weapon' in error!?!
Of course, we hazard a guess that this ruling probably didn't go down well with a lot of people in the locality - not least members of the victims family and friends - and, most probably, this is where suggestions of 'murder' developed from and, eventually, came to enter local lore? While the information above doesn't really prove anything concerning the alleged claims of paranormal activity at the site, it should be noted that we had subsequently been in touch with someone associated with the property and they helpfully tell us that no one associated with the site have ever noticed anything of significance to suggest a haunting there(?)
*In a further, 'murder' related issue, we have recently been looking into a (fairly sordid), little killing that might well 'relate' to another, allegedly haunted, site in the West Mids. region?
The site in question has generated numerous reports of a 'female apparition' associated with it, over the years, though - strangely - nothing had ever been really suggested to account for such a haunting? While numerous other tragedies - real AND imagined, it has to be said - have been put forward regarding the history of the place, no one ever seems to have come up with a story concerning this extremely well-known, female phantom!? (*To immediately seem to contradict ourselves there... it should be mentioned that there WAS one story, suggested a few years ago, involving the alleged disappearance of a local woman and her baby. However, exhaustive searches for information on this specific topic have invariably led to a complete blank!? We can only assume at this juncture that there doesn't seem to be ANY documented evidence to support such a tale?)
Again, purely as a by-product of research into a completely unrelated issue, a group member happened to come across a mention of a, fairly horrific, murder in the general area involved, which was deemed perhaps worthy of noting down, considering the specific 'ghost' concerned? (*It should be highlighted here that, while the W.M.G.C. do not - not for a minute - subscribe to the ever popular 'Murder / Tragedy = Ghost' equation, we do, of course, keep all possible theories in mind, purely for the sake of simple objectivity in such cases).
The term 'sordid' was used above, in connection with the murder concerned, as the case in question was a simple / basic matter of a typical, Black Country 'drunk' violating and beating some unfortunate woman with whom he'd shared an evening of revelry, etc. As frequently happens, this ill-treatment resulted in the death of the woman concerned.... though, as with the previous case listed here, the man 'held' for the crime concerned was - finally and MOST surprisingly - cleared of all involvement in the matter!!
*A recent interview with a gentleman about an experience that they'd had in the mid 80's - as a child and in the company of a fellow witness - concerns the form of a man and dog being clearly seen passing over a railway bridge towards the observers concerned. Despite only being a matter of a few yards distant, both figures were observed 'disappearing from sight' as the headlights of an approaching car hit them......!!
In chasing up the location involved, we discovered that the bridge concerned was long gone..... the site being nothing but a stretch of completely flat, moderately busy, road nowadays. While this stands as the only peculiar experience at the specific place concerned, it seems that, as with a number of cases we have covered, the general area in which this occurred has something of a 'history' for (albeit completely unrelated) 'ghostly encounters'!?
*Another, fairly historic, local case came to our attention in recent weeks, which hails from the first quarter of the 20th Century....
This particular story was made all-the-more appealing to group members, because it contained details of one of our 'side' - or 'pet' - interests in this field: overly-tall apparitions!! (Of which there are a fair number in the West Midlands region, it seems!!) This example was seen by 7 people - over the space of a few days - and, despite being described as 'headless', it was STILL said to be around 7 feet tall!!
The first man who saw it supposedly tried to engage it in conversation..... but, in response, it apparently 'shrieked' at him and made attempts to 'keep up with him' as he desperately bicycled away!! In a subsequent report, he said that he believed the figure to be 'female' - despite the lack of head - and describes it as being 'dressed in white'..... giving off a peculiar 'glow'!?
Only a few days later, a group of passing men saw a white clad, glowing figure at the exact, same spot..... this one seemingly 'floating' some 5 feet off the floor!!
Interestingly - coming back to 2008 - we were contacted by a taxi driver who said that he and his 'fare' had witnessed a 'cotton-wool-like form', some 3 feet high, glide across a lane, in front of his cab..... This happened to occur very near to where this 'other', above mentioned, apparition was reported some century (give or take) earlier!?