Monday, 26 June 2017


Monday 26th June 2017.

During a recent foray into Wales (on one of the hottest days this year, so far!), one of our group members was lucky enough to be able to visit the stunning ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey, on the outskirts of Llangollen!

For the member in question, this was something of a dream come true.... as he had never seen the site, 'in the flesh', before, but had been aware of the location for over 2 decades, having once 'made a model' of the ruins for a table-top game!!  (Geek!!)

Sad, sheltered lives aside..... the site itself has a rather intriguing story associated with it, from only a few years ago....

a Wrexham woman was passing the ruins with her aunt one night, on foot, when the front of the buildings suddenly 'lit up' with a circle of what she describes as the most dazzling light.  In the middle of the circle she could see some form of golden object, several feet high, and, walking about it, quite a number of human figures, seemingly dressed in golden costumes, with golden helmets on their heads.....

The woman couldn't help commenting to her aunt on the spectacle and said: "Isn't it wonderful - everything in that shining, golden light! It must be some kind of pageant they are putting on...."

She reports that she couldn't believe what she was hearing when her aunt, sounding totally puzzled, replied: "What pageant!? What light!? It's all dark......!!"

For some seconds later, she said that the wonderful scene continued..... but her relative could still see nothing!? Then, all of a sudden, the magnificent scene vanished, as quickly as it had appeared.....

It has been suggested that the other-worldly scenario could well have been the re-enactment of some ancient Pagan or Christian rite that was once carried out here..... but the image also sounds rather 'fairy-like' to me, in a way, so who knows!?

A more ancient 'ghost story' involving the spot says that one of the former Abbots was out for a walk one evening, when a man dressed in 'warrior garb' approached him and they struck up a conversation.... The tale says that the Abbot instantly knew that his companion was the spirit of none other than Owain Glyndwr, legendary hero of the Welsh people. The spook supposedly told the Abbot that, one day, the English people would be ruled by people of Welsh descent.... The abbot is said to have spread this prophesy and, of course, the prediction later became true when the Tudors took the throne.......  

Monday 26th June 2017.

Quite recently, mid-Staffordshire resident, Steve Roslow, made a comment on the W.M.G.C. Facebook page, enquiring about Boscobel House in Shropshire.  Specifically, Steve was interested to know if anyone knew of any 'paranormal history' associated with the 'attic' area of the property; a part of the house that once served as a 'chapel' and is the location of one of the 'priest holes', situated at the top of the stairs.  He told us that, during a recent visit, he and his partner had felt themselves being 'drawn' to the fireplace in the room, quite forcibly, and, once there, they had experienced a great sense of calm.....!? 

In responding to the query, we had to admit that - as far as we were concerned - the site itself wasn't at all 'known' for any form of spooky reputation..... and it was only through attending a 'Halloween Ghost Walk' there in Oct. 2000, that we learned of any, alleged, paranormal history!?  I guess it should go without saying that there is a strong chance that those tales, related to us some 17 yrs ago now, were - of course - possibly more to do with 'entertaining the visitors' than anything else, perhaps!?

As our visit to the site had been some while ago now, I had to dig out my diary for the period concerned, before responding.   Interestingly, it seemed that we were, indeed, taken into the attic area during the tour...... my notes on the latter running thus: 

"Moving up into the attic, we were shown the site where the chapel would have been. (Though the Oratory, downstairs, is called 'The Chapel' too). The guide said that one regular visitor to Boscobel liked to hang behind, alone, in the chapel area.  She confided that she could see a woman and child in the room". 

This, it also transpires, was the very area where an 'invisible intruder' had supposedly set the house alarm system off first.... before seemingly proceeding to pass through the property, setting off the alarms for different sections as they went!?  It was believed that the 'thing' had gone down the former location a spiral staircase - already removed at the time of the incident in question - as 'it' proceeded to pass from the Oratory and through the house, setting each zone off as it went.....!?  This matter had initially been mentioned elsewhere on our tour - as we passed through the relevant section - but the details were re-visited when we later entered the attic. 

Interestingly - on this latter-mentioned angle - a fire officer has subsequently responded to Steve's Facebook post and told us that he'd had cause to visit Boscobel a great many times at night, as the fire alarms go off there 'very regularly', it seems!?  He tells us that his most eerie visit was one Halloween, while was looking for an activated detector..... "I genuinely felt sick and unnerved!" He admits.  Somewhat sadly, the gentleman reveals that they'd never actually 'witnessed anything' during their visits, but doesn't mind saying:  "If you've ever seen 8 firefighters holding hands..... it's there!!"  Seriously, however, it's interesting to note that Boscobel appears to be the 'only' place, in his experience, where the alarms regularly go off and are unexplained!?

In furtherance to our own comments on the attic area, veteran ghost researcher and author, Andrew Homer, tells us that one of the stories he has from Boscobel House - related by one of the guides there - is that a lady in a 'white swirly dress' has been seen descending the steep stairs from the attic, when there has been nobody up there at the time!?

Another story associated with Boscobel House says that the figure of an old woman - dressed in olde-worlde-clothing -  has been seen in one of the bedrooms from time to time....... so we cannot help but wonder whether she, and the apparition mentioned to Andrew, may well be one and the same, perhaps?   During our visit in 2000, our tour guide took a female attendee from the group and 'placed her' on the exact spot - between a bed and a nearby post - to illustrate where the 'ghost' is mainly said to appear!?

According to legend, the ghost concerned - in life - had little to do with Boscobel itself, but had, for whatever reason, taken refuge there after her own house had been burned down!  We were told that she had been 'caught with a priest in her home'..... which, of course, conjures up all sorts of potential scenarios, but was supposed to have been linked to the 'Catholic persecutions' of distant centuries!?!

Upon gaining sanctuary, the elderly woman found herself secreted in one of the 'priest holes' at the house.  Sadly, while in hiding, she is said to have heard what she took to be 'cavalry' riding into the courtyard, followed, by a loud knock at the door....!!  Believing this to be her persecutors, her poor, frail heart simply couldn't stand the stress.... so, when the occupants later went to retrieve her from her hiding place, they discovered that she had, unfortunately, died of fright!!

In recent years, during a tour of the house, a young boy was invited to look into the priest hole in question and it is said that he reported seeing an old lady in there.... staring straight back at him!?

Monday, June 26th 2017.

In connection to our previous post.... anyone who is familiar with the area around Boscobel House will know that the property lies within a stones throw of another, historic - allegedly haunted - site:  the picturesque ruins of 'White Ladies Priory'.

'White Ladies' happens to be the place where I conducted my first-ever, overnight investigation in the late 1980's, with a couple of other, Midlands, researchers.  Interestingly - and quite amusingly, it has to be said - the ruins are invariably regarded as one of the regions more 'famous' haunted sites..... though this widely acknowledged, 'spooky reputation' certainly wouldn't appear to exactly be 'well-earned', as, whoever you might speak to at any given time, no one seems to really be able to tell you exactly 'what' the place is supposed to be haunted by!?      

Over the decades, numerous stories and rumours have cropped up, supposedly associated with the place, but exact, first-hand data appears as insubstantial as the alleged, resident ghosts.... whoever or whatever they might be!?  My own introduction to the 'spooky' side of White Ladies came about in the very early 80's, when a local newspaper included it in a list of allegedly haunted sites....  Funnily enough, despite having heard of the place in this fashion, it was a number of years, hearing that it was 'haunted', but not hearing any actual accounts associated with the place!? Ghostlore seems rather mish-mash at best...... anything from people / cars being chased by 'floaty-white-figures'; spooky nuns; flying things; 'occult activities' and whatnot!? On the latter point, we do know that a fair bit of occult activity has gone on there at times, as the people I first went with popped back at a later date - without me - and were chased away by robed, masked figures!! Chuckle!!

Referring back to the previous post again:  while checking my diary for Boscobel-related information, I happened to discover a little story associated with White Ladies that I don't think the WMGC had ever mentioned anywhere before?

As with all of the information in the pages concerned, this anecdote came to us via the guide at Boscobel House, during our 'Ghost Tour' in 2000. 

He said:  Some five or so years earlier, a young couple had been 'partying' (his words!!) at White Ladies Priory and had suddenly decided to try and 'raise some spirits'.  After performing some form of 'arcane rites', they claimed to have seen a procession of 'white robed nuns' making their way across the field near the ruins and walking straight through the priory wall, where a doorway allegedly once stood! 

The couple were so scared by the sight, they fled to nearby Boscobel House and blurted their story out to the curator.  He was so intrigued by what was said to have transpired, he returned with them to the ruins and they were able to show him the exact route the figures had been seen taking.......


Needless to say, as a fairly local site of rather long-standing interest, we're always on the lookout for stories and experiences concerning White Ladies and the surrounding region....  If any of our page visitors might have any related tales to tell, then please do get in touch with us!!

Monday, 12 June 2017


Monday 12th June 2017

In a recent conversation with ghost hunter and charity worker, Tracie McMeekin, we were reminded of an intriguing visit that we made, some 15 or so years ago now, to a lovely, historic, architectural 'gem', situated on the outskirts of Wolverhampton City.....  A write-up on the visit concerned had been posted up on our (then) website, but, as frequently happens with such things, the details had basically 'been lost' with time and a change of web page, etc.......

However, incorporating that wonderful, online service - the 'Internet Archive Wayback Machine' - we were recently able to re-discover the details concerned and, with a little tweaking, to bring everything up to date, present the gist of the post here, below, for your perusal.....

"In September, 2002, B.B.C. ‘Midlands Today’ broadcast a news report – ‘The House That Cries’: Sun. Sept. 8th – regarding a peculiar phenomena which is said to have sporadically occurred at what is believe to be by some as Wolverhampton’s oldest (extant) building... Graiseley Old Hall.

While the happenings concerned are not necessarily indicative of actual ghostly / haunting phenomena, they would certainly be construed as 'potentially paranormal in nature' by a great many.  Also, following the news report, certain information came to light which certainly seemed to indicate a form of ‘haunted history’ at least, in bygone days at the building…..

Subsequent contact with the then owner of Graiseley Old Hall - former actress, Miss Susan Williams - resulted in three members of the Ghost Club being invited to pay a visit to the house on September 15th, 2002.

Brief Site History

Graiseley Old Hall itself is believed to have been built in 1485, though signs of a much earlier building have been discovered.  (A wooden tablet in one of the walls of the present building is dated 1377, but this is not thought to be genuine).  During road construction, the remains of an old moat were found surrounding the property.  This is thought to have been dug as a precaution against cattle thieves.

16th Cent. records show that the first owner of Graiseley Old Hall was one Nicholas Rydley, a merchant of the staple of Calais.  The Hall remained with his descendants until the middle of the 17th Cent., when one Walter Rotton was, seemingly, forced to sell the property to William Normansell (one of Oliver Cromwells Justices of the Peace) in order to pay off gambling debts!  (Rotton was apparently a dedicated Cockfighter and Dice Thrower!)

During the Queen Anne period (1702 – 1714), the exterior timberwork of the Hall was replaced with brick.  Today, an example of the original Wattle and Daub structuring can be viewed (from behind a perspex panel) in the Entrance Hall of the house.   Interestingly, just to the right of the aforementioned, sections of medieval fresco paintings can be seen on the original wall timbers of the room. 

Towards the end of the 19th Cent., the hall was occupied by Moses Ironmonger – a former Mayor of the Borough.  A friend of Alexander Graham Bell, Ironmonger installed the first, public telephone line ever established in the district: a link between Graiseley Old Hall and his factory on the corer of Salop and Cock Street!

In 1930, the Hall was purchased by the Royal Wolverhampton School for use as an administration / storage site.  It was discovered that the Hall was not an officially listed building in 1957 and Wolverhampton M.P., Enoch Powell, brought the matter to the attention of the local Government.  As a result, Graiseley Old Hall was given Grade II Star listed status. 

Reported Phenomena(?)

In the 11 years that Miss Williams had occupied the Old Hall (*leading up to 2002), she had noticed that small pools of water had collected in the same spot in the Main Hall on four occasions.  The first three times that this occurred, she neither saw nor heard the water appear, but merely discovered a pool of about the same size that might adequately fill a saucer.  On one of these occasions, food had been laid out in the Hall and the contents of one of the plates was found to be ‘soggy’ with liquid. 

The fourth time that water had appeared was on the last Sunday in August 2002 – the 25th – and, luckily, Miss Williams happened to be in the room at the time.

Graiseley Old Hall was open to the public on the last Sunday of every month and Miss Williams had been taking a couple of visitors round on a tour of the property.  They were standing in the Main Hall, scrutinising an old Tithe Map situated on a long table, when they all became aware of a ‘splashing’ sound.  Looking up, they were surprised to find water dripping rapidly from a point on one of the beams that ran across the Hall ceiling and onto the opposite end of the table to where they were situated.  (The exact same spot in the room where the pools had previously been found).

Miss Williams admits that her immediate reaction was to think that someone had spilled something on the floor of the room above and the liquid was now dripping through the ceiling.  Some people had been staying with her at the time and one of the guests was using the bedroom directly above.  Immediately checking on the situation, Miss Williams found that the guest in question was currently situated in his room, but certainly hadn’t spilled anything on the (uncarpeted) floor.

The guest in question actually accompanied Miss Williams back to the Main Hall, where they found that the water had now stopped dripping.  Upon immediate investigation, the beam was found to be completely dry at the point where the liquid had originated.  (And along the rest of it’s length). 

When asked if she thought that these episodes were possibly paranormal in origin, Miss Williams told us that she didn’t really know.  She did, however, approach a local psychic concerning this matter – a representative of the person concerned appearing in the ‘Midlands Today’ feature – though they appeared fairly non-committal in their comments on the subject.  (Most peculiar for a psychic, we thought?)

Of considerable interest was the fact that Miss Williams received a letter from a local resident following the news broadcast of Sept. 8th.  The note mentioned that, around 40 years earlier, the family then residing at Graiseley Old Hall had actually suffered an outbreak of what they believed was ‘Poltergeist’ activity.  The family concerned was that of the Rev. Pearce – Chaplain of the Royal Wolverhampton School.

Unfortunately, little was known of the actual nature of the phenomenon concerned, save for the fact that activity had only started when the Reverend’s children had reached their teens and only occurred when they were present….. 

Observations

The oak beam from which the water has been known to drip has certainly bowed (sagged) towards it’s middle to a fair degree over the centuries.  However, the lowest point of this bow effect does not seem to correspond with the point at which the water originates.  Unless there is some form of optical illusion being created by subsidence within the structure of the room itself, the point where the water originates is over a foot distant from the lowest point of the bend.

The water itself was described as only ‘dripping’ – but rapidly and the duration of the event itself was relatively brief.  (A matter of a few minutes maximum).  ‘Condensation’ and ‘Damp’ – as some have suggested as a reason for the effect – certainly would not seem to account for this activity?  The volume of water that would need to collect on the surface of the beam before such an effect could manifest would be considerable, and therefore quite visible, and would surely not be able to 'collect' in the volume concerned, before dripping from the point on the beam?  Also, the ceiling of the room is constructed from a number of such beams, so why should only one of these attract condensation, in this way, a mere 4 times in over a decade?

The Hall itself does suffer with damp in places, but certainly nowhere near the levels needed to create such an event; and certainly not so in the Main Hall or the bedroom above.  It is a rare form of condensation / damp which manifests openly for a few minutes, then retreats leaving a formerly dripping surface bone dry?

A couple of W.M.G.C. members suggested (a) a possible hollow of channel running through the beam (which might store, then release liquid sporadically), or (b) some form of potential liquid source from ‘underneath’ the floorboards of the bedroom above, releasing water via seepage through the ceiling below.

With regards to both suggestions, the fact that this had only occurred 4 times in 11 years sounds rather unlikely(?)  The former idea may account for the same amount of water being released each time, but, again, the duration between each episode is puzzling.  The question of ‘seepage’ is also unlikely, as there were no visible damp patches to be seen on the ceiling of the Main Hall....?"  

As mentioned at the beginning of this entry, we should just like to remind visitors that the aforementioned, Tracie McMeekin, is the founder of a Walsall-based, 'homeless charity' called 'Hands To The Homeless' which carries out crucial work in the West Midlands region in supporting destitute and / or needy individuals and families.  Anyone wishing to help out in any way with this stirling work is urged to contact Tracie at:  supermcmeekin@aol.com  The Facebook page for H.T.T.H. - a 'sales page' for raising funds for the charity, full of bargain, quality items - can be found HERE

Sunday, 11 June 2017


Sunday 11th June 2017 

Just a small post, in the form of an appeal for information.  As regulars to W.M.G.C. related pages will know, we have always shown a special interest in the area known as Great Barr, which generally falls into the cross over point of the Walsall / Birmingham / Sutton Coldfield borderlands....  As we have mentioned numerous times in the past - including a lot of related data on this blog (please use the search box for details) - we do tend to be seen to take 'extra' interest in this specific region, as it appears, through unrelated / individual reports and data to just be 'one of those areas' that, somehow, generates a considerable wealth of ghostlore and peculiar experiences over time.....!?   

In this recent instance, we have been speaking with a good friend of the group who told us that a relative of theirs and their partner - living in Great Barr - had recently been woken up, approx. 2 a.m., when they both heard a 'thrumming' noise, high up like a dozen planes going over, followed by a long, distant, whistling sound.... and then a "crump" sound!?  

Needless to say, the description appears very much like what we, today, would recognise as an 'air raid' scenario, from years gone by!  The male of the couple concerned says that he heard exactly the same thing in 1994 too. It most definitely wasn't a noise generated by something like fireworks, as he is ex military and knows the sounds concerned.

Needless to say, it would be MOST interesting for all concerned if anyone had any similar stories, experiences or knowledge on this kind of effect in that general area, or roundabouts!?  As always, please feel free to contact us via the 'comments' option on this page, or privately through our email address above.....

Wednesday, 24 May 2017


Wednesday 24th May 2017

As mentioned in our previous post, one of the members of our Facebook page - Alan Wheatley, a former neighbour of mine, from when I was a very young lad - made an interesting post about a strange experience he'd had, on a boating break, with his family, around 35 (approx.) years ago......  He tells us:  

"You may remember that I and my parents came across you on a canal boat in Shropshire..... well earlier that day we had left Market Drayton, heading back to Wolverhampton.  As anyone familiar with that stretch of canal will know, there is a long, very deep, narrow cutting about a mile long... dead straight, save for a slight dog-leg, half-way along, spanned by a high brick bridge.  As we approached the bridge, a small cruiser was coming the other way, so I slowed down to let him through, but was surprised when he stopped and pulled into the side out of my view behind the bridge.  As I passed through, I prepared to thank him, but was astonished to see that there was no boat there!  He couldn't possibly have turned round and, even if he could, I would have seen him in front of me!?  It wasn't me seeing things, because my mother saw it as well. To this day, I still can't come up with an explanation......?"

While we had no similar experiences logged (in our own files) from that particular stretch of water, we had mentioned, at the time that the subject was broached, that Alan's story reminded us very much of a couple of other encounters, from other regions, that had been reported to us, over time....  One instance concerned a vessel 'vanishing' in front of numerous occupants on a 'tour boat', on the Birmingham canals system, and - in a site that we have personally investigated - 'ghost boats' have allegedly been experienced in the Lord Wards tunnel network in Dudley, in the Black Country, too!  

While the canal networks of this fine country aren't immediately something you tend to think of when musing over the subjects of ghosts and hauntings, it certainly seems that the lifestyle / subject does indeed have a strong 'ghostlore' all of it's own!

As mentioned in our previous post, the stretch of canal mentioned by Alan in his account is, it seems, particularly noted for it's ghosts and peculiar feel.  (*Related articles HERE and HERE)  However, it's certainly not just this stretch of Midlands canal that hold such a reputation.... and related, 'spooky tales' continue across the waterways map!  We have, in the past, mentioned a number of strange stories associated with our canals; one particular 'stretch' - situated in my childhood / early adulthood neighbourhood - has no less that 5 different, allegedly haunted, spots within the space of two miles alone!!

Wednesday May 24th 2017

In a recent conversation on the W.M.G.C. Facebook page, we were greatly interested to see one of our members, Alan Wheatley, relating a story concerning a family outing on the Shropshire Union Canal some decades past.  The spot in question was a section of the waterway not far from Market Drayton in Shropshire... a stretch of canal that is seemingly noted (in numerous sources, it seems?) as having something of an 'eerie feel' to it!? 

While we will post Alan's initial story (mentioned above) in a separate post, we will, for the moment, focus on something mentioned in the subsequent 'comments' on the topic concerned.  Alan had happened to mention a specific matter that we'd never heard of before.... though the details concerned certainly brought to mind another topic that we were all-too-familiar with!  The comment included the most intriguing line:

"I know lots of the old working boatmen used to claim that Betton Wood had a shrieking ghost and would not moor there over night....."

On seeing this reference, we were instantly reminded of the classic story, 'A Neighbour's Landmark', by the late, great, ghost story writer, M.R. James.... in which the focus of the tale is a 'shrieking ghost' that haunts a region formerly occupied by an area of woodland called 'Betton Wood'! As mentioned, we had never heard of the real-life matter mentioned by Alan previously, but, on checking further, it seems that the association had certainly not been lost on Jamesian scholars, the information being reported on in a number of online sources.....!

A further reference, supplied by Alan, was taken from L.T.C Rolt's famous book, 'Narrow Boat':

"The name Betton Wood seemed vaguely familiar, but it was not until we reached Betton Wood, where the trees, pressing close, made a darkness about us and the water was unruffled by the wind which tossed their branches, that I recalled the association in the line: 'Than that which walks in Betton Wood knows why it walks or why it cries'. Connoisseurs of the ghost story will doubtless have read 'A Neighbours Landmark by the immortal M.R James, and so remember Betton Wood where walked the shrieking ghost having 'no language but a cry'"

As can (and most definitely 'does', of course) frequently occur, did the real-life haunting influence James' writing, perhaps.... or is the entire case just a matter of sheer coincidence!?!  Maybe - we cannot be sure now, needless to say - James' story actually influenced the 'lore of the canals', thereabouts, possibly?  This sort of thing has certainly happened before, to our knowledge: there is a real-life story, for example, of a haunting in the Wolverhampton area - from the mid-1800's - that ties in VERY closely indeed with another of James' tales.... so was he in the habit of taking references from the popular news for his stories, maybe?