Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Great Barr Ghost Interest.......


Over the years, a number of stories associated with the Great Barr area have come to the attention of the W.M.G.C.

There is said to be an indellible blood stain on the floorboards of one cottage in the area and, in a lane not far away, the apparition of a darkly dressed man loiters in a dip in the road and 'bothers' passing motorists. Again, not very far distant, the ghost of Lady Scott is reputed to haunt the old Great Barr Park and it is possibly her willowy, white shade that has been spotted floating over the lake there; a form said to be responsible for luring one young man into the murky waters and causing him to suffer a mental breakdown. The shadowy figure of a man stands and stares at passing horse riders near certain farm out-buildings and an equally shadowy female figure crosses the yard of another holding and appears in the grounds of a nearby property...... the list could go on and on.

Vanishing hitch-hikers, a phantom coach, poltergeist activity in a local club house - all of the above and more has been reported over recent years.

Quite recently, however, two further - most intriguing - stories have come to our attention. Both experiences are wholly different in nature, occuring in different parts of the region, but they have served to collectively 'peak' - or, more accurately, 'revitalise' - our interest in the region once again.

In the first instance, a family had just stopped at a set of traffic lights at the bottom of Barr Beacon hill, when - on a grassy area nearby - the mother suddenly noticed 3 men seated on huge, chestnut horses. (She says that the men were not there when they came up to the lights, as she would have surely seen them as they approached). With some incredulity, she saw that the figures were all wearing cloaks, long boots, masks, hats....... and at least one of the men appeared to be carrying a long barrelled, musket-style pistol. She found herself instantly mesmerised by the strange sight, but said nothing to the other occupants of the car and just watched the riders.

At this point, the man nearest the road turned his head and looked straight at her. She says that he had dark, straight, collar-length hair. Interestingly, she noted that the mans piercing eyes clearly seemed to indicate 'confusion' as he stared back at her(?)

The witness says that she then 'came back to reality' and was aware that the car she was in was now progressing through the traffic light junction. She instantly asked her husband if he had seen the 'highwaymen', but when she went to indicate where the figures where - they had gone! On describing what she had just seen, she was met with considerable derision!!

In the second account, a woman and her partner were exploring the area around Barr Beacon (hill) when they entered a particular, fenced field. Suddenly, the woman says that she felt the most overwhelming sense of 'evil' come over her...... as if something 'bad' was approaching. Her boyfriend must have sensed exactly the same thing as, without communicating, both rushed to exit the field via the fence. (She comments that this reaction came as an automatic response). She likened the experience to the sequences in movies, where you see the camera following someone as if it is chasing them and indicated that this was how it felt..... like something was pursuing them. While they saw nothing at all, she says it felt as if she had encountered 'pure evil'. Once out of the field, they both felt perfectly fine. The presence had gone - or had possibly been 'restricted' to the field in question(?) - and they simply carried on up the hill to the monument......

After gaining the permission of the witnesses concerned, an appeal for more information was made in the local press and the resulting article appeared in the Walsall Advertiser and Great Barr Observer for Thursday the 2nd of April.

To say that we were somewhar surprised by the response recieved could be described as something of an understatement! The first phone call came in the day after the article had been published:

"Those 'highwaymen' that you're looking for up on the Beacon...."

"Yes....?"

"Well, they're not ghosts!!"

The initial caller - a metal-detectorist who frequents the Barr Beacon area - professed to having seen three 'strangely clad' riders a number of times...... and had even spoken to them on one occasion!! In speaking of his first sighting of the men in question, he had to admit that he too had thought them to be something 'not of this world', likening their appearance (at a distance) to 'something out of a period drama'.

Two subsequent calls from other witnesses have also related similar details and sentiments. All winesses have spoken of the riders peculiar attire - one suggesting the possible involvement of an historical re-enactment group, or some such - but all intimated that the horsemen concerned were 'of this world' and not 'otherworldly' in nature!

Whoever - or whatever - these horsemen might be, you can rest assured that Ghost Club members will be making a determined effort to 'bump into them' over the coming weeks.... Watch this space for potential updates!!

But what of our other confidante and her 'sense of evil'?.....

One phone call recently received didn't actually feature the 'peculiar' riders, but came from a gentleman who claimed to have had a most unusual experience some 25 years ago on top of Barr Beacon.

He told us that he and three family members had been returning home from an evening out when the path of their car was blocked by an enormous, black dog. At first the witnesses thought that the animal might have been an escaped calf, it was so large. As they sat and watched, the creature is said to have walked around the front of the car, staring in at the terrified occupants with bright, red eyes. It was clearly 'not afraid of anything' (as our witness puts it) - and the overall experience lasted some 30 or so seconds before the creature eventually disappeared.......

While there is no glaring connection between the black dog encounter and the evil presence, it would appear that both experiences occurred in roughly the same area. Our witness who reported the disturbing feeling spoke of a 'primal feel' to her encounter and, should there be any substance to the myriad black dog sightings that litter British ghostlore, then they must - surely - be construed as potentially 'elemental' in nature? There are rumours of an ancient standing stone having been located on the Beacon itself, so who knows what ancient rites and practices may have taken place here and what 'ripples' such events could have caused over the subsequent centuries......?

Hopefully, our interest and appeals in these quarters will continue to generate reports from this region. Needless to say, we will be sure to keep you appraised, if and when they appear....

Regards to all,

The W.M.G.C.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I used to live at the Beacon, Goatland, North Yorkshire. I would be happy to share my experiences in that house, now a guest house. One beautiful place to live but scary at the same time. It changes people. It changed me. It still draws me. It is like the house breathes. Just found it interesting that when I did a search. You guys came up. I now live in the USA. Will never forget what happened in that house. The sightings. Other things. It was very real, strange, sad, scary, lovely. Many people have seen what I have seen but not to the extent of what WE went through in that house. I love that house. Sounds strange. Just drawn to it still 30 odd years later. Spent 3 years in that house. It will change you.