Sunday, 12 July 2009

Birmingham Investigation.

From The Archives...

Returning to talk of 'haunted pubs', the following post concerns an investigation that group members carried out on March 24th, 2007, when the W.M. Ghost Club conducted an overnight stay at the White Hart public house in Tile Cross, Birmingham.

Group member Steve Chew first became interested in the property after becoming aware of media reports concerning an 'apparition' possibly being caught on security footage. During a preliminary visit to the site, Steve discovered that the property was said to hold a substantial haunted history – some of the details being outlined in the following press release by the brewery publicity company attached to the site in question:

'Ghostly goings on at The White Hart'

"Every pub has its regulars, but a Birmingham pub has three ghostly visitors that don't leave when the doors are locked – and finally one has been captured on CCTV.

The White Hart in Tile Cross has experienced spooky goings-on for years and pub staff have heard more than their fair share of ghost stories.

But they got more than they bargained for when they checked the pub's closed-circuit-television system and watched a shimmering white presence glide through a window, swoop around the hall-way and then glide through the opposite wall.

Parts of the Gressel Lane pub date back to 1649 when it was a coach house for Sheldon Hall frequented by highwaymen. For years, visitors to the pub have talked about two ladies who died at the coach house and told spooky tales, but when landlady Sam Skelton took on the pub seven months ago, she realised they weren't just ghost stories.

"The first time I was aware that something was wrong, I was alone in the pub. I was in the bottle store and I could hear two women talking to one another. I moved toward the voices to see what was happening and I heard them say 'Is she coming? Shush then.' Since then, I hear them quite often, giggling and muttering to each other. They are friendly so it doesn't scare me, they just irritate me because they waffle so much," says Sam.

"Some of our regulars claim to have seen the ghost of a woman glide through the bar and disappear, but before we came here, a guest who stayed in the spare room was actually tucked in by the old ladies, so you can't say they're not friendly!"

Sam says the third ghostly resident stays in the cellar and doesn't venture above-stairs. "I heard a male voice in the cellar and it did frighten me because I hadn't realised there was a third ghost, but then I found out the lady who used to run the White Hart had a rottweiler. The dog was fearless but whenever it used to get to the top of the stairs that lead down to the cellar, it would start whimpering and get as far away as it could," she says.

"Earlier this week, after we closed the pub for the night, we switched off all the fans, finished all our jobs and turned off all the taps and lights. First thing on Monday morning, I came downstairs and I could hear that a tap was running. I went down to the cellar and there was two inches of water on the floor and the tap was on full.

"The staff think the ghosts are trying to warn us to let them be in peace, but we don't wish them any harm! I did wonder about inviting a psychic for a night because the place is full of paranormal activity, but the last thing I want to do is upset them. I like the fact that they like the pub enough to hang around!"

A brief report of our investigation of the White Hart – including an appraisal of the security footage - can be viewed below:

Investigation Report: The White Hart - Tile Cross - Birmingham.

Date: Saturday 24th to Sunday 25th March 2007

Duration Of Visit: Approx. 4 hrs

Investigators Present: 4 group members and, also, landlady Sam, partner Paul and two children. (Latter three in bed during duration of visit).

Investigation:

Trigger Objects:

*Crucifix on paper - alarmed - on stool in middle of Ladies Toilet floor.

Session One: 1.50am to 2.30am.

Camera set up in Rear Bar area - far left corner, facing diagonally across to bar.

Camera situated on pile of boxes in Bottle Store - facing door into room from Bar. (Request put to room at beginning of session for anyone to speak if they wishes, etc).

Camera situated in far left corner of bar - facing towards alcove (where old lady figures allegedly seen).

Camera situated in far right of Bar - facing towards 'Dog Pillar'.

Entire group seated in Alcove area throughout session.

During this time: Group hear a number of naturally occurring noises from room (mechanical, etc). Len reports having possibly seen shadowy movement from left of bar area. Steve subsequently reports seeing movement - in peripheral vision - from behind Bar itself.

Session Two: 2.40am to 3.10am

Camera situated far right of Bar area - facing across to 'Dog Pillar'. (Childrens chiming ball situated on table top next to camera).

Cassette recorder left on table on fireplace side of 'Dog Pillar'.

Camera on table top in Alcove - facing towards Bar.

Entire group situated in Rear Bar area throughout session.

During this period: Frazer and Steve detect a heavy thump noise - like someone hitting a wall with their fist - seemingly coming from a point near the Disabled Toilet area.

Session Three: 3.10am to 3.45am.

Entire group seated in Alcove area - chatting casually throughout session.

Nothing to report during this period.

Session Four: 3.50am to 4.30am

Frazer, Steve and Sam - with camera running - go into Bottle Store and attempt to 'Bait' the room. (Asking questions out loud, etc).

Len situated in Rear Bar area.

Nick situated in Main Bar area.

During this period: Frazer and Steve both report hearing a male vocal sound - akin to someone clearing their throat - coming from the room containing the Cellar door. Unfortunately, video tape had just run out at this point in the session!

Recording Results:

Little of interest was found on the recordings taken during the night, save for - five minutes into Session Two - some anomalous sounds were picked up by the equipment left recording in the Main Bar.

The equipment picked up the clear sound of movement in the general area - loudest on the camera situated far right of the Bar area. The noises concerned sound something moving around very close to the camera - sounds which go on for around a minute. Then there is the noise of the swing and closure of a nearby door. Again after a minute, the clear sound of the door swinging open and something moving around very close to the camera; also a heavy creaking, as if of a heavy set person, standing on old floorboards or possibly settling into a wooden chair.

Neither of the cameras present picked up any images to accompany these noises.

While human agency could not be ruled out to account for such noises, but, by the sound of the sequence of doors, it should surely mean that, had anyone entered the room and made the noise, they didn't actually leave again afterwards. Also, with the entire group only in the next room, why did no one present hear such sounds?

Conclusions

While nothing of an obvious paranormal nature was discovered by the group during our stay, it has to be mentioned that nothing could be found to account for the noises caught on the Session Two recording mentioned above.

While a lot has apparently been made by the alleged figure caught on CCTV footage, it has to be said that - by the licensee's own admittance - a number of people who viewed the tap had suggested that it was caused by nothing more than a moth or some such insect flying in close proximity to the camera. This theory was also echoed by W.M.G.C. member who saw the sequence too.

Whatever it's cause however, group members find it unfair that one local media authority (which will remain nameless) levelled claims of blatant 'fraud' at the White Hart. From the footage concerned, it was clear that an simple 'anomaly / accident' was sufficient cause for the effect seen, rather than any endeavours to actually manufacture the sequence concerned.

Regards to all,

The W.M.G.C.

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