Monday, 6 July 2009

Wednesbury Ghost Appeal???

A while ago, the Black Country Bugle newspaper published a letter from Willenhall reader, Pauline Poole, concerning a ‘ghost’ associated with a site (formerly) called the Wednesbury Commercial School, in Wednesbury, West Midlands. A Ghost Club representative subsequently made contact with Mrs. Poole and she was kind enough to tell us what she knew of the matter.

The school building itself was situated on the corner of Wood Green Rd. and Brunswick Park Rd. and was originally a sizeable house called ‘Dolobran’ and ‘The Limes’. The former home of a number of Wednesbury dignitaries, the building was eventually demolished in the early 1990’s as part of a road widening scheme.

Mrs. Poole’s account of the Dolobran ghost dates from the late 1950’s and concerns a friend – Kester – who regularly attended cricket meetings at the school. Mrs. Poole tells us:

“One lunchtime, Kester mounted the sweeping staircase in Dolobran, going to an upper classroom where the cricket team met. He found, on the landing, a team member who was obviously very upset; tearful and visibly shaking - as white as a sheet! After a while, when he could speak, he told Kester that he was on his way down the stairs and had looked out of the window to see – not for the first time – the body of a man hanging from a tree, with his neck obviously broken and his head ‘at a funny angle’. He was dressed in unfamiliar garb, which was obviously from another time…..”

Despite the fact that a brand new housing estate now occupies the Dolobran site, the tree concerned in the above story still stands. (It apparently has a preservation order on it).

An associate of Mrs. Poole currently lives on the housing estate and she too has heard of the old Commercial School ghost…..

Should any visitors to this blog have any information on the above mentioned matter, both the Ghost Club and Mrs. Poole would very much like to hear from them.

Best wishes,

The W.M.G.C.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is that the old college where the mace garage is now? I went there in 1981 attending night school in english lit,never saw or heard anything sorry,obviously part of the wednesbury 'triangle' Brunswick Park cemetery had a chapel or some old building haunted, I can remember it in the local paper(probably E&S)because it drew us kids like a magnet,my english teacher at school lived on thw Wood Green road and was always telling us ghost stories,on the Holyhead road is the ATS garage,previous to that it was a warehouse where I worked,supposedly haunted,and there were a few stories about that,next door is now the dance academy again supposedly haunted,in my time it was the Anchor pub,and then coming up Church Hill the cemetery at St Barts is supposedly haunted by 'the grey lady of Ethelfleda Terrace' I told my wife to get The friends of Brunswick Park' to organise a gost walk to raise funds but she never. regards.

will said...

We definitely need some more 'weird Wednesbury' experiences,this happened many years ago when I was a teenager,me and my mate Andy were having a walk about one winter night,we were walking along the Walsall road,and got to about level to where the mosque is now.He was wearing woolen gloves and to emphasise something he was saying pointed with his finger.To our amazement about 10 yards ahead of us in the road there was a cracking noise and it looked like something ricoched off the floor! we both stared at the end of his finger,obviously a lethal weapon!

will said...

I would be interested to hear from anyone who has experienced anything strange happening either at the ATS depot or the dance academy next door.
The ATS building has been extensively altered but when I worked there approx 1977-80 it was essentially still an old church with most of its original features still there (I believe it was in the terms of the rental lease that we could not modify it)
I was told it was haunted but my reaction was 'yeah right' mainly because I was told this by my colleague Alfie Ferkins,a gentleman and a scholar but a man who loved his practical jokes,the sort of bloke who if he told you it was Monday,you would check it on a calendar,I'm sure you know the sort I mean.
Another member of staff told me the same but I just thought it was playing up the young kid stuff and in fact during my time there I never heard or saw anything out of the ordinary.
Having said that,there was one area that gave me the creeps and that was the upstairs pulpit area which was immediatley behind the wall that faces the Holyhead road.
Imagination? possibly,whereas the smaller stores (the smaller part of the L shape building) never bothered me,all I can tell you is that I didnt bloody like going up to that pulpit area! the floor area at the rear of the building always seemed cold to me,and the pulpit area always made you feel uneasy, bad enough on a sunny day and in the winter as the area was not well lit I absolutley dreaded it.
Interestingly before I worked there a chap mamed Walter who worked in the stores,as a rather cruel joke the lads tied him to the rail of the upstairs pulpit and turned all the lights off leaving him in the dark.
It wasn't quite so funny when they went to untie him,the poor lad was in absolute hysterics,so bad in fact that they sent him home.So perhaps it wasn't just me that found that pulpit creepy.
Anyway,thats my experience working there,other members of staff had some other experiences,Hopefully they may get in touch.

W.M.G.C. said...

Hi Will,

Thanks for your comments....

Funnily enough, I did call in at the ATS (not too long back) when a local historian mentioned the place to me in passing. I asked about the possibility of a haunting there, but the chap behind the counter told me that he'd never heard of anything 'ghostly' associated with the site.

Bit of weird synchronicity that you should mention the place to us now, of course!!

All the best to you...

The W.M.G.C.

will said...

Thanks for replying.As I said I never heard or saw anything whilst I was there and my source for the haunting was utterly unreliable (there was a large depression in the tarmac at the entrance and when it rained Ferkins would flatten himself against the fence and inch past the puddle insisting it was alligator infested,to give you some idea of the man,great fun to work with though)
However,we moved to West Bromwich about 1980 and due to the previous manager being promoted a chap called Dave Warner was appointed,he had previously worked at the Wednesbury warehouse before managing a branch down south.
We were chatting in the office one day about the old warehouse and Dave told us that one night he was working late in the office and clearly heard footsteps outside in the warehouse,he was certain he had locked the entrance door and went to see if anybody had got in and of course there was nobody there.
Concerning the ATS a friend and colleague of some 20 years,Joan told me that her nephew worked there and did them a good deal when they needed new tyres,whilst they were settling up Joan asked him as a joke if they had seen the 'ghost' yet,he said that one of the lads had come running out of the bottom stores claiming to have seen a woman!
The bottom stores always seemed a nice peaceful place to me,unlike that creepy pulpit!

W.M.G.C. said...

Hi Will,

Thanks for the reply!

Factual or not, it's interesting to find out these sorts of legends - especially ones associated with familiar / local sites, etc. This is the sort of thing that makes this subject so interesting, I think.

Re. the site in question, I know for a fact that - during some work on the road directly outside the building - the workmen involved dug up the body of a small boy..... It was inevitably thought that the corpse came from the burial ground associated with the chapel.....

Whether this might have 'kicked something off', I do not know.... but in this subject, it's certainly food for though, I'd imagine!! Laugh!!

All the best to you,

Regards,

WMGC

will said...

Thanks for your reply
I didnt know about the little boy,funnily enough another colleague told me that a delivery driver was sort of lurking about the dock area,she asked what he wanted and he politley explained that he was interested in old buildings and could he have a look around?
She said ok and walked around with him for obvious reasons.
In the big stores he said 'ah yes I see them' and told her he was a medium and could see the ghosts of an old woman and a little girl.
She obviously thought he was a bit odd but she said that the hair on the back of his head had risen up so she wondered if he was sincere.
This was early days and I kind of shrugged it off,makes you wonder though.
Ghosts are fascinating although my great love is cryptids,the great cryptozoologist Dr Karl Shuker lives quite near me and one day I might get up the nerve to say hello,it would be fascinating to hear his stories.
Otherwise I will have to wait until I win the lottery and I can then spend my days tootlng round the great woodlands of America and Canada in a camper van looking for Bigfoot,for I have made a study of the beast and am certain of success!
All the best
will

W.M.G.C. said...

Hi Will,

Thanks for all of your comments on the site concerned; your information will make an admirable addition to our files!!

Aha - Karl Shukers Mom used to be my deputy-headmistress at school when I was 11!! (Many, many years ago!! Laugh!!)

I used to see him walking around Wednesbury Market in the past, but I haven't been over that way in a long time, I must admit!!

With an interest in Cryptozoology, haven't you ever been inspired to spend some time over nearby Cannock Chase, Will? If the stories are too be believed, the area is absolute heaven to researchers, with all of it's sightings of werewolves, giant snakes, ABC's and Bigfoot.... to name but a few!! We've received enquiries from researchers in France recently regarding a documentary on the subject..... Even the Rev. Lionel Fanthorpe gave us a ring about the place a couple of years back!! Laugh, laugh!!

All the best to you,

Regards,

The W.M.G.C.

will said...

Thanks for your reply
I believe Dr Shuker went to the same sool as me (Wodensborough)a year or two ahead
I used to regularly buy the Fortean Times and I knew he was a contributor but I really noticed him when he investigated the infamous Sandwell 'Valleygator' some time back,I remember seeing a photo of him in his combats,the good Dr was certainly ready for action!
I used to fish Swan Pool regularly throughout that period and as usual I never saw anything,unobservant as I am I'm pretty sure I would have noticed an alligator swimming about.
There was a particularly vicious labrador that for no immediatley obvious reason bit the end off my fishing rod one day! bizzare certainly but not especially paranormal.
I was a bit suspicious of the valleygator because a week after the initial reports there was a guy dressed as a big green alligator in the Kings Square in West Bromwich,seemed a bit quick to me!
The Fortean Times investigated similair reports in the midlands,they heavily implied that a bankrupt exotic reptile dealer had been dumping his unsold animals in the local pools,then I read recently that the valleygator was a snapping turtle,but I never saw one of those either,strange.
Thanks for the info on Cannock Chase,trust me to miss whats right under my nose,too many happy hours spent mooching about Wikepedias 'cryptids' pages and looking at stills from the Patterson Bigfoot film for the zillionth time!
Having said that,I did hear witness reports that there was a wild slavering beast prowling around the Chase at the dead of night
I just thought it was Stan Collymore.
regards

W.M.G.C. said...

Hi Will,

Wodensborough High was my mothers school, coincidentally!! Laugh!! A year or two back, I was asked to do a talk on the W.M.G.C. for some of the 'problem' children at that establishment too!! Laugh!!!

Re. Swan Pool and surrounding area - there is a lot of general weirdness associated with that region (or, there has been over the decades)...... everything from the ValleyGator (as you rightly mention) to ghost sightings, to a bigfoot-style experience, funnily enough. If you would like to send us your email address Will, I'd be happy to forward an account of the latter to you, if I can dig the matter out(?)

With regards to the Chase - there is so much information available on the alleged 'peculiar' happenings over there.... but it really is a matter of sorting out the potential wheat from the chaff (as they say). At a guess, it would come in at something like 99% chaff, I'm sure - but it's still a lot of fun trying to figure out just where all of that sort of utter rot originates!! Laugh, laugh!!!

All the best to you and do get in touch via email!!

Regards,

The W.M.G.C.

will said...

Thanks for your reply
My email adress is shaz91@talktalk.net,thank you for your kind offer,very much appreciated.
The only other bit of weirdness I read about Swan pool was an article in the Express & Star about stick shapes found hanging in the trees.
There was speculation that it may have been the activities of a coven,rather than some Blair witch wannabees which was my conclusion.
I have done a bit of internet mooching on Cannnock chase,dogs walking on their hind legs? high strangeness at its highest and indeed strangest.
Without wishing to invade anyones privacy I do prefer to see photographs of witnesses,appearances can be deceptive but sometimes it is plainly obvious that someone is no stranger to a pint of best!
Still,I agree this stuff is fascinating,I tend to go along with the Fortean view that it is all educative,for example you may not learn a lot about the nature of ufo's from a witness but you can learn a lot about the nature of ufo witnesses!
All the best

W.M.G.C. said...

Hi Will,

Thanks for the reply! I shall get that note off to you... as soon as I can find it!! Laugh!! I did promise someone that I'd dig something out of my diaries for them yesterday, so I shall take the opportunity to 'kill two birds with one stone', as it were! Laugh!!

I have never heard of the 'sticky' association with Swan Pool.... There is a tree situated next to the Sandwell itself that is sometimes adorned with rag tributes and the like, so there must be some form of reverential practices going on in the area with regards to certain types, etc. (Most probably related directly to the well itself?)

I have to say I love your attitude as expressed in your UFO related comment!! Sounds as if we might have been cut from the same cloth to a fair degree, somewhere along the lines!! Laugh!!

Re. the Cannock Chase matter - there is a hell of a lot of information to go through, but I'd suggest that 99.9% of it is utter twaddle. And that's not just the sceptic in me talking, honestly!! Laugh, laugh!! Akin to your UFO comment - such matters are an excellent way of studying the very culture associated with (or, perhaps more accurately 'which becomes associated with') paranormal related topics, etc.....

All the best to you,

Regards,

The W.M.G.C.

will said...

Thanks for your reply
I sent the article on the Swan pool sticks to the Fortean times but they never published it.
The rag tree is according to the internet info I found a practice associated with the traveller community,at least in Ireland,it is usually a hawthorne tree and is usually situated near holy wells,it is a kind of wishing well but in a tree (doh!),although originally it was to to wish for a cure for people who were ill.
All interesting stuff,my wife is Irish but has never heard of it,I note though that the personals in Irish newspapers are full of requests and thanks to various saints for favours granted!
All the best.

W.M.G.C. said...

Hi Will,

Thanks for your recent note.

Re. the 'sticky things' - Laugh - I spoke with a farm owner a couple of years ago (in the South Staffs region) who told me a neighbour of his had such things erected in one of his fields by someone? I never got to see these designs, but they were explained to me as 'witchcraft signs'. He wasn't sure whether it was something to take seriously, or just one of his mates playing a prank on him!! Laugh, laugh!!

I hadn't heard about these tribute trees being specifically used by those of Irish lineage (of which I am too) - but I guess these practices have to originate somewhere.....

The document that I mentioned previously should, I hope, be winging it's way in your direction any moment now!!

All the best,

The W.M.G.C.

will said...

Apologies for the delay in replying.
The Sandwell Valley bigfoot rates a 3/5 on the 'hmmm' scale for me
I do have a suitably ludicrous theory which might offer a 'rational'explanation.
I am not 100% sure of the location of the sighting,if its where I think it is then It may be that he saw a fisherman going for a pee!
The sighting took place in late October,when it is getting colder,particularly early in the morning.
A lot of fishermen wear one piece suits which are essentially a duvet with arms and legs,most are waterproofed with some shade of green or olive drab nylon.
These suits bulk out your appearance making you seem bigger,also where the sighting took place is close to a spot which is usually faced with a prevailing wind and I have seen fisherman wearing balaclavas to keep their heads warm (I should explain that it is old fishing wisdom to fish into the wind)
Given that fisherman also wear 'moon boots' for warmth we are looking at someone who appears taller,bulkier and with their face covered.
The rest depends on the witness,was he into the paranormal? was he into bigfoot? did he want to see something?
Given the low light values,the personality of the witness which appears to be borderline fantasy prone,I think he may have seen something he wanted to see,and I think he believed he saw something.
A lot of bigfoot sightings are accompanied by a foul smell,now if he had reported that I would have seriously considered he saw me!
I was definitley fishing Swan pool at that time,I'm about 6'1" and would have been wearing something similair.
Fascinating sighting though and a great pity he did not keep in touch as if he was a fantasy prone person he would have been an invaluable source of information.
Got to go,there was a report in the E & S of a bloke who saw a puma in a tree!
He took a picture! it looks nothing like a puma!
Strange days,great times.
All the best.

W.M.G.C. said...

Hi Will,

Thanks for your comment!!

Nice rationalisation on the Bigfoot sighting!! I like the way you think!! Laugh!!

Obviously, the problem with this sort of thing is - unless the researcher concerned was present during the experience and was right on the ball with regards to attention, etc - we will never know exactly what went on or what was seen for sure. I personally think the bulk of weird experiences and sightings are purely a misinterpretation of common-place things..... but possibly viewed from an obscure angle. However, at the end of the day, it's all grist to the mill (as they say) for us interested parties! Laugh!!

Yes - we also saw the alien big cat report..... We were going to include it here on the forum once the subject had been covered fully!! Laugh!!

All the best to you Will,

Regards,

The WMGC

will said...

Thank you for your reply.
I think that the human mind has several levels of consciousness beyond either awake or asleep.
I can think of hypnotism,hypnogognia,hypnopompia and the very strange effects of sleep deprivation of which I have had experience myself and seen its effect on others.
When I was into fishing,I went night fishing more than a few times.In the morning when I was tired I have seen plenty of things in the water,that have mereley been shadows suggestive of say a face and my mind has filled in the rest.
It is important to stress the clarity of these images,which are as clearly defined as anything else,obviously given the context of the 'sighting' I was aware I was hallucinating and afterwards I could see how the shadows or reflections had created the image.
Having said that,I ask myself if someone else could have experienced the same thing but in a much more suitable context,a graveyard say or an old house.
The answer must be yes,so I cannot say that someone has not seen something because to all intents and purposes they have,and no kind of stigma should be attached to it.
My fascination is with those cases where there is not such an easy answer,because I think that there are genuine cases that create a template for other experiences,a bit like the chicken and the egg!
Anyway thats my two pennys worth.
All the best.
Will.

W.M.G.C. said...

Hi Will,

Thanks for your note.

I concur with you totally re. your comments. There are so many 'alternative' reasons for alleged paranormal happenings that I couldn't even begin to know where to start if genuinely trying to cover such events objectively..... I'm constantly amused by groups and (self-professed) researchers who will state (words to the effect): "We look at all logical explanations before deciding whether an event is truly paranormal....."

Bullsh*t!!!! Laugh, laugh!!! Self delusion is a terrible affliction!!! Laugh, laugh!!!

All the best to you,

Regards,

The WMGC