Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Nottinghamshire Interest....


W.M.G.C.‭ ‬members were intrigued to recently receive an enquiry associated with a wonderful site that,‭ ‬albeit situated just outside our usual,‭ ‬geographical parameters,‭ ‬seems worthy of mention.‭

The note concerned came from Sarah Ascott who is currently conducting research on the atmospheric ruin of Annesley Hall‭ (‬shown above‭) ‬in Nottinghamshire.‭

Sarahs interest in the building stems from the fact that her Grandmother was‭ ‘‬Head Cook‭’ ‬at the hall during‭ ‬the‭ ‬1920‭'‬s.‭ ‬Needless to say the site has always had something of a ghostly reputation and we are told that her relative reports having frequently seen the‭ ‬ghost of a woman pass her on the main stairs of the hall,‭ ‬on many occasions,‭ ‬whilst in service there‭…‬...‭ ‬Such accounts were well know in Sarahs family,‭ ‬her Grandmother having often related her encounters to different relatives over the years.

Apparently,‭ ‬sightings of this mysterious,‭ ‬female figure were not only confined to her Grandmother,‭ ‬as other members of the staff‭ – ‬serving at the hall,‭ ‬at the same time‭ – ‬also spoke of witnessing such things‭!! ‬Historically speaking,‭ ‬some sources mention that the body of a woman was allegedly discovered near to one of the staircases at the hall,‭ ‬but it cannot currently be ascertained whether this has any connection with the staircase mentioned in the aforementioned sightings or whether‭ – ‬if it were‭ – ‬such a discovery has any direct bearing on the incidents in question‭?

While the W.M.‭ ‬Ghost Club has never had the pleasure of investigating this historic site,‭ ‬group member Steve Chew did visit the general area a number of years ago and was privy to a private tour of the hall at the time.

As with a great many such structures,‭ ‬Annesley Hall has,‭ ‬over recent years,‭ ‬now become a popular‭ ‘‬haunt‭’ ‬of numerous ghost societies and associations.‭ ‬A report by the Derbyshire Ghost Society can be viewed at this LINK

All the best,

The W.M.G.C.

Manor Arms Investigation....

Recent enquires by another local, ghost research group regarding our activities in the North Walsall region have brought to the fore details of a most enjoyable investigation carried out by the group a few years ago. On Saturday, March 4th, 2006, group members conducted an overnight investigation of a superb, little Walsall pub - namely, the Manor Arms at Rushall.

Over the years, a plethora of ghostly activity has been reported at this historic site – formerly a farmhouse. While the bulk of the building is 18th Century in construction, certain sections of the site do appear to date from the 15th and 16th Centuries. Despite certain preposterous claims that the Manor Arms is one of the oldest pubs in England – it did, in fact, only become a licensed premises in 1895!!

In his book: ‘Ghosts and the Folklore Around Barr Beacon’, author Andrew Perrins mentions that the figure of a woman – dressed in white and wearing a straw hat – has allegedly been seen inside the building. She, according to local legend, is a former landlady who fell downstairs at the pub and died…..

A tall, dark, male figure has also allegedly been seen by regulars in the bar, walking along the ground floor passage which bisects the building. Certain stories also tell of the ghosts of two children being associated with the building – though details as to who they might be and why they allegedly haunt the site are somewhat vague….

Investigation Report: The Manor Arms Public House – Rushall – Walsall.

Date of Investigation: Saturday 4th to Sunday 5th of March, 2006.

Duration of Investigation: (Approx.) 6 hours.

Investigation:

Present: Steve Chew, Frazer Smith, Len Jackson and Nick Duffy. Also, Landlady of site and her partner. (Plus 1 dog).

Trigger Objects:

*Two small dolls situated on top of a box in the rear room of the Attic area.
*Small metal crucifix placed on top of stool in the unoccupied bedroom.
*Large wooden cross on ‘Micks Chair’ in main bar area. Also, a number of ashtrays were placed on ‘Harry’s Seat’, with a beer glass on the table immediately in front of it and a beer mat secured with an audio alarm on top of glass. (*Note: both ‘Micks Chair’ and ‘Harry’s Seat’ are places in the bar dedicated to two past regulars of the Manor Arms who apparently died on the premises. The designated seats were presumably their favourite spots).

Temp. Recording:

Ambient thermometers were placed:

*On table in main, ground floor passageway: probe secured on overhead beam.
*On table in Dining Area: probe fed over hook in beam above table.
*On (internal) window sill in rear room of Attic space: probe fed over nail on beam above spot.
*On table at side of bed in unoccupied bedroom.

First Hand Investigation: (incl.) Findings / Observations.

1.23 am: Just prior to setting up our equipment, researchers entered the Snug area of the property to find a two foot long, metal toasting fork gently ‘swinging’ on it’s hook / nail from the mantel of the room’s fireplace. No reason could be found to account for this. Experimentation with the fork revealed that the heat from the open coal fire had nothing to do with this effect and, once a member of the group purposefully (but gently) swung the fork, it moved for a matter of a few (3 – 5) minutes before running out of momentum.

Session One: 1.30 am – 2.20 am.

Camera set up in living quarters of building, facing unoccupied bedroom area. (Utilising night-shot capacity).

Camera placed at bar end of Main Bar area, facing towards fireplace.

Entire group situated in Dining Area of pub during whole session.

During this period, sporadic knock / tap sounds heard by group – throughout the session - seemingly originating from a point somewhere outside the Dining Area. (But definitely inside the premises). We do not investigate origin of sounds at this point. (*Note: For further data on this latter mentioned matter, see text for ‘Session Three’ below).

Session Two: 2.35 am – 3.20 am.

Camera filming in Main (ground floor) Corridor of building, facing towards front entrance of pub from position just outside door to Gents. (Night-shot capacity utilised).
Entire group situated in unoccupied bedroom.

At 2.35 am, the group hear a loud ‘crashing’ sound originating from somewhere inside the building. Initial investigation shows that someone (outside of the group) is apparently paying a visit to the toilet. Later investigation reveals that, during his visit to the toilet, the Landlady’s partner had accidentally dislodged an ornament from it’s mounting and caused the noise concerned.

During this vigil, Steve Chew reports seeing a shadowy movement, in a projected patch of light, on the surface of the bedroom door. The light spot concerned is a result of the bedroom door facing the window of the room. At the time that the movement was witnessed, no one was moving between window and door to cause such an effect.

Session Three: 3.20 am – 4.00 am.

Camera placed in Main Attic Room, facing open doorway to stairs. (Night-shot capacity utilised).
Group initially seated in Dining Room again, but, at 3.37 am, this vigil is aborted and a ‘baiting’ session begins in the Main Bar Area.

During this period, Frazer Smith sees the door to the Kitchen area move of it’s own volition by approx. three inches. Investigation revealed that the door did in fact have a tendency to swing, quite freely, on it’s own. No draft was detected to account for this movement. As the door moved, it proved to be quite noisy – sounds which the group soon realised were evidently those heard during the ‘Session One’ vigil in the Dining Room. (For the rest of ‘Session Three’, folded beer mats were lodged in the door, stopping it from swinging).

At 3.44 am, three group members see a male figure – dressed in light colours - passing the front of the pub, travelling in the direction of the entrance to nearby Park Lime Pits. (Seen through small window behind ‘Harry’s Seat’). An instant check through the window of the nearby Snug reveals that the man is now out of sight.

Session Four: 4.05 am – 4.40 am.

Camera (from previous session) left filming in Main Attic Room. (N-S Cap.)
Entire group situated in Smaller Attic Room, overlooking car park of property.

At 4.25 am, the sound of someone moving around on the floor below is detected.

Visit ends and group leave pub around 5 am.

Secondary Findings. (Recorded data, etc).

A sound which could possibly be misconstrued as ‘human / vocal’ in origin can be heard on two separate occasions of two different recordings. (Upstairs Living Quarters and Attic). However, after scrutiny, it was decided that the sounds originated with noises naturally occurring in the property.

The loud ‘crash’ sound caused by Martin at 2.35 am proved to be most interesting when re-viewed on video footage being taken in the Main Downstairs Passage at that time. All noises associated with the event would, from the noises on the footage, appear to originate on the Ground Floor and not at a First Floor level. The ‘crash’ itself was preceded by a series of what appears to be footsteps on a wooden floor which – again from the footage – sound to originate from somewhere on the lower level of the property.

This matter is of considerable interest, as it clearly illustrates the way in which sound travels / is conveyed in the property concerned. We know that the sounds originated with Martin on the first Floor at this point, but, from the recorded evidence, it would appear to have originated in a completely different spot.

Brief Summary

Nothing of an ‘obvious’ paranormal nature was detected during our stay at the Manor Arms. However, the incident involving the ‘swinging toasting fork’ at 1.23 am remains to be of considerable interest to the group.

A selection of photographs from our visit can be viewed on the WMGC Photo Album at this LINK

Best wishes,

The W.M.G.C.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

“‬No‭ '‬Special Powers‭' ‬Required‭”


As mentioned recently in our last website update,‭ ‬the W.M.G.C.‭ ‬have had a rather‭ ‘‬anti-psychic‭’ ‬article‭ – ‬see below‭ ‬-‭ ‬published on the BBC Black Country web site by our good friend Brett Birks:

‭“‬No‭ '‬Special Powers‭' ‬Required‭”

In‭ ‬2009,‭ ‬dozens of ghost-busting groups operate locally,‭ ‬many of whom use psychics in their investigations.‭ ‬John Conway,‭ ‬from the West Midlands Ghost Club,‭ ‬doesn't think mediums should be used as a paranormal research‭ '‬tool‭'‬.

John,‭ ‬47‭ ‬from Willenhall,‭ ‬founded the WMGC‭ ‬20‭ ‬years ago and has investigated hundreds of haunted buildings and locations.

‭"‬When we started the group in‭ ‬1989‭ ‬there were no others locally,‭" ‬he says.‭ "‬Nowadays there are loads,‭ ‬a ridiculous amount in this area.

‭"‬I stopped counting a few years ago when the number of groups hit‭ ‬60‭ ‬or‭ ‬65.‭ ‬Out of all of them,‭ ‬I'd probably recommend two or three but that would be it.‭"

John credits the popularity of television shows like‭ '‬Most Haunted‭' ‬for the rise in ghost-busting style organisations.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬he says,‭ ‬they may be doing more harm than good in the world of paranormal research:

‭"‬The problem is that all these groups are taking things like‭ '‬Most Haunted‭' ‬as a reference point and think that that is what they should be doing‭ – ‬which,‭ ‬it most certainly is not‭! ‬Unfortunately,‭ ‬a great many of these people shouldn't be allowed near a paranormal related situation. They have a tendency to turn up with an alleged‭ '‬psychic‭' ‬in tow claiming that they have got‭ '‬special powers‭' ‬and will be able to‭ '‬solve‭' ‬your problems. This is a ludicrous claim to make.‭"

Objectivity is,‭ ‬according to John,‭ ‬what makes his group stand out from the rest. ‭ ‬They will investigate ghost sightings,‭ ‬taking each case on its own merits,‭ ‬using a variety of impartial,‭ ‬research-based techniques and audio-visual equipment.

‭"‬Unlike most other groups,‭ ‬we do not make false claims in professing to be able to‭ '‬alter‭' ‬a haunted situation in any way. ‭ ‬We are not interested in attempting to falsely prove that we have any form of‭ '‬insider knowledge‭' ‬or‭ '‬special powers‭'‬.

‭"‬The bottom line is it doesn't matter what an individual personally believes. ‭ ‬It's irrelevant.‭ ‬The simple fact is that things are reported to us and we investigate accordingly.‭ ‬You should never let your belief system interfere with what you're doing.‭ ‬Nothing should be allowed to cloud your impartiality‭ – ‬you need to be totally objective in these matters.

‭"‬We always strive to act in a non-biased fashion.‭ ‬We cast off all the unnecessarily blatant chicanery,‭ ‬the‭ '‬New Age‭' ‬bunkum and pseudo-scientific trappings that appear to become the trademark of the late‭ ‬20th/early‭ ‬21st century investigator.‭"

Unlike most other paranormal groups,‭ ‬the West Midlands Ghost Club do not advocate the use of mediums or psychics.

‭"‬We do not use mediums or spiritualists,‭" ‬John says.‭ "‬There is no hard evidence that these people are actually doing what they claim and the damage that they can cause in these sort of situations can be both devastating and irreversible.

‭"‬I once was called in to visit a somewhat distressed‭ ‬70‭ ‬year old woman.‭ ‬Now she was clearly suffering from some form of dementia.‭ ‬I have had personal experience with dementia sufferers.‭ ‬Now this lady believed her house was haunted so had called in an alleged psychic‭ – ‬and paid this person to come.

‭"‬The psychic had come along and convinced this lady that the spirit of a‭ ‬20‭ ‬year old was living in her house.‭ ‬This‭ '‬psychic‭' ‬then had happily taken the‭ ‬60‭ ‬pound fee or whatever it was and left the poor woman in a terrible state. ‭ ‬This is far from an isolated case,‭ ‬sadly,‭ ‬and we have come across a number of similar situations over the years.

‭"‬This is the problem:‭ ‬most of these groups are going to come into your house,‭ ‬maybe with a‭ '‬psychic‭' ‬in tow and make it as dramatic as possible.‭ ‬At the end of the day,‭ ‬if you happen to believe that your house is haunted or that you're in contact with spirits,‭ ‬then these people will just reinforce what you believe,‭ ‬tell you what you want to hear and leave.‭"

Without going into intricate detail,‭ ‬we would just like to take a second and ponder something which is a simple enough question at the end of the day: ‭ '‬why‭' ‬do ghost related groups insist on running around allegedly haunted sites,‭ ‬claiming that they can actually rid the places in question of their‭ (‬presumed‭) ‬ghostly activity‭!? ‬Unfortunately,‭ ‬the real irony in such sterile‭ ‬-‭ '‬God,‭ ‬I'm so important and special,‭ ‬aren't I‭?' ‬-‭ ‬waffle comes when you discover that the groups concerned almost always turn out to be fledgling societies,‭ ‬whose notion of‭ '‬ghost hunting‭' ‬practice and protocol comes straight from satellite TV‭!!!

On numerous occasions over recent years‭ ‬-‭ ‬and one in particular quite recently‭ ‬-‭ ‬the group has found itself being approached by people who have,‭ ‬in all innocence,‭ ‬contacted one of these allegedly‭ ‘‬gifted‭’ ‬associations in an endeavour to get rid of the‭ ‘‬presumed‭’ ‬haunting activity that they believe themselves to be suffering.‭ ‬Needless to say,‭ ‬there is no question or query regarding the reported happenings‭ – ‬and certainly no real‭ ‘‬investigation‭’ ‬-‭ ‬from the responding group‭…‬.‭ ‬There is just a manic,‭ ‬hysteria driven flurry of‭ ‬crystals and Ouija boards and‭ ‬-‭ ‬lo and behold‭ – ‬there are inevitably spirits all over the place‭!!!

In over‭ ‬20‭ ‬years of studying such matters‭ – ‬the psychology of the paranormal field,‭ ‬not the alleged phenomenon itself,‭ ‬we hasten to add‭ – ‬we have literally‭ ‘‬never‭’ ‬seen a psychic enter a site‭ ‘‬without‭’ ‬detecting something untoward‭!! ‬Hardly an unbiased viewpoint at the end of the day,‭ ‬surely‭?

Regards,

The W.M.G.C.

Brief Group History‭ ‬-‭ ‬Part Two.


Over the period‭ ‬2002‭ ‬/‭ ‬03,‭ ‬the number of people actively associated with the group more than doubled,‭ ‬with the introduction of a wholly‭ ‬speculative‭ '‬affiliates‭' ‬scheme.‭ ‬Unfortunately,‭ ‬due to unforeseen circumstances and complications,‭ ‬the expanded group figures were a relatively short lived experiment and subsequently diminished again within a reasonably short time.‭

The question of‭ '‬figures‭' ‬associated with research societies will always be a vexed one,‭ ‬it must be stressed....‭ ‬The W.M.G.C.‭ ‬have always kept membership as low as possible for practical reasons,‭ ‬despite having received‭ ‬-‭ ‬over‭ ‬a considerable number of years‭ ‬-‭ ‬many hundreds of applications for positions within the group.‭ ‬It has to be said that we have always been puzzled by‭ ‬-‭ ‬and derived considerable amusement from,‭ ‬at times‭ ‬-‭ ‬people who seem to somehow believe a‭ ‬‘large membership‭’‬ is actually something‭ '‬positive‭' ‬when it comes to research pursuits‭!! ‬Laugh‭!! ‬Having watched with interest concerns‭ – ‬mainly fledgling‭ – ‬who have boasted up to‭ ‬50‭ ‬members,‭ ‬it is an inevitability that such societies invariably fold completely,‭ ‬or happen to whittle down their numbers drastically within a very short period of time.‭ ‬It is frequently true that there is‭ ‘‬strength in numbers‭’‬,‭ ‬but such a maxim certainly doesn’t apply to the task of running a successful research group,‭ ‬as many have soon discovered‭!! ‬Laugh‭!!

Of all the associates added during this expansion period,‭ ‬only one‭ – ‬the bouncer-esque Frazer Smith‭ – ‬remained an active member of the group.‭ ‬Both his‭ '‬enthusiasm for‭' ‬and his keen ministrations‭ '‬on behalf of‭' ‬the Club made him a most welcome and appreciated addition to the company for a number of years.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬at the end of‭ ‬2007,‭ ‬Frazer‭ ‬-‭ ‬sadly‭ ‬-‭ ‬chose to resign from his position within the group.‭

‘Enthusiasm for the subject‭’ ‬was also a strong factor in our decision to add the team’s‭ ‬6th member‭ – ‬Steve Chew‭ – ‬in early‭ ‬2004.‭ ‬Interestingly,‭ ‬Steve initially contacted the group in order to show us some sequences of peculiar video footage that he had collected over the years,‭ ‬and showed no particular interest in becoming a‭ ‬Club‭ ‬member‭! ‬However,‭ ‬after only a couple of meetings with the chap,‭ ‬I was enamoured enough to ask him if he wanted to join us......‭ ‬and,‭ ‬thankfully,‭ ‬he did‭!!! ‬Laugh‭!!!

On his C.V.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Steve says of himself:‭

"Having been born into a family that had always regarded the existence of ghosts as fact,‭ ‬and along the years,‭ ‬having no option but to live‭ "‬hand in hand‭" ‬with such things that today we could well term as‭ “‬Paranormal‭” ‬episodes really formed the basis of my fascination with such things.‭ ‬As a child,‭ ‬when one of these‭ “‬Odd‭” ‬incident’s would crop up,‭ ‬I would always get the‭ “ ‬There’s nothing to worry about,‭ ‬its only the Ghost,‭ ‬it wont hurt you‭!" ‬Or‭ "‬Its just one of those things,‭ ‬ignore it and it will go away.‭” ‬kind of reassurance from my folks.

As you can imagine,‭ ‬it was to my utter dismay,‭ ‬when growing up,‭ ‬I discovered these things in fact,‭ ‬do not exist‭ (‬this is of course according to the qualified professionals and experts in this subject who know all the answers about these kind of things‭)‬.‭ ‬These differing viewpoints concerning belief is why I am,‭ ‬and always will be,‭ ‬bound to the paranormal in some way.‭ ‬It was a natural progression for me really to join a paranormal investigative group where I could start investigating potentially haunted sites,‭ ‬whilst immersing myself in the subject further.‭

It is strange,‭ ‬but I have found,‭ ‬the more I delve into this subject,‭ ‬the more confused I am with it all.‭ ‬The more people try all kinds of things to find answers,‭ ‬i.e.‭ ‬psychics,‭ ‬table tipping,‭ ‬coat hangers and other associated crap,‭ ‬the less I really feel the need to try and make sense of it all.‭ ‬In my mind Ghost’s have always been there,‭ ‬they haven’t changed or moved their ethereal goalposts,‭ ‬its just that‭ ‬-‭ ‬sadly‭ ‬-‭ ‬everything else around‭ ‘‬them‭’ ‬has‭…‬.‭ ‬much to the‭ ‬detriment of the paranormal field itself.‭

The bulk of my spare time is spent in playing the drums in bands,‭ ‬writing stories,‭ ‬composing music‭ (‬currently writing a musical version of Tolkien's‭ ‘‬Silmarillion‭’)‬,‭ ‬painting and reading.‭ ‬With regards to my chosen career,‭ ‬I am what is called a‭ ‘‬Problem Manager‭’‬,‭ ‬in which my role is to minimise any adverse effects or issues that may occur within the business involved.

During‭ ‬2005,‭ ‬a further addition to the group came in the form of a solid,‭ ‬objective thinker,‭ ‬Mr.‭ ‬Kevin‭ ‘‬Casanova‭’ ‬Wallace.‭ ‬Kev‭ – ‬the Manager of an investigative team attached to a well known bank‭ – ‬was already a veteran of a great many ghost hunts prior to joining us.‭ ‬Until it’s recent demise,‭ ‬Kev served as‭ ‘‬Admin‭’ ‬for the WMGC forum,‭ ‬as well as single-handedly organising our incredibly popular,‭ ‬public events‭ – ‬the St.‭ ‬Marys Guildhall‭ (‬Coventry‭) ‬visit of‭ ‬2005‭ ‬and Galleries of Justice‭ (‬Nottingham‭) ‬investigation in‭ ‬2007.‭ (‬The former of the two events raised‭ ‬£500‭ ‬for Birm.‭ ‬Childrens Hospital‭)‬.‭

Part Three to follow shortly‭…‬..

Regards,

Nick‭
The W.M.G.C.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Book Success!!!!

We are happy to anounce the resounding success of the new book 'Dancing With Spirits' - by Rugely Author Carol Arnall - which was released earlier this year. The volume concerned is Carols first foray into the field of fiction, the bulk of her previous catalogue of works dealing with stories of paranormal happenings from around the general Midlands area.

The book 'Dancing With Spirits' involves a story which begins thousands of years ago on the outskirts of Rugeley, in the heart of Cannock Chase.

It tells of the anguish of a young girl, Elvaennia whose love Deimuiss, has disappeared without trace, and of her desperation to find him. Her search leads her to the 21st century where she begins a new life.

Eventually Elvaennia will have to decide whether to return to her old life or to continue to live life in the 21st century. She discovers something that may well destroy her family back at the settlement; and realises that, yet again, tough decisions will have to be made regarding her life.

Will the challenges of her new life take over the old Elvaennia, making her disregard her promise to love Deimuiss for all time and beyond? Will she forget the old ways and values, or decide to pursue this new life.......

Needless to say.... you will only know the answers to the above questions - and read about the literary adventures of the W.M.G.C. to boot - by buying the book!!

At the time of writing, Carol currently has a book signing event planned for Cannock Library on 12th December at approx 10.30 pm. The overall event itself also involves a coffee morning and will be part of the launch of the 'Adult Winter Read Event'. Needless to say, you will not only have the opportunity of meeting Carol in the flesh, but copies of some of her previous books - such as 'Mysterious Happenings' and 'Birmingham Girls' - will also be on sale.

As mentioned previously, Carols follow up novel 'Spirits of the Lights' is planned for the end of this year, with a further, ghost related publication - 'Out Of Step' - in the planning stages.

Carols website can be found at: www.carolarnall.com

Best wishes to all,

The W.M.G.C.

Treading The Boards‭…‬.



During‭ ‬2005,‭ ‬the West Midlands Ghost club began undertaking a series of investigations on behalf of our good friend,‭ ‬Chris Campbell-Brown of the popular Burton Ghost Walk.‭ ‬On July‭ ‬31st of that year,‭ ‬the group were duly asked to investigate an absolutely superb location,‭ ‬the‭ ‘‬Brew House Theatre‭’‬,‭ ‬in the heart of Burton On Trent.‭

Formerly part of a nearby brewery‭ – ‬hence the name‭ – ‬local legend has it that the site is haunted by an unfortunate workman who was accidentally boiled to death in a large vat during the‭ ‬1950‭’‬s.

While the provenance of this particular tale is somewhat questionable,‭ ‬it cannot be denied that Theatre staff‭ ‬frequently report experiencing inexplicable happenings.‭ ‬Nicknamed‭ ‘‬Fred‭’ ‬by cleaners,‭ ‬the resident ghost is constantly blamed for a variety of occurrences,‭ ‬including the sound of doors opening and closing‭; ‬the noise of furniture being dragged around empty rooms‭; ‬lifts operating by themselves and Auditorium lighting switching itself on of it’s own accord.

Theatre Technical Manager,‭ ‬Matt Bancroft,‭ ‬reports having had a number of strange experiences at the site.‭ ‬Alone in the building one night,‭ ‬Matt found himself openly telling‭ ‘‬Fred‭’ ‬off for interfering with some lighting equipment.‭ ‬As if in reply,‭ ‬he immediately heard a hefty blow hit the side of the Auditorium seating,‭ ‬the sound reverberating around the building‭! ‬On another occasion,‭ ‬he was standing in a passage that leads to the actors dressing rooms when he saw a‭ ‘‬grey figure‭’ ‬passing across an area at the rear of the stage.‭ ‬Thinking it was the Theatre Manager‭ – ‬who often wore grey‭ – ‬he went to investigate‭…‬..‭ ‬only to find the area concerned totally deserted and the Manager seated in a distant part of the building.

As usual for a W.M.G.C investigation,‭ ‬our visit to the site passed quietly,‭ ‬with only a brief sequence of‭ (‬10‭) ‘‬bumps‭’ – ‬possibly a series of footsteps‭(?) ‬-‭ ‬being reported by researchers carrying out a vigil in the Auditorium during the early hours of the morning.

For brief notes associated with our visit,‭ ‬see below:

INVESTIGATION REPORT:‭ ‬The Brew House Theatre‭ – ‬Union Street‭ – ‬Burton On Trent‭ – ‬East Staffordshire.

‭*‬Please Note:‭ ‬For the sake of brevity,‭ ‘‬rough note form‭’ ‬language‭ ‬/‭ ‬grammar has been used sporadically throughout this document.

Date Of Visit:‭ ‬30th‭ ‬/‭ ‬31st July‭ ‬2005.‭
Duration Of Visit:‭ ‬Approx.‭ ‬5‭ ‬hours.
Time of Arrival:‭ ‬Approx.‭ ‬10.00‭ ‬p.m.‭

Present:‭

Investigative Team‭ ‬-‭ 5 members of the W.M.G.C. Also, ‬Brewhouse Technical Manager,‭ ‬Matt Bancroft,‭ ‬remained with team members for the duration of the visit.

‭[‬I‭]‬.‭ ‬Aims‭ ‬/‭ ‬Inv.‭ ‬Process:‭

General investigation of property,‭ ‬mainly focussing on sections of building noted as being of particular relevance‭ ‬/‭ ‬importance regarding the alleged paranormal history of the site.‭ ‬Investigation procedure incorporating:

1st person audio‭ ‬/‭ ‬visual observation.‭

(b‭) ‬Static‭ (‬area based‭) ‬audio‭ ‬/‭ ‬visual recording,‭ ‬incorporating standard‭ ‬/‭ ‬night shot camera’s and digital audio recording equipment.‭ ‬Also wireless‭ (‬radio‭) ‬security camera.‭

(c‭) ‬General temperature‭ ‬/‭ ‬humidity recording.‭ (‬Incorporating‭ ‘‬ambient‭’ ‬devices‭)‬.

‭(‬d‭) ‬Trigger objects‭ – ‬listed below:

12‭” ‬tall mannequin figure‭ – ‬positioned table in‭ ‬1st floor,‭ ‬Corner Studio.‭ ‬Also,‭ ‬4‭ ‬coins‭ – ‬outlined on single sheet of white paper‭ – ‬placed on table top in same room.‭

[II‭]‬.‭ ‬Primary‭ (‬1st Hand‭) ‬Notes:‭ ‬Investigation Procedure,‭ ‬plus Findings,‭ ‬Experiences‭ ‬/‭ ‬Poss.‭ ‬Significant Events:

‭*‬11.00‭ ‬p.m.‭ – ‬Vigils held in‭ ‘‬Corner Studio‭’‬,‭ ‘‬Drama Studio‭’ ‬and‭ ‘‬Auditorium‭’‬.

Corner Studio‭ – ‬Len Jackson and Darren Simpson.‭ ‬Len reports having heard‭ ‬2‭ ‘‬clink‭’ ‬and‭ ‬2‭ ‘‬knock‭’ ‬sounds from corridor area during session.‭ ‬Sounds not heard by Darren.‭

Drama Studio‭ – ‬Nick Duffy and Kevin Wallace.‭ ‬Session was severely hampered by a faulty‭ – ‬flashing‭ ‬-‭ ‬Emergency Exit sign‭ (‬light‭) ‬situated above one of the doorways to the room.‭ ‬Exceptionally disorientating.


Auditorium‭ – ‬Frazer Smith and Matt Bancroft.‭ ‬Frazer believes that he heard‭ ‘‬movement sounds‭’(?) ‬coming from upstairs corridor to right of Auditorium.‭

Vigils end:‭ ‬11.30‭ ‬p.m.‭

*12.00‭ ‬a.m.‭ – ‬3‭ ‬video recording sessions begin.‭ (‬All group members situated in Bar‭ ‬/‭ ‬Café area throughout sessions‭)‬.

Camera‭ ‬1‭ ‬situated in Corner Studio filming in darkness utilising night-shot capacity.

Camera‭ ‬2‭ ‬situated on middle landing of Auditorium raised seating,‭ ‬facing back stage area.‭ ‬Filming carried out in full light.‭

Camera‭ ‬3‭ ‬situated in Drama Studio,‭ ‬with filming carried out in full light.‭ (‬Cam.‭ ‬facing corner of room where figure allegedly seen‭)‬.‭

Sessions end:‭ ‬12.30‭ ‬a.m.

‭*‬12.50‭ ‬a.m.‭ – ‬Vigils held in‭ ‘‬Corner Studio‭’ ‬and‭ ‘‬Auditorium‭’‬.

Auditorium‭ – ‬Kevin Wallace,‭ ‬Len Jackson and Darren Simpson.‭ ‬At‭ ‬1.19‭ ‬a.m.‭ ‬approximately‭ ‬10‭ ‘‬bump‭ ‬/‭ ‬bang‭’ ‬sounds in fairly quick succession from upstairs corridor to right of Auditorium.‭ ‬All present hear noises concerned,‭ ‬but cannot agree on whether they originated at stage end of corridor or foyer end‭(?) ‬It is suggested that the sounds may have been a sequence of footsteps.‭

Corner Studio‭ – ‬Nick Duffy,‭ ‬Frazer Smith and Matt Bancroft.‭ ‬Frazer taken ill during this session necessitating a visit to the toilet for some time.

Vigils end:‭ ‬1.20‭ ‬a.m.

‭*‬1.40‭ ‬a.m.‭ – ‬3‭ ‬video recording sessions begin.‭ (‬Again,‭ ‬all group members situated in Bar‭ ‬/‭ ‬Café area throughout sessions‭)‬.

Camera‭ ‬1‭ ‬situated in Dance Studio,‭ ‬filming in darkness in night-shot capacity.

Camera‭ ‬2‭ ‬situated in upstairs corridor‭ (‬right of Auditorium‭) ‬filming in full light,‭ ‬facing foyer end of building.

Camera‭ ‬3‭ ‬situated in Corner Studio,‭ ‬filming in full light.‭

Walkie-talkie set to‭ ‘‬voice activated‭’ ‬capacity left in Auditorium.

Sessions end:‭ ‬2.10‭ ‬a.m.

‭*‬NOTE‭ – ‬During the above period,‭ ‬Frazer Smith had to leave the building and return home because of illness.

‭*‬2.30‭ ‬a.m.‭ – ‬3‭ ‬video recording sessions and a vigil begin.

Camera‭ ‬1‭ ‬situated in Corner Studio filming in full light.

Camera‭ ‬2‭ ‬recording in upstairs corridor‭ (‬right of Auditorium‭) ‬filming in full light,‭ ‬facing stage end of building.

Camera‭ ‬3‭ ‬recording in upstairs corridor‭ (‬left of Auditorium‭) ‬filming in night-shot capacity.

All investigators situated in Auditorium during the session.‭ ‬Kev Wallace and Matt Bancroft report having heard sounds of‭ ‘‬movement‭’ ‬from upstairs area at stage end of room.‭ ‬No one else heard sound.‭ ‬Fairly regular sounds detected from behind large,‭ ‬double doors in backstage area,‭ ‬some of which Matt identifies as noises made by metal roller-shutters‭ (‬probably moving in wind‭) ‬situated behind wooden doors.‭ ‬Also sound of water running or dripping emanating from same area.‭ ‬Nick Duffy checks outside‭ – ‬via main foyer‭ – ‬and finds that it is raining.

All sessions end:‭ ‬3.00‭ ‬a.m.‭ ‬At this point,‭ ‬group decides to call it a night and leave.

‭ [‬III‭]‬.‭ ‬Secondary Notes:‭ ‬Audio‭ ‬/‭ ‬Visual Results.

None of the recordings made during our stay appear to hold any material that could be regarded as‭ ‘‬paranormal‭’ ‬in origin.‭ ‬A small number of anomalous‭ (‬mainly solitary‭) ‬clicks‭ ‬/‭ ‬taps‭ ‬/‭ ‬bangs were caught on some of the recordings concerned,‭ ‬but,‭ ‬after scrutiny,‭ ‬it is assumed that these noises were native to the building‭ – ‬i.e.‭ ‬sounds naturally occurring in the environment concerned,‭ ‬such as the floor settling,‭ ‬etc.‭

[IV‭]‬.‭ ‬General Findings‭ ‬/‭ ‬Conclusions.

While the building in question would‭ (‬from anecdotal evidence‭) ‬appear to be a fairly‭ ‘‬active‭’ ‬site,‭ ‬nothing of an obvious paranormal nature was detected during our stay.‭

Of the variety of sounds sporadically heard by group members during the visit,‭ ‬none could be specifically tied down to any one area,‭ ‬nor were they directly corroborated by audio‭ ‬/‭ ‬visual recordings.‭ ‬While remaining anomalous,‭ ‬the sounds could not be accepted‭ – ‬nor for that matter discounted‭ – ‬as being of blatantly preternatural nature.‭

Temperature readings monitored throughout the night showed that the stage area fluctuated by only‭ ‬.3‭ ‬of a degree during the stay,‭ ‬while the Drama Studio‭ (‬with one fixed,‭ ‬slightly open window‭) ‬dropped by almost‭ ‬2‭ ‬degrees.

Regards to all,

The W.M. Ghost Club

Thursday, 5 November 2009

UPDATED....

Just a brief note to say that the West Midlands Ghost Club website has just been updated. News of some of our latest antics can, therefore, be found at:

http://www.westmidlandsghostclub.com/

Regards to all,

The W.M. Ghost Club

In The Beginning.... A Brief Group History - Part One.


The following post began life as the group history section of a previous incarnation of the W.M.G.C. website, written by Nick, one of the founder members of the club. For the sake of presenting up-to-date details regarding the life of the group - it's members, past and present, and so forth - the section concerned has recently been edited and adapted for inclusion here:

And so......

“As part of my earlier research into local hauntings, I had been periodically advertising around the region for accounts of Midlands based paranormal activity and occurrences.

In February 1989, I received a reply from one such campaign, sent in by a shy, unassuming chap some 15 yrs. my senior called Leonard Jackson. Unlike most of the people who had previously written to me, Len clearly had a considerable and practical knowledge of both paranormal and occult related fields. He came to the group with a genuine, life-long interest in the weird and the supernatural, having begun to make a constructive study of the factual side of the paranormal at the end of the 60's in the days of psychedelia and various New Age movements.

Having looked into almost every aspect of the Occult over the years - including practising Ritual Magic in the 70's and a period as an Evangelical Christian - he now largely limits his active research to ghost hunting while maintaining a mostly academic interest in his personal liking for studying Folklore and Ley Lines. A true 'travelling man' and genuine 'antiquarian', Len currently spends a lot of his spare time searching the length and breadth of our fair country for it's general 'history and mystery'.

Completely unknown to Len, however, is the fact that he also serves as the unofficial W.M.G.C. 'Mascot' - laugh, laugh!!

Also in 1989, I was introduced to a person who would frequently become the absolute ‘bane of my life’ – and undoubtedly one of my greatest friends – Darren Simpson. Definitely born with a morbid fascination for the dark and mysterious, he is a former Ghost Club (Of Great Britain) and A.S.S.A.P. member - stemming back to a time when both of these associations actually commanded some respect, I hasten to add. At the time of our meeting, Darren had recently approached the Express and Star newspaper with an enquiry about a ghost related article that they had published some years earlier. Ironically, they had no recollection of the matter – but they knew of a man who might…… (And, for anyone who is wondering…. Of course I did!! Laugh!!)

Within the space of a few months of all meeting, it was suggested that efforts to launch some form of investigative group – albeit frustrated at first – should be set underway. August 1989 saw the very first article which carried a mention of our group – then called the ‘West Midlands Friends Of The Paranormal’ (well, it seemed a good idea at the time!) – which appeared in the Black Country Bugle newspaper. At the beginning of 1991, we subsequently began using our more familiar W.M.G.C. moniker, which was intended as a tribute to the spirit of the original Ghost Club (of Great Britain), which was founded in 1862. (On reflection now, at the time of writing in late 2009, it has to be mused that a different choice of monicker might have been reached with foresight!)

In the mid-90’s, group membership eventually expanded to ‘4’ with the introduction of UFO researcher, Roger Simpson. Brother of Darren, Roger is a qualified computer technician who now runs his own business. A 6 ft 5" tall audio / visual hardware buff, his ‘Tekkie’ traits proved to be an invaluable addition to the investigative portion of group activities.....

Sadly, 'times change' (as they say) and, within recent years, both Darren and Roger have backed away considerably from W.M.G.C. activities. Darren happily cites his overwhelming scepticism and general disillusionment with the field itself (as it now stands) as the key reasons for stepping down. While fully understandable, under the current climate, his loss of drive for the subject is - after a lifetime of dedication to the subject - a considerable loss to the local research field.

Still good friends with the group and in regular contact, Roger currently spends most of his time running his busy computer business, while Darren works for a local charity".

Part Two to follow soon.....

Regards,

The W.M.G.C.

New Welsh Group On The Scene!


It’s a bit of a rarity these days to find a particular area decidedly lacking in numbers when it comes to paranormal related groups‭…‬.‭ ‬but Wales does certainly appear to be one such place....

With that said,‭ ‬we should like to point out the existence of a relatively new group‭ ‬/‭ ‬website on the scene called‭ ‬www.unexplainedwales.com

As with a great many such associations these days,‭ ‬the society initially began as part of another group,‭ ‬before going their own way.‭ ‬The group itself consists of some‭ ‬10‭ ‬members who,‭ ‬we are told,‭ ‬are:‭ “‬believers,‭ ‬sceptics‭…‬ and those that prefer to sit on the fence‭”‬.‭

Sounds like a good mix,‭ ‬eh‭!!

Our contact for the club,‭ ‬Archie,‭ ‬tells us that he has‭ ‬had many‭ ‬‘Psychic‭’‬ and‭ ‬‘Ghostly‭’‬ experiences over the years,‭ ‬and has a keen need to find out more on the overall subject.‭ ‬Evidently no stranger to paranormal matters,‭ ‬his personal encounters have included:‭ “‬full blown apparitions and paranormal activity,‭ ‬ranging from unexplained smells,‭ ‬noises,‭ ‬moving or missing objects,‭ ‬sensations of being touched by unseen beings,‭ ‬and very occasionally precognition‭”‬.‭

For their investigations,‭ ‬they use‭ ‬scientific methods‭ ‬-‭ ‬adopting all of the scientifically accepted equipment‭ ‬currently employed in the field‭ –‬ plus working via any researched data on the location available.‭ ‬They will also be using any‭ '‬Psychic‭' ‬means that may be available,‭ ‬to complement‭ ‬their results.

The group‭ ‬would welcome anyone who wishes to visit the site or make comments on their online forum.‭ ‬All‭ ‬that is apparently required is‭ ‬an‭ ‬‘open mind‭’……

If there are any groups outside the West Midlands area who might like to see a few words about themselves on this blog,‭ ‬please do not hesitate to send your details in to us‭!!

Regards,

The W.M.G.C