Tuesday, 24 November 2009

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.

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