Friday, 26 February 2010

Haunted House Story....


The following account was sent in to group members recently:

"Me and my finacee moved into our home in Shropshire in mid-06.

3 weeks after we moved in I was out and my partner was asleep. She woke and there was a figure sat next to her on the bed, wearing a navy uniform, including hat with medals all over his chest. She fell back to sleep and woke again twice seeing a dark figure bending over her.

3 weeks later during the day, I took a nap. As I was falling asleep, I was thinking I should have shut the bedroom door because the sun was shining through the landing window and bothering me. After an hour or so of being asleep, I became aware of fast whispers in my ear and, as I came round, a dark shape was leaning over me and it cut out the sun light; as I quickly sat up, it disappeared. A few weeks later, I was in the kitchen and I heard footsteps running down the stairs - and saw someone, out of the corner of my eye, run into the living room. Assuming it was my partner, I started talking to her and walked into the living room, but she wasn't there. I called out to her and she was upstairs in the bathroom...... she'd been there the whole time.

On the 1st of October, during the night, my partner saw a dark figure of a man pointing out to the window. She has also heard footsteps in the attic. When we unpacked, She had discovered one of her necklaces was missing and she knew she'd put it in one of her bags which were in the nursery room in a box. She looked everywhere for them, but.... no luck.

3 weeks ago, I was in the attic and found the necklace in some rolled up carpet which had been in the loft before we'd moved in!! My partner had never been in the loft, so it's a mystery how it got there. She has also heard bangs downstairs and heard footsteps above the kitchen (in the bathroom) and dining room (in the bedroom). We have been told there was a sanitarium behind our house sometime ago and our house was built in the 1930's......"

All the best,

The W.M.G.C.

Brum. Club Investigation....

From The Archives:

INVESTIGATION REPORT: Edwards No.8 Rock Club – Lower Severn Street – Birmingham City Centre.

Present:

Investigative Team - Leonard Jackson; Frazer Smith; Nick Duffy; Kerrey Cooper; Steven Cooper and Vicki Cooper. Also present on site were Club Manager, Colin Wall, Peter Wall, plus Mr. Wall (Snr.) and two members of Club staff.

This daytime group visit to the Club was made in the presence of three non-team members – Kerrey, Steve and Vicki Cooper – who are relatives of (W.M.G.C. member) Frazer Smith and have accompanied the group previously on investigations. As a matter of interest to our visit was the fact that Vicki Cooper is believed to have a heightened receptivity to potentially paranormal atmospheres.

It has to be clearly stated that the W.M.G.C. ‘strictly’ do not endorse the use of psychic / mediumistic types on investigations. However, for the sake of true objectivity, the group has on occasion incorporated potentially ‘sensitive’ people into an investigation scenario.

[I]. Aims / Inv. Process:

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

Investigation procedure incorporating:

1st person audio / visual observation. (‘Casually staged’ in this instance. See ‘Summary’ section below).

Static (area based) audio / visual recording, incorporating standard video camera’s.

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

Note* No ‘trigger objects’ were used during this particular visit. Also, because of the fairly open plan nature of the site, no thermometers were employed – save for a standard, ambient unit situated on a table top (under the portrait of Jack Nicholson) in the Gothic Room.

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

Immediately following our arrival at the site, we were given a guided tour of the property – and the attached Gallows Bar – by Pete Wall.

At one point in the tour, we were shown a stairway which runs the full height of the building and is situated on the Lower Severn Street side of the property. Upon mounting the staircase and moving to hold onto the handrail, Vicki Cooper says that she felt a ‘pushing’ sensation. She found that she had to walk around the area concerned before continuing down the stairs.

Upon entering the Cellar, Vicki also said that she received the mental image of a young boy waving at her. He was described as being approx. 8 – 9 yrs old, with short, dark brown hair.

Following the tour, the group split into three groups of two and begin a series of (casual) ‘vigil’ sessions.

Session One – 1.20 p.m. to 1.50 p.m.

Nick Duffy / Len Jackson - General Cellar Area.
Frazer Smith / Vicki Cooper - Lwr. Severn Street Stairway.
Kerrey Cooper / Steve Cooper – Store Room. (Formerly a bar area, but now used for general storage).

During this period:

Vicki Cooper says that she heard a single ‘cough’ sound. (Not heard by Frazer Smith). She also picked up the name ‘Louise’, which she believed was associated with a separate part / level of the building.

Nothing was reported from either of the other two groups.

Session Two – 2.10 p.m. to 2.40 p.m.

Nick Duffy / Len Jackson – Store Room. (Vigil conducted in presence of Mr. Wall Snr. who told us some historical information about the property and guided us around some ante-rooms).
Frazer Smith / Vicki Cooper - General Cellar Area.
Kerrey Cooper / Steve Cooper – Lwr. Severn Street Stairway.

During this period:

Both Vicki Cooper and Frazer Smith report having heard a distinct ‘cough’, which was loud enough to have been heard over the native sounds in the Cellar. No one could be found to account for the noise.

Vicki also reports having seen a ‘light anomaly’ – around 2” wide and 5 feet in length – near the cellar door frame. This occurred at a time when Frazer Smith was conducting a ‘prompt’ session (i.e. asking questions out loud to the general room).

She also picked up the name ‘Joseph’, which she felt was being called out by someone situated behind the Cellar doors.

Session Three – 3.00 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.

Video recording session staged in Gothic Room, incorporating three separate video camera’s running at the same time. Frazer Smith asked Pete Wall if the room could be kept empty (of staff) for the sake of the recording session.

It is believed that Colin Wall was situated in the general area of his office – on the same floor - for the duration of the session.

Camera One: – situated near main entrance to room, just in front of Jack Nicholson portrait, facing towards the Stage Area.
Camera’s Two and Three: situated on the Stage itself – ‘one’ stage left / ‘two’ stage right – both facing towards bar area.

During this period:

Entire group situated downstairs in main Rock Bar area.

Session Four – 3.35 p.m. to 4.05 p.m.

Nick Duffy / Len Jackson – Lwr. Severn Street Stairway.
Frazer Smith / Vicki Cooper - Store Room.
Kerrey Cooper / Steve Cooper – General Cellar Area.

During this period:

Nothing of potential interest / relevance reported by any group members.

Approx. 4.30 p.m. – group vacates the premises.

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

Of the video recordings made during ‘Session Three’, all cameras detected the sound of a door closing (distant, in building); a brief sequence of footsteps (distant, in building) and a sharp, loud crack / brief crash that, by it’s clarity and volume, would appear to have originated somewhere within the Gothic Room. (Or potentially outside, but close by).

[IV]. General Observations and / or Summary.

* Due to the situation under which members had decided to make this visit – during daytime hours; staff members present and operating under daily working conditions; the size of the property and it’s position within a busy city centre, etc – a number of aspects of usual W.M.G.C. investigative protocol were dispensed with. The visit was staged in a general and casual fashion and treated mainly as reasonably brief, acclimatisation exercise.

* The building itself – the former Birmingham and Midlands Skin Hospital (Ref. ‘Kelly’s Directory of Birmingham’ for 1932, 1940, etc) – is truly immense and has evidently been structurally changed, most dramatically, over the years. While potential paranormal activity has been experienced at the site, the general layout / size / appearance / former use of the building would also, on a psychological level, potentially have some influence on it’s status as an allegedly ‘haunted’ property(?)

* One particular aspect of the buildings (current) make-up which could possibly have a bearing on supposed activity at the site, is the situation of the buildings full height stairwells……… in particular, the one which leads from the Gallows Bar, up past the Rock Bar and into the Gothic Room. It was noticed that this stairwell certainly appears to channel a considerable amount of sound from (suggested by Pete Wall) the air conditioning process inside the property.

While only being a matter of conjecture, in lieu of the proper, defining experiments, the stairwell concerned could possibly be responsible for channelling / causing ‘Infra-Sound’ waves, which – as suggested by some researchers – could well have an adverse effect on certain people within the building.

Doc. Ends.

All the best,

The W.M.G.C.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Carol Arnall New Book Available!!

Just a brief note to our readers to say that Carol Arnalls excellent book, 'Mysterious Happenings', is now available from Amazon.com. As with all of her previous offerings, Carol presents her readers with a fascinating array of paranormal tales, mainly based around the (English) Midlands area.

For copies of her book please click on this LINK.

All the best,

The W.M.G.C.

Harbourne Haunted Pub!!

From The Archives

The Court Oak – Balden Road – Harborne – Birmingham

Introduction

Built in 1932, the Court Oak could hardly be classed as an 'ancient hostelry' - though, for what it lacks in years, it amply seem to make up in ghostly activity! Pub Manager, Lillian Campbell, told the W.M.G.C. that she didn't really believe in ghosts until she moved to Harborne in November 2000.

While she had apparently resided at a number of pubs that supposedly held a 'haunted' reputation, none have ever given her the slightest cause to revise her somewhat sceptical outlook on the subject of ghosts. 'But do you believe in them now?' we enquired after hearing the impressive catalogue of happenings currently occurring at the site….

'Yes!' came the most definite of answers: she either had to believe something was going on at the pub, or - quite simply - she was going mad!...... It is rumoured that the town gallows once stood in close proximity to where the Court Oak is now situated, and the pub ghost - said to be the apparition of a woman dressed in black and white - was one of the unfortunates who lost their life there. Local legend has it that the woman was tried and executed on a charge of 'infanticide' - a crime that she didn't actually commit! (Subsequent contact with an authority on the history of the Harborne area failed to turn up any leads regarding the site of the town gallows, or any reference to the aforementioned murder and /or execution?)

Much of the alleged activity is said to go on in a section of the pub which Lillian affectionately called The West Wing. (Having checked with a compass, we can now reveal that, technically, this is actually a North wing!) It has to be pointed out that – circa. 2001 - the premises had undergone a £500,000 refurbishment and alteration process; a procedure that has quite commonly been associated with possibly ‘instigating’ ghostly phenomenon in a number of situations.

A whole plethora of potentially paranormal activity has been reported at the Court Oak. Bottles of wine are found to have been smashed in the locked wine cellar overnight; objects regularly move seemingly of their own volition and entire light fittings have been pulled from their fixed positions. Contrary to the legend that the pub ghost is female, the Manager reports having possibly seen a male apparition on two occasions in the bar(?)

Both times the figure had only been seen fleetingly out of the corner of her eye leading the objective Mrs. Campbell to inevitably question what she may have seen. On both occasions, she had received the impression of a light blue (pale denim) colour associated with the form; peculiarly, the same colour as the uniforms worn by pub staff members. (Though, clearly, no members were present at the time).

Around the day that the pub first opened, one staff member, Trish, was working alone in the Store Room when she heard a knocking noise apparently coming from an external wall. Thinking it may have been a Business Rep. wishing to gain entry to the building, she went through a nearby fire exit, but found no one outside.

Re-entering the Store Room only seconds later, she was dumbfounded to find a large carton of cream, from a nearby shelf, standing upright in the centre of the floor. (* It should be explained that some of the old, external doors to the building have now been covered over internally, but still externally look like functioning doors. One such door apparently features in the wall of the Store Room and this was the reason why Trish initially believed a Rep. might have been knocking in that area). Within the 2-3 weeks immediately prior to the Ghost Club investigation of the Court Oak, potential paranormal happenings were noted.

Lillian Campbell had her second possible sighting of a male figure in the bar, and also later heard the sound of mops and buckets being moved in the empty female toilets. A member of staff was checking her hair in a mirror attached to the boiler Room door in a cellar corridor, when the door started opening of its own accord. The staff member is said to have fled in terror!

Visit One: Fri. 23rd - Sat. 24th March 2001

Investigators present : Len Jackson, Darren Simpson, Roger Simpson, Geoff Brown and Anne Brown. (The latter mentioned two investigators are members of the Black Country Paranormal Society). Also, until approx. 2.45am, Court Oak Manager Lillian Campbell was present. Two 45 minute vigils were held during the early hours of the morning. Vigil one was held with all researchers in the bar area of the pub, while vigil two saw three researchers in the bar and the other three in the cellar(s).

Nothing of significance was noted during the vigils, save for some anomalous white lines crossing a security surveillance camera being monitored by Roger Simpson. Upon checking through the video footage that had been taken throughout the night, it was found that nothing of an anomalous nature had been picked up visually. However, a number of inexplicable sounds had been caught on the audio portion of the footage which had been taken in the 'Wine Cellar'.

The sounds concerned, included: numerous footsteps; a very loud crashing sound, and a noise akin to someone blowing across the neck of an empty bottle! No anomalous sounds were detected on any of the recordings made in other parts of the building.

Visit Two: Fri. 15th June - Sat. 16th June 2001

Investigators present: Len Jackson, Darren Simpson and Roger Simpson.

Having phoned the Court Oak in order to arrange a second visit, the Ghost Club was informed of another possible sighting of an apparition at the pub. Only a matter of days prior to our calling, Lillian Campbell and her partner, Mark, had been in the bar after closing time (approx. midnight, on June 10th) when he suddenly claimed to have caught a fleeting glimpse of a masculine figure, dressed in a light blue, denim colour, passing through the room. Unfortunately, Lillian happened to be facing in a completely different direction at the time and saw nothing - though both the general description of the figure and the location in which it was seen tallies almost exactly with Lillian’s own experience at Christmas. (See 'Introduction' above). A further sighting of the 'denim clad' figure comes from one of the pub's regulars, who claims to have seen such a form in a supposedly empty section of the building at a time before the extensive refurbishment took place.

The main point of our second visit to the Court Oak was to endeavour to investigate the array of inexplicable sounds that had been recorded in the Pub's 'Wine Cellar' during our previous stay. A number of recordings - both (Digital) audio and Video - were made in this area throughout the night, and a single vigil was held by the entire team at 3.40 am. During the latter mentioned sitting, all of the group heard a loud 'crash', very much like - if not exactly the same as - one of the sounds from our recordings. Initial investigations proved fruitless - though a very similar noise was subsequently noted as coming from a piece of cellar equipment that was later identified as an ice making machine. This machine is activated by temperature fluctuations via a thermometer, rather than a timer. If the sounds had been regularly spaced, we would have no doubt soon realised that it was merely an effect of some controlled machinery. Under the circumstances, the sheer 'randomness' of the sounds gave considerable food for thought and took us a while to unearth their true origins…..!!

As yet, both the considerable amount of 'footsteps' and the 'blowing sound' that were recorded in the early hours of March 24th remain unexplained. Extensive 'stomping' in the bar area by a 16st.+ member of the Club (wearing 'Army Boots') failed to be detected at all by two colleagues in the 'Wine Cellar' directly below. From this, it was deduced that the numerous examples of - completely casual sounding - footsteps previously recorded on video couldn't possibly have been picked up under 'normal' circumstances.

Visit Three: Fri. 13th June – Sat. 14th June 2003

Investigators present: Len Jackson, Darren Simpson and Frazer Smith. Also present until approx. 1.30 am was Danish newspaper reporter, Karina Harristrup and her brother, Michael Harristrup.

The main points of this follow up investigation was to generally check out the current / continued ghost-lore of the site and also help Miss Harristrup with an article she was writing for the ‘Birmingham Post’ newspaper.

In the subsequent 2 years since our last visit to the site, the Court Oak had changed hands - the present manager having been on the premises for approximately 8 months at the time of our visit. Potential paranormal activity had allegedly continued at the site, much of which was reported from the staff ‘living quarters’. Because of such disturbances, the present Manager had developed a habit of never going to sleep without the television being switched on in the Sitting Room; an area allegedly favoured by the Victorian, female apparition. Unlike previous visits, W.M.G.C. members were kindly given access to this part of the building for the duration of the stay.

Unfortunately, our visit was completely uneventful, the only matter of any real interest being the fact that the current Manager reportedly couldn’t call to mind one single instance of bottles of wine being inexplicably broken in the cellar…!? (This, it has to be said, we personally found quite startling - as such activity was said to be fairly ‘rife’ when Lillian Campbell had looked after the property!?)

All the best,

The W.M.G.C.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Naked Phantom????

Just a brief note on this matter, but a vague story has reached WMGC ears concerning an allegedly 'naked ghost' being seen at the window of a house in the Walsall area. The form - supposedly that of a young male - is said to have been seen by a number of people passing through the road concerned, causing considerable consternation to many!! (Doubtlessly!!)

The figure is said to only appear when the occupants of the house are not on the premises. It is rumoured that the police and social services have been called by worried passers by and local residents, but the family who live in the house are (or, were previously) totally oblivious to the events described.......

As mentioned, this has only come to the group as a tentative note, so we are unsure as to how much more data on the matter can be gleaned. In the event that further information is forthcoming, we will doubtlessly relate as we find.....

All the best,

The W.M.G.C.

Staffordshire Pub Investigation.

From The Archives:

INVESTIGATION REPORT: The Star and Garter Public House – Grange Street – Burton On Trent – Staffordshire.

Date Of Visit: 11th / 12th March 2005
Duration Of Visit: Approx. 5 hours.
Time of Arrival: Approx. 11.00 p.m.

Present:

Investigative Team – 6 W.M.G.C. members and Star and Garter Barman – Steve Ousby – stayed with team for the duration of the visit.

Also Present in Building at time of visit - Landlord Alan Wood, partner (unnamed) and two dogs.

[I]. Aims / Inv. Process:

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

a) 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’ and ‘Gun’ devices).

d) Trigger objects – listed below:

• 12” tall mannequin figure – positioned on brick ledge in disused cellar room, opposite doorway.

• Large cross – outlined on sheet of white paper – placed on brick ledge in main cellar room. (In general area where a ceramic mug has recently been found by staff, inexplicably shattered. *See ‘Appendix: [2] – part 5’ below).

• Small bible – primed with movement sensor / alarm device – positioned on bay window seating in ground floor lounge.

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

*12.37 a.m. – Video recording session utilising two video camera’s situated in disused cellar area. (Both using ‘night shot’ capacity). ‘Camera One’ placed at front wall of room facing rear of property. (Situated directly under Lounge bay window on ground floor). ‘Camera Two’ situated on tall wooden bar stool in front of cellar door, facing mannequin (trigger object), diagonally across room. Session ended: 1.37 a.m.

*12.43 a.m. – Video recording session set up in 1st floor function room. Camera situated at far rear end of room, facing entrance door. Small children’s toy – a rattling ball – placed on carpeted stage directly in front of camera. [*Note: Sound of T.V. carrying through from private quarters of building noticed during session set up]. Session ended: 1.13 a.m.

*1.15 a.m. – Video recording session set up in disused cellar area. (Night Shot capacity). Camera again situated on wooden stool in precisely the same manner as 12.37 a.m. session. Session ended: 1.45 a.m.

*1.50 a.m. – Vigils held in ‘function room’ and ‘disused cellar area’:

a) Cellar vigil – Frazer Smith, Darren Simpson, Steve Chew and (barman) Steve Ousby. Group conducted experimental question and answer session, but elicited no obvious response.

b) Function room vigil – Len Jackson and Kevin Wallace. A number of sounds were heard sporadically throughout this session, but it was evident that the bulk of these noises could be pinned down to activity within the private quarters of the building. (Dogs scratching at doors, etc).

At the same time as the above, a video recording session was made in the function room. Camera facing bay window area of room. All sessions – vid. Recording and vigils - ended: 2.20 a.m.

*2.40 a.m. – digital audio recording session set up in disused cellar area. Mini-disk recorder placed on tall wooden stool. Session ended: 3.10 a.m.

*3.15 a.m. - Vigils held in ‘function room’ and ‘disused cellar area’:

a) Cellar vigil – Len Jackson and Kevin Wallace. Video recording session ran in cellar corridor – facing bottom of cellar steps – throughout vigil session.

b) Function room vigil – Frazer Smith, Steve Chew, Darren Simpson and (barman) Steve Ousby. During the vigil, Steve Ousby reported to the group that he could feel a ‘pins and needles’ effect in one of his hands. Apparently, according to Steve, this is usually taken as a sign that there is some form of ‘ghostly activity’ afoot. (Though nothing further occurred to back up this notion).

Both sessions ended: 3.45 a.m.

*Just prior to 4.00 a.m. – Investigator Steve Chew cataloguing cellar area with a digital camera produces three images, in quick succession, containing a peculiar misty, orange effect across the photographs. The effect differs in intensity and size between the three shots. Upon scrutiny, no obvious reason could be found to account for the images, but some form of technical / camera effect cannot be completely discounted.

Group leaves building at approx. 4.00 a.m.

Brief Site / Staff Notes and Considerations: Unfortunately, a number of factors associated with the premises in question were somewhat non-conducive to an ideal investigation scenario. Firstly, the buildings clientele appeared reluctant to leave the premises – resulting in a rather late start to the night’s proceedings. While certain checks and inspections were made prior to the last customers finally leaving – around 1.30 .a.m. – there was considerable debate within the group concerning the point of carrying out any form of recording sessions, etc, due to noise contamination from the main bar area. Despite the latter mentioned, it was suggested that two of the allegedly ‘most haunted’ area’s within the pub – the cellar and the function room – were sufficiently ‘out of the way’ as to merit some attention. (Hence, 3 recording sessions – in succession – being held in these particular area’s between 12.37 a.m. and 1.50 a.m.)

Once the investigation had begun, it was also noted that certain contamination – mainly noise related – would probably be carrying into the body of the building from the private living quarters. (Television, dogs, residents movement, etc). Main recordings affected by this situation would be those made in the function room area, which is situated close to the private quarters. Also, noise from the street outside – passing cars, drunks, etc - seemed particularly loud in the function room.

Landlord and staff members appeared to be all ‘pro-paranormal’ with regards to their views on activity at the site. Both Alan Wood and Steve Ousby claimed to have experienced happenings first hand, with the latter being pointed out as someone who was a ‘conductor’ for supposed ghostly incidents. (Quote: Mr. Wood). Mr Wood told the group that he had been a sceptic (with regards to the paranormal) prior to moving into the premises, while Steve Ousby admitted having a considerable interest / belief in the subject.

It was ascertained by the group that the Star and Garter was ‘not yet’ on the Burton Ghost Walk, but was, hopefully, going to be added to the list of places visited.

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

None of the video / audio recordings taken during the investigation contained anything which might be regarded as of obvious ‘paranormal’ significance. Most of the recordings did contain some form of sporadic noise – click’s, knocks, taps, distant movement sounds, etc – but most of these could be put down to being naturally occurring contamination within the building itself – i.e. persons / animals moving around in the private quarters; the building settling; pub related equipment / machinery, etc.

[IV]. General Findings / Conclusions.

Nothing of an obvious paranormal nature was detected during the investigation. Only one item of passing interest were noted – namely, the three ‘flawed’ photographs taken just prior to 4.00 a.m. While being of interest, some form of rational explanation – i.e. camera fault - cannot be ruled out.

Thermometer readings taken throughout the night revealed that the temperature in the disused cellar area fluctuated by only .2 of a degree during the stay. The temperature in the function room fluctuated by one whole degree.

[V]. Appendices:

Appendix: [1] – Paranormal Related History. (Source: Sent to group by Chris Campbell-Brown of The Burton Ghost Walk).

The ghost that reportedly haunted the former British Oak at the time of this particular tale was said to be a playful one. He has many tricks up his sleeve, one of his favourites is to draw off exactly half a pint of beer, and the landlord knew the exact quantity because he put a glass under the tap to catch it. This happened on several occasions over the years, although from time to time it was changed from beer to cider, until the landlord disconnected the pipes to the cellar. Although the alcohol stopped dispensing the noises from the pumps continued as the ghostly presence tried to get himself a drink, but he never managed to magic one.

The cleaner and occasional barmaid was collecting dishes in the bar, she was carrying empty plates into the kitchen when a light fitment came crashing down from the ceiling leaving torn wires dangling. The bar staff after an evening serving in the pub have found to their amazement that the taps on the pumps in the barrels have been switched off in the cellar. It is impossible to serve draught beer without these.

The doors in the upstairs living quarters have rattled ominously but nobody is there and strange things happened in the bar area. The landlord would lock up every night and switch the lights of only to find them all switched in again in the morning. Ashtrays would move from table to table or disappear all together.

This activity was not only isolated to this period previous landlord’s have spoken of bottles flying of the shelves and smashing on the floor of the bar and ashtrays flying of tables. A party who used the upstairs function room at the time heard strange noises but when they checked there was absolutely nobody there at all.

The landlords dogs were afraid to go down the cellar, they trembled and ran upstairs with fright. One dog that normally had a good appetite could not eat for a week after being in the cellar area. Rumour has it that the area in the cellar where the dogs where so scared is where an ex landlord had committed suicide, although we have been unable to find any historical records to verify this. Also located in the bar area is a dead mans chair, that to this day regulars refuse to sit in due to it’s history of users dying shortly after sitting in it.

Another former landlord striped down the wallpaper on a wall to find a picture of Ben Truman (the pub was a Truman’s house before being sold to other brewers). All attempts to cover the picture failed miserably as it showed through layer upon layer of paint, eventually they papered over it.

Is this the ghost of the former British Oak Ben Truman who doesn’t like you drinking other breweries beer or is it the alleged hanged man we will leave that for you decide.

Appendix: [2] – Paranormal Related History. (Source: Information related to group by residents of Star and Garter on night of investigation).

1. Current occupants moved in to premises on Aug. 19th 2004 and alleged paranormal activity began within days of them taking over the property. Landlord – Alan Wood – claims to have been a sceptic before moving into the Star and Garter, but, through exposure to alleged activity within the property, he now admits that he has to revise his beliefs on such matters.

2. W.M.G.C. members informed that a number of past owners / staff had reported supposed paranormal activity.

3. People living near to the premises have allegedly spoken of hearing barrels moving both in the cellars of the building – late at night – and in the yard situated at the rear of the pub. The sound of horses have also been heard from the yard area – though only by people living in close proximity to the property and not by residents of the pub itself. Apparently, the landlord’s dogs will not go into the arched area, attached to stable block, in the pub yard. Steve Ousby also admits to having had ‘strange feelings’ about this particular area on at least one occasion.

4. Landlords dogs refuse to go into pub cellar.

5. General Cellar: Staff apparently believe that both an adult, male presence and that of a child exist in this area. Mr Wood reported that he sometimes feels his ‘hand being held’ in the cellar – something which he ascribes to the child-like presence. / A plastic jug – usually left in the cellar sink – has been known to move, supposedly of it’s own accord. / Buckets move of own accord. / A ceramic mug, accidentally left in the cellar by Mr. Wood, was later found smashed to pieces in the main beer cellar area. (Mug fragments still in situ at time of visit and photographed by group member). / Numerous cold spots and feelings have allegedly been detected in this area. / Damp marks visible on the wall of the disused cellar area were pointed out to W.M.G.C. members as being potentially ‘sinister’. / Gas taps sometimes turned off in cellar, apparently of own volition.

6. Gypsy-like woman, allegedly seen by Steve Ousby, in the process of descending the main staircase to the function room / private quarters. Vanished after a couple of seconds.

7. Following a ‘Karaoke’ session in function room one night, Steve Ousby and another (unnamed) witness apparently saw dark figure standing near to window overlooking pub yard. No real description could be given for the figure concerned. Vague and indistinct form.

8. Vague figure sometimes seen in short corridor leading from lounge room to main bar area. Steve Ousby suggests that this may be the same form witnessed in the function room area.

9. Odd noises – laughter, etc – sometimes heard from private quarters of building.

10. Staff report having seen the figure of an old man seated in the lounge, to the left hand side of the bay window seat. Present for a matter of seconds, then vanishes. Remarked that he is seen when bright sunlight is streaming in through the bay window(?)

All the best,

West Midlands Ghost Club

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Fast Food Ghosts????

From The Archives:

Mini / Preliminary Investigation Report: Fast Food Restaurant (?) – The West Midlands Region.

Note* The W.M.G.C. were specifically asked not to divulge the precise name and location of the site concerned. Suffice to say, the business involved is part of an international franchise. It should also be pointed out that there are a number of other, allegedly haunted sites within a very short distance of the property concerned.

This visit to the site was purposefully kept brief and served as a preliminary investigation, primarily aimed at a general assessment of the premises.

Date: Sunday 27th to Monday 28th August 2006

Duration Of Visit: Approx. 3.5 hrs

Investigators Present: Steve Chew, Frazer Smith and Len Jackson. Also – Restaurant Manager and three guests.

Site / Haunting History

While the building concerned was only constructed in recent years, there have been numerous reports of poltergeist-like effects at the site. Such happenings include: stall doors banging of their own accord in the toilets and glasses and other objects falling or flying from shelves seemingly of their own volition. ‘Scuffling’ noises have been heard from various parts of the building, including the Kitchen Area, Office Corridor and the walk in Freezers. The sound of something apparently ‘banging on the inside of the door’ of the latter mentioned has also been reported. Taps have switched themselves off while staff have been using them and noises – including footsteps – heard from portions of the building known to be empty. There has only been one, potential reported ‘sighting’ of anything on the premises and this was a fleeting glimpse of something which resembled a woman with blonde hair.

Locally / historically speaking: The area now occupied by the restaurant was formerly an industrial area, lying on the periphery of an immense factory site. It is known that a woman was found dead – under somewhat dubious circumstances – not too far distant, only a few years ago.

Investigation:

12.45 am – While group is still acquainting themselves with the premises, Steve hears a noise in the Kitchen area, seemingly originating from the Freezer end of the room. The noise was described as the sort of sound made by a cardboard box full of cutlery being moved.

Around the same time, Len gets an impression of someone walking past the window of the building, but, upon investigating, can see nothing. He moves away from the window and experiences the same effect a second time. Still there is no one there. It was noticed throughout the night that a number of vehicles passed within close proximity to the building, though no one on foot was ever seen.

Session One: 12.51 am to 1.21 am

*Camera 1 was set up in Kitchen area – directly opposite / facing the Office Corridor. On the work surface, directly in front of the camera, was placed two crucifixes (utilised as trigger objects) with an audio alarm attached to both.

*Camera 2 was set up in the Ladies Toilet area, facing the end two stalls – furthest from the door – in the row.

1.07 am – the restaurant telephone rings and the manager answers it, but reports that there is no one on the other end. A couple of minutes later, it rings again and it is, apparently, an acquaintance calling.

1.15 am – Steve, Frazer and one of the guests hear what they describe as a loud, female whisper. (All seated in Middle / Right of Main Dining Area). Frazer and Steve seem to think that the noise originated in the Kitchen area, while the guest assumed that it had possibly been Len – at the other end of the room - making notes with a hand held cassette machine. Len had previously been taking notes in this manner during the session, but had ceased to do so some 10 minutes earlier.

Other click / knock noises heard during the vigil, but these were deemed to be structural / native in origin (i.e. the wood of an empty chair creaking next to an investigator, etc).

1.46 am – Steve, Frazer and Len talking in Kitchen area. Former mentioned standing near Freezer end of room, with latter two in centre section of room. All hear loud, rippling ‘farting’-type noise, seemingly coming from work / ice machine area. Noise heard twice in reasonably quick succession – a minute or so apart – with the second sound being slightly different to the first. Steve likened the noise to someone getting up from a creaky leather seat – which was an accurate comparison.

Around the same time, Steve also heard a ‘clump’ noise from the Freezer area of the Kitchen.

Session Two: 1.52 am to 2.22 am

2.00 am – Steve and Frazer react to a very loud noise in the Kitchen, seemingly originating from the region of the work / ice machine area. Noise described as very loud and sounding like a ‘stack of objects’ being moved or shaken. Steve tries to replicate the sound with items / equipment around the area, but cannot. It is noted that many of these sounds seem to originate in the region of the ice machine – such equipment being notoriously noisy at the best of times and frequently turning out sounds identical to those heard by group members. The sound was heard twice in fairly quick succession, the first time being much quieter than the second.

2.33 am – entire group seated, talking casually in the Main Dining Area. A ‘hissing’ noise from the Kitchen attracts everyone’s attention and the Manager investigates to find that the sliding lid of the ice machine is open. (He has closed this by the time anyone else gets into the area, unfortunately). W.M.G.C. members were last out of this room – having been examining the machine – and it is known for certain that the lid was closed when they vacated the area.

Other sounds were noted during this period, but the bulk of these were assessed as, most likely, noises native to the building.

Session Three: 2.43 am to 3.13 am

2.47 am – A ‘scuffling’ sound is heard in the Kitchen area by Len. Noise appeared to originate in the room, off to the right of where Len was sitting. (Beyond the region occupied by the ice machine).

2.58 am – Loud noise from same area as previously. Tom hears a ‘crack-like’ sound, but Len says it was more like a ‘sneeze’ (?)

3.30 am – Visit finishes and we vacate the premises.

Temperatures:

The temperature inside the building dropped by one degree during the visit.

Recordings:

Camera One: Session One:

There are a lot of sounds that could be regarded as ‘native to the building’ - knocks, bangs and switching sounds…..most of which probably originate with the freezers, machines cooling down etc. During the recording there were, at three different points, the sound of something or someone messing around very close to the camera. Two of the instances are very striking; seemingly not the ice machine, nor anything automated.

Camera Two: Session One:

1.03 am - a loud ‘crack’ sound was picked up – seemingly close to the camera. This could have been a sound which was noted by an investigator seated in the Main Dining Area around the same time(?)

1.20 am – Camera picks up four fairly loud ‘knocks’. The sounds are quite clear, but not necessarily inside the toilet area itself.

General Notes:

It couldn’t help but be noticed that an the equipment within the building – freezers, air conditioning, etc – caused a substantial amount of noise under normal / daily working conditions. From this, it is assumed that any noises noticed by staff members as potentially paranormal in nature – i.e. scuffling sounds, footsteps and such – would have to be of a reasonable magnitude to be noticed. (This, of course, taking into consideration the fact that the staff members are probably well accustomed to such sounds and would possibly be able to differentiate between these and other, ‘unnaturally occurring’ noises?).

Regards,

The W.M.G.C.