Monday, 1 August 2011

Edited Version of Main Website Update for Feb. 2009

Midlands Investigation:

On the 15th of November 2008 and February the 20th 2009, W.M.G.C. members paid overnight visits to a magnificent Hall / Hotel in the Midlands area. The visit was organised by John 'golden-touch' Conway.

The 'ghostly history' associated with this grade II listed property is a substantial one, with reported activity including poltergeist-like effects and the sighting of a number of apparitions. Some of the different ghosts allegedly witnessed over recent decades include those of a little girl; a woman in white; an indistinct figure, seemingly swathed in light and a 'shadowy form' which has been seen in the hall grounds.

By far the most frequently reported activity at the site involves the sound of children laughing and playing in and around the property. On our recent visit, the present security guard / concierge informed us that - only the night before - he had heard a noise akin to the sound of 'children trying to whistle' in the empty building....

At other times, visitors to the hotel have reported the sound of a female voice, during the early hours of the morning, which appears to be singing a lullaby.

The current owner of the hotel has heard many first-hand stories from staff members and customers alike. On one occasion he had been dealing with a problem in the dining area of the property and, upon walking into the reception corridor of the building, the glass top of a nearby table exploded into tiny pieces with no one standing near it.....

A big W. M. Ghost Club 'Thank You' to hotel management - and staff - for kindly allowing our visit and for accommodating us so wonderfully and warmly!! Also, 'welcome' to our new friends Debbie and Marianne who accompanied the usual gaggle of group members on our second investigation to the Hall.

Warwickshire Repeat Investigation:

December the 12th, 2008, saw group members pay a much-overdue, return visit to Alcester Town Hall. The investigation was arranged by group member, John Conway.

The W.M.G.C. first visited Alcester in early 2008 to look into reports of alleged paranormal happenings at this early 17th Century property. The apparition of a 'grey lady' has reputedly been seen at the site and the sound of a young girl heard crying in an upstairs room. Akin to Warwick Castle and the nearby St Nicholas church (Alcester), the shade of Sir Fulke Greville has also been associated with the Town Hall!

While only a comparatively small party from the group attended this particular investigation, our numbers were bolstered by the charming Kim Ross. The W.M.G.C. would like to thank Town Hall management / authorities - in particular, Vernon Munton and John Ross - for allowing us to re-visit this superb site.

Midlands Investigation #2:

On the 20th December 2008, group members braved freezing temperatures and icy winds to investigate the site of one of the bloodiest battles to have ever been fought on English soil.....!!! Our visit to the area was organised by John Conway.

Over the years, a number of peculiar incidents and experiences have been reported from this area, particularly so around a local Church and graveyard.... which served as one of the key points of interest for group members during our visit.

Shropshire Investigation #2

January 9th, 2009, saw group members paying a visit to the magnificent, 3 star Prince Rupert Hotel in Shrewsbury. Once again, our investigation was organised by John Conway. Situated in the very heart of Shrewsbury town, the Prince Rupert is widely regarded as the most haunted hotel in the county.

The property has been privately owned by the Matthews family since the mid-90's and, structurally, boasts a framework that spans almost a thousand years of history. With regards to the ghostlore of this building, a variety of ghosts and peculiar happenings have allegedly been witnessed and experienced over the years.

The shades of two suicide victims - a man and a woman who are believed to have both hung themselves at the property in unrelated incidents - have been seen by customers and staff. (The room haunted by the female victim - formerly a bedroom - is currently utilised as a conference suite). In the hotel cellar, the ghosts of a young boy, a serving woman and an angry individual called Henry have reputedly been experienced. The latter mentioned has, on occasion, allegedly made his presence known to people visiting the site as part of the popular Shrewsbury Ghost Walk!

While only constituting a 'one off' sighting, the ghost of an old gentleman who apparently resembled 'wee-willy-winky' was seen in the hotel during the 1980's!!! The sighting was made during the filming of the movie 'A Christmas Carol' in Shrewsbury, when cast and crew members stayed at the Prince Rupert. Director of photography for the film, Tony Imi, was said to have been making his way back to his bedroom one evening when he spotted an old gentleman - dressed in a long nightshirt and carrying a candle - walking along a corridor. Mr Imi politely bade the peculiar figure 'goodnight', but received no reply..... Having made a point of watching the man continue obliviously along the passage, he was allegedly last seen vanishing through a nearby wall!!!

For the duration of our visit to the Prince Rupert, we were accompanied by our good friend Kim Ross and Shrewsbury Ghost Walk staff member, Chris Kennedy. Prior to the start of our investigation, group members were treated to a tour of the historic hotel which was led by both Chris and Shrewsbury Town Crier, author and Ghost Walk organiser, Martin Wood.

Hearty Ghost Club thanks go out to Prince Rupert proprietor, Michael Matthews, for allowing us to visit his fabulous hotel and to Martin and Chris for kindly sharing their time and encyclopaedic knowledge of Shrewsbury with us during the visit!

Staffordshire Re-visit Investigation:

On January the 16th, 2009, group members made a welcome return to the Assembly Rooms in Tamworth. The investigation was organised by John Conway.

Since our previous visit to the site last Halloween, staff member Jock Ross has amassed a wealth of information concerning the ghosts and hauntings allegedly associated with this popular, entertainment venue. Spurred on by recent press coverage, a number of people both previously and currently involved with the building have now come forward with their stories and encounters. While much of the information proffered would seem to tie in with information previously related to group members, a wealth of 'extra' detail has now been made available to researchers.

It appears that some of the first 'recorded' activity at the Assembly Rooms occurred during the 1950's and involved members of the local amateur dramatics group, the Tamworth Arts Club. After setting up for events, group members would regularly congregate in the auditorium for a well earned drink. It was during these periods that the sound of footsteps would frequently be heard crossing the stage, moving onto the auditorium floor and off into the distance.... On occasion, it was said that some of those present had briefly seen the figure of an old man appear, just before the footsteps faded. The figure of the old man had also been seen a number of times over the years, in different parts of the building. A former caretaker had seen him passing down the main corridor to the hall and entering the toilets.

As previously mentioned, it is thought that the figure of the old man, seen wearing a brown warehouse-style jacket, ties in with a former caretaker of the property. The man concerned has now been identified, but for the sake of these notes shall remain nameless. While sightings of the female ghost associated with the Assembly Rooms are something of a rarity these days, the smell of her perfume - lavender - is still occasionally noticed to this day. At the height of her presence, she was only ever reported as appearing in the back-stage area, wearing a flower patterned dress and having a 'happy' look about her.......

As previously, the group would like to say a big thank you Assembly Rooms management and to our excellent host for the night, Jock Ross.

Black Country Investigation Follow-Up:

February the 6th saw group members paying an overdue re-visit to the Sandwell Council Training and Development Centre in Oldbury. Investigation arranged by John Conway. This site was first visited by the West Mids Ghost Club in mid-January 2008, so a repeat investigation of the property was somewhat overdue. AS mentioned on this page previously, the building concerned - a former school - has a reputation for ghostly activity and the figures of a young girl and two men in brown, cow-gown style clothing have been seen. Cleaners at the site have reported uneasy feelings in certain parts of the property, while canteen staff have allegedly seen the figure of a woman in grey in the cafe section. Previously, a piano has allegedly been heard - seemingly playing by itself - in an empty lecture hall.....

Our thanks go out to Training Centre management for allowing us to visit the site again, with a special 'nod of gratitude' to Centre security officer, Mr. Singh. Also - again - to Debbie and Marianne who accompanied us for the duration of our stay......

Media Watch:

On November the 6th and 14th 2008, the Tamworth Herald ran articles concerning our (then) recent investigation at the Assembly Rooms. The Tamworth Times also ran a similar article on November the 6th.

In late December 2008, the Shropshire Star newspaper ran a brief article concerning the W.M.G.C.'s forthcoming investigation at the Prince Rupert Hotel in Shrewsbury. A further mention of the group appeared in a second article about the Hotel in mid-January 2009.

News of the W.M.G.C.'s 20th birthday (this year) attracted a considerable amount of media interest, resulting in articles appearing in the Coventry Telegraph, the Birmingham Mail, the Express and Star and the Shropshire Star in early January. January the 8th saw articles appearing in the Sutton Coldfield Observer, the Tamworth Herald, the Walsall Advertiser, Lichfield Post, Rugeley Post and a mention on Telford F.M. Radio!! A further article concerning the group appeared in the Staffordshire Newsletter, as well as a second appearance on Telford F.M. on Sunday the 18th of Jan.

In Mid-February, an article appeared in the Express and Star concerning the clubs (then) forthcoming visit to Sandwell Council Training Centre in Oldbury.

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