October 31st 2013:
Following article appeared in the 'Shropshire Star' today:
Midlands Ghost Club Looking For Fresh Blood
It is the night when ghosts and ghouls come out to play – and in Shropshire paranormal activity is said to be particularly widespread.
But one group of enthusiasts sees it as their job to examine the truth behind the tales. The West Midlands Ghost Club was founded 24 years ago, then under the name “West Midlands Friends Of The Paranormal”.
Since then its members have visited thousands of allegedly haunted sites around the Midlands region and some further afield, as well as being involved in television and radio shows – and even video game production.
Nick Duffy, from the club, says membership consists of a mix of both sceptic and believer, but it strives to stay impartial.
He said: “We have no interest in either proving the existence of the paranormal, or disproving it. In the field, our research work is solely based on observation and impartial study”.
And the group is on the lookout for fresh blood.
Nick said: “Ideally, the group would be interested in hearing from friendly, intelligent people with a level-headed outlook on paranormal related topics.
“An objective and truly unbiased attitude towards investigation and research is crucial.”
That research has taken West Midlands Ghost Club members to some of Shropshire’s most well-known “haunted” sites.
One of the “most intriguing and possibly ‘productive’ investigation sites ever visited” by the group was Shrewsbury Library, which members explored twice in 2009.
Members were told that a number of years ago, an archaeologist was working in Riggs Hall late one night and – while looking into a particular excavation trench – kept hearing someone making a “psst” noise in his ear, as if trying to get his attention. Whenever he looked to see who it was, there was no one there.
The same man slept a few nights at the building and, one evening, heard someone trying to open the padlock that secured the door of his room.
He climbed out of the window to catch the suspected “burglar” and discovered that – while the outer doors to the property were found to be still locked and bolted – the padlock to his room had been opened.
The WMGC was also told of the figure of a woman in period costume seen walking through the stacks area of the building.
A similar form was witnessed both in the old school library and in the basement section of the property by staff members.
The figure of a young boy has allegedly been spotted on a small staircase leading up to the clock tower room.
The ghost of an old gentleman has also supposedly been seen sitting in a chair in the former Headmaster’s House.
Nick said: “During our investigation of June 26, three group members were in the music library when they heard a peculiar ‘twang’ noise.
“No-one present could account for the sound heard, which was very similar to the ‘boing’ noise made when someone vibrates a spring.
“It was only when one of the group members mentioned having made a similar noise with a ruler on the edge of a desk while still at school that they realised that they were in a part of the building that served as a former classroom.
“Following this first investigation at the site, group member Steve Chew discovered a section of footage on one of his video recordings which appears to contain the sound of a female voice, when only two male investigators were present at the time. Nothing untoward was heard by the investigators during this same period, however.
“This piece of film caught the attention of the Shropshire press following its discovery and it’s inclusion on our online photo album has resulted in thousands of visits.”
On the back of that discovery, a second visit was organised.
Nick said: “On the evening in question, a vigil was carried out at 9.52 pm.
“During this period, the overall group split into four separate teams and covered the music library, the old school library, the offices above Riggs Hall and the basement level.
“At approximately 9.56pm, a very loud, metallic sound and a noise akin to a door being slammed shut were heard by the groups stationed in the music library and old school room.
“Those in the music library indicated that the sounds had seemingly originated somewhere down a large stairwell at the centre of the room, which runs the depth of the building. Immediate investigation revealed nothing of interest and neither of the two other groups had heard anything during the period outlined.
“Luckily, digital sound recording equipment was running in the stacks section of the site – downstairs – at the time, which caught the sounds concerned.”
In 2002 the club visited Lilleshall Abbey, where a number of visitors have reported hearing unusual noises during early evening, said to resemble the moans and shrieks of someone being tortured.
The club has also carried out investigations at the Prince Rupert Hotel in Shrewsbury; Telford Steam Railway in Horsehay; Maws Craft Centre in the Ironbridge Gorge and Madeley Court Hotel.
For details about the investigations, and further information about the club, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org