Saturday, 10 May 2014

10th May 2014

Recent talk of poltergeists and occult-y-type-shenanigans on the WMGC Facebook Page - LINK - sent the club members rifling through our diaries in search of the case mentioned below. we've had no contact with the people concerned for a very long time now, but, for reasons mentioned in the blurb below, their names and personal details have been removed  from the accompanying article about the case.....

West Midlands Ghost Club member, Nick Duffy, takes up the account:

"Speaking to a relative in Autumn, 1999, I was told that they had just heard a news report (on local radio) concerning a (then) Darlaston family that had apparently 'had to' move house 5 or so times because they were being dogged by 'ghostly activity'. I instantly called the station concerned and explained my interest to a member of their news team..... and they promised to pass my contact details on to the family concerned, etc. Within 24 hrs of the call, I was contacted by the mother of the family - I'll call her 'Sue' - and invited to go along to their (then current) house and speak with them about what had been going on. Ironically, the family wishes to remain completely anonymous in this matter, but, as I arrived at their comfortable, little flat, I happened to pick up their 'free-paper' which had just been dropped on their doormat and called to Sue that I'd bring it upstairs to her and so on. As I carried the newspaper, I happened to look at the front page and there was an article about the haunting - full details, including names and addresses - published therein!! This information didn't go down at all well with Sue, who said that she would be contacting the paper concerned and complaining. 

With regards to 'activity': initial reports seemed to indicate that they were experiencing a considerable amount of poltergeist-like effects, which had seemingly started with a knocking noise heard coming from the headboard of the parents bed, which moved from one side of the board and back again. Quite soon afterwards, other, peculiar matters developed, such as glasses being hear smashing in the kitchen and crayon found to have been scribbled down the walls of the staircase, in a position where it would have supposedly been very hard to accomplish such vandalism. Sues underwear had also been found to have 'gone missing' at times...... either never to be seen again, or, sometimes, returning under mysterious circumstances!? 

Interestingly, Sue mentions that one of the addresses that they had moved into – while attempting to flee their peculiar problems – had actually 'been haunted too', anyway..... which she believed had made their own troubles worse...? She reckoned that the already existing haunting had given their own activity more impetus, possibly?!

A major phenomenon that they had been experiencing at the time that I spoke with them was a most disturbing force, during which they were seemingly 'pinned down' by something and found themselves unable to move. This was experienced by both of the parents at different times. I was told that, when this was actually happening, they had sometimes seen a 'black figure' in the room and also heard what seemed to be a 'shuffling sound'. Sue believed that two separate spirits were taking part in these attacks – one performing the 'pinning' activity and another moving around the room and producing the 'shuffling' sound. The episodes also seemed to be preceded by a pulsating sound – a 'wow-wow-wow' effect – described as akin to something from a Sci-Fi movie!? These attacks were, at the time in question, occurring approximately every two weeks or so. (It was also mentioned that this was something of a 'reduced figure' re. regularity, as they had been more frequently experienced previously). The last attack had occurred to Sue some 4 nights before our initial contact. It was suggested to me that the assaults tended not to happen if the lights were left on and they certainly seemed to favour the dark. Sue admitted that she had – on occasion – experienced the 'pressing' effect at different times throughout her lifetime. One such attack had occurred in a hostel that she was staying in and was witnessed by another girl sleeping in the same room. (*Needless to say, this type of experience could be put down to a case of sleep paralysis, or perhaps hypnagogic experience, etc, but it is worthy enough of note to simply record that such events are frequently associated with paranormally charged situations. In the last couple of years, for example, I was asked to visit a family living in my own street who were experiencing poltergeist-like activity AND episodes of paralysis along the lines mentioned).

Throughout the interview – at different points - Sue emphasised that she was desperately worried about the effect that the activity concerned might be having on her young son. She believed that he was already able to 'see' things in his bedroom that his parents could not, as he seemed to be 'watching' something invisible moving around the room at times. She basically lived in fear of the child being assaulted in some way, the same as both she and her partner had experienced, etc.

I was told that 'the church' had allegedly become involved in these matters some 8 or so times during the course of the experiences – at different properties across the Black Country region – but the phenomenon still persisted. One vicar had told the family that their problems had something to do with the practice of devil worship and that 'something' was now 'after their souls'!? At an address they'd occupied in the Halesowen region, they had discovered a box full of books that appeared to be 'Satanic' in nature. It should perhaps be added here that - as a brief 'life history' for Sue - she admitted that she had been abused as a teenager and had developed something of a troubled life afterwards. (Including drug usage). She said that her father had practiced some form of 'black magic', which he had apparently used to try and control people around him (including Sue). She herself had also dabbled in forms of negative occultism at times and had been a keen devotee of the Ouija too at one point. (*Re. the references made by the vicar above concerning 'Devil Worship': I have to take it that a potted history of what had been going on - including family / life history, etc - would have been mentioned to all church figures entering the scenario and the 'devil worship / after their soul' comments potentially made 'as a result of' his learning such data?)

When Sue was some 8 or so years old, her mother had been to see a clairvoyant and was told that Sue was 'highly gifted', in a spiritual sense. (I was asked if this might have something to do with the problems they had been experiencing?) She admitted that she believed herself to have had certain powers or gifts throughout her lifetime, which she openly tied in with what was currently happening around her......."
May 10th 2014

On May the 8th, the 'Caroline Martin Show' on BBC Radio West Midlands broadcast a 'ghostie-related phone-in' show.  A member of the WMGC was asked to briefly speak on the programme......
May 10th 2014

It goes without saying that we do get to hear of a fair few 'ghost stories' and experiences with time, but some encounters and situations are worthy of sharing..... The following matter is something that has come in to the group as a result of a recent appeal for data around the West Midlands region and was sent in to us by a gentleman who lives in a reasonably modern house, in a rural setting, but which has it's foundations in the 13th Century. The original structure on the site was apparently one of local prominence, with the current dwelling - and surrounding buildings - built in the early 1970s on the original, older, structural footprint..... Our correspondent has lived in the house for the past 15 or so years and there have been multiple, peculiar experiences during that time-period - including animal disruption / reaction - being reported by numerous people.

Within the first few days of moving in, we are told that the mother of the family was somehow 'locked' inside the garage of the property. The key had actually been physically turned in the lock from the other (house) side of the door. The husband had gone out and she was in the house with their small son - only one year of age - and totally unable to have reached the key..... let alone have the strength or dexterity to have turned it in the lock! Finding herself trapped, the unfortunate woman had to bang on the inside of the garage door and get the attention of a neighbour who called the husband on his mobile to return home and finally release her!!

A most intriguing experience occurred in April, last year, when the gentleman woke to see a woman standing in the breach of their bedroom doorway. One seeing it, he actually 'kicked out' at the form, thinking it was an intruder! The closest description he could give of 'her' appearance would be to liken her to the actress, Jill Gascoine, from the early 1980's TV series, 'The Gentle Touch'. From the look of her hairstyle, the witness suggested a late 1970's or early 80's date to the form. By the time his leg - in the process of delivering the intended blow - had come to rest back on the bed, the woman had vanished....

Of obvious interest is the fact that he couldn't recall a body to the overall form, but remembers the V-shaped neckline of a dress or perhaps jumper, that seemingly tapered away to nothing. 

Other experiences in the property include numerous - more poltergeist-like-happenings - such as an electronic 'walker' [toddler's toy] playing its tunes in the living room, without any human interaction. The stereo has also been witnessed acting in the same way in the same area. It was suggested that this could possibly be significant in some way, because this room is where the internal garage door is situated....? Referring back to the 'locking in' incident: the young son was, at that point in time, sitting on the wooden floor in the centre of this room - barely having learned to walk - when the mother entered the garage, etc. A sturdy photo frame was found to have 'fallen forward' - defying logic - as it is of a design that 'sits back' on its stand. It is suggested that there may be an interesting correlation with this event, as shortly after the current, family dog was obtained, she was witnessed staring intently in the direction of where the frame is situated..... and barked incessantly, as she would normally do if she had heard someone approaching the door to the house!? It's noted that she is an incredible watch dog - half Staffie / half Rhodesian Ridgeback!!

A visitor to the house stayed (in what is now the daughters room) over Christmas and recalled waking up, in the middle of the night, to see an old lady sat in - a very real - rocking chair that is situated in the corner of the room.... Unfortunately, for the person concerned, they couldn't get much sleep until it got light afterwards! 

Something that is frequently mentioned to us in this kind of situation, it has to be pointed out, is the experience of something 'vague' - movement? - being seen in the hallway / bottom of the stairs region of the house, from seating (chair / sofa) in the living room. It has been queried by the family whether this may possibly be just a matter of 'minds playing tricks on them' but this is, as mentioned, something that is frequently noted in a great many such situations!? (Throughout the history of ghostlore, there is frequently emphasis put on stairs and the like, such places being a rather liminal motif?) Along such, similar lines, perhaps, it was also mentioned that the son was frequently heard talking to someone or something as a toddler....... though, quite objectively, of course, it was stated that there was no real, definitive 'it's this or that'; such activity potentially being put down to the normal circumstances surrounding a young child... an 'imaginary friend' scenario or a case of child-like 'rambling to himself', etc. It's noted though that this always occurred in his bedroom, before sleep.

At times, a lot of 'inexplicable noises' are heard in the house, but the properties are attached to those of neighbours, so some of the sound can be put down to the adjoining occupants. However, the neighbours are noted as being 'frequently away'..... so unusual noises are not always so readily dismissed at such junctures!?