Thursday, 30 April 2009

Canal Haunting…..?

A short while ago, a local newspaper report featured an article concerning a series of potential 'ghost sightings' involving a stretch of canal in the Wolverhampton area. Group members visited the site in question following the appearance of the article, this section of the (then) town being an area known well to the W.M.G.C. from a previous (unrelated) investigation of a year or two earlier. (*The latter concerned the ghost of an ‘Airman’ who allegedly haunts at least two buildings in the region).

Regarding affairs in the area concerned, two local residents are said to have separately seen a peculiar figure – wearing a long black coat or cape, with a hood covering it’s head – standing alongside a section of the canal involved. Both witnesses report having been struck by the man’s ‘heavy garb’ (on a warm, Summer morning) and both said that the figure ‘vanished’ upon their having looked away for a split second. The first person to see the figure – a woman out walking her dog near a bridge – claims that it turned to look at her and she could see no features to the face inside the hood…..

Investigations in the general area have revealed that a long distance lorry driver once narrowly missed hitting the figure of an old man who stepped out in front of his vehicle as he crossed the same bridge one morning at 4am. He said that, in the time it took for him to stop, the old man disappeared. Yet another local resident claims to have been driving along a nearby lane when a man in a stovepipe hat ‘glided’ out of a hedge into the path of her car. She was also forced to skid to a halt, only to find that the figure had vanished….

While there is no evidence to suggest that death, human turmoil and tragic events have anything to do with haunting activity, it is quite customary to relate instances of the former when discussing the latter. On this front, it is interesting to note that the section of canal concerned does have a considerable tragedy associated with it. During the late Victorian period, a local 'bobby' is alleged to have been rendered unconscious by ‘assailants unknown’ in the general locality and his body pushed into the canal in the area of the above mentioned sightings…….

Following our first mention of the above case (on our old website), a Miss Sue Smith (*Pseudonym) wrote in to the Club to comment on our coverage of the matter.

Sue told us that she used to live near to the site mentioned and, as a child, played under the bridge where the mysterious figure had been seen. While she says that she couldn't add anything of paranormal relevance to the aforementioned portion of our investigation, she did mention certain details that may tie in with sightings of the ‘phantom airman’ reported in the general area.

Sue’s mom had previously told her that, as she was travelling along the section of road in the local area one day, she looked out of the vehicle window and saw what she described as ‘an old aeroplane’. Peculiarly, the aircraft is described as having ‘disappeared’ quickly – not striking Sue’s mother as actually ‘in flight’, but more like a ‘quick picture’ which was then gone…..

A further snippet of intriguing information hails from the time when houses were built on the site of an old, nearby airfield. Sue’s mother in law moved into one of the new houses and, only the second night after they took up occupancy, she and her husband witnessed a ‘uniformed man’ standing at the entrance to their neighbours house. Somewhat bizarrely, the figure appeared to be standing ‘half in and half out’ of the front door……

An airfield had existed in the region concerned for some years, but, at the advent of WWII, the area was requisitioned and turned into a training facility for the duration of the conflict, with at least two Tiger Moth aeroplanes crashing into nearby playing fields. (Fatalities – if any – unknown). The general area where the ghostly pilot has been witnessed appears to have been the former runways to the airfield.

With the onset of the Summer months, group members are planning a number of outdoor excursions and investigations and the site mentioned above will certainly be finding it's way onto the rota of places covered. More on this matter soon....

Best wishes,

The West Midlands Ghost Club

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