Saturday, 11 April 2009

Ghosts In The Aisles?????

A matter of some interest to the group started a little earlier this year with a 'friend of a friend' story involving a large, popular 'superstore' situated in the Black Country area. It began with a group member being told that 'something strange' had been caught on the buildings security cameras over the New Year period......

Unfortunately, the group will have to appear rather 'miserly' with regards to some of the details related herein - heavily edited for the purpose of security / confidentiality, etc - but we do hope that the remainder will possibly be of passing interest. Anyway.....

In the late hours of New Years Eve (08) / early hours of New Years Day (09) the alarm system at the store in question was triggered twice. A response team was dispatched to the site on both occasions – approx. 4.5 hours apart - but nothing was discovered to account for the tripping of the alarms and the system concerned was re-set on both occasions. On the following day, security officers checked over the CCTV footage for the store and discovered an 'anomaly' present on the recordings corresponding to the entrance area of the store. Initial reports reaching the W.M.G.C. mentions circular, smoke-like effects seen passing in front of the camera and a 'definite' figure on the footage.

In the days that followed, a group member spoke with the general manager of the store and we were asked to visit them and view the footage concerned. During this conversation, it was ascertained that the store had a reputation for ‘strange goings on’ among the staff members and that the ground on which the store stood had once belonged to a local celebrity. This was of particular interest to the group, as we had been aware of an alleged haunting associated with this land for many years.

A visit to the store was arranged for Tuesday 27th of January at 11 am.

On viewing the footage concerned, it was noted that data noted in the initial report was somewhat erroneous.

At 10.20 pm on New Year Eve, a peculiar effect appears on footage obtained by a (foyer based) camera (mounted above / left of foyer to store doors) which is pointing towards the external doors from foyer to car park area. The effect concerned is a vague distortion in the left hand side of the footage. Not identifiable as transient mist / smoke effect – i.e. drifting past camera, etc – but a semi-transparent distortion that gives an impression of moving around slightly in the same portion of the image.

Unfortunately, the image is not of the best quality and actually trying to identify the distortion to any real extent is hindered by the pixellation of the image, which appears especially bad around where the distortion is appearing.

After some minutes of this effect remaining on screen, the doors leading from the foyer into the store itself – automatic, on a PIR sensor - are seen to open and close of their own volition. With the (recording) camera mounted above and to the left of the doors concerned, the action of the doors is clearly seen reflected in the glass of the foyer / car park doors immediately opposite. It is the action of the doors opening and closing that sets off the building alarm system. (The response team are subsequently seen on the footage entering the building, etc).

Viewing the rest of the footage on fast forward, the distortion effect appears again later on in the recording, and the foyer / store doors are seen to open and close again at 2.46 am (New Years Day) – once again resulting in the security team attending the premises.

The general manager tells us that CCTV specialists had been out to look at the camera in the days following and could not explain the effect. No faults were found with the equipment and nothing was found on the camera lens, etc.

At this point in our visit, a member of staff – who has worked at the store (on and off) for thirty years – was interviewed. He said that, many years ago, he had been in the store overnight to supervise a maintenance crew conducting repairs. After the crew had finished, he had let them out of the building (some time around 2 a.m.) and had busied himself with chores to while away the hours until security arrived around 6 a.m. At one point, he had been on an upstairs landing in the store and had seen the figure of an elderly gentleman standing nearby. He could make out a woolly, brown coat and grey trousers – and a large bunch of keys hanging from a ring fastened to his belt. He had called out to the man – thinking it was a workmate who had come in early – but the figure didn’t respond and walked away, out of sight. He had gone to look for the man, but couldn’t find anyone on the premises.

A day or so later, a work colleague bought a book into the store dedicated to local history and, on leafing through the book, the above-mentioned witness saw a photograph of the previous owner of the store site. He identified this as the man he had recently seen… the figure in the photograph wearing a large ring, loaded with keys, attached to his belt.

On a later occasion, he had been working in the store overnight and had felt a chill suddenly come over him. He apparently turned around and saw a mist-like effect travelling along the aisle towards him. He had immediately fled the scene and took refuge in the canteen area. On later returning to the shop floor he had witnessed a number of Kit-Kat chocolate bars seemingly fall off a shelf of their own volition. On describing the mist-effect he had seen, he likened it strongly to the distortion caught on the CCTV footage.

We were told that, over the years, a number of people had experienced different things at the site, another ex-staff member (named) having reported seeing a figure whilst working in the store overnight. An Asian staff member is said to have been working in the foyer at one point recently – serving a customer – when a number of shopping trolleys had apparently moved on their own. The customer is said to have fled the scene.

At this point during our visit, there is a suggestion that the face of a woman has been seen on the CCTV footage by certain staff members, so the tape is duly re-viewed again. No sign of a woman wearing a bonnet is seen – no effect suggesting such an image, etc – and it is discovered that a recording from a second camera covering the foyer area (including the region covered by the first cam) has recently been wiped clean......

Unfortunately - as with most cases, there is no 'tidy' or 'neat' ending to this matter. The W.M.G.C. have requested store management to keep us informed of any further developments - be it anomalies on security footage, or more, first-hand encounters with staff members, etc.

Needless to say, watch this space for further updates..........???


The W.M.G.C.

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