Thursday, 5 November 2009

In The Beginning.... A Brief Group History - Part One.

The following post began life as the group history section of a previous incarnation of the W.M.G.C. website, written by Nick, one of the founder members of the club. For the sake of presenting up-to-date details regarding the life of the group - it's members, past and present, and so forth - the section concerned has recently been edited and adapted for inclusion here:

And so......

“As part of my earlier research into local hauntings, I had been periodically advertising around the region for accounts of Midlands based paranormal activity and occurrences.

In February 1989, I received a reply from one such campaign, sent in by a shy, unassuming chap some 15 yrs. my senior called Leonard Jackson. Unlike most of the people who had previously written to me, Len clearly had a considerable and practical knowledge of both paranormal and occult related fields. He came to the group with a genuine, life-long interest in the weird and the supernatural, having begun to make a constructive study of the factual side of the paranormal at the end of the 60's in the days of psychedelia and various New Age movements.

Having looked into almost every aspect of the Occult over the years - including practising Ritual Magic in the 70's and a period as an Evangelical Christian - he now largely limits his active research to ghost hunting while maintaining a mostly academic interest in his personal liking for studying Folklore and Ley Lines. A true 'travelling man' and genuine 'antiquarian', Len currently spends a lot of his spare time searching the length and breadth of our fair country for it's general 'history and mystery'.

Completely unknown to Len, however, is the fact that he also serves as the unofficial W.M.G.C. 'Mascot' - laugh, laugh!!

Also in 1989, I was introduced to a person who would frequently become the absolute ‘bane of my life’ – and undoubtedly one of my greatest friends – Darren Simpson. Definitely born with a morbid fascination for the dark and mysterious, he is a former Ghost Club (Of Great Britain) and A.S.S.A.P. member - stemming back to a time when both of these associations actually commanded some respect, I hasten to add. At the time of our meeting, Darren had recently approached the Express and Star newspaper with an enquiry about a ghost related article that they had published some years earlier. Ironically, they had no recollection of the matter – but they knew of a man who might…… (And, for anyone who is wondering…. Of course I did!! Laugh!!)

Within the space of a few months of all meeting, it was suggested that efforts to launch some form of investigative group – albeit frustrated at first – should be set underway. August 1989 saw the very first article which carried a mention of our group – then called the ‘West Midlands Friends Of The Paranormal’ (well, it seemed a good idea at the time!) – which appeared in the Black Country Bugle newspaper. At the beginning of 1991, we subsequently began using our more familiar W.M.G.C. moniker, which was intended as a tribute to the spirit of the original Ghost Club (of Great Britain), which was founded in 1862. (On reflection now, at the time of writing in late 2009, it has to be mused that a different choice of monicker might have been reached with foresight!)

In the mid-90’s, group membership eventually expanded to ‘4’ with the introduction of UFO researcher, Roger Simpson. Brother of Darren, Roger is a qualified computer technician who now runs his own business. A 6 ft 5" tall audio / visual hardware buff, his ‘Tekkie’ traits proved to be an invaluable addition to the investigative portion of group activities.....

Sadly, 'times change' (as they say) and, within recent years, both Darren and Roger have backed away considerably from W.M.G.C. activities. Darren happily cites his overwhelming scepticism and general disillusionment with the field itself (as it now stands) as the key reasons for stepping down. While fully understandable, under the current climate, his loss of drive for the subject is - after a lifetime of dedication to the subject - a considerable loss to the local research field.

Still good friends with the group and in regular contact, Roger currently spends most of his time running his busy computer business, while Darren works for a local charity".

Part Two to follow soon.....


The W.M.G.C.

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