Friday, 13 November 2009

Treading The Boards‭…‬.

During‭ ‬2005,‭ ‬the West Midlands Ghost club began undertaking a series of investigations on behalf of our good friend,‭ ‬Chris Campbell-Brown of the popular Burton Ghost Walk.‭ ‬On July‭ ‬31st of that year,‭ ‬the group were duly asked to investigate an absolutely superb location,‭ ‬the‭ ‘‬Brew House Theatre‭’‬,‭ ‬in the heart of Burton On Trent.‭

Formerly part of a nearby brewery‭ – ‬hence the name‭ – ‬local legend has it that the site is haunted by an unfortunate workman who was accidentally boiled to death in a large vat during the‭ ‬1950‭’‬s.

While the provenance of this particular tale is somewhat questionable,‭ ‬it cannot be denied that Theatre staff‭ ‬frequently report experiencing inexplicable happenings.‭ ‬Nicknamed‭ ‘‬Fred‭’ ‬by cleaners,‭ ‬the resident ghost is constantly blamed for a variety of occurrences,‭ ‬including the sound of doors opening and closing‭; ‬the noise of furniture being dragged around empty rooms‭; ‬lifts operating by themselves and Auditorium lighting switching itself on of it’s own accord.

Theatre Technical Manager,‭ ‬Matt Bancroft,‭ ‬reports having had a number of strange experiences at the site.‭ ‬Alone in the building one night,‭ ‬Matt found himself openly telling‭ ‘‬Fred‭’ ‬off for interfering with some lighting equipment.‭ ‬As if in reply,‭ ‬he immediately heard a hefty blow hit the side of the Auditorium seating,‭ ‬the sound reverberating around the building‭! ‬On another occasion,‭ ‬he was standing in a passage that leads to the actors dressing rooms when he saw a‭ ‘‬grey figure‭’ ‬passing across an area at the rear of the stage.‭ ‬Thinking it was the Theatre Manager‭ – ‬who often wore grey‭ – ‬he went to investigate‭…‬..‭ ‬only to find the area concerned totally deserted and the Manager seated in a distant part of the building.

As usual for a W.M.G.C investigation,‭ ‬our visit to the site passed quietly,‭ ‬with only a brief sequence of‭ (‬10‭) ‘‬bumps‭’ – ‬possibly a series of footsteps‭(?) ‬-‭ ‬being reported by researchers carrying out a vigil in the Auditorium during the early hours of the morning.

For brief notes associated with our visit,‭ ‬see below:

INVESTIGATION REPORT:‭ ‬The Brew House Theatre‭ – ‬Union Street‭ – ‬Burton On Trent‭ – ‬East Staffordshire.

‭*‬Please Note:‭ ‬For the sake of brevity,‭ ‘‬rough note form‭’ ‬language‭ ‬/‭ ‬grammar has been used sporadically throughout this document.

Date Of Visit:‭ ‬30th‭ ‬/‭ ‬31st July‭ ‬2005.‭
Duration Of Visit:‭ ‬Approx.‭ ‬5‭ ‬hours.
Time of Arrival:‭ ‬Approx.‭ ‬10.00‭ ‬p.m.‭


Investigative Team‭ ‬-‭ 5 members of the W.M.G.C. Also, ‬Brewhouse Technical Manager,‭ ‬Matt Bancroft,‭ ‬remained with team members for the duration of the visit.

‭[‬I‭]‬.‭ ‬Aims‭ ‬/‭ ‬Inv.‭ ‬Process:‭

General investigation of property,‭ ‬mainly focussing on sections of building noted as being of particular relevance‭ ‬/‭ ‬importance regarding the alleged paranormal history of the site.‭ ‬Investigation procedure incorporating:

1st person audio‭ ‬/‭ ‬visual observation.‭

(b‭) ‬Static‭ (‬area based‭) ‬audio‭ ‬/‭ ‬visual recording,‭ ‬incorporating standard‭ ‬/‭ ‬night shot camera’s and digital audio recording equipment.‭ ‬Also wireless‭ (‬radio‭) ‬security camera.‭

(c‭) ‬General temperature‭ ‬/‭ ‬humidity recording.‭ (‬Incorporating‭ ‘‬ambient‭’ ‬devices‭)‬.

‭(‬d‭) ‬Trigger objects‭ – ‬listed below:

12‭” ‬tall mannequin figure‭ – ‬positioned table in‭ ‬1st floor,‭ ‬Corner Studio.‭ ‬Also,‭ ‬4‭ ‬coins‭ – ‬outlined on single sheet of white paper‭ – ‬placed on table top in same room.‭

[II‭]‬.‭ ‬Primary‭ (‬1st Hand‭) ‬Notes:‭ ‬Investigation Procedure,‭ ‬plus Findings,‭ ‬Experiences‭ ‬/‭ ‬Poss.‭ ‬Significant Events:

‭*‬11.00‭ ‬p.m.‭ – ‬Vigils held in‭ ‘‬Corner Studio‭’‬,‭ ‘‬Drama Studio‭’ ‬and‭ ‘‬Auditorium‭’‬.

Corner Studio‭ – ‬Len Jackson and Darren Simpson.‭ ‬Len reports having heard‭ ‬2‭ ‘‬clink‭’ ‬and‭ ‬2‭ ‘‬knock‭’ ‬sounds from corridor area during session.‭ ‬Sounds not heard by Darren.‭

Drama Studio‭ – ‬Nick Duffy and Kevin Wallace.‭ ‬Session was severely hampered by a faulty‭ – ‬flashing‭ ‬-‭ ‬Emergency Exit sign‭ (‬light‭) ‬situated above one of the doorways to the room.‭ ‬Exceptionally disorientating.

Auditorium‭ – ‬Frazer Smith and Matt Bancroft.‭ ‬Frazer believes that he heard‭ ‘‬movement sounds‭’(?) ‬coming from upstairs corridor to right of Auditorium.‭

Vigils end:‭ ‬11.30‭ ‬p.m.‭

*12.00‭ ‬a.m.‭ – ‬3‭ ‬video recording sessions begin.‭ (‬All group members situated in Bar‭ ‬/‭ ‬Café area throughout sessions‭)‬.

Camera‭ ‬1‭ ‬situated in Corner Studio filming in darkness utilising night-shot capacity.

Camera‭ ‬2‭ ‬situated on middle landing of Auditorium raised seating,‭ ‬facing back stage area.‭ ‬Filming carried out in full light.‭

Camera‭ ‬3‭ ‬situated in Drama Studio,‭ ‬with filming carried out in full light.‭ (‬Cam.‭ ‬facing corner of room where figure allegedly seen‭)‬.‭

Sessions end:‭ ‬12.30‭ ‬a.m.

‭*‬12.50‭ ‬a.m.‭ – ‬Vigils held in‭ ‘‬Corner Studio‭’ ‬and‭ ‘‬Auditorium‭’‬.

Auditorium‭ – ‬Kevin Wallace,‭ ‬Len Jackson and Darren Simpson.‭ ‬At‭ ‬1.19‭ ‬a.m.‭ ‬approximately‭ ‬10‭ ‘‬bump‭ ‬/‭ ‬bang‭’ ‬sounds in fairly quick succession from upstairs corridor to right of Auditorium.‭ ‬All present hear noises concerned,‭ ‬but cannot agree on whether they originated at stage end of corridor or foyer end‭(?) ‬It is suggested that the sounds may have been a sequence of footsteps.‭

Corner Studio‭ – ‬Nick Duffy,‭ ‬Frazer Smith and Matt Bancroft.‭ ‬Frazer taken ill during this session necessitating a visit to the toilet for some time.

Vigils end:‭ ‬1.20‭ ‬a.m.

‭*‬1.40‭ ‬a.m.‭ – ‬3‭ ‬video recording sessions begin.‭ (‬Again,‭ ‬all group members situated in Bar‭ ‬/‭ ‬Café area throughout sessions‭)‬.

Camera‭ ‬1‭ ‬situated in Dance Studio,‭ ‬filming in darkness in night-shot capacity.

Camera‭ ‬2‭ ‬situated in upstairs corridor‭ (‬right of Auditorium‭) ‬filming in full light,‭ ‬facing foyer end of building.

Camera‭ ‬3‭ ‬situated in Corner Studio,‭ ‬filming in full light.‭

Walkie-talkie set to‭ ‘‬voice activated‭’ ‬capacity left in Auditorium.

Sessions end:‭ ‬2.10‭ ‬a.m.

‭*‬NOTE‭ – ‬During the above period,‭ ‬Frazer Smith had to leave the building and return home because of illness.

‭*‬2.30‭ ‬a.m.‭ – ‬3‭ ‬video recording sessions and a vigil begin.

Camera‭ ‬1‭ ‬situated in Corner Studio filming in full light.

Camera‭ ‬2‭ ‬recording in upstairs corridor‭ (‬right of Auditorium‭) ‬filming in full light,‭ ‬facing stage end of building.

Camera‭ ‬3‭ ‬recording in upstairs corridor‭ (‬left of Auditorium‭) ‬filming in night-shot capacity.

All investigators situated in Auditorium during the session.‭ ‬Kev Wallace and Matt Bancroft report having heard sounds of‭ ‘‬movement‭’ ‬from upstairs area at stage end of room.‭ ‬No one else heard sound.‭ ‬Fairly regular sounds detected from behind large,‭ ‬double doors in backstage area,‭ ‬some of which Matt identifies as noises made by metal roller-shutters‭ (‬probably moving in wind‭) ‬situated behind wooden doors.‭ ‬Also sound of water running or dripping emanating from same area.‭ ‬Nick Duffy checks outside‭ – ‬via main foyer‭ – ‬and finds that it is raining.

All sessions end:‭ ‬3.00‭ ‬a.m.‭ ‬At this point,‭ ‬group decides to call it a night and leave.

‭ [‬III‭]‬.‭ ‬Secondary Notes:‭ ‬Audio‭ ‬/‭ ‬Visual Results.

None of the recordings made during our stay appear to hold any material that could be regarded as‭ ‘‬paranormal‭’ ‬in origin.‭ ‬A small number of anomalous‭ (‬mainly solitary‭) ‬clicks‭ ‬/‭ ‬taps‭ ‬/‭ ‬bangs were caught on some of the recordings concerned,‭ ‬but,‭ ‬after scrutiny,‭ ‬it is assumed that these noises were native to the building‭ – ‬i.e.‭ ‬sounds naturally occurring in the environment concerned,‭ ‬such as the floor settling,‭ ‬etc.‭

[IV‭]‬.‭ ‬General Findings‭ ‬/‭ ‬Conclusions.

While the building in question would‭ (‬from anecdotal evidence‭) ‬appear to be a fairly‭ ‘‬active‭’ ‬site,‭ ‬nothing of an obvious paranormal nature was detected during our stay.‭

Of the variety of sounds sporadically heard by group members during the visit,‭ ‬none could be specifically tied down to any one area,‭ ‬nor were they directly corroborated by audio‭ ‬/‭ ‬visual recordings.‭ ‬While remaining anomalous,‭ ‬the sounds could not be accepted‭ – ‬nor for that matter discounted‭ – ‬as being of blatantly preternatural nature.‭

Temperature readings monitored throughout the night showed that the stage area fluctuated by only‭ ‬.3‭ ‬of a degree during the stay,‭ ‬while the Drama Studio‭ (‬with one fixed,‭ ‬slightly open window‭) ‬dropped by almost‭ ‬2‭ ‬degrees.

Regards to all,

The W.M. Ghost Club

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