Sunday, 23 January 2011

More Plate Related Press!!!!

It's all we seem to hear about of late!! (Or, should that read... 'of plate'?) Laugh, laugh!!

More coverage on weird happenings in the Hopwas Wood region, courtesy of the 'Tamworth Herald' appeared this week:

"Naked dancing, candles and tale of 'eerie' night in the woods"

IF YOU go down to the woods today.... you're sure to find history, intrigue and tales of witchcraft and occult activity.

Hopwas Woods has been the centre of tales of naked witches, occult artefact discoveries and spooky goings-on for decades.

The ancient woods have revealed some of their secrets – more recently after a copper plate with magical symbols and an Egyptian statuette were discovered.

And in 1984, in the pages of the Tamworth Herald an occult group spoke out – following a police raid in which 16 men and women were arrested during a naked ritual in the woods. They revealed they had been practising magical rituals among the trees for years, and said the land was "sacred ground".

Now more than 25 years later a retired policeman, who wishes only to be known as Oscar One Three, has revealed his memories – and spending one "eerie" night in the woods as part of police investigations.

Oscar One Three said he was on night duty with the force in the weeks before the arrests and was responding to a call from a local resident about late-night activities in Hopwas Woods.

"As I recall, a member of the public, whom I believe lived in Hopwas, reported some kind of party going on in the woods," he said.

"The area was pointed out to the police, and I visited the area. I did find an area of ground which could be described as a clearing.

"At that time there were no persons present. It was well trodden down and appeared to have been well used."

It was then when the presence of occult activity became apparent.

Oscar One Three continued: "In the centre of the area was a fairly large tree, on the branches of which were a number of red wax candles, which had obviously been placed there by human hand. They had mostly burnt down, none were burning, but trails of wax had dripped over the lower branches of the tree."

He continued: "I remained in the wood until early light when the area was further examined.

"It was quite an eerie experience, believe me!

"There were signs of a burnt out fire, and a number of small bones, which, at the time, were thought to have possibly been sacrificial and later identified as bird bones, possibly chicken bones.

"There were also signs of a roughly drawn out pentagram scratched on the ground nearby. A number of items were taken for later forensic examination if required."

He said the area was visited regularly by police for several weeks before arrests were made – and the group admitted possessing cannabis.

"Eventually it transpired on one such visit that a number of people, both male and female, were discovered in a naked state dancing around a fire in a clearing.

"A small chalice and sword were recovered. The people present were detained and later interviewed at Tamworth police station."

Oscar One Three added: "I cannot go into any detail regarding the people detained as I recall some of them lived locally, and some were visitors from as far afield as Devon.

"I recall they were quite open with the police in that they said they were there to celebrate the Summer Solstice and some were members of a group known as the Order of the Silver Star.

"They claimed to have been visiting the woods for a number of years and were not practising witchcraft, but were 'connecting with the stars and planets'."

He said several addresses were visited in connection with the enquiries and some substances were seized on suspicion of them containing cannabis.

News of the police arrests was revealed in an exclusive front page report in the Tamworth Herald on Friday, June 22, 1984.

Headlined "Police swoop on naked 'witches' in the woods' the story revealed that naked men and women, aged between their early 20s to late 40s, had to abruptly end their secret midnight ritual.

They had been dancing and chanting around a fire but spent the rest of the night in police cells. Police reinforcements were sent to guard the site through the night.

The police had commenced proceedings under the Drugs Act.

But the following week four of the people arrested spoke to the Herald and said that they were not "witches" but in fact "occultists" who had been carrying out a ritual to avert a major disaster, believed to be happening in October or November that year.

They confirmed they were members of the Order of the Silver Star, international occultists and astronomers, with their own philosophy on the meaning of life.

The 16 men and women were, later that year, fined £2,000 after admitting using drugs. Seven of them lived in Tamworth and admitted possessing cannabis.

Even in court they said they were involved in the study of astrology linked with ancient magical rites and that they had come to Hopwas Woods for a specific purpose.

But they said the area had been desecrated and that they would not be using the land again.

But over the years the rumours of witchcraft in the woods have continued.

Oscar One Three said: "Since retiring from the police I have, from time to time, heard rumours of similar activity taking place in the woods, but I have not been inclined to go and investigate myself.

"I am getting too old for all the excitement."


The West Mids Ghost Club

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Further Hopwas Weirdness!!!!

Unrelated to recent W.M.G.C. dealings with the area - but strange all the same - is an article which recently appeared in the Tamworth Herald newspaper, concerning a sighting of an Alien big Cat in the area of Hopwas Wood.

The region concerned has already been getting something of a name for itself (in the 'bizarre' department) over recent weeks - a reputation that the following piece will do little to dispel!! Laugh!!!

September 18th 2010:

"Driver shocked by the size of cat that crosses his path

Another sighting of a big cat has been reported in Tamworth – but this time not fitting the description of the black leopard seen most frequently.

A Whittington man has reported a golden-coloured cat running across the road from Hopwas Wood.

David Cooke (27) said he was approaching Hopwas at around 6.30am on Monday, September 6 when the animal ran across the road in front of his car.

He told the Herald: "Just as I was entering Hopwas about halfway down the slope, I saw a big cat run out in front of my car from the wood on the left and into to less dense woodland on the right.

"It was only in sight for about two or three seconds but I got a really good look at it. It was quite clear in my headlights.

"I was around 15 metres away and I'm convinced it was a big cat. It ran like a cat, not like a dog or a fox."

He added: "It was like a cougar. I'm 6ft 2in and I think it would have been around knee-height on me, but powerfully built. It had a long tail, about three feet in length.

"It was an orangey-golden colour, similar colouring to an American mountain lion.

"There was one car behind me and one coming in the opposite direction – I'm sure the car coming in the opposite direction must have seen it too."

All the best,

The West Mids Ghost Club

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

In Memory....

It is with great sadness that the W.M.G.C. report the premature death of one of our greatest friends, Pete Davis, who passed away on the morning of January the 5th 2011 after a long illness.

A most talented artist, Peter had remained a close friend of one of the group founders since their first meeting during the early 1980's and always took great interest in our activities and dealings. Over the years, his artwork frequently reflected supernatural, religious and New Age themes - as shown in the sketch above which appeared in the book 'Spooky Tales From Smethwick' by Marilyn Cliff some years ago.

A genuine, humanitarian-thinker and all round 'thoroughly nice bloke' - he will be missed by so many......

May God bless you and keep you safe old mate.

"Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life".

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Down In The Woods Again......

Earlier this week, the W.M.G.C. were contacted by Tamworth Herald reporter, Paul Kemp, and told that a further article on the Hopwas Wood Copper Plate was (then currently) being written.....

The article - published January the 7th - appears below:

Another Mysterious Artefact Is Dug Up In 'Witches' Woods'

FURTHER evidence of occult activity in Hopwas has emerged following the discovery of another buried artefact in the village's woodland.

An Egyptian-style clay statuette has been uncovered by Tamworth man Andrew Lee – who contacted the Herald after reading about the discovery of an engraved copper tablet with magical writing which was found in Hopwas Woods last month.

And mystery continues to surround the copper plate after a language enthusiast produced a transliteration of the symbols, which surrounded an image of a star.

Mr Lee said: "I found [the small clay statue] last year while walking my dad's dogs around Hopwas Woods.

"I found it when one of the dogs started sniffing around a dead bird at the bottom of a tree.

"While I was shooing away the dog I saw the thing buried face down in the ground."

He added: "At first I thought it was a piece of pottery, but when I dug it out I got quite excited that it was a whole figure."

The statue, which shows signs of weathering, is thought to be of the Egyptian jackal-headed god Anubis. He is said to be a protector of the deceased and their tombs, and is associated with mummification and the afterlife.

Mr Lee said: "I thought it might be good to show it as it's been sitting in the cupboard wrapped in newspaper for months. Perhaps there might be others who have things lying around they've found there in the past."

The copper plate was discovered by investigators from the West Midlands Ghost Club after researching old stories of witchcraft and hauntings in the area.

John Conway, who discovered the tablet with his metal detector, revealed the translation to the Herald this week.

He said the language and runes, some difficult to decipher, were Enochian, used in the 16th Century by noted occultist John Dee.

It reads: "BAGLE (for) PAPNOOR (to this remembrance); I (is) DOVIOM (probably a name); LONSHI (the) power); OL (I, the maker) UMPLIF (our strength) OGG BIGLIAD (in our comforter)"

It is from an ancient tract called the 7th Enochian key, which reads: "For to his remembrance, is given power, and our strength."

Mr Conway said: "We have had lot of interest, and even from American occultists who were interested in obtaining photographs of the item.

"It is a just matter of interest for us, but we can do very little with it.

"We could take it back to where we found it, or we could return it to the proper owners."

With regards to details mentioned in the piece, we would very much like to thank researcher David Taylor (and unnamed associates) for the translation of the script on the plate which they kindly sent to us, following the release of the first article.....

All the best,

West Midlands Ghost Club