Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Hereford Ghost Fake?

Needless to mention, this matter isn't West Midlands based, of course, but it was just so refreshing to see an allegedly paranormal image that didn't show little more than photographs of dust particles these days!

The following article appeared in the Hereford Times newspaper for Thursday, 31st of March 2011:

"Smith family photo shows up 'ghost' next to grandson in Hereford"

ONE county family claims to have proof that a property does not need to be ancient for it to be haunted.

Pensioner Fred Smith’s grandson Sirus appeared to have a mysterious playmate in tow when his mother Sarah Walsh snapped the five-year-old on her mobile phone.

“If she lived in an old house or if there was a cupboard with a reflection or something fair enough, but she lives in a 1950s house in Redhill – we have no idea who this might be."

Fred Smith

Fred, from St Weonards, said he and his wife Julie were “gobsmacked” when Sarah emailed the picture over shortly after she took it at home in Hereford.

“If she lived in an old house or if there was a cupboard with a reflection or something fair enough, but she lives in a 1950s house in Redhill – we have no idea who this might be,” Fred said.

“She goes to mediums quite a lot and a friend of hers called Pete, who has ‘the gift’, previously said he felt a little girl in the house.”

Since then more strange events have followed, Fred claims, after the image was inexplicably wiped from Sarah’s phone and her Facebook page.

“Pete says it’s a little girl but I can’t make up my mind - whoever it is obviously does not want to be seen though,” he added.

Sadly, it has to be said that the photograph accompanying the article concerned certainly seems to fall short of being any form of evidence for paranormal activity in the house involved.....

Unfortunately, following hot on the heels of the so-called Orb Phenomenon, we now appear to have a glut of poorly photo-shopped, semi-transparent figures appearing on images. As one national newspaper reporter pointed out to a W.M.G.C. member recently: "I've seen hundreds of these pictures lately - you can now get an app for your mobile phone that actually creates these types of image......!"

Monday, 8 August 2011

Website Update!!!!!!

Just a brief note to say that the 'Latest News / Activities' page of the official W.M.G.C. website has now been updated, along with a slight re-vamp of our 'Group History' section........ Please view relevant pages at: http://www.westmidlandsghostclub.com/

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Edited Version of Main Website Update for December 2010.

Sandwell Investigation:

On April the 16th, 2010, W.M.G.C. members paid a return visit to the Sandwell Council Training Centre in Oldbury, West Midlands. The investigation was arranged by John Conway. The group - shown below, readying themselves in the restaurant area - have previously investigated this site on two other occasions within recent years.

Since it's development into a training centre, this former primary school has allegedly been the site of potentially paranormal happenings. A number of apparitions have supposedly been seen within the property, including those of caretaker-style figures, a woman clad in grey… and that of a small girl. Poltergeist-like activity has also been reported at times, including the sound of a piano - seemingly 'playing itself' - and the movement of objects. Peculiar lights have been reported by people in upstairs offices and staff speak of the sensation of 'being followed' in certain areas of the building…..

Midlands Investigation:

May the 8th and June the 5th saw group members paying a visit to a government related property in the West Midlands region. The events concerned were again orchestrated by John Conway, whose attention had been drawn to this site during the course of enquires involving a separate property.

While details concerning the precise location of the building will have to currently remain unreleased, it can be noted that the reported ghostly activity has become so interesting to staff members that 2 vigilant employees have even begun conducting their own night-time investigations there within the last year or so….!

Inexplicable happenings at the site include the shadowy figure of a man being seen a number of times, walking across a corridor, from one office to another. A woman has also been seen standing in a small, secure area, just in front of a strong-room. The movement of objects has been reported in 1st floor offices and, within a few days of the W.M.G.C. investigation, a staff member saw a small, screw-like object seemingly 'thrown across' the room and bouncing onto a nearby desk…..

Elsewhere in the building, a recording made by one of the staff members during their investigations contained the sound of a child singing 'Happy Birthday'. A later recording is said to have contained footage of a ball appearing to move, off a window ledge, apparently of it's own volition…..?

During the W.M.G.C. visit to the site, the only item of interest to be recorded was a peculiar, z-shaped 'scratch' that turned up on the neck of group member Steve Chew during the night! Until the bizarre mark was pointed out to Steve, he had no idea at all about it's presence..... and, just prior to it being noticed, it had most certainly not been there! Steve could not recall having recently caught himself in the area concerned - the rear of the neck, just below the hair-line - so, while not probably 'ghostly' in nature, the event remains perplexing, to say the least!?!

Midlands Investigations #2:

Taking advantage of the lovely, warm Summer evenings, group members paid 2 investigations to one of our favourite - allegedly haunted - sites: the ruins of 'Richards Mansion' in the Midlands. Investigations were conducted on July the 9th and August the 28th.

Not a lot can be said about this site that hasn't already been mentioned numerous times on our website. Suffice it to remind our visitors that the area surrounding the Mansion ruins are allegedly haunted by the figure of a 'phantom monk'…. reported sightings of this solitary apparition spanning back many decades.

During our visits to the region, WMGC members have also experienced some peculiar happening and effects, including seemingly disembodied footsteps; a tall, monk-like figure and a form in period costume witnessed…. not to mention a 'head-count' of 7 people present on one investigation, when there were only 6 group members in attendance!!!!

Poltergeist House - Visit:

In late August, group members were invited to visit a Walsall home, where some rather perplexing poltergeist-like activity has been said to have been taking place since early 2010. Details concerning the nature of the intriguing happenings experienced in the property were posted up on the 'W.M.G.C. Blog' in mid-October:

"The effect began earlier this year - some time in March - when a daughter of the family reported hearing a slight scratching noise from under her bed (on her 20th birthday, as it happens). While the family (initially) passed the matter off as nothing, the girl was sufficiently perturbed as to bother recording the noises on her mobile phone. (A recording which she still has). Strangely, these noises only happened in one, small, front bedroom… and only when the girls boyfriend was staying overnight with her. If the girl, or anyone else stays in the room alone.... then there is no perceivable disturbance whatsoever!?

Within a short period of time of initially beginning, the scratching noises had escalated into two separate sounds: a rapid, short scratching and a long, drawn-out noise like something being slowly, deliberately dragged over some form of surface.

Members of the family - and neighbours - were asked to come and hear the noises concerned and endeavours were soon being made to 'converse' with the noises (with, by this point, a knocking sound also regularly manifesting). Interestingly, the sounds seemed quite happy to 'speak with' people - knocking out answers in reply to 'yes and no' questions and imitating sequences of knocking noises that were being made by spectators.

A typical instance of this form of 'interaction' came where there were 7 witnesses (in the bedroom concerned and on the landing of the house) to a question and answer session. Three other people were allegedly asleep (elsewhere). They asked how many people were in the house and it knocked back 10 times.... They then asked how many people were asleep and it knocked back twice...... Knowing that there were 3 people in bed, not two, as erroneously indicated by the knocking noise, they checked and found that one of the children was out of bed and playing on his X-Box at that time!!!

The mother of the family told us that they had first assumed the intelligence behind these things to be a deceased relative - but she had then changed her mind about this, relating the effect as more like the actions of a sub-human, 'goblin-like' intellect!! (This, it has to be said at this point, is a motif that appears to crop up in a lot of poltergeist cases). In asking questions of the thing, she observed that 'you didn't know whether to trust it' - i.e. some of it's answers appear to have been obviously contradictory, or just plain and simple, blatant lies, etc.

Over the space of some six months (give or take), the nature of the activity had escalated - again, only when the boyfriend made endeavours to stay in the room with the daughter concerned. The problems had then become exceptionally bad..... with loud banging sounds (loud enough to disturb the neighbours on occasion); manipulation of the mattress on the bed (mattress being 'lifted up', or seemingly 'pushed up' from underneath the bed). The young couple had tried to 'sit out' the effects concerned, but they just seemed to get worse and worse over the duration that they tried to stay in the room. The end result was invariably the same; an admission of defeat in the end and a retreat to the sitting room to spend the night! (On one occasion, the effect was so bad, the banging noise appeared to follow them down to the living room). This was on a night when the bedroom concerned had just been freshly decorated. We were told by the mother of the family that this was the worst night that they had experienced, so far....."

Thankfully, at our request, the family have agreed to keep in touch with the group and sporadically give us updates on the troublesome affairs that are occurring in their home.....

Strange Goings On Down In The Woods:

On December the 4th, two W.M.G.C. members paid a visit to a site that had initially become a matter of some, passing interest to us last year…. namely, a tract of woodland - Hopwas Wood - situated just outside Tamworth in South Staffordshire. Our attention had first become drawn to the area concerned when sightings of an overly tall, ghostly figure were reported to the group some short while earlier……

As a result of the above, a visit was made at the time of the report and research carried out into the history of the general area. During the course of this research, stories of 'Occult' or 'Witchcraft-like' activities, being performed in Hopwas Woods, were discovered. Such activity - when it first came to light during the early 1980's - merited a considerable amount of both media and public interest and speculation.

Purely as a matter of ongoing interest, our early December visit was subsequently planned….. the trip to the area being carried out with a metal detector. The latter mentioned item was included in the visit because, according to some reports, 'metallic' items of 'ceremonial' significance had allegedly been discovered in the region in the past…..

As it transpired, the presence of this piece of equipment proved of intrinsic value to our visit, as - during a sweep of a particular area of woodland - a copper plate adorned with (presumably 'Occult-related') script and designs was unearthed….. As photographs of the visit show (see our online photo album), there was a considerable blanket of snow on the ground at the time of the find and the plate was discovered some inches underneath the earth below.

Because of such an intriguing find, the W.M.G.C. contacted the Tamworth Herald with a view to potentially appealing for information on the object. The ensuing article appeared on Dec. 9th - resulting in the group being inundated with general enquiries and suggestions…. some even originating as far away as the U.S.! The story itself has now, subsequently, been picked up by a number of different blogs - frequently Pagan orientated - and other websites.

A slightly sad - nay somewhat 'pathetic' - footnote to the above mentioned matter is a small amount of animosity which seems to have been generated (in some quarters) by the events concerned….. Despite endeavours to remain 'veiled' in the execution of these sad ministrations, it is quite clear to all concerned where such childish face-pulling originates. 'Nuff said…..!'

Midlands Investigation #3:

On December the 10th, the West Midlands Ghost Club took part in an investigation of the premises of a financial advisory company based in the West Midlands region. Again, the visit was arranged by John Conway.

Originally part of an ecclesiastical complex and school, the building concerned has a considerable reputation for 'ghostly-goings-on'. Over the years, staff and clients at the company have reported a vast array of peculiar happenings… from sightings of young children (in places where young children couldn't possibly be), to incidents of poltergeist activity.

Staff are so used to the happenings now that they have nick-named the poltergeist 'Annabel'. It would appear that almost every section of the building has an intriguing story attached to it, with the movement of objects in ground floor offices - e.g. plants and stationary equipment - the sound of rattling pans from the kitchen area and sensations of being 'shoved' by 'something invisible' in an upstairs corridor…..

As with most W.M.G.C. investigations, nothing of a potentially paranormal nature was detected, but an enjoyable night - in such an historic building - was had by all present. Our thanks goes to staff and friends, Robin, Sue Val and John, for accompanying us on our investigation!

Media Watch:

*In early September, Club member Steve Chew appeared on the Danny Kelly Show (Radio W.M.)

*The Tamworth Herald - December the 9th - carried a report on the discovery of an occult-related copper plate in Hopwas Woods, South Staffordshire. (See report above for details). The story was subsequently carried through to other newspaper related sites, blogs and web pages.

*Also in early December, the Shropshire Star and Newport Advertiser carried W.M.G.C. enquiries concerning hauntings within those regions.

*In October, the Fortean Times Magazine carried a small mention of the W.M.G.C. in their 'GhostWatch' section.

Edited Version of Main Website Update for March 2010.

Leicestershire Investigation:

On Friday, November the 6th, 2009, W.M.G.C. members conducted an investigation of the Dixie Arms Hotel in Market Bosworth. The visit was organised by group members Marianne Barker and Deborah Green. The Dixie Arms has a somewhat varied and colourful history, parts of the building having previously been utilised as a court room, bicycle shop, boxing ring / gym - by the black, American boxer, Larry Gains, in the 1930's - and a prison for local 'n'er do wells'!!

Ghostly activity at the site is as varied as it's history. Previous owners have allegedly reported seeing 'indistinct figures' gliding from doorway to doorway and there is a long history of animals behaving strangely - for no apparent reason?

Staff visitors and workmen alike have spoken of uneasy feelings in the cellar; a place where seances have allegedly been carried out over the years. One such event is said to have led to a lengthy conversation with a long dead owner of the hotel, containing pertinent data about the name of his favourite dog!! (Cue suitably spooky laughter, a la Vincent Price!!! Laugh!!) One recent occupant at the site reported seeing something described to the group as a 'patch of dark air' floating in the doorway to the room she was in!

Whatever the ghosts said to haunt the Hotel, it was customarily quiet throughout the group visit. Still - an enjoyable investigation was had by all.. no doubt helped in part by a midnight, pizza feast in the bar!!! Laugh!!

South Staffs. Investigation:

Friday the 13th of November - spooky laughter again!! Laugh!! - saw group members pay an overnight visit to the magnificent Pendrell Hall in Codsall Wood. This investigation was organised by John Conway.

Despite its historic appearance, Pendrell Hall was only built in the middle of the 19th Century by a local businessman. By the late 1800's, the house had become the property of the nearby Giffard family, of Chillington Hall. The property shortly came into the hands of art connoisseur, Frank Gaskell, and was finally purchased by Staffs. County Council in 1955.

It would be sad to imagine that such a gothic-looking building might not contain the odd ghost or two and, thankfully, Pendrell Hall certainly doesn't lack in this quarter! Numerous apparitions have been reported at the site, including those of a couple - a man and a woman - in period costume seen walking through walls and closed windows, by a number of witnesses.

In other parts of the property, the ghost of a young, blonde boy has been seen by visitors, sitting on beds and seemingly playing in corridors. One of the most startling encounters reported concerns a staff member being approached by the solid-looking figure of a period-dressed maid in one of the utility passage ways... The figure is said to have walked into a tiny room off the passage and vanished without a trace!!

Footsteps have been heard in empty rooms, along with oppressive feelings of being watched. The movement of objects has been reported - a bottle of whisky being one such popular 'toy' - as well as lights playfully switching themselves on and off in the empty and locked building!! As with most of our investigations, the group visit passed without event.... though it was an absolute pleasure to be able to spend the better part of a night in such an atmospheric setting!

Shropshire Investigation:

On Friday the 20th of November, 2009, a return visit was made to the luxurious Prince Rupert Hotel in Shrewsbury. Accompanying us on this investigation was our old mate Wayne P. of the Black Country Paranormal Society. The event was organised, once again, by John Conway.

Our first visit to the Hotel was carried out in January 2009 in the presence of Chris Kennedy and Martin Wood of the popular Shrewsbury Ghost Walk. The haunted history of this (in parts at least) 'ancient' site is long and chequered. As well as being the site of inexplicable, poltergeist-like activity, the shades of two suicide victims are alleged to haunt separate rooms in the building. Both of these poor unfortunates have allegedly been seen 'dangling' from ropes attached to ceiling beams by occupants of the rooms concerned!

Three ghosts are said to haunt the cellar area - our favourite part of the hotel by far - and these are said to be the shades of a young boy, a maid and a very angry spirit called Henry! The latter is said to show great disdain at the presence of visitors to the cellar - his anger greatly acerbated, no doubt, by the appearance of the local Ghost Walk, as it makes one of its regular stops in the area concerned!! During the filming of the movie 'Scrooge' during the 1980's, a 'Wee-Willy-Winky-style' apparition was reputedly witnessed by a film-crew member in one of the upstairs corridors....

Below: the group 'chilling' in the haunted conference room....

West Midlands Investigation:

On Friday, December the 4th, 2009, West Mids Ghost Club members conducted an investigation into alleged ghostly happenings at the 'Withit Witch' Knitting Centre in Halesowen.

The group had initially been contacted and asked to investigate the site by its current owners Nici and Andy in the early Autumn. However, news of the haunting was carried by a local newspaper prior to our being able to visit the site and this coverage alerted another local group to the matter. This resulted in their conducting their own investigation at the shop before the W.M.G.C. could react - heavy case-load and all that - thus 'pipping us to the post', as it were....

It has to be mentioned here that a lot of the alleged activity at the shop has been reported as being 'picked up' in conjunction with 'sensitive' or 'psychic-types', so the data concerned has to be treated accordingly. However, the smell of cigarette smoke - as mentioned in the article noted above - is said to have been experienced by a number of people visiting the site at the same time. This activity has been ascribed (by one sensitive) to the spirit of a man called Edward and - when the smoke is now subsequently detected - 'he' is politely asked by staff to conduct his anti-social habit elsewhere...!! Laugh!! ....And, apparently, this is said to work!!

The sound of footsteps have been heard by more than one person in empty rooms above the shop and a feeling of being watched from a first floor, rear window reported by people using the nearby car park. On one occasion - but one occasion only - Nici says she looked back at the property to see a vague face staring down at her from the aperture in question. The shop was locked and completely empty at this time. During the investigation held by the other local group, one of their members also spoke of seeing someone passing a ground floor window at the rear of the premises....

It goes without saying that any spooks associated with the shop were impeccably behaved at the time of our visit and not even the slightest whiff of a Woodbine was detected! Laugh!!

West Midlands Investigation #2:

On the 4th of January, 2010, group members carried out a most interesting investigation at the Express and Star Offices in Wolverhampton City Centre. Accompanying the WMGC on the night in question were a small number of staff members and interested parties attached to the newspaper itself. The visit was co-ordinated by John Conway in conjunction with the Ex. and Star staff.

The building itself has a long standing history of ghostly activity, much of which is ascribed to the spirit of a little girl - Alice - who is said to have died in a fall down a lift shaft in the 19th Century.

A few years ago, a night watchman was in the building after closing, when he saw the figure of a small girl at the end of a corridor. He chased after the figure and, when he got to the place where she had been standing, he found a door swinging, as if someone had just gone through it. A subsequent check of the premises showed that there was no one else in the building but him....

In a ladies toilet, a pair of red, girls shoes have been seen on numerous occasions under cubicle doors and the sound of giggling heard. In the area of the printing hall, people complain of being poked and prodded by something unseen, while photographic timers - set by members of staff - have been found altered (turned back to the beginning of a cycle) when no living soul has allegedly been near the area concerned....

Midlands Investigation:

On Saturday, March 20th, the W.M.G.C. paid another visit to one of our favourite sites - an unidentified, historic location, previously investigated numerous times by the Club over the past 4 years.

Ghostly activity reported at the spot includes poltergeist-like occurrences and sightings of groups of figures dressed like Roman soldiers. People staying at the site report having been 'physically attacked' by shadowy figures - one such terrifying occurrence allegedly happening to a gentleman while he was in the process of taking a bath!!

There is a lot of ancient history / archaeology associated with the area in question - some dating back to prehistoric times - including potential burial mounds. It is said that some researchers have apparently discovered a crossing of 'Ley-Lines' at a particular spot in the grounds of the property, a spot where, coincidentally, numerous people have reported uneasy feelings....

During past investigations by the group, two members were seated in a car outside the property when they heard a fleshy knock or thump come from the rear window of the vehicle.... despite the fact that there was no one else in the area. On a separate occasion, a group of people situated inside the buildings heard - for some while - noises coming from a nearby entrance area which sounded like someone entering the property and moving a chair along the floor. There was no one there when the sounds were checked out....

Monday, 1 August 2011

Edited Version of Main Website Update for November 2009.

'Welcome Re-Visit'

On August the 7th, group members paid yet another visit to one of our favourite sites of recent times - namely, 'Richards Mansion', in the heart of the Midlands. As our more regular visitors will no doubt know, the property concerned has been the focus of numerous W.M.G.C. investigations over the past few years.

An added bonus for this most recent visit was the fact that a young lady had recently contacted us with details of a peculiar incident in the general locality. She informed us that she had been travelling down a particular lane, only a stones throw from Richards Mansion, when she had seen a 'monk-like figure' with a 'glowing face', standing at the side of the road. She said that a few other people known to her had also reported seeing such a figure too, including passing taxi drivers. The road in question is notorious for traffic accidents, despite being a completely straight stretch of road. It is said that a number of people who had crashed in the area had spoken of a 'figure' stepping out in front of their vehicle, prior to their accident.

Our informant made the comment that, despite the fact that monks are supposed to be 'holy people', both she and her partner sensed a presence of evil during their encounter! While Richards Mansion isn't mentioned in the account concerned, the lane in question lies very close to the building and the figure mentioned - or something almost identical - does tie in with the ghostlore surrounding the site. However, the monk associated with 'Richards Mansion' itself is always said to be a most benevolent soul.....

While the road remained quiet during our visit, two group members - Marianne and Deborah - reported a strange experience in the churchyard that adjoins the mansion grounds. While situated on the lawn on the Northern side of the church - in position shown in pic above - they clearly heard a brief sequence of, what seemed to be, some 3 or 4 steps on the wet grass at a point close to their rear. The event had stopped them both in their tracks - they having initially considered that another of the group members were running up behind them. Needless to say, there was no one else present when they checked!?.....

'I'm a Footballer - Get Me Out Of Here!!!'

It's true to say that, sometimes, the most ridiculous stories and events can merit close media attention... especially when a celebrity is concerned!!

In mid to late August, the W.M.G.C. were called upon by a handful of media related sources for input concerning the alleged haunting associated with the luxurious New Hall Hotel in Sutton Coldfield. The underlying story behind this interest apparently concerned Aston Villa striker, Fabian Delph, asking to be removed from his rooms at the aforementioned hotel after colleagues joked with him over the sites supposed 'haunted' reputation! The 'Sunday Express' newspaper reported on the matter thus:


Sunday August 23, 2009

Premier League hot shot Fabian Delph has been left quaking in his boots by ghost stories. Aston Villa's teenage star made a hurried departure from his temporary digs in a former manor house last weekend after team mates told him it was haunted. The 19-year-old was supposed to stay at the New Hall Hotel in Sutton Coldfield, a few miles from the club's training ground, but refused to spend a night there after hearing about its phantom guests.

To avoid any brushes with the paranormal he has switched to a modern hotel in the centre of Birmingham. Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov revealed: "Like most of us, he finds that kind of thing a bit disturbing so it didn't help when he was booked into the New Hall Hotel to be told by some of the lads that the place is haunted. He went along but couldn't bear the thought of spending a night there, so he asked to be moved."

Delph's fright-fest came as he arrived at the Midlands club after transferring from Leeds United.

New Hall was built 800 years ago and has been run as a hotel since 1988. Guests and staff have reported several bone-chilling encounters. The most commonly seen spook is the white lady who has been blamed for unexplained loud bangs. Other restless spirits include the former owner George Sacheverell, who was suspected of practising black magic and devil worship, a cavalier who appears in the kitchen courtyard and a mysterious lady in dark clothing always accompanied by a spectral hound.

The most gruesome tale concerns a man executed by the Duke of Cumberland in 1785 whose severed head apparently floats across the estate looking for his body. A hotel worker said: "There are a number of ghost stories but perhaps the best known is the one about the white lady. She was a former maid from the days who apparently haunts the corridors. Having said that, we have had a number of famous names, including footballers, who have stayed here and slept soundly."

John Conway of the West Midlands Ghost Club said: "One of the most interesting stories concerns guests at a dinner party who were startled by crashes and bangs from one of the rooms. Expecting to find someone trashing the place, they dashed to the room only to find it untouched.

Over the years, Pavarotti, Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue have all stayed without any problems so I have no idea why Fabian Delph couldn't handle at least one night."

An Aston Villa spokeswoman said: "A few of the lads probably wanted to welcome Fabian into the team by ribbing him about the ghosts. He feels settled at his hotel so we hope he'll continue to show plenty of spirit on the pitch."

Of some note to the above mentioned case is the fact that the group has subsequently received a document from an interested party - alerted to our passing association with the site by a local, related article - seemingly outlining details of individual 'ghosts' at the property, gleaned, it is claimed, from 'conversations' with the 'spirits' themselves!?!... Hmmmm???

Hot on the trail of any such stories these days - certainly a most unwelcome sign of the times - we are horrified to hear that a commercial ghost hunting concern is now conducting paid events at New Hall Hotel! With regards to the former status of the site as possibly the most luxurious example of such a property in the West Midlands..... how the mighty have fallen, eh?

'Shropshire Investigations'

On two separate dates within recent months - June 26th and Sept. 12th - W.M.G.C. members conducted investigations at Shrewsbury Library in Shropshire. The events concerned were secured and organised by John Conway.

Historically speaking, the building itself began life as Shrewsbury School, which was housed here from 1550 to 1882. The building was subsequently given to the borough and a public library and museum opened. The oldest part of the library building - 'Riggs Hall' - dates from around 1450 and once served as the Headmasters House...

Needless to say, by far the most famous pupil to grace the school with his presence was none other than the eminent, Charles Darwin, whose impressive statue sits in the gardens at the front of the property.

With regards to the sites more 'ghostly' heritage, the library is said to have been the focus of a number of preternatural experiences. A number of years ago, an archaeologist was working in Riggs Hall late one night and - while looking into a particular excavation trench - kept hearing someone making a 'psst' noise in his ear, as if trying to get his attention. Whenever he looked to see who it was, there was no one there.

The same gentleman slept a few nights at the building and, one evening, heard someone trying to open the padlock that secured the door of his room. He quickly hatched a plan to climb out of the window, in an endeavour to catch the suspected 'burglar'. Having carried out this energetic feat, it was discovered that - while the outer doors to the property were found to be still locked and bolted - the padlock to his room had actually been 'opened'!!! This was apparently more than enough for the poor chap and he shot off back home to Birmingham.... and reports having had the best night's sleep in ages!! Laugh!!

The W.M.G.C. were also told of the figure of a woman - in period costume - being seen walking through the stacks area of the building. A similar form was witnessed both in the old school library and in the basement section of the property by staff members. Also, the figure of a young boy has allegedly been spotted on a small staircase leading up to the clock tower room. The ghost of an old gentleman has also supposedly been seen sitting in a chair in the former Headmasters House....

During our investigation of June 26th, three group members were in the music library when they heard a peculiar 'twang' noise. No one present could account for the sound heard, which was very similar to the 'boing' noise made when someone vibrates a spring, door stop. It was only when one of the group members mentioned having made a similar noise with a ruler on the edge of a desk while still at school that they realised that they were in a part of the building that served as a former classroom....?! Could this have possibly had some bearing on the noise heard, perhaps?

Following this first investigation at the site, group member Steve Chew discovered a section of footage on one of his video recordings which appears to contain the sound of a female voice, when only two male investigators were present at the time!? Nothing untoward was heard by the investigators during this same period, however.

This piece of film caught the attention of the Shropshire press following it's discovery and it's inclusion on our online photo album has resulted in thousands of visits at the time of writing!! The video snippet itself can still be accessed via our album and a slightly enhanced version of the recording heard on the W.M.G.C. Juke-Box, on our web site.

On the weight of the aforementioned events, a second visit to the site was soon arranged.

On the evening in question, a vigil was carried out at 9.52 pm. During this period, the overall group split into 4 separate teams and covered the music library, the old school library, the offices above Riggs Hall and the basement level. At approximately 9.56 - 57 pm, a very loud, metallic sound and a noise akin to a door being slammed shut were heard by the groups stationed in the music library and old school room.

Those in the music library indicated that the sounds had seemingly originated somewhere down a large stairwell at the centre of the room, which runs the depth of the building. (No one inside the building that night were anywhere near the area specified). Immediate investigation revealed nothing of interest and neither of the two other groups had heard anything during the period outlined.

Luckily, digital sound recording equipment was running in the stacks section of the site - downstairs - at the time, which caught the sounds concerned. Samples of the noises can be heard at the Juke-Box link given above...

All in all, Shrewsbury Library has turned out to be one of the most intriguing - and possibly 'productive' - investigation sites ever visited by the W.M.G.C. Our most sincere thanks go out to Kathy Berry for so kindly putting up with our presence and donating her time to our escapades! Also, a big thank you to all of the staff members and associated friends who were our keen companions on the investigations concerned.

'Walsall Investigation'.

On October the 23rd, group members conducted an investigation at the Jabez Cliff Leather Factory, on the edge of Walsall town centre. The W.M.G.C. first learned of the alleged haunting at this site in 2004, when owner Cliff Kirby-Tibbetts made contact and related some of the sites fascinating, 'ghostly' history to us. Subsequently, we have kept in touch with Cliff sporadically - our continued interest culminating in this recent visit.

It has to be stressed that this most impressive and imposing factory building has clearly been attracting the interest of research organisations of late, our investigation falling only a week after a visit by a friend, Mark Cave, and the Midlands Paranormal Investigations team. Our long standing associates at the Black Country Paranormal Society have also organised an investigation for the near future too.

With regards to the ghostly history of the site, it allegedly boasts a long standing, paranormal heritage. This includes sightings of different apparitions, poltergeist activity - i.e. the movement of objects and auditory phenomenon, such as footsteps passing across empty rooms, etc - and even 'physical assault' on at least 3 separate visitors. One gentleman - known for his size and no-nonsense attitude - was startled to find himself being pushed over by a seemingly invisible hand, while walking up a staircase in the factory on a recent visit!

Cliff himself has previously arranged a number of investigations at the site over the past few years and visiting psychics and sensitives are said to have been both impressed - and disturbed - by different aspects of the factory.

With regards to the W.M.G.C. visit to the site, it has to be said that only one event is worthy of note. In an area of the factory infamous for having a somewhat detrimental effect on electrical equipment, group members found that a freshly charged video camera battery was suddenly - and surprisingly - bereft of power.... While there could be a rational / technical explanation for such an event, a second camera (locked off and running during this same period) was found to have been inexplicably 'switched off' 43 minutes and 34 seconds into the recording!? It was also noted that the battery of the camera concerned had less charge left in it for the duration of recording made.

W.M.G.C. members would like to thank Mr. Kirby-Tibbetts for allowing us access to his superb factory complex. Also, 'cheers' to Barry and Tom for looking after us on the night in question!

'Investigation And Bookish Pursuits!'

Halloween night saw W.M.G.C. members conducting an investigation of 'The Book Farm' at Astley in Warwickshire. The visit was, once again, arranged by John Conway.

Nowhere near as surreal as it might first sound, the Book Farm is just what it implies on the tin..... a farm that sells books!! Situated on the Arbury Estate - the birth place of the Victorian novelist, George Eliot - this most unique and picturesque shop is housed in a range of old farm buildings and boasts a stock of 75,000 used, rare and out of print books!!!

Needless to mention - the reason for our visit to the area - the site is also rumoured to be haunted by three different ghosts!!!!

As usual with a great many W.M.G.C. investigations, our time in Astley passed without event. A number of recordings - both sound and video - were made during the night, but the resulting footage is still being checked through at the time of writing.

Group members would just like to say a big thank you to Book Farm owners Sarah and Vivienne for allowing us to visit their most charming shop!! Your trust in the group is much appreciated indeed!

'In The Media'.

As usual, a number of W.M.G.C. events have recently caught the attention of the media.

*The group Blog was mentioned in articles by the Walsall Advertiser and Sutton Coldfield Observer on August the 20th and 21st.

*Matters pertaining to Fabien Delph and New Hall Hotel were mentioned in the Sunday Express (Aug. 23rd) and Sutton News (See pic below - front page headlines - Aug. 28th). A group member was interviewed on the Radio W.M. Paul Franks Show on August 24th about the subject.

*On Sept. 9th, the Halesowen News ran an article regarding our interest in a potential 'phantom jaywalker' case in Romsley.

*Our involvement with Shrewsbury Library was covered in editions of the Shropshire Star (Sept. 17th) and Shrewsbury Chronicle (July 3rd).

*On September the 28th and 30th, a group member appeared on Beacon Radio and the Radio W.M. Danny Kelly Show to speak about the (so-called) 'Cannock Chase Werewolf'. The B.B.C. online website also mentions the group in a feature on the same subject. See piece HERE.

Our mate Brett Birks - author of the abovementioned article - also recently ran a piece on the B.B.C. website regarding our views on the usage of psychics and mediums in investigative situations.

Edited Version of Main Website Update for June 2009.

Media Watch: As sometimes occurs, W.M.G.C. activities and investigations have attracted the attention of media related sources over recent months.....

On April 10th (09), the Newport Advertiser ran an article concerning our interest in ghost stories hailing from that particular region of Shropshire. On April 14th, the Shropshire Star picked up on the aforementioned article and ran a similar piece. On the same day, a group member was interviewed by BBC Radio Shropshire on the very same topic.

One of our most productive newspaper appeals to date began on April the 2nd, when the Walsall Advertiser ran an article seeking ghost stories associated with Barr Beacon in Great Barr. Our interest in the site concerned had, at that point, recently been aroused by a story concerning supposed 'phantom highwaymen' in the area.

Following the initial article, the Sutton Observer ran a piece on April the 7th, while the Advertiser featured a follow-up letter on the same date. Both newspapers subsequently carried further articles on the subject on the 15th and 17th of April, respectively.

Guest Investigation And Site Visit: On May the 4th, group members were invited to take part in an evenings investigation by our friends, the Black Country Paranormal Society. The focus of the visit was a particular area of the Black Country which has been the focus of many B.C.P.S. enquiries over a number of years.

In centuries gone by an infamous murder took place at the site, which - somewhat strangely - led to tales of the region being haunted not by the murder victim concerned, but by the murderer himself. Whatever the truth behind this part of the regions folklore, the locality involved would appear to be 'littered' with seemingly unconnected, potentially paranormal, lore...... Our thanks to Wayne and Heidi - and the B.C.P.S. members - for inviting us along on their investigation!!

Birmingham Investigation.

On Friday, May the 1st, W.M.G.C. members conducted an investigation at the premises of a major, financial company in Birmingham city centre.

Our attention was first drawn to this site by an email from a manager at the company, who told us that she had experienced a number of strange happenings there. Events seemed to begin in September 2008, when she apparently saw the figure of a man - peering at her from behind a concrete post - in the car par / sub-basement level of the building. Immediate investigation had revealed that there had been no one else in the area at the time and all 4 people present in the property - the manager, her grandson and 2 security officers - were accounted for.

Other members of staff have also reported a host of peculiar incidents. One entire section of the building in question is said to play host to virulent, poltergeist-like activity, while, in a ground floor rest room a woman reports having had a cup of coffee seemingly 'slapped out of her hand' by an invisible force. Not far from the site of this latter mentioned incident, a shadowy figure has regularly been seen walking the length of a reception area.

In other parts of the building, disembodied voices and a womans footsteps - the clear impression of high-heels on concrete - have been heard. In the sub-basement, the sound of classical music has been reported (seemingly tying in with an aspect of site history) and a decidedly 'nasty' feeling in a shower room detected by many....

Our most sincere thanks go out to 'Janet' for bringing this matter to our attention and kindly inviting us to take part in an investigation of this fabulous site......

Some Perplexing Footage.....?

During mid-May, the group received an interesting phonecall from staff at an educational centre in Walsall, telling of a peculiar happening from two days earlier.....

At approximately 7.40 am, two staff members had been standing in their main office area - looking at two clients on a security monitor - when they'd apparently witnessed a peculiar, 'smoke-like' effect pass a camera in another part of the building. As they watched, the effect concerned was repeated.... and one of the staff members ran up to the room involved to check no one was inside the room smoking. At the time of doing this, however, it was already known that - because of the time of the morning involved - the area concerned was locked and empty. Upon investigation, this was indeed found to be the case.

On the staff member returning to the office, the effect was seen to occur again... this time by more staff members who had now been alerted to what was happening. What is of considerable interest throughout this episode is the fact that the digital time counter on the bottom of the screen is allegedly seen to 'slow down' and, for a brief period at least, actually 'stop'......?

Within a day of the call, a W.M.G.C. member visited the property to interview witnesses and actually view a copy of the footage concerned. During this period, it was ascertained that, some 2 years earlier, a staff member had reported seeing a dark, shadowy figure in a ground floor corridor of the property. The figure was seen to be holding it's arms aloft - as in an act of surrender - prior to vanishing. Of interest to group members is the fact that the building in question appears to be situated in an area which seems particularly 'rife' with allegedly haunted properties.... many of which appear to contain stories of similar sightings, including 'shadowy', or 'insubstantial' figures.

Unfortunately, our visit itself turned out to be something of an anti-climax when it was discovered that the recorded footage could not be made to work for some reason. s

Midlands Investigation.

May the 15th saw W.M.G.C. members conducting an investigation at a 400 year old, three star hotel in the Midlands area. Our visit was organised by group associates, Debbie Green and Marianne Barker.

Both staff and guests at this popular, city centre hotel have reported a plethora of alleged, 'ghostly' happenings. The manager of the site concerned carries a considerable degree of 'healthy scepticism' when it comes to such matters. He has worked at the hotel for 10 years now, but has never experienced anything 'untoward' himself; however, the stories still persist.....

Some while ago, a former housekeeper at the site reported having seen the figure of a little girl - possibly 5 to 7 years old - on the back stairs of the building. When she was challenged by the staff member, the child is said to have cheekily put her finger to her lips - as in a 'shushing' motion - and then scuttled away, out of sight....

At another point, a cleaner, working in a bedroom in the oldest part of the building, claims to have seen the torso of a black (Afro / Carribbean) man floating towards her!! She is said to have left the hotel that day and never returned. In the same area, vacuum cleaners have been regularly switched off while in use and shoes have been witnessed flying through walls....

On the same floor as the above incidents, a guest is said to have found the contents of his suitcase mysteriously emptied onto the bedroom floor. A number of other guests using the same room - No. 104 - have all found themselves being locked out of the room (frequently naked!) during the night. Apparently, there was a death in this particular room around 6 years ago and, having spoken with people who knew him, the unfortunate gentleman concerned was said to have been 'something of a joker' in life!!

In recent times, a gentleman was said to have been involved in a paranormal related event being held in the city and stayed at the hotel. On taking a look around the property, he proclaimed that there was some form of spiritual 'vortex' in one of the cellar rooms. Strangely, many members of staff are said to be rather reticent to venture down there and a chef recently found the lights being switched off and something brushing past him in this area....

Group members would like to thank the hotel manager and staff for granting us permission to visit their lovely hotel....

School Investigation.

On Friday the 12th of June, group members conducted a follow-up investigation of a secondary school site - situated in the heart of the Midlands - which was first visited in March 2008. The event was organised by Steve 'Cuddly-Boy' Chew.

The site concerned is said to have a long-standing ghostly history, with such reported incidents as windows seemingly 'opening by themselves' at night; staff members being physically 'touched' by unseen forces and a pair of double doors on the buildings main corridor recorded on security footage as opening of their own volition, with - some have said - a 'female-shaped shadow' appearing on the corridor floor in the same sequence..... More recent events include footsteps being heard in unoccupied rooms above the school Library and a shadowy figure seen crossing a corridor near a stock cupboard.

Staff at the school have mounted an investigation of the premises themselves, but only report having heard 'noises' throughout the vigil.

During our recent visit, group members witnessed, at first hand, instances of the corridor, 'double-doors' opening slightly and audibly... seemingly of their own volition. However, on the instances concerned, all movement seemed quite naturally occurring, being a combination of drafts inside the building and the way in which the doors themselves are hung / balanced. Having said this - in comparison to the past, staff experiences - the movement of the doors on the night of the investigation was naturally occurring a maximum of 5 to 6 inches..... As a result, we cannot objectively draw accurate comparisons with the 'complete' opening of the doors, as reported at other times....

Towards the end of the visit, 4 group members experienced 'peculiar noises' simultaneously, in the same corridor. Two members were collecting trigger objects when they heard a muffled, high-pitched 'Woooo' type sound. At the same time, two other members were some 20 yards away, when they heard 'shush-type' noises. One heard the noise twice, while the other reports having caught the tail-end of a solitary sound...

As always, W.M.G.C. thanks go out to the school authorities for allowing us access to their property and to caretaker Brian for looking after us so well!!

Brief Note - Assurance.....

This is just a quick notice for anyone who has recently visited this blog and, noting the ongoing re-posts from our website, now believes that this is all the blog will be amounting to from now on. On the contrary, this current movement of data is down to a forthcoming website re-think and will - from this point onward - be a miniscule and sporadic concern re. the continuation of this blog. Instead of hosting a couple of years worth of website updates on the main page itself, there will only be a single 'current events / latest news' page and the preceding post will be moved to this blog (on average, only three or perhaps four times a year).

As before, the blog will continue to be a back-up / complimentary concern to our main website, bringing you all the guff, bluff and bluster of a W.M. ghostie fashion that it used to carry previously........

Edited Version of Main Website Update for Feb. 2009

Midlands Investigation:

On the 15th of November 2008 and February the 20th 2009, W.M.G.C. members paid overnight visits to a magnificent Hall / Hotel in the Midlands area. The visit was organised by John 'golden-touch' Conway.

The 'ghostly history' associated with this grade II listed property is a substantial one, with reported activity including poltergeist-like effects and the sighting of a number of apparitions. Some of the different ghosts allegedly witnessed over recent decades include those of a little girl; a woman in white; an indistinct figure, seemingly swathed in light and a 'shadowy form' which has been seen in the hall grounds.

By far the most frequently reported activity at the site involves the sound of children laughing and playing in and around the property. On our recent visit, the present security guard / concierge informed us that - only the night before - he had heard a noise akin to the sound of 'children trying to whistle' in the empty building....

At other times, visitors to the hotel have reported the sound of a female voice, during the early hours of the morning, which appears to be singing a lullaby.

The current owner of the hotel has heard many first-hand stories from staff members and customers alike. On one occasion he had been dealing with a problem in the dining area of the property and, upon walking into the reception corridor of the building, the glass top of a nearby table exploded into tiny pieces with no one standing near it.....

A big W. M. Ghost Club 'Thank You' to hotel management - and staff - for kindly allowing our visit and for accommodating us so wonderfully and warmly!! Also, 'welcome' to our new friends Debbie and Marianne who accompanied the usual gaggle of group members on our second investigation to the Hall.

Warwickshire Repeat Investigation:

December the 12th, 2008, saw group members pay a much-overdue, return visit to Alcester Town Hall. The investigation was arranged by group member, John Conway.

The W.M.G.C. first visited Alcester in early 2008 to look into reports of alleged paranormal happenings at this early 17th Century property. The apparition of a 'grey lady' has reputedly been seen at the site and the sound of a young girl heard crying in an upstairs room. Akin to Warwick Castle and the nearby St Nicholas church (Alcester), the shade of Sir Fulke Greville has also been associated with the Town Hall!

While only a comparatively small party from the group attended this particular investigation, our numbers were bolstered by the charming Kim Ross. The W.M.G.C. would like to thank Town Hall management / authorities - in particular, Vernon Munton and John Ross - for allowing us to re-visit this superb site.

Midlands Investigation #2:

On the 20th December 2008, group members braved freezing temperatures and icy winds to investigate the site of one of the bloodiest battles to have ever been fought on English soil.....!!! Our visit to the area was organised by John Conway.

Over the years, a number of peculiar incidents and experiences have been reported from this area, particularly so around a local Church and graveyard.... which served as one of the key points of interest for group members during our visit.

Shropshire Investigation #2

January 9th, 2009, saw group members paying a visit to the magnificent, 3 star Prince Rupert Hotel in Shrewsbury. Once again, our investigation was organised by John Conway. Situated in the very heart of Shrewsbury town, the Prince Rupert is widely regarded as the most haunted hotel in the county.

The property has been privately owned by the Matthews family since the mid-90's and, structurally, boasts a framework that spans almost a thousand years of history. With regards to the ghostlore of this building, a variety of ghosts and peculiar happenings have allegedly been witnessed and experienced over the years.

The shades of two suicide victims - a man and a woman who are believed to have both hung themselves at the property in unrelated incidents - have been seen by customers and staff. (The room haunted by the female victim - formerly a bedroom - is currently utilised as a conference suite). In the hotel cellar, the ghosts of a young boy, a serving woman and an angry individual called Henry have reputedly been experienced. The latter mentioned has, on occasion, allegedly made his presence known to people visiting the site as part of the popular Shrewsbury Ghost Walk!

While only constituting a 'one off' sighting, the ghost of an old gentleman who apparently resembled 'wee-willy-winky' was seen in the hotel during the 1980's!!! The sighting was made during the filming of the movie 'A Christmas Carol' in Shrewsbury, when cast and crew members stayed at the Prince Rupert. Director of photography for the film, Tony Imi, was said to have been making his way back to his bedroom one evening when he spotted an old gentleman - dressed in a long nightshirt and carrying a candle - walking along a corridor. Mr Imi politely bade the peculiar figure 'goodnight', but received no reply..... Having made a point of watching the man continue obliviously along the passage, he was allegedly last seen vanishing through a nearby wall!!!

For the duration of our visit to the Prince Rupert, we were accompanied by our good friend Kim Ross and Shrewsbury Ghost Walk staff member, Chris Kennedy. Prior to the start of our investigation, group members were treated to a tour of the historic hotel which was led by both Chris and Shrewsbury Town Crier, author and Ghost Walk organiser, Martin Wood.

Hearty Ghost Club thanks go out to Prince Rupert proprietor, Michael Matthews, for allowing us to visit his fabulous hotel and to Martin and Chris for kindly sharing their time and encyclopaedic knowledge of Shrewsbury with us during the visit!

Staffordshire Re-visit Investigation:

On January the 16th, 2009, group members made a welcome return to the Assembly Rooms in Tamworth. The investigation was organised by John Conway.

Since our previous visit to the site last Halloween, staff member Jock Ross has amassed a wealth of information concerning the ghosts and hauntings allegedly associated with this popular, entertainment venue. Spurred on by recent press coverage, a number of people both previously and currently involved with the building have now come forward with their stories and encounters. While much of the information proffered would seem to tie in with information previously related to group members, a wealth of 'extra' detail has now been made available to researchers.

It appears that some of the first 'recorded' activity at the Assembly Rooms occurred during the 1950's and involved members of the local amateur dramatics group, the Tamworth Arts Club. After setting up for events, group members would regularly congregate in the auditorium for a well earned drink. It was during these periods that the sound of footsteps would frequently be heard crossing the stage, moving onto the auditorium floor and off into the distance.... On occasion, it was said that some of those present had briefly seen the figure of an old man appear, just before the footsteps faded. The figure of the old man had also been seen a number of times over the years, in different parts of the building. A former caretaker had seen him passing down the main corridor to the hall and entering the toilets.

As previously mentioned, it is thought that the figure of the old man, seen wearing a brown warehouse-style jacket, ties in with a former caretaker of the property. The man concerned has now been identified, but for the sake of these notes shall remain nameless. While sightings of the female ghost associated with the Assembly Rooms are something of a rarity these days, the smell of her perfume - lavender - is still occasionally noticed to this day. At the height of her presence, she was only ever reported as appearing in the back-stage area, wearing a flower patterned dress and having a 'happy' look about her.......

As previously, the group would like to say a big thank you Assembly Rooms management and to our excellent host for the night, Jock Ross.

Black Country Investigation Follow-Up:

February the 6th saw group members paying an overdue re-visit to the Sandwell Council Training and Development Centre in Oldbury. Investigation arranged by John Conway. This site was first visited by the West Mids Ghost Club in mid-January 2008, so a repeat investigation of the property was somewhat overdue. AS mentioned on this page previously, the building concerned - a former school - has a reputation for ghostly activity and the figures of a young girl and two men in brown, cow-gown style clothing have been seen. Cleaners at the site have reported uneasy feelings in certain parts of the property, while canteen staff have allegedly seen the figure of a woman in grey in the cafe section. Previously, a piano has allegedly been heard - seemingly playing by itself - in an empty lecture hall.....

Our thanks go out to Training Centre management for allowing us to visit the site again, with a special 'nod of gratitude' to Centre security officer, Mr. Singh. Also - again - to Debbie and Marianne who accompanied us for the duration of our stay......

Media Watch:

On November the 6th and 14th 2008, the Tamworth Herald ran articles concerning our (then) recent investigation at the Assembly Rooms. The Tamworth Times also ran a similar article on November the 6th.

In late December 2008, the Shropshire Star newspaper ran a brief article concerning the W.M.G.C.'s forthcoming investigation at the Prince Rupert Hotel in Shrewsbury. A further mention of the group appeared in a second article about the Hotel in mid-January 2009.

News of the W.M.G.C.'s 20th birthday (this year) attracted a considerable amount of media interest, resulting in articles appearing in the Coventry Telegraph, the Birmingham Mail, the Express and Star and the Shropshire Star in early January. January the 8th saw articles appearing in the Sutton Coldfield Observer, the Tamworth Herald, the Walsall Advertiser, Lichfield Post, Rugeley Post and a mention on Telford F.M. Radio!! A further article concerning the group appeared in the Staffordshire Newsletter, as well as a second appearance on Telford F.M. on Sunday the 18th of Jan.

In Mid-February, an article appeared in the Express and Star concerning the clubs (then) forthcoming visit to Sandwell Council Training Centre in Oldbury.