Friday, 26 September 2014

Sutton Park Visit

Friday September 26th 2014

Last Friday evening - September 19th - members of the West Midlands Ghost Club paid a return visit to one of their favourite places for a night-time ramble.......  Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield.

The area under specific scrutiny is a section of the park that houses a number of alleged hauntings and peculiar features.  In years gone by, the figure of a typical 'highwayman-style-figure' has been spotted riding across the scrub-land thereabouts..... both in broad daylight and at dusk.  Local legend has it that notorious highway robber, Tom King, frequented the region in his heyday..... this folklore being stretched beyond all credibility with rumours of him having supposedly been 'burned to death' within the confines of the park......!?!    

A few years ago, we were informed by an elderly gentleman that he had once seen what he took to be a phantom contingent of riders while passing along the section of Roman Road that cuts through this same section of the parkland.  It had been a terribly rainy day and he and a group of other riders had passed close by to a group of silent horsemen coming in the opposite direction.......  He had called out and waved to the other group and, on having passed them, happened to look back along the track......... only to find that they had totally disappeared, with nowhere to have gone!?!

Only a hundred or so yards from the stretch of Roman Road is another ancient site known as 'Rowtons Well'......  This circular feature is also said to probably be Roman in origin and was once used for healing purposes by the local populace.  A member of the WMGC Facebook page (LINK) has recently mentioned that he recalls having seen signs of 'occult' related practices near the well in his youth, in the form of burned out candles and other paraphernalia!?

Moving slightly 'inland' from the region concerned, there are stories of a 'woman in white' being seen traversing some of the forested trackways around the 1950's.  Tales of a ghostly woman being seen in the vicinity endured into the 1970's, but appear to have faded significantly from local lore in recent decades........ 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

September 21st 2014

It's incredible when you can just 'go somewhere' at times and find yourself 'falling on' a cracking ghost story and a chance to help with research!! Two members of the W.M.G.C. were out surveying some land (for metal detecting purposes) yesterday near the Shropshire / Staffordshire border.....  They were standing on the bridge shown in the photograph - just assessing which fields were going to be open to them - when a couple of passing dog walkers engaged them in general conversation.....  

They were intrigued to hear the male walker mention the subject of 'strange goings-on' in the region, which - of course - instantly aroused their interest!!  Cutting a long story short - they were told that the couple in question...... and a number of other locals, seemingly..... had actually experience an array of ghostly activity on the bridge in question!!!  New to the region, the group members didn't really know the first thing about the area, but were advised to speak to the owner of a 17th Century farmhouse some 70 yards from the Southern side of the bridge in question.....!!!!

The resident farmer involved has, for many years now, been utterly perplexed by the array of spooky stories and reported encounters associated with the bridge and his own beautiful farmhouse. For the sake of research, etc, we can only reveal that the experiences associated with the bridge itself concern two separate apparitions - those of a long-dead squire who was found murdered on the bridge in 1789 (he lived on the nearby farm) and his spirit has been seen there many times since. The second ghost associated with the structure is that of a coach driver who was killed (in the mid-Victorian period) after being thrown into the river when his team of four horses mysteriously bolted one evening and his wheels struck the bridge parapet, sending him tumbling to his death into the river below!! Local legend has it that it was the ghost of the squire who caused the horses to 'spook', leading to the demise of the unfortunate driver!?!? Whatever the cause, the apparition of the latter has been seen on the bridge a number of times since.......!!!

While the farmer declined an offer for us to investigate - he's unsure about 'disturbing' the ghosts too much - we did say that we'd be happy to appeal for data on the case for him..... While we'd never heard of the matter previously, the case is evidently fairly famous in the general locality and there is a wealth of historical data to back up the tragedies involved...... In the hope of generating some genuine feedback on the matter, the farmer has kindly allowed us to include his email address here, so that anyone who might know anything on the case can get in touch with him:

Sunday, 14 September 2014

September 14th 2014

Friend of the West Midlands Ghost Club, Helen Branson, has recently brought this particular matter to our attention......  While we're eternally dubious about any ghostly reports involving Dudley Castle these days, we must admit that the image and general subject struck us as absolutely fascinating and surely worthy of a mention here!?  LINK

September 14th 2014

Members of the WMGC have recently been corresponding with someone who believes that they may have had a run-in with the ghost of a murdered constable - one P.C. Davies - who was killed near Beoley, Worcestershire, while walking his beat one night in 1885. Since the tragedy, stories concerning the figure of a ghostly policeman being seen have 'haunted' the area...... becoming an aspect of popular ghostlore in the region.  While the story was generally known to group members for some time already, the club became actively interested in the matter when the subject was mentioned in a BBC documentary - entitled 'Ghosts' - that we took part in some years ago.  (Around 2000).
Having recently felt inspired to look into the topic again, we did discover someone who believed that they had possibly experienced the legendary apparition for themselves in recent years and began speaking with them on the subject. The gentleman concerned informed us that he and his wife were walking home from the village pub one night - they'd had a drink, but were not at all drunk!! - when they saw a figure in what appeared to be a long, cape-style coat and some form of tall hat....... The figure was visible through a break in a hedge and standing - absolutely stock-still - some 50 meters away. While they said they couldn't actually see its face, they had the distinct impression that it was looking straight at them!? They stood and stared at the form for perhaps 10 seconds when they became a little unnerved and decided to walk on........ The next day, they went back to the spot and checked the field over, but could find nothing untoward to account for their encounter!?

It was only later that - checking the history of the region - they discovered data on the slaying of the unfortunate PC Davies and wondered whether they may have had a sighting of the infamous ghost, perhaps?  Needless to say, the W.M.G.C. would very much like to hear from anyone who may have further data on this fascinating subject......!?

Monday, 8 September 2014

September 8th 2014

On Friday night (Sept. 5th), the West Midlands Ghost Club paid a little visit to some of the haunted spots in the Great Barr area, along with a few friends from our Facebook page.  While we do love our dealings on the page concerned, it's always interesting to be able to put living faces to profile pictures and group members certainly had some charming company for the ramble!!  Taking the time to join us for the evening was Madi VdW and her lovely sister, Bobbie Le-Page and Joshua Bowker......

As visitors to any WMGC associated dealings will possibly know, the Great Barr area itself has long been of interest to the group because of it's seeming propensity for the paranormal and downright weird......  The region concerned has a long history of strange happenings and ghostly encounters, including sightings of both 'white' and 'black' clad women near the church, a phantom dog, phantom coaches and horse riders and peculiar, glowing figures (to name but a few)!!

For anyone wishing to learn more on the region and it's lore, please type Great Barr into the search box provided on this page.....   
September 8th 2014

On September the 5th, the 'Shropshire Star' newspaper kindly gave even more coverage to our ongoing search for the ghost of Madam Piggott via yet another - surprise - article on the subject!!  I must admit that we're always thankful to the local press for giving us coverage on different projects over the years, but it's especially heart-warming for our ventures to be made the focus of articles...... and only find out about such pieces afterwards!!  

The article concerned can be viewed via this LINK

Monday, 1 September 2014

September 1st 2014

The dubious subject of the 'Cannock Chase Werewolf' has raised it's furry head again recently, when the W.M.G.C. were contacted by a Canadian production company who are planning to feature the region in a forthcoming TV series......

We have been told that a crew from the show will be visiting the area in late September and, as well as providing background information on the region, we've also been asked if one of our members might be interviewed for inclusion in the broadcast.

More on this matter as it develops.....