Friday, 28 August 2015

Friday August 28th 2015

The article shown above appeared in a number of different, local newspapers in 1989 and heralded the 'appearance' of the West Midlands Ghost Club in the Summer of that year.....  

As it now stands - as we head towards the end of August 2015 and the arrival of Autumn - we have just officially passed our 26th birthday!!   

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Wednesday 12th August 2015

On Aug 11th, a member of the West Mids Ghost Club appeared on news articles broadcast by 'Freeradio', concerning the levels of people now turning to the police (in the UK) over supposedly paranormal related matters.....

We have to admit that this isn't actually a 'new' phenomenon at all - as is frequently being supposed through this current glut of instances - but something that used to seemingly 'happen a lot' in decades gone by, though apparently subsided in the interim.....   At one point in time it seemed - probably for obvious reasons - quite the norm to 'involve the police' in such matters.  As the song goes 'If there's something strange in the neighbourhood, who you gonna call?'  Well, in reality, it probably seems a good idea to many to 'Call the police' if there happens to be something untoward going on in your home? 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Tuesday 4th August 2015

The following piece - as mentioned in the previous post on this blog - is an article (of sorts) that I wrote concerning my previous home.... and matters that I had been made aware of, some years following my departure from the house. 

As mentioned below, the information here is mainly conjecture about the situation I had been told of at the address, purely based on 'what I knew at that point in time'.  As it stands the bulk of the theorising involved turns out, from what is NOW known on the subject, to be wholly erroneous; however, the details do still stand to give an oversight into what the current residents of the property have and probably are experiencing there.....

*I would advise anyone reading through this piece now to refer to the previous post FIRST, before proceeding any further here.....

"A House 'Suddenly' Haunted?  

Brief Intro - and potential 'foundation stones'?:

I should begin by stressing that I loved my previous house - which was my home from early childhood and then onward for some 25 years - with a passion. It was where I spent the best years of my life and I would not have left it for the world if I'd have had any say in the matter. While skimming for the sake of brevity and privacy, it should be stressed that, at the time of leaving the property, a lot of anger and frustration went into thoughts of the place. Prior to this, for a number of years and over the time of leaving the house, it should be stressed that a considerable degree of rather abnormal psychology was played out at the site.  There were many angles to such problems, but suffice it to say at this point, a history of mental illness and a case of ongoing dementia were overwhelmingly present in the building for a number of years.

As some of my friends still live in the area concerned - certainly not a million miles from my current home - I still occasionally walk past the house. I'm sure a lot of people would know what I mean in saying that it 'physically' hurts me to see the place at these times, knowing that someone else now lives in 'my home'. Despite the fact that I've been in my current address for some 13 years now, started a family and so on, the old house is still regarded as 'home';  the image that immediately pops into the minds eye, when anyone mentions the word.  Having mentioned the contents of this paragraph to a number of people now, I was not at all surprised to find that a great many share the same or very similar feelings about previous homes - and, in particular, childhood homes.  Needless to say, such feelings are completely understandable - and possibly worthy of note in the circumstances being mentioned here. 

Since leaving the property, I have, on a regular basis, indulged myself in the habit of re-visiting the house in my mind; walking through every inch of the place, trying to refresh and re-refresh my memory of every nook and cranny, stair and floorboard creak.  There is, of course, a rather perverse effect to such meanderings, as I do find that I have been virtually 'torturing' myself at such junctures: not wanting to somehow lose the idea of what my former residence looked, felt and smelled like, but quite horrified by the knowledge that it was all now gone. 

I don't mind admitting that, for some years now - and given my interest in such matters - I had half joked about 'myself' possibly 'haunting' my old home in some way(?) In mentally re-visiting the house, I had got into the way of seldom missing out a ponderance over whether, at some points in time, my 'apparition' isn't witnessed by the current occupants, shambling across the living room carpet or perhaps bounding up the stairs of the property!

On this subject, I must admit - with more than a degree of embarrassment - that I have taken the notion further in actually 'wishing' myself on the property at times. I will readily admit that this had been done in mixture of frustration and misguided anger at thoughts of my unwanted ejection from the property and the current residents…. "Look at me!" my ghost rages, "This is 'My' home that you're living in!". While moderately cliché, the subject of a thousand and one haunted house stories, this is a scenario that - embarrassment again - I have envisioned, in one form or another, oh-so-many times and over the space of many years…..

In my defence - from a practical, 'evidence' point of view - I have shared this 'mental visit' information with a number of people over the years leading up to the discovery of the events that follow.  I state this now purely as a matter of evidence - as it's all too easy for these types of story to take on a wholly fantastical slant and, in a great many cases, people do have a tendency to embroider such tales with what they take to be confirmatory details - subsequently - which are frequently only added to give a tale more depth, mystique or drama.  Basically, what I'm trying to say here, is that I can 'call to the dock' people who had heard my 'do I haunt my old house?' waffling, well 'before' I learned of the following data...

And So:

Now, coming forward to January 2010, and I received a phone call on my mobile one morning while out walking. (Contact via this medium - ahem, no pun intended! - is almost invariably 'ghost related', as this is the phone no. logged on our web site for people to ring). There was a youngish sounding woman on the line who seems rather hesitant to speak with me to begin with.... but this is certainly no surprise when dealing with ghostly topics, as pretty much everyone starts off with a rather 'shy' manner when discussing such matters.

She asks me if I can possibly help her with some details on the history of a particular house - her mom and dads home and where she herself had partly grown up - adding that she has called me without their knowledge? When I reply (with more than a degree of bewilderment) 'if I possibly can….?' she completely throws me with the information that it is a place which she believes is known to me…. being my previous home! I initially thought that someone was possibly having me on at this point, but - perversely and immediately intrigued - I  still instantly asked what sort of things have supposedly been going on there.  She tells me of some fairly 'standard' sounding happenings (when it comes to these sorts of matters), including footsteps heard coming from upstairs and voices.  I jump on the latter, asking what the voices sounded like and if anything could be heard clearly?  It's bizarre to relate, given my overly sceptical outlook on paranormal matters, but I find that I'm instantly looking for a connection with either myself or the relative I lived with... I'm truly crestfallen when she says the voices heard are seemingly those of 'their own family members' who allegedly did not make the noises heard at the times they have been reported.  On the same tracks, I then ask her if anything has been 'seen' in the house….. but, again, I'm told that only 'fleeting shapes' have been witnessed, or, on one occasion, a very young child seemingly saw the figure of 'a man', but was far too young to describe anything about him in detail.  However, more about my thoughts on this particular angle later on.......

The conveying of these brief details takes literally a matter of seconds and I am promised an email from the girl containing further information related to presumed 'happenings' at the house.  It must be said, at this point, that I am left with a sense of both bewilderment and more than a little degree of the 'anti-climax'.  I find that I am instantly frustrated by the simple fact that I could make no blatant or direct connections with myself or any of my family members and the alleged activity concerned......  What had been related to me in those brief, few minutes of conversation appears to have been what I can only recognise as a standard, presumed poltergeist-like effect, quite typical of pretty much any other case currently being reported in the early 21st Century.

Come the arrival of the promised email and I am told that another family had briefly lived in the house immediately after my departure and, in the mere 12 or so months that they were there, they had experienced some rather worrying happenings.  It is intimated that this activity was at least partly to blame for their subsequent departure from the house.

The current residents had taken over the property at the end of January 19__ and, by mid-February, things had already started happening.  The very first occurrence to be noted happened just after midnight on Feb. 14th, when the mother of the family, seated in the living room, reports having heard crockery banging in the kitchen, as if someone were in a temper.  This sound was closely followed by the kitchen door slamming shut and footsteps seemingly ascending the stairs.  My confidant - we shall call her Julie - was listening to music in the front bedroom at this point in time and her mother came upstairs and into the her room in order to tell her off for making such a racket.  Two other people present in the house at the time - father and sister - were fast asleep throughout.  On going back downstairs to investigate the noise, the mother found herself slightly ruffled to note that the kitchen door that she had just heard 'slamming shut' was actually 'open'.

Following this - duration of time unknown - a 'bad smell' was noted on the upstairs landing.  The odour was reported as smelling as if an animal had died somewhere and was so blatant that the father pulled up the floorboards to investigate.  The smell apparently vanished as quickly at is had come, but was then detected in the living room.

Footsteps have been heard on numerous occasions passing across the rear bedroom floor, while something akin to the 'scuffling of slippered feet' was reported in a corner of the front bedroom by Julie.  Strangely the latter is only ever reported as having been detected during the evening - a sound which was also later heard by the father when he moved into the room.  People using the upstairs bathroom had often mentioned hearing the sound of someone just outside the door, but, upon investigation, there was never anyone there.  

The Grandmother of the family - described as someone who doesn't believe in ghosts - reports having heard an unidentified, male voice whispering in her ear in the kitchen, apparently saying a single word:  'Cold'.  Other voices heard around the property appear to have been identified as those of family members, although the people concerned hadn't actually been responsible for the vocal sounds heard at the time of them being experienced.  In one instance, the bedroom door was heard opening by Julies sister, followed by the sound of her Mother shouting and swearing.....  The Mother wasn't even present on this occasion and is described as someone who would never swear anyway!  On another occasion, Julies daughter heard her Nan calling her from outside the bedroom door - but her Grandmother was downstairs at the time and had not called out to her.

As with a lot of such cases, the movement of objects was often reported.  Things are said to regularly 'go missing' and will turn up in blatantly obvious places....  A 'Simon Says' toy was found on the upstairs landing, with it's battery compartment cover removed, or dislodged, and the batteries lying nearby.  It was suggested that it would have made a considerable nose if it had been thrown into this position by anyone, but, apparently, no one had touched the toy.  In another instance, an 18 month old child was heard laughing over a baby monitor and, when Julie went upstairs to check, she discovered the girls favourite toy in the cot with her.  The toy concerned had previously been situated on the other side of the room to the cot and the child was not able to have retrieved it by herself.

At one point, the hatch door to the loft was heard to give an 'almighty bang' with no one in it's vicinity.  Everyone in the house came to investigate and found the hatch had seemingly moved in a semi-circular motion and was now ajar.  The same sort of thing has apparently happened with the cistern lid of the downstairs toilet; a loud bang, followed by the discovery that it has moved and was now open.

In their time at the house, the family have gone through 5 televisions because of malfunctions.  The volume of the sets has changed without being touched, channels have switched of their own volition and so on.  It is said that most electrical items appear to fail or cease to function properly and lights within the house sometimes flicker and bulbs 'blow' quite often.

One of the only times that anything has been physically seen at the house was when Julies young daughter was standing in the living room, speaking to her mother, who was situated in the hallway.  Suddenly, the child became very upset, tried to hide and pointed to the stairs saying 'Man, man....' over and over.  At other times, people standing in the kitchen, facing the rear of the house, report having seen a figure flit across the hall doorway, via the reflection in the window.  Unfortunately, this is only ever seen very quickly and fleetingly, so no real description can be given for the figure.

It was stressed at the time that the above mentioned incidents were only the tip of the iceberg and lots of other 'silly things' had happened over the years.  Incidents, it was said, would frequently occur for a while, then cease again for months at a time... and then begin again.  This, it has to be stressed, is most typical of the bulk of presumed hauntings that you tend to hear about these days.  At the time of writing to me, Julie reported that things had been happening at the house recently:  a bad smell had manifested again in the living room and an object had been found on the work surface in the kitchen, seemingly appearing when there was no one in the house.  On the very day before I was made aware of these happenings, someone had been heard noisily stamping down the stairs of the house by both the mother and father, sitting in the living room, but on checking the only other occupant of the house was found to be in bed, fast asleep......

Ghostly Heritage - and subsequent effects?

Firstly, in light of the above-mentioned data, I can only stress that myself and my relative experienced pretty much 'nothing at all' that could be construed as of a paranormal - let alone 'haunting' - nature in the 20 plus years of living at the address concerned.  I had to say 'pretty much' above, as, on a couple of occasions we had smelled (what appeared to be) cigarette smoke on the stairs of the house........;  only ever smelled and never seen.  This had occurred while I was still a child and my relative had suggested that the smell could have somehow been related to my grandfather, who had died some years earlier from a smoking related disease.  This is the only, seeming anomaly worth mentioning.

As related near the beginning of this tale:  considering my somewhat cynical and sceptical outlook on alleged, ghostly matters, I had utterly surprised myself at the instant desperation I'd felt to try to somehow, personally, try to associate myself with this professed haunting!  In truth - and most un-objectively - I had been greatly inspired into such thoughts by my aforementioned 'mental wandering' about the house and semi-comical thoughts of my 'haunting' the site.  However, what was truly incredible to note was the emotions that this situation had instantly raised in me.... to discover that I'd been so easily bowled-over and emotionally affected by this mildly revelatory information.

for the sake of argument, I had to look at the evidence proffered objectively and as neutrally as possible and consider whether anything did indeed seem to directly 'tie in' with my time at the property?  Of course - as with most reported poltergeist activity - the happenings experienced are wholly neutral and ambiguous at best when trying to find any form of focus or focal point.  Footsteps, vague voices and fleeting, shadowy forms do not lend themselves to much of anything, of course.  Of the little data revealed to me some aspects 'could have' been potentially pertinent - 'banging crockery', for instance, was a common enough feature.....  It had become an angry habit of my relative to grab a pile of plates , kept stacked on the work surface and manually (albeit gently) crash them onto the surface concerned when agitated.  Doors slamming and stair stamping was also a common enough habit at times too.  Of all of the things mentioned, however, the loft hatch was of particular interest to me, as I'd long used this spot as a hidey-hole for anything that I'd not wanted my relative to see (ahem!) and so the hatch had been constantly manipulated - opened, move to the side and so on - and, usually, allowed to slam shut afterwards......  Again - none of the above could be construed as definitive or concrete in any possible way with regards to my time at the house, but, at best, were recognised features of life there.  

Slipping into the subject of 'ghostlore' itself now, it has to be said that 'phantoms of the living' - e.g. the ghosts of living people - are long said to be a recognised and much underestimated aspect of the field.  Without going into such things, there are a number of seemingly impressive cases on file, the world over....  One such 'local', reported instance concerns a husband and wife who, after moving into a new house, kept seeing the ghost of a man walk into their living room.  Some while on, they happened to visit a TV repair shop in a nearby town and, to their horror and amazement, their 'ghost' was the exact double of the proprietor of the business in question.  On tentatively mentioning this matter, the man concerned revealed that he used to live in their house and often thought about the place, as he had happy memories of his time there!  Another of the regions most famous ghost sightings - that of a girl in 70's costume, spotted fleetingly outside the Four Feathers Hotel in Ludlow - was said to be the apparition of a living woman and so on.  Some so-called authorities have, in the past, gone as far as saying that more apparitions of living than dead people are seen - though this is, of course a totally unfounded observation and carries little weight in the grand scheme of things.

With regards to the actual 'mechanics' of 'living ghosts' - this is, needless to say, a matter of complete conjecture.  However, it has been suggested that strong feelings or an overwhelming attachment for a particular place could possibly instigate such an effect - the day-dreamers state of mind somehow 'projecting' an impression onto the fabric of the place being thought of and so on.  As mentioned previously in this waffling, I'd long visited my old house in my mind and literally 'wished myself' onto the property, mainly as a form of angry protest......  Couple such suggestions with a more traditional idea for how some of the more traditional styles of haunting are possibly born: the theory of 'heightened emotions' or abnormally born, psychological imprint, leaving a lasting impression on a property?  While a completely unfounded theory, this notion seems to have been a firm favourite with a lot of researchers over the decades.... the thought that - for example - the trauma caused by a murderous act could be somehow recorded onto the very fabric of the place concerned and, at times, under certain circumstances, be replayed back to frequently unwilling recipients!!??                 

Conjecture again, plain and simple, but should either - or both - of the above ideas have any form of foundation in this field..... well, the latter years of my time at the house (and afterwards, of course) were absolutely filled with lashings of both - to an overwhelming degree, in fact!
Sadly - after all of the above has been said - I have to simply leave this matter here, un-finished as it is, with no tidy endings or creaseless seams.  Here is the very nature of these things, however, and it is only paranormal fiction, delusion or wishful thinking that such matters become 'rounded off' or 'finished to a high shine' with confirmatory, historical detail.  Laugh!  Simply, the matter of the fact here is that, despite my cynicism for traditional thoughts on paranormal subject, it's ironic to note that a case which (albeit involves yours truly at a mere 2nd-hand-level) should clearly contain aspects that 'could' certainly point towards more traditional and basic ghostly-theories......  Laugh!!!"

Tuesday 4th August 2015

Moving to more personal matters, where I'm concerned, It REALLY has been a peculiar week or so for me!  I cannot recall if the strange details concerning my previous, home address has been mentioned on this blog before, but I did write something about the topic some years ago and that was subsequently posted on the former W.M.G.C. web page.....

Anyhow - just as a quick recap:  I lived at my former home from approx. 1972 to 1997 or 98 and it was a most quiet and peaceful place throughout those 25 or so years.  As anyone who knows me will attest, my interest in the paranormal stems from an early age and it was while living at the house that the 'West Mids. Ghost Club' was founded in 1989.  Needless to say, both before and after this date, numerous 'ghost hunting' forays were made from this address and the subject of 'ghostly going on' was never far from my mind all the time I lived there....  

As far as 'potential paranormal activity' goes, the house itself was almost completely bereft of such effects.   We did have a couple of very small incidents happen there - which some people would probably regard as 'weird' - but, otherwise, there was nothing at all spooky about that house whatsoever, for the duration of my time there..... 

Imagine then, a few years after I left the house and moved to my current address, my amazement at learning - in phone call from a relative of the current resident - that the family concerned had apparently been suffering quite virulent 'ghostly activity' for the time that they had lived there!?  On top of this, it seems that the previous resident to them - who had supposedly moved in just after I'd moved out - was said to have 'fled the house in horror', not being able to put up with the uncanny happenings that they too been experiencing!  (They were said to have stayed there only 12 to 18 months or so).

It was at this point that I had written the piece for our website, as I had been so utterly and completely gob-smacked by the peculiar news.  The piece concerned - which I will post above this entry - is chock full of conjecture, on my part, and is pretty much 'completely erroneous' where such theorising is concerned, it seems!?  However, I'll leave that to interested parties to see for themselves - in light of what I will now mention here - rather than bother to go into any detail on the subject, etc.

Anyway - jumping forward to only a few days ago - I happened to receive a message from a woman who I'd contacted some time ago, via a social media site, about a haunting in the Black Country area.  She had  commented on the topic concerned - a haunted site that I'd looked into some years ago now - and I had then messaged her, asking for further information and so forth. 

As it turns out, the lady concerned didn't really recall anything further about the matter.... but had happened to see a comment I'd made, on an open page, elsewhere, mentioning my old home address.  (I hasten to quickly say here that my post had NOT been at all 'paranormal related' and was merely a social history comment).  She informed me that she had used to live in my former street too; in fact, family members of hers had lived in three properties in the road from around the 1930's to the late 60's!  (In fact, she was slightly wrong on the latter number, as some of her family still lived in the street after I'd moved in and were there till around the mid-70's, as it turned out).

Incredibly - out of the blue and with no coaxing at all - she suddenly comments that one of the houses concerned, where she herself had lived, was 'quite badly haunted'!!  Needless to say here - you can surely guess - the house involved was my old, home address.... and, of course, the very house I was told was haunted AFTER I moved out!?!  I am now faced with the knowledge that the alleged 'haunting' was present and occurring both BEFORE I moved in and AFTER I had moved out of the property!?!

In the days following this bizarre revelation, I have been speaking at length with the woman concerned AND three of her relatives who were also directly associated with the site.  The front bedroom, it seems - which was my own room from the mid-80's to when I left - is said to have been especially 'bad' for negative activity and severely disturbed a number of the children from the family who were put in there to sleep!  Such effects included 'Pinching' sensations and the sound of an old man gasping for breath.  Of course, I can only stress that - in my time in there - it was invariably as peaceful as peaceful can be!

Family members are also said to have 'seen' apparitions in and around the house:  an old man walking across the living room (thought to be a previous resident of the place, who was believed to have been reclusive) and 'something white' which fled past someone, standing on the rear step of the property, and vanishing through a nearby fence.....

It should go without saying that I am desperately trying my best to get as much data as I can on the subject and conversation on the general topic is still ongoing, with further comment from other family members now being offered.  While a rather convoluted and 'grey' subject - time itself is seldom an ally in this type of scenario - I sincerely hope that some potential conclusions may soon be drawn from this most peculiar subject......?

Monday, 3 August 2015

Monday August 3rd 2015

On Friday the 31st of July (2015), a representative of the 'West Mids Ghost Club' briefly appeared on the Malcolm Boyden Show on BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester.

The reason for this most recent appearance was the fact that ,in a recent poll, it was revealed that 31% of Brits apparently believe that they've had some form of ghostly encounter.  Currently, it is said that a whopping 82% now believe in the paranormal........!!    

Monday 3rd August 2015

Moving over to our second, recent post concerning 'local' (West Midland) authors and we find an intriguing offering from paranormal researcher, Andrew Evans, concerning his association with one of the most intriguing poltergeist cases of the 20th Century......

Number 30, East Drive, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, is regarded, by many, to have been the scene of possibly the most virulent poltergeist activity recorded in Europe during the late 1960's and early 1970's.  All but forgotten for many years subsequently, the case was once again made famous by the popular, 2012 movie 'When The Lights Went Out'.....   

Come 2015.... and you can now join Andy Evans in his quest to finally uncover the truth behind this fascinating haunting.  With over 50 overnight stays inside the house to his name, he now offers his findings as to what might actually reside within those seemingly empty walls.....  From earnest and innocent beginnings, each overnight stay only served to draw Andy ever further into the dark history and mystery of this most innocuous looking property!  Initial attempts at debunking the story are quickly abandoned as more and more inexplicable evidence is recorded......    

'Don't Look Back in Anger - The Black Monk of Pontefract' takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride into a world of paranormal activity....  Enjoy the experience, enjoy the journey and join Andy in his fascinating investigation into events at 30 East Drive!!

For details of purchase see HERE