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The Midlands England - Andrew Green

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Derbyshire, Midlands

Nr Chesterfield

Famed for its association with the Countess of Shrewsbury (Bess of Hardwick), its builder in 1591, this magnificent house contains huge chimney pieces and a rambling staircase, both of which may well house genuine priests' holes or secret rooms. Remembering the traumatic period in which she lived, her fourth husband was custodian of Mary Queen of Scots during her imprisonment, it is surely not unlikely that an occasional visit from a member of Holy Orders was carried out. Although there have been no reports of the house itself being haunted, there have been several genuine claims of seeing a phantom in the extensive gardens of the property.
One such case involved Mark Gresswell, at the time an 18 year old trainee manager of Clipstone, Mansfield. He is now with the RAF. On 4 January 1976 he and his fiancee, Carol Rawlings, `set off from home at about 8 p.m.` intending to visit Hardwick Park they noticed that a number of trees had been blown down by the strong gales suffered the previous day. `As we neared the Hall, we realised that one of the fallen trees had partially blocked the road, but another car coming towards us near ran us off the road. `Later it was established that the driver of this vehicle had been suffering from what the young couple were to see a few yards further on.
`We continued through the grounds and started to drive down the hill but just as we reached the sharp right-hand turn, Carol caught hold of my arm and started to stammer. `She had been alarmed at seeing the figure of someone, `With a black habit -type attire and a brilliant white face`.
Mark, unconvinced, turned the car round and returned to the spot, thinking that the girl had mistaken a tree stump, lit by the headlights, for the ghost. However, just as they reached a sign reading 'No Parking on the Grass' both saw the figure. 'He was a big, tall and broad chappy', says Mark, 'that's if it was a 'he'or a 'What', I don't know. Anyway it was dressed in a monk's habit for want of a better description, but we didn't see either his hands or feet. At the centre of it all was an almost illuminous brilliant white face` The phantom walked towards them, lit by the headlights of their by now stationary car, but as it drew closer, `It veered off to its right and disappeared`.
Mark swung the car round hoping to see where it had vanished and illuminated a disused stone quarry. Realising that there was nothing they could do they drove off and on reaching their destination, the Hardwick Inn, told the landlady of their experiences. They learnt with considerable interest that between 31 December and that day, 4 January, the ghostly monk had been seen twice. Whilst in the pub, the driver of the other vehicle that they had nearly crashed into arrived with his wife and both confirmed that they too had seen the apparition. Some time later, Mark learnt that two young ladies in the area had also seen the figure of the monk near their home on the outskirts of Sutton in Ashfield, about three miles away. This is a fascinating case for no less that four witnesses saw the same phantom at different times, thought within a few minutes of each other, on the same day. An others, including two policemen, had also observed the ghost days earlier.
Hereford & Worcester, Midlands
Dudley Road East
Near Hartshill
Hereford and Worcester

It was discovered by Miss Harrison, daughter of Mrs. Foster the current licensee, that the original inn was some 200 years old and obviously a coaching house. Although none of the original buildings remains it is a pleasant pub and houses a lot of memories of the past and non-paying guest. Miss Harrison, a science student at Keele University, says that when her parents and herself moved in during May 1966, they learnt that the pub had a reputation of being haunted and one of the old regulars claimed he saw one man down the remains of his pint and walk through the wall. Little notice was taken of this report until she saw the face of a very old man peering through a `square glass window set in at eye-level in the old door`.
The time was 10.30 p.m. and all the customers had gone and the door locked so when the young girl went to `tell the old gent that he was too late` but found him gone, she was puzzled. She returned to wash up some more glasses and on turning back to the door saw the face of the old chap still peering at her. Mrs. Foster, the licensee's wife also saw the elderly gentleman and was as mystified as her daughter. Thinking it was, perhaps, a trick of the light, she moved the surrounding bottles, turned off and on all the lights and tried desperately to find a logical answer. A couple of customers who had remained in another bar were called upon in an attempt to explain the phenomena, but the face remained. One man ran outside, but finding no-one returned only to see the elderly features still peering at him through the glass. He fled into the night. For four nights this peculiar phenomena occurred and was noted by some nine witnesses. Concerning some of their signed statements, which I have seen, all seem to agree that the face that they saw was to quote Winifred Marshall 'that of an old man with a beard'and Ernie Groves of Theodore Close confirms this.
Most of the customers are convinced the mysterious figure is the ghost of ` one of the old customers who died some years ago` but he was - and remains friendly'. The only other phenomena experience was that of the inexplicable sound of footsteps heard by Mr. and Mrs. Foster one Sunday afternoon in 1975.
Another unusual incident occurred in 1970. On undressing for bed one night, the daughter noticed that her pet whippet was staring at something on the other side of the room and when she turned round the girl ` encountered a fairly large blue shape` confronting her. She dived under the bed clothes until hearing her mother ask why she was walking around the landing. She assured Mrs. Foster that far from walking outside her room, she had been shivering with fright under the bedclothes. Later she wondered if the object she had seen was a ball of lightening but realise that the weather 'had not been conductive to the build up of static electricity'. The incident remains unexplained, though Mrs. Gladys Edwards, a former licensee feels that the 'face at the window'is definitely that of William Parker. This gentleman 'a servant man who used the Inn years ago` was in the service of the Turton Family of Brades Hall. One night returning home from `supping a couple of pints` he was killed when a chimney fell on him. Top

Near Great Malvern
Hereford and Worcester

Known locally as 'Mrs. Dee's Rock', a small spur of the Malvern Hills, is fully accepted by many residents as 'a haunted spot'. Animals, especially dogs, are loathed to remain in the area and the occasional evening walker is puzzled to see the 'vague shape of a woman'sitting on a large rock with her head resting on her hands. A soon as they approach the misty figure disappears. The stone is some distance from a farm cottage which at one time was associated with the original Mrs. Dee. Legend has it that her husband mistreated her, and when on her death bed, she threatened to return and haunt him if he was cruel to their 13 year old daughter. Within a few months of the death Mrs. Dee, however, the man was unable to control his violent moods and made the girl's life misery. Intending to drown herself she ran to a nearby pond but the ghost of her mother rose from the centre of the water and `with outstretched arms` scared the youngster so much that she ran home, only to find the wrath of Mrs. Dee had been haunting the cottage at the same time. The mother continued to make her appearances for some months, frightening farm workers and the family so much that a priest was called for from Malvern Court to exorcise the disturbed soul. However, Mrs. Dee seems to have returned. Top

Coventry Street
Hereford and Worcester

There are at least six witnesses to the ghost of a middle aged woman seen here since 1974. Mrs. Fred Holloway glanced towards the end of the bar whilst serving one evening and saw the figure of a middle-aged female clothed in a white dress, the design of which suggested the late nineteenth century. 'As I looked at her', Freda said, 'the lady vanished', Mrs. Holloway saw the phantom again on two separate occasions. A customer whose mother was born in the pub stated that the ghost had been seen then, some 60 years earlier, but the apparition was clearly wearing a white apron, not a dress, though the description was similar to that seen in the 1970`s. During 1974 two other customers also saw the ghost sitting at the bar, but `only for about half a minute. She simply faded away`. Top

The Blackcountry, West Midlands
Castle Road

It would be disappointing if a castle such as this, which was included in the Doomsday Book and has had a long chequered history, was not haunted. In 1934 Mr. T. Bloomer of Dudley reported seeing. ` two elderly people come round from the keep dressed in either seventeenth or eighteenth century clothes. They were walking arm-in-arm and the man held a crooked walking stick. and wore a very tall hat. They went straight past and up into the keep. I followed them, but there was know-one there.`
On a number of occasions the inexplicable sound of the clash of steel has been heard, and human-like mummurings` have been reported, but officials of the Dudley Zoological Society, which is house within the walls of the castle, claim that such incidents can be attributed to the animals. They also state that the most recent occurrence in 1977 actually was the sighting of one of their white peacocks, but, surely the witness, a 19 year old working in the restaurant, would know the difference between an albino bird and `the shape of a woman in a white gown`, which is what he reported to the police. And a peacock would not, I'm sure, produce the fright from which the youngster suffered, and it could hardly be responsible for the `weird noises` which accompanied the human-shape figure. The police were impressed enough to visit the zoo and the castle to `check` out the report` and they don't normally waste their time. Top

Gloucestershire, Midlands
Church Street

In 1974 hopes of finding the cause for mysterious footsteps walking along an upstairs corridor were raised when it was decided to remove an old wall at the top of the building. The wall faced a stairway the site of the inexplicable noise of someone unseen walking slowly, but boldly, until reaching the brick work. On demolishing the wall, a small room was revealed, full only of musty cobwebs and two history books of England dated 1820. This discovery has in no way affected the invisible walker who continues his evening stroll towards the rear of the building. Weird tapping noises also continue to be heard above the ceiling of the bathroom, suggesting that there is even more to be revealed. Top


'A massive Dominican priory complex built in 1239 with a church, and east and south cloister range and a study dormer'is how the Department of the Environment describe this ruin open to the public only in August, 1979. In 1530 the partially destroyed buildings were purchased by a Mr. Bell who turned then into a cloth and cap factory. This resulted in the construction of individual houses being actually incorporated into the structure of the priory and some of these house are still private residences.
Whilst restoration work has been carried out during the last ten years, a previous unknown 'dungeon'or immurement cell was discovered which contained the ancient skeleton of a young child, It is this fact that witnesses seem somehow to associate with the sightings of the figure of a monk in a black habit, a survivor perhaps of the Blackfriars. Although the Department of the Environment cannot obviously substantiate stories of the hunting, certain workers commented on hut doors `mysteriously locking themselves` and one or two of the work force reported seeing the monk near the site of the underground room. Top


In M June, 1976 came the announcement that this 730 acre estate had been purchased as a new home for Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips. There was no announcement, except in the Daily Express, however, that the road in which the main gates to the estate lie is genuinely haunted by a headless dog nearly the size of a labrador. Joe Hattersall, a local expert in folklore, who lives near the entrance to the mansion is quoted as saying `I've seen it four times. It moves fast and silently, then brushes up against you, and one doesn't hand about when it happens`. Another witness to the unusually frightening incident was Fred Webb who saw it when driving down the road. It sounds like the sort of story perpetuated by estate managers or game wardens to scare away poachers but, in this instance, both witnesses are sound and reliable local residents. The case is even more peculiar due to the fact that the dog has been seen on four occasions by one of the witnesses. Top

Market Square

During by brief but enjoyable visit to the town a few years ago I learnt that the ` Kings Arms` Hotel, a 500 year old Posting House which has so perfectly preserved its character and tradition, contained a ghost. Unfortunately, not that of King Charles I who stayed there on 8 May 1645, but an old lady who sits in the lounge. It was, therefore with considerable interest that I received a letter from Mr. S. Hemmingway of Chester-le-Street, via a fellow researcher for it described his experience in the hotel in July, 1962. He, his wife and two friends had decided to break their journey to Torquay by staying a night in the hotel and departing early the following morning. Shortly after they arrived they went for a short walk and returned for dinner some ten minutes before it was served at 7. p.m. As they were about to enter the lounge, 'A small boy of about seven year old darted in front of me', said Mr. Hemmingway, 'and I followed to see what the room was like. The lounge was fitted with old fashioned furniture and fittings in keeping with the rest of the hotel, except of course for a television set against the wall. It was this that had attracted the youngster`.
`The only other person in the room was an old lady sitting on a large armchair near the window opposite the doorway in which I was standing. She was dressed in black and had lovely grey hair, made up on top of her head, and a chain with a pendant was round her neck. she seemed to be looking at me, but the lad was, understandably, too interested in the film to take any notice of us.` Mr. Hemmingway withdrew, closing the door behind him with the intention of asking his wife to come into the lounge. `Where we could keep the old lady company`. My wife agreed and she went through the doorway first and as I followed I noticed with astonishment that the only other occupant of the room was the boy. The old woman could not have come out of the room without me seeing her, for I was standing in the hallway, in front of the door. He made no comment about the incident until halfway through dinner when the experience was related amidst much laughter and scorn. About 9.30 p.m., with no-one having bothered to switch out the lights, a waitress was summoned for a round of drinks. As she entered the room she asked, `what's the matter with the lights, Has the old lady switched then off again?` This comment, naturally provoked enquiry.
The information given was that there had been a legend about the haunting for some time, but as far as was known the only witness had been the proprietess of the hotel herself. The guests learnt that there had been one or two incidents of poltergeist activity in which electric fires had been switched on and off and doors opened of there own accord. In the letter, Mr. Hemmingway confirmed that, at the time he saw the figure of the old woman, he, `Did not think for one moment that he was looking at anything other than a human. The experience was in know way frightening. She was the sort of lady anyone would wish one's mother to look like. Top

High Street
Compton Abdale

One more than one occasion the figure of a man `in dark clothes` seated on a horse has been silently riding away from the driveway of this old coaching inn, claimed to date from the thirteenth century. More often are heard inexplicable footsteps and weird scuffling noises in one of the rooms over the main doorway. Both phenomena are thought to be connected with the story of a highwayman who, having been shot, returned here for sanctuary, but his wounds proved fatal and he died during the night. Top


Although the village of Prestbury once challenged Pluckley as being the ` most haunted village in England`, the only modern ` available` ghost is that which frequents this road. The phantom is that of the faint outline of a rider ` looking like a Cavalier` on a white stallion, though usually the haunting is merely the sound of a horses` hooves. These are heard during spring mornings and are thought to be those made by a messenger to the Royalist during the Battle of Tewkesbury seven miles away. Top


Despite its history of royal attachments dating from the twelfth century, Katherine Parr being a resident here at one time, the only known ghost who remains is that of a former housekeeper known as `Janet`. A former secretary to the owner saw the woman in a mop cap, a white blouse, a long skirt in faded pink and white cotton which reached to her ankles and black shoes, gently moving about the ` needlework bedroom`. She has also been seen standing in the main bedroom and coming out of the Rupert Room, by a number of visitors. Early in 1975, two of the first tourists of the season saw the apparition in the main bedroom. `Janet` once lived in a cottage in Rushley Lane and was deeply devoted to the castle. `She would have been heartbroken to leave it`. I was assured. Top

High Street

I was delighted to be allowed to sleep in the haunted bedroom here where, I was assured by the owner Mr. Diglang, that some guests had seen ` the vague figure of a woman dressed in a long white gown. She has been witnessed on several occasions but disappears on reaching the doorway`. Another ghost seen only a couple of times is that of a black labrador that stands on the main staircase landing. Described as ` probably the best building in Tewkesbury` by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings, it was constructed in 1540, became the Court of Justice and, some year later, the Reverend Samuel Jones formed an Academy here. Top

Leicestshire, The Midlands
High Street
Newton Burgoland

Sudden inexplicable drop in temperature near the original site of the fireplace and two unusual `feelings` have been experienced here on many occasions. The unpleasant sense of being suffocated by an unseen hand has been encountered, not only by customers but a relative of the landlord. 'Something jumping on the bed'was also reported by members of the landlord's family when using a particular bedroom. Top


According to tradition this little pub was built on the site of an ancient monastery equipped with a 30 feet deep well. During the last 20 years the ghostly figure of a hunchback has been seen occasionally by residents near the bricked up well in the yard. Mrs. Bradbury, wife of the licensee in 1971, said that she too had witnessed the phantom, usually late in the evening just before locking up. Top

Northamptonshire, The Midlands
Abington Street

Lighting problems, the movement of a beer barrel, a mysterious mist and rattling doors were earlier manifestations of a poltergeist nature experienced here. But a few years ago one of the licencees, on entering his bedroom, saw the figure of a man accompanied by a large dog. Assuming that the visitor was a potential thief he told him to , `Get out of here. Who are you? Upon which both figure vanished. Terry Canning a more recent licensee told me that after an investigation from local `psychic research group` during which they saw a peculiar flickering light in the cellar and an unusual shadow, he heard the sound of a baby crying. This would not be unusual except for the fact that the hotel was empty on both occasions and his own child was fast asleep. In 1892 Andrew McRae, a former owner of the building, was sentenced to death for killing his mistress and their baby . Top


A few years ago whilst decorating a bedroom of this fifteenth century yeoman farmhouse the owners discovered some ancient wall paintings with a strong religious motif. The assumption is that it was used as a form of refuge from religious persecution and could have been a private chapel for there is a tunnel leading from the house to the local church. More than once visitors and friends whilst walking in the grounds, have witnessed the ghost of a woman in a `bluish gown` who seems to be looking for something. Legend has it that she is a mother searching for her child but no actual facts are known about the haunting. During a party a few years ago one of the guests glanced at another member of the group who was talking to a `strange looking fellow`. A few minutes later the woman, suddenly became ill and nearly fainted. On enquiry she admitted that the man she had been talking to `suddenly disappeared - just vanished `in front of her. She had been puzzled by the fact that he never said anything at all. Only the host recognised the figure of the man. He was, in fact portrayed in an old family painting in another part of the building and had been dead for over 150 years. Top

Few travellers cross the M1 from Hartwell to Salcey Forest and on to the A50, but a couple of occasions in the last few years picnickers and walkers among the woods have heard the disturbing sound of an invisible coach and horses careering through the trees. The local legend is that there used to be a phantom monk as well as the ghost of Nell Gwynne, who frequents the site of the manor house. Top

Midland Road

Although this building was only constructed in 1935 the phantom that haunts it is, it seems, well authenticated and has been witnessed by many people. As usual it is difficult to identify. Some believe, somewhat irrationally, that it is of someone buried on the site, which was originally the graveyard of a Congregational Chapel. Other state that it is the ghost of a manager who got into financial difficulties and hung himself. Even more illogical is another tale concerning a soldier who was killed in the first world war but who lived in a cottage on part of the original site. Descriptions differ only slightly. Mrs. West saw it as, `A white shadow which moved from one side of the foyer balcony to another and then vanished`. Mrs. Mansfield who told the 'Evening Telegraph' of her experience in 1969, said that she saw it as `a white face` on two occasions in the same locality. In 1971 one or two customers whilst playing bingo were distracted from the fervour of the game by seeing the same `white shape flit across the balcony`. A few days later, night cleaners reported `weird and inexplicable tapping somewhere on the balcony`, an ideal site from which to hang oneself surely? Top

High Street

Many years ago a landlord here killed himself by jumping from an upstairs window and ever since, though infrequently, visitors and a member of the staff have felt something brush past them on the stairs. Centre of `a disturbing atmosphere` is bedroom ` where few people are able to enjoy a full night's sleep and Joan Forman, a fellow writer, found it to be `curious, restless with disturbing quality`. Top

Near Oundle

This fourteenth century Manor house, owned by the Capron family, is thought to house the burial certificate of Queen Mary, for the family were Catholic during the Elizabethan times and were closely associated with nearby Fotheringay and the support for the Scottish queen. The ghost of a woman was seen in the chapel by Miss Capron fairly recently and described as a tall, slim woman wearing a dark grey or blue dress with a collar pointed at the back. She walked to the alter, where she stood for a second or so and then moved through the Priests` Room and to a staircase where she vanished. Joan Forman in her 'Haunted East Anglia' tells of her visit to another haunted site, that of the Oak Room, where the phantom of a child has been witnessed. Top



There are very few witnesses to the ghost that haunts this hotel but several guests have commented, or complained about, `peculiar wailing`, or `a woman sobbing` in a bedroom known to be empty at the time. One gentleman was also slightly disturbed to hear footsteps walk past him in an upstairs corridor, though there was nothing to see. The only description of the phantom is that supplied by a guest standing by the reception counter one evening. Because she was intrigued by the clothing of the woman, she enquired as to her identity and was astonished to learn that the hotel was empty that night. `The figure was wearing a fawn-coloured dress with what looked like a white blouse and small cap. There was also a dainty apron on the front of the long dress and I thought at first she might be a maid in a weird uniform. The ghost has also been observed looking down into the yard from a window on the landing. Top

Nottinghamshire, The Midlands
Fanum House
484 Derby Road

Although some 3000 motorists and travellers visit these offices during each summer, the apparition had only been seen on six occasions during the last ten years. It is hardly surprising for it is only seen at night, usually at about one in the morning. Definite inexplicable footsteps have been heard on the first floor by the majority of the night staff and sometimes an unusual crashing sound is heard for which there is no apparent cause. I spoke to an AA official whilst participating in the BBC Radio Programme `Late Night Extra` a couple of years ago and he confirmed that he had seen the figure of a man in a dark grey suit in an upstairs office, only a few week earlier. The phantom has been recognised as the area supervisor who suddenly collapsed and died in his office at 5.30 p.m. Apparently he had been working for too many hours without a break and his heart failed. Top

Bridlesmith Gate

According to the local paper 'Guardian Journal' in February 1971 poltergeist activity was experienced here for some months and then, as usual. stopped as mysteriously as it started. Shortly afterwards however, Brian Palmer, the manager at the time went to lock the basement one evening and saw apparently sitting at one of the tables a man 'wearing a Quaker costume with a dark coat and a large hat'. Slightly disturbing though was that the face seemed to have no features 'It was just an oval mist'. Other members of the staff and a few late customers have commented on the footsteps which they hear walking towards a particular table. The basement room was only discovered in 1969 when the building was being renovated and is thought to be connected with nearby ancient caves. Top

Wilford Road

Considering the fact that some parapsychologists think that ghosts are a form of electricity it is not really surprising that electric generating plants maybe associated with phantoms. There is one station, at Roundshaw in Croydon, in which the sounds of children` voices have been heard, and also this building in Nottingham where a figure of a man has been seen. Described by Sam Pykett who witnessed the apparition in November, 1967, it appears as `a little fellow wearing a check shirt, a blue bib overall and a cap. I also remember that he had widest eyes and rather thick lips`. Sam continues, `I was on the 10 p.m. shift and had just shut down the pumps in the Screen Room, where the water from the river is filtered and pumped through to cool the turbines, when I thought I heard something. I couldn't see anything so I went on clearing up the leaves away from the screens when suddenly, standing by the door there was a figure. It smiled turned and went through the closed door. It was all over in about five seconds. Just then I realised how cold I had become. It was icy. So factual was the incident that Sam entered it in the daily report sheet and told the foreman, Senior members of the maintenance team interviewed him, feeling perhaps that he was overwrought. He convinced the officials but was surprised when one of them, having heard the description of the apparition again said `That's old George. He used to work here but he's been dead for some years`. He had worked at the power station for some 25 years and was doing the same job that Sam was carrying out.
This was not the only appearance of `Old George`, however, for he was seen by another of the team on afternoon shift in the Turbine Room, But this time the apparition, in an overall, walked behind a pillar and vanished. Most recently other workers have commented on occasionally seeing the figures of 'a little chap wearing a check shirt'in the same area but, 'it or rather he doesn't worry us. He doesn't stay long enough'.Top

High Street
East Retford
One evening during 1975 a cleaner working in the empty Town Hall was startled to see the vague figure of someone in `a flowery hat, or perhaps a wig` bending over a desk in one of the committee rooms. She switched on the light and the apparition faded away. Some weeks later, the town clerk of East Retford was checking over some papers in the same room when he suddenly went `icy cold`. Glancing at his watch he realised that it was the exact time that the other member of the staff had witnessed the ghost. There have been tales of a former judge haunting the building for some years but these are the first recent incidents which strengthened the belief. Both these recent witnesses were so convinced of the authenticity of the phenomena that they reported the case to the BBC radio programme `Down Your Way` during a visit in 1978. Top

Wilford Road

When research into phenomena is called for, librarians and fellow investigators often prove to be valuable. Such is the case here for Colin Smith, of the Midland Association of Ghost Hunters, and Mr. G. Denison, the local librarian were responsible for kindly providing information concerning the haunting of the Ambulance Station and the nearby power station at North Wilford. As recently as November 1973, two of the ambulance men witnessed the ghost of ` A little chap who walked into the toilet, but there was no -one there when I went in to check`. Dave Hatton, another member of the team reported, `We were on nights and I was in the cab of the ambulance. I was suddenly aware of a black shadow moving at the side of me and, thinking it was my mate, began talking about one of the incidents that had happened earlier in the day. When he didn't answer I jumped out to see where he'd gone but he was in the telephone room and had never left it`. Odd noises of doors closing by themselves and unusual footsteps having been heard confirm, at least to the ambulance men, that their 18 year station also houses a ghost. Top

Staffordshire, The Midlands
Near Rugeley

At one time even recently, no less than five ghosts haunted this magnificent Elizabethan manor. Now it appears that the main 'Grey Lady of Blithfield' has ceased her visitations, having last been seen in September, 1970 and the `creepy wailing` which was once heard at the site of a well in the garden has not been reported for many years. Another unseen phantom is that which still creates the sound of 'rustling skirts` or even a priests robes. The noise is heard most frequently at approximately 11.20 p.m. along the lower gallery. First seen in 1973 was another unknown but visible apparition, standing in the main drawing room. It was three o'clock in the afternoon when a cleaner entered the room to see a man dressed in dark clothing staring at the floor. He was also idly rubbing an unusual ring on a finger of his left hand, but 'faded away' as he was approached. The other ghost is that of a woman 'with a long frock, with what looks like a grey mackintosh over it and a flat straw bonnet', who walks near some azalea bushes in the eastern sector of the garden. Top

Uttoxeter Road
Stoke on Trent

One of the custodians here told Julian Dunn of BBC Radio 2, in 1978 that up to a few weeks earlier he had dismissed the idea of ghost as `ridiculous`. But one evening, about 5.45, he was checking through the building to make sure no visitors had accidentally been locked in, when he noticed the figure of an old man near one of the benches. 'He was grey-haired with side whiskers and wearing a short brown coat, like a smock. I called out to him, pointing out that we were closed and he faded away. I found it hard to believe what I had seen'. Later, however, the official checked with other members of the staff and learnt that some of them has also seen the phantom. Even a late visitor pointed out that 'there's an old chap still in there'. When he left the building, but nothing was found. The first witness believes that the old gentleman is one of the former pottery craftsmen who originally worked in the early Victorian Potbank in which the museum is housed. Top

(Thorn Automation)

The first major book written about the well-known prisoner of war camp 'Colditz'featured in a very popular television feature, was dedicated to Colonel Gut German D.S.O., T.D. His wife Rosemary German, is but one of the many witnesses to the ghost of a little grey lady who haunts this 130 year old building which now forms a drawing office within the large complex owned by Thorn Automation. In 1975, Colin Smith of Birmingham received a fascinating letter from a former resident of he house, Mr. Thomas H. Gardner of Wolseley Bridge in which he provides a wealth of information, and kind permission to publish the details. The house, set in 32 acres of fields, and a magnificent garden with two streams, was his mother's pride and with the warmth and friendliness of the staff, the whole environment provided ` a very happy start to life` for Thomas and his two brothers. The family moved there in 1921 and only departed in 1935 on the death of Mr. Gardner senior. It was during this time that Rosemary German witnessed the ghost. She had been invited to stay at Ravenhill for a few nights and one evening, just before dinner, as the Gardners were walking down the stairs, Rosemary came rushing up to them. She was flustered and explained that she thought that she had been the only guest. On entering the drawing room and finding an `elderly lady sitting by the fireside` she realised that she was not alone and, because of convention would need to be introduced in the proper manner. The Gardners were puzzled and denied any knowledge of the unknown visitor and there was no further sign of the old woman when the three entered the room. However, Mrs. Gardner had to admit that she had seen the phantom herself in the same room, some time earlier, as had the governess, Miss Gallivan. Thomas's younger brother when `about seven years old` and sharing the night nursery suddenly woke his brothers having been scared by a peculiar incident. From a small space between the wardrobe and the wall, dimly illuminated by the passage night light shining through the half open door, he had seen a folded umbrella being slowly raised and pointed by an extended bare arm in the direction of the windows on the opposite side of the room. Was this a nightmare? Perhaps, but the lad never forgot the experience and still feels that it was in some way connected with the `elderly lady`. There were also tales of a ghostly coach and pair having been seen on the drive, but none of the Gardners ever saw it.
The letter from Mr. Gardner was in response to a report from a member of Thorn Automation that he had been surprised to see one evening, when he was working late, the figure of , `An old woman sitting in one of the offices near a sealed up fireplace`. On entering the room to enquire as to the identity of the unknown visitor the apparition `just vanished`. Top

Vicarage Road
Penn Common

In December, 1972, Harold Irwin confirmed that his pub was definitely haunted. `We are happy family` he said, `my wife, children and myself, and a lady in white`. The lady he referred to was the ghost seen by his daughter, Christine, sitting on a beer barrel in a corner of the bar lounge. The fact that several customers have also witnessed the lady strengthened the claim. She is seen to be wearing a demure Victorian gown, rather out of place perhaps under the circumstances, but nevertheless her appearance is fitting for, according to the local belief, she is the wife of a vicar who was keen on `nipping out for a pint between sermons`. But the vicar and his wife in this case must be rather eccentric characters for in the strict moral environment of Victorian prudery, a lady to be seen in a bar was `really beyond the pale` and to be accompanied by a clergyman must have caused a lot of embarrassment. Why the lady haunts the place is a mystery but as she did in life so in death one assumes, though what happened to the vicar, one wonders? Top

This Norman motte which was built on foundations of a Saxon fort built by the daughter of Alfred the Great, but now, under the control of the Weal Corporation, houses a fascinating banquet hall and the ghost of a woman. She is occasionally witnessed on the narrow, rather gloomy, staircase leading to the Tower Room and in the room itself. Strange moans and indistinguishable `whisperings` have been heard and recorded. The phantom appears as `the vague shape of a woman in a white dress and dark grey shoes`. There are also reports that she is seen in a nearby meadow. Top

Wawickshire, Midlands
Near Rugby

Wine and Dine in the Phantom Coach Restaurant` is the recommendation of the owners of this haunted hotel, for the phantom and associated `ghostly happenings` have occurred so frequently that the staff now fully accept the phenomena as 'just one of those things` Legend has it that in time of Elizabeth I', a one-armed ancestor of the family known as 'One Handed Boughton'used to drive round his estate quite capably in a coach and six . For some unknown reason when he died the multiple apparition of his coach with six horses and the old man continued. In 1755 the family decided to rid the property of the `frightening apparition` and called on the services of a vast team of clergymen to carry out an exorcism. The service was, apparently only temporarily successful. One of the weird rite carried out by the Rector of Harborough Magna one of the participants, was to persuade 'the spirit to enter a bottle which was quickly sealed and thrown into a lake in the grounds'.
In the 1880`s the container was discovered by a fisherman and returned to the family, And of course rumours restarted that footsteps were being heard and the sound of horses hooves `clomping over the fields from Lawford Hall` Nevertheless, the bottle itself was still to be seen in 1964 in a cupboard when Browsover Hall was used as the head office of the diesel engine division of English Electric Group of companies. When they left the bottle taken by Mrs. Boughton - Leigh a survivor of the original family, back to her house at Lawford Hall. In 1939, Sir Frank Whittle . father of the modern jet engine, set up a research establishment in the hall, but the introduction of modern science in the ancient walls had no effect on the haunting. Night watchmen from nearby Lutterworth and Whetstone constantly heard footsteps and the sound of voices when the building was empty. On one occasion a night cleaner swore that he heard talking and groaning coming from the tower which still forms an integral portion of the house. Mr. Nairn, a nigh watchman at the hall refused to accept that the place was haunted, attributing the noises to the scrabbling of jackdaws in the chimney. His wife however was convinced of the existence of the ghost. Confirming Mrs. Nairns belief is the statement of another watchman, Mr. Dunkley. He had been sitting in the hall one night when he suddenly heard hoofbeats and the sound of wheels on the drive. On opening the front door to see who or what was calling, his dog Judy, who accompanied him, snarled, bristled and fled. The drive was empty. Many other members of the staff have seen and heard examples of the haunting John Flavell an ex-Guardsman, felt something unseen brush past him and later heard the sound of a chair scraping on the floor of the empty conference room. Mr. Prestidge, heard footsteps and the sound of horses on the drive and those sounds can still be experienced. Top


Church Lawford

Instead of using the motorway linking Rugby to Coventry, drive on this former main route between the two towns and one is likely, at Church Lawford, in the evenings to see a large lorry with dim headlights coming straight at you on the wrong side of the road. Brake and pull up if you must, but fear not, for this vehicle is a phantom and will continue its silent journey. Turn round and it will have vanished. Several unfortunate motorists have over-compensated and driven into a ditch or spun the wheel to the right and hit a real vehicle. Top

Stratford - on- Avon

Inexplicable footsteps walking along an empty corridor in the early hours, invisible material stroked over the face of a guest in a bedroom and the phantom lady in white have all been experienced in this ancient manor house. The lady, wearing a long gown know as 'Lady Emma'has been witnessed walking along the cloister-like terrace beside the arched entrance and by one of the staff in 1975 when she was seen to vanish on reaching the wall. `She was a very old lady` I was told, `and was gliding along the hallway. When she reached the wall it seemed as if she melted into it`. Top

Mill Street
Sutton Coldfield

There are not many serious ghost hunters in the country, but one does spend a lot of time in this sometimes exciting occupation is Colin Smith, founder of the Midlands Association of Ghost Hunters and Author of 'The Haunted Midlands'. A recent case that he investigated was that affecting the Gate Inn which he believes is at least 163 years old. `It could have been a toll house before then` he told me. One of the celebrities who joined Colin in a ghost hunt in March 1975, later reported by Chris Bohn in the 'Sutton and Erdington News', was the well-known guitarist Bert Weedon, accompanied by his wife Margaret. The ghost was first seen by Mrs. Val Bevan, the licensee's wife at 8.30 one morning. 'I turned round think my husband had walked in` she said, ` but saw instead the figure of a man dressed like a cavalier. He stood there for a about 10 seconds and then just faded away. It didn't frighten me at all`. Two people have had some unusual experiences whilst in toilets. One, a man thought he heard someone knocking on the door but found no-one outside, and the other victim, a lady, saw the bolt slide back of its own accord and the door open. A former landlady, Mrs. Gough, told Mr. Smith that her son Paul used to enquire about a man who often entered his bedroom. `He is such a nice man, bigger than daddy, with a read cloak`. Paul was nine years old at the time.
Colin himself carried out a long wait for the phantom to appear and, incredibly, between 4 and 5 in the morning both he and Mrs. Bevan saw 'a hazy, human form about six feet from the table. It didn't move, just stayed there for about 15 - 20 seconds'. He stressed that neither he nor his colleague had anything to drink during their vigil. It was interesting to learn that when Margaret Weedon a complete stranger to Sutton Coldfield, walked into the pub she went straight to the door where the phantom had been seen and said `I suddenly became very cold`, suggesting that she too is sensitive to vibrations`. Top


Long Compton

Late in 1879 James Haywood, a farm worker, was accused of killing Anne Tennant an 80 year old woman because he said 'She had bewitched me and there are 16 other witches in the same area who deserve the same fate'. The murderer was brought before Baron Bramwell at Warwick Assizes in January 1880 and found insane and unfit to plead. Within a stones throw of the site of the murder at Harrow Hill lies Lower Quinton where in 1945 7.5 year old Charles Walton was slain by a pitch fork, the ancient method of disposing of witches. This murder was never solved though the police superintendent at the time had suspicions. A few miles away at Westwood Common, Nanny Morgan, another old woman with a reputation of being a witch, was killed by an eel spear in 1875 by William Davies. It seems that Harrow Hill and its environs is really a centre for witchcraft especially as the nearby ancient monument of the Rollright Stones was the site of 'black mass'held by a group seen to be practising 'disgusting rituals'in 1949. At nine o'clock one morning in November of that year two furniture delivery men arrived to unload a purchase of goods to a house nearby and stopped in a lay-by near the bottom of the hill for 'a quick cuppa'.
Suddenly the `tatty figure of a hideous looking old woman, at least 70 year old with grey matted hair and filthy old black shawl` mysteriously appeared in front of the van. As she glided past the vehicle, both men watched, wondering where she had come from. They were so puzzled as to her inexplicable arrival that they got out of the van intending to see where the old woman was going to, but, according to the foreman, ` she had vanished. The road was empty`. Was she one wonders, the ghost of Anne Tennant, known to be of Romany stock and who had a dislike of washing? Mrs. Downes of Long Compton confirms in a letter that `The ghost of an old woman has confronted villagers several times` , she believes it to be the ghost of poor old Annie. In a fascinating article in the monthly magazine 'Alpha' of July 1979 Dr G.V. Robins provides proof of the existence of some pulsating forces emanating from the group of Rollright Stones. Might this be the catalyst that enable witnesses to see ghosts? Top


One evening in 1976 a couple were walking past this ruined Elizabethan mansion standing in the middle of the village when the woman suddenly stopped and said ` Who's That?`. A few yards away was the figure of a lady in a black silk dress and ` a white apron down to her knees`. The husband, unable to see the apparition or at least he said he was, tried to reassure his wife, when the ghost suddenly disappeared. Unbeknown to each other was the fact that the lady with the silk dress has been seen several times, on so many occasions that timid villagers are reluctant to go anywhere near the old buildings. Mr. J. Moore of Harshill, on being interviewed by the local 'Chronicle' stated that his family had lived in the `castle` for over two hundred years but now in such a state of disrepair it is used merely as a store in connection with a small holding. When his younger brother saw the ghostly figure some years ago he appealed to `The Bishop to carry out an exorcism`, but this was never carried out. `She would come so close that she almost brushed by and you could hear the rustle of her dress`. Over 50 years ago Mr. Moore`s grandfather discovered a subterranean passage leading from the building to nearby Merevale Hall and his mother told him that there was a skeleton in the tunnel, the remains of the last man who tried to walk the passage. Or could it be the phantom female is connected with the skeleton in some way?. Top

Church Lane

Whilst attending a conference on the subject of poltergeist phenomena at Offchurch in September 1979, I learnt that the church at Ilmington is haunted by a former parish clerk. He has been seen `about half a dozen times in the last few years, once by the verger`. I was also assured by a lady in the village that a friend of hers, whilst arranging flowers on the altar, had seen the figure of the middle-aged gentleman, Edward Golding, walking towards her. `As he got near me`, she said, ` he faded away as if one was turning off a television programme`. Top

Birmingham, Central Midlands
Stafford Street
West Midlands

Though nothing is seen here the 'presence' of a former director, Leon Salberg, is 'definitely felt'standing at the back of the stalls. More tangible is the sound of soft footsteps of a former wardrobe master who died in his office one night. The current wardrobe mistress is one of the members of the team who has heard the `gentleman pattering from over concrete to wood along a passage leading to the room where the old man was found`. The master always wore carpet slippers for some unknown reason and the floor which he still frequents has been carpeted for some time, yet the distinct change in tone is `very noticeable`. Top

Foundation Lane
West Midlands

Stories of a 'ghostly old woman'haunting this park near Birmingham Canal, have been in existence for about 50 years. They gained more credence and authenticity however, when Mrs. Heeley of Warley told a local research group that the figure of a 'very old woman'had suddenly appeared in front of the pram containing her four year old son. `As I moved the pram to walk past her, she just vanished`, she said. The apparition was wearing a long black dress and surprisingly, a red cape. She also had ` beautiful long black hair for her age`. The exact site of the appearance was on a pathway and a few yards from a narrow bridge. She is thought to be the phantom of `Queen Henty` a gypsy who was responsible for a Romany encampment in the park earlier this century. Top


In a report to Colin Smith, Mrs. Edna Jefferies relates another instance of a telepathic phantom image being seen within hours of the death of a friend. In 1966, when a nurse at Bromsgrove General Hospital she was waiting for a number 144 `bus to take her to work for the afternoon duty when she saw the figure of a friend of hers, John Bevan walking towards her. As it was some three years since they had actually met, she rather wondered whether he had recognised her. She smiled and greeted him, Hello John, what brings you to this neck of the woods?'. Edna was shocked at the response for John ignored her and continued to look straight ahead. 'Very intensely and never glanced at me. He looked terribly ill, and I called his name again'. The 'bus arrived and with great concern she boarded the vehicle and anxious to see her friend again she looked through the window but the road was empty'. No shops, no side road John had vanished'. Later that day when she came off duty she met another mutual friend and told him of seeing John Bevan and her concern over his appearance. She described the clothes accurately but was puzzled as to why she was asked the question concerning his appearance.
`The reason was that John Bevan died here two days ado`, she was told. This fact was confirmed by a visit to the hospital mortuary. Perhaps other travellers might have noticed a solitary man who looks` terribly ill walking towards the 144 `bus stop and then suddenly disappearing? If so don't be frightened. John Bevan if that is who it is was a kindly man. Top

Original BBC Studios
Pebble Mill Road

'One of the largest and most modern television centres in Europe`, was the boast of the BBC when this expensive broadcasting area was opened by Princess Anne in November 1971. They made no comment naturally that during its construction one of the builders had fallen from the scaffolding and been killed. But in July 1977, the whole incident was recalled dramatically when the play 'Ritual of Stifling Air' was being prepared. The producer, Michale Rolfe admitted that during the recording, strange and mysterious noises were heard and an extremely unpleasant atmosphere was experienced by many of the cast. This phenomena was not at first associated with the fatal accident which had occurred years earlier until on of the BBC employees admitted at a phone programme on another channel that the dead work man had been seen on numerous occasions by maintenance staff and security officers.
Although there have been many programmes produced by the BBC, both on radio and television dealing with the paranormal, 'Auntie Beeb' is, it seems, reluctant to publicise the fact that not only does it have a ghost here in Birmingham but also one in the Langham, nearly opposite the headquarters in London. However, the ghost which has been recognised as the victim of the fatal accident at Pebble Mill remains and one presumes will continues to haunt for some years yet. Top

Tyburn and Chester Roads
West Midlands

It is not always wise to include a case in a book of this nature if a haunting has only been witnessed by one person, but in certain cases there is a strong possibility that there are other witnesses who have reluctant to report their experience. Such is the haunting of a stone bench situation near Tyburn House. Quite recently, a nurse from Good Hope Hospital was returning home one Sunday afternoon, having spent a few quiet minutes resting on one of the benches, and turned round to check that she had left nothing on the seat. Sitting on the bench was a misty figure dressed is a long grey garment. It remained for some 20 seconds before fading away but he witness was unable to see where the apparition was male or female for the face was not revealed. A local researcher established that there were two events which occurred in the nearby area which could have created the ghost and the 'North Birmingham Times' published his report. One of the incidents was that of a murder in 1745. A drunken colonel of the Duke of Cumberland's Regiment, irate at the failures incurred at Flanders, and at the fact he had left his sword behind in the hostelry many miles away, grabbed a passing lad and demanded to know the way to a particular building. Unfortunately, the local was not only scared by the sight of the war weary troops and the screaming officer, but had a deformed mouth and was therefore unable to provide the information. The colonel, believing the man to be a spy, ordered that he should be decapitated. His body was tossed into the nearby Pype Hayes Park but the head was thrown into a tree at New Shipston. The skull was revealed when the tree was felled in the nineteenth century and the headless skeleton discovered a week later. The alternative suggestion as to the identity is that the ghost is of Mary Ashford who was murdered following a Whit Monday dance at the Tyburn Inn in 1817. A young farmer named Thornton was tried for the murder but acquitted, but the local populace believing in his guilt, hounded him to such a degree that he emigrated to America where he died. A rather interesting postscript is that Erdington CID borrowed the notes of this case, for another murder occurred of a young girl on Whit Monday 1974 and the man accused was named Thorton. He too was acquitted. Both characters lived in Pype Hayes. Top

Coventry Road
West Midlands

Close to the ground of Birmingham City Football Club n St. Andrews, one finds an imposing Victorian building housing a division of the local police force. For it has been unusual for officers of the law to reveal their interest in the paranormal, though some of the more advanced freely admit not that assistance provided by hypnotists and clairvoyants has proved valuable in the fight against crime. At last, realising that extra-sensory faculties do exist in certain people and phenomena is experienced some members of `the force` are beginning to release information themselves concerning haunted property.
One such instance is the station on the Coventry Road where, according to one senior officer who spoke to the 'Sunday Mercury ' in January 1978 `Doors would slam upstairs when there was no-one up there, and some of the men were none too keen to investigate the mysterious noises they heard`. The figure of a woman has also been seen in the building and from the description given, established as that of 'Hilda'a former cleaner who died some time ago. Top

West Midlands

Not often seen in the graveyard here is the `tall figure of a woman in a long green gown`. However, she was witnessed as recently as 1977 and is believed to be the ghost of a relative of a Royalist Officer buried in a mass grave after a battle during the Civil War. There are certainly a number of such graves in the area and even a rumour that there is a `hoard of buried treasure` in the locality. Top

West Midlands

Walking to wok at 8.15 in the morning on 28th September 1971, along Victoria Road were two friends. Mrs. Bagley and Mrs. Heath. They had reached the site of a former police station when they spotted a woman `in a green frilly gown, standing in the middle of the road`. Both witnesses were apprehensive for their `bus was approaching but when only a few feet from the mysterious phantom the green lady vanished. Months later Mrs. McFarlane, in exactly the same area but at 9.30 in the evening, was shocked to see a woman in a `Yellowish green dress suddenly appear at the kerbside, hurriedly cross the road and disappear as she reached the pavement on the other side.` Mrs. McFarlane feels the ghost may be that of an usherette from the Aston Cross Cinema who was killed whilst crossing the road some years ago. Top

Warley Park
Abbey Road
West Midlands

Despite numerous attempts by serious researchers to capture 'The Grey Lady of Warley'on film, the phantom here refuses to oblige, yet continues to be witnessed by the occasional evening visitor to the grounds when, at the time, they were thinking of `nothing in particular`. She is known to have appeared in the late 1950`s and in the early 1970`s and is seen as a tall woman wearing a grey coat. The most frequent area is that of the site of Warley Abbey constructed in the eighteenth century and demolished in the mid twentieth century. Some believe she is the phantom of a murdered heiress to the estate There is certainly some connection with the original building for she appears where the original front door was situated, walks along a pathway and vanishes. .Top

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