Down the years I have met many people who have expressed an interest in what is crudely described as ghost hunting. In the United States they prefer to call it `Paranormal activity`. An ex colleague George sent me a copy of his local newspaper, `The Ormskirk Advertiser, pointing out an article he thought I might find of interest. A local psychic Research group had spent an all night vigil` at various points around a field situated on the edge of the town where in I644 the battle of Ormskirk had taken place, this was the anniversary of the clash between Royalists and Parliamentarians. By the time dawn broke and the new day unfolded it was time to pack up and go home… the group was understandably disappointed because absolutely nothing materialized. The point is spirit is `spontaneous`, when you are watching and waiting, like the above group, nine times out of ten nothing will happen. On the other hand when you least expect it, Bingo it happens. I decided to take my partner Liliane who is also a Medium to Sunday lunch at a country inn just outside the town. I did not mention the battle of Ormskirk to her and in addition Liliane had no interest whatsoever regarding history. Later after lunch we went for a walk, I pulled up on the country lane which ran alongside the field were the battle had taken place centuries earlier. It was a beautiful sunny day and the site appeared to be deserted apart from the sounds of the birds in the surrounding hedgerow. Liliane and I walked through a gap were the gate should have been and proceed into the field… about a third of the way across Liliane stopped and said, `We are right in the middle of a battle`…she went on to describe the clothing they were wearing, the clashing of swords and pikes, the firing of flintlocks, the smell of gunpowder, ...horses crashing to the ground, screams of men in combat. So what was happening here? I believe this is what we call a blueprint, a hyper emotional situation such as the above battle, sometimes a suicide is another example…these are imprinted on the ether and at certain times will materialize. This is not to be confused with spiritual entities who return from time to time from this other dimension which interpenetrates our material world also it is not to be confused with hallucinations caused by drugs. Richard Wiseman`s book …`Why we see what isn`t there` he is right regarding hallucinations…but the rest i.e. genuine psychic perception etc he is totally wrong there is a positive explanation for this unfortunately Wiseman lumps them all together and throws the baby out with the bath water.
To move on …In my home which was built in I805, on a number of occasions all the framed pictures and mirrors on the walls were all perfectly straight when I went out. But on returning every one of them was tilted at an angle. No one was in at least not in the body, even Bella the cat was out on each time. On another occasion I was sitting up in bed reading, it must have been around midnight, when a little bell, which was on my desk in the corner of the room, began to ring… I looked round expecting to see an entity, but nothing materialized… and yet on another occasion someone had tied my shoe laces together rather like a daisy chain… there appeared to be no end to these inexplicable happinings. That is until I discovered that it was the spiritual entity of a little girl who had been the daughter of one of the employees. Almost all the houses in the area employed servants of one sort or another in a previous epoch. All the phenomena has since ceased… so it appears that little mischievous entity has moved on.
DANESFORD RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL in Congleton, Cheshire.
This establishment certainly had plenty of spooky goings on. Both staff and boys had experienced a raft of close encounters with their etheric counterparts. One night I heard a noise coming from the dormitory… I alerted my colleague in a neighbouring room and we proceeded to find out what all the commotion was about. The corridor was in semi darkness except for the occasional red light, when we arrived at the dormitory I switched on the lights …there was twelve boys in the `dorm` but we found three in one bed two in another and so on, everyone of them appeared to be genuinely terrified. `What on earth is going on here`? I shouted. A number of them were yelling about something crawling along the corridor towards the open door of the `dorm`, they said it was horrible. I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I glanced at my colleague, who was shaking his head… they were beginning to spook me; we of course, had to play the whole thing down. Someone or something had clearly frightened the entire dormitory, so my colleague Bill went up and down urging them to settle down otherwise we will have to bring over the deputy headmaster who was on duty that night… incidentally the deputy head frequently used a Ouija board according to hearsay but I never did find out what results, if any he received.
Out in the grounds was a memorial to a white horse… again both staff and boys have claimed to
have seen the phantom white horse... unfortunately I never did, those who saw it said, `it appeared
to be galloping a couple of feet above the ground.
When I first came to the school, I was in one of four student rooms on the top floor, I remember this
particular incident … it was a Friday evening and the other trainees had gone home for the weekend so I was on my own that night or so I thought, above the bedhead was what I call a pully light I switched it off and fell asleep. Soon after I awoke ,all the lights were back on, even the heater which I had also switched off…there was also I loud bang on the door, I jumped out of bed and flung open the door and stepped into hall landing, no sign of anyone ,not even the sound of footsteps…on the stairs to my right. At the other end of the landing was an open door leading to a hall that apparently was hardly ever used. However, I did feel a considerably drop in temperature outside of my door, I quickly went back inside closed and locked it, switched everything off and went back to sleep, no more incidents occurred that night.
THE GHOST OF THE GREY LADY.
I don’t know how many ghosts of Grey ladies there are in England or the rest of the U.K. for that matter but Danesford school had its own resident Grey lady ghost. A female supervisor, who among other things organised courses for trainee staff had a flat on the ground floor otherwise known as the oval room, this was situated at the foot of the rear staircase, of which there was two. Legend had it… that late around midnight, the ghost of the grey lady would descend from the top floor, come down to the middle floor, then continue down the final flight and enter the oval room on the ground floor. The supervisor told me that one night she had been to see a colleague on the top floor and was making her way back to her flat… she looked over the stair rail and there was a figure in old fashioned clothes, she appeared to be gliding rather than walking… I was close enough to hear the sound of her long dress as she moved quickly down the steps. More intrigued than frightened she followed the figure to the ground floor who then walked through her flat door… the supervisor by now had reached the door of the oval room turned the key and threw open the door, the figure was walking across the living room and then…disappeared through the wall . This then was the account of the supervisors pursuit of the Danesford Grey lady. Also within the school grounds were hostels, one of which was called `Westholm and was run by a chap called Stuart and his American born wife Margret. It seems that the Grey Lady did not confine her nocturnal ramblings to the main building. Margret told me that in the early hours of one particular morning she got up to go the bathroom (Americans always go the bathroom) and was crossing the hall when she to peered down the staircase and there walking or rather gliding, was a woman in old fashioned clothes`, going down the stairs (witness`s never see her coming up the stairs). Margret said, she stood rooted to the spot … she was such a long time her husband came out to see what had happened to her. He said, She (Margret) seemed to be transfixed. And so another witness to our gliding phantom. Still with Westholm, Chris another member of staff told me, Late one night He and the boys heard what sounded like someone dragging spades or shovels outside the ground floor window…we all heard it but we could not see anything, even when we projected some powerful lights onto the area. These are just some of the many close encounters with spectral apparitions of Danesford School. NOTE :All these accounts were given to me in I97O`s.Danesford today has new owners, new buildings have gone up changes have been made although some of the buildings I knew still stand, and who knows perhaps the apparitions are still there…remember the eastern aphorism…`All things must pass`.
A chap called Len got in touch with me and outlined the following story, He explained that his Mother in law lived with his family for the last few months of her life; she was mostly confined to the spare room upstairs which also had a TV. When she wanted anything she would bang on the floor with her walking stick and one or other of the family would attend to her needs. On this occasion it was two or three days after the mother in laws funeral, Len was sitting watching television together with his wife and teenage son and daughter. His wife first heard a noise and said what is it? Len pressed the mute button on the remote… the noise was repeated … it was coming from upstairs…and from the direction of the spare bedroom…it sounded just like the walking stick when his mother in law used to bang on the floor… we all froze and stared in disbelief at each other…there it is again said his son. Len stood up and reluctantly decided to go and take a look. All four members of the family crept up the stairs … Len quietly opened the door of the spare room… my heart was pounding at this point, wandering what it was…but… no noise…nothing ? Len informs me that it has happened a number of times since.
O ,I almost forgot this one. In one location Liliane and I lived in, we both saw a man in a bathchair (the forerunner of the wheelchair) going down the corridor then disappear altogether, we never saw him again, but we frequently heard him by the squeaky wheel of the bath chair cruising up and down the corridor. Also in the same house and the same corridor, we saw a thick mist, not unlike ectoplasm, on one occasion Liliane saw musical notes, such as treble clefs appear, nice one.