The Grey Lady of Whitby

The story that follows is a true account of an event that happened when I was at primary school in Whitby. It is also one of the first times I encountered the paranormal, if that is indeed what it was- read on & decide for yourselves!

Have a Happy Halloween!

Growing up in Whitby, one was never far away from the supernatural. The town is overcast by the Abbey ruins, Sea fret drops with little or no warning plunging locals and tourists alike into bleak obscurity, and the town and surrounding villages have more than their fair share of ghostly encounters.

The town is featured heavily in Bram Stoker’s novel, “Dracula” and consequently there is not a school boy or girl that does not know the quickest way to deal with a vampire. Should the undead beast rise from his grave and attempt to hold the town to siege we were ready!  And it was my school days that provide the backdrop to the true story that I will now tell.

I went to a primary school on the east side of Whitby between the late 70’s and early 80’s and it was in my final years that the Grey lady caused terror and mayhem, disrupting the natural order and running of the school.

The first I heard about her was towards the end of a lunchtime break. A girl in my class approached me  as I stood talking with some of my friends and asked me if I knew about the grey lady. I admitted I did not, and she immediately gave a very animated description of the ghost and what had happened earlier that morning.

Aside from being clothed in grey, dusty rags, the grey lady had another strong feature. Her hands and her bare feet were red with bloody sores. She was heard sobbing in the school assembly hall, behind the scenery panels of the stage. Apparently the deputy headmaster had gone up to investigate only to have her fling him from the platform in a show of incredible strength.

Not being present to witness this for myself I cannot verify how much of the girls story was merely artistic licence! however we listened to her story with morbid fascination and carried on talking about other things once she rushed off to tell someone else about it. To be honest I thought no more of it. Until the next day.

By then talk of the Grey lady was all over the school. She was blamed for everything from missing pencil sharpeners to unexpected fire drills.  Infant classes were frightened to walk past the assembly hall, let alone go in- for the rumour was to hear her sobs would mean death within 24 hours! Teachers did their best to dismiss these stories, but no sooner had one tale been quashed, another couple of stories would arise about this spectres latest antics.

I do not remember how long this went on for- it could have been a couple of days, It might have even been a week. However I do remember the day everything came to a head, the day she manifested in front of most of the school.

The Junior playground is situated behind the school, and a path leads from it to the teachers car park, outside the assembly hall. All the juniors took that route daily to come to school, and in those days a child could easily sneak out unobserved during a break time.

On this particular day word spread across the playground that the grey lady was active in the assembly hall, right there and then! Not wanting to miss an opportunity a gang of us slipped out of the playground to witness this paranormal activity first hand. We stood in the car park, none of us daring to get too close. At first we saw nothing, but then we became aware of dark shadows moving around within the hall. at the back of the room was a maypole, it spent most of the year stored there only to be brought out in the spring. Suddenly we all saw it move. Gasps of astonishment emitted from the crowd as the maypole began to sway backwards and forwards until we were convinced it would topple over. And when we tried to make out what could be causing it to move like this the cause became very apparent. At the centre of the maypole, gripping it tightly was an ancient leathery hand with red, bloody sores.

Some of us began to scream, and we all fled from the car park back to the safety of the playground, only to be met by a furious deputy head, who happened to be on duty that day. It was then I realised that most of the school had witnessed the maypole move, and it’s little wonder our absence was noticed!

The next day the headmaster stood in front of the school and said there was to be no more talk of the grey lady, and any child caught telling stories would be severely dealt with. Sure enough the rumour died down and so did any reports of paranormal activity.

My Story could end there. But there is more.

Many years later I was talking to one of my former classmates and we were reminiscing the old days at that school. Inevitably conversation turned to the subject of the grey lady, and my friend turned white. “Don’t talk about her, ” He told me in earnest, “I was there the day she first appeared.”

It turned out he was with a friend in the storeroom under the stage. His teacher had given him the task of seeking out a prop for a forthcoming production. Both boys became aware of a sudden chill in the room, and then the strip lights flickered out momentarily. In those few seconds of darkness, my friend saw what he described as a transparent grey curtain floating in the air. Then he heard a thin ghostly whisper, and the words remained with him ever since, “I have come to meet with you once more. At midnight.”

The lights came on once more and it was later that day the deputy head was flung from the stage.

Scroll forward a few years and I was researching local ghost stories of Whitby for a ghost walk.

I found that the school stood on the same piece of land once occupied by a leprosy hospital in the dark ages. I also came across the story of a nun called Constance de Beverly, who had been bricked up in the Abbey Dungeons for an illicit affair with a knight called Marmion. As it happened there is no dungeon in the Abbey, and the characters mentioned are a work of fiction by Walter Scott. In the story the nun wasn’t bricked up at Whitby Abbey, but Lindisfarne Convent. But what if there really was a nun who behaved in such a way to disgrace the convent in Whitby Abbey?

Wouldn’t the convent put her somewhere out of the way where she could be conveniently forgotten?  Could the red sores on her hands and feet be the results of an infection that she had contracted from her patients? We’ll probably never know.

I’m not sure what I saw that day in the teachers car park, whether it was a collective hallucination brought on by mass hysteria, or the grey lady herself. It was never fully explained and I don’t expect it ever will be.

However by way of a postscript I found myself recently trawling the internet looking for other accounts of this story that I  could compare my experience with. I didn’t find much, however on facebook there was a group put together by former pupils of that school for the purpose of sharing nostalgia and forming reunions. Among the reminiscences of various teachers and school dinners somebody asked, “Does anyone remember the grey lady?” .

There was one anonymous reply.

“OMG! She’s still here!”

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The Hind Hotel, Welingborough 20/10/2012- Investigation report.

This was the second investigation into the Hind Hotel, You can read about the first one here, and this time there were certain things I was looking for to achieve validation for our findings. As it happened I was not disappointed!

Before I tell you our findings I need to stress that apart from myself & one other, nobody else had attended the previous investigation, nor had I told them of our findings from that occasion.

First of all the location proved a lot more active on this occasion, with the EMF meter spiking on the slightest movement someone made, something it failed to do last time even with people jumping up at it! Although we never got any movement when everyone was still it made me feel quietly confident for the night we had ahead of us.

After some initial invocations that produced very little of note, we moved on to a short pendulum session. I had the pendulum suspended in the glass from the beginning of the evening and there was a few points it would start swinging even though nobody was near it. When I asked the entity that was pushing it to make it go faster it stopped mid-swing as if somebody had grabbed it, something that happened last time we were at the hind.

The Ghost box once more proved to be the star of the show, and this time I asked control questions, That we all knew the answer to, to make sure the answers we were getting weren’t random, but clear responses. Simple questions like “How many fingers am I holding up?” Got immediate answers, most of the time correct! And even when they got the answer wrong and I asked them t try again they were insistent that they were right. (we got a determined, “I said- TWO” even though I was holding up four fingers!)

Questions like, “what am I holding in my hand” got less clear responses. It did correctly identify a ring, but wasn’t able to recognise a key for example.

Last time we were in the Cromwell suite we started conversing with an entity calling himself “Jim” on the ghost box.

The main characteristic about Jim was last time he wasn’t happy with us being there, and kept telling us to go. He also wouldn’t let us speak to anyone else, preferring all the attention on him!

Jim appeared again this time, and showed similar characteristics, although this time he seemed in a better mood and did humour us with a little light conversation!

One of the most frightening  points of the evening occurred when I switched on the Ghost box for the first time and got a very clear, yet inhuman , “Shut up!” emit from it. I asked the entity to repeat itself, and got the same phrase, in the same voice instantaneously. This did not sound like the usual contact the ghost box makes. Rather than being compiled of broadcast transmissions it sounded like it had been constructed from white noise, static and interference.  This was one of the strongest cases of E.V.P. I had heard to date, although once it had said it’s piece decided to amble off and make way for more polite beings!

The Ouija board produced no perceivable movement on this occasion. And like last time I asked the sitters to try physically pushing the planchette, and found they had difficulty doing so, as if something was holding it in place, yet again on par with our last visit.

The automatic writing was very interesting. Even though the lady holding the pen was in a trance, the pen managed to move along a particular pattern perfectly several times.

Automatic writing

Automatic writing- The subject drew over the “V” shape perfectly several times before going into the rest of the work. She was in a deep trance.

On examining the final product of the automatic writing several members of the group identified the number 8 and an arrow pointing in a particular direction. we discovered if we followed the arrow out of the room it pointed to room 108.

On comparing it to the two examples of automatic writing we did on the previous visit, we found that 8 appeared in both drawings.

Around Midnight we moved to the restaurant. There have been many reports of happenings in this room and I was particularly interested to see what we found. One of the stories we had heard was there was a ghost of a little girl, who the staff left the light on for. The story goes that anyone who switches the light off would hear her crying.

We switched the light off and sat in darkness, but no crying was heard on this occasion, although one of our participants did feel sad, and had an urge to cry.

The Ghost Box picked up on someone calling himself “Eric”, and he informed us he was protecting the little girl.

Eric also told us he was a rifleman in the RAF. there have been reports of a soldier appearing at the Hind, so this was particularly noteworthy.

All in all we had a much more active visit the second time around, and I was pleased in our findings. I was really interested to see particular phenomena that matched up to previous visits, there were reports of people getting very cold arms or legs, or suddenly getting pins and needles. often the phenomena would happen in the same part of the room as last time as well, and affect people sitting in the same spot.

I will be looking at going back to the hind at some point early next year, so watch this space!

Sent in by one of our sitters, Anita Weekly.
A figure can be seen hovering on the beam above the light switch.

The figure blown up can be seen in more detail. It’s features appear in one other picture taken in a different part of the room.

What happens at a Ghost Hunt?

A few weeks ago I hosted a paranormal investigation at the Lamb inn at Little Harrowden. It proved to be a very enjoyable night with a considerable amount of interesting activity. My full report of the evening can be read here.

One thing that interested me was the amount of child Spirits we seemed to pick up, who didn’t seem to have a connection to the building, or even know what we were talking about when we asked them if they lived in the Lamb.

Story from the Northampton Mercury, 1902

However I did a little searching about on the British newspaper archives and found more than one report of an inquest into child mortalities being held at the Lamb. Maybe there is a connection there?

Another thing that delighted me on the night was being joined by professional ghost hunting team UK Haunted. These guys have ran investigations in some of the most active locations in the UK, you can read about them here.

They were very professional in their approach, brought a lot of their own equipment, and very much got into the heart of the evening. They even shot video, (A lot of it so discreetly I didn’t know they were doing it!) and put together this film that covers a lot of the interesting things that happened that night!

Now you can listen to the Ghost Box in all it’s glory, were there words and phrases that we missed?

There is also a chance to see the Ouija Board in all it;s glory, as it connects with Sarah, one of my personal Favourite ghosts that evening.

I just want to say a huge thank you to Alex & Michael for making this video, and their amazing support over the last few weeks!

If you want to take part in the next Ghost hunt, it it this Saturday, 20th October 2012, at the Hind in Wellingborough.

There are still a few tickets left and you can get yours here!

I hope you can make it!

10 great Halloween Freebies!

The Spook season is well and truly here, and over the next few weeks the nights will get that little bit darker as the veil between this world and the next fades to almost complete transparency!

Some of us are lucky enough to live the Halloween experience all year round, in my case it is probably just as well I am passionate about the paranormal!

With that in mind, I thought I’d share with you some of my Favourite on-line Halloween freebies that are normally available throughout the year.

1) Free Kids activities

With half term coming up, and the autumn weather not always being agreeable, parents can now keep their little devils occupied with these fantastic Halloween activities! Whether making potions, or cutting out silhouettes to plaster on your nice clean windows, there’s plenty here to keep them occupied for a few minutes!

2) Halloween Fonts

If you are like me, you’ll spend ages designing that Halloween party invitation to give it just the right feel, worse still, you’ll try every font you can before settling on Times new Roman again because at least you can read it clearly!

This page is sure to contain the font you are looking for, whether you need it to look elegant and Gothic  or just splattered in blood, this page will have what you need!

3) Scary Music

Create the perfect ambience for that Halloween party with these Royalty free sound files. The site says the files are in the public domain, but always double check if you are thinking of using them for commercial purposes.

4) Spooky Screen Saver

I have actually had this screen saver on my PC for the last 3 Halloween seasons! 3D screen-savers like this normally come with a premium price tag, but this can be downloaded totally free! It includes music, sound effects, Though I have mine switched off, and also displays the time. Give it a go!

5) War of the Worlds 1938

No-one would have believed in the early decades of the 20th century that human beings would be totally taken in by a radio drama and believe it was true!

Nevertheless, this is the original “Fiction posing as reality”, and it had most of New York’s population heading for the hills!

You can listen to the original broadcast right here!

6) Halloween E-cards

Put yourself into a mini- movie with Jib-Jab & email the finished product to your friends! Last years offering was a little better IMHO when you had the opportunity to star in Night of the Living Dead, but having a go at the time warp is fun as well!

7)Prepare for the Zombie invasion!

To tell you the truth I have no idea how serious this is. It appears to be a US government campaign to encourage people to have an emergency disaster kit handy and be prepared, using a Zombie apocalypse as a frame. In any case, you can download and print posters, and read the comic while waiting for your inevitable death at the hands of flesh eating ghouls!

8) Horror Movies

This site allows you to watch full movies on line. Don’t expect the latest blockbusters here though it is a free site after all! However if you like dodgy special effects and cheesy acting you can lose yourself for hours here!

9) Ghost Stories

M.R. James is one of the best writers of ghost fiction in my humble opinion, and you can download his books in Kindle format right here! It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a kindle either, as the apps for reading kindle books on I-phone and android devices are readily available, (Blackberry too if you know the right back door!) There is also a PC kindle app, so you can read them any time and any place!

10) Slender Game

If, like me, you have trouble finding scary movies really scary you could try immersing yourself into a video game. Slender is totally free to download and hits the right buttons for terror and suspense. This game will also introduce you to the slender-man mythos, possibly the next big thing in horror. With a little digging on the internet you will find yourself overwhelmed with the multi layered legend!

Honorary mention- nightmare house 2 

I really wanted to include this in my list, but  it’s technically not free, as you have to have an active steam account with “Half-life 2 episode 2” on it. However if you have them it is well worth a look. I spent an evening playing through it the other night and found myself totally immersed. The psychological jump moments are executed perfectly, and the final boss fight is challenging to say the least! This is so much more than a zombie shoot em up, expect the unexpected!

There are many more Halloween freebies about, but I’d be here all day! I may well link them over the next few weeks on my twitter account @Roblupine.

Follow me if you want to see them!

Also let me know if you have any Halloween freebies of your own in the comments section below, I may well tweet the best!

Halloween is coming!

I woke up today and noticed for the first time how dark the mornings are getting, a sure sign that we are leaving what little summer we had and are rapidly moving to the most supernatural time of the year!

I love this time of year. With it’s early nights and hazy mornings it is little wonder that our ancestors saw this season as a time when the veil between the living and the dead was at its thinnest.

This Halloween is shaping up to be one of my busiest yet, with two large commercial ghost hunts over the next few weeks, (Details here), And a number of public paranormal evenings that will be announced soon.

I wanted to share with you something I have been working on for public and private performances, that will be available for the spook season and beyond.

 

 

Arcane Encounters is not a magic show, nor is it a demonstration of clairvoyant ability. This is something else.

Although not as deep or intense as a ghost hunt it gives the onlooker a chance to experience the paranormal first hand.

Audience members will have the opportunity to hold and experience objects with a haunted past, make contact with the spirits that are around them and even see or feel a ghost themselves!

Arcane encounters is available now for both private parties and public events, and October dates are filling up fast!

Dare you approach the Dark with your eyes open?

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