Through the mad mystic hammering

girl ghost
IT is more than six months since I last wrote about the seemingly supernatural occurrences in our cottage and the seven skeletons buried under our kitchen.

The reason for the absence of updates is that there has been little of significance to report. Yes we still get dozens of things falling in the Drop Spirit Zone – a box of six eggs sliding across the kitchen table and smashing to the floor, followed by a pack of bacon, was probably the most outstanding occurrence. But we have become so used to this almost poltergeist activity that we now barely pay it much attention.
But now suddenly and without warning we have a major breakthrough about the origin of the buried skeletons and the likelihood there are many more.
First I had better bring new readers up to date with the events surrounding our lovely cottage and home in deepest Shropshire.
It all started on the warm evening of Tuesday 4 June 2013.
My wife Gill and I had signed for our new cottage the previous day and visited it twice over. At the time, we were still ensconced in our old house in the North Wales’ hills, albeit perched like two flightless birds amid a host of packing cases and rolls of parcel tape and newspaper.
That evening we settled down to watch for the first time the movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose – starring Laura Linney and Jennifer Carpenter. We had spontaneously bought the DVD the previous weekend. It was dark and the film was gripping. Two thirds of the way through the movie, a priest, played by Tom Wilkinson, begins reciting an exorcism in Latin. Then it happened… the DVD froze for 10 seconds and both Gill and I smelled the distinctive scent of fresh roses. There were no flowers in our house and neither of us were wearing perfume or after-shave.
It was bizarre.
But the following day, ‘bizarre’ became a bit frightening, as we discovered the scent of roses often accompanies the passing of spirit into the other world and the words recited in the movie were read from a true Latin script on exorcism.
Genuinely shaken, we laughed it off as something weird and unexplained.
But we had no idea about what the next few months would bring.
Just over a week later – on Friday 14 June – we received the keys for our new home in a small market town across the border in England. The house removal was set for Friday 28 June.
We were excited and began moving bits and pieces and undertaking some cleaning of the new house in preparation for the big move.
On Tuesday 18 June, I picked up some gorgeous old pine shelves for our kitchen – perfect for displaying my wife’s proud collection of TG Green Cornishware pottery.
That afternoon I attached the shelves to the end wall in our kitchen. The shelves looked good and I packed away my tools and cleaned up the dust from the drill holes.
Then, without warning, my large jar of screws – which I had had for over 20 years – suddenly slipped through my hands and smashed all over the quarry tiled kitchen floor, scattering screws almost everywhere. I cursed, but thought nothing of it other than just a simple accident.
But this was just the beginning.
On Friday 28 June, we finally moved house.
At about 2pm, the removal lorry arrived outside our cottage and my wife and I started by carrying a few boxes through to the conservatory and shed. Twenty minutes into our task, my dear wife suddenly screamed in agony as she fell into a small hole in our back lawn. We rang for an ambulance and they rushed her to hospital. Within a few hours doctors diagnosed that she had ruptured the tendons around her left knee and broken the knee cap… all in a fall into a small and previously unseen hole in the garden.
Six weeks of bed rest followed during our hottest summer in years, while I unpacked our belongings, filled drawers, put up pictures and started to experience something very strange.
The cottage is warm, cosy and above all full of character and charm. Over the years, it has been extended and undergone several alterations, including the transformation of a side passage into the main body of the house, which has in turn enlarged the kitchen.
And it is in this extended area of the kitchen where the unexplained started to happen.
In the same area of the kitchen where I had dropped the jar of screws, I also dropped a plate full of food and a week later a bag full of peas and numerous smaller items.
In September, Gill was mobile again and my mother came to stay.
While she was sitting at the kitchen table, I offered to show her Gill’s prize piece of Cornishware pottery from the display shelves: a small blue and cream striped cheese pot. It is a piece of pottery I have handled many times before, but on this occasion, its lid suddenly flew from the pot and smashed on the kitchen floor.
It was after this that we began to note the accidents in this corner of the kitchen.
In just under eight months, we have individually and collectively (my wife, my son, my mother and I) dropped over 50 items in this small area of the kitchen, including a glass of wine, a stack of baking tins and a tub of spray cooking oil.
Most recently I dropped and broke a mug and a wooden box of incense sticks in the zone and two weeks ago an ironing board fell on my wife’s head in the same area.
We christened the area our “Drop Spirit Zone”.
Last November, we began some serious investigations into what might be going on.
With the lights turned off, I walked slowly into the darkened kitchen and as I passed the threshold I felt a vibration pass across my shoulders. I stood still. Suddenly a plastic pot of vitamin pills fell onto the floor behind me.
Then events took another twist.
I took my £450 camera phone to photograph this area of the kitchen, hoping to catch something. As I held the camera ready to shoot, it fell from my grasp onto the floor. Thankfully, it was in a padded case and did not break.
Since we started the investigations I began to experience a recurring dream – the first such dream I have had since I was a small child.
The dream is plain in its simplicity… I walk into our kitchen alone at night and sit at the breakfast table. I look down at our cat in his basket (the basket is placed in the Drop Spirit zone at night, for no other reason than it is close to a radiator). Alongside the cat and kneeling down is a young girl, aged about seven years old. She is stroking our grey haired moggie. The girl has unkempt light brown hair, a freckled face and sad blue eyes. She is wearing a beige coloured dress with a distinct tie band around her waist. She looks up at me and says: “I like cats”. She tells me her name is Edith. Then she asks me: “Do you have any bread, Sir?” I stand and walk to our bread bin and get a crust of thick-sliced white for her. When I return she is running into our pantry and down a steep staircase out of sight. It is at this point I awake.
I have had this dream at least a dozen times over the past three months.
But it doesn’t end there… on 19 November, my wife and I were drinking mugs of coffee while finishing our breakfast in our kitchen. I was sitting on one side of our old pine table and Gill was sitting three feet to the left of me. We were talking blandly about the day ahead.
Suddenly, and without warning, Gill’s almost full mug of hot coffee leapt upwards in her hand and spilled down her clothes, scalding her lap. I looked at her amazed and she returned the look with an added look of fear in her eyes.
Together, we mopped up the spilt coffee and checked she was not badly scalded.
I commented: “Do you realise you are sitting in the Drop Spirit Zone?”
“Yes,” she replied. “It was like some small hand suddenly pushed my mug upwards.”
A few seconds before the incident, Gill had just finished eating the last piece of bread on the table.
Five weeks later we were again eating breakfast at our kitchen table. Gill was sitting to my left – inside the Drop Spirit Zone – and I was sitting slightly outside it. Our old cat Frankie was sat on the quarry-tiled floor next to my wife.
Suddenly our normally docile cat leapt into the air, meowed loudly and darted into the living room, where he hid under the coffee table.
My wife and I stared at each other in amazement until we both uttered almost simultaneously: “The Drop Spirit Zone!”
Frankie no longer sits on the floor in the kitchen, preferring now to perch on our old pine settle to watch us eat breakfast.
But something else is starting to rattle our sense of the explained.
Since last December, we have both heard strange sounds at night emanating from our kitchen.
Often sitting bolt upright in bed, we listen keenly.
It sounds as if our kitchen chairs are being dragged across our quarry tiled floor.
So we set up our own experiment to try and clarify whether this is the case or whether it is all in our collective imaginations.
Before retiring to bed one night, Gill placed a small marker on the kitchen floor, next to the chair which sits inside the Drop Spirit Zone.
That night we heard the usual scraping of furniture sounds.
The next morning, to our amazement, we discovered the marker had moved about two inches from its spot… but the chair had moved over seven inches!
I have already published photographs of this event on this blog.
But it was in January when events took a twist in the most bizarre way imaginable.
On the night of Sunday 12 January, I experienced a vivid dream in which I was helping three older men bury dead bodies in a huge ditch, by a dusty road. My job in the dream was to shovel white powder over the bodies as they were thrown in the common grave.
The mens’ names were Parcel, Coppice and Huddlestone.
The next day (Monday, 13 January) I made a startling discovery!
As part of a Google search, I discovered through county archives that our house and garden lie on a cemetery of unknown origin.
The archive states that there had been an archeological excavation sometimes during the past 70 years and seven extended skeletons were discovered.
I spoke with an expert at Shropshire Council Environment History Team, who looked at the files surrounding the excavation work here.
The seven skeletons were unearthed sometime between 1938 and 1950 while the foundations were dug for the kitchen extension!
At the time, they were thought to be Roman remains, but as there was no Carbon 14 dating techniques back then, there was no way to precisely date how old they were.
Another hypothesis was that it may have been a plague pit, possibly dating from the huge outbreak of bubonic plague in the town in 1650.
The council guy said there was no way of knowing what happened to the skeletons when they were unearthed. He thought they might have been given a Christian burial in the local churchyard OR left in place.
And without further excavation work there was no way of knowing how many more there were – or are.
Further internet searches, combined with a brief scour of some 3,400 graves at our local cemetery led to the next heart-stopping discovery… Purcell, Coppage and Huddlestone are all common and historic surnames in our town.
We also found the grave of an eight-year-old girl called Edith!
So why did those names and the burials occur in my dreams before I had any knowledge of any of them?
Are spirits invading my sleeping senses?
On Tuesday 14 January another surprise was awaiting me.
I spoke to a lady at our local heritage centre about the skeleton find and was shocked by her response.
The lady I spoke to was almost dumbstruck when I told her where I lived.
She stuttered slightly as she told me she used to live in this same cottage some years ago.
And one of the reasons she moved out was she believed it was haunted.
She spoke at length about objects dropping to the floor, mirrors and pictures falling from the wall, objects disappearing and the sound of footsteps on the landing when no one else was in the house.
She also said areas of the house were distinctly cold, even in the summer… something we have also noted.
Like us, this lady thought she was going crazy or imagining things.
But we know we are not alone and we are far from crazy.
On the night of Tuesday 14 January I awoke from another odd dream.
In this edge of darkness mind game there was a horse in our house and it kept rearing up on its hind legs to cuddle me. I was comforted in the dream by my wife telling me that: “horses are affectionate pets and enjoy cuddles.”
It was just after lunch on Wednesday 15 January that I first spoke with a local history and archeology expert called Mary.
She was deeply intrigued about the skeleton find… especially as her grandmother used to live in our cottage! Her grandmother moved away from the cottage in 1938 and no human skeletons had been unearthed prior to then.
But it was what Mary told me next that shook me.
During the 1930s the bones of a shire horse were unearthed from our back garden. Her grandmother discovered the horse had been buried prior to 1902 by the people who owned the adjoining rectory.
No obvious link to the buried human skeletons, but yet another haunting appendage to a dream!
On Friday 17 January I mentioned the skeleton discovery to the husband of another former occupant of our house. He was deeply curious and wanted to know more before saying: “You don’t think you are haunted do you?”
I hadn’t even mentioned the unexplained phenomena to him!
Then on Tuesday 21 January I tracked down yet another former occupant.
The lady wished to remain anonymous as she too fears people will think she is crazy.
She said: “I only stayed for six months. The cottage was lovely but it spooked me completely.
“Things were always falling and there was a clanking sound downstairs at night. My dog would suddenly bark at shadows in the kitchen and I never felt I was alone… it was like someone was watching me all the time.”
We know she is not alone… at least seven people have so far admitted to experiencing the hauntings of our home.
Most recently and under advice from a spirit expert, I took a series of photos on the Drop Spirit Zone in our kitchen.
One particular picture rocked me. It appears to show more than half a dozen orbs floating in that area of the kitchen.
The lens of the camera is clean and the images only appear in one frame… all the others are clear.
Now I bring readers up to the present, and the next bit I find really fascinating.
For as long as I have known I sometimes talk in my sleep. It is an annoyance my poor wife has had to get used to.
On the night of Saturday 1 February (my birthday) I had drunk a few glasses of wine and slept very deeply.
But not as deeply as I imagined it seems.
Around 4am, Gill was woken by me muttering words and phrases in Latin. She used her IPhone to record my ramblings which included disturbing words such as spiritu sancti (holy spirit or ghost) and malum (evil).
I later woke around 8am with the words Dominy miseree nobise rattling round my skull.
Gill and I talked at length about my dream and these words, in particular the words I awoke to.
We looked them up and they appear to be Domine Miserere Nobis, which means: Lord Have Mercy Upon Us.
I must make clear that I have absolutely no knowledge of Latin.
The mysteries of the dreams and the unexplained activity in our kitchen remain, but now at last we have some clarity about the origin of the skeletons.
Last week, while talking to an elderly neighbour I discovered that our kitchen extension was built at the same time as the large detached house to the north of our property.
It was during the building excavations for this house and our kitchen – which lies some four feet lower than the footings of the property next door – that the skeletons were unearthed.
The large detached house was built on the foundations of an old Victorian lunatic asylum, which originally adjoined our property, but had been demolished some years earlier.
The asylum was privately owned and associated with the workhouse/poor house which is situated some 800 yards away to the east of our cottage. The workhouse now forms part of the town’s community hospital.
Anyway it transpired that the owner of the asylum regularly buried bodies in the grounds of his property. As these poor people were considered to be inhabited by demons, their bodies could not be buried on sacred church grounds.
It was assumed by the builders who unearthed the skeletons in the 1940s that there were likely to be many more buried in the same vicinity both in the gardens of our cottage and the large house.
But we are still no wiser as to whether the skeletons were removed and reburied somewhere else or were simply covered with rubble and concrete.
In any case, my plans to dig a fish pond in our garden have certainly been postponed!
• Our cottage was built in two stages in the early and mid 19thcentury, primarily as a lodge house for the local turnpike toll road.
Sometime between 1938 and 1950 the kitchen extension was built. It was during this period that the “Seven extended human skeletons of unknown origin” were discovered. (The first OS note of an inhumation cemetery at this spot was made in 1950). This was pre-carbon 14 dating techniques and it appears there was little effort made to do any more archaeological work (probably because most local authority efforts were geared towards the war).
Later suggestions are that the cemetery was either of Roman origin or possibly a plague pit from a large outbreak of bubonic plague in the town in 1650. We also discovered that during the English Civil War, Parliamentary forces of 800 men took our town in May 1643. The fighting took place about 600 yards from our cottage. The Parish Register records the burial of 15 soldiers on that date. But it does not say where they were buried.
No one seems to know what happened to the skeletons upon their discovery in the 1940s. Were they simply covered with foundations and concrete? Were they taken to a museum or heritage site? Were they given a Christian burial elsewhere? And if this was a formal cemetery site, are there likely to be many more buried skeletons adjacent to the find (ie under the main structure of the house, if they were buried east/west)?
Much of this conjecture has now been clarified by our new discovery.

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Poem: Song of Sorrow

They kill babes in their beds
Kids’ limbs torn to shreds
Old women left to die
With blood in their eye
They taunt them with terror
Then look at the horror
These people you see
Are like you and me

Can you hear the missiles whine?
Like some hellish pantomime
Now is the time
Yes, it’s the time
To Free Palestine.

They crucified Christ
An ultimate heist
Everywhere they travelled
Their pain was unravelled
Under King David’s star
They wandered afar
Nowhere was home
And far did they roam

Can you hear the missiles whine?
Like some hellish pantomime
Now is the time
Yes, it’s the time
To Free Palestine.

Even the Black Death
Was blamed on their breath
As babes were baptised
The Jew was despised
By Shakespeare and Shylock
No door could they unlock
From Poland to France
They tripped the death dance

Can you hear the missiles whine?
Like some hellish pantomime
Now is the time
Yes, it’s the time
To Free Palestine.

In their millions they died
And in the ovens they fried
Then the arms of the world
Towards them unfurled
The final solution
Needed quick resolution
By the kind British hand
They were given their land

Can you hear the missiles whine?
Like some hellish pantomime
Now is the time
Yes, it’s the time
To Free Palestine.

In the millions they came
Moses, Ruth, Abel and Cain
With gold pockets of money
To taste milk and honey
A rich land of ripe cereal
They found their state Israel
The West’s greatest friend
Which it would always defend

Can you hear the missiles whine?
Like some hellish pantomime
Now is the time
Yes, it’s the time
To Free Palestine.

But something is wrong
As I sing you this song
The new land was just fine
It was called Palestine
But it belonged to some others
Who had been their brothers
And it is hard to forgive
When you have nowhere to live

Can you hear the missiles whine?
Like some hellish pantomime
Now is the time
Yes, it’s the time
To Free Palestine.

For sixty years or more
Arabs were ground to the floor
They were crushed and berated
By the Jew they were hated
Their homes torn from them
Under beatings and phlegm
And their only base crime
Was to keep Palestine

Can you hear the missiles whine?
Like some hellish pantomime
Now is the time
Yes, it’s the time
To Free Palestine.

Now time’s gone full circle
Gaza’s been sliced like a Berkel
The Zionists’ hate
Has closed the last gate
So innocent eyes
Stare with fear to the skies
The artillery shell
Introduces children to hell

Can you hear the missiles whine?
Like some hellish pantomime
Now is the time
Yes, it’s the time
To Free Palestine.

So let us try to reflect
On our years of regret
Amid the killing and torture
We were eyeless in Warsaw
And like Pilate of old
Our guilt it was sold
The West washed its hand
Stealing another man’s land

Can you hear the missiles whine?
Like some hellish pantomime
Now is the time
Yes, it’s the time
To Free Palestine.

Now the Zionist state
Is so full of hate
That behind an iron shield
Its own hell does it wield
To kill and to maim
More lives still to claim
From near Calvary’s Cross
Their gain is our loss

Can you hear the missiles whine?
Like some hellish pantomime
Now is the time
Yes, it’s the time
To Free Palestine.