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.

Flung down by corpse evangelists

THIS IS AN APPENDUM TO THE SPIRIT INSIDE ME SINGS
FOLLOWING extensive research at county archives, the land registry and National Census returns this is what we know to date:

Chichester Cottage was built in the early/mid 19thcentury (probably 1840s) as an annex to what is now Wellgate House. It was extended substantially a few years later to form the body of the building we see today. Initially it was known simply as A New House then later as a Lodge or Gate House. It was occupied by various unskilled couples throughout the 19th century.
Shortly after The First World War it was renamed Chichester Cottage after its then occupant returned from the trenches via recovery in a hospital in Chichester, Sussex. This gentleman and his wife stayed resident at the cottage and Wellgate House until 1938. During this time the cottage had a rear courtyard (where the kitchen and conservatory extensions now are) and a rose garden and rockeries beyond (the main garden). Also during the 1930s the bones of an old shire horse were excavated from the garden. It is believed the horse was a favourite of the neighbouring rectory and had been buried prior to 1902.
Sometime between 1938 and 1950 (chiefly the war years) 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. Most recently we have 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)?
It is a huge puzzle which we are still trying to solve.
NOTE: I have changed the name of our cottage in this blog post to protect our address

The spirit inside me sings

Edith grave
I HAVE lived on this Earth for well over 50 years and I pride myself on being objective, sceptical and questioning… a true cynic!
Earning my living for more than 25 years as an investigative journalist has instilled in me an ethic of taking nothing at face value, always seeking evidence and the truth and, if that fails, the back-up plan of Occam’s Razor: that among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected… ie choose the most obvious explanation.
All of the above has stood the test of time… until eight months ago.
The events of those months have turned my belief about this world on its head and led me to questions for which the answers are only fantastical.
In my last blog post about the unexplained activities in our old cottage I cited one expert who advised me to document everything we see and hear.
So after the ramblings of 10 blogs on the seemingly never-ending story of ghosts, dreams, skeletons and the paranormal, here for the first time I will attempt to put everything down as a chronological document.

I guess 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 Shropshire. 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 have 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 early 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 is 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!
Mary continues to research the origins of the human skeletons.
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.
This most recent dream still rings in my head… Latin was language of the Romans, but also the words Lord Have Mercy were often inscribed on the doors of plague victims’ houses during outbreaks of the pestilence in the 17th century.
So our investigations continue… the unexplained remains unexplained and the spirit still sings.

Sometimes I turn, there’s someone there, other times it’s only me

girl ghost
THE unexplained paranormal activity in our old cottage has taken yet another turn.
And the more that happens, the more questions I find myself asking.
The strange noises, frequent droppings of objects and weird dreams continue apace and now we know we are not alone in our experiences, real investigative work to find out what is going on is underway.
Two archeology experts, a local rector and I are all still trying to find out the origin of the skeletons buried under our kitchen, and what – if anything – happened to them when they were unearthed in the 1940s.
On the other side of things I have – for the first time in my life – started researching the paranormal and so-called ‘hauntings’.
At least seven people have so admitted to experiencing paranormal activity in our home.
I found one on-line article “How do I know if my House is Haunted?” invaluable. It takes a balanced and logical approach to the subject.
The writer gives the following advice:
Do You Have A Ghost In Your House? Or Other Paranormal Activity Going On.
One thing you may find if you have real paranormal activity going on in your home is cold spots. Is there a location in your home that is unusually cold? The first thing to do is to do a thorough investigation. Always rule out the logical answers for unusual or unexplained activity first. Be sure to check for wind coming in around a window or a hidden vent. And if possible buy a simple thermometer to take the temperature of your cold spot or cold spots. Keep a journal and document what you find.
Snap Photos Often With a Digital Camera
Take photos with a digital camera around your house. If you suspect or think you have paranormal activity going on in a particular room or area take lots of photos in that area. And do it at different times of the day and night. If you hear a strange noise take a photo in the direction of the noise. Then go through your photos carefully and look for people that were not there when the photo was taken or orbs or other lights. If you spot something on a photo don’t panic and don’t take it for proof of a ghost or paranormal activity until you have examined the photo carefully and ruled out any logical solutions for anything strange in your photos. Keep in mind that mirrors even around a corner can cause some strange images to show up in your photos.
Do You Have Objects That Move On Their Own?
Do you have a chair or other object that moves on its own. Do you have a door or cabinet doors that you know for a fact you shut but they are open when you go back then you may indeed have something strange going on. If possible set up a motion activated camera to see if you can catch the object moving. If this is not possible be double sure you check the item out and go at once to it when you come back home or back into the area and you will know if something has moved. Again make double sure to look for logical solutions
Do You Think Your House Is Haunted?
If it’s possible and you think you have paranormal activity going on or you think your house is haunted thoroughly investigate the history of your home and the surrounding area. Find out if there are deaths or tragic activity that are associated with your house or other location you suspect is haunted. If you find out there was a death or several deaths of people who lived in your house then you may indeed have a haunted house or live in a house that has paranormal activity going on. Be sure to keep a journal of everything going on around you. Write it down and document what is happening along with the date and time of what you see or hear. Does it happen the same time every day? Then you may very well have a residual haunting going on. Be sure to learn everything you can about the history of your house. You may be quite shocked at what you find out.
What to do If You see a Ghost!
If you see a ghost try to have a camera handy and try to take its photo. Ask other family members or other people who live or have lived in your house what they have seen. Don’t tell them your full story of what you saw until they tell you their story. If their story matches up with what you saw then yes you may have a real haunting. And again always keep a journal of what you are seeing along with the date and time. The more you can document the better off you will be.
Wonderful advice… and yes, we do have cold spots and cold areas, chairs and other objects do move on their own, our house does have a history of deaths and buried bodies, and previous residents have corroborated the feeling that the cottage is haunted.
But now this…
As advised, I took a series of photos in our kitchen.
I focused particularly on the area of the room we have nicknamed the Drop Spirit Zone.
This is what came up.
Look carefully at the attached photograph.
Are they orbs or auras?
The lens of the camera is clean and the images only appear in one frame… all the others are clear.
To avoid triggering the flash on my camera, I left the cooker hood light on. The cooker is sited behind me and to my right. The hood light gives just a residual light to help illuminate the kitchen.
This afternoon I am contacting an old friend who is a doctor in archaeology, and an investigator in spiritual happenings – and particularly orbs and auras – in her spare time.
I would value her opinion.
NOTE: Readers may find this interesting: http://hubpages.com/hub/How-To-Know-If-You-Have-Real-Paranormal-Activity

Nothing too very scientific… just thinking of a series of dreams

skull
SEVEN days have passed since the last update to our developing tale of the buried skeletons and unexplained phenomena in our old cottage.
And a week is a long time in the world of the paranormal where fact, suspicion and dreams all collide.
Before continuing I must again flag up the following postings to new readers of this blog to gain some semblance of the strangeness of the past few months: 21 October: There’s no exit in any direction… except the one that you can’t see with your eyes , 2 November: Something is happening, but you don’t know what It Is , 4 November: Nothing that would pass inspection… just thinking of a series of dreams , 21 November: Everything stays down where it’s wounded ,7 January: Looks like it’s moving, but it’s standing still and 14 January: It would go up against every rule plus the Significant update from the same day.
Now things really gather pace.
Last Tuesday, an expert with Shropshire Council Environment History Team, who had looked at the files surrounding the excavation work here suggested that the seven skeletons were unearthed sometime between the late 1930s and 1950, while the foundations were dug for the kitchen extension.
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. The council guy also said there was no way of knowing what happened to them. They might have been given a Christian burial in the local churchyard OR left in place.
He said that without further excavation work there was no way of knowing how many more there were or are.
As readers know, it is in the kitchen where our unexplained activities take place.
So hot on the heels of the phone call with the council I contacted two senior members of our local history and archaeology society plus the rector of the nearby church.
While the rector promised to try and discover whether they had been reburied in consecrated ground, the two history and archaeology experts have been busy trying to find out more.
One of these ladies, called Mary, has been a revelation to untangling some of the unknown.
But before I continue, I must take a paranormal detour.
Readers may recall the recurring dream I started having in October about a young girl called Edith who occupies our kitchen, asks for bread and strokes our pet cat.
The dreams continue.
But last Sunday (12 January) I awoke from a quite different and disturbing nightmare in which I was helping three older men bury dead bodies in a huge ditch. 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 I made the real life discoveries of the buried skeletons!
A flimsy connection maybe?
But 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 the history and archeology expert Mary.
She was deeply intrigued about the skeleton find… especially as her grandmother used to live in our cottage!
She said the house had a small courtyard – on the site of the current kitchen – with a rose garden and rockery beyond.
Her grandmother moved away from the cottage in 1938 and no human skeletons had been unearthed prior to then.
As the first Ordnance Survey observation was made by J R Whitfield in 1950, that means the kitchen extension and discovery of the skeletons would have been in the intervening 12 years.
But, it was what Mary told me next that shook me.
During the 1930s the bones of a buried shire horse were surprisingly 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!
Mary continues to research the origins of the human skeletons.
Her 20th century history of our cottage has helped me in my own searches of the land registry and 19th century national census data to discover the origins of our home.
These 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. Something unknown to me previously.
So how do these dreams work?
Are spirits invading my sleeping senses?
I really don’t know, but it is testing my understanding of how our world works to the limits of my limited knowledge!
And there is more…
Readers will recall that last week I spoke to lady at our local heritage centre who was shaken when I told her where I lived.
She told me she used to live in this same cottage some four years ago.
But she moved out because 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.
Like us, this lady thought she was going crazy or imagining things.
But she is not alone.
On Friday 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!
So I bring you up to the present…
Today I tracked down another former occupant of our house.
The lady wished to remain anonymous as she hold a high powered job in education and she fears people will think she is crazy too.
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.
Watch this space!

Significant update

A SIGNIFICANT update to our burial plot and seven skeletons.
I have just had a call from an expert with Shropshire Council Environment History Team, who has looked at the files surrounding the excavation work here.
The reference to 1992 in the archive document I found was from a report by contractors who were doing excavation work for new building works in 1992 at a house two doors away. They were already aware of the discovery of a likely cemetery in our garden and were covering their backs. They in turn referred to a 1976 Ordnance Survey mapping report of a burial ground at the rear of our cottage.
The seven skeletons were actually unearthed sometime between the late 1930s and 1950 while the foundations were dug for the kitchen extension! In those days planning permission was not required for such works. 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. The council guy said there was no way of knowing what happened to them. He thought they might have been given a Christian burial in the local churchyard OR left in place.
But of greater interest he said that without further excavation work there was no way of knowing how many more there were or are.
It is in the kitchen were our unexplained activities take place.
Fascinating stuff.

It would go up against every rule

blog kitchen
DURING the past 24 hours I have revisited and revaluated what I believe about this world in a deeper and more profound way than I ever have done before.
And the more I have discovered, the greater is my need to discover more.
After seven months of mystery we have now made two major breakthroughs in our search for the truth behind the unexplained happenings in our small cottage.
But before I continue, I refer new readers of this blog to five related postings I have made in the past few months (all now grouped under the category heading The Unexplained): 21 October: There’s no exit in any direction… except the one that you can’t see with your eyes , 2 November: Something is happening, but you don’t know what It Is , 4 November: Nothing that would pass inspection… just thinking of a series of dreams , 21 November: Everything stays down where it’s wounded and 7 January: Looks like it’s moving, but it’s standing still.
To fully understand the timeline and narrative, I humbly suggest you read the other postings first.
So now I bring you up to the present…
Items continue to be unexpectedly dropped in our kitchen Drop Spirit Zone on such a regular basis that we have become blasé about them.
Everything from bags of peas and pieces of toast to saucepan lids and oven tins have gone crashing to the floor in our four feet by seven feet haunted kitchen zone.
Most recently I dropped and broke a mug and a wooden box of incense sticks in the zone.
And all three of us have become victims of the droppings, which number about 50 since we moved here on 28 June last year.
We have all struggled for a rational explanation behind the droppings and noises which come from this area of our house, and naturally we have talked and laughed about ghosts and hauntings.
But following our new discoveries we are not laughing anymore.
A couple of months ago I discovered that our cottage lies west and adjacent to a former rectory whose foundations date back to the 15th century, together with a small family burial ground.
A few weeks later I also discovered our town is the only one in the county built on an original Roman site. Archaeological excavations in the 1980s unearthed a selection of burial vases on land adjacent south of our cottage, below the foundations of a fort. Experts believe this land is a 2nd century Roman burial site.
So it seemed our 19th century cottage was built close to two ancient burial plots!
But nothing prepared us for yesterday’s discovery.
While searching through Shropshire County archives I found that our house and small garden lie directly on top of a cemetery of unknown origin.
It possibly dates as a plague pit from a large outbreak of bubonic plague in the town in 1650. Or equally it maybe of Roman origin.
The archive states that there was an archaeological excavation in our back garden in 1992 and seven extended skeletons were discovered in one exploration trench. More presumably lie adjacent to this single trench.
The owner of the house at the time had lived here 35 years and was amazed by the find.
We are now investigating four unknowns:
1) Are the skeletons still there and if not, where are they?
2) How many more are likely to be there?
3) What is their origin – surely a proper archaeological survey would be able to date them?
4) Where exactly were they found?
Our cottage and garden are quite small. The original two storey structure dates from the early 19th century and measures 26’ in width and 16’ feet deep. A later 19th century two storey rear extension of some 14’ by 15’ was added. Then there are two more recent single storey rear extensions; a 14’ by 7’ conservatory and 22’ long by 9’ wide kitchen.
Most of the kitchen extension was probably built pre-war, but the conservatory and back section of the long kitchen may only be 20 years old.
Sadly no plans exist for either structure to be able to determine when they were built.
So the skeletons may have been found either under the conservatory (while digging for the foundations), under the rear part of the kitchen, or in the current garden area.
This morning I began my further investigations; telephoning in turn the company which undertook the 1992 excavations, the county council’s Historic Environment team and our local heritage centre
My second phone call was the killer.
The lady I spoke to, was truly gobsmacked 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 (we have also lost numerous small items since moving here) 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 now we know we are not alone and we are far from crazy.
This afternoon I begin another search, to find other former residents of this cottage and maybe share our experiences.
It may not bring us any closer to finding the truth behind the unexplained activity, but one thing is certain: I used not to believe in ghosts, but I do now!
NOTE: I found this link interesting: http://www.paranormalnewscentral.com/hauntings/related-topics/top-lists/555-top-10-signs-your-house-is-haunted