Archive for the ‘Paranormal’ Category

Willowbrook State School, it was constructed in 1938 for the care of mentally handicapped children. In 9142 the building was converted into an army hospital then in 1947 it was named Willowbrook State School. In 1962 the hospital was pretty much a dumping ground for the poor mentally ill children, the place was for a 4000 occupancy and swelled to over 6000. the conditions were horrific for the children and with severe under-staffing the conditions could only worsen.

1963-1966 they were conducting medical studies on children, these poor things were infected with hepatitis, some of these occurred by them being fed the stool of another child. I’m sorry I can’t see how that is a medical study, it just seems cruel and gross.

In 1971 cuts for funding escalated the problems, the local media soon got wind. Once the exposure came so did the lawsuits, 1983 they planned closure, the last child left in 1987. In that year Andre Round, who had worked there, killed and buried Jennifer Schwieger on the abandoned grounds.

From the buildings tragic tale come stories of ghosts, satanic worship and people being followed by dark figures. It is of course possible that when you are being followed by mysterious dark figures, they are homeless people wondering what on earth other people see in the place…

Bedell Ghost, Staten Island’s avenue has the tale that if you go down the road at night with no lights on you can see a ghost hanging from the trees. The road was a dead end but has now opened up as where the mansions were built.

The consensus from sceptics and sensible folks is that it may well have been an optical illusion,. Or popularised from a small source and it escalated. I am sure that is more likely the case, with no reason for the hanging to be there and nothing to suggest a body was found it seems more likely to be a local urban legend.

Vanderbilt tomb it is located in the Moravian cemetery, Cornelius Vanderbilt, one of the richest Americans of all time, donated 8 ½ acres to the cemetery. His son William Henry Vanderbilt then donated a further 4.

The tomb was constructed by William and designed by Richard Morris Hunt, a famous architect of the time. It was built between 1885 and 1886, and is three stories high. It is a replica of a Romanesque church in Artes, France. In the tomb is Cornelius and several family members.

The section that contains the tomb is closed off to the public by means of a large iron gate. The area has been said to have tragedy and accidents linked to it, a woman was killed there when she tried to open the gate and it fell on her. She was killed instantly. A man in a grey suit is also said to chase passers-by from the tomb, it may be that Cornelius is still protecting his resting place.

One widely reported occurrence seems to be that if you take a photograph in front of it, you may find that people are not in it that should be, or you have a random addition.

If you have visited or have any experiences to share please do.

 

Vanderbilt Mausoleum

Cornwall Jail, Ontario, the jail had it’s last official prisoner in 2002, before the war of 1812 the original courthouse was used as barracks, the courts were held in St John church and local taverns. 14 years later it burnt down, the new jailhouse was completed in 1834. It has a plan for 50-60 prisoners but was often over capacity with around 100.

Only 3 guards were on duty at any time and exercises in the courtyard for example, could not be controlled. It’s possible this led to some of the suicides in the jail. One of the suicides took place in the building, belts and shoelaces had been removed but he still found a way to hang himself from the bars, after his suicide Plexiglas was installed. The second was a suicide that took place overnight in a busy prison, and it seems strange that even with it being overcrowded it took a while for anyone to find them, did they have a cell mate I wonder?

Ten inmates were hung at the gallows before executions ended in the courtyard in 1954. Peter Balcombe, a 24 year old man, was the last hanging at the jail on the 25th May 1954, he had been found guilty of murder. Many of those executed were buried in the courtyard, a new section was added in the 1960’s, three ‘cells’ were laid in the ground, supposedly they were used for punishment but there appears to be no record of their existence.

In 2005 the jail opened as a tourist attraction for Ontario, whilst it is there for a historic purpose there are also those who are interested in the paranormal side too. Reports have included hearing the sounds of trolley movement, cell doors that were closed the night before would be found open the next day; or vice versa. Numerous orbs have been caught on photography or film, staff have reported hearing a humming from a male, some believe that woman and children also haunt the jail. TAPS investigated and aired a show from the site.

Cornwall Jail

The building is in a 60 story-high skyscraper in the Ikebukuro area of Tokyo, Japan. It’s main use now is for shopping and for entertainment and in 1978 when it was built it was the highest building in Asia.  It was surpassed in 1985 but for a while remained that tallest in the city. The building’s foundation is made of reinforced concrete and the lower segment of the building is reinforced concrete, with a steel skeleton. 

Sunshine 60 was built over the destroyed Sugamo Prison, it has been used to hold Senior Japanese war prisoners during the occupation. 23rd December, 1948 seven of the high-ranking officials were hanged. It was also the sight for the hanging of a Soviet spy called Richard Sorge and because of it’s former use there are rumours that it is haunted.  

 I saw there there were reports of chanting when there is no one there. loud bangs and knocks in places where they would not be expected, or of old spots that could not be explained. A tenant in one of the flats heard his daughter scream and ran to see fireballs over their heads. A few other phenomena have been reported but on writing this I could not find anything more specific.

Sunshine 60.JPG
By KakidaiOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

 

Podcast notes

In the last installment for this series I have reviewed Lee Roberts and the Parasearch Radio, I made notes against the information on the last two posts I made about Clifton Hall. It was uploaded to youtube in 2008 and if you want a far more in-depth listen, I have linked it below.  The first thing I will say is that I listened to the beginning and wondered if this was really my kind of listen, but I did enjoy it overall. They go over the history of the hall and the presenter has clearly spent time going into the past, even noting that Gervase Clifton had seven wives, and all died young, she said even for the time it was a lot.

Percy Clifton’s history was touched on, last Lord of the Manor, he lost his eldest son Gervase Ronald Bruce on the HMS Mommouth. Supporting information can be found here – https://secure.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/RollOfHonour/People/Details/9543 and was a young midshipman, at 15 it seems a sad loss of life, along with the other 735 crew that went down with the ship when it sank.

Along with this the rumours and hauntings from the Grammar school years are discussed noting that the rumours of hauntings do indeed go further back.

After this Lee Roberts is introduced who explained that at the time, they were trying to get TAPIT noticed and their name out there as an investigation team. He explains that the PA for Anwar Rashid contacted them to invite them in and they clearly wanted to go, Roberts says that they scheduled it for a three night visit where they could take some baseline readings for humidity, room temperature and air temperature. He goes on to say that there was a scenario where he got lost in a way he never should have, he left the nursery and went down a straight hallway then got turned around back into it, he could give no explanation about how it happened.

He references another event, there is a black and white chequered room that they went into and Roberts says the whole floor was covered in wasps. He turned to his brother-in-law and said they needed to get their cameras and record it all, they passed Rashid’s brother, they told him, and all went back to the room. When they got there the room was clear, there was no sign of a wasp in sight. Roberts says it took only 30 seconds but even if it was slightly longer than that it would surely have meant some evidence of them was left, even a straggler? It turns out that this was not a one-off thing, but they also found out that the wasps were never seen anywhere but that room.

Remember I mentioned the winding staircase? Well Roberts brought that up as well, they discuss King Charles and that the team had radio’s on them to communicate, over the radio Roberts heard “we know you’re alone in there,” which he explained was female and they checked locally for baby monitors or anything that could have come to the same channel but found nothing, a year late when he went back the same voice came over and said “so, you’ve come back again?” and they had no explanation for it.

The maid and her death are discussed too, they say a local witness talked about seeing a figure of a woman by the cliff and that the person had disappeared when they turned around. Roberts says that the team did not witness this, but they do muse about the subject of this as it is accepted that historically richer men would have affairs with their servants and the bi-product of unwanted – bastard- children was a reality. These scandals would result in women trying to self-terminate children or they must be secreted away to have them elsewhere.

It loosely linked into the story of the bricked-up room/wall and I think Roberts provides some better context about how this all came around. In the cellar they found that Rashid’s family stored boxes and belongings, also in there were some gargoyles and objects from the church along with an area that had been bricked up in the past that may be the tunnel to the church. It was reported that there were the sounds of scratching and of cries from behind it, realistically he points out that even if they wanted to sledgehammer the wall to find out more this was not going to happen and it was far to expensive to destroy the old wall.  Roberts goes on to explain that they did contact the local church and attempt to get information on the tunnel, but they got no reply. He does say that I was not unusual as many of the churches don’t want these teams coming in or making local sensations of them.

A year later Anwar Rashid contacted Roberts again to ask him to come back, he said that the situation had escalated to physical attacks leaving scratches and bruises. They had a priest come in who had left them prayers to print out and put around the house, the family had nailed them up high in all the rooms and it had not helped at all. He states that on the second visit it was a more active site, and this is where the Dark Mansions statement must have come in as well, he says that one of the team got scratched, another saw a reflection in the mirror and that two members passed out. Roberts says that this was the only time he had stopped an investigation and got the team back together through safety fears.

So here is a loose timeline I was able to make

Jan 2007 house is purchased

June 2007 the family moved in

August 2007 TAPIT call in the first time

August 2008 TAPIT go in the second time

October 2008 the family leaves.

Lee Roberts and his team had planned to put all their recordings and notes together ready to present to Anwar Rashid, he had heard nothing more from them and then one day he got a call from a newspaper for a quote. I rather liked that Lee Roberts made no hidden fact about the fact he enjoyed media attention and that he said he was happy to discuss it until he realised that they were after a sensational story about it all, at the time he was a police officer and was told by the force that he would need to remember this and keep it all professional so he held back from too much attention on himself.

Anwar Rashid gave some statements at the time, then he went media silent. This to me came across as quite a good point in the recanting of the events, the man didn’t want to make more money from it or bring his family more attention as he was more concerned about his family and their welfare. He mentioned that they also had a few things that were discussed like a little boy that appeared around a curtain and then could not be found, along with there being an elderly man’s ghost in the headmasters room but Anwar Rashid wanted to enter the tale no further. Lee Roberts say they keep in touch, but the subject of the Hall is not one to bring up, instead it is about how things are now.

I think there is a lot of interesting reading in Clifton Hall and the church, it is a small pocket in Nottinghamshire and has kept me busy reading for a while now! I hope you like the write up and that you find the subject interesting. I also hope you like my deep dives now and then as I do enjoy bringing more to the tale than a few tea-break paragraphs. Thank you also if you read all of this and if you want to offer any comments, I always enjoy seeing feedback.

Sources:

Wikipedia                            savills.com                                          History of Nottinghamshire, Vol 1

Telegraph.co.uk                mysteriousbritain.co.uk                nottsalgia.com

Haunted rooms                 theparanormalguide.com            Clifton-vollage.org.uk

Paranormaldatabase.com            Dark Mansions – Dinah Williams

BBC News                           kids.kiddle.co                                    officialleeroberts.com

Google                                 Fortean Times                                   alchetron.com/chek-whyte

Paranormal Network      Find A Grave                                      Parasearch Radio

Sky News                             nottinghamshistory.org.uk          The Clifton Book 1906. Rev Rosslyn Bruce

Carrying on from Part One. 

In January 2007 Anwar Rashid brought Clifton Hall for £3.6 million, he had made his money from nursing homes in Dubai and by no means had to worry about finance (and still does not I believe). The pan was to use the Hall for both living and wedding events. 8 months later, the story goes, the family left the property, defaulted the mortgage and refused to go back. He had called in a local paranormal team and said that he had found blood marks on a quilt that was being used for his 18-month-old son, a the time it was quoted like he felt like it was the film “The Others” (side note – not a bad film!)

T.A.P.I.T (The Ashfield Paranormal Investigation Team) based in Sutton in Ashfield were formed in 2006, by Lee Roberts. I listened to an interview he did with at Parasearch Radio and I will go into that in the last part of this little series but before that lets recap and look into more of this story.

Anwar Rashid brought the property, he already had a 25 million fortune and brought the 52 room Hall with 17 bedrooms, a gym, cinema, 10 reception rooms and 10 bathrooms. At the time he was a 32-year-old businessman, with a 25-year-old wife, three daughters and two sons.

He brought the Hall in January 2007, from day one they believed it could be haunted as they said on the  first evening he heard a voice “is anyone there?” but could find no source and so tried to ignore it, he said that it was a man’s voice and that was not the only time they heard it. Nabila Rashid (his wife) saw her eldest daughter watching television at 5am downstairs, she went upstairs only find that she was asleep in her own bed. They also say that some of their family and friends outright refused to stay there to.

May 2007 – the planned license for marriage ceremonies was refused by the council but that didn’t stop them coming up with ideas for other uses on a commercial level.

Stories and dates are quite ambiguous because when I breakdown dates you may find they seem messy and I want to acknowledge that. One report says they left in August 2008 but TAPIT says they left in October 2008 as an example. On report says they stopped paying the bills in January 2008 but that doesn’t fit if they defaulted and left 18th September 2008 when Yorkshire Bank reclaimed the Hall. I believe that this would seem fairer as it coincided with the idea of them handing the keys in during August 2008bu either way they had defaulted and gone in 2008.

21st September 2008, Sky News covered the story, “Millionaire Flees Haunted Mansion”.

“When people used to tell me about ghosts, I would never believe them, and they would say ‘whatever!’. But I would have to tell any new owner that it was haunted having experienced it.”

Darren Brookes, manager at a security firm that used to manage Hall security also supported this view, “a monk walking through the grounds, a woman in the graveyard falling over, and chairs moving in one of the rooms”.

Dark Mansions – “During their stay, the family called paranormal investigators, but these experts could not drive the spirits from the house. In fact, two investigators, fainted after seeing the ghost of a boy”.

This is mentioned in the Parasearch podcast but outside of that I found collecting ‘evidence’ to be more rumours etc but not actual fact or evidence, however TAPIT have not released anything else I could find and I believe it is because Lee Roberts is planning to write a book on the matter and probably holding it all back for that reason.

Another small side note of interest that I found; it was mentioned about rumours of a heart in a casket at the church. The church has not precise date of founding so it was possible that the site was used for worship and predates the church being erected, again the earliest notation comes from the Domesday book, but we can likely designate the transition to a Christian church being around 1150, but before 1200. If you like local church history, I think this would be for you, but I am concentrating on the rumour of the heart.

The Clifton Book – 1906 says that the south side doorway is dated 1632 and opens into the Clifton vault.  There are 25 coffins noted in the book and he states that resting among them is the small leaden casket, he says that from the size and shape it “doubtless” contained a heart, this heart was believe to be from Sir William Clifton, a crusader. There is another mention – 1790 report by Throsby, saying that there was a lead coffin shaped to receive the head and shoulders, for Sir Gervase Clifton who was beheaded after the Battle of Tewkesbury but he did not see it himself.  I think there is genuine merit to the rumour and whilst it won’t be possible to confirm as the vault is going to be tended, and fortunately preserved, by the incumbent clergy it is highly probably this exists.

 The last part of this series is going to be write up of what I listened to, the notes I made and a link to that podcast. Overall, I found it very hard to get enough footage, pictures or further information supporting all the local rumours and events. I don’t dismiss that there have been multiple experiences, but I cannot find you anything more than those reports. BUT I hope you liked the deep dive and you like my photos from a wintery Nottingham village.

                  

         
Sources: 

Wikipedia                            savills.com               History of Nottinghamshire, Vol 1

Telegraph.co.uk                mysteriousbritain.co.uk                nottsalgia.com

Haunted rooms                 theparanormalguide.com            Clifton-vollage.org.uk

Paranormaldatabase.com            Dark Mansions – Dinah Williams

BBC News                           kids.kiddle.co                                    officialleeroberts.com

Google                                 Fortean Times                                   alchetron.com/chek-whyte

Paranormal Network      Find A Grave                                      Parasearch Radio

Sky News                             nottinghamshistory.org.uk          The Clifton Book 1906. Rev Rosslyn Bruce