Archive for the ‘Unusual Findings’ Category

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


The Manor/Hall of Clifton is located near the city of Nottingham, the manor now known as Clifton Hall, and for the ease of reading will just be Hall in this blog, was mentioned in the Domesday Book, 1086 and is located at the back of the River Trent and is a Grade I listed building. There is a cliff overlooking the river and in the 1086 Domesday book is noted as being at the top of a hill at the cliff edge of Clifton Village, most likely as this made it a more easily defendable position and is described as a fortified tower house.

It was listed as three stories high and was remodelled in the 18th Century in the Georgian style of architecture. It was largely done between 1778-1797 by Sir Gervase Clifton, he employed architect John Carr of York, it was here that the original house was predominantly demolished. The original domed Hall, built by Sir Robert Clifton was saved and used, the south Hall in Carr’s work and the north wing is of a later date.

The de Clifton family had brought the property from the de Rhodes in the 13th century. In 1896 Sir Harvey Juckes Lloyd Bruce succeeded Henry Robert Clifton. The early Bruce years at Clifton are recorded in the book Silken Dalliance (1946) written by Henry James Bruce. In the 1940’s Lieutenant Colonel Peter Thomas Clifton started to sell off the property and the Hall was sold in 1958, this ended 700 years of the Clifton family ownership.

In 1958 Clifton Hal’s Grammar school for girls opened, for girls aged 11- 18 years and it closed in 1976. The head teacher for the school when it opened was Miss Heron, she died of cancer and was succeeded by Miss Squire, this happened around 1970. I could find no solid date online when I searched. 13th January 1970, a sixth former and 17-year-old, called Sandra Simpkin married 22-year-old Allan Barnes, a widow and she was given a day off from her lessons. The Grammar school closed in July 1976, and another Alumini of note that went there was Jayne Torvill (ice skater).

The Nottingham Trent University, then Trent Polytechnics, used the Hall after that until 2002.

Chek Whyte (Anthony Beardsley) then redeveloped the area, building houses on the ground, converted the Hall into two luxury apartments and 14 houses were listed as build on the south east of the Hall area. In 2007 he appeared on Secret Millionaire, he was then declared bankrupt in 2009 and was £20 million in debt but seems used to the life of a risk taker noting in a statement that he had been in the position before.

In 2007 Anwar Rashid purchased the property for £3.6 million and the family moved in, they used one wing of the Hall as a residency and planned to use the rest as a wedding venue or place for ceremonies. The Clifton Hall profile was raised again when the family left in 2008, having defaulted on their mortgage and allowing the Yorkshire Bank to repossess it, and it is listed for sale at £2.5 million, the reason was not cited as financial difficulty but the persistent danger to the family from paranormal threats. There is a current listing on Savills for the property.

I went to the area, Dec 2019, to look as the rumours about the place have reached an international interest historically and a friend of mine requested this as a blog. So here goes! The church, cemetery and Hall are at the end of the road and parking up I was greeted by a pleasant village view of the church and grounds entrance. St Mary’s is a pleasant churchyard and well kept, it sees current use and I took the time to photograph some of the graves for the website, Find A Grave. I also immediately heard voices in the trees, it was easy to work out that the source of this was ground workers, it was mid-day and there was traffic going into the workplace but it does come across a little weird and eerie as you hear it carrying across from the woods.

The place a history of ghosts and unusual events, Haunted Rooms had an entry, so let’s begin with that. A brief over-view of the history is there and mentions that in 1632 King Charles occupied the bedroom at the top of the winding stairs. I will be mentioning the stairs again later in one of these blog series. The quick summary here says there are dark apparitions of children, unexplained banging or tapping on the doors/walls, unexplained voices like low conversations and bloodstains appearing on bedclothes and floors.

The Paranormal Database also has an entry – The Clifton Family are said to have been warned about an impending family death of a sturgeon [fish] was seen swimming upstream of the Trent.

Local rumours?

One is that a painting used to be in the hall for the daughter of the Colonel, she died in a riding accident at Clifton Grove. Tracey Collins was a pupil there and said that the panting was rumoured to have been of his daughter but she died in a riding accident, instead they painted over the partially done piece and as a tribute a female foot on the colonel is actually what is left of her in her memory. This local legend has been disproven but the story still knocks around, the reason it was disproved as down to the fact that both daughters outlived their father and went on to marry. There is also nothing supernatural about it, but it is another weird local legend.

I also found a story from the Grammar School era about a bricked-up room, there are two stories that seem to centre around this theme. One is that there is a bricked-up room where a crying baby can be heard, not depending on the source it is either in the Hall or it is in the tunnel under it. This sort of ties in with the story of a tunnel that goes beneath the Hall to the church which also has a rumour that black magic rituals/satanism occurred there. Rumour also has it that this was in the stables as a witness say blood on the floor, there was a smell of burning herbs and all seems to link back to a crying child. I found nothing about this for any solid proof along with no named witnesses.

There are mentions of maids/women who grab up a child, in some local stories it is her jumping from a third story window with the child as a release from the Lord, in others it is a maid that jumps from the cliff into the river.

VWGolf (nottsalgia) refers to one of the bricked-up rumours potentially being a more mundane explanation. In the hall is an Octagonal dining room, and a creative centre piece which he says was all on a column in the middle of the room. It had statues and reliefs and upon searching around I found some photographs of it, Clifton-Village.org.uk seems to have supporting photographs at least.

Anwar Rashid and his family got unwanted fame about the Hall, along with Lee Roberts from TAPIT who was not so shy of being involved. The profile-raising section of this story and the paranormal side of Clifton Hall seems to have become more entrenched in modern history with their side of the saga and this is something you will have to wait more to hear about…

Part two coming soon.

 

 

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

I’ve been at O’Hare International Airport, once, it’s located in Chicago, Illinois and I fortunately got my flight in and out without incident. For the passengers and crew of American Airline Flight 191 it was another story entirely. The tragedy occurred 25th May, 1979 and was recorded on film and photography at the time.

Just as the aircraft reached its take-off speed engine no.1 and the pylon assembly were separated from the left wing. It flipped over the top of the wing and then landed on the runway. The aircraft was continuing on the normal climb up but everyone thought the pilot would be turning to come back around to land.

It is unknown what was said in the cockpit because the cockpit voice recorder lost power with the loss of the engine. The last recorded words were from the first officer “Damn!” and it was known after the engine was not the only failure in the plane. Hydraulic systems one and three were damaged and the airplane was in he air for 50 seconds before it crashed into the ground.

What the passengers saw is debatable, but the cockpit had been equipped with CCTV positioned above the captains shoulder and connected to view screens in the passenger cabin, it is possible they could see their efforts unfolding as well. The plane crashed into a field around 4,600 feet from the end of the runway, aircraft debris was then thrown into an adjacent trailer park. The DC-10 aircraft also crashed into an old aircraft hanger that was part of the old Ravenswood Airport, being used for storage.

271 people onboard the aircraft were killed, two employees at a nearby repair garage were killed and two more were seriously burnt. The conclusion, taking out the jargon, was that the aeroplane had crashed because of improper maintenance used by American Airlines. 273 dead, and despite later exonerating the aircraft the damage was done in the public’s eye. American Airlines were fined $500,000 by the US government for improper maintenance procedures. 262 Americans, 4 Saudi Arabians, 1 South Korean, 2 Austrian, 1 Belgian and 4 people from the Netherlands all gone. For 32 years there was no memorial placed but in 2009 a memorial was funded after a two-year campaign by the 6th grade class of Decatur classical school in Chicago.

With a tragedy like this it is not unusual to think that there would be accounts of strange activity. Des Plaines officers reported that motorists had reported odd sights within a few months of the crash. They had seen odd, bobbing lights in the accident sites field, they had thought that it might be ghoulish collectors but on arrival they found the fields empty. Patrols often went on to the field but never apprehended anyone.

The nearby mobile homes park residents claimed to hear knocking at doors, rapping at doors and windows; responders would open their doors only to find there was nobody there. Dogs at the park would bark at the empty field and owners were unable to find anything that they would be reacting too. On a few occasions it was also said people confronted figures in the area too, and might get a worried person who told them they were searching for lost luggage or needed to make a connection before disappearing.

One anecdote (Americanhauntingsink.com) recalls a man who was approached by another man, he was walking his dog in an area near the crash at night and the man told him he needed to mark an emergency telephone call. The man was said to have a strong smell of gasoline and appeared to be smouldering. The dog walker turned to point towards the telephone booth and when he finally turned back to the man had vanished. Until that point he hadn’t paid much attention to the 191 rumours but was now soundly convinced.

There is also another report that travellers coming through O’Hare have seen a young man making a call from a booth, located close to the Fight 191 departure gate. He is said to take a few steps after finishing the call and then vanishes in front of their eyes (no I didn’t experience this).

Ghost Research said that they had got to the site, they hadn’t experienced anything unusual but did put up some ghost box recordings on their website. What you make of ‘spirit boxes’ is personal opinion but they were uploaded and linked on the site, along with a picture of the memorial.

Flight numbers are re-used all the time, airline geeks go into another theory about the flight number being cursed. Usually an incident or tragedy might well mean the number is retired but they found four connected incidents to the use of Flight 191.

1972, Puerto Rico on June 24th, was running late and the control tower at Mercedita was closed. The pilots communicated to an uncontrolled frequency and crashed into the runway. There were 20 people on the flight and five died, including two crewmen. The investigation was unable to each any conclusion about what had happened to cause the crash.

After the Chicago incident there was another Flight 91, Delta Airlines was going from Ft Lauderdale, Hollywood to LAX with a stop at Dallas. As the flew in they were starting to see thunderstorms but they were experienced pilots, they began the descent as the storms reached their peak. It was a mile short of the runway when it landed, it hit a car near the airport, two water tanks and then disintegrated.

The cause was a weather phenomenon known as a microburst, an increase in the headwind slowed it down, caused a severe downdraft and a strong tailwind caused the plane to speed up. It first hit the car and killed the occupant, it went out of control and upon crashing 137 people of the 163 onboard died. The third tragedy struck the 191 on the 2nd August, 1985.

21 years later, Flight 191 and a flight from Lexington, Kentucky set off towards Atlanta. Comairs Flight 191 set off on the morning of 27th August, 2006, and was assigned runway 22 but used runway 26 instead. 26 was too short to make a safe take off and this meant it overrun at the end of the runway. It crashed just past the end of the runway, it killed 47 passengers and two of the three crew onboard. The first officer was the only survivor. Ames Polehinke. The investigation concluded that the likely cause of the accident was pilot error, Captain Clay’s wife disputed this saying it was an under-staffed control tower and an inaccurate runway map.

Flight 191 has been kept in use and continues to be used by US airlines but its not the plane so you likely won’t need to worry about ghosts right?

Let’s be fair with the amount of flights in the modern world and airlines it is easy to associate a number with an accident. I googled my flight for Chicago which was 4146 and it seems that there was an accident for it too. 18th January 1988 there was a loss of all 108 passengers and crew onboard. Engine Number Four caught fire and then the flight in Chongwing, China, hit a power line and two farmhouses before it burst into flames. The engine fire was caused by an oil leak and it was blamed on poor maintenance. I am not inclined to believe in accidents being associated to numbers but more the airlines we place our faith in.

It hasn’t stopped me flying.

Wikipedia

americanhauntingsink.com

Chicago Tribune (now blocked in UK)

ghostresearch.org

airlinegeeks.com

planecrashinfo.com

mysteriousuniverse.org

IMG_0387

Dank old photo taken by me on a phone many years ago 🙂

 

It is also known as the Essex County Hospital, the area is heavily guarded for the sake of preventing further vandalism and general criminal activity. I for one salute this, preservation of these buildings seems to be scarce in my country so I am always glad to hear when action is taken anywhere.

In 1986 the land was designated for the new location of the insane asylum and was located in Verona, now Cedar Grove, it was selected as a remote location, high altitude and peaceful for rehabilitation.

Like many it was soon victim to being at full capacity, it was so large it had its own train stop, grew its own food and the farming was considered to be helpful towards the rehabilitation of the patients. It was its own little town and even had a semi-professional baseball team.

The 1960’s and 70’s brought the further introduction of new treatments, medication and brought a decline in admitted patients. It still operated into the 1990’s and slowly parts were abandoned, which meant urban explorers and then local legends started. In 2007 Essex Court announced a smaller, modern place would be built. Overbrook would become a 90 acre country park.

For New Jersey teens exploring this was a rite of passage, “the asylum”, “the bin” and “the hilltop” tested their mettle. It is a sad fact that the buildings have been demolished. Now the site will hopefully be used for local benefit.

The site for the asylum is not that of the sanatorium, the Essex County Mountain Sanatorium stood elsewhere but was left entirely without preservation and nothing remains. The once lovely building for aiding tuberculosis sufferers is no longer standing. Nearby the penitentiary from 1872 will eventually follow suit no doubt.

In 2008 Choke was filmed at the Overbrook Asylum and so has been preserved in the form of video/film at least.

21st December, 1917, an article appeared in The New York Times about a terrible tragedy at Overbrook. A set of boilers failed during a cold wave, 24 patients died within 20 days. There were 1,800 patients at the time in the asylum and it gave rise to 32 cases of frostbite. The conditions were bad enough that the director sent a letter to relatives, he encouraged them to take their relatives away until the situation could be resolved.

Ghost Adventures visited the site but they did not give the official location during the filming, but Ghost Hunters and their sister show, GH Academy also visited. The TV shows go with the idea that forgotten patients still wander the halls. Much like Danver’s and others of a similar build the idea of the underground tunnels draws a good deal of attention too.

Building II was the location for the morgue and criminally insane, apparently, I do wonder why these two always feature together on plans… and it is said that there is a nurse there walking the halls. Alongside this are reports of screaming, bangs and direct threats on a vocal level for people to leave the property.

I could find nothing outside of the TV shows about hauntings, I am more than aware about the claims from these shows about false evidence too. Many locals seem quick to dispute the cases and tales as well, so have you anything to add?

Overbrook Station.JPG
By J. E. Bailey – Images of America: Cedar Grove, Public Domain, Link

 

I’m not talking about the rum, but I do think the bottles that brand come in look rather cool. I am talking about the legendary sea-monster that seems to be rumoured to well around the coasts of Norway and Greenland. It is a cephalopod which generally includes things like squid, octopus and nautilus. This particular type of marine life is characterized by large bodies, tentacles and many fishermen call them inkfish. Many of them do squirt ink so this does make sense.

There is a theory that many authors hold that the legend might be originated from sightings of giant squids. Giant squids can grow between 40-50 feet. It’s name is taken from Norwegian and an old Icelandic saga mentions a beast called hafgufa which swallows up men and ships. Some early accounts seem more crab-like than giant squid, but whatever the account it seems that the giant tentacled beast is now the modern accepted depiction.

A pretty famous poem by Alfred Tennyson was published in 1830 describing the massive creature at the depths of the ocean. In 1851 came Moby Dick by Herman Melville and it is described as a giant squid and similarly forms part of Jules Verne’s 1870 tales of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.

The kraken is also referred to as a leviathan, this is from the Jewish belief and referenced in their texts in the Book of Job a large primeval monster is defeated by the god Hadad and various interpretations range from dragons and whales to sea monsters in general.

It is part of the Satanic Bible (1969) by Anton Szandor LaVey uses the Leviathan of the element of water, listing the leviathan of the Four Crown Princes of Hell. It is however not described as a kraken exactly but more as a large sea-serpent.

In modern culture the kraken has been imagined for various stories, 2010 saw the “release the kraken” line delivered by Liam Neeson as Zeus, and yes it is still used in our Dungeons and Dragons campaigns to this date, the film Clash of the Titans uses it as a servant of the Olympian Gods. In 2011 Wolverine and Hercules are attacked by the kraken, Marvel Comics. In 2016 King Nereus takes on a form of the kraken but is defeated by Aqua-Woman (Mera) in the DC comics universe of the Bombshells series.

The Disney series of Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man’s Chest specifically, also brings the kraken to the big screen and TV’s as it devours Jack Sparrow under the servitude of Davy Jones. Used as servant it devours the souls of men marked by Davy Jones who are overdue on their payments. It appears at the end of At The World’s End as dead on the beach. I actually like its depiction in the second film as it felt like an all encompassing and fearsome creature.

It wouldn’t be my blog without mentioning H P Lovecraft and The Call of Cthulhu, the novel was written in 1926 and the Cthulhu Mythos scholar Robert M Price points to Tennyson’s influence when Lovecraft designed his description of Cthulhu. It is certainly a strong theory given his monstrous tentacles and that fact he is said to reside under the ocean in a large sunken city known as R’yleh. The location of this city was given by Lovecraft as being in the South Pacific. The position is known as ‘Nemo’ point which is a part of the ocean furthest away from any landmass. It is also known as a spacecraft cemetery, because a lot of our space rubbish is dumped there on re-entry as it is less likely to cause a collision with vessels and maritime traffic and is pretty lifeless due to a lack of nutrients in the area.

So I’m still a little off-topic from the kraken but I think it is loosely related so there is actually an old historical monument out there, the Antarctic Research Station, полюс недоступности (excuse any misspelling please), Pole of Inaccessibility Research Station at the Southern Pole and was founded and defined in 1958. It is also very cold there, -58.2c (-72.8f) and was initially reached on the 14th December, 1958 by an 18 man party.

26th December, 1958 the team left as it was too far from regular stations to be a safe venture. It has been visited since then and a bust of Vladimir Lenin was left at the site facing towards Moscow. In 2007 Team N2i ventured there and found the bust to still be visible and I am wondering if the kraken/Cthulhu would even notice knocking it over?

So do you think it is real? Asleep I some great depth or just an overly inflated tale about giant squid?

Sources: bbc.co.uk, traverse.npolar.no, wikipedia, gutenberg.org, victorianweb.org, lovecraftf.andom.org

Pirates of the Caribbean films

Old copy of the Satanic Bible – forgot I had this until I went digging around, old goth me would be impressed maybe.

H P Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu (from the compendium brought for me by friends!)

Denys de Montfort Poulpe Colossal.jpg
By Pierre Denys de Montfort († 1820) – Ellis, R. 1994. Monsters of the Sea. Robert Hale Ltd., Public Domain, Link