Posts Tagged ‘1961’

Birkdale, Southport is in my home county of Lancashire and once had a luxury hotel that opened in 1866, was then demolished in 1969. During the Second World War it was used for US airmen as a rehabilitation centre, for that stage of it’s existence it was used as a film location.

It entered the interest for paranormal enthusiasts when a report came up 6th May, 1969 in the Southport Visitor. A group of demolition workers claimed that the lift at the Old Palace Hotel was haunted. Jos Smith was heading up the demolition team and said that they had been woken up there by eerie voices and strange noises at night, and even more frightening the lift began to work by itself.

The lift’s power had been cut, the brakes were on and yet the four ton metal box continued to go up and down as it did when the building was operational. It was enough to unnerve hard workmen, worried by the lifts working they disabled it and cut the ties, they were then more concerned because it did not drop as it should have. In the end they hammered it on until it finally tell from the third floor.

The workmen had heard voices, the sounds of arguments and footsteps, they didn’t rule out that it could be down to people breaking in, but it would no doubt have been strange to hear. Southport Police also arrived one night as they’d received a call from a woman saying she was trapped inside. The police arrived to find that the phone-lines had been cut a significant time before then.

An urban legend about a ghost also came from the hotel, Ursula Wall was the architect and it is said she was on holiday when the foundations were laid back to front and therefore the hotel. Having seen the error she was so distraught she committed suicide, leaping down the lift shaft. It is however one of a few legends around her death and so not really confirmed.

There are other stories linked to the building, in 1961 Amanda Jane Graham was abducted by a hotel porter. The 6-year-old was murdered and found under his bed at the hotel. There is a rumour too about two sisters who carried out a suicide pact, and 14 deceased lifeboat men were temporarily laid out in its coach house. All these stories helped add to the haunted rumours.

The only surviving part id the coach house were the lifeboat men had been laid out to rest. The pub (as it now is) is called Fisherman’s Rest in their memory. It is also reportedly haunted and people have said that they feel as though they are being watched.

9th December, 1886, a sailing ship, Mexico was driven ashore and the bodies of their fellow crewmen were viewed at the pub by the jury. Now the lost men are touchingly recalled by 14 small brass mermaids that hold the bar handrail in place.

1866, Palace Hotel, Southport. North-East View From Birkdale Park.png
By JonmaddoxukOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

 

The earliest guess for the beginnings of the catacombs in the Ukraine is about the 1600’s. It could be earlier than that but it’s hard to date back as they were also widened later on. They became the giant labyrinth of today when in the early 1800’s the limestone was used from them to build much of the city.

The myriad of tunnels led to it being popular for hideouts, rebels and criminals could use them and during WWII they Soviets were forced out, but were able to leave Soviet-organised Ukranian’s hidden down there. They were able to listen in to the Nazi forces above and set up a situation where they managed to blow up German facilities. It wasn’t all good news as malaria and malnutrition affected those men and women.

The Facist German and Romanians chose random exits, sealing them off and and dropping poisonous gasses down them. When the war was over the criminals claimed the tunnels and created new ones of their own. In 1961 a group was formed, they wanted to map and document the geography and history of the place.

It is common for groups of explorers to go into the area, occasionally people do go missing and if they are in the area the explorers will rally to help. A number of children have been rescued this way but sadly it hasn’t always turned out positive. Old weapon caches and grenades are sometimes found, every five years or so a body is found and on rare occasions they have been naturally mummified there too. Many are old bodies but sometimes more recent accidents have turned up a corpse as well.

A sad example of this occurred 15th January 2005, the local teens were partying in the tunnels. A girl called Masha was separated and lost during the drunken celebrations. For 3 days she walked around in the pitch black and freezing conditions, where she then expired due to dehydration. It was two years later the police located her body and could retrieve it.

There is an official area that can be visited and perhaps given the warnings of lost people and random body finds, I’d recommend going there before being too bold.

Odessa kat 01.jpg
By Полищук Денис Анатольевич – Own work, CC BY 2.5, Link

 

The Odessa Catacombs, which are indeed mines not catacombs, are located in Odessa, Ukraine and attract extreme tourists, despite the number of warnings, they stretch around 2,500 kilometres and are larger and longer than those or Rome and Paris. The labyrinth of tunnels is largely unknown and unmapped, as such only a small percentage are opened via the Museum of Partisan Glory.

The tunnels materials were good for cheap construction, during World War II the tunnels served as a hiding grounds for Soviet Partisans and in 1961 the Poisk Club was created in order to explore the tunnels to map them, in keeping with the old tradition there’s really no maps by others instead clues and symbols on the walls are used to traverse them. The tunnels continued to be mined for the rich resource of limestone and so kept expanding.

The catacombs hit the news because another explorer found the remains of a body. In 2007 an urban explorer, Eugene, made a morbid discovery of a corpse of a 19-year old women. She had been at a New Years Eve party, 2005 and they had been partying there all night. At some point the woman was separated from the group and when they left the next morning they were unaware that she had not left as well. This young lady died alone, lost and probably from things like dehydration due to not having supplies and maybe even intoxicated to a high degree.

Coroners findings say that she had spent three days dehydrating before she came to the end of her life. Her name from sources around the internet suggest she was known as Masha. On other sites her name is listed as Mariya and it’s been a lot of internet trawling to try and work out more information. Eugene did not tell the police her location, nor did other explorers and she was around 5km away from the area, eventually the police located her because she was was shown in location and they managed to get her out and this is sometimes where the story lines get blurred.

She is not the only person to have been found there, there have been older mummified corpses found and the cold air and dry conditions lead to good preservation. There have also been old World War II era rifles and grenades. In 2015 two teenagers went missing but from what little I could find I worked out they were rescued.

So I couldn’t find her surname or if she is Masha or Mariya, I guess her name has been lost amongst various media reports and outlets. If you can confirm her name I would like to be able to put that to this article.

Odessa kat 01.jpg
By Полищук Денис Анатольевич – Own work, CC BY 2.5, Link