Posts Tagged ‘Haunting’

This case is interesting because it was in 1804 and set out a legal precedent in the UK about self-defense; could someone be held liable for their actions even if they were the consequence of a mistaken/misguided belief…

Near the end of summer in 1803 a number of people claimed to have seen and even been attacked by a ghost in the Hammersmith area, London. It was believed that the ghost was a man who committed suicide the year before and was buried in the Hammersmith churchyard. It was believed he should not be buried in consecrated grounds, it was thought that suicide victims would not find rest if that happened.

3rd January, 1804 and a member of the armed patrols set up in response shot and killed a plasterer, Thomas Millwood. The man mistook the white clothes of Millwoods trade for the ghost and 29 year old Francis Smith was found guilty of murder. Mr Smith was tried for willful murder, and a witness stated she had warned the victim he might want to put on something that stopped him being all white, she had said he had already been mistaken for the ghost on a previous occasion.

Millwood’s sister testified that Smith had called on her brother to sop or he would shoot but he then fired almost immediately. The Lord Chief Baron Macdonald advised the jury that Smith’s character before may well have been good and there may have been no malice but the question was more if he had at that point shot with intent to kill.

Smith had not been provoked and had not made any attempt to apprehend the ghost, therefore he felt that the jury should be directed to find him guilty if they believed the facts presented. It took an hour for the jury to come back with a verdict of manslaughter. MacDonald said they could not deliver that response, it must be either guilty or acquittal, the belief that he was a ghost was to him irrelevant to the case. The jury then came back with guilt… MacDonald stated he intended to pass the case to the king, who had the power to commute the sentence.

Initially the trial stated that it was a sentence of hanging and dissection. It was commuted to a year’s hard labour. The publicity meant that the true culprit of the ghostly encounters came forwards, John Graham had been pretending to be the ghost so that he could frighten his apprentice, and his apprentice had been scaring the local children with stories of ghosts.

The impact on the law was that a question arose about whether the action taken under a mistaken self-defense would be chargeable, and it went to the Court of Appeal. It wasn’t clarified until 1984, when appellant, Gladstone Williams, had seen a man dragging a younger man along the street, the younger man was shouting for help. Williams thought that an assault was taking place and intervened, Williams had not known but the person being dragged had been caught trying to commit theft. Williams was then convicted of assault with actual bodily harm, and the Lord Chief Justice Lane referred to the debate when the appeal came up.

It was a problematic issue, Williams was trying to help albeit without understanding the situation he had seen someone in peril and thought he was doing the right thing. It was not unreasonable perhaps, that he stepped in trying to assist, the man was crying out for help. So in the end for Williams an appeal was allowed and his conviction was quashed… the decision was also later written into a more concise reference for law, Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, section 76.

And all this because a man dressed up in a white sheet and tried to scare his apprentice!

Hammersmith Ghost.PNG
Public Domain, Link

 

The tunnel is located in Richmond, Virginia and has two supernatural reputations of ghosts and another of the Richmond Vampire. The tunnel originally opened in 1873 but closed in 1902, then in the 1920’s with growth to the area it was decided by the rail company that they would re-open the 4,000 ft tunnel but to do this they needed it cleaned and reinforced.

Disaster struck 2nd October 1925, 200 men were at work in the tunnel; the men stood on cars and a steam locomotive so they could work on the tunnel. Above the locomotive the ceiling collapsed, the train was buried and steam from the squashed boiler scalded the train’s fireman. He crawled out of the tunnel but he died of his injuries in the hospital later on.

After eight days of searching they found the driver in his cab. The unfortunate man had a lever through his chest and he was badly burnt. Records are pretty sketchy but at least one body was never recovered and the locomotive is buried in the tunnel, probably along with a few bodies. They sealed the tunnel up with sand and blocked up the entrance with concrete.

There have been reports of people hearing a number of sounds, of voices crying to ‘get me out’ and the sounds of digging or the screeching of wheels of a locomotive. It seems inevitable these tales would surface given such a set of tragic deaths.

The legend of the Richmond Vampire surfaced shortly after the collapse in the tunnel. The report of the creature was that it was blood covered, had jagged teeth and skin that hung from its muscular body. The creature was said to feast on the bodies of the trapped dead.

It emerged from the cave-in and was pursued by a group of men who followed it to a mausoleum of WW. Pool at Hollywood cemetery. Some have suggested that this urban legend may have become mixed with the death of the 28 year old fireman, Mosby, who had crawled out of the tunnel, badly injured and died, the vague description could match up with the terrible injuries he suffered.

The grave of WW. Pool has been padlocked and the bodies inside it have also been removed. The grizzly reality is said enough but the stories of the supernatural also seem to keep the memories and history of those events alive.

Church hill tunnel.JPG
By EsubterfugeEsubterfuge, Public Domain, Link

 

The tale has been documented by Michael Norman and Beth Scott, in Historic Haunted America about a tunnel in western Massachusetts. The tunnel is the Hoosac Tunnel in North Adams.

It began construction in 1851 and wasn’t finished unti 1874, for 24 years workers chipped away at the rocks and around 200 men lost their lives by explosions, fires and drowning in what became known as the bloody pit. It seems that many of those were accidental but one may have been more sinister.

Nitroglycerin was an explosive introduced in 1865 to the miners and used for the first time at the Hoosac Tunnel. 20th March, 1865, three men planted the nitroglycerin and ran for the safety bunker, they were Ned Brinkman, Billy Nash and Ringo Kelly. Kelly had prematurely set the charges and it buried both of his colleagues under a heavy pile of rocks.

After the incident Kelly disappeared and he was not seen again until 30th March, 1866 where his body was found two miles into the tunnel. His strangled corpse was at the spot Brinkman and Nash had been killed by the explosion. The Deputy Sheriff thought the murder had happened between midnight and 3am but no suspect was on the cards and his murder went unsolved.

The workers felt the spirits of Brinkman and Nash were the culprits and feared the area was cursed, they felt unhappy about having to go inside. The work slowed to the point that an investigation was called for. Paul Travers was a highly respected cavalry officer in the Union Army. He went into the tunnel with Mr Dunn, they went in at 9am and went to the spot where they heard what sounded like a man groaning in pain. They agreed that it did not sound like the wind.

It was a month later, 17th October 1868, when thirteen miners died in a gas explosion, the gas explosion blew apart one of the surfaces pumping stations. The debris filled the central shaft where the miners were working. It was the single worst disaster during the tunnels construction and a local reporter said that a miner, Mallory, was lowered down by a bucket and rope to search for survivors. He emerged almost unconscious, lifted back up, saying there was no hope. With no pumping station the 538-foot shaft filled with water and the bodies of some of the unfortunates began to surface from it. A year later the remaining men’s bodies were found on a raft that they had built trying to use it to float up on the water as it rose up.

All the time that they were missing the villagers spoke of vague shapes and the muffled wails of what the believed were the dead men. Workmen saw them carrying their picks and shovels through mist and also the snowy mountaintop. They left no footprints and only appeared briefly before they vanished. Once the last of the missing dead were located the strange sightings stopped.

That may have been the end of one tale but in 1872 another report came up about Dr Owens and James R McKinstrey who went into the tunnel. They went down the two miles down and halted to rest, the place was cold and dark, the only light was from their lamps. Both men heard a moan like someone in great pain. A dim light came down the tunnel and as it came closer the light took on a blue hue and looked more like the form of a human being with no head.

The strange light was so close it could have been touched but the men stood with gaping, open mouths and were most likely terrified. It eventually turned away and vanished, Owens was unable to come up with a rational explanation for the very thing they had witnessed.

16th Octobre, 1874, another bizarre event came up, a local hunter named Frank Webster vanished and three days later a search party found him stumbling around in shock, along the banks of the Deerfield River. His story was he had been ordered by strange voices to go into Hoosac Tunnel, when he did ghostly figures were walking around. Suddenly his rifle was seized from his hands, it was used to knock him him out around the back of the head and he woke up outside without the rifle and without any memory of leaving.

The first train went through on 9th February, 1875 and with its completion the stories still carried on. That fall a man named Mulvary, a fire tender, was driving a wagon load of firewood into it. He suddenly turned his cart around, whipped the horses flanks and was never heard of again. Three miles from there they did find the wagon and in 1977 a man named Impoco said he heard someone yell “Run, Joe, run!” as he was chipping ice from the tracks and there was a train coming. The voice alerted him and most likely saved his life.

The tunnel is very much in use today, the Boston and Maine railroad is very busy. It’s an impressive feat of engineering and visitors can talk to local old-timers who will recount the local tales.

Hoosic.jpg
By en:User:Acela2038 – en:Wikipedia, Public Domain, Link

 

This fine place at Comberbach, Cheshire was unfortunately demolished which is a great shame as it was a historically interesting place that once housed valuable art treasures. Living residents and visitors offer up tale and there are some photo’s of the building, which also had some ghostly tales to offer. The hall was once in Marbury Park and research projects continue to ensure that the building was gone is not forgotten.

As late as the 1930’s reports still spoke about an old oak chest with a skeleton kept inside it. A mundane reason might be it was a medical or art students possession but rumours for these macabre items often occur and this has gained one such tale.

At some point in the past one of the owners of the Barrymore family went to Egypt and an Egyptian women fell in love with him. She was obsessed and followed him back to Cheshire, and refused to go home. He had, however, married his English sweetheart, the woman was installed at Marbury as his mistress and she loved the house. She said that when she died her body must remain at the home and she did not want to be buried at the church. She died, or was murdered, and the request was ignored, she was given the usual funerary customs.

Not long after her ghost was seen riding on a white horse, bells rang mysteriously and to stop the strange events her body was exhumed and brought to the house. Later generations tried to remove her to a family vault and others tried to get rid of her by throwing the chest into Budworth Mere, but mysterious happenings would being her back again. In the 1930’s she went missing one last time, some say she was buried in the church at midnight and others that she was walled up into the house.

As the house is now demolished I would hope if there is a truth to this that the churchyard tale is the real one, but it seems this legend and another have been crossed over thanks to the white horse. Supposedly Lord Barrymore wagered the hall that a mare he purchased could go from London to Marbury in a day. He wanted the mare there for a wedding present for his wife and the horse did the gallop. The mare dropped dead after a drink from the trough and was buried in the park.

Lady Barrymore was so upset that she died of a broken heart not long after, she wanted to be buried near the horse but again her requests fell on deaf ears. She now cannot rest and her and the horse ride around the park and are seen now and then.

Pretty much everything I can find out about this seems anecdotal, made harder to look into now that the hall is gone. It also seems that as with many of these types the legends have crossed over and changed. Either way I hope you liked the read.

http://lostbritain.uk/site/marbury-hall/

So it’s not secret by now that I find subjects like this very interesting, apart from EVP’s and videos of bizarre interferences I find any electronic signals to be interesting, such as numbers stations for example. I realise that one of the ones I had not raised here was the concept of being called beyond the grave.

Is the telephone a way to make a last goodbye? To give a deceased person a change to make one last communication before moving on? Quite extensive research has been made, Phone Calls From the Dead (1979) by D Scott Rogo and Raymond Bayless, was the result of their two year research into the matter. In 2012 another book by Callum E Cooper also picked up the subject.

The types of calls appear to fall into three main categories and one is where the witness receives a call from someone who died, sometimes not that recently but either way for the most part the witness knows that the caller is dead and it is rare that they are not aware of it when the call comes in.

Another variation is that the witness gets a call from the deceased but discover their death afterwards. Often it seems to come from the phone of a relative or friend and they did not call, but for an unknown reason had thought about calling them, the voice is unusually strong compared to the faded static type. Some witnesses said it was odd because that person sounded quite mechanical or possibly even drunk.

A rarer but report case is also noted of people calling to the deceased, not intentionally, to find that the conversation they’d had should not have been possible. The person that answered was dead or perhaps the person they should have been talking too was not even in that place at the time.

One of the most famous incidents of this type is by Charles E Peck’s calls on 12th September 2008. At 4:22pm a commuter train with 225 people on board collided with a freight train in San Fernando’s Valley, California, and the 49 year old Charles Peck was on board. 25 people died, 135 were injured and of the injured they sent 87 to hospital, 46 were in a critical condition.

Peck had been travelling for a job in another area, he could then plan his wedding to his second wife once they were closer together, Andrea Kalz was his fiancée and from his prior marriage he had three fully grown children. Andrea heard about the crash on the radio whilst heading to the station to collect him. Peck;s parents and siblings already lived in the area and they came to join her whilst they waited for news.

In the first eleven hours of the wait there were calls from his cellphone suggesting that he was alive. Calls were made to his son, brother, stepmother, sister and fiancée. In all there were 35 calls and they would answer to hear static, understandably they would call back but the call then went to voicemail. The calls meant that the crews were prompted to use his signal to aid in the search, they looked again into the location and at 12 hours after the crash they found him.

Peck was deceased, declared dead on the scene and the resulting investigations showed he had died on impact. Long past his death his cell phone had carried on reaching out to loved ones. Unfortunately they were unable to retrieve the phone or there is no evidence that it was found.

Interestingly enough in regards to the Peck case, it seems that Snopes have decided that there was enough evidence to class this as true.

An Article on that matter

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