Posts Tagged ‘Victorian’

It is known as The Necropolis, located close to Lidcombe Station in Sydney, Australia. Around a million souls are at rest in the Victorian Cemetery and ‘Friends of Rookwood Inc’ campaign to raise the awareness of its cultural significance and to ensure its preservation.

1st January 1868 the non-denominational burial ground was opened. By the end of the 1890’s they had buildings including a chapel and cottages for employees. The garden cemetery was a popular place for Victorian’s as a visiting spot and it was in it’s height a major employee for the area.

One of the most famous graves is that of Harry Houdini, the magician. It is also the burial place of one of the more infamous Davenport Brothers and they are said to haunt the cemetery. They toured the world and displayed ‘Spirit Phenomena’s’. One of the brothers died 1st July 1877 when they were on tour in Australia and he was buried there.

Houdini visited it in 1910 to find it somewhat neglected, he and two magicians placed flowers there and Houdini paid for the stonework to be repaired. The surviving brother was so moved by the kindness he revealed the secret of their trick (although it seems quite viable this was already known to a fair few).

Rookwood’s haunted reputation probably stems from the sheer fact that it is a cemetery. There are victims of wars, sickness and those who were stillborn all located there. As far as cemeteries go it seems a fair example of those from the time and worth a visit for it’s historical value alone.

‘The place has an eerie feel to it, the fact that things go wrong all the time and the fact our address is 666 is no co-incidence. There are mysterious forces at work here.’

Whilst perusing the internet I found an article, or few, about a firm of solicitors who are sure that the office is haunted due to the events going on, employees seem sure that they are being haunted by a dark force and those that are involved in the building are cursed with bad luck. The office is ran by Sarfraz Khan, LAC Solicitors are located at 666 Washwood Heath Road, Birmingham and he says that come 6pm everyone is right out of the door. Neither property next to theirs has reported any strange activity.

The Victorian era building is said to have a rather creepy feel to it and says that mysterious goings on are causing concern to the employees. He thinks that the 666 address is no coincidence and some believe that the “number of the beast” is behind it. The company specializes in disability grants, and one set of funding was £66,689 so he believes this may be linked to the 666 phenomenon. Sarfraz also explained that when they got their business account from TSB that 666 was in the account number.

Large puddles of water appear in areas where there is no sign of leaks, and dead flies end up inside light fittings and window edges. Maggots are sometimes found across the floor in one of the rooms. The mysterious visitor likes to move things including stationary and create strange noises. There has been an apparition of a woman spotted too; she seems to be a restless spirit that wanders the building making noises and leaving cold spots in her wake. Sarfraz has seen a white shadow cross the room once.

The heating system has a history of malfunctioning, despite regular maintenance and light bulbs that have been changed are known to blow within a couple of days of being fitted. Electrical malfunctions also include the internet crashing when there are no issues known, the main servers and phones going down when there is no fault on the line and the fax machines producing errors for no reason. They have had telephone calls where there is no one on the end of the line. Three technicians were brought in to try and iron out the strange glitches in the IT System, they went bankrupt months later. It seems that the paranormal activity at 666 has been linked to this unfortunate collapse of their business.

Safraz once nearly missed his flight to Germany; he had packed his passport and checked it several times before he set off. When he got to the airport he could not find it. He madly dashed back and it was lying there clear as day on the desk.

A colleague, Javirya Bibi, added that they had a car which was fine that morning, they parked outside of the office and when they went home the brakes felt loose. A mechanic said that the brakes had failed and that they were named Javirya had got to work that day, but they remain adamant that thee car was fine that morning.

Perhaps the most tragic story of the events is about the loss of a woman at the place. The firms five workers now refuse to work late after a woman in her 50’s did so and later that night died of a heart attack. The woman was in her 50’s and in fairly good health but her body was found slumped on the floor at the foot of her desk the following morning.

A psychic advised the staff they may be able to combat the curse by hanging religious artifacts on the walls but it seems that this has not abated the situation at all.

For me there are some mundane explanations for quite a bit of this, that are being attributed to the curse and whilst I may be wrong here is what I could surmise. They are looking for a link to the number 666; the grant is not a solely numbered 666 neither is the TSB account. I believe they are seeing something in it based on their predisposition to the number of the property.

Some other bits I think I can comment on based on personal experience, the calls with no one at the end may well be automated sales calls; they can take a while to cut in or if the systems on the sales sides are not working it produces a silent call. In regards to system glitches this happens to many companies, sadly this is usually down to a badly built network infrastructure, I can’t say without seeing it but it seems to be that if the technicians didn’t know enough then poor business planning might be more to do with the bankruptcy than a curse.

In regards to the car, I don’t know exactly what the mechanic saw, the details aren’t sufficient enough but a brake cable failure could cause a sudden stop. There are many mitigating circumstances so I am not entirely sure that parking the car there would cause it, however again I was not there and don’t have full details.

I sincerely hope that there is not a death associate with the paranormal side, sadly it may well just be a tragedy that the woman suffered a heart attack whilst at work. This may well, sadly, have been onset by things like the fear generated by the rumours. If anyone knows more, or has even worked there, I would be interested to know more.

1913a0ed-b7df-4fc4-9b9e-27fc0f4c1c06_image_jpeg

10th September 2013, saw the Frictional Games release of the second Amnesia instalment, following the initial success of the older Amnesia, The Dark Descent. Without going into the plot this writer will tell you that the Machine really is about Pigs, it’s not misleading there!

Essentially for the horror enthusiasts this game is a survival horror, you play the part of a rather wealthy British Gent who is trying to rescue his two children. The story takes the player through a series of underground chambers, creepy parts of the house, into the streets overrun with monsters and predominantly an exploration into the character’s sanity (or lack thereof).

A mixed reception has come from the players, original fans of the series have been said to feel that it was not as scary as the original, perhaps also that it did not have the same interactive level. Others felt that this was a wonderfully constructed exploration into fear.

So why did I pick this for a blog?

What the games hold, that many others perhaps have missed out on, is that unknown fear and the glimpses of the creatures in the dark. One of the things that keeps me as a gamer engaged with survival horror is the unknown fear. H P Lovecraft’s stories have engaged me for many years, and with this instalment of the game it seems well placed amongst that type of genre. The scientific horror seems well placed for fans of H G Wells or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The game has monsters that are freakish and grotesque, their lumbering half man and half beast nature captures the essence of freak pretty well.

So for me, yes Machine For Pigs was a good game. Not the scariest thing I have ever played but again that’s something personal to each player. If you pick it up I hope you enjoy it, if you have already played it feel free to leave your comments.

Images taken from my playthrough on Steam.

2013-09-10_00009 2013-11-28_00004 2013-11-28_00005 2013-11-28_00006

In Palm Beach County, Florida there is an hold Victorian House that had been built in 1905 at West Palm Beach but was dismantled and moved to Yesteryear Village. This is a historical park in the South Florida Fairgrounds, Royal Palm Beach. Riddle House was a funeral parlor that became privately owned by Karl Riddle in the  1920’s. It was also called Gatekeeper’s College, and there was a cemetery in the area known as Woodlawn that unfortunately suffered at the hands of criminals. Bodies were exhumed so that they could try and get hold of the deceased’s possessions and that’s when the house was built for security.

The house is said to be haunted and in 2008 was visited by the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures for an investigation. It’s hardly surprising that an old funeral home would bring these sorts of rumours; however I can safely say that when I worked in a funeral home the worst offenders of scaring me were other members of staff and certainly not spectres.

In the early days of the place there was a tragic death, the worker at the cemetery died during an argument with someone in the community, the locals reported that he could be
seen walking along the cemetery and around the home. He carried on as he had in life with his work but never seemed vengeful or angry. Of course coming face to face with him was pretty scary in itself.

Riddle then got the property in the 1920’s and acquired the position of manager of the city; they had a need for someone to oversee the cemetery and provided him the home to live in. Riddle enjoyed the home until an employee hanged himself in the attic of the house to escape economic woes and depression. It seems that the house has taken on a  creepy little life of it’s own really, noises and distant conversations have been commonly reported. There were also the sounds of chains that moved and in the end the Riddle house fell into disrepair because of the frightful events meaning people did not stay long. The house seemed doomed as businesses failed and paranormal reports continued. Palm Beach Atlantic were the local  college that tried to use this as a dorm for female students but this also failed.

1980 saw the city opting to destroy the property but Karl Riddle’s nephew, John, felt that it has historical value and should be preserved. It was moved to the Yesteryear Village to be enjoyed as a historical monument. But the story never ended there, workers putting it back together again found their tools moved, the windows broken and described  their personal experiences. Many of the workers had quit before it was decided they would postpone the construction for a while and eventually work continued and the building was completed.

There was a social gathering the day it opened and already people wanted to go into the place that had a history of paranormal events. They appeared to have got a lot more than anticipated when numerous people took pictures of a couple that did not show up in any of the pictures. It seems that the property and not the location are the attraction for the spirits at Riddle House.

Scotland’s famous city houses the vaults also know as South Bridge Vaults. They are formed in the 19 arches of the South Bridge which was completed in 1788 and  for around 30 years they were used as taverns, cobblers, trading, and storage for illicit materials and (if you believe the rumours) were used for storing the bodies of the notorious Burke and Hare. The area however rapidly deteriorated and by around 1820 they were pretty much left abandoned. They were then rediscovered in 1985 during an excavation.

It seems that it didn’t take long for the problems to arise, the bridge had been rushed and flooding started to occur as early as 1795. They were slowly abandoned by  business users and that’s when the new users adapted them. The area was turning into a slum and the vaults took on the night-life associated with them, prostitutes operated in the Vault’s rooms used as brothels and there were pubs there too, the cities poor moved in and the living conditions were no doubt appalling.

The rooms were small, damp and had no light with poor air circulation, no running fresh water and no sanitation it’s not surprise that with families of ten plus in some of these rooms the rates of crime, robbery an murder soon escalated. Burke and Hare sold corpses to medical schools and were rumoured to have hunted for victims around the Vaults as well. All in all the descriptions sound like the back end of hell and though it seems that there is no clear date for the final leavers to the vaults it could be anything from the 1830’s-70’s, the lack of records is most likely due to the fact that ever little is recorded about the vaults as a whole.

The vaults were found by Norriw Rowan, he found a tunnel leading to them in the 1980’s and from this tunnel helped a Romanian Rugby player escape the Romanian secret police and seek political asylum. The tonnes of rubble were then moved by hand and the slums of Edinburgh were slowly given back to the modern world.

The vaults on the North Side of the Cowgate arch are pretty much used for ghost tours, and this is after all the bit I am interested in. There have been frequent enough visits during various paranormal tours. Most Haunted featured the place on their live show in Halloween 2006 (had I been haunting the place I’d likely have hidden on purpose).

Ghost Adventures covered this in one of their overseas trips and this is where I learnt the tale of the entertaining fellow Mr Boots. Visitors that feel threatened are  often told it could be due to this fellow. He’s even been given a fairly surly rap appearance wise. Mr Boots has knee-length boots, rough pants, dirty ruffled white shirt and he is unshaven with halitosis that is so strong people report it on their visits. Mr Boots has been seen towards the back of tour groups and is said to push people and to whisper obscenities in visitor’s ears.

In January 2010 I watched a show on the BBC that should you get chance to watch I would urge to say is pretty darned good! The BBC published the show Joe Swash Believes In Ghosts that was filmed during 2009. Swash spent a night in the vaults, he came out a believer.

Swash heard a voice that was believed to be that of a Catholic Priest performing the Last Rites, now if that is the case I can assure you if I heard it I’d be darned  worried! Swash was the only person in the Vaults that night, the voices recorded were not heard by him and the sound engineers initially thought that it might have been due to voices drifting around the tunnels from the above nightclubs but it was found to be unlikely due to the time and the nature of the voices.

The voices they recorded went on for some twenty minutes, some sounded like children yelling and all in all they were intriguing to say the least. It’s not often I find  myself replaying back the program and listening again so I suppose from the perspective I was highly entertained and got a good dose of what could have been a residual haunting from more sinister times, perhaps one of those voices was Mr Boots or even a victim of Burke and Hare!