Sunday, 30 October 2011

My new book: Paranormal Staffordshire

With Hallowe'en celebrations in full swing I thought it the perfect time to look at my latest book, Paranormal Staffordshire, released last week. One story comes from Ipstones, an incident reported almost a century ago during the dark days of the First World War.

The Hermitage
While thousands of individuals faced each other across the trenches of Europe, a reporter for a Matlock newspaper crossed the county boundary and brought his notebook to the Staffordshire Moorlands.
By this time the place was the property of a Colonel Beech under the tenancy of Bennett Fallowes. Together they had run this place for some twelve or thirteen years, yet the reporter was showing interest in the previous owner who seemed reluctant to leave his old home. The resident Fallowes family had admitted to becoming hardened to their ghostly guest and hardly troubled them.
During his lifetime the earlier owner of the place earned a reputation over a sizable area. A miserly little man, whose permanently bent back made him seem even smaller, despite never being seen without his trademark top hat. Disliked by all who knew him, he was reputed to have amassed a small fortune with his miserly ways. The Fallowes family, who had never met him as he had died before they arrived, were sure he was still there. They often felt the draught as they passed him on the stairs, accompanied by the sound of rustling, yet nothing could be seen.
One day Edward Wheeldon, Mrs Fallowes brother, brought his wife to stay for a few days. They lasted just one night, a night when they were unable to sleep for the sound of someone running up and down the stairs all night. They tried to call out to the rest of the family in another part of the house, but were unable to make themselves heard. When daylight broke next morning and Mr Wheeldon managed to rise from his bed he saw how his hair was standing straight up and neither he nor his wife ever stayed another night at the farm.
A servant girl here, another relative of the Fallowes family, would often hear ghostly screams from beneath her bedroom window. A form of serenading which she could certainly do without. Richard Fallowes, a cousin of the man of the house, stayed one night when he not only heard the American organ playing in the sitting room but could recognise the tune, yet nobody was downstairs at the time.
A bed in an unoccupied room was heard to be sat on, yet nobody was there nor could they have exited without being seen. A pile of planks created a tremendous noise as they were heard to come clattering down one evening, however armed with lanterns the family discovered not a single plank was out of place. Yet none of the incidents were as worrying as that experienced by Jane Fallowes, who felt the unmistakable touch of a human hand against her face.
Their visitor had become a regular at the farm. However they had noticed he seems to like specific times in the calendar, appearing at Good Friday, Easter, Whitsuntide, Christmas, and the summer and winter solstice.
The large black dog, said to have glowing red eyes and equal in size to a donkey and which may or may not be related to the other phenomenon, has been seen in the road around here. One man kicked out at the fiercesome beast, only to see his foot pass straight through the animal which seemed not to notice.

Published by Amberley Books Paranormal Staffordshire is my fourth book on this subject. Copies are available by contacting the author.

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