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Tuesday 20 September 2011

The Marquis of Granby

Ghost Hunting with the AITDE Team, Steve Taylor and Steve Brownlee on 10th September 2011

The Marquis of Granby is situated on the Gateshead (Newcastle) road between Sunniside and Lobley Hill. From the outside it looks much like other traditional pubs, warm and welcoming, but it’s history tells tales of a much darker and deadlier past...
The Marquis of Granby Pub was built around 1710, when it would have been used as a coaching Inn. Somewhere to water and rest the horses on long journeys.
It was virtually in this place in 1865 that the body of Joseph Leybourne, a local Father aged 47 was found bludgeoned to death. Bloody rocks were also found close to his body, the perpetrator had obviously used them to smash his head open in a fit of rage. Witnesses that night claim there was an altercation between Joseph and a few other men after they had attended a Flower Show just across the road earlier that day. But no one was ever caught for this hideous crime and Joseph is now said to be one of the possible four spirits that visit the pub and surrounding area on a regular basis. Does Joseph continue to comeback because his spirit can’t rest until they find his murderer?
Jack Bee a notorious thief with a very bad reputation was also supposedly in the area the night that Joseph was murdered, locals said he was in the Marquis the night of the argument. His ghost has also been reported in and around the pub.
Is he reliving that fateful night even now that he is dead?
The Current owners also talk of a ghost of a local lady named Mary, she is often seen and heard all around the premises and seems to be searching for her son, Joseph ( the man who was murdered) She was so stricken with grief after he was killed that it is reported that she died of a broken heart.
The Landlord and Landlady have witnessed many a strange going on from broken crockery, to the jukebox turning itself on in the middle of the night at full volume. They have seen Mary on numerous occasions in the bar area, but have also heard her around the rest of the building. She somehow makes the place feel inviting, a place you would like to sit and stay a while. Not at all the normal creepy on edge feeling you get in most haunted places...
When speaking to some local people recently we learned that there is also a phantom hitch-hiker who gets into people’s cars only to vanish without a trace minutes later and the ghost of a motorcyclist who was supposedly killed after an accident just outside the pub. His ghost appears to be so real that passersby stop to help, only to discover that he has totally disappeared!
I couldn’t however find anything to back these claims up, but too many people have witnessed it to just dismiss it totally.
Well getting onto the Ghost hunt itself, we all enjoyed a meal prepared by the Landlord and Landlady,which was lovely (well worth a visit for a drink and a bite to eat!) then we split up into two teams to do Seances in two different locations. One inside in the back room and one outside in the beer garden, that overlooks the rear of the building towards the road. We were in the group outside, we all congregated under the  gazebo over the BBQ. Using the actual BBQ to place our hands on while taking part in the seance. Spooky noises were heard all around us and everyone was on high alert, as we had been told by Steve that some customers had seen a man leering over the fence at the children playing in the garden. However when they spotted him again later in the day they pulled down the fence thinking it was an actual person watching the kids, but when they tried to pursue him, he disappeared through the hedge. They of course could not as there was a barbed wire fence stopping any solid being from advancing any further...
The strange noises continue, it sounds like something is stalking us, just staying out of view in the dark. We all screamed and ran after one of the team let out a massive shriek after being touched by an unseen force. A few of us even witnessed a strange mist like apparition forming in the beer garden near the pulled down fence panel. I was so gobsmacked I just stared, not even thinking to run away and I swear it looked like the side on view of a man’s torso. No legs were visible, but it was so weird, it was very pale grey when everything else was in total darkness. all this happened so quickly  into the investigation and the night had barely begun, which left us wondering what else was in store for us...
The Ouija board also told of the four ghosts that seemingly haunt the bar area and garden. we also did Transfiguration, which was a little freaky as you could see people faces morphing into different people’s faces. When I did it, I also got the sense of a man shouting in my head to get out of the pub and not just the kind of friendly warning version either!
But one of the most astonishing things that happened was the huge candles in glass jars set into the fireplace re-igniting themselves! How and why? I have no idea, but nearly the whole group witnessed it happen. Firstly we were all commenting on how strong the candle wax smell was in the room, so much so that we wondered about checking to make sure they were all extinguished. Which of course they all were as they had been put out well over and hour and half previously. Then we all stopped after hearing a funny sort of popping and sizzling sound, by now it was almost purring like a cat. We traced it back to one of the candle in the fireplace but didn’t touch it, it then started to glow getting brighter and brighter, till it eventually lit itself fully, scaring the absolute bejesus out of us all in the process. Well this didn’t just happen once the other candle soon started the same process until it too was fully lit. We had no explanation for it then and we still don’t now. If it had just been the one, we may well of dismissed it but two we definitely couldn’t explain!
So all in all the Marquis of Granby was a lovely place to do an investigation at, even though it was small than most places we have done, it was however in my mind and probably most of the other Ghost Hunters too very active!
So just remember next time you are there in for a drink or one of their gorgeous meals, keep your eye out for one of their ghosts, you may well just see or experience one while you are sitting there!
Also take a few minutes to read the board on the front of the pub, it tells you a little bit of the history of the Marquis of Granby.

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Nenthead Mines

Our Visit to Nenthead Mines, 28/5/11 with AITDE. Ghost Hunting with Steve, Jill,Dave and Adele.
Chris and I are in the car, heading for our eagerly awaited Ghost Hunt at Nenthead Mines. We are enroute across the bleak moors, only the sheep and a few birds making this lonely place seem alive. The scenery is stunning and we love all the pretty little Villages on the way, but we both agree it must be a hard life up here in the cold Winters. I can’t imagine what it must have been like in days gone by, without all of our luxuries of today, like central heating and mains electricity.
After about an hour of undulating hills and valleys, we come to Nenthead Town. So lovely, welcoming. I could live here...
We turn left into the entrance for Nenthead Mines, not sure what to expect, but I’m sure we won’t be disappointed. Especially if what we can see above ground is anything to go by.
We park the car and wander up on foot, past the old stone buildings, massive water wheels and a serene looking white cottage. (Which is available to Hire!)
Chris and I spot Steve and the others in the distance, heading up to the Mine entrance. We wave, acknowledging each other and carry on walking. We find Jill in the Hub, struggling to keep warm, even inside. It’s surprising how different the temperature is here, compared with elsewhere. (Tony Liddell tells us later that Nenthead is one of the highest Towns in England and don’t we know it!). It’s freezing, only about 6 degrees and it’s not even dark yet. You can totally see why people get caught out by the weather in these remote places.
Steve and the Team return, more and more people arriving by the minute, around 20 people plus the Team altogether for tonight’s Investigation.
Steve starts the night off with introductions, about the equipment, then introduces Tony Liddell.He will be acting as Tour Guide this evening, telling us a bit about the History as we go.
He has worked at the Mines on the Educational side of things, for years, is a bit of a sceptic. He won’t believe until he has experience it himself, which is fair enough. It gives a bit of Balance to the Team and helps ground us. I also found he calmed my nerves a little, especially about going into the haunted Mines, although he has in fact experienced unexplained paranormal activity here. He is a Historian, Archaeologist and writes books too. Is there no end to this man’s talents?
Tony warns us of wandering off on our own, telling us to stick to the paths and tracks. Then come the horrid tales of people wandering off, getting lost and visiting groups finding the skeletal remains years later....warnings heeded!!
We all gather outside the Hub, where Steve points out some more dangerous things to watch out for, like metal rods sticking out of the ground and loose bricks or stones to be wary of. Tony takes over and gives us a little bit of the History of the Mines, but without spoiling the Ghost Hunt.
It was principally a Lead Mine, but a by product of Lead Mining was valuable Silver. He mentions how Prospectors and Miners could work for years and not find anything, while others with luck on their side, literally struck it rich within days.
People from all over England came to work these Mines. They even came from further afield like Italy, for the Lead and Silver hidden deep in these Mines, just waiting to be discovered.
Tony discusses the Deaths over the years that have taken place in Nenthead Mines, Cave in’s, Explosions, Disease, Suicides and even Murders, are all big talking points in this desolate place.
It’s funny how money makes people react to others...
Steve and Jill split us into Teams. We are with Dave, but he is still on his way, so Steve and Tony will be keeping an eye on us. Popping backwards and forwards until Dave arrives.
Our first location is directly below the Hub. A basement where peat would have been stored, to use as fuel in the Smelting Furnaces. We begin by opening a Ouija Board session. I take part along with the 3 (crazy Ghost Hunting) Girls.
Chris decides on the more Scientific approach, wandering slowly around the room, EMF Meter in hand and it’s not long till it starts making noise...
The Girls and I are meanwhile, communicating with an old Silver Miner via the Ouija Board, from around the 1200’s, who died in the Mines.
Steve and Tony Return, where Tony learns that our old Miner is quite angry towards him. He remarks that nothing unusual about that then, they don’t tend to like him. Probably because he isn’t afraid of them. All this while the EMF in Chris’s hand was going nuts!
Steve and I hear a low deep groan from behind the Girls, it spooks us a little. No one there, well not anyone living anyway. We all hear a slight sigh, was it paranormal? No idea...but no one was owning up to doing it!
Both Chris and I were visually seeing what I can only describe as, shadow dancing, down the far end of the room. Was it a trick of the eye or something waiting, lurking, watching us?
I come off the Board to investigate, armed with my camera. Taking random shots in that area. Dave has arrived and quickly starts snapping off photo’s and seems he has caught something peculiar. In one of the digital photos, a one where he didn’t use the flash, he catches a strange light on the Ceiling. It resembles a beam or ray, but there is nothing to reflect that kind of thing. We try to find a source, but struggle to recreate this effect and all this where we saw the shadows moving. So it will remain unexplained for now...
Chris and a few others are exploring, using the kit, wandering around the basement. In search of something just out of our reach. Proof, we all want to catch something. A voice, a photo, anything...
I visit Jill in the Hub, rushing to find my pad and pen, to take notes on the goings on downstairs. I return to the basement pen in hand, struggling to keep up with the spelling out on the Ouija Board.
Dave and some of the team, seem to be getting answers to questions like, are you trying to scare us? To which the response is Yes!
These messages are coming from a spirit of a supposed, Lady of the Night, but when Dave mentions Prostitute and Brothel, she soon takes offence and vanishes from the Board.
Everything goes quiet, all is still and eerie. The Ouija Board has gone Flat...but we don’t wait long until it all starts kicking off again!
Dave has his iPhone on the table next to the Board, just to see if anything from iOvilus ties in with what Spirits on the Board are saying.
iOvilus starts spitting out random words, fast, city, cash, then Mason. Mason comes up quite a lot on this site, which makes sense as the Freemasons would throw elegant dinners underground in one of the Mines.
Nicky and a few others are working the Board, the Spirit tells Nicky she is Bad. Nicky doesn’t like this at all, although she is a bit of a sceptic. The Spirit carries on spelling, I will do, I c u (which was a bit creepy) then, lights, get out and finally Minos, but what does it all mean?
Minos comes up quite a few times during this investigation and we are not sure whether it refers to the Greek Minotaur’s Lair. Maybe it was trying to warn us of something sinister, that lurks in the mines or was it simply misspelling the word Mines?
Not sure, but I’m positive we’ll find out later...
Nicky continues to ask, is something going to happen to her in the Mines? The Spirit quickly answers Yes!!
Then it spells lights out and 2 light. She is starting to worry about venturing down into the Mines and I can’t blame her. Even more so when we realise what iOvilus is churning out, pattern, divide, house, Ed, Police, Debbie (Debbie makes a few appearances over the night too!) Mason (again) each, house, train, sandy, money, chest, divide... we all begin wondering what the mines have in store for us. Not long before we find out, just a few minutes left to investigate here. Then a quick break and off into the dark, dank Mines.
Ouija Board jumps back into life again, just as were about to wrap it up. This time with a Gentleman Spirit, called Heinrich Schwartzen, aged 25. We presume he is German or maybe even Austrian. He seems very friendly, but there is a slight language barrier, so we don’t get a huge amount of information from him. When we ask if he will follow us to another location, as time is ticking on, his reply is yes.
iOvilus then spits out more random words, special, train, line...then we hear a shout from above, but it’s nothing paranormal. It’s break time!
Then off to the Mines...
With our break over, our Team all head up the stony paths to the entrance of the Mines. We stop at a small building on the brow of the hill, to don hats ( and Glad we did!)
OMG, how many times did I knock my head, luckily not very hard. Unlike Poor Andrew, bet he had a headache the next day.
The Mine gates are closed and locked behind us! I certainly don’t like that idea...
Down here is all dark, even with the lights on, damp and in some places torrents of water running from the roof. Free flowing streams meander alongside the old mine cart tracks. The tunnels are under 6 feet tall in places and only about 6 to 8 feet wide, so no good if you are claustrophobic and you have to constantly duck, to avoid knocking your head.
There is a very cool draft following us into the depths of the Mines, which I am truly glad of, as I couldn’t cope with warm and stuffy air in here. Not while I’m this confined, I’m sure that’s why people panic in lifts!
The only noises as we made our way further in, were our feet on the large gravel and the constant, eerie dripping of water from the vaulted tunnels. We reached our destination. a dead end with a mine cart nearby. The lights were turned off and no one could see a thing. The dark was absolute, not giving an inch. Something could be just a whisker a way from you face and you would never know it.
The pitch black is very disorientating, my balance is definitely affected, as I am sure everyone else’s was. We keep knocking into each other and the walls, causing each one of us to jump a little. The only senses we have are smell, touch and our hearing. The rhythmic dripping of rainwater filtering down through the stone is all we can hear.
We wander further into the mines and Andrew goes off to do a lone Vigil, in the same tunnel we have just come from, the one with the mine carts. He is not comfortable with doing it and only lasts a few minutes alone. He returns saying that he saw something moving near him and that he also heard something tapping on the metal side of the cart, when he was asking out.
He was braver than most of us, no way was I venturing anywhere alone in the Mine. Time is up and we begin the crouching walk back to the entrance.
As we all file out, I begin to feel a little uneasy. I thought I would be glad to be out of the confined space, but somehow the dark open spaces out here are scaring me more. I wonder if that’s how the Miners felt after returning to the surface and maybe that’s why they were always eager to get back down there?

We begin the trudge back, drop our hats off on the way and quickly arrive at the Hub. We grab a quick bite to eat, cuppa and trip to spend a penny, before heading back out there.
Our next location is the creepy Cottage. We begin the trek, up past the Mines and continue on a long uphill walk, with sheer drops to running streams one side and possible open Mine shafts to the other. So we must keep to the paths, look out for each other and of course keep up with the longer legged Guys at the front, Dave and Tony!!
Puffing a bit as we reach the top and it levels out a bit (thank God!) we can just about make out the Cottage in the distance. Is it just me or are we being watched? or indeed followed...
Just a we near the Cottage, Dave receives a call on the Walkie. One of the Team down the Mines has had a funny turn and needs first aid assistance, just in case. Dave and Tony make sure we get to the Cottage safely and they wander back down to the mines, where Dave can administer first aid. They will then escort the Team member to the Hub.
So we are left on our own, with no Walkie (luckily everyone has mobiles) to fend for ourselves until Tony and Dave return. No one is saying it, but I think being alone up here, without our Team Leader is making everyone a little uneasy.
We make our way into the downstairs room of the Cottage and set up ready to do a Ouija Board. We carefully move the furniture, crockery and candles etc, to make space for us all to sit around the table.
The room is dark, except for one small torch illuminating the Board. Spooky shadows of us cast upon the walls. The glass on the Ouija Board quickly comes alive, first spelling the Surname Hudson, then the First name Eris. we continue with the questions, to discover she is from the 1800’s, and she is happy being alone here. Eris is however not very happy that we are here, but is happy to talk to us.
She then targets Laura, one of the 3 girls, saying she has a message for her and this is where it starts to get a little strange... Eris is spelling out things without being verbally asked, the answers were chose, good, wise and later. She also revealed she was a distant relative or descendant of Laura’s too. A little unnerving for Laura. Eris begins spelling out again, first, money, then choose a nice boy, Craig and when we asked how she would meet him? Eris answered, later, then spelt out Birthday. Which we presume she meant when Laura would meet Craig.
The Board began to act erratically. We questioned a Spirit change, but supposedly not...according to the Spirits responses.
Eris continued to hurriedly spell out, 10, second, female, run, bad, Grace. Laura asked about Grace, quizzing  Eris if it was a person or not? Eris answers ,yes. Then unhappy.
We ask out if this is a new Spirit and the answer comes quickly, yes. This unnamed Spirit is toying with us, not responding, avoiding questions asked and personally I don’t like it. It starts spelling out 1600, Ego, goodbye and bad. Nicky ask the Spirit if it wishes us to go upstairs? It answers, yes, but is it a wise move?
The only couple of strange things that some of the Group  and I heard was a very low rumbling noise. Which I thought possibly ,was a noise like the metal mine carts outside would make, being rolled along the tracks. But on later inspection they hadn’t moved! We also heard something moving about close to the door, both inside and outside the Cottage. Which made us a little uneasy downstairs.
We then proceed to clamber up the grassy bank, around the side of the Cottage. To the single room, with one door and one window, on the first floor. Upstairs in the Cottage was really bare, just like below, with only a couple of chairs,a bunk bed, a few trinkets and a jug and bowl. The atmosphere somehow seems thicker up here, it’s very dust though, so maybe that it it. It definitely doesn’t feel as comfortable as downstairs.
Shadows moving in the corners of the room, keep catching our eyes, convincing us that there is something there, lurking in the dark. They seem darker or blacker than the other shadows in the room, our eyes not able to penetrate them. Is it just our imagination?
We try calling out, no noises other that the birds outside beginning to wake from their slumber. Dawn mustn’t be far away. We have maybe 30 minutes before we have to return to the Hub and then only another 30 mins at the next location, before it’s too light!
Dave and Tony return after seeing to the Team member who was ill in the Mines. It’s very unusual for that person to be affected that way, I thought. I’ve never seen or heard of that happening to that said person, so very weird! Especially when they have been in the Mines before, earlier tonight. High EMF in the Mines, is the main thing to blame, supposedly. According to Tony.
Tony scares us with little comments about stuff moving about outside and animals following them. We are thinking OMG! Wolves and Black Cats, but in truth probably just Foxes, Badgers and Rabbits, but it would be a good place for larger predators to hide out though. There doesn’t seem to be any sheep around here maybe it’s all the open Mine shafts. so heed the warnings, stick to the totally reminded me of the American Werewolf in London Movie. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch of the imagination to wonder what animals lay in wait here, especially in this terrain, with all these hiding places.
I think this is always in the back of your mind, when wandering about from one location to another, making you feel that little bit nervous about your surroundings!
The upstairs of the Cottage doesn’t make you feel at home either, especially after Tony tells us someone hung themselves up here. We decide to get the Ouija Board out again, as we were getting no response to just calling out. We get Spirit’s coming through, Mary, Grace again and William, but again not much info from them...but is something playing games with us now? I certainly think so!
The Board begins acting very strangely, the glass is moving erratically, not responding all the time to our questions, it seems as if it’s only answering when it wants to. A few words keep being spelt out, legion, run, legion I am, legion here. The board is behaving weirder by the minute,now it’s rotating under the glass all with only 2 or 3 fingers on the glass, which stuns all of us watching! I have never seen or heard of this happening, the glass constantly wants to trace the outer edge og the Board and then keeps returning to the same spot. Now it’s twisting, trying desperately to lift off the planked floor. How this does this, I am not entirely sure, I’ve certainly never witnessed anything like this before and it seems none of the others have either.
Legion continues to be spelt out (the word for many) then I am, so are we dealing with something other than a Spirit? It’s not answering questions truthfully, it’s hesitant and seems to be definitely toying with us, twisting and lifting the board...and while this is all going on, we are still drawn to the corners of the room, like something is lurking there, just ready to pounce. They seem to be somehow closer, than downstairs, all very unnerving!
It’s time to go, we tell Legion, whomever or whatever it was. Time to step away from the Board, Dave then shuts down the Ouija Board, with the “Blessings and Light....” mantra. Calling all the Spirits attached to the Board (and us) to go back from hence they came.The Board is then turned upside down and the glass placed on top.
We all move to leave, heading outside. The night is beginning to recede. You can just about make out the paths, without torches and you can see the lightening sky on the horizon. The sky is no longer that inky blue, but a paler, softer shade of blue as the morning creeps silently in.
So the walk back is a little less treacherous, but it’s beginning to sleet and we are getting ever so weary. Good job it’s mostly downhill!  A few photos on the way back, past the Mason’s hole, past the Mine entrance, past the Hut where the hard hats reside and over the bridge at the Smelting site, to the Hub.
We have a quick break, then into the Bunkhouse. Dawn won’t be long now. We wander around the Bunkhouse, with Steve, looking at the rooms, taking mental notes of the stone and brickwork in the rear room. No idea what it is or what it’s for. It doesn’t feel foreboding here, maybe it’s all the beds in here and oh how we all want to sleep! They look so comfortable and inviting, but maybe it’s because the night is quickly fading.
The 3  Girls, venture upstairs, asking out and using some of the equipment. They receive a few taps and some scratching noises in response, but nothing further. Maybe the Spirits are waning too, the same as the darkness.
The remaining members of the Team try some table tipping with Steve, but not with much success. Maybe it was the size of the table, but the place seems awfully flat now. We try the Ouija Board again, but that is also quiet.
Everyone change... Andrew, Chris and I go upstairs. We move about in the half light, but nothing catches our attention. No taps, no shadows, just us. Chris and I take the opportunity to snap some more photo’s, nothing jumps out at us, we review them, but nothing.
It sounds like the rest of the Team downstairs are having fun, we can hear the glass moving on the table from up here. So we venture back downstairs, to join the fun.
Steve and the 3 Girls have their fingers on the glass and as we heard from upstairs, it was moving quite violently. I gather from the questions and the movement, that this is not a friendly Spirit. It’s certainly testing Steve...and is seemingly annoyed that we are there.
But it’s time to wrap it up, Dawn is upon us chasing the shadows away. No light or torches required now to move about. 
Chris and I sneak off to get a couple more shots of the Smelting Furnaces, from the newly constructed bridge. It seems none of the Teams ventured down there, after Tony’s and Steve’s warnings of protruding metal rods and loose stones strewn across the ground, not a good place to be wandering around in the pitch black!
Everyone is saying their farewells to each other and this interesting site, as we all head home for some well deserved rest. Bed is the only thing that awaits us all...
So to everyone who is thinking of visiting Nenthead Mines, It is definitely well worth a visit. Either for it’s grim History and it’s stark landscape in the day or for it’s unnerving feeling, while Ghost Hunting in the dead of night.
It’s a an experience, I personally will never forget and will certainly be making the trip up there to look around during the day. To learn more about the History side of these chilling Mines.
So a big Thank You goes out to Steve, Jill, Dave, Adele and all the Alone in the Dark Ghost Hunting Team, for organizing such a good Ghost Hunting site.
And not forgetting Tony  Liddell, who really made this experience come alive with his Historical knowledge of the Mines and his spooky stories.
                                                  What a fantastic night!!
Demon Chick xx