The entrance foyer, you will find
Does put some spookiness in mind
The lounge could also give a fright
When visiting it late at night
If climbing up or down the stair
You hope there isn’t something there
A school desk at the end here found
Young ghost is said to move around
Flash-photo of black cellar brings
A sight of some peculiar things
And when a closer look you take
You may begin to shake and quake!
After dozens of guests reported strange happenings at the hotel, the then owners decided they might as well turn it into fun, so they did bits of ‘staging’ here and there, and had staff members giving people frights as part of their duties. They hardly needed to, by all accounts. Enough strange things are reported to have happened anyway. Furniture moving, strange lights, bumps and creaking footsteps, doors opening and closing, photos coming up with unexplained images …
Numbers of psychics have visited including a team from Discovery Channel’s Ghosthunters International. They claimed that there were three men ghosts causing havoc on the third floor, one of them the original owner/builder, Mr McMenigel, who went bankrupt and apparently committed suicide. Then there is a seven-year old girl Matilda who waltzed her school desk around with monotonous regularity until it was placed at the end of the passage. Connected to her is a childminder-type known as Ruth. Legend has it that she died by falling down the stairs, but it seems likely this was made up. Anyway, it has been attested many times that she makes her presence strongly felt to mothers who have left children who are in any distress after being left unattended, urging these mothers to go to their offspring. There is also a little white dog called Wisp which is seen trotting up and down the corridors. The outside Jacuzzi had one psychic departing from it at speed after claiming it had something really horrible there.
The theory of the Discovery team was that only McMenigel is there by attachment, and that the others have been attracted by his presence and the general ambience.
The present owners are downplaying the whole ghost scene. One gathers that they have found more prospective guests – particularly with children – are put off by this than are attracted by it. On request they will, however, recount the tales and legends and let one pore over a fat folder containing the handwritten and signed accounts of various people who have had ‘experiences’ – with contact details for verification if required.
There were a few unexplained sounds on Sunday night, at least, but we didn’t bother to investigate. Most importantly, any of the sorts of uneasy feelings some places do give were not present. I have known areas where it becomes uncomfortable to be there, but neither of us felt any of that. Not even when, after pushing my phone camera through a gap in a grille to take a picture of a completely dark cellar under stairs in the bar, I found that there was far more than I had expected to see. It is obviously a posed fake for the benefit of visitors who came during the ‘ghostbusting tourist’ era, but gave me a bit of a start when I deciphered that particular part.
I don’t ‘believe’ in ghosts. Nevertheless, I have personally experienced, and have had enough accounts from completely reliable witnesses of, enough strange happenings to be perfectly prepared to accept there are forces or phenomena of some sort which refuse to respond to ‘scientific method’ but still do exist. I am inclined to think that it will eventually be found that many manifestations of the supernatural or paranormal are random occurrences of something quite natural, but not yet understood. I am, of course, discounting all the wild flights of imagination to which many people are prone.