William Hope and the CREWE Circle

The Crewe Circle was a group of spirit photographers based in Crewe, England and led by William Hope, paranormal investigator and pioneer of the “spirit photography”.

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He first noticed his talent for photographing spirits when he was taking photos with a friend. One of the photo’s that Hope had taken showed an extra person behind his friend. It was claimed that it was his friends dead sister.

At first, the group worked in secret, scared of being suspected of witchcraft, but when an Archbishop joined the group, they made their work public. By 1922 William Hope moved to London and established himself as a professional medium. It was at this time that The Society for Psychical Research (SPR) became interested in him and his photo’s.

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Over the years the spirit photographs taken by the members of the CREWE circle have come under detailed examination and have been dismissed as fraudulent by many. Harry Price, sent by the Society for Psychical Research, claimed that Hope messed with the photo plates, but many of Hope’s supporter didn’t believe him.  One of the biggest supporter of William Hope and The Crewe Circle was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote The Case for Spirit Photography, in response to Price’s claims of fraud. Hope continued to practice, despite his exposure, until his death in 1933.

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Elle. xx

 

 

 

 

Necropolis Line

London has several transport links, but did you know that there was one that used to carry dead people and their mourners?

The London Necropolis Railway was opened in 1854 and carried coffins from the Waterloo station to Brookwood cemetery. There were separate hearse cars for Anglicans and Dissenters, and three classes of carriage for the living and the dead.

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A First Class corpse received a higher level of customer care and nicely decorated carriage. Trains ran straight into the cemetery grounds, there were two stations, each for different parts of the cemetery, North for Dissenters and South for Anglicans, adjacent to the corresponding chapels. The South Station was licensed and in addition for funeral parties, offered afternoon tea to visitors strolling in the cemetery, it also operated as a pub, which did much to reconcile the locals to the giant cemetery on their doorstep.

Brookwood received the dead from overcrowded London parishes, in a series of subdivisions, many of which resemble old-fashioned churchyards with their hedges and lynch-gates. As well as accomodating Anglicans and Dissenters, Brookwood was one of the first cemeteries in Britain to offer burial facilities to Muslims and Sikhs.

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The two stations in the cemetery were demolished during the 1960s and the ruins later caught fire. The tracks were long since lifted away to be melted or reused elsewhere. In London, the entrance building to the private station at 121 Westminster Bridge Road remains largely intact, but the name Necropolis Cemetery Station that was once inscribed is no longer there.

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I love living in London, so many unusual things to discover that make a weirdo like me very happy!

Elle. xx

Hunterian Museum

Hello y’all fellow weirdos! It’s been a while since my last post, my apologies, but life here in London is crazy. Anyway, I’m always on the lookout for unordinary places to visit…and believe me, here in London there are loads of them! Lucky me!

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Finally I had the chance to visit the Hunterian Museum, which is the home of the biggest collection of human and animal anatomical and pathological specimens I’ve ever seen in my life.

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All those little jars filled with your fears, because yes, if you are like me and suffer from entomophobia (aka insectophobia), then you might have some problems. Trust me, this is the closest I can be to a (dead) insect, although the iridescent beetles were too cute.

 

If you are into medicine and surgery, or if you are an all-round weirdo like myself, you might find the section they have regarding surgery history very fascinating. Cases full of old medical devices that make you cringe when thinking of their use.

Here you can also admire the skeleton of Charles Byrne – the Irish giant, well preserved foetuses, deformities, bizarre animals and so on. This museum is a treasure for the curious minds and even if you don’t have a “medical background” it definitely worth the visit, is free and the gift shop is adorable, here you will find tiny glow-in-the-dark skeletons, skeleton t-shirts and a lot of interesting books.

The Hunterian Museum
Royal College of Surgeons
35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
London, WC2A 3PE

Elle. xx

Kensal Green Cemetery

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When I’m in a very bad mood I usually go and have a walk in a cemetery, and luckily for me, the Kensal Green Cemetery is just around the corner from wher I live.

Founded as the General Cemetery of All Souls, Kensal Green Cemetery was the first of the “Magnificent Seven” garden-style cemeteries in London. The others are: West Norwood Cemetery, Highgate Cemetery, Abney Park Cemetery, Nunhead Cemetery, Brompton Cemetery and Tower Hamlets Cemetery… which I’m planning to visit them all.

The gothic architecture gives to this place a very suggestive atmosphere, moreover the grey sky and the biting wind added a scary undertone to this experience. Indeed I couldn’t visit the entire place as it was rainy and the muddy ground didn’t help, but definitely will pay another visit again, as I said is just around the corner.

The Friends of Kensal Green, an organistation involved in the preservation of the cemetery, offer guided tours every Sunday afternoon from the beginning of March to the end of October and the first and third Sunday of the month in November, December, January and February. At the end of the tour there will be tea and biscuits inside the Dissenters’ Chapel. –Here– all the infos you might need.

A big, important thing is that The Weirdo is finally on YouTube! Here’s my very first video, but to be honest I’m still trying to understand how this whole thing works (including the editing program!) Hope you will enjoy it! Of course, remember to subscribe if you don’t want to miss my weird adventures here in London!

Elle. x

New city, new life


Hey y’all fellow weirdos! 

I’ve finally moved to London and at the moment the situation is complete madness! I’m on an emotional roller coaster as a Super Bowl speaker would say! 

Getting a room here is even crazier but apparently I found one that is in a very lovely area and there’s also an old victorian cemetery very close to the house. Talking about cemeteries, the first place I’ve been to since my moving, has been my beloved Golders Green Crematorium which is like home for me, but more importantly I’ve seen my dearest friend Eric, who also happens to work at the Crematorium. I didn’t tell him anything about my moving so I tried to organize a little surprise. See, even a weirdo like me can do this kind of nice things, especially if they’re directed to an amazing friend ❤️ 

This is mainly a little post to update you all, just a quick chitchat between fellow weirdos and to let you know that the blog is still open and that there will be new interesting posts as soon as I’m all settled. 

Elle. xx

The Fox Sisters – Founders of Spiritualism

In March 1856 in Hydesville, not very far from New York a certain Sir Weckman used to live in house where unexplainable things used to happen, so he moved away.

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After six months the Fox family occupied the house and not very long after they moved in they started to hear strange noises and bangs. On March 31, 1858, one of the young daughters thought to imitate the weird noises snapping her fingers. After a while the Fox family proposed to the mysterious entity to count to four, then to eight and then to twelve. The entity accpeted and did what the family asked.

One night the Fox’s daughters were awakened by some very loud noises close to them, the girls sat on the bed, fearing and at the same time wanting to see a ghost. One of them, Kate, proposed to her sister Margaret to repeat the noise, so she snapped the fingers three times and with big surprise of both girls, they heard three snaps right in front of them. Kate woke the parents up and repeated the same thing in the presence of the mother. Once again the entity replied.

–  “Count to ten!” the mother ordered the invisible being. Immediately they heard the sound of a hand snapping ten times.

–  “Tell me how old is Kate.” The fingers snapped twelve times – “Are you a ghost?” Mrs. Fox asked. “If so knock twice for yes.” The invisible fingers snapped twice. The family decided to keep the secret.

The following night the family gathered in the girls’ bedroom and at 1 a.m. they heard the floor creaking and felt a freezing gust. For almost an hour a rather confusing conversation took place, the family was formulating some questions and the ghost replied through a method they agreed – a snap for yes and two snaps for no.

Mrs Fox asked: “If we invite a few neighbours will you keep reply to our question?”, one single snap was heard, so they called the authorities. There were those who accused Mrs. Fox of witchcraft and her daughters to be possessed by the devil. That night, the only curious incident was due to a woman  who saw a white horse flying in the sky, but inside the house everything was a lot different: at around 1 a.m. they heard three loud noises against the walls and the floor creaking and, once again, a cold icy gust.

“If you are a spirit reply with a knock!” a pastor screamed. A single knock was heard.

The event had some easily imaginable consequences. During the following nights the house was reached by a huge crowd, wanting to interrogate the ghost. The house became an attraction point as people went there from all over the region. The Methodist Church expelled the Fox Family and forbade his its followers to attend “people who had dealings with the Devil”.

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Nevertheless, a Quaker invented an special alphabet in which each letter corresponds to a certain number of knocks.It was then proposed to the ghost who accepted, so they found out its identity. He was the spirit of Charles Ryan, a 31 year-old pedlar who’s been murdered in 1832 and his body had been buried in the basement of the house, where then they found some human bones.

The Fox family ran away from Hydesville and from the ghost, in 1848 they found a new accommodation in Rochester, where their eldest daughter lives… but their troubles were not ended, since even the new home became the scene of fantastic events.

When the village knew about these phenomena, a huge crowd started to visit the house. In June they saw a whithish figure that disappeared in the air, something like a human hand touched the cheeks of those who were present.

After the huge success the Fox family proposed to some sèances in private homes, so that they could send their messages to the human beings, talking to them about the Afterlife and shwing the path of peace and happiness on Earth.These meetings were the firts sèances of modern times.

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The enthusiasm was so great that the small group of initiates decided to obey to the spirits organizing a large public meeting that took place on November the 14th, 1849 t the “Corinthian Hall” in Manchester, where hundreds of people gathered. This date marked the beginning of the Spiritualist Movement worldwide.

However, the spirits troubled by the confusion they caused, not always accomplished their promises and some them began to make deplorable jokes to confuse the initiates.

Elle. x

 

 

 

Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood

One of the many things that I love about American Horror Story is that the creators, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk always take the “inspiration” from events that really happened.

As you might know I’ve studied forensic psychology and I have a “thing” for serial killers, not in a morbid way but more in a psychological way, if that makes sense… I hope it does. So, when I watch characters that are based upon real serial killers I’m just very happy. You can also imagine that my favourite episode during American Horror Story: Hotel was The Devil’s Night.

Anyway, yesterday I watched the second episode of the new season of American Horror Story and, of course, two characters are very similiar to two serial killers who really existed. I’m talking about the two nurses Miranda and Bridget, whose story (in the series they are sisters) and modus operandi remind the ones of Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood.

Gwendolyn and Cathy were lovers and used to work at Alpine Manor, a nursing home in Walker, Michigan.

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Their initial plan was to spell the word MURDER with the first letter in the last name of each victim, but the plan failed. According to Wood’s account, in January 1987, Graham entered the room of a woman who had Alzheimer’s disease and smothered her with a wash cloth as Wood acted as her lookout. The woman was too incapacitated to fight back, and thus became the pair’s first victim. The woman’s death appeared to be natural, so an autopsy wasn’t performed.

Over the next few months, four more Alpine Manor patients were murdered by Graham, Wood alleged. Many of the victims, whose ages ranged from 65 to 97, were incapacitated and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Wood testified that the couple turned the selection of victims into a game, first trying to choose their victims by their initials to spell M-U-R-D-E. They soon abandoned the spelling plan, but the murders continued as Graham tried to prove the love that she had for Wood, they began counting each murder as a “day,” as in the phrase, “I will love you for forever and a day.” A poem by Wood to Graham, and introduced in the trial, concluded, “You’ll be mine forever and five days.” However, Wood and Graham parted ways soon after, Wood, feeling guilty, told her ex-husband about the murders, and soon, the police were informed.

Graham received five life sentences for the five murders and conspiracy to commit murder in 1989. To this day, she is serving her sentence in the Huron Valley Correctional Complex. Wood received a sentenced based on her guilty plea of one charge of conspiracy to commit murder and one charge of second-degree murder. She received 40 years, and is currently eligible for parole. She is in the Federal Correction Institution serving her sentence.

 

However, author Lowell Cauffield, who wrote about their story in the true-crime novel “Forever and Five Days,” believes that Wood was the real killer. It’s speculated that Wood framed Graham after Graham left her for another woman.

I’m really looking forward to watching the rest of the series as I’m sure there will be some unusual twists along the story. Who knows what’s waiting for us?! Plenty of blood for sure!

Elle. x