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

 

 

 

 

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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

Haunted Dolls.

Here it is, as promised, a post completely dedicated to haunted dolls. So, if you suffer from pediophobia you may NOT enjoy this post (Sorry)!

A haunted doll is a handmade or manufactured doll or stuffed animal that is purported to be cursed or possessed in some way. The earliest report of a haunted doll goes back to Egypt where the enemies of Ramses III attempted to use wax images of his likeness to bring about his death.

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The ghost who walks in the picture.

Here we are with another spooky story. It is quite old but I still find it fascinating, mainly because I have a “thing” for old pictures. Little fact about me: I find old photographs so interesting that I actually collect them!

I’m not 100% sure if this story is real or it is the nth urban legend, but I thought it would have been interesting to share it anyway.

1997. Rory O’Donoghue works at a photo lab in Cork, northwest of Ireland, between green fields, farming villages and industrial landscapes. Rory has a passion for photography so he decides to go it alone and taking over a photo lab that had been closed for years. During the renovation of the store Rory found an envelope with an old roll of film inside. There’s a date wtitten on the envelope “July ’65”. The film was used, so out of curiosity Rory develops itthe film contains a single photo. It is the picture of an old cottage, like the many other you can find in the irish coutryside.

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Anyway, Rory decides to print the negative and do an enlargement of the photograph. The photo wasn’t anything exceptional but its apparent normality had something magnetic. He then placed the picture in an envelope and returned back home.

But around midnight he noticed that something in the photograph is “different”. The picture is no longer the same as a human figure appeared in it. In complete disbelief of what happened runs to take his camera to take some snapshots of the strange effect

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After a few hours he noticed that the figure in the picture moved again assuming the feature of a woman dressed in black. Increasingly amazed, he continued to take snapshots all night. The human figure in the picture kept moving very slowly, stabilizing every hour.

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It’s been a really scary night for Rory, to the point of making him tell everything to his wife and to a few close family members, afraid of not being believed.

Only in 2007, the grandson of Rory D. who was on a trip in the countryside of Cork, next to a Medieval church and an abandoned cemetery saw a building that was somehow familiar. So he asked some questions around and learned that it had been the residence of a very noble family, the Brandville. The last male heir, as an infant, had mysteriously disappeared in the night of his crib. The mother committed suicide in that house while his father, mad, remained in the cottage until his death. The cottage is still there, in the countryside of Cork in a state of neglect and the picture is still in plain view hung on a wall of Rory’s house.

Elle. xx

Creepy Fact #1: Mercy Brown Vampire Incident.

Are you ready for the most chilling, creepy and spooky Halloween countdown? OF COURSE YOU ARE! A creepy fact is going to be posted on a daily basis until Halloween and will give you goosebumps, guaranteed!

Couldn’t stop myself to dedicate this first creepy fact to a “vampire” story.

The Mercy Brown vampire incident, which occurred in 1892, is one of the best documented cases of the exhumation of a corpse in order to perform rituals to banish an undead manifestation. The incident was part of the wider New England vampire panic.

In the 1880s and 1890s the family of George and Mary brown of Exeter, Rhode Island, suffered a sequence of tuberculosis, called consumption at the time. Mary, the mother, was the first to die and then their eldest daughter, Mary Olive, died in 1888. Their son, Edwin, then caught the infectious disease in 1890. Sadly, in 1891, another daughter, Mercy, became infected and died of the disease in January of 1892.

She was buried in the Baptist Church cemetery in Exeter. People began talking about one of the family members being a vampire, as folklore went at the time that if multiple family members died of a disease, then a family member must have been involved in “undead activities”. George Brown was persuaded to give permission to exhume several bodies of his family members. Villagers, the local doctor and a newspaper reporter exhumed the bodies on March 17, 1892. While his wife and daughter, Mary Olive, were considerably decomposed, the more recently deceased Mercy was still relatively unchanged and had blood in the heart and liver. This was taken as a sign that the young woman was undead and the agent of young Edwin’s condition.
As superstition wanted, Mercy’s heart was removed from her chest, burned and the ashes mixed with water and given to Edwin to drink to cure his ailment. He died two months later.

This event inspired a lot of stories. It has also been suggested by scholars that Bram Stoker (-here- you can read a little something I wrote when I’ve been at the Golders Green Crematorium where you can find Bram Stoker’s urn), the author of the novel Dracula, knew about the Mercy Brown case through newspaper articles and based the novel’s character Lucy upon her.

Elle. x

Haunted Paintings.

There’s nothing that I love more than art and weird historical facts, so today I’m going to write about some paintings that are believed to be, somehow, cursed and that have some pretty “bizarre” background. Most of these paintings are very famous even because they were owned by actors or other Very Important People. This is going to be a long post, so sit tight, grab a cuppa and enjoy.

The Hands Resist Him” (Bill Stoneham, 1972) is known as the haunted eBay painting. It depicts a young boy and a female doll standing in front of a glass door against which many hands are pressed. According to the artist, the boy is based on a photograph of himself at age five, the doorway is a representation of the dividing line between the waking world and the world of fantasy and impossibilities, while the doll is a guide that will escort the boy through it.

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The Midnight Society #1: Enfield Poltergeist

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It’s midnight – well, at least where I live – and it is the perfect time for some real ghost stories! The Midnight Society (Do you remember “Are you afraid of the dark”?) is the new section of this weird blog and will be about real ghost stories and other spooky events. I still have to figure out if it will be a weekly or a monthly thing… we shall see!

From August 1977 to September 1978 a series of paranormal events took place in Enfield, a quiet north-London suburb, and have subsequently become one of the world’s most shocking and famous poltergeist cases. Reports of levitation, possessions and objects were moved and thrown when nobody was around – are few of the things that occured and left a permanent mark on all those who were involved.

The events took place at  Peggy Hodgson’s house, a divorced woman who lived with her four children (Margaret, Janet, Pete and Jimmy) in a council house at 284 Green Street. In particular, the phenomena appeared to rotate around Janet, who was then 11 years. The first to complain about something unusual was precisely Janet and her brother Pete (10 years), who told his mother that he felt their beds shaking. The next night they heard strange blows on the walls, and later the same Peggy Hodgson, initially skeptical, saw a big basket of laundry slid along the floor without anyone touching it, she tried to put it back in its place, but the basket moved again, returning to its previous position, from which it was impossible to remove. The following morning, the family went into the neighbour’s house and described the night’s events. Vic Nottingham, the neighbour, went into the house to see if he could explain what was going on. He too heard the noises, and said that the knocking followed him from room to room.

Reports of further incidents in the house attracted considerable press attention and the story was covered in British newspapers such as the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror. It was a correspondent for the Daily Mirror who suggested the family to contact the Society for Psychical Research which entrusted the case to Maurice Grosse, who arrived on the scene on September 5, a week after the beginning of the events.

Maurice Grosse and Guy Lyon Playfair recorded over 2,000 unexplained events at the house. Electronic equipment would occasionally refuse to work inside the house but operated perfectly as soon as it was taken outside. Late one evening, when the children were asleep in their rooms and Maurice Grosse was downstairs compiling his day’s findings, he was disturbed by the sound of Janet screaming. Maurice ran to the foot of the stairs only to see the 12-year-old apparently being dragged through her bedroom door by an unseen force she was hauled down the stairs and dumped unceremoniously at Maurice’s feet.

During the latter months of this haunting, the phenomena took an unexpected twist when one day the family was in the living room and suddenly a dog started barking they didn’t have a dog! Maurice decided that if the entity was able to produce a bark, perhaps it could be coaxed into speaking. He began asking questions and to his amazement the entity answered! The answers came from Janet, the voice was strange, deep and guttural, and very much sounded like that of an old man.

The spirit claimed to be that of a man called Bill who said that he was the previous occupier of the house, and stated that he had died of a brain hemorrhage in an armchair in the living room. A recording of the voice was played to the deceased mans son, he confirmed that the voice was his fathers.

I suggest you to watch this documentary where you can hear Bill’s voice. I can only and honestly say that it gave me the creeps.

Elle. x