Miss xxxxxx contacted the group after seeing a newspaper article mentioning the groups activities. She asked us to call as she had 'a very unusual case' that she required to be investigated.
Miss xxxxxx is 91 years of age and lives alone in a 3 bedroom mid-terrace house built in c. 1870. Never married, she has lived in the house since 1912. She now lives almost exclusively in one downstairs room of the house, rarely venturing upstairs. Her living conditions might be described as poor, the house lacking any indoor bathing facilities and the toilet being outside in the yard. Apart from the ground floor back room in which she lives and sleeps, she has just the use of the kitchen, all other rooms being filled with an assortment of clutter and brick-a-brack.
She is profoundly deaf and very partially sighted, although she is bright and alert and in full command of all her mental faculties. Sleeping little, Miss xxxxxx enjoys keeping up with current World events via the television news.
After initial difficulties arranging a first to interview Miss xxxxxx [ due entirely to her deafness ]. Two members of the group visited on the afternoon of 14th March 2000. Although much of the interview had to be conducted by using written notes to communicate effectively with Miss xxxxxx it was quickly apparent that this lady was being troubled by events that she found difficult to comprehend and had decided must be paranormal in origin.
She described how the activities first started on 27th August 1998;
"I returned home with my brown bag and took out 2 spectacle cases. Later, the same day I could not find the bag. I could not understand what had happened to it. Everything of importance was in that bag."
During the early months of 1999 similar inexplicable events continued with other small objects and small amounts of money going missing, but it was from November 1999 that events took on a more disturbing trend.
The following accounts are extracted without amendment from Miss xxxxxx's diary of events, written at the time:
November 2nd 1999
"I locked up as usual and put the vestibule key on the electric box, still the next morning the door chain was open, also the latch and bolt yet the key was still on the electric box? For a few nights recently I have locked up, put the key on the E.box and put the step ladder against the door."
November 5th 1999 Friday
"I locked up as usual and left it like that - all Sat. 6th. On going to check as usual on Sunday morning. I was shocked to find the ladder was moved! to the wall and the key was on the E.box, but the vest. Door was open and the chain was off and the latch down, the bolt was open."
November 7th 1999 Sunday -Midday
" I have just been to my bag to get my angina tablets and they were not there. I then looked into my purse and all the coins were gone and the tin that had the £1 coins in was empty. The 10p's I kept for the telephone, they had gone also the coppers and the 20p coins - all gone."
November 14th 1999
"It has all started again, put the ladder against the vest. Door and put the key on the E.box. I could not sleep for a long time, on waking I did the usual checks. I found the vest. Door unlocked, chain off, latch up, bolt open. The vest. Key was on the E.box. Only the ladder had not been moved this time. On looking in my bag all three packs of coins had gone and also my angina tablets."
The events continued with varying degrees of severity throughout December and January 1999/2000. On 24th December, Miss xxxxxx again noted that the vestibule door and outer door had been unlocked without apparent movement of the step ladder that was wedged under the vestibule door.
By this time, deeply troubled by the events she made up her mind to seek assistance. Visits to the local Police and Social Services proved to of little value and she turned to Clairvoyants for help.
Larger items of furniture also started to vanish from her home around this time:
March 3rd 2000
"I have just gone into the parlour and Aunt xxxxx's table was gone. The table was in the corner for years."
March 4th 2000
" I returned from shopping and put my front door key in the matchbox as usual and put it in my purse. On turning out the coins, the matchbox was gone. I found the matchbox a few minutes later - it was under the tray but the key was not inside - to think I am sitting here and the key in the matchbox just disappeared."
March 7th 2000
" I have just been into the parlour and discovered that an oval wooden table is missing. In it's place is a wooden trolley that was upstairs in the back bedroom."
March 13th 2000
" I have just been into the parlour and saw a dress covering my late Aunt's cabinet. Removing the dress I found the cabinet gone and some boxes put in it's place. The glass flower holder that was in the cabinet was on the sideboard. There was lots of lovely glassware in the cabinet. The fireplace is covered with boxes. A lot of things off the two trolley's were either moved or had gone."
Initial Visit and Interview
During out first visit, it was clear that Miss xxxxxx was deeply troubled by the events that had taken place. She recounted many more occasions that small objects had been moved or gone missing. As we were shown around, it was apparent that many windows, particularly those upstairs were either open or poorly secured. The backdoor too was secured only with a flimsy bolt. Miss xxxxxx produced recent photographs that clearly showed some of the items of furniture that were now missing. Overall, since the events started occurring Miss xxxxxx has lost over £150 in cash, many small objects including lighters and ornaments and items with sentimental value only.
The general clutter within the house also did not help the situation, Miss xxxxxx's own diary recalls several incidences when she thought an object had gone missing only for her to re-discover it later. This was obviously the result of the excessive clutter and Miss xxxxxx's poor eyesight. As the visit progressed both investigators formed the opinion that Miss xxxxxx was the victim of an intruder gaining entry through one of the badly secured windows. This view was reinforced during an inspection of the house exterior. It could be seen that the outside toilet roof was easily accessible from the rear alley. This roof gave very easy access to an unlocked bedroom window at the rear of the house. The area was heavily overgrown and unlit and afforded a ready and simple means of gaining access to the property with little risk of being caught. Once inside, the intruder could move freely about as Miss xxxxxx is so deaf as to stand very little chance of hearing her unwelcome visitor.
This explanation was put to Miss xxxxxx and her response was a little unexpected. She stated in an exasperated manner that she had already thought of this and had contacted the Police herself months before with such thoughts. She was adamant that the events had to be paranormal and cited the fact that ladder had not been moved from the vestibule door and the appearance of an "apparition" as proof of her claim. We were not aware of any apparition up to this point and we sought further details from Miss xxxxxx.
We were shown a diary entry for November 28th 1999 at 22:45.
"I have just had the most terrible shock as I watched the telly. I suddenly turned round as someone touched my wrist. I saw a man in a bright red and black uniform who looked right at me. I said 'Who are you?' Thinking it was the investigator, he vanished and I ran to the door. I checked the front and back doors but they were OK. This was the first time I had seen anything visible"
Miss xxxxxx then went on to describe her encounter. She pointed to the centre of the room and told us that it was at this spot that the man had appeared. He described him as being young and wearing some sort of uniform which was beautifully coloured in red and black. She immediately asked him who he was and what he was doing but of course she was not aware of him replying as s he would not have been able to hear. Without moving, he vanished. She went quickly to the room door which she recalled was closed and proceeded to check the parlour and the front and back doors, but these to were closed and secure. She described her visitor as being solid and normal in appearance, she did not recognise him and was amazed when he vanished into the middle of the room.
The investigator she referred to was apparently the clairvoyant whom she had contacted a few days earlier. In fact, she had contacted a team of two clairvoyants 'xxxx and xxx' [details included later]. At that time she had not received a reply from them and they had not yet visited the house but she reasoned that they may have called.
This revelation about the apparition did offer some counter evidence to our theory that she was being burgled but one could perhaps be readily explained by an intruder wearing perhaps brightly coloured clothes such as perhaps a shellsuit walking into the room. She could not of course have heard him arrive and certainly would not have heard him say anything. We ourselves witnessed her oblivion to people entering the room when we too walked back into the room and startled her as she turned to see us there. Given her poor eyesight, his 'vanishing' act might simply have been a hasty exit once she had seen him and challenged him.
It seems that Miss xxxxxx herself had considered the possibility of an intruder during the earliest days of the trouble when she went to the local Police station seeking advice and assistance. Her diary entry for September 18th 1998 records one such occasion, when she thought an intruder was to blame;
"I have found a lot of soil over the flags near to the grid in the yard and all the soil on the garden was dug up into a thick pile. Dirt, either a dog's or human was on the path. My handbag has been missing for nearly 4 weeks and I know where I put it. I can only surmise somebody is trying to get in. A minister was the former owner of my house 'could there be an influence'? I am inclined to think the first idea is the most likely"
An inspection of the exterior of Miss xxxxxx's house proved to be even more enlightening,
Her house may be accessed from the rear via a small narrow alleyway. The alley is reached from an entryway between two of her neighbour's houses. The entry is protected by a door that is wedged open and permits free and unrestricted access to anyone. Once in the alley, they are shielded from view by high walls and overgrown vegetation. In the entry roof was a pair of unsecured ladders belonging to Miss xxxxxx's neighbour resting in a cradle. These were easily in reach and could have been removed at any time. The alley was narrow and bounded by 7ft high walls, it was dark during the day and unlit at night, combined with overgrown trees and shrubs in many of the adjacent gardens it offered little chance of anyone being observed once in the alley. Both Miss xxxxxx's outhouse roof and that of her neighbour overhung the alley walls and would have been easily accessible from the alley. Once on the roof it was a gentle walk up the roof to the unsecured rear bedroom window of Miss xxxxxx's house.
In view of Miss xxxxxx's assertion that the cause of her troubles lay with the supernatural rather than the more likely physical intruder the investigators agreed that it would be appropriate to undertake at least a precautionary vigil. This was duly arranged for March 18th.
After visiting Miss xxxxxx and seeing for themselves the poor state of security at her house, both investigators resolved to at least address that aspect of her well being and it was hoped resolve most if not all her 'supernatural' phenomenon.
Briefly, the investigators contacted the Police, Social services and voluntary organisations for advice and assistance. This resulted in suitable door and window locks being fitted to Miss xxxxxx's property within a few days. The investigators also made contact with Miss xxxxxx's nephew. He lived some distance away but was clearly concerned for his Aunt's welfare and his involvement will go still further to ensure Miss xxxxxx's welfare in the future. It should be noted that all the above contacts were made with the full knowledge and co-operation of Miss xxxxxx and that at no time did investigators assume the role of social worker or vigilante. Group members merely responded to Miss xxxxxx's request for assistance and acted in the capacity of advocate and friend.
Out of curiosity, our team also contacted the two clairvoyants that Miss xxxxxx had told she had asked for help. We were interested to learn what if any impressions that may have had while dealing with this case.
xxxx and xxx, an amateur team of clairvoyants and healers had been contacted during February 2000 and had visited Miss xxxxxx the same month. We can make no comment on their a bilities, psychic or otherwise on the strength of a telephone conversation but it should be noted that they make no charge for their services, nor do they accept gifts or any other form of reward. xxxx and xxx said that they had detected no paranormal activity within Miss xxxxxx's house during their visit. They felt that perhaps the apparition witnessed by Miss xxxxxx may perhaps have been a from of guardian spirit warning her about her intruder/s. They did acknowledge however, that it was more likely to have been the intruder himself that Miss xxxxxx had seen.
xxxx and xxx had also been concerned for Miss xxxxxx's personal welfare and wellbeing after their visit and had also made contact with several organisations on Miss xxxxxx's behalf.
We also discovered that another psychic investigator and clairvoyant had been contacted by Miss xxxxxx at about the same time [ late January 2000 ]. This person called to see Miss xxxxxx a nd said that her house was haunted and said he would perform an exorcism at the cost of £45 per session and that more than one might be required. Para.Science makes no further comment about this person and has decided that the facts will speak for themselves!
A pair of investigators arrived to undertake the field investigation [ vigil ] on 18th March 2000. We learned that no abnormal events had taken place during the preceding 24 hours - the door and window locks were fitted on the previous day.
IR motion detectors were set up to cover the stairs and the investigators armed with cameras and audio recorders positioned themselves in the hall. This was to cover the major areas on interest - the front and vestibule doors and the stirs and hallway / kitchen.
As expected, there was nothing untoward observed at any time during the vigil sessions. The only item of note was a sound from upstairs at 22:11hrs, as the investigators were sitting with Miss xxxxxx in her dining room. It sounded like a window being moved or opened / closed. It seemed to be coming from the room directly above Miss xxxxxx's dining room. Moving upstairs and outside to investigate, nothing was found out of order. The window in the room above the dining room is not easily accessible from the exterior but it was located quite close [ c.2ft ] to the neighbours bedroom window. It is by far the more likely explanation that the neighbour had shut their own window and that the sound appeared to have come from Miss xxxxxx's bedroom. Those not familiar with the layout of Victorian terraced housing may not appreciate how close some elements of the housing are to neighbours and when often only a single brick and plaster separate neighbours a surprising amount of general domestic noise can be heard from next door neighbours.
At the conclusion of the vigil, several items of equipment were left in situ including an IR motion detector / alarm covering the stairs. This was to provide a further deterrent to any intruder persistent enough not to be put off by the newly fitted locks. A follow-up visit was arranged for 25th March.
It was not possible to gain entry on the 25th March, unfortunately a mix up in dates caused Miss xxxxxx to think we were coming at a different time, thus when we arrived she was not aware of our presence at the door. Contact was made the following Monday [ 27th March ] via members of the volunteer organisation another appointment was arranged for April 6th. We did learn however during the telephone conversation on the 27th that there has been no further incidents of the door chain or the door being opened.
The visit of April 6th was a simple follow up and it was noted that peace and calm has been restored to Miss xxxxxx's home. Since the door and window locks have been fitted, the number of missing or moved items has all but ceased.
Miss xxxxxx's unfortunate experiences were clearly the results of an intruder, this being of a physical rather than paranormal nature. The stress this caused to the lady possibly resulted in the 'apparition' she experienced but more likely this was a sighting of the perpetrator himself. It is certainly clear that during the period of her troubles Miss xxxxxx lost a great deal of money, furniture and other sundry possessions. Miss xxxxxx herself now accepts that her problems were of the physical kind and has taken additional security steps which should provide her with further safeguards in the future. The future and ongoing involvement of other agencies will hopefully ensure that this wonderful old lady will be able to live out the rest of her days in peace and quiet in the home she loves so much.