The Westford Knight – Why he may be important in ghost hunting

In yesterday’s Hollow Hill article (about haunted Haverhill), I mentioned the Westford Knight. I’m not sure that Westford (Massachusetts) site is actually paranormal, though it might be worth checking out.
 
Westford Knight site, Westford, MA (templars)
The Westford Knight, in Westford © 2004 Matthew Trump

In my ley lines (for ghost hunting) research, I include the Westford Knight site because it has a weird (and credible) enough context.

 
Of course, between age, vandalism, and decades of acid rain, the artwork on the Westford Knight grave marker is barely visible now. (30 years ago, it was still fairly impressive. Today, it’s more likely to evoke a big yawn.)
 
So, here are references that may explain my enthusiasm when the Westford grave shows up on a ley line.
 
First, here’s a link to a lengthy history supporting the Westford Knight theories. (Illustrations aren’t so great.)
 
 
Instead, look at the photos with this not-as-informative article:
 
And here’s an article that shows a grave marker from a related era, in a similar style, with an equally fascinating history.
 
Whether or not you take the Westford Knight history seriously, it stands out as an anomaly. It’s something weird and incongruous in an otherwise typical, lovely New England town.
In the future, I’ll talk more about ley lines and how useful they are to ghost hunters. But, for now, the Westford Knight is a great example of a not-necessarily-ghostly point that increases the potential of any ley line that crosses it.
That includes the haunted Haverhill ley line.

Haunted Haverhill – Article

Haverhill is haunted. In fact, it may be one of New England’s most overlooked — and reliable — haunted communities.

Haunted Haverhill articleThat makes it a great location for ghost hunting.  But, many of the best locations are off-limits at night, or require a fee to explore.

Don’t let that deter you. Haverhill’s ghosts can be worth the extra effort.

In 2017, I was interviewed for an article that describes many of Haverhill’s best haunts: Haunted in Haverhill, by Alison Colby-Campbell, in the October 2017 issue of Haverhill Life.

Here are some of my notes from my research for that interview.

My early Haverhill ley line research produced two maps.

The first included points related to known haunts and suspected ghosts.

Haverhill Ley Lines - First draft
First draft of Haverhill ley lines. I was NOT convinced these were strong lines.

In that map (courtesy of Google Maps), you’ll see two triangles.

In the first triangle, dashed lines connect the Northpoint Bible College site (former location of Bradford College) and Buttonwoods/Pentucket Burial Ground area to Hilldale Cemetery.

In the second triangle, the solid lines connect the same initial points to St. James’ Cemetery instead of Hilldale.

Anything within the two, overlapping triangles might be worth extra research. Those areas have a greater likelihood of ghosts.

Maybe.

The problem was: when I was working with that map, it just didn’t feel right.

That’s difficult to articulate, and it’s one reason I’m rewriting my ley lines book.

At this point, it’s simplest to say that some of my ley lines work is intuitive. Further, if I keep working on the troublesome map that “guesswork” almost always rings true.

That was the case with the Haverhill map.

On a whim, I took a fresh look at the map. I studied everything in the area, and thought about weird news reports and nearby paranormal sites.

That’s when I remember the Westford Knight. (That site is in Westford, MA. I’m not sure it’s still worth visiting, but — many years ago, when I first saw it — it definitely looked like a primitive, medieval knight’s burial.)

Haverhill ley lines map, revised
The Westford Knight > Haverhill > Isles of Shoals ley line.

When I connected the dots between the Westford Knight site, Northpoint Bible College, and Buttonwoods, it went through Walnut Cemetery and over the Isles of Shoals.

That line made more sense to me. It hit more major weird/paranormal sites.

  • Westford Knight? Weird.
  • Northpoint/Bradford college? Weird and haunted.
  • Buttonwoods? Very haunted. I’d go back there just for another look at the haunted mirror in the parlor.
  • Walnut Cemetery? Strange. Something was odd (not just haunted) when I investigated it. It seemed as if the cemetery amplified unhealthy impulses among the living. (Yes, I know how bizarre that sounds. It’s more likely my imagination was working overtime.)
  • Isles of Shoals? Over two centuries of weird legends and, of course, ghosts.

If I were scouting haunted locations for a TV series (something I’ve done in the past), I’d focus on that line. I’d follow it exactly, and ask questions at any shops, restaurants, or other public sites along the way.

Frankly, that line is so strong, I’d stake my reputation on it leading through some other very weird (and probably haunted) locations.

It’s just a matter of looking, and asking questions of enough people. That takes persistence, patience, and a little audacity at times. But, it’s usually worthwhile, if you’re looking for unreported haunted places. You might find some so dark and weird, people avoid talking about them.

So, yes, if you’re a ghost hunter, Haverhill can be a goldmine of investigation sites, with very vivid ghosts.

Ghosts in the News: Oct 2017 [1]

‘Tis the season… for news about ghosts and haunted places.

It’s an interesting way to look at haunted places.

Oh, I doubt many (perhaps most) assumptions about New Orleans’ LaLaurie Mansion. I’m not sure it’s especially haunted. (Several residents said it’s not.) Also, some of the legends don’t fit the owners’ real history.

But, the original LaLaurie Mansion was certainly the site of traumatic events and a horrible (and fatal) fire. So, some ghosts may linger.

In the Seattle Times article, like the following quote from Colin Dickey, author of Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places. (I’m reading that book, right now. It’s not what I’d expected. Lots of history. Lots of folklore. All of it connected to famous — and infamous — haunts.

Here’s the quote I like:

“Ghost stories in many ways are a way for us to approach our own history,” Dickey said, “and our own history is complicated.”

I’m going to think about that. At first glance, I’ll admit that most serious ghost investigators are not simple, take-life-as-it-comes people. Most are unusually bright, well-read, and interested in a wide range of topics.

The related podcast is thought-provoking. Though I disagree with Dickey on some points, he has some fresh views worth considering: https://apnews.com/afs:Content:1446410075/Episode-23:-What-haunted-houses-tell-us-about-ourselves

What interested me are the 28% who said they have lived in a haunted home. (I’m in that group. I’ve lived in two that might be haunted, plus a third that was absolutely bizarre.)

I may try a survey like that, myself, to see how many people pursue ghost hunting because they’re already familiar with life in a haunted house.

  • Next, this may not be the world’s only haunted canal boat ride — and I’m not sure if it’s genuinely spooky — but if I were around Richmond, Virginia, I’d happily spend $2 for the experience: Haunted canal boat rides in Richmond.
  • After that, reading the latest ghost-related articles, I realized I’ve never questioned the word “boo!” Maybe I should have.

Fortunately, Mental Floss may have an answer. In their article, Why Do Ghosts Say ‘Boo’?, they report:

“…the word had a slightly different shade of meaning a few hundred years ago: Boo (or, in the olden days, bo or bu) was not used to frighten others but to assert your presence.”

And later, in that same article, explain a more recent use of the word:

“And by 1738, Gilbert Crokatt was writing in Presbyterian Eloquence Display’d that, ‘Boo is a Word that’s used in the North of Scotland to frighten crying children.’ “

  • And then there’s the video filmed earlier this month (Oct 2017) inside a Cork City (Ireland) school. It’s been viewed over 7 million times.

I laughed out loud at one point. No, this isn’t what a real haunting looks like, though it’s entertaining.

But, a Today.com article offers an explanation for the school’s haunted reputation:

“‘The school is built on a site known as Green Gallows,’ Wolfe said. ‘In the 19th century, criminals were hanged here. We only found that out on Monday. The pub nearby is actually called the Gallows.'”

A leading Irish education site calls it Gallows Green, but — no matter what the name — it’s adequate reason for ghosts at the school.

They’re just unlikely to manifest in such preposterous ways.

Those are the ghost-related articles that interested me today. I’m sure there will be more as Halloween approaches.

If you find any fascinating news articles, I hope you’ll leave the URLs in comments.

Ripon Prison and Police Museum, Yorkshire

Ripon Prison historical plaqueMost Haunted’s Season 19 takes viewers into haunted Ripon Prison and Police Museum, during Episode 7 (airing 26 May 2017 on Really).

The Ripon Prison — originally known as Ripon Liberty Prison — dates back to the 17th century. The current building was the prison site from around 1816 – 1878.

After the enactment of the Prison Act of 1877, the building was empty for about nine years. Then, it became the local police constabulary station through 1958.

It became a museum and visitor attraction around 1984. Today, it offers many opportunities for ghost hunters.

From my current research, no reported ghost has a specific name and history that can be verified.

Several researchers reported a spirit called “George.” (That seems to be a surprisingly popular name among British ghosts.)  He’s described as a warder, not an inmate.

Note: When addressing prison ghosts, try using both “warder” and “warden.” The former is an older term and more popular in Britain, especially in connection with prisons.

However, warder’s secondary meaning (in history) includes “a truncheon or staff of office or authority, used in giving signals.” (ref. Dictionary.com) So, a warden might carry a warder, and a “watch out for the warder!” message might be more about an impending assault than a prison guard.

Another spirit is called Mary, Meg, or Margaret. She’s too young to have been a prisoner, unless she was there with her mother. (In past centuries, babies and very young children might be in a cell with their mothers, particularly if there was no one else to take care of the child.)

However, always be cautious when a prison ghost claims to be very young. In some cases, the spirit is actually malicious. (Remember: Prisons held criminals.) That spirit may be hoping you’ll drop your guard/protection, and he (or she) can achieve viciously self-serving goals.

In both past descriptions of Ripon Prison investigations, and the early reviews of this Most Haunted episode, it sounds as if something very dangerous — possibly not a ghost, but something much darker — might be loose.

One of the most useful triggers I’ve found in my research was the 2013 opening of an exhibit of photos of “lady prisoners,” at Ripon Prison.

Link: The wanted Victorian women: History mugshots reveal the cunning faces of England’s Nineteenth Century bad girls.

From my experiences, images of possible ghosts — especially unsavory men and women from the past — can leave an imprint. This can trigger a residual energy haunting, or even give the ghost a reason to actively haunt that location. (After all, people see him or her there.)

In the case of Ripon Prison, those photos may help investigators match ghostly figures and apparitions — as well as psychic impressions — to specific faces and names.

A casual survey suggests that Ripon Prison’s ghosts are an equal mix of prisoners and wardens or police officers.

That’s somewhat unusual. In most prisons I’ve investigated, the site’s ghosts were mostly prisoners or mostly wardens and guards, not in equal number.

If you’ve been to Ripon Prison and Police Museum, I hope you’ll leave a comment with your observations.

Note: Remember that many hauntings are related to extreme emotions and feelings. So, at a prison, you may encounter ghosts (and residual energy hauntings) related to feeling powerful (wardens) and victimized (innocent prisoners).

If you use questions that show admiration (for spirits reliving their glory days) or sympathy (for those unjustly jailed), you may have better investigation results.

Ripon Prison and Police Museum seems very active and offers many kinds of ghostly encounters.

Most report:

  • Footsteps where no one can be seen
  • EMF spikes, including some that respond to yes/no questions
  • A screw (prison machine) that turns by itself and makes loud metal-on-metal noises (Reported by Simply Ghost Nights)
  • Physical manifestations, such as objects moving on their own, including table tipping.

However, since Ouija boards and dark rituals have been used at Ripon Prison — certainly in recent years, and possibly while the building was empty — use stronger than usual measures to protect yourself and your team.

Also, before going there, I’d research Thomas de Grey (1781–1859), 3rd Lord Grantham, the designer of the cell block.  Sometimes, designers and architects leave their own imprint (or even revisit) sites they’ve built. That’s doubly true when the designer’s name is permanently visible on the building. (See the plaque in the photo, above.)

I’d also explore ghost stories and anomalies reported at Newby Hall, Grantham’s home, and look for connections. I’d especially look for references to “alchemy” associated with Newby Hall or Grantham.

Note: The most famous (or infamous) “ghost” of Newby Hall is from the 1963 photo by the Rev. F. K. Lord. To me, it looks like the photo was altered or it’s a double exposure. (Photo analysis in the 1960s wasn’t entirely reliable.)

Link: The Ghost of Newby Hall

However, the photo’s provenance prevents me from dismissing it altogether.

Here’s a short YouTube video that shows the Ripon Prison building. As an investigator, I note at the amount of metal (which can hold residual energy) and the age of this building. Also, all prison sites feature “trapped inside” and “you can’t leave here” cues.

To me, Ripon Prison and Police Museum looks like a great place for a ghost vigil… as long as you take adequate precautions, of course.

NOTE: This is my last report about “Most Haunted” until I’m able to see the shows, myself. (As of early June 2017, the show’s videos are no longer on YouTube, and my U.S. viewing resources no longer offer the Really channel. I’m hoping the latter resolves, soon.)

[UK] Slaughter House, Liverpool – Albert Williams

Is the ghost of Albert Williams real? When I watched the April 2017 “Most Haunted” episode filmed at the Slaughter House in Liverpool, I was intrigued.

Albert Williams is a name that Yvette received from spirit, during the investigation. According to Yvette’s impressions, Albert “looked after horses,” may have been pushed down the Slaughter House stairs, and fell to his death, around 1913.

Was he the same spirit in the “possibly 19th century” impression received by Billy in the earlier investigation?

Or, did two young men die there, in separate tragedies?

And was the searching (and probably distraught) mother Emma, not Meg or Mary? The names sound similar and could be confusing, especially if the psychic impression isn’t clear.

It’s too early to be certain.

Meanwhile, I was not optimistic about finding a likely Albert Williams. Williams is the third most popular surname in modern Britain, with nearly 300,000 people sharing the name.

Also, the given name of Albert — often a tribute to the memory of Queen Victoria’s husband — was very popular in that era.

I expected to find too many “Albert Williams” around Liverpool.

To my surprise, a likely match emerged early in my research. In fact, this was one of those times when the research seemed too easy.

Did he want me to confirm his identity? I can’t rule that out.

Here’s the most likely match for the Albert who contacted Yvette.

Albert Williams (1900 – c. 1913)

Albert Williams was born in 1900 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England, to Emma Graham, age 36, and Alfred Williams, age 40.

“Our” Albert Williams is shown in the following screenshot from the 1901 English census. I’ve circled his name on the census page. The family lived on Anglesea Road in the town of Liverpool. (Note that, in 1901, Albert’s father was a blacksmith.)

Albert Williams Slaughter House 1901 census

Next, here’s the 1911 census. (Again, I’ve circled “our” Albert Williams.)

Albert Williams - 1911 census - Liverpool

In 1911, Albert’s father was working as an Engine Smith (engineer) for the Cunard ship line.

Blacksmith workshop, photo courtesy GraphicStock

One of Albert’s older brothers, George, was an Apprentice Blacksmith.

(Remember, their father had been a blacksmith for most of his adult life.)

So, in 1913, it would be reasonable — in fact, likely — that young Albert (around age 12 or 13) might have “looked after horses” in Liverpool.

He might have worked in or near the Slaughter House location, too. It was a popular commercial area.

So, is this a match for young Albert who haunts the Slaughter House?

It’s more than likely. Here’s why.

I’ve found no records for this Albert Williams after 1911.

That suggests that he died young. Maybe as early as 1913.

Of course, there may be another explanation. Maybe I’d find this Albert Williams in later records, if I dug deeper.

Or, maybe this is the Albert Williams who died at the Slaughter House location around 1913… just as Yvette said.