A Long Week

Hello there, Stephen here, at the end of a long and strange week. It’s been very different having someone in the house with me all this week, strange but oddly not nearly as disconcerting as I thought it would be.

Of course, Gary would say that the shock to my system has been having to do work but I was expecting to find the change in the house quite difficult after spending so much time here on my own. But instead its been something of a relief and its certainly been great having my friend Jo here with me to work with.

It has been a trying week, though, having to try and get all our electronic systems up and running ready for next week, and I think that’s the change that I’m dreading most – when the TV cameras arrive and I’m rather afraid we may start turning into a circus rather than a serious investigation.

While all the work we’re doing this week is, I think, extremely worthwhile – and I’m really looking forward to be able to include all of you in our EMF survey of the house – I’m afraid that once the TV broadcasts start we’re going to start getting a lot more focussed on providing ‘good television’ whatever that is, rather than what we should be doing.

But then I suppose it’ll be my job, with Jo’s and I hope, your help, to make sure we concentrate on the important matters.

And, of course, as tempting as it might be to spend the next fortnight with just the two of us in the house, monitoring and investigation, I have to admit that none of this project would have been possible without the TV show and it may just be that the more people we have the in house, the more eyes and attention we have on the project, the more we may see.

After all, what is a haunted house without people to be haunted?

Anyway, I suspect that I’m just off-kilter because I haven’t been sleeping very well, since I stopped sleeping in the attic and moved back into the main rooms of the house (we’re going to try and restrict our living quarters to the newer areas of the house, to leave the older parts untouched as much as possible).

Certainly I’ve got more material for my dream diary – oddly, looking back, my recent dreams are very similar to those I had when I first arrived in the house, dreams of running around the house trying to find people, particularly Jo, although now they’re much more like nightmares rather than normal dreams. An indication, I can only assume, of some nervousness at how the next week is going to pan out.

Well, whatever happens, I hope you’ll be tuning in.

New arrivals

Hello there, Stephen here, with news of two new arrivals. Since I’ve just made Jo say hello to the website in her first blog, you’ll know that she has now joined me in the house. But I just wanted to draw your attention to the blog post that was made in the small hours of this morning: more of our mysterious text.

Again some of it looks very much like a selection from Ranulph Williams’ introduction to his book of short stories, but some of it doesn’t. Obviously, since my encounter with Harry Rose in the house, I’m a little suspicious of it being someone tampering with the equipment, while Gary is still convinced that someone has ‘hacked in’ as he calls it, and is interefering with the blog from somewhere else on the internet.

But I still think its a mystery worth investigating, so I’ve asked both Gary and Jo to work together to come up with some way of determining where the messages are coming from. So hopefully I’ll be able to let you know more soon.

Local folklore

Hello there, Stephen here, with just a quick update. As you have probably seen, I managed to have a chat with the Vicar, the Reverend Morgan, who was very kindly able to fill me in on some of the local traditions concerning the Flower Queans and some of the folklore behind them.

Like a lot of English traditions, these have their roots in Victorian folklore research and recreation but undoubtedly contain traces of something considerably more ancient and more traditional. It’s particularly interesting to see that Ranulph Williams became so interested in the story – I must confess that I’ve never read his book, The Labyrinthine King – in fact I think its currently out of print, but it certainly sounds interesting.

Meanwhile, I’m considerably excited by the arrival in the house of my friend and colleague Jo Cargill, who is arriving to start work on the more technical aspects of our investigation. It’s going to be great to have Jo here, in fact, its going to great just to have someone else here, even if it does mean that I’m going to have to give up sleeping in the attic room I’ve been staying in the last few nights – oddly, I’ve slept incredibly well there, although that does mean I haven’t had anything to write in my dream diary recently.

The Mazehouse Ghost

Hello there, Stephen here, with news that I have met the Mazehouse ghost and can report that he is an unquiet spirit and all too much alive and well.

His name is, apparently, Harry Rose and he is a local odd job man who has apparently appointed himself a kind of watchman over the house. It’s been him that’s been reponsible for all the strange events over the last few days: the locked door, the odd sounds around the house, the missing coffee.

Although, to be fair, the coffee wasn’t that much of a mystery as I actually caught him taking it this morning.

I was, obviously, pretty alarmed at finding this strange man in the kitchen when I walked in there first thing in the morning and things very quickly got pretty heated.

I, quite reasonably, I think, insisted he leave, while he insisted that I was the one with no right to be in the house, all the while quite calmly helping himself to my Kenko.

In the end the only thing I could do was call the owners, who, fortunately, were available and who, even more fortunately, knew Harry of old and were able to tall to him and persuade that I was who I said I was and that he had to leave me alone.

Which he did, eventually, with very bad grace, muttering all kinds of things, including some very interesting things about the house and what might happen to people living in it which, sadly, I was in no mood at the time to question him about.

One thing I did learn is that he was the one responsible for the dried flowers in the outbuildings and that he called his arrangements ‘flower queens’, exactly the same words as were used in our mysterious website text.

The owners of he house have pointed me to the vicar as a good source of information about the traditions of the area and I am going to seek him put and see what I can find out about these interesting discoveries.

So, while more than a little stressful and disturbing, today might not have been totally wasted after all.

Strange events

Hello, Stephen here, with what I think may be my first truly paranormal experience in the house. I was working upstairs in the house this afternoon – exploring some of the rooms at the rear – when I could have sworn I heard footsteps in the hall downstairs. I immediately went to the head of the back stairs to start down to investigate and the immediate sense that was a presence in the hallway downstairs – there was a definite impression of movement – a shadow, I think, or some movement – but by the time I got downstairs the hallway was empty and the house quiet. I have often, over the last few days, had the impression that I was not alone in the house but had put this down to having been on my own for the past week, but perhaps I am not as alone as I thought. It’s certainly an intriguing event.

What is a ghost?

We all have a very clear idea of what a ghost looks like: a pale apparition that looks something like old man Wilkins from the fairground with a sheet draped over his head. But this description rarely if ever fits what is experienced in claimed paranormal encounters. What exactly do we mean when we talk about ghosts?

The most common understanding is that they are phantoms or visions of dead people glimpsed by the living. This is often understood to present some kind of afterlife, some way in which human consciousness or presence can persist after death. On the other hand it may instead suggest that there is communication not across the boundary of life and death but rather across time, that it is possible for those in the present to get a glimpse of some moment in the past, or vice versa. Certainly stories in which are visited by phantoms of the living, visions of relatives and friends in moments of distress or danger, suggest that such communication might be possible across space, if not time.

Some of these ideas might be related to current evolving theories of the quantum brain and the implicatons of quantum physics when applied to consciousness. There is even some implication that consciousness may persist beyond the physical brain, providing another possible explanation for life after death.

Quantum physics also implies the many worlds theory of multiple universes, splintering off at each moment of subatomic decision. Rather than glimpses of the past, could what we call hauntings be glimpses of another, alternate universe alongside our own?

Equally the multiple dimensions that apparently comprise our own universe culd provide yet another explanation: what might a fifth dimensional event look like to us – could it have a side-effect on the fabric of space time that might look like a haunting to us, down here in our three dimensions? Could these phenomena even be attempts at cross-dimensional communication?

Of course, traditional religion and ancient cultures might suggest that they are communication from a very different kind of being: from spirits or what the monotheisms might call demons. But the answer might equally lie closer to home. It has been suggested that it may be that some places have a unique sensitivity. That a place may be able to ‘record’ the events that take place there, ‘recordings’ that will then replay to human witnesses under the right conditions, as ghosts.

And even more simply it may just be that some places are intrinsically ‘haunted’, that they have some property, a peculiarity of electro-magnetic field, or subterreanean running water or a particular geography, that has an effect on the human mind, that affects our senses in away that we call ghostly.

What remains is that many of these possible explanations are open to scientific enquiry that might one day be able to answer the question: ‘What is a ghost?’

Sleeping arrangements

Hello there, Stephen here, and not, I’m afraid, anyone (or anything) more interesting. I left the computer on last night as promised, but nothing has appeared. I shall continue doing it, however, so we shall see. Meanwhile, I am making some changes to my routine. I have decided to try sleeping in different rooms about the house. I am still keeping my dream diary, although I don’t always have anything to record, and I thought perhaps seeing how different rooms in the house affect me in my sleep might prove interesting. To start with I am concentrating on the older rooms at the front of the house, as these are the ones most commonly associated with paranormal activity (and malfunctioning thermometers!). Last night I slept in one of the attic rooms – and a jolly cold and difficult night it was – and tonight I will try the other. I’ll let you know if anything interesting occurs.

More peculiarities

Hello there, Stephen here, and I’m sure you’ll have guessed what I’m going to talk about. Last night I went to sleep in front of the computer and subsequently went to bed without switching it off, leaving it on with me still logged into this website. At around two this morning some text was put on the site which says it was put there by me: it was not. I was in bed by that time. I do not know, and neither does Gary, who or what wrote that text. Gary assures me that the text was probably the product of something he calls a ‘spambot’, which sounds like something out of an unpleasant science-fiction film, and is quite keen to remove it, but I am not so sure. Perhaps it is the mention of the ‘Flower Quean’, which makes me think of my odd discovery in the out-buildings, perhaps it is the fact that at least some of the text – which, you will have seen, is hopelessly garbled – appears to come from Ranulph Williams’ own introduction to his book of ghost stories, which Gary uploaded to the site yesterday. Perhaps it is simply superstition, but I can’t help wondering whether there is a different explanation for the text – one closer to our investigation. I don’t know of any recorded instances of paranormal communication using a computer, but its certainly possible – a twenty-first century planchette, perhaps – not unlikely given the suggested links between paranormal events and electro-magnetic phenomena. As a result, I am going to leave this computer switched on and logged in permanently from now on to see if we can get any more mysterious text. Very interesting indeed.

An odd discovery

Hello there – Stephen here, with some odd news from the Mazehouse. I was taking a break from the temperature measurements by having another wander around the gardens and some of the outbuildings round the house, when I found some very peculiar things. I made a comprehensive survey of all the buildings when I first arrived in the Mazehouse and have photographs that show that the building in question – a shed that had once been part of the stables, I think – had been quite empty – but when I went in this morning I found, placed up against the end wall, five or six bunches of dead flowers. These aren’t quite ordinary bunches of flowers, either, as some of them are turned upside down, making the bunches double-ended, if you see what I mean. But just the fact that they are there is odd enough. I can only assume that someone else has placed them here, but how they did it without me seeing, or, indeed, why or what they mean, I don’t know. It is though, a slightly peculiar thing – knowing someone has been here, and so mysteriously. I shall have to keep an eye open for more appearances.

Ranulph Williams and Me

Ranulph Williams

Ranulph Williams

I ought, really, to take this oportunity to declare an interest, now that we have mentioned Ranulph Williams. If the Mazehouse is thought to have influenced him, then it has also influenced me – for he certainly has. I first came across Williams as a child, in an old copy of his ghost story collection ‘Haunted Houses and other Places of Interest’ on the shelves of my aunt’s spare bedroom. Already at a young age fascinated by the paranormal, I devoured the book, even committing the dreadful sin of taking it away with me. I will give it back though. One day. I would be the first to admit that Williams’ ghost stories are not the scariest. He is no M R James. They are even sometimes downright funny. But it wasn’t really the stories that grabbed my attention. For me the most important part of the book was the introduction. This really opened my childish eyes. Here Williams talks about how he believes that ghosts and hauntings are part of our landscape, how it is places that are haunted and that it is when we enter those places that we get caught up in whatever this haunting is. It is this introduction that played a large part in setting the course that has led me to where I am today, and which still forms a lot of my beliefs about what I do. So you might well imagine that the connection with Williams made me even more enthusiastic about this investigation that I already was: what better place, after all, to explore his beliefs than here? To come to this haunted place, that so haunted him, and try to discover just what that haunting is.