THE OUIJA BOARD MYSTERY
David J Cooper
THE OUIJA BOARD MYSTERY
Copyright © 2013 by David J Cooper.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the author.
Printed in USA by Amazon (www.amazon.com)
For Clare Corner a very dear friend who has been given the gift of clairvoyance.
The Setting 10
Chapter 1 13
Chapter 2 23
Chapter 3 38
Chapter 4 51
Chapter 5 58
Chapter 6 65
Chapter 7 69
Chapter 8 74
Chapter 9 79
Chapter 10 88
Chapter 11 96
Chapter 12 102
According to a Gallup Poll, three out of four Americans believe in the paranormal. Another poll showed that 71% of people have had a paranormal or unexplained experience.
Many people who have had this type of experience are afraid to talk about it for fear that people think they are crazy so I believe that more people have experienced this than the polls try to make us believe.
I never used to believe in this and always thought it was poppycock until I had my first paranormal experience some years ago when I was living in Brixham in south Devon. I actually saw a ghost!!
This was confirmed by a friend of mine who also saw the same spectre in my apartment a week later.
I have since had other experiences which although didn’t frighten me but did make me feel somewhat nervous.
Since these experiences I have become an avid fan of paranormal documentaries which are shown on television.
So, I have decided to write this series of books entitled Penny Lane. Paranormal Investigator.
Some of the stories in the series are based on true facts and others are fictitious.
I hope all of you readers enjoy this, the first in the series.
David J Cooper
This story is based on fact and concerns a group of teenagers who were fooling around in the school break and accidentally injured one of their friends.
As a result, the friend died from her injuries and they all felt guilty.
Sometime after her funeral they decided to dabble with a Ouija board to see if they could contact her to ask her for forgiveness.
The consequences that followed resulted in mysterious and tragic circumstances.
Names are fictitious and any similarity to persons living or dead is pure coincidence and is not intentional.
David J Cooper
Psychic Medium Warnings about Ouija Boards
A lot of the psychic mediums we have today would forbid anyone from using Ouija boards. Their reason is that although it’s just a simple game for most users, it can actually open a gateway to the mysterious and dark realms of our universe. The board in itself is just a toy, and is not evil so to speak, but the communication that its players are establishing with the other world can be hazardous to the players’ psyche and souls.
During the game, a player will assume the role of a medium. Another one will take the position of a writer who should be fast enough in writing down whatever messages the spirit will spell on the Ouija board.
Please take note that the kinds of spirits that you will contact through this game are those who are believed to be found in the lower astral plane. It is a dimension that can be likened to hell, because the souls and spirits who live there are those who used to live as criminals and extreme sinners.
This is actually why psychic mediums wouldn’t recommend playing this game.
If you should know, many of the people who played with Ouija boards before will attest to the fact that their lives have never been the same after playing with it. And they meant this in a not-so-good kind of way.
Usually, two or more spirits will clamor to get through the earthly plane using the Ouija board. Greater risks happen when amateur players request for some proof of the spirits’ existence. Asking spirits for physical proof is equivalent to granting them unlimited access to our own world. Obviously, this is a very risky thing to do. Seldom do we have cases where the spirits were able to go back to where they came from.
Having a psychic medium with your group, you wouldn’t need to play with a Ouija board. Psychic mediums see ghosts and spirits all the time, he can communicate with them and even ask for their help, protection and guidance. And the best thing about it is, the spirits the psychic medium sees are real and good, as compared to the evil ones being summoned using a Ouija board.
However, if you are really psyched about playing with the Ouija board, try to make sure that you have a psychic medium around, to at least protect and guide you along the way. In the event that you can’t find one, there are tips you should follow, which are given by the foremost psychic mediums around, to make sure that you are safe while playing with the Ouija board.
Mystery Pointers for Ouija Board Players
The player posing as the psychic medium, or medium of the group, must make an announcement saying that the game is about to begin. Say to the group that only positive energies will be allowed to come in, and that all bad energies won’t be welcomed.
Don’t ever ask for physical proof from the spirits that you will be contacting.
As soon as the whole group is finished with the session, slide the planchette or Ouija pointer to the word ‘GOODBYE’, remove your hands, and tightly close the Ouija board.
Failing to do these measures, especially the third one, may lead to having bad spirits stuck around your house. There are accounts that told stories of Ouija pointers flying off the board as if controlled by unseen forces. Some people have also been harassed by bad spirits
even after the session has finished. So, just to be on the safe side, make sure you do these steps.
Ouija board is not a game that anybody can play. The best thing to do would be to not even attempt to play it. Otherwise, have a psychic medium with you to ensure your safety and protection. The next best thing would be to follow the safety tips given here, be ready for the events that may unfold next and always be careful.
– Quoted by Tana Hoy – psychic medium.
Buckleigh is a picture postcard village nestling in the rolling south Devonshire countryside on the edge of Dartmoor and within easy reach of the seaside towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham.
The village could never be entered into “The Prettiest Village in England” competition because it wasn’t big enough to be called a town; in fact, it wasn’t even big enough to be classified as a village. The nearest category Buckleigh could fall into was a hamlet!! But, regardless of this, the townsfolk didn’t mind – after all – they were proud that, in reality, they were living in the prettiest place in England anyway.
Some of them had come to settle here from London and the remaining were true Devonshire locals.
The village green consists of a pub, called The Bale of Hay, a church, a post office, a village shop, tearooms and a doctor’s surgery.
It’s the type of place where you would think that everybody would know each other’s business, but they all went about minding their own! With the exception of one – Peggy Baldwin – the village busybody. What she didn’t know wasn’t worth knowing. She was always first in line with the news, even before it became common knowledge!!
She is a petite, plumpish woman, with salt and pepper hair.
She never married and lives in a small, thatched cottage with her seven cats – each one of them named after one of the seven dwarfs!!
She kept the cats “to keep the field mice away!!” as she put it.
When she wasn’t out and about looking for gossip she would be peeking through her net curtains at the sign of any movement outside.
Well, her curtains were made of lace and not the common net, as she said. She couldn’t stand anything cheap and tacky! Neither did she have the time for people who lived in council houses!! That’s why she moved to Buckleigh. She also had the habit of eavesdropping and was told, on more than one occasion, that one day she would hear something that she wouldn’t like and it would be about her. Nonetheless, she was never going to change.
The pub is managed by a middle aged couple, Tom and Beryl Potts.
The postmistress is another spinster, Amy Gentle. Gentle by name and gentle by nature. She is very well respected and the locals always address her as Mrs.Gentle.
The village shop is run by Jack Cross, (grocer Jack), and his sister Annie, another middle aged couple who originate from Balham in London.
Dr. Morgan, a man in his forties lives in an old manor house with his
wife, and his surgery is situated in the front part of the house.
Pebble Mill tea rooms are where Penny Lane and her aunt Molly live and work.
It’s called Pebble Mill because the chimney is constructed of pebbles taken from the nearby River Dart. It used to be a flour mill but was converted into a cottage. It is a typical south Devon cottage made from cob – a material consisting of mud and straw.
Father Gordon, a very modern day vicar, was born in nearby Dartmouth. He has been the parish priest of St. Lawrence church for almost fifteen years.
Dotted around the village green are the cottages, mainly thatched, where the locals live.
The other two nearby hamlets are Ansley, one mile away, to the west of the village, and Luscombe, one mile away to the south. Dartbrooke was the nearest village, two miles to the east.
It looks like a photo of a place that you would see on the lid of a chocolate box!
There are no modern buildings in Buckleigh because the town council voted that it would remain a conservation area and many of the buildings are listed.
A quaint, typically English countryside town where nothing unusual seems to happen. Until now!!
Penny Lane had been orphaned as a child when her parents, Steve and Grace, had been tragically killed in a car accident on the M6 motorway. She was only three years old when it happened and her aunt Molly, her mother’s sister, took her into care and finally adopted her.
She is an attractive young woman in her late twenties, with big blue eyes, and shoulder length ash blonde hair.
She suffered meningitis when she was six years old and it was touch and go whether she lived or died. During her recovery she came into contact with the Spirit world. She couldn’t understand or explain what was happening and when she told her aunt Molly, she told her that she had been blessed with a gift from God.
Penny always used to say, “You don’t contact the dead. When spirits want to contact you, they will!!”
She always avoided the word “dead” as she said, “We don’t die, we pass on to a spiritual plain.”
It had been a hot summer so far, which was unusual for the English weather. There hadn’t been any rain in south Devon since the middle of May and now it was the middle of June. The residents of Buckleigh were taking advantage of the nice weather and it was good for Penny’s aunt Molly because the visitors – grockles as they were called by the locals – could sit outside in the typically English country garden and enjoy their cream teas in the warm sunshine.
“I remember when I was a girl,” her aunt Molly said as she was
preparing the scones for the cream teas, “we could always guarantee a long hot summer when school finished for the summer holidays.
Nowadays you never know what the weather’s going to be like. It’s all this global warning!”
“Global warming, Aunt Molly,” said Penny.
“Whatever,” replied Molly, “I blame the Americans for sending up all those spaceships. It’s bound to have some effect on the world. I don’t understand why they want to go investigating and interfering in other planets when they should be spending more money looking after our own planet. All governments are the same. A waste of time and money!”
Aunt Molly was a small lady in her sixties, very old fashioned, and held her beliefs to high esteem and nothing would budge her. If she thought she was right, then she was right, and no doubt about it.
She had been a widow for some years, before Penny was born, and had used the insurance money from her husband’s death to buy the cottage and turn it into tearooms, which kept her occupied. She always said, “As long as you are doing something useful, you never turn into a grumpy old cow!!”
So, Molly continued preparing the scones, they were all home-made, so was the strawberry jam. Everything was homemade and this is what attracted the tourists who would be holidaying on the English Riviera and pass through Buckleigh on their way to visit Dartmoor.
Penny, meanwhile, was making the tea.
The rustic, wooden tables outside in the garden, covered with white cotton tablecloths, which had yellow primroses printed on them, had already been prepared.
Aunt Molly chose these tablecloths because “they look more summery,” she always used to say.
The teas were always served on china crockery. “My customers only deserve the best!” Aunt Molly would say.
The tearooms were open during the tourist season, which was from late May to early September. Opening times were from 12 noon to 8.00pm daily.
During the long days of summer, and if the weather was nice, the tearooms were always busy and full of grockles.
Meanwhile, the Dartbrooke Girls School, two miles away, was preparing for the end of the summer term. There had been a buzz of excitement that day because the exam results were going to be posted.
During the break, six young girls, in particular were running down the corridor towards the playground area.
Polly Nash, was a skinny, but very attractive girl, with long auburn hair, and wore Harry Potter type glasses.
Annie Archer, was short, with mousey hair, and had a heart shaped birthmark on the back of her neck.
Clara Browne was a typical country yokel, who always had her hair in a ponytail.
Sadie Mortensen, the ringleader of the group, who always got her own way with the others, was a very strong minded person, always putting the blame on the others when she caused trouble. She had black shoulder length hair, and dark brown eyes, which gave her a Morticia Adams look.
Daisy Parker, was a very studious young girl, she was of average
height, with short, curly, blonde hair.
And finally Alicia Keays, who was very shy, and quiet
As they got to the steps leading down to the playground, Alicia got pushed and she lost her balance and hit her head against the cornerstone of one of the brick pillars.
As she was losing blood from her injury, the others called out to one of the nuns. She attended Alicia and got one of the other nuns to call for an ambulance, which took Alicia to hospital.
Back at the tearooms in Buckleigh, Aunt Molly and Penny continued preparing the food.
“You can’t beat homemade scones and strawberry jam,” commented Aunt Molly, “it’s better than all that stuff the Potts sell. Stuff in jars is full of chemicals and that’s no good for you. Eat naturally and you live naturally.”
The business made enough money for both of them to live on, but Penny had also written a series of children’s books called Spick and Span, a story about two squirrels that kept the countryside neat and tidy, and free from litter. She had made some income from that. Apart from writing books, she also helped people who claimed that they were having problems with the paranormal. Most of the time there was nothing paranormal about some of them. But she was always on hand to help. She also assisted the police if someone had gone missing without trace and her paranormal instinct usually helped them solve a case.
She wasn’t famous, by all means, but she was well known and respected for her gift of clairvoyance.
Most of the time she was ready to help those grieving for someone
they had lost and was a great help in giving comfort and hope.
“Look out!” said Aunt Molly, “the News of the World is coming up the garden path. I wonder what she wants.”
Peggy Baldwin came strutting up the garden path, looking as if you couldn’t touch her with a bargepole, but before she reached the front door, Aunt Molly stepped out.
“Mornin’ Molly,” Peggy said in her thick West Country accent, “how be things today?”
“Just fine,” replied Aunt Molly, “It’s almost opening time and by the looks of things we’re in for a busy day.”
“I’ll be quick,” said Peggy, “just thought you’d better know what’s happened in Dartbrooke. Don’t suppose it’s had time to be on the news yet. That’s if they mention it.”
“What are you talking about?” asked Aunt Molly.
“It’s young Alicia Keays,” came Peggy’s reply, “She’s been murdered by her school mates.”
“What on earth are you gabbling about Peggy?” Aunt Molly asked.
“As I said, she’s been murdered by her schoolmates,” said Peggy, “if you ask me, they should all be sent to jail!”
“Well, we’re not asking you,” said Molly.
Penny couldn’t help but overhear the two women. She came outside and greeted Peggy and asked what was going on. After the explanation Penny assured Peggy that she must be mistaken. But Peggy insisted that she had got it right. She always exaggerated any news she had heard so, of course, Penny and her aunt took it with a pinch of salt.
“Got to go now,” said Peggy, “have to put my pinnie on and feed my babies,” referring to her cats.
Aunt Molly and Penny were confused at what they had heard but were expecting to hear the real story once it had gone around the village.
It was now opening time at the tearooms and the first customers had started to trickle in. One of them however, wasn’t a client. It was Father Gordon.
“Good afternoon ladies,” he said as he approached them, “I’ve just bumped into Peggy Baldwin, so I suppose you’ve heard the news about young Alicia? With all due respect, I wish that she would mind her own business. She loves to meddle in others affairs, but I don’t suppose she means any harm.”
“Well Father, she’s just told us an amazing story, but we prefer to hear your version,” Penny replied.
“There’s been an accident involving young Alicia at the school,” he said, “You know, Dartbrooke Girls School. Apparently, some of her friends were fooling about and she got pushed down some steps leading down to the playground. Unfortunately, she fell and hit her head on the corner of one of the concrete pillars at the bottom of the steps and very sadly died on the way to hospital.”
“Good Lord!” said Aunt Molly, “and Peggy told us that Alicia’s friends had murdered her!”
“No, that’s insane,” said Father Gordon, “it was a tragic accident. Nobody is to blame. I’m on my way to Torbay hospital to console her parents and find out what’s happened.”
The news came as a shock to Penny and her Aunt Molly because Alicia was a well-liked young girl of sixteen and very popular in the village. She would always come for a cream tea on Sundays during the summer break. She always looked up to Penny and they had become good friends. Penny had also attended the Dartbrooke Girls School when she was a young girl. It was a very prestigious school run by nuns.
“Once things have settled down,” said Penny, “I’ll go and visit her parents.”
“That’s right, my dear,” said Aunt Molly, “take your mind off it and help me serve these customers.”
“Yes, I know but I have to see her parents,” said Penny, “maybe Alicia will come through to me in Spirit, but it’s too early yet for her to make contact with me, that’s if she wants to, because I have to wait for her to contact me. You know, Aunt Molly, I can’t contact Spirit, Spirit have to contact me! And anyway, I’d like to know the details of why she died. She was so fit and healthy apart from being so young. It’s so tragic and such a waste of a young life.”
“That’s life,” said Aunt Molly, “here today and gone tomorrow!” she continued, “During my lifetime I’ve been struck by pain many a time, but pain has never broken me!”
The tearooms, by now, were filling up with a mixture of tourists and a few of the locals. Unaware of what had occurred, the tourists were chattering away about this and that, but the locals were solemnly discussing the tragic accident and obviously giving their own version of the real story.
Just then, Amy Gentle from the post office arrived at the tearooms.
“Oh, Molly,” she said, “I’ve just popped out of the post office and
thought you’d like the early edition of the Herald.”
The Herald was the local newspaper.
Amy continued, “Look! The front page has the story about young Alicia.”
Aunt Molly and Penny had served all the customers and nobody was waiting so they took advantage and read the news.
The headlines read: Local teenager killed in tragic accident!
The details were given that Alicia had been fooling around with some of her schoolmates on the steps leading down to the playground. During the course of the tomfoolery, one of the other girls pushed Alicia a bit too hard, causing her to fall forwards and she hit her head against the corner of one of the concrete pillars situated at the bottom of the steps.
She was rushed to Torbay hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. Apparently, she had a thin skull and the injury caused her to have a brain haemorrhage, resulting in her death.
It had been tragic, because the end of term was approaching and the girls were finishing their last year.
The police were still questioning those involved.
An inquest was going to be held, in Torquay, on the Wednesday of the following week.
“Well,” said Penny, “now we have the real story. No funeral plans can be made until after the inquest.”
The following Wednesday came and went quickly and the verdict of the inquest was that Alicia had died accidentally and no one was to blame.
On the following Friday, Buckleigh was in mourning.
The village green was covered with floral tributes to Alicia and the church was packed full with all the villagers and every one of the students from Alicia’s school were there to say their final farewells.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the church.
As a sign of respect, the local shops, including the pub, had closed until after the funeral service.
Pinned to the pews inside the church were small cards which read:
You don’t need a mobile phone to contact God. Please turn them off.
The coffin arrived on a horse drawn cart. It lay on a bed of hay and was surrounded by flowers. As it entered the church, the song “Another Day in Paradise,” by Phil Collins, was playing. It had been Alicia’s favourite song and she had been a big fan of his.
“Today is a very sad day for Buckleigh,” said Father Gordon, “a young life has been tragically taken from us and Alicia will be sadly missed. Now she is out of her suffering and is with the Lord. May she find eternal light and rest in peace. Our prayers go out to her family in their time of grief.”
She was an only child so her parents were obviously devastated at their loss.
The service was plain and simple.
The coffin was taken out of the church, again to the same song, followed by Alicia’s sobbing parents. She was finally laid to rest in the churchyard.
Some weeks after the funeral, Alicia’s friends, who had been involved in the incident which caused her death, decided to get together at the tearooms after school.
Penny couldn’t help but notice, that when she went to serve them, they started whispering so that she couldn’t hear what they were talking about. They also appeared to be acting strangely. Each time they would start to talk to each other, they kept looking round to make sure no one else could hear what they were talking about.
“I don’t know,” said Daisy, “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
“Nonsense,” said Annie, “if we don’t try it we’ll never know.”
“Well,” said Polly, “I’ve heard good and bad stories about these things and I’m not sure whether I want to get involved. We’ve been in enough trouble with the nuns at school because of Alicia’s death. I’m sure they still blame us for what happened and I feel guilty.”
“It’s not going to harm us, is it?” asked Clara.
“Look,” said Sadie, “I’ll make the Ouija board and we can try it out and see what happens.”
After a long discussion they agreed that Sadie would construct the Ouija board, she was very creative. Her father had a landscape garden business and she was going to be a graphic designer once she had left school. Once it was ready, they would all go to nearby Sefton Manor Hall to try it out.
The Hall, which was located about a mile away from the village, was a ruined manor house, built in the late 15th century. It was well known as being haunted and was popular for people to go out there ghost hunting.
Most of it had been destroyed by a mysterious fire in the 18th century.
Legend said that it was a place of witchcraft and was struck by lightning which had been the work of the Devil!! All of the wooden parts of the building were reduced to ashes. What remains now are the outer walls and the interior stonework.
It was a former home to Earl and Countess Ravensdale and their twin daughters, Lady Margaret and Lady Eleanor.
Locals say that Lady Margaret was in love with a dashing young man,
Earl Buchanan, and Lady Eleanor was jealous of her and wanted him for herself.
So, Lady Eleanor tricked Lady Margaret into following her into the south tower of the Manor and locked her in the cellar there.
She was left to die of hunger in the rat infested cellar and rumour has it
that her body was never found and that she haunts Sefton Manor Hall searching for her lost love.
Earl Buchanan rejected Lady Eleanor so, she committed suicide by throwing herself from the very same tower where she had kept her sister imprisoned.
Now, locals and tourists believe that the place is haunted by the ghosts of the two sisters. It is said that if anyone sees the ghost of Lady Eleanor, they, or someone in their family will die!!
The spectres are known as the White Lady and the Blue Lady.
People believe that the White Lady is Lady Margaret and that the Blue Lady is Lady Eleanor.
The BBC went there on one occasion to film a documentary about it in what was to be called “The Most Haunted Place in England” series.
Apparently, none of the cameras or sound equipment would work when they arrived there so they had to call it off. It seemed strange because as soon as the BBC had left the place, all the equipment started to function!!
The Manor is maintained by English Heritage and it costs 40p to go inside.
The following Sunday afternoon, Alicia’s friends all met up at the tearooms and Polly’s boyfriend, Tommy Croft, agreed to take them to Sefton Manor Hall in his old banger of a car.
They drove down the narrow winding lane, which held a sense of excitement, towards their destination. The lane had a tarmac surface but one could have imagined what it must have looked like back in the 15th century when it was only a dirt track used by coaches and horses.
It snaked its way down through the densely wooded valley in a setting that would have appeared very unwelcoming during the hours of darkness.
They also had a feeling of apprehension about the place as the trees on either side of the road seemed as if they were trying to cross over and
touch each other, or perhaps even meet and form a barrier to prevent them from reaching their journey’s end. Tommy hoped that he wouldn’t meet another car coming in the opposite direction because it would have been virtually impossible to pass. Sleeping policemen had been strategically placed along the lane to prevent vehicles from speeding.
The odd shaft of daylight flickered through the thick foliage, which made the rays of sunlight appear to dash in and out of the forest, as if playing hide and seek.
The tranquillity of the surroundings was suddenly interrupted by a wild rabbit which scurried in front of the car.
The atmosphere was so electrifying, that they were expecting to see a headless cavalier or some other wandering spectre materialise out of the undergrowth and scare them away.
Then, as if from nowhere, it appeared.
So, this was Sefton Manor Hall. Right in front of them stood the ruins of what is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in England. It certainly looked very daunting, suddenly appearing out of the blue in a clearing in the woods. Just gazing at it made them shudder as it looked so cold and uninviting.
It was situated in a clearing in the middle of the dense woods.
It seemed very strange as it stood there in silence. No sound of any birds could be heard!
The grey stone walls seemed to be urging them to stay away!!
There was moss and various other types of lichen cascading from the building and ivy was clinging, as if in sheer terror, to the walls of the infamous haunted tower.
What must the place have looked like in its glory days and what dark sinister secrets did it hold?
It seemed as if they had been lost in a time warp.
It had a reputation for attracting visitors because of the ghostly goings on. Local legend says that apart from the story of the two sisters, kidnappings and dark deeds went on there and that an evil force still prevails.
Tommy parked the car and they all got out.
“We need to go inside,” said Polly, “and find a place where nobody will see us, so we can use the board.”
“Are you all sure you want to do this?” Tommy asked.
“Yes, we are,” replied Sadie, “we all voted last week and the vote was unanimous.”
They paid the 40p admission charge and entered the Manor.
There weren’t many people around that afternoon, so they went through the ruins looking for somewhere out of sight.
They approached the tower where Lady Margaret had been held prisoner and stopped.
A sign, which read NO ADMISSION, was hanging on a chain barrier to prevent members of the public from going down the steps leading to the dungeon.
“Now what are we going to do?” asked Annie, “I thought it would be the best place to go and use the Ouija.”
“Do stop fussing,” said Sadie, “we can go through, no one will see us or hear us if we keep our voices down. This is the perfect spot to try and contact the dead.”
“What happens if we get caught?” Annie asked.
“We won’t,” said Sadie, “Tommy can keep a watch out for us and if anybody comes near he can give a whistle to warn us. Once the coast is clear we can all leave. And anyway, if we are caught they’ll only throw us out.”
So, Tommy stood guard while the girls went down into the dungeon at the bottom of the tower.
It was dimly lit, but light enough to see, because a shaft of sunlight had entered the windows above. There were no floors in the tower because the fire had destroyed all of the wooden construction and only the bare stonework could be seen.
The place was like something out of a Dracula movie with spider webs and a musty smell and they could see that this part of the building hadn’t been maintained at all.
Suddenly they all jumped in fright. A rat had scurried in front of them and disappeared into a crack in the wall.
“Come on let’s hurry up and get this over with,” said Polly, “I don’t want to be in here long, especially with rats, I hate them!”
They found a dry, dusty nook and Sadie took out the Ouija board from her rucksack.
She had made the board out of a piece of a tree trunk. It was an irregular oval shape with the alphabet in two lines at the top. At the bottom of the board were the numbers 1 to 10 carved in Roman numerals.
They placed it on the dirt floor, which was sprinkled with gravel, and were about to start when Polly asked, “What are we going to use for a pointer?”
“Oh, shit!” said Sadie, “I forgot about that.”
“Well,” said Annie, “we can’t have a séance if we don’t have a pointer, so we’ve come all the way out here for nothing!”
Then, Clara noticed something twinkling on the wall opposite them. A shaft of sunlight was playing on one side of the tower wall, causing something to flicker.
She went over to find out what it was.
“Look what I’ve found,” she said, “it looks like a piece of broken glass.”
The others went over and used a pair of eyebrow tweezers, that Polly had in her pocket, to gently prise the piece of glass out of the wall.
To their amazement, the piece of glass wasn’t glass at all. It was some kind of crystal which had a strange blue glow!
“We can use this as the marker,” Sadie said, “come on let’s get started.”
So, they placed the crystal in the centre of the board and started to ask questions.
“Are there any spirits with us today?” Sadie asked.
Nothing happened so she asked again. Still nothing happened. On the third time of asking, the crystal started to quiver and then spelled out Y-E-S on the board.
“Who are you?” Sadie asked.
The crystal slowly moved around each letter of the alphabet spelling out the name A-L-I-C-I-A.
Clara couldn’t believe what was happening and accused Sadie of moving it.
“I’m not moving it!” Sadie said angrily, “it’s doing it itself.”
She continued by asking it, “Are you Alicia, our friend who died?”
“Y-E-S,” the board replied.
“There’s something bad about this place,” said Annie, “I’ve got goose pimples, and the hair on the back of my neck is standing up. I don’t like it and I want to get out of here.”
“Wait,” Sadie said, “let’s ask it another question.”
“We’re sorry for what happened,” continued Sadie, voice trembling, “it was an unfortunate accident and hope you understand. We beg you to forgive us.”
The crystal then went on to spell out a message in reply to Sadie’s plea for forgiveness. It said, “I will never forgive you. You robbed me of my youth and my parents of their only child. Now three of you will pay with your own lives. I will never be satisfied until you pay the price I had to pay. Beware!”
“It was an accident, an accident,” screamed Polly.
Suddenly, the crystal shot off the board and the girls screamed in fright. Just as it happened, they saw a dark shadow pass across the dungeon wall and disappear through the window into the sunlight.
They ran up the steps of the dungeon, in terror, and out into the courtyard of the Manor.
“What happened down there?” Tommy asked.
“Let’s get out of here,” said Polly shaking, “I never want to go down there again.”
They needed to calm down and pull themselves together, so Tommy suggested they have a coffee at the cabin outside of the ruins which was open for snacks and refreshments.
The cabin was a former woodcutter’s hut, made out of logs taken from the pine trees in the forest, and had been turned into a café and gift shop, where it sold souvenirs and postcards of the Manor. It looked like something out of Hansel and Gretel.
They came out of the ruins as quickly as they could and found a vacant table outside the cabin.
A wrinkled old lady, who was the owner of the café, came out and asked them what they wanted. Tommy ordered a Coca Cola for Polly, a coffee for himself, and the rest had teas.
While they were trying to calm down, Annie pointed to the entrance to the Manor and said, “Look at that silhouette on the wall above the archway.”
None of the others could see anything.
“You’re seeing things,” Tommy said, “you’re still scared and are imagining things.”
“No, I’m not,” said Annie, “I can see the silhouette of a woman on the wall where the coat of arms must have once been.”
She got up and left the table and walked towards the entrance. When she got there she looked up at the spot where the family crest used to hang and there was absolutely nothing.
All she could see was a part of the wall that had been filled with cement. No coat of arms, no silhouette, nothing!!
She was now even more afraid than before and returned to the others to finish her tea.
Then, as she was looking towards the haunted tower, she saw a lady in white waving to them from an upstairs window. She told the others but they couldn’t see anything.
“How can someone be sitting in the window upstairs?” Sadie asked, “We’ve just been in there and there are no floors in the tower. All the woodwork was destroyed by the fire years ago.”
When the old lady came out with the bill, Annie told her what she had seen above the archway and in the window of the tower.
“Oh,” the old lady said, “I’ve been running this cafe for the past thirty years and I’ve never experienced anything before here. You must be
one of those who can sense things like this. You do know that this is supposed to be the most haunted place in England?”
“Of course, we know,” said Annie, “we’re locals from Buckleigh.”
“Well then,” the old lady continued, “you must be psychic or something because there’s nowt on that there wall!”
They paid the bill and left.
On the way back to Buckleigh, Sadie asked Clara if she had still got the crystal or if she had left it in the dungeon.
“I still have it,” she said, “it’s in my pocket.”
“Can I have it?” asked Sadie, “I’ll keep it with the Ouija board.”
“Sure, it’s only a piece of glass. Here you are,” Clara replied and handed it to her.
It was strange because the crystal wasn’t glowing blue anymore. It had now turned transparent.
“When we get back to Buckleigh,” Tommy said, “let’s go to The Bale of Hay. We can sit outside, have some drinks there and relax.”
The girls thought it was a good idea. Tommy was eighteen so he could drink alcohol, but as the girls were only sixteen, they had to make do with soft drinks.
They arrived at the pub around 7.00pm. A few people were sitting outside but there were still tables free so the group could enjoy their drinks there. It was a warm August evening so they wanted to make the best of it.
The Bale of Hay is a 16th century inn and the interior has oak beams and low ceilings. The landlords, Tom and Beryl Potts collected antique clocks and the walls in the bar were adorned with all sorts of them, each one of them with a different time. They all worked and the sound of clocks ticking away was all anyone could hear. The pride of the bar was a big three hundred year old grandfather clock on one side of the open fireplace, just in the corner. It was made out of heavy oak and had a stained glass panel where one could see the heavy pendulum slowly swinging back and forth. On the hour the chimes sounded like those of Big Ben.
During the winter months there would be a crackling log fire which made the place welcoming and cosy for the locals.
All the villagers would gather together at the pub on Christmas Eve after the mass at the church and Tom and Beryl would provide a free supper.
There wasn’t a juke box in the pub because Beryl wanted it to be a place where people could enjoy their beers, or especially the local cider, and have a game of darts or dominoes, or just chat without being disturbed by loud music.
It also served good pub food as there wasn’t a restaurant in the village.
Tommy took the drinks to the girls outside and noticed that Daisy had, what appeared to be,
blood stains on the back of her T shirt.
“What have you done?” Tommy asked her, “It looks as if you’ve scratched yourself, either on some thorns on one of the trees, or something when you were down in the dungeon.”
“What do you mean?” Daisy asked.
“Well, it looks as though you’ve been bleeding,” Tommy replied, “looks like bloodstains on the back of your T shirt. As if something has scratched you.”
The other girls took a look and agreed that she had been scratched.
“Let’s go to the toilets,” Polly said, “you can take your T shirt off and I can see what you’ve done. We need to wash your scratches or they could get infected.”
The two girls went into the pub to use the toilets. When they were inside, Daisy took off her T shirt. It was pale blue and it was the first time she had worn it.
“That’s strange,” said Polly, “I can’t see any scratch marks on your back. There are no marks on your back at all!”
“Well, where have these bloodstains come from?” Daisy asked fearfully.
When they inspected the back of the shirt, the marks looked like someone had hit Daisy with a three thronged whiplash. There were
three dried blood stained lash marks on the shirt!! Something wasn’t right. How could bloodstains appear from nowhere?
“It must be connected to Sefton Manor,” Polly said, “this is too much of a coincidence. I suggest we say nothing to the others and make up some story that you remember brushing against some brambles as we were leaving the building. We don’t want to go around scaring the shit out of them until we can think what caused these marks. We’ve had enough scares for one day.”
Daisy agreed and they returned to their friends outside.
The stillness of the evening was broken by a sudden clap of thunder. Within minutes it was raining heavily so the friends hurried to Tommy’s car and they all went home.
The long sultry summer had come to an end.
The months passed by and Polly and Tommy had been to Bali for their holidays in September. She had left school at the end of the summer and was now working as a care assistant in an old folks home in nearby Ansley.
Tommy worked in his father’s garage as a mechanic. He would always be in charge of the place when his father went to play golf at Churston Golf Club. He was fanatic about cars and his dad was fanatic about golf!!
The other girls hadn’t been away on holiday as they had started in their new jobs.
Clara was working as a nursery teacher, and Sadie was working from home as a graphic designer. Daisy was working at Paignton Zoo. She loved animals and eventually wanted to become a vet. Annie was working at the library in Brixham.
One morning, Sadie, who lived alone, woke up at 5.30am. It was early in June, so the sun was coming up. The shadows of the trees in the garden seemed to be dancing across the walls of her flat as the sun was rising.
Her flat was one of the self-contained units at Huffton Manor Wing, located at the back of the church. It was reached by going up a private driveway just off Acorn Way.
The owner, Monty Dawkes, had bought the property as a derelict building and had built himself a bungalow at the side. He was a builder by trade and had renovated the building and turned it into six self-contained flats.
He rebuilt the property to make it look the same as it did back in the 17th century.
Sadie’s flat consisted of a main room, which were her living room and bedroom, a small kitchen and a bathroom.
The main room had an oak beamed ceiling and a big old stone fireplace. There were French windows which led out into the garden, which overlooked the River Dart valley.
Anyway, the room seemed to be particularly colder that morning and as she was getting out of bed she couldn’t believe her eyes.
She saw a black shadowy figure appear, coming out of her closet, which was built into the wall, but the figure came through the doors without opening them.
It slowly floated past the windows and vanished through a wall in the corner of the room where her television was. It appeared to have gone into Huffton Manor which adjoined the property and was where Dr. Morgan lived.
The building, which had been converted into flats, had once been part of Huffton Manor and was the servant’s quarters.
“It can’t be,” she muttered to herself, “it must have been the shadows from the trees outside.”
She finally got up, had a coffee and got ready for her day doing design work.
One of her neighbours, Sally Sutton, a widow in her sixties, lived in the flat next door.
Before she started to work, Sadie knocked on Sally’s door.
“Good morning, Mrs Sutton,” Sadie said, “can I have a quick word with you.”
“Good morning, Sadie,” Sally replied, “what’s on your mind?”
“Well,” Sadie said, “you used to live in my flat, didn’t you?”
“That’s right, me dear,” replied Sally, “why?”
“Did you ever see anything strange in the main room while you were living there?” asked Sadie.
“What do you mean, strange?” Sally asked.
“I don’t know how to put this,” Sadie said, “but I think I’ve seen a ghost!”
“A ghost!!” remarked Sally in surprise.
“Yes, a ghost,” stuttered Sadie, “don’t say anything to anybody or they’ll think I’m loopy.”
“I won’t,” Sally said
All day long, she couldn’t stop thinking about what she’d seen that morning and thought that it would be a good idea to invite her friends round later.
At midday someone knocked on her front door. She answered it and there stood Monty, a jolly, swarthy faced man, in his late sixties.
“Afternoon, Sadie,” he said, “how’s things with you?”
“Fine, just fine,” she replied, “and how are you?”
“Everything’s just tickety boo,” he replied, “understand you had a bit of trouble this mornin’.”
“Oh, my God,” Sadie thought, “Sally’s gone and told him what I told her this morning.”
“Well, from what I hear,” he continued, “you’ve been having ghosts in your flat.”
Sadie, by now, was very embarrassed.
“Oh,” she said quickly, “I thought I’d seen something, but I must have mistaken it for the shadows of the trees. It was early in the morning, after all.”
“Well, you know,” said Monty, “there is a legend about this place and it appears that there is a ghost here, although I’ve never seen it.”
“Do you mean to tell me that this place is haunted?” Sadie asked.
“That’s what they say,” he replied.
“Well, why didn’t you tell me before I moved in?” she asked angrily.
“Would you have rented it if I had?” he asked her.
“Of course not,” she replied.
“As I said it’s only what they say, and I ain’t seen it,” he said, “you know what the locals are like around here. Full of superstitious crap!!”
He then went on to tell her about the legend.
Apparently, back in the 17th century, when the wing was part of the main building, the sire of the land had an affair with one of the servants. She became pregnant and was so embarrassed that she committed suicide. It was only during the month of June that she appeared.
It scared her to think that she had a phantom in her flat and was afraid to spend the night alone there. She phoned Annie and Daisy and invited them up for supper.
She had made the excuse that there was a good film on the telly that night and it was on late so they could stay the night with her. She could use the excuse to plan a trip to the beach with them as they weren’t working the following day.
Annie and Daisy arrived later that evening. They all had supper together and watched the film.
Sadie never mentioned the ghost.
The following day they all went to Blackpool Sands, near Dartmouth, and had an enjoyable day.
Blackpool Sands is a nice, immaculately kept beach, with golden sands, where the girls could sunbathe and swim safely. It is a popular place for families with their kids.
They returned to Sadie’s flat later on in the afternoon.
It was a nice afternoon in June, and the girls decided to have sandwiches in the garden.
They were preparing them on the table in the main room, when suddenly the room went cold and Annie shuddered.
“I feel cold all of a sudden,” she said.
As she was speaking the painting hanging above the fireplace started to move. It was a copy of The Haywain by John Constable.
They looked at it in horror as it lifted itself off the hook it had been hanging on and slowly slid down the wall until it reached the fireplace. It was as if someone or something was moving it. It didn’t fall. It couldn’t. It was hanging on a hook and not on a nail!!
“Did you see that?” Daisy asked.
The others stood there in silence not knowing what to say.
So, Sadie told them what she had seen the day before.
“I think we should go and talk to Penny,” said Annie, “she’ll be able to have some explanation for it. After all she is clairvoyant and can contact these things.”
“I think we should wait,” Sadie said, “We don’t want to make ourselves look like fools.”
“We can’t stay with you tonight,” said Annie, “will you be okay alone?”
“Yes,” Sadie said, “don’t worry about me. I’ll be okay. I do have Mrs Sutton next door, don’t I?”
They went into the garden and ate their sandwiches and chatted for a while trying to put out of their minds what had just happened.
The sun was just starting to set as Daisy and Annie finally left for their homes.
“Looks like it’s going to be a nice day tomorrow,” Sadie said as she waved them goodbye, “red sky at night, shepherd’s delight!”
“Yes, see you tomorrow,” they shouted as they made their way down the drive.
“Yes, see you tomorrow,” she shouted back, “bye.”
She didn’t want them to see that she was frightened and went back into her flat.
It was very difficult for her to sleep that night but, eventually she fell asleep.
The night passed with no further incident.
The next day, she took a break from her work, and went outside. Sally Sutton was cleaning her windows.
“Hello, Mrs Sutton,” Sadie said, “nice afternoon?”
“Yes,” Sally said, “thought I’d take advantage of the weather and clean my windows. You know the old saying – make hay while the sun shines!”
“Good idea,” said Sadie, “I think I’ll do mine as well.”
“No more ghosts then?” Sally asked.
“No,” replied Sadie, “thank goodness!”
She thought that Sally was being sarcastic!!
“What about popping round for a cup of tea, Sadie?” Sally suggested, “before you clean your windows.”
“That’d be nice,” Sally answered, “I’d like that. Thanks Mrs Sutton. Give me five minutes and I’ll come round.”
She returned to her flat, turned off her computer, and then had an idea.
“Mrs Sutton thinks I’m mad and doesn’t believe my place is haunted,” she thought, “I’ll show her.”
She went and got her sewing box and took out a piece of black thread.
She then tied the thread, tightly, and carefully around an old trumpet she had been given – it wasn’t a working trumpet, just an adornment she had hanging on the wall. She threw the thread over one of the oak beams and left it dangling there. Then she brought the thread across in front of the television and tied it to a panel on the wall near the fireplace.
She thought that if anything passed through it, the thread would break and the trumpet would fall to the floor.
She went next door and invited Mrs Sutton into her flat, before she returned to have tea with her, to show her what she’d done.
Looking at her in surprise, Mrs Sutton asked, “What’s all this in aid of, Sadie?”
“It seems as if you think I’m making this ghost story up,” replied Sadie, “so I’m going to prove to you that there’s something happening in this flat,” she continued, “ when we’ve finished our teas, we’ll come back and see if anything’s happened.”
They both went back to Sally’s flat and had a cup of tea and chatted about this and that.
“Well,” said Sally, “that Monty’s a dark horse,” she continued, “You know what? He proportioned me the other day.”
“Proportioned you?” Sadie asked confusingly.
“He wanted his way with me!” said Sally.
“Oh, you mean he propositioned you,” Sadie said, sniggering, “and what happened?”
“I told him to get lost and not to bother me again or I’d tell Silvia,” Sally replied, “you know his bit of stuff. A man of his age ought to know better!”
“Imagine someone of his age having such a high sex drive,” said Sadie.
“Probably overdosing on Niagara,” said Sally.
“Don’t you mean Viagra?” questioned Sadie.
“That as well,” replied Sally, “I bet old Percy Naylor’s not on overdrive!!” she continued, “A friend of mine had a similar experience in a bar in Torquay.”
“Go on,” Sadie said.
“Well, this bloke, must have been a grockle, went up to her and started touching her leg,” Sally said.
“What did your friend do?” asked Sadie.
“She told him to stop it at once or she’d leave the bar,” replied Sally.
“And did she?” asked Sadie.
“Eventually,” replied Sally, “I’ve told her a dozen or so times not to go into bars by herself. She’s asking for trouble, especially in them bars in Torquay,” she continued, slurping her tea, “when a woman goes into a bar alone, all men think she’s a prostitute. You know, them that live off immortal earnings!”
“Immoral earnings,” Sadie said, almost choking on her tea.
She thought that if Sally and Aunt Molly got together in a conversation, nobody would understand what they were talking about as they both had a very bad choice of vocabulary.
They continued chatting for about another twenty or so minutes then Sadie suggested that it was time for them to go back to her flat.
She had locked the door so nobody else could get in.
She opened it and led Mrs Sutton into the main room. Lo and behold, the trumpet was on the floor.
“I told you,” Sadie said, “something’s walked through the cotton thread and broken it and nobody else was in the flat.”
“That isn’t proof of anything,” said Mrs Sutton, “you probably didn’t tie it tight enough and it fell down itself.”
As she was speaking, the statuette of Buddha, which Polly and Tommy had given to Sadie as a gift from Bali, suddenly flew off the top of the TV, where Sadie had put it, and crashed into the French windows.
Both women flew out of the room and through the back door screaming as they went.
They ran right into Percy Naylor, another neighbour who lived with his wife Doreen, in the flat above Sadie, almost knocking him over.
Percy was a foul mouthed old man and shouted, “What the……, why the fuck don’t you look where you’re going?”
He couldn’t care less how he spoke, even in front of women. He had his own way with words.
He and Doreen were pensioners and never had children of their own so he had no time for young people. He would bang on the floor at the slightest sound coming from the flat below, indicating that he wanted Sadie to be quiet
“The ghost,” screamed Sally, “it’s the ghost in her (Sadie’s) flat. It threw her Buddha statue at me because I didn’t believe her.”
“Fucking ghost,” Percy said walking away, “You’re talking a load of bollocks! Ghost my arse!! Both of you want your fucking heads testing!”
Now, Mrs Sutton believed Sadie and told her that she could stay at her place that night.
“It’s not safe for you to be there by yourself,” she told Sadie, “you must come and stay with me for a few days until all of this is sorted out.”
Sadie was very grateful for this and didn’t say no.
The next day, Percy came looking for Mrs Sutton and Sadie.
“Come upstairs with me to my flat,” he said, “I want you to see what’s happened. Doreen is shitting herself in fright!”
He could never say anything without using bad language. That was his way.
They followed him upstairs into his flat and he pointed to two lamps he had placed on the wall, one on either side of the fireplace.
They were hanging from the wall as if someone, or something, had yanked them out.
“You see,” he said, “it’s that bastard ghost of yours, coming up here and interfering with us. Look at Doreen. She’s frittened to death,” he continued, “I’m seeing Monty about this. He has got to get something done and quick!”
“Mind your language,” Doreen said, voice trembling, “why do you have to speak like that in front of ladies, especially a young girl at that!”
“It’s her fault,” he said pointing at Sadie, “nothing like this ever happened till she came to live here.”
Sadie said nothing, but was noticeably upset by his words, and left.
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