GHOSTS WITH A PURPOSE, or rather those that apparently act with some ‘earthbound intent’, may, by very virtue of being credited with some kind of intelligence, be among the more interesting cases of unexplained phenomena.
Perhaps a fascination on the part of many to believe that such entities might be attempting to communicate with their human counterparts (or indeed, a desire to believe that ghosts provide proof of the continuing existence of the human spirit), ‘purposeful ghosts’ deservedly occupy a high status on the agenda of psychic researchers.
A fashionable restaurant in the centre of Rochdale, just north of Manchester, certainly houses a psychic entity which seems to have both intelligence and purpose. It could also fairly be described as an extremely mischievous spirit, which has caused great concern to members of staff and other persons who have to work in the building.
The Beaumont Tea Rooms are situated in a quaint old building that was once a chemist shop, established for well over 100 years. The restaurant now occupies the second floor, with the kitchen area downstairs. The top floor above the restaurant remains largely unused, except for storage space, though part of it has been utilised as a cloakroom where staff can change and keep their coats.
Manageress Linda Daniels is one person who is in little doubt about the lingering presence of some unexplained entity on the premises. Employed there since 1993, she swears that many incidents that have occurred at the restaurant can only have been of a supernatural nature.
The ghost’s activity would appear to be mainly confined to the hours after five o’clock in the evening, when the restaurant has closed for business, although some staff, mainly waitresses, have sworn to sensing its presence during the day. Linda Daniels can recall several strange occurrences with no apparent explanation. Once, when she was alone in the building late one evening, settling up the accounts, she heard the sound of heavy footsteps on the stairs, and soon afterwards, a loud crashing noise echoed from one of the rooms upstairs. Slightly perturbed, although not unduly alarmed, preferring to think that the sounds must have some logical explanation related to old buildings of this type, Linda continued finalising the day’s accounts in preparation for locking up the restaurant for the night.
She gave this incident little more thought, but a little while afterwards, a series of events occurred which, by their very persistency, left Linda in little doubt that the restaurant was indeed haunted.
Not long after she had heard the footsteps, the restaurant underwent major renovation. Though it was closed to the public during this period, some caretaker members of staff and other people employed to work on the premises continued to be around the place and were very upset by what they now experienced.
On one occasion, Linda arrived to work to encounter a very distressed workman. He had been working alone in the building the previous night – mainly in the kitchen area downstairs – and he asked her outright if she was aware that the building ‘had a ghost’. Asked for an explanation, he said that whilst working in the kitchen area itself, he had heard ‘peculiar sounds’ in the early hours, like ‘banging noises’ echoing around the surrounding area, and that certain objects had fallen off shelves smashing to pieces on the tiled floor. He had at first put these occurrences down to sounds or vibrations caused by distant traffic or trains that had somehow been magnified by the ‘bare’ building, but then he had seen a ‘black figure’ that glided silently across the kitchen floor before disappearing through an adjacent wall. The appearance of this figure had convinced him the place was undoubtedly haunted.
It should perhaps be said here, that many cases of alleged psychic phenomena, can often be explained by quite simple factors. Eeerie nightly sounds heard in old buildings, for example, may only be the result of ‘settling timbers’ or the wind literally whistling behind hollow walls or along forgotten chimney stacks, themselves perhaps long since disused.
The ghostly figure seen by the workman, however, would not appear to be so easily explained by applying this criteria; especially, as his initial response to the disturbances had been logical and he had not been expecting such a dramatic visual effect.
Eventually, renovation work at the restaurant was completed and it was again opened for business. It would appear, however, that the ‘ghostly presence’ was not about to abandon its ghostly walks or appearances …
Shortly after the Tea Rooms had been reopened to the public, a cleaning lady who worked in the early mornings, before the restaurant opened, approached Linda Daniels in a very distressed state.
She had apparently been startled by several inexplicable events, not least, by going to answer the telephone only to witness the receiver ‘jumping’ from the phone just as she approached. And she also had heard heavy footsteps on the stairs and discovered objects mysteriously moved to a different place in the kitchen only moments after she had seen them elsewhere or had moved them herself.
Linda Daniels herself can recall instances when articles from the kitchen just kept ‘disappearing’ sometimes reappearing weeks later – sometimes not at all – and once, a tray of teacakes left in the kitchen overnight was discovered empty the next morning, the cakes themselves having been ‘taken’ from the basket and scattered across the kitchen floor. On another occasion, Linda arrived at work to find that the milk machine had mysteriously ‘turned itself on’ during the night and the milk had emptied out all over the floor.
Such events did little to console the cleaning lady who, convinced the restaurant was haunted, sought the help of a local priest who with Linda’s permission – if not goodwill – performed an exorcism in the building.
He made a special visit to the restaurant accompanied by a medium and systematically, starting at the top floor, sprinkled holy water and said prayers entreating the entity to depart. The medium had concluded that a ‘troubled spirit’ was somehow trapped in the building and needed guidance to be able to make its ‘escape’.
This exorcism, in fact, seemed to have had some effect, as the participants – including Linda – all felt a ‘warm glow’ and felt as if the oppressive atmosphere had been suddenly lifted. But it was only a temporary respite.
One day in December 1995, when she was having a day off, Linda received a phone call from her assistant who had arrived to open the restaurant only to discover all the lights on and a string of Christmas cards strewn across the floor, not just having fallen down but apparently scattered about at random. Linda distinctly recalled that everything was in place and the lights switched off when she had left the previous night.
In the first week of January 1996, Linda was inside the restaurant fairly early discussing the day’s menu with the chef. Suddenly, a loud noise interrupted their conversation and going to investigate, Linda discovered that the Christmas tree in a nearby room was lying upon the floor, the lights and decorations smashed where it had fallen; its heavy pot also tipped over. Strangely enough, although well out of range, two window lanterns had also fallen from their hooks in the ceiling.
All these baffling occurrences could, of course, be put down to natural causes, or the product of various overactive imaginations. But leaving this aside, perhaps another explanation or causation might be relevant to this story: Many old buildings like the Beaumont Restaurant, especially those constructed of stone, may be capable of harbouring dormant psychic energy (perhaps in the stone itself), energy which if ‘interfered with’ – by way of major renovation, for example – might be released and so account for many stories of ‘ghosts’ or similar phenomena. In other words, and in a manner not yet fully understood, psychic energy might remain dormant at certain sites and locations for many years, even centuries, only to become ‘activated’ if there is any serious interference to the buildings themselves. It should be added that the effects of such psychic energy, released from a previously dormant site, are almost invariably interpreted as being the activity of ‘ghosts’ when, ironically, such energy of itself almost certainly possesses no active intelligence.
To cite another example of such energy, in 1993 the author was asked to investigate a case of ‘strange goings-on’ at a pub in North London called the King’s Head where a ghostly figure had suddenly surfaced to cause great concern to the management and other members of staff. Its appearances (it was said to be the phantom of a tall-draped figure that disappeared mysteriously through walls and dislodged certain objects such as flower vases and beer glasses), were mainly confined to a downstairs area – an area which was undergoing conversion and extensive renovation. This ghostly figure or presence unnerved several people, many of whom were barmaids who refused to venture downstairs after closing time, so intense was this current spate of psychic activity.
Without wishing to unduly alarm any of the staff, and after having looked into all the facts, I pointed out that many old buildings of this type (and the original pub in fact dated back to the fourteenth century) could harbour various forms of psychic energy – energy that might remain dormant for years, even centuries, perhaps being trapped or harboured within the walls themselves which acted as some sort of psychic battery unless, or until, the building was drastically interfered with by way of any significant alterations to its physical state.
The precise history of many old buildings, is, of course, sometimes difficult to work out, let alone to define what may or may not have happened in them in the distant past which has a link to ghosts or outbreaks of psychic activity.
Little is known about the past history of the Beaumont restaurant, although, interestingly, it is fairly certain that it – and other buildings in the immediate area – were constructed upon the site of an old underground prison, some of the foundations of which are still extant.
In the case of the Beaumont Tea Rooms and the King’s Head, spates of psychic activity coincided with renovation work being carried out in both of them. Such cases of renovation work apparently being responsible for triggering off psychic energy in old buildings are by no means unique, and indeed frequently follow a similar pattern of circumstances. Whether these particular occurrences were due to the renovation work itself, or merely coincided with it, is a question which – from a materialistic view point of view, at least – has so far remained unresolved.
© David Farrant
The above case was first published in David Farrant’s book : ‘Dark Journey – True cases of ghostly phenomena from the files of the British Psychic and Occult Society.’