Sunday, 25 October 2009

Spooky Coincidence

A busy and mixed week which has been spent between the hard slog at the desk and out and about.

On Saturday last week I was pleased to be invited to the annual Cheslyn Hay Local History Exhibition. I was made most welcome by an efficient and friendly group of people who clearly love there chosen subject. The support from the locals was quite exceptional, visitors able to purchase copies of old photographs, find out how to trace the history of their house, or tips on genealogy, or purchase some memory or book pertinent to the region - even a cup of tea or coffee with a piece of cake for just 50 pence (yes PENCE). I managed to sell a few of my own books and extend my heartfelt gratitude to those who made me so welcome.

Wednesday and I was off to Worcester and the local BBC Radio station. In the morning I was in a studio linked to Joel Hammer at BBC Radio Oxford pre-recording a number of pieces from my Paranormal Cotswolds which will be running on air between 5am and 7am every day in the week leading up to Hallowe'en.
In the afternoon I joined Lucie Plant as we travelled to the Malverns and back to Worcester with an outside broadcast. Again we were taking advantage of the topical Hallowe'en to look at stories from another book Haunted Worcestershire, these will again be serialised in the week leading up to Hallowe'en, this time in the afternoon on Andrew Easton's show.
As we returned to the studios, I was chatting to Lucie about the one story which came from these very premises. A few years ago a ghostly image appeared on a photograph when taking a publicity shot of one of the presenters in one of the studios. A little research found there had been a suicide some years earlier when the site was used by a tannery. It was decided to perform an exorcism live on the air during the Dave Bradley show. During this broadcast strange sounds were heard on air, although nothing was heard or seen in the studio. The interviewer, Lucie Plant, had not heard this story as she had joined here after these events and asked around and found most people knew about the exorcism and we recorded a piece in the studio from where Dave Bradley had broadcast. Here we discovered the exorcism took place in the same studio as I had started the day that very morning where I had recorded the items with Joel.

The following links will take you to the BBC iplayer for those two presenters if of interest:

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Third Review

This is the third review I have received recently, this time featuring the same book as last week. Once more the name of the reveiwer and publication have been omitted.

Stories of Ghosts Set to Hook You
Missing cyclists, horseless carriages and the infamous suicides are all jam packed into Paranormal Cotswolds - True Ghost Stories, by Anthony Poulton-Smith, published by Amberley. This light-hearted collection of almost 100 spooky Cotswolds goings-on, with 20 equally spooky photographs is very entertaining for both ghost lovers and sceptics.
The Cotswolds have never been so mysterious and with simple, short stories this collection is easy to read and surprisingly interesting. For £12.99, this timeless reference book never ceases to intrigue or amaze even the dullest of people. Young or old, men or women, these ghostly narratives are sure to keep you turning the pages. As the author takes you on a wind-swept tour of Rodborough Manor, Stroud Hill Road, and Cotswold Hills, to name but a few, you cannot help but feel engulfed in these weird yet wonderful stories.
This subtle masterpiece is the perfect book for those intruiged by Gloucestershire's local heritage and history.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Second Review

As with last week a review but a different book and a very different style. Again I have left out the name of the reviewer and the name of the publication in which it appeared:

Spooky tales of paranormal goings on in the Cotswolds have been brought to life in a new book. Paranormal Cotswolds - True Ghost Stories by Anthony Poulton-Smith documents some of the best known as previously untold tales of pesky poltergeists and ghostly apparitions from across the district. Author Anthony Poulton-Smith said there was a history about the Cotswolds which made it different from other regions of the country. "I'm fascinated by paranormal activity," he said. "I'm yet to experience anything to convince me because I can't think of a rational explanation that fits all scenarios."
Mr Poulton-Smith added his favourite story was the tale of a man who sought shelter from the snow at a pub on the outskirts of Dursley. He was fed, given clean clothes and a warm bed but when he went to leave in the morning he could find no staff, so he left two golden guineas on a table as payment. When he was united with his friends, he brought them to the spot where the pub had been but there was nothing in the snow except for the two golden guineas.
Other spooky sightings in the north of the district including the tragic story of the White Lady of Dover's Hill who was torn from her lover, the hugging spirit at The Bell Inn in Moreton-in-Marsh, monks heard chanting in the dead of night at Hailes Abbey near Winchcombe.
Paranormal Cotswolds - True Ghost Stories by Anthony Poulton-Smith is published by Amberley Publishing and is available for £12.99 in all good book shops.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

First Review

Always nice to have a review and, whilst not all cannot be exactly what we'd like to see (see what is said about Black Country Ghosts on, any criticism should not be taken to heart. Firstly see it for exactly what it is, most of the time it is simply a statement of personal preference. Next check and see if you feel the criticism makes a valid point, if you don't agree forget it, if you do then you have someone who has helped you improve - and for free!

As I have a full week or three coming up, I shall reproduce some reviews I've had recently, a couple of which I would be delighted to see on a t-shirt!

Oxfordshire Place Names by Anthony Poulton-Smith
Amberley Publishing
£12.99, paperback (156 pages)
ISBN 978-1-84868-171-2

Anthony Poulton-Smith wears his learning lightly, making it very easy to read vast swathes of this book. But since it's organised as an alphabetical list of towns and villages it's easy to refer to as well.

Each entry includes previous versions of the place name, and what it means. This frequently leads into anecdotes, trivia and insights, linking the past and present. In many cases the spelling and indeed derivations seem to have reached their present form by a route as wiggly and convoluted as you'd take to reach the village in question.

I'm intrigued it's all Old or Middle English origins around here - no Roman or Viking words feature at all. Rich and powerful land owners from before the Norman invasion have changed but lingered on, and we frequently don't even know we're commemorating them. For larger places Poulton-Smith even goes into the more recent individuals who've donated their names to streets, and become fossilised into their old stomping grounds - William Morris, for example, and various mayors: although they're more recent, Allder, Eldridge, Kysbie and Spenlove are probably as unfamiliar now to most Abingdon residents as Aebba herself.

I would recommend this book as an ideal present for the curious, an invaluable aid for pub quiz and trivia-lovers and a stylish addition to any bookcase or glove compartment.