ROBIN WHEELER recalls some haunted memories of growing up in spooky Hale, now part of Greater Manchester
Hale in Cheshire was once a quiet Victorian dormitory suburb of Manchester, but is now, like Wilmslow, is a popular area for multi-millionaire footballers and Manchester money. My family home was about two miles from the village and I later lived in a flat at one end of the village, across from the church. I had a couple of odd ghostly experiences there.
The first occurred one day when I went to pick up some essentials from the then rather dreary Safeways supermarket in the middle of the village.
As the car park was full I drove right through it to park on Cecil Road, the residential street on the other side. I made my purchases and was walking back across the street towards my car when I suddenly saw to my right a man, standing in the road and not so much staring as glaring straight at me. He was dressed almost like a cartoon idea of a Northerner – flat cap, collarless white shirt, well used jacket.
I think he may also have had a watch chain. The other thing that made him unusual to me was that his face was a really bad colour, grey-white and pallid. His expression was extremely angry, for no reason that I could discern. Had he worked himself into a fury about where I had parked perhaps? I knew I had not blocked off a driveway as these were not houses with driveways for cars, but small workers’ cottages with gates to short paths leading to the front door, with little gardens beside them. Besides, I would have expected to be called over, had he had a specific bone to pick with me.
But he never said a word. I turned my head briefly towards the car, and when I looked back the road was empty. I looked quickly at the houses and their paths – nobody, and not enough time to have gone up any of the garden paths and into a house. Was he a ghost? Impossible to say for certain, but his corpse pallor, inexplicable anger and baffling disappearance make me think that he was.
Ghostly experience in my Hale flat
The second incident occurred in my flat, which was on the third floor of a block of three, with a basement flat to the side.
I woke up one morning, not with the blues but with the outline of a person leaning forward onto the middle of my bed and apparently looking straight at me. I say ‘apparently’, as I could only see a cloud of white static within the outline, just like a TV when it has lost the signal. My immediate reaction was that I was seeing things as I had just woken up, so I squeezed my eyes tight shut then opened them again – still there.
So I just said ‘Oh well, nothing I can do about it’, flopped back, turned over and went back to sleep. When I woke up again later it had gone. A clue to what it might have been is in the next story. This also took place in the flat and indeed in bed again, though this time with company, a girlfriend who I will call Yvonne, because – that was her name folks. She was a psychic and we had met through my asking her to give me a tarot reading, the first of many.
If the doors to both rooms were open you could look through from the bedroom to the dining room beyond, which was exactly what I was doing when a white figure suddenly walked briskly from left to right across the doorway. I naturally exclaimed ‘What the f—- was that?’ and after
I had told her what I had seen, she padded into the dining room. I can’t remember if she spoke or not, but when I asked her on her return what she had seen she just said ‘Oh – nothing’. Later, however, when I was regaling my sister with the story, she told my sister that when she had gone through to the dining room she had seen my grandfather standing there.
She confirmed his appearance from a photograph. She had not told me at the time because she thought this would have been too frightening. It seems that no messages were forthcoming, though in another session when she was receiving messages from him, the rather blunt remark came through ‘Tell him he’s got a lot to learn’. No doubt true.
ROBIN WHEELER: “Educated at Harrow and Cambridge, barrister, cavalry officer in the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards, mature student in theology (BA, MA, PhD) and author of ‘Palmer’s Pilgrimage’ about the life of William Palmer of Magdalen. Military lawyer in the Army Legal Service then Full Time Reserve officer in a number of posts, currently a major and staff officer in the Headquarters of the Royal Armoured Corps. Now living the dream on the Isle of Wight and hoping to achieve ‘caulk-head’ status.