ANDREW HOMER notes some strange and disturbing tales told to him by local police who have experienced the paranormal…
The Police often receive reports of alleged paranormal activity from the public but less well publicised are officer’s own encounters with the paranormal. I am very grateful to members of the West Midlands Constabulary for sharing the following experiences.
1. Floating Gentleman
The magnificent wrought iron gates to Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge lead out directly onto the Worcester Street island. It was here that two policemen in a Panda car on an early morning shift were confronted by a bizarre sight. They spotted an old gentleman heading off towards Heath Street but instead of walking he appeared to be floating just above the road. They followed him into Heath Street and watched him float down the left-hand side of the road. His legs were obscured by parked cars but the figure was unmistakably floating along rather than walking. He got to about half way along the street and then he simply disappeared. Despite a thorough search of the area the police officers could find no trace of the strange floating gentleman.
2. Graveyard Shift
Following a report of an intruder in one of the buildings a Panda car was despatched late one night to Merridale Cemetary in Wolverhampton to investigate. The key holder had already been contacted and the police officer sat in his car to wait. It was raining heavily at the time and after a few minutes an old lady appeared along the street to let him in. They entered the building together and after a check round it was clear everything was secure. They came out and the old lady locked up and went on her way.
The policeman spent a few minutes in his car writing up the incident and was suddenly disturbed by a tap on the window. The man standing there said he was the key holder and had come to open up. The officer explained he had already been in and checked but the man was adamant he was the only key holder. On entering the building again, it was obvious there was just one set of wet footprints on the tiled floor. However, the officer’s description of the old lady did turn out to match that of a key holder. Except she had died many years before.
3. Haunted Highway
Just where the A456 passes the Badgers Sett public house between Halesowen and Hagley is one of the most haunted stretches of road in the UK. Over the years, a plethora of sightings have been made along here, many of them frightening drivers into thinking they have run someone over.
Typical of these reports was the experience of a policeman when returning home after his shift at about 1.00 am in the morning. He saw a man in full Cavalier attire run from the direction of the Badgers Sett and straight in front of his car. With no time to brake and shaking from the experience, the Policeman looked for the body of the man he thought he must have run over. There was no sign of a body and indeed no sign at all of the strangely dressed man he had clearly seen running straight in front of his car.
4. Keeping Watch
There have been lots of reports of a lone figure who walks the battlements of Dudley Castle Keep at night when the visitors have all gone home. On one occasion, it was a whole group of people doing a charity ghost hunt who witnessed the figure walking up and down the battlements. Nobody knows for certain who the figure is. It could be the well-known ‘Grey Lady’ although she is generally seen at the base of the Keep. A former sentry perhaps, still patrolling the keep as he did in life. Another possibility is the ghost of the old lady who is said to have taken her own life up on the keep and has been unable to leave.
Whoever or whatever the ghost is there have been some pretty plausible witnesses. On one occasion the police were called as it was thought an intruder had broken into the grounds. One officer stayed beneath the Keep in case anyone tried to run away and another officer climbed up to see if anyone was on the battlements. When he came back down the first officer demanded to know where the miscreant was. It turns out that whilst the officer who climbed up had seen nothing, the policeman down below had been watching two figures walking slowly along the top of the keep.
5. Old Pals on Parade
The large island where the A456 road to Kidderminster meets the A491 to Bromsgrove has been the scene of some strange early morning sightings. The War Memorial on the island commemorates those brave soldiers from Hagley who fell in the First World War. A police officer from the nearby police station was a credible witness whilst on patrol in the early hours one morning. He saw what he described as a small troop of soldiers walking along by the War Memorial on the island. They were wearing what appeared to be First World War Uniforms. By the time he had driven around the island again to get a better look they were nowhere to be seen.
6. Phantom Felon
The cells under Stourbridge Police Station are in a long passageway with an alcove halfway down with sinks for washing. A set of stairs leads up to the old court. One night the duty custody officer was taking a prisoner back to one of the cells. He noticed a man in slightly dated civilian clothes leaning over one of the sinks having a wash. Knowing there should not have been anyone else down there at that time of night, the officer quickly locked up the prisoner and then looked back to the alcove to see who it was. The passageway and alcove were empty, and there was nowhere the man could have gone.
7. Queue for the Loo
One of the ladies’ toilets at Stourbridge Police Station is situated at the end of a long corridor in an older part of the building. On many occasions, female officers using the toilets report clearly hearing loud footsteps coming along the corridor, entering the toilet and stopping immediately outside the cubicles. Assuming someone is waiting to use the loo they are amazed to find no one is there when they open the cubicle door.
8. Spectral Soldier
The building that houses Sedgley Police Station dates back to 1734. It was originally the old parish poor or work house. One of the older police officers who used to be stationed at Sedgley had a most unnerving experience there. He was on his own and having a snack in the kitchen area. Silently and without any warning a uniformed figure walked straight through the kitchen wall in front of him and disappeared through the other side of the kitchen. The figure was dressed in some sort of rough soldier’s attire, possibly from the time of the English Civil War. This would make some sense as the building did not exist at that time but Parliamentarian forces were certainly camped for a time on the nearby Sedgley Beacon.
9. The vanishing man
Once an Inspector’s house the building now houses Stourbridge Police Club. It has been subject to a number of strange occurrences earning a reputation for being haunted. In the early hours of one morning a police officer on night duty went into the empty bar on his break to eat his sandwiches. The building was deserted but a man suddenly appeared at the bar dressed in normal street clothes. He was looking towards the pool room as if waiting for someone to come out. Before the astonished officer could do or say anything the man simply vanished into thin air.
10. Well-heeled lady
Two policemen on Panda car duty decided to take an impromptu rest break early one morning around 3 or 4 o’clock. They parked up behind the Penn United Reformed Church but were soon disturbed by the distinctive sound of a lady in high heels walking quickly towards the car. They could not see anyone but could still clearly hear her heels clicking as she walked straight past the driver’s door. At this the unnerved officers drove off rather quickly and headed straight back to the police station. As they related the strange tale it registered with the desk sergeant that a woman had been murdered in that exact same spot behind the church some years before. She had been wearing very high heels.
Discover Andrew Homer’s latest book ‘A Black Country Miscellany’ on his website at www.andrewhomer.co.uk