On Saturday 8th December 2013, a small group of Twilight Shadows Paranormal team members conducted a paranormal investigation at Priory Close in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire.
During WWII, A Halifax bomber plane based in Tolthorpe, Yorkshire had sustained damage during a raid in Germany on 26th March 1944. The plane carrying a Royal Canadian Air Force crew was observed flying low from the direction of Trowbridge, emitting smoke from its engines. One of the crew, Craig Reid, had already bailed out over Upton Scudamore and survived while the tail gunner was already dead.
Brian Hall had the chance to abandon his plane but he heroically stayed in the cockpit and crashed the plane onto the open ground of Priory Park, thus missing the housing situated higher up the hill where an uncontrolled crash landing would have resulted in a great loss of civilian life.
The Halifax burst into flames upon landing and its remaining ammunition exploded. The rest of the crew bailed out over Bradford on Avon but the aeroplane was too low and they were all killed.
The crew that were killed in this crash were:
Pilot Officer Brian Hall aged 22
Pilot Officer Don Grover aged 23
Pilot Officer Roy Porter aged 21
Sergeant Harry Newton aged 22
Sergeant Norman Simpson aged 20
Sergeant Graham Evans aged 21
Some of the crew are buried in Haycombe Cemetery, Bath.
After the war a housing estate was built on Priory Park.
Prior to the investigation, Jacky (who had arranged the investigation) had not informed us about the Halifax bomber and the death of the airmen so we started this investigation with a clear mind.
We assembled upstairs on the landing and Pete, one of our mediums, ‘picked up’ on the name Binny. We have no idea why this name was mentioned. We now know the names of the crew and we know that nobody that died had the surname Binny but at the time, Pete did say, “I feel this is a nick-name.”
Pete said that this house was not the only house that was affected by the troubled spirits but the adjacent houses were also affected. He said, “There are also two nuns that walk the grounds, it was the Priory.”
At that moment, Pete stopped talking and we looked at each other in amazement. We were standing at the top of the stairs and we both heard footsteps coming up the stairs towards us. The stairs are not built so that there is another staircase from another house alongside the wall. They are built against an outside wall. There was nobody there.
Jacky said, “There is something building up behind me now.” Pete said, “She’s just called us children.” He said, “The older nun, she’s got the novice with her.” Pete was looking at a dresser and said that he felt that there was a spirit connection with it.
All was quiet until suddenly, Pete said, “Ow, somebody has just whacked my elbow.” The lady living in the house (J) was downstairs and she said, “I heard that!” J was in the hallway downstairs and she shouted up to us, “I can feel a male down here, especially in the kitchen.” Jacky said that she could sense a female upstairs. I could sense a spirit but as yet, I couldn’t tell whether it was male or female. Dave said that he was experiencing a ‘heavy’ sensation. J said that she experienced that a lot. Andrew felt that ‘something’ was looking over his shoulder. Steph said that she could feel a coldness enveloping her. The atmosphere felt intense.
Chris, our other medium joined us and said that he could feel an American or Canadian influence and he kept seeing the Memphis Belle. He also said that he could hear the word ‘Binsy’ (Pete had previously heard Binny).
Pete said that he kept hearing the name Gregory but he didn’t know whether it was a first name or a surname. Chris said that he could sense two of the crew and he thinks that one of them landed on (and perished) by a railway line.
We talked to another occupant of the house who said that he had seen a nun wearing an old fashioned dress. She looked approximately twenty three years of age and she was wearing a bonnet. She also wore a silver cross. He claimed that she had spoken to him. Pete thought that this was the spirit of the novice and said that she was trying to help this person.
We were all quiet and then we heard what sounded like a voice and then ‘Shhhhh.’ This was followed by a thumping noise. Pete said, “Somebody is in there watching us.”
Andrew switched his ghost-box on and we started to ask questions and hope that we would attain some answers about the spirits who haunted this house. At this point Dave and Jacky told us the story of the Halifax bomber which had crashed. The following communication between investigators and the ghost-box was recorded.
Dave: “Are there any crew members from the Halifax here?” “Any crew members?”
Dave: “Who damaged your plane?” “Were you shot down?” “Who shot you down?” “What shot you down?”
Ghost-box: “Bullets.” “Combat.”
Dave: “Were you shot down in combat?” “Who shot you down?”
Dave: “How many crew?”
Jacky: “ Can you tell us how many crew members are here in this atmosphere now?”
Ghost-box: “Two.” “Luftwaffe.” “Luftwaffe.” “We’re dead.”
Dave: “Can you confirm how many crew members were killed?”
Jacky: “Are you stuck in this environment?” “Can you not move on?”
Ghost-box: “No.” “Mayday.”
Jacky: “Do you need us to help you?”
Jacky: “Do you need us to help you?”
Dave: “Would you like us to help you?”
Dave: “Just to confirm, how many are there of you?”
Maria: “If you want our help, could you say help us?”
Ghost-box: “Help us.” “Help us.” “Help us.”
Jacky: “If you want us to move you to the light, could you say light?”
Dave: “And there are six of you?”
Ghost-box: “Yes.” “Help.” “Help us.”
Jacky said to Andrew, “I don’t mean to alarm you but you have someone standing by you, right now!”
Andrew said, “I can feel it.”
Ghost-box: “Help us.” “Help me.” “Lost.” “Luftwaffe.”
We heard a sigh.
Jacky: “Are you actually able to show yourself to us?”
Ghost-box: “Of course.”
Jacky said, “I can see someone right now.”
Jacky: “If there are any other service men with us right now, are you able to make another noise other than using the ghost-box?” “Can you tap on the door or close the door?”
Jacky: “Did you say lost?”
Ghost-box: “Lost.” “Richard.”
Dave: “Where do you come from?”
Dave: “Can we speak to someone called Brian?”
J: “Is Don here?”
Dave|: “I can’t believe they said Luftwaffe.”
Ghost-box: “Luftwaffe.” “Dead.” “William.” “Luftwaffe.”
Dave: “Are you really angry about the Luftwaffe?”
Dave: “Why haven’t you moved on?”
Ghost-box: “Billy.” “Help.” “Mayday.” “Luftwaffe.” “Luftwaffe.”
After this, we did not get any further communication from the ghost-box. We were really shocked by the one male voice that clearly spoke to us. It was incredible.
After a short break, the girls and boys split into two groups. The girls conducted a séance in the sitting room which is described in Jacky’s report, below.
Written by: Maria Williams.
During December, Phoenix of Wessex received a plea through the website from a private residence to see if we would be willing to go and see if we could get to the bottom of a few spooky goings on in their house. Well, of course this was far too good an opportunity to miss so we agreed straight away.
After an initial meeting with the household owner the team agreed to come out to the house at the next available opportunity which happened to be that weekend.
The owner had experienced the feeling of being watched while in the kitchen and bathroom area, felt very cold in one particular area of the front room, had the feeling of being followed down the stairs and had concerns with a particular bedroom upstairs. She also said that members of her family and friends said that they do not like staying at her house and had the feeling of being stood over while sleeping on the sofa.
Interestingly enough the area on which the housing estate was built, was the site of a fatal air crash. A Halifax bomber crashed there on 26th March 1944 killing 6 of the 9 young men on board.
We decided to go upstairs to start the investigation. It was during a talk with the owner that she told us that her ex-husband had seen a figure of a young man walk through her bedroom so we decided to stand between the master bedroom and the other smaller room that the owner had advised us never felt warm and had a horrible atmosphere most of the time. She said that the previous owner (despite having two children) used that bedroom as a store room. Her children used to share a room.
Experience has taught me that spirit activity never happens while you are waiting for it. Start talking among yourselves and have a laugh and a joke and hey presto something happens. It’s almost like the spirits are saying, "Hey, we are here you know, notice us." During our chat, our other medium arrived and he took this opportunity to chat to the owner on his own.
One of the members of the team had brought along a spirit box. These are devices that constantly scan the airwaves and the spirit that is communicating through the box uses this to stop the scan and use an appropriate word or answer to the question we may be asking. I have always been very open minded about these sorts of gadgets but I must admit after seeing one of these in action, I was actually amazed. During our investigation the spirit managed to say Luftwaffe more than once, confirmed the spirits needed help, confirmed the number of spirits there and also a few names. We had an inkling that it maybe the airmen that the owners were sensing and this box confirmed this. In true military style one of the airmen also said they didn't like talking to me and told me to be quiet in a way only an American man can. When Maria and I asked if they were able to actually show themselves, as clear as crystal a voice said, "Of course." This actually made Maria and I jump together in shock.
In the meantime one of our mediums who had come along to the investigation had been having a chat with the owner and had also picked up on two female spirits. The houses are also built on the grounds of the town priory and two nuns had made themselves known. They were here for a reason which was linked to one of the owner’s children. The nature of this guidance is personal but I will say that the name of the youngest nun in visitation was also confirmed through the spirit box a little later on in the evening.
After a little break we decided to split into teams of girls and boys. The girls held a séance in the front room and the boys tried communicating with the spirit box upstairs.
During our séance we made further contact with one of the airmen who said that they were all unhappy and wanted to move on. He told us a little about himself saying he was engaged to be married and that he was sad and cold. He also told us what part of Canada he came from.
When the boys came down they said that they too had spoken to some of the airmen and also that the youngest nun had come through. After a discussion we agreed that a common message that we had been given either through mediumship, modern gadgets or during our séance, was that the airmen were desperate to move on. We decided that we would try to help the airmen. With all of us present one of the mediums directed the airmen ‘to the light’ and said that as the last one walked through, he turned and saluted us. I thought that this was quite touching.
The owner has emailed me after the investigation to thank the team for our help and said that the house feels much lighter and more welcoming that it had before.
Written by: Jacky Wicheard.