Report # 8376QZ Merrick Mayfair
Investigation and training of new acolyte: Janice Groves
Addressed to the Superior General, London England.
August 21, 1988
I sit at a small oak desk and await the arrival of our newest member. The oil used to keep this antique looking clean and polished permeates my senses and I am reminded of the Mother House in New Orleans. It seems that I am missing my home these days even though this picturesque English countryside looks and feels nothing like it. The quaint landscape draws me into its seductive charm and grounds me to this land that has seen its fair share of battle and blood. I feel as if I am part of the gentle rolling Clee Hills that lay beneath the demure sky as the sun begins to burn away the morning haze with determination.
I am currently staying in the town of Ludlow near the Welsh border with our new member in training, Janice Groves at The Feathers Hotel. I sense a lot of activity in this elegant establishment which is not surprising as this site is hundreds of years old and parts of it date back to the 1600’s. The outlying countryside is dotted with sheep, the sky pregnant with a selection of rain clouds; their bellies dark with indigo blue that kiss the green horizon between rays of warm sunlight. In your minds eye, David, can you see it? I know you were always fond of this area.
My room is elegant, but dark. Ruby duvets and carpets along with forest green wall paper laced and offset with ivory - drink up most of the light that managed to stray in through the windows. The four-poster bed made of dark mahogany wood looks in disarray with my clothes strewn across it. You do know how I hate a mess.
Upon arrival, I briefed Janice about protocols and expectations. Although familiar with spirits and a talented psychic, I am sure you are aware that Janice has never participated in researching a full on haunting such as this and I am looking forward to how she manages. This afternoon we shall visit Ludlow Castle. There is a young man there who works at the gift shop whom we need to ask a few questions. There have been reports of Roman Soldiers traipsing about a farmer’s field just outside of Craven Arms in South Shropshire.
These ‘figures’ have been spotted digging in the fields with their bare hands shortly after sunset and always at the same hour. Seeing as this is harvest time, some farmers will work for a time after dark to harvest the crop. This Ludlow Castle shop keeper works part time on the farm which belongs to his brother.
The sightings of these apparitions are quite famous among the locals and have been seen for several generations. The local farmers seem to have chalked it up to a typical British Haunting. In a country with so much history and turmoil, one can only expect an abundance of ghostly activity. The apparitions always appear for a mere few seconds and the nightly occurrences last for about five nights in total, returning again the following year. Until that is, a discovery was made.
The farm owner has come across several ceramic pots of Roman coins dating back to the time of the Roman occupation. Naturally these were taken into the safe keeping of the owner and brought indoors for inspection. I shall sign off now and write more upon my return.
We arrived at approximately 2:00 pm and were able to speak with the store clerk. He explained that his brother’s family are now not only being haunted by two restless spirits, but tormented nightly as well. All of this is occurring within their home at the exact hour in which the apparitions had been appearing in the field. Believing that Janice and I are paranormal writers, we have asked if the two of us –being Janice and myself- were able to talk him into asking his brother if we might attend a sort of séance they were planning in the next few nights. We will only observe of course and take notes. It is not often that a residual haunting will actually move locations. This is something of an interest and it will be good practice for Janice as well.
Soon after we retired to our hotel and strolled along the busy streets of Ludlow, stopping at a pub for an early meal. The weather had cleared and a few scattered white cotton cumulus clouds were all that marked an azure late afternoon sky. This is really a beautiful little town nestled in and amongst the hills with the prevalent castle overlooking high above. I simply had to see St. Laurence’s Church as well as many other stunning gothic buildings. The beauty and history of this place is breath taking.
August 23, 1989
I am writing this the morning after the haunting; I have not slept all night.
After much persuasion and a little truth stretching, the store clerk agreed to bring both my apprentice and I to his brother’s home the following night. We arrived at the house in question one half hour before sunset. The family believes we are writing a book on paranormal activities in the Shropshire area. We were briefed on all of the previous events (mentioned above) and quickly settled in to observe. We were gathered in the kitchen of the home; Janice and I took two chairs against the south wall. The house was an old stone building that had clearly been many other things than a home during its six hundred year life. Originally three individual buildings, this home over the years had been put together to form one very large house. Even the original stone floor was exposed with throw rugs scattered about; making a feeble attempt to warm the cold drafty slab of flagstone. I sensed many spirits about that were curious about us, yet they were merely shadows and echoes of the people that once dwelled here hundreds of years ago – these were not the one’s we’d come to see. I murmured a quick spell under my breath and sent them away from whence they came.
At precisely 10:30pm we heard a loud crash- a picture that had been hanging on the wall opposite me and Janice had fallen to the floor. Yet, it had shattered on impact, as if been thrown by force. Many times I had witnessed spirits picking up objects and hurling them through the air with surprising force. This was nothing new and I wasn’t impressed, my student, however was transfixed and furiously taking notes. Patiently I glanced around the room, trying hard not to look bored, when both apparitions materialized at the far corner of the adjoining room. Draped in dark wood and stone, shadows played with us in dimly lit corners and along the massive hearth that had clearly been built large enough to cook food in and keep the home warm hundreds of years ago.
We had been told of their nightly routine of furiously looking about for what we believed to be the ceramic pot of coins for all of seventy seconds, then disappearing. It was obvious that this is a residual haunting – meaning the spirits or echo of the spirits are re-enacting something that took place during their lifetime over and over again. This residual energy was attached to the coins, which had been put in a small safe inside a closet that was directly beside me.
We had been watching the routine of the spirits frantically looking for their lost loot (I had a stopwatch with me and thought to time the event) for the duration of the seventy seconds, when a change occurred and I found myself being not only watched by what I had first thought was only repeated history, but seemingly addressing me. I was stunned and immediately stood and walked closer to where they were.
The apparition was approximately 5’ 5” in height, with dark brown wavy hair cut short. He had no facial hair and was dressed in the Roman garb of the period in which Rome had first occupied England, perhaps around 45 A.D. He was dressed with a sword and a long brown woolen cloak for warmth. He stood as solid as you and I in the middle of the family room next to the kitchen were we were sitting.
He then turned and spoke to me with one venom laced word. Not out loud, but in my mind and I clearly understood his meaning to say:
I was shocked! He’d not only seen me, but recognized me for what I was. Quickly I turned to Janice who was recording everything (as she should be) in her notebook. Both apparitions vanished and I turned to the family. They had clearly observed the spirit take an interest in me, yet I was relieved that they did not hear or understand the thought that was spat in my direction.
Never in my life had I encountered a spirit so aware of my presence and interactive – that I had not conjured myself and had under control as an experienced Vodun Priestess. The only other incident similar to this was the possession by my sister. I dare say that memory stirs a deep dread inside of me. I am not one easily frightened; this sudden direct communication from a ghost that I’d previously thought to be only a residual haunting has left me visibly shaken.
The family barely noticing my uncomfortable posture milled around both rooms discussing the new spiritual activities. They were no strangers to ghostly activity, reportedly having several other encounters within their home, although none were visual. Both the owner of the farm and his brother approached me, questioning looks in their eyes. Neither had the sense to be either frightened or worried, this was merely entertainment to them. Janice and I, on the other hand, knew of the potential dangers of angry spirits.
“What do you make of that then?” The owner asked. “This is new; they’ve never done that before.”
I shook my head. It wasn’t our place to act or to interfere, yet I worried that this new activity would lead to something totally unexpected.
I told him promptly that we would record this event for our story – a lie of course. We left shortly thereafter and I had their promise that they’d contact us at our hotel should anything else abnormal occur. Once back at the hotel, Janice and I reviewed her notes and discussed the behavior of the spirit. The evening was still warm despite the late hour, and we strolled along Broad Street glancing at the lit shop windows. Both us thought that our experience with these Roman ghosts had come to an end. We were both wrong.
I had retired to my room close to 3:00am, after catching up on a few notes, I tried to get a few hours of sleep. It wasn’t long before I sensed I wasn’t alone in the room and a dark shadow took form like tiny black particles furiously milling about until all of the gathered energy turned from inky watery smoke, to a solid three dimensional being. There, in the left corner stood the Roman just as I’d seen him in the house earlier that night.
Now, as you know, David, entities have been known to follow people, yet I had been convinced that he, like the other was attached to the coins – as why did they follow them into the house to begin with? I’ve never encountered anything quite like this and the _expression on his face was not one of amusement. I thought it best to address this one, at the same time conjuring my own nameless spirits to do my bidding should I need them.
“You!” I said with conviction and power in my voice.
“Why have you followed me, what do you want?”
I waited patiently for some sort of reply, thinking myself rather foolish to expect anything.
“Witch!” he repeated the very same word as before.
“Yes, I am a witch – why are you here? What do you want?” I repeated my questions.
“My passage,” he said. “Currency - passage for my soul!”
I tried to think of what this meant. The request sounded somewhat familiar to me and there was an odd yet distinctive sincerity from this ghost. Could I help him? I’d opened the door for others, yet I did not have the things I needed to perform any Vodun ritual at my disposal. I would have to improvise.
Black heaviness permeated the air around me and of course the room temperature continued to plummet as the strength of the spirit grew. I struggled with a candle and match that I always kept beside the bed where ever I went. Upon lighting it I welcomed its feeble light and little warmth. Gathering my strength I recited a prayer to Aizan to keep away any evil.
The Roman stood his ground, standing proudly as he must have once stood in battle. His sheathed sword and his shield held by his side were indications that this was going to be a battle of wits. I also held myself firm and mentally called for Janice. She and I had been practicing mental telepathy and over short distances were able to achieve an interesting accuracy. I didn’t know if it was going to work as I had assumed she may be asleep, but I had to try.
Several minutes passed as the determined ghost and I stared one another down. I had begun the initial voodoo chant to invite several benign and somewhat mindless non human spirits to my aid. As this was complete and I felt them swell around me, Janice rapped upon the door. I quickly let her in; she had hastily thrown a dressing coat on the color of sapphires, her long blonde hair pilled on top of her head. At once she saw my guest and pulled out a notebook from her dressing coat pocket. I almost laughed at her ability to be so proactive. She was making a fine new member of our order.
“I need you to assist me with a spell,” I said. “I think I understand what our friend here wants.”
The clocked beside the bed table flashed 4:00am, I didn’t think the spell would take long and I’d hoped Janice would be accurate in opening a gateway to the afterlife as I needed her to do.
Our Roman guest was getting impatient as several of my feminine accoutrements flew off the dressing table to land unharmed upon the rich carpet. Again he demanded:
“My soul, I need passage to cross the river!”
You must know, David that both Janice and I did not hear this as words spoken aloud, but a harsh and desperate message flashing like a beacon in our minds..over and over again. We knew he wanted the coins, thought he needed the coins to cross over into the light. He was talking about the River Styx and the coin was for Charon, the ferryman. The river was merely symbolic in his religion. I knew I could ask my spirits to cause several of the Roman coins to materialize in my hotel room. But what of the other restless ghost you may be wondering? Well, it wasn’t long before both Janice and I found out.
A few of the coins were easily retrieved by my docile spirit servants and I felt them take form in the palm of my hand – like cool liquid turning to metal. It would have been over quick I believe had the other spirit not come along with the three Roman coins that were now in my possession. He was enraged – his form wavered near the first Roman until he took on solidity. They were powerful spirits; I could only guess the amount of will it took for them to present themselves so vividly. You know, David, that it takes a lot of energy to appear as solid and alive as you and I and for so long too!
Janice took notes furiously while sitting next to me on the bed, both of us waited to see what the other Roman wanted. At this point we realized that the second spirit was attached to the coins themselves and wasn’t exactly willing to part with them so easily. At once he focused upon me and what was in my hand. The sky was growing dimmer outside as dawn signaled her approach with the soft cooing of doves roosting in the eaves outside the nearest window. Yet, these were spirits, not vampires – nothing seemed to deter them.
I could only think of one thing to do. I threw the coins at the Roman who wanted them for passage into the afterlife and quickly with Janice’s help I created a doorway of white light opening up into life beyond death. The second spirit, seeing what I meant to do, tried in vane to put himself in the best vantage point to receive the coins. At this point I began to realize that there was an interesting tale that went along with these two….and we were about to watch the full story unfold like pages come alive in a history book.
Our two guests from England’s historical past both dove for the coins and a vicious battle began to re-live itself between them. Both Janice and I were privy to the myriad of thoughts and words that flew from each of them as they played out the act once again of a dual to the death. I won’t recount them all here, but this is their story:
The initial spirit’s name is Antonius, he is the actual owner of the coins and it was his life’s savings that he buried in that field countless lifetimes ago. The intention was to leave it and return for it once his duties were complete in the north. He cohort, Manius watched his fellow soldier bury his loot one fine evening and attempted to rob him of it as he had not been paid for several weeks and thought that his friend and superior was holding back he share. They fought. Antonius won, yet was mortally wounded and did not retrieve the coins from the body of Manius before he too- died. Both have been locked in a spiritual sparring match ever since, Antonius wanting to move on with his money, Manius wanting to steal what he could thinking that at least some of it belonged to him.
This Janice and I were able to piece together from hurled insults, accusations of treachery and an all out argument of which soldier the coins truly belong to. After several minutes of this reenactment, Janice and I opened the door to the realm beyond our own, I truly believe that Antonius recognized it for what it was, as he brought Manius, close to him with all of his spiritual strength, ripped the coins from his hand and dragged the other behind him as both went through the door to the afterlife.
It was over as the sun’s first glow kissed the window sill and spilled past the few naked gaps in the dark drapes. My candle had gone out, Janice finished up her with her notes and I added my own. I have brought this investigation to a close and Janice and I will be on our way back to London by the time you receive this by courier.
Yours in the Talamasca forever,
Part of Sublimerequiem.com
All rights reserved
Layout © Mona Mayfair