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Farleyway Fear

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In 1978 the Hogg family of Reddish, Cheshire experienced some strange goings on. Mandy, Steven Hoggs girlfriend, would often stay over at the house and on one particular morning, she woke to find she could not move. It was as if something had taken over her body. Mandy started to panic as she struggled to open her eyes, but she simply couldn't. She calmed for a few seconds realising that someone was most definately sat at the bottom of her bed. She felt unnerved at the thought of someone sat there watching her. Then she suddenly felt the bedclothes tighten even more around her. Someone, or something was holding her down. Then suddenly the bedclothes released and at that point she found that she could open her eyes and move. She immediately glanced around the room, but no one was there. Mandy was so upset about her experience she confinded in her boyfriend Steve who pretty much shrugged the whole episode off. A few days later, it was all forgotten with... well, that is until the paranormal came a calling again.

A number of weeks later Steve and Mandy had decided to save up for their own house. Steve had become tired of living with his parents and wanted to have a new start with his girlfriend Mandy. They slowly started to buy household items and store it in the front bedroom. The very same bedroom where Mandy had had that unusual experience. In the morning of September 3rd 1978, Steve woke suddenly from sleep to see a figure sat on top of a large box containing a new washing machine. Steve blinked and tried to focus but it had now disappeared. Steve was adement that he had seen the solid looking figure. It was there for only a second, but he had seen it. Steve described the figure as grey in colour, in fact, it was all grey, even the colour of its skin. It also had the appearance of a man that was looking across the room at him.

Steve's father Bernard had also experienced something odd. He had been interested in Natural History for many years and had purchased a number of items from local fairs. One such item was that of a real skull. Bernard was very fond of the skull and often shown it friends, giving them a bit of a fright. Bernard had decided to make a stand for the skull and sometime later he placed the skull on its stand and stood it on the window-sill of the front bedroom. Again, the very same room Mandy and Steve had experienced something strange. The following afternoon, Bernard had gone upstairs to get the skull. He had planned on taking it into work to show some of his workmates. But when he opened the bedroom door he was shocked to find the skull missing. The stand was still sat on the window-sill had looked to have not been moved, yet the skull was nowhere to be seen. At first Bernard thought someone must be playing a joke on him. Bernard asked everyone in the family, but they were adement they had not moved it. Bernard was puzzled. The following day Bernard came in from work and as he headed to the bathroom to clean up, he glanced into the front bedroom and... there it was. The skull was back. Sat on top of its stand as if it had never disappeared in the first place. As to the missing and reappearing skull, Bernard never did find out how or who had moved it.

It wasn't long afterwards that the Hogg family moved on. Steve and Mandy had got their own place and Bernard had moved to be closer to them. The house was then left for a number of months before Amander Thomas and her two daughter Melanie and Jennifer moved in. It is pretty unclear as to why Amander and her daughters only lived in the house for several weeks. Some of the local residents claim that Amander had experienced paranormal phenomena and that she fled the house one particular night after seeing the apparition of a man walking about the property. An attempt to locate Amander came up a blank. The local residents believe the house to be haunted, but most of them had known the Hogg family reasonably well, and rumours of their experiences may have circulated. Was Amander and her daughters forced from their home by paranormal happenings? I guess we'll never know.

In August of 1996 I was surprised to receive a letter from someone claiming to live in the very same property. Was this a hoax or a strange coincidence playing its part. Surely this could not have been the same house. The letter was a detailed account in regards the witnessing of paranormal phenomena. The new resident (Simon Walker) had lived at the 4 bedroom council house for a number of years and had much to tell me. He recalled his first experience...

'One of the first things I became aware of was that the box room at the back of the house was kept for the youngest member's of the family. There was a cot in there and one by one the three youngest of my brothers, Andrew, Chris and Alan slept there. During the night, no matter which of them was in there, they would often wake up laughing and giggling. When my mother or father walked into the room, they would immediately stop. It was as if they were being tickled or played with'.

'About a week or so later, strange things could be heard during the night. Something could regularly be heard walking up and down the stairs. On investigation in the morning, we often found things to have been moved. My sister Jane (one year younger than I) was stood in front of the fire when she said to me, "Get your cold hands off my back". I was nowhere near her at the time. When she turned a realised she looked puzzled and ran up to her bedroom'.

'In November of 1983 my mother and father were alone in the living room and my father was wiring up a plug at the time. He had made a whitty remark to my mother who started laughing, as she did so, somebody else close to my mother, though no one was visible, also started to laugh. My mother jumped up and asked if my father had heard it, but my father relied "No". My mother explained as to what she had heard but my father thought that she had imagined it'.

'A few days later, after everyone had gone to bed, things downstairs could be heard banging about as if being moved about. My father stood on the upstairs landing listening to the comosion. He eventally crept downstairs but found nothing out of place and the noises abruptly stop on entering the living room. Such things happened regularly and when asked I was told "There's nothing hear that can halm us". The following night was not much better. Again strange banging sounds could be heard downstairs. I remember lying in my bed listening to the racket, thjem all of a sudden quietness befell the house. Just when you thought it had ceased for the night my bedroom door flug violently open and there was a huge flash of light. It seemed to look like lightning as it streaked across the top of my door and ceiling. At the same time, my built in wardrobe, which had a padlocked top cupboard burst open. On investigation, you could clearly see that the small padlock had been broken off and the wood around the edge was damaged. It seemed as if something had been inside and kicked it open. By this time, I was getting scared'.

'My sister Jane, now 33 years old had a baby boy which she named Craig. More recently, my father and Craig's father Gary were in the back garden. Craig was looking up at the box room window and was pointing. He said "Who's that man up there, trying to get out?" There was no one there! Yet, there is absolutely no doubt that Craig could see someone, and started to get upset. Craig carried on shouting "Get him out Daddy, he can't get out". Eventually they managed to calm Craig down. Gary even ran upstairs to check tyhe room out. Again... There was no one there'.

'My mother died in 1985 and things seemed to settle down for a while. Eventually my father picked himself up and decided to redecorate the bathroom. He had purchased some bathroom tiles and was dressing the wall. At the end of the day, he had put all his broken tiles in a bucket and placed the bucket in the back bedroom, next to the box room. After mopping the bathroom floor he went downstairs for a cup of tea and a smoke. Then all of a sudden, there was a tremendous crash from upstairs. My father ran up to investigate and found a couple of broken tiles on the bathroom floor. They must have come from out of the bucket he kept the broken tiles in. They must have flug themselves out of the bucket and into the open bathroom door as there was clearly an inpact mark on the edge of the door and there were no damaged tiles on the bathroom walls. My father was shocked, maybe he had thought that the strange happenings had come to an end... He was wrong'!

'My other sister Susan had also had an upsetting experience. She had been at home alone when she clearly heard someone walking up the stairs. She actually fled the house crying and went to her friends house. Shortly after I got married, I found myself temporarily moving back into that house with my wife. It was not something I wanted to do, but due to financial difficulties I had no option but to grin and bare it. That placed scared me still, I even refused for the bedroom lights to go off at night. I would never spend another minute alone in that house ever again. My previous experiences has left me very wary. Whenever I came down the stairs I always had a feeling that someone was close behind me and even now at the age of 35, it would take a real lot of persuation to get me to walk back through that front door'.

'A couple of years ago I decided after reading a book on the paranormal to try to find something out about the area, so I visited our main library. After explaining everything to a librarian she said that possibly the best she would be able to come up with, would be something about the history of Reddish. She soon returned with a number of books. However, the only thing that I found was a mention to previous activity in the house I grew up in. It would seem, things have been going on at that house for quite a long time'...

Taking into consideration the amount of information I had obtained, I decided to call on the residents now living at the property. I had met a fellow investigator at the location and walked up the path and knocked on the door. The door opened and there stood a woman in her mid 30's. I explained who I was and that I was conducting some research in regards paranormal disturbances. Before I could get all my words out she said, 'Oh God, How did you know'. She went on to tell us that she had been having strange things happen for quite sometime. She asked us in and she explained in more depth over a cup of coffee. She claimed that on a number of occasions, she had witnessed an apparition of a man on what she could only describe as, a cloke and top hat. On all occasions, the figure was seen at the top of the stairs. I asked wheater she had experienced anything in the front bedroom or back boxroom. She stared at me for a moment before launching a recount of disturbances that would leave them terrified of the back boxroom. 'We have all heard strange sounds coming from that room and none of us like to go in there. My youngest son told me that he saw a floating ball of light move towards the boxroom door and disappear through it. We just stay out of thee, it has an uneasy feeling'. Its unsure how long Janet and her two sons had lived there, but she explained that for the first year of living in the house, nothing much happened. She remembered the first incident being that of someone walking about downstairs during the night. Janets friend had come to staying over regularly and she to had witnessed some of the strange disturbances. Janet explained that she had contacted the council office, but they did not offer much assistance. They had sent out an officer to the house but he was more interested in convincing Janet she may have had a real intruder as she leaves the small kitchen window open often, so to ventalate the kitchen whilst cooking. Janet was having nine of it, and soon cleared him off. She had considered contacting a priest, but recently things seem to have been quieter. She explained that the last incident was over two weeks ago.

I could not help think that whatever was going on at the property may have been residual in some way. If things were in fact calming down, I did not want to do anything that might cause the phenomena to pick up again. Clearly she was upset and worried. I asked her to keep a diary of events for me and that I would contact her regularly for the next month or two, to see how things go. In the meantime, I would have someone look into the background of the house to see if anything unusual may have taken place there.

An examination of the earliest available facsimile maps shows that there was nothing built there between 1892 and 1948. The location was only named in 1949. There was no evidence of any older road or any construction at all on the same site prior to this date. Deductions based on the Voters list shows that the road was built between October 1948 and June 1949. The even numbers were built first and were occupied during 1949. The odd numbers, including Janets house were finished by November 1950. The first occupants of the house was the Lamon family; James Lamon (the only registered voter, hence presumably the father), Rose and Mary Lamon (neither of them old enough to vote) and Victor and Vincent Lamon. The same family was in residence in 1955, although only Mary remained from the original group. A Denis Lamon was the only other occupant, probably up to when the Hogg family moved in.

I visited the local church and talked with the vicar who knew nothing of the familys disturbances. He was helpful and offered to talk with Janet. Over the next two months I talked with Janet of several occasions and told her the local vicar was happy to talk with her about her problems in the house, however Janet said that no other incidents have taken place yet and was reluctant to have the vicar in her home in fear of the paranormal retaliating. As time passed and the absence of paranormal disturbances noted, I eventually told Janet she no longer needed to diary any events and gave her my contact details in case she ever need to contact me. She never did. Unsure as to the phenomena really stopping or Janet just saying so. We decided to leave her in peace. Since then, I have had no further reports, but often wonder if the mystery figure and the audible disturbances will return once someone else moves into that house...

The haunting phenomena is probably the most reported of all paranormal incidents throught the UK. On close examination of this particular phenomenon you discover a number of different types of disturbances. In some case the sighting of ghostly figures (often refered to as apparitions) are allegedly seen and sometimes heard in association to an event that once took place at that location. Such incidents are often refered to as residual and when they take place in old large buildings they are often attributed to what is known as 'The Stone Tape Theory'. This is a theory that certain building constructed from stone or built upon stone, such as Granite can be responsible for the phenomena. It is thought that certain events, often traumatic or at times of enjoyment can somehow be recorded and leach into the very fabric of the foundation, and at certain times the stone itself can give off a low electrical field thus build up and cause the playback of events once recorded in the past. In other cases we have what is refered to as non-interactive phenomena where the alleged apparition does not seem to be aware of their current surroundings and do not interact with witnesses, such as the alleged sighting of a mink walking through a wall where a door once stood. Of course, the most popular and probably the most disturbing forms of hauntings are those that are refered to as interactive. In such cases the apparition or phenomena itself can allegedly be responsible for the movement of objects and items in the current environment and that they seem to have the ability to touch or communicate with the witnesses. Apart from these three forms of hauntings we occasionally find evidence that the alleged apparition is somehow associated to the location. Such evidence is often found via means of research. When investigators find no evidence of an association is it simply refered to as a translocational haunting as appose to localised hauntings where we find the evidence. So... to simply characterise the haunting phenomena, we innitally break it down into the three forms...

Redisual Phenomena, Localised Phenomena and Translocational Phenomena. We also use such terms as 'interactive' and 'non-interactive' depending on what type of incidents are reported. So... when investigating hauntings its best to document as much as possible. Sometimes determining the type of activity can sometimes assist in regards the obtaining of evidence.

Just a quick note. Such methodology in chatgorising is not wrote in stone. Remember, we are still dealing with the unknown and there may be much more to discover...

Special Thanks to Peter Hough & Mervyn Gale.

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