Upper Saxondale Ghost Walk - Georgia Moore 18.00 hrs start

Thu, Nov 23rd 2023 at 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Georgia requests that we take this 'Ghost walk' in the dark, as close to Halloween as we could arrange it!

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23th November 2023 Upper Saxondale Ghost walk Georgia Moore

Georgia started our walk at the top of Saxondale Drive, explaining that this was the old site of Saxondale Mental Hospital, built in 1902, referred to as a “lunatic asylum”. All the stories she was about to tell us are genuine experiences that she would be reading from her Ghost Walk book. It’s now a mix of old and new properties with a number of haunted places. At the original top of Henson Lane (former route to the main entrance) is a building called ‘top Lodge’, which previously housed staff, but is the residence of our first story for Susan. The scene was set by a former resident named Caroline who had seen a table, with a cloth and bread knife on it that was positioned between the dining room and the kitchen, but was not theirs and disappeared, but at a later time the ghost of a girl (thought to be about 13) with long straight hair, appeared through a door. Her daughter, Marianne became interested and wanted to try a Ouija board with her friend Sophie, which they did. But when Susan enquired about the results, Marianne said it was no good as it spelled out: ELLA, but Susan explained that was an old-fashioned girl’s name. When Marianne went upstairs to the bathroom, she was violently pushed over (not tripped!), so Susan decided to ‘talk’ to Ella and warned her not to harm her family.  This seemed to work although a cross stitch pattern disappeared, but mysteriously returned when Susan asked Ella for it back? Where is Ella now?

The Airman’s story- on 4th October in 1939 at 11.15 an Avis Avro RAF flight from Scampton, crashed in a field on the left when coming up Saxondale Drive. Two airman, Brian Lesley Gordon Harper and Frank Leo McGurk were both killed. Although their graves are in Lincoln a memorial was established planting 5 trees in a crucifix form. At a later date, Chris Lee of the Old Farm House adjacent to the field, when playing as a child reported to his Mum seeing two men suspended in a tree, hanging from parachutes!

Lunatic derives its name from ‘moon’, as it was thought that the people’s insanity related to the different phases of the moon. Such an Asylum was established in Sneinton in 1808, specifically for paupers and a second one was set up in Mapperley as the demand rose, followed by Radcliffe Mental Hospital (Notts War Hospital). A ‘shell shocked’ manic depressive called ‘Private Whirldman ?‘ died in there in 1919, aged 29.

Some of the old hospital buildings have been modernised into homes, but the builders left many of the ‘ward walls’, but when you consider what some of the inmates suffered: padded cells, straight jackets, electric shock treatment, chained up, there must be some tales to be experienced!

Richard’s story- he lived in the ‘Tower House’ and often on the middle floor felt he was not alone and had one experience when seated oh the sofa with his wife, when she said “stop poking me!”, which he wasn’t. Also on one occasion when sleeping in the spare room, he heard a loud bellowing “ Let me go!”, accompanied by chains dragging.

Children’s story – Marianne, Sophie and brother Jack witnessed an apparition of a woman holding a young baby and later the same story was told by Chris Doyle and Joe (from the farm).  How did they know it was a ghost, they said it came out of a ‘whirlwind’

Finally, whilst we stood outside the old church, which had no burial ground (bodies were returned home or sent to Radcliffe) Georgia related a story of David Graham, a local photographer in the 1980’s, who took some photographs outside and inside the church, which when he developed them later, showed a ghost like figure playing the church organ. Doug insisted that I make reference to the fact that whilst Georgia was telling us the children’s story, we did experience increased wind activity (whirlwind!?)

President David thanked Georgia and her friend Joanne, for a very interesting walk and as she emphasised, they are true stories, but the recipients can make up their own minds! We all applauded their efforts on what was a dark, drizzly evening in the cold.

Once back at Ashmores we had the usual excellent meal followed by a Steve C mixed quiz, one musical one with 24 albums and artists to define (obviously set up for Rob, who was the only one who could afford albums in the ‘good old days’!) and the other a general knowledge quiz, but to Steve’s high standards. So Rob’s table won with 46 points and the other two tables languishing below 20, but the prize chocolates were shared as usual.                           AR

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