OK, back to the ‘ Doncaster Poltergeist’ — and the Daily Mail coverage this time
Gothic castles, deserted mansions, ivy-covered old houses – all of them perfect haunts for a ghost.
But how about something as modern and mundane as a tyre depot in sensible South Yorkshire?
According to owner Nick White, a supernatural visitor has been running riot at his garage, which was originally a chapel and also served as a makeshift mortuary during the Second World War.
So reads the Daily Mail’s opening paragraph on the current case we are looking at. We learn one new fact — the location was also a chapel in the past. I was able to locate the name, address (Central Doncaster) and a few positive reviews – it’s a good garage, I doubt they need to advertise – for the company – interestingly neither the Express or the Mail chose to directly reveal this information.
The uninvited guest has thrown stones and coins at staff, and stacked up piles of tyres and moved them around the building while it was locked up overnight.
Hey, we are back on very familair territory – good old fashioned stone throwing, reported throughout history. One wonders if a polt whatever that may be can differentiate between a stone and a coin? It’s interesting that the Express piece did not mention this classic phenomena in their write up…
The ghostly figure, which materialised from time to time dressed in the style of the 1940s, is said to have first made its presence felt in 2003 but vanished (so to speak) after Mr White took over the business three years ago.
OK, so now we have new and interesting information. The ghost was seen before – nothing here suggests that the apparition has been seen since the 2003 outbreak — and after Nick White takes over, he seemingly a sensible kind of bloke, it all stops. Did that earlier phase which appears to be associated with apparitions – well one apparition of a chap in “1940’s” clothing — feature similar physical phenomena of objects moving and being thrown? Actually, yes it did.Yet the new phase seems fairly low key in comparison…
The obvious thing to do is to link the two episodes as one “haunting” — but anyone who has read my JSPR piece The Poverty of Theory: Some Notes On Investigation of Spontaneous Cases will understand why I hesitate to do so. In this case I think they may well be linked – but not as directly as may at first appear. I will explain my thinking on this in a later piece…
Now, however, the odd goings on have started again, with pre-war coins turning up mysteriously on the garage floor in two strange incidents a month apart. Mr White found the first of the old penny pieces, dated 1936 and bearing the image of George VI, when he arrived for work one day in February. The second copper coin, dated 1938, was lying in almost the same spot when Mr White, 35, and one of his mechanics turned up at the depot in Doncaster last week.
OK, I think I had best try to talk to Mr White. Perhaps I have the wrong end of the stick: from this it sounds like the coin incidents are the only things that have happened, and these are interpreted as spooky because of the 2003 episode. Clearly I need to find out more about the earlier incident – in case you have not gathered by now my modus operandi is to read each news story and comment in succession, trying to get as much information as possible, then work out a theory based on the reported facts and follow it up with phone calls and emails. Reading the stories one at a time produces an odd effect of me misinterpreting – I had assumed the tyres moving and coins pelting staff were recent events, clearly not – but I find it useful as I develop an analysis methodologically, without trying to piece it all together too quickly…
Mr White said: ‘I took all the strange stories with a big pinch of salt when I bought the place. But I wouldn’t like to say it’s not true any more. There’s no logical explanation for the two old pennies turning up like they did. I wish there was. ‘It’s a little bit scary knowing that there’s something happening while the place is locked up at night.’ Previous owner Nigel Lee once called in a clergyman to perform an exorcism.
We get a picture of a sensible straight forward bloke here. I wonder who the other mechanic was, and whether he worked for Nigel Lee, the previous owner? I doubt there was an “exorcism” as such: a blessing seems more likely. AGain all these events will be reported in the press of the time, I just need to find the stories.
Mr White added: ‘Nigel told me all about the tyres being moved around when the place was locked up at night and customers witnessing small change and stones coming out of nowhere and flying here and there.
Interesting. Well I will comment fully tonight!
‘It’s all right being sceptical about these things, but I’m the owner of two very old pennies now, and I’d love to know where they came from.’
Part four to follow!