Ghost hunt No: 22. Saturday 28th January
Written by Bob
Organisation: Saltings-on-Sea Ghostbusters
Group: Kirsty, Serena, Bob, Magister, Andy2
Equipment: K2 Meter (‘ghost meter’) for detecting EMFs (electromagnetic fields that may indicate the presence of entities); and Bob’s mobile phone for recording EVP (electronic voice phenomena not audible to the naked ear, but that may be picked-up on recording devices.
Time of commencement: 20:00 hours
Place: The West cliff, Saltings-on-Sea
We commenced this Walkabout in Screaming Alley, the passage that leads past the old monastery to the edge of the West cliff – so-called because a carriage and horses are said to have gone over the cliff here in 1817, though this is not proven. The group agreed to listen out for the screams of the horses however, supposed to be heard on windy nights.
We were ten minutes late setting out, owing to Serena not being able to do up her zip, and Magister not being able to work the K2 Meter.
These issues were resolved with Kirsty’s help. Kirsty switched the K2 meter on, an operation not previously attempted, and did up Serena’s zip for her.
Kirsty furthermore suggested sotto voce that people should come to Walkabouts properly prepared, with the right gear. This remark was unfortunately heard by Serena and not taken in the best of spirits.
Bob observed that personal comments were strictly forbidden as being irrelevant to the scientific nature of the Walkabout.
The group proceeded down Screaming Alley towards the cliff-top. No equine screams were noted.
As we passed what used to be the small Victorian pavilion, now replaced by a toilet block, Serena was sensing a ‘general strange atmosphere’, as she had done on previous occasions here, but couldn’t be more specific. Kirsty asked why, in that case, she would mention it.
Bob changed the subject to the weather.
The group agreed it was cold and dark, and getting darker the further we moved away from the town and towards the cliff-top as there are no street lights in the vicinity.
Several light anomalies appeared to be manifesting above the group, ie orbs. To be fair, these are more likely to have been moisture as it was a damp evening.
Kirsty picked-up on a scruffy woman who had been following us down since the toilet block. She was getting the date ‘1751’ and the words ‘Madam Genever.’
As we turned onto the cliff-top, Kirsty indicated that this woman was no longer present.
On the promenade, in front of the monastery, Bob heard what sounded like a deep growl.
After leaving behind the monastery, Serena remarked that the ‘general strange atmosphere’ she had been sensing had now ceased, as usual on passing that particular spot.
Kirsty disagreed and stated that the atmosphere was still persisting. A short argument ensued as to who was the more sensitive. Bob intervened and said they both were.
We descended down ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ – the steps from the cliff-top to harbour.
On the first corner landing, Magister was experiencing an all-over tingling sensation as though he was vibrating. He reported hearing a strange whistling and booming below, like an enormous otherworldly entity or a giant whale. Bob pointed out it was the wind sounding in the ships’ rigging.
The clanking and rattling of the yacht poles were further in evidence as we descended.
Bob found some mains cables in a metal conduit but a scan with the K2 Meter failed to reveal any EMFs (electromagnetic fields.)
Magister stated that the tingling sensation had now ceased.
We continued down the steps to the harbour and the Sailors’ Church, located to the left. Built in 1878 for the crews of the sailing smacks who fished out of the town, it also provided emergency space for shipwrecked sailors to shelter and sleep.
The door stood wide open as always, with its two flags flapping above, so we entered. The place remained in darkness as we were unable to locate the light switches.
Bob used his torch to play round the empty pews and shadowed corners.
Magister said the wind booming in the rafters sounded like a hollow laugh.
The K2 Meter registered several small readings but these could have been associated with electrics in the close vicinity?
The group agreed that sailors had probably been reluctant to linger in the church, hence leaving little paranormal activity, but Serena said she saw one of the big old model ships at the back move.
Kirsty thought she could smell tobacco.
The group agreed that the cuttlefish and octopus figures in the stained glass windows were a bit spooky in the dark. It was noted that their tentacles seemed to wriggle but this was probably an effect from Bob’s torch, which was flickering slightly.
The group left the church hurriedly.
Back outside in the harbour, Serena spotted four round floating objects in the water she thought might be ghostly heads. Bob suggested they were seals or maybe selkies. Kirsty pointed out they were in fact buoys.
As we left the church vicinity and went past the boat repair yards, Magister picked-up on a woman who had been attacked by a sailor.
Serena and Bob both remarked that this particular area had a bad feeling about it.
The lights on a nearby yacht went out.
Kirsty asked-out, there was no apparent response but Magister did get a name (name withheld from this report) whom he suspected had been the attack victim.
The group made its way through the harbour without further event and proceeded along the Undercliff, stopping at the base of the disused Edwardian lift (Grade 11 Listing status) with its blue glass sash windows and dome (the blue was not really in evidence in the dark.)
Kirsty sensed that someone had fallen down the lift shaft in the past, probably a man, there was also a woman present.
The group agreed that it was very black and raw, and that the wind would cut you in two, but this is usual on a January evening on the seafront. Bob wished he had worn his thermal vest after all, discarded before departure for fear of being thought a wuss.
Serena felt upset and thought she heard several footsteps.
Strange unidentifiable noises made themselves heard, but this proved to be Bob’s mobile going off. Kirsty mentioned that this should be switched off. Bob mentioned that he was using it to conduct an EVP session to pick-up on the voices of any spirits in the vicinity who might wish to address us.
We continued along the Undercliff.
Serena suspected the footsteps she had heard were due to movement behind The Lookout café, but was unsure if this was the dustbin lids rattling in the wind.
We proceeded towards the tunnel section of the Undercliff, that leads from the beach back up to the cliff-side.
In the tunnel, the group could distinctly hear hoarse breathing. This was swiftly traced to Serena. Kirsty observed that people joining Walkabouts should consider their general fitness. Serena took strong objection to this comment. Further remarks were exchanged.
Bob requested silence in the interests of the investigation.
An EVP session was commenced using Bob’s mobile to record any sounds. Serena thought she heard a croaky male voice saying, ‘Queen Victoria was here,’ and then laughing, but playback of this recording revealed nothing unusual.
Kirsty picked-up on two men named ‘Harry’ and ‘Stephen’. She felt these were old men, who travelled regularly up and down the tunnel, one was wearing a hat similar to a flat-cap.
Serena sensed a tall, dark smuggler named ‘Rodrigo’ who used to come over from Spain and sell silks and spices to the women of the town. He wore no hat but had a raven ponytail and silver earrings. She said she was ‘pretty convinced’ she had known ‘Rodrigo’ in a previous life.
A large thud was heard, which seemed to come from further down the Undercliff, it sounded similar to a brick landing on concrete.
Despite looking hard in every direction, there was no sign of what it may have been.
Kirsty felt these two men ‘Harry’ and ‘Stephen’ were aged 60 – 65 and she got the impression they were carrying or lifting something heavy.
She sensed that ‘Harry’ was the eldest.
Serena said she saw ‘Rodrigo’ carrying a sack of gold doubloons down the tunnel. She added that he was an expert dueller, and never travelled without his sword.
Kirsty asked-out. She felt ‘Harry’ had a beard.
Magister was picking-up on two horses that had been ridden hard up the tunnel, but he could only ‘see’ part of them as their legs were below the ground (as the ground level has probably changed since their time).
Bob was getting a Jeep-type vehicle, moving fast, but this was from more recent times. He kept getting the word ‘contraband.’ No one else detected this.
Serena felt upset and sensed it was connected to an accident near here where ‘Rodrigo’s’ horse had stumbled as he was galloping back to his ship one night.
Most of the group agreed that the temperature had just significantly dropped.
Magister witnessed a flash of light (no torches or cameras were in use at this time).
Kirsty sensed that the aforementioned two men ‘Harry’ and ‘Stephen’ had an old wooden lifeboat located nearby, which they may have used for illegal purposes.
Serena suggested Kirsty let ‘Harry’ and ‘Stephen’ go, as they were plainly up to no good and there was no room for dubious entities on this Walkabout. She added that ‘Rodrigo’ sailed in a swift galleon, not an old fishing boat, and invariably redistributed his gains to the poor.
Kirsty suggested that ‘Rodrigo’ was a figment of Serena’s imagination. Serena pretended not to hear.
We moved out of the tunnel and continued up the cliff-side path.
Bob remained behind to take a photo of the tunnel and got the distinct feeling that he was not alone.
As he turned and ran he tripped and fell heavily, grazing his knee. Serena kindly lent him her hanky to put on his bleeding wound.
As we continued to pursue the winding path back up the cliff, we all felt we were being followed.
The sound of the sea was in evidence below.
Halfway up, when we paused for a breather, the party still felt it was being surveilled.
Bob’s torch lost power.
Kirsty said he should have changed the batteries after last time. Bob thought it best to make no answer to this and to keep silent on the grounds of neutrality, as it could have been a manifestation.
We completed the last part of the ascent in almost total darkness.
The sea was very black below.
Back up on the cliff-top, Serena got a strong urge to return to the tunnel, as if she was being beckoned down again by the spirit of ‘Rodrigo’ wanting to tell her something. Kirsty was firm that she needed to resist this influence. Serena was disinclined to take her advice.
We proceeded back along the cliff-top. The wind had now risen further and was in our faces. Andy2 complained he could not keep his hood on. We had forgotten he was there as this was his only contribution to the evening.
An eerie sobbing made itself heard on the wind. This proved once more to be Serena who had fallen 150 yards approx behind us and was struggling to catch up. She said that ‘Rodrigo’ would never have left her behind like this.
The group waited for her.
Serena rejoined us in some distress.
Kirsty and Serena made up their differences, hugging each other.
We returned to our point of origin, Screaming Alley.
Nothing further to report.
The group agreed to retire to The Port and Storm to discuss the night’s proceedings over a few jars.
End of Walkabout.
Fiona Vigo Marshall‘s short stories and poems have been published in a variety of outlets. She is the author of two novels, Find Me Falling, 2019, and The House of Marvellous Books, 2022, both published by Fairlight Books, Oxford. The House of Marvellous Books will be available in paperback in May 2023.