Swindon AdvertiserMeet the man who delves into Swindon’s spirit world (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Meet the man who delves into Swindon’s spirit world

Swindon Advertiser: Dave Wood Dave Wood

A SWINDON ghost walk to tie in with The Woman in Black was cancelled – so the organiser took the Adver on one instead.

The town may not be able to muster a spectre quite as frightening as the vengeful spirit currenty portrayed on the Wyvern Theatre’s stage, but we have our share of spookiness.

It ranges from hauntings in the theatre itself to flitting black figures in a car park, and from a dead soldier in the bowels of the Town Hall to a ghostly little boy in a pub that once stood on the site of the Brunel Centre.

By day Dave is a political campaign officer and LibDem councillor for the Eastcott ward, but in his spare time he’s a director of Paranormal Site Investigations (PSI), a group which probes alleged supernatural phenomena. Dave himself is an avowed sceptic, believing all such phenomena have rational explanations, but PSI has gathered countless accounts of hauntings.

The town centre ghost walk – the first of its kind – had been planned for Saturday and organised in conjunction with local theatre group TS Theatre Productions, but was cancelled due to what Wyvern bosses described as unforeseen circumstances.

“A lot of phenomena tend toward particular types of buildings,” said Dave. “Our research suggests that these types of buildings, regardless of the area they’re in, have high concentrations.

“I’ve never come across a theatre that didn’t have at least one ghost, perhaps because of the superstition of actors. At the Wyvern people would complain of the goods lift activating by itself. There was a report from the bar of a glass flying from a shelf for no reason.

“Running footsteps have been heard in the admin area and we’ve never come across a reason for them. A former theatre manager said he was sitting quietly in the auditorium and saw black figures moving around the stage, although he was nodding off and that might have been a factor.”

A stone’s throw from the theatre is the former ABC and Cannon cinema where Dave saw Ghostbusters as a child and became interested in supernatural phenomena, and which is now the Savoy pub. The building was said to be haunted by the unquiet spirit of a projectionist called George, whose mischief included creeping up behind at least one staff member.

Dave said: “An employee of the cinema was sitting in the auditorium. She turned around and a man was standing behind her seat. They looked at each other for a few seconds and she ran off, and when she came back he was nowhere to be seen.”

Nearby is the Town Hall, and Dave discovered an account of a ghost in a book dated 1885. “It was just a brief report about a set of steps under the building and the ghost of a soldier who used to hang around there.”

Another Victorian ghost was supposedly that of a lonely little boy who was seen at the New Inn pub, which stood on part of the site now occupied by the Brunel Centre.

Not even the sterile strip-lit environment of the Spring Gardens car park is free of phenomena.

Dave said: “Some people who worked for the council or the Job Centre reported being bumped into by people walking fast and too close to them, but on turning round nobody was to be seen anywhere. There were also reports of dark figures on several floors, just flitting about.”

Comments (9)

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9:42am Tue 8 Jan 13

PJC says...

I remember 'Fred' at Woolworths. There were sounds upstairs in the warehouse when there was no-one there. Things would go missing on the shop floor, then be there a minute later and I even saw him once, although like a dark shape. Not a scary presence though, so I used to just say, "Oh, hello Fred!" The back stairs felt a bit odd too....
I remember 'Fred' at Woolworths. There were sounds upstairs in the warehouse when there was no-one there. Things would go missing on the shop floor, then be there a minute later and I even saw him once, although like a dark shape. Not a scary presence though, so I used to just say, "Oh, hello Fred!" The back stairs felt a bit odd too.... PJC
  • Score: 0

11:03am Tue 8 Jan 13

Billy Jo says...

What a load of old tosh. Not one shred of proof or evidence.
What a load of old tosh. Not one shred of proof or evidence. Billy Jo
  • Score: 0

11:19am Tue 8 Jan 13

twasadawf says...

A lot of lib-dems live in the spirit world it's like virtual reality to them where u can think your in power but not really
A lot of lib-dems live in the spirit world it's like virtual reality to them where u can think your in power but not really twasadawf
  • Score: 0

12:17pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Street1234 says...

Oh I remember Fred. I worked in the old restaurant at Woolies. A few times we’d be washing up and heard someone walking behind the serving area. When we looked out there would be no one there. We used to do the same and say ‘Hello Fred’
Oh I remember Fred. I worked in the old restaurant at Woolies. A few times we’d be washing up and heard someone walking behind the serving area. When we looked out there would be no one there. We used to do the same and say ‘Hello Fred’ Street1234
  • Score: 0

1:46pm Tue 8 Jan 13

house on the hill says...

Amazing what medication can do these days!!! And the picture is scary enough in itself!!!
Amazing what medication can do these days!!! And the picture is scary enough in itself!!! house on the hill
  • Score: 0

5:15pm Tue 8 Jan 13

PJC says...

Billy Jo wrote:
What a load of old tosh. Not one shred of proof or evidence.
Er, it does say in the piece that Mr. Wood is a sceptic & is looking for a rational explanation for such phenomena.
[quote][p][bold]Billy Jo[/bold] wrote: What a load of old tosh. Not one shred of proof or evidence.[/p][/quote]Er, it does say in the piece that Mr. Wood is a sceptic & is looking for a rational explanation for such phenomena. PJC
  • Score: 0

5:18pm Tue 8 Jan 13

PJC says...

Billy Jo wrote:
What a load of old tosh. Not one shred of proof or evidence.
As for Fred, I never claimed it was a 'ghost', but something was happening that I can't explain, that may have had a perfectly reasonable scientific explanation. What's wrong with trying to find out?
[quote][p][bold]Billy Jo[/bold] wrote: What a load of old tosh. Not one shred of proof or evidence.[/p][/quote]As for Fred, I never claimed it was a 'ghost', but something was happening that I can't explain, that may have had a perfectly reasonable scientific explanation. What's wrong with trying to find out? PJC
  • Score: 0

5:24pm Tue 8 Jan 13

MrAngry says...

If he doesn't get out of the road, he will be investigating the afterlife from the other side.
If he doesn't get out of the road, he will be investigating the afterlife from the other side. MrAngry
  • Score: 0

10:57pm Tue 8 Jan 13

swindonrob says...

As the cinema employee who witnessed the ghost, I can confirm it's existence! I would also like to point-out I'm male and not female as stated in the article! :o) The name of George was merely given to the ghost by another member of staff and does not suggest the ghost is anyone truly called George!! I have personally been through all reports and news articles on the cinema from before it was built when the land was occupied by The Regent Hotel and there are no reports of any accidents or deaths as have been suggested (most popular being someone fell through the ceiling - this happened in another cinema in the town). I witnessed the ghost on many occasions as have other staff since the 1940's and builders involved in the renovation and opening of the Wetherspoons bar. For all you believers and non-believers, the Savoy ghost exists! I was able to set my watch by it's timely comings and goings in the projection room! I understand the Woolworth's ghost dates back to when an old cinema occupied that plot and ex-cinema staff still alive experienced the Woolies ghost
As the cinema employee who witnessed the ghost, I can confirm it's existence! I would also like to point-out I'm male and not female as stated in the article! :o) The name of George was merely given to the ghost by another member of staff and does not suggest the ghost is anyone truly called George!! I have personally been through all reports and news articles on the cinema from before it was built when the land was occupied by The Regent Hotel and there are no reports of any accidents or deaths as have been suggested (most popular being someone fell through the ceiling - this happened in another cinema in the town). I witnessed the ghost on many occasions as have other staff since the 1940's and builders involved in the renovation and opening of the Wetherspoons bar. For all you believers and non-believers, the Savoy ghost exists! I was able to set my watch by it's timely comings and goings in the projection room! I understand the Woolworth's ghost dates back to when an old cinema occupied that plot and ex-cinema staff still alive experienced the Woolies ghost swindonrob
  • Score: 0

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