A VICTORIAN transcript of a seance held at Warwick Castle has been uncovered at Warwickshire County Record Office.
The document was found in a sealed enveloped stuffed between bundles of receipts and bills belonging to 4th Countess of Warwick Anne Greville, who was born in 1829.
Anne’s papers, which have been in the care of the record office since 1978, have never been closely examined since her death over a century ago in 1903.
The two documents detail conversations the countess had with spirits who she believed inhabited her famous home.
One spirit, a former servant Edward Jameson, claims to have stolen some item from the family and hidden it in a room of the castle.
One of the papers, which is written using the so-called ‘spirit’ or ‘automatic writing’ technique, begins with the unsettling sentences – “Leave all to the future research. The Power at work is not that of the mortals in the Castle of here. The Spirit of me called Edward Jameson is one of these who now haunt the place…”.
The documents make it clear Anne was disturbed by the noises she was hearing in the castle. The seances she held,
probably at some point during the 1870s or 80s, were an attempt to stop the spirits from bothering her family.
The conservations with the spirits and a medium, seemingly held in various domestic rooms which are now offices belonging to
the general manager, came to an alarmingly abrupt end in the transcript for reasons unknown.
Adam Busiakiewicz, a PhD student from Warwick University who is researching Anne’s life and artistic achievements, said,
“I had read from other sources that Anne was interested in ghosts, but, I have never come across a document quite like this
before. It is obvious from the way that it was hidden in a sealed envelope that it wasn’t meant to be found. They are very
rare and intriguing.”
Benjamin Earl, web editor for the Our Warwickshire history website, was fascinated to learn of the find.
He said: “The story is one that can’t fail to absorb – some mysterious documents, an ancient castle, strange noises,
and a secret waiting to be given up.
“The sharing of histories and stories such as this is exactly what Our Warwickshire is about as it enables people to engage with the past, other people, and find out new things. It shows that history, and Warwickshire County Record Office, never ceases to surprise in what it turns up.”
Visit www.ourwarwickshire.org.uk for the full transcript of the letters.