25th Nov, 2020

Warwickshire writer explores mysteries of some of the county's most historical sites

A WRITER with a fascination for the paranormal has written a book about Warwickshire landmarks steeped in spooky mystery.

A Warwick resident – whose pen name is C.S Skillman – has complied ‘Paranormal Warwickshire’ which explores historical sites across the county and first person accounts of spooky goings-on.

The author said she was drawn to places whose history is marred with tragedy and where she felt a strong atmosphere or ‘spiritual resonance’.

The book also includes first person accounts, she believes are key to a more impacting story.

She said: “I love listening to people’s stories of strange encounters they have had, and the more spontaneous these experiences are, the better.

“The key to a good ghost story is the emotional and psychological effect the paranormal events have on the people experiencing them, as well as upon those who read their accounts.

“I approach paranormal tales with a blend of healthy scepticism and an open mind. As famous ghost story writer MR James said, “I answer that I am prepared to consider evidence and accept it if it satisfies me.”

The book delves into hundreds of accounts from chilling tales of ghostly black dogs in Ettington Park Hotel and unexplained smells in Leamington’s merchant’s houses to murderous myths in Rugby’s historical heart.

Stratford district’s Ettington Park Hotel is notorious for its legendary apparitions including a governess known as Lady Emma, and a man in 17th century clothing and his canine companion.

In the book, a guest shares his experience of seeing Lady Emma through his window making her way hastily down a corridor in the adjacent part of the building, before noticing a pair of feet in the gap under his door. He opened it to face a lady in a white cap and long grey dress who seemed ‘terribly distressed’. Frightened, he slammed the door shut. It is believed the lady is looking for two children said to have drowned in the nearby River Stour.

Meanwhile, among the 1,000-year history of Guy’s Cliffe house in Warwick, is the tragic tale of a woman who threw herself from a balcony – an event which has since repeated itself according to the account of one horrified witness.

In Leamington, the author shares tales of ghostly trespassers causing disruption at Leamington Station and a presence, evidenced by snarling cats and fleeting notes of perfume, blocking the sale of a house in Leamington Terrace.

Further north, Rugby’s history is fraught with tales of murder and tragedy including that of William Gosse who killed his daughter in a fit of rage in the late 19th century. Following a trial at the Crown pub, William was judged insane and sentenced to life imprisonment. Still today, it is claimed wailing and screams can be heard from the home in Castle Street, as well as shadows in the windows, usually at around 8am, the time of the murder.

According to the accounts, Rugby Theatre is another hotbed for paranormal intrigue. It’s said a former usherette still insists on leading people to their seats, and a keen thespian who met his end after falling from a balcony continues to occupy his favourite seat.

The book can be pre-ordered at www.amberley-books.com before its release on November 15.

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