Over twenty-five years ago I made a decision to move with a job from the town I grew up in to the City of Coventry. Whilst the job would end up being my first Team Leader role, the location was something different from what I have been used to in my home town of Stevenage. In fact it was a little what I imagined going away for University may be like, as that was an experience I never had.
Coventry and the surrounding areas were of course rife with stories of hauntings; all of which began to spark my personal interest in the paranormal once again. It had been a little dormant through my late teens, as ‘life’ had taken centre stage.
However, in some strange twist of fate perhaps, I began a relationship with a local girl. Whilst things started well they were not to last; something I always wondered about as they seem to be affected by my building interest in her mothers hobbies. These were of course related to many things paranormal; and a particular local haunted Abbey.
What has been a strange consistency or maybe even one of Jung’s synchronicities; is how my life often steers me back towards the subject that has become my passion, psychical research. Even at the times when I have walked totally away, I often end up back involved again as if its my natural path to follow.
So, when I recently conducted one of my usual internet searches for articles, pictures, videos, papers and more relating to the paranormal I quickly spotted a reoccurring theme regarding Coventry. Something which certainly caught my eye due to my time living in Coventry during my early 20’s; but also as I have an interest in the paranormal.
As I have lived in Coventry and since I like a good ghost story as much as the next paranormal enthusiast; I decided to recount to you some of the stories and add some of my own opinion into the mix. If you have your own stories that relate to these haunted locations or an opinion, please feel free to share in the comments below? Lets get a discussion going shall we?
Our first location is also the one that my ex-girlfriends mum talked about the most; which is of course Coombe Abbey. I have had the absolute pleasure of visiting Coombe Abbey Hotel in more recent years and the location certainly provides everything you would expect from a potentially haunted location.
Often the reports of paranormal happenings relate to classic poltergeist activity; slamming doors, flying objects, that sort of things. However, there are said to have been several sightings of a Monk apparition. This being said to be Abbott Geoffrey who was possibly murdered in 1345. Whilst I have not personally investigated or researched this location in detail I obviously cannot confirm the information about said Monk.
However, Abbott Geoffrey is not the only presumed spirit of Coombe Abbey. There is also the story of the Romany girl called Matilda, that is often found haunting the area near the stables. After being poorly treated by the Craven family in the nineteenth century; it is said she cursed them before dying during childbirth. Apparently they suffered terrible luck after this curse was bestowed upon them.
There is also said to be a horseman and a Victorian woman who stand beside the road.
Ettington Park Hotel
Whilst this Gothic Revival mansion is more Stratford-upon-Avon way than Coventry, its still prtetty close. The reason I mention this particular location is due to the claim of the hotel being ‘plagued by dozens of spirits.’
Its residence of a more supernatural origin appear to cover; monks, soldiers, Victorian men with dogs and even the homes former governess, Lady Emma. It’s not surprising that it featured in the 1963 film; ‘The Haunting’ and why it shares that ever growing title of one of the most haunted hotels in Britain. There really needs to be a better way of determining such a title – have I mentioned my haunted microwave?
The article I found this in also states; “Ettington Park Hotel was previously a nursing home and a prisoner of war camp, which goes towards explaining it’s rich paranormal history.” It probably does not and should not in reality, but lets discuss that later.
The Holbrooks Poltergeist Case
I could not discuss haunted Coventry without mentioning a very, very angry poltergeist called Jim. A case that the late Derek Acorah looked into according to online articles.
Following the death of their healthy dog, after a fall down the stairs, the family set up a camera to capture what was happening.
The video was said to capture poltergeist activity in the form of moving chairs and wardrobe doors. I remember watching it at the time and being a touch sceptical myself. After all, if this is real activity captured on video, then as always the conditions are not perfect. Which means there is obviously room for us to question its authenticity.
Saint Marys Guildhall
Personally I am a big fan of an old Guildhall, as it was a strange event in Salisbury Guildhall that got me hooked on overnight Ghost Hunts. There is also something about such a building that is ever present in its history and obviously its ghost stories.
According to my source article, a Telegraph photographer spotted a strange emerald mass floating near the Irish President Michael Higgins, back in 2014. However, he had not seen this whilst he took the photograph.
The locations most well known ghost is said to be a hooded monk. The same monk was said to have been photographed over thirty years ago during a meeting of the Coventry Freemasons. Once again, similar to the 2014 event, no one remembers the hooded monk being in the room at the time.
The final interesting point to make here regarding the Guildhall that may source articles have highlighted in the emotional impact of the room, known locally as the ‘drapers room.’ It seems that some people visiting this room have been overcome by feelings of sadness. Some have even cried for what seems like no reason.
Counting the Ghosts
Looking back over those four locations and their reported hauntings, perhaps its worth simply covering what we may know.
From Coombe Abbey we have the apparition of a monk possibly Abbott Geoffrey. We also have the Romany girl Matilda; as well as a Victorian woman and horseman. All of which are said to have been seen, which gives us four potential apparitions.
Ettington Park Hotel provides at least four more possible apparitions in the shape of a monk, a soldier, a Victorian man with a dog and the former governess, Lady Emma. Whilst the location advocates many more the source article fails to provide specify.
That is eight possible reported apparitions in the Coventry area.
Whilst the Holbrooks case does provide our first poltergeist case, I am reminded of the classic poltergeist activity at Coombe Abbey. Suggesting perhaps that we could also state that we have two poltergeist cases. Of course I suggest this very loosely as we have little supporting evidence at this time.
The photographs from Saint Marys Guildhall suggest the possibility of a ghostly monk in resident. However, the issue I have with this is that no one has said they have seen the monk. Strange photographs are simply attributed to the monk in question. Whilst no one recalls the presence of a monk, the memory is far from perfect. It is completely possible that this is simply a mis-remembered event. The more recent photographs may have a more logical technical explanation. It’s less likely to be a monk spirit caught on camera.
More interesting is possibly the ‘drapes room’ causing people to have emotional responses. The obvious question here being why would it have such an impact. Without experiencing the room for myself it is difficult to ascertain the cause. Guessing of course, the cause could be related to the rooms decorations or simply coincidence.
Whilst eight apparitions, two poltergeists and an emotional room may sound like a weird Christmas song for paranormal enthusiasts; its more like a little example of the potential ghost stories the the Coventry area has to offer.
Sometimes I enjoy comparing the reported ghost stories of a particular area as they provide an interesting insight into that areas paranormal belief. One obvious commonality in the Coventry area is the monks swiftly followed by the Victorian man and woman. It is something that inspires further research to dig out that primary case to see what may have truly driven the reports. Have people actually been seeing apparitions of monks or is it just interpretation of random information?
One thing is certain, Coventry certainly has its fair share of apparition sightings and poltergeist claims. Maybe one day I will return to the Coventry to investigate some of these hauntings personally.