ST. AUGUSTINES CHURCH, RUGELEY, STAFFS
GHOST IN CHURCHYARD
One evening in the summer of 1996 a man was walking through St. Augustine’s churchyard, Rugeley. This is the church situated across the road from The Old Chancel. It was dark. Looking to the one side he was shocked to see two small girls kneeling on the ground. He approached them and saw that they were tending a headstone. He noticed immediately that they were dressed in old-fashioned clothing. As he realised they were ghosts the youngsters disappeared.
He hurried home in quite a state and told his family about the sightings. After a restless night he, along with two other members of his family, re-visited the churchyard and at the spot where he saw the two small ghosts he discovered the headstone of two young girls who had died last century.
I was approached by someone else not long after hearing the above story; they told me that they had experienced a similar happening.
I puzzled about this account for some time. I wondered why the two should tend their own memorial. Then I came to the conclusion that perhaps the two were older sisters or cousins from the same family who had tended the grave in their own lifetime and had returned on a special anniversary.
On his way to Lichfield one day Peter (who contacted me in the late 1990’s) saw an old lady making her way through a field gate. It was a snowy day, so Peter decided to offer her a lift. He stopped his car and made his way to the field. The old lady had vanished. Looking across the field he could see no sign of her, not even any footprints, he knew then that he had seen a ghost.
Since writing this story years ago I have discovered that cottages had stood where the old lady crossed the road. Boats often moored and unloaded coal and other goods at the spot where she seemingly disappeared.
A local taxi driver was taking me to Cannock one winter’s morning in the early 1990s; I don’t know how we came to be chatting about ghost stories, but he told me an intriguing experience that occurred when his brother, Frank, was making his way home across Cannock Chase.
Frank and his wife had spent an evening with Tony and his family at Brereton (Near Rugeley). At about 10.30 p.m. they said their goodbyes and commenced the return trip to Walsall. They always took the route across the Chase, as it is fairly traffic-free at that hour of the night.
Just as they were passing the site of the old Brereton rubbish tip at the top of Coalpit Lane, the couple both jumped simultaneously at the sight of a man dressed in a Cavalier costume. The figure was only half-formed! Instinctively, Frank braked very hard as the spirit was immediately in front of the car. As he braked, so the apparition floated towards the verge and disappeared in front of their amazed eyes.
Frank said if Jenny hadn’t been with him, he would honestly not have believed his own eyes. He has never driven along that stretch of road since, preferring, as he says, to face extra traffic rather than the supernatural.
Bill, a colleague of ours, has always had a passionate interest in the supernatural. He has spent many hours on research; knowing my great interest in ghosts, he rang me one afternoon and told me the following fascinating story.
One day in 1996, he went with friends to visit the site of a recently excavated Celtic house. The site is situated high on the Staffordshire Moorlands. At the location, they saw a circle of stones consistent with the way the ancient Celts had built their homes. Bill walked around the site with a lady named Caroline, who Bill says has a wonderful gift of clairvoyance, and on occasions is very fortunate to see glimpses of past times. As they walked around the stones, Caroline suddenly told Bill that she could see a group of people dressed in loincloths and holding weapons. Bill was saddened by the fact that he couldn’t see this. On questioning her later, Caroline told him that the group was dressed in grey loincloths, which Bill interpreted as wolf skins. She also described the weapons. Bill realised that Caroline had seen a Celtic hunting party high on the moorlands that day.
Not having Bill's knowledge of the Celts, I can only agree with what he told me. Obviously for those few moments in time, Caroline entered a time slip and was very fortunate to witness such a sight. Time slips do occur quite frequently; unfortunately, no one has yet found the key to allow us to enter them at will.
Doggy Tales Staffs
From time to time, I look after my son's dog, Beth, an Old English Sheepdog cross-breed. Quite often when everything is quiet of an evening, Beth will suddenly sit up, ears cocked, and look towards the door nearest to where she is lying. Then her head will slowly turn as her eyes follow something or somebody round, until she is looking toward the kitchen door. It is very unnerving to say the least. I never sense as if there is a ghost present when she does this, but I must admit, my skin crawls when the dog reacts in this fashion. When my German Shepherd dog Connie was alive, she would do exactly the same as Beth. Connie was also very sensitive to certain areas and would hesitate to walk past some places when we were out walking, even if the place was deserted.
I am sure that both of the dogs have sensed something. It is well known that animals are extra-perceptive. I have heard numerous stories of dogs reacting in an extraordinary manner to something or other that their owners can’t see. As I always say, just because we can’t see ‘just beyond’, doesn’t mean there is nothing there.
One night (in 2013) I was at home sitting reading in the lounge. My 13 year old dog, Sophie, was lying asleep beside my chair. I did not have the television or radio on. No-one else was downstairs. My husband was asleep in bed. Everywhere was peaceful. It was around 9.30pm, I'd been reading for nearly two hours.
Suddenly for no reason whatsoever Sophie woke up and ran into the dining room -there isn't a door between the lounge and that room. I looked up in surprise wondering what had disturbed her. I could see her tail wagging like mad. I stood up to see why she was doing it. I was startled to see her wagging her tail in front of an armchair. I felt goose bumps up my arms. I blinked and looked again yes she was certainly doing it.
This was the chair her brother favoured more than any other in the weeks he ill before he died. I keep the pillow on it that he lay on. Sophie used to go and check on him when he was lying there.
I wondered if she had been dreaming about it. Was she recalling memories, or did she actually see him? Although, I'm sad that she misses her brother so much I thought it was a beautiful thing to happen. It's a memory I will treasure.
Sophie's brother Boyden, died the 7th July 2013. I have written a few blogs about what has happened since his death.
One morning, I walked through the dining room on the way into the kitchen. I glanced at the chair where my dog Boyden always used to lie. I was astounded to see that there was an indentation in the pillow that he slept on. I’ve kept the chair exactly as it was when he died. It could not possibly have been that my other dog Sophie had been lying on the pillow. She sleeps in the kitchen with the doors closed, so there is no way that she can get into the other rooms.
I’ve wondered about this since it happened and can reach no conclusion other than that it was Boyden’s way of saying, 'I am still around.'
I do say, ‘Good Morning, and Good Night, Boyden, every morning and night as I pass his chair.
Boyden was very much a chair dog. He did not think he should have to lie on the floor. His sister, Sophie, has never once climbed on to a chair.
My husband heard Boyden walking in the kitchen again a few weeks ago. This was after I had gone to bed. It’s strange that he should hear him as he has no belief in the afterlife at all.
Occasionally, when I took Boyden out on his lead, he would be plodding along, (he always plodded) when suddenly for no reason whatsoever he would jump aside. This happened quite regularly, never in the same place. For a long time, I wondered why he did this. One day, it suddenly dawned on me what was happening. I realised that it was probably my dog Connie, returning from the spirit world to push him out of the way. It was her way of saying, ‘Hey, get out of my place.’ Why else would such a placid dog as Boyden suddenly jump to one side?
Connie, was a beautiful black German Shepherd I had her for nine years. The only time she showed any fear was when we passed a coal merchant yard which wasn’t far from where we lived. As soon as we approached the drive that led into it, Connie would start to quake with fear and the hairs on her neck would stand up on end! She was a flat coated Shepherd. No way would my dog cross the drive or walk anywhere near the coal merchant’s yard. I had to cross the road every time we walked that way.
I did some research on the site of the coal merchant, but all I could discover was that it used to be a field. Nothing untoward had ever happened there as far as I know. Connie’s instincts told her there was something not right in that area.
I feel comforted to think that my dogs return and let me know that they are still around.Although I always try and find a logical explanation for any of the disturbances. I really don't think that I am imagining these occurrences.
It had been twelve months to the day that my husband's mother had passed away.
My husband came downstairs yesterday morning and said, 'here's a gift from Mom.' He gave me a small white feather. I was very touched. To me white feathers represent an angel or someone from the spirit world visiting you.
At one time my husband has no real belief in supernatural happenings, he always says, 'I'll believe when I see a ghost.' He does enjoy watching films of ghostly happenings and listens to chat shows (not many of those around at the moment) on the radio. He does support my interest and will point out articles and such like in papers or record anything on the television to do with the subject. So for him to actually give me the feather and say what he did was a lovely surprise.
I put the feather in a safe place and a little later was more than surprised to see a small white feather in our dog's tail! I was pleased that Mom had visited again. I thought how lucky my husband and dog were.
To my utter surprise a couple of hours later I looked down and on my lap was a beautiful white/light grey feather. Mom had sought me out.
When my husband returned I showed him the feathers his mom had sent. It made him smile and no doubt believe a little more.
It's rare for us to see a feather in the house so to find three in one day is more than surprising.
This morning when we were out walking Sophie, our dog, someone stopped their car. It was a woman driver, she had a male passenger. She smiled and opened her window. Oh, no, I knew what she was going to say. She asked where our other dog was. I had to walk on. I didn't know the lady. My husband stopped to chat to her. I was terribly upset. Where we walk holds so many memories - happy memories yes - but it's so sad that Boyden isn't there to share them with us.
We'd never seen the woman before. My husband stayed to explain to her what had happened. She went on to tell him how she had recently lost a kitten and that one of her other cats was dying. Obviously she wanted to share her news.
It's not a busy place where we walk by any means. We know the majority of people who live in the few apartments.
Strangers had used stop their cars and ask what sort of dogs we had, which was nice then. But for a while at least I can live without strangers asking me where he is.
This is why what happened later is so wonderful.
A lunchtime today something very strange occurred. I decided to clean the front windows in the lounge. (That's unusual yes. I so dislike cleaning windows). My dog Sophie was lying on her bed near my desk. As I cleaned the windows I heard doggy footsteps tap, tap, tapping on the wooden flooring. Without turning round, I said, 'hello Soph, have you come to see me?' Suddenly I heard a familiar doggy groan, and the sound of my dog lying down on the floor. I froze for a second and turned round. Sophie was still lying on her bed in the back room - I can see straight through the house to my computer room. I knew in that instant that my dog Boyden had made his presence known. It was him groaning, no dog that I've ever groaned in the way he did as he collapsed on the floor waiting for me to finish whatever I happened to be doing.
I'm thrilled that he let me know he is near me at all times.
Following on from my last post about the prediction my friend made regarding my dog. After he died I was completely devastated, I found life very difficult indeed. I had difficulty in even picturing his face. From him being beside me constantly for thirteen years now there was is a huge gap. I hoped maybe there would be a sign that he was still here. There was nothing until that is a strange thing occurred.
About two weeks ago I was working in the kitchen. Sophie (Boyden's sister) was lying by the open kitchen door which leads into the dining room. I walked round the kitchen to the small room where my computer is and placed a note on my desk.
When I returned, I noticed Sophie’s tail was wagging fast, it was almost spinning round in circles . I thought that’s strange, and then I noticed that she was looking in to the dining room.
Boyden had made this room his own for the last few weeks of his life. There is a comfy armchair in this room, and he liked lying on it. The room is darker than the rest of the downstairs room; I think he felt more secure in there.
Sophie continued to look into the dining room, and her tail wagged even faster, and she looked as if she was grinning. I wondered if my husband had returned home. I stepped across her and went and looked out of the lounge window. There was no sign of anyone. I called her to me. She ignored me, and kept looking at the chair where Boyden used to lie.
I found it a little disturbing as I couldn’t ‘see’ or even sense his presence. Sophie continued to ignore my calls to her, this is very unusual as normally she is the most obedient of dogs.
All of a sudden she swivelled her head around and looked at the back door which faces the dining room door. And then her tail stopped wagging, she got up and came to me.
It was all quite extraordinary. Did she 'see' Boyden that day? I don't know. She’s never done anything like that before or since.
She does run around the house looking for him. It’s quite heartbreaking. She also stands at the top of the garden looking for him, and when we’re out and about she keeps sniffing the favourite places he visited. I do my best to keep her occupied, but she is quite lost without him
If you haven't already read them please read my other blogs about my dog, and my contact with the spirit world. It will help set the picture for you. 27/7/2013 & 5/8/2013
This is what I mentioned in my last blog
My friend in the spirit world had told me that it wouldn't be long before Boyden, my dog passed to spirit. She mentioned two weeks. I was horrified by this, and knew she was completely wrong. He had perked up and was enjoying life.
21st August 2013
After she had told me this I watched him like a hawk. Boyden was happy for quite a few days. I was delighted. I wondered why my friend had said what she had.
He started to refuse his food. I was very worried and tried him on different foods trying to tempt him. He would eat them, but the next time it was offered he refused. I cooked him fresh vegetables and rice. I raided my cupboards trying to tempt him with new food.
I go to bed early most nights to read, Boyden and Sophie (Boyden's sister) come with me. Boyden found the stairs increasingly difficult, his back legs started to give way. I found it heartbreaking and prayed for a miracle. My husband carried him up and down the stairs.
Boyden had a lot of warts on him some dogs have these when grow older. One had increased in size the vet discovered it was a tick bite, no wonder he was refusing his food. The vet gave him antibiotics, which he took when mixed with tuna. Eventually, he lost all interest in his food and lay sleeping on his favourite chair. It was heartbreaking to see him.
We took him back to vets and asked for a blood test.
The news was devastating. His liver levels were off the scale. There was no hope for my dog. The vet said that they could give him something that might prolong his life for a few days. Otherwise, he would be dead with a day or so. By keeping him alive, I knew I would be prolonging his suffering. I couldn’t do it. My poor dog. I thanked him for being with me for 13 wonderful year. I hugged and kissed him and told him I loved him.
I’d always done my best for him and wonder if I failed him at the end?
He died on the 7th July 2013. Heaven is lucky to have him. I only wish I could rewind time and be with him. His absence is a constant pain. I never thought I could hurt so much.
My friend’s prediction unfortunately came true.
I hoped he would meet up with my friend in spirit.
Following on from yesterday’s post.
Another unusual happening occurred about a week ago.
I’d gone to bed early as usual to read. Sophie, Boyden’s sister came with me. She just likes to have a biscuit, and then goes to sleep beside my bed. Just as she did when Boyden was alive; my husband takes her downstairs when he goes to bed.
While I was lying reading, I thought I could hear Boyden’s footsteps on the exposed area of the wooden flooring in the hall and the lounge. We’d covered most of the flooring when we moved in as he had difficulty getting up when he’d been lying down. His back legs were quite weak. I thought I had imagined it. Boyden’s walk sounded different to his Sophie’s walk. I was always telling him to, ‘pick his feet up’; Boyden, shuffled along.
A couple of hours later I heard my husband coming up the stairs for Sophie. I got out of bed no Sophie. She wasn’t in her usual place I looked under my bed and on the other side of it. No Sophie, I then spotted her curled up in the corner beside my desk at the other end of the room.
I called her to go down the stairs with my husband. I told him how I had ‘lost’ Sophie for a couple of seconds. I expected him to laugh. He said, ‘I thought I heard her, or Boyden walking in the hall, and the lounge.’ He would have difficulty in distinguishing the different sounds of the dog walks as he is quite deaf.
My husband has never disbelieved ghostly happenings but never fully believed. He has always said that he will believe in ghosts when he sees one.
Did we both imagine hearing the footsteps? It's a possibility, but I don't think we did.
We had the puppies in 2000, they were adorable. Naughty? Yes, but then they were young and happy. We slabbed the back garden over for them so that they would have lots of room to play.
Boyden was originally my son's dog. He only kept him one night, but found he couldn't manage him. I wondered how I would cope with two youngsters. I did, but it was hard. At first I managed to take them both out together, but puppies grow up very fast. Eventually, I had to take them out separately.
I soon found that Boyden had attached himself to me. Sophie liked the family all together and would go around the house checking where people had got to. Not Boyden he chose to stay close to me. Was it because he was worried I might throw him out? As if. He like his sister was adorable.
We would go long walks together, across the fields, along the country lanes. Into town, Boyden did not like me leaving him outside shops, someone had to hold his lead while I shopped. He would press his little nose to the window and watch my every move. If I tried to leave him at home, he would howl the house down. I couldn't let him get so upset, so in the end he came everywhere and was happy.
Twelve years passed in a flash, one day I noticed a lump on his front leg. The vet was uncertain what it could be, and operation or investigation may well have disturbed a cancerous tumour and made it spread. We kept our eye on it. It did grow slowly but did not cause him any pain or discomfort whatsoever. As long as it did not spread further up his leg the vet said he would be fine. He was, and then he started to go deaf and blind. He was still a happy chap. He only ever panicked once when we went off his usual walk, he'd lost the familiar scents of the walk. Boyden would walk as close to my leg as he possibly could and this helped him to feel safe. His sister would walk in front with my husband making him feel extra secure.
Sophie, knew he was poorly, and that he was getting worse. She would lick his eyes, his ears, and his leg, I knew she was trying to heal him.
By Christmas, I could sense him failing, and some nights I would cry praying he would not begin to suffer or the inevitable would happen. He kept going, still enjoying his food, but still I knew he would not live the year out.
One night settling down to sleep the inevitable tears started, when suddenly I heard my friend's voice say, 'Don't worry Cal, I will look after him for you.' My best friend had died two years previously. My tears stopped, and she repeated what she had said. Although,I was shocked, to say the least, it made sense to me that she would care for Boyden, she loved animals and kept 4 dogs and a cat, when she was alive. Like me she had always had pets. My sister who died a few years ago never kept pets, so I understood why my friend had spoken to me.
Ever after that whenever the tears came in the following months, she would say, 'Don’t cry Cal. I promise I will take care of him for you.'
And I would stop crying. I knew he would be safe in her hands wouldn't he?