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Case #1 - Client: Patricia Sands (Aged 6). Deceased.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 1:58 pm
by Scaramouche
This case provided two 'landmarks' for me. It was the first I had undertaken in which the client was the apparition. It was also the first in which I did not investigate the actual haunting per se - but rather the reasons for its occurrence. This is a true account; but not an entirely accurate one as all names, addresses, place-names and dates have been changed to protect the identity of the descendants of the real family involved.

Charles Allen has possessed psychic ability for some considerable time; but has minimal control over it. To say he is at its mercy would be an overstatement; but there are occasions when it catches him completely off guard - and this was one of them.

He was spending a single sleepless night at a place called Belview Cottage, somewhere in North Wales. The early hours found him sitting up in bed reading a magazine, when he became aware that a small girl was standing at the foot of his bed, smiling at him. It seemed that once she realised she had his attention, she pointed to the wall behind her which now appeared to be just the bare bricks. On it were painted strange symbols that Charles could not recognise. Suddenly - through the windscreen of a small, green van - he could see the girl sitting next to a young boy in the passenger seat. The driver was indistinct. Then there was nothing but the voices of two children fading away into the night, chanting "Whitney Bus, Whitney Bus, Whitney Bus......."

Knowing that I had an interest in such things, Charles decided to ask my advice about the matter. So, as soon as he returned home he phoned me and related what had happened. He made it perfectly clear, though, that it was not he who needed help - it was the girl. The question was what to do next.

There were two obvious avenues to explore. The symbols on the brick wall and a place called Whitney that had, or once had, a bus service. Charles had not recognised the symbols; but he was able to draw a few of them from memory. I realised at once that they were the astrological symbols for Mercury, Jupiter and a trine. If the rest of the symbols were also astrological then it could only be a reference to an exact point in time; but without knowing what the other symbols were the chances of identifying a precise date were non-existent. I advised that recall under hypnosis might be worth considering; but Charles wasn't keen and suggested I follow up the 'Whitney bus' business.

The nearest Whitney was Whitney-on-Wye just outside Hay. My journey took me through Hereford; but before I got there I suddenly felt compelled to stop the car some miles outside of the city. There were only fields, trees and hedgerows. I took some photos (in case I ever needed to identify the exact same spot again) and made a note of the mileage on the odometer before continuing on my way. When I reached the next village, I made a note of its name in my notebook along with the new mileage on the odometer - this to enable me to get an idea of where, on the road, I had actually stopped.

On reaching Whitney, I hunted down a local resident who had lived in the immediate area for some time. Soon I had ascertained that there had been a bus service many years ago and that the livery was green (the same colour as the van that Charles had seen); but there was no local history of accidents or any other incidents that had resulted in untimely deaths. There was a very small church cemetery at Whitney, so I thought I may as well check the headstones for girls who had died at a young age. My efforts proved fruitless, however, so I decided to call it a day.

I started back for Hereford and, again en route, felt compelled to stop the car. As before, I took photos, noted the mileage and continued on my way to the next village - making a note of its name and the mileage again. Then a thought struck me. I found the page in my large road atlas that covered Hereford and surrounding areas and soon located the two villages that I had felt compelled to stop near. I made a rough calculation of the distances from each village to Hereford before adding in the additional miles from my mileage notes, and the distances were the same (give or take a mile or two). I concluded it was possible that Hereford itself was going to be the real focus of attention.

Two days later Charles contacted me once more. He had seen the small girl on and off, here and there; but her appearances were really no more than 'look-ins'. The previous night, though, she had appeared as when he had first seen her - with the brick wall behind her; but this time in his own bedroom and with only a few symbols on the wall. What's more he had copied the symbols to paper. The symbols were all astrological. Using an ephemeris it took only minutes to identify not an exact date; but part of a year - August to December, 1937.

The following weekend saw me back at Hereford in the archives of the City Library. I was searching the local newspapers of 1937, as they would have covered news for Hereford and Herefordshire as a whole. I was looking for something - anything - that might help me. Then I hit gold. From the newspaper reports of October of that year I pieced together the following story.

Charles Sands, a Grocer's roundsman, had not slept for two weeks. He was a worried man. His wife was in hospital on the verge of giving birth to their third child; but had developed some serious problems with her skin. She thought it was a certain skin disease that had been given to her by her husband and Charles Sands (who was somewhat of a philanderer) had come to the conclusion that she was right. He also believed that the disease had been passed on to their two older children, Patricia (aged 6) and James (aged 8). One day, he collected Patricia and James from school in his green delivery van. He then drove them to the road running alongside the bridge that spanned the river not far from where he lived at Belview Cottage, Belview Lane. He then drove the van, at speed, over a 10ft high bank into the river Wye. As the van entered the water it turned upside down. It then floated for a few minutes before sinking to a depth of some 12 feet. Sands managed to escape the vehicle; but the fate of his children was sealed. Their bodies were recovered some hours later.

Charged with wilful double murder and attempted suicide (which, at the time, was illegal in England and Wales) it was some time before Sands came to trial. When he did so, it was deemed that he was unfit to plead due to insanity brought on by delusional melancholia. He was detained at His Majesty's Pleasure and the charges against him placed on file.

The girl, the boy. The year, the colour of the van. The name Charles. It all seemed to fit; but what virtually sealed it was Sands' address - Belview Cottage. The same name as that of the dwelling Charles Allen had stayed in for that one, fateful, night.

I was pretty sure that I had now identified the girl and boy that Charles had seen as the Sands children; but what now? I knew when and how Patricia and James had died; but why was Charles 'contacted' in the first place?

I went through the newspaper reports again until I found the notification of the children's funeral service and the cemetery where they were to be buried. Noting the address, I headed for the cemetery; but on arriving my heart sank. The cemetery was enormous containing thousands of graves. It was pointless trying to find the right headstone (assuming the children had one) when I had no idea where to start looking for it.

Another investigation prevented me from taking any further action until over a week later, when I contacted the cemetery attendants at Hereford. I gave them the children's names and the date they had passed and was advised it would take days to locate the grave. I got a call from them ten minutes later. They knew exactly where the children were buried as their mother had died recently and her ashes placed on their grave on the very day I had visited the cemetery. The grave was easily identifiable, the attendants said, as it had an unusual headstone.

Charles came with me when I returned to the cemetery at Hereford with flowers for the grave in hand. It was exactly where I'd been told it would be; but it was the headstone that amazed us. It was in the form a statue that was some three feet in height and that depicted a young boy and little girl from the waist up. Their arms were thrown around each other in a manner that suggested that they were trying to comfort each other. Charles instantly recognised Patricia as being the girl at the foot of his bed. I took a photo of the headstone before we had a close look at the inscription running along the curb stones of the grave.

Something was wrong; but the penny didn't drop immediately. Then we suddenly realised that the date of the children's deaths was a year out. Why on Earth would anyone go to the trouble and expense of commissioning such a magnificent headstone, only to then spoil the grave by allowing the wrong date to be put on the curb stone? If it was an error, then why hadn't efforts been made to correct the inscription or replace it with a new curb stone with the right date on it? It would have been easy enough to arrange and the expense relatively small in comparison to the cost of the headstone. Could it really be that not a single visitor to the grave in all of the intervening years had noticed the discrepancy? It didn't make any sense. Or did it?

Could it possibly have been that the Sands family had arranged for the wrong year to be inscribed? Could the whole series of events been played down by Sands' adult relatives as being something else entirely and happening a year later than it actually did? This so as to spare the newborn child from knowing what had really happened to its father and siblings? Was the date changed so that, at no time, neither the newborn, its descendants, or indeed anyone else, would be able to do what I did and check the local newspaper archives to find the truth?

Could it be that Patricia wanted someone to know what had happened to her and her brother and that the date on their grave was deliberately wrong? And could she have been drawn to another Charles in another Belview Cottage, in another place and in another time - in an attempt to make someone realise the truth? Interesting, is it not, that she first appeared to Charles Allen shortly before her mother died. Perhaps it was important to Patricia that it all came to the surface before her mothers' death. Charles and I debated whether or not to advise Sands descendants of my findings. We decided that, if the truth really had been successfully suppressed all these years, it could do more harm than good to make the details known now. So, in effect, we deemed the case closed.

Charles Allen continued to receive occasional visits from Patricia, and sometimes she was accompanied by a tall, undefined figure that Charles took to be her mum. She seemed happy enough, Charles thought; but he sensed that she was checking on his well-being rather than just saying 'hello'. But as the years passed the little girls' visits became less frequent until they stopped altogether. Charles and I presume that, around that time, Patricia and her mother had finally found enough peace of mind to enable them both to move on. At least we sincerely hope this was the case.

Postscript: You remember that photo I took of the children's headstone? Well quite recently I showed it to a medium friend of mine as a curiosity and asked for her thoughts. She stared at it for a while before caressing it. She then said that she could see wheels turning very quickly and a lot of water; but the overriding impression was one of unbelievable terror, and she would never touch the photograph again.

Thank you for reading.

Re: Case #1 - Client: Patricia Sands (Aged 6). Deceased.

PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:37 pm
by GhostInTheMachine
That's a fantastic case and the story behind it, the way you told it, is captivating. I just read it out to someone, really good!

That is quite a result you got there from your friend, and from the research you did.

Would be an excellent true story to tell on Ghostpod too! ;)

Thank you for sharing this!

Re: Case #1 - Client: Patricia Sands (Aged 6). Deceased.

PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:39 pm
by Chatelaine
What a thoroughly enjoyable read, thank you so very much for sharing this amazing story with us. It has been my privilege to have come across cases on similar lines and the feeling you get from tying up loose ends is tremendous and humbling at the same time. It's almost a sense of satisfaction, but that would be too crass to explain it. The validation of knowing you have received a message from the other side and that message had a purpose, is something that stays with you.

I hung on your every word there, this is a story I will never forget. I very much look forward to hearing about more of your cases.

Many thanks.