WESTBURY SWIMMING POOL
On Saturday 8th June 2013, Twilight Shadows Paranormal conducted an investigation at the beautiful Victorian, Westbury Swimming Pool in Westbury, Wiltshire.
Westbury Swimming Pool is thought to be the oldest working swimming pool in the UK. The pool was constructed by William Laverton, a wealthy mill owner and it first opened for public use in 1887. Originally an unheated pool, it was often used for dances during the winter months (when the pool would be covered up by a suspended floor. During WW1, the pool was also used as billeting station for soldiers. Nowadays, it is used all year round for its intended purpose by the public, many blissfully unaware of the ghosts who are said to reside here; ghosts that are often witnessed by the staff and members of the local community who swim here.
It is said that Westbury Swimming Pool is haunted by a ghost called George; a gentleman who was a caretaker or a boiler-man. This ghostly gentleman has allegedly been seen wearing a pair of blue overalls and is said to watch the ladies getting changed in the female changing room.
There are reports of a death in the main pool area when a man who was diving from the balcony misjudged his landing and fell badly, breaking his neck.
There are also reports of a small female child who is said to linger at the swimming baths. We were really excited about investigating Westbury Swimming Baths and hoped that its ghosts would reveal themselves to us.
We spilt into small groups and began our investigation.
LADIES CHANGING ROOM
As we entered the ladies changing room, I felt a strange energy. I mentioned this to the others and they all said that they could feel this too. I ‘called out’ and Tracey said that she heard a little tap from the right. We all listened and then we heard sounds as if someone was walking through, towards us. It was odd as we could hear it advancing but we could see that there was nothing and nobody there. We tried to call directly to George and we heard a sound like chains. Loretta walked up towards the locker area. I ‘called out’ again. We heard the chain sound again but Loretta did not hear it from where she was standing. We decided to search for the origin of the noise. We could not work out where it was coming from but we realised that it seemed to occur regularly so we discounted it and thought that it was mechanical.
It was very hot in the changing room but Tracey kept saying that she felt a cold breeze blowing onto her. Nobody else felt this, in fact we were all sweltering. Loretta heard tapping right by the lockers and Danielle heard a thud. I ‘called out’ again. Although the PX machine had been silent since we had switched it on, it suddenly started to emit words.
I asked if the spirits could turn on the taps in the room. Loretta looked at me and asked, “Did you put the taps on up there?” I said that I hadn’t and when we looked, one of the taps had been switched on. If the taps turning on was a ghostly intervention, the spirits must have pre-empted what I was going to ask.
I asked some questions concerning the words that were transmitted and a tapping sound started. It was louder than the previous tapping noises. We asked if the spirits could switch the hair-drier on but this did not happen.
I asked, “Please speak to us.”
Tracey said (just as sharply), “No!”
I asked, “George, did you just ask me to go?”
We sat together and contemplated these words. We wondered if there was a skeleton buried somewhere or was George burnt in the boiler room? We had no idea about the word steel.
I started trying to communicate with George, asking him several questions. The shower curtain near me started to move and then flapped a little. We were all sitting perfectly still and the curtain had not moved at all until then.
It went quiet for a while and Danielle moved into the adjoining room. Suddenly she jumped and said, “Someone just rushed straight past me.” Danielle was quite affected by this for a little while.
(Later we discovered that at the same time of the PX emitting these words, one of the life-guards had been talking about Rachel on the phone).
MEN’S CHANGING ROOM
It felt very spooky in here. We all felt that the energy felt stronger although the active room where George is said to appear, is the Ladies changing room.
It went very quiet and after a while we started to chat amongst ourselves and shared a few moments of laughter about funny things that had happened to us during previous investigations.
We felt that we had to apologise for our light-hearted banter. We heard a sound like a tap being turned on with water running, We got up to have a look for the tap and it was immediately turned off. We heard movement similar to the sound of walking towards us that we had heard previously but again there was nobody there, even though we could hear it in the room in which we were sitting. As we were listening to this movement, we heard it leave the room and go outside. It was so strange as there was no rational explanation for this sound. Tracey heard a sigh right beside her. Nobody else heard it but the Camcorder picked the sound up.
The month was June. Tracey heard a sound like a cough close to us. She had constantly been feeling cold breezes but now this stopped and she started to get really hot like the rest of us. As Tracey sat there, I watched her rearrange the folds of her dress in an absent minded fashion.
We wondered if George was watching her. Tracey heard a sound like, “Huhhh.” I heard a sound like shuffling feet right beside us.
This of course made us all laugh.
We heard the sound of coins clinking and a shuffling noise. There was another strange noise from the corner of the room, followed by a bang. And another.
I heard whispering and Tracey said that she heard it too. We heard the clinking coin sound again.
There was a noise behind the curtain.
We heard footsteps just outside. We checked and there was nobody there.
I felt the whoosh of somebody walk right past me and a big breeze on my arm. The air inside the building was hot and still, so it was very noticeable when this changed.
It was quiet for a time and we started talking amongst ourselves and about the subject of losing weight.
We all laughed and said that we would not be standing on any scales. Fortunately, it was time to move to another room.
SMALL ROOM (adjoining balcony)
I ‘called out’ and almost immediately we made contact with a spirit who claimed to be called Brian. Brian was unhappy but he did not appear to be unhappy with us. We asked:
Did you die here?
Did you work here?
Are you here all the time?
Is anyone else here?
Hello. How plate George.
This made no sense to us. The atmosphere seemed to thicken and I saw something move near the door. Tracey said that she saw a strange shadow by the door. The door creaked a little and we asked any spirit that may have been lingering to come in and join us. A couple of photos were captured at this point, one after the other and one of them was half covered with a strange black shape. (We later learned that this often happens to photography captured in that area).After this, all was quiet in this room and the atmosphere felt flat.
We decided to use a planchette to see if we could obtain any information through writing. I explained what the equipment was to the spirits and asked them to use it to communicate with us. The pen started to move and wrote:
When did you die?
Are you male?
The spirit seemed to be drawing a picture but when we looked at it, we could not work out what it was.
Are you a woman?
What’s your name?
Did you swim here?
The writing style was the same throughout and was pretty feminine writing. For a long while, nothing more happened. Dave joined us and said that the trigger object that he and Jacky had set up earlier upstairs had been moved. He also told us that when they had been upstairs they had heard footsteps.
UPSTAIRS (in staff room)
This was a fairly small room. We sat quietly and heard a tapping sound coming from within the room. I could really feel a presence in here. Loretta and Tracey said that they could feel it as well. I ‘called out’ explaining that other groups had heard footsteps and asked if we could hear them too. We did not hear footsteps but we immediately heard a strange creaking sound that continued for a while. We tried to work out what it could be but we couldn’t. There was a definite tapping sound right beside me and again. The tapping then moved to the other side of the room. Suddenly, we all heard something being shifted across the room. We all jumped and were aware that nothing had been moved at all. We were the only group upstairs at the time and we were sat together inside the very small room with the door closed. The shifting movement sound was inside the room with us. This was very strange. After this, nothing else happened. We tried using the spirit box but got absolutely nothing on it.
It was time for our investigation to end so we joined the rest of the team for a discussion about our experiences. The PX device did seem to deliver some relevant words. We really enjoyed this location and we thank the management of Westbury Swimming Pool for allowing us to investigate there. Thanks also, to the two lifeguards, Jim and Myles who stayed with us and a huge thank you to Jacky and Dave Wicheard for organising this investigation.
Written by: Maria Williams.
The month of June saw the team heading to the now very famous Haunted Westbury Swimming Pool in Wiltshire that is home to the infamous ghost of George the Janitor.
The swimming pool was built to mark the Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1888 and was given to the town of Westbury by mill owner William Laverton. The Victorian pool is reputed to be the oldest still working public pool in the country
Westbury Pool is a relatively recent haunting with poltergeist activity and full manifestations which have been reported by visitors and staff on numerous occasions.
The resident ghost is fondly nicknamed George by the staff who have reported his presence on numerous occasions. A full manifestation walking at the end of the pool has been reported several times.
One of the stories told, is that George was a First World War soldier who visited the pool whilst on leave, with the absence of diving boards he decided to jump off the viewing gallery, as he did, he misjudged the distance and broke his neck on impact as he hit the edge of the pool. Others say that George was one of the pool caretakers, whatever the case, George is still very active. Locker doors swing open of their own accord, staff and customers have been pushed, and dark shadows have been seen darting around corners
Another reported haunting is of a drowned child. The life guard jumped into the pool, upon spotting the child in trouble but the child had disappeared. This sighting happened many years ago.
On arrival we were greeted by Jim and Myles (our life guards for the evening) who gave us a full tour of the building, a health and safety talk and also some brief history which included some of their own experiences.
As there were quite a few of us we divided into teams. We had quite a large area to cover so we decided to spend 45 minutes in each before moving onto the next.
My team started in the offices. In this area the staff had experienced their things being moved around in the office while nobody was there and they have heard voices. I set up a trigger object experiment in the office and we then settled down to start our vigil. As we were in a building with quite a large swimming pool, you can expect a certain amount of humidity and warm. However, it was also a very warm night which only added to the already very warm rooms. The office was a very small room on the top floor. The room was very uncomfortable to be in. We were just commenting on this when the door opened then slowly closed. We all stopped what we were doing when this happened. The door is very heavy so not likely to blow open in a draft and it is also equipped with a fire door hinge so doesn’t close slowly either. Great, maybe the activity is starting already?
We tried calling out for about 10 minutes but didn’t get much. Pete felt drawn to the room next door which happened to be the staff room so we decided to move into there. While in here we heard three thumps on the far wall where what looked like a bricked up cupboard was. This turned out on closer inspection to be another door into the corridor which was no longer in use. We also spotted a very old picture and a very old, very large wall clock. The picture generated particular interest. Pete did not get a good feeling from one of the men in the picture and when he asked us which one he thought it was; we all picked out the correct person.
Our next area was the ladies changing rooms. This area is where one of the members of staff (Jim) had seen George the ghost himself. The changing rooms themselves felt fine, however when you walked up past the lockers to the toilets the atmosphere changed completely. Every member of the team also picked up on this. Pete said that he could see in his minds eye George standing on the corner next to the toilets and entrance to the pool, leaning on the pole of a floor mop just watching (almost leering) at the ladies going past. Pete also felt that there are certain cubicles that people avoid using. He felt that at times when people are changing, they have got the feeling that someone is on the other side of the curtain peering in but when they have looked, no one was there. He felt this is also George. He also felt that at times the locker doors are either all opened at once or closed which is also George’s doing. Jim joined us for the latter part of our time in this area and also confirmed some of what Pete had picked up.
Our next area was the men’s changing rooms. Andrew joined us for this one and Jim also stayed with us as we set up some experiments. Dave and Andrew both own Ghost boxes. Ghost boxes work by sweeping the airwaves on a continuous loop and spirits are said to be able to communicate through the static and white noise that is generated. When we first came into the area, the atmosphere was dark and heavy. When Maria’s team who was previously in the room left for their next area, the atmosphere lifted and totally changed. Pete felt that George (who Pete was now calling Arthur) was following Maria’s team. Loretta had been feeling very sleepy and lethargic. I wondered if George had latched onto her. At first the vigil was very quiet. We didn’t get much on the ghost boxes or camera.
Some of us have ghost radar on our phones which is an app that is supposedly meant to detect spirit energy and can also convert information into words. Dave put his ghost radar on. During our vigil I asked out a number of questions. One was “do you know you have passed on?” We heard “passed on” said back through the ghost box. I then asked how the spirit had died. Nothing came through the ghost box but Pete got ‘heart attack at 82’ given to him psychically. The activity seemed to die off for about 10 minute or so but then the atmosphere changed again. I noticed that there were energy readings on the Ghost Radar showing and I was trying to keep my eye on that and the camera.
Out of the blue I suddenly realised I saw a white hand come up under my camera. I was so shocked, my reaction was a little delayed while I was processing what I had seen. I was so annoyed as this would not have been captured on the camera I was holding as the hand came up underneath. We were trying to get more activity from George when we suddenly got a very distinct ‘hello’ through the ghost box. We replied and then heard ‘shut up’ come through the ghost box. Jim said he felt something touch his leg. We also heard what sounded like the word ‘hell’ through the ghost box and ‘you’re scared’. We said we weren’t scared and Pete felt George liked the nick name he had been given as it gave him anonymity. Dave said he could feel a draft where he was standing and Jim said that a lot of people had reported that from time to time. Things died down. I asked what did George want and on the Ghost Radar the word break came up. I joked and said that George wanted a break. Pete replied he wanted one too so we decided now was a good time to go get a coffee.
After our break, we divided into two groups for our last vigil. We went into the small room on the balcony over the swimming pool. After we did some grounding exercises we quickly got a little girl come through called Grace. She told us she was 7 years old. She tried to spell out a word but it didn’t make sense. I thought she meant she was going to be right back but this was not correct. Pete asked if she wanted to be here. She spelt out deep. Pete asked if she meant deep water and asked if she can see the faces looking at her through the water. Pete also said again she didn’t want to be here and she replied no. She told Pete that she can see her mother and that she is scared of the light. She spelt the word Pushed on the spirit board. Pete felt that she was pushed by a friend which was a joke that went wrong. Pete did a small ceremony and sent Grace over to her mum. We had a small discussion about why Grace may have been scared to cross over.
I soon sensed another energy building (which turned out to be our friend George). We asked what the spirits name was and straight away it started to spell a rude word. George started off by pretending he couldn’t spell but this soon changed. We got the word Plead (spelt pled). We asked if he wanted help but he said no. Pete asked if he was feeling guilty. The spirit then spelt out tired. We asked for the name again. The spirit didn’t make any sense. We tried another approach and asked the spirit to move the planchette in a clockwise direction. The spirit then spelt out XB. I asked if the spirit had a message but it went to No. I asked if they could step away and it said goodbye.
We tried again and I asked if there was any other spirits in the room. Pete suddenly gasped. I asked if he was alright and he said he was but George was very cross that we had moved Grace on. The planchette did move and Pete took charge. He said he was going to get rid of George. George spelt out wait (wayt) we asked what we are waiting for. He spelt out god. The spirit spelt lack. I asked lack what? The spirit then tried to spell the word Faith. We asked if the lacked faith in god or himself? The spirit answered yes. Pete said that the spirit knew he can’t stay here anymore? It didn’t really move. Pete asked for the planchette to be moved into the middle of the board. He tried to get the spirit to confirm he was called Arthur. The spirit would not confirm this though. Pete tried to start to move the spirit across but he wouldn’t do as he was told. Pete asked if he could see the white light. The spirit said no. Pete tried again. The planchette went to no repeatedly. The spirit then spelt out ‘you go’. All the while Pete was talking the board was spelling out the words no and go. I asked if he wanted us to come back. It said no. It also confirmed that he didn’t like Pete or any of the team. The spirit did like the staff members though. I asked what the spirit was going to do to make us go. We heard a knock under the table and a spirit breeze started up. The spirit tried to spell Jim. We then realised that he meant Jim was going to make us go which he would as he was the one locking up shortly!!
On concluding our investigation, the trigger object in the office had moved.
Even though George didn’t seem to like us, I liked his cheekiness and I hope that we get to encounter him again soon. We thoroughly enjoyed our evening at Westbury swimming pool and hope to return again next year.
I would like to thank the staff at the pool for allowing us the permission to visit their lovely Victorian building and all the team for giving up their Saturday evening and making this investigation a fantastic one.
Written by: Jacky Wicheard
We started in the area overlooking the swimming pool using the automatic writing planchette. We called out for the young girl that had drowned in the swimming pool and asked for her name. A name wasn't forthcoming, but instead the automatic writing planchette started going round in circles, so much that it went through the paper. This happened several times.
We then moved into the room formally used as a sauna room. We first contacted a woman by the name of Ella who died at the age of 80 in 1800's and a woman by the name of Grace who was murdered at the age of 40, who worked at the mill (down the road from the swimming pool). She didn't know her killer, but he was punished for what he had done.
Moving into the female changing room it was very 'quiet' and we decided to move over to the male changing room and joined up with Dave's and Jacky's team.
Later, we went back onto the automatic writing planchette while overlooking the swimming pool, those results were written down and given to Jacky.
Written by: Andrew Savage.
DANIEL AND TRACY’S REPORT
We started our investigation on the balcony using the planchette and we made contact with a little girl who was not able to write her name but she seemed to enjoy drawing circles. She was able to write what appeared to be an I and V. Jim from the pool was with us and he said that the last paranormal team that tried using the planchette in that area and had the same results. Jim thought that the I & V could mean she was the little girl from Ivy house which is the very old house next door to the pool which apparently has a resident ghost of a little girl.
We then heard 2 loud bangs which came from the room next door. There was no one in there so when we went to look we decided to use try to communicate with the spirits in here. We immediately made contact with a lady who said she was called Ella and she was 80 years old. She died in the 1800’s and she had 5 children. Again Jim said that a spirit called Ella came through before with another paranormal team. Ella then said goodbye and another spirit came forward. Her name was Grace and she also died in the 1800’s but she was only 40. She died in the old mill next door. She told us she was killed and the person that killed her was caught and tried for his crime which made her happy. She then left and another spirit came through. This spirit was not making any sense at first and when we asked for the name of the spirit, the name George came over on the spirit box. We asked if George was his name and we were told, “Yes” and that he was a man and he was 42 years old. We then lost contact for a while.
We spent some time in both the changing rooms but even though we called out we did not get any results, so we went back onto the balcony and went back to the planchette. This time we had the other lifeguard called Myles with us, and a spirit came through who said she was only 12 years old when she died and her name was Wendy. She told us she came to the pool to see the lifeguard Myles.
It was time to end this investigation. This was a lovely investigation with lots of communication and it would be wonderful if we get the chance to go back there.
Written by: Daniel and Tracy Hughes.
On arrival we were introduced to the lifeguards who told us of their experiences with the resident ghost "George".They took us on a short tour of the building telling us where George has been seen and felt. Whilst poolside I had a very uneasy feeling like we were being observed and that feeling carried on all night. We were shown the ladies changing rooms where a few of us noticed straight away that it had a very strange feeling. We were split into groups and myself, Warren, Melody and Matt began our first vigil in the gents changing room. We found this to be very flat and really didn’t feel anything was going on. The atmosphere did change slightly but nothing significant.
We then moved on to the pool area, Matt and Warren stood one end and Mel and myself the other. As the evening drew in, the atmosphere changed and myself and Mel were aware of being watched. It was then the staff room door swung open gently and hovered like it was being held then swung quietly back to where it was. It then did it again, then a third time. When Warren went through the door it was quite a noisy door and swung heavily into place not like the previous times. Matt thought he saw movement up on the balcony but couldn't be sure. It certainly was an eerie place to sit.
Next stop was the offices upstairs where most activity has been reported. We sat in one room and closed the door. We called out and had the feeling of being watched. Matt knocked the door and asked it to copy but nothing happened. We asked it to move something or turn on a computer but it didn’t. During the break a few of us agreed that a couple of photos in the room were very scary and maybe one of them was still here! Our last stop was the ladies dressing room where "George" has been seen. As soon as Mel and myself got in there we shuddered and both got chills and Goosebumps .It was a nasty feeling and we weren't alone!! Even Matt and Warren agreed it was different. The corridor to the pool was the worst and when you entered it you had the oppressive feeling that someone was with you. We opened some locker doors hoping they would shut but unfortunately they didn’t. The lights dimmed and flashed but we couldn't be sure if it was paranormal or other. Warren braved the corridor on his own and soon came running back saying it was horrible!! Maria joined us for a bit and even she couldn't stir "George" into action. Mel was very uncomfortable in there for a while and I had to agree it wasn't nice. It was a great evening just a shame "George" wasn't more obliging but I got the feeling he was watching and found us very amusing!! Maybe one day we will return and try again.
Written by: Sharon Jefferies.