Monday, June 10, 2013

The Violinist

Over the years I have experienced my own paranormal events.  I default to the understanding they are of a paranormal nature as usual reason and consequential attempts at debunking these occurrences have left me with no other satisfactory explanation. 

One of the events occurred several years ago and is one of two that took place in schools, not a strange coincidence considering I was a teacher for many years.  I use to teach in a Catholic school situated in a building with its origins in the 1930s.  The large, airy classrooms had lead light in the windows imported from Italy and rather thriftily the nuns old wardrobes were used as storage cupboards. Elderly Nuns still lived in the school, in the far end of the wing I taught in and in parts on the floor above it.  The nuns no longer taught but were often seen wandering around the school.  There was a chapel and two classrooms, the nuns bedrooms, a kitchen and a few offices in this older part of the building.  The rest of the school was newer and had been built a little away from the original building.  My classroom had glorious views and above it was an unused classroom and a turret.  The turret room was used for storage and closed up.  

One night a group of five of us were at the school, standing outside in the courtyard.  We had returned from a performance venue to the school, where parents were asked to pick up their children. As it was already dark and late we did not open the locked school but stood instead in the courtyard, waiting for the last, notoriously tardy, parent to arrive. The school was in darkness and we stood chatting in front of the verandah of my classroom, the barricaded turret looming over us.

The  first indication something was not as it should be was when I happened to look up at the small turret window and from within it thought I could see a soft flicker of light.
I knew that no one could get into the room easily and looked behind me to see if perhaps it was a reflection.  I could see no light sources or reflections that could explain what resembled the light cast by a candle. The window was gabled and the more I looked the more I could now see a light flickering from within, against each of the panes.  Just as I was bringing the light to the attention of my colleagues we all heard, at the same time, the mournful sound of a violin.  It was so loud and so clear you could hear the bow as it scraped across the strings, the instrument ebbing and flowing in peaks of what was a most sorrowful melody.  By this point we had all moved closer and were standing directly under the turret, the music playing, it's evocative song undulating and filling the night air as what seemed to be a candle flickering, accompanied it. 

Our attention was momentarily distracted by the late parent as she bustled through the school gate all full of excuses and the music stopped.  Inside the window now there was only darkness. After the parent left we watched and listened but nothing more happened.  We parted and headed home, a sense of uneasiness unspoken between us as the ever sensible principal declared it to have been a trick of the light or perhaps one of the nuns playing the instrument in another part of the building,  though we knew of none of the elderly inhabitants that played the violin.  The principal laughed it off declaring we could check in the morning. 

I was in early and one of the groundskeepers and myself climbed the rickety stairs to the small room in the turret.  It had all manner of school debris piled around and across the door, none of it looking like it had been moved in recent times. The groundskeeper and I shifted some things and with a lot of determination opened the jammed door to be greeted by a room filled with discarded junk, stacked high and across the floor.  It looked as though no one had been in the room for years. We jammed the door shut replacing the items that had been in front of the door and left.

We didn't mention it again, the bustle of school life and no obvious explanation causing us to somehow agree, without saying a word, to just let it go, until one day I found myself chatting to one of the nuns that lived in the convent.  She nodded and assured me that of course I heard the violin and it had been a nun that used to play the instrument but she had died young, she did however still like to come back and play when the mood struck her.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


I love Disneyland and I go as often as I can. I remember the first time I walked through the gates of the Magical Kingdom and stood before Sleeping Beauty's castle.  It was just as I had remembered it. I use to see it at the end of every episode of The Wonderful World of Disney which I faithfully watched every Sunday night as a child. In front of the castle the iconic statue of Walt and Mickey beckons visitors forward, bringing you further into the magic of this amazing world.  It may not surprise you to know that Disneyland has its share of unexplained phenomena. 
My favourite ride in Disneyland is the Haunted Mansion.  As you pass through the ornate gates into the beautifully kept gardens you are greeted by a quirky pet cemetery and a white hearse with a ghost horse.  You are ushered to a waiting area in which you are left with jangling nerves, unsure what to expect. Then gothic "doom buggies" take you through the dark mansion allowing you fleeting and frightening glimpses of all manner of spectral happenings.

There are rumours that not all the haunted happenings in this amazing place are created by the imagineers and their marvels. There is a story that the mother of a deceased child approached Disneyland and asked if she could scatter his ashes along his favourite ride, the Haunted Mansion. There are some discrepancies in the story, some saying the woman was allowed to have a small service for her son in Disneyland some saying she was not, but all stories agree that she was forbidden from sprinkling his ashes on the ride. The story goes however that the deceased child's mother decided to sneak his ashes in and she scattered them. Since this took place a small spectral boy fitting the child's description has been seen sitting crying at the entrance gate of the haunted mansion.
One person has actually died in the Haunted Mansion. It is tradition for Disneyland to hold a "Grad Night".  One student decided he wanted to have a closer look at the "Séance Circle" and he climbed out of the doom buggy.  What he didn't realise is that there is a gap between the track and the floor and he plunged to his death. This area known as the Séance Circle in the Haunted Mansion has had some strange occurrences.  A sound engineer working on the area could hear music. At first he assumed that a radio had somehow been walled into the building but no radio announcer ever came on the stream and in the end he had to place a speaker that created sound over the unexplained music.
The famed Matterhorn is rumoured to be haunted by a woman named Dolly.  She had gone on the ride with her children and in the middle of the ride she was so worried about them she undid the seat belt to turn and see if they were safe.  She subsequently fell from the ride and was run over by the next bobsled.  The decline where she was killed has become known as Dolly's Dip.

In the past the Disneyland waterway, the Rivers of America, in which all exotic manner of water craft including the famed paddle steamer the Mark Twain, can be found, was a swimming area.  There have been three recorded drowning in this water way.  Two brothers, and a student on a "Grad Night" at Disneyland, are said to have drowned there. Tom Sawyers Island in the middle of the Rivers of America is believed to be haunted by children that run around the island when the park is closed.  When Disney employees go to the island, after such a reported sighting, no one is ever there.

A few places in the New Orleans area of Disneyland are said to be haunted. The Pirates of the Caribbean ride is said to be haunted by a little boy that shows up on security cameras when the park is closed but when the ride is checked he is never there. Unexplained sounds and giggles have been heard in the darkest part of the ride, Transition Tunnel.  The exclusive Club 33, designed like a speakeasy and the only place in Disneyland where alcohol is served is also said to be haunted.


A young man reportedly fell to his death from a ride in Tomorrowland The ride has since been removed.  As he fell from the car he was said to have grabbed at the blonde hair of his girlfriend. His ghost has been known to have manifest itself to blonde girls and apparently tugs at their hair.


It is rumoured that Walt Disney haunts his famed park.  One night a cleaner working in Walt Disney's secret apartment above the Fire Station on Main Street noticed that some lights had been left on.  When she turned them off she is reported to have heard a male voice say "Don't forget I am still here".  They leave the light on now as a tribute to Walt.  A very interesting security camera film shows what appears to be a figure walking through the park.  It looks a little like Walt.....I will let you decide for yourself.