The Writings of Ingrid Pitt

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Ghosts 'R' Bust

Can 900 psychic researchers from Hertford and Edinburgh Universities be wrong?
Ghost - the Man in Grey

Recent discovery - the remains of the Man in Grey?

It’s official! Ghosts are bust. Or at least according to new research undertaken by groups of psychologists from Hertford and Edinburgh Universities. It’s all in the mind. Nine hundred investigators have spent thousands of hours sniffing the darker and danker parts of such ancient monuments as the majestic buildings of Hampton Court Palace and Edinburgh’s South Bridge. Hampton Court has always had a reputation as a prime watering hole for ghastly apparitions. It was snitched off Cardinal Wolsey by Henry Vlll when the wily ecclesiaste’s plans for divorce for his Royal master didn’t get Papal blessing. There have been numerous and specific sightings of wraith-like figures skulking in the corridors and bedrooms of the magnificent building. Catherine Howard, Henry’s penultimate Queen, not at all happy about being bumped off on unproven charges of extra-marital nooky, has been seen raging around the Palace for generations. There is the tiny figure of a hesitant, unknown child that has had maids and gentry scurrying to the tantalus for comfort since he was first encountered in the early 18th century. Apparently these boisterous spirits and dozens of visitants, were reluctant to do their bit when the researchers were about and registered nowt on the apparition-meter. Nor did the ghostly environs of the vaults beneath South Bridge in Edinburgh produce its dead but active denizens for verification. Both buildings have a reputation for ghostly manifestation that, up to now, had nothing to do with the state of the drains. South Bridge might also lose its credentials as a likely haunt due to the fact the whole place seems to have been turned into a city redevelopment initiative area. The report of the latest findings to occupy presumable intelligent minds has been published in the British Journal of Psychology by Dr. Richard Wiseman.

Ghost Train

Ghost trains have had a good run.

Which means that when the ethereal Banquo turned up at MacBeth’s celebratory feast he was just a figment of his murderers’ imagination brought on by a trick of the light and a draft from the portcullis. The King of Denmark’s appearance on the castle walls to reveal to Hamlet that he has been murdered by the the usurper Claudius, who poured poison into his receptive ear while he slept and provoked the whole of the Shakespearean tragedy, could not have happened as there is no such phenomenon as a thing that bumps and grinds in the night And A Christmas Carol is going to be emasculated by Dr. Wiseman’s findings now the plug had been pulled on ghostly goings on. Which makes me feel a little reticent about recounting my extra-secular experience in the Theatre Royal at Brighton. Not just mine, the late Carmen Silvera experienced exactly the same sensation coming through the pass door, beside the stage, after an evening performance. We were both aware, separately, of an unseen presence and felt a hand touch our arm. And actor Mark Ryan’s experience at a friend’s house in Cornwall can be dismissed as little more than a gentle breeze through an open window. Mark is, by his own admission, butch. He played Che Guevara in beret and jungle greens in Evita when the show was in the West End. At one time he and some ex-SAS chums ran a Paint-ball Combat course in the wilds of Surrey. His brush with the unseen came on a moonlit night when he was awoken by a sound outside his window. He got up to investigate. As he pulled back the curtains he felt some invisible entity wrap itself tightly around his legs and pull him towards the window. Attempts to break the grip were at first unsuccessful but just as he felt that he was about to be dragged over the sill his girl friend switched on the light and the grip was released. They searched the room but were unable to find any cause for the sensation Mark had experienced.

The Wiseman revelations also puts paid to the reputation of many of the fonts of goose bumps inherent in other historic building as well as labelling loony those who claim to have had experience of more modern ghosts. Like actress Jennifer Croxton who was en-route from Edinburgh to London in Carriage G on the late night train. The carriage seemed a little old fashioned but as it was British Rail, wasn’t exceptional. Sitting at the opposite end of the carriage was a little old lady absorbed in the dark countryside flashing by outside the window. There seemed to be no heating in the carriage and after a while Jennifer decided to go to the buffet car. When she returned Carriage G had disappeared. She went in search of the Inspector and unloaded her problems on him. He told her she was dreaming. There was no such carriage. She insisted he came with her to see for himself. The mystery coach had vanished, along with the little old lady.

The Ingrid Pitt Bedside Companion For Ghosthunters

Just a spot of private indulgence.

What the revelation that there are no such things as ghosts does to the actors, directors and stage crew who have witnessed the Man in Grey take his seat in the balcony at the end of Row D at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, can’t be imagined. To suddenly find that after decades of sightings that everybody was just experiencing mass hallucinations must be very traumatic. What all the actors and crew thought they were seeing was a Regency Buck, coiffed and pampered to the nines, who had a particular interest in rehearsals. If he stayed for a while it was accepted that the play would be a success so his benign watch was taken as a compliment. When he left he disappeared through the wall of the auditorium . In 1874, during refurbishment, workmen smashed through a wall and found a skeleton, elegantly clad in a grey suit, with a huge knife stuck in his ribs. Coincidence Dr. Wiseman?

Enough about the dear but disturbed departed.Sometimes I definitely get the feeling that the proposition put forward by the writers of THE MATRIX and THE MATRIX RELOADED might be true. So many things appear unreal that I’m waiting for the call to go to some cavernous underground laboratory and get one of those plastic things planted in the back of my neck It does seem that the lunatics are taking over the Asylum. Most of them appear to be wearing horse-hair, shoulder length wigs and fur trimmed frocks and insist on being called “M’Lud”. I’m told that we are on the final arc of the left hand swing of the pendulum. This ‘pendulum’ is not the more easily understood one of Vincent Price in the PIT & THE PENDULUM but the one which, I am told, governs the world - but not necessarily as we know it. Once it has swung too far one way, inertia takes over and it starts to swing towards the centre before getting into an opposite, right hand, swing. Right and Left being relative to where you are standing, of course. Reams of good tree pulp is wasted on ‘research’ and ‘initiatives’ and ‘dossiers’ explaining how much better off we are now. Which would be fine. If we could defend ourselves when attacked, make up our own mind how we want to live and believed that the weapons of mass destruction could be discovered and justify our attacking a country that had made no aggressive move towards us and has been left in a devastated state. If only we could be reassured that the chaos which is Iraq was foreseen and even as we think moves are in the pipeline to bring something like peace to the area. OK, you can take the soapbox away now and I’ll try to concentrate on fictional horror.

Inviting Ghost

An inviting ghost.

For years horror fans have been writing to me asking where they can get a video copy of the VAMPIRE LOVERS and COUNTESS DRACULA. I have been unable to answer because I didn’t know. In fact, until I went to Rumania a couple of years ago and met a nice American lady on the Dracula Trail, I didn’t have one of my own. She sent me her copy which she bought about 15 years ago. Of course I had the problem of my antiquated video player not being up to the job of projecting it onto the screen. Since I indulged myself and bought a sprossy new video player I have at last been able to see it. Did I need to wait this long? I guess not. It seems every month a new copy is launched. In August the more or less official boxed set of Vampire Lovers and Countess Dracula will be launched onto the market. This has all the now familiar additions including commentaries by those involved in making the film. These Include directors Roy Ward Baker, Peter Sasdy, writers Tudor Gates and Jeremy Paul etc. It is also being launched around the same time in Japan. I must get a copy of that. I was beginning to think that the horror loving Japanese thought that Hammer was a bit too sissy for them. Suddenly I have started to get mail saying how much they enjoy watching Hammer Films. I wonder if it has anything to do with the launch of THE DOMINATOR, the anime feature I voiced last year which has just been premiered in Tokyo? I guess not but it would be nice.

And if you want to swot up on Hammer History the place to do so is on my website, www.pittofhorror.com. (Ed: Now available here on this website). Everything from the company’s humble beginnings in 1935 right up to the curtain call of THE LADY VANISHES in 1978 is documented and tells what every Hammer fan always wants to know but never likes to ask. Yes, the bath water was warm.

Two of the best conventions of the year are about to take place. NEC Birmingham on the 26-27th. July and the SECC Glasgow 23-24 th August. Not to be missed.

Shivers

The Writings of Ingrid Pitt