Tuesday, 21 February 2017

A Clapham Wood Mystery: Jack Upperton’s Gibbet

I was extremely privileged that my friend @Nova_Hycgan shared a paranormal experience with me and has kindly given permission to recount it here…

“This experience happened about 10 years ago. For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by all things fortean. As I got older that became mainly an obsession with Ghosts, UFOs and the Occult.

Not far from where I grew up there is a place called Clapham with the originally titled Clapham Wood next to it. It’s about half way between Chichester and Brighton near Arundel. During the 1970’s it started to get a reputation for UFO’s and there were a number of disappearances that became linked to Black Magic by a chap called Charles Walker who claimed to have been contacted and warned by a member of a dark coven that operated in the woods. Now I don’t mean fluffy-bunny Wiccans here or even Church of Satan types (who tend to be quite enlightened and moral) but more amoral ceremonial Magick.

The whole Clapham thing is another story really but during the late 1980’s teenage me became aware of it, and Charles, as it started getting news coverage again due to the whole satanic panic thing that was gripping the nation at the time and was also featured in several books from the time. I was hooked!!!

With the rise of the Internet I finally began conversing with Charles and his little band of investigators and eventually started accompanying them looking for evidence of Black Magic/ghosts etc around Sussex, which finally leads us to 2007 and the tale I wish to tell.

One of Charles’ band is a guy called Paul Figg and one evening I get an excited call from him saying I’ve got to come out with them to a place called Jack Upperton’s Gibbet because they’ve been getting all kinds of stuff happening including... YES/NO answers coming through his *EMF meter when asking questions of the supposed spirit they were communicating with. They had established contact through a Ouija board and said spirit was called Evelyn. The area is approx 4 miles away from Clapham Woods by the entrance to the Angmering park estate.

The following Friday night, I meet up with the guys and we head off into the night for our gibbet vigil. I don’t recall the time of year but my memory is it was autumn time, not too cold but dark nights. After poking around for a while someone says that the temperature is going up. Sure enough I can feel a definite warmth coming off the ground and going up my legs. Paul had already told me about this because when ‘Evelyn’ came through previously on the Ouija board and on the EMF this had happened. 

I found this interesting because it kind of flew in the face of the received wisdom that places get colder when a presence manifests. It also lends me too think my autumn memory is correct because of latent warmth in the ground from the day could account for the temperature changes, or of course just suggestion.

At this point Charles begins speaking with Evelyn and sure enough after a couple of questions his EMF starts beeping. I can’t recall whether it was two beeps YES, one beep NO or vice versa but that’s beside the point I guess because they are asking Ouija style questions and getting what appeared to be intelligent responses. Now, while this is happening I am stood next to Charles and my EMF meter is doing absolutely nothing. Zip. I’m like two feet away from him and his is going off and mine isn’t. Straight away I’m thinking this shouldn’t be happening. If his is registering so should mine but nothing. This is where things get stranger again…

Charles asks Evelyn why it’s not communicating through my EMF, is it because I wasn’t here the times before? YES beep. He explains that I’m not a threat, I’m one of them. The second he explains this, my EMF meter comes to life and the two are going in unison. I’m dumbfounded. We even got Evelyn to communicate through one but not the other on demand. This went on for some time and then eventually it died off.

To this day I haven’t got an answer for what happened that night it has always been my biggest paranormal question mark. I’ve had experiences before but not ones that I couldn’t explain in some other way. I appreciate that this is only an anecdote and you only have my word for it, so not very scientific but there is a little twist. On Ian Topham’s @mystbritain Mysterious Britain and Ireland  website there is a large piece written by Paul about the gibbet: Mysterious Britain In it Paul mentions this...

‘Early visits gave us photos of orbs suggesting a strong spiritual presence. We decide to hold more extensive investigations. We bring out an EMF meter. With a mild medium present we get the feeling of a spirit presence, we then get a strong zap on the EMF which goes off the scale. Charles then decides to ask the spirit questions, this is successful we are communicating with a spirit at Upperton’s Gibbet on a YES/NO answer basis. This we managed to capture on camcorder. A few weeks later we return with another member of OAP. Again we contact the same spirit using 2 EMF meters and both going off at different intervals to YES/NO questions’

What he’s referring to here is the time when I went along. Now, I don’t recall a video camera being present when I was with them but he does state that they got the first communication on video! I’ve been out of contact with them since due to the birth of my first daughter. I stopped going on investigations after I had kids. I think I should start getting back out there”

What do you think? Was Evelyn trying to communicate via the EMF readers?

*The EMF readers were Gausmasters 

More detail on the mysteries surrounding Clapham Wood:

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