Saturday, 20 April 2013

Erasmus Darwin House 13th April 2013

In the shadow of Lichfield Cathedral, the only sandstone  built medieval English cathedral with three spires, stands Erasmus Darwin House.  This Grade 1 listed building was the home of Erasmus Darwin between the years of 1758 and 1781.  Grandfather to Charles, Erasmus was a poet, scientist, inventor and physician.  It was a family home, the base for his medical practice, scientific experiments, and meetings of the Lunar Society.
Erasmus Darwin bought the medieval half-timbered building in 1758 and converted it into a large red brick Georgian town house. Originally the front of the house was separated from Beacon Street by a narrow, deep ditch which once formed the moat of the Cathedral Close.  Darwin built a bridge from his fall door to the street across this overgrown ditch and created a two-tier terrace on the bank.  The ditch he planted with lilacs and rose bushes to screen the house from passers-by.
Erasmus Darwin with his back to the Cathedral
Erasmus Darwin developed the theory of evolution through natural selection, a belief that led to him having a falling out with the Church.  It was his grandson, Charles, working from his notes whom eventually proved the biology of evolution some years later.  Erasmus Darwin also had a great interest in anatomy; the cellar is said to be where he carried out public dissections and his anatomy experiments. Not normally open to the public this area of the house is only accessible by lift.
Even before we had finished setting up the cameras the fund and games began.  All the doors were held open by large wooden blocks and are fitted with anti slam devices but as one member of our team walked into the Library to set up a camera the door was slammed into him, hitting him quite hard on the chest.  Experiments ruled out movement of floorboards, the door did not reach the floor and no matter how many or how often people walked through that doorway afterwards, the door did not move again.
With everyone seated in a first floor room we began a séance.  There was possibly a few taps and bangs but the road was still reasonably busy and not all that far from the front of the house so no definite conclusions can be drawn from them.  As usual during the séance we asked if any spirit(s) could move the table or touch one of us. one gentleman became aware that he was swaying against his will.  When we asked for the table to be moved faster his swaying sped up.  Saying that he was beginning to feel none too good the gentleman left the circle and immediately began to feel better.
Another peculiar thing occurred when we were all on the first floor.  Without warning or anyone summoning it the lift suddenly descended to basement.  The only way this could happen was for someone to be in the lift or to press the button calling it to the basement. 
While in the Library one of our customers received personal messages over the talking board.   After this it was as if there was a long queue of ‘spirits’ wanting to pop in to say ‘hello’, then, while there was four people on the glass the table itself began moving but quite often in the opposite direction to that of the glass.  Still with a single finger each upon the glass, and while they were taking it in turn to lift said finger, the four-legged table would balance on two legs.  To make sure there was no ‘monkey-business’ with feet being used to move the table we had a sceptic constantly watching the underside of the table, he confirmed that no-one was moving their feet or making contact with the table other than through the glass.

Other ghost hunting teams have also reported doors that open or close without explanation; the sounds of people moving around in empty rooms, disembodied voices, children laughing and a disturbing moan.   Strange EMF (electromagnetic field) spikes, the intermittent odour of tobacco smoke, rapid fluctuations in temperature and, inexplicable flashes of lights have all been experienced at Erasmus Darwin House as well as strange knocks and raps.

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