Thursday, 10 February 2011

A Ghost at Wem

Back in 1677 the old town hall at Wem was burnt down. The fire was began accidentally by a young girl named Jane Churm, who died in the conflagration that followed. It was a tragedy that led to a persistent haunting.

The new town hall that rose up on the scorched site was quickly realised to be haunted. Those who worked there became accustomed to seeing the lively figure of young Jane Churm skipping about the place, running up stairs, darting in and out of rooms. She became a part of the building. If the ghost was seen rather less often as the years passed, she never quite vanished for good.

And then on 19 November 1995 the new town hall, by then over three centuries old, went up in flames. Those who gathered to watch the fire were certain that they saw the figure of Jane Churm standing on the stairs as they vanished in the smoke. One local man took a photo which clearly showed the girl standing apparently indifferent to the destruction wrought around her. She has not been seen on the site since. Perhaps two fires were enough.

Just west of Wem lie Loppington Woods. Like the old town hall, these seem to be free of supernatural activity these days, but in the later 19th century they gained international fame for what was seen to go on there. It seems that a poltergeist took up residenc. For several months houses there were plagued by broken crockery, flying cups and loud thumps and knocking noises. At Christmas 1883 the disturbances faded, never to return.

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