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Supernatural Staffordshire: The phantom Victorian schoolboy spotted on a railway line

  • Written by DAMON SIMMS
  • Published in Mysteries
  • Read: 146

Each week our supernatural expert reveals haunting tales from across the county.

MORE and more people are contacting me to talk about their own supernatural experiences -- I’d like
to think the tide has turned and discussing the paranormal is less taboo than it used to be.        
I would encourage everyone to do a simple experiment. Ask just five friends, in private, if they
believe in the paranormal and have they had a paranormal experience.
    
Thirty-four percent of the UK population believe in ghosts -- that’s a huge 10 percent more
than believe in god.
    
So why is there still a stigma about people who openly profess to believe? Perhaps, it’s to
do with peer pressure, society and the media among other factors.
    
Just recently, I was having a drink with a friend and the topic of the paranormal came up.
    
He doesn’t believe, categorically. However, we ended up chatting for a number of hours over
various “what ifs” and found some surprising common ground once the initial barriers of conventional
understanding had dropped.
    
“I would rather a mind opened by wonder, than one closed by belief,” is possibly my favorite
saying, because it’s true.

Believe in it or not, the paranormal is a fascinating subject.
    
The diversity of experiences and depths of emotion it put us through run the full spectrum --
from enlightening to absolute terror.
    
In 1989, Gareth was 19 and living at Barlaston.
    
Growing up, he would spend lots of time walking around this beautiful area, surrounded by
open fields and picturesque streams.
    
“It was an amazing time in my life” Gareth, now 47, said. “Me and my friend would go for long
walks, all around Cocknage and Barlaston.
    
“We would roam through the fields, around the large lake at Barlaston and sit on Barlaston
train platform before they fenced it all off -- it was a magical time.”
    
One evening in July,  Gareth and one of his friends made their way down to Wedgwood Lake and
then past the cricket club, finally coming to the white train crossing building and to their
destination of the railway station.

“We used to get some sweets and drinks and sit talking about crazy things that you think
about at that age, ghosts and UFOs were a big favorite of ours. We had some amazing conversations,”
Gareth recalled.
    
Darkness had begun to fall, the station platform was still, not even the slightest breeze was
blowing as some litter and a few leaves sat motionless on the black and white painted wooden
platform. A rabbit ran across the empty tracks in the distance.
    
“That’s when we saw him, a small boy about 10-year-old who ran across the track right in
front of our eyes,” Gareth told me.
 
“He came out of nowhere. One second, he was running across the track, the next he had gone.
But for the short amount of time, we could see him he looked solid  -- like a real boy.”
    
Gareth described the boy as wearing old-fashioned Victorian clothing including a flat cap.
    
“We both saw him as clear as day and when he disappeared, we both nearly jumped out of our
skin,” he said.
    
Both boys got up immediately and ran from the station back towards Wedgwood Lake.
    
“I’ve seen my friend from that night recently at a reunion and he still remembers it just as
I did, although he has never mentioned it to anyone as he thinks people will mock him.”
    
Many more people will experience ghosts and other paranormal events tonight just as Gareth
did that night back in 1989.
    
Will it be you?
        The Sentinel