Friday, February 11, 2011
Jim and I spent an hour scoping out the local Mecca bingo for the Ghost Club. We were both impressed by the place and I think it could be a very interesting investigation. The manager and staff were very welcoming, especially given the fact that Friday night bingo was in full swing. The hall was packed with eager players hoping for a chance of a 25k jackpot, but we had our eyes on a bigger prize - a ghost!
Without wishing to give away too many details of the haunting, the Hall promised lots of variety with at least three ghosts reported. Neighbours of the bingo hall had also complained of the sound of organ music during the night, but no such organ was kept in the building. Were these ghostly sounds an echo from the days when the Bingo Hall was a cinema? Décor from the original Gaumont cinema can still be seen today with the main hall boasting a stylized art deco ceiling 200 of the original cinema seats.
The manager gave us a full tour of the building from the roof to the basement and pointed out the key areas of interest. We also interviewed a couple of staff about their experiences and it seemed several other employees had had strange experiences. The place was like a maze, so we requested access to building plans which would make sorting out and finding key places a lot easier on the night. There were lots of different areas to investigate but I wasn't looking forwarded to exploring the crawl space under the stage that stretched the length of the building.
The only downside was the timing of the investigation - on a Saturday, bingo players would be in the in the building until about 11pm, so any investigation would need to start around midnight. The upside was I lived just down the road from the Hall, so would be able to crawl home and straight into bed. And there was a good incentive to stay for the duration as one of the ghosts was said to appear at 6am.
As usual we looked at the possible hazards that 20 or so investigators of differing ages and mobility would come across. There was a particularly steep looking stairwell that could be treacherous in the dark but apart from that it looked perfect. There with a staff room we could use a base; good access to toilets; near to public transport and free parking. All we needed now was a date and some willing participants.