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A Haunting In Ilkeston
For lights in the 13 roomed old house keep being switched on mysteriously – and sometimes they could lave been on throughout he night. The phenomenon no longer surprises Mrs Barbara Egan, of The hardens She has become accustomed to getting up in he morning and finding lights switched on — lights which she definitely knows were switched off before she went to bed. The house, in Shipley country Park, was built in 1882 by Edward Miller Mundy colliery owner and squire of Shipley Hall. It is now shared by Mrs. Egan and a friend, who lease it. Mrs. Egan (45), a spiritualist, says strange happenings started taking place soon after she moved in 18 months ago.
“The first thing was the lights,” explained Mrs. Egan, who is a member of Heanor Local History Society.
“They were witched on after we had switched them off, and vice versa. It’s happened in different parts of the house, at different times and on quite a lot of occasions, the last time quite recently. It’s even happened in an outhouse. The first few times I bought, Did I or didn’t I witch off that light? But then I began making a particular point of making sure I had switched them of the porch light — which can only be switched on from inside — has been the main target”.
Both Mrs. Egan and the occupant have made absolutely sure that it’s been switched off last thing At night.
“Then,” says Mrs. Egan, “the first one down in the morning has found it on and has commented ‘It’s on again. I hope whoever is doing it will pay the electricity bill!’
“It seems to happen in one room at a time I found it frightening at first, but now I’ve got used to it but these incidents are .not the only strange happenings at The Gardens. In the small hours of one morning the tap in the bathroom was turned on when it had definitely been switched off.”Water was gushing out in such a way that it was absolutely deafening we couldn’t turn it off and in The end had to cut if off at the stop cock outside.”
Next day a workman examined the tap and found the washer had split, but, as Mrs. Egan says, “Why should it suddenly go in the early hours of the morning, and would it is sufficient to cause the water to gush out with such force?”On another occasion, again early in the morning, Mrs. Egan got up and went downstairs When she Walked back up the stairs she felt somebody next to her.
Though she could see nobody. “I was a bit scared at [first, but then I thought whoever it was, was trying to help me up the stairs.”
During one night Mrs. Egan was awakened by her Bed being shaken and a noise which sounded as if somebody was walking across the bedroom floor. Yet another strange experience came when she was sitting in the lounge. There was a loud rattling on the window
“It sounded as if the noise was being made by finger nails, ‘ she says. The friend who was with her rushed outside but I could find nobody about. There was the time when drawers in a dressing table, which Mrs. Egan is positive had been left pulled out, were all closed when she returned to the room And then there have been strange smells in the house which have been almost overpowering A floral smell, similar to : that of carnations, the Smell of oranges and a smell like furniture polish.
They’ve happened in different parts ofthe.house at times there have been: no flowers, no oranges and No furniture polishes about. Mrs. Egan, who believes she is psychic in many ways and who experienced inexplicable happenings at’ her former home in Allestree, comments: “I believe these things are being caused by some sort of presence but whatever or whoever is responsible is not malicious. It is more mischievous”
She would be pleased to hear from anybody who could supply more details of the houses history or facts about anything unusual having taken place, there. So far her research into, the house’s past has, revealed no former occupier personally experiencing anything out of the ordinary But one source of information told her that a workman, while working in one of the rooms, had stated’ he saw somebody come through, a locked door and he had refused to enter the house again.As far as Mrs. Egan knows there have been no tragedies in the house itself, though a head gardener committed suicide in the stables. In her bid to find out more; about The Gardens, Mrs. Egan has contacted local historians, including Mr Owen Watson, of Marlpool, who has spent his life in the area. Well known also as a writer and poet — he has written a special poem about The Gardens — Mr. Watson (68) says.
“It’s the first time I have heard that the house is haunted”
One of the timbered eaves bears the Mundy crest and Mr. Watson Says! His mother always assured him that the house was intended be Edward Miller Mundy as a dower house for his first wife. But Edward Miller Mundy’s first marriage to Ellen Palmer Moorwood of Alfreton Hall, ended in divorce In 1881, with the Earl of Shrewsbury cited in the action He married his second wife, Catherine Louise Hartopp, in 1883 after the death of her husband she went to live in Wiltshire.
The Gardens was occupied by the head gardeners of the old Shipley estates. The second head gardener to live there poisoned himself in the early 1900s in the stables.
Owen Watson says in his lifetime the house has been occupied by a variety of colliery officials, both during the days of the old Shipley Colliery Company and of the National Coal Board until mining ceased in the area. Mrs. Egan says most of the strange happenings have taken place during the I night and defy logical explanations. While she’s not unduly worried about them, she adds: “However, this is the only house where I refuse to spend the night alone!