February 14, 2006.
Bucks Free Press (UK).
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: For years employees of Wycombe Swan have witnessed a number of strange going-ons in the buildings.
When medium Sharon Neill toured with her show to the theatre, they ask her to see if there really is a ghost.
WHEN Wycombe Swan learned they would be playing host to blind Irish medium, Sharon Neill, they asked if she would help them solve the mystery of the haunted Oak Room in the adjoining Town Hall.
The Swan press officer Liz Stanley says there have been many ghost sightings by members of staff both past and present.
Burly, stage door keeper, Bob Eastland, 50, from Berwick Road, Marlow has been working at the theatre for eight years.
Bob previously worked as a fireman based at High Wycombe for 23 years and is not a man to be easily spooked.
He says: "It was in the auditorium of The Swan. The lights were off and I was locking up on my own after a show.
"I had just locked the door on the right hand side and was walking back across the circle when I saw what I thought was someone sitting in the left side circle wearing a rain mac.
"He had longish hair, and I could just make out the shape of his head.
"I called out because there shouldn't have been anyone there at that time.
"Nobody answered so I walked down the row and was crossing the stairs to the side circle, and he disappeared.
"I thought, hold on a minute, what's happening here, am I seeing things?' But I hadn't been drinking or taking any medication and I wasn't particularly tired."
Bob finished locking up and headed to the Hob Goblin pub to meet his workmates. There, Bobby Pie', a lighting technician, said he had also seen a ghostly figure wearing a long coat in the theatre late at night.
Bob has not had any more ghost sightings, but is sure there was something keeping him company that night.
To unravel the weird happenings, the managers of Wycombe Swan asked Sharon Neill to use her sixth sense to investigate before she did her stage performance.
Although blind from birth, Sharon lives on her own in Belfast and says she manages to lead an independent life with the help of her spirit team who act as her eyes and ghostly guides.
She first recalls hearing their voices when she was lying in bed at night aged five, but only realised she had an unusual gift for talking to spirits when she was at university in England in the mid-90s.
Her gift came to the fore when she was able to give the police a graphic, colour description leading to the discovery of a murder of a four-year-old girl from Essex, who was abducted and dragged into Epping Forest.
Sharon who is dressed in casual tracksuit bottoms, a T-shirt and hooded jacket, says: "I don't believe in making a lot of money from readings. I do shows and get paid for them, but I only do 20 or so a year as well as some TV appearances."
Sharon was visiting The Swan for her Second Sight nationwide tour offering up messages from the dead relatives and friends of members in the audience.
But before the show, could she find the ghost that Bob and others saw?
Her manager leads her by the arm through the labyrinth of underground rooms from The Swan into the adjoining Town Hall and before we have even got half way there Sharon is predicting our route.
"There's a bend coming up on the right and some stairs, don't tell me, don't tell me, just say yes or no," she insists and sure enough we turn a corner and walk up a flight of stairs.
"Ooh there's definitely some activity here. There's a temperature drop," she remarks.
Sharon is led part way into the first chamber of the Oak Room and no-one says a word.
Without moving or touching anything she identifies there is another smaller room leading off the main room and points directly to the double doors.
Sharon is led through the doors and stops a short distance from two central pillars in front of the bar area.
"There is activity all around me.
"I have a gentleman standing in front of me. He'd be around 5ft 6ins or 5ft 7ins, maybe in his late 40s or 50s.
"He's dressed in a proper suit, double breasted, with a white shirt.
"There's actually two people here," she adds.
"There's a domestic woman. She's smaller than him and has an apron on. Her hair is tied back in a little hat or a cap or something in a bun."
Sharon goes quiet and then suddenly laughs out loud. "She's just asked me if I want anything to drink, " she chuckles, "but the man is quite cross and has asked me why I am here.
"He disapproves of the way the building is being used now."
Normally Sharon would communicate silently with the spirits in her head, but tonight she is speaking out loud to allow us to follow the conversation.
After a pause, while she listens to what her spirit team have to say, she interprets: "The man would be in a law-type situation," and asks, "were the courts ever held here?"
The man suffered from a heart condition and went very quickly, we are told.
Sharon says he doesn't seem to realise he is dead and has been very frustrated that everyone is ignoring him.
"He has been trying to get people's attention and has resorted to pulling a white and gold tablecloth off a table in the outer room."
At this point Liz's hand flies to her mouth and she turns pale, but doesn't say anything because she wants Sharon to continue with her description.
"He says there were people held down here," pointing to the floor, "It wasn't a prison, but maybe that's where the prisoners were brought up from to give evidence or something.
"He says this place was for intellectuals and there was a fire, a little one.
"Is there a fireplace in here" she asks?
Part of the information she is given by the gentleman as straight forward facts and others she is given as pictures that she has to make sense of herself.
"If I am wrong tell me I am wrong, but if I am right say so," she urges.
Liz confirms that some of the catering staff have complained the white and gold tablecloth has inexplicably been dragged off when they have come back to finish laying the table in the Oak Room for a dinner function, but she doesn't know of any fire place in the room.
However the direction Sharon is pointing in, is the drinks cellar, behind which is a mock partition wall, which Liz says might be hiding a fireplace.
In the main room Sharon picks up a name for the man.
"It sounds like Woolham or Warham, I can't really hear because he is mumbling, but it begins with a W and ends in an M, of that I'm sure and there's a copper plaque somewhere in here.
"Will we take a look," she suggests.
The investigations lead to the memorial plaque of a former mayor and from there to some names etched in the stained glass windows in memory of eminent figures in the town, which throws up a few Williams.
Sharon nods, "Yes it could be Willam, I think its William. But I don't know which one he is and I am not going to make it up. I can't take you any further I am afraid, I need to rest now before the show."
Source URL: http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/features/newsfeatures/display.var.688439.0.i_thought_am_i_seeing_things.php.
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