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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cricketers haunted by ghosts ~ apparition !! - Lumley Castle

A scenic picture – Jimmy Anderson practising with a fort in the background !
photo credit :

They say that often courage is shaken when alone ~ lonely places haunt.  Have you heard of the ‘Philip experiment’ ?  ….  In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost  or specter, phantom, apparition or spook-  is the soul or spirit of a dead person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to realistic, lifelike visions.  In psychology,  an apparitional experience is characterized by the apparent perception of either a living being or an inanimate object without there being any material stimulus for such a perception.

Sure you would remember - ‘Chandramukhi’ – the Rajnikant starrer released in 2005;  it was the official remake of the 1993 Malayalam film Manichithrathazhu, starring Mohanlal.  Manichitrathazhu (The Ornate Lock)  a Malayalam psychological thriller was written by Madhu Muttam, directed by Fazil, and produced by Swargachitra Appachan. The film dealt with an unusual theme which was not common in Indian cinema but proceeded to become a high grosser at the box-office.  It was Aaptamitra [in Kannada]; Chandramukhi [Telegu]; Bhool Bhulaiyaa [Hindi]; Rajmohol [Bengali]; Chandramukhi ke Hunkaar [Bhojpuri]; Der Geisterjäger (lit. The Ghost Hunters in German).

Downunder in Newzealand, the Hindu reports that  Pakistan team management says cricketer Haris Sohail was left “visibly shaken” after a ghostly encounter in a Christchurch hotel room.  Sohail fled what he believed was “a supernatural presence” which shook his bed at the Rydges Latimer hotel, taking refuge in the room of a team coach after the encounter earlier this week. Team manager Maveed Akram Cheeva said - Sohail, 26, phoned a member of the coaching staff to say he had been woken by his bed being shaken. The coach rushed to Sohail’s room and found him shaken and feverish. Cheeva said management tried to persuade Sohail the fever may have caused a nightmare, but the player was adamant his experience was supernatural. The hotel’s management says it knew of “no active ghost” on the premises.

Pakistan media reports said Sohail, an allrounder who has played nine one-dayers and three Twenty20 internationals, was so “traumatised” by the experience he has been unable to train and was forced to miss a one-day warmup match against a New Zealand President’s XI. Cheema said Sohail was examined by the team doctor after his encounter and found to be in good health.

Sohail joins an elite group of international cricketers who have had ghostly experiences. England fast bowler Stuart Broad switched rooms at London’s Langham Hotel last year after a ghostly experience. Broad told the Daily Mail newspaper he had woken in the night and “all of a sudden the taps in the bathroom came on for no reason. I turned the lights on and the taps turned themselves off. Then when I turned the lights off again, the taps came on. It was very weird.” Australia allrounder Shane Watson fled to the room of teammate Brett Lee after becoming spooked in his own room at the Lumley Castle Hotel in England in 2005.

In the photo that you saw at the start, it is  Chester-le-Street with Lumley Castle, a 14th-century quadrangular castle in the background.  It is  named for its original creator, Sir Ralph Lumley, who converted his family manor house into a castle in 1389 after returning from wars in Scotland. However, after being implicated in a plot to overthrow Henry IV he was imprisoned and ultimately executed, forfeiting his lands to the Earl of Somerset. In 1421 the ownership of the Castle reverted to Sir Ralph Lumley's grandson, Thomas. In 1976, management of the castle was handed over to No Ordinary Hotels who had the castle turned into the 59-bedroomed hotel it is today. The castle is believed to one of the most haunted places in County Durham.  Locals believe that the castle is haunted by the ghost of Lily Lumley, Ralph's wife, who was thrown down a well in the castle grounds by two priests for rejecting the Catholic faith. Knowing they would be in trouble, the priests told Sir Ralph that she left him to become a nun. Her ghost is said to float up from the well and haunts the castle. In 2000 and 2005 visiting cricketers staying at the castle claimed to have witnessed paranormal activity.

In films - Manichitrathazhu, Chandramukhi and more… the storyline was a thriller of a young couple arriving at an ancestral home haunted by a ghost of a girl who dies young without realizing her dreams.   The Apparition is a 2012 American supernatural horror thriller film written and directed by Todd Lincoln  that was loosely inspired by the Philip experiment conducted in 1972.

The Philip experiment was a 1972 parapsychology experiment conducted in Toronto, Ontario to determine whether subjects can communicate with fictionalized ghosts through expectations of human will. The experiment has been criticized for improper controls, inconclusive results, and possible fraud.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

27th Jan 2015.

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