I’m often asked by those who have the slightest whiff of the story about the Ghost Of Mark (or the Shadow Man) that I witnessed whilst at the Tontine Inn to give them more of the juicy detail. So many times, actually, that there are probably a hundred and one snippets of text around the internet, on forums and even in books that have been written, that it’s probably an idea to get something official on the NGI website. So, here goes.
It all started out as a night like any other night I’d spent at the Tontine. NGI had arrived earlier, had the usual aggro of trying to speak to the right person who knew we were coming and had spent the usual half hour or so with chit-chat and gossip, before splitting into a number of groups and heading off to start our investigation.
This night, I was grouped up with our own Pirate of the Caribbean, Mark and the now sadly departed Pam. Our first port of call was the Bistro and the affectionately named room, the Brothel (due to the furniture and strange choice of Wallpaper – trust me, you’d agree if you saw it). These two rooms were made up of a small dining area and then a seating area accessed through a small open doorway.
The Bistro is where we headed though and spent the first part of our investigation taking a few readings around the room, talking a little bit and generally loafing. But then Pam started to pick up on a few things. Bless her little cotton socks, she liked to go over the top at times and go into a full-blown Derek Acorah act, but this night she was reserved by her usual standards and was giving myself and Mark some general information on the guy she was picking up on. The details aren’t important, which is good job as this was a few year back now and my heads getting a little old and I can’t remember what was exactly said.
However, she was interrupted by a rapping on one of the tables over in the corner of the room. This was completely out of the blue and none of us was expecting it. We stood in silence for a minute or so and then heard yet another tap-tap on one of the tables. Things quietened again for about five minutes when, from The Brothel, we heard what sounded like one of the chairs in the room being pushed back, like somebody standing up, and scraping across the tiled floor.
Like a Jack Russell chasing a ferret, Mark was out of the door and heading to investigate quicker than you could say Ahoy there me hearties. Pam quickly followed and I bravely brought up the rear just a few steps behind Pam.
It was now that things went a bit whacky.
I went down the couple of steps leading from the Bistro into the Brothel while talking to Pam’s back about how the noise “sounded like a chair being pushed”. I could see her just a couple of steps ahead, as mentioned. And then, to my left, stood a figure.
In the darkness, the figure looked like Mark. He has long hair and in the dark his head is shaped like a dome (sorry Mark!) and as his hair falls down to his shoulders, the shape it makes is a bit like holding your thumb up to a light, albeit, a bit fatter at the base (sorry Mark!!). Go on, hold your thumb up to your monitor and imagine it a bit wider at the base. That’s right. Looked a bit like that. Like Mark.
Anyway, being a boy brought up proper by his mother, I stopped, waived my hand ahead of me and told “Mark” that he can go ahead and that I’ll continue to be brave at the back.
And he did. “Mark” first turned his head and looked at me before he stepped out and began walking in front of me, following Pam who was now about ten steps ahead. “He” was within touching distance of me and, as I fully expected, he blocked out Pam and walked like somebody walks – a slight bobbing up and down and a slight sway to the left and the right.
Something struck me at this point. Before I’d left the Bistro, I’d heard the handle on the main door into the Brothel be rattled as though somebody had opened the door. It never registered much with me at the time because I thought Mark, almost running from the Bistro as he had, had got to the door and used it. But, here he was walking in front of me – so I brought up the subject of the door handle being used as I looked at his back and as we both weaved our way through the chairs and tables within the Brothel. He never replied.
It was at this point that the aforementioned door opened, spilling light into the room, and into the Brothel came … Mark. WTF?
I watched the figure in front of me take a few more steps ahead before dissipating, revealing Pam ahead, as it walked from the heavily shadowed area of the room into the now lit area around the door. WTF?
I’ve genuinely not been as so confused as to what the hell was going on as I was at that moment. Mark is in front of me but .. then .. Mark has just walked back into the room. But he was there. In front of me in is his full fat thumbed silhouetted glory. But then .. he was .. gone. WTF?
To this day I’ve never been able to give an explanation for that night. I usually do for most things I’ve experienced over the years, but that night still has me pulling a face like a dozy looking bulldog when I think about it.
In some ways it’s easy to say a trick of shadows. Maybe. But there are nagging questions that I can’t find an answer for if that’s the case :
- If it was a just a shadow, how come the shadow turned to look at me and then stepped out in front as a direct response when I waived it ahead?
- If it was just a shadow, how come it fully blocked out Pam who was walking ahead of me? Once it stepped in front of me, it completely obscured her from view like a real person would.
- If it was just a shadow, how come it walked like a geezer?
- Did the proceeding ratty-tap-tap on the tables and the sliding of a chair have anything to do with it?
I seriously can’t answer those questions.
When we put the lights on and Mark and Pam had finished laughing at the gormless look on my face as I was trying to work out what the hell was going on after seeing this Shadow Man – we located what we believed to be the suspect chair that had moved. All the other chairs in the room were neatly pushed tight up against the tables barring this one … which was right at the spot where the mysterious figure was first stood. Also, there was a very localised EMF spike close to a potted plant next to the chair, though a couple of feet from where I would have been stood.
Nothing else happened that night. Well, not for me at least. We later learnt that another NGI member that night, Derek, had been approached while in the grounds by a mysterious dark suited figure who’d asked him who he was and what he was doing here.
Now this doesn’t sound really suspicious until we learn that the Tontine is in the middle of nowhere and next to the A19, a dual carriage way, and Derek’s incident had happened a couple of hours later (so after midnight). It’s possible that the man was a guest in the hotel though the Tontine don’t usually let groups in when they had guests. According to Derek who was a little spooked by the incident, after he had answered the questions, the man just walked off into the darkness away from the hotel, never to be seen or heard from again.
Connected? Who knows? But one thing is for certain, I can’t look at my thumb anymore without getting that gormless look on my face.