© Marcus Roberts (1995 and 2005)


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During the course of the excavation various tales surfaced of supernatural activity. The manager of the store was adamant that the inner cellar was well reputed for strange goings on, such as crashes and bangs with not apparent cause. In one case, there was such a loud crash that he thought that a main support had collapsed. But on going down to investigate with another staff member, nothing was to be seen. It was also claimed that from time-to-time footsteps could be heard on the stairs, when there was no one there.

The ghostly tales reached a crescendo during the excavations, when the alarm systems in the cellar were triggered by non-existent intruders. On one occasion, the manager and the police responded to an alarm call. Rushing into the cellar, they found nothing, but loud noises could be heard upstairs. Again, no cause could be found. However the manager’s three-year-old son, who was with a WPC at the time, seemed to be involved in a one-sided conversation. When asked why he was talking to himself, he said he was talking to a man on the stairs... the police allegedly logged the call-out as being "a paranormal occurrence."

Haunted or not, some members of staff apparently refused to go into the cellar alone while one camera crew refused to stay the night there. Having spent many hours in the chamber myself, however, I felt nothing more than a peaceful atmosphere. And John Boas even managed to fall asleep there one afternoon, so tranquil did he find it.

The significance of these supernatural stories can be explained in a variety of ways. Jewish remains and sites have historically stirred the creative mythical imagination, which is the very stuff of folk traditions. This could have been a benign modern-one in the making, with the experiences of ‘hauntings’ as the literal apparitions of fading folk memories.

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