Telly Savalas’s Ghostly Encounter…

The Man Who Immortalised ‘Kojak’

Magician David Fox explores…

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The late, great Telly Savalas is most certainly not the type of personality one would associate with anything of a supernatural nature. Charismatic, straight-talking and with talent in abundance, Savalas became a household name from the 1970s onwards for his masterful portrayal of the indefatigable New York detective Kojak. Revered throughout Hollywood and beyond, the world-famous actor, singer and celebrity passed on in January 1994. However, it is a curious tale from the late 1950s which caught my attention several years ago…

A Stranded Motorist

 

The story involves Savalas’s bizarre experience when driving home from a social event in Long Island during the small hours. Accounts vary as to where he had been, but Savalas became stranded on a lonely stretch of highway after his car ran out of petrol. Pondering his rueful situation, he decided to leave his vehicle and seek out a service station.

A fortuitous encounter?

Eventually, after travelling on foot for some time, a passing motorist spotted the lonesome pedestrian, stopped his vehicle, and kindly offered Savalas a ride. The actor recounted how the driver of the car appeared to be rather unusual and spoke in a curiously high pitched and unnerving tone. Nonetheless he persevered with this rather eccentric nocturnal Samaritan, collected petrol at the station, and accepted a ride back to his abandoned vehicle. The mysterious driver even lent Savalas a few dollars to pay for the fuel and, feeling very embarrassed, the actor requested his name and telephone number so that he could return the funds to him in due course. Savalas also remembered the driver speaking suddenly about a relatively obscure baseball player. The sudden change in conversational topic had been rather unsettling to say the least. On arriving back at his car, Savalas duly thanked the man for all his help and bid him goodnight.

gas pump station black and white

Strange news…

Savalas returned to work the next day and quickly forgot about the events of the previous evening until he happened to notice a headline on the front page of a local newspaper. The story was about the sudden death of an up-and-coming baseball star. Bizarrely it was the very sportsman who the driver had spoken of during their journey together. Savalas decided to call the telephone number he had been given in order to return the borrowed money and put closure on the event. However, on telephoning, matters took an even more mysterious and disturbing twist….

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Who was the strange driver who gave Telly a ride?

The man from nowhere…

On phoning the hand-written number, Savalas was greeted by a woman’s voice. He promptly requested to speak to the gentleman who had assisted him the previous night. In no uncertain terms, the actor was informed that the man he asked for had been dead for some time. It eventually transpired that the woman at the end of the line was the ‘late’ driver’s widow and, after some deliberation, Savalas eventually managed to arrange a meeting with the lady.

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Tough guy. The only type of spirit we would usually associate with Telly would be found in a bar.

Fact or fiction?

Savalas showed the woman the scrap of paper which bore the telephone number and name of the spectral driver. The handwriting appeared to match with that of the deceased. He also discovered that the gentleman had shot himself through the throat which may have explained why his ‘ghost’ spoke with such a high-pitched accent.

Watch Telly Savalas’s accont on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Axdkv0_kJZQ

Want to know more about the author? Visit David Fox Magic for more details.

David Fox Magician

David Fox is a professional magician who is based in the Midlands, UK, and travels throughout the world performing his unique brand of prestidigitation. He specialises in close-up magic, parlour magic and stage magic. Magician David Fox creates many of his own incredible effects and sensational illusions.

Intersted in the performing arts? For music, art and inspiration, check out my friend’s new blog: BarbaraCalvertBenner

Clifton Hall: A Site of Supernatural Phenomena?

An Idyllic Country Manor…

Nestled away in the picturesque environs of Clifton Conservation Village to the south west of Nottingham city centre, the imposing Georgian architecture of Clifton Hall boasts a certain majestic charm. A striking reminder of a bygone age when the Lords of the Manor of Clifton celebrated their wealth and influence throughout Nottinghamshire and beyond. The hall has a colourful history, and in 1631 King Charles I resided there at the behest of Sir Gervase Clifton. Indeed, since the estate was sold off by the Clifton family in 1958, it has been utilised by several owners for much different purposes. Firstly as a girls’ grammar school until the 1970s, then by Nottingham Trent University, and later as private luxury accommodation. However, it was under its most recent ownership that Clifton Hall sprang to the attention of both local and national media outlets.

Haunted Hall?

Reports of Clifton Hall being a site of unusual and inexplicable phenomena would appear to date from the time when it was used as a grammar school from 1958 to 1976. There are accounts of strange eerie noises and an unsettling atmosphere in specific locations around the main building. An eye-witness account of the ghost of a young woman in the vicinity is also most revealing, and there appears to have been speculation about supernatural activity within rooms which had been sealed off. Sceptics would argue that such locations are ripe for curious tales of intrigue which are often intended to scare younger boarders and are the mere products of vivid adolescent imaginations. Nonetheless, it is the sensational experiences of the Rashid family, who moved into the hall in 2007, which have attracted much attention and speculation.

A Tormented Family…

In 2007 businessman Anwar Rashid acquired Clifton Hall for the sum of £3.6 million and moved into the property with his wife and four children. Within eight months the family would have left their new home, driven away by seemingly disturbing and unsettling forces from another dimension. An intriguing cavalcade of psychic phenomena contributed to the family’s hasty decision to quit their stately accommodation. Eerie events included: sinister spectral voices, ghostly sightings, and, perhaps most upsetting of all, the manifestation of blood stains upon one of the children’s bed sheets. Mr Rashid even went so far as to invite psychic investigators to Clifton Hall to reckon with its demonic denizens. The coordinator of this metaphysical inquiry curiously concluded that the venue was one of the most unsettling places he had ever visited, even throughout the hours of daylight. The family ceased mortgage payments in 2008 and since then it has been on the market awaiting a new buyer to negotiate with its supposedly supernatural tenants…

Illusion or Reality?

Did ghosts and supernatural phenomena really drive a family away from their new home? Is Clifton Hall truly an unholy lair of queer and unnatural events? Or perhaps there is a more logical explanation for the strange occurrences which would appear to have been experienced by a variety of individuals since its days as a grammar school? Last week I happened to be in Clifton meeting a client in order to prepare for a performance of magic at a function he is currently organising. On the way home, I decided to visit the hall and took some photographs around the area. The photograph below was taken at the main gate. Strangely a friend of mine (who is a psychic) examined my handiwork and felt a curious ‘presence’ at the central upper window in the shot. On a closer analysis of the picture, it is possible to see some unusual whispy ‘faces’ on both the central panes of the window. What do you think? Could this be evidence of some sort of weird supernatural manifestation, or is it simply the reflections of the trees in the sunlight?

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Below is a close-up shot of the window. It does look rather strange and no other window in any of the other photographs looks like this. I prefer to keep an open mind and reserve judgement.  The red and blue circles mark the possible outlines of spectral ‘faces’.

Clifton Ghosts

Haunted Venues

Make Your Next Hotel Stay An Interesting One…

I am extremely fortunate to perform magic regularly at fantastic venues throughout the UK and beyond. My vocation frequently takes me off the beaten track to obscure locations which offer their own peculiar allurements and fascinations. Indeed, every hotel, restaurant, club, bar, or stately home has an exclusive charm and appeal. However, local legends, superstitions, and the ‘lore of land’ always continue to intrigue and amaze travellers the world over. Some places would appear to be steeped with curious rumours concerning ghosts, inexplicable occurrences, and mysterious utterances of possible occult phenomena. Thus, I decided to write about several interesting venues I have enjoyed performing at…

Makeney Hall Hotel

It is always a great pleasure to visit this beautiful hotel which is located in the serene landscape of the Amber Valley in Derbyshire. Derby itself was recently declared the ‘most haunted’ town in Britain, and the Derby Paranormal Hunters offer tours around places of supernatural interest. Makeney Hall is situated eight miles from Derby city centre and the present building dates from Victorian times. It certainly is a charming venue which is ideal for leisure breaks, weddings and corporate functions: http://www.akkeronhotels.com/Hotels/Central-and-Eastern-England/Makeney-Hall-Hotel The staff are extremely friendly and it was during a very interesting discussion with an employee that I first learned of the ghostly heritage of Makeney Hall. Stories of weird ‘presences’, inexplicable ‘figures’ appearing in hallways, and queer ‘rapping’ sounds aroused my curiosity. The gentleman in question had not experienced any of the aforementioned phenomena, however, a colleague of his seemed to genuinely believe that the building was haunted. Such unearthly tales may have developed from the times when Makeney Hall was used as a hospital.

The Ettington Park Hotel

Stratford Upon Avon is a magical town in its own right and is of course well known for its association with the bard. The dramatic neo-Gothic facades of The Ettington Park Hotel, which is to be found seven miles from the town centre, will enchant and captivate even the most seasoned of wayfarers. The hotel boasts several unearthly presences and specters which have been witnessed by a variety of people over the years: http://www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/hotels/ettington-park-hotel/History/ There would appear to be a multitude of psychic phenomena to be found, ranging from apparitions, to changes in temperature, and disembodied ethereal ‘voices’. As well as being a magnificent venue, the staff are always warm and welcoming. One employee I had the pleasure of chatting to openly discussed the existence of metaphysical happenings at the hotel and did firmly believe in the existence of ghosts. I look forward to performing magic at The Ettington Park Hotel on Christmas day and entertaining everyone whilst they enjoy the glowing hospitality. Hopefully the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future will appreciate the performance too and refrain from any spiritual heckling.

Mosborough Hall Hotel

The most recent wedding I performed at was that of Vickie and Stuart last Saturday in the pleasant environs of Mosborough Hall Hotel, Sheffield. It was a pleasure and a privilege to entertain everyone present and sample the first class hospitality of the venue. Prior to my performance, I took time to visit the hotel website and was amazed to discover that Mosborough Hall falls into the ‘haunted venue’ category: http://www.hauntedrooms.co.uk/mosborough-hall-hotel. This sixteenth century manor house clearly has a wealth of weird history for lovers of the uncanny to contemplate. Tales of a ‘large black dog’, ghostly ‘grey lady’, and of past owners calling upon the services of a local vicar to exorcise the building certainly do add to the mysterious charm of the location. Having said that, I was made to feel very welcome by the staff and the quality of the cuisine served in the restaurant is excellent. Any tales of ghosts or the supernatural can quickly be discounted within the modernised interior of the renovated manor house and spacious Chatsworth function suite. Indeed, on asking a member of staff about the possibility of psychic phenomena, I was assured that she had not witnessed anything strange. However, I always keep an open mind about these things…

Are There Are More Things In Heaven and Earth?

I consider myself very lucky to have performed magic for audiences at all of these wonderful venues and would highly recommend each to anyone planning a wedding, party, corporate event, or leisure break. Perhaps the possibility of witnessing something supernatural or uncanny during your stay can only entice you to visit? Most people are indeed intrigued by such mysteries and as Shakespeare himself said: ‘there are more things in heaven and earth’. I will be returning to all of these fine hotels in the future to perform magic and look forward to doing so. However, the ongoing prospect of learning about even more ‘haunted venues’ throughout the UK, and beyond, is always an interesting and intriguing aspect of my job as a professional magician.