In April 1969 Jos Smith led his ten-man team of demolition workers into the 112-year-old Palace Hotel in Birkdale, Lancashire. They had a contract and intended to sleep in the building until the job was done. After about a month they were all sufficiently frightened to move out into lodgings and only work in the daylight. 'I don't blame them,' said Jos. '
Things started to happen soon after we moved in. First of all we were awakened by strange noises in the night. Then the lift would suddenly set off on its own.' About mid-April Jos ordered all the power to the building and the lift to be cut off - but the lift still glided from floor to floor with its gates opening and closing, and its indicator lights flashing. Electricity Board spokesmen were quoted that the building was isolated - not an amp was going into the place.
The men removed the emergency winding handle, but still it moved. Workman Fred Wooley said: 'Nine of us came back one night and as we entered the foyer the lift doors slammed shut and it shot up to the second floor.' The Paralab directory for 1969 has a summary of the case and they mention an 'independent witness', a Mrs K. Templeton, who had gone into the 1000-room hotel looking for antique mirrors.
She said: 'While I was talking to the workmen the lift suddenly began to go up. There wasn't any sound from it - it was very eerie. It just glided up about seven feet almost to the next floor and stopped. I ran all the way up to the winding room with one of the workmen, but there was just no way it could have been moved mechanically. The brake was still on.' Fife | Aberdeen | Aberdeen | Boxley | Chesterfield | Connemara | Cornwall | Hampshire | Kiveton | Lanark | Lincoln | Lowestoft | lreland | Room 3 | Royal Hotel | Scotland | Scotland |
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